Saturday, December 31, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.