By Gary Lewis
The path led up the slope alongside a fast-running creek into a forest of old-growth fir; a half mile from the trailhead to the water's edge.
A few campsites were scattered amongst the silvered firs. At the shoreline, the water was light green and darkened toward the middle. Talus slides entered the water on the south bank and high on the cliff clung stands of aspen.
If this was supposed to be a secret, this 20-acre lake on the east slope of Mt. Hood, I was going to keep it.
Isaac, armed with a spinning rod and a float and fly, managed a 30-foot cast over a submerged log. A trout streaked up out of the shadow and missed the grab. On the second try, the fish and the boy connected. Isaac reeled in his first brookie, a speckled eight-inch former fingerling with a large head.
I guessed the fish were feeding on midges and caddis. One fish grabbed my olive caddis pupa, but that was it. I switched to a green chironomid pupa but still the hungry fish shunned my offering.
A brown fly with tented wings landed on my sleeve so I dug through my box and located a brown tied-down caddis. Bingo. The brookies climbed all over it. Along the lakeshore, Isaac and his dad James and my daughter Jennifer had connected the dots in a different way and each had tangled with multiple brook trout. We released close to a dozen and kept four.
For this trip, I brought a spinning rod and a fly rod. The spinning rod handle, I wrapped in Camo Form®, which, I have found, enhances the grip by making it more comfortable and easier to hold.
The spinning rod, I put to use with a fly and casting bubble rig, which is one of the simplest methods for tempting trout on backcountry lakes.
Start with a spinning rod and reel loaded with six-pound test line. Run the line through a clear plastic casting bubble then tie on a small barrel swivel. To the swivel, tie on a three- to six-foot length of fluorocarbon leader. Knot on a wet fly like a Brown Hackle or a Woolly Bugger or Soft Hackle Hare's Ear.
Before making the first cast, fill the casting bubble with water which provides the weight for an effective cast.
Instead of packing my own water, I carried an empty Aquamira® water filter bottle. Thirsty, on the way down the trail, I stopped at the creek and filled the bottle and had a drink.
With today's technology, I can take the water as I need it, from the lake, from a creek, from a backcountry spring.
The Aquamira Water Bottle + Capsule Filter is lightweight and easy to use. Simply unscrew the top, fill the bottle with water and recap. To drink, squeeze the bottle and bite the Bite-Me valve. The Aquamira water filters are advertised to remove over 99.9% of cryptosporidium and Giardia as well as chlorine and other bad tastes. One handy feature is the finger-grip carry loop, which allows for a quick-release clip to a backpack.
Gary Lewis is an outdoor writer, speaker and television host from Bend, Oregon. Contact Lewis at www.garylewisoutdoors.com.