Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Memorial Day Fishing

May 27,2019
Rain forecasts prevented any fishing trips for the long weekend.  Initial plans were to hit the east side but changed to a backpacking trip into a SoCal stream but that plan was canceled by the weather.    Next we planned on a northernmost local creek that I'd not fished in well over a decade, maybe even a decade and a half but after some deliberation I decided to stay closer to home and hit an old standby.
So on Memorial Day holiday we met up at a department store parking lot at the base of the mountain before Kelly gathered his gear and joined me in my SUV.  We arrived at the parking lot rigged up and  hiked in 2 miles before we began fishing.  For whatever reason my right wading boot was giving me problems for the first time.  I was getting a hot spot on my heel and it was creating a blister.  I didn't brink any moleskin or bandages with me.  So I just dealt with it until it became unbearable.  Finally I remembered I carry a rolled up wad of gorilla tape on my pack and fashioned a DIY bandaid.  I took some toilet paper and placed it in the center of the tape and stuck it on my foot.

Fishing was slow at first and the typical spots I thought they'd be were producing zero results.  I moved onto a slower deeper stretch of water and from there it seemed like it produced fish on every cast.  Must have pulled at least a dozen out of that stretch before moving on. 

Fished further up picking up a few here and there before heading back in search of KB.  I'd eventually joined him again and we fished a couple more hours before heading back but not before we stopped at the glory hole once again to let KB give it a go. After a several failed attempts to hook on rises we finally managed a couple.  We fished a few spots along the way back with some success.  There were many rises but only a few hook ups; most of the fish were too small for our size 12 hooks.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

High Elevation Bass

May 18, 2019
There's a high elevation lake that I've been dying to take a look at for years but the drought put it in a very poor state and so I never checked it out.  With good rain for the past couple years it was time to finally take a look.  I was prepared for loud and obnoxious fishing with larger flies mostly the topwater variety.  But finesse was called for this day.  I was ill-prepared and I had little in the way of appropriate fly and gear for that matter.  I brought a rod that was too big (8 wt) and line that was too heavy (Rio Musky/Pike line).  Whereas I should have been armed with a traditional floating line in a 5 or 6 weight.  I only had one beat-to-shreds chartreuse conehead wooly bugger in my box which seemed to be the ticket until I lost it on a backcast into some foliage.  The fly had multiple grabs but no hook ups.  I kept pulling the fly out of the fishes' mouth.  They seemed to only lip the fly rather than attack it.  Eventually I decided not to set the hook immediately but  rather let him take it and pull away and slowly tighten the line.  Then and only then did I set the hook.  This seemed to be the answer but it was easier said than done.
The first bass was early on within the first 10 minutes of so.  Like all the fish it would grab the fly multiple time but it took several times before I could actually set the hook into him.   I lost another after  bass after it jumped and threw the hook.  I would circle around the lake looking for more fish willing to bite.  I saw plenty but none were willing to actually take the fly.  In fact while on the other side of the lake all the fish seemed very skittish and spooked more readily than the fish on the opposite end.
One odd thing was while we were sight casting at all the fish they all seemed to look smaller in the water than the actually were, in fact they looked tiny.  Refraction will do this but the fish I caught seriously looked like they were small trout sized but once I pulled them out of the water they were very respectable.  I made it around the lake again and managed another bass roughly at the same spot as the first before calling it a day before noon.  I caught this one on a krystal conehead wooly in purple that I had to get out of my buddy's flybox.
He managed a pair as well but of the sunfish variety, a green sunfish.  No bass were willing to take his presentations.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Taking a Look at New Water

I went to bed exhausted and fell asleep early around 9ish.  I thought I'd have a nice long sleep but woke at 11:30pm and was awake for of the night into the next morning.  I think I managed to fall asleep again at around 5am only to wake up an hour or so later.  After breakfast we packed the truck and cleaned the apartment before heading out to some new water (for me).
Having driven past this water hundreds of times, I've never actually fished it despite wanting to for ages.  Kelly has fished here so he took the lead and we hiked into the field bypassing much of the water toward the parking lot.  After climbing a fences we made it to some good looking water.  I wasn't sure if the cutties had started their migration into the water yet and left my egg box in the truck.
Well they were in the system and saw a pair doing their thing.  I moved down to and targeted a hole with rainbows waiting to intercept eggs drifting past them.  Without any eggs on me I drifted my nymphs past them.  The hole was only a few feet deep and I highsticked my nymph through it.  Several times my flies were taken but I couldn't get a proper hook set.  Eventually I managed to get one one.  We wanted to get out somewhat early so after a few more drifts I hoofed it upstream to meet up with Kelly.  Along the way I aided a fellow angler with a pic cuttie he just landed. 
I met up with KB and asked how he did.  Not so well and we fished here and there as we moved closer to the jeep.  Evetually though we just gave up as the wind was simply too much to bare.  It was time to head home.  Along the way we made a pit stop at the hatchery to check it out.  I've never been but Kelly suggested I take a look at it so I did.  He was right it was definitely worth a visit.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Good Karma

May 4, 2019
The decision was made to head up further north and see how one of my favorite waters was fishing.  It also allowed us to fish the Nevada side as well in case the California side was too busy (as it always is).  While in town we bought our Nevada licenses which seemed to take eternity because the computer system for whatever reason recognized my address as a foreign country.  After which we headed off to the water and after seeing all the crowds we drove further down the road to our neighboring State.
It's been a while since I fished this part of the river.  The last time was at least a decade or more back when the Sherminator and Joel were my regular fishing buddies.  Back when they were without kids.  It took me a while to recognize any of the water.  When we began rigging up I noticed that I mistakenly brought a mismatched pair of boots.  Initially I intended to bring both pairs.  My Rivertek boots are on it's last leg.  The soles are falling apart.  I glued them back together with aquaseal knowing that it was not an fix but rather a bandage.  I just wanted to get a few more outings with them before they are tossed in the bin.  So I wanted to bring my other pair in case the Riverteks die.  At the last moment I decided that since I wasn't driving I didn't want to bring so much gear with me.  I without noticing mistakenly took of one boot from each pair.  Jokingly I said "I look like fucking Punky Brewster."
Trying to get to the water was a pain.  The river is now swollen with reeds and quite difficult to access.  This was never the case before.  Trying to navigate through that mess with a ten foot rod is quite the ordeal and extremely frustrating.  Finally made it to the water, California flows were at 312 and we were told Nevada was slightly higher and off color, so wading was doable but slightly quick but some spots were not going to be easily navigated through.
I fished a very productive looking run only to break off my entire nymph rig on some submerged structure.  After rerigging I moved up and maned my first fish on my Sage X 4100-4.  It was a Owens Valley Speckled Dace.  Definitely proof that spending big bucks on fancy rods has its merits.  All joking aside, I guess I can add it to the species list.  Fishing here was disappointing especially the difficulty accessing the good parts of the water so we drove further downstream to explore.  It looked much the same and while speaking with a local, he told us that access to the water is so hard now that NV no longer allows cattle grazing in this area.  They used to create the pathways into the water.
After sampling some of the water, I decided enough of this and head back to the CA side where I know where the fish are hiding.
We fished a few holes without success before I decided enough of this skunk nonsense and head out to my favorite hole.  When I got there I saw an angler standing in it Czech nymphing the other side of the bank.  Cursing him under my breath I looked for another hole before coming back.  When I came back 20 minutes late he had moved upstream.  I began fishing my hole hoping it had reset.  It was not long before the angler was on a fish.  A good one that ran him downstream toward me.  He was having a hard time self landing it and I asked him if he need an assist.  He declined but after a few failed attempts he said yes.  So I got out of my fishing position and moved toward him.  His fishing partner was now with him and I noticed it was his son and after landing the fish I asked if he wanted me to take a photo of the two together with the fish.  After the photo I returned to my hole now with good karma.  It was no time before I hooked up on a fish that jumped three times before spitting the hook.  It was bigger than the 18 incher the angler just landed.  On the next cast I hooked up another before my knot broke.  Eventually I did land my fish the smallest of the group but at least the skunk was off.  Fished the hole for some more before leaving and heading back to the trunk to meet up with KB.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Fishing with KB

May 5, 2019
With a 9:30 am planned departure time, I left the house before 7am hoping to beat the LA traffic.  For the most part the ride up the 405 was surprisingly clear with only some pockets of moderate traffic.   I managed to get to my buddy's place in Redondo just past 8am.  After having breakfast at his place while he sent his son to school, we managed to leave on time after transferring my gear into his Jeep.  The ride up also was pretty clear of any heavy traffic.
It's been a while since I've taken the 14 to the 395.  This route used to be my preferred way to get to the east side but I started to avoid it as LA traffic is so unpredictable.  So I was surprised (not really) how much it's changed.  Windmills now litter the landscape around Mojave and so do solar panel fields but one stretch remains the same, The Red Rock Canyon area, which still is my favorite.  After a longer than planned lunch at one of my favorite Mexican places in Inyokern, we were on the road again.
We arrived at my buddy's apartment at Crowley to unpack the food into the fridge and headed to our first destination.  With only a few hours of light and somewhere worn out from the long drive, we decided to chose a piece of water where we didn't need waders and didn't require time consuming set ups.  After rigging up our rods with a dry fly we went down to check out the water.  No surprisingly it was crowded and the wind was howling through the canyon.  I managed to get a fish to rise in between two boulders but the knot slipped as I struck.  We decided to move upstream with about an hour of light left.  There the fish were rising more consistently and it was also less crowded.  I was having a hard time seeing my fly and had to guess whether my fly was taken or not.  With the wind and full gale I was having hard time getting a proper drift let alone a decent cast.  We both left the area skunked having missed several fish.