Took a few days away to regroup and fish a public Central Oregon lake. We had heard of the possibilities of hooking some nice fish early in the year. weleft with a strong front pushing in off the Pacific and heavy snow as we (Tony & I) moved up over Mt. Hood. This all conspired for a strong West wind and rolling waves on the lake. The intell was of possible success on the far side of the lake from the launch point, about a mile. We bit and in short order the rollers and wind had us in the ‘zone’. We attempted to work the transition of the drop, up onto the shoal. The wind was ever stronger and the pontoon boats were like sailboats. We anchored and flung one concoction after another. Woolly Buggers, Dragons, Streamers were offered up without success. There was not a hint of insect activity. We were using Intermediate Lines and skimming the top of the old & new bottom growth. Suddenly, Tony’s rod was bent and for the next several minutes he enjoyed numerous runs and dives. As the fish sounded, I saw the depth and thickness of the fish…big, and as I saw the length I uttered the jinx phrase..’God, Tony, don’t lose that fish’. Like he needed to hear that.
The fish finally gave in and came to the net, which previously managed to contain fish up to 24″ The net was ill prepared as was Tony for the fish, which measured on the apron just shy of 28+” (actually the apron has a 24″ scale and the trout overlapped it ‘a lot’, so we are guesstimating here). My visual assessment from a few feet away was the fish easily overlapped the scale on either end by several inches. Why is that important? Only in that it was Tony’s biggest trout, so a measurement for exaggerated fish stories is in order.
In the obsession that makes us net, hold, pose and smile, I kick against the wind trying to get an angle for a shot…always seeming to be backwards and bobbing. But, I snapped away and got what I got…The adage of biting off more than you can chew came to mind as the fish was way bigger and stronger than first realized…She was amazing. Prior to the pictures, Tony was wearing a balaclava and stocking cap. For the pic he donned the Woodland Fire & Rescue cap. Believe me, as soon as the fish was released, the cold weather gear was back on and the fingers were frozen. The Moment, of course, helped alleviate some of the pain.
The pictures taken with the hopes one turned out…the beauty was released back to the ice water safe and sound. After the release there is that unique euphoria that is intoxicating.
Yes, the fish was where the winds theoretically blow the feed. That did play out as theorized. But, what we did not plan on was increasing winds, and the actual inability to row or kick against the wind for the mile back across the lake to where were were parked. We tried but ended up blown into shore.
The luck of the day continued…kind of….we lashed the pontoons together with a safety rope I have carried for years but never used…then we walked the shoreline and shallows in thin soled booties. The luck was the surface was relatively rock free and firm as we slogged against the wind along the contours of this bay and that indent of the shoreline…finally we had tugged the boats back to our put in point… Had the conditions been more difficult it would have been an interesting predicament to solve…something I must give thought to.
So, not a frigging chub, small planter, not a bullhead. I was skunked and I thought I had fished well. No, I failed to figure out the puzzle in two days. I should have fished much deeper and slower with a heavier line. But, Tony’s success eased any frustrations I would have normally endured. I had a great time because of the natural beauty and one fish.
Tony’s successful pattern was a two tone green, size 10 Woolly Bugger… a Mini Bugger. He was using an Intermediate Line on his 6 wt. GLX. He was anchored and casting toward shore.
The production tied Mini Bugger was on a size 10 Dai Riki, standard length hook. The tail is comprised of two layers of marabou (black on top and medium olive on the bottom) a few strands of olive Krystal flash are tied in on each side of the marabou tail. The body is dubbed UV Olive Ice Dub, which is ribbed with a thin wire of copper or gold. The wing is from a standard sized Guinea feather, green in color (isn’t that barring cool?). The Bead Head (put on first, of course) is gold and balanced to the size hook used. There are so many varieties of Woolly Buggers, only limited by your knowledge of tying materials. This is different in that there is no palmered hackle up the length of the body..only the wound hackle behind the bead head. I also took a pic of the darker Mini Bugger beside the olive Mini…
Larry Tamiyasu has visited here before: https://swittersb.wordpress.com/2008/11/05/stillwater-fly-fishing-larry-tamiyasu-pays-his-duesand-not-just-in-fairweather/