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Name: Twin_Forks_Guide Date: December 18, 2014 Lake Name: Secret  
Time: Members Only. Bait: Members Only. Tackle: Members Only.
Color: Members Only. Target: Members Only. Method: Members Only.

I hate to make my first post to this site be secretive but I will tell you it's a lake close to home. (I live in Shelton).

After chasing some steelhead the last few outings with no luck, I thought I would go check out an old haunt I haven't fished in a while and it turned out to be an alright choice. Caught these two and released two more casting rooster tails. Hoping for a steelhead somewhere tomorrow.

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Name: Mike Carey Date: December 16, 2014 Lake Name: Secret  
Time: Members Only. Bait: Members Only. Tackle: Members Only.
Color: Members Only. Target: Members Only. Method: Members Only.

Not a LAKE it's a SECRET RIVER...

Today I had the pleasure of fishing with guide Ryan Hung of Reel Priorities. Like many of you I’ve enjoyed his positive, informative, and teaching fishing reports he has posted on WashingtonLakes. He definitely knows his steelhead fishing techniques and locations.

Our destination was a “local” river (if you can call driving a few hours local). At his request, the river shall remain a secret. That said, our adventure will be coming soon in a video to a YouTube near you.

We couldn’t have asked for a better day to fish – overcast, which kept the temps a very comfortable mid to upper 40s, and no rain, until the very end of the day as we headed home. The water itself was in pristine condition with four foot visibility.

Ryan rigged me up with one of his homemade jigs in a color he said “the steelhead having been killing this one”. His first cast, hit and a miss. My third cast, missed a head shake. Let the fish rest a couple minutes and… Float Down! First fish of the day and it isn’t even full light yet. My first fish was a feisty 3-4 pound hatchery buck in beautiful steelhead colors.

Each hole Ryan guided me to he mentioned “it seems like if we don’t hit a fish in the first 3-4 casts we won’t hit one in the hole”. This proved to be very true throughout the morning.

After moving a couple holes downriver I had saw Ryan’s float disappear from sight. Giving him an alert “bobber down”, he quickly turned and hookset a solid buck, this one much bigger, in the 5-6 pound range. Playing the fish through multiple runs Ryan did a tail-catch and brought the fish to shore to be kept for him and his girlfriend’s dinner. Thanking God for the fish and perfect morning, we continued downstream.

The next drift was just begging to hold a steelhead. It was a classic fast headwater leading to a deep slot against brush and treed shoreline, and ending in a log jam 30 yards downriver. We made several drifts with nothing to show for it. I decided to take a chance with my float and let it drift right up to the edge of the log that lay sideways to the current. “You’re a risk taker Mike”, Ryan said – and just then the float went down and I felt a solid fish shaking its head at me. I set the hook and the fish leap high into the air, twisting and flipping around. At this instant my bail decided to pop open - a most inopportune time! I closed the bail quickly but it was enough slack time to give this fish its freedom. Sometimes the best memories aren’t of the fish we catch, but the ones we loss. This fish encounter was the highlight of the mornings fishing trip.

That was it for our morning of fishing. Each of us was one for two and we carried out a couple nice fresh steelhead to be enjoyed for dinner.

If you ever have the opportunity to fish with Ryan Hung do it! He knows his fishing and was a pleasure to fish with. He is very generous with information and good company to share a river with. Hiring a guide for streamside angling is a different concept for a lot of us – “where’s the boat”? I would dare say I learned more in the four hours shore fishing than on most of my guide boat trips.

Ryan can be reached at (425) 420-6049, and his web site is http://reelpriorities.com/

Thanks Ryan!

*Underwater shot with a REEL Camera HD Slayer in underwater mode.

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Name: djw0414 Date: December 07, 2014 Lake Name: Secret  
Time: Members Only. Bait: Members Only. Tackle: Members Only.
Color: Members Only. Target: Members Only. Method: Members Only.

This is actually a secret river report. I know without a location it is a story not a report but here goes.

I went with a buddy on a guided fishing trip on Thursday which started out very slow in the first location which has always been a solid producer. We thought we would really be working for our fish which is fine so we we left the first location and started down the river when the guide said "Hey, let's try a couple casts into this little back eddy before we push on". We moved closer to a little cove with a swirl that was no more than 10 yards long. Maybe good for a fish or two. We figure out the current and start twitching our jigs under the rock wall and bang, double! Wow!! He moves us over to the other side of the river to land them and moved back over to the cove. Two more casts and bang, double. Are you kidding me? Guide moves us over to the other side, lands the fish and back to what we are now calling the Hot Tub. Two more casts, bang, double. All the fish were 10 to 15 pound coho with a mix of native and hatchery and we were starting to fill our limits of hatchery fish. Several more trips to the hot tub produced our limits and we ended up with six double hook-ups and a few singles which somehow seemed disappointing. We normally wouldn't keep our last hatchery fish this early in the day because we wouldn't want to quit fishing but we were totally satisfied with all the line-screaming brutes we had fought and the last hatchery fish was a bright 15 pounder so we bonked it and rowed the last six miles off the river. The most memorable hour of fishing I have ever been a part of. Tight lines!

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Name: Westside Angler Date: December 04, 2014 Lake Name: Secret  
Time: Members Only. Bait: Members Only. Tackle: Members Only.
Color: Members Only. Target: Members Only. Method: Members Only.

Haven't post in a while, but the calm-crisp-sunny forecast got me thinking about cold water crappies.

Headed to one my stomping grounds in Sno County lake, got my inflatable out to where I knew the hangouts (15 - 20 ft), drop anchor & cast 1/64 oz crappie jig/ straight line to bottom (I.e. no bobber), twitch twitch twitch - Bam!!! Style.

Lots of actions, fished from noon to 4pm, kept 13 fish ranging from 8" to 13"

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Name: whorde Date: November 23, 2014 Lake Name: Secret  
Time: Members Only. Bait: Members Only. Tackle: Members Only.
Color: Members Only. Target: Members Only. Method: Members Only.

I really dont like to do Secret Lake posts. If I could trust that all forum members were ethical, I wouldn't. But having seen a forum member blatantly snagging coho, and then still snagging when he hit his limit of snagged fish? For the sake of certain fisheries, I think Secret Lake is best.

That being said, today was a magical day. I'm not the sort of man who uses terms like magical, but I really can't think of a better way to describe it.

My day actually started very, very early. I was dragged out to a dance club last night by my friends and didn't get home until after 3am. I was meeting Mr. B at the park and ride at 6:15. Ok no worries, I'm not a little baby, I can handle this, so I get my phone out to set the timer to 5:30 and ... my phone wont turn on. I look over at my alarm clock, suddenly remembering that it is broken and I never replaced it. Being of sound mind, I turn on my computer and send Mr. B a forum message!

I plug my phone into the computer to see if it will charge, and it turns on. And then turns off. And then turns on, and turns off. Over and over.

With a sigh, I leave it cycling on and off and go to bed. "you must be up in 90 minutes, you can only sleep for 90 minutes" I keep repeating until .... I open my eyes. I get up and see the phone is not cycling any more. I turn it on ... it's on, and it's 5:15 am. Sweet! Go go internal alarm clock successfully going off in 90 minutes! I set my phone alarm for 5:45 and go back to sleep haha.

So I'm up at 5:45, and I'm dragging. It's bad. I send Mr. B a message that I'm going to be late. No response. I eventually get to the park and ride at 6:38. I'm 23 minutes late. Still with no response, I call Mr. B and .... HAHAHAHAHAHA I wake him up! After all that making fun of his buddy for sleeping in yesterday and missing the trip to Lost Lake, he does the same thing today! He says he'll be there in 45 minutes. No problem I tell him, and promptly fall asleep. I wake to his phone call that he's there. We pack up and off we go. Our 6:15 departure has become 7:45, but obstacles overcome, we're on our way. By the way, when I left the house, it was RAINING. It wasn't fooling around. And when I woke up in the car? It was still raining just as hard! Fortunately we have a pretty easy hike planned today, and shore fisihing.

We park at the gate and by some miracle the rain calms down, and then stops! An easy stroll through the woods later we arrive at the lake. This lake is much more shallow, so instead of worm on bottom we're going worm on bobber. Snag immune, and in this lake, same depth presentation. Mr. B is rigged up and starts fishing. Foolishly, I am not rigged up. I throw on a Castmaster really fast. Something huge rises right in front of us. Last time here, I had a first cast fish on and it was a beauty. I go with my fav 3/8ths perch pattern Castmaster for max range, cast out, and ... BAM fish on! Sweeeeet! I talk trash to Mr. B ..... as usual, prize for first fish (our prizes are just trash talk rights) goes to me! And it's a great fish. Solid 12+ inches.

There's been a couple more massive risers. A couple casts in that general direction and ... damn, my lure stops and I set the hook anyway. Bad call. My fav Castmaster just drilled into a snag. I sigh. THEN THE SNAG SHAKES IT'S HEAD. It's my thicker rod, with 12 pound test, and the bend in it is HUGE. It still looks like I'm pulling on a snag, only the snag is bouncing! My comment, probably yelled, is not repeatable here. Mr. B looks over from his position 40 feet down the shore, and his reaction to seeing my rod bent like that ... also not repeatable on this forum.

There is a bit of a battle, but long story short, look at the picture. I had just caught a coho, in a little shallow lake, out in the middle of the woods. Now we didn't have to speculate what those huge risers we'd been seeing were. We knew that salmon were in the creek leading to this lake, as we'd seen them in the past. And we knew that the lake had really nice cutts in it, which I had already proven. But to catch a salmon, in the lake, and have it actually HIT the Castmaster? (Castmaster clearly visible under blade of grass in pic) We MIGHT have done a little victory dance. I mentioned that we had been at the lake 15 minutes and could quite legitimately just declare victory and leave, and really, no one would be able to argue the point. Needless to say, we most certainly did NOT declare victory and leave. We thanked the Fish Gods and got right back to casting!

We talked about the fate of the coho. It was about half colored ... as seen in the pic, it's red on the back, but very much not red between the back and the blush on the gill plate. Certainly not fire truck red. Mr. B declared it would still be edible with that amount of coloration. And due to our delicious lunch the day before, this time we came prepared to cook with my mini propane stove. Having absolutely fresh salmon on the shore of a subalpine lake, out in the woods in the middle of nowhere ... that has a "special memory" rating of maximum, on whatever scale you choose to employ. Quite possibly a rating of "once in a lifetime". Careful examination of the fish showed it still firm. No overt signs of deterioration. But as I was looking at how it was hooked, I noticed 3 weird looking growths inside its mouth. I've seen a lot of coho as a kid. I had never seen such. Mr. B took a look and suggested it could be something called tapioca disease, and if that was the case, the already potentially suspect meat could be completely ruined and we would have slaughtered a gorgeous fish for nothing. Discretion being the better part of hunger (we had half of our planned cutt lunch already after less than 15 minutes of trying), we sent the coho back into the lake to make babies.

At this point I felt it was more than justified to stop casting and set up my bobber, which I did. After all, I had already won first fish, most likely locked in biggest fish with ... let's say a 3-4 pound coho. And we were having an awesome time, immediately upon lake arrival, AND we weren't getting rained on!

The exact order of things is a blur, but I think Mr. B caught a cutt on a spinner, then another on the bobber and worm, then one flycasting. At some point I caught another cutt, and then Mr. B caught another cutt, putting him to 4. His were just monsters, all in the 13+ to low 14 range. I picked up his stringer of 4 fish and it was just absurdly heavy for a 4 cutt stringer. During this time, Mr. B had 2 MONSTER bites, both of which rolled and spit the hook. He said he saw the flashes when they rolled and both were clearly cohos sized. I had one go full on Jaws that was clearly a coho. I saw something overtake my spoon about 10 feet off shore at high speed and hit, miss, and turn. Flashed clearly a 16-20 inch fish, so surely a coho. The spoon was maybe 10 inches down, and when I saw the hit I started, then aborted, setting the hook, so the spoon was dragging on the surface as I reeled. Then, have you seen the videos of the guys using the bass surface lures to catch coho? Just like that, shoulders pushing a wake on the surface, the fish charged the lure one more time maybe 7 feet off shore, struck again, and missed again. I was sad it didn't hook up, but man, what an amazing thing to see in person. Again, in a little tiny lake up in the woods in the middle of nowhere. We both caught and released one or two little cutts (in this lake, anything under 11 is "little" and we throw it back), it was maybe 1pm, and the bite had REALLY slowed down. A coho would rise periodically and we would cast at it, but they were now ignoring us.

I eventually did catch a 4th, on the worm and bobber. It was my biggest. I tried a silver Vibrax for a while when they entirely stopped hitting my Castmaster. The ignored it also. Eventually I went to my last resort lure, the ridiculous clown lure I sometimes deploy in Greenlake. Much to the irritation of Mr. B, that was how I caught my last fish haha. I ended the day with two nice cutts, 13+ inch, and 3 smaller ones in the 11-13 range. Mr. B ended the day with a much bigger lineup. In the second pic, taken when we stopped for lunch after I limited and Mr. B had bonked 4 since we were about to eat two of them, his are on the top and mine are on the bottom. But there were no losers today, despite our contests. In reality, I'm like Mr. B's 3rd arm. I'm an extension of his knowledge, with just a few tweaks of my own. So Team Us scored two limits of cutts kept with one fish 11 inches and the rest 12-14+, one coho landed, and 3 legitimate coho strikes that weren't landed. We caught fish flycasting, on spoons, on spinners, and on bait. The sun came out quite a bit and we didn't get cold. The rain was only two brief sprinkles, compared to the usual full on torrential downpour it usually does on us. And we ate delicious native subalipine cutthroat trout on the shore for lunch. AND we left early and got back to the cars BEFORE dark!!!!

I thought the brook trout experience two weeks ago would be a 2014 high for awesome. Perhaps a multi-year high. But as it turned out, I only needed to wait two weeks for the Fickle Lady Fate to remind me that SHE is the one who makes that decision!

As usual, if you somehow recognize our location, please respect our choice to Secret Lake this report.

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Name: whorde Date: November 16, 2014 Lake Name: Secret  
Time: Members Only. Bait: Members Only. Tackle: Members Only.
Color: Members Only. Target: Members Only. Method: Members Only.

Fresh off last week's AWESOME trip to this lake, I decided I was going again this week. See, after about 1 day I forget about the brutal hikes and the hours of rain and just remember gorgeous brook trout, and lots of them.

Well, this week it didn't rain. In fact it was gorgeous and sunny! But I got wet and cold nonetheless. I'll get to that later.

The trip almost didn't happen, as Mr. B is out of town, and the force of nature wasn't feeling well and bailed the day before. After much contemplation of brook trout vs potential cougar attack, I made the obvious choice - I tried to find a way to drive in before just hiking!

I studied Google maps carefully and chose an alternative logging road that looked promising, and it was going GREAT .... right up until the large pile of boulders that had been bulldozed onto the road. So I turned around and was rolling out by 8:15 am from the usual spot. Knife *in hand* as the cougar is not going to just waltz up and say ... "hey bro, I'm about to attack, so get that knife out of the sheath and get ready". Remember my raft had to be abandoned out there on the last trip, so as long as the raft is there, I decided to hump one of my batteries out there to see how practical it was so next time I could take it and someone else could carry the motor, motor mount, etc, and we could just hit the lake in style!

Well, let me tell you - all my usual gear in the backpack, plus 25-ish extra pounds of battery? O-M-G. It sucked, BIG time. My shoulders were burning in perhaps 5 minutes, as the battery was heavy enough to pull my backpack down enough to shift too much weight off of my hips. And since I"m not a hiker, I dont really understand backpack adjustment. My solution? I ran all the downhills on the hike to get it over faster, both out and back, and took zero rest breaks. I just monstered it. Which sucked at the time, but my inner mind cost/benefit analysis determined that the only benefit to a rest break would be to .... time shift the pain? Which accomplishes nothing in the long run. One of the benefits of being powered by an unlimited fuel tank of rage is that while I care how much it hurts, hurting doesn't stop me. Most of the time. Long story short - I'm not humping that battery again unless other things come out of the backpack.

So I get to the lake and I'm too wore out to mess with the big raft. I dont have the motor anyway. So I use the battery to inflate my little raft! Examining the patch I put on to stop the slow leak last night, all looks great, and I slap on some waterproof tape I'd bought just to be safe. I do not try any casts off the primitive dock, as it's all frosty and I'm just not willing to be that guy who falls off the dock in 25 degree weather for NO REASON whatsoever before even getting a chance to fish. But I see regular splashing just off the dock in the same general area we got bites last time! I inflate the raft and begin fishing immediately in the same honey hole we had so much success at last week, using the same lure, perch pattern 3/8ths castmaster, although it's bright skies and clear water instead of downpour and dim. On the other rod I have a silver vibrax. Half a dozen casts in I have a great bite, fish on! But it shakes the lure while still deep enough I can't see it. A few cast later, another bite! Sweet, this is going to be an awesome day! Few more casts, bam fish on again and this time it's in the boat. The usual ... hahaha, "usual" 11-12 inch gorgeous brook in full spawn brilliance. My stringer is still at the bottom of the lake from last time, so this time he just goes in the bottom of the boat. (editorial note - remember, brook trout are not trout. they slime up like they MEAN it. easily 3x the slime of a rainbow) I cast for about 5 minutes more with nothing, alternate with the vibrax a bit, still nothing, so I figure I"ll let them rest and begin working my way up the lake alternating lures. I can always come back for the 2 that got away later. I get to the pile of sticks that was the edge of the hot zone last time and decide to let them rest, calm down, and I'll just troll up the lake. I notice my knee is wet. Weird I think. Must have got some water in the boat when I landed the fish. I put on a little tiny dick nite spoon which was really good in Lake Smelling last week, and a fire tiger rooster tail and start rowing.

And rowing

And rowing

I get clear to the end of the lake without a bite. I see fish on the fisherman's TV, both at top 5 and bottom 5 feet of water, but they're not buying what I'm selling.

The wind has finally stabilized in a fairly favorable direction, so I switch back to the castmaster and the other pole gets a whole nightcrawler on about 30 feet of line. Down the lake I go. I'm getting nothing casting at the shore, or out toward the middle. At one point I'm seeing tons of returns on the bottom, so I try jigging the castmaster. No bites, and the wind is pushing too hard to jig successfully anyway. I throw toward the middle of the lake and wait a 12 count, see if that wont work instead. All of a sudden I feel something! And .... it's the contender you see in the pic for the All Time category of the My Eyes are Bigger than My Stomach award. But it's a brook trout, in the boat, and that makes 2. Back he goes and I keep casting.

Eventually I switch the perch pattern castmaster for chrome/blue. Nothing. By this time I have determined that it's not just splashing that's getting me wet. There is a LEAK in my rubber raft somewhere! By now, both knees are wet, the water has gotten into my boots making my feet wet, and it's wicking up my thighs! It's COLD kneeling in water in sub-40 degree weather for hours! I've drifted over half way back down the lake by the time I can't take it any more and row back to where I started. I try the silver castmaster, nothing. I switch back to perch pattern. Please, fish gods, just one more (how about the one I had on half way to the boat earlier), and I'll pack up and go home. Nope. The fish gods have forsaken me. After 20 minutes throwing the lure, I finally give up. The dock has unthawed and dried out so after getting my legs moving again, I throw off the dock a bit, into the wind so not good range. Nothing. I snag a huge wad of discarded line. That's an awesome thing to retrieve in a lake out in the middle of nowhere. Sigh. I wish I could look back in time and find who threw that garbage out there so I could kick them viciously in the nuts. So after launching my raft to retrieve my lure and the wad of crap, I deflate my raft, pack up all my stuff, and head out. The nightcrawler got not even a nibble after an hour+ in the water, which I find unbelievable in a trout lake. The rainbows must be in hibernation. Or given the pic showing how brooks act, maybe the brooks ate them all haha.

Putting on that heavy pack to hump that battery out? SUCKS.

So I pound my way out, knife in hand and ready for battle just like on the way in, but the cougars do not volunteer.

Oddly, all those pieces of my motor mount I lost last week? I cannot find a single one of the nine. But I do pick up about 5 pieces of the skid plate from Mr. B's roller luggage that we tore to shreds last week, and take them home to dispose of.

Humping that battery was a real challenge. I had to go to my emergency rage fuel tank - bringing up old memories of people who have screwed me over in the past. As usual, since rage is the most potent fuel in the universe, I persevered. But it was hard. I had dry socks and shoes which was awesome, but my pants were still wet and cold even after stopping at a put and take along the way home and getting skunked (the fish gods really DID forsake me!!!), and then stopping at Fred Meyer for fried chicken, my go to "OMG IT'S FREEZING" snack. But at the end of the day? Brook trout for dinner makes it all worth while. Turns this 2 star rated experience into a 4 star. Even in the face of spontaneous cramping in my legs as I write this hahahaha. Sigh. It's 9:30 and I'm falling asleep through a full can of rockstar post hike. Or I would be, if I didn't cramp up every time I shift my weight! Good times, and tight lines!

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Name: whorde Date: November 12, 2014 Lake Name: Secret  
Time: Members Only. Bait: Members Only. Tackle: Members Only.
Color: Members Only. Target: Members Only. Method: Members Only.

Our weekend started Saturday - you can read posts from Lakes Julia and Smelling. So on Sunday, beat up and tired already from the day before and minus the force of nature to help carry things, Mr. B and I set forth on our most ridiculous adventure yet. If by some miracle you didn’t find us completely insane already, this should fix that. The force of nature, by wisdom or luck, chose to not accompany us this time.

Sunday was a day of polar opposites. It was a day of great tragedy and great triumph.

Mr. B has a favorite lake with rainbows and brook trout in it, which is about a 3ish mile hike without terribly much elevation gain. This is my first secret lake post. If you want to know where this actually is, you can ask Mr. B I suppose, good luck with that, or really, go fishing with one or the other of us a few times and get to know us. Then, if you aren’t a baby who can’t handle rain and suffering, we’ll take you places! If you think you know what this lake is, please respect our choice to not name it.

Even after a brutal, wet, cold, dirty crawl through a ridiculous jungle briar patch yesterday, today we had scheduled to PULL my 5 man raft, 2 batteries, electric motor – the whole nine yards, on a 3+ mile hike to fish for brook trout. That’s right. My raft … I don’t know how much it weighs, but it is substantially heavier than a 45 pound plate in the gym. So Mr. B had that in a roller luggage, along with all his gear. I had the batteries (let’s say 25ish pounds each), the motor, the oars, and all my stuff, in a backpack and on a collapsible hand truck. I’m estimating we had 70 pounds each to pull, give or take, plus our backpacks.

So this road we pulled the gear on is not super hilly. But it’s a crushed rock road. Rocks up to 10 inches or so, buried in sand/dirt, so it is pretty chunky and uneven in a lot of places. Mr. B’s roller luggage was dragging over some of the rocks instead of rolling, which was fine until the skid plate broke off. My hand truck rolled easier with bigger tires, but was tippy on the uneven rocks. Did I mention it’s raining?

So we make decent progress, get a third or maybe half way there, and suddenly see …. 3 of the 4 clamps have rattled loose from my motor mount and are gone. Not good! We look a bit, but they’re small grey plastic pieces somewhere in at least a 1 mile brown and grey crushed rock road. Resolving to hold the motor mount to the raft with fishing line, we soldier on, paying more attention to the gear. Oh yeah, and it’s raining. Then we get to the main hill climb, where of course the rocks are bigger and the smooth spots are fewer, finally get over that, and come to some flooded areas of road which can’t be tiptoed around. I put on my waders. Mr. B plows through in shoes. It stops raining. We hike the final stretch and arrive at the lake. We’ve made it!

I’ve kept my pants hiked up, so my chafing from yesterday is pretty calm.


So we decide to rest a bit, maybe it will stop raining so we can launch raft in peace. I grab my rods and head to the primitive dock. I’m excited. I’ve never caught a brook trout before. Mr. B tags along. I utter prophetic words, “Today is a great day for beginner’s luck”, start throwing a castmaster. He doesn’t expect we’ll get anything as it’s more shallow here, and last time he caught fish on the far side of the lake in deeper water. Third cast BAM strong hit. He grabs the other pole with the roostertail and starts casting. Two cast later, fish on the castmaster! I land my first brook trout ever! Really nice 11 inches give or take. It is just as magical as the pictures I’ve seen. How a fish can look like it comes from a special effects studio, but actually be real, blows my mind. Mr. B let’s me know that brook trout are mostly, duh, in brooks, so a lot of people would consider a brook trout pushing 11+ inches to be a trophy. But he makes sure to point out that he’s caught them in this very lake up to 14+ inches give or take. In any case, a few more casts, no more bites, the rain lets up a bit so we go to launch the raft.

Oddly, the floor wont hold air. I know it had a pinhole leak a week ago. I look where the spot should be, but wow, it’s much bigger than last week. Maybe half the size of a dime. So I bust out the patch kit, we go cast some more on the dock, come back, start to inflate it, and hmmm …. Bubbles from underwater? So we turn the raft over, and WHAT IS THIS??? There’s a hole in the bottom of the raft the size of a quarter!!? This makes no sense. I had the raft out a week ago, it had a pinhole leak, now it has TWO craters in it, as if I had dropped it on something sharp! Well, thankfully I have half the patch kit left, so we patch the bottom and wait. An air test shows both are holding, at least for now, so we load minimum gear and hit the water. It’s pushing noon. We met at the park and ride at ten minutes before 7am … 5 hours to get in the water haha. Sigh.

By the way, it’s raining again.

So we troll … I go with a different spoon that Mr. B has recommended, and a wedding ring with a few split shot. Mr. B goes with a diving lure and a wet fly. The wind is swirly, it’s raining, we troll to far end of lake, zero bites. Mr. B has almost been defeated by the weather and asks for my umbrella. We troll a bit more, still no bites. The wind finally stabilizes direction, we go back to far end of the lake and start floating back toward the launch. At this point, we’re drifting 2 worms, I’m throwing the spoon, Mr. B is huddling under the umbrella. He doesn’t have his rain slicker, I do, so I’m cold but he’s borderline hypothermia. The umbrella is keeping him in the raft. Finally the rain kinda lets up and I deploy the depth finder. Lake is 20 feet on far end, slowly down to about 30-35 feet, and then slopes up to about 10-15 feet deep by the time we get to casting range from the primitive dock we started at. Lots of returns at top and bottom five feet of water. TONS of returns. Still no bites. We are baffled. The lake is swarming with fish, yet with multiple methods tried, we haven’t even gotten so much as a nibble. Too cold? Too stormy? We saw risers as we launched, right before the downpours started. I switch the spoon to weight and worm to drag the bottom. STILL no bites.

We finally drift almost all the way back down to the primitive dock, it’s maybe 100 feet away. What the heck says I, so I switch the bottom dragger back to the original castmaster I had caught the fish on. Few casts, and BAM FISH ON. Another really nice brook trout 11-12 inch range. I put it on the stringer. After two+ hours without even a bite and pounding rain, then the rain finally lessens up a bit and I got a second brook, this re-energizes Mr. B. We both have no shame, so he does exactly what I would have done and switches to the closest castmaster he has to what I am using. We keep drifting, I get a 3rd, a little one maybe 8 inches, throw it back. My day is already made. Never caught a brook trout before, now I’ve got one to eat, 2 more released, AND Mr. B is down 3-0 and trust me, I make sure to point that out haha. Just as I’m doing this, BAM fish on for him and it’s a monster! Pushing 14 inches! So much for my trash talk.

Well, time passes, I catch another couple small ones, Mr. B catches another 13-14 inch, he’s definitely winning on biggest fish but for the first time ever I’m not just way ahead on total but actually holding that lead, especially when I hook up another in the 11-12 range, which puts me at 3 keepers (although first from dock released) and another 4 or so released due to being small. At this point there really isn’t any reason to have the depth finder transponder in the water, as all we’re doing is casting toward the lily pads so depth doesn’t matter. But it’s in the water. As I’m putting the second fish on the stringer, the stringer is looped around the transponder, so I’m fiddling with it and some how the stringer line slips out of my hand, and is gone.

I think my heart stopped. I know I couldn’t breath. Two gorgeous fish, not only lost, that I really don’t care about as I can always catch more fish, but wasted. That is what was so agonizing. If I take them and eat them, that’s fine, but just wasted? And nothing I could do. There’s no way they’ll live on a stringer. It takes me 10 minutes to recover. Mr. B points out that the one I just put on the stringer will eventually work itself free by pulling against the other, which makes sense, and that makes me feel slightly better as now only one will die. And who knows, maybe it wont. After all, in Bosworth I caught a fish that was gut hooked, some idiot cut the line above the snap swivel, then the fish swallowed the snap swivel creating a loop, pooped out the snap swivel, and was slowly cutting itself in half with the loop of line. And then bit my worm! So maybe a stringer through the gill plate wont kill the fish. Or maybe it will at least spawn first. Anyway, I’m beyond upset. I eventually pull myself together. We keep casting.

Time is running short. Mr. B catches another a little smaller, maybe 12. Yeah, his “smaller” brook is “only 12”. I catch another similar. We talk about the time, it’s 3:15, we need to wrap this up. He has 3 on board, I have 1, I’ve released a ton, ok ok a couple more casts, and BAM my rod is buried. Mr. B sees a flash and just about jumps out of the raft. I’m focused on reeling, but I can tell by his excitement level that this is no normal fish. I finally get a good look and I’m thinking what the heck is this, a spawning sockeye or something? We land it, and it’s a wide, thick, fifteen and a half inch brook in full spawning glory. We look at each other, declare victory, and head for the launch.

You might think I would end this story here, with a pic of our combined keep of 5 brook trout (of 13 caught) from 11+ to 15.5 inches, which from what Mr. B tells me is so absurd as to defy most people’s belief, with me catching not just my first brook trout ever but bringing a limit’s worth of keepers to the boat and a second limit’s worth of small ones, with a lifetime trophy brook trout, with winning first, biggest, and most against Mr. B, certainly a first with that! ….. but no. Our day was far from over, so this story must continue.

It starts to rain hard again as we pack up.

Then we notice … one of the wheels on Mr. B’s roller luggage is about to fall off. We’re 3+ miles from the car, on a crushed rock road, with 70 pounds of junk to haul in this luggage, and …. it’s broken. It can’t be fixed. We have no options. I’ve got the batteries, motor mount, motor, oars on my hand truck. So my raft, in his broken roller luggage, have to be abandoned. We leave them behind a tree until we can go out again and figure out what to do about it.
By now it’s perhaps ten after four, it’s heading toward dark, and we have to pound out 3 miles of treacherous terrain, pulling a handtruck with 70 pounds, as fast as we can. Because last night Mr. B got chewed out by Mrs. B for being home after dark! Can we make it in 45 minutes!?

Hahahahaha. Not a chance.

The way out to the lake was slow, but I could maneuver around the rocks with plenty of light. The way back it was dark. I’m just pounding the handtruck. We’re making good time though, probably almost half way, but the ropes holding everything together are unraveling. We retie. At one point the motor is touching both terminals of a battery and starts sparking! We retie and fix the problem. I’m finally just beaten to a pulp, so Mr. B starts pulling. The hand truck keeps tipping on uneven rocks, the batteries slide off to the side (roped on so can’t fall out) and every time they do that, we have to stop to reset them or it makes the tipping 10x worse. Finally the oars go in my backpack, I’m carrying the mount and motor in one hand, we’re CARRYING the handtruck with both batteries between us. My shoulders are on fire. Mr. B is built heavier than I am, so he’s not suffering as much. We’re stumbling over rocks in the dark, it’s raining, I’m exhausted and cold and soaked despite my slicker, finally we pound to the end of the trail, drop the gear, walk to the car, drive it back, load it up, and we’re off.

I don’t know if Mr. B got chewed out by Mrs. B for getting home after dark or not. But I am quite pleased with myself that I went fishing with a much more experienced fisherman, and out of all the stuff we both tried, it was me that found what worked. That means to me that I’m not a trout idiot any more – all of Mr. B’s lessons, what to use, how to use it, when to change, observing conditions … all lessons have been successful. And also, I caught perhaps a lifetime best brook trout, which was certainly the most gorgeous fish I’ve ever caught regardless of size. And certainly will be delicious also, if the smaller one I had for dinner that night is any indication. That brook trout tasted amazing even on the same plate as cutthroat from Lake Smelling, which was awesome in its own right. So I’m going to focus on the positive, rather than the horrible nightmare of the lost stringer. Accidents happen, so I can’t dwell on the loss. My only other regret is that I don’t have a posed pic with the monster brook, just pics of the fish on the ground.

Long story short – never, never, NEVER try to haul a 5 man raft and gear over 3 miles of rough terrain. Ever. Take it from me. Mr. B and I are maniacs. We do what others can’t and/or wont do, and we do that for sport. That’s what we seek out. And between the ridiculous crawl to Lake Julia Saturday, and this absurd idea to haul a 5 man raft 3 miles each way Sunday, we swore to never do either again. We will be back to this lake, as we need to get that damaged 5 man raft out of there even if we have to chop it into pieces. But next time we’re taking 1 man rafts in our backpacks. Even we can learn our lesson.

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Name: Mike Carey Date: November 10, 2014 Lake Name: Secret  
Time: Members Only. Bait: Members Only. Tackle: Members Only.
Color: Members Only. Target: Members Only. Method: Members Only.

This is actually a Secret River Report:

Gringo Pescador and I got to fish with Ted Schuman of Winter Run Guide Service today as he taught us his highly successful technique of twitching for salmon in the river. I was introduced to Ted by outdoor writer Jason Brooks who has also fished with and learned a lot from Ted.

We met at the boat launch at crack of dawn, fishing out of his very comfortable 17 foot heated Willey drift boat. After launching the boat Ted broke out his custom made twitching rods from North Fork Custom Rods. These are 7 foot rods specifically made for twitching. I can tell you they do the job excellently and make twitching as comfortable as it could be. We were twitching 5/16 to 3/8 oz River Bend jigs.

The technique Ted uses for twitching is rather unique, but not overly difficult to master once he demonstrated and guided us. We were twitching and learning specific holding water in no time.

Ted guided us down the river hitting various spots he knew could or would hold fish. In no time Gringo had hooked a couple fish, including a drag screaming monster of a chum that came unbuttoned after a 50 yard run. That fish was heading back to the ocean!

We finally found a honey hole that held numbers of fish and started filling the cooler. Highlights of the day include a close to 15 pound brute of a hook nose Gringo caught, and a chrome bright 10 pounder for me. Throw in a couple more nice silvers and several big bad chum and it was a day to remember.

Always nice to learn a new fishing technique (of course, now I need to buy another specialty rod, LOL). Ted was great fun to fish with and very patient with anglers new to twitching. Sorry we lost as many jigs as we did Ted. Another highlight of the day, Ted’s wife makes the anglers homemade brownies and Ted heats them up in his Willey’s pizza oven. Hot brownies on the water, yum!

If you want to learn this incredibly effective method of fishing and have a great day on the water, contact Ted at (253)961-5312. Check out his web site for more information:Winter Run Guide Service

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Name: Rippasher06 Date: October 19, 2014 Lake Name: Secret  
Time: Members Only. Bait: Members Only. Tackle: Members Only.
Color: Members Only. Target: Members Only. Method: Members Only.

I fished up at my secret spot on the Mogollon Rim. The lake is not a secret, but I have a secret hole in one of the coves, that limits us out every time. I love the lakes up here, and the camping is nice and secluded. It is nice to finally have cooler weather, because it was a long hot summer down in the valley. Worms and mellow are always the ticket for my brother. I prefer my home town Pautzke eggs. It does not take long for the trout to sniff the bait out, and they hit one after another until you are tired of catching them. The lakes up here get a couple thousand fish every week or two during the stocking season, so we always land a large holdover of 3+ pounds each trip.

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Name: Rippasher06 Date: October 19, 2014 Lake Name: Secret  
Time: Members Only. Bait: Members Only. Tackle: Members Only.
Color: Members Only. Target: Members Only. Method: Members Only.

I had the chance to fish one of my favorite areas today. It had a few trout in some of the holes, but the scenery always makes the trip worth it. I was throwing spinners, and free-drifting Pautzke Green Label eggs. Fish were not the biggest, however they are bred a beautiful color.

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