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Posts Tagged ‘Outdoors’

Matt called as promised, about six PM. I had half-a-day of his time reserved for the next day and we agreed we would go out when it was most propitious. He checked with his fishing guide buddies who had been out that day and decided the afternoon would be best, it might be possible to get into a Mayfly hatch and do some dry fly fishing, the most exciting. We agreed to meet at eleven the next morning and did so.

He drove us upriver where he put his float boat in the water and got all the rods and other equipment ready. He watched me cast a few times on the bank, made some corrections in my “technique” and we took off, Charlize with us. We talked about the wisdom of taking her in the boat with us but he assured me he took his own dog with him when he fished and he was certain Charlize would adjust. It was not to be. The first time I cast my line Charlize was out of the boat and into the river after it. Matt had rigged my rod with two different flies and an indicator.  We called indicators bobbers when I was a lad. He explained that with the strong wind and swift current the indicator would carry the bait downstream faster and I would be better able to mend and control the line. OK, whatever, he’s the expert. But Charlize was convinced that the bobber was her ball and she was determined to retrieve it

The charade continued, Matt and I taking turns hauling Charlize back into the fast moving boat. Finally I used her leash to snub her to the swivel chair I was sitting on so her movements were very limited. Every time I cast she barked incessantly and managed to swivel my chair enough to lunge at the cast. I lost patience but Matt was more understanding. After about an hour she finally responded to my repeated corrections, or just got tired, and settled down.

Matt told me where to cast and how to “mend” the line. Before long I hooked, and Matt netted, a ten-inch long whitefish, cousin to the trout and native to the Madison. The next fish netted was also a whitefish, then a nice rainbow, maybe fourteen inches long and heavy. We took a photo and let the rainbow join the whitefish back in the river. Then I landed two or three small rainbows, new plants, didn’t even need the net for those. They were also put back in the water to grow. A nice sized German brown trout, also native to the river was netted and photographed, then another rainbow. Amazingly when I was fighting to bring a fish in, or when it was netted, Charlize seemed uninterested, even bored. Matt told me his dog goes nuts when he brings a fish in.

We reached the pullout after almost five hours of sun, fun, fast water, and memorable fishing. A compatriot of Matt had retrieved his vehicle and trailer and parked it at the pullout site. My face and hands are sunburned but it was a fantastic day on a world-renown river, spectacular scenery and damned if I didn’t catch some fish and I have the photos to prove it. Excuse the finger, I was really excited.

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I bought a couple of beers for both Matt, and myself at his favorite watering hole, and we rehashed a day I will consider outstanding and he considers about average. After we said goodbye I returned to the RV Park where I met up with Dan.

I connected with Dan at the park the previous evening when he was walking his Miniature Schnauzer and I was walking Charlize. We learned we were both recently widowed after long marriages and were both trying to figure out how best to manage on our own. We agreed to go out for dinner the following day after I returned from fishing.

We went to the local bowling alley where he had been told the food was very good and to my surprise it was. We talked for some time over dinner and discovered we were kindred spirits, exchanged e-mail addresses and agreed to stay in touch.

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Here is the German Brown trout I caught. Check out the river and mountains in the background. Spectacular!

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Charlize and I went fishing at Lake Lenice just south and east of where I-90 crosses the Columbia River in south central Washington. It’s a small lake set in a desert of almost brown sand, similarly colored rocks, sagebrush and little else. The area does have a stark sort of beauty but the input into the water is 3/8 of a mile away from the gravel parking lot that also serves as a bare-bones campground. The lake is reported to be one of the best early spring catch-and-release fly-fishing lakes in the state.

We arrived Friday evening with a couple of hours of daylight remaining. I set-up Frog then Charlize and I walked to where the cattails were removed to provide access to the water. I wanted to find out if anyone from the several vehicles in the parking lot was doing any good and if they would tell what they were using.

Charlize immediately waded out into the lake to greet a couple of fishermen bringing their pontoon boats into the landing. They reported reasonable success given the windy conditions resulting in whitecaps. They showed me the egg pattern they were using and even gave me one yellow and one orange to try out. My experience with the catch-and-release fraternity is that they are almost always willing to share their techniques and strategies. My two new friends even described their technique for tying the flies. My guess is that since members of this fraternity release everything they catch there is no feeling of competition with other people fishing. Any fish that are present are available for everyone.

Hope is the mantra of any person sitting in a boat on a lake or standing in a stream, especially if the wind is blowing whitecaps. Persons practicing catch-and-release fly-fishing have to believe the next cast, the next self-tied fly, will produce a result. I say persons because people who cast flies are no longer solely male. The gentle gender has discovered the joys of freezing cold water, windy days, rain and uninterested trout. What the hell is the matter with them?

Saturday Charlize stayed in the warmth of Old Blue’s covered bed while I fought whitecaps and wind on the lake. I tried the egg patterns, and half a dozen other types of flies, different colors of leech patterns and woolly buggers. I had one strike that I missed landing and after another couple of hours with no sign of a fish I struggled to row back to the landing. I was rowing against the wind, a foot forward for every dozen strokes. Back at the parking lot I talked to another person who had access to a radio. He told me the wind was forecast to continue Sunday. I hitched up Frog and headed home to Edmonds.

Rosalie never grasped the concept.

“Let’s see,” she smirked. “You put on those wader thingies that you can’t get off afterwards, and the life jacket in case you fall in, and the fishing vest loaded with all kinds of toys and goodies, and the flippers that kill your ankles and then you kick or row around the lake while you sit in that float thingy in the cold water. You spend many hundreds of our dollars on equipment and more hours tying things onto hooks that don’t resemble any bug I’ve ever seen, then drive for more hours to get to a lake or river and if you do catch a fish you let it go. Have I left out anything?”

“You just don’t understand,” I responded.

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