Where You Part Of The Fly Club At Pass Lake Last Weekend?

Jeff Studebaker

Kayak Fly Angler
I thought of heading to Cranberry this morning but Pass looked so good when I drove by it – only a couple cars in the parking lot.

Of course the lake filled up with boats while I was out there. I stayed away from the shoal and only had one boat come inside my "casting bubble," passing within a few yards behind me. I was bobber-gazing at the time so I didn't really care - and releasing a dozen feisty rainbows also helped me feel better about it.

Incidentally, I noticed some graffiti on the outhouse wall when I left. Something about, "WFF - don't net Pass Lake to death." It took me a while to figure out the message, but I'm guessing that someone is upset about this forum advertising the lake on the internet.


the sultan of swing
I quit fishing pass lake because of all the drama both on the lake & onthe outhouse walls. I now fish nearby rufus woods lake with a lot more solitude & enjoy catching those nice triploids the colville tribe releases in the lake for sport fishing.
Rick and Ed,
All this publicity got me to pay your website a visit. I was overwhelmed by all the amazing things your club has accomplished in the way of conservation, education and other very worthwhile causes over the years. BTW happy 40th anniversary. I wonder how many of us were fly fishing back when your club began doing all this stuff that benefits so many.

You certainly do not owe anyone an apology here but I'm not at all surprised that you had the integrity (and class) to do just that.

As a former Bellingham resident, I'd join if I still lived up there. And after everything I've read here and otherwise, all I can think to say is Thank You. I hope others will say the same.

Tim L.


Active Member
WOW, nicely done gentlemen. My reasons for posting my friends' report was for documentation, and to share a report for those that follow my blog. I didn't wish to edit the content as I think there are some good things to be taken from my friends report. You can read his note to me as a response and decide whether or not to judge him for his actions, because frankly I think he was well warranted due to the circumstances.

Just remember that there are always two sides to the story...

I am the author of the email Yellowlab posted on his Feltseoul blog. Before this thread gets too out of control, I would like to redirect the discussion in an effort to get something positive out of what this paragraph was really about.

The report printed on Yellowlab’s blog was originally an email between two friends. It was poorly written and never meant for public viewing. I would like to apologize to the members of both fly clubs present at Pass Lake that day for saying any of their members are idiots. My personal opinion of these fly clubs is the members are well respected and great stewards to Pass Lake.

Although the wayward gentlemen in question may need some help with direction, they have just as much right to be there as I do. There was never a terse word spoken to any of them and I simply re cast my line to get out of the way of the oncoming traffic. I don’t expect to be alone on these lakes and I don’t believe I have some divine right to claim territory as has been implied. On the day in question, there were several people who were trying to figure things out and they moved in pretty close in an effort to do so. When you have to watch your back cast as well as pick up your line to prevent being run over, I’d say that’s pretty close on a lake the size of Pass. Did I choose to bitch about it and go home? No, I just went to another area and continued to enjoy my day. If any of the people trying to figure things out would have asked, I would have been happy to share what I was being successful with.

After discussing this with Yellowlab, we concluded there is a message here that could be useful to keeping some harmony on the water under crowded conditions. It is not whether I am the self righteous dickface responsible for Kerry S.’s need for therapy but whether there is a distance anglers should respectfully keep from one another while fishing lakes?

Maybe we're all too focused on the right bug, and the right depth, temp, setting up the boat correctly, without considering some basic etiquette. As a beginning fly fisherman, I was always taught to be respectful on the water and sought to look, listen and learn before assuming that it was ok to fish near someone that was working a run. Often times I was rewarded from a seasoned angler that would waive me over to share a fly, technique or helpful tip that I could enlist in my arsenal. With more and more folks experiencing fly fishing, the pressures on our lakes and rivers is no surprise. There are really no real secret lakes. If there was, you won't see me posting it up on the interwebs. Its easy to point the finger at one person and assume he or she is in the wrong, but I'd bet you if you were prepping to swing a pristine steelhead run and another angler lowholed you, the expression "get used to it..." would not likely be the words coming from your mouth or thoughts.

As long as I've known Jeff, he is not a confrontational guy and has never said a word to anyone who knowingly or unknowingly rowed into his casting space. He'd simply pull anchor, and move to another position. He can catch fish anywhere and is one of the best fishermen that I know and have had the pleasure to fish alongside.

Perhaps, the advent of the interwebs and blogs, forums, shop reports, and media has caused the masses to chase fish based on these reports. Fishing can drastically change from day to day, and the same things that worked one day can be totally be a flop the next. I blog for the sole purpose as a digital journal since my memory isn't very good. Its great for me to look back on the years to see what I've done and where I've fished and recall the photos and videos. This also serves those that wish to share, learn, and love our sport, that might be starting out just as I did when I was a teenager. Blogging is also a way for me to pay it forward just as those anglers before me did when they shared that fly, technique and helpful tip. From one angler to another, lets remember to be respectful to each other on the water. Tight lines everyone!



Indi "Ira" Jones
Fishing can change drastically in a few minutes, not just day to day. I don't use the term you should have been here yesterday, but more the term you should have been here ten minutes ago. I'll be out at PAss tomorrow, I will say hi and ask you how fishing is, I will also willingly share patterns, technique, etc.. Without hesitation to those who ask. I will be in a green Spring Creek pram maybe with my five year old, maybe not. If you are struggling I will also offer to let you share my anchor and cast into my water. Jeff, I'm one of the graffiti folks (why I have first billing, I'll never know), I guess that's what friendly helpful people get.

Jeff Studebaker

Kayak Fly Angler
Thanks to Yellowlab & Jeff for bringing us the rest of the story. I see now my criticism was based on incomplete info. I had pictured Jeff pounding away at the shoal despite a crowd of inconsiderate anglers, steam blasting from his ears as yet another perfect cast was fouled – but that was obviously not the case. Apologies.

Perhaps it was Karma that later that day, I was buzzed by a couple guys while I fished the far end of the lake (with acres of empty lake around us they had to come within yards of me?). My own words echoed in my ears as I gave them a decent imitation of a friendly nod.


Ignored Member
Gee, thanks for your concerns for my therapy needs. You know as well as I the person I was talking about was not you. I figured as long as you were flinging crap at folks someone might toss some your way even if it wasn't directly at you. There are all kinds of people fishing Pass Lake. Some friendly and considerate, some not. Just like every other fishery. Doesn't matter if it is Pass Lake, Lake McMurray, Skagit River, Grande Ronde or any other place. You will find people you like to fish with and people that are assholes or perhaps newcomers ignorant of what is considered common courtesy. I don't let any of it bother me much.

The guy that bitched about me rowing to close to him; I never said a word to him. I just looked him in the eye and kept right on rowing. After a second or two he averted my stare. He knew I didn't care much for his comments without me saying a thing. It was over. I went on with my fishing and I suspect he did also. Don't know which of us enjoyed the day the most. He was the only negative for me the entire time I was there. Everyone else I met on the lake was friendly, considerate and in some cases offered helpful advice. This is typical of almost everywhere I fish whether there are clubs present or not.
When I fish a lake I don't have solitude in mind. Often the social atmosphere is a big part of the enjoyment. If I'm anchored up and am slaying fish I have no problem if someone wants to join in. Hell, tie up to my boat and we can share what's working. That type of thing generally just adds to my experience.
Etiquette taught to me stillwater fishing in Canada beginning 30 years ago includes practices one is advised to adhere to while fishing up there: don't row, set anchor or cast within a full flyline's length of other anglers, whether they are stripping, casting, tying on a fly, eating a sandwich, or staring at an indicator; if you want to listen to music do it back in town; if someone asks you what you are using, you are under no obligation to share information, though doing so can greatly benefit you at a later time; use an indoor voice even though you are outdoors. Notwithstanding all the help and courtesy that has been extended to me and my fishing partners over the years, unfortunately its those incredible moments I remember when I've been knocked off my anchors or rowed into, or when someone pollutes a lake with loud boorish rants, or when somebody doesn't bother to ask if they can cast into an area we've been fishing, or (especially) watching poachers that take the magic out of this past-time. We are supposed to be evolving, not devolving. Never has courtesy or good behavior been unwelcome, especially while flyfishing lakes.


Indi "Ira" Jones
I'm loud, I do not use my indoor voice, I will hoot and holler when fish are hooked by me or others around me, I will laugh and have fun. For me, stiffs are the ones that are not showing common courtesy and etiquette.