Warm in Coldwater

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Flyfishing Dad, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. SUNP0007.JPG Finally decided to take a trip to the National Volcanic Monument for more than the scenery. Had read about the formation of Coldwater lake, been through the visitor center, and hiked the area trails quite a bit with family and visiting guests many times since we live nearby. But never had come back to follow through on exploring the lake with a flyrod.

    Yesterday, Saturday, July 20 just seemed like the right day to try it. My son, now grown and an adult not just "the kid" anymore, along with the friend I've known since 2nd grade and myself were enjoying that second cup of coffee and the conversation of the scrambled eggs perhaps too much. Got the gear loaded and headed too late in the day since we lingered over breakfast. Got to the lake and on the water in early afternoon not really expecting too much since the water was crystal clear and the sun in a cloudless sky seemed particularly bright. It was a very warm day -- felt like about 80-degrees. Debated leaving the waders in the truck, and just going on the floatboat with neoprene socks and short pants with the sport shirt...kept the waders on anyway (good thing since it cooled down a lot toward sunset, but that came quite a bit later.)

    Had an audience at the boatramp getting the pontoon boat and the float tubes into the lake. Two van loads of kids from some summer camp based in California (who acted like they might never have seen a pine tree or a mountain before), several families disregarding the multiple signs in the parking lot and by the lake saying "No swimming," and of course the requisite tourists.

    While launching we notices several fish rising in the boat ramp area, several largish trout taking damsel flies right by shore opposite the boat ramp near the submerged brush piles along the shore toward the boardwalks. One kept aggressively rising beside a twig sticking out of the water about one foot from shore. Had to "investigate" even with the audience we had now accumulated; including the rather loud woman who chose to start up a conversation turned argument with another poor fisherman who had returned from up the lake and was stowing his gear. She took the conversation from curious to rant, and was complaining about how cruel fishing seemed to be, and how cruel fishermen in particular are. Couldn't grasp the concept of hook and release, evidently. "Well, my husband and I tried that. We bought fishing rods and reels once to fish with some friends of ours. But when we'd try to remove the lures or bait most of the fish would go belly up and die anyway. It's a terrible waist, and cruel." The flyfisherman tried to explain that flyfishermen remove the flies a bit differently, and more successfully, often without handling the fish...but she'd hear nothing of it.

    The afternoon turned much more peaceful once she finished here impromptu lecture and left. But I digress...

    Right in the midst of her precious speech, that aggressive fish near the twig engulfed my Royal Wulff Humpy. After a two minute tussle to the wet net, I used my forceps to remove the fly and slipped the 16-inch bright colored fish back into the water who left with a splashy slap of his tail and a dash into the depths toward the brush pile. There were several more rises along that bank, all after damsels, and we hooked and released three more fish there before kicking around the point to in front of the observation deck and boardwalk. There we hooked and released three more fish ranging from 13-inch to 18-inch much to the delight of people obviously not related to the woman at the boat ramp dock.

    Kept kicking past the deck out into the more open water in the middle of the lake there between the decks and the alder lined shore opposite them toward the mountain. Beautiful view of Mt. St. Helens rising above the ridge on that side of the lake. Made for a great backdrop while we settled in to troll the depths with brindled woolly buggers on sinking lines. Kept them on sinking lines above the weedbeds toward that shore, and trolling in a zig-zag pattern from mid-lake toward the hummock island and back toward shore. Never had any hookup if we trolled the other way, always back and forth across the narrow width of the lake rather than long trolls the length of shoreline. After a brief lull we all started catching sizeable fish.

    My son had a floating line with a slow sink tip, while my friend and I were using sinking lines. It didn't seem to matter where we were trolling as long as it was across the narrow width of the lake, not the length. The bite was on, and you would feel several strikes between hooking up with the next fish. They were biting hard and hooking themselves at first, then the bite seemed to go softer toward sunset, but we caught fish consistently through the afternoon and into dusk. Always the same kicking pattern, always on the move, and always on the brindled woolly buggers, black&orange, or black&red. My son did catch some near shore on the same pattern that had taken fish near the boat ramp, but all the others were on the weighted woolly pattern. We each had larger fish strike hard enough that we lost a fly to them. Tippets were no smaller than 4#.

    Smallest fish caught was a 9-inch cutthroat my son took on a dry near the bank in front of the weathered cedar logs on shore. The largest fish was just shy of 19-inches. (Not counting my friend's biggest hookup of the day that was deep bodied, long and dragged out a lot of line, jumped three times, including near enough my boat I could have netted him if I'd have been ready, then threw the hook free on a rather dazzling water-clearing leap into the sunset lighting. The moon had risen over the shoulder of the ridge and was hanging beside Mt. St. Helens while we kicked back toward shore and the boatramp. Made for a beautiful sunset and ending of the day.

    We caught several others after that, but the bite began slowing with the fading light.

    We kicked back to the boat ramp at a slow pace with several more strikes and a couple hookups. Took the boats out of the water accompanied by the splash of rising fish and put away the gear while watching the cove boil with rising fish after an evening hatch. We each had caught plenty of trout, but had elected not to keep any, though the lake rules do allow for keeping one each over 16-inches. Not a bad day's results or conditions for the first visit to the lake.

    We will be going back. Soon.

  2. Great report. Thanks for sharing.
  3. Great report! I enjoyed it.

    Sounds like at least a couple of you were fishing from float tubes. Is that true? Having never been to Coldwater I was under the impression that you needed oars to get to the quality fishing.
    Flyfishing Dad likes this.
  4. You can get to quality water in a tube. You just have to be careful with the wind, it can make it hard / impossible to get back to the launch.
    Flyfishing Dad likes this.
  5. Great report!! Any pics of the moon and st.helens backdropping the lake?
  6. The wind came up both days we went (went again today after posting. Same kind of results and same gear. Two awesome days.) Float tubes weren't a problem as we hugged the shoreline just out past the shallows near the boardwalks heading out (caught several in front of the board walks which kind of caught the interest of the sundry tourists that were watching and taking pics). If we were way out in the middle it was more of a problem, but instead of kicking the lengthwise direction of the lake, kicking across the narrow width worked better, and generally keeps you cross-current of the prevailing winds too. It's kind of like the advice they give from getting out of a riptide current. Don't swim against it or with it; swim at an angle across it and it will eventually spit you out. We did the same directional angle on the wind and had no problems though at one point we had swells up to about a foot high.

    Flyfishing Dad.
  7. I can't find anyone locally who wants to head up there with me (share gas cost, etc) so I'll have to head on up by my lonesome. I can make a day trip out of it, but I might camp out and do 2 days.
    I'm going to be checking the wind forecasts regularly, and try to hit it when its not going to be howling.
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  8. I haven't been up there in a number of years. The trees along the lake have really grown.
    Nice report, thanks for sharing.
    Flyfishing Dad likes this.
  9. I can't find anyone locally who wants to head up there with me (share gas cost, etc) so I'll have to head on up by my lonesome. I can make a day trip out of it, but I might camp out and do 2 days.
    I'm going to be checking the wind forecasts regularly, and try to hit it when its not going to be howling.

    I'd go again, Jim, but the boss probably would appreciate me staying on the job this week. Best of luck.
    Jim Wallace likes this.
  10. Nice report, thanks for posting. Great that you had such a good time. Nice pics, too.
  11. "Great report!! Any pics of the moon and st.helens backdropping the lake?"

    P7200075.JPG P7200076.JPG P7200061.JPG P7200050.JPG P7200026.JPG P7200071.JPG
    Jim Wallace likes this.
  12. Nice pics! Problem is, there just aren't many fly fishers out here in my area who can get away on a moment's notice, based on wind forecasts. In fact the closest one I know who I have fished with lives about 30 miles away from me. Not too many folks I know in my area want to drive that far for C&R (or even 1 retained trout over 16", for that matter, which probably is a good thing).

    No problem heading up by myself. I usually go fishing alone, and I've fished the lake once before. I might not be able to make it up there this week, myself. Trying to make it before the middle of Aug, though. Local salmon and searun cutthroat fishing take over for the next two months after that.:)
    Flyfishing Dad likes this.
  13. I'm working on getting up there this Friday. :) Just for the day.

    If any of those PETA type LMB's get in my face, for starters, I will tell them about themselves and how they perfectly illustrate the "Dunning-Kruger effect." :eek:

    I practiced in the mirror. How's this for a "PETA freak's eye view" of me grabbing 'em by the neck so they don't get away from me while I stand upwind with my bad coffee breath and tell them all about themselves for what might seem like an eternity to them. Thats all SPF clothing, so I can stand there all day. Any pointers on looking "badder"?:D

    Attached Files:

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  14. HAAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAAHAAAAA!.... ROFL. Jim. That look perfectly fits the description you gave! :) You cracked me up with that response and pic. I don't think you'll need worry though. There always seems to be a few tourists there, leaking over from the day use picnic area into the boat ramp area for some reason, though they are separated by a good bit of brush. They wander over anyway. It was just the one woman on her soapbox, with an agenda to push, though no one much paid her any attention. My point-set-match response was to catch that nice 16- or 17-inch trout two feet from shore and about 10 feet away from where she was giving her little rant. Best reply I could have made was to catch it and release it while she and everyone else (some who clapped) was watching.
    Jim Wallace likes this.
  15. Sea run cuts? Now there's something I NEED to learn to do. Don't have much of a clue even where to look, let alone what patterns to tie. Will my standard 7/8 weight 9.5 ft. pole do for casting to the cuts in seawater? Eager to give that a try.

  16. http://www.amazon.com/Fly-Fishing-C...8-2-spell&keywords=fly fishing for cutthtroat

    That will teach you everything you need to know besides those things you will learn from first-hand experiences
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  17. A 5 wt may be just right for searuns, and although you might hook a Coho or summer run, I'd rather try to deal with one of those on a 5 wt than fish for cutts with a 7 wt.
    Flyfishing Dad likes this.
  18. Yo, glad you enjoyed the humor. After reading some news, I'm now thinking of getting a chicken suit, some crutches, and then changing my name to Carlos Danger.:D

    (anyone know where I can rent an SPF 30 chicken suit?)
    Flyfishing Dad likes this.

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