I caught my first fish on the fly today! For that matter, I caught 5!
I got out of the house at 0800, and zipped along Lougheed highway. I made a pit stop at the Tim’s in Pitt Meadows for breakfast, and to get my Turkey Bacon Club for lunch. Then it was off again. Traffic was super light, so it was easy to cruise. I made it to the Morris Valley road quickly. Then, it was up the winding road. I noticed that the marsh land at the base of the Chehalis was quite high. Freshet is certainly starting up. The Ducks Unlimited sign was half under water. There would be no herons to see fishing today 😦
The dirt part of the Harrison West road was really dry. The trees all had a caking of brown, and the dust was rising up as if there were a herd of elephants running behind me. Unfortunately, this meant that I had to keep my windows closed to keep from being choked by other passing vehicles. As I passed the Wolf Lake Forest Service site, I thought of those poor people that were camping right next to the road. They must be breathing in pounds of dust! Yeach! The turn for my lake came around KM7 on the road. Up the road I went. It’s a small road, and the trees shade it well, so it’s a bit cooler than the main road, and of course, since it’s cooler, it’s a bit more moist, so the dust isn’t a problem. I continued up the road, turning, weaving, avoiding branches and fallen rocks, and switchbacking my way up to the lake.
As I arrived at the lake, I wondered how many others would be there today. Last time, there were 4 other trucks. A veritable parking lot! I arrived to find one truck unloading a boat, and one group camping. Perfect. I unloaded all my gear and was glad that this time I had made sure that I had everything before leaving home (last time I forgot my flies). I pumped up the boat, and was bothered by lots of little flies. This was probably the first time that I had actually thought to myself, “Good, I wonder what type of fly they are.” rather than “Go away!”
I launched without incident, and rowed to the other end of the little lake. Once I had found “My Spot”, I dropped anchor (12lb downrigger ball), and proceeded to try to cast a fly. Of course I was hampered by 2 things. 1) I had no idea what kind of fly would work. And 2) I can’t really cast very well. Actually I suck at casting. “Oh well”, I said to myself, “I’m here to learn how to flyfish and flycast. It’s not critical that I catch anything.”
After about 45 minutes of dodging my outgoing fly, and trying to cast more than 10 feet, I decided to change flies. You know it HAD to be the fly, not my casting that was causing me grief! The other guys on the lake said they were using a “black Doc Spratley“ Uh…sure. I didn’t know Doc Spratley from Doc Holliday, so I was at a bit of a loss. I did however have a big black leech. After changing to a black leech, and casting a whole lot more, I finally felt a tug on my line. I was so excited, I launched my line clear across my boat over into the water on the other side. I bet the fish had never seen a leech move so fast in his life 🙂 More casting, more nothing. The guys that were trolling around came back over and said “Maybe try something red – they’ve got red stuff in their stomach” Ah….I had something red. I changed, and then cast. Wham!!! first cast – “Fish on!” and a hearty yeeehaw from me! I brought a nice 12” rainbow to the boat and then let it go so that it could go and make some other fisherman happy. The guys that had given me the advice, came back over, and asked “What did you catch it on?” Of course I had no idea. I described it as red with a silver candy cane stripe. The guys laughed. Apparently I was using a red Doc Spratley….Well, whaddayaknow! I kept casting, but I had no more luck….hmm. I opened my fly box, and inside, I had 3 black Doc Spratelys! I tied one up, and after about 4 casts that went nowhere, I had a nice long cast to an area near an outsticking log. Strip, strip, strip….tug. Tug! Pull! Fish!!! Another one! It turned out to be a bigger fish, around 14” and beautiful as well. Off it went! Another 10 casts or so, and this time it was a Bang! This fish WANTED that fly! For my 3rd fish, I brought in a smaller 10” ‘bow. The nice silver candy cane had come unfurled from my “goto fly”, so I had to retire it. I went with my next one. It was a bit bigger in the head, so I didn’t know if would work as well. Tie it up…nice cast… strip, strip, Bam! Hook set! No fish 😦 No Hook! just a little telltale pigtail on the end of my tippet pointing out that in my hast to retie my fly, I didn’t do a good job. The fishing dropped off for the next couple of hours, so I enjoyed lunch, and slept in the boat for a bit (yes, fishing tends to be REALLY slow when you’re sleeping!) After being refreshed by some light sprinkles of rain, I was back at it with my 3rd Doc. Shortly afterwards, there were 2 more fish to the boat. What a great day!
Around 1600 I got out of the lake, and packed up. What I had expected to be a day of “practice” actually turned into success. I had a smile for the drive home, and a bit more of a bounce in my step. I can now go to bed happy. You can see my fish here.