This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

May 3rd, 2004

CWFI '04

Opening Day '04 for my husband JC and I here in Washington state was the Central Washington Fish-In held this weekend at Ephrata, WA. Cary Morlan (Linemender) and Steve Zweber (Z) again were the hosts of the event - and made sure everyone knew where to go and what to use.

Andy Simon

The semi-official count of folks attending was 33 and included two teenage boys from our Chat Room, (Johnathan Sherwin - (Foo) and Andy Simon - (winston1m6)) and one younger boy, (Taz) who with his dad's Jim tutoring managed to catch more fish than his dad! Cool stuff. Seeing the youngsters work on their casting and competing with each other on their fly tying is a great indication that there are kids who will carry our love of fly fishing on. Jonathan's dad, Bob and Andy's dad Tom are just great dads!

We left home on Thursday and met up with some of the early arrivals at the Oasis Park the same evening. We stayed at the Rama Inn, about a mile from the Park. People trickled in on Friday and some even on Saturday morning. Everyone made at least one trip to Rocky Ford Creek, which is fly only, catch-and-release fishing for mostly Rainbow trout. Stan Coffin Lake was the destination for those wanting to fish for bluegills and bass - and the lake was very co-operative as well. The weather was actually a bit too warm during the day (hit 90 on Friday) and some of the folks who fished the lake had never targeted bluegills before and one, Steve Zweber mentioned he was laughing the whole time. He had a blast! Probably won't be the last time he spends some time non-trout fishing. Nice to expand ones horizons.

I had the pleasure of baptizing my new silk line, and actually had a couple nice furled leaders to try with it. Kathy Scott send a couple along with some neat information on making them (stay tuned) along with a CD she and her husband are producing for those wanting to make furled leaders. Bruce Harang (halcyon) also had one for me to try - and it really preformed wonderfully.

Because of various work schedules we didn't have everyone in one place at the same time, but as the week goes by we will try and have some photos of as many of those who came as we can. We did have Bob Byles (Silverback) come from northern California, and Jim Anderson (Montana Muddler) drove all the way from Billings, Montana to make it. Most of the rest were from Washington, including Dr. Bob who treated everyone with malted milk balls. The story only works if you were there, so don't miss the next one.

JC and I both did some actual fishing - as opposed to running around taking photos of the folks fishing, and we both caught some very nice trout and had a great time.

I do want to mention something which I hope will be of interest. The boys did catch fish, and they changed flies a lot, hoping mostly to find something which would turn the fish on. And we were told Andy actually caught a fish on a grasshopper he dragged, (really) across the surface of one of the small ponds. The first week in May isn't grasshopper season, but we'll grant the kids some credit for trying to make something work.

Our approach was exactly the opposite. We missed most of the actual hatch this morning, but the blue-wing olives did come off as they usually do on Rocky. The way the place is allows the larger fish in particular to cruise the stream looking for food. They do move about a lot. JC had decided the fish would still recognize that profile and take it as though a hatch was still in progress, although it had quit a bit earlier. I used a really small gray Wally Wing with great success - it fit the size and the profile and the 'take' was absolutely classic. Or as Judge Judy would say, "Perfect!"

I don't expect the boys to understand all of that yet - but with the experience they are getting, just imagine what their success rate will be when they put all the pieces together! Exciting stuff!

Saturday evenings at Fish-Ins are becoming a bit of a tradition - at least for the Washington and Idaho Fish-Ins. It is a pot-luck, bring what you want, very informal - and always too much good food! Richard (REW) cranked up two of his Dutch ovens with barbequed ribs and German sausage, there was a pot of excellent chili, hot dogs, Stephie with oysters, both raw and grilled with garlic butter, salads and dips and even two kinds of pie.

I just have to say something about the outstanding fishery at Rocky Ford Creek. This is Public Water, managed by the State Fish and Game, with access in part via the courtesy of the Trout Lodge. As I mentioned it is fly only, catch-and- release - and also it is a non-wading, non-boat stream. I'm told the mud bottom in some places is nearly as bad as quicksand - we'll have an article in the next couple of weeks about a mis-adventure there. But the fact that such a fishery exists - and is not private or pay to play is just outstanding. A tip of the FAOL hat on this one!

We are tentatively planning same time, same place next year, so if you haven't been able to attend this one before, you might give some thought to late April/early May next year. But, there are a couple of regional Fish-In's still happening this spring. The Deerfield River Regional 'FISH-IN 2004' is May 15 - 15 in Charlemont, MA, and the Roscoe NY Fish-In is Monday, May 31st through Sunday, June 6th. Both are listed on the Fish-In menu with complete information.

The 'official' FAOL Fish-In is at Lowell, Idaho, Sept. 19 - 25, 2004, and is also listed on the Fish-In menu. As always, everyone is welcome, there are no fees, auctions, charges or registration for any FAOL event. We do ask though if you plan on attending any of these events, let me know and I'll put your name on the "Going List."

We had a great time with great folks, as we always do. It is such a treat to put faces on names we haven't met - and to renew friendships with old friends. Campfire conversations are wonderful!

Hugs all until the next one. Hope you can join us! ~ The LadyFisher

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