Sunday, June 28, 2015

Canyon Lake Topwater Action

Lately I've been itching to catch some bucketmouths on poppers so when my buddy Luc texted me if I wanted to fish Canyon Lake, I jumped at the chance.  Originally Luc was to fish with guide Vaughn Podmore chasing yellowtail at Catalina this weekend but winds made Vaughn cancel the charter.
With his trip canceled Luc decided to fish Canyon for the weekend.  Yesterday he invited John and they did well with 20 fish among them in a very short 3 hour window.  And as always Luc doesn't lower himself to fish anything but poppers (at least on his lake).  Today I would join him to try our luck on the opposite side of the lake they were fishing.
Unlike public Socal lakes, Luc can launch his boat and fish anytime he wants.  So we fished prime time topwater hours hitting the water at 5am which meant I woke up after 3 hours of sleep at 3:30am to arrive at his house on time.
I started with the monster pink popper fly that I caught a beast at Barrett last year.  Luc was the first to hook up and after he managed a handful he suggest I change flies to a white or chartreuse popper.  When Luc makes a suggestion, it is wise to listen.  So I did as I only had one blow up (that I missed) as Luc was already managed a couple.
It was not long before I was on.  My first fish was a four pounder with many more that followed.  As always when Luc thought there was a fish sure enough a fish would come to the surface.
The intention was to only fish to about 9am as the topwater bite shuts down naturally once the sun hits the water but as we had some cloud cover we stay past 10am.  We could have continued but it was starting to get hot and most holes were already hammered by other fishermen so we packed it in.  I lost count of how many fish were landed but it was several, but I lost at least 3 and missed just as many if not more.

Friday, June 26, 2015

As It Used To Be

For the longest time I wanted to get a clopping carp.  So I hit up the local brown water to see if I could get a carp on a dry.  It was a calm overcast morning.
When I arrived on the water the carp were clopping but just not in the numbers as they were yesterday.  I put on a cottonwood seed fly I tied last night but it had no takers.  I'm not sure what they are feeding on but it must be small as I don't see anything coming off the water.  I switched to a parachute Adams.  Seeing several fish mudding and eating on the bottom, after an hour I gave up and decided to go subsurface. 
Frustrated I couldn't get any fish to take I moved to another section of the river.  This area was loaded.  The river is low and fish can be easily sight casted.  Humps could be seen all over as these they fed.  I managed more fish than I recall mostly in 6 pound range with the smallest at 4 pounds.  I did hook up with a fully charged carp that was at least 10 pounds and fought him for ten minutes until the fly popped out of his mouth 20 yards away.
This place used to be like this but its been years since I saw action this good.  It's good to see it back.  While I didn't get my clopper it was a great day.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Not Exactly The Yellow I Was Looking For

Tuesday I finally made it on board my buddy's boat.  We were chasing the yellowtail that are now up and down our coast.  Unfortunately the trip was a bust.  I didn't even take my fly rod out of its holder.  All we got were a few mackerel on the sabiki rig we were to use as chum.  Called it quits after a few hours when I started turning green.  So much for Dramamine.  It used to work for me.  Now I need to find an alternative.
This morning I had a desire to feel the tug so I hit the local brown water.  I debated whether to target bass or carp.  The morning was still overcast, ideal for some topwater bassing, but since the rod was already rigged for carp that was what I'd go after.  Once I hit the water I saw carp clopping.  I've only seen this once before and that time I had no dry flies in my box.  I changed out fly for an emerger dry.  I made several cast but none rose for my fly.  Eventually the cdc got wet and sunk my fly.  I continued to strip the fly as I saw a carp feeding beneath.  It took and spooked all the cloppers out of there.  So much for my chance at getting my first clopping carp.  The carp I hooked was in the five pound range.  I managed another similar in size later on a nymph.  I moved to another area, bushwacking through the reeds only to emerge out of there with a cramping right butt cheek.  I tired to stretch it out and then decided I had a enough for the day.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Cachuma Lake. First World Problems

Yesterday I spent the day driving up to my old stomping grounds in Santa Barbara with buddy Joel.  He was to pick up his boat at the marina from repairs and drive it back to Redondo.  I would take his truck back while he and his buddy sail down the coast.  Since I didn't want to drive the truck through LA's weekend traffic I stayed in town until it died. 
I had a few things I wanted to accomplish while I killed time but since retrieving the boat took longer than anticipated I scratched all of them but one, fishing Cachuma Lake with the goal of landing a smallmouth. I didn't get on the water until past 2pm and the winds were already howling.  When I finally got my boat I set up my gear and after about ten minutes of struggling I was about to give up and turn the boat back in.  The boat was being dragged around and without a trolling motor my fly was swimming at an unnatural mach speed.  But I persisted and tried to make the best out of a crappy situation. 
I eventually found a somewhat sheltered cove to hide out but no fish were there at least none showed on the fish finder.  I left and started to keep the engine on while fishing using it was a trolling motor to slow down my speed.  When I started to figure this out I finally got my smallmouth for the day.  I rarely get a chance to fish for smallies and while he was no trophy, he was the largest one I ever caught.  By the end of the day I managed a small catfish and by then I figured I accomplished enough.  The wind was brutal and the greatest accomplishment for the day was that I didn't stick myself in the back with the fly.
After waiting  a month for repairs, Joel's boat is back on the water.  We'll be looking for yellowtail sometime next week.  Hopefully I'll get my first on a fly soon.  He and his buddy threw irons at paddies on their way back but came home empty-handed.
Complaining about the wind while fishing on a workday and living without a boat for a month.  Yeah, we have first world problems.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Long Time No See

Last night I headed out to the local brown water to try out my articulated mouse.  The outing was a waste of time as I was using the wrong rod (Sage DS2 8wt), one with not enough back bone, and a flyline that was at minimum in dire need of a cleaning if not replaced.  Not to mention the fact that I haven't seen this water in ages I had no clue where the possible bass holes were now located.  I came home empty handed but did managed to spook several large fish splashing in the darkness.
This morning I decided to return and try my luck at carp since I haven't really targeted them in a few years.  Without any polarized glasses and with the June gloom overcast day made it nearly impossible to see these fish.  I considered at one point of going after bass but decided against it and stayed with plan to stalk carp.  After searching and searching I finally saw a blob, a possible carp, in the water.  I concentrated hard on the object trying to figure out which side was the head and which was the tail.  Once I determined the carp's direction I made my first cast of the day and managed to hook him up.  Lazily it gave a half-hearted fight, using it's weight only to avoid being dragging in.  Eventually I landed him and released him.  I searched for more carp but none were easily sighted without polars so I gave up and headed back to the car.  On the way I ran into a coyote chasing a squirrel that he ended up devouring.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Mice Part Deux

After watching youtube videos of mice swimming, I've rearranged my articulated mouse pattern.  Mouse swim like dogs with most of their body submerged and only the head above water.  To mimic this I decided to wrap the tail end with rabbit strip and add a foam collar to add buoyancy to prevent it from dragging the whole fly down.  If only I had a legitimate trout water to try these out.  There is always largemouth but it's not the same.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Articulated Mouse Fly

 The trout's view.  About the size of the mouse at our campsite that ate through Chul's tent.
For the next backpacking trip...
A larger version I tied last summer that I forgot to add legs to.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Disappointing For Sure

Bow and Arrow Cast Required
Wanting to fish for trout, Chul and I hit up a local small creek that I knew would hold fish even with this drought.  I've fished this stretch of water many times in our last drought cycle and back then the fishing was good.  So much so for a long time this was my favorite local stream.  But it's been over a decade since the last time I fished here.  The water is canopied with trees so the water generally is flowing enough to sustain trout even with the lack of rainfall.  This stream always has been some of the most challenging water in our locals.  Casting lanes are few and far between and requires a fair number of rolls casts or bow and arrow casts.  Flies were lost but none on trout.  Fish are spooky, more so than I ever remembered.  Tough day all around as fish were not too readily willing to take and those that did came off as quickly as they came on.  Movement in and off the water is slow and time consuming.  Disappointing all around to say the least.