I fished East Lake just south of Bend Oregon on Sunday to test out some new patterns. This was my first trip back to East since my guided trip last fall. I was operating without a depth finder but remembered the general area of where I was supposed to be going. I marked my anchor rope at 10′ before leaving home so I would have a reference.
I was trying to remember all of the things that I was supposed to do; long leader, loop knots on flies for action, anchor in 12′ of water, tie on a Chronomid or three, and finally chuck it and sit. Sure enough I got enough of this right and began taking trout and Kokanee, as soon as there was movement in the “bobber” er strike indicator. I kept the rod tip on the water and I would set as hard as I could. About 50% of the time I would hook into a fish.
The wind was blowing in the morning, so I would cast up against the wind and then let line out to get as much of a drag free wind drift as possible. Then I would let it sit for a good 5-10 minutes then slowly inch by inch pull the line back in. Most of the fish came to hand with a small size 18-20 red glass bead head Chironomid, it was a fly that a friend at a local shop gave me to “test”. It was the lower of my two files and was probably about 12′ down on the leader.
I was anchored in approximately 11′ of water near “the slide”. I think I heard it was the http://www.west-fly-fishing.com/ weekend so there were no shortage of fly anglers. At one point I tied on a small non-bead flashback pheasant tail and hooked up with a nice brown trout.
The biggest and hardest fighting fish of the day was hooked on my test fly for the day the Hotspot Wine Chironomid. It was my lead fly about 7′ down from the end of my floating line. This beautiful silver bow literally wore out my arm. Unfortunately my 5 wt. was not enough to keep the fish out of my anchor line. I tried to play him quickly but every time I got him close to the net he was off for the depths again. Luckily the 5lb. tippet I had on my dropper broke when he wrapped it around my anchor. I was able to land the fish and quickly snap a photo before sending him back.
Unfortunately it took me a good part of the day to finally figure out the secret that all of those around me already knew. A Callibaetis nymph on a very slow retrieve and a long leader was that magical combination.
The hatch for the day was fairly short lived but when it was at it’s peak the fish were very active with all anglers around me taking fish one after another. I was using a size 14 flashback pheasant tail. I was definitely out fished by a few seasoned veterans, they clearly knew what they were doing. I had a great day and from what I could tell the fly anglers were significantly out fishing the gear fishers.
This week I will be tying and posting a few dozen various Callibaetis imitations as well as some cripple dries for next week. I never considered myself a lake guy but I may be quickly changing my mind!