Lost Lake Outing

After Friday's wind and rain storm, I figured that Saturday's turnout for the first TU outing of 2017 would be few in numbers.  On Saturday morning I headed West on highway 26 toward the coast and Lost Lake.  As I crossed the summit of the coast rancge at 1,624 feet, snow was scattered on both sides of the highway; new snow - in April.  A few hundred feet below the summit, the snow turned to a rain and snow mix.


I turned onto the Lost Lake Road and traveled the 3 or 4 miles to the parking lot at the lake.  I parked the truck and sat inside with the heater running, listening to music, and watching the snow and rain splatter againist the windsheild.  I suddenly remembered why I had quit winter steelheading so many years ago.


Thoughts of standing knee deep, or deeper in near freezing water, wet and so cold your hand nearly freezes to the grip of your rod, wating for a tug that almost never comes.  And here I am again, suiting up in "new" two room outhouses recently built by the Army Corps of Engineers at Lost Lake.  There was also a new kiosk with lots of information about the area and the work that had been done on the site by the army.


Before launching by tube I had to step aside when a drift boat came into the boat ramp with three men aboard.  The men quickly loaded the boat, and with hardly a work spoken, disappeared down the road.  I just figured they were just cold and wet and hurrying to get into something warm.  But later I was to learn that there may have been more to the 'getting out of Dodge in a hurry' story than I had thought.  That left my vehicle and one other vehicle in the parking lot.  I assumed the other vehicle belonged to bank fisherman as no one remained on the lake.


I kicked out into the lake and let out my intermediate sinking line, dragging a bead head, black wooly bugger (#12).  About 18" back I had tied on a AP Emerger.  The emerger started catching fish apparently the wooly bugger was just along for the ride all day.  Shortly after arriving on the lake, another tub appeared and his rod was constantly bent with fish.  During the two or thrre hours that I fished, I may have caught and lost twenty, plus fish (I lost a lot more fish than I landed) and had endured rain, rain mixed with snow, wind hail and a small spot sunshine.  I had tried pheasant tails, calibaetes nymphs, prince nymphs, wooly buggers and the AP Emerger, with the main stars being the emerger and the calibaetes. 


I left the lake just befre I nearly froze.  While preparing to leave I talked to 'Chris', the other tube drivers and he said he took maybe 60 fish on a dry line, 12 foot leader and a fly that looked like a black leech with a bunny tail size 10.  During my stay I saw only twoo people on the lake, myself and Chris.  At one time I counted maybe, 8 - bank fisherman at most.


When I got out of the lake, I was met by an Oregon State Police officer who wanted to see my fishing license.  He asked me if I had caught any fish and did I keep any fish that I had caught?  I explained that I was there for catch and release only, and I had not kept any fish.  He checked my license then explained to me that they were increasing their presence in the area because of numerous complaints that some fisherman were taking far more than their legal limit from the lake.  He checked the other tube driver who was just coming off the lake, then he left.  While driving home, I began to think of the three men I had seen earlier in the drift boat.  I had assumed they were wet an cold and anxious to go home, or was there something else going on?  It was obvious each of them had a job of loading the boat, storing gear, etc., and they were loaded and gone in under 5 minutes.  At onle point I had asked them how the fishing was and I got a muffled reply of, "yeah, we were fishing".  Other than that, I was a ghost.  When I got home, I called the "Turn in a Poacher" phone number, 800-452-7888, or you can dial *OSP (*677), and talked to the officer who answered the phone and told him my story.  He asked if I had taken down vehicle license number, or boat registration number.  Had I known there was a poaching problem in the area, I would have.  The poaching phone number is now in my phone.  


By nature, I'm not a person who is susipicious of others who might be doing wrong without some justification on their part.  In the future, I will have to adjust my awarenesss level.