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Cloud Sky Natural landscape Plant Vegetation
The Columbia National Wildlife Refuge is beautiful if you're into things like geological ice age flood events. Which, by the way, the IAFI.ORG is having their annual meeting in Soap Lake (complete with dancing Soap Lake boys) this coming weekend. You can see how some of this refuge is channeled from the ice age floods.
Water Cloud Sky Plant Plant community
@Starman77 and I decided to meet up at this small lake on Thursday. I got there before Rex and launched my pram. I wasn't sure what to expect but thought about @b_illymac and his bass fishing when I saw some of the submerged "cover". But this particular lake is managed for trout, sorry Billy!
Water Sky Water resources Plant community Plant
There's no shortage of basalt in Grant or Adams counties. 2o feet off shore I was in 25 feet of water.
Water Boat Water resources Vehicle Boats and boating--Equipment and supplies
Starman77 with one of his many, many trout. It was sprinkling rain when he arrived and I'd had to use my windshield wipers on the drive in. Benefit to using wipers: not much dust on the rough roads. The water was 62F measured at the surface. The air was significantly colder, about 38F at Frenchman Wasteway.
Water Cloud Sky Natural landscape Liquid
No rocks in Grant or Adams counties............. none. One thing Starman77 and I had going for us was "calm" - rarely did we have anything more than a chironomid chop on the water. And as the day went on, the clouds parted, it warmed up and was partly cloudy - or is it partly sunny?

I started my morning using my Echo Ion XL 690-4 with @Stonefish's favorite line, the Rio CoastalQuickshooter (I hoped it wouldn't break as I stretched it to remove some of the memory). I had a 7.5 foot 3X leader and knotted on a "leech" (well, my leech is more like a perch fry fly). As I got past the weedbed and out into deeper water, I cast out the line, laid the rod down inside my pram and made a couple strokes on the oars. I don't think I'd rowed 30 feet when my reel and rod started banging against the seat of my boat. Fish on! First of a few.
Jaw Organism Mesh Snout Terrestrial animal
That first fish was about 18 inches long and nearly as girthy as it was long. And who really needs a 6 weight on Basin trout lakes? I was glad I had it. The fish was strong and had the saltwater rod bent into the cork (and the line didn't break).
Water Boat Plant community Ecoregion Vehicle

Starman77 got to the lake maybe 45 minutes after me. He got busy getting his float tube fully inflated and waders on. While he was doing this, I was busy hooking fish. I think my hook or strike to land ration was close to 2:1 for the day. Not great, not bad.

Once Rex was on the water, he wasted no time at all getting busy. He started out with his I-line and a water boatman pattern but soon switched to his full sinker. Once Rex got it dialed in, he was putting on a major clinic so I too switched to a full sinker and a dark olive simiseal leech with a little UV material mixed into the dubbing. Game on!

Moving around the lake, I measured depths up to 45 feet. At one end of the lake I could hear water flowing (outfall). It was apparent to me the lake had not summer killed (we were both worrying this might have been the case).

There were virtually no insects hatching other than some microscopic midges. I saw no water boatmen, no mayflies, one dragonfly, no damsels. I did see several small flocks of sandhill cranes; sometimes they were hard to spot but impossible to miss their calls.
Water Vertebrate Lake Fisherman Fish
About 1:30 in the afternoon, I realized I was hungry so I anchored up in 25 feet of water. Rigged a small olive jig 18-feet under an Iracator and pitched it out. After making the cast, I laid the rod down, turned around to open my lunch cooler and heard my rod banging around. No visible indicator. Fish on. And so it went for the next 45 minutes. I usually don't need 45 minutes to eat a sandwich, drink a cup of coffee and chomp an apple but when you can't get more than one bite of food before your Iracator indicates, well, lunch takes some time to finish.

The trout in the picture above was typical of the larger of two size groups. The smaller fish were 10-12 inches long (and feisty), the bigger fish were in the 16-18 inch range and bad! They were strong, fat and bent my 5 weights deep into the butt (I had upsized my tippet to 2X fluorocarbon so I could really lean into 'em).

By about 3:30 I was feeling my age and decided to call it a day. I have a little bead abacus I keep track of my "catch" on but had forgot it at home. Pretty sure I had 37 fish to the boat and had hooked or missed about double that. I think its safe to say that the fishing was "easy" and not really any challenge. I don't get it this way very often and fishing wouldn't be fun if it was always this easy. But you know? I do love a day now and then when there is a lot of catching and not much figuring.
Wheel Tire Cloud Car Vehicle

Loaded up, ready to go home.

I had a great time fishing with Starman77. Fishing this stillwater was his suggestion, it was a first for me.
 

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Buzzy, you might go to the WDFW office on Tuesday night. There is an attempt to "standardize" opening days. This April 1st opener lake would be affected. I haven't read the details to see if the CWR lakes are an exception so I plan to be at the WDFW office on Tuesday. If they want to move the opener, move it back to March 1st as it was in the past.
 

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Buzzy, you might go to the WDFW office on Tuesday night. There is an attempt to "standardize" opening days. This April 1st opener lake would be affected. I haven't read the details to see if the CWR lakes are an exception so I plan to be at the WDFW office on Tuesday. If they want to move the opener, move it back to March 1st as it was in the past.
i need to work that day but please voice that for most desert lakes in this area there is very little time to actually fish from the 4th saturday in april until the summer puts the fish down deep and causes near complete mortality of catches. counter productive to both the fisheries and opportunity!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Buzzy, you might go to the WDFW office on Tuesday night. There is an attempt to "standardize" opening days. This April 1st opener lake would be affected. I haven't read the details to see if the CWR lakes are an exception so I plan to be at the WDFW office on Tuesday. If they want to move the opener, move it back to March 1st as it was in the past.
Bill - Are you talking about the meeting for "simplification" of the regs? If so, it's Wednesday night at the Public Works building.... and I will be out of county fishing for SRC/coho..... I hope you can attend.
 

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I need to check a calendar but it's the meeting in Ephrata this next week. Billy, that's exactly what I'm going to say. For those who choose to retain fish the end of April opener is too late. Fish will be "muddy" by that time. I'm all for simplifying things and moving it back to March 1st.
 

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Nicely written report, Buzzy! Here's another fish photo from that outing, to give you an idea of how chunky some of these fish were:

Plant Fish Marine biology Grass Ray-finned fish


I retained two fish; the one in this photo was stuffed with small snails and nothing else. The other was stuffed with daphnia and nothing else. Yet, both fish took leech patterns, showing that trout are very opportunistic at times, no matter what they've been eating. On this outing the fish were very aggressive, sometimes hitting the fly two or three times on one retrieve before getting a solid hookup. As Buzzy said, it was easy fishing, and sometimes it is nice to have a day like that.

By the way, the road north of Lyle, Herman and Quail has been closed for some time due to a culvert replacement, but I tried the road on my way out and the road is now fixed and open, although the earthmoving equipment was still there, so maybe it had only been opened that day.

Rex
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I need to check a calendar but it's the meeting in Ephrata this next week. Billy, that's exactly what I'm going to say. For those who choose to retain fish the end of April opener is too late. Fish will be "muddy" by that time. I'm all for simplifying things and moving it back to March 1st.
 

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Great report Buzzy. The CWR is one of my favorite areas to fish in the spring and fall, I'll be headed that way in a week or two. It's too bad that some of my favorites close at the end of this month, conflicts with bow season. I met you, Rex and Bill a few years back at one of the small lakes in the area. I can't remember having a 37 fish to hand day out there and I've been visiting the area for over 30 years.
 

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There's a lot more to the CNWR than I've explored. It would be nice to be able to drive to a quality lake and launch the pram. For some evil reason I was told about Harris Lake in the refuge back in the 70s. It is a 45 minute leisurely hike from the south side trailhead through loose sand. If you hike hard and fast it still takes 45 minutes. Maybe that's why I haven't been back.

Thanks for the report. Makes me think trout season isn't over yet.
 

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The truck is very nice but the tires SUCK, Ive. Priced some E rated tires this week. Sticker shock!
I know what you mean about sticker shock. When I ordered my truck the tire upgrade was Goodyear Wranglers in load range E. They have the mountain/snowflake emblem on them so they are really winter tires but I run them year around because they are so quiet. At the time of purchase I think they retailed for about $208 apiece but by factory ordering them they cost me about $212 for all 5 of them!

Have you checked Tire Rack for prices? Your local Schwab dealer is going to extract a huge sum for 4 of those, you might want to check your online stores before you bend over!
 
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