Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Oddity Of Bait Dunking

In Chapter 12 of Fishing, Ghosts, and My Mother's Gray Hair I talked about camping with my fishing buddy, his wife, and his parents in Hope Valley Campground. Now that I live upcountry, Hope Valley is just over the hill. The hill being Carson Pass (Elevation 8574 feet).

One of the places they took me to fish was a little lake that they called Lily Pad Lake. I gather the name came from all the lily pads floating around the lake. Last time I was up that way I stopped at the information center and got a map of the Mokelumne Wilderness which encompasses a vast amount of area around  Hope Valley. As I was perusing the map, I stumbled across none other than Lily Pad Lake. It was in the right place where I remembered it (keep in mind that I've not been to that lake since the summer of 1976) being. When I went there, it was hidden away from the road and was reputed to be a good Brookie Lake. We fished it and yes it was a good Brookie Lake.    

Aiming for Lily Pad Lake, I drove down a dirt road for what seemed like a hundred miles although I think only 5 or 10 and passed what I thought was Lily Pad Lake, but it was dry as a bone. Had to be the wrong place so I continued. Oh, did I mention I didn't bring the map with me? Of course I didn't. Why would I make myself look stupid like that.

I got to a T in the road and veered left and dropped down to the lake in the picture below. 

Across the lake

To the right
Yes I stopped and yes I fished and no I didn't catch anything. On the way back (plan B was to fish Upper Blue Lake which was right around the corner) if nothing panned out at Lily Pad Lake. Now if you don't know me very well, around the corner can be anywhere withing a 25 mile circle. You get the picture. Driving back out I stopped at what I thought was Lily Pad Lake again and it sure looked the same. You know, rock formations etc, but it has been a long time.

On to Upper Blue Lake, yeh the same place as last Friday and they were still biting. Now comes the oddity part. Last Friday I used two rods with rainbow Power Bait. I got all the hits and caught all the fish on the same rod. OK, not all that unusual. Today I got all the hits and caught all the fish on the same rod. The same rod as last Friday. Now it's starting to get to the odd part.

When it began again, I reeled in both rods and made both exactly the same. OK, I did a little experimenting. Both rods have the same line (Trilene XT 4# blue), same egg sinker (3/8 oz), same swivel (#7 gold barrel), same leader (4# Fluorocarbon 18 inches long) and same hook (#18 gold treble), same rainbow Power Bait. I placed them within 2 feet of each other and one rod got all the fish. How odd is that?

I brought 4 to hand (stocker Rainbows) and missed another 4 or 5. They weren't biting very hard and I think they were gumming the Power Bait and taking off with it. I dropped them off at Bob's for his stash.  

On the way out I stopped and took a couple of shots across and down the valley.
Nothing special just across the valley

Down the hill toward Hope Valley
OK, you'll love this. This hill is called the Nipple. It's the truth, would this face lie to you? The elevation is about 9300 feet which is probably why there are no trees on it. I was about 8300 feet when I took the picture. 

The Nipple
Once I got home, I looked at the map and the dry place was Lily Pad Lake. What had once been a beautiful lake was no more. Such a shame. The lake in the pictures is Lower Sunset Lake. Couldn't find anything on whether or not there are fish in the lake. Seems like there should be something more, but I can't think of anything.

Till next time.   



  1. That lake where you didn't catch anything is really nice looking water.

  2. I could spend days there and not catch a fish and still enjoy myself. Beautiful country.

  3. Hi you live in a beautiful part of the country.

    Although I have been to Muir Woods, I would have never have guessed CA had such beautiful landscapes. Most of my visits to CA have been to SF or LA. One of these days........