Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Today March 31, 2010

First, I want to apologize. My site has been down for some reason and I've not been able to put any comments on any of your blogs for two days. I assure you, I've read them all.

They say that March comes in like a Lion and goes out like a Lamb. Well, SOMEBODY forgot to tell SOMEBODY. You can see that there's no lambs in my front yard and there are still no flowers on the Dogwood, but there are buds on the tree. The end is near. The weather guessers said it might get dusted at 3500' (we're at 3215'). Wrong again. Yes, the yard stick is at 5 1/2 inches. Good thing Bob (I plow for fish) is around.

Nothing about fishing and everything about shoveling and plowing. OH, one more thing, yesterday they had wind gusts, on the top of the pass, of 120 mph. Enough to blow you right off your feet. Kind of like a Cyclone, eh Callen.

Till the next adventure.

Mark (Shoreman)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fishing in the Snow

Since we are expecting rain all next week, BOO... I decided to take the last sunny weekday and drive over to Ice House Reservoir (elevation 5450'). I had forgotten that it rained last night and based on the picture below, snowed up there.

If you look close at the picture, you'll notice that all the trees on the hill are the same size. This area was the location of the Cleveland Fire in 1992. Reason I mention this, I lived right down the highway from this area. I remember, vividly, standing in the parking lot of the gas station watching this fire burn and waiting for an evacuation order. It started as a 5 foot diameter fire at a place called Cleveland Corral Visitors Center, 8 miles East of where I lived. It burned for 16 days and covered 22,485 acres. it destroyed 41 dwellings and outbuildings including a bunch of summer cabins on the South Fork of the American River.

Now that you're up to date on that, I got to Ice House Reservoir at 0800 and carefully climbed down to the lake just below the parking lot where the boaters park there trailers. When I say carefully, it was because there was a foot of snow on the lake side. I would have had an easier time if I would have had a sled, although stopping before I hit the lake would have been a problem. Put out one rod with a floating nightcrawler and Kastmasters on the other. After a half an hour I decided that it was just too shallow there, so I packed up and went over to the other side by the dam where Robert and I had fished last April.

This side had a little more snow. Actually it was 3 feet deep. I slogged my way out to the edge of the lake and stomped an area about 3 feet round so I had some where to stand. Put out a floating bobber rig with a big meal worm. I think the water was too cold because it died right away. The I switched to a slip sinker rig with a night crawler and tried Kastmasters again. Nope, no body home. Switched to Rainbow Power Bait and set it out about 75 feet. Nope, still no body home. Put a slip sinker rig with Power Bait on my 6' rod and slung that sucker out about 150 feet. The line went straight. Caught the first fish of the day. Excuse the dirty tennis shoe.

The first fish came at 10:00 and the second at 10:05. Then nothing until 11:00 when the third and fourth were landed. After that, nothing. I decided, since I had a pretty long drive home (about 2 hours), I'd call it a day at Noon. 11:55 I started packing up and decided I'd had a good day with 4 on the stringer and when I turned back around to reel in my last rod, the line was straight. Fish 5 was on the line. All 5 were caught on the same rig that was out 150 feet. Not a bite on the one closer. So I ended the day with a limit and dropped them off to my neighbor Bob (I plow for fish).
Here are few shots of the lake. A bit too chilly for float tubing.
A spectacular day. Sunny and bright (I fished part of the day in a tee-shirt) and the fishing was good. Don't know if I'll get out next week. The wife is on vacation all week and she will probably need to get rid of me for at least a day or two. Who knows?
Till next time.
Mark (Shoreman)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Windy and the Bobbing Float Tube

Yesterday, I drove down to Sacramento to meet my son for breakfast. I was unable to get a hold of him when I got down, and finally found out he was on his way to San Francisco. That took care of breakfast. Instead, I went to Kiene's Fly Shop and picked up a dozen J Fair's Wiggle Tail flys in a couple of sizes. I had planned to go to the pond today and wanted to have some on hand, since they worked so well the last time.

Got to the pond at 0845 and geared up and put to "sea" at 0900. I was the only one on the pond. A definate first. Put on one of the Wiggle Tails in size about 12. I failed to look at the sizes when I was at the shop, so this is only a guess. Unlike the other day, the trout showed no interest in the Wiggle Tail what so ever.

When all else fails, put on a black Wooly Bugger. Yup, that was the one they wanted. Managed a couple of bumps and landed one about a pound. Shortly there after, they became disinterested in that one too. About then, Bob (I'll call him pontoon Bob, not I plow for fish, Bob) showed up and commenced to catch fish left and right, as he always seems to do. His fly of choice this morning was an olive green Wooly Bugger. Ok, I've got them too, so I put one on and, yup hooked up right away and landed one, again, about a pound. After that I had a bunch of bumps, but couldn't get them to take the hook. In fact, I had one that hit the bugger time after time and still couldn't hook him. I don't think I need more practice do I? Do trout take instructions on how to nab a fly?

At 1230 I got winded off the pond. When your float tube starts bobbing up and down on the waves, it's time to call it a day. Besides, you could only cast in one direction. OK, with the wind. When I got back to shore, there was a young boy fishing with his dad on the dock. We got into a dicussion about why I didn't keep the two I caught. I told him, if you don't keep them, you don't have to clean them. Works for me. Too hard to explain catch and release to some one that young. Then I mentioned that I heard of one caught at the pond that was 16 pounds. He said his dad caught one that big this morning. So when I got packed up, I wandered over to see the 16 pounder. Took my Berkley Digital Scale just in case. On the way, he admitted that maybe it wasn't quite that big, but big none the less. We pulled it up and hung it on the scale and it topped out at 6 lbs 12 ozs. Not bad for shore fishing with Power Bait.

Well, that's it for Wednesday. The weather guessers said it wasn't supposed to be windy today. What a job, being wrong most of the time and still getting paid for it. Rain tonight and possible snow. What the hell happened to spring. Oh yeh, still no flowers on the Dogwood.

Till next time.

Mark (Shoreman)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Upcountry Lakes

Last Friday I had a chance to do some work around the house. The Amador Air District allowed a burn day, so I did some raking and burning of pine needles. The area I usually rake is about an acre in size, I raked half. Apparently I'm not smart enough to know that I can't rake half an acre without some reaction from my old body. What that reaction turned out to be, was my 35 year old brain being reminded that my 63 year old body can't do that much anymore. So I moaned and groaned around the house Saturday and Sunday.
This morning, I was still gimping some what, so I decided to take a spin up the hill and see what the lakes look like up there. When I got to Bear River Reservoir, I parked and snapped a shot.

This should have been an early indication, but who am I to let a little snow get in the way. So I moseyed around (got this from Jimmie Carter's term in the White House) to see what the lake looked like. Heard at Cook's Station (stopped for coffee) that the lake was icing out.

Bear River Reservoir (Elevation 5850')

Don't see any water, do you?

Next stop was Silver Lake. Not a chance of water here.
Silver Lake (Elevation 7261)
Then on to Caples Lake. Remember all those trout I caught there last year? No fishing today. One thing that really spooked me about this picture, is all the footprints (you can see them in the picture) from people walking around on this lake. You know me and iced over lakes.
Caples Lake (Elevation 7800')

Second to the last stop on the trip is by far, my favorite (can't wait to get my float tube in here) Red Lake. No flippering today.
Red Lake (Elevation 8200')

By the looks of the lakes, I'd say it's going to be end of April, early May before there's any flippering done at any of these lakes.
Moving on, trout season opens on Saturday April 24th for the creeks and rivers. Some are open all year if you're using artificial barbless (always check the regulations), but not the one below. The creek is called Gerle Creek. It's in a place called PIPI Valley which just happens to be up the hill from where I live. I fished it once last year before I got into fly fishing, but it was mid-Summer and there were too many people swimming in the creek to be able to catch anything. Which brings me to why I mentioned opening day. I guarantee there won't be anyone swimming there on April 24th (water temperture 0 or colder. OK, maybe 40 or so), but I believe I might be wetting a fly or two.
Gerle Creek (Elevation about 4500')
Well, that's the update on the upcountry lakes. Still plenty of white up there, but that only means the lakes will be full come Summer.

Till next time.
Mark (Shoreman)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Trout Pond Gives Up 2 More

The plan was to meet Rich and Mark at the pond this morning. I had no expectations because the wind was supposed to be blowing gusts up to 40mph, so I planned to fish from the bank. I got there at 900 and the wind was calm, so I put out one rod with Rainbow Power Bait. Put the usual Kastmasters on the other.

The Power Bait produced one fish 12" at 0930 and was quiet the rest of the morning. Of all the slinging I did with Kastmasters, Rapala's, and Little Cleo's, the only one that produced was the Rainbow (pink with spots)colored Kastmaster. This fish was 15" and came at 1015.

For 3 1/2 hours fishing (0900-1230) that was it. A few caught by others, but not many. I talked to the guys out in the float tubes, but no one had a black wiggle tail and Wooly Buggers were not producing anything.

Since very few were caught, I consider my 2, a successful day. Oh, I don't think the wind got above 5 mph. Just a little chop on the water.

Till the next adventure.

Mark (Shoreman)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Shoreman Succombs

First a note about our friend Callen (Xstreem Fishing Fiji)and family. They got slammed for 3 days by Cyclone Tomas. The good thing is that there was only one death reported but the island has been, for the most part, trashed. I suspect that we will hear from Callen as soon as they have electricity again. We're waiting for an update and have our fingers crossed.

Second, Shoreman has broken down and decided to take a fly tying class or 2. Mike at American Fly Fishing Company in Sacramento has convinced me that I should be tying my own flies, at least Wooly Buggers and the little black thing I hooked that big trout on yesterday. It now has a name. It's called a wiggle tail apparently a common and easily tied fly. Easy for those of you that tie flys on a regular basis. Hard for those of us that have big hands and basically stumble around just tieing a fly on the line.

Day one is on Sunday April 4th. This is reserved just for the Wooly Bugger experience. Now I have to figure out how I'm going to convince my wife that I need to spend more money of fly tieing vise and all the goodies that go with it. I can grovel with the best of them.

That's it for today.

Mark (Shoreman)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Pond is Winding Down

Got to the Camanche Trout Pond at 0900. I noticed that there was only one pontoon boat on the pond, unlike last time when there were about 100 float tubers there. OK, maybe 10 or 12. You know how I exaggerate. Got the float tube Cumberland in the water and flippered on out with a black Wooly Bugger on. Got all the way across the pond and nothing. Added a Copper John dropper in green (the favorite color for trout at the pond) on 24” of 6 lb fluorocarbon and cruised back across the pond. Nothing. Changed to the tungsten bead head Thinmint for the next trip across. Nothing again.

Decided to put that little black thing I got from the guy at the fly shop on and try that. I aligned myself with a tree on the side and parked out about 25 feet casting toward the shore. On the third cast, I hooked something big. I mean really big. It ran, and I reeled. It ran again and I reel some more. It ran again and I reel. This went on for a couple of minutes. I did catch a glimpse and the trout looked like it might go 26, maybe 28 inches. Big. It made one last run and damned if the 4x tippet didn’t snap right in half. The double surgeon knot held. The knot on the fly (now with the trout) held. The 6 lb tippet broke right in the middle. I loved that fly, too. All right, I had another one, so I put a new 24” tippet on and tied the other fly on.

Over the course of the next hour or so, sitting in the same spot, I got many hits on the fly and one hook up that jumped a couple of times and spit the fly. I think the hits that didn’t connect were because of the fly. This little black thing is about the size of a 1/3 of a size 8 Wooly Bugger and a tail 1 ½ inches long. I think the trout kept hitting the tail and missing the hook. This was deduced after I wrapped it up for the day. Next time I think I’ll trim it a little and see what happens.

This brings me to the title of this post. I ran into my friends Rich and his son Mark and Rich said that they stocked the pond last week with Bass and Catfish. That tells me that with the warm weather we’re having, they will probably not be putting many more trout in the pond. Now I’ll have to look for another place to fish until ice out upcountry. Rich, Mark, and I are going to try the pond once more on Thursday, so that will be the next adventure.

Until then.

Mark (Shoreman)

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Milestone

I've procrastinated for a couple of days and sure enough, what I wanted to say got away from me. Back on the 10th of March, John Wooldridge (most of you know him as Musings of Murphyfish) became my 40th follower. By chance, I became his 40th follower. What are the odds?

This morning, I noticed I have a new follower (41), Esox Fever. Andoni is from Finland and has a nice blog and if you don't already know him, stop by and check it out.

Mark (Shoreman)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Little Info and Today

On the post dated Tuesday, Butch asked that I explain paragraph 2, since he’s a Zebco 33 spincaster and not familiar with fly fishing equipment. So here goes. I hope I get it right.

From the post:

The reel I got was a Ross CLA 2 with Rio AquaLux fly line with an intermediate sinking rate of 1.5-2.0 IPS. The reel itself cost more than my whole Streamlight outfit. Then add backing, line, a three pack of 7'6" - 4X leaders and a dozen size 8 Wooly Buggers and I darn near had to take out a second mortgage on the house.

Fly rods and reels can cost as little as $59.00 (give or take) and as much as a gazillion dollars. When I first started fly fishing last year, I purchased a Streamlight rod & reel combo that came with backing (for when you get that big one and run out of line) and weight-forward fly line (most of the weight is in the front 33 feet or so). I paid about $175.00 for the whole shebang.

You’ll remember I mentioned in the post dated March 2nd that I snapped off the tip on this rod, so I bought the new rod mentioned in the same post. To go with that rod, I purchased a reel (and that sucker cost more than the whole other combo) and line (this stuff is really expensive) more suited for lake fishing than stream fishing. The reel I purchased has backing and an intermediate sinking line. What this does, is it makes the streamer (Wooly Bugger, etc) sink further than it would if you used a floating line. In this case, it sinks at the rate of 1 ½ to 2 inches per second. Depending on how far down you want to fish, all you do is count 1-1000, 2-1000, 3-1000, etc, to gauge how far down your streamer is. When you’re at the depth you want, then you start stripping the line to make the streamer jerk like its live bait. Basically it gets your fly further below the surface. If you want it to sink faster and farther, you get a faster sinking line. Butch, if you need more, let me know and I’ll send you an email.

OK, so how did it work today? Got to the trout pond at 0900 and started flippering across the lake. Nobody was catching anything so the prospect didn’t look good. First I tried a black Wooly Bugger, then a chartreuse Clouser Deep Minnow, a Steelhead fly called Freight Train, then an olive Wooly Bugger, and a tungsten bead Thinmint. After a couple of turns around the pond, I decided to put out my floating bobber rig with one of those huge meal worms. While I was fussing around with that rig, I just let my fly rig drift out about 30 feet or so. Wouldn’t you know that while I was fussing around with the one rig, a trout would take my Thinmint. I didn’t even get to feel the hit on the one and only fish of the day. Rats……. But I don’t feel bad. Most of the guys out there only got one or none at all. It was a very slow day. Obviously there was no interest in the meal worm.

Just before I left, one of the regulars out there that fish with spinning gear, said he got one bump fishing on the bottom (about 16 ft), so I guess they were down a lot further than I was.

Well, that’s today’s adventure. Oh, you know that dusting of snow we were supposed to get yesterday? It came Tuesday night and it was 3 inches. OK, I’m done with winter, but we always get snow one time after the Dogwoods bloom. No Dogwood blooms yet.

Till the next adventure.

Mark (Shoreman)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I'm Still Around

I know I haven't posted in a week, but I have an excuse. I've been fighting a snoot full, for the last 4 days or so and even though I have my new reel for my TFO 9' 4pc I bought when I snapped the tip off my 8'6" Streamlight, I haven't been in shape to get out to the lake and flipper around. By the way, my rod is back and LL Bean did a great job of putting the tip back on and no comments about stupid or bi-fold doors.

The reel I got was a Ross CLA 2 with Rio AquaLux fly line with an intermediate sinking rate of 1.5-2.0 IPS. The reel itself cost more than my whole Streamlight outfit. Then add backing, line, a three pack of 7'6" - 4X leaders and a dozen size 8 Wooly Buggers and I darn near had to take out a second mortgage on the house.

I was tempted to go today since we are between snow storms (last night we got dusted and tomorrow night we can expect the same), but the wind was blowing and the pond would have been choppy, besides the temperature was in the low 30's and I didn't think if smart to risk getting sick again. So, I'm off to the pond on Thursday when we're expecting temps to be in the mid-60's. I don't mind fishing in the cold, just don't need another snoot full.

I'm also going to try those big meal worms, that I get from the feed store, on Thursday. I've not seen anyone fish out at the pond with them. Might be interesting.

A busy day planned for Thursday. Hopefully all the pieces will fall into place. I just wanted to let you know, I'm still around.

Mark (Shoreman)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Yesterday at the Trout Pond

Exercise, exercise, exercise, flippering around the trout pond. I lasted a good 5 hours this time. Getting into shape for ice out of the lakes upcountry. Also something I can tell my doctor so he quits nagging me about exercise. I also found out that using a floating line is not the way to go when fishing a lake. Ok, so it's all I have (floating line) for the moment, but that's about to change.

I've been mum about breaking the tip off my 8'6" rod because it was a stupid move. I tried to get my rod into the house and snagged the tip in the top of a bi-fold door. I figured all I had to do is open the door and it will come out, right? Wrong. Snapped that sucker off in a heart beat. So, for the last couple of weeks, that rod has been in transit (to & from) LL Bean getting fixed. In the mean time, I purchased a Temple Fork Outfitters 9' - 4 piece 6wt to keep me fishing. As soon as my rod returns, I'm off to the fly store to get a new reel with a sinking line set up.

Why, you ask? Yesterday I fished with one of the regulars at the pond, him using a sinking line and me using a floating line. The score was Shoreman 1, Bob (not I plow for fish, Bob) a lot. His secret, sinking line and a custom Wooly Bugger. He's obviously been fishing with a fly rod a lot longer than me and he ties his own fly. Might have to look into that in the future.

In any case, the difference was an eye opening experience. Bob was killing them (not literally, actually he is a catch & release kind of guy) and everyone was struggling, even the shore guys. Using my own teaching method, that being, once you find out what works, share it with your buddies, I'll be off to the fly store to rig up, very shortly. I also need to find out what that Wooly Bugger looks like.

The one I caught ( 1lb 1oz) was on a little black something (maybe size 8 or 10) one of the guys at the fly shop gave me to try. I'll have to find out if it has a name and I'll pass it on. Oh, I had it rigged with a small split shot to get it down further, sans the sinking line.

That's my adventure for this week. I don't think I'll be out again (maybe Thursday if I can) because we are expecting snow tomorrow and Friday and that takes a good part of my time, as all of you back East know.

So, until next time.