Monday, September 16, 2019

This Post Isn't About Fishing

In years past, I've talked about our trips to Hendy Woods State Park in the beautiful little town of Philo, California. OK, maybe not so beautiful, but it is little.

This trip isn't about fishing, it's about wine tasting. The Anderson Valley is one of the premier wine producing areas of California. They tend to lean more toward red's than whites. 

I, myself, don't drink wine so I'm the DD.

Here's a little story about the DD:

Cop comes up to a bar and says "I'm going to nail one of those drunks when they go home for the night." Out the door comes one guy, staggering, falling down, and can barely make it to his truck. Cop thinks, got him. I'll nail him when he leaves. Over a period of time, person after person leaves the bar until the only vehicle left in the lot was the first guy. Finally he sits up, starts his truck and drives out of the lot.
Cop pulls him over and gives him a sobriety test. Stone cold sober. "But I watched you stumble out of the bar drunk as a skunk. What's the deal?" "I'm the DD, the guy says. Designated Decoy."

In my case DD is designated Driver.

We visited several wineries and purchased wine (I'm also the financier) that one can only get at the winery. They don't sell to stores.

By the end of the second day, I was feeling like I needed to take out a second on the house to pay for the wine. That stuff ain't cheap. This is not Ripple we're talking about here.

Just so you don't feel left out, here are some of the shots we took a couple years ago. You've seen it once, that's pretty much all you need. With these kind of trees, to see change, you'd have to come back about the year 2525. Don't forget to listen to that song on YouTube. 

The forest

More forest

That tree was there when Columbus discovered America. 

Little plaque

Hobbit house
Last trip of the year. It's supposed to start raining this morning. How's that for timing?

Now I can get down to fishing again. By the way, our "out of control" garden is producing some interesting Winter Squash. More on that another time. Tomatoes are in a wire cage 2 feet wide and six feet long. The cage is so full you have to thin it out to find the tomatoes and trim the top of the plants as they have reached the 6' high mark and growing higher. 

That's it for now. 

Stay tuned. 

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Upper Lake Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

Tuesday turned out to be a wine tasting day. After getting up late and having a late breakfast, we (Katherine, Me, Ken, & Ranae) piled into the truck and headed toward the few wineries in the area. Lake County has many, but they are scattered all over the county.

First stop was a wine and olive olive oil tasting place. Couple of bottles of wine and a couple bottles of olive oil and we were off to the next place.

Second stop was not so good. Wine wasn't to our liking and the prices were steep.

Back on the road, the option was lunch and another winery (somewhere in the county) or lunch back at the park. We chose the park. It's a democratic society, camping is.

Hills are recovering after the fires last year

You can see the same section from another angle

The other side of the lake
While everybody sat around, I went down to the dock and soaked some more PB. Add one more trout to the list (now 3). Another sunset and the day was done.

Wednesday morning found me out in the kayak attempting to get a Thin Mint down far enough to entice a fish. I guess it just wasn't anything they wanted. So I attached myself to the dock and threw out some PB. Add fish #4 to the list. .

Later in the day the Bass (some quite huge) started circling a fish ball of, I'm guessing a shad of some type. Every once in a while they would dive through and the shad would scatter just like you see on national Geographic. The best photo I could get in the one below.

Fish Ball
If you double click and make it big you can see hundreds of small fish swimming in a circle. I have a video on my phone that I'll add to another post as soon as I can figure out how to get it to where I can show you.

Later that day while dinner (Tri-Tip, we eat well on vacation) was on the BBQ, I walked down to the lake right by the trailer. I figured if the fish were over by the dock, why wouldn't they be over here?

Wednesday fishing spot
Just a simple, throw out the rod and set on the bait bag, wait and see what happens.

Here is what happened:

Fish numbers 5 & 6.

This was our 6th year camping at Upper Lake. I guess you can say I now have a fish for each of those 6 years. The Tri-Tip was excellent along with home grown tomato's and Mozzarella with Balsamic Vinegarette dressing.

And, of course, ending the day with a sunset picture.

We'll be back next year.  Our reservations are already set starting 8/30/2020 for 5 days.

Our next trip is the North Coast Redwoods in 11 days.

With that, I'll leave you with a couple of extra photos.

Crane on the fishing dock. Dinner????

Ken & Ranae

Their motor home

The swimming dock
That's it for this trip. 

Hendy Woods State Park, next stop. 

Stay tuned. 

Friday, August 30, 2019

Upper Lake Sunday and Monday

We got to Upper Lake about 2:00 pm on Sunday. It's about a 4 hour drive from home. It took another hour or so to set up the trailer. Wasn't as bad as Redding last year (111 degrees), but still hovering just above 100.

We sat outside until the kids arrived about 4:00 pm. They got caught in a bad traffic accident by the airport on Interstate 5. Must have happened right after we went through there because we didn't have any problems.

Once they got set up and we had the required beer (805) at the beginning of every camping trip, I wandered down to the dock to see what was shaking. 

Usual Camping Spot

There were a couple guys fishing and they had caught a couple trout. TROUT !! Surface temperature of the lake was 76 degrees. TROUT ? Yup, Rainbows about 10 or 11 inches. Well I came to find out that out from the dock about 25 feet the water was so deep that it was probably 60 degrees down at the bottom. 

So I put out one rod with the usual rainbow Power Bait on a slip sinker rig and low and behold, 5 minutes later I had my first rainbow trout out of Upper Lake. I gave it to the guy next to me since I wasn't keeping any and he held it up for a historic photo.

First Rainbow from Upper Lake
Shortly there after it was dinner time and I called it quits for the day.

After dinner, I took several sunset pictures and this is one of them.

Monday morning my son and I got the kayaks off the truck and down to the lake. My wife and I set out for the far end of the lake to see what was there. My son and daughter-in-law were out in their two person Inflate-a-Yak (not the Sea Eagle) and already to the other end.

The first picture was from our camp spot across the lake.

Fishing dock on the left
Then in the second picture, is a 10x telephoto to the far end of the lake, our goal. Can you see that little beach in the center (double click to make the picture big)? That is called the "narrows".

Narrows? More lake? Oh yeh. Actually we found another part of the lake just as big as the picture above. By the time we got to the end of that one and yes it was finally the end of the lake, we were ready for a rest. We had all the way back to go. We never knew that part was up there. 

So we finally got back, arms and shoulders aching, and called it a day. 

I decided to sit down on the dock and soak some Power Bait. Again, 5 minutes after casing out, another Rainbow the same size. Number two for the week. 

I'll end this post with another spectacular sunset. 

Tomorrow, the rest of the week.

Stay tuned. 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Yakking On Woods Lake

You remember the post about a month ago when Yuki and I fished Woods Creek at the outlet of Woods Lake. Here is a reminder.

July 8, 2019

Note the snow

Yuki 7/8/2019
Well, yesterday we put our kayaks in and I had a couple things I needed to do at the lake. First I wanted to try out the (now not so new) fish finder. I still don't have a handle how that thing works. I'll only say that it kept flashing 19 ft even when I was sitting on the shore. More research needed.

So after getting my Lifetime Kayak (total weight 50 pounds) in the water, we put Yuki's new (he didn't tell me he bought a new kayak), in. I don't have the information on his kayak except it is a fishing kayak and the thing weighs about 300 pounds. I lost all though of information just struggling to get that sucker in the lake. OK, so maybe is only weighs about 90 pounds. Either way that kayak is HEAVY.

Good, now we're on the water paddling to the other side which he says is where the fish are. He's already been yakking in the lake before with his daughter the Biologist and awesome photographer.

There are a lot of little water falls feeding the lake with last years snow runoff. As usual, click them to make them bigger. 

One waterfall

Beaver Abode

Shots around the lake

Beaver house again

The far side of the lake

We are not alone

Kind of rocky in some places

Another part of the back side of the lake

Ooooh, another water fall
You notice how much snow can melt in a month. From July to August sure makes a difference.

I suppose I should say something about the other reason we came to Woods Lake, fishing. Since this is a fishing blog it seems the right thing to do.

I started with a Thin Mint on my lake rod with intermediate sinking line. When nothing hit, I switched to a black Woolly Bugger. In the mean time Yuki is over there in the Ocean Liner kayak (it's 12 feet long) yelling "I got another one".

One time I looked over at Yuki and he was standing up in the kayak. One would think after the Yuki incident of March 25, 2013, he would be strapped into the chair with a seat belt. He's braver than I am.

On with fishing. Since none of the flies I tried (including a Mickey Finn, good for Brookies) I switched to my spinning rod and Kastmasters. Silver Kastmasters always worked good in Red Lake, why not here. Because this is Woods Lake not Red Lake. Jeez they are only about 5 miles apart. Is there no communication between lakes up there?

Well, when flies don't work and Kastmasters don't work, one has to slump to the depths of night crawlers. I got a single hook from Yuki (obviously I wasn't planning on fishing worms) and a half of crawler and stuck that worm out there. Damn if I didn't get, not one, but two bites in about 10 minutes. Caught me so off guard I missed them both.

As a last resort I put on the other half of the night crawler on and sure enough this one I hooked and brought to hand. Small, about 7 inch Brookie, but big enough (3 inches would have been big enough) to scare away the skunk.

With one fish (slipped back into the lake before I could get my camera out) and 2:00 pm rolling around, we called it a day.

Next trip is Upper Lake camping with the family at the end of this month.

Stay tuned.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Hope Valley Camping

We left the house on Thursday in the late afternoon (like 7:00 or so). Got to the campground just as it turned dark. First time setting up the trailer with a flashlight in my mouth. Oh, I have a light that fits on my ball cap, but it's been so long since I used it, the battery was dead thus the old "flashlight in the mouth trick".

We were expecting Katherine's daughter and her boyfriend on Friday night so we headed up to Lower Blue Lake (Upper Blue and all access is closed for the year due to dam repair) for the day to do a little yakking.

Being a novice with a hard kayak, I was a little concerned about the wind blowing as it tends to whip across the lake in the afternoon, BUT not to worry.

We launched about Noon and were able to paddle around the lake with no problems.   

As I usually do, I sat in the middle of the lake and did a 360 taking pictures as I turned.

Still a little snow left 
If you double click on the picture above, the pile of snow on the left looks like a seal.

That's the dam 
So we called it a Friday and went back to camp to wait for Katherine's daughter. She got there just before dark and within about 15 minutes had her tent up and was ready for dinner. Her boyfriend didn't come with her. He had a close friend that was in the hospital that wasn't expected to live so he stayed in town. 

So Saturday morning we headed back up to the lake and the girls set out in the kayaks. 

Girls in yaks
Me, I walked over to the dam and sat in a lawn chair and tried to fish. Tried is the optimum word here. If you've fished off a dam, you know that the loss of tackle is a given. Well I lost tackle. Seems like I spent most of the time putting on new sinkers, hooks, and bait. Since I had the rods out of the water more than in the water, I obviously didn't catch anything.

Katherine's daughter took off Saturday night and we pulled out Sunday morning.

Fun kayaking. Fishing, not so much. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

I Need Some Input

I started Northern California Trout on January 7, 2009. The original intent was to tell local fishermen what I was catching, where I was catching it, and what I was using for bait.

Northern California Trout has since morphed into a Global blog. I've posted about fishing, my ancestry, and some other stuff through the years.

Now it seems that Social Media is where everybody is establishing their "adventures". Don't get me wrong, there are still some who blog on a consistent basis, but it seems that blogging has taken a back seat to Social Media. I've mentioned many times in posts and comments that I don't Facebook, Twitter, or Insta-something mainly because I just don't want to. I have a Facebook account, but I only use it for finding relatives like my cousins in Florida.

It's not that I don't have an audience. OK, I have 99 followers listed. I'm not sure how many of those still "follow". I've posted 1140 times and have had more than 700,000 hits from all over the world. Most from the US and most recently the Netherlands and Germany. And believe me I appreciate each and every one of those who stop by to read what I write.

I get a comment or two on each post, but really doesn't tell me what YOU think of Northern California Trout. So, you're from another country. So, you don't speak English. No Big, I have cousins in Germany that I talk to on almost a daily basis and several of them don't speak English. We converse in German. Google Translate is a wonderful thing. 

That said, my .com is due to expire in January. I waffling between renewing it or letting it go which will be the end of Northern California Trout.

I need some input from those of you that are following as to whether I should keep or let go Northern California Trout. I have about 6 months to make that decision. I'd like to hear what you have to say.

Thanks in advance,

Mark/Shoreman/ Dad, Grandpa, and Great-Grandpa.   

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

It Started Out As A Recon Mission

Katherine and I are heading up to Hope Valley the weekend of the 18th thru the 21st. Since we've had so much snow this past Winter, I wanted to do a recon mission to see if 1, we can get up to Lower Blue Lake (Upper is closed for the year) and find the launch ramp.

Mission accomplished.

2, find out if fires are still allowed in the campground fire pits. Campground host said fires OK.

Mission accomplished.

So on the way back from Lower Blue we stopped at the West Fork of the Carson up the road aways from the campground and floated a few flies. Unfortunately too much terrain for me to negotiate so we went to a spot across from the campground. Met a gentleman from Gardenerville (that's in Nevada) who said the creek was planted the previous week and kids were catching and releasing "tons" of Rainbows using a green Powerworm and a jig head. We couldn't find a single fish.

Plan B - We headed back toward town and made a quick stop just to look at Red Lake. It was closed last Summer because of Toxic Algae Bloom, but open now. Might have to bring up the kayak and fish the back for Brookies. That's another time.

Plan C - Stop at Woods Lake and fish Woods Creek. Other than the outlet from the lake, it was too much for me to negotiate, but try I did. Only found a couple small places to drop in a fly. I took my 6wt, but my 3wt. would have been much better.

So, we're (Yuki & I) are standing at the outlet and Yuki is drifting a nymph under an indicator. Not much happening, but there was a fish breaking the surface right where he was drifting. Guess the fish didn't want a nymph. So I (being the gentleman I am. No booing or hissing please) let Yuki drift there 6 or 8 times and then I dropped a green Stimulator in a size 14 just in front of the fish. Second cast and a small (about 8 inch) Rainbow was brought to hand and promptly released. Sorry, no picture. My camera battery was dead and my phone was in the truck.

But before the camera battery died, I did get a picture of Yuki fishing for that Rainbow in the shot below. 

Yuki in the spot
And I managed a shot of the lake with the snow capped mountains in the background.

Woods Lake

I might mention that the temperature (remember this was yesterday July 8th) was 57 degrees with the wind coming off those beautiful snow capped mountains. Yes, it was a bit chilly upcountry yesterday.

Well, that's it for this adventure. If I don't get out before the 18th, Katherine and I will be back up here along with her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend. Should be some good pictures. 

Stay tuned. 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy 4th Everybody

No Confucius jokes this year. Just a picture of the old guy.

No watching fireworks for me this year. Last night we listened to the local fireworks while laying in bed reading a book. Damn, I must be getting old. Crowds annoy me anyway.

In case you don't get to see any, here...........

Fourth of July - Independence Day: History & Facts |

Monday, Yuki and I are taking a little drive up to Lower Blue Lake to see if enough snow has melted and we can actually get there. Upper Blue Lake is closed all year for Dam repairs. That's a bummer. 

I'm sure Yuki will want to stop at Woods lake and fish the creek, so fly rods are in order. 

Our next camping trip is Hope Valley the weekend of the 18th so there should be some fishing then. 

Stay tuned for more exciting adventures. Boy was that corny.