Saturday, December 31, 2011
Enough with the pictures already.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
It's A Wrap
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
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?
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.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
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.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
I Need Some Help
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.
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.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Top Ten Reasons Why I Still Fish Part 2
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 (http://www.ledger-dispatch.com/) 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
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
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
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.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Santa Comes Early
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.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
The Surprise Post
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
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.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
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
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.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Getting Skunked Is Getting Old
Friday, November 25, 2011
The Thrill Of Victory And The Agony Of Defeat
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.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Pink, The Color Of The Day
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.
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
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
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
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.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
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.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
I Just Should Have Gone To Bear
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.
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.
Probably won't get out again this week, so until next week.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Slip Sinker Rig ReDoux
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?
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.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Roy Scores At Amador
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.
Friday, October 21, 2011
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 FishingBuddy.com 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
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.
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.
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 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.