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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Eagle Lake - A Blast From The Past

Our good friend Tony was camped out in the north lake for a 4 day fish out, he had found the fish and they where only a mile away from his camp. He called us Saturday night and invited Battling Bob and myself for a mid morning to early afternoon bite that was going on in the tulles. We left the house early Sunday morning, it was cold out, as low as 16 degrees. By 9am we were in Tony's boat that sat camouflaged amongst the tulle reeds and headed for the hunting grounds.

The conditions were unreal for sight fishing, like bone fishing if you will.... on the flats. This was trout stalking at it's finest. We anchored in 5-6 feet of crystal clear water, it was sunny, bright, and not a puff of wind to be had. You could spot the large trout coming in at 70 feet away. Their dark backs and shadows really stuck out against the white sandy bottom of the north lake. The fish cruised for aquatic beetles, and dragonfly larva swimming about in the surreal world of the tulles. Sometimes you would be tracking a fish far off the boat when out of the blue a large trout would just appear 30 feet off the boat - they have ghost like characters of nature. Some spooked when casted near, but many came to your bug if they saw it, often you would strip your fly aggressively until a head turned and saw it. Then adjusting to your normal swim strip of the dragonfly the fish would then suck it down. One nice toad Dad caught was so close that Tony and I spotted the fish grabbing the fly, then telling dad to set the damn hook. If this was a paid trip, I would have tipped the captain $200 - Tony's eyes and coaching was a thing of beauty.

With a simple olive mohair bugger, a marabou tail and no hackle (but very fat and heavy) in a size 10 we hooked 11 fish in a little under 3 hours. The rainbows averaged 3.4 pounds and 22". They have been on the small side since the lake has been low for the past 3 years. Once that lake fills a bit, we will have some very large trout in the 4, 5, 6 pound range again.

Dad was in his glory as Tony sighted the fish for him and then casted to the target, all Dad had to do was fool that rainbow into sucking down his bug and setting the hook. For myself it was such a special day, one I might not see for years - It was that good. By the time we got off the water around 1pm it was 62 degrees and very warm, shortly after then the wind picked up out of the west south/west and the sight game was gone. After a terrific lunch provided by Tony, we headed out for home with 10.5 pounds of flaming orange meat of the Eagle lake rainbow - Hands down the best tasting trout on the planet. Dad and I just could not stop smiling the whole way home, even the drive down Hwy. 395 was special with that warm autumn sun on the face and those fall colors glowing in the distance. After eating a fresh deboned fillet that had been cooked with a panco, olive oil, and a fresh made bacon bits coating, we hunkered down for bed with dreams of stalking trout again at Eagle Lake. The lakes natural beauty and the stunning rainbow trout will forever haunt me. I am speechless at the wonders I have seen…

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