President’s Message – November 2019

Setting the clocks back to standard time always feels like a fast forward to winter.  The extra morning light is outweighed by the early onset of nightfall, and for me, a serious drop off in fishing.  When the calendar page turns to November, I am usually retreating indoors to spend a more time reading about fishing than actually doing it.

My most recent (and possibly last) fly fishing trip of 2019 was the final club outing at Moccasin Lake in the Methow Valley in Washington.  Moccasin Lake is part of a large ranch owned by Ross and Teri Beatty’s family in Winthrop, Washington near North Cascades National Park.  The setting is gorgeous, especially in early October when fall colors are at their peak, and the fishing can be very good, with large rainbow trout as well as some browns and tiger trout – reportedly up to 8 lbs.


Winthrop is a full day’s drive from Portland but well worth the trip.  I convinced my wife, a non-angler, to join me for the weekend as part of her birthday celebration (and yes, I am taking full credit for managing to convince her that watching me fish is a great birthday present).  We spent part of the time poking around the town of Winthrop enjoying the fall colors and some very good food and wine at the Arrowleaf Bistro.  Lisa was able to hike on ranch property taking in views of the North Cascades while a half dozen FCO members plus some of Ross’s friends navigated the lake in search of large trout.

The early October weather was on the chilly side, with early morning temps below freezing, which made the wood stove in the lean-to shelter a very popular spot.  The cold also may have accounted for some slower fishing (I only managed to hook and land one fish on Saturday and one more on Sunday) but my fish were 19” and 20” and I know that Ross and Teri fared better.  Never doubt home water advantage!  This was the second time I have been up to Moccasin Lake and I highly recommend it to other members if we are lucky enough to be invited again.  A big thank you to Ross and Teri for their hospitality, which included hot coffee and doughnuts every morning, and grilled hamburgers for a hot lunch on Saturday afternoon.


moccasin lake

Fishing Moccasin Lake

With my fishing pretty well wrapped up for the year, I’m starting to make plans for 2020.  One thing I want to do is learn some Euro nymphing tactics.  Last month’s presentation on tactical fly fishing by Fly Fishing Team USA member Devin Olsen piqued my interest so this spring will find me (finally) learning the basics of this technique.

As you may remember from last month’s president’s message, both the FCO and Flyfisher Foundation boards are seeking replacement treasurers.  If you have experience reviewing financial statements and would like to help out, please let John Pyrch or me know.  We’d love to have your expertise.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to seeing you all at our November 12 club meeting.  Nick Clayton, owner of South Sound Skiffs in Puget Sound, will offer tips on how to target coho, Chinook, pink, and chum salmon, sea run cutthroat, rockfish, lingcod, albacore tuna, and even flounder with a fly rod.  As Nick says, if it swims in salt water, he will gladly fish for it.

Tight lines,

Jim Hillas