This weekend was one of those weekends that is meant to remind you that you’re not perfect. Every other trip out I’ve been diligent about being prepared and well packed, and this time around, I took it for granted. My own excited self is what brought on the hardships of this weekend.
Friday morning I was stoked to hit the road for Patterson! With only work in the way, I was ready to tear it up and have a memorable trip! I quickly got my things together, grabbed a coffee and rushed out the door. Work seemed to drag on and the clock seemingly stopped in its tracks. When the clock struck go I did not hesitate! The drive out I was thinking about big, kypy browns….then it hit me. An hour and a half into my drive I remembered I forgot my pile of gear that I had neatly piled by the door of my bedroom. SHOOT! Included were a bunch of new patterns to try, my rain jacket, headlamp, tying kit, phone and ipod chargers, toothbrush, and bug spray! I actually remember tapping the brake and disengaging the cruise, in a half-hearted effort that I was going to turn around and go back. But I hit “resume” and continued on. I’ll be fine…
I arrived at Patterson and was greeted by 40 km/h southwest winds that were gusting to 60 km/h. Great…And not only that, rain was looming in the distance. I decided to try to stay out of the wind as best as I could and launched on the northwest side of the lake. I put my hoodie on for wind protection (not very effective) and hit the water. The wind was relentless and seemed to find its way into every refuge. No matter where I went to try and keep out, it found me. It wasn’t too long that the rain started. I decided it was best for me to seek refuge and hid under a large aspen tree. A variety of birds had the same idea and I was given a show from two male Baltimore Orioles that were flexing, and showing off their colour and song. With no end to the rain in sight, I left my refuge and headed back to the truck. I was soaked to the bone and anyone who’s gotten a hoodie soaked, knows it takes FOREVER to dry! Great, my only warm piece of clothing….
In the evening the rain stopped and I ventured back out. The wind never died out but turned into gusts instead of a constant torrent. I managed to not get skunked and landed a very spunky rainbow. The thing was out of the water more than it was in! Must have jumped 10 times! This combined with long, blistering runs, it definitely gave its all. The fish was only 19-inches but put a hefty bend in the 7-weight!
Saturday my alarm sounded at 5:30am and I was greeted with more of the wet stuff and wind. I caught a glance at my hoodie which I’d laid out to dry and saw that it was still soaked. That was the cue to sleep in. Finally around 11am I crawled out of the sleeping bag and made a brash decision. “That’s it! I’m sick of this wind, I’m going to Twin, or the Ducks!” So I threw everything in the truck and started driving. Well it turns out I just needed to cool off the tempers a bit and got as far as Pybus Lake. I tried my luck for two hours with not even a sniff. The wind had died out a wee bit and with my tail between my legs wandered back to Patterson. I knew I had unfinished business and needed to catch some fish there.
Saturday evening I ventured back out. I launched at the main launch and worked the islands. I couldn’t believe how high the water was which was apparent to me when trying to find familiar spots! Even the beaver lodge was underwater! Casting the reed line was nearly impossible because the edge you could not determine. The dead reeds were fully submerged and I got tired of snagging them. The flooded out beaver lodge showed the most promise and when I floated up I seen two fish rise which confirmed my thinking. I cast several times to no avail. The water only gave clues of hatched midges and the odd backswimmer. Finally after a few dozen casts I hooked up a rainbow. The cold water seems to supercharge the bows and they don’t stop! Run after run, jump after jump, even the medium sized bows make for a formidable adversary!
I decided to head back to the launch and drive back over to the northwest side and fish there for the evening since it would have the most wind shelter. Normally I’ll brave the wind and waves but without a rain jacket it beats you up! This combined with the frigid temperatures on Saturday put a toll on the body. The evening produced one more rainbow before I packed it in for the night.
Sunday morning came along and I could feel the ache in my bones. The cold, damp winds that Saturday brought were resonating still. I slept in til 10am and finally crawled outta the sleeping bag. To my surprise the wind had subsided and the air temperature was actually pleasant! With a thick, overcast sky, it was perfect fishing conditions! With renewed vigor I got my things together and got on the water, forgetting to eat or even brush my teeth! Starting from the northwest side I started making my way to the islands. I remembered the wind and waves crashing in the gap between the two islands which would have concentrated the fish in this area. On my way there I hooked up two rainbows, one was a decent 23-inch fish! The fish’s muscles were hard as a rock! I reached the gap and started catching fish immediately. Every three casts I was hooking a fish. I would have caught more if the length of the fights were so long! Each rainbow and brown was full of **** and vinegar, not willing to give an inch! After another rainbow I hooked what I thought was yet another bow. The way it fought, ran, jumped, I was convinced, until I stabbed with the net. A BROWN! My first Patterson brown of the year! I was stoked! Although not a big fish, it was a brown no less. A couple more rainbows and I hooked him…fish of the trip and of the year to date.
When I set the hook I knew it was a brown. Big headshakes to start and then hard, deep runs. I caught a glimpse of the fish in the first few seconds of the fight and felt the pressure to land this fish! The brown dogged it and would not give up the surface. I saw him at one point, head pointed towards the bottom and pulling hard, straight down! No wonder it felt like a whale on the line! I started working the rod back and forth and pulling from different angles. This forces the fish to change direction and try to pull against the direction the force is coming from. You can often control a fish by doing this and confusing it. It can be the turning point when faced with a fish that won’t give up. Finally after a few minutes of chaos I was able to bring it to the net! A fist pump to celebrate I lay eyes on a brute!
The fish was 23-inches and sported some of the best colours I’d seen! Big kype, deep orange flanks, and a big gnarly head. Easily fish of the trip! After a few pics, I revived the ole squaretail and he soaked me as he swam away.
After releasing that fish, the sun popped out and fishing died. I took a break as my hunger was getting pretty anxious. After a couple hours of reading I ventured back out, hoping the evening bite would turn on. Despite my best efforts and covering a lot of water, I was only able to fool one more brown. This fish too, like the others, was not giving up without a battle! And in typical brownie fashion, would not give up the surface, choosing to dive deep and stay deep. Finally after a long fight I brought the fish to net. I was shocked that it was under 20-inches! The strength and way the fish fought, I was convinced it was bigger!
I packed it in and headed home late on Sunday. With a renewed value of the importance of being prepared, I definitely decided to not come unprepared again! For both my sanity and body’s sake!