Saturday I drove east from the rainy Seattle side of the Cascades to seek sunnier weather and take some friends on their first flyfishing trip. We went to a small stream where I've caught small trout from a meadow with plenty of backcast room, but unfortunately the water up there at 4,400 feet was still high and too cold from runoff. I like to think I could have found a few fish on nymphs on a solo trip with lots of time to kill. However, being focused on teaching, I only fished myself long enough to tell that the fishing wasn't going to be much good yet (i.e., I caught nothing in a few promising spots).
We moved on to a high lake, Taneum Lake, mostly just for the easy, scenic hike. We saw a few cutthroat trout cruising around, but it was not a good lake to flyfish from shore. I had brought my packraft, but nobody else much felt like paddling around on the lake when the wind picked up and snow started to fall. I might have fared better with a spinning rod. The fish did try to hand me one opportunity on a silver platter, but I blew it by failing to have the right setup when opportunity struck. I was rigged up with a heavily-weighted fly and sink-tip line from a deep shoreline when I walked up toward a shallower area and spotted a cruising fish. It paused behind an isolated boulder as if it were trying to give me the perfect opportunity to sneak into a good casting position, so I did. There was no time to change flies, so my heavy dragonfly nymph dropped into the water about 20 feet in front of the fish with a loud "plunk" that sent it darting off into the depths. Whoops.