Pass Lake Monsters


Active Member
Have you ever woken up knowing it was going to be one of those days? A day when everything turns out different than expected and leaves you wondering what will happen next. Saturday was that day.

I left Snohomish to drive up to Oak Harbor to help my sister with some downed trees from last week's windstorms. Nothing exciting but good honest work which I needed after several weeks of long hours at the office. It was rather convenient that the road to Oak Harbor goes right by Pass Lake. The lake would be a welcome distraction if only for an hour.

I arrived at the lake about 10am intending to be off by 11. I put in and fished the south shoreline stripping streamers with no luck. I then switched to a streamer with a nymph dropper and kicked to the point and fished the north shoreline but deeper in roughly 12-15' of water. I had one good hit on the way across the lake but missed it.

Fishing the deeper weed beds, I was working my line and noticing the wind picking up and creating a little chop on the water. Out of the corner of my eye I saw what appeared to be the back of a fish rise up for a moment. I quickly cast to the area and started stripping.

It's satisfying to feel the line go ripping through your fingers as you're fast into one. It was stripping line quickly and the pull suggested a large fish. Not having fished in several weeks, it was a satisfying feeling.

It's funny how even the slightest things can tell you something is different. It was definitely pulling hard but the feel was off. Maybe it was working long hours or not getting enough sleep, but as my monster fish rose from the depths and went airborne, and kept going airborne that it finally dawned on me that I had hooked a duck. It was my first time hooking a duck and sitting there watching the comedy of it left me in a strange state of confusion. The hook came free and it gave new meaning to the term long distance release as I watched my line come drifting back from the heavens with a decent feather attached.

I checked my line and flies and was soon fishing again. I was glad to be fishing alone as I'm not sure what I would have said to a fishing partner having just harrassed a duck and having played it so poorly.

It wasn't long and I was into another fish. It hit modestly enough but the weight was heavy and I was convinced this time that I had actually hooked something that belonged in the water. I played it for some time before the little suspicions began to grow. The fish would pull to the left, then it would pull to the right, and then it would pull to the left and the right. Sure enough, I reeled in to find the 30" monster was actually two fish... a 16" and a 14" rainbow. I've caught two fish at once before but never at Pass Lake. It was one of those strange days.

I finished by kicking back to the roadside and loading up. I kept wondering as I fished my way back what I would hook next, a boot with someone still attached, a downed russian satellite, perhaps one of the otters that frequent the lake. It was rather anti-climatic as I kicked back with not even a tap on the line. It was one of those days where you just smile and shake your head.

It was still a good day.


Great story! Its not often we get such satifaction and fun. I was on Pass Lake on Saturday as well. We had a great time I just wish I could have seen you catch the duck:rofl:



Active Member
Freakin Unbelievable......A duck followed by two trout :) surprised you didn't catch an old and soon to be unclaimed vintage bamboer and hardy set-up that may have been been dropped in the lake or something to that effect :clown:
That's a great story!

I had a similar experience this summer fishing a mountain stream in Wyoming. I was drifting a nymph through some shallow riffles when the line stopped. I set the hook and a dipper flew out of the water with my fly in his mouth! I'm not sure who was more startled.

I'm curious to know how you had your nymph dropper set up. I've had a few double hook ups when fishing a dropper tied off the bend in the hook of the first fly. In every case, after having both fish on for a few moments, the fish on the dropper tugs the barbless fly out of mouth of the fish on the upper fly. I've thought I should rig my dropper differently so that I would have a chance to land both fish, but it is such a rare occurence that I've never changed how I rig the dropper.


David Holmes

Formerly known as "capmblade"
That was a well-written essay -- it had a nice and easy flow to it.

Good luck on landing your next duck!

I wonder what the regs say about that.
What a great account of an exciting day. Back when I lived in the central valley of Ca. a buddy and I were gear fishing the Delta for strippers. Nice warm day, drinking some beers, he chucks his line way out with a piece of shad on the hook and as soon as it hits the water a huge seagull swoops down and grabs it. It was like he was flying a kite. For some reason he thought he should reel it in and then when the bird got close he realized it wasn't real happy with him. I was sitting there laughing my ass off the whole time. Luckily the thing wasn't hooked just didn't want to give up the grub but finally got loose after about twenty minutes.


Active Member
I had them tied the way you do (dropper tied to bend of first hook). I'm also surprised the fish on the upper fly didn't get pulled out. It was fairly well lodged in the hard part of the lower jaw/lip though.

I was also surprised the duck didn't break the tippet when it went airborne. I would have thought it would have snapped quick.



Active Member
Actually, while that thing was in the water, it was pulling pretty good. I was glad to see it self release though, I'm not sure what I would have done to get it off. I'm sure others on the lake would have found it hilarious though.

I was surprised no one else reported it as there were probably 8 other people on the lake at the time and it squawked pretty good when it went airborne.