Friday, July 30, 2010

Red Lake - Hot, East Fork - Not

First on of all, I wanted to thank everybody for commenting on Tuesday's post.

Yesterday I had a little spare time (After mowing the sides of our 900 foot driveway), so I ran down to the fly shop in Sacramento. I wanted to replace the Royal Wulff's I lost on Tuesday and while I was there, I also picked up a few new Prince Nymphs and some Yellow Humpy's that Glenn (you know, Retired Sheriff, Glenn) suggest might work up there.

I've been watching the DFG trout plant and this week they were to plant both the East and the West Forks of the Carson. My plan was, East Fork, fly rod, dry flies. Jetted out of the house at 0645 and stopped for coffee at Cooks Station (old habits die hard). Got to the East Fork at about 0800. It's a bit of a drive. and stopped at one section I've fished before. Put on waders, grabbed my fly rod, and carefully made my way down the side of the hill to the water. Found some slow water and put out a Yellow Humpy, then a Royal Wulff, Prince Nymph under an indicator and even tried a size 12 Wooly Bugger. Alas, twas not to be.

So I moved to another location. When I got there, there was already a couple of guys fishing in one area, so I made my way to the area in the picture below. I could see some slow areas, and a good pool just around the bend. Fished everything except the kitchen sink and still nothing that looked like a fish. Water looked good though.

On the way back to the truck I ran into the two guys I saw earlier and the usual banter occured. "Full creel?" "No, I think you guys got them all before I got here". Turns out neither of us got anything. We swapped flies used (what a coincidence, the list was the same), chatted for a bit and then we all called it a day. I decided to fish one other spot, but nothing again. By then they were gone and I was on my way. I noticed that they were walking toward another area below the resort as I passed. Hope they got something.

Thought I might stop on the West Fork, but when I got to the 88 - 89 turnoff, there were so many vehicles parked I didn't even stop and it was wall to wall people.

The other place on the DFG stock site noted was Red Lake. On the drive back from the West Fork, the wind was blowing at what looked like about 15mph sustained. I figured Red Lake would be white caps and impossible to fish, but I pulled in anyway. There were a couple of people fishing, but it didn't look like any catching. I noticed the spot were I usually fish was open, so I grabbed my spinning rods, tackle box, and net (never go fishing without a net or Annette). After all this time, I'm still not sure about that one. Set one pole out with the slip sinker rig and Rainbow Power Bait. This time I added a little something extra. Remember Sam & Kimberly from Pedal Boat Adventure? Mentioned that some guy told them about using a little Anise on the PB. Just happened to have some Pro-Cure Anise in my tackle box and put a dollop on. Dollop, one of those cool words. Barely got the second rod in and "fish on". A nice 13" Cutt. Over the next hour (only an hour, 11:30 - 12:30) I caught 6 more Brookies. Put the Cutt and 4 Brookies in the cooler and headed home. Bob's (I plow for fish) stash is getting a bit thin.

Fly fishing on the East Fork of the Carson was a bust, but Red Lake seemed to be back to it's Brookie self. Might be because DFG stocked it this week too. Who knows.

Can't complain about today. I'll wait until next time. Till then.

Mark (Shoreman)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dry Flies

This morning I decided to take a drive up to a place called Capps Crossing. It's a Forest Service Campground in the El Dorado National Forest. I've camped there many times. The North Fork of the Consumnes River runs right next to the campground. I've fished this river, a creek actually, many times, mostly with spinning gear and small Panther Martins and caught many fish. A picture of the creek from the bridge.

Today I tried my luck with my fly rod. I got up there about 0830 after dodging the guys cutting brush along the side of the road. Since I planned to fish from the bank, I didn't put on waders. I figured, if I had to, I could wade in my sneakers. I rigged up with a 6x (3lb) leader to start.
I put on a stimulator and started hitting the slow pockets as I wandered down the creek. After a short period of time, I donated that one to the bushes. You know, you throw out the line and there is nothing on the end. The fly ends up in the bushes and damned if you can find it. Then I put on a Prince Nymph and an indicator. All I managed with that was to catch it on the bottom. This creek is only inches to maybe a foot deep in most places. Then I thought I'd put on a #10 black Wooly Bugger ( I brought along one in black & olive just in case) Basically all it did was scoot across the surface. Too shallow for a split shot. OK, cancel that thought.
Then I tied on a Royal Wulff. Now remember, I've never caught anything on a dry fly so I'm kind of groping in the dark here. I know about the dead drift and all, but, well, groping. I found a little slow area and casted out the Wulff. No sooner did it hit the water, and "fish on". Wow, rose right up and sucked that fly down, then immediately jetted into the bushes. Crap......... Well, there was no getting that one back, so I broke the line. By now, I'd gone though a bit of the leader and a few flies in the bushes, so I added 24" of 3# tippet and then another Wulff. Going light this morning.
Couple of pools down I hooked the one below. He measured in at a healthy 7 inches. Odd thing, I was fishing down stream. It just looked good so I put the fly down there. He paused for a camera shot and back into the water. Since the DFG does not stock this creek, all are natives so all should return for another day.
My main goal was to get to a pool I'd fished years ago and caught one with a salmon egg on spinning gear. I wanted to swing a fly through that pool. I did manage to get there (it's about a mile from the road across some huge boulders), but didn't catch anything. I did get a drive by from a small one, but not enough to slurp it up.
On the way back, I took a break and snapped a shot from the top of one of those huge boulders.

Well, I did stop for coffee. Did have one in the bushes, one caught, and one drive by. Wasn't a limit, but all in all it wasn't a bad day.
I'm back, I think. We'll see the next time up at one of the lakes.
Till then.
Mark (Shoreman)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Has Shoreman Lost His Mojo????

I'm thinkin'. That's where my wife tells me I get into trouble, thinking.

I got to Red Lake at 0730 and had the Float Tube Cumberland in the lake at 0745. The outlook was fantastic. Just look at the lake.........

I flippered out to 40 feet or so and started toward that little bitty rock you see, half way down the picture. It's about a half mile away.
My plan was to flipper toward the left side of the lake since the wind (which get strong, mid-morning) would push me back to where I put in. Now remember, Red Lake is the one where most of the fish are caught within 10 or 15 feet of the shore, thus my cruising 40 feet from shore. Cruise along at 40 feet and cast toward the shore. Logic says there should be fish there. I threw everything I had and I never saw a fish or anything that looked like one. I was crushed. I had such high hopes for the Bumblebee Bugger and the Mickey Finn. Oh yeh, somebody forgot to tell somebody about the wind. It was crusin' on the way out and fighting the wind on the way back. Totally backward.
Once I got back to where I put in, I pulled the tube out, grabbed my spinning gear, and took up at my usual spot to dunk Power Bait. Hour and a half later, I packed up without a bite.
On the way back, I found an open spot at Caples Lake where the dead tree is and pulled off. Walked down to the lake and put one rod out with PB and threw every lure I had, on the other. Absolutely nothing. Hour and a half later (standard time for not catching anything) called it a day.
I might note that I didn't see anyone else catch anything either.
On the drive home, I reflected on the last three times I've been fishing. An hour drive gives you time to reflect. Go back 3 trips and I had to work (hard) for 3 at Caples. Last time (although there was a lot of yakking), nada. This time, nada. I've been faithful about getting a cup of coffee at Cook's Station and still no limits. I think Shoreman needs a fishing vacation. That is, time without fishing. I think I've lost my mojo. Maybe I'm wearing the wrong ballcap. I'll see how I feel on Monday. Take the weekend off.
Based on last years catch, I wasn't at the current count until the end of August, so maybe I just need a little rest. We'll see.
Till I can't stand it any more and head back out.
Mark (Shoreman)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Meeting of New Friends

A quick answer from the last post.

John - Nope, got skunked.

Mel - I go with your excuse.

Mark - We have Cutts in a lot of the lakes and streams out here. I don't think there are any in Caples, but Red Lake for sure.

Bill - I took a look at the Trout Magnet. I'm thinking about the recommendation colors for a start.

Wolfy - You'll see by this post, I didn't need to worry about being lunch.

Thanks all.

Got an email from Sam & Kimberly from the Pedal Boat Adventure Blog saying they would be up at Caples on Tuesday and could I meet them there? I had already made plans to take the kids (cats) to the vet in the morning, but I said I'd try. As it turns out, the vet's office called and said that if I could bring the kids in earlier, that would be OK. Original appointment was for 0830 and I told them I'd be there at 0805. The wife had another one of those early days (needing to be at work at 0700), so as soon as she left, I stuffed the kids into their cat carriers. I have standard cat carriers for both the boys, but when it comes to Smudge, this is Smudge all 19 1/2 pounds of him, stuffing is what you have to do.

Got to the vets at 0730 and they were taken right in, examined, and shot (vaccinations) and we were on the way home in 15 minutes. Ran by the house and dumped them off, no I didn't, I got them into the house and eased them out of the cages (Smudge with a shoe horn, just kidding) and made sure they were OK.
Jumped back into the truck and rolled up the highway. Stopped for a cup of coffee at Cook's, crawlers and a jar of Power Bait at the resort at Bear River, and rolled into the parking lot at Caples right at 1000. Grabbed my rods, tackle box, net, and proceeded up the hill to the sandy side of the spillway. Just over the top, there were Sam & Kimberly.
We yakked, soaked some Power Bait, yakked some more, soaked more power bait, lost some rigs, yakked some more, lost some more rigs, yakked some more, well you get the picture. Spent most of the time re-rigging and yakking. S&K had caught 4 or 5 before I got there and added a couple more while we were yakking. I, on the other hand, think I got one bite, but by the time I noticed it, gone. They were planning to wander over to Markleville and fish Markleville Creek, so we packed up at Noon, they went over the hill and I went back home to the cats that didn't love their dad any more. Well at least for the first five minutes after I walked in the door.
We did stop in the parking lot for a photo op, thanks to a couple of hikers winding down for the day.

New friends that will be fishing together soon. S & K love to fish and have fished a lot of the same places I have. Funny we've never met before. It's a small world and we've probably passed and just didn't know it.
On to the next adventure. Planning to launch the Float Tube Cumberland in Red Lake tomorrow. Want to try some of those flies I tied. Report to follow.
Till then.
Mark (Shoreman)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

17 1/2 Tons and 2 DFG Truck Loads

One would think, with that many trout stocked in the last two weeks, that the fish would be wiggling up the bank and jumping into your net. I had visions of the Asian Carp jump by Rainbow Trout. Not the case, at least not where I was. I got to Caples Lake at 0830 and even stopped for the superstitious cup of coffee at Cook's Station. Before I set up, I stopped and snapped a quick photo of the spillway.

This was June 28th

This was yesterday. A lot of difference in the amount coming over the top.

Decided to try the rocky area on the left of the spillway where I had that big hookup on a crawler back on the 28th. Fished one rod with the slip sinker rig and power bait and put the other out with just a crawler to float around, just like before. Sat for a hour and a half chatting with the guy next to me and the rods in the water. Since neither of us caught anything, he decided to run over to the Crystal Basin off Highway 50 and I decided to go to Red Lake and see if I could scare up a Cutt or two.

Got to Red Lake at 1000 (earlier than on the 28th) and set up in my usual spot. One line out with Power bait, the other with Kastmasters in pink (Rainbow Trout), silver, gold, and firetiger. Nothing. Stuck a crawler under a bobber. At this point I would have even taken one of those little sucker fish. Couldn't even get them interested. At 1130 packed up and drove back to Caples. Couldn't stand the idea of being skunked. After all, I stopped for coffee!!!

This time I went to the sandy side of the spillway. Walked back about 100 yards and found a little tree root hanging out over the edge of the lake. Just big enough to plop my boney butt on and a couple of nice roots for foot holds. Put one rod out with PB and the other with the pink Kastmaster. Nothing. Tried gold and silver, still nothing. Talk about frustation. Where are the
17 1/2 tons and two truck loads of trout? My luck, probably on the other end of the lake.

In the process of dodging a 15' tree floating by, I realized I had a fish on one line. What do you do? Reel in the fish, which is behind the tree, or reel in your other rod, so you don't lose your tackle in the tree. With a gear ration of 5.2:1, I started cranking my Shimano Sienna 2500B for all it was worth. The Kastmaster looked like a Marlin lure, skipping across the top of the water. Made it.

After I got the Bow in, I put out both rods with PB. The tree finally settled to my right and up against the bank. While I was contemplating all the fish I was going to catch, now that I found my "hole", I decided to check the water temp in hopes of putting the Float Tube Cumberland in next week. First thing I did was drop the thermometer. A drop of 3 feet or so into the lake below my perch. That created another problem. How to get turned around and be able to reach through the roots and retrieve said thermometer. I was able lay on my stomach (in the dirt, I might add) and stick my long arm through the roots and grab it and as it turns out, it registered 58 degrees, although that was right on shore. Might be a tad chillier further out. OH, I also checked Red Lake while I was over there (you'll recall I didn't spend a lot of time catching fish while I was there) and it was 61 degrees.

Over the hour and a half I was back at Caples, I managed to pull in 2 more Bows on PB and drop the PB jar into the same hole as the thermometer. Didn't have as much problem getting it back because I was already experienced in thermometer retrievel and used the same technique.

Coffee, no limit. Something wrong here. It's never failed me before. I did have a couple of errands to run and maybe I just left a little early. If I would have stayed, maybe I would have caught two more. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

We'll see what happens next week. Till then.

Mark (Shoreman)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Final Four

Sounds like college basketball. It's just the last four pictures from the weekend, for your viewing pleasure.
Charles and Elmer
Till next time.
Mark (Shoreman)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sunday, Big Bear Lake

Sunday started at 0500. Since no body was sturring, I stepped out on the front porch and took a little sunrise shot at 0515.

Everybody rolled out of bed and we were at the AM-PM for coffee at 0615 and at the dock at 0630. Because of the mass of boaters on Saturday, we didn't get the little plastic mussel tag and had to have the boat inspected again. Took about 15 minutes and basically it was the ranger walking around the boat, looking in the engine compartment, hooking a hot water hose to the transom, and running the motor a few minutes to make sure no mussels were along for the ride. By 0700 we were on the water.

My brother, having several grandchildren of his own, took charge of Charles. Once out of the marina, Charles got into the drivers seat. The deadpan look is his picture face. Most of the time he had a grin, that was ear to ear. I'm not sure, but I think that the faster we went, the bigger the grin got.

Charles got us safely over to the observatory and we trawled for a while. I managed to hook up one small one on the pink Kastmaster. From there on it was slow, so we reeled in and ran over to "Trout Alley". Trawled a while there, and since there was nothing there either, went back to the observatory. Mike hooked one small one about 8" on the pink needlefish and when he hooked the second one, gave the rod to Charles.

Well, turns out that Charles caught the biggest one of the weekend. Rainbow about 15". We didn't take the time to measure or weigh any of the fish.

We spent a little time at the observatory soaking worms, but I couldn't find the big one we lost Saturday. I did get one good hit on worms, but by the time I got the slack reeled up, the fish was gone. By this time (1030) the power boats and jet skis were out in force, so we called it a weekend. Have to work with my son more on this fish catching thing.

Don't forget the injuries. Not as bad as Saturday, but if you've ever been in a boat, on a lake (and I'm sure most of you have), when you're jetting (a figure of speech) across the lake and come across another boats wake, you know what the bump, bump, bump, hitting that wake does to your hips, sides, and legs, as you attempt to keep your balance. Black and blue here, black and blue there (the older you get, the more B&B's you get). Standing in the boat fishing, when the guy in the power boat thinks it funny to run between you and 5 mph marker that's 50 feet off your side, well you get the picture. Sore spots everywhere.

Got back to the cabin and secured the boat, loaded our gear in Mike's truck and rolled down the mountain. Got back to Mike's house in Long Beach about 1:00 pm and stayed long enough for Charles and Ken to take a dip in Mike's pool. We also did an animal check. Shiloah the dog, Elmer the Desert Tortoise (registered with the Department of Fish and Game with his own license plate for the back of his shell), and the parrot (don't know his name, African Gray). All in good shape.

Ken, Charles, and I jumped in his truck at 3:00 pm and rolled home arriving 11:00 pm, 18 minutes faster than GPS said we'd be there.

Wasn't a high volume fish weekend, but we got to relax and spend some time with my brother and got the grand tour of Big Bear Lake and the town.

I wandered out to the DFG stocking site and it said that Caples Lake was stocked last week and will be again this week. I also heard a rumor that EID (El Dorado irrigation District that runs the lake) put in 35,000 lbs last Tuesday and there were some brutes in the mix. Think I'll head up there Wednesday or Thursday. Should be mostly healed by then and ready for more punishment.

Till the next time.

Mark (Shoreman)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Big Bear Trip Day 1 & 2

No Questions to answer from the July 6th post, so on to the weekend.

I did spend the last couple of hours catching up on everybody's latest posts. I only made a couple of comments, but did read them all. So now I'm up to date again.

Blew out of here at 0730 Friday Morning with my son and grandson and headed down state to my brothers place in Long Beach. About an 8 hour drive when you take into account the bumper to bumper traffic on the 405 freeway that crosses from the San Fernando Valley to the off ramp where my brother lives. That was about an hour and a half of the traveling time. Got to his house around 3:15 pm and he got home from work (have I mentioned that my brother is a judge on the Superior Court of the County of Los Angeles? I call him "The Law Biggie") 15 minutes later. The timing couldn't have been better. Ken and I transferred our gear to the back of Mike's truck and that's where I met his tow hitch. I met it just to the left and below the knee of my right leg. Put a knot on my leg the size of a Major League baseball. Oh, wait, there's more to come.

We got to the Cabin,

around 5-ish and prepped the boat for the next morning. A little dinner at Carl's Junior and called it a night.
Up at 0500, hooked up the boat, a short stop at the AM/PM for gas in the boat and coffee for the bodies. Got to the the boat ramp for Quagga Mussel inspection a couple of minutes later. If you haven't heard about this invasive species, let me know and I'll expand on it. We have the same problem up here in Lake Tahoe. Mike had boat inspected a couple of weeks ago, while he was up and all the inspector had to do is pull off a plastic inspection tag and we were on the water.
Ran across the lake and fished what's called "Fish Alley". You know, trawl back and forth in a specific area. Mike put out a Luhr Jensen Needlefish in the Rainbow Trout (pink) color. I put out a Kastmaster in the same color and Ken out out a Little Cleo in the Burgandy/Bronze color. I put a second rod out with a Thomas Buoyant Lake Lure in Nickle Color.
The first fish was taken on the Kastmaster was small (maybe 9"). The second one was taken on the Thomas Buoyant lure and was small also. We then ran over to the Observatory ( I didn't think to take a picture, but it's a white, domed building sitting some 100 ft into the lake).
You know, star gazing and all that. We had picked up some nightcrawlers at the marina and decided to soak some here. I got a good hit, set the hook, and handed the rod to Charles (grandson) to reel in. He got it close enough to the boat to see it was a good sized rainbow (maybe 18" or bigger) and the line snapped. Charles still has some to learn about finessing a fish on light tackle. We caught one more small one on a worm and by that time, all the ski boats and jet skis were making it a little hard to fish since they had no compunction about running, at full speed, right past where you were fishing. Besides the lake was getting pretty windy and choppy, so we called it a day.
The picture below is of one of the cabins that dot the lake side all around the lake. Not something you can get for a couple hundred thousand bucks, for sure. Maybe a couple of million.
After we got the boat put back at the cabin, Mike took us on a tour of the lake. The next picture is just a long shot of the lake. We also stopped at a place called "The Discovery Museum". One of those Nature places you can walk around and look at stuffed animals that inhabit the local area. Hey, it was free, can't go wrong there.
The one below is of a place called Boulder Bay. The reason is obvious.
So the first day fishing wasn't a total loss. We caught and released 3, missed a big one, and managed to smash the pinky finger on my left hand. Did I forget to mention that? I was putting the trawling motor on the front of the boat and it managed to work itself loose, pinching my pinky and ring finger and well as cutting the side of my right palm.
Saturday night we had dinner at a place called "Cowboy Express". The reason I mention it, is they claim to have the smallest ice cream sunday, anywhere. For $1.95 you get a 4 oz glass filled with vanilla ice cream, sitting in a bowl, and covered, and I mean covered, with either carmel or chocolate. Pretty darn good for a buck ninety five.
When I talked to my wife Saturday evening and related all the damage to my body, she informed me that I was not to get hurt any further. Right!!! More about that tomorrow.
That's the first part of the trip. Tomorrow I'll post Sunday's fun.
Till then.
Mark (Shoreman)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Sheriff and Bear River

Thanks for the comments from the post about trout recipes. Nice to know that I'm not the only one who has a wife that "wings it" when she cooks. There aren't any lingering questions, so I'll get on with this post.

I mentioned Glenn the retired Sheriff in the June 28th post. Well, I had a chance to meet Glenn this morning. He and his family were camping (that's motor home camping) up at Bear River Reservoir. I hit the road at 0700 and stopped at Cooks for coffee. Had planned to meet Glenn at 0830, but got there 45 minutes early and he was ready to go. I stopped at the resort store on the way through and picked up a box of mini-crawlers. I was surprised, that after the 4th weekend that they had any left, but they did.

Glenn and I drove over to the dam and set out 3 rods of mini-crawlers under bobbers. Wasn't long before Glenn hooked up. Then a second one and so forth. All the bigger ones must have been caught, because all we caught were ones about 9". Glenn did have one on that was a pretty good size, but it managed to spit the hook before he could land it.

We had a good 3 hours or so to yak and get to know each other and managed to catch 10 or so trout for 15 mini-crawlers. Since we released all we caught, I think the trout made out the best. We also tried a few Panther Martins, Kastmasters, and even a Rapala, but the worms worked best.

I dropped Glenn back off at the motor home about 11:30 when the bite stopped and said we'd touch base about hitting Red Lake and Caples Lake in the near future. I think he's liking this retirement thing.

That's about it for today. More socialing than fishing, really. Off to Southern California on Friday. Not taking the lap top, so I'll probably not post until I get back, then I'll tell you all about it.

Till then.

Mark (Shoreman)