After quitting trying to acquire tickets for Barrett Lake this season, I managed to purchase one on the secondary market for today. I've been waiting for this day all season and not even jamming a hook all the way to the bend in my thumb the night before wouldn't deter me from enjoying this trip. We left my house just after 11:30 Saturday night and with a portion of the freeway closed to just one lane our trip to the gate took more time than expected. With Ed about to pass out, I took over driving duties until we reached Alpine. We made it to the gate at about 2am where we slept in the truck until they opened the gate at 5. We were let into the property at 4:30 and we drove to the marina to retrieve our boat. What would be normally an epic day at any other bass lake, is just a so-so day at Barrett Lake. Water levels are down and the Department of Water is continually releasing water. In all Ed's years fishing this lake, he had never seen it this low.
With our rods rigged, we headed to our go-to starting spot. As the sun slowly began to rise we threw poppers with our 6 weights. Ed with his Sage RPLXi with a Hair popper, myself with my Sage TCR and a Lazy Man's diver. We both missed our strikes. I managed to have the fish on only briefly before it cam unglued. Once the the sun peaked over the mountains, we switched to sinking lines. Ed was the first to switch to his 9'6" Sage TCR 6 weight with a 250 SA Streamer Express line with a chartreuse clouser. I fished my favorite rod, the T&T Helix 5 weight SW with a RIO 24ft DC 150 grain line and a Crystal purple bugger. As what seems to be our typical outing Ed connected with the first few fish, all bass, in the 2 pound range. I connected with some palm sized bluegills. Once a slight breeze started, bass began boiling around our boat. Not wanting to miss the action we choose not to switch back to our top water rigs. I casted directing into the boil and connected with my first two pounder of the day. This action lasted for on and off throughout the morning.
When the fury of the boiling ceased, we drifted along the bank catching bass ad bluegill along the way. Ed managed 3 crappie and lost a 3 plus pound bass right at the boat. It seemed I was the bluegill slayer today as most of my catches were of this feisty panfish.
We left this section and instead of going down our usual patch down Hauser we decided to mix it up and go into Pine instead. Perhaps in retrospect this may have been a mistake. We've always had success in Hauser but we wanted to try something new. At this time (about 10am) the wind began to make trolling difficult. While Ed napped in the boat I fished a rocky point with a yellow bugger. I snagged some submerged structure and was able to free it. I continued to fish this point. I had at least 5 strikes, one a very hard one. I concluded that they must have been bluegill short striking my fly until I picked my fly out of the water and noticed that the hook had broken off. This is the second time my hook on yellow buggers have broken. The last time was on Friday at Irvine Lake. We moved down Pine without any success. When trying to leave Pine, our boat failed to start and we managed to flag down the only other boat in Pine to tow us back to the marina. While being towed, Ed managed to get the boat started again and we thanked the guys for a lift and headed back to our starting point earlier. We ended fishing a sheltered area from the howling wind. For me most were juvenile bass and the cookie-cutter colorful bluegill. Flies that worked today: purple bugger, yellow bugger, chartreuse clouser, gourmet silversided minnow, ASS fly, and bristleback.