A friend invited me to fish Leech Lake near Mount Rainier a few days ago and I gladly accepted as I had never been there before. Leech Lake is a high elevation (4412 ft) lake open for fly fishing only. Since it was a Tuesday, I figured that we would be one of only a handful of fishermen at the lake that day. I drastically underestimated the crowd–I counted at least 25 people on the lake that day!
It started slow with occasional strikes in the morning. Then a massive Callibaetis hatch ensued between 1pm and 2pm. Within minutes, I was literally covered with dozens of Callibaetis mayflies. Fish were rising all around me in a feasting frenzy so I tried to “match the hatch.” I methodically tried one dry fly after another. Although I caught a few fish, including the beautiful brook trout below, none of my flies elicited strikes consistently. Most of the other fishermen had the same experience.
We left Leech Lake that day overwhelmed by the huge mayfly hatch and humbled by our inability to fool the numerous surface eaters. But the many puzzles encountered in fly fishing are what attracts many of us to the sport.