Monday, July 29, 2013

It Started Off So Nice

The plan was to run up to Bear River Reservoir and fish in a place that I haven't fished before. As you know I always stop for coffee at Cook's Station and if you read the comments from the last few posts, you saw the one from Howard over at Windknots & Tangled Lines where he said I always talk about the coffee, but never show the cup.

Well, Howard, here you are and I threw in the carton of night crawlers just because I'm a good guy.  

The cup, the carton, and Cook's.

I got to the lake at just before 0800 and drove across both dams looking for a place to fish. I saw a good one, but continued down the road just to see what else was there. I decided to go back to that place and set up there.

A new spot
Since I got a carton of crawlers and there are some BIG browns in this lake, I had plans to rig up one with a slip sinker rig, couple of white power eggs (for bouyancy) and a night crawler. The other with Power Bait and what ever bait scent would work today.

I figured the best way to start was to put out plain Power Bait on the first rod and then fiddle with the other tying on a #6 bait hook, egg, worms, etc. The Power Bait hit the water and before I could tie the hook on the other rod, I had the first fish on. It was an eleven inch stocker Rainbow.

I put the Power Bait back out and I barely got the eggs and crawler on the other rod and I had another hit on the Power Bait. That one I missed and with that rod out of the water I cast out the night crawler. Power Bait back on the first rod and again, it barely hit the water and I had another hit, but alas, I missed that one too.

The night crawler was drowning nicely and out went the Power Bait. It was now just before 0900 and once again I got a hit on the Power Bait, but this time I had him and another eleven inch stocker rainbow went on the stringer. At this point I decided to put both out with Power Bait. When I reeled in the worm all that was left was about a half inch of worm. Apparently the crawdad's got the rest.       

Then it went quiet. I was sitting in my red camping chair and marveling at the warm, but not hot or cold, temperature with a light breeze coming in from the south. While I had a little time I broke out the camera and shot some pictures since you haven't seen this side of Bear River before.

If you enlarge the picture below you can see the resort on the very left.
In the picture below you can see the dam for Upper Bear River just to the right of center. Enlarge it and you can see it better.

Around 10:00 the wind started to pick up from the Northwest. Locally we call this the Delta Breeze, but in the Delta and around the Fairfield area it can get roaring up to 25 mph or more. I've seen it as high as almost 40 mph, but it's still called the Delta Breeze. New weather guessers are all trained to call it that because you call it the Delta Wind and man do you get phone calls.

The Delta Breeze does two things. One, it cools the valley (high today expected to be 85 in Sacramento) and it also blows so hard in the mountains that it makes it all but impossible to fish. It got to a point that even holding the rod I couldn't detect a bite so at 11:30 I called it a day.

Oh, I forgot the visit by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. I'm sitting there quietly taking in the wonderful conditions and I hear "Hi, catch anything?" Not looking over my shoulder I just responded that I caught two and missed two. Then I found out who they were and of course your first reaction is "Do I have my fishing license" "Have I caught too many fish, even though you know you only have two on the stringer" and panic sets in.

As it turned out, it was two very nice ladies from DFW doing a fish survey which I gladly participated in. They measured my two (that's how I know they were both eleven inches) and then asked me a few questions. Then the "It's a small world" thing came in. One of them is a reader of Sport Fishing Weekly and has read my articles. So I gave them each a card to this blog and they said they'd stop by. They said their goodbys and went off to talk to the next people down the way.

I didn't bring any ice to put the fish in for Bob, so rather than dash for the nearest store (many miles away) I gave the two away. Sorry Bob. 

Back on July 13th Howard (Windknots &Tangled Lines ) did a post about turning 64. Well in the coming month, somewhere around the 8th, I'm going to put it all out there too. Over the weekend I went through some old pictures and I think you'll get a laugh.

But before that happens, I will be fishing again, so stay tuned.     


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lakes Of Color

I didn't take any pictures because you've already (probably too many times) seen pictures of the following lakes. 

The plan was to meet Yuki at Cooks Station and then run up the hill to fish Red Lake and then go to Blue Lakes. With Yuki needing to feed his managerie (he has horses, donkeys, maybe goats, and probably a dog or two) I said I'd meet him at Red Lake when he could get up there.

I fished Red Lake from 0815 to 10:30 and got absolutely nothing. I used a red "Naked Lady" and that alone should have gotten some interest, but no. I also used (after I lost the Naked Lady in the bushes) a bumble bee looking Wooly Bugger (a good color for Cutthroats) I tied the other day as well as a black Crystal Bugger and after losing them to the bushes too, went back to the truck and got my little Okuma and started slinging Kastmasters. I worked from the point across most of the dam and never got a single bump.  It's like all those little Cutts have vanished. 

At 10:30 I figured something happened with Yuki and he wasn't going to show so I packed up and headed to Upper Blue Lake. I fished from 11:15 until 1:30 and put three on the stringer using the good old rainbow Power Bait on a slip sinker rig.

Like Yesterday, we were expecting thunder storms in the afternoon, but all I ran into was a couple sprinkles and that was it. When I got home, Yuki sent me an email saying he was passing because of the expected storms.

As Porky Pig would say, that, that, that's all folks.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Downstairs Remodel Update

Just a quick update. Picked up the last drawer at IKEA this afternoon. This was the corner before the closets went in.

The Before
 Three closets bolted together and bolted to the wall.

 The right closet has a shoe rack on the bottom and a bar for hanging long clothes.

Right Closet
 Middle closet has a basket on the bottom, there are now 4 drawers, and two shelves above. 

Middle Closet
Closet on the left has a bar under the shelf and a drop down bar for more hanging. Note: I didn't cover up the electric plug. 

Left Closet
This whole setup came from IKEA and I have to tell you it was the easiest furniture to construct I've ever done and I've put a lot of them together. Most of the previous ones (with the exception of the wife's sewing room) have been from Lowe's or Home Depot and I wouldn't buy those again when IKEA is out there. 

The floor, that's a whole nuther project for sometime in the future.


Friday, July 19, 2013

The Dropper Rig Part Two

I wanted to try the dropper trick again so I headed up to the "secret" lake this morning. If you haven't read the last post, please do so as it will explain a lot of what I did this morning.

Since it was supposed to be hot this afternoon I headed out at 0700 and got to the lake around 0745. Last time I fished over there by the dam.  

Over there on the dam
And as you know the dropper trick went down the toilet with the line wrapped around the railing and fly rod. In the picture below you can see how the rail is situated along the dam and also in the distance is where I went this morning. 

The inlet
I started with the same rig as Monday. A Prince Nymph with a Copper John dropper under an indicator. To understand what happened, I want to explain that the water as it comes out of the inlet circles around eventually swings back by shore. So occasionally I'd have to strip in the line and put it back out again.

On about the sixth time I cast out the flies again, they remained in the Blackberry bushes behind me. Just a note about flies in Blackberry bushes, impossible to find. Also no interest in the offering.

Re-rigged this time with a Pheasant Tail Flash Back on the top and a Beadhead Pheasant Tail dropper. Thought I'd try something else since I didn't get any interest on the other rig. After six or so turns without interest and with a little surface feeding, I changed to a big yummy yellow Stimulator.

I let the Stimulator float around out there (almost to the backing) for a while and still nothing. The only bug moving around was a damsel that looked like it was laying eggs. I didn't have anything in my box that would imitate that so I put down the fly rod and gave my little Okuma a try with some Kastmasters.

After a while I grabbed my gear and walked over to the dam and lo and behold Rick (from the last post) was back again. We gabbed about different places we've fished and threw some Kastmasters, but here again we were fishless.

With some chores to attend to because the temperature is on the way back up again, in fact the Valley is expecting 102 today and 105 tomorrow and even though I live higher up, there are still things needed to be done because of the heat, I headed back home. It's easy to run up to the "secret" lake when it's only 20 miles from home and fish for a few hours.       

I can see from my performance this morning that I need a lot of practice casting a dropper rig or any rig with an indicator for that matter. I was less than graceful bordering on pathetic, but it is something I'm determined to master. I just have to watch out for the Blackberry bushes in the future.

All thoughts and suggestions accepted, although I make no promises that I will follow them, but suggest away. 


Monday, July 15, 2013

Today Was A Day Of Indecision

I really, really wanted to go out to White Pines Lake and fish for trout from the Float Tube Cumberland. For some reason I just couldn't get my head around the drive and the flippering.

On the other hand I wanted to go somewhere, but where? I had talked, via email, to Rod (Midgeman) over at The Midge Manifesto about fishing midges, chrominoids, and nymphs for browns in a lake environment and he gave me some good ideas.

So I decided to take a drive out to the "secret" lake (that everyone knows about) and give the idea a shot. On the short drive out there I remembered a conversation (I talk to a lot of people) I had with Steve at the supermarket about the creek that feeds the "secret" lake.

Once I got there, with fly rod and Tenkara rod in hand, I started down the trail to the top of the lake.   

I was headed way back there.

The one thing I noticed about the trail was that it was a well defined trail. Apparently it gets a lot of use. The trail goes along the left side of the picture above and to the creek that feeds the lake. Once I got to the creek I rigged up my Tenkara rod and did a little dry fly fishing with a Sloan's Paralyzer.

This is the first place I stopped. I didn't get any hits, but I did see several fish moving around and making runs at the fly, just not taking it. My guess would be that since the trail was used on a regular basis, the fish were probably hammered and that was why they were so skiddish.

Small pool on "secret" creek that runs into "secret" lake.
Moving along and further upstream I came across where these trees had been cut out to make the journey up the trail easier. 

Let's make it as easy as possible
These slugs were right on the other side of the log cut outs.

Watch out for the slugs
I fished a couple more spots without getting any hits and then the creek became quite overgrown so I did a U-turn and headed back with the idea of going over to the other inlet and fishing a dropper rig.

The instructions I got from Rod were to do a beadhead on the bottom for weight and something like a Prince Nymph on the top under an indicator. I already had the Prince Nymph tied on the tippet all I had to do was add a little more tippet and I planned to use a beadhead Copper John for the dropper.

Never happened, I got interrupted by a guy on the dam reeling in a couple of browns about 14 inches as I passed by. I decided to fish off the dam with the dropper rig and after a couple of casts (the water was moving swiftly toward the spillway and the rig needed constant recasting out) I did one more and ended up with the line wrapped around my rod, the railing, and with knots galore to the point I would have to replace the leader. It was a mess that would be way past the 10 minute rule for any knot, so I cut off everything and headed to the truck for my little Okuma and a box of Kastmasters. I didn't have any backup leaders with me to replace that mess.

Turns out the guy I was fishing next to (his name was Rick) is someone who has fished at Middle Bar Bridge, knows a few of the people I know from there, and man is it a small world.

By now I'm about three hours into the fishing day and my back is giving out. I've been having a good bit of trouble with the back and standing for any length of time seems to be the worst thing for it. About 11:30 I packed up and said my goodby's and headed home.

I'll be back up there shortly trying the dropper rig, but this time directly to the inlet, no side trips.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

In Search Of New Spots

Armed with two printouts from Google Maps, I set out to find new spots to fish. I have to say that I'm a big fan of Google Maps. You pick a city and just move around from there and in doing so I discovered a couple of creeks off roads that I knew.

Out of La Casa De Kautz at 0715 and with a quick stop for coffee at Cooks Station, I was on my way. Plan A was to hit an unnamed road across the highway from one I did know and see if it crosses the Middle Fork of the Cosumnes River (You know the Cat Creek Road place).

Short diversion to Plan A. In checking out campgrounds the other day I found out that there are a couple up the road from the turn off to Bear River Reservoir, but on the other side of the highway.

Made a left and started down the road. The road, if you want to call it that, was a 4 wheel drive road and that's being generous. I came to a Y and took the up hill road (still 4 wheel at best). After two miles, I turned around for fear of breaking my axles, but I noticed a sign that stated "Fiber optic Cable buried" and a bunch of little orange and red tassle type things buried in the "road" and I use that term loosely. I have no idea if they were marking something, but they were all over the "road" for the better part of a mile.

After a U-Turn I headed back to the Y and took the down hill "road". It wasn't 100 yards and I popped out on the highway. If there are campgrounds up  that road, they're going to stay there without me.

Went up the highway a little further and turned on a side road (as long as I was exploring I might as well explore, right?) and was surprised to see meadow like fields on both sides. A hundred yards in I came across a truck parked in the middle of the road and a couple guys standing by it. I asked what the place was (staying in the car with the engine running) and was told it was private. I apologized for bothering them and backed out. It was a beautiful meadow, and had sprinklers watering the area. I thought it prudent to get the hell out of there.

Back to Plan A and a turn on the road that goes to a place called "The Hideout". A creek of some sort crosses the road in a couple places to about half way to "The Hideout". First thing I saw was a sign saying "You are just beginning your journey". OK, my brain goes to odd places when I see a sign like that. I start thinking about cults, Jim Jones and Guyana, the space people in San Diego and Cool-aid.

Wrong on all points. This is a back in the woods chapel to get married. You can also rent this beautiful 5000 sq ft cabin (with it's own lake) for a mere $6500.00 a week. It's even available in the winter via snowcat. Did I mention it's 15 miles off the highway and out in the middle of nowhere? From the highway to the lodge is private property with no trespassing signs. No fishing here.


Another dead end and back to the highway. I didn't know exactly where that other road was so I kept going up. When I got to Silver Lake I stopped and decided I might as well fish a while. Got my gear and walked out to the rock where I usually fish.   

Windy, cloudy, and a bit cold. Also, the rock I fish on was still surrounded by water, but did that stop me? Of course not, I just waded (I wasn't going all the way back to the truck for my hip waders) out and got set up. The water was only a foot deep in most places. OK, it was cold too.

Still had that bow in the line problem that comes with the wind, but I held on for an hour or so. Could have had a bite or two, but I'll never know.

Silver Lake

Cloudy, windy, cold

On to Plan B. Plan B was to check out Caples and see if I could fish there. Nope, too windy again so I did the most logical thing and that was go over the hill with the hopes that Red Lake was calm like last time. No such luck and I really wanted to fish with my fly rod for some of those small Cutts. With my little Okuma in hand, I walked to the dam and started casting. Not easy to cast into a 70 mph (maybe not 70, but 25 or 15, or 10), in your face, wind. I told everybody that was up there the little ones could be caught on a silver Kastmaster, but I guess they didn't have any in their tackle boxes because they kept fishing the way they were. Eight Cutts later I went back to the truck and headed down the hill.

I found the original road I was looking for, but the only road across the highway (where I was planning to go) was the same one I came out on in the beginning. When I got home I got out my forest map and there is supposed to be a road there, so I'll have to check it out next time.

I'll settle for those eight little Cutts. They're fun to catch.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

I Am So Glad The Heat Is Gone

It started a week ago Yesterday. The really hot stuff I mean. Even though we were hovering around 100 at our house for those seven days, it was still like an oven. I love my air conditioner.

On Friday June 28th the temperature (in Sacramento) was right at 100 and by the Fourth of July it topped out at 110. You have to keep in mind that there is a straight shot from the Bay Area (San Francisco) where the Delta Breeze (it can get up to 35 or 40 mph) blows across the bay, up the delta, and into Sacramento and cools things down. When they have temperatures like they had this past week, there is no Delta Breeze. AND, once you hit Sacramento going north and south in the middle of the state the temperatures go up the further you are from Sacramento.

Now Bill Trussell's son is in Marysville about 50 miles north of Sacramento and they experienced temperatures upwards of 115 degrees. I'm sure he's in the well done to burnt to a crisp range.

What the hell is his point with all this weather shit, you ask? The Delta Breeze returned.

We are finally getting some cooler temps and my wife and I decided to take a drive up to Caples Lake and have a picnic today. That was our first mistake. The only thing that went in our favor is that we were able to get the picnic table I was shooting for on the peninsula by the dam.

As far as anywhere to put out any fishing rods, there was only one spot available. There were people on both sides of me. In fact there were people all over the place. It was, after all, the 4th of July Holiday weekend.    

Only place to fish
 I thought you could stand one more picture of Caples Lake.

Notice no snow left
Once we got settled, had a bite of lunch, and put the camping chairs out (my wife got the big red Coleman chair and I used the crappy blue one I found last year out at Lake Camanche) the flies started with the biting and buzzing. She tried to read and I tried to fish, but we spent most of the time swatting flies.

After a couple hours of that we gave up and headed for Woods Lake. I wanted to get a picture of the lake for an article I'm doing for Sport Fishing Weekly. That was mistake number two. It was so crowded at Woods Lake I couldn't even stop long enough to take a shot for fear of my life. There was a row of cars in front and a row of cars in back of us and it's only a one lane road through the camping/day use area. I skipped the picture and squirmed my way back out to the highway.

On the way back, as we passed all the places I fish at Caples, there were hordes of people in every spot. Same with Silver Lake, people everywhere. Probably should have just stayed home.