Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Anticipation Goes Down In Flames

The wife is in class all this week which means up at 3:00 am and out the door by 5:30 am to be in class at 6:00. This morning I took advantage of hitting the road at 5:30.

Plan A: Drive over Carson Pass and hit the West Fork of the Carson. They stocked it 3 or 4 times prior too opening day (last Saturday) and with the snow on Friday there should still be a fish or two there. All the reports I saw said crappy roads, icy and full of snow. All I found was clear roads. 

On the way past Kirkwood Ski Resort, I stopped to take the following two sunrise shots.


Kirkwood to the left.
When I made a pit stop at Carson Pass I took another couple sunrise shots.  

Carson Pass

Around the corner toward Red Lake
For some reason they don't look as brilliant as they did in person.

I got to the 88/89 bridge somewhere around 6:30. Sorry I didn't look because I was too excited. There wasn't a soul around. Got my little Okuma with 2# and a couple 1/16 oz. Panther Martins. The "fish to extinction" crowd always uses PM's and usually scores 60 to 100 fish (their numbers) in the hole below the bridge. I, on the other hand, didn't see fish one or catch fish one. I guess the best time to catch them is when you follow the stock truck around and fish where it dumps. Its what they do.

After freezing for an hour (30 degrees) I drove toward Woodfords (downstream) and fished 3 or 4 places along the way. I didn't have any more luck in any of those places either.

Then it was time for Plan B. Since I didn't have a plan B, I just headed back. I did stop one other place on the West Carson and then turned on Hope Valley Road to fish the pool (also the West Fork) across from the campground (still closed). Nothing there either. The planted fish must have really scattered.

You'll be pleased (as I am) to know that the "fish to extinction" crowd fished Yesterday and only caught one fish.

On the way back, yes I stopped at Red Lake. I can't help it, it calls me every time I drive by. 

Red Lake mighty low on water

Red Mountain across the lake
Nothing there either. Not even one of those little Cutthroats that seem to be everywhere in that lake. It was turning out to be a very fishless day.

Next stop Silver Lake, but the wind was blowing harder than it did when it blew my chair into the lake so forget that. Bear River was out because everything is still closed and I wasn't in any mood to walk down to a very low lake. 

By now I was on Plan L. If I didn't have a B, why would I have an L? Screaming down the highway I jammed on the breaks and made a screeching turn onto Cat Creek Road. Why not, last I heard there weren't any fish there either. At least I would know if you could make it all the way to the campground (snow on the road).

Then I turned on a road and found a good place. The last time I told somebody, everybody found out. So it shall remain un-named. It was one of those wander down the road and see what you find kind of roads. What I found was the picture below. 

I'm not sharing
With fly rod in hand, I walked to the pool below.

While I was floating a Sloan's Paralyzer across the pool, I saw a little surface action to my left. I moved the fly over in that direction and this is what was making all the commotion.

I'd estimate this little native Rainbow at about 8 inches. First fish of the 2014 General Trout Season,  on a small stream, on a Sloan's Paralyzer, and a Tenkara Rod. Hooyah.

Rainbow Trout
After a few more drifts, I got back into the truck and made my way down Cat Creek Rd to the pool below the pool below the bridge, where I usually fish.

The rumors I heard about there not being any fish were totally false. I managed four more (on Tenkara), from that pool, brought to hand, released, and two missed. I also had a drive by in the pool under the bridge. I could have continued upstream, but by that time I was out of steam.

So the day was not a total loss.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go take a stupid pill.  

Saturday, April 26, 2014

27th Annual Great Sutter Creek Duck Race

I was the first one there so I dried (remember it rained last night) off the tables and chairs, then a quick shot of the empty booth.

 The Ron got there and set up his fly tying gear.

Dustin got there a short time later and set up on the other end of the table. I didn't do any tying because I didn't want to embarrass the club.

The duck race started a little later. It went kind of like this. They took two green plastic trash cans full of multicolored plastic ducks and dumped them into the creek.

They're off
Total distance of the drift was about 150 feet. Not what I expected since the creek runs a good mile through town, but then it's their show.

Some spread out

Some bunch together

Sorry for the chain link fence, but it's all along the creek. I guess it keeps the rift-raft out. 

Ron and Dustin at the tying table. Before Ron got into tying with this young man, Dustin spent some time with him learning to cast.  

Ron, Cody, & Dustin

Now he's getting into it.

The future of fly fishing

Cody's first fly, the one on the right.
It wasn't quite what I envisioned. I think that if the weather (it was pretty chilly) had been warmer, there would have been more people there. Most of the attendee's were there at the beginning for the 5K race for charity.

We got to chat with a few folks that stopped by and I met a gentleman I had talked to, via email on several occasions, who is a regular follower of my column in the local paper.

All in all not a bad day.  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Winter Is Toast

OK, the Dogwoods are in bloom and as I sit here writing this, it's snowing outside. Once again, the weather guessers said the snow level was going to be 4500 feet and here at La Casa Kautz, elevation 3215 feet, it's snowing. The outside is starting to turn white.

So that, Ladies and Gentlemen is the official end of winter.

General Trout Season opens tomorrow and I'll be in town at the 27th annual Great Sutter Creek Duck Race, manning the Amador Fly Fishers booth.

If you're local, get out there and catch some fish.  

Excuse me while I go outside and brush the snow off the satellite dish so I can watch the rest of the ball game. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Everybody Went Fishing On Easter

Or at least it seemed that way with the exception of Moi. I thought I'd wander out to Lake Camanche North Shore Day Use area and drown some night crawlers.

OK, now that you've picked yourself up off the floor, I know, once again this is out of character, but because of the big one I caught at Silver Lake last week I figured I'd give it a try at Lake Camanche.

I got there at a little after 0830 and drove out to the double buoy spot and put out one rod with the crawler (I picked them up at the marina) and the white floaty things and the other rod with rainbow Power Bait. I am and equal opportunity fisherman after all.

While I was sitting, reading a book (I came prepared), some people were fishing over there in the little cove. 

The little V shaped area
Now I know they weren't catching anything because they were using the "Here fishy, fishy, fishy" mantra and we all know that doesn't work. After I finished the 575 page book, come on, I only read the last 50 pages or so, I took a couple of pictures to show the low water levels once again.  

To the left.
Let me put this into perspective a little. If you remember the "kayak" incident a year ago March 25th, the area I hauled Yuki to is in the picture below (the very top of the hill) and was under two feet of water.

Out on the peninsula
The day started out with the water glass calm so I fished as far out as I could. Fish should be deep. Then the wind picked up (not as bad as Silver Lake last week) and with choppier water I pulled in the lines to maybe 50 feet out. With the lake choppy I thought the fish would be on the move. My wife always tells me I'm not allowed to think because I always get myself in trouble when I do, but then she wasn't there.    
Choppy lake
Well, the fish weren't deep when the lake was calm and they weren't shallow or deep when it was choppy. After close to three hours without a bump, I decided to call it a day. I checked with another fisherman on the way out and he was fishless also.

Once again, it's not there there aren't fish in this lake, in fact a guy that goes by "Koke Machine" on one of the local forums, caught a six pounder and nine pounder along with a few others just last week. He was fishing from a boat (they seem to be doing well) and using a down rigger probably, 50, 60, or 70 feet deep. 

All one can do is keep trying.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

THAT, Never Happened Before

I spent yesterday raking, burning Pine needles, and attempting to reduce the Blackberry bushes taking over the pond area. Even after taking a stupid pill, I still hurt, so the only logical thing for me to do was go fishing.

I've been wanting to take a drive upcountry and see what shape the lakes were in for opening day of the General Trout Season (not that that makes any difference fishing lakes) on the 26th, but a lot of people don't fish until then.

I drove by Bear River Reservoir. The resort is still closed and the gate still locked so if I wanted to fish there I would have to walk down to the lake. Don't get me wrong, it's not the walk in, it's the walk out.

Silver Lake was open so I buzzed on by and headed to Caples Lake. It was a dual purpose trip because the fly club is having a fish out there sometime next month and I wanted to see if it was fishable. Apparently not.   

Caples Lake at the dam

By the dam too

Back toward the spillway

Closer to the spillway
With that information in hand, I turned around (no sense going to Red Lake since it's pretty much the same elevation as Caples) and headed back to Silver Lake.

Went to pay the parking fee ($5.00). there were no envelopes and the payment slot covered with a black plastic bag. Cool free fishing.

I had to clear away the downed branches so I could park in my usual spot, grabbed my gear, and walked the short distance to the lake.

Still a little white around the edges.

White that way too.

Even right next to where I sat.

You know this spot, been here before

A little sparkle off the water.
Got there at 0845 and put out one rod with rainbow Power Bait. The other rod I still had the white floaty things and a size 6 bait hook. I put on a night crawler (OK, I know that is out of character, but that why we take "Adapting to Change" classes) and out it went.

With my posterior firmly planted in the red Coleman Camping Chair I waited. I didn't wait long. At 0905 the rod tip started wiggling (very technical fishing term) a little. It wasn't much, in fact I wasn't even sure it was a bite. So I let it wiggle, four, five, six times and then set the hook.

At first I wasn't sure there was anything on the line and then it felt like a fish. OK, I'm good with that. Then the closer to shore it got the harder it fought. Then when it saw the net it went like a streak of lightning straight out. After a good couple minutes of coaxing it toward the net I finally got it in the net.

The picture below was what was in the net.  

19" holdover Rainbow
By the time I brought it to hand, it was exhausted and the hook was deep so I decided to keep it. It was also bleeding pretty badly. Solid as a rock with the pink meat of a holdover. The wife and I will be having it for dinner tomorrow night.

So I'm sitting there waiting for the next fish and something BIG swooped over my head. I swung around in time to see this Bald Eagle land in the tree behind me.

Magnificent Bird

Tried to get a better picture.

Got it on the third try.
 Suddenly I had an epiphany. Wondered if my 19" Rainbow was still on the stringer. Whew, it was.

 As the day progressed, the wind increased which brings us to the title of this post.

Due West
The wind started blowing hard enough that I had my hoodie up to keep my ears warm and my hands in my pockets. I got up from the red Coleman Camping Chair and walked over to check on the fish. When I turned back, the chair was gone. The wind had blown it off the rock and down into the lake (THAT, Never Happened Before) just in front of that little patch of snow on the left in the picture. You can see in the picture the little shelf at the edge. It's about two feet into the water. the chair was half on, half off the shelf.  

Note how calm the lake is.
The dilemma was, how do I get to it? When in doubt, grab the fishing net. In this case, I had attached (for fishing at New Melones) a five foot handle in addition to the one on the net so all I had to do is get the net around the legs of the chair and pull it to shore.

Then as I was hauling a very soggy chair back up the rock, the wind tried to blow both my fishing rods into the water. By then, I'd had enough of wind, cold, and "fishing" equipment out of the lake. Did I mention how cold the water in the lake was? I didn't have my thermometer with me, but my hands were almost frozen by that time.

I threw my wet chair over my shoulder (now my hoodie was wet too), grabbed all my gear, and headed back to the truck. Didn't get skunked, but could have liked a couple more of those. There's always next time.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pinnacles National Park The Final Post

It's still Saturday afternoon and we're on our way back from the hike. 

A little more scenery.

More flowers

Hills all around

More of the dry river bed

Thought it was Purple Lupin, but not.

Sunset Saturday Night

A little better shot of the sunset

Turkey vultures turning in for the night

Maybe you can see them better

Sunday Morning and the Marine Layer is back

The quail family out of the dampness.
Saturday night the Park Rangers did a presentation on the bats that inhabit the caves. We passed since we have our own colony of bats at the house. 

So here is my take on Pinnacles National Park. Good place to go if you like to hike. Good place to go if you like cave exploring (and are able to hike that far), not a good place to go if you want to do some fishing.

If there had been a sufficient amount of water this past Winter, the wild flowers would have been spectacular. If there had been a sufficient amount of water this past Winter, Chalone Creek would have been full of water and that would have been a sight to see. All in all, it's worth the visit.

Katherine and I will do this again, but I think it will have to be after a wet Winter. It's a 200 mile drive from the house to the park. Not bad in terms of a weekend trip.

So that is trip number one this Summer. The next stop is Pine Flat Lake down by Fresno, California and a little fishing with Daniel Roloff on the Kings River.

Don't wait until then to come back, I've got a whole month of fishing ahead.

Till next time.   

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pinnacles National Park Part 2

Saturday morning we decided to take a short hike. Katherine, Myself, my Son, and my Grandson piled into the truck and headed up to Bear Gulch Day Use area. Got there, the parking lot was full. Drove back to the next parking spot, full. Finally found one spot at Peaks View about half way back to the campground.

Grabbed our backpacks, extra water, and off we went. I can pretty much highlight the trip with the pictures and then finish with a few more tomorrow.

Here we go.

Started here and had to jog to the right to get to the trail.

Bear Gulch Cave is up there somewhere.

Look like California Poppies, but aren't.
Just a yellow flower of some sort.

Chalone Creek, more later.
Almost like Snap Dragons.
There is a creek down there some where. More later.
An oasis among the dry desolate terrain and it's not even summer.

Another hill.
More hills
We hiked about a mile or so in the direction of Bear Gulch and then this Geezer gave out. Ken and Charles continued on and eventually ended up back at camp. Katherine and I walked back, but took a side trip up another path that eventually went to Balconies Cave, but here again, way to far for this Geezer.

BUT, along the way we did find this little creek in the middle of that wash (the fifth picture down) above that actually had a little water in it. Now to answer Bill's comment from yesterday, no place to put in a fly, anywhere. Any of the creeks we found were almost stagnant because of the drought.  

Water under the bridge
From where I was standing, I turned around the the water in the picture below just disappeared into the sand.

Water to the top of this little pond and then gone.
I've got more pictures for tomorrows post so stay tuned.