Monday, April 29, 2013

Not So Good Two Days Later

Target: West Fork of the Carson River at Hope Valley.

Jetted out of the house at 0700 and after a coffee stop at Cooks Station, was on the way up the hill. Sitting on two cups of coffee from the morning pot, I needed to make a pit stop. I pulled off at what I thought was just a place to take a w... and discovered some pretty nice scenery, so I took some pictures. It's not anywhere special just mountain shots.

Back on the road and over Carson Summit, down the hill past Red Lake and a right turn on Hope Valley Rd. Then I went to "THE SPOT". Explain "THE SPOT" for the audience, please.

"THE SPOT" is where the local forum sends people to fish the West Carson if you don't like combat fishing at the Highway 88 & 89 bridge. Here's a couple of pictures of "THE SPOT".  

"THE SPOT" upstream
"THE SPOT" downstream
Looks like good water to me, how about you? Fished an Orange Stimulator, Royal Wulff, a Green Something (come on, I've got a lot of flies in my dry fly box that I have no idea what they are), Parachute Adams, and a Yellow Humpy. OK, I know what a few of them are only because I have a cheat sheet in the fly box.

Didn't see anything that looked like a fish. I even stooped as low as putting a small Panther Martin on my little Okuma and trying that. I did see this fuzzy thing in the picture below. My best guess is a North American River Otter. 

North American River Otter?
Since I didn't catch anything there, I moved upstream about a mile and worked the area below.


Same thing. Threw five or six different flies, lost five or six in the bushes and nothing. Not a fish to be had. Last year I fished this same area and caught five Cutthroats, but it was late June so maybe that's the difference.  I also fished it with my Tenkara rod. A little plug for Tenkara.

Packed up, ate a sandwich and headed over to the Highway 88 & 89 bridge just to see what was happening. There were a dozen or so people fishing and nobody catching. My guess is they fished the area to extinction over the weekend.

I left West Fork and on the way back stopped at Red Lake (The devil made me do it). I threw a 3/16th silver Kastmaster for a while and then put my two spinning rods out with Power Bait. The Power Bait produced nothing. The silver Kastmaster produced ONE eight inch Cutthroat. Around 11:30 the wind had picked up to almost hurricane force. OK, maybe fifteen or twenty miles per hour, but it was blowing so hard that I had tears in my eyes behind my sunglasses. OK, I know you're going to ask if the tears were from the wind or not catching any fish. I think the first although it could have been the later.    

I headed back toward home and on the way stopped at Caples Lake (elevation 7806) and thought the coloring of the ice still on the lake would make a good picture. This is at what I call the upper end of the lake. Further to the left is the inlet where Woods Creek feeds Caples. The lake is currently about 50/50 ice and clear water.    

Caples Lake
Well, that's it. I think I'll take a couple days off. Till next time.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tenkara USA

Can't say enough good things about this company. Last time, when I (or was it Sasquatch?) broke the tip on the very first outing, they had a replacement in the mail the next day and I was back on the water in just a few days.

This time, I emailed them when I got home and got a reply from TJ (Many of you have met him at one of the fly shows) in less than two hours and on a Saturday. In four hours and forty-five minutes from the first email (there were a couple of discussion emails in between), the replacement order was made and the replacement part will be on it's way tomorrow. It probably would have gone out the same day, but it was Saturday after all.

These guys are great, their customer service is stellar, and jeez what else can I say.

Thanks TJ.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Opening Day 4-27-2013

Rolled out of the house at 0645, damned near the middle of the night for a Saturday morning. Got to Cooks Station just as they opened, in fact I wasn't sure they were open. Note to self: Take off the sun glasses, you can see inside better next time, and you'll know they are open.

Coffee in hand, headed uphill to Cat Creek Road and the Middle Fork of the Cosumnes River at Cat Creek Campground. It took me almost 30 minutes to drive the eight miles down the windy road to the creek. Still several spots of snow on the side of the road.

Still a little snow here and there
Once there, got my hip waders on, my vest filled with fly boxes, my fly rod rigged, and my Tenkara rod rigged. As I was doing all that, an older gentleman and his son (possibly grandson) pulled up and walked down to the pool below the bridge to do some crawler drowning.   

So I wouldn't interfere with them I crossed the bridge and walked down to the pool below the pool below the bridge. I've always had good luck in this pool and wanted to be the first to fish it this year.  

Pool below the pool below the bridge
I tried my Tenkara rod first with a new fly I got from American Fly Fishing Company a couple of weeks ago. Don't know the name of the fly, but I think it's called aggressor or something like that. Didn't get any interest on it so I threw out an orange stimulator on my regular fly rod (I can get more distance with the regular fly rod. You can see in the picture that it's about 100 feet from the bottom of the picture to the top). Didn't take long to bring the first fish of the day to hand. It was  a nice little feisty rainbow about seven inches long. 

On an orange stimulator

I caught a couple more and then went back up to the bridge and across to the upstream side. Right off the bat, I brought to hand two more small rainbows.

While I was walking upstream, I came across these fungi or what ever they are and thought I'd take a picture for you.
I have no idea
As I progressed up the creek, I fished pool after pool and the brown below was the first brown of the day. I like him so much I took two photo's of him. Just makes me look like I caught more fish.

First Brown

Same Fish
At just about that part of the day was when I did a back swing with my Tenkara rod and on the front swing heard this loud snap. I didn't know quite what happened until I looked at the piece of the rod just above the handle. There were four vertical cracks in that piece of the rod. One of the cracks was almost seven inches long. Looked like carbon fiber failure to me. I've notified Tenkara USA and am waiting for the next step.

Last year in this section of the river I came across part of a suction dredge. What I came across was the suction hose and the intake hose ( I know this stuff because I used to do that). It was further along in the summer and I figured someone had just left them there (although it's been illegal to use a suction dredge in California rivers for several years now) until the next time they came to the river. Today I found another part of the suction dredge. In the picture below is the motor, gas tank, air compressor, and the water pump. From the looks of them, I'd say that who ever owned it, abandoned it. From the looks of it I'd say it spent a good part of this winter underwater. The shape it's in, no one will be using it again.  

A definite NO_NO
This is another one of those dandy pools that are up and down this creek.

Up stream a ways
Having never been a Boy Scout, but always being prepared, I had my fly rod with me when the Tenkara took a dump. Better to drag it along than have to walk back a half mile to the truck and then a half mile back to where you were. This little Brown below came somewhere along that stretch of the creek. Could have even come out of that pool above. I just don't remember.

Second Brown
After a half mile or so I walked back to the truck, took a little break and then wandered back down to the pool below the bridge and the pool below the pool below the bridge and fished for a little longer. By then I was tired enough that I had to struggle just to get back up the hill to the truck, so I called it a day. I tell you it's hell getting old.

The count for the opening day of the 2013  trout season was 8 brought to hand and probably a dozen missed, long distance released (you know how those go), or in some cases short distance released at your toes. Not too shabby for three hours on the creek. Why only three hours? It seems that once the sun gets on the water, they lose interest and besides that I was just plain worn out.

Till next time.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow

OK, not a song from the Broadway Musical Annie. Tomorrow is opening day of the general trout season in California.

Here's an update (mostly for the locals) on where (The DFG planted) and what (I would use).

Planted the week of 4/21/2013

Carson River East Fork. Most anywhere along the river with crawlers or Power Bait.
Carson River West Fork. Most will be fishing the bridge at the 88/89 intersection with crawlers and PB.It'll probably be combat fishing.
Angels Creek. By the recreation building, across from the fire station, and below Highway 49 on Finnigan Lane. Use crawlers & PB 
White Pines Lake. Over by the dam. Use PB.   
Stanislaus River North Fork. You're on your own here. I've never fished it, but they stocked it.
Stanislaus River Clarks Fork. Same as above.

Planting next week 4/28/2013

A lot in Tuolumne County.
Stanislaus River Clarks Fork. Same as above.
American River Silver Fork. They plant under the bridge about 8 miles up the road from Kyburz. Use PB.
Angels Creek. By the recreation building, across from the fire station, and below Highway 49 on Finnigan Lane. Use crawlers & PB 
White Pines Lake. Over by the dam. Use PB.   
Stanislaus River North Fork. You're on your own here. I've never fished it, but they stocked it.
Silver Creek Alpine County. I've never fished it, but they stocked it.
Markleeville Creek Alpine County.  I've never fished it, but they stocked it.

Well, that's it. Good fishing everybody..


Monday, April 22, 2013

600 And Counting

As I mentioned in the last post, this is a milestone post. This is the 600th Northern California Trout post. Little did I know back on January 7th of 2009 that this blog would go anywhere near this type of milestone. I would suspect that in the next month or so there will be another milestone, but we'll get to that one when it happens.

So, once again, thank you all for reading what I write and for visiting my blog on a regular basis.

I heard a rumor that the water being released from Tiger Creek Dam was vastly increased which would make the water level in the Mokelumne River at the Middle Bar Bridge rise. Not too long ago I did a post on how low the water was and how you could see the bottom because it was only about two feet deep. When I got there his morning the water level was up, but not by much. My guess is that the river is three feet deep in most places with an occasional spot being around four feet.

This presented two problems. First, since the water has not been running deep, there have been little if any fish coming up the river. Second, since the level have been so low the green crap on the bottom has flourished.  This makes for a nice green wrapping around your line, sinker, and hook. 

Apparently I wasn't the only one to hear the water level was up. When I got there at 0830 there were already a bunch of people there and maybe a dozen rods in the water. I was lucky to get a spot even though it was not very far off the bank. In the three hours I was there I only saw one hookup and the fight only lasted ten seconds and the fish was gone.

You've seen pictures of the bridge and pictures of people fishing off the bridge so I won't bore you with more and the only photo I took was the one below of the spider web.     

Spider Web
OK, I was bored.

Saturday is opening day of the general trout season. Let me give you a few buzz words to whet your appetite.

Small Streams
Small Streams
Dry Flies
Small Streams
Rainbow Trout
Brown Trout
Small Streams

I'll have a report Saturday afternoon. Tune in then or.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Finally Firewood

You all remember the post from last July where I mentioned the loggers coming in and dropping six trees? You do, good. Well here's an update. Yesterday I cracked (very technical wood splitting term) the last piece. 
The beginning
Fire up that chainsaw
And, of course, the pile of rounds that had to be split.

From the side

From the front
You have to keep in mind that these two pictures are only HALF of what the pile ended up being. So I spent the last nine months splitting my little heart out. That is when weather and fishing allowed and here is the final result.

The first two pictures are from the stack that's drying for next winter. There are six rows, sixteen feet wide, and five feet high. The equivalent of six cord. 


From the side
The rest consists of approximately one additional cord.

The rest.
Under the tarp to the left in the picture is what I have left over from the past years. There are four rows, twenty feet long, and five feet high. For the most part, three of the four rows are still full. Under the tarp on the right is my splitter.

I think I'm set for the next few years. That's good because it allows me more time for FISHING.

Special milestone post next time. Tune in.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Winter Is Over

OK, I'm going out on a limb here. The Dogwood Tree has a couple of flowers on it and this afternoon we got a little bit of hail.

UPDATE: Except in Colorado, the Mid-West, and North East.

Not exactly snow on the Dogwood blooms, but one needs to have a positive attitude when it comes to Winter ending.

The other day I got asked what the Dogwood looks like. Note I picked a picture right buy a nice stream.  

Dogwood Tree Blooms

the flowering dogwood tree is one of america s favorite trees its ...
Sorry for the blurred photo. It's off the Internet

The tree on the hill behind my house is probably three times the size of this one.

So, I'll go with Winter being over. Let's go fishing.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Opening Day April 27th

It's looking like opening day is going to be mighty thin on the stocking side. I was just out on the DFG site and the only places scheduled to plant in El Dorado, Amador, Alpine, and Calaveras Counties are East & West Forks of the Carson, Ice House and Union Valley Reservoirs.

According to the schedule those are being done this week. Nothing scheduled in the area next week at all. Hope they pick up the pace or it's going to be a sad opening weekend.

 People Crying Over Osama Bin Laden’s Death [20 pictures]

Even the President is not happy with that schedule.

Some Mad Hope (my author blog): MFA Monday: Stop Your Crying

And she's really not happy............

I'll update next weekend. 


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sometimes You Can't Go Back

I had so much fun on Tuesday at Ice House that I decided to make another run up there this morning. As it turned out, the wife needed to be at work at 0700 so we were out the door at 0615. I stopped for coffee in a little place called Fresh Pond. It basically consists of a Chevron Station and a small store.

The unique thing for me is that I used to work in that building some 18 years ago. Not that exact building, but the one that used to be there. It was an old Ranger Station and the company I worked for rented it. Now I walk into the store and over by the cold case, I say "That's where my desk used to be". Deja Vu all over again.  

I got to the lake at 0800 and had two rods in the water by 0815. One with rainbow Power bait and a couple dabs of sweet corn. The other with two white Power Eggs and a night crawler. Thought I'd try something new.

While I awaited the first bite, I took a couple of shots around the lake.

Clouds on the mountain

Water like glass
At 0915 I brought the first fish to hand. It was on PB & garlic scent (changed from Sweet corn), but it was rather small at around 9 inches and lip hooked so it went back for another day.

The second one didn't come to hand until about 10:45. It was little too so I put it back. This one was on sweet corn. Sometime you just can tell what they want. They're very confused in that lake. 

Like I said, you sometimes can't go back. I was anticipating another day like Tuesday, but weather wise it a completely different day. Apparently the fish thought so too.

So while I sat waiting for the next bite and I had three that I missed, I saw this "thing" fluttering around just far enough out that I couldn't tell what it was. The photo's were taken with 10X telephoto.

I thought maybe it would come close enough to shore that I could get a good look at it, but on the other hand the way it was fluttering around I'm surprised some big brown didn't inhale it. It fluttered out there for 15 - 20 minutes just going around in circles. Would have made a spectacular surface take.

If you guys have any thoughts on what it might be, drop me a comment.

The next 6 weeks are going to be fishing trips of just an hour or two here and there so the posts will be short as well, but I'll try to keep you interested. 

Till next time.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

If You Offer, They Will Come

A sad day yesterday. Annette Funicello passing away. Annette from the Mickey Mouse Club. Annette from Beach Blanket Bingo. Annette that I sang along with. M I C, see you real soon. K E Y, Why? Because we like you. M O U S E. At least I think that how it went. Come on, it was a long time ago. She was only three years older than I am. Very sad.

On to fishing. 

I had one of those light bulbs go off in my head the other day. Seemed to me that it was nearing time for my yearly pilgrimage to Ice House Reservoir. I went out to my journal (formally know as the fish to cost of license ratio spreadsheet) and for the last couple of years it was somewhere between April 5th and April 29th so I figured that April 9th would be a good day to go up there. 

I headed out at 0715 and after gas and coffee in Placerville (formally known as Old Hangtown during the gold rush.) I started up the hill. I didn't know what to expect since we had a storm on Sunday night and the snow level was down around 4000 ft. Ice House Reservoir being 5450 ft there was no telling how much snow I'd run into.

As it turned out, I didn't run into much at all, in fact look at the picture below. 

Where I parked

I got to the lake at 0915 and put out one rod with plain rainbow Power Bait and the other with rainbow Power Bait and a couple dabs of Pro-Cure garlic scent. While I was waiting for that first bite, I shot a couple of pictures of the surrounding mountains for your pleasure. 

Across the lake

To the left

Across to the right
In the picture below, double click on it and look at the snow blowing off the peak.

Telephoto (10X) of the snow
Somewhere around 45 minutes into the day, I switched to one rod with plain PB and the other with a little Pro-Cure sweet corn scent. It wasn't 3 minutes and the first fish came to hand. Then with both rods with sweet corn scent, in the next 40 minutes, I put four more on the stringer for a limit and a little stock for Bob's freezer. He hasn't needed to plow my driveway but once this year, but he's been doing some road work and deserves a couple fish. OK, I gave him all of them. 

Oh, did I mention it was COLD? How about WINDY? How about COLD & WINDY? Not a day for weenies. I was the only one up there fishing, but had my parka and gloves. The wind was coming off those mountains above, across the lake, and in my face for most of the hour and a half I was there, but for a limit, I can endure.

Same mountain just down the road aways.

Telephoto (10X) down the same road.
This is one of the places I've wanted to take a picture of and show you guys. This is Bridal Veil Falls. It's on Highway 50 about 5, 6, 7 miles from turn off to Ice House Reservoir. It runs heavy in the winter and is almost mist in the summer.

Double click on it and take a better look.

Bridal Veil Falls
And the fish, These are the five from today. All hold overs because they haven't started planting yet.

A limit of hold overs 9" to 13"
Maybe I'll make another pilgrimage up here soon. Much better catching than the down country lakes just a little farther drive. 


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Choices, So Many Choices

I was rather depressed this morning (not sure why) when I left to go fishing. I wasn't going to make any decisions on where to go until I got to Starbucks and got a cup of coffee.  

I could go to New Melones, Lake Amador, Lake Pardee, or Lake Camanche. Here is how my thinking went. New Melones was too far away. Boy, I must have been depressed. Lake Amador is so low I wouldn't have any place to put my chair. More depression, I must have had it bad. Lake Pardee, no reports of anyone catching anything so we'll skip that one. Only one left is Lake Camanche.

Now the next decision was South Shore Trout Pond or North Shore Day Use Area? Decisions, decisions, decisions.

I picked the North Shore in hopes I would have some place to put my chair. I ended up with the same spot I had the last time when I caught that 1lb. 15oz. rainbow. 

Put out two rods with rainbow Power Bait, one plain and the other with a couple of dabs of garlic scent.

While I was sitting, I read the lake conditions brochure and it explained why the lake continues to fill while the others are emptying at a rapid rate. The inflow from Lake Pardee (which feeds Camanche and both are owned by East Bay MUD) is 262 cfs (a pittance compared to the amount of the American when we fish for shad [4500cfs]) and the outflow is only 255cfs. Thus, slightly more coming in than going out. They consider the lake to be 82% full and I think you can see that in the picture below. Note the space between the lake and the green on shore. 

I took the pictures while I was waiting for something to lift my spirits. Thought you might enjoy them too.

Across from where I was sitting
To the left
While I was waiting for that spirit lifting event, I put my head back and using my sweatshirt hood as a pillow, took a 15 minute nap. Easy to do when you're old. I did sleep with one eye open and watching the lines just in case a fish decided to grace me with it's presence.   

Around 11:30 (three hours into the day) I finally got a bite. Turned out to be the one and only fish of the day, but it was a nice rainbow right around one pound. It went on the stringer for Bob.

Then looking behind me I noticed something moving in the water. When it surfaced, my first impression was the Loch Ness Monster in Lake Camanche?

Loch Ness Monster?????
OK, that was pretty lame I know. I know a scuba diver when I see one. Turns out that these two are part of the same guys that were there back on March 19th and the same ones that caught the 3 pounder.  

These three guys were in another scuba diving group doing a clear water dive as part of their training.
One of them is the instructor
Back to the other two, this was the haul from the second trip out. A very nice and mostly new, boat anchor that someone lost. They left all the lures and other assorted tackle out there.

Prize of the day.
It seemed that scuba divers were appearing everywhere. Thick as flies, they were.

Another one
OK, so he was part of the original two.

I ended up the day with just the one, but one means no skunk and I'll take it. Headed out around 12:30 for a bite of lunch at Micky D's. Depression was gone and my spirits were high as I drove home.