Fall Edition

Fall Edition
Fall Edition

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The 2010 Eagle Lake Closure - 12/31

My fishing buddy, his loyal blue heeler "Lyle", and myself boarded the craft and set the coordinates for the south end of the landing strip at Spalding, When it comes to Eagle Lake it's like hyper leaping into another dimension of time.  It is such a different world up there high in the ancient basin, and for this time of year it's really cold!  We set out for an undisclosed favorite bucket of Jay Fair, it was -10 degrees out, and a slight wind at 5mph out of the north/north west.  We welcomed the 7am 40 minute walk out to the open water, we generated heat and warmed up nicely.


Freezing fog or "Devil Fog" as we like to call it showed it's ugly face as we got close to the water, this fog penetrates you right to the bone, and every thing is coated in wicked patterns of white crystals.  When your casting out into the water you get a feeling of vertigo, and your face and eyes feel like you've just gone through an orb weaver's spider web out in the woods - It's some seriously nasty fog!

Despite the extreme conditions, we were here to fly fish for the ancient trout.  You could get about 3 casts out before you had to "pop" the ice out of every guide on the rod but the top two that were held underwater.  Full fingered gloves were a must, it's cumbersome to use them but over time they become comfortable and one of your best friends.

Lyle got cold once the warmth of the hike wore off, he made a quick bivouac of gore-tex and foam, then curled up and waited patiently for the next hook up.  He is another member of the heeler/trout dog club. 

The Devil Fog just would not go away, we were catching fish but the iced up guides and full gloves proved to be a challenge.  Jay Fair wiggle tails in Brown, Floro Orange, and Peacock/Black all caught fish.  So did Jay's Trolling Fly #6 3xl in Rust and Copper.  We used 3x today, it was enough of a battle with the elements alone, so using rope sounded like good insurance.

Exposed hands lasted about 5 minutes before stinging pain saturated them.  We would fish for about a half hour before the hands could take no more, then peel our set of "wet" gloves off and put on the thick "dry" second pair.  At this time, and let it be known, I was dancing in place and running around until I could feel my hands and toes.  Where the hell is that sun!

When the Devil Fog finally started to lift, I could see faint colors of blue, and things began to break up around 10:30 putting on a show of up lifting plumes and surrounding misty landscapes.  We stood mesmerized when the sun first hit us, and let the warmth soak deep into our souls.  It was such an amazing event, and now we had a few risers who were also stoked to see some rays of light.  We marched right out there and began to cast with a few hook ups to follow.

I kept two rainbows for the smoker, we hooked 11 fish landing 5 17"-22". 

Lyle was also energized by the sun and was back to his usual ways of stalking trout, and keeping guard of the bucket.  This little heeler is half the size of my heeler and 22 pounds lighter, but he is a survivor, never did he whimper or whine - So loyal!

We had quite a bit of open water in front of us all the way over to youth camp, Fredonyer peak to the east was packed with snow -  I hope this lake comes up at least a few feet this year, since 1997 it has dropped about 10 feet.

About 2pm a stiff wind out of the south had come upon us and we fished until we could take no more.  I fired my cannon, the XP 7 wt. for the last time of 2010 at Eagle.  I gazed one more time and said my good byes and thanks, put on the pack and headed back through the lava beds of powder and ice for the craft - It was time to go.  There is a sense of fulfillment and victory after a day like today, by suffering you appreciate the day, the lake, and the fishing so much more!  Days like today are never to be forgotten.

1 comment:

  1. Jon----I enjoyed your post. Since you live in the snow I guess you like to take it to extremes. Thanks for sharing your mystical experience on Eagle Lake.



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