This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

October 20th, 2003

Bug Out

Well it really wasn't a bug out since we had it planned, but we did run away from home for two whole days and went fishing! Fly fishing with dry flies on a Spring Creek. Rocky Ford Creek is about 10 miles east of Ephrata, WA and is open year-round. It is fly-fishing only, and totally catch and release.

We had fished Rocky Ford Creek back in May with the group from the Central Washington Fish-In. It's a really neat piece of water with something for everyone. Ponds and streams with a very large healthy population of mostly large Rainbow trout. But they've been fished to and over with probably every fly man has ever devised. Scuds are the fly of choice for most, except for the dry-fly nuts who insist on the experience of seeing the fish take their fly on the surface. That's addictive and once hooked most fishermen don't want to change - even if there is absolutely nothing hatching, falling or laying eggs. The fly boxes are opened, and every fly which will float is floated!

It's well beyond matching the's fooling the fish.

We had made arrangements to fish with "Z" and "Linemender" and it was a wonderful get-away. "Z" had his camper at the third parking lot and it was the meeting point for us all. A couple of others had thought they would be able to make it, but the best plans can and do get changed.

We made it the creek Friday afternoon in time to fish a couple of hours on the first pond, which, by the way, has outstanding handicapped access. There are huge trout in this pond, along with some smaller more 'normal' eight to twelve inch trout. By huge, I'm talking ten-pound trout! I don't know if it is a steady diet of scuds or what the reason is, but the coloration of the trout in "Rocky" is very bright and intense. I took several photos of my husband JC with an exceptionally bright fish, and thanks to my lack of knowledge on the new camera it did not record. A lesson is in order for me on it.

We drove up the road to where "Z" was camped and sat around chatting until the coyotes started singing. We haven't heard that song in a long while, and it was just delightful hearing them answer across the valley. This years pups are still in the 'yip' stage, except for one whose not quite adult voice was a full octave higher than his fellow singers.

Linemender had been there and fished with "Z" and had headed back to Moses Lake where he lives, so we didn't meet up with him until Saturday morning.

We stayed again at the Rama Inn, the Best Western Motel in Ephrata. The Inn is about two years old and very nice. Reasonable rates with all the goodies. We will no doubt say there again in the spring when we get a chance to fish over there again.

Steve Zweber trying to keep the trout out of the weeds

Saturday was warm and lovely. Beautiful fish who were reasonably cooperative helped! The photo above is "Z" (Steve Zweber) keeping his trout out of the bullrushes. Note the tall weeds at his feet - those are growing in the water. No wading is allowed at Rocky, so the choices for landing a fish get real interesting.

Steve Zweber fish in hand

Success, and "Z" with a nice fish in hand.

Linemender told us one of his favorite times on Rocky is winter when the aquatic weeds die off. There are many places you just can't fish because the weed growth is so lush you can't get close enough to the water to land a fish. They will sure take a fly - but unless you are happy with a long-distance release you best find another place to fish.

Quite a way downstream are some small pools where landing a fish is possible. That is where the shot of "Z" above and "Linemender" below were taken.

Cary Morlan fish almost in hand

Everyone caught fish, on a wide variety of flies. There was a mating flight late Saturday afternoon, of very tiny true flies, probably 32's at least. Some mayflies popped off just before dusk and the fish were lined up looking for a spinner fall.

Rising trout - and a real challenge.

Reading the water.

Sit and watch - look for holding lies of the fish, where is the fish rising? Where to place the fly? Opps...drag. Cast again. Make the cast over the weeds, don't hang up on the tall weeds behind you. Mend, mend, and mend again.

What wonderful problems to have!

I must comment I fished a Wally Wing fly (mayfly) with great results, (it's in the Fly of the Week Archives). I suspect the fish haven't seen many of them before - but they sure inhaled it. We picked up a few flies in the shop at the Exxon gas station in town, and frankly I don't think it mattered what the fly was. Getting a good drag-free float seemed to make the most difference.

Obviously we don't get to fish to rising trout with a dry fly often enough - and we do miss it. Big salmon on a fly are exciting, it's fun - but it sure isn't dry flies on a spring creek.

Thanks "Z" and "Linemender" for a very lovely day. We needed that. ~ The LadyFisher

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