After having shaken off the lethargy from lack of sleep after a terribly busy (birthday) weekend, I would like to share a fishing story plus a few photos I took whilst I was at one of my all-time favorite spots to camp and fish at – Trillium Lake, located just a few miles East past Government Camp on Mt. Hood.
Sunday morning started off well enough with waking up at 4am. That part of the plan went well enough. Routines were in place and things were firing on all cylinders, wake up (check), grab clothes laid out the night before and make to bathroom so as not to wake up sleeping wife (check), make thermos of coffee (check), make sandwich (PB & J…of course – check), grab jacket & satchel and head out (check). So far everything went as planned. It was like all the stars aligned to present me with the gift of an awesome day of fishing.
I will stop the story right here and say that on Saturday, while it was raining, I did load up the kayak in the J-hooks on the roof, load the paddle, life jacket, fishing pole and fishing vest containing all my gear and license. I was going fishing come hell or high-water.
I chose the kayak as opposed to my kick-ass pontoon boat because of the ease with which I can load and unload it as well as how quickly and easily it moves through the water. Taking 20 minutes to prep the pontoon boat before fishing was not an option. It is built for comfort not speed. If you recall from one of my earlier posts, the last time I went fishing and not catching. I was determined to not have that be the case this time. I wanted to hit the water as the sun lit up the sky and those minutes were precious dammit.
Back to the story…I was on the road by 4:30am and the darkness is still complete outside. It felt like it had rained during the night but wasn’t at the moment. I headed out and made my way to McDonald’s to grab some hot chocolate and a sausage biscuit as well as making change to pay the $5 day-pass fee for the days activities. Money well spent. It rained off and on while I was driving but stopped about 10 minutes before I arrived at Trillium. NICE!
The road was quiet with but for the occasional traveler seeking their own destinations. I made good time and was happy that the sun had not yet reached the treetops when I finally made my way into the day use area at Trillium Lake. I paid the day-use fee and made my way to the boat ramp to offload the kayak and gear. Once complete, I drove the short distance to the parking lot and parked making sure I had left nothing behind. On the walk back to the kayak, I stopped at the restroom one last time before boarding my mighty water craft and taking to the water.
Still the sun had not arisen yet. This is good for as soon as it was light enough to launch, I would be doing so. As I arrived at the kayak there were a couple young gentlemen taking pictures of early morning Mt. Hood. The top of the mountain was obscured with clouds but the lower parts had some amount of snow already. Winter is coming.
Soon I had strapped on or stowed all my gear in various compartments on the kayak, put on my jacket, life jacket and fishing vest over all, climbed inside the kayak and launched as the sky had started to lighten. Perfect timing!
As I launched and for much of the day there was fog on the water. It was a marvelous spectacle to witness. I made my way out to the far side of Trillium between the 2 beaver lodges that are prominently featured on the lake landscape. The only sound was of my paddle entering the water and the water dripping off it when I would just glide into the slightly obscured perfectly smooth water.
Once I felt I was in the right spot I turned the kayak so as to face the boat launch and have by back to the beaver lodges. The sun had by this time lit up the sky but had not come over the tops of the trees yet. I unhooked my fishing pole and was getting ready to bait my hook when on silent wings a bald eagle quietly swooped over the water, zoomed in on its target and in one practiced move claimed the first fish of the day. It was truly magical. All I could do was stare in wonderment. You see this image or scene play out in pictures or OPB specials on t.v but to witness it in real life is something else altogether. A buddy of mine said to me last night at bowling that the memory of that scene will stick with me more than if I had taken pictures or a video of it. After initially thinking he was wacked out of his gourd, I got to thinking that maybe he was right after-all. Some things really just need to be experienced and documented only with our eyes. I am not sad I couldn’t share a pic of the bald eagle with you (okay maybe a little bit) but maybe you will just have to go up to Trillium Lake or wherever your favorite avian watching spot is and experience your own magic.
After the moment passed, I finished baiting my hook with rainbow power-bait and cast my hopes into the water. I think maybe I cast a hook too. I then took to unhooking my thermos from where I had tucked it under one of the nylon stretchy chords that run the length of the kayak and poured myself my first cup of the day. I hadn’t taken 3 sips when I got my first (of many) strike(s) of the day. I sat my cup down grabbed my pole that had been balancing on my lap and the lip of the opening on my kayak and waited. As soon as the next strike happened, I yanked to set the hook. My action was rewarded with my first FISH ON!
The next 2 hours were very similar to this; I re-baited my hook and cast into where I thought looked good and poured another cup of coffee. Time after time I was interrupted from my morning cup(s) o’joe and would set the hook and reel in another fish. It was rough! 😉 I did come up to Catch after-all.
In contrast with my last fishing adventure, where I didn’t even get so much as a nibble, this was glorious fishing chaos. Your line would tangle and you would grumble and swear at the duplicity of 2 separate lines, one having the weight and the other the hook, getting tangled when they knew as well as I did that every moment they weren’t in the water that the fish were swimming right past were they would have been had they cooperated just a little bit and not got tangled. My word, it’s like 2 little kids that get started shoving each other. Neither one of them want to stop getting in the others space. It’s all terribly exciting. It keeps the adrenaline flowing that’s for sure.
I even managed to lose my entire rig once when as I was casting. The bail of my reel flipped over and stopped the line from coming off the spool in sudden and dramatic fashion after one spectacular cast. Off my line went sailing connected to both my weight and hook. Sadly there wasn’t anything I could do to retrieve it. I spent the next 20 minutes setting up my rig again. You may be thinking why it would take such a long time to do this simple task. The answer I would give is that I have no steady place to do this from. All my gear is in my fishing jacket and after I get one thing out, say like my pocket knife to cut excess line with, I have to place it back in the pocket from whence it came and move onto the next thing. This all so that nothing would fall into the water from the kayak moving at my slightest motions.
This went on for too brief a time before I was heading back to the boat launch. As I beached the kayak and was heading back to my car I ran into another angler getting ready to go out in his own flotation device. It was like a chair that you say on and propelled with your flippered feet that dangled in the water. As I got closer and was about the make some small talk, as I am want to do, he glanced up presumably to do the same when we recognized each other almost instantly. It was a co-worker of mine. After a minute of chatting, another co-worker and his companion for the days activities joined us. We all chuckled about the coincidence. The first co-worker continued to ready his craft and the other would be fishing from the dock. I said I would join him on the dock for a few once I stowed all my gear.
After dealing with my gear and once again parking, I joined my co-worker on the dock. There was one other person there fishing too, a women whom I spoke with as I was just making my way back to the boat ramp from my initial outing. Then she had asked what I was using and had I any luck etc…The sorts of things you ask another angler. This time she told me what she had been trying…with no luck.
A few moments was all it took for the bug to bite me and back to my car I went to retrieve my pole and vest. I set up on the dock closest to the boat ramp and without any real expectations of catching anything. Soon I found myself reeling in four more fish, the largest being 14 inches in length. Everybody was agog at my luck when they hadn’t even caught one during this same stretch of time.
Soon they were asking what bait I was using and what type of setup I had. I was happy to share. The woman that was fishing alongside who I chatted with earlier asked if I minded that she move closer to where I was and cast closer to where all the fish were coming from. I said I would trade spots with her because in all honesty, I was a little embarrassed and my great fortune thus far.
Soon after this conversation another gentlemen showed up and started to catch fish. I must say I was a little relieved. I even moved spots and changed bait and had more bites but no more fish. I think there were some logs in front of where we were fishing for three of us had fish strike our hooks and then after we set them the fish went somewhere, presumably under this phantom log, where the line would snag and eventually snapped. THREE of us had this happen. It was odd.
About noon I wrapped up with nine fish in tow. Their sizes were 1 x 17 inches, 2 x 14 inches and the rest were between 9-11 inches. It was glorious.
I stopped off at a small food-mart on the way home as is tradition to grab lunch consisting of a few Jo-jo’s, a chicken strip (with ranch to dip in) and a coke. My fishing excursion was now complete. It started to rain about 10 minutes after I grabbed my traditional fishing lunch. Poetic!
After getting home, I put all my gear away, hung up the kayak in the back yard, cleaned all nine fish, placed them in freezer bags and stowed them in the freezer.
Peace be with you!
More to come…