Summer sure keeps us busy, so busy that I have a hard time keeping up with editing photos, writing about outings and then getting them posted here! At the beginning of the month I traveled to Seattle to take our youngest to Children's Hospital for a surgery follow-up. After our Friday afternoon visit was over we picked up a good friend and headed to Orcas Island, one of the San Juan Islands, for a bit of R & R. I'm calling this post an "update" because we already have a trip report under the tab above and on the WA page. We experienced the island life there once before and loved it. I have always wanted to go back and was thrilled with the chance to hop on the ferry and head out again on this weekend.
By Abby McAllister
We stayed, once again, at Harper House, a guest house in the Eastsound area. Our hosts John and Suzanne make the time so enjoyable! Their guest suite is well thought out, spacious, restful and full of whimsy. I especially loved the outdoor shower! Because they are friends of ours we also got to take advantage of their super-hospitality with a little time out on their boat. We went shrimping and whale watching-so exciting! We caught limits of gorgeous prawns and saw 3 species of whales-Orcas, humpbacks, and minky whales. After we had exhausted ourselves on the boat we went home and feasted on delicious prawns. It was an amazing day.
On our second day we stayed closer to "home" and explored a bit of Eastsound. We wandered the beach area at the edge of town and checked out some of the storefronts. It is a sweet town, quiet and restful. There were no crowds that Sunday and we basked in the sunshine and the beauty.
There are so many more things to do on Orcas and in the San Juans in general. If you think you might like to visit Orcas yourself, please check out our trip report for more details on other activities and how to get there. We hope you can get your kids out there exploring soon-it is a trip they won't forget!
In the last week of June the WDFW released 255,000 Steelhead smolts of 6-9" in length into Rock Lake, which lies about and hour and fifteen minutes south of Spokane. These fish were intended for rivers in the Puget Sound until they were blocked by a lawsuit requiring an Environmental Impact Statement - something that can take years. But if you live near Spokane it is to your benefit! Since these fish are not in a stream that reaches the ocean they are now classified as trout - not as Steelhead (a fact that I confirmed with WDFW)
We went there on July 11th with the intent to head out in our raft (not a great fishing rig), but when we pulled into the parking lot at 7am there were lots of trout rising in the narrow part of the lake right at the gravel boat ramp. Rather than rigging the boat we simply rigged up our rods and started casting. For the next 90 minutes the action was constant, and even with releasing a good number of fish we soon found ourselves with three limits of trout. Now, these weren't big fish, but they were gullible and hungry so the kids had a blast.
If you are interested this is about as easy an intro to fishing as you can get. The boat ramp is a free public access (bring the parking pass that comes with your fishing license), and kids 14 and under don't even need a fishing license. A simple spinning rod with 4-6 lb. line should suffice, and just about any modest size spinning lure would work - Mepps, Rooster Tail, Panther Martin, Blue Fox, etc. These fish aren't selective.
If you plan to release smaller ones I would recommend finding a lure with a single hook instead of a treble hook, or at a minimum crimp your barbs. In our rush to get going we failed to do this and were reminded how hard it is to safely release a fish that has taken a treble hook, causing us to keep several smaller fish that we would have rather released. There is no minimum size for trout in this lake, but still we would have rather waited for some bigger ones.
If you are really new to fishing but anxious to get started don't be shy about heading to a fishing shop and asking some questions. Everyone I know loves to share their wisdom and help new folks get started, especially where kids are concerned.
Finally, try and cook your kids catch up someway special and right away. It will make them feel proud and help make connections to he resource that provide valuable lessons. It doesn't have to be fancy to be special, just make a big deal of eating what they brought home.
And on your way home drive through Turnbull NWR - maybe you'll spot the same mother and calf moose that we saw!
Harley & Abby McAllister
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