A recent trip to explore fishing for hatchery trout growing robust in Diamond Lake proved that these cagey trout are tough to hook, even more difficult to land, but are well worth the effort. Stocked as fingerlings only a few inches long, these rainbow trout grow to monstrous sizes. If one finds the right fly and is willing to fish for days-on-end, it is possible, though rare, to actually hook one of the leviathans.
My recent venture to the lake started by testing some likely fly patterns by tossing a handful of candidates on the floor of the den and seeing which, if any, my young cat, Boomer, preferred. His choice was clear and consistent, as shown here by his interest in this Purple Intruder.
I try to be receptive to omens from the fish gods and found hope in my first effort to align hitch with trailer ball, and I was immediately predicting that this was going to be a great trip.
Being semi-retired and on a budget, I devoted considerable time to locating a low cost campsite and was eventually rewarded with a nice, mosquito free location, save the smell of grease in the dumpsters and diesel fumes.
When I finally got down to fishing, it was time to put all of my many years of dedication and intuition to work. I fished over the weed beds. I trolled Buggers. I hung Chiromids under Strike Indicators. Finallly, I hooked a trout of a lifetime, played the behomouth on 6x tippet for what seemed like an eternity, and brought it to the lakeshore. As my hands closed on the prize, the great fish flipped a bucket of lake water in my face, slipped free of the hook, and about-faced back into the lake. Shaking but grateful for this gift, I lay down in the bottom of the boat for a short nap, and went back to fishing, hoping to hook another nice trout.
Just when my enthusiasm was beginning to wane, a fellow fly angler hooked up near me, and his success inspired me into a renewed frenzy of casting, trolling, stripping, and bobbing, hoping-against-hope to find a second fish.
At day’s end, I had still held the great joy of my close encounter, but no dinner in the fish box. Just at dusk, another fly angler brought a nice three year old trout to the surface on a size 12 Parachute Adams. He was an experienced angler indeed, and played his trout with skill and confidence, probably realizing that the modest size of his “planter” gave him the tactical edge in the battle that took him out to the deep and back across the flats where he was able to corner the fish. One look at this rainbow was proof enough as to the fish feed productivity of Diamond Lake. The trout had grown from about 5″ to a good twelve pounds in barely two growing seasons. Not bad for a lake that only a few years ago was almost trout-less, crowded with a population explosion of non-native, non-salmonid chubs that turned the lake into a recreational ghost town (as far as anglers were concerned).
My two days on Diamond lake concluded with but one fish hooked and lost, but oh-my-goodness, it was a rainbow trout to remember for a lifetime. I crashed in the back of my truck, sleeping in my boots and Simms Guide Coat, with hood pulled over my head as shelter against the mountain chill. Five AM next morning, I woke to find that some good samaritan had placed two pink Pendleton wool blankets over me during the night, obviously sensing that my lack of sleeping bag put me at risk of hypothermia, or at the very least, a sleepless night. If the blanket giver would send his or her address to the Caddis Fly, I would like to return them, with my warmest thanks.
Meanwhile, I am feverishly tying size 12 Adams parachutes for my next Diamond Lake trip.