Monthly Archives: April 2012

Boat chores

I was feeling a little blue after returning from two great days at Dry Falls. With 80+ degree and sunshine in my thoughts being in this drizzly and cold Seattle weather had me thinking of how I can get back to the dry side. I had a pile of work to catch up on but I always like to keep myself busy even on my downtime, so the next project was to work on cleaning up and prepping the Lund. I didn’t have a chance to test the compression or crack the lower unit oil drain to check on the condition when I purchased. The engine oil looked filthy and the overall care of the boat wasn’t there. I purchased the boat anyhow since the engine compartment and the condition of the motor was sound when I fired it up and also ran it for a couple hours last week. I dropped the lower unit as I knew the impeller hadn’t been replaced in years and while I was in there freshened up the lower unit gear oil and replaced all the gaskets and rubber seals to the impeller. I was glad that Three Rivers Marine had the kit in stock and was surprised how easy the whole job was. I also slid in some new NGK-R plugs and new WIX oil filter with Castrol synthetic 30 weight oil in the engine. With a new fuel filter and some carb cleaning additive, I hope she’ll rid the carb chambers of the old gas and purge any sediment and varnishing of the jets. Hopefully will have a chance to water test her out to make sure she is reliable come May 1st. I won’t be taking her out just yet as I want to make sure she doesn’t have any issues and ensure that I have all the safety equipment on board so that she’ll be sea worthy and no surprises once she is on the water. A good day fishing not only involves catching fish but also returning safely with nothing lost, damaged or broken. I’ve had my share of issues with owning a couple of motor boats and have learned along the way that having reliable gear means everything when you’re on the water. You simply can’t call AAA for a tow if your boat breaks down so I like to be religious about knowing my equipment whether it’s my flies, reel, or clothing. I want to know that these things will perform correctly in a range of situations.

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Dry Falls: 4/24/2012

Another glorious day would greet us for a little more of this:

After a restful evening under a windy and lightning storm sky we awoke to upper 50 degree temps and calm winds and sunny skies. We weren’t in a rush to get back on the water as we knew the hatch didn’t get started until noon. The previous days fishing would direct our attentions to those spots that proved worthy. 25-29′ of water was ate target and fish were showing up on the fishin buddy running at the bottom.

I wanted to spend more time on the deep7 vertical method as I really had a great time mastering the technique the day prior. Im not sure why I didn’t try this but change is harder to adapt and master, I chose to give it another shot. Today I’d fish exclusively with it and was rewarded. It certainly wasn’t as many fish but the average size I caught was 14-19″ in 28′ of water. Best flies were the Sulky bloodworm with snow come bead size 18 3X with 4lb Seaguar fluoro.

Final count was 18 fish but sometimes it’s not about the numbers but about the setting and surroundings. The photos don’t do this place justice. If I had only caught 1 fish it would’ve been worth the trip.  On the drive back we commented on how strong these fish were and very lively, making some deep runs and sometimes acrobatics that often it was like fishing in Kamloops.

Rod: Redington Classic Trout 9′ 5wt. 6-piece

Reel: FeatherCraft SCLA3

Line: Rio Deep 7 full sink

Leader: Custom tied Seaguar 8 lb down to 4 lb tippet 9′

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Dry Falls: 4/23/12

I wanted to get out and do an overnight trip to Eastern WA as about this time last year we fished Coffeepot and Dry Falls. The few Coffeepot reports had been dismal so we decided on dedicating some time at Dry Falls.  The setting of Dry Falls is majestic and I would rate it one of my top 5 places to fish as the scenery and the warm desert air greets you every time with open arms. We left Bellevue at 8:40 pm on Sunday night for the 3 hour drive. The pass was clear and 44 degrees. When we left Seattle The Sunday temps were on the 70’s and forecast for the Coulee City area was into the upper 80’s and low 90’s for Monday.

We set up camp at Sun Lakes, had a quick dinner and afterwards enjoyed a fantastic lightning storm cool winds and at times brief raindroplets which felt good on our hot skin.  After a nice berry pancake breakfast we busted out and was on the lake by 9 am. Water clarity was ok and color was olive green, with visibility 2-3′. The temps were 63-65 degrees and later in the afternoons clumps of the lake bottom rose with the sunlight and the temps.

I picked up my first fish around the bend in 25′ of water right around 9:30, so thought it was going to be a stellar day. It would be slow for all of us, Jeff H. And Mark Y. Until around 12:00, a hatch was underway and we all started picking up more hits. I was fishing an indicator with bloodworm chromer combo in 24′ of water. The action would be good for me until 2 pm and then it went dead. I moved around to check out other spots from 12′ to 28′. I’d later settle on the first turn in 28′ of water and started picking up fish using the vertical method, the action was steady and the fish were impressive in their average size and fight. All Rainbows were caught and ranged from 14″-18″. Throat samples revealed size 20 Olive chironomids, Daphnia, glass worms early on and then migrated to size 14-16 red ribbed chromers.

Here is Jeff, the master of the vertical fishing method, he has really learned how to effectively fish this with finesse and has a knack of correlating what he is seeing on the sounder screen with correct positioning of the fly and then connecting. I cant tell you how many times he would say: “OK, we’re dancin’…” then like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, his line would go taco style and a fish would be on the end??!?!!!

I landed 26 nice trout, however a few of them showed evidence of being hooked multiple times with missing scales and scarred lips. Jeff lost count but he was definitely into the +30 range as he is the master of the vertical method.  While the day started slowly it did end up being a pretty epic day with the highlight was when Jeff and I while anchored next to each other plucked a double with a nice pair of 17″ trout. I landed mine and then netted his with a photo moment of the ‘twins’.

Rods: Sage VXP 10′ 5 wt 4-piece, G. Loomis Streamdance GLX 10′ 5 wt. 4-piece, Redington Classic Trout 9′ 5 wt. 6-piece

Reels: FeatherCraft SCLA3

Lines: Rio Gold 5 wt WF, Orvis Wonderline 5 wt floating, Rio Deep 7 full sink

Flies: Red and black ribbed Chromers 16, 18 3X, Snowcone Sulky Floss Bloodworm, size 18 2X

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Ling Machine

Missing the Arima with a week left before the Ling opener had me tossing and turning at night wondering how I was going to get out. My plan was to attack it with a pram but having a motorized is oh so much nicer.

I picked up this little Lund 16′ fisherman Deluxe with Honda 45 4-stroke to accomplish the job. It’ll need a few things done prior to getting her on the water but that’s part of the process I guess. She fires right up but needs some carb syncing or adjustments as it seems a little sticky and floods when its colder and bogs down getting up to plane. Once she is opened up above 3000 rpm she hummed right along cruising at 30 mph at 5000 rpm and wide open throttle I was able to hit 36 mph at 6000 rpm.

One of the photos included was the Navionics app that I downloaded from iTunes. It’s worth the $10 download to have a backup GPS but caveat you will need to be within 3G coverage in order to work.

With some new plugs, ethanol free fuel, some carb cleaning and or adjustments, new impeller and top end oil change, we should be good to go for May 1st.

My next trip is planned for Dry Falls as it seems to be turning over and as the hatches and the temps warm the trout should be waiting our arrival.

While a new boat joins our family so does another lost child. We’re planning a trip to California next month and a search for prams in the bay area yielded a nice surprise. One of Redwood Welding Services gems, the Almarco 8′ pram!  Looking forward to getting them wet!

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Looking forward to May 1st!

As I dust off my big gun rods and prep my lines for May 1st, I fondly recall my first experience on the fly with these beasts of the deep. Like any territorial and aggressive fish, they readily take a well presented fly like a cat would chase down a mouse. Here is a recent article from Terry Weist about our upcoming season, we encourage catch and release of our Puget Sound Lings, as I wouldn’t recommend eating anything that is surrounded by our metropolis as it could potentially have high levels of pollution from street stormwater run off, commercial shipping, boat traffic, sewage effluent from Westpoint. Besides, we want to ensure the viability of these awesome fish.  Hope you’ll be able to get out and ring up a Ling on the opener!

There’s nothing beautiful about a full-grown lingcod, unless you happen to be a fisherman.  With its huge head, protruding fins and long, sharp teeth, the ling is a formidable-looking character, but its toughness, impressive size and sweet flesh also make it one of the Northwest’s favorite saltwater angling trophies.

Some folks might consider the lingcod a homely cuss, but whoever coined the phrase, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” may have been a lingcod fisherman.  This fish has a huge head, gaping mouth full of long, pointed teeth, wing-like pectoral fins, and a mottled gray-brown paint job that can’t hold a candle to the chrome-sided beauty of a salmon.

But–like your parents might have told you when they were trying to coerce you into taking out the skinny, freckle-faced girl who lived down the street–looks aren’t everything.  While the lingcod might have a kisser that would stop a clock, it has plenty to offer Northwest anglers.

For one thing, lingcod grow to impressive size.  Fish of 30 pounds and over are fairly common, especially in the northern half of their range that extends from Baja California to the Bering Sea, and fish of 50 pounds or better are caught regularly enough to keep things interesting.  Now and then they even top 60 pounds, and the current International Game Fish Association all-tackle world’s record is an 82-pound, nine-ounce monster caught near Homer, Alaska in 2007.

As for fighting ability, a hooked lingcod won’t make any blazing, 100-yard runs or come twisting out of the water in a series of spectacular leaps, but it will give you a run for your money.  Typically, an angler who sets the hooks into a big ling will have little trouble pumping it those first few yards, but just when he thinks he has the battle won his prize will turn tail, streak for the bottom with surprising speed, and duck into some jumble of broken rocks or deep-sea cavern, where it’s likely to saw off the line and gain its freedom.

Another quality of the pugnacious lingcod that endears it to saltwater anglers is that it can also be incredibly aggressive and easy to entice.  When it decides it’s hungry, it will pounce on virtually anything even remotely resembling a free meal, including a wide range of baits and lures.

And there’s something else about the lingcod that makes it popular with fishermen and non-fishermen alike.  It happens to be one of the best-eating fish that ever graced a dinner plate.  Whether you sprinkle it with a few drops of lemon juice or plunge it into a pool of tarter sauce, a forkful of snow-white lingcod fillet is a fish-eater’s delight.

But, as you might expect with any big, hard-fighting, sweet-eating fish, lots of other anglers are as interested in catching lingcod as you might be, and some of them are pretty good at it.  There are a few tricks to catching lingcod, and if you master them you’ll greatly improve your chances of boating these trophy bottomfish.

Timing can be everything to the lingcod fisherman, and we’re talking here both about what time of year and what time of day you fish for them.

Lingcod spawn in winter, with the larger females moving up out of the depths to deposit their eggs in the relatively shallow waters of submerged rock piles and rocky pinnacles.  The large egg masses are then fertilized by male lings, which hang around to protect them until they hatch.  Although the females don’t help out with the egg-guarding chores, they don’t seem to be in any big hurry to get back to their deep-water haunts, often staying and feeding in the shallower spawning areas for weeks, even months.

The fact that both males and females are to be found somewhat congregated well into spring should be a valuable tip for lingcod anglers and would-be lingcod anglers.  It’s a whole lot easier to catch lings when they’re fairly well concentrated, and it’s certainly easier to fish for them in 75 to 150 feet of water than in 250, 300, 400 feet of water or more.

While springtime fishing for lingcod is some of the year’s best, it’s important here to point out that not all lingcod areas are open to fishing in early spring.  Seasonal closures extend into April or May in some places–primarily to protect nest-guarding males and the eggs they’re watching over–so be sure to study the fishing regulations before planning that spring ling fling. In Washington, lingcod season over the past several years has opened around the middle of March on the coast (Marine Areas 1-3), mid-April in MA 4, and May 1 from the west end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to southern Puget Sound (Marine Areas 5-13).

The other timing factor involved in lingcod fishing concerns the daily tidal change.  Even in shallow water it may be difficult to fish effectively when the tide is snorting along at several knots, so smart lingcod anglers concentrate most of their efforts during high and low slack or on days of moderate tidal flow.  That’s when you can best hold directly above those rocky pinnacles and fish them with a minimum of hang-ups and lost lures.  Also, lingcod often bite best during minimum tidal flow.

In order to catch these shallow-water lingcod, of course, you have to find them, and the three most important pieces of equipment in that search is a GPS, a good chart of the fishing area and a depth sounder.  The rocky spires and steep-sided cliffs where lings are most likely to be hanging out will, of course, show on a chart as lots of contour lines in close proximity.

There’s more than one way to catch a lingcod, and you often have the choice of fishing either artificials or bait.

Metal jigs, the real-looking, store-bought “slab” types and the not-so-perfect pipe jigs you can make at home, are effective lingcod-getters.  Like most other big fish, the lingcod’s diet consists mostly of smaller fish, and these hunks of metal in various shapes and sizes often look enough like the real thing to coax a lingcod into striking.  Slab jigs are available in weights from under an ounce to over two pounds. If you choose to make your own pipe jigs, you can use metal pipe or tubing of various diameters, cut to various lengths, for jigs of any dimension and weight you might need.

Leadheads also account for a lot of Washington lingcod.  Most anglers adorn them with large, plastic, curl-tail or twin-tail bodies, but a strip of porkrind is just as effective and usually holds up better to those jagged lingcod teeth.  Black, brown, blue and purple tend to work better than the hot or light colors.  Deep-water jigging may require 20- to 32-ounce leadheads, but light-line anglers fishing shallow water in calm tides may get by using jigs as light as a couple of ounces. One advantage to using leadheads is that the soft grub or porkrind bodies have a lot of built-in flutter and wiggle, so you don’t have to work as hard to make them look “alive” as you do with metal jigs.

But there are times when lingcod aren’t all that interested in artificials, and that’s when you have to go to the real thing to bring them to the dinner table.  Dead bait, such as whole herring, will sometime do the job, but if you really want to get them interested, you may have to offer them something that’s still alive and kicking.  It could be a large herring, if they’re available, or maybe you’ll have to first catch a few greenling, cod, shiner perch or other small fish for bait, and then start fishing lingcod.

Most angler’s fish live bait on a wire spreader, snapping on cannon-ball weights of various sizes to take it to the bottom and using a short, stout leader between the bait and the horizontal arm of the spreader.  Some people prefer wire leaders, but 40- to 60-pound monofilament usually works just fine.  Whatever leader material you choose, keep it short; preferably no longer than the longer arm of the spreader to which it’s attached. Using too long a leader will allow the bait to tangle around the line as it’s dropped through the water, defeating the purpose of the spreader.

Hook size for live-bait lingcod fishing should be at least 6/0, and 8/0 to 10/0 hooks are usually even better.  With small baits, such as herring or shiner perch, you can get by with one hook, simply hooking the baitfish through both lips or near the middle of the back.  A two-hook rig works better with big baits, such as foot-long greenling or small cod.

You want to keep the baitfish swimming just off bottom, which isn’t always easy when you’re trying to work those jagged rock piles where lingcod do most of their hunting. Staying directly above your rig and watching your depth sounder at all times helps, but you’ll also have to drop and retrieve line constantly to follow those rugged bottom contours.

There’s a difference of opinion among anglers as to whether or not to set the hook when a big ling takes a bait. Lings have a habit of simply chomping down and hanging onto a bait all the way to the surface, so many anglers don’t bother setting for fear of jerking the bait out of the fish’s mouth. Sometimes, though, a lingcod that isn’t hooked will hang on until just before it reaches the surface, let go and swim back to the bottom before you can land it. My technique is to set the hook if I’m fishing a herring or other small bait, when I feel there’s a pretty good chance it’s well into the mouth and that I’m going to get some hook penetration on the set. With bigger baits that take some time to swallow, I’ll point the rod toward the fish and start cranking as fast as I can, hoping the ling will hold on tighter and stay clamped down until it gets to the top.

So when playing and trying to boat a bait-hooked lingcod, always remember that it may not be hooked but is simply holding onto the baitfish.   Reel quickly for the first 20 feet or so to keep it from diving back into the rocks, then pump it up to the surface as smoothly as possible, and be ready with a net.  They’ll often let go right at the surface, so scoop ’em an instant before they break water, if possible.  Gaffing has long been a favorite means of subduing a lingcod, but it’s now illegal to use a gaff on them in Washington.

If the lingcod is bound for the dining room table, smack it once across the eyes with your fish club and quickly slice through a couple of gill arches or into the soft tissue immediately behind the gills to bleed it.  The table quality of those fillets will be much better that way.

But don’t assume for a minute that the only good lingcod is a dead lingcod.  All trophy-size lings are females, and those are also the brood fish that will provide the fisheries in years and decades to come.  These fish are tough and have no swim bladder, so they can be fought, boated, photographed and released with few ill effects, so if you get into good fishing for big lingcod, release a few for next time.

Also be sure to check the current fishing regulations pamphlet before going fishing.  Most of Washington’s “inside” waters, for example, are open to lingcod fishing for only six weeks, beginning May 1, while the coastal season runs more than six months.  The lingcod limit in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca is one fish, 26 to 36 inches long, per day, while limits in coastal Marine Areas 1-3 are two fish over 22 inches, two over 24 inches in Area 4.

Another regulation that Washington anglers need to keep in mind is the deep-water fishing closure intended to protect certain species of rockfish. Check the rules for Marine Areas 2-13 for details on where and when bottomfishing is closed in waters deeper than 20 or 30 fathoms, because these closures DO limit where you can fish for lings.

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Skunked at the Snake… Friday the 13th!

Something was wrong, or off… I pounded the water hard for a few hours with no success. Shallow, deep, near the inlets, creeks, drop offs. I was marking plenty of fish, but couldn’t entice any to hit. At least Mark Yoshida and Jeff H. were able to pick up a few nice Rattlesnake trout in 40-50′ of water. I’ll have to remember to bring a heavier anchor as the 10# pyramid doesn’t lend to holding very well with a breeze to the back and will 50′ of anchor rope out. I did get to try out the Minn Kota trolling motor on the Rogue and it worked well with the Optima deep cycle battery.  We have our eyes set out for Dry Falls next week, with sunny, dry and warm weather, hopefully will find some redemption with a few of those trout.

 

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Eager Beaver: 4/12/12

It’s been long week and I needed some time on the water but only had a few hours to get out. The sun was shining and the wind was calm so I decided to make a break for my nearby watershed at Beaver lake. According to the WDFW it was stocked twice last week with a dose of midget planters and then with 200+ triploids. I don’t much care for the smaller fish but I know those larger trout can put up a tug on the 5 wt. so I set out with that in mind. I rigged up the Minn Kota on the Rogue pram and proceeded to troll with two rods. One with a Rio Deep 7 and the other with a Cortland Camo clear line.

With a cone head leech on the Deep 7 and a black woolly bugger on the slime line I set out with high expectations. After a few passes near the launch it was pretty slow. I picked up a few nibbles and short strikes but only had some really small trout in the 6-8″ category. I get pretty bored with trolling so I anchored up and put my dry line on to give a go with Chironomids.

Within the first cast my indicator got tickled and another small planter. This would be the name of the game for here next 2.5 hours. I was yanking them out as fast as I could cast, retrieve, release and set my indicator. I took 8×8… 8 fish in 8 casts, under 8″!

Too bad this action wasn’t like this in Eastern WA or in BC where the fish are bigger and stronger. I wasn’t complaining until the bank fisherman from shore yelled out for me to move elsewhere, since he wanted I cast over me with his power bait. I said “excuse me????” after a few exchanged words, I yielded to his request even as ridiculous as it seemed. He saw me ripping and releasing these little tikes, it was driving him crazy! He kept casting to where my indicator was hoping to nab a little tike to no avail… I think he finally landed one or his stringer but I gave him a little show just to show him that it wasn’t the location, but the tactic. Even though recently planted, these fish really have keyed in on the natural food source and were found aggressively taking the Chironomids and emergers.

The trout weren’t the only ones getting fat, I saw a male bald eagle and a group of 4 or 5 Commorants that were buzzing the sky. With one swoop two of the Commorants made easy meals of the planted trout. All my fish were caught on a snow one bloodworm fished a foot off the bottom. None of them took the top bug, a red ribbed chromer.

The final tally for 3 hours of fishing was 32 fish. I never saw a triploid but the largest fish was 8″ and the smallest was 5″. All in all, it was fun to get the line wet but in the process it downpoured like mad, with a hail storm that pelted down with some force for as couple minutes. I’m glad I had my sponge and bailer to evac some standing water as it accumulated pretty quickly in no time. When I packed up a couple newcomers asked how I did and I just remarked “I got a few…” I know the guy who asked me to move heard that and probably was shaking his head. I guess it’s to be expected in any urban fishing environment. But with limited time and high desire, I’ll take the riff raff since I had fun catching a few of these Beaver lake planters.

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Good Friday: 4/6/12

I had meetings today as well as some business to do in Seattle. Since it was looking to be a very nice day out I thought about wetting a line in one of our local lakes. The WDFW had recently stocked Greenlake with a few thousand fish and I’d have an hour and half to kill so armed with a backpack, my folding chair, and travel rod, I’d sent on banking it from the docks near the rowing center where the crew teams house their carbon fiber crafts.

There wasn’t much of a chironomid hatch going on or signs of fish splashing but I set up shop on one of the eastern most docks to try my luck. I had a new rod to test out, the Redington Classic Trout 9′ 5 wt 6 piece that I bought as a backup as well and compact travel rod. I measured the depths, tied my bugs on and set my indicator and casted away.

After a few minutes of waiting, hand stripping, twitching it was evident that it’d be slow at this place. So I picked up and moved next to the bleachers on a floating platform. I’d have to watch my backcast here as there were all sorts of people, dog walkers and kids enjoying the sunshine and getting some exercise. There seemed to be more action here as my indicator got tickled a few times and I had a few small tikes play with my size 16 bugs. After a few casts the bobber went down solidly and I was rewarded with a little 6″ tike, quickly photographed and released. I hope he is smarter next time as most anyone fishing greenlake would have probably loved to keep that guy and fry it up for dinner that night. I moved around to the northern most dock and tried to fish in a little deeper water but had no takes and decided to pack it up as it was time to get home.

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Pass Lake: 4/5/2012

 

You ever get that feeling that its going to be one of those good days stillwater fishing? The stars must have been aligned right, after hearing of great fishing reports from Pass, I decided to venture out with Jeff Hil. for a day on one of our most loved Western slope lakes.  I left Bellevue at 6 am to meet Jeff in Kirkland, after we loaded up his pontoon boat in the truck, we made our way north with visions of hungry trout and chironomids hatches all day long. The drive was easy, and we made good time arriving at the lot to meet up with Jeff H. and Chuck G. as they were prepping their prams to launch into the pollen covered launch. As I prepped in the bay while Jeff Hil. assembled his gear I picked up a very dark rainbow that was trying to spawn, probably near the launch if I recall is a little outlet.  The fish was sluggish, but decent sized of 15″, as I thought to myself that it might be a good day.

Once Jeff Hil. was set up we proceeded to row out near the point where everyone was anchored up and fishing. We’d see someone from the floatilla every few minutes with a bent rod. Even for a Thursday, it was relatively busy on the water with one guy on a Stillwater Classic doing well, and a husband wife duo on an aluminum boat also consistently hooking fish.  I ran into BugBoy (Matt) from the the wff.com forum as he was trying to get a few hours of fishing in before he had to head to the airport. He was fishing about halfway on the west end of the lake towards the Park Ranger’s home.  There were a couple of pontoon boats that were working the eastern parts of the lake, but they kept moving, so couldn’t verify how they ended up for the day.

I put on a red butt size 16 Sulky Amber with Chromer up top and within my first cast and retrive, the indicator went down and a nice 15″ Rainbow came to hand.  This would be the scene for a couple hours as the hatch was on right as we got on the water at 8:30 until about noon.  Jeff Hil. was having some issues when I glanced back, he was getting bites, but wasn’t able to stick the hook sets, I guess he was a bit out of tune having spent the last few years raising his kids and his arms were a little rusty.  I took a look at his set up, trimmed his leader, added a new Chironomid duo and gave him a little instruction. Within a few moments, his indicator plunged and it was fish on, his old Battenkill Click Pawl reel needed some service as the springs or the drag was tight and inconsistent which resulted in several birds nests as the powerful rainbow took a few leaps and solid runs trying to escape the clutches of the net.  Eventually the 15″ spirited fish would succumb to be filmed and quickly released.

The Pass Lake Rookie, makes its look like a pro… well, not exactly, get that reel tuned up!

Once he was properly set up, I went back to my position and resumed fishing with 4 fish being taken in succession of cast, catch and release. Among those were a couple of stellar brown trout that were just amazingly beautiful and powerfully strong. While the fight of the Browns aren’t as spirited as the Rainbows, they make up for it with deep runs, and their beautiful coloration and spots. Brown trout are my favorite of all species for their beauty, and its wonderful to see them thriving in lakes like Pass.

Pass Lake 20″ Brown

I decided to move up to Jeff H. and see how he was doing around the corner, it was approaching noon and the hatch was weaker, a few swallows working in the middle of the lake, and a few dimpling fish, which would indicate that we were about to die down for a couple hours. I was able to stick a nice bow at that spot, a tad bit larger than 20″ in my measure net, but a wonderful fish regardless.

Felt Seoul’s 20″ Pass lake Rainbow

Browns, browns, browns, O’ how I love thee… Another nice fish that fell for my Chromer-mid.  We fished until 3:00, as I had to get back for my dad’s birthday dinner, but all in all we had a spectacular day. I had lost count of the fish hooked, but I think I landed somewhere in the upper 20’s low 30’s, and had many more takes that weren’t as successful. I fished my Sage VXP 10′ 5 wt. with FeatherCraft SCLA3/4 reel with Rio Gold 5 wt. WF floating line.  Size 16’s, 18’s and Olive 20’s were the match the hatch bug to have tied onto the end of your tippet.  Jeff Hil. ended up with 16 landed, and Jeff H. ended up with into the30-40 fish, but he stayed and fished until 6 pm and indicated the hatch resumed into the evening. Sounds like Chuck G. did well as he spent most of his time on the north end of the lake where he said it was one fish after the other, I didn’t get a report from Jim T. but he’d be back to fish it again. I don’t know when I’d be back, but I’ll be planning out my next trip, next week can’t come soon enough!

Another BIG Pass lake brown trout

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Jeff’s Calloused Finger Report: 3/31/12

The last day of the 2011-12′ fishing season has come and gone, but due to prior commitments and a very busy week with clients made it difficult for me to fish this week. Not only these factors, but the poor weather conditions didn’t make it easier to fish.  I had been getting calls from Jim T. to get my butt out to Pass as it was ‘on fire’, and he had been having excellent success fishing in 20′ of water.  I fish alot with Jeff H. and you’ll see him on many of my reports along with photos, he’s not much to put together a fishing report, but when he said it was good, it was probably stellar. I’d received a text mssg at 9:30 yesterday morning that read something like: “on fire, would be the right definition… released my 6th fish in a row..”

Even an attempt to get out last week was poo poo’d with the windy, wet, and cold conditions here, as we’d hope to fish Rattlesnake, but the thought of  up to 30 mph gusts wasn’t that pleasant, and besides, I could say that I was busy, so at least it wasn’t so bad that I wasn’t fishing. But the truth of the matter is that “I wasn’t fishing…”  You know the old adage: ” A bad day fishing is better than a great day of working…” Its ok, we all have our bridges to cross, and I needed this week to take care of some important matters.

Here is Jeff’s brief report with some parts edited to protect the innocent Pass fish, may their lips heal from the onslaught of the Jeff H. and Chuck G. lip ripping yesterday.

Man oh man I wish you could have been there yesterday. Chuck showed up in the afternoon and had 14 in a row at one point. We spent the latter part of the afternoon anchored next to each other off the rock wall hooking one after another under an indicator. The fish started midging heavily when it got calm so I went naked and it worked pretty well for the remainder of the day. I had a glass flat lake to myself for the last hour and didn’t leave until 7:30. It was nice like that for most of the afternoon.

The Cheerio treatment was in full effect off the point. Had to re cast several times due to boats running right over the top of my line. What a bunch of idiots! Most guys were from two fly clubs that, IMO need a review of the two cast rule. Chuck couldn’t even get into the circle when he showed up so I went to the far end with him. All I can say is I hope the crowd got an eyeful and left with a bad taste in their mouths.

Throat pumps showed thousands of small olive, maybe a 20+, and a few size 12 chromies. I lost the small bug on my naked line and had a #12 3x bomber  left up high and it seemed to work just as well. Most indicator fish were on a white bead #16 red butt RN and a #14 3x black copper rib with white bead. When it was really on, I was batting about 50/50 on each pattern. I tried a red chiro briefly but it didn’t seem to do much. Went back to the rusty nail on the bottom and they were all over it. That was the only change I made for the day.

Can’t tell you how many were released, but here’s an email I received from Mark Yoshida this morning:

Dear Professor,

Nice class on fishing!! Was funny to always look up and see your rod bent. It must have been an easy 10 to 1 ratio*. Thanks for the intro to your friend (Chuck). Very nice guy! He stopped and talked with me as we were loading up.

As for fishing with an indicator, I learned I need to do this some more to get better at it. It was like learning and watching you do the vertical at Snake. Decided to only work this technique until I get better before I go to Dry Falls later in the month. I also noticed I missed or was late on a lot of takes early or they were able unhook themselves with the slightest bit of slack. I got better just not enough.

*BTW, that means you must have released 80-100.

When I asked Jeff how many he thinks he’d landed, he said easily into the 80’s+ He started at 7:45 am and was off the water at 7:30, with one pee break, and no lunch and little stops for water as the action was pretty steady for him all day long. I’ve seen him fish and he doesn’t lie or put up fake numbers, so a 10 fish per hour is realistic for the time that he spent without wasting too much time between fish. He of course didnt have the camera, but snapped a shot of what he believed to be a 17″ Brown.  I’ll look to getting out Thursday the 5th if anyone is free and would like to join me.

~Paul

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