Drano Dive Bomb

1:25 a.m.: Leave house north of Seattle yesterday, destination Drano Lake for a 5:30 rendezvous at boat launch. Coffee cup full; breakfast beside me; warm clothes, life vest and lucky blue cooler in trunk; gas tank full.

EARLY BLASTOFF. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

1:40 a.m.: Remember I had wanted to check voice mails before left house; briefly worry that my boat ride, Northwest Sportsman writer Andy Schneider, may have canceled the trip — realize I didn’t bring rods or plugs as a backup plan; plan C: Beg ride at boat ramp.

1:41 a.m.: Remember I had wanted to load up empty CD player; decide to catch up on current events and listen to BBC World Service.

2 a.m.: Argh, stuck in a “rolling slowdown” in SeaTac. Outta the way, Staters, I’ve got fish to catch!

4 a.m.: Traffic constrictions near Castle Rock. ARGH!

5 a.m.: Traffic constrictions on eastbound I-84. AHHH!!!!!!!!!

5:20 a.m.: Dive into Stevenson convenience store for quick coffee refill. Ahhh, life better.

5:35 a.m.: ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Traffic reduced to one lane on Highway 14 due to rockslide work.

5:43 a.m.: Arrive Drano Lake, 239.1 miles from home; quickly suit up, dash across highway and find Andy and his friends Linda and Brian as well as Andy’s dog Ollie waiting in the wind. Sorry, sorry, sorry!

5:45 a.m.: Embark; troll main lake with Mag Lips in Green Envy, Fickle Pickle and (?) Thumper, all with sardine wraps, and all at precisely 75 feet off the rod.

SUNRISE REVEALS A LAKE FULL OF BOATS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

6-7:45 a.m.: Many nets waving around.

6:05:17 a.m.: Linda’s plug gets bit.

6:05:58 a.m.: Linda’s spring Chinook is in the boat.

6:20 a.m.: Man in rowboat lands Chinook.

6:45 a.m.: Nearby man fights Chinook that appears to be headed back to Pacific Ocean.

AFTER LINDA'S CHINOOK PRACTICALLY JUMPED INTO THE BOAT, IT WAS AMUSING THAT THIS GUY'S FISH FOUGHT SO HARD. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

7:25 a.m. Brian lands Chinook.

SCHNEIDER NETS BRIAN'S SPRINGER WHILE OLLIE SUPERVISES. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

7:50 a.m.: Rain cloud takes another lap around mountain to pour on us again; wonder where Rowboat Man went.

8-9 a.m.: Coordinate pick-up site with guide David Johnson, who, with the Willamette River mudding up, has a rare day off; Rowboat Man spotted, still fishing.

9:15-16 a.m.: Laugh as man in boat jets past us while still dragging his rope-rigged fish across the water; smile knowingly at boaters beside us yelling “Fish! Fish”; realize joke is on us — while we’d been watching the angler’s springer bounce along the waves, one had been chomping at one of our plugs.

MY ROOTS AT DRANO BEGIN HERE, FLINGING PLUGS DURING 2000'S SPRING CHINOOK RUN. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

9:20 a.m.: Arrive at the nadir, the Toilet Bowl; run up to real toilet bowl; meet Johnson in the boat; he’s brought enough bait for the entire fleet working Drano’s west end.

9:31 a.m.: Join Merry-Go-Round, dragging prawns and green or red-and-white blades; Johnson tries a sand shrimp.

TICKETS PLEASE FOR THE MERRY-GO-ROUND. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

9:46 a.m.: Notice film crew in the Toilet Bowl.

10:15 a.m.: Watch guys in a 12-foot Livingston fight, land Chinook.

10:22 a.m.: Become entangled in other boat anglers’ gear; watch numerous other entanglements caused by fleeing fish, lines being overrun by other boaters, bankies’ and boaters’ gear colliding, etc., etc., etc.

JUST CUT IT! (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

NOT ONLY DID HE REEL IN A MESS OF GEAR, BUT A SPRINGER TOO. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

9:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.: Make approximately 306 swirls around the bowl; action sporadically good; note how Schneider works boat very deep into corner of the boat-fishing area, sometimes actually pointing his sled towards Columbia until the last moment before turning hard and creeping very, very slowly through “the sweet spot” by the bridge while taking kicker in and out of gear; note how other anglers are running Fish Flash with their prawns and actually doing better than the prawn-and-blades boys.

Noonish: Miss personal best opportunity at a hook-up: While cutting sideways through the loop, pick up rod, set at 22 feet, after it bounces as if hitting bottom … in 28 feet of water. ARGH!

1ish: Wonder why two guys in small boat insist on dragging plugs in the confined waters of the Toilet Bowl, someone makes a comment, they reply loudly; Johnson nods off.

1:10 p.m.: Chat with Chris Donley, a state fisheries biologist for the Spokane area fishing the lake with his dad and two friends.

2 p.m.: Flushed out of the Toilet Bowl; drop Johnson off, head for the boat ramp, call it a day with two Chinook in the box, a far cry from Schneider’s trip the previous Thursday, but fun nonetheless.

GHOSTLY IMAGES OF FILLETED-OUT SPRINGERS AT THE RAMP. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

2:40 p.m.: Flee Drano Lake at top speed; brake heavily for lane closure just 3 miles from lake.

2:45 p.m. Begin mental list of 38 reasons for skunking, item No. 1: Didn’t wear lucky boxers from days used to regulate with Warts from the bank; No. 2: Lucky blue cooler not so lucky after all.

7:15 p.m.: Arrive home.

HOME AGAIN. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

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One Response to “Drano Dive Bomb”

  1. A Flame Run To Buoy 10 « Northwest Sportsman Says:

    […] By Andy Walgamott If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you’ll know that from time to time I make flame runs to far-flung […]

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