Saturday, November 29, 2014

Black Friday +1

I could have posted this yesterday, but I was still scarfing turkey and napping (all that Tryptophan). I could have also gone to a mall down in Sacramento, but who wants to deal with all those Ferguson demonstrators? Don't know why they're in Sacramento anyway. Maybe they should get a job. Do something constructive.

So after sleeping in (6:00 instead of 5:15) and having some breakfast, I headed out to Lake Camanche for another shot at that tree stump.

Got to the lake at 9:10 and at 9:20 brought the first fish to hand. Pink Kastmaster (a new one since the old one is still attached to the other tree stump) on my little Okuma. A little over a pound (estimate only) Rainbow. Unhooked and let go for another day.

The other rod was out with rainbow Power Bait and a little garlic. Wanted to pickup right where I left off last Monday. Second fish came at 10:10 and it only came about two good head shakes and was gone. Same pink Kastmaster.

For a little break, I put rainbow Power Bait and some Pro-Cure Sweet Corn (I wasn't getting any interest in the garlic) on the other rod. Then I munched a couple home made coconut/maple scones and drank a bottle of water. Now I know what was wrong, I didn't stop for coffee. Rats.

That was it. I swung a couple different Kastmaster colors and the "Magic Bullet", but no one was interested. So I came home, had a turkey sandwich on home made rolls and took a nap (more of that Tryptophan induced unconsciousness).

Didn't take any pictures. You know what Lake Camanche looks like. You know what a Rainbow Trout looks like. The tree stump lives on.

There didn't seem to be any interest in the "Name the kayak" game so it's cancelled. Actually the only inquiry was RD wanting to know what a Thinmint looks like.

Here you go Emily. Not the best picture, but it gets the idea across.  

Tungsten Beadhead ThinMint
That's it for today. We're expecting rain for the next four days and since I melt when wet, will probably stay home. Don't use that as a reason for not stopping by, I could change my mind. Could happen.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


All the technical stuff about Thanksgiving is over on RD's blog so go here and all your questions about Thanksgiving will be answered.

You can see the Turkey Fly over at Mike's blog Troutrageous!

Over on Atlas' blog The Rogue Outdoors you can see a Turkey that's not too happy with Thanksgiving.

Finally, you can see snow on Dave's canoe over at The Trout Zone. I hate when that happens.

So Eat, Drink, and be Merry, for tomorrow it's back to fishing.

One last thing, Howard thinks we should do a 'Name the kayak" game. I could throw in a few Tungsten Beadhead Thinmints as a prize for the winner. Thoughts?

HAPPY THANKSGIVING everyone............

Forgot one, we're doing Christmas this year. We passed over Christmas last year and 2012 after losing my brother just before Christmas 2012 and my best friend growing up, in February 2013. Just couldn't get the spirit, but we're baaaaack. 

La Casa Kautz last night

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Kayak

I just slipped that in there to see how many would catch it. Yuki (you all remember the Yuki incident) was back to me last night. Here's the answer.

Back in September when we were at Upper Lake, Katherine wanted to take a boat out on the lake, paddle around, have a good time. They had rentals at the resort, but we just couldn’t justify $40.00 an hour, minimum 3 hours, to rent one.

Since then I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get us a kayak, but one of the problems was putting a hard one on the truck pulling the trailer. The other problem with a hard one is: have you looked at the price of a two person kayak? I’d have to take out a second on the house just to purchase it.

So we decided on the Sea Eagle 370 Pro inflatable. Comes in a bag (in the picture), inflates in 8 – 10 minutes and was around $340.00. Add a PFD for Katherine (I have one) and you’re looking at just under $500.00 for paddling around the lakes next summer.   

 Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak with Pro Package

Now the question would be, where to get $500.00. We have a couple WWII “souvenir’s” that Katherine’s Step Father had. One was a .38 pistol he carried and the other was an Nazi SS dress dagger. I called a collector and he came over to look at them. Didn’t want the pistol, but offered me $500.00 for the knife.

And so goes the kayak.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Scoring At Lake Camanche

I'm starting to become a lazy bum fisherman. I could have gone out to the Trout Pond and fished there, but you remember how that last trip went. .

I could have gone out to New  Melones, but didn't feel like a two hour drive.

I could have gone to Lake Amador, but they still haven't installed an elevator and I'm not putting out a bunch of $$$$ for repelling gear. Besides, I just bought a kayak and that was expensive enough.

So I did the lazy bum fisherman thing and parked out on the peninsula off North Shore Camanche Day Use Area. I mentioned that they stocked just before that Trout Pond fiasco and I found out at check-in that they planted 2400 pounds in the lake last Friday. OK, works for me.

I got to that spot where I wouldn't have to climb down very far and put out two rods with rainbow Power Bait while I brought down the rest of my gear. You know, the red Coleman camping chair, net, tackle box, etc, etc.

It wasn't very cold (although it was 34 when I left the house) and a hoodie did the trick. The sun shining helped too. I got comfortable and while sipping my Grande Starbucks Pikes Place coffee and munching on a home made Biscotti (my wife bakes and I eat), I awaited the first fish.

Yup, I waited. Two hours to be exact. Actually I reeled in one rod and with my little Okuma (2# test), started throwing a 1/4 oz. rainbow pink Kastmaster. It gave me something to do rather than sitting and watching the lines dangle in the water.

It wasn't long before I snagged a tree stump or what I thought was a tree stump, until it started shaking it's head. Gently, I coaxed it toward shore. Remember, I'm fishing with 2#. I reeled and it ran. I reeled and it ran. I've never had a tree stump give that much of a fight before. Just about ten feet from shore, my rainbow pink Kastmaster came sailing out of the water straight at my head. Being fleet afoot, I deftly dodged it. I'm not sure how big that tree stump was because I never got it to the surface so I could get a look at it. I would suspect it was a fairly good sized one though.

Shortly there after, I snagged another tree stump or what I thought was a tree stump. No head shaking, no running, no Nada. It was cemented to the bottom and so was my Kastmaster. Ended up breaking the line and of course, it was the only pink one I had. I take that back, I did have a 1/8th oz. one, but it's just not the same.

I tied on another snap swivel and put on a lure called "The Magic Bullet". It's kind of like a Super Duper with a little extra stuff, this one being in a chartreuse color. It's made by a company in nearby Ione and I got it at the Marina. Only took a half dozen casts and I got one good hit, but that was it with that lure.

Back to the rainbow Power Bait, I'm now into the third hour of nothing, so I put on fresh bait and slathered (love that word) on some Pro-Cure garlic and within ten minutes I brought the first pound to pound and a half Rainbow to hand. I re-baited and in minutes the second hit came.

This hit was interesting. Let me explain. I usually have a small bit of tension on the line causing a small bow that can somewhat sway when there is a light breeze blowing. I was watching the line and suddenly the line moved and there was a huge bow in the line. I picked up the rod, took up the slack and a rainbow about the same size as the first one jumped right where the bait was. Then there was no tension on the line. Apparently the line broke either at the knot by the swivel or had a flaw and just broke. In any event, on and gone.

And that was it for the day.       

While I was fishing, I noticed the stock truck delivering another load. Sorry it's so far away and even with 10x telescope, you still have to make it big to see. 

Stock Truck

And of course, as soon as the stock truck started it's back up beeping, the pelicans came en-mass to feed. If you make the picture below bigger, you can see them fighting over the school as it moved away from shore. Wonder how much of the stock they lose feeding the pelicans.

Pelican lunch time
They do use one of those bang guns (or what ever they are), but the pelicans don't stay gone for long.

That's it for today. Things are definitely looking up downcountry.

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Quick Update

For those locals, Lake Amador Hatchery has succumbed to the drought just like Nimbus Hatchery did. Warm water and lake chemicals has closed it for now. That's means no big Cutbows for Lake Amador this year. They're stocking Lassen Rainbows at the rate of 5000 lbs. per month for probably the next seven months or so. Very sad.

As far as the Northern California Trout Blog is concerned, I just passed 300,000 hits and over 800 posts.

Once again, thank you all for reading what I write. I appreciate it more than you can imagine.

Oh yeh, it's raining in NorCal again. Not enough to end the drought, but at least we don't have to worry about wildfires for a while.

Thanks again for stopping by.  


Monday, November 17, 2014

The Wrong Side Of The Pond

I got a comment on my last article in the newspaper from Lake Camanche saying the planting was to begin the week of November 9th. In fact, the planting began on November 13th with a 4000 pound plant. According to my source, 1500 into North Shore, 1500 into South Shore, both at the launch ramps, and 1000 into the Trout Pond.

I came across a comment on one of the local forums saying that this guy went out to the pond on Friday the 14th and fishing with lures, limited in two hours.  

Plan A today was to go out to the Pond and with my Shimano Convergence and a box full of lures, walk around the Pond until I found the school. I made it about 1/4 of they way and then my lower back told me I wasn't going the rest of the way.

I don't know how many of you out there have lower back problems, but I even have trouble making it through the supermarket, if I'm there more than about a 1/2 hour. 

So I did the next best thing and that was to get the red Coleman camping chair and park on one of the docks. And there I sat. 

Sitting on the dock of the pond. Might make a good song.
Keep this picture in mind, because I'm going to refer back to it a little later.

I fished rainbow Power Bait, added some garlic, Kastmasters in all colors, I made my own mouse tail with a chartreuse Power Egg and an orange Power Worm. Nothing worked, that is for me.

In that picture above, I watched a guy pull in three in a matter of ten minutes right under that tall tree in the right hand top of the picture. Over to the left, in that picture, I watched a guy in a boat using a fly rod catch, at least ten. Were there any where I was fishing, of course not. I probably should have noticed that there wasn't anyone fishing on my side of the Pond too, but I didn't. That happens when you get old. 

See, nobody

Everybody's on that side 
There is one guy over on that dock, but he doesn't count because he hadn't caught anything.
Then I saw this gray guy in the picture below snag one out of the bushes there in front. It looked like a Crappie or Blue Gill (I didn't get a real good look) that would go about a pound. If you make the picture big, you can see how fat his mouth is. At least someone caught something on my side.  

A Heron or something
In conclusion, it wasn't the Pond's fault, it was just the fact that I was on the wrong side of the Pond. I could have gone over there, but I didn't want to sink to the depths of the "fish to extinction crowd" by running right over there where the fish were being caught.

Once again, winter fishing had begun.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Fishing The Puddles At New Melones

A friend and fellow Amador Flyfisher Club member, sent me an email last Thursday. He and his buddy were scouting New Melones for Bass and knocking off twenty or so when then cruised by the "hand" launch boat ramp. Just to explain the "hand" launch, it's only for a "you carry your boat" to the water, launch spot. It also happens to be right below the Highway 49 bridge over New Melones.

He said that one of the guys on the shore told him that the DFW planted 6000 pounds of trout just a little while before they got there. He rigged up a silver/blue Kastmaster and within a half hour they put two limits in the boat.   

I sent Yuki an email and said "lets go". We met at 9:00 this morning and made the short 100 yard walk down the ramp to the water. By 10:30 we had 8 on the stringer. Just about then, a couple guys in a Zodiac boat came paddling up to the ramp. Seems they had outboard motor problems and Yuki, being the nice guy he is, volunteered to drive him over to the Glory Hole launch to get his truck and trailer.

You notice I didn't volunteer and the reason why, is the same reason Yuki didn't drive him. He got into contact with a friend and that friend was coming, so he didn't need Yuki's help after all, BUT we had already packed up our gear so the day was over. Kind of pissed me off because we could have gotten the other two for a limit each. As it turned out, I got five and Yuki got three.

I do want to note that Yuki caught the first one, then I got one, then Yuki got the second and I got my second. By then I quit keeping count. I want to also note that Yuki stopped for coffee on the way out and I didn't so maybe that's the hex breaker.   

Anyway here's a couple pictures from where we were fishing.

Glad I didn't have to climb down from up there.

One could get height sickness just looking up there.

The end of the "hand" launch ramp.

Make it big if you want to see 5 dead trout.
Hot bite at New Melones. The winter fishing season begins.

Monday, November 3, 2014

I Snuck Upcountry

Snuck, is that a real word? According to Snuck is relatively new, an Americanism introduced in the late 19th century.

Destination, Caples Lake. As you know, we had a storm over the past weekend with the weather guessers putting the snow level  below 5000 ft. Unlike last time, the snow level WAS below 5000 ft.

I hit the first signs of snow just before Cooks Station. Then as I went further uphill, the amount increased (no duh). At 6000 ft. it was more dirt than snow. At 7000 ft. it was more snow than dirt. At 8000 ft. it was a pretty good accumulation in the area of 3 to 4 inches.

Then dropping back down to Silver Lake, I did a pit stop at the launch site and snapped this picture of where I fished back on October 22nd. No snow then.

Silver Lake Elevation 7261'
Back in the truck, I headed for Caples Lake, just up the road. I got to the lake and my somewhat numb brain said "Upper Blue Lake, Upper Blue". I figured, what the heck and bypassed (I could always come back) Caples and headed over Carson Pass for Hope Valley.

I wanted to know if they had closed the gate yet and the only way to tell is drive there. To my surprise, the gate was still open. Onward I went.

The shot below is from one of the un-improved campgrounds along Blue Lakes Road. I still had a thousand feet or so to climb. Was this an omen? 

The mountain between Hope Vally and Blue Lakes
Got to the turnoff at Lower Blue Lake and headed to Upper. Some, but not all, of the road looked like this.

Road between Lower and Upper Blue Lakes
Not to worry, I have 4 wheel drive and BF Goodrich AT mud and snow tires. The best M&S tires I've ever found. Even though I never put in into 4X, I did have a couple slip and slide places, but overall made it to Upper Blue just fine. 

Once there, set up, and with two lines in the water, I did panorama shots around the lake. 

To the right

Across to the right
Note the fishing rod in that picture.

Across to the left
Note the fishing rod in that picture. Different rod than the one above. I know you don't care about pictures of fishing rods, but I just threw that in for laughs.

The dam
And there I sat for better than three hours with out so much as a nibble. I guess Upper Blue Lake is done for the year.

On the way back to Highway 88, I saw smoke coming from an area that doesn't have any houses, so one could only assume: Wildfire. The last thing that area needs. So I went to see. I'm somewhat nosy about stuff like that. Turned out that it was what they call a "Prescribed" burn. Knock out some of the under brush before a big fire comes and do it while it's still wet. 

Intentional Burn
All the lakes are ice free for the moment. Good to see some snow on the hills.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Recovery, It Begins

The pond has been dry since August 15th. Remember it's never been dry in the 10 years we've lived up here. 

Taken August 15th
We had a good rain storm last night. this morning the pond has water in it for the first time in 2 1/2 months.
Taken this morning
Let's hope it keeps going..