Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Let it snow, let it Snow, let it SNOW

Five club members headed for Anthony Lake last Saturday for what maybe our last stillwater outing of 2017. It was a beautiful day, with temperatures in the low lands in the 60’s. Skies were clear and blue, plenty of warm sunshine. On the Elkhorns the snowfall of the last week or two above the 5280’ level was fresh white up to the 8000' level.
Driving up the Elkhorns was a beautiful peaceful sight to behold. NFR #73 was laced in gold by the Tamaracks and broadleaf trees up to the conifer -only- tree line.

Dick, Brian, Dale and his Buddy got out of Walla² at 10:30 am sharp. Driving over Tollgate, the highway was still damp in many places from the overnight patchy freezing dew and fog. Going pass NFR #64 -the turn off to Jubilee Lake- it was noticed there was a large CLOSED sticker plastered over the sign pointing to that campground, another of our favorite fishing lake. We continued on through Summerville, La Grande, No. Powder, and into the Elkhorns to Anthony Lake.

Arriving at the lake boat ramp, we found Robin and Harold had just arrived.
Everyone compared a few notes for catching triploid rainbows for the day, got our gear put together and jumped into the lake. 

While Buddy watches...
Everyone worked the lake’s honey holes that Dale had pointed out having caught lots of triploid rainbow in those areas during his summer "catching" trips. 

In fairly short time Robin hooked up to a nice 16” triploid. A short while thereafter Dick hooked into a 16” triploid, which he released since he was searching for the larger fish. Harold was on the oars while Robin worked her rod and was watching his. Brian and Dale worked steady on cruising the lake in search of their next catch. After a while Harold got a fish takedown – an 18” triploid rainbow. Robin and Harold both caught their rainbows using intermediate sinking lines, with a BS Special that Dale had given them a few weeks before while on a club fishing outing at Jubilee Lake.
#10 BS Special
Brian and Dale continue to work their FAB fly and BS Special, but only getting a few strikes along the way. 
FAB fly
Checking his mercury thermometer, Dale found it reading 61ºF while sitting in the bright mid-afternoon sunshine in the middle of the lake. A pleasant afternoon for fishing, and a most pleasant afternoon for those that were catching.

Again Robin got a nice bite from a brook trout that was much smaller than the rainbows, so it was quickly released. Shortly thereafter Dick got bit by a brook trout, smaller than the rainbow he had previously caught, so he put the little brookie back to swim away and fight again another day.

Robin reported that these colder water triploid strikes did not hit her fly like a sinking boulder, but were rather lethargic with their take. 

Everyone continued to fish away the late afternoon as the sun was setting in the southwest quadrant of the sky and the moon was rising in the southeast quadrant of the evening sky. After the setting of the sun below the forest skyline, the air began to chill fast and a couple of bald eagles showed up and started fishing the lake. This was some encouragement for Brian and Dale; who had yet to feel a good solid "like a rock" take-down of a lake's triploid rainbow. Usually when the eagles and ospreys show up for dinner, it is time to just keep “fishing” until low light. But "catching" for Brian and Dale was not to be this day. 
Robin and Harold's fresh caught dinner
As the remaining direct sunlight of the day was striking the top of Gunsight Mountain, the air on the lake had gone from chilly to turning cold, so everyone made their last few cast on their way back to the boat ramp to take out, load up our gear, and call it done for another Anthony Lake fishing season.

Driving off the Elkhorns was a beautiful sight. NFR #73 was laced in gold all the way back to I-84. Looking over our shoulders the Elkhorns had a most pleasant glow from a golden autumn sunset.

Getting back to camp, looking at the near future weather forecast, it appears that Anthony Lake may begin the process of freezing over, being covered with snow, beginning this weekend. Time for it to return to a prime winter SNOW ski resort.
Forecast for November 3 - 4 - 5 - 6, 2017

Report made by Dale McKain

Tight lines and good fishing -

Walla² Fly Fishers

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


This evening President Dave called our meeting to order at 7:00. He announce that VP Tom was in China today, and Treasurer Doug was also out of town.
We had 10 members present tonight.

To begin with we had an around the room discussion of most current individual’s fishing trips...

Heidi reported that she and Barbara had been fishing locally on Bennington Lake lately. They are still finding some nice trout, in this lake so close to home.

Heidi reported that she and Barbara, had made their last trip to Jubilee Lake for the season this past Sunday. 

Heidi also reported they did find the annual NOTICE signs that the campground and lake boat access would be closing on Monday, 16 October. Heidi mentioned that traveling  Hwy 204 they had encountered black ice on the road, and some snow around the lake area. She found that her pickup was doing a little fish-tailing on the icy road surface.
She said their catch rate was very good, as they found sleet falling on their catch.

Dale reported that he and his Buddy had made a trip to Anthony Lake the 6th of October, and found that above 6000' the area was snow covered. 

He was the only fisher on the lake that day, and reported that the air temperature was in the 40’s, but with sunbreaks he saw 60°on his fishing vest thermometer, which felt good. A beautiful day for fishing.
His catch for the day was 1 brook trout. On the way home he noticed a Full Moon rising over the Eagle Caps.

Dave gave us a report of his recent fishing trip on Omak Lake. He told us it was a really good trip, with a good many Lahontan Cutthroat trout being caught by his companions. 

He also mentioned that he had received his baptism into stillwater fly fishing from a kayak. He performed a kayak flip, as is was finishing his day of catching.  

Dale mentioned that he had been speaking with Blaire Elyce at Walla Walla Community College concerning publicity for Diane Briggs upcoming fly tying classes at the college… Tis the Season.

Also brought up this evening was the very poor numbers of the 2017 steelhead and salmon returns. 
No one reported having hooked into either so far this season.  SAD

It was agreed by all that we would hold the fly boxes that are (1) a door prize, and (2) a raffle item would be held over until next month… adding more flies then to those treasure boxes.

Many of us have found in the past few years how relaxing, and productive stillwater fly fishing can be.
Being many of us are approaching what is called the Golden Years, and climbing around is creeks and river, bucking against river current and slick bottom rocks… our program for this evening was to be a sequel to last month’s presentation concerning tried and proven techniques for stillwater fly fishing for Trophy trout by Denny Rickards. 
DUE TO TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES – our video player / projector had incompatible wiring and this program will be postponed until our November 15th meeting.

After we realized the failure of our equipment, we had another cup of coffee, some another glass of beer or wine and reminisced fishing trips with each other.  One of our new members, Joe who had done a fair number of fishing trips in Ireland, reminisced a funny tale of an ole ghillie that once took the Pope fishing. We had a good chuckle out of that one.
About 8:00 President Dave called the meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Dale McKain
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Dave Stemmer – President
Tom Craig – Vice President
Doug Coe – Treasurer
Dale McKain – Secretary - Blogmaster 
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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Early Autumn Stillwater fishing

Heading for Jubilee Lake - on Weston Mountain overlooking the Walla Walla River Valley
At Wednesday's meeting, Dale suggested we make a club outing to Jubilee Lake on Saturday. Several people said they would like to do that, some said they would try to join us. A group of women said they would be heading for the lake early, a few other were heading that way later in the morning.

Most of the past week the Walla Walla River Valley had a nice freshet of rain, the Blue Mountains had snow... so Fall is in the air in the PNW.

Arriving at the lake around noon Saturday, Dale found that Barbara, Heidi, and Debbie had been fishing most of the morning and were about to take a lunch break. Barbara reported that she had caught a few fish and so far kept one; Heidi reported she had caught her FIRST two stillwater trout on a fly that she had tied (much like a sparsely tied BS Special), and Debbie reported no hookups. Heidi was a very happy fly fisher today. The ladies reported that Robin and Harold had just got to the lake, and were fishing on the other side. Early afternoon, these three lady fishers started packing up their gear to head home, for their evening engagements.

The day was mostly cloudy, with scatter showers and cool. Much like Brian had told Dale the last time we were on Jubilee Lake "this reminds me of my days growing up in Alaska".

Dale got his Buddy settled in, next to the lake, got his boat and gear together and shoved off.

With a light rain falling Dale checked the air temperature at found it to be 47°F, and checking the water surface temperature found it to be 54°F. Perfect conditions for finding fish to be putting on the Fall feedbag. By the time Dale saw Barbara and Heidi leaving the lakeside parking lot, he had caught two trout. Dale was using a full sink line and his favorite go-to-fly... the BS Special.

As the rain came and went during the afternoon, Dale kept catching trout; most were 10"-12" in size and a few were 5". After a couple of hours of catching; Robin, Harold, and Dale got close enough on the lake to talk with each other and Dale asked, how their catching was going. They reported that it was not. At this point in time Dale had caught 25-30 trout, so he inquired what Robin and Harold were fishing with and what kind of presentation they were making with their fly? We came along side each other, Dale told them how he was presenting his fly and gave them two BS Specials, and the five trout he had creeled. As Dale pulled away, he caught another fish. Catching today was fun.

Shortly thereafter Dale noticed that Robin had a fish-on, and shortly after that Harold had a fish-on. Catching today was fun.
We continued catching fish as the clouds began to breakup and the sun appeared. The sun really felt warm after an afternoon of clouds and drizzle.

With the ease and number of trout being caught, Dale reports that he changed his presentation to see if there would be a difference in hookups.
Elk Horn Lake Special
He changed his rigging from a full fast sink line with the
BS Special; to using a stillwater intermediate sink line using a BS Special and a Elk Horn Lakes Special for a dropper.
After about 30 minutes of fishing with the intermediate sink line and rigging, he went back to the fast sink and just the BS Special.

Elk Horn Lake Special ~ BS Special

As the sun sank slowly in the west, behind the shoreline trees we tallied up our catch for the afternoon. Robin and Harold now had 10 creeled and Dale had 2.

We had a lot of fun with Catch & Releasing many more fish.

Dale said he had probably caught 45-50 trout, again most being 10"-12". He did find that fishing a full sink line with a BS Special caught larger fish, than when he switched to a stillwater intermediate sink line using a BS Special.

This made for another wonderful day of fishing / catching in the stillwaters of the Blue Mountains.

As Dale was packing up his gear, an elk hunter drove up to the boat launch to see what this lake looked like. He had been in elk-camp the past 20-days, a couple of miles from the lake and proceeded to tell Dale there had been a lot of snow this past week on his camp. Said he woke up one morning to find his camp's kitchen tarp covering the ground with 8" of snow covering it.
Winter is heading this way.

October can be, usually is, the best time of the year for catching; as fish are putting on the feedbag in prep for the onset of winter.

Hope you will be able to make it out with us on our next catching trip.

Tight lines and good fishing,
a report by Dale McKain

Walla² Fly Fishers

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The end of Summer - a fly fishing Recap


Returning from our summer break - President Dave brought our first of this season's meeting to order at 7:05 this evening .

Tonight we had 11 members and guest in attendance.

There was no new news, or upcoming event to be reported, except that Dave and Dale  on behalf of our local Project Healing Waters chapter would be attending the Walla Walla VETERANS Welcome Home Event at the VA hospital on Friday.

Treasurer Doug gave a report that we have a little over $1350.00 in our club’s checking account. There are currently no major expenses to be paid for.

We then went around the room sharing recaps for our summer fishing adventures.

Diane had spent time exploring and catching fish on the North Platte River near Casper, WY.  

Dave told us about some of his trips on the Snake River fishing the Hells Canyon area.

Dale and Steven gave accounts of multiple trips made to Oregon’s high lakes with Brian. There were a number of trip to Jubilee, Grand Ronde and Anthony lakes. 
Dale reported that he and Steven had spent the morning of 21 August fishing under the full solar eclipse, which was like a once in a lifetime experience of jumping into a lake at 7100’, with the lights -sun- going out. 

Video - After the eclipse there, were some nice fish fights - Video
FULL SCREEN VIEWING - click on box in bottom corner 

Dale also reported that he and Barbara had spent many after work evenings fishing Bennington Lake in late May and all of June, with much success catching trout, later catching crappie, and as summer approached there were catfish on the fly.

NOTE: You can find many of these 2017 fishing trip reports  posted on this blogsite.

On this evening’s Attendance Sign-In sheet, Dale flagged it with a weather forecast for this coming Saturday the 23rd, and suggested that all that could make a run for Jubilee Lake for a day of fishing.

Since most of us have become a year older since last September and not as adept at climbing over mountain terrain, slip-sliding over slick river rocks, and braving the high waters / fast currents of early summer river flows… it was suggested that tonight we look at stillwater fly fishing more in depth. Tonight’s program was a video made by Denny Rickards on what it take to catch trophy trout in lakes and pond of the Pacific Northwest. 

The video description...
Denny has included in this fast paced, fact filled video information from 25 years of fly fishing for trophy trout in over 300 lakes, ponds and reservoirs. You will see how his system for catching big trout is put to the test on southern Oregon’s Upper Klamath Lake. Learn in detail his six keys to success, information never before shown on video. Most importantly, you will come away with a better understanding of lakes, the insects and fish that live there, the fly patterns that attract big trout, the best forms of presentation along with those factors that influence the behavior of all that lives within the stillwater environment. You will learn his secrets for stalking and landing huge trout derived from fishing and guiding anglers the past 30 years. No more wondering what rod, line, fly or retrieve to use.
After viewing this video this evening's group gave rave reviews, said they really enjoyed it, learned from it and wanted more.

NOTE: This video is now available in our club's library for you to check out and learn more.

Our 18 October meeting we will present the sequel to this evening’s program… 

Our meeting was adjourned at 8:10.

Respectfully submitted,
Dale McKain
Club Secretary

Contact Us
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Dave Stemmer – President
Tom Craig – Vice President
Doug Coe – Treasurer
Dale McKain – Secretary - Blogmaster 
Dave Stemmer