Time: 7:00PM – 9:30PM
Location: Eastern shore
Fish Landed: 4
When I woke up I noticed that my water container was less than half full. The spigot has a slow leak, and I forgot to put the container in a upright position before I went to sleep. Meadows Campground does not have a water supply, so I decided to drive five miles east to Dumont Lake Campground to refill the container. After I pumped enough water to meet my needs, I took a side trip to the picnic area at Dumont Lake. I camped at Dumont Lake once but never bothered to actually view the body of water.
I looked across the fairly large lake situated at high altitude and formed the idea of returning to try some evening fishing. At this point it was merely a passing thought, but as I drove back from Stagecoach, I realized I would have a couple hours after dinner, so why not explore Dumont? When I pulled into the camp site, I made a firm commitment and facilitated the plan by keeping my waders on through dinner and clean up.
By 6:30 my light dinner was finished, and I cleaned up the dishes, so I was on my way to Dumont Lake. I pulled into the small parking area and walked down a short path to the shore. I expected to see a smooth surface with dimpling trout, but instead I was shocked to see five inch waves verging on whitecaps. A large dark cloud hovered in the sky to the north, and Dumont Lake appeared to be at the southern fringe of the bad weather and just close enough to absorb the strong winds. I switched my reel to my sinking line and knotted an olive Cathy’s super bugger to the leader. Perhaps the fish were hungry and eating goodies below the surface, although this was not the pleasant dry fly fishing to rising trout that I envisioned.
I sprayed casts to the right, center and left and stripped the bugger back at varying speeds, but there was no sign of fish life in the corner of Dumont Lake that I occupied. Fairly quickly I grew bored with this game and reeled up my fly. I decided to kill some time hiking and exploring, so I followed the worn path along the shore of the lake with the inlet as my impromptu destination. For awhile this seemed like any easy accomplishment, but then the path ended, and I cut through some tall grass until I encountered some short woody bushes that thrived in the marshy conditions. I was not to be deterred and carefully picked my way through the brush and marsh until I came to what appeared to by the inlet. It was difficult to tell as the beavers worked overtime to build a network of dams and canals.
Eventually I found a solid spot next to a still beaver pond and observed for five minutes. Sure enough some small dimples presented themselves, so I took the bait and changed my reel back to a floating line and tied on a size 16 olive brown deer hair caddis. I made twenty to twenty-five casts around the pond, but the target of the fish must have been something much smaller, because they ignored my well placed offering. After quite a bit of this wasted motion a fish finally slashed at the caddis. I made a quick hook set and momentarily hooked up with a tiny trout. The hook was probably bigger than the mouth of this water bound fish as it quickly fell back into the pond. A significant return hike remained, and the sun was setting so I made my exit and battled back through the woody shrubs until I reached an official hiking trail on the higher ground overlooking the lake.
I hustled back along the path, but I was startled by an animal that loped across the trail and then down the hillside. I crested the hill and looked down to the meadow next to the lake and saw what initially appeared to be a deer. However as I gazed more closely, I concluded that it was an antelope, and it was making a strange high pitched hissing sound.
Onward I strode until the path veered back to the main lake shoreline, and by now the wind had ended and the surface of the lake was mostly calm. I paused and looked closely at the water, and I was pleasantly surprised to see several rises. This was what I envisioned although I did not expect it to occur at 8:30 at dusk. I began to cast my caddis to the vicinity of recent rises while observing the strange activity of the fish. They seemed to travel in a school as rises erupted in waves all along the shoreline. The water would be still for several minutes, and then I was treated to a feeding frenzy as four or five fish would gulp whatever they were eating for an intense but short period.
I was making a lot of casts but apparently my caddis was not part of their diet. I persisted however and finally after ten minutes or so, I spotted a bulge on my fly and set the hook. Instantly a missile blasted above the lake surface and crashed back, and I could tell that I had a decent trout. I cautiously played the resisting torpedo and eventually steered it to my net. Indeed I had a beefy thirteen inch rainbow trout, and that meant that the entire pod of fish in front of me were probably rainbows as well.
This scene played out for nearly an hour until 9:30, and I landed three more greedy feeders. The best of the bunch was my third fish which aggressively gulped my fly and then made loud thrashing noises as it attempted to expel the sharp thing in its lip. This vanquished rainbow appeared to by in excess of fifteen inches and apparently in need of a South Beach diet. For the last half hour I was fishing by moonlight as a full moon aided my efforts, but even that light was not enough to see my fly, so I played the game of setting the hook every time I saw a rise near where I anticipated my fly would be. It worked.
What an ending to a spectacular day of fishing. The four leaping and streaking rainbow trout from Dumont Lake were certainly icing on the cake after the great fun at Stagecoach, and I still had Wednesday to look forward to.