Saturday, April 30, 2011

Trout Season Opener 2011

Today is Saturday April 30th, 2011 and it’s opening day of the general trout season in California. As I wrote in the post last Wednesday, I wandered out to Angels Creek in Angels Camp, California. I had expected the place to be packed. What I found was an almost empty parking lot. That was a surprise.

The time is 0830. The creek is surrounded by a lot of trees, so I decided to take my Okuma 6’6” rod with 2 pound test and a small Panther Martin in gold with a black body and walk the creek just to see who was there and what was being caught. In one of the pools I passed, you could see the trout holding is the quiet water.

Double click on the picture and you should be able to see the fish.

I came across a gentleman using a Tenkara setup. He had caught 4 fish already and was working on #5 as I passed. Mike at Troutrageous, this picture is for you.

I walked up as far as you were allowed to fish, to the Utica Power Station and did an about face and started back. I stopped at the first pool I came to and a gentleman was fishing with Berkley Gulp Trout Dough (looked like white) and hooked one as I was standing there.

After his fish was landed, he and I got talking and swapped cards, mine for the blog and newspaper, his for his limo service. Noticed the name on his card was Joe Teixeria. Last name look familiar? Joe is the cousin of Mark Teixeria, first baseman for the New York Yankees. Small world out there.

I kind of dabbled while Joe was still fishing and when he left, I put on a #18 gold treble hook, split shot, Rainbow Power Bait and tossed it into the hole. It wasn't long before I had a hookup. It fought, it jumped, and it came upstream. I thought I'd hooked into a 10 pound trout. Then I saw it. Maybe 2 to 3 pounds, but hooked in the tail. Must have taken the bait, spit the hook, and then got snagged. Well, once it saw me, it was gone in a shot. My only hope was to break the line because this trout was going down stream at about 100mph. After I tightened down the drag and the fish made it about 150 feet down the creek, the line finally snapped.

I re-rigged and shortly there after, I landed this one. It went about a pound and a half to two pounds.

For the next couple of hours, I had bite, after bite, after bite and couldn't get one to stay one the line. A couple of guys joined me at the pool and soaked Power Bait, threw Panther Martin's, and put a few on everybody's stringer. I had one hit and it was big, but snapped the line. Shortly after that, the young man standing next to me landed the fish below. Weighted in on the handy dandy Berkley Digital Scale at 3 lbs 4 oz. I think that was the one that broke my line. Pretty sure it was. Looked just like that one. OK, probably wasn't, but one can wonder.

Turned out to be a bit slippery.

Then he got a good hold on it for a good photo op.

I hung around for another hour or so, then called it a day. I would say that the rumors of 16" to 20" trout in the creek was correct. And yes, there are still a bunch there. Might just have to wander out there next week after everybody has to go back to work. I'll let you know.

Till next time.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

OK, It's Hump Day

Middle of the week and closing in on opening day of the general trout season this coming Saturday.Yesterday I worked outside. First day that it's not been cold, raining, or snowing in a long time and I took advantage.

Out yonder (yonder can be anywhere in a 5 mile radius), a Cedar broke off during one of the past storms. I noticed it a while ago, but it was just too wet to get down there and see what wood was available. I backed the truck about 100 feet off the drive and walked the last 50 feet or so to where the top of the tree was. The part that was still standing was about 30 feet high and approximately 18" at the base. The rest was in a pile on the ground. After breaking off, it took out a pine and part of an oak on the way down. What I faced was a big pile of tree, branches, and brush. Why was I even messing with this? Cedar smells very nice burning in the wood stove. Besides, I need wood for next winter. I cut and stacked brush, cut and stacked, cut and stacked. I ended up with a truck load of wood and there is still more to go.

So, what does this have to do with today? Remember, I've mentioned that my mind is
35 and my body is 64. Well, I just not smart enough to stop before I do too much. Which brings us to the pain in my body yesterday afternoon. Yup, I hurt. I decided that instead of continuing today (since I still hurt this morning) and if I stayed home, I would be out there again. Stupid me who doesn't know any better.

So, I went fishing. Packed a turkey & cheese sandwich, couple of chocolate granola bars, and 3 bottles of water in the ice chest and drove out to Lake Camanche. I waffled about Middle Bar Bridge, Lake Pardee, or Lake Camanche and ended up at Camanche because I can park right next to where I fish. The convenience factor. Arrived at 0830, set up my chair, put out two rigs with Rainbow Power Bait on a slip sinker rig, stuck the ear buds of my MP3 in my ear and listened to a Lee Child/Jack Reacher book on MP3.

The shore at Camanche is very rocky and the pole holders I have will not go in the ground, so I got a bucket out of the truck, put a couple of big stones in it, and set my rods against it. By 10:30 I was still listening to the book and the rods were still sitting there. I changed one to a Brook Trout Kastmaster and started casting. All of a sudden, the rod against the bucket slapped the ground and started out into the lake. I dropped the rod I had and grabbed the other one, reeling in an 18" Rainbow. On the stringer for Bob since I've having been bringing him any fish lately, I figured he needed a few for his freezer.

Back out with the Power Bait and back out with the Kastmaster. Again, the rod slapped the ground and was on it's way into the lake when I grabbed it, thi8s time reeling in a 16" Rainbow. It too when on the stringer for Bob. Both came in less than 15 minutes. From then until I left at 1:00pm, I got two more hits that pulled the rod off the bucket, but this time I was ready. I missed them both. Go figure.

Saturday I'm off to Angels Creek in the little town of Angels Camp. Place will probably be a zoo, but I'm going anyway. Besides the editor at the paper wants a story from there. I must comply. So I'll let you know how it turns out.

Till then.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Favorite Outdoor Food

I've been running like a madman for the last week. My wifes car decided to take a crap and with repairs looming on the horizon to the tune of a several thousand dollars, arrangements have been made to get her a new car. This, my friends, is the reason I've taken so long responding to the challange.

Mine is simple, BBQ. I run the BBQ 12 months a year. If it's sunny, great. If it's raining, stand closer to the house and reach out to turn what ever is on the grill. If it's snowing, brush it off, or in some cases, shovel it off, and keep cooking.

Oh, I don't charcoal. Mine is a propane, two burner, BBQ. I can whip up some chicken tenders for a Caesar Salad in minutes or burn them to a crisp in an hour, while being distracted by blogging. As recent as yesterday I managed to char 4 chicken tenders while being distracted by listening to Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt sing "Don't know much" 4 or 5 times.

So there you are. My favorite outdoor food. I'm going to try to get out once this week before general trout season opens on Saturday (April 30th), then hit the Mokelumne on opening day and see what I can scare up with a fly rod.

That's it for now. Till next time.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Opening Day Is Going To Be A Drag

A week from Saturday (April 30th) is opening day of the general trout season in California. I've not been up the hill to check out the lakes since about November last year. Today seemed like a good day to take a trip upcountry. Right out of the starting gate, the electronic notification board, as I hit Highway 88, said "Chain Controls before Kirkwood Ski Resort". Kirkwood is between Silver Lake and Caples Lake. I did stop at Cooks Station for coffee, just in case.

Cruised up to Bear River Resort (elevation 5850 ft) and the only water I saw was a small patch near the dam. It would take a snow mobile, Quad Runner with chains, or snow shoes to get anywhere near the water. I moved on.

Above - No fishing at Bear River anytime soon.

Next I drove up to Silver Lake (elevation 7261 ft). This time, no open water at all.

Above - No fishing at Silver Lake anytime soon, either. Drove over Carson Spur (elevation 7990 ft) and by Kirkwood Resort without encountering any chain controls and continued to Caples Lake (elevation 7806 ft).

Above - No fishing at Caples Lake anytime soon.

Past Caples Lake, the road started to get a bit slippery. 4 wheel drive was in order. Made it over Carson Pass (elevation 8650) and stopped for a photo of Red Lake (elevation 8200).

Above - Red Lake from the turn out at Carson Pass. No fishing here.

My take on the lakes up here is that it'll be June before any serious fishing will happen. Stop over at California Dreaming for a shot of my truck at 7000 ft.

Two more things and then I'm out out of here. One, it was snowing at 8000 ft and two, there are bud on the Dogwood. No flowers, but buds. I'm hopeful.

Thanks for stopping by.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Black Gnat Saga

Tuesday arrived with sunshine and blue skies as promised. I headed out to Rancho Seco Lake to try the Black Gnat that Bill Trussell (Fishing Through Life) sent me. Got out there at about 0830, wadered up, and launched the Float Tube Cumberland. A couple of guys launching a boat said that there were a couple of Largemouth Bass, next to the boat launch, that looked like they were making a nest. By the time I got over there, they were gone.

I started out on the left side of the lake with a spinning rod rigged with a mini-crawler under a bobber and just let it trail behind. I wanted to use it as a kind of “fish indicator”. I put the black gnat on my fly rod with the intermediate sinking line, the one I use in lakes. I fished it with a “let it drop” style along the weed by the shore and when it hit bottom, I gave it a couple of strips to pick it back up and let it drop again. I was targeting Crappie since there is supposed to be trophy sized ones in this lake.

About 50 feet from the dock, I got a good tug on the crawler, but by the time I picked up the rod, whatever it was, was gone. I continued around the left side through a good sized cove and back out to a point. From there I changed to a Tungsten Bead head Thinmint size 8 and flippered across the lake to the dam. I wanted to take a shot at some of the trout and maybe the deep water across the lake would produce something. They had a derby on April 2nd & 3rd so they stocked it pretty heavy.

Once I got to the dam side, I changed back to the black gnat. I wanted to give it a good try on this lake. I worked my way around what I think is the drain for the lake. It was at that moment that I found out I forgot to bring the camera.

Let me see if I can explain this drain thing. It’s about 15 feet square, sits on 4 posts about 10 feet above the water. It has steel rods running from the bottom of the platform into the water. Like something to keep debris out of the drain. OK, in amongst the bars and under the platform are a bazillion dirt bird nests. I think they are swallows of some type. The birds were feeding on some type of bug on the shore, but the closer I got to the drain, the more birds started flying back to the nests. Protection, I’m sure. I don’t know what the bug was because I only got a fleeting glimpse of one going by and you know, I’m no entomology expert by any means. The thing I did notice is that there were no fish feeding on the surface.

So I did a 405 around the drain. That’s a 360 plus another 45 to make sure I got all the way around (you know that fish hang out near structures like this) and then made my way toward the shore. I fished part of the dam and then across the weed beds on the side, back toward the launch ramp. I’m still fishless, although I did get another bump on the crawler, but again, I was too slow.

By that time, it was about Noon 30 and I threw in the towel. I gave the black gnat a good 4 hours or so and my analysis is that, since they are still stocking trout in this lake, it might be a bit too cold for Crappie to get excited about a black gnat. So I’ll wait for some warmer weather, some warmer water, and give it a shot later in the year. Maybe dabble in Bass, who knows. Crap, I’d have to change the name of this blog.

As always, thanks for stopping by. Till next time.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

It's Finally Friday

I had originally written this post yesterday afternoon and Blogger made such a mess out of it, I just deleted it, so I'll try again. Pisses me off when Blogger does stuff like that, but I'll get over it.

I put a couple of new pictures over on California Dreaming and here's the story. Thursday afternoon we got the hail storm I showed you on the last post. In a matter of 5 minutes, we had an inch of hail on the ground. Shortly there after we got 4 inches of snow on top of the hail. My wife called from Rams Horn Grade (see and said she was stuck on the last pulloff just before the top and couldn't get home. I went and got her (thus the explanation of my slipping and sliding) and got her home.

Friday morning took her down to get the car and see her off to work. Since I was part of the way to town, I decided to take a run down to Spot X (I'm sworn to secrecy) and do a little fishing.

I put out two rods with Rainbow Power Bait on a slip sinker rig and parked my butt. In approximately 3 hours I got nothing. Since I wasn't really in the mood to fish and spent most of the 3 hours chatting with the guys, I packed up and went home. I did see two fish in the pound to pound and a half category caught with what looked like a night crawler with a mini-marshmallow under it for lift. Rumor has it that the total catch for Spot X is over 100 fish this year. Not too bad for a secret spot.

I made a comment on the Ice House Reservoir post about going to Rancho Seco Lake to try the fly Bill Trussel sent me. Tuesday is the day. I'll let you know how it went when I get back.

Till then.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hail In A Volcano????

Volcano, California that is.

And just when I thought winter was gone. That's what I get for thinking. But wait! There's buds on the Dogwood. You know what that means. Till next time. Mark

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ice House Reservoir Yesterday

Yuki and I made it up there yesterday. We arrived at 0930 and took a look at the place by the dam where I wanted to fish. The snow there was still a little deep as we were sinking up to our knees trying to get to the water. The snow from the parking lot to the water was about 100 yards and just a little too far to dig a trail. Wasn't feeling that energenetic.

We drove over to the launch ramp and parked by the bottom of the ramp in the 'No Parking" zone. There wasn't anyone else up there so why not? Walked around to the right and found a spot that looked like it might be somewhat deep out a ways. We both put out two rods with Power Bait on slip sinker rigs and sat down to wait. While we were waiting, I took some shots around the lake.

From right to left, the dam (notice how low the water level is) and across the lake.

Over to the left and next to us. You can see Yuki's rods.

Same spot with Yuki's rods, just a little inland view. Give you an idea of the snow still on the ground. Ice House Reservoir is at an elevation of 5450 ft. We fished from 0930 to about 2:00 pm and then called it a day. Probably a good thing too, I got fried. It was sunshine, blue skies, and in the mid-50's. An absolutely beautiful high mountain day.

Oh yeh, want to know if we caught any fish? We did. Four between us, two small ones (about 9") and two larger ones about 10"-11". Considering the guys in the only boat we saw got skunked and a group of three guys on the far bank got skunked, I think we did well.

I also took my little "find junk" tour around the area where we were and you won't believe it. Another golf ball. This time a Titleist 2 Pro V1.

Believe it or not, we are expecting snow on Thursday, AGAIN. I'm spending the rest of this week cutting trees and cleaning up around the house. I may sneak out on day and fish Spot X (from the April 2nd post) and see if I can scare up a fish or two. Let you know if I can get out.

Next week I want to run down to Rancho Seco Lake and try out a fly that Bill Trussel (Fishing Through Life) sent me. He says it's a good Crappie fly and Rancho Seco is supposed to have trophy Crappie in it, so I just can't resist. Let you know if that happens too.

Good to be back. Now I'm off to cut trees.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

What A Catching Day

Got to spot X (I got that from Mizlan at Dark Art Caster) at 10:00am. I was to meet Yuki and his friends and he had to do the animal chore thing first. I can't reveal the spot because I've been sworn to secrecy, although some fishermen must know about it, there were about 20 people there. Picked a spot, changed to a 3/4 ounce egg sinker because of the current, and put out two rods with night crawlers. It was fish after fish after fish all in the pound to two pound category. Every time you put a rod out, you had a fish one. Believe this? April Fools. Wait, that was yesterday. OK, I was there yesterday so it should apply. Had you going, huh? The day actually turned out to be two fish in the pound and a half size. One on a night crawler and one on Rainbow Power Bait. I'm still sworn to secrecy and the 3/4 egg sinker applies. Weather wise it was pushing 80 degrees with blue skies. A good amount of the guys fishing caught one or two while I was there. On the way out, I stopped for a spring photo (see California Dreaming) and headed home at about 2:00pm. Good thing I did, I noticed this morning my face was a bit red and the tops of my ears were a little tender. Last week, I told you about all the snow we've had over the last month or so, well, here is a photo of all that's left.

That's it for all my five acres. Maybe this afternoon when I get home, I'll walk down and stomp on it so it will go away faster. Ok, Monday Yuki and I are wandering up to Ice House Reservoir to see if we can do some fishing. It's a long drive (about 2 hours) so I hope we can get to the lake. We'll let you know.

Till then.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Why Do I Blog?

Last Tuesday, Rebecca over at OBN gave us a prompt to write why we as bloggers, blog. Back in January 2009 I started this blog as a way to let the local fishermen know what was happening in the fishing world, locally. My mission statement (A Blog designed to share my experiences as a trout fisherman and some other stuff. To let fishermen and fisherwomen everywhere know where I've fished, what I caught, and what I used to catch them. Knowledge that has been held close to the vest by the many and shared by the few) pretty much sums it up. There wasn't a "good" fishing report any where. Oh, there were the "canned" reports that said if you go here and use this, you'll catch limits of really big trout. When you when there, used that, you caught ZIP. So I started writing. January 2009 I posted 17 times. I started on January 7th with an explanation of why I started this blog. The main reason is that I got blown off by the local newspaper when I tried to contact them about their bogus fishing reports. I have to note that I now write columns for that same newspaper. I claim First Amendments Rights so they don't shoot me on sight. Maybe the Fifth Amendment (I will not answer on the ground it may incriminate me). Hell, I don't know. From then on, this blog took on a life of it's own. You can see the followers, the blogs I follow on the blog roll, and all the kind readers that have been here, by the little blue dots on the revolver map. Each dot is one of you and I thank each one for taking the time to stop by. Obviously all those dots enjoy reading what I write and that's the reason I blog. So Rebecca, there you have it. Mark