Monday, August 29, 2011

Smoking Trout One Fish At A Time

Early this morning I checked a couple of the local forums to see if anybody caught anything over the weekend. Since I was going to make a run up the hill this morning anyway, I figured I should find out if anything was happening.

One particular forum showed a bunch of pictures of BIG Rainbows being taken on the West Fork of the Carson River.

Plan A - Drown some crawlers in the West Fork of the Carson River. If nothing happens, take a run up to Upper Blue Lakes and soak some Power Bait. If all else fails, stop by Red Lake and see if the Brookies are biting yet.

Always good to have a plan until you run into that damn construction on Carson Pass. Last time it was 10:00am until 1:00pm and hang out until the stop light turns green, then jet through. Not today. Now it's from 3:00am until 12:30pm and 2 hour delays while they blast rock to do, what? Avalanche control, falling rock control, screw with the fishermen, who knows. When I got to the pass, the line of cars waiting for the flag guy was about 20 deep and didn't look like it was going to be moving any time soon. You get this impression when the drivers are walking around their cars with that 1000 yard stare.

Plan B - Take a stroll down to where the creek out of Woods Lake runs into Caples and fish for Brookies. Parked, grabbed by Okuma with 2 lb test, my tackle box, and my net. Started down the hill, and down the hill some more, and further down the hill until I could hear the creek. The further down I went, the more I became concerned that I would be able to walk back up the hill. I calculated I was about half way down when I turned around and went back to the truck. I was weezing and gasping for breath when I got back up the hill. Good thing I didn't continue down. Man's got to know his limitations (Clint Eastwood - Magnum Force).

Plan C - Fish Caples Lake. Good thing I have backup plans. 0830, picked a spot on the highway side where I had caught fish in the past (there were a couple of guys fishing the dead tree) and set up one rod with Power Bait on a slip sinker rig and my Okuma with a crawler on a #6 bait hook, no weight. Proceded to get the crawler caught in the rocks, so the next one went 30 inches under a bobber. About 0900 I got a good bite on the crawler, but missed the hook set, so I tossed it back out in the same place and within 30 seconds a 13" Rainbow was on. I got one other hit a little later, but it, that was it. Pulled out just after Noon.

Took this shot of the hills behind Caples. Keep in mind that today is August 29th and there is still snow on the tops of the hill, OK mountain. A very rare occasion, indeed.

So, now I have 4 fillets in the freezer as I continue to collect enough trout to smoke, one fish at a time. It would be OK with me if we could speed things up a bit, hint, hint, Oh Great Fishing Gods.

Think I'll try Bear later in the week since it's just up the street. Let you know.



  1. Hi Mark. better to have a plan than to have no back up at all! Glad things worked out for you and you were able to soak a line and add to your smoked trout bonanza.

  2. Hey Mark
    Ever notice that as you get older you add more letters to your plans. Thank God for "C".While waiting for a full load of trout...why not smoke up some jerky for those streamside snacks.

  3. I think as the years have passed gravity has got worse, that's why hills get harder to climb.

  4. I'm happy to hear you got a stock of fish put away to smoke. I'm going to be looking for a smoker again so I can keep a few and smoke some ribs and jerky.

  5. Nice to hear there's traffic in more places then just Chicago. It wouldn't be fair if we didn't share. Keep plugging away and you'll be smoking sooner then later.

  6. Good to hear you smoking up some trout even if it takes you a while. I like to bag my limit of five at a time and hold of for at least ten before I do a batch. What is your favorite wood for smoking trout? What is your brine recipe that you use? Mine is from Len's and it is pretty easy just brown sugar, canning salt, two cups lemon juice, 1/2 cup onion powder, 1/4 cup garlic powder, a tablespoon of Worcestershire. Then I soak in fridge overnight or at least three hours. Rinse then add lemon wedge and/or dill in cavity. Sprinkle crushed red pepper on both sides. Charcoal and generally apple chips or cherry chips and/or chunks. I like lots of smoke, get good coloration on the fish from the smoke. I smoke 3-4 hours total, one flip. Pam to keep from sticking. Always works like a charm. Give Len's recipe a try, I like it.

  7. Thanks guys.

    John, I think jerky is somewhere in the future.

    Howard, ours came from Lowes and works great. Not too expensive either.

    Mark, I took a look at some of the ones you smoked from the Minnesota trip at the end of July and they look yummy. Favorite wood? We used Mesquite for a Tri-Tip and Applewood for a chicken. That's as far as we've gotten. I'm gathering recipes and will turn them over to the cook for approval. Let you know know they come out.