Chopacked

cabezon

Sculpin Enterprises
WFF Supporter
@RD Washington State and I had planned a trip to a picturesque Okanagan Lake for the week of Memorial Day. We thought that if we arrived on the holiday, we would have an easy time finding a camping site as folks would be heading out. Boy, were we wrong!!! But this report isn’t about the crowding in the campgrounds (and the generosity of folks who had sites and let us and others crowd in), but about the fish and fishing. Short summary: slow for us under the heat and wind. In spite of the 100+ folks camping there, folks were dispersed across the lake.
A00LakeViewP6020167Trim copy.jpg
What was hatching? Before we arrived, we would have predicted midges, Callibaetis mayflies, and damsels. And that is what we saw. Winds in the teens during the middle of the day complicated the fishing options. We and other folks that we talked to had some success on a variety of strategies.

There were a few large (size 12-14ish) midges hatching sporadically throughout the day. Green or black chironomid larval patterns fished under a float produced slow, but consistent action. A quick stomach pump revealed a mix of large and small chironomid larvae in a range of sizes and colors.
A01MeFightingTroutTrim.jpg
A02MeWithRainbowTrim.jpg
B02Rainbow1AP6030229Trim.jpg
This lake is known for its Callibaetis hatches. While we were there, spinners in abundance in the afternoon sought refuge on your clothes, your hat, or your sunglasses against the wind (and predation by damsel adults).
B01CallibaetisSpinner_6020191Trim.jpg
The emergences of mayfly duns were VERY sporadic in space and time. I managed to hook several fish that were hunting adult damsels off the reeds when I drifted a parachute Callibaetis consolation prize by their location. But in each case, the fish dove into the reeds and broke me off. These fish are experienced. Late on our last afternoon, I encountered a pod of fish that were feeding on a few mayfly duns emerging in spite of the stiff winds. The first fish that I hooked dove deep into the weeds and was off while I reeled in a gob of salad. A second fish broke me off on the strike. And I finally landed the third fish. And then it was over. The kind of fast action that I had been hoping for (and that I have experienced on previous trips) for the week.
B03Rainbow2AP6030267Trim.jpg
Over the several days, the most visible action were trout hunting damsels, both emerging larvae and flying adults. When the winds died, you would see the occasional explosion in the middle of the lake as I suspect that trout were busting a swimming larva. And RD caught a nice trout on a larval pattern and another on an adult pattern. But the trout were really keyed in on damsel adults that were in flight; I need to refine my helium damsel pattern (patent pending…). In the evenings and mornings when the winds were calmer, hungry trout cruised the shallows.
C01NewlyEmergedDamselfly_6030249Trim.jpg
C02EmergedDamsel6030234Trim.jpg
C03DamselMatingFrenzy1418trim.jpg
C04DamselsOnRush1402Trim.jpg
C05RainbowsPassingB1437Trim.jpg
Of course, the master fisher, the bald eagle, was very successful.
D01BaldEagleWTrout1675Trim copy.jpg
Its flights over the lake made the mallards, ruddy ducks, red-head ducks, Barrow’s goldeneyes, ring-necked ducks, and scaup nervous.
D02RuddyDuckB1736Trim copy.jpg
The unworldly calls of pied-billed grebes echoed across the lake at random times. A hen Barrow’s goldeneye watched over her brood of chicks. The little guys dove down in the shallows and popped up like little corks.
D03BarrowsGoldeneyeHenAndChicks1965Trim copy.jpg
There are many other lakes in this area but this is such a picturesque location in the spring. Several species of wildflowers, like these silky lupines and Thompson's paintbrush, bloomed on the hillsides.
E01MountainWildflowersP6040331Trim copy.jpg
Upland Larkspur
E02UplandLarkspur_5310017Trim.jpg
One of my favorites, mariposa lily.
E03MariposaLily_6020140Trim copy.jpg
Butterflies sipped nectar from the blossoms. In this case a Boisduval's Blue sips nectar from a Mariposa lily.
E04BoisduvalsBlueOnMariposaLily1479Trim copy.jpg
But danger lurked in the form of a crab spider on a rose blossom for the unwary pollinator.
E05CrabSpiderOnNootkaRoseFlower1526Trim copy.jpg
A pair of Say’s phoebes set up a nest under the roof of the sun shelter at our campsite; both parents brought in a steady supply of insects, especially damselflies, to feed their chicks.
E06SaysPhoebeOnTentPole1813Trim copy.jpg
It a full day of driving to reach to this lake and a full day back home, but I still hope to return next spring to soak in the atmosphere (and to get my flies back from the fish that broke me off…).
Steve
 
Last edited:

Olive bugger

Active Member
@RD Washington State and I had planned a trip to a picturesque Okanagan Lake for the week of Memorial Day. We thought that if we arrived on the holiday, we would have an easy time finding a camping site as folks would be heading out. Boy, were we wrong!!! But this report isn’t about the crowding in the campgrounds (and the generosity of folks who had sites and let us and others crowd in), but about the fish and fishing. Short summary: slow for us under the heat and wind. In spite of the 100+ folks camping there, folks were dispersed across the lake.
View attachment 285007
What was hatching? Before we arrived, we would have predicted midges, Callibaetis mayflies, and damsels. And that is what we saw. Winds in the teens during the middle of the day complicated the fishing options. We and other folks that we talked to had some success on a variety of strategies.

There were a few large (size 12-14ish) midges hatching sporadically throughout the day. Green or black chironomid larval patterns fished under a float produced slow, but consistent action. A quick stomach pump revealed a mix of large and small chironomid larvae in a range of sizes and colors.
View attachment 285008
View attachment 285009
View attachment 285011
This lake is known for its Callibaetis hatches. While we were there, spinners in abundance in the afternoon sought refuge on your clothes, your hat, or your sunglasses against the wind (and predation by damsel adults).
View attachment 285010
The emergences of mayfly duns were VERY sporadic in space and time. I managed to hook several fish that were hunting adult damsels off the reeds when I drifted a parachute Callibaetis consolation prize by their location. But in each case, the fish dove into the reeds and broke me off. These fish are experienced. Late on our last afternoon, I encountered a pod of fish that were feeding on a few mayfly duns emerging in spite of the stiff winds. The first fish that I hooked dove deep into the weeds and was off while I reeled in a gob of salad. A second fish broke me off on the strike. And I finally landed the third fish. And then it was over. The kind of fast action that I had been hoping for (and that I have experienced on previous trips) for the week.
View attachment 285012
Over the several days, the most visible action were trout hunting damsels, both emerging larvae and flying adults. When the winds died, you would see the occasional explosion in the middle of the lake as I suspect that trout were busting a swimming larva. And RD caught a nice trout on a larval pattern and another on an adult pattern. But the trout were really keyed in on damsel adults that were in flight; I need to refine my helium damsel pattern (patent pending…). In the evenings and mornings when the winds were calmer, hungry trout cruised the shallows.
View attachment 285013
View attachment 285014
View attachment 285015
View attachment 285016
View attachment 285017
Of course, the master fisher, the bald eagle, was very successful.
View attachment 285018
Its flights over the lake made the mallards, ruddy ducks, red-head ducks, Barrow’s goldeneyes, ring-necked ducks, and scaup nervous.
View attachment 285019
The unworldly calls of pied-billed grebes echoed across the lake at random times. A hen Barrow’s goldeneye watched over her brood of chicks. The little guys dove down in the shallows and popped up like little corks.
View attachment 285020
There are many other lakes in this area but this is such a picturesque location in the spring. Several species of wildflowers, like these silky lupines and Thomrson's paintbrush, bloomed on the hillsides.
View attachment 285021
Upland Larkspur
View attachment 285022
One of my favorites, mariposa lily.
View attachment 285023
Butterflies sipped nectar from the blossoms. In this case a Boisduval's Blue sips nectar from a Mariposa lily.
View attachment 285024
But danger lurked in the form of a crab spider on a rose blossom for the unwary pollinator.
View attachment 285025
A pair of Say’s phoebes set up a nest under the roof of the sun shelter at our campsite; both parents brought in a steady supply of insects, especially damselflies, to feed their chicks.
View attachment 285026
It a full day of driving to reach to this lake and a full day back home, but I still hope to return next spring to soak in the atmosphere (and to get my flies back from the fish that broke me off…).
Steve
I believe you have captured the essence of fly fishing. Taking in all nature has to show you, and sharing with like minded folks. Thanks for your report.
 

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