Since leaving WA in March 2011 for AK, I suffered through several weeks of cold, snow, ice and cabin fever. All I was able to do was check in on my WALakes family from time to time, checking fishing reports on all my favorite lakes and spending some time on the forums.
The ice lasted a couple weeks longer this year than usual, but when it finally disappeared I hit a couple local lakes. The fishing was incredibly slow but I did manage my first arctic char. Just like eastern WA rainbows, these fish are fans of chironomids. While it was awesome to catch a new species, I knew I was still suffering WA state withdrawal symptoms! A half dozen char over three days does not even come close to what I remember from Amber, Medical, W. Medical, Coffeepot, etc.
However, all the withdrawal, frustration and cabin fever was erased in a 2 hour period today, when I made my first fishing trip to an ice-free stream known as Piledriver Slough! Located just 7-8 miles from the house, it has earned a special place in my heart! Just a week ago it was high and muddy from the run-off. But today it was crystal clear and full of grayling that had moved up from the Tanana River. These fish are voracious, fearless and make cutthroat trout look picky! Not only did I get my first arctic grayling, I got my first 50. No kidding, in just a 50 yard stretch of river, it was fish after fish after fish. My little 8' 3-weight was doubled up all afternoon as grayling from 10-16" attacked any nymph thrown their way! They're the ultimate beginner fish, easy to catch and forgiving of presentation. If I had stayed I could have had an honest 100 fish day! Incredibly, if I found a dozen fish in a seam I could literally catch every of them. When that hole died, I'd move 10-15 yards to the next and start over again!
Sorry no pics......I had no idea what i was going to find. I WILL have a camera next trip!