As you could see from my photo, the ice is definitely off on Leech Lake, although there is still some snow on the ground in spots. The gate is still closed, so you have to hike in, but it is a short hike. Had a gorgeous day, with only 3 of us on the lake, and no mosquitoes yet. The water was a surprisingly warm 54 to 55 degrees F; I was expecting it to be cooler with all the snow melt. The water level was high, but the water visibility was excellent. The fish were scarce (the lake hasn't yet been planted with the triploids); I landed two 17 inch rainbows that carried over from last year's planting, along with six Brookies in the 13 to 15 inch range that fought a lot better than the rainbows. Not sure where the usually numerous smaller Brookies were hiding, but I'd rather catch a few larger Brookies than a bunch of smaller Brookies. The only hatch of significance was of large caddis, but as far as I could tell the fish were not interested in the caddis. I only saw a half dozen fish rise all day. In the weeds near the edge I saw lots of small waterboatmen and a good number of damselfly nymphs in all sizes. All the fish I hooked were on my waterboatman pattern.
Even the fish weren't that numerous, it was worth the drive just for the scenery along the way:
Well, since relatively few fly fishermen seem to use a waterboatman pattern, I feel I have to put in extra effort to utilize this under-used fly pattern to balance out the universe. And just to prove Billy wrong, today at Dusty I caught most of my fish using a baitfish pattern. The waterboatman "hatch" is pretty much done on our desert basin lakes, but still going strong on the high elevation lakes, like Leech or the BC lakes.
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