Ended a 3 month fishing drought

Shawn West

Active Member
It has been almost three months since I have been on the water. My entire summer has been about packing up the house and moving my wife to join me here in Vancouver. I have missed chasing bass, but life if much better with my wife by my side.

I made the decision late Friday afternoon to head up the Gorge and fish. The two weather sites I rely on reported different wind conditions. One said winds up to 6 mph and the other said winds from 15 to 25 mph. As luck would have it, the first weather report was correct. My buddy Steve and I arrived at the lake around 2:30. The sky was clear and the wind was next to perfect. We spoke with a couple that were just getting off of the lake. They said the fishing was fantastic. I was itching to load up my gear and hit the water.

I paddled over to the rip rap and started throwing a stealth bomber pattern I had tied up a few months ago. This is one dandy fly. It fishes a lot like a Dahlberg Diver. You can pop it, slide it, or just swim it. It was not long before I missed a killer strike. I believe this was probably the largest fish of the day. I had more strikes with this pattern, but I could not hook the fish. I eventually switched to a smaller popper; a #6 Betts Frugal Frog. I managed to land a handful of smaller bass. Most were in the 11" - 13" range.

I was doing OK on poppers, but it was still hours before sunset (magic time). I decided to switch to a Simiseal Leech. I was using a sink tip line and counting down 10 seconds before slowly swimming the fly back. At one point, I was getting strikes on EVERY cast. It was just not fair to the fish. Too bad for the fish though, I was going to milk this for all she was worth. I have no idea how many fish I caught using the Leech, but I eventually had to replace it with a new one because there was not much left of the fly but the tail. It was not long before I landed the big fish of the day. All of the fish fought very hard, but this fish was different. It took quite a while before I even caught a glimpse of the fish. I was hoping for a 20"+ bass, but that was not meant to be today. It was a dandy dark colored 18" beauty.

As the sun started to head towards the horizon, it was time to go back to the popper. I was not disappointed. I started to get more and more strikes. This time my hook-up rate improved. While I was enjoying my party with the bass, Steve caught fire. Steve was absolutely slaying the bass with his popper. I watched him make three cast to the exact same place and land three fish. It looked like a repeat of what happened in Idaho during our June trip. I was sure he was going to land a bass larger than my eighteen incher, but I guess it was not in the cards.

It got too dark to see what we were doing, so we headed back to the launch. I think I can speak for Steve when I say we were two very tired fisherman when we arrived at the launch. I can also say that you would be hard pressed to find two guys with bigger smiles on their mugs. It was a fantastic trip; one that I think we both needed. I hope I can hit the water at least one more time while the bass are still looking up.