The Central Washinton desert is a
heven for a vast selection of stillwater fisheries, especially when
you consider the warmwater species. The inhabitants of these lakes
typically include; Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Bluegill, Carp, Perch and Sunfish
and the occassional trout.
Many of these lakes will put your fly fishing skills to a test, especially in the early stages of spring when water temperatures can swing several degrees during a 24 hour period. Determining ones success can lie solely in ones ability to get the fly to an adult age class fish. Some of the most popular times for fishing
the "Desert Lakes" is the spring months of April, May and June. These are target times for catching big largemouth bass during their
pre spawning sessions.
Most people that haven’t fished for bass are under the impression that these unique species of fish are the dumbest and the easiest on the planet to catch. They’ll hit anything in any color, presented in any old fashion way. This fishing fabrication is the farthest from the truth. During your fish career, both Large and Smallmouth Bass can be some of the most challenging fish you will ever pursue especially with flies.
During these months there are two scenarios that occur. The Largemouth hold in the deeper, darker water of
many of these lakes. Some prefer embedding in the swallow water that is covered by the tall, thick Phragmites grass that surrounds many of the lakes perimeters. These Sudan Grasses provide cover for fish as well as providing some wind breaks on days when protection from the desert weather may be needed.
During the spawn, males guard their spawning beds from raiding predators. The larger adult age class fish build their spawning habit along the edges of the grass or deep within it. When hunting the upper age class fish, you will be required
at times to cast a large, sometimes heavy fly into a small window, perhaps 6 inches between the tulles. This will be your biggest challenge and perhaps you’re most rewarding of the day.
After the Largemouth has completed their yearly reproduction processes, typically around the end of June, Bluegill become active and start their spawning. Largemouth Bass go on the prowl, hungry from the stresses of progeny rejuvenation and hunt for opportunities when the Bluegill are at their most vulnerable.
The large male Bluegill are highly aggressive during these times and furiously protect their eggs and hatching offspring. Many times to no avail.
During the months of July and August water temperatures are at their peak levels and the species that inhabit
these lakes are operating at high rpm. Crashing top water patterns
and plurging them across the
surface are some of the most exciting and fun ways to catch these predators
of the desert basin.
Patterns we suggest are swimming frogs, crickets, large hoppers,
gurglers, divers and dragonflies.
Carp are a unique
and interesting fish and perhaps beside steelhead have brought the
most interest from anglers worldwide. They have the ability to take
excessive amounts of fly line a great distance in a short amount of
time. Many compare them to the great bonefish of the tropics,
referring to them as a freshwater cousin of this highly prized salt
water species. The “Golden Ghost” of the desert will give you another opportunity to confront your ability as a fly fisher in staking, presentation technique and combating one of the largest freshwater fish that swims in the waters of the Pacific Northwest. Shallow, mud flats are places where Carp tend to gather and feed. Their diet varies throughout the year but most often these fish will ingest damsel and dragonfly nymphs, leeches, crawdads and aquatic worms.
If given the oppurtunity, small baitfish will also provide a protien
rich source of their daily diet .
A stealthy presentation and patience is a must for these exceedingly spooky fish. Sight fishing at a distance with smaller, more drab flies then you use for bass will be ideal during the sun’s highest point of the day. Here you can visually see the fish cruising at a shallow depth. Leading your cast and fly in the assuming direction of the fish is paramount for success. Your presentation to a tailing fish that has buried his head deep into the mud feeding on nymph larva are a bit less apprehensive about eating a fly. Fish are now at their peak activity levels and feeding at a higher rate and tend to be less forgiving with your approach.
Not all desert lakes &
ponds have all species. The Carp are abundant in most lakes of
the desert and they can vary in size and adundance.
The Carp are active in the spring months-
A floating line with a 7 or 8 weight is ideal
for both species
10 pound Fluorocarbon-fish are much more challenging on the fly then are the bass. Patient sight fishing for these fish is exciting and fun when casting smaller flies then the bass
Carp Sizes-4 to 20 pound are common.
Largemouth over 6 pounds are not uncommon, but typically you can expect
2 to 4 pound class fish.
Longer distance casting required for optimal efficiency and success
Most of the time Carp will take you well into the backing- with at least 150 yard+ required on your reel for this type of
Things to bring
Polarized glasses are a must during the day. Not only for eye protection but to cut the excessive glare from the hot desert sunshine.
Mosquito repellent is also a must during the summer months at the end of the day as the sun begins to settle.
Large brim hat and long sleeve breathable shirt will be useful to keep the sun at bay.
CONSTRUCTED AND MAINTAINED BY FLYFISHERMEN FOR FLYFISHERMEN