Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Kids

I had to put something up here on New Years Eve, so I thought I'd just post pictures of the three most distressed cats in Volcano.

Enough with the pictures already.

Happy New Year everybody.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's A Wrap

My wife had to be at work at 0445 (get up at 0215) this morning, so being the loving husband I am, I got up with her, got her off to work, and being that good loving husband, went back to bed.

I rolled out of the sack at 0730, jumped into the shower, made a ham sandwich (on Miltons Multi-Grain Bread [very healthy]), wolfed down a bowl of cereal, threw the sandwich, two chocloate chip granola bars and a half dozen Lendor Truffles (both unhealthy) into the cooler and headed out to Lake Camanche. The Float Tube Cumberland and all the related accessories was already loaded.

Got to the lake at 0915, after a quick stop at Starbucks for coffee and launched. In the picture below, I headed for the point at the right (water temperature 49 degrees), then across the lake to the p oint on the left, then back in to the launch area. I fished the Thinmint, black Wooly Bugger, a purple Wooly Bugger type fly with striped legs that came from Dave Swart up in Oregon, an Olive Wooly Bugger, and then finished up with the Thinmint again. Absolutely no interest in any flies.

I've fished this area quite a few times in the past year and I thought, for sure, that the area I tubed would produce fish. I've never seen a boat in this area, I've caught fish here on a regular basis, and just to rest my mind, once I got in (1100) and loaded the tube and related accessories into the truck, I got out my two rods for Power Bait, my chair, net, stringer, and lunch.

Fifteen minutes later, I had the first fish to hand. It looked like someone had grabbed it and then put it back because it had, what I would call a bacteria spot, right behind the head so I just cut it loose. At 12:20 I landed the second Rainbow. Put it on the stringer after looking to see if it had any bugs in it's mouth. It was clean. Then at 1:20pm I had another hit, but missed setting the hook. From then until I left at 2:00pm, it was social time. Lines were out and the fish were gone. At least for me. There were a couple caught by the folks near by.

I'm ending the year on a high note. It was a good year, but not a great year. When I started keeping track of the number of fish I caught each year it breaks out like this.

2008 - 131,
2009 - 246
2010 - 292
2011 - 183

I know a lot of you don't fish by the numbers and I don't either, but I do use the "Fish to cost of license ratio" as a journal of sorts and in doing so, it keeps a total fish count. It tells me how I did at a certain place, at a certain time. I know I couldn't keep those kind of statistics in my head. Hell, I can't remember my name most of the time.

The last thing this year is the results of my New Years Resolutions.

1. Change my tactics for catching Steelhead and catch one. Nope, didn’t catch a one. Another Steelhead card goes back to the DFG with all zero’s on it.

2. Go back and fish Heenan Lake. Nope, didn’t complete that one either.

3. Beat my personal best trout which was 4lbs 13oz. Yes, tied that one with a 4lb 13oz Cutbow, then beat it with a 5lb 2oz Cutbow and then beat it again with a 7lb Cutbow all from Lake Amador.

4. Attend the Fly Fishing Show in Pleasanton. Got snowed out. We had a very cold storm scheduled for that weekend in February, so my son and I decided to forgo the show in lieu of staying home shoveling snow. What a couple of great guys.

5. Fish Alpine Lake off Highway 4, East of Angels Camp. Well, I didn’t get to Alpine Lake, but I did fish White Pines Lake (Also off Highway 4 East of Angels Camp). Does that count?

Since I only made 1 out of 5, I think I'll pass on New Years Resolutions this year.

So, Happy New Year to all my friends out in the blogosphere. I'll be back next week with a trip to Sacramento in pursuit of those damn Steelhead. New year, new tactics.

I'll see you next year.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Lake Camanche Once More

Man, this new computer is FAST. Santa brought me (besides the computer) a wireless keyboard and mouse. Makes typing and mousing a lot faster. It still has a couple of problems to be worked out, like the revolver map that doesn't work and a few problems with Internet Explorer 8, but I'm sure the IT Guru (wife) will get those fixed.

Other than that, I left the house at 0730 with a temp of 33 degrees and drove down the hill to Lake Camanche. My plan was to launch the Float Tube Cumberland, but I had too many things that needed to be done to make it all come together, so rather than stay home and work on the problems, I went to fish from the shore. I'll float tube on Wednesday or Thursday depending on some other stuff going on.

Got to the lake at 0845 and set up my chair, two rods with Rainbow Power Bait, and my cup of coffee from Starbucks on the way. How's that for luxury fishing?

First fish came at 0910, second one at 0920 that broke the line. A fray in the leader, I think. Third fish was at 0935, then a bite and miss at 0940. Then it got quiet. Nothing until 11:15 and then the fifth one. Numbers six & seven came between 11:15 and Noon. The five brought to hand were gently released. Today was a catch and release day.

Below is a shot of the houses that border the lake across from where I was fishing. You can see the cove I was fishing in (The same place, to the exact chair indentations, as Tuesday) and I think you can understand why I want to put the Float Tube Cumberland in there.

Down to the left of where I was seated. You can see the nice sandy beach compared to the other side of the pennsula that is rocks and clay to the shore.

So the 2011 fishing year is winding down rapidly, but I think I can get one more day on the water before the end comes.

Before I left this morning, I had one of those wild ideas I get once in a while. That being "Hey, everyone should be shopping or at work and there probably won't be anyone out there". Huh, you say. I, being retired and to which a day off has no meaning, didn't know that today is the holiday for Christmas. The place was packed. Can't tell by the picture, but the other side of the pennsula was wall to wall people. Nothing close to combat fishing mind you, but a lot of fishermen. On our side, it was me and two other guys to my right. I think we caught more fish that the whole group on the other side, too. We'll just keep that a secret.

Ok, that's it. Stuff to do around the house and it's almost time to feed the kids (cats). You know how they are. They don't get fed by 3:30, it's another call to the SPCA about cat abuse. They now have the SPCA on speed dial. And you thought they couldn't get those little clawed toes on the phone keys.

Till the next adventure.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Greetings

I'm not going to be able to get out again this week, with the finishing up Christmas shopping, family coming over on Saturday, and off to my son's on Christmas Day so I wanted to wish everyone:

Merry Christmas


Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Thanks for your comments on the trashing of our Aspens. We lost 2 of the three, but I think I saved the third one by putting a fence around it. They've been in the ground for 7 years and were only 12 feet high. Hurts a bit to have them trashed after all the work getting them that big, but I take all the blame because I was the one that removed the fences earlier this year. Thanks to Daniel for the link to that article. Pretty informative. Blake, I have a gun. A really BIG one.

Fishing Tuesday. Left the house at the usual 0730, stopped at Starbucks for coffee and got to the North Shore of Lake Camanche at 0845. Set up at my usual spot (since I was the only one there) with one slip sinker rig and my Okuma with Kastmasters. Did a fan cast with Brook Trout, silver/blue, and Rainbow Pink. Didn't get any interest so I put out a second rig with Power Bait.

I came prepared to go the distance. I brought an ice chest with two ham & cheese sandwiches. Two chocolate granola bars, and two bottles of water. And don't forget I had a full commuter cup of coffee. I put out my red camping chair, had my cup of coffee, and a book to read. Lake fishing at it's finest.

Good thing I had all that, because I sat and read from 0900 to 1100 with nary a bite. I figured that since I'm already skunked, what would it hurt to try some place else. A year ago this past summer, my friend Yuki and I fished on the other side of the pennsula and down a ways. We had some luck at a particular spot, so I pitched my rod holders in the sand, set out my chair, and put one rod out with Power Bait and a little spot of sweet corn Pro-Cure scent. I didn't have any expectations because the water in that area is generally shallow by lake standards.

I figured that since I was on the point of the pennsula, I might as well take my Okuma and walk around the point casting a Rainbow Pink Kastmaster just to see what happens. On the fourth or fifth cast, my new Rainbow Pink Kastmaster went out about 200 yards. Great distance, but it would have been even better had the lure still been attached to my line. Oh well, hazard of the game. Walked back to my tackle box, put another one on, and continued around the point.

When I got even with where I parked my truck, I walked back across the point and noticed my rod (with the Power Bait) was bouncing (really bouncing hard) around in the rod holder. The fish was so tired by the time I got to the rod, all I did was reel him in. You know he must have been on the line for a while because a 1 lb 11 oz fish would normally give you a pretty good fight.

Things were definately looking up. So being the die hard lure fisherman I am, I put a second rod out with Rainbow Power Bait, but this time I added a spot of Anise to it and put the Okuma in the truck. Once I stuck the first rod back out with PB & a little sweet corn I settled into my chair for the wait. didn't wait long. In a matter of minutes, the rod with sweet corn was bouncing again. Second fish on the stringer. Then I put out both rods with PB & sweet corn. Then a third one and a fourth one on the stringer. Then nothing. The first four came in 45 minutes. Did I mention it was getting a little windy and a bit chilly.

With both rods out and the wind making my chest cold, I walked up to the truck (about 10 feet) and got my parka out (be prepared in winter, for anything). I put it on and walked back (another 10 feet) to my chair and one rod was bouncing again. Guess if I would have waited a couple more mintues, I wouldn't have had to make that long trek (all 20 feet of it) to the truck because that made 5 on the stringer and that's all you get. I'm trying to keep Bob supplied with fish, because it just might snow one of these days, maybe.

So here's a picture of today's catch. I have them in order by size starting from the right: 14oz, 1lb -9oz, 1lb -10oz, 1lb -11oz, and 1lb -11oz. Not a bad haul for a day that started out with a two hour skunk.

That's it for Tuesday. Don't know if I'll get out again before Christmas, but if I do, I'll let you know how it goes.

Till the next adventure.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Problem Solved

Lost the second tree last night. This morning I took a stroll around the property (gun in hand) and heard the teeth clacking (Black Bear) again. Talked to a couple of neighbors on the hill behind me and they've had bear sightings in the last couple of days.

I'm not sure why the trees have been attacked, but I've put a fence around the last one and will fence the new ones (those replacing the ones trashed) when I get them.


Steve, our local UPS driver had the answer. Since he had the same problem and actually saw it happen, I'm taking his answer as gospel. Apparently it's rutting season and the bucks are using my wife'a Aspen as a rubbing post. Being such a little tree, all they are doing is trashing the it. I've put a cage around the other tree in hopes it will survive.

Fishing tomorrow.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

I Need Some Help

Before I get to my request, I just wanted to let all of you know, that Internet Explorer 9 is not compatable with Blogger.

Last night, something trashed one of our Aspens. There are three in a triangle, but only this one was destroyed.

These two pictures are from the front and back of what is left of the stump.

This is the bottom of the top part. The tree was about 12 feet tall.

These are 5 pieces stripped from the tree.

I can not find any teeth marks on any of the pieces. A beaver would have cut the tree and taken it, but it was just laying on its side. The 5 pieces were scattered in an area of about 15 feet.

It looks like something maliciously trashed it and just walked away. Why one and not all three?

Any ideas?



Saturday, December 17, 2011

Top Ten Reasons Why I Still Fish Part 2

OK on to reasons 5 through 1.

5. Newspaper articles. Again, if I don’t fish, I won’t have anything to write about. I’ve been writing articles for the Amador Ledger Dispatch ( since the end of October 2010. I’ve written about everything from fishing the upcountry lakes to being sure you have what you need when you venture out to fish in the winter. Fishing = articles in the paper. They have a blog, too.

4. Fly fishing. Going back to #9 in part 1, I got started fly fishing just before that trip. When we signed up, they told me I needed a fly rod to fish for Steelhead. Ok, I got one because it was the same cost as renting one from them. I did a little research and ended up with a rod, reel, and all the accessories necessary to stand in the river, waving a stick. Before we went to Oregon, I thought it would be prudent to do a little practice with the fly rod. In the stuff I got when I purchased the rod, was flies. Having no idea what I was doing, I drove over to the West Fork of the Carson River and tried my luck. To make a long story short, the first two fish I caught on a fly rod were 18” Rainbows and I was hooked for life. There is no comparison to fishing a spinning rod to a fly rod. Even though I fish with both, a fly rod is way more fun.

3. Friendships. Since I started writing about my fishing, I’ve come into contact with a lot of people both through my blog and people I meet while fishing. I’ve made some good friendships and some good fishing partners. They are the kind of relationships that you can call someone up and say, “Hey, let’s go fishing” and they are just as ready as you are. Some are close by, others are states away. Those that are farther away are the kind of friendships that make swapping fishing ideas an open discussion rather than the closed mouth way a lot of fishermen are. The one thing I’ve learned about fishing; is that you never know it all.

2. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Thanksgiving week this year has held both of these feelings. On Monday of that week, I fished Lake Camanche and caught two Rainbow Trout that went about 3 pounds and 4 lbs - 15oz. I had another one on that stripped line off my reel for about 20 or 30 feet and then gave me back the lure. That was the thrill of victory. That same week, I fished the same place, with the same lure, and caught nothing. That is the agony of defeat. What that kind of week does, is keep you going back for that next thrill of victory. It’s the excitement of the chase.

1. Communing with Nature. Fishing gets you out of the house. It gets you away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It gets you away from the daily grind (this is the way my friend from Wales describes his job). A lot of people that fish go to the lake, stream, or river and never look around at Nature. You should take in the wild flowers, the beauty of mushrooms growing on trees and out of the ground. Just stop and take a close look around. There is beauty everywhere from the small Garter Snake you jump while walking by (Yeh, I know. I hate snakes too) to the little bug that lands on your arm. Probably something that is hatching and that is making the trout go “buggy”, but being Entomology stupid as I am, I can only appreciate the bug itself and not how it relates to the fish, its Latin name, or for that matter, its English name. You know, Caddis, Mayfly, Nymphs, and all that stuff. If nothing else, when you’re sitting in your camping chair on the side of the lake and the fish aren’t biting (which is more often than not), take a look around you. You just might be surprised at what you see. This is why I still fishing.

That's it. Thanks for taking the time to read them.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Top Ten Reasons Why I Still Fish Part 1

This is part one of an article I've written for the local newspaper.

10. Beautiful sights in Nature. Some years ago, I was camping up with some friends at a place called Gold Lake in Plumas County. The area is peppered with small lakes. One in particular is Upper Sardine Lake. We decided to take a drive over and do some fishing in this pristine high mountain lake. To get to the lake, at that time, there was a short but extremely rough four wheel drive trail from the lower lake to the upper lake. Now, all you can do is hike from one to the other. The reason is that, once you started up the trail you couldn’t stop until you got to the top and then you had to jam on the brakes or end up over the top and into the lake. Being the good guy I am, I let my friend go first. I’d already been up there a couple of times so I knew what to expect. Up the hill he goes, low range and spitting rocks all over the place. He gets to the top and what does he see? There was a young lady lying on a towel, soaking up the sun, without a stitch of clothes on. You have to believe both were surprised. My friend was so shocked, that he almost, almost ran into the lake. She, on the other hand, scrambled for her clothes. So I keep fishing in the hopes that I too, will come upon a fair maiden, devoid of clothes, lying on a towel, soaking up the sun, on some high mountain lakeshore. One can hope, you know.

9. The elusive Steelhead. I started after chrome in October of 2009 on a trip to Oregon to fish the Deschutes River at Maupin. The trip, as far as the Steelhead fishing goes, was a disaster. You get a short sighted guide that will fish one way, and one way only, you tend to disparage the whole Steelhead fishing thing. On the other hand, I’m a trout fisherman and what is Steelhead? It’s nothing more than an oceangoing Rainbow Trout. Here in the Sacramento area, we are at the bottom of Steelhead country, but we still get out share in the American River. In the past, I’ve concentrated on Steelhead on a fly rod, but next time, whatever it takes. So, for reason 9, they are still out there, and I will be back out there after them. They say Steelhead is the fish of 10,000 casts; well I’m close to 20,000 so it’s my turn. Watch out Steelie, I’m coming to get you.

8. Berkeley Rainbow Power Bait. I’ve got so many bottles; I have to keep fishing so I don’t waste it.

7. The cost of each fish. The cost of my fishing license in 2010 was $63.47. This includes the standard license, a second rod stamp, and a Steelhead report card. I maintain what I call a “Fish to license ratio” spreadsheet. It does several things. One, it keeps track of the number of fish I catch. Two, it tells me what the cost per fish is (this is only the cost of the license vs. number of fish, but doesn’t include gas, entrance fees, etc). Three, it tells me (Ok I have to read it) what I caught where. Kind of like a journal.

6. Blogging. If I don’t fish, I won’t have anything to write about. I started my blog in January 2009 and once you start a blog, it gains a life of its own. I started it, mainly because there weren’t any reports around that told local fishermen what was being caught and where, and that is exactly what I wanted to do. Since then, it has 139 followers from around the world. Just to name a couple of places that people stop by from: Malaysia, Wales, Fiji, and South Africa.

Part 2 tomorrow.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

One Last Shot At Red Lake

Shot out of the house at 0730 and after stopping at Cooks for coffee, drove up the hill in hopes that there might be one small Brookie waiting for me at Red Lake.

Passing Silver Lake, on the way, should have been a clue as to what I was going to run into. Silver Lake was frozen over. So was Caples. But, the blasting guys at Carson pass were gone, yeh.... All I had to do was drive a little way over the pass and I could see that there would be no Brookies this year. Red Lake was frozen over too. Must have been those 18 degree mornings. They do it every time.

A quick u-turn and back down the hill (When you live in the mountains, you tend to think of an 8000 foot pass as a hill) and a turn at Bear River Reservoir. Got to the gate at 10:00 and sure enough it was closed. It is December after all. But would that stop a guy with 4 wheel drive? I think not.

Apparently I wasn't the only one the gate didn't stop, because when I got down to the lake (After driving over the hill beside the gate) there were 4 other trucks parked. Two guys were fishing in the spot I normally fish, so I took up residence next to, but far enough away not to interfere, where they were.

Since they had just gotten there, there was no way to tell how the catchin would be. They were fishing meal worms under bobbers and Power Bait on a two hook rig with a 1/4 oz sinker attached to the line. I put out one rig with PB and sweet corn scent on my usual slip sinker rig and the pink Kastmaster (small sized 1/8th oz) on my Okuma with 2# test. No interest in the Kastmaster, so I put a second rig out with Power Bait.

Sitting there in the sun, somewhat warm, catching three small (11 inch) Rainbows while my neighbors caught one a peace. At 11:30 the wind started to blow and it got real cold, real quick. I estimate the temperature dropped 15 degrees between 11:30 and Noon.

My neighbors pulled up stakes at Noon and since they had one fish each, it didn't do them any good (You know what I mean), they dropped them off for me to take to Bob. We had talked about Bob (I plow for fish) during our chatting. You know me, I'm always chatting with those close by.

Since I now had 5 on my stringer, I didn't have any other option but to pack it up too and head home too.

I really, really, really wanted some Brookies to smoke. Guess it'll just have to wait until next year. Sure hope it's better Brook Trout fishing than it was this year.

Till next time.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Meet Sparky

As you all know, my wife has been on a baking jag for a while now. We've had White Bread, Rye Bread, Harvest Grain Bread, and most recently Oat Bread. Did I tell you she got a bread maker too?

The next logical step is Sourdough Bread. Enter Sparky.

Sourdough starter is like a child, it needs to be fed, watered, and nurtured. When you get yours from King Arthur Flour, you are required to name it, just like you would name a child. We named ours Sparky. Why, you ask? Who the hell knows.

Sparky is a descendant of a starter that began its life over 250 years ago. Sparky arrived at our home via UPS yesterday in the container below and came all the way from Vermont. A very long trip in a very small container for a Sourdough starter.

Of course, having made that long a trip, Sparky needed to be fed. Once fed, Sparky requires time to digest dinner. Actually Sparky requires 12 hours to complete his (Why his? Why male? I don't know, doesn't Sparky sound male?) first meal.

This is what Sparky looks like after the first meal. Then you have to feed him again. He's gotten pretty hungry after that long trip. But first, you have to divide him in half, then feed him. What do you do with the halves? One you feed, the other one, you can give to someone else or just chuck it into the trash. Seems a little cruel huh. Cut your child in half and throw half into the trash. I know we've all wanted to at one time or another. That's the price you pay for being Sourdough starter.

Now Sparky has been fed the second time and is happy, as far as Sourdough starter is concerned. Then you put him in his own Sourdough Condo and then in the refrigerator. This is Sparky's condo.

Ok, so now you're ready to make bread. First you have to take Sparky out of the fridge and feed him again, but this has to be done at least 12 hours before using him. But before feeding him you must, again, take a cup out and throw it away or you can always put it into a container and put it into the freezer (Sparky freezes well) just in case something terrible happens to the original Sparky, you have backup. Sparky is a fragile child. Once fed, he has to sit for an additonal 4 to 12 hours.

Once you use the amount of Sparky you need for the recipe, you have to feed him again and allow him to sit at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours. Then back into his condo and back into the fridge until next time.

Seems like a lot of work, but remember, Sparky is part of a 250 year growth and has many relatives out there being fed, split, discarded, or given away, and used for Sourdough Bread.

Part of California history is Sourdough bread. I'm sure you've all heard of San Francisco Sourdough. Going back to the gold mining days (1849 & 1850), if a person had sourdough starter and could make sourdough bread (a staple of the gold miners), that person was sure to make loads of money. The gold miners weren't the ones making a fortune, it was the merchants who sold them supplies and the ones who fed them.

So, I would suspect that Sparky will get his first workout this weekend. I'll try to get a picture of the first loaf of Sourdough bread and give you a review. Sorry you won't be here to share, but you'd probably have to fight me for it anyway.

This morning I took a drive up the hill to see what the lakes looked like. That post will be for tomorrow.

Till then.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Santa Comes Early

I've been using, on occasion, myItalic wifes laptop to do this and that. Recently, I got yelled at for uploading a few applications I needed for something or another. Things like Google Chrome.

Well, Santa decided I needed my own laptop so I'd leave her's alone. Well, here it is.

It's a Dell XPS with Windows 7, Internet Explorer 9, and a bunch of other stuff, but I have no idea what it is yet.

Now I'll be able to blog from anywhere there is WIFI, although I've already been told that I'm not to take the laptop out on the Float Tube Cumberland. Darn, I had such high hopes.

Just a short update. As Martha Stewart would say "I'm so excited". You had to be there to get the full effect.

Hanging out for the weekend and will be back on the water next week.

Till then.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Surprise Post

This post, is post number 400.

When I started this blog on January 7th 2009, I didn’t have any intention that it would be anything more than information for local fishermen.

Here is the short, first post:

A New Year

This is my first shot at blogging. I've been fishing all my life and wanted to share my experiences with all my fellow fishermen. I contacted a local news paper about putting this information on their website and they pretty much blew me off, so I started this blog.

I've lived in Northern California since 1975 and have mainly fished streams and rivers for trout.
In 2007 I discovered lakes. OK, I know a lot of you fish streams and lakes and want to know what this guy knows that I don't. For some, probably nothing, for others maybe I can help them catch more fish. I figure if I put out here what I do and how I do it, it will help somebody have a nice trout dinner once in a while.

Last year I had a major surgery at the end of May. Before and after I did as much fishing as I could (I might note that I'm currently retired) until the snow hit in December. So for the time being, I'm doing some other stuff around the house that I've let go, we live on 5 acres in the mountains, but fishing is always on my mind. Did I mention I caught 130 trout and 1 Small Mouth Bass last year? A lot of the trout were catch and release. One can only eat so much fish. The Small Mouth Bass was a quirk. I was fishing for trout and it hit the lure. He got to go home too.

OK, I could go on and on, but then it wouldn't leave anything for another day. Just remember, "A bad day fishing is better than any day at work".

I’ve learned a lot since then about fishing, writing, and friends.

I’ve gone from spin fishing streams, to rivers, to lakes, and on to fly fishing. I’ve caught little fish and big fish (A 7 lb Cutbow from Lake Amador is my personal best on spinning gear and a 2 lb 8oz Rainbow from the Camanche Trout Pond on a fly rod).

I’ve written 399 blog posts, 25 articles in the local newspaper, and several posts on the newspapers blog.

But it’s the friends and followers of what I write that are the stars. If you didn’t read what I write, what would be the point of writing in the first place? Just yesterday I was picking up a prescription and the girl behind the counter said “Hey, I saw the inside of your truck”. She had read the article in the local newspaper about being prepared for winter fishing. I had added a picture of the inside of my truck with my parka, rain suit, hoodie, and all the gear I carry. It puts a smile on your face to hear someone say something like that.

I know I made a mistake and I freely admit the error when I said good bye in June. When I returned in July I realized the mistake was much, much bigger than I could have ever imagined.

I went from over 300 hits a day to just over 80 a day, currently. I want to personally thank each and every one of you that stop by. Without you, there would be no Northern California Trout.

I’m not looking for praise or thanks from you, the thanks come from me, to you for being loyal readers. I’ve also mentioned to several of the bloggers I read, that were considering quitting, to take a break, but don’t quit. Let me be an example of what happens when you try to make a comeback.

So here is post #400. A little rehash of what’s occurred in the last three years (year 4 starts January 8th 2012) and you can be assured, I will be posting at the same pace in the future as I’ve done in the past. Hey, it gives me a reason to go fishing all the time.

All I can say in closing is Thank You, Thank You, and Thank You.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Two Day Update

Yesterday I had to take a run into town (Jackson) to pick up some prescriptions, so I thought I'd drive out to Middle Bar Bridge and if anyone was fishing, see if anyone was catching.

When I got there, I saw that the bridge was empty and nobody was fishing. I probably should have realized that before I got there, when I saw a 6 point buck run across the river.

The picture on the left is what the river (or arm of Lake Pardee how ever you want to look at it) looked like back in May and the right is from yesterday.



I figure no one was fishing because the water was somewhere around two feet deep. I would find it hard to fish from a 15 foot bridge into two feet of water. My friend Yuki says they do still fish, but were probably weenies and didn't want to be out in the cold. I would be concerned that, with the water level so low, the river regulations (as opposed to lake regulations) would be in effect (closed since November 15th) and the fine is too great to take a chance. So I went home.

Today I drove out to Lake Camanche. Against my better judgment, I opted for the Trout Pond rather than North Shore where I've been fishing. Quite a few people out there and the pond was stocked last Thursday.

I arrived at 0845 and set up one rod with Rainbow Power Bait and Sweet Corn Pro-Cure Bait Scent. The other rod was set up with a floating bobber rig from Lake Amador back on the 28th of November. I had my Okuma with 2# test set up with that good old pink Kastmaster, so I started setting up my other rod with a slip sinker rig too. Before I could tie on the hook, I had a fish on. It was a one pound Rainbow and since I haven't gotten Bob any fish lately, it went on the stringer. This was at 0900. I was still trying to tie on the hook and landed the second Rainbow that went 2 lbs 2 oz on the Handy Dandy Berkeley Digital Scale. Time 0910. This had the outlook of a good day.

I almost forgave the management at Lake Camanche until the stock truck pulled up at 1030. As it backed up to drop the fish, the beeping from backing up (you've all heard the noise) was like a beacon to the pelicans. He barely got the fish into the water before the pelicans started slurping them up. One pelican grabbed a fish so large, the bird was half underwater trying to get it down it's gullet. You could mark the school by where the pelicans were swimming and eating. Maybe a dozen (could have been more, I don't know) managed to get away, but you can be sure the pelicans chased them half way across the pond.

The rest of the day (I left at 1:00pm) was sit, sit, sit with the exception of one quick hookup and spit out using that pink Kastmaster and a couple of drive by's. Nothing else on Power Bait.

A little duck love.

Next post (Tomorrow or Thursday) will be one of those surprise posts. Stay tuned.

Till then.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Lights

My wife said "We live at the end of a road in the middle of nowhere. Who would see our lights?"

I can't imagine.


Thursday, December 1, 2011


Combat Fishing

Definition of Combat Fishing.

Combat : A fight or contest between individuals or groups.

Fishing : The sport or business of catching fish.

This is a situation every fisherman has run into at one time or another. In the winter, there are certain ponds that are stocked by the California Department of Fish and Game that fall into this category. To name a few of these places, Hagen Park Pond, Howe Avenue Pond, and Oak Grove Regional Park Pond.

To fish these ponds, one must be attired, in such a way, as to be able to fish and not suffer bodily harm. To do this safely one should always dress in the best SWAT body armor one can find. I would suggest, at a minimum, a tactical entry vest, or a bulletproof Special Forces vest. That will protect your upper body from unwanted lures slung in your direction with no regard to your whereabouts. One could always wear your fishing vest over this, but it just wouldn’t be fashionably correct.

A small addition you might want to add, instead of your normal ball cap or your favorite bucket hat is a Kevlar Helmet with a clear face cover. Helmets don’t have any place to hang your lures or flies, but we’ll cover that later.

The one thing that is a “must have” is the Sam Browne belt with all the cases that are attached. You’re not going to use them for the purposes they were intended, like hand cuffs, extra ammunition clips and stuff like that, but they do make handy holders for your lure and fly boxes.

Since you’re not carrying any extra ammunition clips, there won’t be a need for your standard armament (A .40 caliber Sig-Sauer handgun or an MP-5 submachine gun with noise suppressor. This is COMBAT fishing after all), but it has a space for a good 4 cell Maglite for those dark mornings and evenings and a nice extendable steel baton. They come in several sizes including 16”, 21”, and 26”, the 21” being the most popular size. One of these might come in handy when that one person decides they want to fish where you’re standing. The belts I looked at don’t come with a D-ring for your net, so you might have to fabricate (Necessity is the Mother of invention) something, so it’s handy when you start catching those planted Rainbows.

Now, if you’re one of those folks that bring your dog along when you go combat fishing, you might want to invest in a K-9 Body Armor Vest just to keep your pooch safe while he or she is lounging around and you’re fishing. Unfortunately they don’t have helmets for your pooch, so you’ll just have to wing it.

About the only other thing I can see that you might need are knee pads so you can sneak in between all those people and get a good spot, but those I would list as optional equipment.

Properly attired, you grab your fishing rod and off you go. You get to your favorite pond and push your way up to the shore. You note that as you are pushing your way in, there are lures bouncing off your new Kevlar helmet and you’re happy you spent those $$$$ for the protection.

You reach into a case on your Sam Browne belt, pull out a lure and fling it into the pond. Don’t fling too hard because the pond is only the size of an Olympic Swimming Pool. As you’re reeling in your lure, getting tangled with all the other “Combat Fishermen & Fisherwomen”, you notice all the yelling and shouting when others manage to land that 25th fish (Limit 5) because there isn’t a Game Warden closer than 100 miles.

After minutes of fishing and catching your limit or more of those planters, you decide to call it a day. Bull your way out of the maddening crowd, make it back to your vehicle, and when you get your sweaty, hot body out of all that armor, you wonder “What the hell is the matter with me”?

I’m so glad you could come along.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Only The Lonely

I guess I was the only one dumb enough to be out in this weather.

Left and right from where I was parked. I don't see anyone, do you?

I had a couple of errands to run in town (Jackson) this morning and since I couldn't do anything until about Noon, I took a run out to the North Shore of Lake Camanche. In case you don't know, Lake Camanche is just south of town, maybe 15 miles.

I would have taken my neighbor Roy along, but I didn't think he would appreciate me calling him at 0515 and saying "Hey, lets go fishing". To go was one of those "instant" decisions that happen.

It was foggy, wet, but no wind when I got there. We were expecting the wind to pick up later and blow out the fog. The wind did pick and by 1100 it was blowing steady at about 20 mph. The valley is expecting wind gusts up to 50+ mph today and tomorrow.

Since I didn't catch anything (I did get one bump at 0830), I guess the fish weren't even dumb enough to be out in this weather.

Enjoy the pictures and be glad you're inside where its warm and toasty.

Till next time.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Getting Skunked Is Getting Old

Besides, who can catch fish in this weather?

And, I left the house at 0545, the middle of the night.

The wife had to be to work early this morning, so I just hopped into the truck and ran out to Lake Amador to see if I could catch a couple of Cutbows. I tried every color of Kastmaster (did get a couple of drive by's on Brook Trout and solid gold colors), Sonic Red Roostertail, gold Panther Martin and Rainbow Power Bait with corn, anise, and Threadfin Shad flavors.

The new thing I tried was a black Wooly Bugger on a 4 foot leader under a clear bobber 1/2 full of water. Supposed to be to go-to way for catching. Obviously it didn't go-to for me.

So it was yucky (weather wise) when I got there at 0630, the fog lifted a bit around 1000, and then the fog came back around 1100 and looked just like the picture again.

The joys of winter in Northern California.

I'm going to take a nap. Till next time.


ps, the new picture is of White Pines Lake last summer.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Thrill Of Victory And The Agony Of Defeat

Some of you may not be old enough to remember the American Sportsman TV Show, but if you do, you know what the title means.

Monday was the thrill of victory with those two big Rainbows.

This morning I set out for Lake Camanche with the Float Tube Cumberland at 0800. My plan was to get one of those big Rainbows on my fly rod and beat my personal best for flyrod which is 2 lbs 8oz. I left a little bit later than normal, but I had trouble getting my turkey and trimmings body out of bed. Over indulged yesterday on all the goodies. The other thing was that I didn't stop to get any coffee (would have been Starbucks) because I wanted to spend more time flippering than having to run back to shore to take a p... every half hour or so. Coffee does that to me. I should have known better.

Got to the lake at 0900 and got the Float Tube Cumberland aired up, all the gear in, and on the water in about 15 minutes.

My first direction was the buoy I had such good luck by on Monday. I had to flipper out beyond the buoy into no man's land (out beyond the 5 mph zone) and fished back toward shore. There were two guys fishing where I was on Monday and I wanted to be out beyond their zone. I figured my best bet was the tried and true Thinmint. I didn't get any interest, so I put down my fly rod and used my Okuma with a new rainbow pink Kastmaster. Nothing again.

Set out for the point and fished the Thinmint all the way. Got to the point and did a 360 making sure I covered all the area, like I did the last time (where I had two on and lost both), then proceeded back toward where I put in. Not so much as a bump. I watched the people fishing from the shore (and there was bunch of them), but I didn't see any fish coming to hand. Got back almost to put in and finally got the first and only bump of the day. I sat there for, probably a half hour spinning 360's and trying to find the one that bumped. No such luck.

By that time it was Noon, my feet were cold (forgot to put on my wool socks), my legs were starting to cramp (lack of flippering practice), and my stomach was growling (you wouldn't think, after all that turkey I ate yesterday), but I put in and hauled out the Cumberland.

Since I was already there, I pulled out a couple of my rods with 4# and slip sinker rigs, my red chair, and tacklebox and sat for an hour or so with Power Bait on one and Kastmasters on the other.

Today was the agony of defeat. There wasn't a fish to be found. Felt kind of like that guy on The American Sportsman who wiped out on the ski jump. He lived, by the way.

It's a good thing I'm an optimist. There's always next time.

Till then.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pink, The Color Of The Day

Christmas dinner, anyone?

Growing up in Winconsin, my father was a hunter like most of the neighborhood fathers in the 50's. On Easter we had ham, on Thanksgiving we had turkey, and on Christmas we had Goose. I think the Goose looked like these.

The morning sun over Lake Camanche. T-shirt weather by 10:00am.

What can I say, target practice. Got within a foot on several casts. Need more practice. They were getting much too close to where I was fishing.

OK, back to the title. Pink, and it's not even October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month).

Got out to Lake Camanche at 0830 (after coffee at Starbucks) and found the spot I was looking for. If you look at the sun picture, you can see a buoy in the distance. It's out 150 feet or so from shore. I put out one rod with Rainbow Power Bait and Sweet Corn bait scent. On my Okuma with 2 pound test, I put on a silver Kastmaster.

I covered about 180 degrees from where I was sitting (lazy bum that I am) with 8 casts. With no interest, I changed to gold. Same process. Then changed to silver/blue, Brook Trout color, Fire Tiger color, and last, but not least, orange. When I didn't get any interest in those colors, I walked back to the truck and out of my "backup stock" tacklebox I got a Rainbow Pink one.

All these Kastmasters I'm throwning are 1/4 oz on 2# test Fluorocarbon. Good thing it's strong. The one thing I do when I have two rods out, is that while I'm reeling in the one with a lure, I watch the one with Power Bait in case I get a hit. When you're doing that, a hit on the lure is a surprise. OK, any hit on a lure is a surprise.

Then the fun began. On the 4th cast, that would have been straight out from where I was sitting (lazy bum that I am. Wait, I already said that.), the line stopped dead in the water and the fight was on. Wasn't much of a fight and if you double click on the picture below, you'll see that there are "things" on this fish. I don't know if it's a fungus or maybe Cope Pods or what, but it didn't put up much of a fight. Kind of lethargic. Since it was kind of "skaggy" looking, I put it back to live it's life out in the lake, probably not very long. Time: 0930 and the weight was somewhere in the area of 2 1/2 to 3 pounds.

15 minutes later (0945) I hooked up with another that took 20 to 30 feet of line and then gave me back my lure. Mighty nice of it to do that.

Then around 1030, I hooked up again. This one was no slouch. We rocked and rolled for about 5 minutes until I got it close enough to put the net on it. Well, put the net on part of it, as it was too big to fit into the net. Note to self, get a bigger net. The best I could do was scoop it from the back and pitch it up on the bank. The hook was badly embedded in it, and by the time I got it out, the fish was bleeding too bad to put it back.

I stuck it on the stringer, took a weight reading with my Handy Dandy Berkley Digital Scale and it came in at 4 lbs, 15oz. You can see by the picture of the lure how bad it mangled the hook. Notice the tail is worn down. Hatchery trout.

After that, I got a drive by at 11:00 and another one at 11:10. That was it for the day. Since I only had the one, I stopped by some fishermen down the shore a bit and asked them if they wanted the fish to add to their stringer. Since they only had one, they said "sure". Two big trout make a nice dinner.

That's it for now. I might take a run out to Amador on Friday and give the wife some peace and quiet and a little time for herself. I'll let you know if I do.

Till next time.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lake Amador Today


That about covers it.


ps, you know I threw everything I had at them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Give "Em What They Want

Since I'm meeting Rich at Lake Amador tomorrow, I decided to take a quick run up to Bear River Reservoir and see if the gate (supposed to close on November 1st) was still open.

After the usual coffee stop, got to BRR at 0815 and the gate was open. Drove down to the shore and walked to my usual spot about 100 feet from the dam. I was the only person up there with the exception of one boater, so I had my choice of places. Put out one rod with Rainbow Power Bait with Sweet Corn Pro-Cure scent because I've had such good luck with this scent the last couple of times I fished here. I put a gold Panther Martin on the second rod. Didn't get any interest in the PM, so switched to a Brook Trout colored Kastmaster. Nothing there either, then I switched to a Rainbow Pink one. Nada there too.

By then I figured that if I was going to get anything on Power Bait, I would have, but I didn't. Tried new Power Bait with Anise and then with Threadfin Shad and there was just no interest in any Power Bait what so ever.

On my other rod I put a silver Panther Martin and hooked up a 10" Rainbow. Because it was small and lip hooked, it went back for another day. After a bunch more casts and no more interest in the PM, I switched to a silver 1/4 oz Kastmaster. I landed and released two more small 10" Rainbows and that was all the interest I got for the day. It seemed that the hits came from the shaded area next to the dam or just a little out in the sunlight.

You just have to be prepared to give them what they want. Today is was silver and not scented Power Bait.

Just before I left, I moved to a spot by my truck and got out my red chair so I could soak up a little sun (it was just a little bit windy and chilly) as well as a little Vitamin D. Two rods out with Power Bait in a little different area, but nothing there.

I suspect that this will be my last trip to Bear River or any of the other upcountry lakes until next spring since we are expecting a good, cold, winter storm starting Friday and running through the weekend with snow levels below our house.

So tune in tomorrow and see how Lake Amador turns out. Till then.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

OBN Writing Prompt

It was done last Wednesday and since I was down with a bad tooth, here is an article I just published in the local newspaper.

Preparation essential for cold-weather fishing trips

Kautz’s king cab is filled with essential equipment and supplies for a cold-weather venture into the fisherman’s world.

With November here and December right around the corner, the weather is going to be a bit chillier. If you are an all-year fisherman, like I am, you need to take some precautions when you’re out chasing fish.

One of the big words is “layer.” Never a truer word has been spoken. You can always take off a layer or two, but you can’t add layers if you don’t have them. When I head out for a day of fishing, my truck is full of clothes. Because I drive an extra cab pickup doesn’t mean I have tons of space in the back. In fact, when you add in three tackle boxes, two buckets — one for fish and the other for bungee cords — a chair pad, a camping chair, tarp, first aid kit — handy to have if you stick a hook in a finger, as I did earlier this year at Lake Amador — and a big net, it doesn’t leave much space for clothes.

OK, I’ve got a tonneau cover on the bed, but it tends to leak when it rains a lot. It’s old, and all the molding around the edges is gone. So I just throw all the clothing on top of the tackle boxes and hope I can find it when it’s needed.

Let’s take a look at the conditions one at a time.

We’ll start with rain. I’m a weenie when it comes to fishing in the rain. Back on Oct. 10, while I was fishing at Lake Camanche, it rained for the final two hours I was there. That was OK — it was warm and the rain was warm. I don’t mind getting a little wet. Heck, I was raised in Florida. It rains all the time down there. I used to wear swimming goggles when I rode my bike to the beach, so I could see where I was going. But in the winter, that’s a different story.

You get caught in a winter rain and you can get into trouble in a hurry. Ever heard of hypothermia, which is subnormal temperature of the body? It can be deadly. You want to make sure you have proper clothing. I carry a rain coat, rain pants and a fleece hoodie to wear under it, as well as top and bottom thermals.

How about snow? I have a fleece-lined parka, two fleece watch caps, ear muffs, three types of gloves — neoprene, fleece-lined leather and fingerless fleece, with finger covers — and chemical hand warmers. I carry all this, with the exception of the parka, in my backpack that is always with me. I also have a blanket in the truck, stashed under the back seat.

One more thing about snow: you always want to make sure you have extra food and water with you. I have an ice chest that fits behind the passenger seat, in which I carry several bottles of water, a couple of sandwiches, half-a-dozen granola bars — I like chocolate-coated, chocolate chip ones, from Quaker — and a thermos of coffee. Sounds like a lot, but how long would it last? You can always take it home, but, if you need it, you can’t always get it.So, there you are up at, say, Red Lake, and there is six-inch-deep snow on the ground. The lake is still open, you’ve caught a nice limit of brook trout and you find yourself stuck in the snow. You’re sure glad you have that folding shovel you carry with you all the time and are able to dig yourself out. In the winter, I also carry a plastic snow shovel in the back, even though I have four-wheel drive and good, meaty snow tires.

To answer your question, was I a boy scout? Nope, but I can’t say enough about “being prepared.” If you’ve got the room, take it along, even if you don’t think you’ll need it, because you just might. One other thing you might do is make a list, so you can check off the items you think you might need, so you won’t forget anything. If you’re like me, put that list next to your chair in the living room and, when you think of something, it’s there and handy for you to write it down.

One last thing, remember to always, always, let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Red Lake or Bust

As I mentioned in the last post, I wanted to head up the hill and see the lakes looked like. Well, I hit snow at about 4000 feet, before I ever got to Highway 88. I'm not sure if this was a good or bad omen.

First stop was Bear River Reservoir (after stopping for coffee, of course). The gate is still open (don't know for how long, because there is snow on the road), so I drove over to the dam. My goal was Red Lake (Brook Trout for the smoker) so I just took a quick shot of the shoreline and headed back out. I could always stop on the way back if nothing happened further uphill.

Silver Lake was much easier as I could scope it on the way by. The lake level is way down as it usually is at the end of Summer, but no ice that I could see on the lake.

Caples lake was the same way. Water was clear and the lake level was down some but not very far. There was a lot of snow on both sides of the lake.

The blasting at Carson pass is still going on and the wait going over was only 20 minutes, so I waited. Once over and down the hill to Red Lake the snow was a little deeper. Parked as high up the road as I could (don't want to be climbing in snow covered slopes any more than necessary) and grabbed my gear.

Set up (carefully) at my usual spot. Noticed small areas of ice on the lake. Won't be long before it's iced over. By now, the Brook Trout HAD to be in a spawning mode and SHOULD be biting. One rod out with Power Bait and the other for lures. I tried every color of Kastmaster, gold and silver Panther Martin, bumblebee color Roostertail, and red/bronze Little Cleo. I never got a hit, follow, bump, yes, I, or Boo from a fish. Two hours of sitting on my but, in the snow (On a chair pad. You don't think I'm that dumb do you?) and NOTHING.

Now, did I mention the tooth ache I had on Tuesday? Well, it went from dentist to endondontist to root canal yesterday. Now the endondontist said I would probably experience a little after pain from the shots, drilling, and the infection for a couple of days, but a little pain never slowed me down. Little being the definitive word here. I had taken Tylenol (or a reasonal facsimile) at 0500 and 0900, but by Noon I thought my face was going to fall off the pain was so intense.

Packed up, drove down the hill (the wait at Carson Pass was 25 minutes this way) straight home for drugs more powerful than Tylenol. Finally got the pain under control around 4:00pm. I'm staying home for a couple of days.

I don't know why the Brookies are not biting at Red Lake, other than the DFG has not planted this year, but I do know that there won't be any smoked Brook Trout.

The next trip will probably be to Lake Amador. Got an email from my friends Rich & Mark and they are ready for a trip out there. Don't wait for me guys, might be a couple of days.

Till the next adventure.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Camanche Lake

I've been dealing with a tooth problem for the last couple of weeks. I originally thought it was a sinus problem radiating into my teeth, so I went to my doctor to have him prescribe an antibiotic to see if the problem could be corrected. It hasn't and I'm off to the dentist tomorrow morning to have him fix me.

So what does this have to do with fishing? Plan A was to take the Float Tube Cumberland out to Camanche and test a couple of larger Tunsten Beadhead Thinmints in size 6 that I put together. Only problem is that the more I walk around, the more the mouth hurts. Flippering around the lake would have probably sent me screaming back to the truck. This put plan A on hold.

Plan B was to put out my fishing chair (you know, that cool red one), two rods with Rainbow Power Bait, and quietly catch fish. Don't move, don't hurt. Works for me. The first two came at 30 minutes into the day. The picture below is the first one and the second one looked just like it. Something close to 1-1/2 to 2 pounds. Both went back for another day, same as would have happened from the Float Tube Cumberland. The water is colder than it's been, but still in the high 60's and I think, too warm to keep the fish.

From there on, it was sit quietly because the fish were not disrupting me in any way, shape, or form. Decent of them, don't you think. Those two were it for today, but I did see 10 or 12 more caught by other people fishing.

I also checked on the Trout Pond (you remember that place from last year) and they haven't even started stocking it because the water is too warm, BUT they are making an attempt to deflect the Pelicans and Cormorants and allow the fish to make it into the pond. We'll see.

Weather Channel says we're supposed to get some rain on Friday so maybe I'll take a run up the hill on Thursday. We got our first snow last Saturday night. Just dusted, but a bit early in the year for snow. I would suspect that with the cold nights we've been having, the lakes are going to start icing up pretty quick. Probably should get one more fishing day in, upcountry, before it's too late.

Till then.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Just Should Have Gone To Bear

The blasting at Carson pass was supposed to be completed by Monday 10/31/11. Happy belated Holloween.

Plan A: Left the house at 0730 and stopped for coffee at Cook's Station. All this time I've been talking about them and I've never shown you a picture. What a bonehead. Here you go.

With coffee in the cup holder, jetted up Highway 88 to Red Lake to see if there were any Brookies showing up. It should have dawned on me when I passed several trucks coming down the hill full of big rocks, but I'm an optimist.

Got to the pass and there were 25 or 30 cars & trucks waiting to go through. One truck even had it's hood open and the driver was working on his engine. Not a good sign. I drove into the rest area, did an about face, and headed back down the hill.

Plan B: Stop at Caples and fish the dead tree. The fact that I didn't see anyone fishing Caples on the way up should have told me something too. Ok, I'm a little dense, but I'm an optimist.

It must have been a mighty chilly last night. You can't see very well in the picture, but the rocks are covered with ice.

In the picture below, if you look at the little rock sticking out, you can see the icicles hanging off it.

Not to be deterred, I put out two rods with Rainbow Power Bait and sat in the sun. That's all I did was sit in the sun because there wasn't a fish to be found. Caples has not been very good this year. I'm not sure why, but there isn't even any chatter on the local forums about any of the upcountry lakes.

Plan C: Bear River Reservoir. Chances were good that I'd at least find a fish there. Last couple of trips have been pretty good. I got there at about 1100 and set my new fishing chair out, one rod with Rainbow Power Bait and a dab of Pro-Cure Sweet Corn. Before I could get the second rod rigged, I had a fish on the first one. Lip hooked and back for another day. Got that rod out and the other one and hooked up on both. Oh, this was LOOKING GOOD. Both were lip hooked and back for another day. Rods back out and another one, but this time it was a good 12 incher. I kept that one. This happened in the first 10 minutes I was there. Then it got quiet. Half hour later, I put one more on the stringer, but this one a bit smaller, maybe 10 inches.

I'm not fishing where I usually fish (100 feet or so from the dam), I was a good 500 feet or more from the dam. There was a guy fishing in my usual spot already, but I wanted to fish near where I fished on October 28th anyway. When I was there on the 28th, I mentioned a guy fished in this spot, but didn't catch anything. I wanted to see if I could do any better. Here's a shot from where I fished. Along the shore and over the big rocks is were I usually fish.

After the first 5 (2 on the stringer and 3 released) it got quiet. Really quiet. In fact I didn't get another bite until about 1230. It was a smaller one (maybe 9 inches) too, but I put it on the stringer anyway. Ate a couple of granola bars, drank a little water and soaked up some sunshine.

Sitting, waiting, sitting, waiting. twiddling my thumbs, picking my, nevermind I don't want to go there. So I reeled in one rod and put on new Power Bait, cast it at a 45 degree angle toward the dam and hoped for the best. It kind of went like this: cast, splash, bite, fish. Cast, splash, bite, and second fish. Five on the stringer and time to go home.

The one thing I stressed on the October 28th post was the Pro-Cure flavor of the day. Today there wasn't a favorite. They hit on Anise, Sweet Corn, and Threadfin Shad, but they wouldn't hit plain old Power Bait by itself.

I just went over on the Pro-Cure site and there are 53 different scents. A couple of cool names like Butt Juice, Carp Spit, and Salmon Slammer. You know how I am with cool names.

All right, 8 for the day with 3 back for another day and five for Bob (I plow for fish). We are expecting rain to start tomorrow and the possibility of snow (down to 3000 feet they say) at our house by Friday morning. Let's hope not.

Probably won't get out again this week, so until next week.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Slip Sinker Rig ReDoux

In my travels, I run across a lot of fishermen especially out at the lakes. When I ask what they are using, the answer is usually Power Bait. "Are you using a slip sinker rig?" Most say yes. "Are you catching anything?" Some say one or two or nothing yet. I try to explain what I use, but it's hard without a picture of some kind, but I always leave a card (An Avery business card stock with the name and URL for Northern California Trout and the newspaper I write a column for)and say "Stop by and check out the blog. A lot of good stuff there".

Then there are times when I sit within a 100 feet of a guy fishing with a "slip sinker rig and Power Bait" who catches nothing while, I walk away with a limit. I know I've said it before and I'll say it again that I feel bad when that happens. My mission and the mission of Northern California Trout is to help other people catch fish.

So I wanted to do another post on the slip sinker rig on my rod with 4# test line and add in things that work for me.

Here is a picture of my slip sinker rig. Double click so you can get a good look at it.

Start with the sinker: Egg or sliding sinker in 1/4 oz, 3/8 oz, or 1/2 oz depending on how much wind is blowing.

Barrel swivel: #7 gold barrel swivel. You can get them anywhere. Why #7? Seems to work the best with all three sizes of sinkers.

Leader: 4# fluorocarbon leader 18" to 24" depending on how far out you are fishing. If you're fishing in a lake with a lot of undergrowth, you can always lengthen the leader to 36" if necessary. I use Trilene 100% fluorocarbon and Maxima 100% Fluorocarbon Leader. I've been asked why I don't use 2# and the reason is that I've had it break too many times fighting a fish. The only time I've used 6# was in the Camanche Trout Pond when the fish were consistantly running big. I had a 6# leader snapped by one fish in the pond.

The hook: You can get gold treble hooks in various sizes. #18 (smallest), #16 (bigger), #14 (bigger yet) and so forth. A #18 is my hook of choice. Why, you ask? When fishing Power Bait (lets mention that I always use plain old Berkeley Rainbow Power Bait), all you need is enough to cover the hook (the ball should be about the size of a pea). Fishing with Power Bait, the phrase "bigger is better" does not apply. I took my Grandson fishing up at Red Lake one fall and he got into the "bigger is better" syndrome. Being a smart Grandpa, I gave him a bottle of Power Bait that I didn't use and said, "have at it". By the time he was done, the bait ball was the size of a golf ball. He didn't catch anything on it, but had a really good time.

Now comes the kicker. When I first started (I should say got back into) this fishing thing, I came across a guy out of Lake Tahoe by the name of Mark Wiza. Mark is a great fan of Pro-Cure bait scents. In many of the stories he wrote, he talked about this scent or that scent and the fish he caught using it. So, being a listener to those who know, I stopped by Fisherman's Warehouse in Sacramento and picked up a half dozen bottles.

Anise was always a good scent for trout. Back in the day, before Berkeley Power Bait (you might not be old enough to remember), we used to make our own floating bait out of Velveeta cheese, anise oil, and a packet of stuff that made it float. Throw it all in a pan on the stove (without telling the wife), heat it up, stir it around, and let it cool. Floating cheese bait.

Sweet Corn, well you've heard in the last bunch of posts how that works. Trophy Trout flavor. Haven't caught anything on it, but the cats like it. I also have a shad flavored one and a krill flavored one, and one or two more.

The scents come in a squeeze bottle and are easy to apply to your power bait. Could make the difference in being skunked and catching a limit. One other thing, when you apply, don't be shy. Hey, poetry..........

I hope that helps someone out there. I was approached at the supermarket yesterday by a gentleman I've talked to for years and is just now retiring. He wants me to teach him to fish. We'll be starting, probably in spring, and wants to learn everything. Aaah, a clean slate with no previous bad habits. I can't wait.

OK, enough blabbering. Till next time.


Friday, October 28, 2011

The Lazy, Hazy, Crazy, Day Of.........Fall?

Planned to go up to Bear River with Roy, but he bailed, so I went alone. Since I was going by myself, I waffled about staying home, no I'm going, no I'm staying home, OK I went.

Out the door at 0730 and stopped at Cooks for coffee. Got to Bear River Reservoir at 0815 and drove down to a level spot by the lake. The place I usually fish is on a slope and I wanted to try out my new Coleman fishing (most people call it a camping chair, but this one is specifically for my truck and fishing.) chair. To do that I needed a kind of flat place.

Here's the new chair. I'd tell you what model, but I think it was made especially for Walmart (where I bought it), but I couldn't find it on their website.

So, let's define the title of this post. This is the Lazy part. Sit in a comfortable fishing chair with bottle holders in each arm. Works good for a water bottle, but too small for my coffee mug. I'll keep it anyway.

Now for the Hazy part. They have these things (best as I can describe them) called prescribed burns. The California Department of Forestry (referred in the future as CDF) picks an area and burns all the undergrowth and pine needles. This helps with controlling a future wildfire as long as this burn doesn't get out of control. Oh yeh, they have in the past and probably will in the future. By doing this controlled burn, it causes a bunch of smoke in the area, hence the hazy part.

Now for the crazy part. After I got the chair planted and my butt in the chair, I put out two rods with Rainbow Power Bait on a slip sinker rig and, of course, sweet corn Pro-Cure gel. There was no plan to catch anything, I was soaking up the sun, vitamin D, and generally relaxing. Then there is the best laid plans of mice and men. The first twenty minutes of sitting there soaking and relaxing produced two 10" Rainbows for the stringer and one that broke the leader (I think the leader was frayed a bit). A bit crazy, three fish in 20 minutes. The other 3 for the stringer came between 0835 and 1015. A limit and I'm on my way home. So much for lazy.

The Fall part, around 30 degrees when I got there. Line out and hoodie on with my hands in the pockets. By the time I left, it was 50 something and t-shirt weather. That's Fall at 5850 feet.

Roy and I will hit Bear again early next week. Hopefully it'll be just as good.

Till then.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Roy Scores At Amador

Since I did the post on the hatchery at Lake Amador last Wednesday, I wanted to take a try at swinging a Thinmint at those big Cutbows out there. They've planted 10,000 pounds since the plant started. The other thing on the agenda was that the last time Roy and I fished, he made the comment that he had never caught a fish on a lure.

With Roy's son John up for the weekend and leaving today, we hooked up yesterday morning and headed out to Amador for a days fishing. The plan was for Roy to fish lures until he caught one. We got to the lake at 0830, signed in and headed over to the spillway where we usually fish. Sunday night I had put together a lure box for Roy with the best lures for Amador and the ones I've caught fish on before.

This is what it contained: 1/4 oz Kastmasters in gold, silver, silver/blue, and firetiger. Rapala F7 in firetiger. 1/4 oz Red Sonic Roostertail. To finish off the box, I put in a couple of small black snapswivels for fast changing of lures.

While Roy and John fished lures, I worked my way around a couple of points with my fly rod and a thinmint. It was a bit windy, but not so much that I couldn't get a good roll cast that put the fly out about 35 feet. I got a couple of good bumps right off, then nothing. After a while, I changed to an olive Wooly Bugger and then black, but nothing. One would think they'd be hitting the crap out of the flies since the fish were jumping all over the place, but it was not to be. After a while it got windy enough that my roll casts were hitting 20 feet out and then 15, so I quit with the fly rod.

In the couple of times I had talked to the people at check in they told me that the fish were in
2 - 3 feet of water and to fish the surface. I went by the truck and picked up two rods with 4# and headed back to Roy & John. I put on a 1/4 oz Kastmaster in Brook Trout color and caught the first fish of the day. Not the big one I was looking for, but about a pound. Roy snapped some pictures and back into the lake it went. No keeping any fish until the water cools down. Still running at about 70 degrees on the surface.

After a couple of hours of casting lures and flies, I put both rigs of Power Bait out (definately not in the top 2 or 3 feet of water) and waited. First fish was another pounder, snap a picture and released. Then I decided to get my Okuma with 2# and my crappie jigs from the truck and left Roy to tend my two rods. As I returned, Roy was reeling in a pounder for his first fish of the day.

I left one rod out with power Bait and fiddled with the Okuma and crappie jigs for a while and then went back to two rigs with power Bait. Caught and released one more and then Roy scored his first on a lure. The Red Sonic Roostertail did the trick. The interesting thing is that lure is the same one I caught my first two Cutbows at Amador on.

The count for the day went like this. Roy caught two (one of PB and one on the lure) and I caught four (one on the Kastmaster and three on PB). John, unfortunately got skunked, but not for not trying. He casted his little heart out, but it was not to be. Maybe next time.

Roy has all the basics now and teaching class is over. We're going to hit Bear River one more time before he heads back to the Bay Area and we'll see how he does.

Till then.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Fisherman's Elbow

For the last 3 or 4 months, my elbow has been hurting like hell. I've had this before, but not for a long time. Back then they called it tennis elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis - you try to pronounce it, I can't). I've only played tennis a couple of times in my 65 years so to call my problem "tennis elbow" is a bunch of hoke.

So I had this brilliant idea that I'd call it Fisherman's elbow and in doing so, I had to give it some really unpronouncable latin name. With that in mind, I went to Google and did a search for fisherman's elbow. What a crock, somebody had already idenitfied it, but they haven't given it a cool latin name. They'll probably use the same one as tennis elbow. Yeh, they did. I found it on another website.

I did come across an interesting article on a website called and if you want to read it (there are some pretty funny parts), here's the link.

OK, so what do you do if you have this affliction? You can get one of these handy little things that wrap around your elbow (I have an Ace one) and press on the muscle so it keeps the pain away or you can do drugs. I vote for drugs.

OK, I thought it was a good idea when I started looking into it. So what does Shoreman do when he is afflicted? He goes fishing, of course. Not going to let a little thing like fisherman's elbow keep me down.

Pulled out of the house at 0730 and stopped for coffee at Cooks Station (tired of hearing this yet?) and got to Bear River Reservoir at 0815 (it's not very far). There were a lot of people fishing, but nobody in my usual spot. They must have known I was coming. Never mind, it's a fathead thing.

Put out one rod with PB and set the second one up with a gold Panther Martin just to see if anything would hit. Nothing did, so I put the seond one out with PB too. Somewhere around 0900 I caught one in the 10" range. After that, I didn't get much interest for the next 45 minutes, so I decided it was time to experiment. I'm the one who lives to the code of "give them what they want and they will come". On one rod I put on fresh PB and added some Pro-Cure Anise for a little licorice smell. On the other one I put fresh PB and added some Pro-Cure Corn smell.

Corn was the trick this morning. In the next 30 minutes, I put 4 more on the stringer for a limit and packed up. I walked up and down the shore to see what others were catching and it was one or two per stringer. I did what I could to help them, but without the Pro-Cure corn (today's key to Bear River) it was going to be a slow day.

When I stop for coffee I always talk about going fishing, but it never crossed my mind to ask them if they want any trout. This morning I did and since they said "sure" they'd love some, I dropped off the five for them.

That's it until the next adventure.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lake Amador Hatchery

Back on the post dated October 6th; I mentioned that I might get the chance to tour the hatchery at Lake Amador. Today I got that chance.

First I want to note that the test they ran the week of October 9th; was a success and they began stocking those beautiful Cutbows or Donaldson Trout that inhabit the lake. They’ve made a little change in how they stock compared to years past. Instead of stocking 5000 pounds each Wednesday at 10:00am, they are stocking 1000 pounds daily (I’d tell you where, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy), but at different times. The problem with the previous stocking program was that even though it was posted that no fishing was allowed until 5:00pm on stocking day, fishermen would run over there as soon as the stock truck was out of sight and start fishing. This way the hopes are that more fish will make remain in the lake and not be caught, right off the bat. As of today, they’ve planted 7000 pounds of fish ranging from 3 to 6 pounds. The biggest caught so far this year was last Sunday and it weighed in at 6.23 pounds.

I met with Lee Lockhart (head hatchery guy) at the check-in and we drove over to the hatchery. I would tell you where it is, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy on this too. I will tell you that it is not the place you pass as you drive up the dam to the lake. That is a Sturgeon farm for caviar.

I did more of a pictorial review of the hatchery rather than a lot of words. You know how the saying goes, “A picture is worth a 1000 words”. So, I’ll start out with the “little guys”.

Their first "real" home.

These are “fingerlings” about 6” long and this is their first stop on the long (about 2 years) trip to the lake. Notice the netting over the tanks. It keeps the Cormorants and Kingfishers out. It would be a bird smorgasbord. Even though the net is there, the birds still manage to sneak in once in a while.

When they get a little larger they are transferred to these bigger, round tanks for the next phase of growing. The ones in these tanks are about 2 pounds.

Here’s a little video of a tank full of 2 to 3 pound fish.

They are appreciative little guys. If you’ve seen that little “feed the fish” thing on the side of several blogs, you can imagine then, that when a human walks by the tank, the fish immediately swim to that side and get all excited. Kind of like Pavlov and the dog thing.

Then the last stop before the lake is this holding pond with fish from 3 pounds up.

In the past, eggs were purchased and the trout were raised in the hatchery, but recently they have been keeping brood stock and raising the trout from the eggs harvested from brood females and fertilized with males kept in an adjoining pond.

Here is the tank with the females, many are ready to spawn.

In the tank next to it, are the males.

Let me tell you, these are some BIG trout. Most are 5 pounds and above, and I mean way above. There was no taking my fishing rod out of the truck while I was there either.

I’ve been to the hatchery at Natomas where they grow Steelhead and Salmon to put into the American River, but this was where the fish I caught, the beginning of last year, were raised. To recap what I caught, it went something like this: 4lb – 8oz, 3lb – 15oz, 2lb – 15oz, 4lb – 12oz, 5lb – 2oz, and my personal best, 7 pounds. Some of the ones I saw today would top 7 pounds, easily.
I’ve heard several guys complain about the $17/$18 to fish here, but I can tell you it’s a lot cheaper than the hundreds to thousands that some pay to fish at those fancy lodges and catch fish that are a lot smaller.

Then let’s talk about Mark (post dated January 25, 2011) who is 9 years old and caught his first fish at Lake Amador. I estimated it to be around 4+ pounds. Well, his Dad sent me an email and it turned out to be 5lbs and 21” long. I’m sure that set him to be a fisherman for life.

So if you’re in the area, why don’t you run out there and cast a lure or two. Want some hints? Try Kastmaster in gold, Brook Trout, or Fire Tiger colors. Try a Rapala F7 or F9 in Fire Tiger or maybe just a plain white Crappie jig. There’s a lunker lurking in the depths with your name on it. Better go get it.

Till next time.