Saturday, April 23, 2016
Chasing Lahontans at the Same Time, Same Place, with the Same Characters, but ... a Different Story
(click on the pictures to make them larger)
It is a trip we all look forward to every year. It is a long drive to this lake in Washington State, almost 10 hours but the fun, camaraderie, quality fly fishing and beautiful fish make the trip simply amazing. It was the same gang as last year: Darren, Larry, Doug and Bob from Red Deer along with Leon, Bob and Claude from south of the border. Leon and Bob come from the Inland Empire Fly Fishing Club in Spokane and Claude is from Montana.
After our trip over the rocks and down the Okanogan, we finally arrived at our destination. We got our licences at the North 40 Fly Shop and we got a few hours of fly fishing in after almost 1000 km of driving!
The lahontans are a beautifully coloured strain of cutthroat trout. They tolerate alkaline water well and that is why they are in the water we fly fish!
Our fly boxes are full of damsel patterns, sculpins, caddis, micro leeches, chironomids and streamers of a variety of colours. The lahontans can be found cruising along the shores this time of the year as well as deep on the edges of the shoals. There are times that they are merely 18 inches under the water but they also can be almost 10 feet or deeper in the lake that is almost 200 feet deep.
We love to chase the lahontans down the shore. This year we had two boats and that mobility allowed us to explore the 7 mile lake. That made for lots of interesting fly fishing. We were able to discover several new productive spots to cast a fly!
The day usually started with 6 am breakfast, off to local Safeway to get lunch and then heading to the lake. After a full day at the lake, we visited local restaurants including a favourite Mexican joint with fabulous service. Of course Doug had to sample the tequila (so did most of us). Yes, he slept soundly afterwards!
Like past years, the visiting and socializing is just as much fun as the fly fishing. The weather was amazing. Maybe a bit too good. No wind for almost all 6 days we fished and temperatures around the 30 C mark made the fish a bit spooky.
We caught a lot of beautiful specimens. Many lahontans are spectacular in their appearance.
Darren caught the biggest lahontan at almost 29 inches. We caught several over 24 inches with the typical cutthroat in the 18 to 19 inch category!
After an amazing week we made the long trek home. Just like last year, the snow started just after we got home. A typical spring snow storm. I am thrilled to see the moisture come to Central Alberta.
Another amazing trip.
Darren with a Monster
Doug casting into a lake that was often glass like!
Doug chasing a pod of lahontans!
Damsels are one of the main menu items for the Lahontans at the lake!
Doug sending another lahontan back home!
You have to cover up to avoid sun damage to your skin!
We had success with chironomids!
Mobility allowed us to explore a lot of the lake!
Leon sight fly fishing!
Casting to a deep pocket!
Bob Burton had an incredible morning fishing 10 feet down!
Larry had a favourite spot that allowed for both sight fishing and fishing a deeper pocket!
Claude enjoying the good life!
Raw oysters back at the motel, not for me thanks! Claude, Bob and Leon loved them!
Bob Buron sight fishing!
Second year in a row we got home and then a spring snow storm hit!