Friday, August 16, 2013

Miller Lake - post-outing recap

[Condensed version – FULL STORY in the upcoming newsletter!]

Miller Lake - Digit Point CG
Miller Lake 
Submitted by Hank Hosfield

I’ve lost track of how long ago it was when I first learned of Miller Lake. I know it feels like a lost time that was full of possibilities that no longer exist. It was back when my dad still had the boat, and his strong right arm cast, before it was stilled by the cerebral hemorrhage, before I became his designated angler. Back then word of Miller was passed in hushed, almost conspiratorial tones, between a few guys who had towed boats up the mountain to a big unknown lake and come back with big brown trout, and even bigger eyes while recalling what they’d left behind.

I’d have a hard time relating to any angler whose heart does not quicken upon the hearing of big brown trout stories. Miller Lake found a prominent place on my hit list. It offered big fish, few people in the know, and was kind of out of the way for the competitive fly crowd stampeding from our little Gotham to places like the Deschutes. It even had 12 miles of rough and rocky gravel road to navigate up the mountain, making for at least two of the Three Ds of finding trophy fishing: Distance, Difficulty and Danger. And if you consider hordes of mosquitoes dangerous, it has all three. Add in that it’s 566 acres of surface water, requiring strong oar work, and/or float tube kicking, or the hauling of a motorboat, one can understand why it’s not yet entirely overrun. At least not before Denny Rickards pimped it out in his book, Fly Fishing the West’s Best Trophy Lakes—which also happened before I ever made it there.

With good reason, my excitement upon seeing Miller Lake again on our outing schedule this year was justified. Even in the absence of outing chef extraordinaire, Andy Andrews, this promised to be a can’t-miss event.

As in prior visits to Miller, I was on the water before the light, the calm broken only by my own awkward casting of ungainly spun-deer hair rodentia imitations. Once again, the calm was not broken by big brown trout. Nor was it broken by big rainbows. My scorecard for the outing was one rainbow around 15 inches, with scores nearer 10 to 12 inches. Mark Rogers and Jeff Price, our fellow club members on this outing found similar results, only with some smaller brown trout added in.

So, what are we to take away from all of this? In three TVTU outings to Miller Lake we’ve encountered numerous rainbows wildly ranging in size, eager to feed on many things; many mosquitoes eager to feed on us; lots of wind, water and washboard road; minimal member turnout, and nothing resembling trophy brown trout. Do they exist here? Did they ever? Miller isn’t a rich fish factory like neighboring Diamond Lake. It’s blue and deep and wonderful in its own way, and probably has some browns like the ones I first heard about during its less-discovered days. I haven’t begun to figure it out. I may never. But...I will try again.

Captain Molly and the crew of the Tin Man - Janet and Mark
Mark heading out to ply the waters
Jeff fooling around...
Jeff's after dark brown - the line tangles aren't that bad.
'nother Miller Brown - afternooner
Flying the TVTU Camp Flag - look for it at a campsite near you!