When we last saw our budding fisherpeople a month ago at Davis Lake they were wrapping up a spectacular day in which Lilly caught 26 fish in just a few hours. As much as I tried to convince her that was not a normal day on the water, she believes she is the fish whisperer.
Boundary Lake is a small lake in the northeast corner of the Snoqualmie Tree Farm. Each year, Hancock Forestry, the company that owns the tree farm, sells a limited number of permits. A permit allows you and your immediate family to pass through a couple of gates and use the extensive logging road system to move around the farm.
Many of my adventure partners scoff at the idea of going "to Hancock" for any reason other than to pass through. (There are a couple of great trips on the northeast side of the farm accessible without a permit and a couple of near-miss disasters, too.) However, once you launch onto a lake there's little indication you're on a tree farm and the convenience is enough to obscure the other uses of the property.
Grandpa Jack joined us for the long drive to the lake. It's a good thing, too, because without both of us (and sometimes Clara) working on navigation it's unlikely we'd have made it. Some of the older roads are missing signs so it takes a keen eye to find the right turns. Once we found it, the road led us right to the lake so there was no problem packing in all the gear we'd need.
That gear included... three belly boats, five sets of waders, six fly rods, life vests, pumps, lunch, and the Queen Mary.
Wait. The Queen what?
The Queen Mary is our seemingly enormous raft. It can comfortably sit three adults or me and one very active seven year old. In the past, I'd also had Lilly in the QM with us, but this time she'd be in a belly boat again. (Henry and I would also have been in belly boats, but Grandpa Jack's supply of spare gear is still at his cabin on the other side of the mountains.)
The girls launched first, looking like pros backing out of the reeds into the open water. Henry rowed us more or less out onto the lake, but then relinquished the oars to me so he could fish. Grandpa Jack followed and chased after the girls.
Like our trip to Davis Lake, we immediately hooked up. Henry set the hook and played a 20" rainbow right up to the boat where I promptly lost it while futzing with my camera. Once again, he was so thrilled at having caught the fish essentially by himself he didn't really care that the biggest fish of the day was gone without a picture.
The girls each picked up a couple and we got another fish. Grandpa Jack was so busy helping the girls that he didn't fish too much, but when he did he was successful. From across the lake I could hear Lilly hooting when Grandpa hooked a fish.
As good as the fishing was, it was no Davis Lake. There we had trouble keeping the fish off our lines. At Boundary, the fish required patience to catch and patience was in short supply. The kids took a break from fishing to eat lunch and goof off. However, even that didn't last too long. Had it been just me and my father we'd have fished for another couple of hours, but this was another training trip for the kids. We packed it in early to head back to town.
When we talked about the trip the next day the kids had glowing reviews and had forgotten the time after they were "done" fishing. Just like with hiking, the secret to a good trip is knowing when enough is enough. And just like with hiking, with each trip they are getting to be more competent fisherpeople and interested in the whole experience, not just catching fish.
Two years ago, the girls had their breakthrough camping at Summerland in Mount Rainier National Park. They found their own personal reasons for being in the wilderness for three days and how to enjoy themselves. All three of them are getting closer to a breakthrough fishing, but they're not there yet. It will require a little more introspection than they are ready for today. It might not be this season, but that's ok. I don't think either Grandpa Jack or I will complain when we have short trips like this one.