Omak Outing Oct 2022

Penny’s Purple Pearl.

Bob Chaffee October 18th, 2022

John and I met Penny at 7am Thursday at the Leavenworth MacDonald for a quick breakfast and coffee before our to the Omak area.  It was a beautiful trip first  traveling East and and then North along the Columbia and the Okanagon Rivers up to Omak. We checked in at the Omak Inn, left our luggage and headed to Big Green Lake. John and I had visions of catching lot’s of fish and Penny was nervous about the water worthiness of her pontoon boat, the floatation ability of her life vest, her knot tying and everything else that someone who’s never been fly fishing before might worry about. Penny had prepared. She attended fly tying classes, met with John regarding her equipment etc., and had a casting lesson from Jim Black. She had also been practicing her knots. When we arrived at the lake a little before noon, Norm and Dick were already there and had quite a successful morning fishing in the north end of the lake. The 3 of us begin assembling our gear. John and I helped her assemble and inflate her pontoon boat. Much to her relief it didn’t leak. I must add, that was the last time she needed help assembling and inflating her craft. While, as usual, I was still fussing with my gear, John and Penny were on the water. Penny was fishing with a purple fly tied by John, and soon caught a fish, her first ever. The catching was not without drama. Penny had reeled all but a few feet of her leader into the rod and then couldn’t figure out how to get the fish in her net.  First lesson learned. Penny soon had caught 4 fish before John or I had any. At the end of the day, Penny had 4, John made a late comeback with 5 and  I brought up the rear with a mere 2. Norm and Dick caught more, but a lot of those were before we arrived at the lake. A pattern was established that held through the trip. Fishing was usually best in am until about 11 and then later after 3-4pm.That evening Penny showed up for Happy Hour at our room, but we only had regular whiskey and not her favorite, FIREBALL. She still enjoyed the camaraderie and snacks. The next day after the “cardiac breakfast” at the hotel we headed to Buzzard Lake which was challenging in ways other than the fishing. The first challenge was launching our craft in the mud hole called a launch. One person stepped in the muck and left his boot.. We all snuggled to catch fish that day. A guy named Rex, not with our group who was a great caster, was successful casting to the shore and retrieving. He ended up catching about 10 fish which was way more than anyone in our group. Still, the day like all of the rest of our days on this trip was beautiful. That evening the 16 members of our club met at the Tribal Casino for a group dinner, and to share fishing reports from the various lakes. It was clear that those who had spent the $ to fish Omak Lake on Tribal lands had by far had the most successful day. The next day was again beautiful.  John, Penny and I headed to Big Twin near Winthrop. Fishing was maddening, Large fish were rising in the shallows near the shore, and we couldn’t entice them. We all caught a few fish. Penny with her purple fly and Olive Willy out fished me, but also taught me a lesson which paid off the next day. If you’re going to catch fish while trolling, you need to KEEP YOUR HANDS ON THE ROD. Otherwise you totally miss too many strikes and even with hard strikes, you’re less likely to hook up. On our final day the 3 of us and Dave Skarr headed back to Big Green, and were rewarded for our decision with lots of action. There was nothing really big, maybe 14-16 inches. The purple fly continued to work along with the Olive Willy and later in the day the Pumpkin Head Leech. "Thanks" to Dave for giving me one. We all had fun, and Penny had grown from a total novice to a competent fisher. At the end of the trip John and I decided that Purple fly needed a name. At first we thought Penny’s Purple Special, but I like the alliteration of Penny’s Purple Peril, so that’s what I’m calling it.

© Olympic Fly Fishers of Edmonds, 2023.