Saturday, October 12, 2013

Friday on Saturday #1

Wind can’t deter Trout hunter

Waves on Silver Lake
Wind kicked up some major waves on Silver Lake last week. ledger dispatch photo by mark kautz
Posted on October 10, 2013 

By Mark Kautz
ledger dispatch contributor
Since I was feeling ill last week, I didn’t have a chance to get out fishing until Friday, the 4th. The local weather guessers said that the wind was going to blow 15 to 30 miles per hour, with gusts up to 40 on the east side of the mountain. With that in mind, I decided to take a shot at Red Lake first and then if that didn’t work out, go over to Lower Blue Lake and give it a try, since I’d never fished it.
I got to Silver Lake — after a stop for coffee at Cook’s Station — and found the wind was blowing hard. I hadn’t seen waves like that since Hurricane Donna, down in Florida, in 1960. Up the road a piece, at Caples Lake, it was the same thing, just not quite as hard. With this much wind, the outlook was not good.
However, I managed to get over Carson Pass and down to Red Lake. The wind was a lot less and there was nobody there. My hopes were high. I put one rod out with rainbow Power Bait and a silver Kastmaster on my little Okuma.
An hour later, with nothing to show for my troubles, I packed up and headed to Lower Blue Lake. As I drove through the campground, I couldn’t find a good spot to park without paying Day Use fees, so I just kept going until I hit Upper Blue Lake.
Of course, I stopped in my usual parking place and, with gear in hand, walked down to the usual spot. I put out both rods with rainbow Power Bait and set up my red camping chair.
The wind was blowing, but nothing like Silver or Caples lakes. It did produce a nice ripple on the surface, which is good. When the surface is disrupted, the fish feel safer, because the predators have more trouble seeing them.
I started with just my black hoodie, but it wasn’t many minutes before I went back up to the truck and put on my parka. I also picked up a couple of chemical hand warmers from the glove box and a pair of gloves from my backpack. The parka did a lot to reduce my body being cold, but nothing could help my hands. You can’t put on Power Bait with gloves on. You can’t take fish off the hook with gloves on. Once you wash the fish smell off your hands, they are already cold and even the chemical hand warmers don’t help much.
The first half hour was just sitting there with my hands in my pockets, watching a couple of guys down the way catch a few. Then there was a calm moment and I noticed a dark blue area (deep water) just to the left of where I had my bait, so I reeled in and put both rods in that area.
It wasn’t ten minutes and the rods started bouncing. I must have found the “hole.” First one and then the next and the next and the next. Within 20 minutes, I had five on the stringer and, as I was reeling in the last rod, it had the sixth, which I released. They were all nice stocker Rainbows in the 11- to 13-inch range.
As I was packing up, one of the guys from “over there” walked over. They had two or three each and we chatted about this and that, what bait we were using and so forth. He was well-enclosed in a parka, with a warm hat and gloves. The temperature in Lake Tahoe (elevation 6225) that morning was 29 degrees. Upper Blue Lake is 2,000 feet higher and much colder.
There is a moral to this story. Winter (although it is still technically fall) is here in the high country. There is snow here and there; the temperature is downright cold; and you need to be prepared. Bring heavy coats, gloves, hats, hand warmers, and anything else you can (maybe a flask of brandy) to keep you warm.
The high country is still producing fish. Even though the Department of Fish and Wildlife has stopped planting, for the most part, there are still a plant here (Ice House on the week of 9/29) and a plant there (East and West Forks of the Carson the week of 9/29, as well), but, unless you catch the East and West Forks of the Carson when they plant, you can be assured that the “fish-to-extinction” crowd will clean it out before you get there. 
Tight Lines.


  1. Nice down home report Mark. Do you do ice fishing reports as well?

    1. Don't ice fish. See why here:

  2. I'm the guy who was talking to you on 10/4 at Upper Blue Lake. Enjoyed our little chat and now reading your blog. We fished for awhile and caught 22 fish (released 8 that were lip hooked0, Brought 14 home fired up the smoker and half eaten already. Three of went to Upper Twin Lake out of Bridgeport, CA on Thursday 10/10. Was a great fishing and catching day. Fishing didn't turn to catching until after a couple of hours when the wind turned the water from glass to chop. Caught 23 and released 10. Vacuum sealed them for the next smoke. Chuck

    1. Wow, couple of great days. Was good chatting with you. Hope to run into you again. Welcome aboard.