Friday, November 21, 2014

A Quick Update

For those locals, Lake Amador Hatchery has succumbed to the drought just like Nimbus Hatchery did. Warm water and lake chemicals has closed it for now. That's means no big Cutbows for Lake Amador this year. They're stocking Lassen Rainbows at the rate of 5000 lbs. per month for probably the next seven months or so. Very sad.

As far as the Northern California Trout Blog is concerned, I just passed 300,000 hits and over 800 posts.

Once again, thank you all for reading what I write. I appreciate it more than you can imagine.

Oh yeh, it's raining in NorCal again. Not enough to end the drought, but at least we don't have to worry about wildfires for a while.

Thanks again for stopping by.  


Monday, November 17, 2014

The Wrong Side Of The Pond

I got a comment on my last article in the newspaper from Lake Camanche saying the planting was to begin the week of November 9th. In fact, the planting began on November 13th with a 4000 pound plant. According to my source, 1500 into North Shore, 1500 into South Shore, both at the launch ramps, and 1000 into the Trout Pond.

I came across a comment on one of the local forums saying that this guy went out to the pond on Friday the 14th and fishing with lures, limited in two hours.  

Plan A today was to go out to the Pond and with my Shimano Convergence and a box full of lures, walk around the Pond until I found the school. I made it about 1/4 of they way and then my lower back told me I wasn't going the rest of the way.

I don't know how many of you out there have lower back problems, but I even have trouble making it through the supermarket, if I'm there more than about a 1/2 hour. 

So I did the next best thing and that was to get the red Coleman camping chair and park on one of the docks. And there I sat. 

Sitting on the dock of the pond. Might make a good song.
Keep this picture in mind, because I'm going to refer back to it a little later.

I fished rainbow Power Bait, added some garlic, Kastmasters in all colors, I made my own mouse tail with a chartreuse Power Egg and an orange Power Worm. Nothing worked, that is for me.

In that picture above, I watched a guy pull in three in a matter of ten minutes right under that tall tree in the right hand top of the picture. Over to the left, in that picture, I watched a guy in a boat using a fly rod catch, at least ten. Were there any where I was fishing, of course not. I probably should have noticed that there wasn't anyone fishing on my side of the Pond too, but I didn't. That happens when you get old. 

See, nobody

Everybody's on that side 
There is one guy over on that dock, but he doesn't count because he hadn't caught anything.
Then I saw this gray guy in the picture below snag one out of the bushes there in front. It looked like a Crappie or Blue Gill (I didn't get a real good look) that would go about a pound. If you make the picture big, you can see how fat his mouth is. At least someone caught something on my side.  

A Heron or something
In conclusion, it wasn't the Pond's fault, it was just the fact that I was on the wrong side of the Pond. I could have gone over there, but I didn't want to sink to the depths of the "fish to extinction crowd" by running right over there where the fish were being caught.

Once again, winter fishing had begun.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Fishing The Puddles At New Melones

A friend and fellow Amador Flyfisher Club member, sent me an email last Thursday. He and his buddy were scouting New Melones for Bass and knocking off twenty or so when then cruised by the "hand" launch boat ramp. Just to explain the "hand" launch, it's only for a "you carry your boat" to the water, launch spot. It also happens to be right below the Highway 49 bridge over New Melones.

He said that one of the guys on the shore told him that the DFW planted 6000 pounds of trout just a little while before they got there. He rigged up a silver/blue Kastmaster and within a half hour they put two limits in the boat.   

I sent Yuki an email and said "lets go". We met at 9:00 this morning and made the short 100 yard walk down the ramp to the water. By 10:30 we had 8 on the stringer. Just about then, a couple guys in a Zodiac boat came paddling up to the ramp. Seems they had outboard motor problems and Yuki, being the nice guy he is, volunteered to drive him over to the Glory Hole launch to get his truck and trailer.

You notice I didn't volunteer and the reason why, is the same reason Yuki didn't drive him. He got into contact with a friend and that friend was coming, so he didn't need Yuki's help after all, BUT we had already packed up our gear so the day was over. Kind of pissed me off because we could have gotten the other two for a limit each. As it turned out, I got five and Yuki got three.

I do want to note that Yuki caught the first one, then I got one, then Yuki got the second and I got my second. By then I quit keeping count. I want to also note that Yuki stopped for coffee on the way out and I didn't so maybe that's the hex breaker.   

Anyway here's a couple pictures from where we were fishing.

Glad I didn't have to climb down from up there.

One could get height sickness just looking up there.

The end of the "hand" launch ramp.

Make it big if you want to see 5 dead trout.
Hot bite at New Melones. The winter fishing season begins.

Monday, November 3, 2014

I Snuck Upcountry

Snuck, is that a real word? According to Snuck is relatively new, an Americanism introduced in the late 19th century.

Destination, Caples Lake. As you know, we had a storm over the past weekend with the weather guessers putting the snow level  below 5000 ft. Unlike last time, the snow level WAS below 5000 ft.

I hit the first signs of snow just before Cooks Station. Then as I went further uphill, the amount increased (no duh). At 6000 ft. it was more dirt than snow. At 7000 ft. it was more snow than dirt. At 8000 ft. it was a pretty good accumulation in the area of 3 to 4 inches.

Then dropping back down to Silver Lake, I did a pit stop at the launch site and snapped this picture of where I fished back on October 22nd. No snow then.

Silver Lake Elevation 7261'
Back in the truck, I headed for Caples Lake, just up the road. I got to the lake and my somewhat numb brain said "Upper Blue Lake, Upper Blue". I figured, what the heck and bypassed (I could always come back) Caples and headed over Carson Pass for Hope Valley.

I wanted to know if they had closed the gate yet and the only way to tell is drive there. To my surprise, the gate was still open. Onward I went.

The shot below is from one of the un-improved campgrounds along Blue Lakes Road. I still had a thousand feet or so to climb. Was this an omen? 

The mountain between Hope Vally and Blue Lakes
Got to the turnoff at Lower Blue Lake and headed to Upper. Some, but not all, of the road looked like this.

Road between Lower and Upper Blue Lakes
Not to worry, I have 4 wheel drive and BF Goodrich AT mud and snow tires. The best M&S tires I've ever found. Even though I never put in into 4X, I did have a couple slip and slide places, but overall made it to Upper Blue just fine. 

Once there, set up, and with two lines in the water, I did panorama shots around the lake. 

To the right

Across to the right
Note the fishing rod in that picture.

Across to the left
Note the fishing rod in that picture. Different rod than the one above. I know you don't care about pictures of fishing rods, but I just threw that in for laughs.

The dam
And there I sat for better than three hours with out so much as a nibble. I guess Upper Blue Lake is done for the year.

On the way back to Highway 88, I saw smoke coming from an area that doesn't have any houses, so one could only assume: Wildfire. The last thing that area needs. So I went to see. I'm somewhat nosy about stuff like that. Turned out that it was what they call a "Prescribed" burn. Knock out some of the under brush before a big fire comes and do it while it's still wet. 

Intentional Burn
All the lakes are ice free for the moment. Good to see some snow on the hills.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Recovery, It Begins

The pond has been dry since August 15th. Remember it's never been dry in the 10 years we've lived up here. 

Taken August 15th
We had a good rain storm last night. this morning the pond has water in it for the first time in 2 1/2 months.
Taken this morning
Let's hope it keeps going..

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Probably The Last Drought Post

You're probably sick of hearing about the drought in California so this will probably be the last post on anything related to the drought (unless I go out to New Melones), but I had to show you this.

First picture, not much to look at, just across the lake from where I was. Oh, sorry, I was at Lake Camanche this morning. Wanted to find out if they were planting yet, what the water temperature was, and if anyone was catching anything from the shore.

Across the lake
Further to the right
This was on the drive out (I was at the North Shore Day Use Area) to where I wanted to fish. See the bush on the right toward the top, keep that in mind.

On the drive out
Short of using repelling gear, this was the place that had the easiest access.

To the left

To the right

Further to the right and then back toward where I parked.
As it turned out, the water was fairly deep when I cast out. My estimate was about 10 to 15 feet. Water temperature was 60 (according to the girl at check-in), but stocking had not started quite yet. She thought maybe after the storm due Friday. Supposed to be wet and cold (snow level at 4500 ft.).

After a couple hours of soaking Power Bait, my take is that it's still a bit too warm, in fact that by 10:30 I was sweating in a tee-shirt. What's needed is a couple of good, wet and cold storms to make the fish move into shallower water. Guys in the boats are still doing well, but they are deep (45' to 50' and over by the dam).

OK, let's go back to the bush in the third picture. That's the same bush on the right in the picture blow. Yuki and I have fished out from that bush and done well in past years. Now all you'll get is sand fish. Kind of like rock fish. You know what I mean.  

Dry as a bone
 Pan to the left and you can see how far the water is away from that spot.

Farther than a stones throw.
Here is the same place taken in January 2012. Still not a lot of water, but definitely more than today. 

See the island way out in the distance?

The island
 This is it today. You can drive right up to it. No water between.

The island today
If you make the picture below big (by double clicking on it), right above the car at the end of the peninsula, is that same island. This picture was from 2/18/2013

A lot more water.
 Almost done, a full lake, picture taken on March 5, 2013 just prior to the Yuki/Kayak incident.

Full to capacity
Last, but not least, the only one getting any fish today.

I think I've touched on all the lakes, upcountry and downcountry regarding the drought with the exception of New Melones and I'm not sure I want to go out there. Some of the comments I've heard are pretty sad. I know I mentioned how bad it was when my wife and I went out that way some time back, but they say it's a lot worse now.

Could use a little rain dance or two.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Driving Home The Drought

I heard a rumor that Lake Amador started planting last week. I knew the lake was low, but wanted to see for myself, so yesterday I took a drive out there.

I checked with Laurie at the restaurant and she said the plant went well, the fish are healthy, and the fall/winter season is rocking and rolling.

I took some shots at a couple different places. Wow.............

Make sure you double click on the pictures to make them bigger. Give you a better perspective of the drought. Just an FYI, we are getting some rain, but not very much. This last storm dropped about 3/4 of an inch a the house and there is more to come this weekend.

Top of the dam is on the far left out of the picture.
 That is a REALLY long climb down.

The boat dock from the restaurant parking lot.

The spillway
 Caught many a fish to the left of the buoy's laying on the ground. Some up to 5 pounds.

You can see the buoy's on the very left.

We've fished 10 feet below that bush. 

Can't even see the shore from this angle.
Across the lake from the "point".
From the "point" back toward the boat dock.
From the reports I've seen, limits are being taken, but early in the morning. Tomorrow Yuki and I plan to put his boat in (you can only launch small boats, kayaks, and float tubes because of the water level) and give it the old college try.

Remember, last year both Yuki (7 lb. 15 oz.) and I (7 lb. 10 oz.) got personal bests there. Fishing from a boat is a whole nuther ballgame. I'll take pictures.