Probably, My last Trip of the 2013 Trout Season
I had not planed on making this final trout fishing trip of the season. John, a friend, proposed the outing because Ron and Spencer had fished Edison lake the week before, and they had seen a healthy rise of fish on the Portal Forebay on the drive out, at 4:30 in the afternoon. That was at the tail end of the last warm spell we have had, and it has cooled off considerably since then. The Forebay is located at 7,180 feet above sea level. It is a 25 acre, 40 feet deep, artificial lake, constructed by California Edison Power Company for electric power purposes in 1955, and is presently being planted with rainbow trout on a fairly regular basis through the summer months. The lake has two inlet creeks, at least one of which comes down from a brook trout inhabited back country lake, so there are also some brook trout to be caught in the lake. And at some time in the past the Forebay had brown trout stocked into its waters, so there is also a small population of browns to be had, although they are seldom caught. It was 30 degrees and about 9:30 in the morning as we pulled up to the lake. There had been some snow on the road going over Kaiser Pass - at 9,100 feet, and there were still snow patches on the shaded side of the lake. There were also infrequent rises of midge feeding fish to be seen, mostly out in the center of the lake.
Ron set up his western 3 Wt. with floating line and a Zebra Midge on the point of his leader, and with a Red Brassie on the drop. John's Yamamme rod had a Red Brassie on the point of the leader on his Rigs Floating T-line, and a floating CDC (It Ought To Be Outlawed) pattern on his dropper. Ron waded out on the shallow alluvial shelf that lies between the two incoming streams that feed the lake, in addition to the underground tunnels that feed water into the power development system from the much bigger Florence and Edison Lakes, and promptly caught a nice rainbow that rose within casting distance of him, on the Zebra Midge Pupa pattern.
John also set up a western 3 Wt. in addition to his T-gear, but the first fish he caught was a nice brook trout on the T-tackle, on the Red Brassie point fly. He inflated his raft eventually, and he and Ron took turns fishing from the fin and rowing propelled little boat, both casting and trolling. Both John and Ron lack the confidence they need to try catching fish with out indicators. Ron started out and caught his first fish with out an indicator, but when things slowed down they both put indicators on their western outfits, which caused much casting disturbance and frightened the fish I am sure in this case. I believe I did better than they were able to do only because of the more delicate presentations I was able to make with my Tenkara tackle and no indicator.
I had brought my FishCat float tube along, but I was too lazy to inflate it and put on my waders and fins, so I elected to fish from the much warmer shore, with my Nissin SP 390 rod, Rigs Floating T-line, and an Orange (size 12) Midge Pupa to start, which eventually scored 2 rainbows and 2 brook trout for me. Later, I switched to a size 14 Zebra midge, and it produced a couple of brown trout. This was across the face of the earthen-fill dam and about two-thirds of the way around the North shore of the lake. By this time the wind had come up, and a size 12 Two-Toned X-rated Ant pattern produced 5 additional rises, but only one more landed and released brown trout. All of the fish I landed were spotted in advance and cast to far enough a head of the fish so as not to frighten them, so that the fly would cross their line of travel at or only slightly above their eye level by the time the fish had intercepted the fly. On the deeper and shady side of the lake I saw no fish at all to cast to. Both John and Ron had some additional fish on but were unsuccessful in landing any of them. And that was all she wrote for the day for all of us.
On the way down we stopped at Rancheria Creek to view the Kokanee below the power house coming up the creek to spawn out of Huntington Lake, the most exciting part of which was seeing a 20 inch rainbow attacking the Kokes, trying to knock eggs out of the females for it to eat. I got home just before 5:00 that evening. It wasn't the end of the season that we all had hoped for, the stream fishing season closed the 15th, which was yesterday. But it was a good enough day that had been spent with friends doing what we all love to do most - fish. So far this fall has been almost totally dry, so things are not looking too good fish wise for next year at this point. Hopefully, that will get better as time goes on. It is kind of sad when the fishing season goes out on a wimpier rather than a more successful outing. But sometimes you just have to make do with the best you can get, and hope for a better future to come....Golden.