Trip Report Central WA lakes

PS I have no idea how to embed photos, everything I try crashes Firefox. All I could do is upload an entire folder or it crashes again so they're all in a gallery.

Thought I'd post a little report and some observations from a weekend of tubing some of my old college days haunts. My wife and I based out of Dry Falls SP and started at Lenore a little late on Fri after a late arrival from Oregon City. There were some big chirons and Callabaetis hatching but the action was about over. No fish working at the south end put in. I have never seen Lenore that scummy, big rafts of blue green algae that you had to wade through just to launch and lots floating out on the lake. Trolled down to the pumping station and it was going full blast. I have no idea why anyone would be irrigating this early with the late growing season (most of the fields were bare between 90 and Soap Lake). Why anyone would actually want that alkaline water is beyond me. That's what Banks is for. Didn't see any sign of fish life at all, and the wind kicked up to a dull roar so after putzing around the deadline stripping attractors for an hour we gave up. Back at the launch we met a local who was shore casting, said he lived at the house right next to the outlet. He said black or fire leeches are producing a little action but it was slow. I remember a party on the lake on weekends in April/May in the 80s and early 90s but there wasn't another fisherman in sight. He said the gillnetters never left, and ODFW seems to think that isn't a big deal. We also heard the same from a tuber at Dry Falls. Think about it, you create a black market for trout flesh, get busted with over 100 in your car from a single night of netting, and no one else steps in to fill the gap? And that's the first and only time they did it? WTF are you smoking WDFW? He also said snaggers were working the outlet and he kept reporting them without any obvious response. Curious, we packed up and pulled into the station only to see someone in a white pickup screaming up the road spitting gravel all the way. I'm 99% sure we interrupted a snagger. I saw exactly one fish cruising the finger and two gaping holes in the fish rack. So nothing to prevent the spawners from getting sucked right in. Through Monday we saw no one else fishing.

So back to camp to sleep the couple hours we lost and made the 2.5 mi. trek to hit Dry Falls that evening. Lake was dead flat calm, a little breeze every once in a while. Almost nothing hatching, very few shows on the surface. Decided to try my new articulated damsels and wham after 3 casts a nice fat triploid did some great acrobatics for me. Then screwing around taking pics of the sunset with the fly dragging the bottom dredged up another beauty that almost pulled my rod in. So decided to hit DF in the AM and nada, no hatch, no shows, nothing on damsels leeches woolly worms etc. Lost of chiron boys showed up and trolled around waiting for a hatch that I bet never came. Decided to quit wasting time and take off.

Went up to Omak since I'd never fished it and I wanted my wife to tie into a nice fat pig. Got there and the weather was dicey, so decided to try some bank fishing at Nicholson to see if it was going to blow. That was really productive but everything was under 12", mostly on a minnow pattern. Lots of fry up in the rocks that looked like trout but I didn't get a real close look. I don't know what size or when they stock but I'd be willing to bet it was yearling fish in the late fall or early spring. After it looked OK for tubing we worked up the beach towards the tribal only area at the south end. A squall hit (of course) and my wife had to turn back because of her ankle problems, but she had hooked into 3 or 4 10-13" fish trolling a black WB. I stuck it out and worked the talus up to the tribal only beach. After the gale blew past and the water went flat they turned on like a light bulb. It was easier to count the casts I didn't get a take than the ones I did. Lots of yearlings, a few 2 year olds 14-16" and a couple 3 year olds 19-21". I got a freight train strike on the drop and after two massive head shakes he broke an 8 lb. tippet. All within 30 ft. of the bank and the biggest ones were hanging off a vertical rock face maybe 10 feet from the rock. I had to get going after than so trolled the 1/2 mile back to the truck, picking up a few decent fish on the way. Caught a group fishing off the rocks on the way back, they said it would be another hour before the fish turned on. Then one guy just dropped a black sculpin pattern in a couple feet off the bank and a decent fish took it right off the surface. He said looks like its early today lol. Must have been a local, said he hasn't seen it this good in years, probably due to the high off color water. Makes sense to me, they don't get a good look and sometimes strike at just about anything. I had the most success with a fly I call the Hairy Carey but that's probably because it's what I had on when the action started. Meanwhile my wife hit the shoreline pretty good at the launch and nada. We had to get going anyway around 6:30 so I packed it in for the day. Wish I could have stuck around but had some emergency trailer repair to take care of :(

Day 3 we got a tip from a DF tuber who said Nunnally was hot, I had planned on Lenice anyway so we gave it a shot. No one at all there, fished mid-morning to 4:30 when another squall drove us off. I'd never fished it (only Lenice) so we started trolling around to locate the fish. Immediately we were both into fish dead center of the lake. Picked up a few smaller ones, 11 - 13". The wind was from the west so we trolled up that way so we could ride it back to the put in. Picked up a few more so I played around stripping in front of the jeez wouldn't it be nice to have a vineyard, basketball court, and your own airport house. Almost immediately got into a skinney 19" fish and then a few more fatter 14-16s. Meanwhile my wife was hooking up left and right. I had to teach her to keep the rod up and lower it when they caught some air, 5 years of tubing BC & OR and she never got into that situation lol. I messed around stripping and found the sweet spot int he SW corner. Nice dropoff right off the weedline and again it was easier to count the casts with no take than with. She would troll right between me and the bank whacking them where I just caught one, and I would hook into another one a minute after she passed. I don't think you could have found a fly they wouldn't take. I had 2 on the backcast when I was stripping out more line and 2 hauling out for a cast. She got one right dangling a fly off the tip of her tube. I was changing flies frequently to see if anything did better than the rest. It did not. A pink salmon fly might have worked. I just love dropping a fly off the reeds, letting it settle, then giving it a twitch and getting hammered. Learned that from my bass days, they hear it, come on over and watch to see if it moves. Anyway what worked: articulated damsel nymph, standard damsel, dragon nymph, brown/green/olive/copper WBs, anything with Krystal Flash or flashabou, bead heads, of course my go to Hairy Carey. Wife stopped counting at 20 landed so I stopped before 20 so she could say she did better (she just might have lol). Gave up because of the squall but really would have been more of the same until dark. Sometimes enough is enough lol. Shaking off 12 inchers because you know there's something bigger out there is a strange place to be in. Stopepd at Lenice to wait out the rain and met a guy running his pontoon boat to the lot (again he was alone). Said it was dead until a late mayfly hatch saved his day. I didn't ask if he tried stripping but from what I have seen those chiron guys don't really get it or don't really want subsurface action.

So I wish I had the chance to try a few more of my hot spots, Quail Widgeon and a couple unnamed potholes that I used to score big on. Maybe next time :)