Thursday, June 18, 2009

Timothy Lake Outing set for June 26-28

The smiling man holding the 23-inch brook trout is Don Kaster. He brought this brute to hand at our TVTU Timothy Lake Outing in 2007. Are there more brookies like this in Timothy? Probably. Will you catch any? Certainly not if you miss our annual assault on the North Arm of Timothy happening June 26-28.

For anyone unfamiliar with Timothy, here's an overview courtesy of the Fly Fishing Shop at Welches.

This year we'll establish our base camp at the formerly harder to find and less developed North Arm Campground. Here's a map to guide you directly from Hwy 26. For most people coming from Portland, this is the fastest route.(Click on this map to enlarge.)

Here are the basic directions: Follow Hwy 26 past Government Camp to the Skyline Road/Timothy Lake turnoff (near milepost 67) and turn right (south) onto Skyline (also known as NFD 42) Road. Follow Skyline downhill for approximately 4.1 miles to NFD 58, a narrow paved road to your right that goes past Little Crater Lake. Follow NFD 58 about 4.5 miles to the gravel intersection of NFD 5890. Turn Left and follow 5890 roughly 2.5 miles to the dirt road on your left that takes you to the North Arm Campground. This dirt road used to be marked 012, but now there's actually this campground sign you see pictured here.
Andy Andrews will be setting up our base camp on Thursday night, June 25, and will try to claim sites 2 and 3 for our group. Camping fee here is $12 per night. Unlike other Timothy Lake campgrounds, reservations are not taken for the North Arm campsites.

Feel free to arrive early on Thursday and fish with Andy. This will be his first outing of the year, and that means the Roadkill Grill will be in operation along with the bar. Also, take special note: there is a group BBQ dinner on Saturday night. Often this means bacon-wrapped shrimp appetizers and a mixed grill of beef, chicken and pork. You're welcome to contribute a side dish, dessert and/or quality wet goods. Expect a very good time, as evidenced by happy campers, Jeff Horton and Alex Barkume, pictured here at our 2006 Timothy outing.

As for fishing, Timothy seldom disappoints, but there are some things you may want to consider in making preparations. Timothy is huge. You'll find no shortage of water to explore. If you want to access the whole lake, you'll want a boat with a motor. Most of us use float tubes and concentrate on the channels in the North Arm. This is a very good area to fish, holding some wild, native rainbows and cutthroats, as well as self-sustaining populations of brook trout and kokanee. Timothy is also regularly stocked with rainbows. Some claim there are also some browns here, but I've never caught one or seen one. I think there may be some browns in the Oak Grove Fork above the lake, but I expect to see them about as much as I do Sasquatch.

Most of the water you'll want to fish is 5-8 feet deep. A clear intermediate line is ideal. A floater is nice if the fish are pounding a terrestial fall, like the big carpenter ant hatch one can expect this time of year. The best time of the day to fish at Timothy seems to be between 10am and 3pm. Hitting the water at the crack of dawn has never been very rewarding, and the bite seems to crap out after 5pm--with rare exceptions.

As for flies, olive and/or brown seal buggers produce well, as do carey specials, AP emergers and Cate's turkey patterns. The hatchery rainbows seem to find green and black krystal buggers irresistible. Brook trout tend to go for brown patterns. Handtwisting small (#12-18) nymph patterns, like PTs, Cate's turkeys and AP emergers in olive and brown shades consistently produces. The lunker trout here are undoubtably feasting on crayfish and kokanee. I've lost a couple steelhead-sized rainbows that took dragonfly nymphs. The largest rainbow I've landed here took a damselfly nymph. There's a tiny midge hatch that comes off almost nightly. Tiny black chironomids can be handy flies. Your mileage may vary. Sometimes everything works, other times, not so much.

Most of the fish you'll catch here are 10-15 inches, but it's not uncommon to find fish over 18 inches. Most of the wild rainbows go 14-17. I used to find more cutts, but they seem to be dwindling. They're probably too aggressive for their own good. More people fish Timothy these days and harvest is the rule with most.

As you can see, Timothy is a very pretty lake. If you haven't fished it before, you're in for a treat. One word of warning: the skeeters were bothersome in camp in early June. Plan accordingly. Tight lines.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Here's the lowdown from Salem from Oregon Council Chair, Tom Wolf

When Tom Wolf (pictured here on the right) isn't knee-deep in fish conservation field work, he's getting his hands even dirtier dealing with politics in Salem. Here's a compilation of his latest action reports from June 11.

Things are winding down in Salem and barring any last minute theatrics, which are always possible, the session should end by next week. Here is a report on some important bills still going on.

HB 2220 and HB 2020- The border station and immediate response fund bills are still going on. There is a movement to get funding for these bills through a variety of sources. At the Ways and Means Natural Resources Committee hearing on Tuesday, we will find out more. Hopefully these will be funded--worse case scenario is that they will be passed unfunded so we at least have them in statute.

HB 2220(border stations) and HB 2020(Rapid response funding) are both very much alive and I need your help in making sure these bills pass.

On Tuesday, the Ways and Means Natural Resource Committee will be discussing both HB 2020 and HB 2220. If they decide to pass 1 or both bills out of committee, either funded or unfunded, than they will go onto House and Senate floor votes. So you need to contact the co-chairs , Senator Vicki Walker and Rep. Bob Jenson to urge them of the importance of passing these bills out of committee, even if there is no funding attached. The good news is that Chair Walker is working on funding for these bills and they will talk about it Tuesday. Their email addresses are - ; . Other committee member addresses are - ; ; ; ; ; ;

Second, contact your own senator and representative and urge them to support both 2020 and 2220. Both these bills will be of great help in stopping the spread of nasty invasives into our beautiful state.

FYI--When you send an email, especially to the Ways and Means Natural Resource Committee, be sure and mention how important these bills are in stopping invasives. And if you have a personal story, that would be good to add.

HB 3289- The Metolius Protection passed by a 16-12 vote. Now has to go back to House for concurrences on amendments made on Tuesday. Please contact your state representatives and urge them to vote for HB 3298.

SB 76-Klamath Dam removal funding bill will have a vote in House soon and then the new amendments will have to go back to Senate side for discussion. The fate of this bill is too close to call.

HB 3089- Anti Poaching bill -Passed in Senate yesterday but has to go back to House to discuss amendments. Some deals must still be worked out for this to pass.

SB 869-Blue Ribbon Waters bill- died Wednesday and will not go to House vote. I am working with Senator Morse's office to see what can be done in between sessions to either get ODFW to adopt Blue Ribbon policy, or try to pass a bill like this next session.

HB 5014 and HB 2223- ODFW budget and license fee increase- Both still have to pass Ways and Means and then go to House and Senate for floor votes. They both should pass.

Water Resources budget and SB 788(fees bill)-Still in heavy discussion. 50/50 chance on this going well.

If you have questions let me know. I will make a much deeper and detailed report at Oregon Council meeting on June 20.


Tom Wolf, Chair
Oregon Council Trout Unlimited
503-883-1102 cell (email) website

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Timothy Lake reconnaissance tour on 6/2 finds water, campsites, and even a few fish

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.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wayne Orzel will spill the secrets of the Kalama at our meeting on June 10th

If you've ever wandered into Prichard's Fly Shop on your way to fish SW Washington's Kalama River, you've met Wayne. He's been holding down the fort there forever. And he know this famous steelhead river like nobody's business. He's going to tell us what we need to know to hook up with them, or with the fall run of coho and chinook that also can be had on a fly.

Speaking of flies, here's Wayne's variation of the Skunk pattern that he developed for the Kalama called Prichard's Western Angler.

And here's a picture of a bright hatchery coho taken by me in the Kalama's fly-only section.Plus a familiar shot of Rod Lundberg fighting
this healthy Kalama fish.
Anyway, the fun starts at 6:30pm this Wednesday at the Lucky Lab, located at 7675 SW Capitol Hwy. Come by and have a beer.