WEST SIDE LAKE OPPORTUNITIES
By: Richard K Stoll
Lowland lakes open Saturday, April 28th. It’s time to break out your fishing equipment. Are you reels oiled and the drag working smoothly? Is your line in good shape, no cracks or abrasions? Do you have plenty of the right kind of flies and leaders? While you have your rod out, take a few practice casts on the back lawn to tune your technique. Then, have you decided where to go for your opening day celebration.
Maybe I can help on where to go. The decision is easy if you have access to a boat or float tube. There are a hundred of excellent lakes both in the west sound and east of the Cascades. On the other hand, if you are a bank angler, your choices are limited. Many west sound lakes are bordered by private property, eastern Washington desert lakes by banks and brush. Most Department of Wildlife fishing accesses are no more than small boat launches.
Nevertheless, there are a few bank angling opportunities. Kitsap, Island and Buck Lakes all have park areas that provide more extensive bank access. Even though these are so-called urban lakes, they provide better-than-normal west sound lake fishing. Alternatively, try Leland Lake. Leland Lake is several miles south on 101 and has some nice camping spots.
My hot-shot forecast is that Anderson Lake near Chimicum will provide some excellent hold-over fishing after the closures of last year. Anderson is a consistent producer of larger than normal west sound rainbows. For fly anglers, Cady Lake on south Kitsap Peninsula in North Mason County is limited to fly fishing only. This restriction will also limit the crowds. A recently constructed lake-side bed and breakfast facility could provide an opportunity for a very nice weekend.
What to use? My first bet is midge larvae imitations. Midges, like small black flies and no-see-ums, hatch by the millions in western Washington lakes during April and May. It is not uncommon to see the top of the water virtually covered with larval shucks. They look somewhat like black mosquito larvae, very tiny with white gills on the head. Fish love these midges and scoop them like vacuum cleaners.
An effective imitation is the TDC (Thompson’s Delectable Chironomid). Sizes 14 to 18 are the ticket. TDCs should be fished on a long, fine leader – say 12 feet long with a two pound test tippet. It is necessary to practically mooch midge larvae imitations. That is moving them very little, if at all. Expert anglers use a strike-indicator to detect a strike. This is a little piece of floating plastic or yarn attached where the leader is tied to the fly line.
Other effective flies include the Peacock Carey and Six Pack, both damsel-fly nymph imitations, any large dragon fly imitation, and the old standard, wooley-buggers. All of these should be fished slow and deep. When you think you are moving the fly too slow, slow down some more. Aquatic bugs do not charge around lakes like race cars.
A point on conservation. This is no longer the day and age where sensitive anglers keep stringer loads of fish. Most west sound lake trout end up in the garbage can or the cat’s dish when the angler finds out they taste like mud. Pinching hook barbs with needle-nose pliers and releasing fish without removing them from the water are solid, environmentally sensitive practices. More and larger fish available to more anglers over the course of the fishing season. These are also great practices to teach young people.
By the way. I hope you are taking the kids on your opening day outing.
Despite the frigid and somewhat challenging conditions, customers have been catching some beautiful Harvest Trout (aka Sea Run Cutthroat) in our local waters. We are truly blessed to be able to fish for this special, native trout in our local waters 12 months out of the year. If you have not done so yet, check out the CoastalCutthroatCoalition.com to see the great work they are doing to preserve this vulnerable fish.
Six happy Peninsula Outfitters customers just returned from another very successful trip to Tarpon Cay Lodge on the Yucatan peninsula. The weather gods cooperated, and days were filled with mid 80 degree temperatures and double digit hook ups on beautiful baby Tarpon. These beautiful, hard fighting acrobats ranged in size from 5 to 35 lbs. We were all armed with 8wt rods, lots of backing and tropical floating lines.
The lodging and food at Hotel San Felipe is simple, but clean, bright and delicious. It is so wonderful to be in an unspoiled Mexican fishing village full of helpful, happy Mayan people. Our host Beto once again made our stay seamless.
The sunrises and sunsets in San Felipe should not be missed. Our split fishing day gave us the opportunity to experience both without feeling wiped out at the end of our fishing day.
If you are interested in more details about this trip, or would like to join us on an upcoming hosted trip, feel free to give us a call or shoot me an email.
The upper Yakima in the fall is simply beautiful; it features spectacular foliage, clear and shallow water, a complete absence of other anglers, and great fishing. The river was replete with salmon carcasses and reds, the choice of groceries for big trout was obvious. We began with nymphing rigs featuring a Pats stone and a single egg dropper. Our first big fish was a twenty three inch cutthroat; when it was at hand two anglers and a happy guide exchanged high fives. A highlight of the later morning was a prodigious hatch of blue winged olives and small caddis flies; the trout did not give this offering any love. A few October caddis were winging about and Jim decided to change his offering to an outsized stimulator and was almost immediately rewarded with a nineteen inch cutty. Both of our big fish were in prime condition and beautifully colored. Lunch on the river featured a steak, salad, and desert, Mike and Ellensburg Anglers know how to do the deal! We continued to fish the stimulator for the remainder of the day and had continued success. It was a great day on the upper Yakima!
SIMPLY A SALMON HIATUS
Despite what many anglers may think, salmon fishing is not really closing; there simply is a 11-day hiatus. Area 9 adjacent to the northern part of Kitsap Peninsula including Point no Point closed to king salmon fishing August 5. Area 9 will open again November 1 for hatchery kings. Other species of salmon, most notably Coho, have been closed for some months due to forecasted poor returns.
Conversely, the northern part of Hood Canal south of the Hood Canal floating bridge opens for Coho August 16. Some of our best salmon fishing opportunities in past years, and this year should be no exception, have been in Hood Canal. While the preponderance of these Coho appear to run down the west side of Hood Canal, many can be had off of beaches on the east side. While access can be a limitation, a friend with a boat can open up miles of summer fishing fun! Stop by the shop and we can point you in the right direction, show you some unique fly patterns or, better yet, sign you up for one of our very popular beach fishing seminars. These seminars can help out with the specifics of where, when and how to attack this fishery.
ALPINE LAKES ARE PRIME
Olympic Mountain alpine lake fishing is at its prime this month, and they should continue to fish well into September. Alpine trails are mostly clear of snow making for easy passage. Many Alpine lakes are substantially unexploited by the angling community. There are some great venues on the east side of the Olympics in Jefferson and Mason counties. Several that come to mind are Lower Lena Lake and Mildred Lakes. Dave Shorett’s Olympic Mountains Fishing Guide is a good starting primer on where to go and how to get there. We have this book in the shop. In addition, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has an excellent rundown on these lakes including trout species and when they were stocked: http:/wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/highlakes/GeoLocation/600/
OLYMPIC TROUT STREAMS – OFTEN OVERLOOKED
One of our most underrated fisheries in Washington State. This alpine wonderland provides miles of uncrowded, pristine waters. Most Olympic mountain streams are open above salmon migration obstructions or as described in the regulations. Most Olympic streams offer exciting trout fishing on small flies and very light fly fishing gear. A 3wt or smaller rod is the ticket here. The Hama Hama, Dosiwallips and Duckabush Rivers, among a number of other streams, are under selective gear, catch-and-release regulations. Check the fishing regulations before going.
I was lucky to have been given the new Sage X 590-4 for our group trip to the Missouri River last week. What a treat it was for throwing dry flies to big, picky trout. “Fast with feel” is the best way I can describe this beautiful new offering. It has the speed of the Method with the feel and “fishability” of the ONE. In the hand you will not believe how light the rod feels. Don’t let that fool you, this rod packs plenty of punch and accuracy.
These rods will be available August 1st in a complete range of weights and lengths. Give us a call and pre order one today.
The name Sage “X” Rod represents for the Roman Numeral, as it is the 10th major rod introduction in Sage fly rod history. It features KonneticHD technology resulting in tighter loops, greater retained energy, and dampened vibration. KonneticHD Technology is the next era in performance graphite rods. Optimizing our graphite-to-resin ratio, we have created a higher density (HD) fiber composite, resulting in lighter, stronger blanks which deliver unmatched recovery, energy transfer, and line/loop control. Building upon proprietary construction techniques developed for Konnetic Technology, KonneticHD gives us an elevated platform to achieve new levels in rod design.
The X rod’s all-new fast action taper built with our KonneticHD Technology delivers synergy between angler, rod, line, and fly. greater blank recovery and a crisper tip stop – creating tighter, more efficient loops throughout all ranges of casting styles. This taper allows you to dig deeper into the rod and access the lower sections, shifting power closer to the angler. Decreased lateral and medial movement and vibrations in the blank result in a more accurate and efficient presentation, resulting in a performance driven, forgiving fast action blank – refining the Tighter loops. It’s what we all strive for. A tight loop is accurate, efficient, easily controlled, and a way to command the water in front of you. Ushering in a new era of performance fast action fly rods, the X will dramatically enhance the way you fish through superior loop control. With our innovative KonneticHD Technology came new inspiration and opportunities in rod design.
Sage X spey and switch rods
The new Two-Handed X rods let you experience the remarkable benefits of KonneticHD Technology through access to the more powerful lower sections of the rod, allowing for easier and more efficient load carry through the casting stroke. The shaft’s significantly enhanced recovery and crisper tip stop optimize line speed to deliver long, smooth casts. The decreased vertical movement and vibrations in the blank result in a more accurate and efficient presentation.
Spey models, up-locking on Switch models.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
June 24, 2016
Contact: Laurie Peterson, (360) 902-2790
Puget Sound-area waters reopen for fishing
OLYMPIA – Puget Sound-area fisheries that closed during an impasse in salmon-season negotiations will reopen immediately, state fish managers announced today.
Regulations for fisheries in Puget Sound marine waters, rivers and lakes through June 30 are listed in the 2015-16 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, which is available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01726/. Beginning July 1, anglers should check the 2016-17 sport fishing rules pamphlet (available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/) for fisheries information.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) closed many Puget Sound-area fisheries on May 1, after the previous federal authorization to conduct fisheries expired.
The annual season-setting process, known as North of Falcon, typically concludes by mid-April. The state and treaty tribes did not reach an agreement this year until May 26, which led to a lapse in federal approval needed to conduct fisheries in Puget Sound, where some fish stocks are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. The OK given today by NOAA clears the way for reopening the Puget Sound-area fisheries that closed May 1.
“We know Puget Sound anglers have been frustrated by the late start to this year’s salmon season,” said John Long, salmon fisheries policy lead for WDFW. “This opening puts the year’s salmon fisheries back on track.”
Long noted additional restrictions are in place to protect coho salmon. Anglers will be required to release coho in most of Puget Sound this season. Those restrictions are also in effect for marine areas open in June, including marine areas 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island), 13 (south Sound) and in the Tulalip bubble fishery, where wild chinook must also be released.
Anglers fishing at most year-round piers within Puget Sound must release all coho while those fishing at year-round piers within Sinclair Inlet near Port Orchard are only required to release wild coho. Anglers should check the WDFW webpage at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ for other exceptions to the published fishing rules.
Salmon and steelhead fisheries in Puget Sound-area waters that are open in June include:
Persons with disabilities who need to receive this information in an alternative format or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact Dolores Noyes by phone (360-902-2349), TTY (360-902-2207), or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). For more information, see http://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/reasonable_request.html.
We at Peninsula Outfitters love fishing lakes this time of year. Lakes provide the single most important spring trout fishery across Washington State. Two of our favorite local lakes are Teal located a few miles across the Hood Canal floating bridge, and Cady in north Mason County just a few miles southeast of Seabeck. Both have fish well in excess of 2 pounds. Cady is fly fishing only, Teal does not allow bait and has a one fish limit. But if time is an issue you do not have to go far. Kitsap County lakes that are fun, productive, and easily accessible include Buck Lake near Hansville, Kitsap Lake in Bremerton, and Island lake in Silverdale. All have good numbers of fish.
However, the most productive Washington lakes by far are located in the dry country east of the Cascades. One very popular fishery is Lenore Lake in Grant County. Lenore is reputed for large Lahontan cutthroat trout, many running three to four pounds. Other lakes that have large Lahontan cutthroat are Grimes Lake in Douglas County and Omak and Blue Lake in Okanagan County. High quality rainbow fisheries can be had in Lenice and Nunnally Lakes east of Mattawa just across the Columbia River, and Dry Falls Lake in Grant County. Trout in these lakes run 12-20 inches and are great fighters in cool spring waters.
We think one of the most enjoyable ways to fish lakes in from a float tube. Some consider float tubes as poor angler’s boats. However, experienced lake anglers more than often choose a float tube over a boat. They are easy to transport, easy to launch, very maneuverable, safe, very comfortable, and get you to spots you would not otherwise be able to get to fishing from the shore. We carry Outcast float tubes. We consider them the best on the market!
As for what flies to use this varies somewhat depending on the lake. Generally, midges and streamers like woolly buggers are excellent in Western Washington lakes. Damsel fly and dragon fly nymph imitations are often productive in eastern Washington lakes. Questions about what, when, where and how? Just come in and ask. We would be glad to assist.