Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Twas a good day at the Trout Pond

Got to the Camanche Trout Pond at 0745. Several fish had been caught by other anglers, so the prospects looked good. Put out one rod with a slip sinker rig and Rainbow Power Bait. Used the second rod to throw out a gold Kastmaster. Wasn't long and the line on the rod with Power Bait went straight. The fish was about a pound and lightly lip hooked, so I was able to release him. I then hooked one on the Kastmaster and this one was about a pound and a half. I released him also.

After that, nothing happened on either rod. About 0930, Rich showed up and with his Power Worm, Power Eggs rig, hooked up one almost immediately. I changed to the same rig and nothing. Must be attitude. I went back to Power Bait and caught one on Rainbow. Then nothing for a while, so I switched to Berkley Gulp Trout Dough (remember this before, when I got my butt kicked in the Power Bait challenge) in Marshmallow Cluster. White in Power worms and Power Eggs seemed to be a good shot, so I thought this might work. Yup, did the trick. Caught one about a pound. Then caught one on the German Brown Kastmaster about the same size.

Changed the Marshmellow Cluster to Orange Pulp (the one that works so well at Bear River Reservoir) and hooked up with another the same size. One last fish was caught when I went back to plain old Rainbow Power Bait. I had five on the stringer (for my neighbor Bob) and called it a day.

While I was changing between this and that, Rich pulled one in on a broken back Rapala in Firetiger color that went 3 lbs 4 oz or there abouts.

So all in all, it was a good day at the Trout Pond. Did a lot for my confidence, that has been crushed by the Steelhead pursuit of late. Doesn't mean I'm giving up on Steelhead, just yet.

There's a good chance we'll be back at the Trout Pond on Friday. I'll let you know how that goes.

Till then. Tight lines and full creels.

COFTLR 2010 (Cost of fish to license ratio) $7.58

Mark (Shoreman)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Steelhead and Rain

Had the opportunity to meet Rick from Swingin' Flies (see link on left side) and his fishing partner, Ted, to do just that, swing flies. I hooked up with Rick and Ted at the "secret" spot. When I arrived, Rick was already waist deep and Ted was just getting rigged up.

We took positions and started throwing flies. It was dry early in the day, but as it progressed it started raining harder. Now I know why I don't like fishing in the rain. It's too damn wet. Even though I had on a rain jacket on the top and waders on the bottom, I still felt damp all over.

OK, enough complaining about the rain. Here is an accounting of the day. I got two bumps, both on the egg sucking leech and then promptly lost it to a badly tied, improved clinch knot. Can't blame anyone but myself for that one. I do want to note that I was able to let the fly sit instead of yanking it like I've done in the past. Some improvement anyway. More bumps than I've gotten since the Deschutes trip. Ted managed two hookups, but both got away. I left around 11:30 and they were still at it. Got an email from Rick last night and they fished until dark and got more bumps and hookups, but the day was a skunking for all.

So, the fish of a thousand casts, sits at about 845 now. Odds are, if I keep at this Steelhead thing, I should hook up in the next 155 casts. Right. They are obviously there, I just think they don't like me. Then again, I don't think they like anybody. Persnickety (thank you Merriam-Webster) is what I think. The defination says "fussy about small details". A small detail like getting caught is a reason to be fussy? But wait, I still have another Month or so before all is lost.

Since the rain is supposed to end today (10 days in a row), I think I'll wander out to the Camanche Trout Pond tomorrow and see if I still have the ability to catch fish.

Till tomorrow, remember: "A bad day fishing is still better than any day at work".

Mark (Shoreman)

Friday, January 22, 2010

International Sportsmans Exposition

Spent a few hours yesterday at the Sportsmans Expo. I've been to many of these over the years to see if there is anything new. Yesterday was basically the same as the past years.

I didn't go into the hunting part because as you all know, I don't hunt. There might have been something interesting, but I decided I wanted to spend more time in the fishing area.

I did run across a couple of Outfitters that might be of interest, but the one thing I noticed is that 90%-95% of the Outfitters at the show were in Alaska. The rest were in Northern California (up by the Oregon border) and Southern Oregon. I'll let you know in a future post if anything comes of my research from the show. I was looking for one of those Outfitters that get you to an area where the big Brookies are, like Canada or there abouts. Anybody have a good one in mind, let me know.

On a lighter note, California has been getting drowned this last week. As the storms approached, the weather guessers said the snow level, here, was going to be high (5000 ft and up). Well, yesterday we (at 3215 ft) got 1-1/2 inches around Noon. This morning we woke up to 3 inches and it's still snowing. I think I missed my calling. Weatherman, wrong most of the time and still getting paid! Wow, what a job. Although, I have to have sympathy for those in Southern California. I called my Brother who lives in Long Beach and they've been draining their pool (too much water and it floods their back yard) constantly since the rain started. But contrary to what's being reported, Southern California is not being washed into the ocean. Just looks that way. Even the guy on National News that was Kayaking on the streets of Long Beach, was no where near where my Brother lives. Sensational reporting at it's best.

Coming home on Monday Morning from getting my truck worked on, I came across several people stopped on one of the mountain roads I travel. There was a big Oak branch across the road. Being the good guy I am, I got out of the truck and helped pull the limb off the road. Four of us pulling and I picked the one branch that snapped off. One minute I was pulling, the next I was flat on the ground. This 63 year old body doesn't take that very well, so I've been healing for the last four days. Maybe I'll be in shape enough to get out and do a little fishing this weekend. We'll see.

Till the next time, remember: "A bad day fishing is better than being on your ass in the middle of the road".

Mark (Shoreman)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thursday on the American

I had to go to Sacramento to get the truck worked on so I used that as a reason to wander over to the American River and soak a few flys. I'm still in pursuit of that first Steelhead and today was no different than the others. I swung flys, eggs, and an egg sucking leech and couldn't get a bump. I fished the same stretch that I was on Sunday and didn't even see a fish this time. The count now is Steelhead about 10 or so, Shoreman zip.

On a lighter note, I just caught up on the blogs from today. I have to commend those back in the Mid-West that are out there fishing in 13 degrees up to the mid-30's. I don't mind fishing in the cold, but 13? Makes one glad to live in California. I'll never complain about the snow and cold again. Hardy folks those Mid-Westerners. Oh yeh, and they're catching fish too.

I'm not sure if I'll get another day in this week and we are expecting rain (Shoreman doesn't do rain) starting Saturday Night and so far, they are saying through Thursday (that's as far out as they will go). Not that we don't need the water, but I'd rather be fishing.

Till the next time, went the rain quits.

Mark (Shoreman)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sunday and Steelhead

Once again, I was on the American River chasing those elusive Steelhead. I had read an article in one of the local fishing papers that said the number of Steelhead in the American were really low. So low, in fact, that the count at press time was less than half of what it was last year. The report came from the fish hatchery at Nimbus Dam where they have a weir across the river and the Salmon and Steelhead climb a ladder into holding ponds where the eggs are extracted and baby fish are raised. A great place to take the family in the fall. On spawning days, you can watch it all happen. The extraction, fertilizing and see the stages of incubation of the eggs. You can also go out in the back where the holding ponds are and feed the fish. They are very appreciative. If you've ever fed fish in a facility like this, you know what I mean.

With the low fish count, maybe that's why I'm having so much trouble getting one or maybe just lack of experience, but that doesn't deter me one iota. I'm going to get one come hell or high water.

Met Rich and Mark at Rossmoor access and proceeded to a spot they had fished Saturday night. The outlook was good, there were other fishermen on the river, you could see the Salmon and Steelhead swimming up the river 5 feet off the bank, rods were rigged and in the water. Would they hit, Hell No. They just kept stopping in front of us and then swimming away. I think that if they had hands, they would have been thumbing their noses at us. Maybe that was exactly what they were doing. ALTHOUGH, the ones we did see were not the little 1/2 pounders. These were 24" or better and upwards of 5 to 6 lbs. The fish of 1,000 casts. I think I'm at 700 & something. My time is near.

Since I'd had a very strenuous Friday and Saturday (this old body can only take so much), I called it at 12:30 after about 5 hours. Rich and Mark were still on the hunt. I didn't hear from Rich last night, so I suspect they weren't successful. I did, on the other hand, make it home in time to see most of the Packer-Cardinal game. At first I thought the Packers were going to get stomped, but they came back nicely, only to lose in OT (sorry Packer fans).

Today I rest the body, Tomorrow and Wednesday we're expecting a good rain storm (you know me, I'll fish cold, but not wet), but I'll be back on the river hopefully Thursday or Friday. This time with my waders on.

Till the next adventure.

Mark (Shoreman)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

First Trout 2010

Arrived at the Camanche Trout Pond at 0830. Inquired at the check-in gate if any plants since the 3rd week of December and was told, there hasn't been any. Set up one rod with a white power worm, chartreuse power egg, and white power egg combo. Hooked on a gold Kastmaster on the other and started casting.

A lot of casting (is this Steelhead country?) and only one fish (better than Steelhead country).
Up until Christmas, I had a "manual" scale that didn't work very well. Once before I weighted a trout for Rich that was easily 5 to 6 lbs and the scale registered 1 1/2 lbs. My Son Ken, got me a Berkley Digital scale for Christmas. So I hooked up this one (picture below) and it came in at a nice 1 lb 4 oz. Since it was the only one I caught today, I gave it to the gentleman next to me, who had already managed to get two, so it would add to his dinner.

Please disregard the crappy photo. I was on my way out and just did a quick snap for posterity. Oh yeh, the power worm, power egg thing. Nada. I guess you figured that out since I had only caught one and it was on the Kastmaster. Duh!

So, the year begins. January 6th and the first Trout is on the record. Better than last year. It was April 16th before I caught the first one. On my "Fish to cost of license ratio" spreadsheet, this one cost $60.65 (License + assorted stamps). I have a ways to go.

Wanted to make one note about the float tube. I'm waiting for the sun to shine. Both times I've been out, it's been foggy, overcast, and cold. How about a little warmth? I know, I know, you guys back East are freezing your butts off. I sympathize completely.

Till the next adventure.

Mark (Shoreman)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Rancho Seco Lake This Morning

Float Tube, Day 2.

Got to the lake at 0845. It was cloudy, overcast, and foggy. Got the Float Tube in the water, put on waders, flippers, and the stripping apron. Flippered myself out a ways and snapped this picture of the sun breaking through the clouds. Looked like the day just might get sunny.

WRONG. That was it. From there it got worse. What little sun you see in the picture went away. The fog got worse, the overcast got worse, and on top of everything else, the wind picked up. OK, I admit, the picture is kind of cool.

Anyway I cruised across the lake against the wind, fishing a black streamer that one of the guys at American Fly Fishing Company wanted me to try. Didn't get any hits. I changed to a white Clouser Deep Minnow and nothing on that either. When you're flippering against the wind, it's hard on your legs, but casting is great. When I got to the other side of the lake and turned around, the going was easy, but the casting put the streamer back in my face.

Since I hadn't gotten anything on the first two streamers I switched to a Wooly bugger in black. With casting a problem, I let out the line as I drifted and then stripped it back in. This worked pretty well except the float tube kept wanting to turn backward. One of those aerodynamic things, I guess. To make this work I had to keep the tube going in the right direction.

Got back across the lake and I'd been out for about 3 hours, so I decided to call it. I still don't want to push it too hard until I get in better float tube shape. A correct decision since I can feel it in my legs and shoulders already.

As I was leaving, I noticed a couple of float tube guys going back and forth in a little cove and there was a bunch of people on the bank fishing right near by. I think I'll try there the next time, but will probably do it on a week day when there are less people.

Till the next adventure.

Mark (Shoreman)

Hagen Park Pond December 29th

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Combat Fishing at it's finest. This is the picture I couldn't get blogger to upload. Had to get the IT wiz Wife to fix it.

Mark (Shoreman)

Friday, January 1, 2010

January 1, 2010

A new year and a new decade begins. When I reflect back over this past year, I'm reminded that this is the first year since 2004 that I've been able to go fishing on a regular basis. We lost my Father-in-Law in August 2004 which started the complete remodel of my Mother-in-Law's house. It was a two year project and unfortunately in 2006 we lost my Mother-in-Law too. In 2007 I was diagnosed with Prostate cancer which was removed and is completely gone, but the complications that occured from that surgery took me to another surgery in mid-2008, where those complications were finally corrected. Pretty much kicked my ass.

After recovering during the balance of 2008, I was able to get out and fish more starting in 2009. As I wrote in my post on Christmas Eve, I wanted to share my knowledge, and what I've learned during the year (and I've learned plenty), with others. I think the objective has been accomplished.

Now in 2010 and since I'll be spending more time in my float tube, my objective for this year is to share what I learn from that angle. I'll still be fishing from the shore on occasion, but will be focusing on how to catch & release more fish from further out in the lake. Oh yeh, I'm still focusing on those elusive Steelhead. The new year has dawned and the area of the American River that closed on October 31'st, is again, open. I'll just wait for a few days for those fishermen that hit the river Today, Tomorrow, and the next few days to get it out of their system. Then I'll get down to Steelhead business.

From my Family to your's, a Happy New Year. May you have tight lines and full creels all year.

Till the 2010 adventure begins, remember: "A bad day fishing can be cured with a full day of Bowl games".

Mark (Shoreman, Floatman, Tubeman, Float Tubeman and anything else You or I can think of)