Sunday, July 30, 2017

Let's Go Fishing - Grand Ronde Lake

The head water of the Grand Ronde River - Elevation: 7183 ft.
Looking across the lake at Gunsight Mountain - Anthony Lake
Walla² Fly Fishers - Brian, and Dale  headed out this afternoon with a forecast for a beautiful day to be sitting on the water, searching for trout, and beating the heat of the Walla Walla Valley at Grand Ronde Lake.
Moon Phase - Jul 30 -- First Quarter

At 4:00 pm Dale took a temperature reading while sitting on the lake and found the air to be 69° F and the water temperature to be 63°

From Walla Walla, it take 2½ hours - 130 miles to arrive at Grand Ronde Lake. About 1½ miles beyond the Anthony Lakes Ski Resort on NFD 73.
Grande Ronde Lake: From La Grande... I-84 East. Exit 285-North Powder. Right @ North Powder Lane. Travel 6.9 miles and go left onto Miller Road 1.0 miles to Anthony lakes Hwy. Travel 13 miles (go 0.9 miles past Anthony Lakes Nordic Center turn off. Go right onto USFS rd 43. 0.3 miles to primitive boat ramp.

After jumping into a lake, Dale rowed across the lake to fish in the shadow of, and in the break from the breeze of the trees on the west side of the lake. After a couple of casts, he spotted a Bald Eagle flying around the lake and then it sat in a dead tree on the west side of the lake. There seems to be a lot of Bald Eagles on the high lakes this year. 

A beautiful sight, as they fly and soar - wide wingspan, brilliant white head and tail that almost glows as the bright sunlight of clear blue skies strike them in flight.

FAB or Blob fly
Today both Brian and Dale started fishing with the FAB flies that we had tied Thursday evening at our Project Healing Waters meeting. After about 30-45 minutes of no action, Dale switched to the BS Special. 

Again and like many times before with the second cast... Fish On!
Brian continued to fish with the FAB until he did catch a fish, with a fly he had tied.

Dale fishing with the BS Special, kept hooking, long line releasing, and at his feet releasing one fish after another. One trout hooked made 4 nice jumps on it's way to the boat.
BS Special
Last fall fellow club member Barbara, found some of these flies on a shelf somewhere, and we started fishing with them, catching with them and tying more.  A most productive, go-to fly with every stillwater fishing outing. After about 30-40+ hookups with this fly, a fish about to be netted made a turn and left with Dale's BS Special. Rarely does this happen using a 2-wt rod.
After the loss of that fly Dale attached an ole favorite stillwater fly, the Elkhorn Lake Special not used since tying on a BS Special last year. 
Elkhorn Lake Special
Today the charm of the Elkhorn Lake Special started catching fish where the BS Special broke off, hooking one fish after another.
Dale had other fishers on the lake asking him... "What are you using to catch so many fish."
After about 30-40+ hookups with this fly, a fish about 30' out made a move, broke off, and left with the fly. Two in a day, very rare happening in stillwater. 

On the way back to home, Dale told Brian that today was the best catching day he had experienced since the days he and Bob Wolfe fished together, and would quite counting with 100+ hookups in a few hours / day's time.

A good tool to have in one's pocket on days like this is a Waterworks Ketchum Release tool.
A very handy tool to have when fish will not leave your fly alone.

Brian said that he tallied 7 hookups for the day, with many no-take strikes, that he was able to get excited about.
click on corner box to go FULL screen - for best picture

It was a good day for all, and we did beat the heat of the valley. At the end of this day of fishing, the lake became quite still and quite as Dale was the last boat to leave the water. It was another wonderful day to be catching on Grand Ronde Lake.
 On the way home Brian did call his wife and let her know he had fish for their dinner.
Tight lines and good fishing.

Report submitted by
Dale McKain

Tight lines and good fishing.

Walla² Fly Fishers

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Let's Go Fishing - Jubilee Lake

Report of 26 July 2017

 Jubilee Lake is a 92.3-acre man-made lake in the
Umatilla National Forest - Elevation 4,761 feet.
Jubilee Lake is about 50 miles
from Walla Walla,
and take about 1½ hour to get there.

​​​Buddy and I had a beautiful late afternoon trip fishing Jubilee Lake.
​​​When we arrived at the lake the air temperature was 85°, today's high temp was 97° in WW.

Started fishing today using a fast-full sink link and a FAB fly.

After about a half hour of testing the water, I caught 2 legal fish with the FAB fly... my first using this fly.
I got the materials from Devin Olsen to start tying this fly Thursday evening with the Project Healing Waters guys.

Thereafter I switched to a BS Special, still using a fast-full sink line.

The third fish I caught hooked up with connected fast to the BS Special, and nearly bent my rod 2-wt SPL double. I do enjoy the fight on an ultra-light fly rod.
Nice fight, nice fish- 14
½". I invited this guy to join me and Buddy for breakfast.
​​During the entire late afternoon / evening I landed a dozen or more fish, but kept them alive, hoping to catch another like the third one.
After the sun dropped behind the trees the pm air had a very gentle breeze, and the temperature dropped nicely.
As the clock on the wall approached 8:00 pm, I kept the next two larger fish that I hooked and called it a day well done.

When I got home the ODOT camera  was showing 70° at Tollgate.

I am learning that to beat the weekend crowds that show up at Jubilee Lake... mid-week fishing is very relaxing, and peaceful. Retirees, self-employed, free lancers, let me know if you would like to join me next week at Jubilee Lake; we will make plans for it.

Tight lines and good fishing,

Reported by Dale McKain


Report of 22 July 2017

​Again there were quite a few people hanging around the boat launch area, but nothing like 2 weeks ago.
As I was leaving the lake heading for Tollgate, I have never passed so many vehicles on the NF 64 road, heading in the direction of the lake - heavy summer weekend traffic, me thinks.
Got on the water about 4 PM yesterday, fishing was slow, until about 6. I had a couple of dozen soft strikes until the sun left the water, thereafter 6 fish landed, and kept 4.

Spent the first couple of hours just trolling a FAB fly, with a full fast sink line - just having soft strikes, no take downs.

​Barbara had great success with the FAB fly on the 4th of July at Jubilee.

I then switched to a BS Special, 
​using an intermediate sink line, and fish quite ignoring me and my fly presentation.
Fish were biting steady for the next couple of hours (as usual for Jubilee), and then the bite went back to soft strikes with a few take downs and long line releases until 8 PM.
I found that a medium-fast overhand 8 weave retrieve worked great to get the fish's attention.

While fishing, there came up beside me / near me, NEVER acknowledged, me with his face always in the water... a Frogman snorkeling. 
This guy was all around the boat launch side of the lake - some of my favorite fishing spots- snorkeling with fins slapping the water surface as he was doing head stands under water. Later as I was taking a beverage break when he came out of the water, I talked with him. He was in the area from New York, and had NO idea what a rainbow trout was... "lots of fish with red strips on their side". He said there were a lot of BIGGER fish in the middle of the lake... near the bottom, -TRIPLOIDS- and as he approached them they swam away, not like the rest of the fish he watched.

Having taken my boat out of the water and getting ready to drive off the boat launch, my hay guy -Terry- came off the lake. He and friends had a full-creel catch in his boat, with one very nice TRIPLOID rainbow.
Nice fish -- it was as long as my forearm -finger tips to elbow- and in beautiful shape. This TRIPLOID looked much like a Grande Ronde River steelhead- 20" plus, but not a steelhead. Some people call a 20" rainbow trout a steelhead - they are not they same.
Terry told me that he and his son had fished Jubilee on Tuesday and caught 4 similar TRIPLOIDS. *Fish deep*

It was a very good evening of fishing / catching, a bit slow from the get-go.

Tight lines and good fishing

Reported by Dale McKain 


Report of 4 July 2017

Hope you have had a great 4th of July. Hope you made it to the WWCC fireworks show this evening...

​Today Barbara and Dale spent the day on Jubilee Lake, catching and releasing trout, watching beautiful Bald Eagles flying by.

Being the Forth of July, amazingly there was not a crowd at the lake today.

Barbara got off to an early start using the FAB fly - some we tyed during winter, and with her first cast she had a rise to the fly.

Barbara started fishing the FAB with a dropper fly, using a full sinking fly line but soon all her hookups were on the FAB, so she took off the dropper fly. She also found that fishing the fly *deep* gave her the best results. A couple of times she came back with weeds on the fly and lost 1 fly on the bottom, but she was catching fish.

click on corner box to go FULL screen - for best picture

In the excitement to make this last minute trip to the lake Dale brought everything he needed... except his fly rod and his backup fly rod. So he spend the afternoon following Barbara around the lake, taking pictures, making videos, exploring parts of the lake he had not fished before.

Barbara, filled her creel with take home trout using the FAB fly.
Thereafter we left the lake earlier that most days to get back to Walla Walla to catch the community fireworks display. Made a nice day, and a good night light show. 


14 August report by Dale

It was a wonderful day of REST and fishing.
The heat broke, the smoke has blown away.
Brian said the day felt like the Alaskan summers he grew up in.

I had about 50 strikes, probably 40 take-downs, with 30+ landed, and 7 invited to dinner... gave my take to Brian, for he and wife to enjoy. 
It was a very good day on the lake.

Blogmaster ~ Reporter Dale McKain

Tight lines and good fishing.

Walla² Fly Fishers

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Let's Go Fishing - Anthony Lake

With the weather forecast for the Columbia Basin calling for a HOT -100°F- day, Brian and I had make plans to go try out his new float tube fins and beat the heat at 7100' Anthony Lake. 

We got out of WW as the heat was getting hot at 1:30 pm, stopped for gas and headed over Tollgate to arrive at Anthony Lake at 4:00. There was maybe a half dozen anglers on the lake, and a half dozen water sport players splashing around. Mostly calm conditions.

The ODFW lake stocking report indicated that 4500 trophy trout had been stocked into the lake during July, we anticipated a high catch rate, of some large fish. Just before Dale caught his first fish we was talking with a "local" bank fisherman, and that guy told us that ODFW had stocked the lake last week with 1150 trophy trout --16"to 20"-- and he had quite keeping anything under 14". He had been catching trout that were 2-2.5 pounders = 20". Shortly thereafter Dale hooked onto a nice stillwater "football" rainbow - a typical stillwater rainbow.

Arriving at the lake the air temperature was 83°F and water temp was 63°. Shortly after the sun set behind the trees on the west side of the lake, fishing in their shadow the air temp fell to 73°. A beautiful way to Beat-the-Heat. 

When we returned from the lake, driving through M-F the temp was still 86° at 10:30p. As mentioned this was Brian first day to use a float craft to fly fish stillwaters. He says he enjoyed it.

having just left the boat launch

nice casting, good distance for stillwater casting, fish rising

Flies we used today were:The FAB -or- Blob fly on a full fast sink line, fished deep - with no results

BS Special on an intermediate sinking line - two large rainbow hookups - one landed, with numerous soft strikes

This day was a learning experience for Brian. He said he felt that he had a few strikes, no hookups. It does take time, practice, practice, practice to learn techniques and skills to be successful with stillwater fly fishing... this ain't like bait-casting, using a pole with a wench. 
As we were packing up the PU with our boats, an older gentlemen, carrying a fish pail, rod and reel (wearing a western hat, slumped in the shoulders) and a young woman passed by. Dale asked... "how was fishing? "The ole Gent answered... "fishing was good, catching was not" We laughed... another day fishing, not always catching. A beautiful, enjoyable day.  

We must return for more 👍

Tight lines and good fishing

Report by Dale McKain

Trip of 16 August -- 

Steven and I spent yesterday afternoon sitting on Anthony Lake. A couple of days ago the NFS opened the west route of Hwy 73 to the lakes.

From WW to Ukiah - NFR 52 to NFR 73 to Anthony Lake... NFR 51 to I-84 Hillgard to WW = 306 miles round trip.

Steven said he talked with someone at Anthony Lake, before I got there and they thought the east route of Hwy 73 might be opened by Friday out of No. Powder / I-84.

Make a long story short...
It was a wonderful day to be sitting on Anthony Lake. We got on the water around 4:00p.
Tested our gear and full sink line techniques until Steven hooked a nice 16"-18"er. 

Fishing with barbless hooks many of Steven's hookups came off at the end of his pontoons... no hands C&R. 

A little later Dale hooked into a 15"er. Then Steven hooked another, Dale hooked another. At the time the sunset shadow hit the trees on the east side of the lake, Steven had C&R 6 rainbow triploids, and Dale had landed 2.
After landing 2 more, Dale took this picture...

When I picked up my rod, I found I had the biggest fish of the day hooked up... 5 fish creeled, a good day's finish.​ Dale's first fish landed was 15
¾" his last fish landed was 17¾"... a lot of fun on an SPL 2-wt rod.

In the process of trolling the lake, we feel we found the sweet spot to aim for when stalking the thousands of triploids stocked in Anthony Lake this summer.
Dale's first fish 15¾" ~ last fish 17¾"
All fish hook-ups today were nice rainbow triploids.

On the way home... using NFR 73 to 52 to 51 to OR 244 Dale and Buddy found crossing the road... 6 snowshoe hares, 12-15 deer, 25-30 elk and 6 cows -- Open Range. This put Buddy on HIGH Alert all the way back to I-84.

Tight lines and good fishing,
Report by Dale McKain

Trip of October 6th

Left home yesterday morning with my Buddy, with great anticipation of bringing home a creel full of triploid rainbows (5) for the day's outing. It was a beautiful drive over Tollgate, and out to the Elkhorns.

Got to Anthony Lake, surrounded with snow and found the noon time air temperature in the shade to be 43*. I was the only one on the lake. Several people were fishing from the shore.

After fishing for awhile, I checked the water surface temperature and found it to be 45* which makes for cold toes after a few hours.
Once when the sun came out brightly, I checked the thermometer on my fishing vest and it read 60° which felt good.

After fishing for awhile with no strikes, I changed from a full sink line to a stillwater intermediate sink line and a gray/olive wooly bugger. On the second cast of that combo, got a strike / take down, and netted a legal brookie. I immediately put it back in the lake, since I was stalking triploid rainbows, like Barbara and I had run into last November 6th.

​But yesterday I netted one Brook Trout.

So as the story goes...
The afternoon's fishing trip ended beautifully. 

... tis not all of fishing to fish.
Izaak Walton

The afternoon's catching sucked, and there was a FULL Moon rising on the way home. After seeing the FULL Moon, I could forgive the fish for not taking my fly.

Tight lines,


Report ~ Blogmaster Dale McKain

Tight lines and good fishing.

Walla² Fly Fishers