It has been two years since I made it out to the basin lakes for some stillwater fishing. The stars aligned as I had some business in Moses Lake and thought it would be good to combine it with a little fishing.
This winter has been especially wet with record snow and lots of cloudy and rainy days. While this is good for the mountains, and reservoirs it took a few more weeks to thaw out from the typical March 1st opener. Phil K. and Jeff H. decided to join me and we all ended up caravaning merging on I-90 around 06:00.
Leaving Bellevue it was raining and a check of the pass conditions indicated traction tires advised with snow and slush on the road. No oversized vehicles and 33 degree temps. Once we neared the west summit exit the snow was coming down steadily and slushy but the speed limit was 55 until the downhill where it slowed down to 45 mph.
It got a little dicey nearing cabin creek but we made it through without a hiccup. Our plan was to fish Quincy Lake as it had recently iced off. There was a 60% chance of rain in the forecast and we came dressed for the occassion.
The Quincy Valley Tourism group hosts an annual fishing derby and it takes place on Burke lake. There were already a half dozen various RVs camped out St Quincy but we were the first to arrive on the lake. Probably due to the colder rainy weather.
I brought my little Yamaha kicker and it was a good choice being able to motor through from spot to spot. While Phil and Jeff rowed I made my way and zipped along and found a spot to anchor down in 18′ of water.
First hook up…
Average sized fish 10-12″. The colder air temps and rain really put a damper on the fishing. I was cold most of the morning but watching the indicator dive gave me pleasure with a few of these cookie cutter fish.
Oink oink, my bruiser that measured 22″! After about the 6th fish, the indicator went down and the pull was definitely different. This fish was putting up a good bend to the 5 wt. rod and peeling line out and didn’t want to come in. After about 5 minutes of playing the fish, the big male came to the Measure net.
Was bigger than a comparable blackmouth of its length! Notice the kipe jaw he was hungry. He took a snowcone chironomid in size 16 at the bottom. A darker fish in spawn color mode, was he a holdover or a recent plant? The lack of raceway fin damage might have indicated it could be a holdover, but is there enough feed in this lake to support fish of this size and quality over winter?
There wasn’t much of a Chironomid hatch due to the 48 degree water temps and throat samples only revelead Daphnia as the main component of the trout diet. While none of the fish looked thin it was a good thing I brought along the meat and potatoes box. Dragon fly nymphs and other wet fly offerings.
Thank goodness for Dragon fly patterns. Fished on an intermediate outbound line it was fun casting to the edges of the reeds and stripping.
Despite the cold and wet start, the afternoon leading into the evening sunset proved to be reminder of why we enjoy making the trek across the pass to the ‘dry side’.
The weather ended up clear and blue, but I was still chilled to the bone. I didn’t count the fish landed or hooked, but probably in the 20-30 range. I was glad to see the sun and warm my face. Jeff and I packed up and left for Moses Lake to fish Coffee Pot the next day.