Sunday, July 31, 2011

Maranello Restaurant

I normally don't endorse places we eat, but this one was especially good. If you're in the Sacramento area or planning to visit Sacramento, I recommend you have dinner here.

We met our wine tasting friends at their home in Gold River for a little catching up and then dinner at Maranello Restaurant.

We started with appetizers of House Cut Truffle Asiago French Fries and Dungeness Crab and Brie Dip. I was full and ready to go home then, but wait! there's more.

For dinner I had house smoked chicken risotto. roasted summer squash, yellow corn, heirloom tomatoes (both yellow & red) and basil salsa, balsamic, black pepper marscapone.

My Wife had grilled prawns with Nueske's Applewood Bacon.

Our friends had the house special of the day. I can't tell you what it was, but it was raw. Some kind of Sashimi kind of thing. OK, I was nice. I didn't say anything about being raw and belonging on a hook.

Since I don't drink wine, the three of them split a nice Viognier from Cedarville in El Dorado County (right next to us) followed by a small glass of Port with dessert.

For dessert, I had Peaches and Cream Pie. It was more like a peach cake with ice cream. My Wife had Tiramisu and Ron had Chocolate Mousse. Suzanne had a spoon and some of each.

Sounds like a normal dinner except we (and we were the only ones that got this treatment) had a table visit by the restaurants General Manager and the Pastry Chef. Why they picked us, I have no clue, but it made us feel pretty special to be singled out.

When that happens to you, you have to let people know about the place. If you want to take a look, here's the URL.

So, if you're ever in the area, try it. You won't be disappointed.


Friday, July 29, 2011

A New Place To Fish

Some time ago I won a contest that Rebecca (Outdooress) put on and had the option of two or three different prizes. I picked this picture that was done by Joel over at "A Year On The Fly". I had it framed and have already sent Joel a thank you (yes and Rebecca too), but didn't show you guys what it looks like, so here you are. I have to tell you, it looks great hanging on the wall in the nerve center of Northern California Trout. I love it.

Yesterday my plan was to drive out to a lake I haven't fished before. I've been watching the planting schedule and as the DFG plants Angels Creek they have been planting White Pines Lake too. I hit the road at 0730 when my wife left for work and by the time I stopped at Starbucks for coffee and a coffee cake, I managed to get to the lake around 0915. It's a rather long drive out there.

I took 15 minutes or so to do a recon of the lake and see where the best place to launch the Float Tube Cumberland was. Turned out that the best place was right around the corner behind that bush over there. There was a concrete launch ramp and all.

Got the Float Tube Cumberland in the lake and did a 360 taking pictures for future reference. Here are a couple so you can see what the lake looks like.

The one thig I noticed is that the weed bed on the bottom was only two feet below the surface. Was this going to be another Mather Lake with every cast coming back with weeds on it? No, it wasn't. Once I got out a hundred feet or so the lake deepened and the weed bed faded into the sunset. Ok, maybe there was just more water over it.

Since this was a new lake and I didn't have any idea what to expect, I figured I'd put out a mini-crawler under a bobber and pull it around the lake behind me while slinging a Tungsten Beadhead Thinmint on my lake fly rod. Hooked up the crawler and laid the rod across my lap with the bobber and crawler in the water. No sooner had the crawler hit the water, the bobber started going under. I hadn't even had a chance to pick up my fly rod and this lunker was hooked.

Now, if the hook I was using was a Mustad Super Marlin hook size 14/0 that would have been a REALLY BIG, what is it, a Crappie, A Blue Gill. Something like that. As it turned out, the hook was a size 6 bait hook (all I had with me) and the fish was only 4 inches long.

Ok, I wanted to do some fly fishing so I put the spinning rig away and continued with the Thinmint. As I was flippering out across the lake I noticed I had a following (all bloggers like to have a following), but in this case it was a bunch of those little, what ever they are. I dug into my nymph box and put on some little gray nymph of some sort (I have so many of those things I can't keep up with what they are named) under a Thingamabobber and they murdered it. Then everything stopped because I flippered away from the school.

Changed to a Red Copper John, found the school again and they murdered that. Changed to a Copper, Copper John and they murdered it again. This was a blast. They were all in that 4 inch range, but put up a good fight on a fly rod. I also tried the Black Gnat that Bill Trussel sent me, but I must not have been in the school at the time. Sorry Bill. I will keep trying.

After messing around with those little guys for a couple of hours, I got back to trout fishing. I noticed that most of the people fishing were over by the dam, so I flippered over in that direction. Talked to one guy on a pontoon boat and he said those fishing on the bottom were catching a trout or two, but that was it. Could be that the water was too warm near the surface. I did take the water temp with my Handy Dandy William Joseph point and click thermometer and it was 70 degrees. Just a tad warm for Rainbows.

By then it was getting near time to put on the old feedbag, so I turned around and headed back toward the launch area. I fished the Thinmint on the way back and got a couple of good hits although I don't know if it was trout or those little, what ever they were.

On the way back to Angels Camp and Mickey D's, I stopped at Angels Creek just to see if anyting was happening. I came across one guy fishing at the pool at Tryon Park and he was not getting anything, so rather than wasting time at the creek, I went to lunch and then went home.

I'll be back to White Pines Lake, if for no other reason than to fiddle with those little, what ever they are. They are a blast on a fly rod. Might even sink to putting a crawler on a #10 bait hook on my fly rod.

Till next time.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Take A Friend, And A Friend Of A Friend, Fishing

My neighbor Roy has a friend, who has a cabin up Highway 4 around the Arnold area. We hooked up with Alex at Mickey D’s in Angels Camp for a little Power Bait soaking on Angels Creek.

Now, according to the Department of Fish & Game planting schedule, they were to plant Angels Creek every week for the last, hell I don’t know, bunch of weeks. This would make one think that there should be a whole lot of fish in that creek even if the fishing pressure was enormous.
Sworn to secrecy, I took Roy and Alex to the “secret” spot. You know the place down on Finnigan Lane. I let them fish the deep hole in hopes that they would nail one or two. T’was not to be. In fact, I didn’t see anything that even looked like a fish.

OK, plan B. Well, not exactly plan B, more like move to another spot on the creek. We had planned to hit all three holes anyway, so we moved to the hole by the recreation area. Almost immediately, Alex drew first blood with a small, but feisty little Rainbow about 9 inches in length. Within a minute or so, Roy hooked up a Rainbow about 11 inches. Me, I’m sitting upstream watching fish being caught while I continue to twiddle my thumbs.

I left them to continue catching in that hole and I walked downstream to fish another calm area. Guess that’s why they call it fishing and not catching, because all I was doing was fishing. Since I didn’t “catch” anything there either, I wandered back to the guys to see if they had caught anything else. It looked like there was only those two fish in that spot.

I wanted to fish the other spot across from the fire station, but Alex called it a day. Roy and I drove down there and I fished a silver Panther Martin for a while, but didn’t see any fish at all. At that point, Roy & I called it a day and headed back home.

If the DFG planted the creek last week, I don’t know where the fish went. If they are still going to plant this week, Friday should be hot. At this point I think the water and I didn’t have the Handy Dandy William Joseph point and click thermometer (it’s attached to my fly fishing vest) with me to check the temperature, but the water just might be getting too warm to do any more fishing in the creek this year.

That’s it for “Take a friend, and a friend of a friend, fishing”. Alex scored, Roy scored, and Shoreman got skunked. That’s OK though because it fulfills my mission statement. Help others catch fish.

We did stop at the Mokelumne River at Electra Road to see if the river had gone down any.It had, but still a whole lot of water coming down the river and it's still not safe to be anywhere around the dam. I'll have to wait a bit more before I give that a try.

Till next time.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Shadless Thursday

My plan for yesterday was to drop by the lab and give the vampires some blood, run down to Sacramento, meet my son for breakfast, and hit the American River for shad. The best laid plans of mice and men comes to a screeching halt.

Part one went as planned. Got to the lab at 0730 and was 4th in line. Good thing I got there then, because right after I got there, 6 more people showed up. Would have been there forever then. I have to say that the people at Quest Diagnostics are quick taking blood. So after 4 tubes of the red stuff and pee in the bottle, I was on my way.

The plan was to meet Ken at the restaurant a 0930 and since I got to Sacramento at about 0845 I decided that I needed to go by American Fly Fishing Company and pick up a couple of flies. Fill in the holes in my streamer fly box where the flies that were in there were eaten by trees, bushes, and the like. Thirty-five bucks later, I was back on the road to the restaurant.

Got to the restaurant at 0918, called and left Ken a message I was there, and with coffee on the table commenced to read a book. The video conference that Ken was attending was going well and he was just about ready to jam out of there when his boss entered the conference at the Southern California site. So, the conference that was supposed to be out at, oh say 0920, turned out to be in session until about 1020. I mean, you can't just run out of a meeting with the boss to have breakfast with dad, can you? By the time he got to breakfast and we talked, it was just past 11:00 when we finished.

With a couple of errands yet to run, I had to decide whether to run the errands or fish. All the reports said that shad weren't hitting mid-day, so it was errands. Besides, it was errands that had to do with our wedding anniversary.

I'm tied up all next week, so I guess shad fishing will be a bust this year. Too bad, because the water level in the river was down below 5000cfs yesterday. Would have probably caught something. Oh well, maybe next year.

Till next time.


Monday, July 11, 2011

All's Quiet On The Upcountry Front

Since the 4th weekend has passed and most of the hoard has gone home, I decided to take a drive upcountry and soak some Power Bait and drown a couple of night crawlers.

My main goal was to walk over to the sandy side of the spillway at Caples Lake, park my keister on a rock, and put out two rods, one with Berkley Rainbow Power Bait on a slip sinker rig and one with a night crawler under a bobber.

I parked in the lot below the spillway, grabbed my gear, and walked up the hill. I was not expecting to have to crawl over 3 foot high piles of snow on the way through. Come on, its mid-July, but a fisherman has to do what a fisherman has to do. The lake level is going down. The spillway was overflowing in a big way when I was up there last week, but today it was just a trickle. This is good in two ways. One, it will make it safer if you want to put in a kayak or float tube and two, if you fish Silver Fork Creek (like I do later in the year), it will be a slower and safer water flow.

This is a little shot of the surrounding hills. Got snow?

I found a nice little cubbyhole under a tree, put out the two rods and let the fish do their thing. In this case, it was their nothing. Then the wind started blowing. I had expected the wind to blow. I anticipated the direction it would blow from so that my back would be to the wind and I could fish calm water. Nope, it blew right into my face and kept pushing my bobber back to shore.

OK, plan B. I packed up and drove over to the other side. Set out my two rigs with the wind behind me. All was well and a 10 inch brown decided that my night crawler would be lunch. Got him in, snapped a picture, and put him back for another day. I think this was the same brown I caught last Tuesday. Really, like Tweety Bird and Larry Bird "They looked an awful lot alike". Ok, if you've never seen the commercial, forget it.

Then guess what? The wind was back blowing in my face. In my face from the left, in my face from the right, I just couldn’t win.

This is across the lake just above where I was first fishing. I believe they call the snow on the top, a cornice. This is the kind of stuff that when it breaks off, causes an avalanche.

Double click on the picture and you can see it better.

After a couple of hours of wind in my face, I packed up and drove down to Bear River.

Last time I was at Bear River on July 5th, I got skunked. The time before that, on June 16th, I caught 4 on night crawlers under a bobber and today, nothing. I tried crawlers under a bobber, Power Bait on the bottom, and just a crawler on a hook. Not a fish was interested.

Since ice out, the upcountry lakes have been extremely slow. I don't know if it was the long winter, the water is still too cold (I keep forgetting my new Handy Dandy William Joseph point and click thermometer), or the fish have that "stick your nose up at the fisherman" thing down pat. Any way you look at it, it's a challenge.

Thursday I'm off to Sacramento to try and catch a shad or two before they are all gone. The water in the American River has been running so high, that it's not been safe to go near it, let alone stand in it, to fish. Yesterday is was at 5200cfs which is just about right. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Till next time.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Rebirth Of A Blog

I said good-by on June 15th, but found I couldn’t stay away. I just missed you guys.

When I did that post I was just finishing the bathroom remodel, summer was settling in, and I guess I was just overwhelmed with the prospect of all the work I had to do around the house. Posting, reading everybody’s blogs, trying to get the work around the house done drove me to a point of breaking. I had to minimize my time and the one thing taking up a big chunk was posting and reading, so I bailed. I’m so ashamed. Kind of like fishing with a fly rod and a night crawler.

In the last three weeks, I’ve managed to get a lot of the work done, granted there is a lot more to do, but I’ve also managed to get in a little fishing too.

Last Tuesday I met my friend Glenn (retired Alameda County Sheriff) at Bear River Reservoir for a day of fishing and catching up. I waited for the hoard from the 4th weekend to go home with the hopes that it wouldn’t be quite so crowded. Turned out it wasn’t too bad. More on that story later.

To bring you up to date on what’s been happening, I should start with Jasper. Since we lost Smudge, Jasper has been sad, lonesome, unhappy, distraught, and a downright grump, so we went to our local animal shelter and got him a sister. Our vet said that if we could get past the initial hissing and spitting and they could bond, everything would be OK. When we got to A-Pals (the shelter), we got Jasper a sister, in fact we got him TWO sisters. Both are Calico with Jasmine being the orange, white, gray that Calico’s usually are. Sophie, on the other hand, is gray with brown markings on her. Why two, you ask? When we picked Jasmine, the other two were gray and I didn’t want another gray cat (Smudge), but (and there always is a but) one of the grays was running around the cage, making a lot of noise, being aggressive and all that, and Sophie was just lying in the back of the cage being quiet. Didn’t feel we should leave her there, so we took her home too. Man, she saw us coming. Got her home and she moved in like she owned the place, but I have to say, except for her little squeak voice, she’s quiet as is Jasmine. Jasper is getting used to them and once they get bigger, we can stop being so vigilant about keeping Jasper from beating the hell out of them. He does weigh around 17 pounds and the girls weigh in at around 3 pounds.

On the fishing front, I have to say I’ve met my first asshole fly fisherman. I ran into this guy up at Red Lake on my first trip up after ice out. He was float tubing and when he got back to shore, I asked him how he did. He had caught a few, so I thought I’d ask if he’d seen the Thinmint. He said he hadn’t so I started to explain what it was. I guess he wasn’t interested because he threw up his hands and walked away as I was explaining what it looked like. Too bad for him. That day I fished Red Lake and caught two Cutthroats, both on Kastmasters. I fished Caples and got nothing.
The next trip up which was the weekend after Memorial Day, I fished Bear River Reservoir because the gate was open and I didn’t have to walk to the dam. I managed 4 Rainbows fishing with a half of a night crawler under a bobber. Then a week later my neighbor Roy and I hit Red Lake for one Cutt (gold Kastmaster) and Caples for one Brown (silver Kastmaster). Power Bait is just not producing anything at any of the three lakes.

Back to fishing with Glenn. While we were talking, he mentioned that he only followed two blogs. One from the guys he’s been fishing with forever and mine. He said he finally figured out how to comment on a blog and now I had quit. Bounced me out of my stupor and got me thinking about doing Northern California Trout again. Of course, all of you had some influence on my decision too.

So, here’s my deal, I will post as I fish or if there is something important I think you might want to hear about. I will keep up with as much of what you write as I can and the rest of the time, I’ll probably be splitting wood, cutting down trees, raking pine needles, or whatever else needs to be done around here and God knows there’s a lot.

I’ve also removed the shopping places since you already know about them and I removed the follower’s gadget because it doesn’t work anyhow.

I hope you’ll come back and read what I write and if you feel so inclined, put a comment on the post, if for no other reason, than to let me know you’ve stopped by.

Thanks in advance.

Mark aka Shoreman