by Dave McDearmid, President, Port Ludlow Fly Fishers
This month the Port Ludlow Fly Fishers will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the grand opening of Teal Lake Park. We take pride in our founding members’ accomplishment in creating this park and in our continued stewardship of this very popular stillwater trout fishing destination on the North Olympic Peninsula. We wish to acknowledge the many contributions and ongoing relationships that have made this possible. It truly took a Village . . . in the Woods by the Bay…to make this happen. Among the founding members who played key roles in developing the club and Teal Lake Park were Archie Charawell, Arnie Koch, Ken and Dorothy Winter, Dale Witt, and Earl Yim.
Not long after the club’s 1995 incorporation as a Washington non-profit, it started looking for a project in line with its purpose “To develop and promote the preservation of fly-fishing habitat in Northwest Washington.” Several ideas were considered before focusing on developing our own fishing lake. The club presented the idea to Pope Resources (now Rayonier) who in turn challenged the club to consider several lakes and to get back to them with a plan and tell them how we would finance such a project. Teal Lake was at the top of the club’s list and the plan included club members and the community volunteering labor, local businesses supplying building materials, contractors furnishing heavy equipment and expertise, local quarries providing rock and gravel, and an estimated cost of $50,000. All the club needed was the money.
Fortune would befall the club when the Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) called for grant proposals for the construction of fishing access facilities. The club proposed Teal Lake as a handicapped accessible fishing park and was awarded the grand prize of $27,000. Additionally, donations were received from Boeing Blue Bills, Glacier Northwest (Mats Mats Quarry), Hadlock Building Supply, Northwest Angler Fly Shop, Olympic Tree Service, Port Ludlow Associates, Port Ludlow Village Council, Shold Excavating Inc., Windermere Real Estate-Port Ludlow, and from club members, members of other fly-fishing clubs, Port Ludlow residents, former Port Ludlow residents, and others from outside the area.
Negotiation of a Land Use Agreement between Pope Resources and WDFW and a Construction Agreement between Pope Resources and the Port Ludlow Fly Fishers, preceded a year of permitting with several agencies before the project could break ground in January 2002. Twenty-two volunteers with support of the contractors set about to clear and grade the area and construct an entry off Teal Lake Road, a 10-car parking lot, a 350-foot ADA compliant path down to the lake, and an access road to facilitate fish plants. Signage, picnic tables and benches were built and placed, and the all-important fishing dock was installed where the ribbon was cut for the grand opening of the park to the public in May 2002.
As with other public facilities, Teal Lake has faced some misuse and damage. On July 4, 2003 the dock was burned to the waterline and sunk as a result of arson from burning tires and pyrotechnics. News of this led to an extremely generous donation of $10,000 by the Seattle Jaycees that enabled the club to install a new dock and reopen the park that August.
Since its opening, Port Ludlow Fly Fishers has maintained the lake for all to use. Our stewardship has been both physical and fiscal. Our semi-annual “whack-back parties” cleared debris, kept the pathways accessible, removed invasive species plants, maintained the physical struc- tures, and removed altogether too much trash left behind by others. While there is some cost to these activities, the financial investment is with our annual fish plantings that began in 2003. Each planting costs approximately $1,000 and adds about 300 fish to the average of 545 fish planted by the WDFW each year. Our stewardship of Teal Lake is a source of accomplishment that is appreciated by many as evidenced by the many fishers, including those from out of the area, who frequent its waters, as well as the non-club members and members of other fly-fishing clubs who have participated in our “whack-back” efforts and donated to our ongoing Teal Lake fund.
If you are interested in fly-fishing and would like to learn more about the club or how you can help support Teal Lake, please contact us at a2205|||plvoice|||org|||Fly Fishers Club Info