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.


  1. Some great shots Mark. That nasty snow, hanging tough.

  2. Well. all I can say here is, what a beautiful day. Pretty tough to beat a 19" trout, stunning Caples Lake scenery, and, a Bald Eagle to boot. Plus you were able to net your chair! What more can an ol' Geezer ask for?

  3. That last lake is beautiful. I'm sorry Mark but I wish I could have seen your little misadventure with the chair. Funny!

    1. Sorry for not getting a picture Howard, but I was a little busy trying to get the chair before it slid into the much deeper water. I'll try to do better next time.

  4. happy fishing till the chair goes in the water, i can just imagine how cold it was at those higher elevations with some wind. at least you got some fishing success before the party ended

  5. Mark
    All I can say is dedication!!!--but this place would be paradise when the weather warms, with the eagles and of course the nice trout to go after. Thanks for sharing

  6. This is my first time being excited for the opening of trout season! It's gonna be a blast. We need to get together and fish a small stream soon!

  7. Beautiful shots and I really enjoyed seeing the Eagle!