This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm
May 8th, 2006

A Few Days...

If you emailed or called us in the past few days (Thursday - Sunday evening) and did not get a response, forgive us. We weren't here, and we didn't take the lap-top with us. We really needed a break and the Central Washington Fish-In was the perfect excuse. We stayed at the Best Western in Ephrata again, and they do have free high-speed Internet access in all the rooms. But if we had just checked email, there would not have been much time to fish or socialize. There was over 4,500 in just the in-box. Of course, most of that was 'unauthorized' email, but someone still has to check them. If you haven't received a response by the time you read this, please resend or call.

There will be some photos to come, folks need a little time to download them and send in this direction. But take my word for it, a great time was had by all. We did get to meet some new folks, Robert McAfee and his sons from Idaho, Kerry Stratton and his wife Bobbie and daughter Ember from Everett, WA, and Harlan and Ann from Frederickson, WA. We missed Matt Buechler - (atomic_dog) who had to leave early, and spent just a little time with Jeff Winikoff - (jeffw) since he had to get back home on Saturday. Vicki and Ron Eagle Elk from Yelm, WA (both Chatroom Hosts) were there for the whole time, and Mark Killam drove over from Bozeman, MT and floated the Yakima with "Z" on Saturday. They had an unplanned adventure, which I hope "Z" will write about. We hadn't seen Sooperfly (Angus Kerr) in several years so it was a real treat when he showed up, no rod, just a big camera. Our 'usual' hosts, Cary Morlan (linemender) and Steve Zweber ("Z") provided a home 'camp' at the Oasis Campground and the hot charcoal grill and goodies for our steak fry potluck on Saturday night. Unfortunately the weather turned unseasonably cold that night and most of us headed for a warm bed early.

Several of the folks went over to Stan Coffin Lake for panfish on Saturday, and were rewarded with fish after fish and sore arms.

The weather did co-operate during the days, in fact 70s were average, except for a blustery wind and overcast on Sunday. We fished Friday and Saturday and for a couple of hours early Sunday morning. The fish at Rocky Ford are rainbows, and we were told there are now some pushing thirty-six inches in length! That's a big fish in anyone's book.

Everyone we spoke to caught fish. The photo above is not the best example of how to play a fish. It's me, working at keeping a nice rainbow out of a mass of floating weeds and broken cattails. The bend in the rod is more severe than I would recommend, and it would have been preferred to move downstream to play the fish - there just wasn't any way to get there. Be assured the fish was safely landed and released. The rod by the way is the Sage TCR 5 wt, and it is strong enough to handle the misuse. It's also a dandy rod in wind situations. The fly was a parachute blue winged olive, size 18/20, we're not really sure.

We both used the same flies, although I did hook a couple nice fish with the wally wing which we found so successful last year. There really wasn't any sustained hatch while we were there, but usually a little persistence and good presentation will result in fish. That is JC landing a nice rainbow below, about 24 inches.

It also helps to have some idea of what the fish are eating, and where to be so you can get the fly there properly.

We kept an eye on one angler who spent several hours attempting to fish the same run shown in the photos above. He was standing at the top of the bank, fishing a wet fly, and never had a hit. Had he gotten down lower where he was less visible, and would have a better angle to place the fly considerably upstream from the fish he might have caught one. Sometimes it is hard not to 'suggest' to someone you don't know how to fish. We didn't. If it had been someone from the FAOL group we would have offered to help.

Something to keep in mind, if you know you aren't fishing whatever the fish really are taking, (or using a larger size) look for a piece of fast or riffled water where the fish don't get as good a look at the fly as they may in a slick water situation. It worked for us.

We had a great time, we needed a break and we got it! Our sincere thanks to old friends and to new ones too. You all made it special.

One more thank you - one of the couples who couldn't make it due to a medical emergency, John called to let me know they weren't coming, and let me know they had found really nice local asparagus at a shop between Ephrata and Soap Lake last year. We searched it out and came home with several pounds. Some to eat and some to blanch and freeze. Thanks John.

We felt the numbers of fish were down from last year, but certainly enough to challenge and entertain everyone. We're very lucky to have such an outstanding public fishery here in Washington. If you are able to get to Rocky Ford Creek at nearly any time of the year, do take the time to check it out. There is a huge variety of fishing opportunities to challenge the most sophisticated angler and enough fish to give the newbie a chance to catch a really nice one. Plus there are two handicapped accesses which allow for easy wheelchair use. Rocky Ford Creek is a winner on all counts. ~ The LadyFisher

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