Thursday, April 20, 2017


We woke to the pit-pit, chirps and "Chi-ca-go" of a large group of quail that had surrounded our camper and were clearing the ground of seeds. Mud and damp foliage didn't bother those little bowling pins as they scurried around on blurred legs.
Rain fell during the night, but I didn't wake when it soaked the sagebrush around the campground. Linda laughed when I questioned why Kobi's feet were so muddy upon his return from going out and relieving himself. I guess I must have slept hard last night.

Our exit from the neighborhood on Monday was less than stellar. We had planned on leaving at 11:00 AM but at the last minute I decided to hook up old Stinky Jeep and drag it along. I was in a bit of a hurry and when I put the Brake Buddy in place it wouldn’t turn on! I checked all the wiring and found a broken wire and quickly fixed it. That stupid Buddy still wouldn’t turn on! I closed things up and we left everything on the Brake Buddy in place but would drive with it sitting dead to the world.

We finally left the house sometime around noon, following the familiar path that many times has led us to Banks Lake and Steamboat Rock State Park. This time we drove on a new route, about 25 miles farther, to Sun Lakes/Dry Falls State Park. The park is located at the foot of Dry Falls, a former waterfall, that was larger than Niagara Falls.

The park is a nice place with over 150 campsites. Our assessment would point out that the spots are very crowded with little privacy, though there is a loop where sites are a bit farther apart. There are nice bathrooms with showers. It is kept very clean and there is plenty to do around the area. We would only recommend going here, as Linda said, “Only during the shoulder seasons and mid-week.”
Deep Lake.
Our spot that we found was on a short cul de sac road and no one was set up near us. Linda guided me into our spot after we disconnected the old Stinky. I was putting away all the stuff that we had in the Jeep, and when I grabbed the Brake Buddy, I noticed the cigarette lighter plug that powers the Brake Buddy. Oops!  I forgot to plug it into the lighter. I plugged everything else in where it was meant to go but forgot the most important plug. That’s why it wouldn’t work. Boy, did I feel dumb.

We hiked a bit before dinner and then retired to the camper and ate a great meal of ravioli created by our favorite chef, Costco.  Then like I said before, I fell asleep hard.

After our usual morning routine and with Kobi taken care of and old Stinky Jeep loaded, we headed out to explore the area. We followed a paved road out of camp to the southwest and wound our way to the first body of water, Deep Lake. It was very pretty and there were a whole bunch of fish rising. We walked around and took pictures.

Perch Lake.

Back down the road we drove turning northeast onto a dirt road that the signs said led to Perch Lake and Dry Falls Lake.  It was rough, with plenty of rocks and mud puddles. After a few miles, we passed Perch Lake. When we came upon Dry Falls Lake we were surprised by the number of vehicles parked at the end of the road.  I counted seven rigs, but there could have been more. It looked like each one had delivered one or two fly fishermen and their kick boats to this body of water. I’ll have to bring mine over some time and check this fishery out!

Stinky splashing through a puddle near Dry Falls Lake.
I pulled a three-point turn and we drove back out the rough road to the paved one and we made our way up to the highway and on to Dry Falls Visitor Center. There we read about the geological history of this area and took in the information provided at this very interesting stop. Did you know that they found the bone fragments of a rhinoceros in this area?  The Blue Lake Rhino was found in 1935 and these fragments are on display there. Did you know that Dry Falls was four times the size of Niagara Falls? Oh, I kind of gave you that one already. How about did you know that the falls itself was about 3.5 miles wide? Of course, this all took place about 15,000 years ago so I don’t blame you for not knowing.  Guess you will just have to visit the area and see.

With visions of our camper sitting directly at the base of what was once the world’s largest waterfall, we went to sleep.

The next morning I heard the fish calling and loaded up the Jeep to chase the Lahontan Cutthroat trout of Lake Omak. Linda stayed home and kept the dog entertained as I rumbled one hundred miles up to the lake and back.

A falls I passed on my drive to and from fishing.
Approaching the lake you look down on the off-colored water, but this time the water looked strange. The northern part of the lake was a dark gray-black and the southern part was a blue-gray color. I drove past the turn-off and found the problem. A mud slide had covered the road ahead. All the mud had washed down into the lake and it looked like that within a day the entire lake would be a muddy gray mess.

I went back to the turn and headed down to the lake, hoping to get a few hours of fishing in before the gray wall closed everything. The road down was better than usual, it had been graded recently.  When I turned off the road things changed. I was driving in deep mud and huge water filled holes. Stinky was a champ and loved being in four wheel drive. He pulled his way through the worst parts flinging mud everywhere.

I got to the lake and found that there were two other rigs there. Folks were fishing and it sounded like they might be catching too.  I geared up and put a bug on my line. At the lake's edge, I waded into the cold water. I flipped my first cast and stripped back. Nothing! The second cast landed a bit farther out and bam! I had my first fish!   This could be a great day!

Landing and releasing the fish, I then proceeded to cast for over an hour with no hits.  I changed my fly and bam! Another nice trout! So this is how the day went. Fish hit about every half hour or so. I caught five nice ones, had three on and to the shore but lost them. There were also many bites and strikes that they didn’t take cleanly, but the thrill was always there.  As I fished I heard over my shoulder, the yipping of a pack of coyotes. A few seconds later there was the barking reply of several critters across the lake.  This went on for about fifteen minutes and then silence once again filled the valley.  At 2:00 PM it started to rain hard.  The Jeep provided me a shelter from the rain while I ate my lunch. It looked like this weather front was here to stay for a while. The valley was socked in with low visibility.  I took my gear off, put the rod away and bounced back through the water and mud to the main road and headed home. I was tired and ready to get back home.

When I arrived Linda and Kobi were sunning in the space behind the camper. We were all happy to see each other and spent the next half hour going over everyone’s events of the day. Later we ate a great Mexican meal for dinner, walked the dog and went to bed. In the morning we packed up and drove home. The Brake Buddy works great when you plug it into the cigarette lighter.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Day of Sun

What do you do when you finally have a day of sun? ROAD TRIP!
If we follow this road, will we get to Jill and Barry's?

We packed up the Miata and cruised on over to Palouse Falls to take a few pictures of the falls at high water flows.

Palouse Falls can be found by taking I-90 west to Ritzville then by taking a left onto highway 261. Once heading south, we went through Washtucna and found the sign directing us to Palouse Falls State Park.

We walked around and took some photos. It was nice to be out in the sun on this beautiful day.

Palouse Falls at high water flows.
Back on the road we drove up to Washtucna and turned right on highway 26 until we came to Colfax and highway 195. The 282-mile road trip took us in a huge circle through the Palouse. Every twist-and-turn of the road was a green mosaic of spring colors.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Early Spring Fishing

(left to right) Tom, Mark, and Tyler.
Tom, Mark and Tyler kidnaped me and we drove over to St. Regis, Montana and fished the Clarkfork River. The day was a (fill in the blank). That means you could choose any weather pattern to finish that sentence.  We had rain, snow, wind, sun, clouds, hail, and a bit of warm.  Every spring condition except hot!

The river was high and fast, but it was clear enough to give the fish a chance to see our flys. We tossed weighted bugs and nymphs most of the day. Tyler was able to catch a few with a wet hackle pattern, but mostly we used Yuck Bugs and droppers.

22" Brown! Nice fish and I think I was smiling.
Right off the ramp, I caught a 22 inch German Brown. Nice fish!

At the end of the day, we considered it a real good day of fishing.  We all caught fish. Each of us hit at least four fish with both strikes and hookups.