Sunday, September 20, 2020

That's It

It seems that recent years blogs are becoming a thing of the past. As I watch the blog roll on Northern California Trout, posts from those blogs are becoming fewer and fewer.

With the advent of social media, those that had blogs have migrated to Facebook, Twitter, or some other format.

I’ve mentioned on many occasions that, although I have a Facebook account, I only use it to locate people. An example being two of my first cousins that have been not been in contact with our family for all my life and most of theirs. Other than that kind of search, I don’t do any social media nor do I have a desire to do any.

I’ve contemplated ending Northern California Trout for more than a year. Now, with the current Covid-19 pandemic and this Summer with the massive wildfires, it’s been almost impossible to go fishing. Summer trout fishing is done in the mountains East of here, but now with the huge fires and I’m sure you’ve heard about them, they have closed all of the National Forests and that’s where all the streams and lakes are. So, unless you want to fish for warm water fish, you are just SOL.

 The next part of Northern California Trout is the .com. I purchased the name through Since there is seemly little interest in blogs any more it just doesn’t make sense to pay for a .com that is coming passe. 

To add to that is the new interface on blogger. Everybody has a “new mousetrap” so to speak and blogger (which drives Northern California Trout) has introduced its new interface and in my opinion, it sucks, but then that’s their problem.

I want to thank each and every person, from all over the world, that has stopped by since the inception of NCT on January 7, 2009. I’ve had about 870,000 views and have shared my stories 1187 times. It’s been a great run, but I think it’s time to go.

So, Northern California Trout will remain on the web at until about January 2022, but I will cease posting as this will be the final post.

Thank you again and please, stay safe.


Saturday, September 5, 2020

What A Crappy Trip

Our yearly trip to Upper Lake starting on Sunday 8/30. As you know, it's Summer and California is on fire. We don't have small fires in California, we have big ones. 

When the fires started a couple weeks ago, I heard a comment from the Whitehouse that the fires were caused by the Democrats. They were actually started by dry lightning, but then what does the Whitehouse know. 

When I say we have big fires, let's look at a few. The SCU Complex fire. 396,624 acres as of this morning. The LNU Complex fire, 375,209 as of this morning. Then they get smaller from there. The next one is only 86,509 acres. 

So we headed north to the lake with the idea that the LNU Complex fire was being contained and the air quality should be OK. Evening should bring some breeze off the ocean which is only 60 miles away. Boy were we wrong.    

At check-in the girl in the office said that a couple days before you couldn't even see across the lake. That's about the length of a football field. From there it could only get better, right? I mean, we were already there. 

So we set up. 

First Time This Trailer at Upper Lake

Getting Ready

Slide is out

The kids arrived about a half hour after we did and like last year had the spot next to us. 

On Monday morning I was determined to fish so I launched my kayak and with my little 3wt fly rod headed out to try a couple flies that Alan at "Small Stream Reflections" sent me. This was about 11:00 am and did I mention the wind was blowing pretty good? No, well it was almost impossible to get a fly down deep enough to attract a fish even with a healthy split shot before the wind pushed me to the shore. Then I would paddle back out and try again. No I don't have an anchor. 

So I came back in and set up a couple lines with Rainbow PB and hoped for the best. 

Behind the trailer
By then it was almost the end of the day so we broke out the home made salsa and had chips and salsa for dinner. Seems it's becoming a standard, first day at Upper Lake, dinner. That was salsa from our garden. 

Now came the problem. There were two fires burning at the time we were up there. Not near us mind you, but when they are huge California fires it doesn't matter how close you are. When the wind blew from the South, we got smoke from the above mentioned LNU Complex Fire. When it blew from the North we got smoke from the August Complex Fire. Damned if you do, Damned if you don't. 

In the two pictures below it doesn't look very smokey, but it's not the smoke that's the problem. It's the particulate matter in that smoke that is the problem. When you can see ash falling on your truck, something's wrong. 

California has something called "Air Quality Index". Measures the particulate matter in the air. It ranges from 0 to 50 which is good to 301 to 500 which is hazardous. 

Tuesday morning the air quality was almost 400. We packed up and left. No point in staying, couldn't hardly breath. Reminded me of days in Los Angeles where your lungs hurt just by breathing. 

Needless to say the week was a bust. No fish, only one kayak trip and it was short. I did get to try my new kayak system so I could gracefully get in and out of my kayak. Worked like a dream. 

The kids stayed until Thursday, but they had video games to play and stayed in the air conditioning. 

When we got home the air quality was 128 which is "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups" and Geezers.  

That's all folks. 

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Though I'd Better Put This out There So You won't Forget Me

I forgot that this trip was the maiden voyage of the new trailer. Remember last October some a..hole stole the Freedom Express during the Pacific Gas & Electric power shutdown. Even though the Sacramento Sheriff's Department found it in December, we surely didn't want it back. Who knows who was doing what in it. Gross........

Again as a reminder, we had reserved a space on March 20th at South Shore Lake Camanche to do the maiden voyage of the new trailer and check out all the systems and as we drove in, found out they had just closed the lake at 5:30 that morning. 

Since my wife was furloughed for 3 months we had plenty of time to go somewhere and check the trailer out EXCEPT, everybody else was closed too. 

So we waited for our trip to Hope Valley last weekend to do the best checking we could even though it was dry camping instead of full hookups.

We got there Friday afternoon and set up.

The new trailer doesn't have a name like the "Clipper" or the "Freedom Express" because all they gave it was a number. Calling it the 2295 just doesn't seem right.


Left side

Right side
I want to mention a little trip I took while pressure washing the trailer. A while back I bought a pressure washer from Lowe's. 1800psi electric. Somehow I got entangled in the hoses and down I went. Couldn't have been on grass, noooooo. Had to be not only in the middle of the street, but on my left side which is also the side of the bad hip. THEN, trying to get up I fell again. Same place, same side. Needless to say I had a bit of trouble walking and some really sore ribs, but fear not I have recovered. Nothing broken, only bruised.

Off we went.

Once we got set up, all I could do was sit.

Because of this we decided to leave the kayaks home, but I did bring my fishing gear.

Friday night left us with a very nice sunset although it is a little hard to photograph through the hill that is directly West of our camp site.

Saturday morning I was still in considerable pain so I passed on fishing and settled for healing.

Saturday afternoon brought the usual Summer thunder storms that one would expect in the Sierra's. A little rain didn't stop us from BBQing though.

BBQ in the rain.

Sunday morning was sunshine and blue skies. Still in pain, I didn't want to attempt the hike down to the shore of Upper Blue Lake to fish so I called it a fishless weekend do to circumstances based on stupidity.

Let me explain the spot we had. They called it a "double" space.  We had enough room for us, my son and his family, my wife's daughter and her family, and maybe another couple or two.

One tent site

Second tent site
Sunday afternoon brought more thunderstorms, but this time it was lightning, thunder, rain, and wind. The good part is that they only last an hour or so. 

I'm now past the pain from my little trip and awaiting our next trip at the end of August which is our annual trip to Upper Lake. There will be kayaking, fishing, and my son and daughter-in-law will be there. Can't wait. 

Might get in a day or two of fishing between now and then. 

Stay tuned. 

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Well, I Am Doing Something

I do believe that we are going to get a chance to try out our new and currently never used travel trailer on the 17th. I made reservations at Hope Valley Campground back in February as it is one of our "must do" camping places each year.

I needed to get out of the house. One can only handle "house arrest" for so long and just going to the grocery store doesn't do it. As soon as my wife left for work, I hopped into the truck and headed upcountry. I checked the DFW fish stocking website and because it's the 4th of July weekend, they stocked everywhere. Yeh, I did take my fishing rods.

My main reason for the trip was, 1, to make sure I could put our trailer in the spot reserved at Hope Valley Campground. 2, make sure the campground was even open, which it was. I had to reserve a spot I had not parked in before because EVERYBODY is suddenly camping. A way of social distancing and sheltering at home. Your trailer is as good as your home for sheltering. Not sure about the tent campers though. 3, see if fires were going to be allowed in the fire rings. They are.

As I pulled out of the campground I saw a fly fisherman tempting the trout on the West Fork of the Carson River which is right across the street from the campground. Now I've tried fishing for those trout. You can offer them the most luscious fly, fattest worm, or any flavor of Power Bait and they spit in your face. Over the years I've come to the conclusion that if they are holding in that certain spot at the end of the big pool, you need not waste your time.

I headed up the road toward Upper and Lower Blue Lakes. I wanted to make sure everything was set for the upcoming weekend. Wanted to make sure we could get the kayaks in at Upper Blue and since they stocked this past week, I hope, fishing might be good.

First thing I noticed is that ALL the PG&E campgrounds (maybe about 100 spaces) were closed. That isn't going to make a lot of people happy. I was pleased that they graded the road all the way so you didn't need 4 wheel drive or end up shaking your teeth out of your head.     

 Got to my usual parking spot and took my rods, chair, one tacklebox, and my net and started down to the spot I usually fish. It was slow going with the hip, back, and leg problems and I wasn't going to make more than one trip down and one trip up so I packed as much as I could carry in one hand and used my cane in the other for a "third" leg.

Set up and put two rods out with rainbow Power Bait (what else). Waited. Waited some more. Took some pictures.

Across to the right. Still a little snow

The dam and kayak launching area. 

The far end of the lake
I've learned over the years that Power Bait loses it's potency after a while. When you have a couple of jars open and you're old like me, you forget (remember it's been a while since I Power Bait fished) which one is the oldest. After an hour, I reeled in my lines and put on PB from the other jar. Apparently that one had lost it's potency too because nothing.

So I bit the bullet and opened a new jar. I buy them by the six pack. Wasn't 15 minutes and one rod started bobbing. Very light nibble and by the time I was ready to set the hook, he was long gone. Being the experienced Power Bait fisherman (stop laughing) I am, I think it probably bit and the water being really cold, probably cracked the bait and off he went.

So even though I didn't bring one to hand, I did get a bite, but time was a factor so I packed up and made the exhausting walk up the hill. As you can see in the picture above, that is the hardest shore for me to walk on even with a cane.

But I'll be back on the 17th on my kayak and with fishing rods in hand. I'll also have pictures of the "still to be used" new trailer and the camping area.

One part of the trip I forgot to mention. Coming back down the hill, I passed about 30 RV's going up. I do hope they find a place because it looked like everything was full. Even the "dry" camping spots along Blue Lakes Rd were already full. It seemed like every nook and cranny one could put a RV into, there was one already there.

Stay tuned.   

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

I'm Back Somewhat

I was going fishing this morning come hell or high water. Back on May 15th I thought I'd be able to get up to Cat Creek the following week. Took me until today to do it. This Covid-19 is screwing everything up.

My wife went back to work yesterday so I figured it was time to get off my butt and go fishing.

Left at 8:15 and stopped by Java Drive for a cup of coffee and their machine was broke. Was this an omen? Zipped in to Safeway and filled up the truck and headed for the hills.

Got to Cat Creek and put my 3wt together. Stocked my vest with dry flies and walked all 25 feet down to the pool below the bridge. 

3 wt

Pool below the bridge on Cat Creek
First cast, hit, miss. Second cast, hit, miss. Boy am I out of shape. Took me about 6 hits until I finally brought one to hand.
First fish 
 Then I caught the second one.
Didn't get a picture of the second one so I used the first one again. 
 Then I got the third one.
Still the first fish
For some reason I had trouble holding on to the rod, the fish, and getting the camera (on my phone) out for a picture. Seems they weren't hooked very well and flopped back in the pond before I could get the shot.

After maybe another half dozen misses, I packed up and headed for the Cosumnes River at the bridge. Figured I'd fish the pools below the bridge before heading upstream. 

The Pool below the bridge
 Got a couple misses in that pool and made my way to the pool below the pool below the bridge.

To the right


To the left.
 Got a lot of misses, but managed to bring a few to hand.

Snap and back in the pool.
I had forgotten that the fish in these pools have a clock. As usual at exactly 11:00 the bite stopped. I was using an Orange Stimulator, Green Sloan's Paralyzer, and a yellow Parachute something.

Since I wasn't getting any interest in the lower pool I made my way back up toward the truck. Stopped and took a picture of the falls under the bridge and into the pool below.

Pool under the bridge
Since I still had the yellow Parachute Something on my rod, I did one last cast in this pool and sure enough, I missed the hit. That was it for the day. I was too worn out to attempt upstream. Maybe another day.

As best as I can remember (it's hell getting old) I brought a half dozen to hand and probably missed a couple dozen. Just not fast enough.

Didn't have to worry about social distancing, there wasn't anyone up there but me.

Stay safe friends.

I hate to be a doomsayer, but I think the worst is yet to come with this Covid-19.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

D-Day The 6th Of June

Just some thoughts about today.

Since I started this genealogy search, as you know if you've been following this blog, I've found some interesting things about my extended family.

One of my ancestors was August Valentine Kautz. Civil War General and whom Kautz Glacier on Mount Rainier in Washington State is named for. Has nothing to do with D-Day, but I thought I'd just throw that one in.

It was my firm belief that my dad was on a troop transport during the D-Day invasion at the beaches of Normandy, France. When I first started digging, all I knew was my dad was on a ship called the 
USS William P Biddle. 

Attack Transport APA-8 William P Biddle
APA-8 William P Biddle
 At first I dug and dug and dug around and could find nothing. Finally I found a group from the crew of the ship and in contact with them, notified them of my father's passing so they could update their records. They send me a little "book" with the crew and a short history of the ship. 

One of my concerns was, if my father was at the Normandy invasion and being of German decent, that it was a very odd occurrence. The German's didn't fight the German's any more than Japanese descendants fought the Japanese during the war. 

Then we got the introduction of Wikipedia. What I found out is that he was never at Normandy. Spent a lot of time all over the world, but mostly in the South Pacific. OK, enough about my father.  

I've come across many articles recently about this Coronavirus (Covid-19 there is a difference) and how so many of the survivors of D-Day are not going to be there to remember because of it. The number dwindles every year. 

We watch movies like the Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan and as gory as Saving Private Ryan was during the beach scenes I can not imagine what it was like being there. It's no wonder those that survived never talked about it. 

I managed to get a couple things out of my dad about the South Pacific Landings (he was at places like Tarawa, Guadalcanal, and Leyte and Luzon in the Phillippines) and what he said I'd rather not repeat. 

Such as it was at Normandy I'm sure. 

Let us not forgot those that gave their lives for this country. 

We could have been under the Third Reich although I'm not sure we're not. 

One last item, Novel Coronavirus is a new virus previously unknown. There are 7 viruses that can infect people. The four common ones are 229E, NL63, OC43, & HKU1. The 3 less common ones are Mers-coV, Sars-coV, and Sars-coV2 or as we know it, Covid-19. A whole bunch of nasty bugs. 

Stay safe my friends. 

Friday, June 5, 2020

Yakking On Camanche

Yuki and I planned to launch our kayaks this morning at North Shore Lake Camanche.

Northern California has been in a heat wave for the last 3 days. 3 days of 100+ are needed to be a "heatwave".
Delmarva's Second Heat Wave of Summer Ends - 47abc
Yesterday at my house, it was exactly 100 degrees and that was at 5:00 pm. Lake Camanche is down hill from here and closer in temperature to Stockton which is due to be (according to the weather guessers) just below 90 and windy.

Windy ocean Square Greeting Card for Sale by Guido Montanes Castillo

The temperature was supposed to drop to the low 80's today and as usual the weather guessers were wrong.

Now they are estimating the weather to be just below 90. OK, so you young pups wonder "What's wrong with yakking in the high 80's". Just keep in mind that Yuki and I are NOT young pups. High 80's would tend to fry us old guys no matter what we do or what we wear.

Rough Water skills on your Sea Kayak - ride it baby!!! (With ...
Who the hell can fish in water like this?
My wife calls me Mr. Exaggeration, but you get the point. 

Oh sure, we could have gone out for an hour or so, but what's the point. Yuki wants to chase Crappie and I want to chase anything metallic on the bottom. Oh s**t, I wasn't supposed to mention that. That's for later, much later.

OK, I could drown some worms and chase Crappie or anything that bites them.

So we postponed until another day when it's a bit cooler.

But know, I'm alive and virus free as is my family. Hope you is also.

So stay safe and stay tuned.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

The Rig

On the last post comments, Bill Trussell asked if I would show the rig I use at the lake. It's been successful in most all lakes I've fished and could even work in the ocean. So here goes.

I have a picture of the slip sinker rig I use somewhere on my computer. Unfortunately I have about 10,000 pictures, most separated by lake or camping place or what ever, but that one, and I know it's here someplace, does not want to be found today.

So let me describe it. 

All my rods have 4# rest line on them. I particularly like Trilene XT in the blue color. I don't fish with a "bite bobber" like many do. I watch the line and it seems that the blue is easier to see off the end of the rod.

That said, I slip a egg sinker on the line and tie off a #7 brass swivel. You can use 1/4 oz., 3/8 oz., 1/2 oz., depending on the wind conditions and up to 6 pounds if you're fishing in a hurricane although I don't recommend this type of fishing.

From the other end of the swivel I add leader depending on the depth you're fishing and how far you want your bait off the bottom. I use a leader anywhere from 12" to 36". On the end of the leader I use a #18 treble hook. With this small hook, I have little if any trouble keeping Power Bait on.

If you're fishing Power Eggs, I use the same rig, just change the #18 treble for a #6 bait hook. On a #6 bait hook you can use 1, 2, or 3 eggs or a combination of eggs and mice tails. Sometimes I'll put on a mice tail and follow it with a couple different colored eggs or the same color eggs as the mice tail. It's just a matter of what the trout want that particular day.

Image result for slip sinker rig for trout

I copied this off the internet. If you use a #7 swivel, you don't need the plastic bead.

Lastly (is that a word?) my secret is using 4# Fluorocarbon line for the leader. The thing is, the fish can't see it and if you cover the small treble hook completely all they see is the ball of Power Bait. You only need a ball the size of a pea. More is not better.

That's it, stay tuned. 

Friday, May 15, 2020

Nobody But Me

A week or so ago they opened Lake Camanche. Word I had from Yuki (He's on top of these things) is that North Shore was open to Amador County Residents and South Shore to Calaveras County Residents. OK, works for me.

So last Monday (5/11) I hopped into my truck with the intention of finding a spot to try our maiden voyage in the new (and never used yet) camping trailer. Got all the way out there and as I crossed Camanche Parkway North, the main road into North Shore, there was a big sign that said "NO CAMPING". Well poop. Once again camping hopes smashed into smithereens.

I stopped at check-in and chatted with the guy there and found out day use and fishing was open as long as you followed the "social distancing" rules. I can do that.   

Yesterday I drove out, paid my fishing fee, (he never checked my ID) and drove out to the peninsula where I usually fish. The closer I got the more I realized there wouldn't be any problem with "social distancing". There wasn't anyone out there at all.

I set two rods out with rainbow Power Bait and proceeded to read a book. I wasn't expecting any bites anyway.
Rods out in the usual manner
Cloudy, overcast, and about 55 degrees. Perfect for hanging out at the lake.

I usually use two towels when fishing. One wet and one dry. When I dunked the one in the lake to get it wet, I noticed the lake was quite warm. It's been in the 80's and close to 90 for the last couple weeks. This told me two things. One, the fish are deep and two, deep is way out. So instead of fishing one rod close and one out a ways, I put both out as far as I could with a 1/2 oz. sinker.

I can get pretty close to 200 feet off shore with a good cast.

Book, coffee from Java Drive, and I was set. This was about 9:30.

Right at 10:30 the rod on the left dipped as in "bite". I had my nose in the book and almost missed it. I picked up the rod and waited to see if it continued to bite. When nothing else happened I slowly reeled in and one of two things happened. Either he got the Power Bait or a fish just bumped the line like has happened so many times out there. Either way there wasn't any fish on the line.

No one across the peninsula

No one out to the point

No one to the left
Just me. "Social Distancing" to the max.

Based on how warm the water was at the shore, I think we're done trout fishing downcounty for this year.

Maybe next week I'll give Cat Creek another try

Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

I Escaped House Arrest

Essentially we've been stuck in the house (except grocery shopping) since mid-April just like most of you have.

Today I made a break for it.

I know this will be hard for you guys to understand, but I didn't take a fishing rod with me. I was headed upcountry to see what the chances of accessing lakes and streams was. More just to get out of the house.

I detoured over by Java Drive for a cup of coffee to start the day. I wasn't sure anything was open up the hill. As it turned out, both Cooks Station and Hams Station were closed.

My first target was Bear River Reservoir. I know that the resort itself is closed, but wanted to see what the access to the lake was. When I got to the gate and it was locked I knew I wouldn't be able to get to the lake. I've gone from the gate to the lake in the past and damned near killed myself. I know I couldn't do it now. Scratch off Bear River for now.

Locked up tight
So then I decided I'd take a drive down to Cat Creek for a couple reasons that I'll explain as I go. The first thing I noticed was a good amount of snow was still on the ground.

One of many just like this

This section of the road is about 6000 ft in elevation. I only had one place where I had to drive over the snow to continue the rest were just snow on the side. 

About half way down the road I ran into loggers. A couple big machines, a couple pickup trucks, and a pile of logs ready for loading was enough to jam up the road for a short period of time, but they were kind enough to let this Geezer by. Sure made a mess of the road for a couple miles though. 

Finally, bypassing Middle Fork Cosumnes Campground and the creek I usually fish, I continued on to Cat Creek itself. When I got there, I was sorry I didn't bring my 3wt fly rod. Wouldn't you be sorry?  

Cat Creek
I swallowed my pride and headed back to the campground. 

The Cosumnes, on the other hand was not something to fish quite yet. It was running a little fast. To expound on not bringing my fishing rod was so I wasn't tempted (and I tempt easy) to hike upstream on the creek should it have been fishable. You can see from the photo below that the pool below the bridge was not fishable. The pool below that pool might have been OK, but not terrain I felt I couldn't negotiate. Maybe in a couple weeks.     

From the bridge
On the way out I ran into a young couple I'd been playing dodge car with up and down the road. I'd pass them, then I would pull over and they would pass me etc. They said there was a tree (dropped by the loggers) across the road and they couldn't get out. They wanted to know if there was another way out. The only way I knew was back to North-South Road (about 10 miles) and then out via PIPI Valley (another 10 miles or so), but apparently they tried that and said it was blocked by downed trees too. Downed trees are a fact of life in the mountains in Spring, but a boon for people looking for wood for their fireplace. I've done that for years until I got a gas fireplace.

I told them "Come on, they won't block the road for long. We can sit and wait it out". As we got to the loggers, they were just pulling the last pickup off the road and it was clear sailing. I motioned them to stop and said "Ya just got to know the right people" and said bye to them and off they went.

I drove into the campground which was open even though Google Maps says it's closed, to see if we could put our "New and never used yet" trailer in there. Get out of the house, try out the new trailer, you know, but there isn't a space big enough to fit a 26 foot trailer. Looked like maybe 20 max and that would be a tight fit. So we'll scratch that one off our list. 

Dogwood in bloom
On the way out I stopped for a picture of the Dogwood in bloom. They say that it always snows one more time after the Dogwoods are in bloom. Maybe not this year. 

I had to stop ar Munnerlyn's Ice Cream for a pint of Lemon Custard for the wife, a pint of Raspberry Truffle and a single scoop on a sugar cone for me. Definitely a "necessary" business.   

I was out, I'm back "sheltering in place", and I might just have to go back up there with my fly rod in a week or so. 

Stay tuned.