Lake Creek is small. You can cross it with two to three strides in most spots. Fed by underground springs and supplemented by snowmelt from Central Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, it meanders through green meadows and piney forests for several miles, and eventually ends up running right by the front porch of the 1920s vintage cabin that Dottie and I are renting for a few days.
We’re here for an annual gathering of our clan that includes our eight grandchildren.
Lake Creek Lodge is a classic vacation compound of small cabins nestled between tall conifers and surrounding a central lodge that offers meals to guests not wishing to use their cabins’ fully equipped kitchens.
As I enjoy the fresh mountain breeze that cools me while I relax on the porch, I can’t stop watching the water. It’s a very trouty little creek; has been for more than 60 years.
I know this because I started coming to Lake Creek Lodge when I was 12 years old.
If I close my eyes, I can still see the places I caught trout in the early morning before my mom and dad were out of bed.
The cabins look the same. The air is still fresh with a slight hint of pine and wood-stove fires in the morning.
I rose with the sun today, as I did what seems to have been only yesterday, grabbed my fly rod and stepped off the porch onto the dew-covered ferns and grasses along Lake Creek. The water sparkled where the first rays of morning penetrated the forest.
It didn’t take much of a cast, a flick of my wrist really, and I had my size 18 pale morning dun of a fly drifting along with the current.
Almost immediately, the stream’s youngest baby rainbows were trying their best to make my offering their breakfast. As small as the fly was, their mouths were smaller. Except for some rude bumping from tiny trout noses, my fly made it through its first run unscathed.
I continued along, dropping my fly where ever the stream-side brush allowed. The baby trout kept pecking at it.
Birds warmed by the morning sun began to sing, and a rustling in the grass on the bank opposite me revealed a young doe enjoying a breakfast of tender greens.
Distracted as I was, I was late in noticing that my drifting fly had vanished beneath the riffle.
Instinctively I raised my rod and felt the telltale tug of a fish. A game little trout, not that much bigger than its younger siblings, had managed to grab my fly. He might have measured five inches. Decades ago he would have been part of a bacon and trout breakfast. Today, he was gently and quickly returned to the water.
I spent the next half hour half-in and half-out of a time more than a half century in my rear view mirror. I caught and released a few more trout, all much smaller than those I remember from the Lake Creek of my youth.
Still, it was a sweet, gentle, sentimental journey back in time in a special place where time has slowed just enough.
Meanwhile back in our home waters, salmon action has picked up considerably off the Sonoma Coast. Capt Rick Powers of Bodega Bay Sportsfishing had some great combo days this week. Call Rick at 875-3344 to book a trip.