Wahiawa, Hawaii, September 14, 2011
After spending a few days chasing bonefish on the flats I was invited by Stan Wright to fish with him and SteveL at Lake Wilson. How could I refuse?

Lake Wilson is a 400-acre irrigation reservoir known locally as Lake Wilson. Sugar and pineapple companies used the water to keep their crops happy but with the demise of both industries the reservoir is now used primarily for flood control. Today, Dole Foods owns the lake but its fisheries is managed by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.

SteveL and I met Stan at the boat launch area and soon we were motoring off towards the North Fork of the lake. Stan fishes here often and knows the water and fish holding areas well. But what makes fishing difficult is the instability of the lake's water level. With fluctuations measured in feet per day, what was once dry land could be underwater in a matter of days. Or fish that have found a good holding area could find their home has disappeared along with the water. We found ourselves fishing in the rising water category.

Stan put us on the fish but they were finicky eaters because the higher water probably put them off the bite. Since the water was high, many of the fish were hiding in and under the thick grass that was formerly on dry land. SteveL and I hooked a few but you had to place the fly right into the thickest part of the grass and when you got a bite the fish would dive under the garbage and break off.
We also spotted breaking fish that were beating up on the baitfish schools in deeper water. SteveL and I used sink-tip lines to get the flies deep. I caught a few Peacock Bass and a Largemouth Bass using a Gummy Minnow stripped fast after giving the fly a long count before beginning a fast strip back to the boat. It was a fly that the fish seemed to like and I used it until it came apart after a particularly vicious hit by a Red Devil cichlid.

After breaking for lunch and downing a
Zippy's Zip Pac we were back in the hunt for fish. With fishing slow, Stan had me try his Tenkara rod. These are the newest thing to hit the fly fishing world and it take a bit of practice to get the cast right. It's sort of like using a spey rod--a Tenkara rod is just as long as some spey or switch rods but much lighter in build. But like casting a spey rod, you shouldn't overpower the cast when using a Tenkara rod. The rod is a long wand and it has a soft tip to protect light tippets. A gentle, slow movement of the rod from 11o'clock to 1o'clock is more than enough to propel the fly forward.

We fished throughout the afternoon and we caught a few, but fishing was tough. After playing tag with a bunch bass busting baitfish we called it a day.

EQUIPMENT: I used a fast action 5 weight rod with floating line. SteveL used a variety of setups but the primary Peacock Bass rod was also a 5 weight rod rigged with a sink tip. Stan used the Tenkara rod and switched to a Sage Bluegill rod later in the day.

DIRECTIONS: Take the H-1 freeway going west then the H-2 freeway, Exit 8A going north to Mililani. Take Exit 8, Wahiawa and get into the right lane. After crossing over a bridge turn right at the stop light onto Avocado Street. About 50 yard from this point turn right then enter Wahiawa Freshwater Park. You will see restrooms on your right and just past the restrooms turn right and go downhill to a parking area and boat ramp.