Trip Report My yearly spring affair! (Secret Lake - Picture heavy)

I started learning 26 years ago from some wiser older gentlemen, and grandparents throughout life, that one way to live longer is to plan a yearly affair. The reason this is important to an extended life is, if you are only focusing on now, tomorrow of next week, once you reach those near-term events it can provide an emotional/mental low/let down… “What now?”. So, I plan (which is always just a plan, that might change due to weather) my yearly spring affair.

My affair is mine, some express that they couldn’t stand it (similar to hair color preference), but for me the excitement starts building almost the day the affair is over. (Part of this is because of the “Crowd”, opening day was 30 pwc)

This year I almost doomed myself with the count down as the weather turned at the last minute, a buddy was going to caravan over the pass with me, but looking at the weather we had to shoot for the window of clear pass conditions as we pull travel trailers. On the morning we were to leave, SNOW at my house. The morning cleared and the pass opened…. “ LET’S GO!!!”
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Part of the excitement that contributes to this spring affair is the joy of catching up with people I have met through the years and that I might only see at this lake, around a fire or on the water. So, as I set up and fish over the coming days/weeks watching as familiar faces and rigs roll into the parking lot the season of fun and fish has begun!
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This year started off well, with the weather. Yes, it was cool and cold at times but the majority of the days were sun filled. This allowed for more nights outside around a fire, this was a blessing as people are still being safe due to covid. Many days with very little wind and if it did blow it was usually on a single day or overnight. We did have one day/night with 44 mph sustained wind, with higher gusts. We had 2 days with 30-35 mph sustained, with higher gusts. Just so you know travel trailers with all the jacks down still REALLY REALLY rock and roll with that much wind! The temperatures were pretty good, we had numerous nights with 25 deg and several days with highs 60 – 67 deg. I do love watching the beauty of the area come to life after the winter.
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This year the water was in better shape, visibility started at 2-3 feet on the opener, and proceeded to clear a little every day. As of the 22nd visibility was to at least 12 feet. I was able to see the bottom and rescue a measure net a friend had dopped earlier in the month. This was much better than last year when the visibility for the entire month of March never cleared. The lake level came up about 2 inches from the 1st to the 22nd. The water temp on the opener was 41.23 – 42-96 and on the 22nd was 45.97 – 46.86 several days it got right to 49 but would drop back down as the nights were very cold. (Water temps were compared with 3 different Garmin Striker 4 finders, at 1 foot below surface)

And finally, the fish and catching. The fish were in good shape, they showed to be in good health. They started off hungry but semi lethargic. I only caught several that appeared to be skinny, most were healthy and plump. As the water temp started to warm the fish started really getting shoulders on them and fought a lot more. This made for exciting fights and runs. Some were definitely more acrobatic, several with up to 6 jumps, before settling down. Now onto a possible controversial finding (I use a measure net and actually measured my measure net due to the controversial findings; I measure every fish and document it right then, I error on the under size so if it appears to be 16.5 I record 16 inches); SO – the average fish size in the lake during the time I fished was 14.56 inches. The largest fish was 17 inches (and this was the same with 3 guys measuring and recording). I heard a lot of guys saying otherwise but the data doesn’t lie, no reason too. The smallest fish was 12 inches. Sorry if the facts hurt your feelings. Now, there were some very fat fish, as the measure net measures 4 inches across the bottom and numerous fish were wider than that. My, catch rate was on schedule to rival some of my better years and had several really good days. I was hampered (and under both physical and mental duress) this year by a last minute medical issue/finding. I was informed that the severe pain in my shoulder and bicep, of my cast arm, is a torn rotator cuff and upper bicep tear, so had to change casting, netting and fishing hours were limited. But catching was still really good, and I would say that for my buddies it was a great spring.
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I had great pleasure in meeting several new people from the forum this year (even with law enforcement in close proximity hahaha ( @PezVela )). And as always it was great to see those that I have met before and enjoyed visiting and fishing close to, but not to close, hahaha ( @dp ). It was also great sharing (I am willing even when I get in trouble with my buddies) information, flies and my homemade indicators (and how I make them – even though they aren’t approved @Irafly hahaha ).

Bug Life was interesting and changing throughout my time...
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This will most likely be my last Trip Report until the Fall according to my Shoulder Surgeon (as his rule before this trip was “That Shit has got to hurt!” and “Leave me enough material to work with!”) So, PLEASE keep sharing your reports and trips!!

(I am sorry also that due to the shoulder I couldn’t hook up with a couple of you Drysiders that offered a day trip or two… in the Fall or next Spring for sure!)

A bit of traveling restroom humor... but serious...

Tight Lines, Cheers and YOUR INDICATOR IS DOWN!

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Great report Shawn. Best of luck with your surgery and recovery. My friend was there during the second week of your trip, and echoed your fish size report.
I assume you were fishing from your new raft? Any reflections?
Good luck with your surgery Shawn!

I agree with the idea that planning a trip months in advance does great things for your mental health during the interim. I plan a trip every August to someplace in Montana or Idaho and invite an assortment of friends from far-flung spots, many of whom I only see there every year. The anticipation and the memories do a lot to get me through the rest of the year!


Active Member
Glad you had your usual fabulous time and best wishes on your surgery. Love Central Washington at this time of the year.

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