Thao and I are a little competitive when it comes to chironomid fishing. Since he was my teacher long ago when I was learning the ropes at Pass lake we needed to have a reunion as it had been years since we shared some time on the water.
Sometimes the masters wish is for his student to surpass him… While Thao shared with me some of his tips and secrets, over the years I was able to become a better student of the Stillwater and my hope was to also share some insight and tips with him.
Our plan was to fish Quincy Lake in grant county. The eastern WA lakes opened 5 days ago under cold, windy and in some places snowy skies. Our usual pilgrimage brings us to the shoreline in search of hungry trout. Today we would fish together out of the new 10′ Almarco pram that I had been working on recently. While it’s just a small step up from the 8′ boat it is wider, and with two bench areas can fish 2 adults.
This was the first time testing it out with 2 adult men and gear: kicker motor, 2, 10# anchors, rods, reels, and lunches. The lightweight pram did very well, was stable, agile, yet still had some forward rocker to help glide over the water. After we launched around 9:30 we set up at one of the north bays near the reeds in 15′ of water. We started getting takedowns but throat sampling didn’t reveal any Chironomids only daphnia and small bloodworms. It was still cold and early with a slight wind from the south southwest just as the Noaa report indicated. We didn’t have any rain, no complaints here, any the wind was tolerable. After catching a few more fish here we pulled anchors and went into the north finger and anchored in 17′ of water in the middle of the channel as we marked lots of fish cruising at 14′
Must’ve been the banana I ate but we didn’t have a single fish to show for the repositioning. I told Thao that I would show him another spot that usually is some work to get to but with my Yamaha 3hp mounted up didn’t take us long I get there.
Once positioned and anchored up I had immediate takedowns and had 9 consecutive fish caught and released in repeating casts. Most of the fish were caught in the 8-10″ range but I landed 6 fish between 16-18″ in sizes according to the measure net and lost a dandy fish that might have pushed 19″+ inches as the size 18 bud wasn’t able to keep its spot inside its mouth.
The best bug was the black and red ribbed snowcone in size 16 second was the chromie and last was my snowcone bloodworm in size 18. Throat sampling revealed Chromies, olive and black ribbed, green and red bloodworms, black chironomids and daphnia. One of Thao’s fish caught on video before my battery died
This was a very rare early March day as we had no competition from other boats as we had the whole lake to ourselves. There were 5 bank fishermen that we saw all day, while the wind wasn’t that big of a factor during the morning and early afternoon it didn’t change direction around 3:30 pm as it was shearing off the west and caused whitecaps all the way back to the launch. I told Thao that it was time to go and we pulled anchors and made the 0.5 miles trek back in decent time, about a 10 minute run at full throttle. The pram did take on water as it breached over the gunnels and we ended up with a few inches of standing water inside but it also very maneuverable and light that a quick swooshing and then tilt of the boat emptied out the water back to the lake.
We pushed back for the 2.5 hour drive home not stopping for dinner and tired but satisfied from the ‘epic’ day of spring fishing. We lost count of the total number of fish landed but we estimated that I was in the 30 range and Thao was in the 20’s
It wasn’t a Chuck G. Numbered day but it wasn’t all about the fish. Having the whole lake to ourselves and sharing a boat with a good friend in conversation.