Over the years I've hosted a Spring Fling at my property in Oroville. This year I spend nearly a week in the area looking for turkeys and scouting lakes and fishing. The turkey thing was a total bust as far as the birds go but I did get into the hills and see some pretty sights. Here's a view from the highlands The service berry is in full bloom IveofIone was my first guest to arrive. Ive is a senior member of many previous flings and a treasured friend. He's also a damned fine craftsman. Here's his sharp homemade trailer that came in very handy for hauling boats during the week. The fiberglass lid is nothing short of amazing. Our first lake visit was to Aeneas on Monday. The temps were warm already but the lake still hovered around 58 degrees. We got into fish right away and stayed there most of the day. We both probably landed 30 fish each. Most were well fed and full of fight which added to the great numbers. Several pushed 17 and 18 inches. Sinking lines and half backs and mohair leeches in olive were the favorite patterns. Aeneas north shoreline Ive with a rainbow Turtles sunning on a log Our next visit was to Lost Lake north of Bonaparte Lake. It's my favorite lake in the area because it holds Brook Trout. I love the color of Brookies and how they explode when you try to net them. We found them to be numerous and well fed. A few were a bit skinny but that's expected this early in the season after wintering over. We did well again in numbers and quality of the catch. Ready for the water One in the net For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of fishing with Ive, he is a great and innovative cook. He never ceases to amaze me with the shoreline treats he can provide. This day it was ginger stir fried beef in oyster sauce. He brought all the fixings, beef, red bell pepper, onion, garlic, ginger, celery, and all. It was absolutely fabulous and I wolfed it down with a cold brew. Chef Kletka at work The great results By mid-week the temp has risen significantly and I think impacted the catch results. Ive and I hit Beth, Beaver, and Bonaparte with miserable results. Ive did better than me, but that's not saying much. I could hardly buy a fish. An evening drive to Sidley to scope out the lake provide a midge invasion that would rival the plagues of Egypt. We hopped back in the truck and I snapped this photo of a long abandoned house in the hillside. The next few days new arrivals showed up and we headed back to Aeneas to see if we could repeat our good fortune. The temps were high and the lake was like glass. Tim seemed to have the high numbers but we all had a few large fish on board pushing 17 and 18 inches. Ive managed a nice brown that hit 18 inches if I recall correctly. Photo ops were the ticket for me that afternoon. Mr. Salzer Mr. Todd Steaks and brews topped the meal ticket that day and afforded us plenty of chatter time. The next morning I found this homeless guy sleeping at my front door....just kidding, it's Scott. Lost Lake was our final destination as a group and the lake was good to all of us again. The joke of the day is that every time we turned around Tim was nailing another fish. Here he is between retrieves. Here's Scott playing with a brookie Rick and Tim took off for Winthrop and the Wet Side and Scott and I headed home. Here's a sight along the way. The weathered wood would look great in my downstairs room at the house as a background paneling. Scott and I headed to town and the Past Time Bar and Grill for dinner and a cold one. But on the way we spotted a bull snake and during the photo op Scott got it a bit pissed off. They played cat and mouse while I clicked away. Dinner was great and the service was stellar. Nice folks and atmosphere at the Grill. Stop by if you're in town and say Hi to Vicky the owner. All good things come to an end and on Saturday I mowed the lawn....again...and Scott and I headed back to the west side. It was great to see old friends again and get to know the new ones better. I missed some of our regulars, but the season is early and lakes aplenty. I hope to see them on the water soon. A sad final note, on the way home a wild fire was claiming a house and barn south of Azwell Dam just off Hwy 97. It's ominous to see this so early in the spring. I hope it doesn't continue as summer bakes the landscape.