From the Land of Large Trout: Lenore, Dry Falls, Rocky Ford Report (Long Report)


Mark Steudel
With a weekend alone, I decided to take off early on Friday and head over to eastern washington in search of large trout. With the wipers on full bore I ground my honda civic, full of camping and fishing gear up snoqualmie pass. My plan was to make Rocky Ford by late afternoon and get some fishing in. Camp there that evening, then make for Lake Lenore in the morning, Dry falls in the late afternoon and evening, then back to Lake Lenore in the morning, and Rocky ford in the afternoon. A kind of "variety pack" fishing trip.

Best Fly ( 1 fish ): size 22 sulphur nymph (olive with copper ribbing)
Second best fly (Couple of bumps): black wooley bugger

I drove down to the far parking lot and walked across the bridge, strung up a small sulphur nymph, I had from my trip out east, as a dropper under tungston bead head zug bug. I drifted it through some runs and shortly picked up lively rainbow. After that I didn't touch another fish till after dinner. As the sun went down I decided to make dinner before I lost all the light which consisted of some soups in a cup.
I wanted to try fishing some wooley buggers at night, so with headlamp and a rod I headed back down to the bridge and looked for a clear spot which would minimize catching the tall weeds everywhere. I swung the WB for a while with a couple of bumps, but a strong head wind and the tell tale signs of rain ruined my night fishing. That night the wind and rain pounded the car.

Best Fly (3 fish): Black wooley bugger
Second best fly (1 fish): Zug Bug
Third best fly (1 fish): Scud

I got up around 6:30 made a quick breakfast and drove off to Lake Lenore. I pulled into the south most landing and stumbled into the water. There were a handfull of float tubes and prams already on the water. A lot of the gear/meat fisherman were already coming off the water after getting their limit. The area around the landing was extremely mucky and wading out to water deep enough was my first challenge. Once out about 20 feet from shore I tied on a zug bug under a idicator with a small split shot, tossing the rig into the water, I started to strip out some line when the indictor dipped under the water, scrambling to get a hand on the line I lifted up. I was quickly introduced to a 25"+ Lake Lenore cutthroat. Wow I thought this is gonna be fun! I went fishless for another hour, after watching and hearing two guys catch a ton, I switched over to a black wooley bugger and trolled it around on a intermediate line. I ended up catch three more on a wooley bugger and one on a scud dropper. I also learned, on large toothy fish, don't stick your fingers in their mouth, even if it helps to get the hook out. One fish decided to return the favor and cut open my thumb, though now I show all my fishing buddies and tell them about the one that attacked me. :) In the morning most of the fish seemed close to shore. It slowed down after the sun hit the lake in full force, I seemed to find more fish off the drop offs around the islands. The wind wasn't too bad, and came and went in spurts. While windy at times, the waves were really non existant. At about 1 I hauled my self in ate lunch and drove over to Dry Falls.

DRY FALLS: Saturday afternoon and evening
Best fly (1 fish): black wooly bugger

I pulled into the dry falls parking lot and then got out and check to make sure my car was still in one piece. The dirt road out there definitely challenged my little Honda civic. As I got my gear together I met a lot of glum fisherman coming off the water, lots of "Great in the morning, nothing after that". I pushed my way through the weeds and cattails and surveyed the legendary Dry Falls, it was as breathtaking as I had read about. Right off the bat a fisherman next to me hooked into a rainbow, I thought maybe the bit will turn on now. As stripped in my line a fish slashed and missed at my fly. Wow should be a great time I thought. The wind picked up and half the crowd beat it to the landings, the others hunkered down as best they could. I paddled my float tube over to the rock cliff and sat on the rocks and fished some nymphs on really long leaders. I saw a few fish cruising the wall underneath me but no takers. Once the wind died down I paddled back to shore and made dinner. I then made my way back out into the falling light. Now I've gone fishing by myself before and I've gone fishing in the dark with friends before, but fishing on a deserted lake all by your self was a little unnerving. But I was eventually rewarded with a extremely strong and active rainbow. The words of one fellow lister came to mind, "The fish in Lenore are big but won't fight as hard as the rainbows at Dry Falls." After that experience I'd have to agree. I had some more hard takes but wasn't able to stick any more. Paddled back in packed up and camped at the northern end of lake Lenore.

LAKE LENORE: Sunday Morning
Best Fly (1 fish): Black wooly bugger

Determined to get some more time at those Lake Lenore monstrosities, I hit the water even earlier by skipping breakfast. I tried the middle landing this time. The waves were quite choppy and the wind was blowing constantly. I trolled a black wooly bugger around only pick up one fish. Getting tired of fighting the wind, I switched to a strike indicator and some nymphs and just tried staying in place. After a couple of casts a fish came up and smashed my indictor. I set the indicator like it was nobodies business; I guess I had some hope that the fish would hold on. I switched over to a real buggy stone fly imitation I had and tried that for a while. Finally I had enough of the wind and waves and headed back in. I ate some lunch and watched the latest batch of prams look for fish. I decided to head over to the Rocky Ford.

ROCKY FORD: Sunday Afternoon
Best Fly (1 fish): Stone Fly imitation
Second Best Fly (1 fish): Scud
Third Best Fly (1 fish): Caddis sparkling pupae

I pulled into the first parking lot at Rocky Ford. Being lazy at Lenore, I had just broken my two rods down and stuffed them in the passenger seat, flies still attached. I put one rod together and put the other in the trunk. I looked at the Stone fly and thought, what the hell, why not. I walked down to the first pool above the access platform and cast the fly in. Plunk! I watched a big fat trout circle round and come up and munch the fly. I set the hook and that fat pig took me for a ride. This is the first time that I have ever had a fish at Rocky ford take out any more than a few feet of line. This fish pulled out some serious footage on me.
After that incident I wasn't able to get another fish to look twice at it. Not surprising. After a while I noticed fish sipping things off the surface. Not being a bug connoisseur I just sorta looked for something about the same size. No luck. I met this older gentleman and the two of us tried for a couple of hours to match what was going on. It was fun even though we didn't figure it out. The rest of the day was pretty typical for me, lots of nothing with a fish every now and then. I got one with the old, scud trick. Throw it in front of cruising trout and tease them into taking it. Had one more take a caddis sparkling dropper.
Once the sun went down I packed up and drove back to Seattle, tired, smelly, and already planning my next trip.