Merrill Lake Report

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Thomas Williams, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. Thomas Williams

    Thomas Williams Habitual Line Stepper

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    Well I promised a report so here it is. Got there around 8am on Thursday with the plan to camp for a night. Was able get on the water by 9. i started out fishing the east bank across from the boat launch. I could see fish taking flies on the surface with the large rainbows making some wild splashes. The cutts launched into the air snatching flies. Fishing was tough. I think I was just having bad luck. My hook up ratio was horrible. I failed to hook the first 5 strikes. Finally landed one, a pretty little Cutthroat. Fish were rising but werent holding positions. Fish were spread out and cruising very sporadically making casting to them difficult. Finally after realizing that the leach patterns werent doing it, I switched to dry flies. A small baetis hatch was happening throughout the day and fish were keyed into small flies. The smallest adams dry I had did the trick. I kind of had to just cast toward the bank and let it sit, giving it the occasional twitch. Took a few from the surface but not hot action by any means. As the the afternoon turned to late evening the fishing picked up. More and more rise forms were happening so I went back to a small leach pattern casting towards the bank working the structures like logs and rock beds. In the last 45 mins of light I landed 5 Cutthroat and a hefty Brown. The Brown came right before I called it quits.

    The next day I had a new strategy. After getting my ass kicked the day before I had learned what worked and what didnt. I was on the water at first light. I threw small buggers in olive/orange into the structure on the east bank. I instantly started catching fish! After landing about 5 I decided to go after a large fish that kept make big splashes. He stayed in a general area so I cast to him. Hooked him and landed him. He was a Rainbow, probably just shy of 2 lbs and healthy. Real pretty colors. I left and wanted to check out the other areas of the lake. Down the way on the east side there is a cove where the low water has uncovered a bunch of logs and a huge stump protruding from the water. I tossed in the center and hooked up with a big fish. He had some viscous head shakes and from a distance looked to be about 3lbs. Unfortunately he shook hook. I beat myself up for a bit after that but moved on. If anyone else go there you will know what cove im talking about. I have a feeling that big guy made that his home and holds that area down. Hes probably still there. I continued to work the areas with downed trees and had good success the rest of the day. I was off the water by 3pm and on the road. All in all the Lake was tough fishing but still good. I like it when you have to work to figure out what they will bite. Got some great photos too....enjoy. IMG_0846.JPG IMG_0855.JPG IMG_0859.JPG IMG_0863.JPG IMG_0864.JPG IMG_0868.JPG IMG_0873.JPG IMG_0865.JPG
     
  2. Flyborg

    Flyborg Active Member

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    Some beautiful fish man.
     
  3. Patrick Gould

    Patrick Gould Active Member

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    It's amazing how great the the 45 min of light can be. Thanks for the report and congrats on the great fish.
     
  4. Woodcanoeguy

    Woodcanoeguy Member

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    Any trouble with the resident Eagle trying to steal your fish?

    He got a big brown I hooked last Sunday at Merrill.....
     
  5. Thomas Williams

    Thomas Williams Habitual Line Stepper

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    No resident eagle. I think I heard him but he never made an appearance. There was a family of otters that were chasing fish away. They had one of the cutthroat up on a log and were sharing it.
     
  6. coastal cutthroat

    coastal cutthroat Member

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    beautiful fish, great report, thanks

    I haven't fished Merrill much since moving to Seattle from Portland, sure miss it -- tho the Seattle area certainly has it's attractions:D

    Anyone know how the Hex hatch went earlier this summer?
     
  7. Thomas Williams

    Thomas Williams Habitual Line Stepper

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    I wish I had know of the hex hatch at Merrill. I would have gone out there. I spoke with an old man at the launch and he said its a zoo out there during the hatch. I only saw one hex out there. He was a lone ranger that hatched and was attempting to fly off. I did get a strike on a hex nymph though. I tried them figuring the fish would know what it was and not pass it up.
     
  8. Breck

    Breck Active Member

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    I made it down there from Seattle once in mid-July. The hatch was strong, but for some reason, the bite only picked up for about 10 minutes and then abruptly died. Oh well. Next year.
     
  9. coastal cutthroat

    coastal cutthroat Member

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    hey, be careful with this old man stuff . . . it could be me :D
     

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