Saturday, April 6, 2013
Chasing Lahontan Cutthroats during Spring Break
Karen and I had plenty of funny stares as we pulled out of Red Deer with our pram loaded on the roof and our fly fishing kit safely stowed in the back of our Jetta. Red Deer was still encased in winter. After a 10 hour drive we were safely at our motel in Washington State ready to relax, enjoy the heat of an early spring for them and of course to fly fish. We knew the weather forecast looked great but the weather forecaster underestimated the GREAT part and should have replaced it with AMAZING. We were expecting temperatures in the 18C range but we enjoyed spring heat that rose to over 24C on several occasions.
After getting fly fishing licences at the local Wal Mart, we headed out to the lake. Of course we had to stop at Starbucks for a coffee. John Gierach is right. It is hard not to find good coffee in Washington State. Last year we arrived after a late spring with frigid water temperatures. This year we arrived earlier and the water temperatures were warmer and the lahontan cutthroat were active. Lahontan Cutthroat can with stand alkaline water and that is why they were planted in the lake we were fly fishing. The lake record for Lahontans is 18 pounds at this particular lake. We saw one that was easily in the 14 pound range and Karen caught one close to 10 pounds. The typical cutthroats are 18 to 22 inches long. Easter Weekend was beautiful. We had to work hard for our fish the first few days. As the shoals warmed up, so did the fishing. Leeches and damsels were our "go to" flies for the week.
The week was really all about the incredible weather and relaxation. We even hiked some of the local ridges along the lake. One day as we were fishing at one end of a beach, the local kids were basking in the sunshine and taking turns with jet skis at the other end. Luckily that did not last too long.
The end of our week came way too soon. It was fitting that a cold front rolled in just as we had to leave. It made the long drive home tolerable.
If you like cutthroat trout, you would love to hook up with these beauties. We did almost all of our fishing from shore although we used our pram to get to various reaches on the lake.
We walked lots of shore looking for cruising cutthroats. As the week went on, that is all we did.
This is a typical Lahontan Cutthroat.
Karen caught this beauty on her first cast of the day. I was still at the car sorting gear for the day. Yes, I netted this incredible fish.
As you can see, these cutthroat are beautiful trout.
The lake was windless most days. We preferred some chop on the lake so the cutts we not so spooky.