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.