I slept a little better that evening after a full meal and a little Glenmorangie scotch whisky, but woke to rain but little to no wind. A quick breakfast of apple turnover, coffee, and yogurt we were off to get or redemption. We got on the water by 8 am, but had difficulty getting any action until 9 am. There were no shucks on the water, but alot of swallows working the skies above us where we started by the islands in 9′-10′ of water.
We moved around to a few spots, in 12′ and also anchored up along the east shoreline without much luck. The sidefinder showed fish, but the downscan was empty at the islands and along the east shore. I decided to head towards the reeds on the south shoreline where that lone float tubers fished the day prior. We anchored in 13′ of water and around 9 am started hitting fish very consistently. With Phils longer leader, his nearly skunking the day prior turned into a decent outing for him. For the 2.5 hours we fished he hooked 17 fish and landed 13 of them between 16-18″.
One fish in particular was in spawn mode and his grip and grin photo pushed out the loose eggs onto his jacket and into the pram!
Further throat sampling of fish after this one showed evidence of other trout eating those dropped eggs. We also saw lots of small bloodworms and occassional larger bomber Chironomid. I didn’t end up with more than 8 fish to hand and lost many more as I was fishing size 18 bugs often switching up when the bite slowed at 11 am. I was mildly hypothermic, only bringing my sandals and not having enough layered clothing and being wet. So we called it quits to head back, pack up the RV and fishing gear and made the mostly wet drive back home.
An interesting weekend of some ups and downs, definitely memorable and hopefully won’t have to repeat an on the water rescue!
Rods: G. Loomis GLX 10′ 5 wt with Rio Indicator Line and 15′ leader down to 6# Fluorocarbon, G. Loomis Max GLX 9′ 5 wt with Airflo Ridge Line and 10′ leader, also set up to fish indicators. Winston LT 9′ 6 wt. with a full sink Deep 7 line which I used a couple of times to cast and strip, and also fished vertically and got a fish off that method. However, only find it useful to fish a full sink when I am in over 30′ of water and marking fish down low.
The Loomis Max GLX is a wonderful fast action, and lightweight rod, and felt that I could cast all day and make quick adjustments. The 10′ HLS (high line speed) GLX is my second favorite rod, the longer length is an excellent rod for Chironomid fishing and is my goto rod for long lining leaders up to 40′ in length if needed.
We both had a rougher night of sleep as the winds and the rains would keep us awake and finally we rolled out of bed around 7 am to make breakfast and prep the lunches for the anticipated full day on the water. While the rain showers were spotty the real issue were the winds. Forecasts called for 15-30 mph gusts, cloudy and some rain showers. The real forecast was 15-20 mph sustained winds with gusts that felt at times up to 40 mph. The wind was SSW and from the launch didn’t appear very bad, but once we got to the islands white caps could be seen varying between 1-2′. Only one other fisherman I saw was on the water, he arrive at 7:30 and was walking out with his float tube. We briefly exchanged conversation and he never moved all day. He was anchored up near the reeds on the South East corner of the lake and seemed content fishing chironomids.
Sean B. and his son Mattox showed up just after 08:30 with his sights set on fishing a new lake and showing his son a good time. That good time wouldn’t be the case as he should’ve not made the decision to venture out in his raft with no oarlocks and rigid rowing frame. A bad combination of too much weight and a 7 year old aboard with those winds ended up with trouble.
The winds carried them into the Northeast corner of the lake and pinned them up against the reeds. Phil and I didn’t see this as we thought he was slowly rowing towards us as we fished from the bigger island, roll casting under the heavy gusts and fishing Chironomids in 7-8′ of water. I caught 6 fish in the spot.
I then heard Sean yelled and waiving his hands, “help!”… I thought, oh no… here we go… He said he was losing air on the raft and both he and his son were getting anxious as they could do nothing to get out of this predicament. I quickly dropped the rod, got into the pram after unloading the rods and our cooler.
I nosed the bow into the raft and told Sean to get his son aboard and would shuttle him to the island where Phil was waiting. I’d then row back out to get Sean and tow his raft back to the island. They were content there, but the fishing slowed and we went back out to double anchor up without much success of holding as the winds were relentless. I still caught fish, but was a little tougher staying in one spot.
We hoped the winds would calm down enough so that Phil could row Sean and Mattox back to the launch, however that never happened as Phil couldn’t control the winds and even make it out beyond the islands. I waived him back and decided that we couldn’t leave them much longer as they were getting tired and hungry and being fishless was not a good introduction to Lake Lenice.
I told Sean to deflate the raft and load up as much as we could in back on the pram, Mattox would stand behind the transom seat while Sean seated would help balance the pram while providing a little rocker for the winds. I decided to bust out and was greeted with water spray, and lots of it from breaching water from the winds and the oar strokes. We never made it to the launch, but I powered through to the boulders where at least they were safe and on the right side of the lake. We’d have to unload the heavy raft and gear and then come back with a second trip to deliver a couple other parts of the raft that wouldn’t fit including two hard floor sections and the seat on frame.
My arms were toast as every stroke counted and the second round had to row Phil back as I didn’t want the possibility of failure or danger should a weak rower make a wrong oar stroke. I took a different strategy for the second crossing, navigating the islands to the north as much as possible to get as high up west along the northside of the lake to then quarter downwind so we wouldn’t blow past the launch. It worked, but by now, my rhomboids, bicceps, lower back were all burning up. A heck of a good workout, but not what I was expecting…
My plan was to continue to fish, and I told Phil he could go back to camp or press on. He hadn’t landed a fish all day and was getting frustrated. If you don’t change up, you won’t catch fish. He was fishing a 9′ leader and was ‘stuck’ on the same bug as it had produced for him the day before. After fishing side by side, and watching my indicator dive time after time. I told him to change up, but his frustration would lead me to add more fluro to his leader, re-tie his same bug and have him cast out. Within minutes of the slight change up, he was into his one and only fish of the day. At least it wasn’t a skunking! The class of fish caught were all very good 16-18”, healthy, fat, and full of energy. I ended the day with 26 fish to hand, and many more popped hooks and one that broke the 6# tippet.
Tired and hungry, we decided to pack up with our sights set on Sunday, when the reports of wind were supposed to lay down but the rains would be a factor. After an awesome dinner of grilled chicken, and epic campfire, we melted away into the slumber.
Its been a few years since I fished Lenice lake, since having our second son time for camping trips and fishing buddies has suffered a little. I got the green light from my wife to take off for 3 days and had my sights set on the basin fishery just south of Vantage. We left home at 8 am but finally got on the road after dropping the boys to school. The drive was non eventful, the pass was dry and the ski area barren of any snow. The Fleetwood E2 towed well fully loaded with water, firewood, food, and all our gear including the 10′ Almarco pram which I made a custom rack that secured it for travels. We got to the parking lot and found a suitable camp spot around 10:30. Soon after JR and Tony R. arrived as they came for just the day, fishing on their float tubes. Phil and I quickly set up the fishing gear and rolled the dolly loaded up with lunch, drinks, snacks, and of course fishing gear.
Our sights were on the islands on the North Eastern shore of the lake. The depth that we fished was 9′ and water temps remained consistent at 54 degrees. Phil and I both rigged up dry lines with indicators and slip bobbers to fish Chironomids. The winds were calm and no rain and sunshine remained with us through most of the day. We had multiple hook ups and enjoyed fishing, talking and the comraderie fishing alongside JR ad Tony.
The size of fish ranged from 14″-19″, all very silvery, well fed, plump and very good fighters. Some of the laregest fish wouldn’t feel so large until 30 seconds or so into the hookup. Then they pulled very well with some showing some acrobatics, jumping, and spinning to do whatever they could to spit the hook.
Throat sampling revealed good populations of size 18 Chironomids of various colors, also could be seen were small mayflies and green bloodworms.
I didn’t keep tabs on how many fish I landed, but was likely in the 20+ range, I didn’t care too much, just focusing on taking measurements of the fish, and doing throat samples through the day to see what they were feeding on so that I could match the hatch.
After a good first day of fishing we packed up around 5 pm, left the pram and most of the gear apart from our rods and flies to do the 0.25 mile hike back to the RV. A nice dinner, a few drinks, and a night of somewhat sleep would transition into an evening of wind and some rain. While for some folks Friday the 13th can mean superstitions, it wouldn’t be until “Pi” day that things would take a turn for the worse…
It’s been a while since I’ve been on the still water and needed to dust the cobb webs off the 5 wts and replace batteries, retie leaders and replenish the fly box. The weather has been unseasonably good and the WDFW had recently stocked the lake.
I met with Tom E. on the lake as he was thinking the same thing. It was a birth sunny day with mid 50 temps and the water temp hovered right at 50 degrees. I made my way to deeper water and marked plenty of fish on the bottom and also on the sidescan.
I had two rods rigged up, one with floating line and the other with a deep 7 full sink. While I enjoy chironimid fishing with an indicator most the action came from the deep 7 fished vertically with a olive ribbed chromer size 16. The fish appeared to be recent Tokul hatchery planters, all silvery and appeared skinny.
I did throat sample a couple of fish revealing brown and red ribbed chromer in size 16. There were also Daphnia present. In the 4 hours I fished landed only 5 fish and had several takedowns and short strikes on the full sink line.
Hopefully things are good with the upcoming Eastern WA Basin Lake trip coming up in a week.