Ladyfisher

This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm
June 4th, 2007

Nils' Lake


Surprises are so lovely - well I suppose someone dropping a bomb on one wouldn't be so lovely, but that isn't exactly what one would consider. This surprise was the appearance of an old friend. We've known Nils and his wife a number of years. Best of all we've shared some terrific fishing adventures.

JC hadn't returned from his daily mail run to town, so Nils and I enjoyed a nice visit and a walk around the yard. Since Nils is a local nurseryman, I love to pick his brain on how my garden is doing and he has offered some great suggestions over the years. One of the best was not to try and re-create a 'garden' in my backyard, but to work with nature and what I had, to instead have a 'managed woods.' And that is just what we've done.

Eventually JC returned and joined in the conversation. Turns out Nils was really on his way to go fishing. Pretty short notice for us to join him that day, but he had been trying to get us to come and fish the lake, about an hour and a half from here. We spent an hour or so together, and agreed to join him this week for a go at the lake.

I'm calling this little eight acre lake 'Nils Lake', because it is a private lake, not accessible to the public, and in fact there is no public road to reach it. No fishing access or boat launch. But there are fish. There are about fifty property owners, and they manage the lake to suit their needs. A few years ago someone suggested planted some triploids. Later cutthroat were also planted, and no ones is sure how the brook trout got there. So the menu is varied - good sized, and cooperative.

Tuesday afternoon we drove the required distance north and then out to Nils Lake. We parked our car, rigged up and walked down to a pre-arranged spot. Nils drove a bit farther, retrieved a well-hidden twelve foot aluminum boat and rowed back to pick us up.

Nils rowed, and JC fished from the bow and I from the stern. JC connected with the first fish:

Fish On

And landed a nice cutthroat:

Fish On

As Nils rowed he gave us a history of the lake, manmade, which at one time was a commercial nursery. When it was abandoned the plants went 'native.' So this little lake, at nearly 2,000 ft, has a wonderful assortment of greenery.

LF rowing

JC and I both caught a couple of nice triploids (rainbows) and I decided since we were his guests, and it was his boat, he should have an opportunity to at least cast to a fish or two. So I took over rowing, and Nils used his 'secret' method to catch a nice cutthroat. The secret is a wet fly stripped either right below the surface, or gigged using a retrieve of just an inch or two.

One for Nils

There was an abundance of wildlife. While on the lake we saw a mallard hen and a couple ducklings, a pair of Canada geese with three goslings all out for an afternoon jaunt. A bit later while we were fishing closer to shore, one black and white head popped up above the fronds of water iris. Much like a periscope checking out the intruders. A minute or so later, up comes the second head. Geese do take care of their clutch.

High above the tall tree line, the snow-capped mountains gleamed with the setting sun, reflected again in the water. The surrounding area was quiet and peaceful with an occasional whiff of something sweet on the air. No wind, no rain, barely a cloud - just the sound of the oars - or line quickly disappearing from the spool of the reel.

Between us we caught ten nice fish, nothing under twelve inches, one nineteen. Lots of laughs when Nils got quite a shower landing one of his fish. It really was a lovely afternoon.

I do want you to take note, all of us are wearing life vests. The tan ones JC and I are wearing are fishing vests - but really are Stormy Seas life vests. Very comfortable and just enough pockets to do the job. (There is a Product Review on them here on FAOL).
Farewell

A slight chill in the air signaled time to leave. A few minutes to the 'point' where we started, a shaky debarking back to solid land, fond farewells and Nils starts rowing back to ditch the boat. JC and I walk the short distance back to the car (missed the correct path and ended up doing a little cross-country). Maybe a couple hundred feet out of our way.

The drive home, under a full moon. Perfect ending. Thanks again Nils. We indeed needed that. ~ The LadyFisher

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