Guests at Mountain Springs Lodge have an opportunity to learn to cast a fly rod and catch a trout their very first day of fishing, all amongst one of the most idyllic settings imaginable. Nestled in a verdant valley in Plain Washington in a setting that can perhaps best be described as “Classic Cascade”, the property at Mountain Springs is dotted with log cabins and pines and offers wide open space perfect for horseback riding or a picnic lunch.
During their Fly Fishing Classes, fishing guide Doug Pendleton teaches guests not only about the mechanics involved in fly fishing, such as how to hold the rod and thread the line, but also about the ecology of fish, their environment, and the food they eat; primarily insects that fly fisherman attempt to recreate with elaborately tied flies.
Examining insects that were caught earlier that day in a nearby stream to learn about the food trout eat and the flies they mimic.
Along the way, participants learn nuggets of information about the world beneath the water, including the fact that trout are the top freshwater predator. As a species, they have been alive for more than 160 million years and in that time they have gotten to be very good at discerning the difference between what is food and what isn’t, complicating the job of the fly fisherman since your average trout won’t just bite at anything. Catching a fish with a fly involves determining what the fish are doing at a particular point in time-are they feeding? What are they eating? Will they fall for the hand tied grasshopper I just made or will they spot the fake immediately due to some small anatomical error?
A mimic of the original-one of the many flies Doug brought.
As a guide, Doug really knows his stuff and has an enthusiasm for sharing the love of fishing that is instantly contagious. A local of Plain, Washington, Doug has been guiding for 5 years and fishing for 25. His background includes a Master’s Degree in Marine Biology and perhaps the biggest lesson he teaches is a deep respect for the river systems and creatures that live within it.
Most fly fishing is catch and release, with a great emphasis on respecting the fish and handling it with the greatest care to avoid any kind of lasting damage. The fish at Mountain Springs live in two of the ponds on the property and are quickly returned to their home once caught, using a barbless hook, and gentle handling. It’s true-fish are slimey! Quick, gentle handling is imperative to avoid disturbing this protective coating.
Fish on the line!
The course at Mountain Springs is designed as an introduction to fly fishing and is suited for the nature enthusiast interested in getting into the sport as well as visitors looking for a family friendly activity far away from the hustle and bustle of real life. The Leavenworth area is quickly becoming a destination for fly fishing and after catching your first fish, you may just get hooked. For more information contact Mountain Springs Lodge.