A splendid day on Big Meadow!


Active Member
Today was one of those moody looking days with low clouds and little light and just a touch of moisture in the air. It wasn't a real inviting day to go fish but the wind wasn't blowing so I thought I would give it a go. I dropped my rig in gear at 9:33 and 18 minutes later I was 8 miles away and a thousand feet higher. Only 2 guys were on the lake and both of those were trolling gear around the deep side of the lake. I never saw a hookup.

I got in the water about 10:00 and kicked over to the east side behind the islands. There the water is shallow and weedy and few trollers dare to intrude. I had the place all to myself so I tied on an olive seal bugger with a red thread head and went to work. Very quiet for the first 200 yards then like a rocket a good sized rainbow shot out of the water and tossed the fly back towards me. A few minutes later I hooked another heavy fish and got it up close to the boat before it LDRed. Big Meadow fish have a remarkable facility for throwing a barbless hook and these were just the first 2 of many more to come on this day. I finally settled down and started landing some gorgeous rainbows up to 16''. Only one 11'' dink all day and everything else was in the 12-15'' range. And all fat, deep bodied and broad shouldered fish. Some jumped over 3' in the air and gave a remarkable account of themselves. The fish were beautifully colored and spotted-only one washed out hatchery-looking fish and that was the 11'' dink.

A midge hatch of epic proportions was taking place and at times the surface of the water looked as if it was flocked with tiny black midges with gray wings. The swallows were out in divisional strength and were on the water the entire time I was there. At one point a flock of 6 flew directly under my fly rod as I was playing a fish.

In a small cove near the old campground a bald eagle had pinned down a number of ducks and was making an earnest effort to pick one off. I had never seen this behavior before. The eagle kept up the attack for a full 5 minutes or more in constant motion diving, climbing, swooping at the water in an incredible aerial display. The ducks would try to launch but the eagle gave them no rest and at the last second they had to dive under water to save themselves. There was so much splashing and flapping along with quacking and screeching that it seemed like a full fledged riot was taking place. They all escaped and the eagle finally retreated to an old snag to catch his breath. What a show.

Callibaetis were hatching but takes were sporadic. There was a steady breeze and a steady drizzle in the afternoon. When it did calm down I tossed out an emerger on a dry line and a few seconds later a large rainbow came a foot out of the water and took the fly on the way down. I displayed some buck fever by promptly breaking the fish off on the hook set. In the end every fish I landed but one came on the olive seal bugger and it was frayed and losing thread fast when I quit. I tried many other flies and lines but the only thing that worked was an intermediate line and that bugger.

After 2 lame years it looks like the lake is back in shape and should produce some dandy late evening emerger fishing later on in the season. It was one of those days when you really need a buddy along to verify how good the fishing was and share the joy. Alas, I was there alone and you'll just have to take my word on it. Ive

Seems like I remember a very similar story to yours, Ive; it was in "Field and Stream" in the fifties. Had the ducks and eagles and everything but there were three trollers instead of two so it can't be the same thing. Maybe I can find a link.

Bob, the These Eastside guys are always rubbing it in during trout season, being very sore from a long, frozen winter reading nothing but one story after another about big steelhead. :rofl:


Idiot Savant
IveofIone said:
It was one of those days when you really need a buddy along to verify how good the fishing was and share the joy. Alas, I was there alone and you'll just have to take my word on it. Ive

I was with you if only vicariously... :thumb:

BTW, how about some spiny rays again...? Say in a couple of weeks... ;)


Active Member
Bob-Field and Stream was around in 1850? I had no idea.......... :rofl: Roper-10/4. And yes-out of Ione. Ive, IveofIone-out of Ione!

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