After a morning of work, I cut out early to pay a visit to Dusty Lake in hopes of catching the spawning trout at their peak near the shore. Sadly, I found only a few stragglers cruising the shallows, but enough to make for a fun afternnoon. Here is the panorama view approaching the lake, dead calm (a rarity in the spring). This place is always worth a visit just for the scenery and the fun of exploring the basalt cliffs and many potholes lakes in the area.
I arrived at the mirror smooth lake and peered into the shallows. There were a few dark shapes moving around, but not the schools and schools that can be present at the right time in the spring. I think the peak was between two Fridays ago and today, as the fish I caught today were spawned out and those two weeks ago were bursting at the belly. A family that had been camping this week indicated they had seen a number of kids walking up the trail with full stringers of fish and powerbait, which could also explain the scarcity of fish in the shallows.
I quickly landed 4 of 5 from the beach, all on the size 12 purple pycho prince (they ignored the chironomid), then action stopped. All fish were about 13 to 15". I got in the float tube and tried fishing deep with a spinning rod and sinkers (like a downrigger almost). No fish at any depth. I switched to sinking fly line, and had a couple soft takes and a couple fish the same size as the others. But tube action was very slow. Finally, I switched to a floating line as there were quite a few fish feeding on the surface, but nothing. Fish from the tube were caught on the small green bunny leech, but both were snagged, so even those takes weren't great. Tried a white bunny, green psycho, green bugger, rubber legged hare's ear along with the leech to no avail. Finally tired of kicking, I went back to the beach.
The wind picked up a little from the west, which I believe helps the shore fishing. It breaks up the mirror surface so the fish near the shore can't see you, and also keeps the flies under the indicator moving slowly through the water. I wanted a fish to eat, so I decided to give the shore one more try. I quickly had a take, then caught another smaller one at 13" to 14". Well, at least I got one more fish, but the "one more cast" urge took over and kept me going for a few more minutes. A good thing too, as within a short time the indicator went down, I lifted up, and felt some solid head shaking. This fish stayed near the bottom, and I could tell it was nicer than the previous fish. After a short fight, I got it to the beach and estimated about 18", nice for a meal (it took the size 16 caddis green psycho, as did the previous fish). I taped it when I got home and was surprised to measure it at 21" and three pounds! A nice finish to the day, and a nice meal for the family.