Andy Andrews, in his first time out on the water all year, invited me along to scout Timothy Lake in advance of the chapter outing scheduled for June 25-28. Our first interest was mapping the route to the sometimes-hard-to-find North Arm Campsite. You know, we hate to hear about folks getting lost and frustrated. But a close second to this was our desire to see what kind of early-season, mid-week fishing we could find at a lake that is known for holding some very nice fish and seldom disappoints those familiar with its ways.
Mission #1: Accomplished! Check back here shortly for a detailed, fool-proof map included with the Timothy Lake Outing announcement.
Mission #2: WTF!
I don't know what was wrong. The lake was full of water--as you would expect at this time of year; and there was some algae bloom in the water, plus the water back there where Crater and Cooper creeks flow in was COLD. Even so, I expected some hungry fish. There wasn't much bug activity, either, just a smattering of tan caddis and some callibaetis. We saw a handful of rises all day, and half of them appeared to be fish launching themselves skyward merely for distance. Anyway, it's a rare day when I can't pry at least ten fish out of Timothy. So I'm forced to blame this slow/no bite on sharing a boat with Andy and the curse that follows him around.
Then again, he did manage to pull this out of one of my favorite holes.
What a beautiful, wild, 18" rainbow! He got it on some dark, fuzzy soft hackle with a red butt, and the fish gobbled it about two seconds after it hit the water on the first cast. It ran and pulled on Andy pretty good. I netted it for Andy in the new Fisknat I've had for two years and had never used. Perhaps bringing out the new net offended the fish gods. Who can say? By the way, before you start tying fuzzy red-butt patterns, you should know that fly got zero hits after that fish.
In fact, zero hits was pretty much the story for most of the day. We covered the lake in Andy's boat. We looked for warmer water areas, inlets, stump fields, ledges, wind drifts; we pounded a lot of typically productive water with sinking and floating lines, but we couldn't find any customers.
It was a very pretty day for a boat ride, though. Here's Andy hopefully working a Chernobyl Ant not far from the Oak Grove Fork inlet.
I refused to say the word, but as the evening came on I was thinking hard about how I had never been skunked before at Timothy. I should say at this point, that I think this was just an odd, aberrant day, and I would expect fishing to be much better than this for our outing.
Finally, upon return to where Andy hooked up, I landed this 16" wild rainbow. Skunk averted, I was ready to call it a day. Andy and I also talked about how we would spin the fishing report that the smallest fish we caught all day was 16 inches.
But then I asked Andy to let me troll back through the channel on our way in to target brook trout that seem to fall for brown patterns like the seal bugger I was towing. Halfway in I landed this chunky fellow, who was somewhat smaller.
Right. So what do we learn from this? Nice fish are available here even on the worst of days. And even the curse of Andy Andrews is not insurmountable. Just the same, come the outing, I'll be back in my float tube.