The only indication I had slept at all the night before fishing Quake was a dream that I was late getting to the lake. I woke with a jolt and reached for my phone in the pitch black. My eyes quickly adjusted to the brightness so I could see the time... 3:58 a.m. Despite my efforts to go back to sleep, the thrill of finally getting the chance to fish Quake Lake was too overwhelming, and for the first time in my life 6:00 a.m. did not come soon enough.
A bluebird weekend was in the forecast, but one look outside shot that prediction to hell. Rain was pouring down and there was no sign of it letting up; but it would take more than a heavy downpour to stop Terry Kowallis and I from fishing. We had seven rods rigged up and had packed our rain gear. Between the two of us, we were ready for whatever Quake had to offer.
Terry brought his fish in fast, and let it go before I could take a picture. However, in the process, as if the fishing gods decided to smile down on us, the rain stopped and a bit of sunshine was peaking through the clouds. To make thing better, the callibaetis were starting to emerge.
“I’m seein’ gulpers!” Terry said happily, as the day warmed up fast. I took off my drenched jackets and got in the front of the boat. Still shivering, I casted out my parachute adams to a gulping fish, and it took! The fish fought like crazy before it shook me off.
“This makes waiting through all the rain worth it!” I said happily, as both Terry and I started catching fish after fish. There was no time to take any pictures; we both had to be on our game as the gulpers started. A quick rise here... there... then quickly throw your fly in its path and WHAM!
“I need at least one picture of a fish, Terry.” I said, netting another fish. Terry pulled himself away from the gulping fish to snap a picture of me, then immediately went back to fishing.
The fish were moving much faster that I would have thought gulping fish would move. Double-hauling to get your fly in front of the fish was what worked best for me, and watching a fish come up from the depths with its mouth open to eat your fly was intoxicating.
Some time during the excitement I had stopped shivering, and my quick dry casting shirt was now dry. With every fish that took our fly we were reminded it was worth the wait.
Caddis started hatching along with the callibaetis, which stirred up an even bigger gulping frenzy. I switched my fly to a CDC caddis, and after a few refusals it ended up being the right move. I had simply flicked my fly out no more than a few feet from the boat, and as I stripped out line from my reel it got slammed!
After a few more fish I handed Terry a CDC caddis, and he was experiencing the same amount of success I was.
Time flew by as the hatch took place, and when the frenzy started to slow down I sat down to hydrate with a V8 Fusion. I could see a few fish gulping in front of Terry, and he was right there with a nice cast. I turned away and notice a few fish rising towards me, and with a V8 Fusion in one hand, I flicked out my fly near the gulping fish. My fly sat there for a second as I took another drink, and when I did, a fish nailed my fly.
“Mmmmmm!” Was all I could muster with a mouth full of juice before I set the hook.
“Now that just isn’t fair.” Terry said, as I quickly set down my drink to bring in the fish.
Clouds started rolling back in, and the hatch was now over. The gulping activity was few and far between as the temperature started to drop. We had already started heading back when we heard another loud thunder clap. We pulled out the boat just in time to hear another bolt of lightning boom overhead. The sound of the bolt was so loud we ducked for cover.
“Want to come back here tomorrow?” Terry asked as we pulled out onto the main road.
“I would not be able to sleep at night if we skipped out on Hebgen Lake, and Phil Rowley gave me some pointers on where to fish.” I said.
“Then Hebgen tomorrow it is!” Terry said. We drove home in torrential rain, thankful for the few hours of sunlight that made fishing on Quake Lake a day to remember.