Pend Oreille Fall 2006 Trip
With my son-in-law's cancer battle occupying most of my thoughts these days, I didn't really think I would get to make a trip up to the "Pond" this year.
We had cancelled an earlier trip to BC and Pend Oreille in Oct. when I thought I was losing Albert. He had developed an infection and things looked bleak. The Doctor was only giving him two weeks. After a trip down in early Oct., I repacked and headed back down to be by his side the last week of Oct. He is still pretty strong and fought back to beat the infection. The Doctor was backing off his prediction and we will have him with us for a while longer. These things are hard to call.
I got home on Fri. and talked with "Dink" Werwie to see if he was still game for a short trip to Idaho to see if we could get into the biggest rainbows in the world.
The weather forecast was looking formidable, but you just have to go with what you get in the circumstances I was facing. This would be my only opportunity to squeeze in a trip. We left Tues. morning with the wind at our backs, literally!
For those of you who have never heard about Lake Pend Oreille, it is something that has to be experienced. Some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and home to the gerrard rainbows that exceed 20 LB. The World Record rainbow came from the lake in 1947 and fall derbies produced fish in the 30 Lb. range with regularity in the early 50's.
A few years back, Randi Herron, caught a 40 in. plus Kam that weighed close to 31 Lb. My personal best was a 21 LB. hen back in 1993. I am still looking for that elusive 25 LB. "patch" fish.
As luck would have it, we got up to the lake on the heels of some of the rainiest Nov. weather they have had in years. Many of the local creeks were blown out and all the major rivers were running at the top of their banks.
On Wed. we got on the water to windy conditions and put out some Frisky Jenny bucktail flies on planer boards. This is a very interesting and fun way to fish. In a nutshell, large planer boards are run out to the side of the boat 150 feet from a mast with a planer reel. Your lines, with flies, are put out behind the boat and then attached with small releases to the line between the mast and the board. Picture a close line from 6 feet off the water running out to the board at water level. You can stop your line anywhere along the line you like. With two rod stamps and depending on how many anglers are in the boat, we will run anywhere from 2-4 lines per side, spread 20-30 feet apart. The magical part of the drill is how the chop on the water bucks the lines, thus jigging the flies erratically as you troll along. "Way Cool" as the younger set would say, and very effective.
Back to our first day on the water. It was pretty tough as we only boated 2 small rainbows. The following day was our best action of the trip. John got the biggest bow at 4 Lb. We thought we would probably do better, and didn't even get any fish photo's at all that day. The count for the day was 7 trout with 2 lost. Water conditions allowed us to get over to the Monarch's, but we did best in a run from Camp Bay to Mineral Pt.
We woke up Fri. to more wind than we like to fish in, with my 18.5 foot boat. Mid-lake, where we were fishing, is about 25 miles from the south end and rollers of 3-5 feet can materialize quickly with high winds. In fact we had a rather unusual adventure that I hope to never see again.
With the higher winds, the lines to the planer boards will sometimes drop to a slack position when winds push the boat too far to one side. In this case, when I corrected the boat, the slack line picked up one of John's rod's by the guide. We felt so helpless as we watched the rod sliding down the line away from us. John attempted to retrieve it, but the wind bounced the rod into the water and it looked like his rod was gone (580 feet deep where we were at). During the fiasco, I had grabbed his other rod out of the rod holder and was reeling it in while we tried in vain to get his loose rod back. All of a sudden, I could feel the weight of his lost rod as it drifting to the bottom. I must have pulled the line of his 2nd rod in the path of his sinking rod and the lines were wrapped. As I reeled up, we got hold of his other line and he was soon handlining up his lost rod. The problem was that his drag was releasing line almost as fast as he was pulling it up. Finally, I spotted his rod right behind the boat and reached down and grabbed it near the tip. Boy, did we luck out! His rod, no worse for wear, was back on board and he only lost a couple of hundred of feet of line.
Fishing was difficult for us the rest of the trip. The winds were so high that we were forced to fish the south side of the West bay and couldn't really locate any fish in that area. I think we scratched 2 small rainbows per day for Fri. and Sat. Facing a super windy morning on Sun. with a forecast of a monster storm coming in Sun. night into Mon., we made a corporate decision and pulled the plug on the trip. It was a good call as I found out Mon. night, off the LPOIC website, that the wind reached 50 mph with gusts to 70 recorded. There is always next year and I will probably go back each fall as long as I can still hold a rod. This is such a magical lake that is near to my heart.
Tight Lines, Rick