Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Hatchery Dust Challenge Part Two

As I said on Monday, "BUT, being the fair fisherman I am, I'm going to give Hatchery Dust one more try out at Lake Camanche North Shore later this week."

I met Yuki at the North Shore Day Use Area of Lake Camanche for a day of sitting in the sun. It was also a day for giving "Hatchery Dust" a second chance. 

Just like at New Melones, one rod with plain rainbow Power Bait the other with Hatchery Dust. First test, out about 50 feet.

Second test out as far as I could cast it.

Results: NOTHING. Four hours of soaking up Vitamin D from the sun.

A good spot at Camanche
It's not that there weren't fish out there because a couple guys in a boat just beyond where we were, caught a couple as we watched. The problem was that the so good it "Should be illegal to use" Hatchery Dust didn't attract anything. On the other hand, Power Bait didn't either.

Cloud pictures
So I resorted to taking cloud pictures to entertain myself. This was the only one that turned out good. That's the kind of day it was.

Since both the tests proved to be negative, below is a picture of the Hatchery Dust in three flavors in the trash can. $19.00 down the tube.  

Hatchery Dust
Hey, I thought I gave it a fair chance.

BUT, Yuki and I came up with a fantastic idea. See, at Lake Camanche the wind blows from right to left most days. Here's our idea. Leave one truck up by the parking lot and take Yuki's Kayak and the Float Tube Cumberland, in the other truck down to the far end of the peninsula (now about a half mile) and launch. We can, in my case, flipper out to the buoys and let the wind push us back to the other truck. Yuki can paddle out in his kayak. What a concept.

Little effort on either of our parts and we can strip Wooly Buggers (or maybe a Thin Mint) all the way back. Don't know why I didn't think of that before. Must be getting old. Maybe next week or the week after.

Stay tuned.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Hatchery Dust Challenge

Don't know if I mentioned this stuff in a previous post. Hatchery Dust, the label says "Should be illegal to use". Label says "Your bait into a hatchery pellet!! What could be better".

OK, I'm game. I met a gentleman out at North Shore Camanche a while back and he showed this to me. I dipped my Power Bait into it and put it out. Didn't get anything that day, but didn't get anything that day on anything else either. He said you could get it at Walmart (he got his in Lodi).

So I scoured Walmart's from coast to coast looking for this. OK, I went to Walmart here in Jackson, the one in Folsom, and the one in Rancho Cordova, but the stuff wasn't anywhere to be found.

Saturday I was down in Sacramento and stopped by Fisherman's Warehouse and Voila, there it was. The only catch was, there wasn't just Hatchery Dust, but Hatchery Dust in flavors. According to Lip Ripperz there are five flavors. Fisherman's Warehouse had three so to give it a fair chance, I bought all three to the tune of $5.99 a pop or about $19.00 total with tax.

Three flavors
My plan (I always have one, but you know that) was to go out to New Melones on Tuesday (that would be tomorrow) and do the Hatchery Dust Challenge. That was right up to the time I found out it's (please sit down it you're not) going to rain.

So I emailed Yuki and said, let's go today and we met at 9:00 at the launch ramp below the Highway 49 Bridge.     

Today, this would be me and Yuki instead of Jim and Yuki
I show the above picture because a couple guys had the launch ramp taken and there was nowhere for us.

Before I get into the challenge, I wanted to show you the underside of the bridge. You see the strip just under the bridge itself? That is the high water mark of the lake. 

10X from where we were
 In the picture below, you can see just how low this lake is.
Regular power
Unless you're there, you just can fathom how far it is from the top of the bridge to the lake. A couple hundred feet, maybe?

On to the challenge. Two rods out, side by side, slip sinker rig, same amount of leader (about 12"), same weight, same treble hook, same jar of rainbow Power Bait. One rod with plain rainbow Power Bait and the other with Garlic Crawler Hatchery Dust.

Fish #1 - Plain rainbow Power Bait. A Rainbow about 14".
Fish #2 - Missed the hit on plain rainbow Power Bait, but caught it on the Hatchery Dust rod. That rod was the only one out at the time. A Rainbow about 14".

Switched the Hatchery Dust rod to Garlic Mealworm flavor.

Fish #3 - Plain rainbow Power Bait. A Rainbow about 14".
Fish#4 - Plain rainbow Power Bait. A Rainbow about 14".

Switched the Hatchery Dust rod to Super Cheese flavor. 

Fish #5 - Plain rainbow Power Bait. A Rainbow about 14".
Fish #6 - Plain rainbow Power Bait. A Rainbow about 14".

My take on Hatchery Dust? I wasted $19.00.

This is 4 of the 6 fish, the other two were on Yuki's stringer. 

4 of 6

When Noon rolled around and the score was me - 6, Yuki - 0. Yuki sent me home so he could try and catch fish.  the Yuki hex and all.

BUT, being the fair fisherman I am, I'm going to give Hatchery Dust one more try out at Lake Camanche North Shore later this week. If it doesn't prove itself, then I'll throw it into the trash can.  

Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

It's Dying A Slow Death

What is dying a slow death, you ask? My truck is slowly falling apart. Let me give  you a quick bullet point list of what's happening to it.

  • Needs a new air filter (no big deal, really. Maybe $39.00).
  • Needs an A/C belt (about $109.00)
  • Needs front brakes (about $290.00)
  • Oil pan is leaking (about $600.00)
  • Shocks are leaking (about $650.00)
  • Somewhere there is a water leak in the engine (huge bucks just to find the leak)
  • The transmission is starting to give me trouble (more huge bucks)
A picture of a dying truck
OK, get the picture? So I decided it was time to pray to the fishing truck Gods. One can only say that my prayers were answered, sort of.

Yesterday this truck showed up in my driveway. Looks an awful lot like the other one.

Same truck?

Front view

Other side

Look, no black tailgate!!!
Only problem with this one, is that it came with conditions. I hate conditions.

Nothing goes in the bed until the spray on bed liner is done. No stinky fishing net and stringer under the back seat. No tackle boxes on the back bench seat. No stinky anything in the truck.

Geez, for a fisherman, you might as well chain him to a tree.

BUT, it's almost brand new. It can pull the trailer without any problems (5.3 liter engine, same as the old one). Only 16K miles. Almost the same color as the old one. Both back doors open instead of just the one on the passengers side. The back windows roll down instead of snapping the clasp and pushing it out a little. It's got some many buttons on the dash that I'd probably never figure out what they're all for. Probably way to technical a vehicle for me. Maybe I shouldn't keep it.

What do you think? 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Scoring At The New Melones Puddle

I can't rightfully call it a lake. It's at less than 23% of capacity. That's the New Melones Puddle.

Yuki sent me an email last night that said he and our friend Jim were going to hit New Melones around 10:00 this morning. Rather than reply, I thought I'd just surprise them and show up.

I got to the lake around 9:30 and set up at the bottom of the launch ramp. This is the "hand" launch ramp below the Highway 49 Bridge where Yuki and I fished back on November 10th.

Just as Jim arrived, I brought the first fish to hand. A Rainbow in the 14 inch range. Yuki arrived shortly thereafter and he and Jim set up just down the side about 50 feet or so.

Yuki on the left, Jim on the right
Yuki and I have fish numerous times with Jim at New Melones (just in case you've forgot) in the past. Today, because we have a new friend Paul who was situated next to me, Jim and Yuki went out on the side of the launch ramp area. Not enough space for all four of us on the ramp.
Meet Paul from Murphys
The day kind of went like this. I caught the first one, Jim caught the second one, I caught the third one (my second), then the controversial fish was caught.  

The controversial fish
Why is this fish controversial you ask? You see, both Jim and Yuki caught this fish. Yes, they both had hooks in it. A first for me, that's for sure.  

Once on shore and safely in Jim's grasp, it was decided that Yuki's hook was deeper in the fish than Jim's, thus giving Yuki credit for the fish. Yuki's first fish of the day and I was still there. Another hex broken.

Jim caught one more before I packed up and left at 12:30. I would have stayed longer, but the hints that I should leave so Yuki could catch more fish were getting close to the physical stage so I thought I'd better jet. They hadn't started throwing rocks (at me) yet, but I didn't think it would be very long until they did. Hey, what are friends for?

Actually I had another reason for leaving early. A week or so ago when I stopped in at the donut shop, I asked the young man behind the counter "If I catch a couple fish, would he like them?" He said he would, but could only take two. One for him and one for his wife, a nice young Asian couple. So today I presented him with the fish. I have a free donut credit waiting for me the next time in. There is a method to my madness. They actually tried to give me a big bag of donuts, but not at 2:00 in the afternoon. For me donuts are a morning thing.     

Since the DFW is planning to stock New Melones next week, Yuki and I will be back out there next Tuesday is hopes of many more fish.

Yuki and Jim were still fishing when I left. Hope they caught more. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Skunkeroo Number Two

Since I'm an equal opportunity fisherman, I wanted to try Lake Amador this morning. The local forums have been severely bashing the lake in the last couple months or so.

Their major complaint is that they aren't catching dozens of fish, in the 10 pound range, every time they go out there. Poor baby's. Just a reminder of what this lake is about, they used to grow their own Cutbows until warm water closed the hatchery. Now they import fish from the Mt. Lassen Trout Hatchery and are at the mercy of Mt. Lassen's delivery truck. PLUS, where they used to put mongo trout into the lake, now they're putting in some good sized ones with the catch-able ones. 

To support them in their effort, I headed out of La Casa Kautz at 07:45. I got to the lake and checked in, purchased a carton of crawlers (I had a plan), and drove out to the point by the spillway.

I carefully worked my way down to the water and found a very precarious spot to park myself. Take a look at the pictures below and you can see how precarious it is on the side of the lake.

To the left

To the right
All that you see there is loose and I mean really loose, shale. I slipped many times, but didn't fall per instructions from my wife. Remember, she said if I fall again, no more fishing.

Plan A - Put one rod out with a crawler on three feet of leader under a bobber. Used the little Okuma with a pink Kastmaster to work the area. That didn't work.

Plan B - Put one rod out with a crawler and a couple white floaty things to keep it off the bottom and the other rod with rainbow Power Bait. Sit carefully and consume coffee and donuts (picked up on the way). That didn't work either, but the donuts were good.

Plan C - Same rod with crawler and pink Kastmaster on my little Okuma. I tried several other colors too. That didn't work either.

Note to readers: I only have a two rod license. If they allowed three rods, I'd have that one too, but they only allow two. 

Plan D - Go home. That worked.

I didn't see anyone one catch anything, nor did the two guys I talked to on the way back to the truck. There is no doubt in my mind that there are big Cutbows still in the lake and many Mt. Lassen Rainbows, but I just couldn't interest any in what I had to offer.

Add that to the treacherous decent and ascent and I think next time I'm going back to Lake Camanche. I'm just to old for mountain climbing. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

First 2015 Skunkeroo

Drove out to Lake Camanche this morning. Plan was to fish the South Shore by the boat ramp. At check-in the girl said they planted the Trout Pond and North Shore.

Since I was already at the Trout Pond, I started there. No sense wasting time at the boat ramp. I took my little Okuma, a box of Kastmasters, and started around the pond.

Half way around I got one good followup by a trout about 18", but couldn't get it to take the lure. Had a nice Cardio Walk around the rest of the pond.

Fast forward to 9:30. I got back to the truck and drove to the North Shore Day Use Area. If there would be fish anywhere, it would be there.

Rainbow Power Bait, rainbow Power Bait with garlic. Kastmasters of varied colors.

Thus the title of this post. The first skunk of 2015. Obviously I expect more, skunks that is.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Camanche North Shore

I'm sure that a lot of bloggers are writing (in their head) the next post as they're driving to where they're going to fish. I do it on a regular basis. Today as I was doing just that, I rounded a corner and the back tires broke loose on a small patch of black ice. And it wasn't even that cold.

Sorry, no crash pictures. No mauled Shoreman. No blood and gore. I used my exceptional driving skills to get back in the lane. A mere mortal would have lost it. It's a good thing you know I'm basically full of shit most of the time. It was a little slip, nothing else.

I got to Lake Camanche and drove out to the far end of the Day Use Area. I set up two rods and parked for an hour. Even though I fish this spot on a regular basis, I've been doing better at a couple others. So after the hour was up and no hits what so ever, I packed up and moved to where I fished last Friday.

Hey, I got two good sized ones there, maybe it would be good today.


That was what this post was going to be right up till Noon. I had thrown in the towel and was just about ready to head home. As a last ditch effort, I put the pink Kastmaster on my little Okuma (this was the third time today) and was going to give it one last try.

I looked right, I looked straight ahead, and I looked left. My inclination was to throw left, so I threw right. Confused yet?

Actually it was more right of center or just to the right of the buoy. The lure barely (and I mean BARELY) hit the water and the fish was on. Must have been sitting there just waiting for me to put that lure out there. 

Estimated at just under 2 lbs.
On 2# line, this one put up a good fight. Took me several minutes (look at the size of the tail) to bring it to hand. I would have released it without putting it into the net, but logistics out there make it impossible to get near the water. So I put the net under it, removed the lure, and as gently as I could, put it back for another day, that is right after a quick picture. A fish that fought that well deserved to be free.

After that, NADA..........

That's OK, I'll take one of those any day. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Man, It Was Cold - Not

Like everyone else across the country, we've been cold. I, on the other have been cold and had a cold at the same time. My cold is gone, but the other cold is still here.

I heard a rumor (I hear a lot of these) that they stocked Lake Camanche on New Years Eve. North Shore, South Shore, and the Trout Pond. That would make today the perfect day (Stocking + 2 days) for me to hit North Shore.

But, it's been cold. Twenty -Seven (27) degrees this morning when I left, but I was ready. I had my parka in the truck. I had my gloves I wear when snow blowing. I had hand warmers, I had hot coffee (from Starbucks). I had lemon pound cake (what does that have to do with keeping warm?). I had ear muffs. I was ready, bring on the cold.

I got to the lake just after 9:00. The sun was shining, there was no wind, it was pretty nice actually.

All I had on was my hoodie and my pair of Eddie Bower fingerless gloves. Didn't need anything else.

The spot I picked wasn't very deep in fact I figure 4 to 5 at 75 feet or so. I shortened my leader to 12" and out went two lines of rainbow Power Bait a little over 25 feet from shore. That was where they were the last time. OK, so how did I know it was 4 to 5 at 75 feet? Never mind, you know how.

I sat for a couple hours and as neighbors came and went, nothing.

My spot for the day
That far from the truck
I reeled in one line and had something on. It felt like a 10 pound fish although there was little fight. When I got it to shore, it was a plastic ice bag filled with water. Pigs. 

Can't even find a trash can or take it with them.
Around 11:00 I reeled in one line and with my little Okuma started tossing a 1/4 oz. pink Kastmaster. Right away I got a bump. Then a second bump, but no hookup. So I did the most logical thing and changed to a 1/8th oz. pink Kastmaster. Only took two casts and the fish was on. A 1 lb. 14 oz Rainbow on 2 lb. test line. Cool.

Since I didn't bring any lunch, I planned to leave around Noon, but just before, my neighbor (to the left) saw a fish jump right where my line was. A good indication that I had a fish on one of my Power Bait rods since the line went straight. This one came in at 1 lb. 15 oz. 

1'14" on the left, 1'15" on the right.
A couple nice Mt. Lassen Hatchery Trout to start 2015. The Mt. Lassen Hatchery Trout are a little different from the ones that the DFW stock as they have usual Rainbow markings and a bunch a speckles (black spots) on them. A very pretty fish. The picture below is so you can see what they look like. Also they have orange meat similar in color to Salmon.

Disclaimer: I did not catch the fish in the picture below. Would have been nice if I had.

A Mount Lassen Rainbow
 Around 1:30 I called it a day. I was OK with those two. 

My neighbor John  and his wife are having a nice fish dinner tonight.