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Lost Lake Update and Hercules Retires

The Troutist - 7/28/2012
After five years, over sixty lakes, some of them several times, numerous campgrounds, thousands of miles on the road, and thousands of hours on the water, Hercules has formally retired from the angling life. He plans on spending his golden years sleeping in, lounging in bed in the mornings and watching Animal Planet, taking walks to the pasture and visiting his horse friends, an occasional ride to the post office and the tackle shop. Hercules also plans on enjoying his office time on the computer doing research and helping mom keep up on the fashion trends with an occasional nap in his over-sized doggie bed.
He will still keep a bit of a social life as he visits the newspaper staff and the DMV three to four times a year. He is also quite a connoisseur and plans on enjoying his deep fried cod and asparagus dinners and at times a dollop of strawberry ice-cream or an occasional piece of strawberry cake. I will admit I miss his company; we used to spend 3 to 5 days a week on the water 8-10 hours a day. He never barked just stayed on his boat cushion and watched stupid people tricks, even I have slowed down a bit with 2 to 3 days a week being enough for me. He still likes to be in the boat as I push it out of the garage and hook it up and especially when I come home and put it away. He is always sure to sniff his boat cushion and make sure no one else has been using it.

Now I know you are wondering why I am writing about this? It is mainly to answer all of the questions I receive about him. The first question I always get even from folks I don’t know is “where is Hercules”? Not hi Wes how are you doing or it is nice to see you. I can always count on the same question, ‘where is Hercules”. Well now I can say he is enjoying his golden years and taking life easy. Something I hope I can do in the very near future. Over the years Herc’s photo has appeared on T.V., websites, magazines, and now a book. He is easily identified by his lime green life jacket and even the roughest looking characters at the ramps have to give him a pat on the head. He is quite the little celebrity and who knows what the future holds in store for him. Maybe he will be putting his paw print on pictures at the outdoor shows I guess only time will tell.

Now let’s get into the fishing report for this week. My guest angler was Don Melendez of Bremerton our destination was Mason County’s Lost Lake. This was the first time this season that I have worked Lost and to say it was a bit slow to what I am used to here is an understatement. The first thing I noticed was the lake was higher than I expected for this time of year with the island at the southern end seeming like it got smaller but it was just the high water mark was very noticeable. The surface water temperature fluctuated from 66 degrees when we started and had risen to 70 degrees by noon.
This was Don’s first outing not only at this lake but also his first experience “Blue Collar Fly Fishing”. Within the first five minutes Don had hooked up with a 3 to 4 pound Bass, I told him we weren’t angling for LM Bass so it must be a hybrid LM trout. It was fun to watch him work the fly rod and reel as he got a feel for it and worked that bass to the boat. Very exhilarating for him and a great experience for him to capitalize on for our Fall outing we have planned for trophy holdovers. This is also the time of year that you start hearing that the lakes are all fished out. That statement is completely false you just have to work the lake a bit harder until you locate them. They are a little lethargic with water temperatures being higher and the oxygen levels being lower.

There are a few little tricks of the trade I use this time of year that helped me hook and release three and take one home for dinner. Now these little tricks take some time to get used to and at times even I blew it. I had to settle down and concentrate on what I was doing. Here are a few things that might help to increase your success rate during the dog days of summer. Earlier and later in the year the trout seem to hit a lot harder and in most cases set the hook themselves and your automatic reaction is to give your rod a quick reef and set the hook. Not so this time of year they are wary and will not expend a lot of energy for a meal, more often than not they will grab the tail hackle and once they feel resistance they immediately let it go.

My solution to this is to ease your rod back to them most times they will hit it a few more times then take it. Another ploy is to turn the boat slowly towards the side the strike came from this will also entice them into a solid strike. The theory here is to keep it in front of them like they have wounded your fly. Now I will admit this takes some practice to over ride your instinct to set the hook once you see your rod go down but with a little practice you can master this technique and I believe you will get the results your after. The second technique I like to employ this time of year is when trolling in my “S” pattern is to make my turns a little sharper, dropping my fly down just a little deeper and bringing it up a little quicker mimicking a fly heading for the surface using the above mentioned tactic in harmony with this.

One other thing I will use if nothing else is working is to slow my troll down by either using a sea sock or a 5-gallon bucket to slow me down just a bit more. Try employing these tactics and I think you will reap the benefits and improve your success rate. Just keep in mind that there are several lakes in Mason, Thurston County area that fish quite well all through the year. I hope these little tid bits help out. I want to thank all of you for reading my column and invite you to join me on my face book page, Uncle Wes. I will also be happy to answer any of your questions on trout angling. So until next time may your next trout be your trophy mount.

Join me on my facebook page Uncle Wes. So until next time may your next trout be your trophy mount. The Troutist-“Uncle Wes” Malmberg.