With all the cut-backs in the newspaper industry I guess the Wenatchee World is now putting their fishing reports on the editorial page. Well, there is at least one lake with winter kill in the basin. Does not look good. A wonderful day of iced therapy By Tracy Warner Editorial Page editor Posted March 04, 2009 It was another dark day. It started like they all do, with bad news over coffee. The stock market, plunging again. Unemployment rising, home sales falling, banks failing, deficits spiraling ever upward, wars, pestilence. Depression is everywhere, fiscal and mental. Just a dark day in a year of dark days. Some people might throw up their hands and give up, but not me. There was too much to do, too many goals to accomplish, too many challenges to be met. It was tough, but I am not the kind to back off. I did what I had to do. No hesitation, no fear, no compromise. I went fishing. Actually, that was Tuesday. Did I mention it was pouring down rain? It was, when we pulled out of Wenatchee bound for the lake that shall not be named. This was therapy in these troubled times, the prospect of standing for an entire day, drenched and frozen, peering out at the frigid and seemingly lifeless waters, waving a graphite-fiber stick that cost you $250. It is at least nice reminder of the days when you had $250 to spend on sticks. I have fallen in with fly fisherman, as I have mentioned before. These are not your regular meat-on-the-hook-and-beer-in-hand fishermen. These are skillful, intelligent, sophisticated people. They have mastered the art of convincing a famished aquatic predator with a brain the size of a raisin that a clump of feathers and fur tied to a hook is actually something good to eat. This is not as easy as it sounds. I, still a novice after years of trying, prove this often. Many people like fishing reports in the paper, as those who read The Safety Valve lately know. I'd like to give you a happy piscatorial travelogue, but things were not all roses as my friend and I pulled up to the lake that shall not be named. It was cold. The rain had just stopped. The ground was recently thawed, gushing mud and wet sand. We launched our vessels into the bone cold waters and flippered our way toward the main channel. We could see in shallows many dead trout, big ones, lifeless in the weeds, facing up, mouth open as if they made one last desperate gasp before the end. It was the graveyard. They had not made it through the winter. It was not a promising sign. Then we turned into the main channel and saw the ice. The lake that shall not be named was still crusted. We could see open water 100 yards to the west. Having nothing to lose, my friend in his pram played icebreaker, and I followed in my inflatable, crunching into the quarter-inch topping like someone pushing a spoon through a créme brulée. At last, we reached open water. The sun suddenly came out. You could feel warmth and see the insects starting to move over the water. Canada geese honked on high. A bald eagle rose from shore. We were alone in our insanity, no witnesses. We cast our lines. It is difficult to describe the feeling when a large trout tastes your little clump of fur and feathers. Sometimes it is powerful, like a combined electric shock and adrenaline surge, right down to your toes. You remember particularly strong strikes for years. The thought of them can wake you at night. Sometimes it is subtle. The trout is a wary nibbler, like someone tasting caviar for the first time. This was a day of memories. It was a day for strikers and nibblers. The trout, awakened from the long winter, their gills anxious for the feel of oxygen and their stomachs ready to be filled, were very interested in whatever wriggled in the water. We fished with pulsing imitation leeches, or tiny specks meant to look like the squirming pupa that rise from the muck. The trout would strike, then run hard and strong, instinctively for the deep water. Our reels sang. I hooked one that shot under the ice and then leapt high, straight up, breaking through crust. For most of the day we reeled and netted, removed our hooks and set the beasts free. They were mostly 18, 20 inches long, beautiful, strong and shiny bright. My friend offered the sage observation of a veteran angler: "Sometimes, you just luck out." It was a good day. Where, I think it best not to say. I'm no Dave Graybill.