What a Relief

This past weekend my Dad and I got an invite up to a friends cabin to hangout and do some exploring. I had a specific agenda, get a kayak on nearby Relief Reservoir. I have fished there before, but only from the bank and it had been quite some time since. Unfortunately, my memory wasn’t much help. I forgot that access was not only tougher than I had remembered, but I had to hike further. On the way up we made a quick stop at the cabin to unload some of our gear, before we headed to Relief.
 
The lake is about 16 miles off the highway and sits at around 7100’ of elevation. Most of the road is in decent shape, however the last 3 miles of it gets a little rougher. I wouldn’t consider it a real 4×4 trail, but it does have a few sections that will test a stock 4×4 vehicle and an inexperienced driver. Once I arrived at the trailhead I did a quick scout mission to see what I was in for and decided that I would go for it! I didn’t bring all my gear for nothing! I stripped the Kilroy to make it as light as possible and then carried all my fishing tackle and gear down to the water first. I’d estimate it was around ½ mile or so down to the water on a trail that a kayak cart would be mostly useless. So, I shouldered the kayak and followed the creek down so I could start fishing. It was work, but not the most miserable thing I’ve ever done.
 
Finally, when I got down to the lake I got everything set up, then launched onto the turquoise green water. There isn’t much information on Relief, but what I was able to find said to focus your effort near the main inlet. So, I trolled my way to the south end of the lake, taking in the views. I didn’t get any action while trolling, despite marking lots of fish on the finder. But when I arrived to the inlet the bite was on! I used a variety of lures and caught over a dozen fish to 14”. They were mostly rainbows, with a few that may have been Kamloops. I was hoping for a Brookie, which I’ve caught there before, or even a Brown that I know inhabit the stream below. But, I didn’t find either. I had started late, so after exhausting that spot I made my way back towards the launch so I could get back to the trailhead in time for my Dad to pick me up. That evening we had a great dinner, along with our campfire and prepared for the following day.
 
Sunday I had a tough time waking up, so I wasn’t on the water until 9am. I had left the kayak down on the lake overnight, so I only had to take my gear down the hill. I opted to do a little exploring and found several other inlets that held some fish. Again, nothing huge but all hard fighters. I also had a couple encounters with some local wildlife, including a marmot and osprey. I fished until about 1:30pm and then started the trek to get all my stuff back to my Jeep. This is where the real fun began. Definitely not the worst workout I’ve ever done, but I don’t anticipate doing it again anytime soon! When my Jeep finally came into sight I was quite relieved. I got everything loaded up and hit the road to get back to the cabin. On the way I ran into a couple ladies that were by themselves and gotten their Jeep stuck. They did have a winch, but were in a spot with not trees close by so I gave them a quick tug. Then kept an eye on them for the next couple technical spots before I turned off. Once back at the cabin we loaded up and headed for home. I’m glad to cross that one off the list!

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