Sunday, July 12, 2009
Diamond Lake Rainbows Survive Thrashing
Made the 175 mile trip to Diamond Lake on Thursday, July 2nd to camp for the night. Silly me, I didn't make reservations and I was lucky to get a camping spot. When I drove down to Diamond Lake Campground, the sign said, "Campground Full," so I headed over to the resort and asked them how I could find out if there were any campgrounds available. They said they were all full as of Wednesday, but one guy told me to just ask around because he saw some people leaving because of the mosquitoes. So, I headed back down to Diamond Lake Campground and asked the young lady in the Kiosk if there was a campground available for just one night. And indeed there were a few available, I just had to be out by 1:00 PM on July 3rd because the sites were reserved. She gave me a list and told me to go pick one out. I was pretty embarrassed by all this, but was pleasantly surprised when one of the available sites was right on the water! I quickly set up my tent and headed back up to the kiosk to pay the fee of $18 for the nights accommodations. First Class!
It was about 3:00 PM by the time I got back to camp and got everything set up. I was informed by a nice couple that if I didn't have any insect repellent, I would want to go purchase some. It was breezy at the moment, but I was assured that when the wind died down I would be glad to have some. So I headed back over to the store at the resort and after a few minutes of looking around, I found the insect repellent, which was for sale at its every-day low price of $9.25. That an a package of hot dogs and some ketchup ate up a twenty dollar bill. I can't say I was surprised at the prices, being 10,000 miles from nowhere and all (again my excellent planning was manifesting itself as usual).
Back at camp I started a little fire and cooked up a couple of hot dogs which I washed down with a couple of cans of Mountain Dew... Dinner of champions.
I was kind of killing time, waiting for the blazing sun to lower into the western sky and for the wind and the waves to calm enough to safely fish from my float tube into the evening. I have heard the fishing can be excellent at Diamond Lake, but, for some reason I don't have a lot of faith in my ability to locate and catch fish on the big central Oregon lakes after being skunked at Crane Prairie earlier in the season and skunked at Davis Lake several years prior. I kept telling myself I had to try in order to catch them. I guess, In a way I was just putting off the pain I was afraid I would face, when rejected again by the large rainbows of Central Oregon.
I drove to the Northwest side of the lake and launched my float tube. It took me several minutes longer than I would have liked however, because a nice camo-clad gentleman who had just sat down to fish for the evening was talking my ear off. I don't know why, but I have a hard time concentrating when someone is yacking away at me. But, I forced myself to just look away from the man and get my gear on and into the water. He continued to talk until I had kicked a good distance into the lake and I was quite relieved when another bank angler approached him and started fishing next to him, falling victim of his incessant chatter about 18-pounders from before they poisoned the lake.
I kicked around and around and around and was half tempted to kick out into the middle of the lake where several boats were congregating in the deepest water, most definitely catching more than their fair share of the fish. I'm pretty sure I had one strike on a bead headed woolly bugger, but of course I didn't hook the fish, even for a moment.
I changed flies several times and tried to stay just on the deeper side of the weeds as I was counseled to do by a couple of fellow fishermen. It was a beautiful evening and my hopes hadn't been completely dashed out because it is a big lake and I still had plenty of time to fish the next day. I took lots of pictures... probably more than I should have, and just kind of relaxed and enjoyed myself as much as possible without catching fish.
The next morning I rolled out of bet at 5:00 AM. I started a little fire to take the chill off and to help me wake up. Then I had a breakfast of champions, chocolate covered graham cracker cookies and a couple cans of Mountain Dew (is this turning into a confession session?).After inflating my float tube, I made sure the fire was out and jumped in the car and headed towards the shallower south shore of the lake where Silent Creek enters the lake. It wasn't until 7:00 AM that I was launching my float tube onto the sandy beach-like shore and kicking out into the water.
As the morning wore on without any action, I began to see more and more mayflies on top of the water. I have never seen so many bugs in my life. It was amazing. I figured there weren't that many trout around because I assumed the fish would be feasting on them... Water was probably too warm. I did see some fish rising, however. I am pretty sure there were a few fish that kept cruising around and sipping up a fly here and there. Because I would see one ring on the water's surface, then a few seconds later another ring about 10 feet away and so on. So I tried to target the cruising fish as they came within casting distance a few times. If I had been better prepared to capitalize on these opportunities, I just might have hooked one.
I did come close to hooking one around 11:00 AM when a fish submarined into casting distance and I flipped my olive Woolly Bugger right in his feeding lane. I could see the leader move ever so slightly as if the fish had it in it's mouth, so I tried to set the hook, and there was nothing there. I was excited to get a little nibble. I ended the trip with three small strikes, all on medium sized Woolly Buggers, both bead-headed and standard variations.
Overall it was a pleasant stay at Diamond Lake, the scenery is even better than Crane Prairie and the weather was awesome.
If you go to Diamond Lake, I would strongly recommend taking some insect repellent, make sure you make reservations at the campground ahead of time, and be patient with the fish. There are lots of large trout in the lake, but they don't come easy, they can survive a good water thrashing! But hey, you can't catch them if you don't try.
Tight Lines! - nimrod243