Pass Lake non crawdad event


Active Member
Saw the other thread re: crawdads and decided to share something I saw on Pass last Saturday. I was down there targeting browns with little success working the non road shoreline when I looked out at a guy chironomid fishing. He had been out in the middle of the first basin since I was there.

This time when I glanced at him he had two hands on his rod and it was really bent hard. He was just hanging on working a real nice fish I assumed. I gave him a wave and he appreciated it. Always fun to know people are seeing you when a nice fish is on the line.

I basically quit casting my ceviche woolly bugger and started watching this guy because this was a nice fish. He had his net on the ready and the fish was coming close to being landed when it broke water. It looked real nice as it partly exposed its head and back but all of a sudden it flew through the air and was a smallish rainbow of about 9" or so. I was kind of wondering what happened when it dawned on me at about the same time this guy (Steve it turns out) says it decided to let it go.

Besides crawdads, brownies like rainbows. Looks like a bucktail pattern in about size whatever, 6 or 8 inches will do nicely. Steve was just smiling and went back to working his chironomid. I pulled my anchor as I was about done and rowed over his way to chat.

Turns out he was working on the bottom in 19' of water when he hooked this rainbow. Wasn't long before it started really going nuts this way and that way and he could see this big old brown chasing it. Well the brown caught it and Steve had a dandy fight for at least the several minutes I was watching. Didn't ask him how long before I noticed him, he hooked up. Turns out he lives 3 miles away and has landed a 26" brown as his personal best. He said this fish was most likely in the 30" range. No reason to doubt him from my perspective. Was very fun to talk with and a nice fellow.

He had caught 6 fish that day on chironomids and he said for some reason they were all small. I only caught one rainbow on my wooly bugger. Temp was 41 according to Steve. He says he likes to see it 42 or 43 so I suppose it is getting real close to some great chiro fishing.


Active Member
I had that happen on the Pere Marquette in MI back in the '90's. Hooked a small rainbow on a dry fly and watched the largest carnivorous brown I've ever seen Jonah my struggling fish in the shallows. It'd be a better story if I'd been able to net the twosome, but it ran and wrapped me around a submerged branch. When we tried to wade out to unwrap the line it broke off.
My wife, daughters and I were fishing a small stream in Alaska many years ago. The wife played and landed a rainbow of 17-18 inches and was posing for a picture. She held the fish up and as it dangled from the line it suddenly dropped off revealing the 3" bow she had originally hooked. That guy was too stubborn for his own good and ended up as dinner. Shoulda let go a little sooner.


Active Member
That's a good one Tony. It makes me remember that I did ask Steve what shape the rainbow was in that old mr. brownie let go of at the surface. He said the back end of the fish had very few scales left and tooth drag marks to boot.

Also to add to what one of the folks on the crawdad thread said, I also saw the otters on the same day. I heard them first while I was close to the first point on the left out from the launch. Very noisy as they were busting through the weeds on that point. I only saw two. Was wondering what they were exactly when one of them came halfway out of the water with its body just like their cousins do in SE Alaska along the kelp. They really had a destination in mind as they were bookin real good, tight on the shoreline, noisy the whole way along.