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Drove to Couer d'Alene on June 29th and returned to Seattle on the 3rd. The drive over was cursed by the need to service my truck's dying alternator in the town of Vantage. Fortunately, it responded to the punishment and abuse of a combination wrench applied with battering vigor. Aside from a reminder administered in Spokane, I was able to drop off my rig the next morning with a service station in Couer d'Alene.

The first night was spent hanging with my friend, Dave, who I hadn't seen in about seven years. Much beer was consumed while I tried to remember songs on my guitar and he followed on mandolin.

The next morning, after dropping off my truck and visiting a local flyshop, was spent on the C&R section of the North Fork of the Cd'A. An awesome stretch of water that is maybe 1/2 to 3/4 the width of the Yakima. Many riffles, pools, and deep runs that looked fishy as all get go. Very sophisticated trout when being harrassed mid-day while fighting a hangover (this proved to be my "go-to pattern" M-W mornings--the hangover). The best I did was a squawfish brought to hand and a rise and refusal by a lunker trout hiding in a deep run located against a cliff. The flash made by the fish's rolling looked like it was made by a big salmon dodger. My nerves were so jangled that, had the fish struck my fly, I would have certainly spazzed and pulled the hook out of its mouth. I had some other stikes by other trout, but always failed to hook-up. Stinking jaded fish. Still, actually _seeing_ a big fatty rise and refuse a dry was far more thrilling than blind hits on a woolly bugger.

After we left the Cd'A and stopped at a tavern and grill, I realized I had dropped my wallet. It was about 6:00, so food had to be canceled. I did find my wallet--it was where I was standing when I got that rise and refusal. During the drive back down the river, it became obvious a massive hatch was going off--and we were driving away from it all! :beathead All the smooth runs looked like it was raining rise forms. :bawling

The next day was spent on Brush Lake, a trout lake north of Sand Point. Sad to say, I realized late that I forgot my floattube fins in my truck, back at the service station. The upside was that I had to share space in my friend's boat where all the beer was. :beer2 His little skiff was tricked-out with an electric motor linked to a computerized auto pilot system that he invented. :smokin

We first trolled the lake, him using a gang troll and me using an olive and black woolly bugger behind an intermediate line. He marked fish shallow, so things were looking good. Surface water was in the mid-60's. After C&R'ing a couple of 10" planters and Dave keeping a 12" 'bow, we dropped anchor by a beaver lodge and a weed bed.

Here, I redeemed myself from the previous day. Just about every cast either drew nibbles and strikes or a fish to hand. I couldn't believe my friend failed to bring his fly rod, as wet patterns were working way better than bait or hardware. Later, I figured out that Dave saved his fly rod for C&R waters. I ended up keeping one 12"er for my half of dinner. One odd thing about the fish we kept. My fish had orange meat, while his had white meat. Both were about the same size. What gives? Was one a recent stocker and the other was a carry over?

The following morning, we camped along the Priest River, below Priest Lake. We spent the day fishing Dusty Lake, primarily a bass lake. I failed to catch any trout, but the bass were biting. My first came on an olive and peacock Carey Special. Maybe 3 or 4 lbs. I had my float tube gear in order that day, so I did have more options. I ended the early afternoon with four bass and one large bluegill C&R'd. Pretty fun! Oddly, it looked like I did way better than anyone else on the lake.

The evening was reserved for the Priest River. The stretch around the campgrounds was running a tad fast--faster than jogging, but it did look fishy enough. No hatch was going on when I started, so it was "guess the match" time. Nothing worked. It wasn't until the shadows started gathering did any action begin. It was this mix of small caddis and some mayflies that pulled me away from working streamers and nymphs. I found a Harrop deer hair mayfly pattern in one of my boxes that I had tied a couple of years ago but never had the opportunity to fish. Sure enough, on my fourth cast, right where I had seen a fish rise earler, I finally got my first rise and strike! I freaked. I struck so hard that the 6 incher got pulled straight out of the water and flew right past me. I think its eyes were as big as mine. Lucky for the fish, it landed in water with the fly popping free at the same time. Not long after that, I lost the fly and called it a day, joining Dave back at camp. We polished off the few remaining beers and munchies while jamming on guitar and mando. All in all a pretty entertaining time.

The next morning, since I was able to retrieve my truck two days earlier, we packed up and I drove back home. I think, next time I do this again, I'll find a way to break up the return trip. The seven hours from the Priest River to Seattle left me too thrashed to even think about hitting the Yakima or even Rattlesnake Lake. :rofl
 
G

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Great trip! You were up in my neck of the woods. If you like nice water, you MUST check out the St Joe! We floated it 2 times this past weekend (Bluff Ck to Turner Flats) and caught all kinds of Cutthroat up to 16 inches!
Good luck to all!
 
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