DECEPTION PASS STATE PARK — Members of the Fidalgo Fly Fishers know what lies just below the surface of Pass Lake.

Big fish.

Members of the Anacortes Diving & Supply club have discovered what sits on the lake’s bottom — everything from cans and bottles to wallets, nets, fins, oars, crawfish traps and reels.

Dan Maul of the Deception Pass Foundation was responsible for bringing both groups together for a day of cleaning up the lake.

“I was the instigator,” Maul said from the lake’s parking lot, which was abuzz with activity. “We were looking for a project that would benefit the park and this was it.”

Thirteen divers brought the junk to the surface of the lake where it was bagged by fly fishermen in their boats and rowed to shore.

Fidalgo Fly Fishers President Robin LaRue said Pass Lake is basically the club’s home waters.

Just after the club was formed in 1974, it did a cleanup of the lake, and that tradition has continued.

“This is all about our love of fishing this lake,” LaRue said. “This is something we can do to help.”

It was a win-win for all involved. Fly fishermen got their lake a little cleaner and the dive club got time in the water.

“We do a lake cleanup every year,” said Bob Scarzafava, who along with his wife Kelley own Anacortes Diving & Supply. “But this is our first time at Pass Lake. We’ve done this at Heart and Whistle lakes. We were looking for a new one.”

Scarzafava said lakes often look clean from the surface, but things are different underwater.

“Oh, it’s always that the lake looks so clean,” he said. “Get underneath and it can be a completely different story.”

As the two groups prepared to start the cleanup, Kelley Scarzafava briefed all involved on expectations and how to stay safe.

“You want to keep moving in a forward motion,” she said. “Forward motion and buoyancy is key. This is shallow diving, 20-25 feet. This is a zero visibility situation ... Also, monofilament line is going to be present, so be careful and make sure you have your dive knife.”

Then it was time to gear up and paddle out.

Mardick Stevens has been a member of the Fidalgo Fly Fishers for four years. This was, however, his first lake cleanup.

“It’s a great day to do it,” Stevens said. “No rain and no wind. I’ve got my boat here to help out and we’re ready to go. I’m curious about just how many things we are going to pull out of here. It’s going to be interesting and it should be fun.”

Steve Tomas of Anacortes had never dove before in Pass Lake. He expected lots of silt and muck, and that’s exactly what he got, along with a myriad of junk.

“It wasn’t that bad down there,” he said after emerging from the depths. “That bottom looked solid, but it wasn’t. I stuck my arm in and it just kept going.”

As the bags of garbage arrived on shore, Jim Ramaglia emptied bottles and cans of contents that included sludge and plenty of crawdads.

“It was fine down there,” Will Moffitt Jr. of Anacortes said. “There really wasn’t that much stuff. All in all, it was an OK dive.”

Divers retrieved a wallet containing a $2 bill. They also brought up a folding knife that appeared to have been dropped fairly recently, dog toys, a camera, aquarium fish net and several sections of fishing poles.

The most expensive find of the day was a Orvis reel that was still in its case. Once cleaned, it will be fully functional and eventually bound for a fundraiser.

“This was a real success,” Maul said. “It all came together. Now we just have to load all this junk up and get it out of here.”

— Reporter Vince Richardson: 360-416-2181, vrichardson@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Sports_SVH, Facebook.com/vincereports.

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