Last summer a fire had burned large swaths of the park, much of which was closed until earlier this year. From what I'd read the effect had been largely beneficial -- a lot of terrain had burned many times in the past, and was probably overdue. After the winter rains (or what little we have received so far), the grass was greening and the wildflowers were blooming.
I wanted to skip the spring break crowds, so I started hiking just after dawn on Sunday, having taken Monday and Tuesday off from work.
The day was warm and sunny. The vibrant green hills and the explosion of wildflowers made the hike a technicolor wonderland.
There were a lot of ups and downs, over two thousand feet worth. The burn scars were evident.
After about eleven miles I got a glimpse of the south end of the lake.
After another mile I stopped to camp, started filtering water, and pitched my tarp. I set up my packraft, an Alpacka Scout, and got out on the water around 1:30pm.
The lake had been largely spared by the fire, but I marveled at how some of the hills which had been covered with chaparral were now nearly bare.
I fished my trusty Fenglass 6wt, paired with a White River Fly Shop classic 4/5wt click reel (aka glorified line holder), and a closeout Orvis Bass WF6F line (textured, I think).
It had been a while since I'd fished this lake in the springtime, thanks to the lockdown, and I started out with streamers.
I did manage to catch one on a foam dragonfly (Alter's Dragontail).
The wind picked up, and it had been a while since I'd fished the floating bugs here, so I switched back to streamers. I caught a few more, then packed it in for the evening. The wind kept up all night, which wasn't so bad because it kept condensation from forming.
Next morning was breezy, mixed with calm periods. I started with streamers.
Slowly I started to observe surface activity in wind-sheltered areas.
Towards late afternoon the shadows grew, and I started tossing out foam gurglers. One in particular, tied with purple foam and pumpkin silicone legs seemed to attract a lot of attention. Though in low-light conditions I am not sure that such niceties matter much.
The water was pretty clear, and I could see schools of bass at times. There are probably not many large fish in this lake, but they are plentiful and aggressive, and I always manage to catch several dozen. For someone who enjoys hiking and paddling, the fishing is just a bonus.
The evening was again windy, and the next day dawned cooler. The hike out is actually a bit more strenuous than the hike in, so I was grateful for the cooler weather. I started around 7:30am and returned to the car before 1pm.