Where: Dworshak Reservoir
When: Mother’s Day
Who: Travis Wendt from Reel Time Fishing
What: Trophy Bass
Last year for Mother’s Day I met up with my two daughters to fish Dworshak Reservoir in the Clearwater Valley for Monster Bass.
My eldest daughter Cameron had recently returned home from Temple University in Tokyo to attend WSU in Pullman, and Sarah had came back from PLU to attend Whitworth University in Spokane, both due to unforeseen complications associated with the pandemic.
Paul “the Bait Boy” Hamilton, and Sarah carpooled down from Spokane to Lewiston and Cameron scooted over from Pullman to meet Rob and I at the Clearwater Casino. It was the final leg of a spring fishing road trip with Rob.
We traveled the back roads through Waittsburg from the Tri Cities area, and found some great smoked cheese and meat at Mr C’s. We stocked up on snacks and hit the road to meet up with our posse in Lewiston by dinner time. It was a good 6 hour drive from The Dalles to Lewison, taking the scenic route, aka the shortcut.
Lenore Lodge, operated by Toby Wyatt, is situated on the way to Dworshak and was our lodging in the area. We often stay here when fishing with Reel Time Fishing on the Clearwater. The girls were impressed upon arrival. There was plenty of room, a great kitchen and a game room. The view of the river is nice. It was easy for the girls to unwind, unplug and relax. Cameron prepared a charcuterie board of the many meats and cheeses from Mr. C’s, that we bought along the way.
The next morning brought much excitement. There were winding roads and beautiful scenery. To see the wonder in my girls’ eyes again, as if they were little, gave me the greatest joy. Their curiosity and willingness to explore with us was wonderful. We looked out the windows and snapped pictures at the scenery. The Dam was a marvel. Hidden back in the Valley of the Clearwater, the monolithic dam is a sight to behold.
Arriving at the reservoir, we were greeted by Travis Wendt, of Reel Time Fishing. We were on the hunt for Jumbo Bass that are said to inhabit the huge lake created behind the huge Dworshak Dam. It was a beautiful clear day and not another boat was in sight. Travis knows this water well. “The reservoir is deep and steep,” as he says, and letting your leaded soft plastic baits sink to the bottom is paramount for success. Casting was right up our alley. Sitting on the bow of the boat tossing out lines on a clear spring day with my kids was exactly what I needed.
We took a lunch break and hit the shore, a hidden cove with a stream pouring from the rocky bank. Travis fired up the BBQ and us gals hit the shore for some much needed exploring. The hills were draped in green from the spring rain and runoff. We sat on top of a hill and looked down at the men doing their manly banter on the boat with the roaring smoke from BBQ as Travis prepared for lunch. The girls hopped up and set out to the creek to watch and listen to the streaming water down the rocks on the hillside. I watched and they jumped from one side of the falls to the other. Each was snapping pictures of the other. Capturing each moment as it came.
After lunch, we got to work. Paul, Rob and Travis were machines in procedure. They sent their plastics out at just the right spot, waiting for the right angle for the lead to hit the bottom. Cameron had enough time fishing and was ready for Mom to pass her the Camera to film the rest of the bass episode. She was ready to take the reins. The rest of the afternoon I spent fishing. Not worrying about getting the camera shot. Not worrying about the camera at all. Sarah would take turns with Cameron, but for the most part, she fished right alongside me. We hammered ‘em. We gave it everything we had and stayed as long as we could, even with the rain setting in. The girls were troopers. They came prepared with the right gear to withstand the spring day with unpredictable weather.
In the end, we caught some great sized bass and perch. We didn’t catch a monster, but we had fun. We saw a waterfall, beautiful scenery, the dam, and I got to reconnect with my girls after 2 long years apart. The boys were gracious and patient. The lunch was perfect. I could not have asked for a better day for Mother’s Day. Ok, maybe next time to have my son along for the trip is my only ask.
So, if you are wondering what your mom, wife or daughter may enjoy for Mother’s Day, consider taking them fishing. A trip we don’t have to plan and a meal we don’t have to cook or cleanup is all we hope for! The fishing, now that’s a bonus!
This article is dedicated to my Loving Mother Jerri Lee Cole.
Who taught me to work hard and play outside. To teach my children well!
Dec 7, 1954-Feb 15, 2023