Fishing The Drano
Highway 14 along the Columbia River is a breath taking stretch of road. It makes me get lost in my own thoughts of what Lewis & Clark might have experienced in their time traversing this landscape centuries ago. The mystic clouds concealing the mountain tops, the lush green foliage pops color as the wide rolling river zigs and zags in the valley of mountains dividing two states.
I muster the mental strength to keep my car between the lines as I’m mesmerized by the beauty that surrounds me and I’m running on complete fatigue as I’ve only had 3 hrs of sleep in the last 24 hrs. Granted I’m never late to fish and this trip has been on the books for quite sometime. The giddy excitement of what the day has in store keeps me fueled, well that and Red Bull, as I traverse the twist and turns of the highway enroute to our destination…Drano Lake.
We arrive at the boat launch just as the sun begins to peep above the ridgeline painting the waning night in rich hues of purple, red and yellow. The slight chill in the air is refreshing with each breath and we shove off. As the rods get the final touches of rigging, we settle into the morning quietude and I relish in the beauty that surrounds us. The solitude of the morning is interrupted with a whack….whack…on a rod and we spring into action to set the hook but just missed it. The fish must have retreated into the darkness of the deep. All that excitement made me thirsty so I figure it’s 5 o’clock somewhere and I crack my first tall boy for the day.
As morning fades to high noon and nary any further bites the switching of presentations begins and the rods are reset. Fresh bait and a new look. Optimism fills the boat and we enter what has been called the toilet bowl or the Drano 500. Not very exciting fishing as 20 opened bow river boats track in a roundabout circle each hoping that their turn over the hole will yield a little action. The cluster of boats is close, I feel like one could play Frogger and hop from boat to boat and the even more surprising feat is that the bank fisherman although their casting seems combative not much is exchanged between the boats and the bank. We witness about 7 fish caught all on the lower end of the springer scale weighing in around 10-12 lbs. At least with all those boats combined and the low fish counts we know that it’s just not us feeling a bit lackluster.
My wind burned face is turning into a mild sunburn as the day progresses, I’m three beers down and enjoying myself, but the end of the trip is here. We thank our guide and pack up the car to begin the long stretch home. We ended up with no fish, no buzz and a sunburn. I guess that’s why it’s called fishing and not catching.