Thursday, September 30, 2010

What A Thursday

So much to talk about. Where do I start? My plan was to fish Blue Lakes (Upper & Lower). Who better to contact than a friend I haven't talked to in ages. He and his father make a yearly pilgrimage to Blue Lakes. So I sent him an email yesterday and got an immediate response.

"I have never had any luck at Lower Blue Lake, but upper has always been good. The best spot for us has been in front of the large bushes that are off the left side of the road once you past through the campground, but before the crude boat ramp". With that information, that's what I aimed for.

On the way up the hill, I snapped a couple of shots of the Fall colors. Fall is coming to the high country.

I got to Upper Blue Lakes at 0830. The other part of my friends email was, what to use. "Pink PowerBait off the bottom by 2.5-3.0 feet". Went through my gear bag with all my Power Baits and, no pink. You'd think with all the bottles of Power Bait I have, I'd have pink. BUT, I did have pink Power Eggs. Next best thing. Before I got the rods set up, I took panoramic shots of the lake.

OK, so they're not perfect.

I just might have to get back up here with the Float Tube Cumberland and do a little fly fishing on this lake. Seems like an ideal place. Got the Power Egg rod in the water and based on what another fisherman that was up there, put a silver Kastmaster on the other. Well, the pink Power Egg didn't produce anything, nor did rainbow Power Bait. The thing that got the bites was the silver Kastmaster. I caught and released 3 Rainbows about 9".
Took a shot of some more of the last snow. September 30, 2010.

I hung out until 1030 and then decided to pack up. There was a creek on the way back down the hill and I wanted to put a Royal Wulff in. Rattled back down the dirt road, past 5 or 6 campgrounds to the paved road out. As soon ans I hit the paved road, I picked up the speed to about 30 and came to a screeching halt.
Did I see what I thought I saw? Yup, I did.

You can take it from there.

I turned off on a side road to a place called Tamarack Lake. This place has special meaning to me. Here's why. When my wife and I got married 13 years ago, we were staying in a cabin in South Lake Tahoe. One morning we drove over Luther Pass to Hope Valley to go fishing at Tamarack Lake. This lake to be exact. The only difference was, there was a lot more water in it then. Today it was just a mud hole. There were also about a million mosquitos at the lake that day, too. Some what disappointing.

Back on the main road I got down to where the creek was. Second disappointment of the day. The creek was almost dry. I passed and headed down hill. I figured I could stop at Caples and soak some PB, see if I could add a couple more to today's tally.
But, you know me. I can't pass by Red Lake without at least stopping. I grabbed my lure rod with a silver Panther Martin and hooked a silver Kastmaster to my license holder. Walked, talked, and slung the lures. The Panther Martin was ignored, but the Kastmaster scored one Brookie about 12" and one Cutthroat about 10".
Wait a minute! Isn't a Rainbow, a Brookie, and a Cutthroat in one day a Hat-Trick? Anyone know the rules? I'm sure I've caught three different species in the same day, I just never paid that much attention.
Well, that's it for a high country Thursday and a new lake that I haven't reported on before. Trying to keep it interesting.
Till the next adventure.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Quick Fishing Trip

Had a couple of hours this morning, so I decided to run up the road a short distance and fish the Middle fork of the Consumnes River. This area is about 5 miles up the road from where I fished at PIPI campground back on June 23rd. I parked in the Middle Fork Consumnes Campground, didn't pay the day use fee, and walked downstream. Come on, I was the only one up there. Why should I pay the fee for a couple of hours of parking? I could have parked on the street just as well.

Fished a couple of small pools and spooked a couple of fish. Then I stumbled onto this little hole.

Apparently made by the tree roots when the tree fell over. The water was clean and so I put a Royal Wulff on the far side. The fish hit it so fast, I couldn't react before he decided the thing he had in his mouth wasn't eatable. Smart as he was, he hit it a second and a third time. Me, I still wasn't fast enough. After that, he wasn't interested even when I changed to a Yellow Humpy. So I wandered further up river.
Then I came across this lovely little pool. I did see a couple of swirls, but couldn't get anyone interested. I worked my way from the back to the front of the pool, but when I got to the top, it was really shallow, so I moved on.
Then I made my way to the bridge and fished this pool. nothing again, not even a swirl. Thought there might be something under the falls, so I put on a couple of nymphs under an indicator. Copper John, Red Naked Lady (another one like the Montreal Bucktail Whore. Love the name, tie the fly), and Zebra Midge. Didn't see anything, didn't get any bumps.

Wandered over to the other side of the bridge and it was all brush covered and running slow, so I called it. Had errands to do in town.
A couple of pictures for your enjoyment and a little dry fly fishing practice for the Shoreman. Oh, I did manage to lose 3 or 4 flies to the trees or bushes, or who knows. Somebody has to keep those commercial fly tiers in business. Next time up in this area, I think I'll go back to PIPI and try upstream a ways.
Till the next trip.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Heenan Lake

I've been excited about fishing this lake since last Winter. I've never been there and had no idea what to expect. In the past, I've talked about the East Fork of the Carson River. Heenan Lake is a couple of miles past the Carson River Resort going up Monitor Pass. OK, that was for the locals, those of you out of state have no clue where I'm talking about.

Heenan Lake is the spawning lake for the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. It's owned by and used by the California Department of Fish and Game, as an egg source for stocking waters in California and Nevada with Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. The DFG takes up to 2 million eggs annually. A few thousand yearlings are put back into the lake each year.

The statistics on the lake are as follows. Since the Lahontan Cutthroat is listed as a threatened species, the lake is catch-and-release only (Zero limit). Artificial lures or flies only and barbless is a requirement. The lake sits at 7084' elevation and is only open from the Friday before
Labor day until the last Sunday in October. About 8 weeks. Open from Sunrise to Sunset.

Up with the wife at 0430 (another software upgrade in progress) and out the door at 0615. The drive takes the better part of two hours to get there. Everything is in the truck. The Float Tube Cumberland, fly rods, flippers, lunch, water, and all the rest of my fishing equipment. I get to the parking lot at the lake at 0830 and what I find, is not what I was expecting.

Heenan Lake is listed at 130 acres and is about 3 times the size of Red Lake. One small dirt road from the parking lot to the launch area, one vehicle at a time. Then you have to park in the lot which is about 500 yards uphill from the launch spot.

Here's what you have to do to fish:
Drive down to launch when it’s your turn.
Drive back up to the parking area.
Walk down to the lake (500 yards).
Flipper around (the one guy I saw in a float tube was about 100 ft from the launch area).
Walk back up to get your truck (500 yards).
Drive back down (when it’s your turn).
Load up your stuff.
Drive back to the parking lot to leave.

Of course, I did a lot of research before I ventured out to fish this lake. I had it all written down and ready to go. Wooly Buggers, Nymphs, Midges, I had them all.

Standing in the parking lot and looking at this huge lake, this is where it said to fish.

1. Fish the side opposite the launch area. It would have taken me all day to flipper over there.
2. Fish the end near the dam. According to the map, I might have gotten over there by lunch time. I would have had to turn right around to get back and out of there by dark.
3. Inlet of Heenan Creek , East end. Another trip by lunch time another day.

Sorry folks, I just didn't have it in me. I turned around and headed home. I did stop at Red Lake (since it's on the way) and managed 7 Brookies on lures and Power Bait.

A very disappointing trip. Some would say, what's the problem with what you listed above? A little walk, a little flippering, catch some big fish? Got to remember, the kid is 64 years old and two years from a couple of hard, on the body, operations. It's just not there any more. I'm not sure if I could walk to the water and fish with spinning gear or would even have trouble getting back up the hill. The mind is 35, the body is 75 or maybe older.

I'll just have to stick with the places I can fish, but then there are a bunch of them. Besides, the Trout pond will be opening up again in another month or so. We also have another month and a half before the regular trout season closes. I still have a few streams I want to fish.

Till next time.

Mark (Shoreman)

Monday, September 20, 2010

A New Place Part Deux

This morning started at 3:00am. Up with my wife that had to be at work to do a software upgrade at 0530. Since I had an eye doctor appointment (still trying to get my new sun glasses in focus) I figured I'd go back and try the Mokelumne a second time. I arrived at 0 dark 30 and waited until I could see my hand in front of my face. Then I could make the climb down to the river. This is the river shot from the 8/26 post. This morning the flow was about half and no, I didn't take a picture. I had the camera with me and had all the intentions in the world to get one, just didn't.

I started with my spinning gear and a silver Panther Martin. Nothing. Gold PM, nothing. At 0800, I left and went to my doctor appointment. Interesting, he had to change my eye perscription to make the sunglasses work. Now I have one perscription for my regular glasses and a different one for sun glasses. Weird huh?

Back to the river and went to another spot, same thing, nada. Changed to a crawler with a little split shot and bottom bounced it through the riffles. Didn't want to do that before and then to the doctor smelling of worm poo. Nope, nothing again. Went a little further upstream. A little more bottom bouncing and still nothing.

Further upstream I came to an area that was like a swimming hole. You know, ropes hanging off the trees, deep holes, rock barriers, and trash. Back on 8/26 when I was here before, there were a bunch of people swimming in the river. Not today. I had it to myself. Down another hill to the river and out with the gold PM. Again, nada.

The thing I saw was, fish surface feeding. Aha, he says. Back to the truck, rig up the fly rod (I specifically put it into the truck, just for this reason), put on a Yellow Humpy, and back down the hill (did I mention the hill is about 20 from top to bottom? Now I can tell my doctor I'm really getting exercise) to the river. Humpy out, fish turning up their noses at it. Still don't know if a fish can do that. Sure seems so. How about a Royal Wulff? The nose thing again. How about a Zebra Midge under an indicator? Nope. They were surface feeding, you say, why not match the hatch? Would have if I could have seen what the hatch was. Things were so small I could see them out over the water, but up close they were about the size of a pin head. I couldn't even see them to catch one, so I used my best guess. Tried a Zug Bug, a little grey scud on an indicator, went back to an Elk-Hare Caddis, a stimulator (littlest one I had), and finally a Prince Nymph with a Copper John dropper. I just couldn't get any interest in anything, but they were sure feeding on what ever that little bug was. I saw rolls of 8" to about 11" Rainbows.

Well, I didn't catch anything today, but now I know where they hang out, at least during the week. Weekends are questionable, but Fall is coming. I also heard a rumor that a lady (name unknown) caught a 4lb Brown on a Kastmaster, last week. Things are definately looking up.

That's it for this addition. Till next time.

Mark (Shoreman)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Some One Please Kick Me

I had an appointment for today, taken care of yesterday, leaving me with the day free. So, what do I do with a free day? Go fishing. Here's the plan. Jump into the truck and plop my butt up at Caples Lake. Rest and relax day. Got there at 0815 and set up two rods with Rainbow Power Bait.

Everyday, in the last year I think, that I've been to Caples, it's been 20 mph winds, 6 foot waves (maybe not quite that big), and white caps. Not today. Calm and clear as glass. Did I bring the Float Tube Cumberland, HELL NO.
Some one please kick me.
Hung out for about an hour and ended up with no hits, a numb butt, and pissed off because I left the float tube at home. Went to the normal plan B.
Got to Red Lake about 0930 and set up one rod with RBPB and the other with a yellow Panther Martin with silver spinner. Second cast out I pulled in a 9" Rainbow, which surprised me because I didn't think there were any in Red Lake. Then I started noticing the fish were working the surface pretty hard. Perfect for a fly rod and a dry fly. Did I bring my fly rod? HELL NO.
Some one please kick me.
Now, everybody while fishing, takes pictures of birds, flowers, fish, and the like, but I've not seen anybody take one of a helicopter. So here you are. This is the mountain across from Red Lake, basically part of Carson Pass. I have no idea what he was dropping on the top on the mountain and I'm not sure there is anything up there, but he kept dropping something.

OK, back to fishing. Silver PM, gold PM, silver Kastmaster, gold Kastmaster, Rainbow Kastmaster, and silver Little Cleo all got hits or fish. Thirteen total. Five for Bob (he was nice enough to grade my driveway yesterday) and the rest put back for another day. Got to keep a guy like that in fish. A good mixture of Rainbow, Brook, and Cutts. All small (about 9"), but still big enough for the frying pan.
I did run into a guy named George that was having a little trouble catching fish, so I rigged him up with a silver PM and when he and his son left, he had five in the ice chest and a couple more on the stringer. Sometimes a little instruction can make someone happy.
On the way up to Carson pass, going home, I stopped to snap this picture. If you'll notice, in the middle of the photo, there are two white dots. Yes folks, that is snow, still there on the 16th of September. But that's about all there is, for now.
That's it for this adventure. Till next time, remember: If you don't take your fly rod or float tube with you, conditions will be perfect. Some one please kick me.
Mark (Shoreman)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bearly A Visit

After hours of rebooting the computer, router, and anything else plugged in, I finally got this piece of junk up and running, again. Second time in a week I've had to do this. Must be getting old and hopefully Santa will bring me a new laptop for Christmas. My wifes been hinting in this direction or a couple of weeks now. I'm not sure I need a new laptop, I think it's more that she wants this computer for her sewing room. We'll see.

Bearly a visit. Yup, the bear was back again last night. The light behind the blinds was just enough to wake me. I walked into the bathroom, looked out the window and sure enough, the sensor light was on. This time with the sensor light working, I didn't even have to get out of bed to scare him off and since I didn't hear the trash can being mauled, I just went back to bed.

This morning I walked over to that area and sure enough, bear tracks and a clear exit route was there. I love it when a plan comes together (the A-Team).

Well, just a bear update. Maybe I should contact Fish & Game and see if they could put a trap out here?

Till next time.

Mark (Shoreman)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bites Only

As promised, I launched the Float Tube Cumberland in Bear River Reservoir this morning. After Coffee at Cooks Station (I have to make a comment about this because I think the reason for the bad day fishing, is that they were out of cream for the coffee) I arrived at Bear at 0815. Had the float tube in the water by 0830 and flippered over to the edge of the dam where I usually fish.

My plan was to parallel the dam across to the other side of the lake. I started with a size 8 olive Wooly Bugger. After several casts, changed to a size 8 brown Wooly Bugger. That's when I got the first hit. Bump and gone. Couple of casts later, bump and gone. Must be those little guys.

Started chatting with a lady on the shore and she asked if I'd fished the tournament over the weekend. Said I hadn't, but that explained why the bite was quiet. Was probably a zillion people fishing right were I was.

Continued across and back without any more bumps. At 1000 I took a break and grabbed another fly box. This one had bigger Buggers (which is the reason I left it in the truck in the first place), but it did have the Size 8 Tungsten Beadhead Thinmint and I wanted to try that.

Flippered back and started across again. No interest in that or another streamer I tried and I even tried a Clouser Deep Minnow in a rust color without any bumps. The I noticed a little movement on the surface back at the corner where I started. Changed to my rod with floating line and put on the little fuzzy mosquito thing I tied the other day.

Set it out and in seconds, there was a flash and the fly was gone. I lifted the rod and the fish was gone. Man, that was fast. Second time, same thing. Flash, fly gone, fish gone. Quick little suckers. This happened a couple more times and then nothing. Changed to a Yellow Humpy, but no interest in that. So, I changed to a Zebra Midge just to mix things up a bit. Nope no interest there either.

At that point, I could feel a cramp coming on in my right leg, so I called it a day. Hit the shore at 1130 and figured 3 hours of flippering was enough for one day. Too long a period in between to keep the legs in shape. Guess I'll just have to do more float tubeing.

Analysis of the day: No cream at Cooks for coffee = no limit of fish. In fact, no fish at all. It's all their fault. Please, no comments on this paragraph.

That pretty much sums it up. Till next time.

Mark (Shoreman)

Monday, September 13, 2010


Been one hell of a weekend. Ken and I got most of the wiring work done on Saturday. Like most "projects" and I'd like to remind you of my formula. The time you think it will take, times 2, then multiply by 3 and that should cover the amount of time as well as the cost.

Turned out that Lowe's gave me the wrong breakers for the sub-panel I bought. That stopped the whole process at the shop, but we did get it wired that far.

Sunday morning found me at Lowe's getting the correct breakers, plug covers (I bought the plugs and didn't think of covers, let alone did anyone say, "you need covers?"), and Silicone to waterproof the boxes. I had a brand new tube in the shop, but I guess it was past it's shelf life. Kind of hard and crusty. I liken it to an old donut that's been sitting on your work bench. When I got home, I finished the wiring, rechecked the plugs to make sure they were wired correctly, and hooked up the motion sensor light (which works great, by the way). Now we'll see if it keeps the bear away.

That done I flipped the breakers and held my breath. No sparks, no fires, and the shop light came on. That brings us to the "un-plugging the extension cord" ceremony. Ceremony? I walked over to the plug in the wall where the extension cord was plugged in and pulled. Then I disconnected all the plug strips(3) and extension cords that were plugged into them (4). The shop is on line.

Since I was pretty much wasted from two days of that, I thought I'd get caught up on all your blogs. WRONG. For some reason I couldn't get to email or the Internet. All I could get on Internet Explorer was half of my home page. So I just shut off the system and went up to watch the Redskins (You know I've been a Redskins fan since the days of George Allen and the "old guys") beat the Cowboys, by the skin of their teeth, I might add.

A little finishing up and I'm off to Bear River with the Float Tube Cumberland tomorrow. Want to try my fly rods with those little top feeders and maybe something bigger.

Till then, and I did get caught up on all your blogs this morning.

Mark (Shoreman)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Small, But Fun

I took a couple of hours this morning and ran up to Bear River Reservoir. I haven't been up there in a while and just needed some time off from the "project". The "project" is on track. Trench is done, plugs are in the shop, and I'm waiting for Ken so we can hook everything up. Should be tomorrow or Sunday.

Stopped at Cooks Station for coffee and got to Bear River at 0830. Put one rod out with Power Bait (slip sinker and all that). Tried a gold Panther Martin on the other. Kept getting hits, but no hook ups. Think the lure was too big. Tried a smaller one and hooked up one small Rainbow.

When I stopped at Cooks, I picked up a carton of mini-crawlers (15 to a carton). After many casts with the PM, Kastmasters, and Little Cleos, I decided to try my "Caples Lake" trick. On the end of the line, I tied on about 24" of 4# flurorcarbon using a double surgeon knot. Then tied a #6 bait hook on the end. No weight. Put on one crawler with a worm threader and cast out.

The catches numbered more than 20, with all released (lip hooked) but 2. One was on the Power Bait, the other one was about 10 inches. It didn't matter how much worm was on the hook. They would take it all the way down to the last piece that just covered the hook. They were all small. 6,7,8 inches, but fun to catch. Out of 15 crawlers, I put 7 into the 1/2 barrel with the remaining Basil. My wife and I made pesto over the weekend and cleaned out most of what was in the pot.

Many were surface feeding and I could have kicked my self in the butt for not taking my fly rod. That's OK, there's always next week and I do have a fly I want to try on them. It's kind of like a fuzzy mosquito.

That's it, back home by 11:30 in time to finish a couple of things around the house. Till I get back up to Bear next week.

Mark (Shoreman)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Missed Steelhead Opportunity

Based on the time of this post (9:20 am), I'm obviously not on the river, as predicted in the previous post. Unfortunately projects have taken presidence over fishing. I've finally got the opportunity (after 7 years) to get my shop wired. I've been running off an extension cord and a plug strip since the shop was built.

Technically the shop is wired, but the part from the breaker box on the house to the shop is where in the problem lies. I can do electric (plumbing is the bane of my existance), but not of this caliber.

This past Sunday, Ken stopped over (did I mention he's the Northern California Maintenance Manager for In-N-Out Burger? He knows this kind of stuff.) and we worked up a plan to get the shop wired this coming Sunday. To do so, requires a trench from the house to the shop to bury the conduit. Yesterday, I spent most of the morning chasing pieces-parts and started the trench.

The trench is not very long, maybe 20 feet, but the first 6 inches down, is like hardpan. Not sure if all of you are familiar with hardpan. It's dirt, compressed over thousands of years. OK, maybe a couple of decades, but it's like concrete. A pick doesn't get through it and the local government has no sense of humor about using dynamite. So you have to use a pointed pry bar to get through. Once that is done, then it's just hard packed dirt. Two days and I'm about 1/2 way through.

Figured I'd better forgo fishing, today, and take advantage of this once in a life time opportunity. Oh, did I mention that my arms and shoulders are already sore? Seems my "get up and go", "got up and went". Guess it comes with age.

I guess the Steelhead will just have to wait. Since I gave them my best last year (over 1000 casts, I think) and they just turned up their noses (can a fish turn up his nose?) at me, that's the way it'll have to be. I'll get there sooner or later.

Till next time, remember: Wear gloves when working in the yard. I've already lost one knuckle and I've been wearing gloves. Anyone want to help? Just kidding.

Mark (Shoreman)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Fishing Frustration

Most of the questions from the post on Wednesday, I answered offline. I sometimes tend to be long winded and didn't want jam up the comments section. If you have a question, don't hesitate to send me an email at I'll probably see it before I get to the post comments.

My Son, Ken, called and wanted to buy me breakfast this morning. We "treat" each other to breakfast for our birthdays and a lot of other times during the year. I didn't want to say anything, but mine was last month and he forgot. Some groveling being done here. Not really, we're just busy.

After breakfast I took a run down to the American River. Wanted to see if I could scare up that big Striper I missed last year. This past Summer I mentioned the river was running at 4929cfs while I was fishing for Shad. We won't count the time it was 6706cfs. Today the river was at 1779 cfs. That's really slow for such a big river. Hardly any movement at all, as you can see from the picture below.

I took my 7' Ugly Stik and used a Silver Shad Rat-L-Trap. The frustration came with each cast. The flow was so low, that every time I reeled in, there was green stuff hanging from the lure. No Striper in his right mind would touch anything that looked like that. I switched to a Zara Spook and tried that for a while, but at that time of day nothing is going to hit the surface.

So instead of fishing, I went to the eye doctor and fetched my new sunglasses. Now maybe (with my current prescription) I can see the hook eye and be able to put the line through it. Maybe.

Labor day weekend is upon us and I, for one, stay home. No need to fight the crowds. Rumor has it that Chrome is in the American. I think my wife has to go to work really early Wednesday. Think I'll be on the river at daybreak.

Till next time, remember: Fish DO NOT like green slime on your lure.

Mark (Shoreman)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Another Bear Go Round

Yup, the bear was back for another encounter. Yesterday I reattached the I-bolt to the back of the shop and chained up the trash can. Last night at 11:30pm the bear was, again, trying to smash the trash can. Grabbed my flashlight, pistol, and turned on the back light. He hauled ass. When I got out to the can, I could hear the bear crashing around down by the creek (maybe 75 yards). I moved the can inside the shop in hopes I could sleep the rest of the night. Luck was with me. We didn't hear from the bear again. Tomorrow is pickup day, so the can is down the street and around the corner. Hopefully he won't find it.

This morning I decided I was goin to put the Float Tube Cumberland in Caples Lake and see if I could entice a big Rainbow or two into gulping one of my flies. This is what I found.

Sustained winds of 20mph with a hefty chop and whitecaps. No float tubing here. I even tried fishing with my spinning gear, but the wind was just too strong.

Plan B - Go to Red Lake and see whats going on there. What a difference 8 miles and Carson Pass (8650 ft) makes. Calm as glass.

In went the float tube. Flippered around this side of the lake today. Started out with a size 8 "Bumble Bee" Bugger. No interest so I changed to a black Wooly Bugger. Second cast produced this nice 12 incher. Catch & Release. Note to self: work on those one handed camera shots.

Double click for a good look at the colors.

I tried a couple of other streamers and a couple of nymphs, but couldn't find any interest. That was it for the float tube.

Flippered back to put in, took a small break, and went back out with my spinning rod and a silver Panther Martin. Caught another just like the one above (catch & release) then nothing. Then, kind of like Sunday, right about Noon the bite stopped. Flippered back in and decided to try for a couple on Power Bait at my usual spot. Managed 3 small (8-9 inchers), but none big enough to keep. Everybody went home for another day.

Packed up at 2:00 pm and headed home. I have one more trip planned for Friday, but I'll leave you in suspense until then.

Mark (Shoreman)