Sunday, May 18, 2014

Quartz Lake 5-11-2014

It is early spring 2014 and we have had one of the earliest springs on record, ice on our interior lakes usually doesn't go out for two or three more weeks. The weather man was predicting a sunny Sunday in the 70's and reports are that the lakes are clear of ice. Mike and I decided to give the boat a shake down cruse and work on our casting. We were going to try out one of the lakes near Delta Junction for stocked rainbow, grayling and silver salmon.

I was low on dry flies so I tied up a few moose hair mosquitoes and spruce bud worm moths Saturday evening.

I tied them on size 10, 12, and 14 hooks. They are in the front row to the right.

We tried Quartz lake first. The water level was way down, it made launching the boat a little tricky. We got to the lake at about 11:00 in the morning. The weather was nice, it was about 65 degrees with a slight breeze. We anchored in 12 feet of water, off of the major point on the east side of the lake where we could cast into water depths ranging from 7 feet to 20 feet. Mike put on a crystal egg pattern in pink. At about noon Mike hooked the first fish, it was a spunky silver, 16 inches long that gave a good fight. After a good tussle he wrapped Mike's line around the anchor line and ended the excitement for a short time.

I started with a minnow pattern, a Salmon Fork Smolt and hooked a silver an hour or so after Mikes. It was a very good fighter for it's size and had a distended belly from active feeding. I induced it to regurgitate some of the contents to see what they were eating. I found mostly insect larva, some dragonfly larva and a minnow.

Here's a closer look at the fishes engorged belly and the fly.

Some Salmon Fork Smolts.
The lavender color of the body emulates young grayling and spots are common on the smolt of many salmon. The middle one was used on this trip, it's showing the wear of many trips in fresh and salt water. The eyes were torn off by toothy pike in the Innoko River. The Salmon Fork Smolt has worked well on pike, sheefish, grayling, salmon, and rockfish. I will do a tutorial on tying the Salmon Fork Smolt this summer.

Mike switched egg colors from time to time but his original pick caught all three of the fish he was to catch today. I alternated between top water flies and streamers throughout the day and caught all my fish on the same Salmon Fork Smolt. We could see fish rising for insects on the surface from time to time and I fished top water when conditions allowed but I could not get anything to hit a dry fly.

We fished Quarts lake till 6:00 Pm and went into Delta for dinner. On the way home we stopped at Lost lake to fish for a couple of hours. We were not able to find a single fish there. Nothing hit a fly and we saw nothing on the fish finder.

On Monday my casting arm was sore but not too sore to flip the salmon on the grill for a nice fresh salmon dinner.

I added wild Silver Salmon (Coho) to my tally of Alaskan game fish species last summer on the Aniak River. I am going to count sea-run and river-run salmon as a separate species, I suppose you could count the land locked versions as separate fish too. Sometimes you here these land locked salmon called Kokanee.

Thanks for looking, Mark


  1. Thanks for sharing Mark. I am heading to Eastern Oregon in a week for some dry fly brown fishing in a river that regularly produces two footers. I watched a buddy of mine land a 21" brown on a size 32 midge a couple years back on this river, which shall remain un-named by me. A couple of weeks ago I fished the Missouri near Craig Montana and did pretty well for an off day. Looking forward to seeing you in August. Take care friend.

    1. Hi John, A 21" trout on a size 32 midge is quite a thing, sounds like great fun. I'm not sure if I could even tie a size 32 to my tippet much less tie a fly on a size 32 hook. What weight rod was he using? Have a great time with the browns, see you this fall, Mark