"The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope." John Buchan

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fall tube trip to Strawberry Reservoir (Mud Creek) with Alex and Jason.

Kind of last minute we put this trip together as it has been so long since we had been able to get out for a fishing trip.  We opted to give Strawberry a try today and based on a lot of posts/reports we figured we did not need to be there prior to sunrise.  Most reports suggested 9am-11am was a productive window.

Anyway we made it up to the Mud Creek access point on the reservoir just after 9am.  The morning mist over the water was pretty thick and limited visibility.  Alex was worried that it would stay like this all day...  This was Alex's second trip with his waders, first that we needed to bundle up to stay warm, and that took some extra time to get worked out.  We were on the water by about 9:45am, a bit later then we intended but it was just in time for the mist to dissipate as the sun warmed things up.

As we got out on the water I rigged up a tandem rig with a white marabou jig I had tied last winter and another weightless tube jig higher up the line.  I let this dangle below me just above the bottom as we kicked out into the 15+ foot depth.  The other pole I started working different lures casting and retrieving.  Jason had 2 lines out as well though one was under a bobber to keep his lures near the surface and the other was cast and retrieve.  He was going to try out some new crank baits he got for his birthday.  Alex had 2 lines out as well again like Jason, one was under a bobber working the surface while he cast and retrieved the other.

We were on the water for less then 30 minutes before the first fish was on shortly followed by a second fish.  Jason and I both pulled in within minutes of each other nice cut throats that were in the slot, but fought well enough to build the days excitement.  Jason said he had not even been working his crank bait properly with it floating mostly on the surface at the time his lure was taken.

I had set the goal to remember to get a picture of each fish this trip, including a picture of anyone I was close enough to photograph as they caught... But as goals often are, they are set high and we fall short....  So on my next fish which was a better looking cut again, I fumbled the fish on my lap as I measured it (again in the slot, but closer to the upper end) and off it went before I could think to snap a picture.

Alex reported having a big strike on his second pole and missed it being unpracticed in working two poles.  With the changes in the regulations this year letting a second pole be used without needing a special permit Alex has been trying his hand at managing two poles.

Things slowed down after these first few and it was about an hour before the next event.  When this one hit I could feel a difference and the hope for a nice rainbow that would join me in my basket was well timed.  When the fish hit my line just stopped and then the fish jumped for me and then provided a fun and energetic fight bringing it in.

Things stayed slow but again about an hour later I managed another nice rainbow All the cuts up to this point and this rainbow had been on my white marabou jig.  Kind of nice when something you make turns out to work well enough.

I missed a few more photos of cuts and missed a few fish strikes as well over the day, but as we started to work back toward the vehicle I brought a cut in that had had some birth defect or unfortunate accident previously.  Worth a picture or two just for the odd look it had.

I brought in another rainbow as we worked our way back, failed to take a picture, and Jason let us know he had brought in a rainbow as well.  He reported that it was the largest trout to date for him that he was able to land and keep.  I'm not sure what the exact measurements were for it, but it was at the 20" mark or just above and very plump.  My pictures don't do it fair...

Alex's basket was bare, but he agreed still that going fishing and coming back empty was still lots better then most anything else we could think of.  I had my 3 rainbows in my basket and Jason had his nice rainbow.

All in all a really nice day, and long overdue I might add, to be back out on the water.  Wind could have stayed away longer as the afternoon breeze made the workout getting back to the vehicle more taxing then I'd have liked.  Otherwise it was a beautiful day on the water and I hope to get a couple more trips in at least before the hard deck forms up and ice fishing starts. :)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 10th Deer Creek Island Bay

As part of our annual Park City family vacation Alex, Jason and I took a trip over to Deer Creek on Tuesday (June 10th) to see how we could do.

Our first mistake (with a few perks) was to hope to launch at Charleston.  The water level was down enough that you had a 50 yard mud flat walk just to get to the river channel and even then that was only a foot or less of water from what we could see.  There were a lot of tire tracks that suggested others had tried previously to drive out but I was not willing to get stuck so we headed back to go to Island Bay to try there.  On the walk back we found a box of flies and a spinner in fair enough shape so Alex added them to his stock.

When we got to Island Bay things looked much better.  We did confirm that the spot along the fence near the island that we had parked at before and walked our tubes down from was marked no parking and no longer usable.  So we paid our fee and went into the park proper.  We parked at the end of the park near the island and carried our tubes to the water.  That turned out to be further then we would have liked, but we got the job done.

Water temps were nearly 65 degrees when we launched and that had us questioning the waders.  Though for Alex this was his first trip in his new pair of waders so he was happy to test drive them.  I would say we didn't get on the water till just before 8am.  While we were getting started we did see a lot of fish breaking the surface int he shallows near the island.  Many had a "trout" look to them enough that we headed out to see if we could entice any.

Jason took point near the island and Alex and I worked a bit further north along the island.  I was casting and retrieving some spinners as well as running some jigs down along the bottom keep my options open.  My jig pole on the bottom had a little bump on it so I picked it up to feel for something more.  Got a nice hook set when I felt some resistance and brought up the first fish of the day which turned out to be a Walleye about 16-17" long, my first DC Walleye.

A bit later I changed out my second line with a bubble and woolly bugger (white with gold accent) and a crappie nib.  Just after casting it out and as I went to pick up the the spinner pole when the bubble/bugger pole went for a really nice bend.  After a nice fight I pulled in a rainbow that was about 17" long.  Not quite a starvation grade fish, but a lot better then the expected planter size I had "planned" on.

I had a number of bumps on the jigs that I kept near the bottom in depths from about 18' to 30'.  I did manage one more hook up on a small mouth that was probably close to 8-9" long so I put him back to get bigger.  After that all the other bumps I had I failed to get to in time or simply wiffed...  Jason pulled in a slightly bigger but very skinny small mouth that he also put back to get bigger.

Then Jason had something on his line that was peeling out line and forced a silly grin on his face... :)  I'm not sure I know what lure he was using but it might have been a meps like spinner that was firetiger colored.  He ended up landing a nice rainbow the same size as the one I had already pulled in earlier.

Alex had moved around a lot but had not had any action until we were just about to head in and he had a nice strike that he missed the hook set on.  He reported that the day was still very fun to have been out and that his new waders were very nice to use.  That should open the door for us to take him up to Washington Lake on a later trip where even in the warmth of summer you need waders to keep warm enough in the high lake water.

I failed to take the camera and didn't want to try to do pics with the cell phone so I ended up with nothing to show for this trip...  We took our 3 fish, walleye and 2 trout, back with us and cooked them up and shared them with the families back in Park City.  Everyone said they were good.  :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Another round of jig making... SWM jigs

So Jason gave me some hooks for my bday last month and I've now gotten started on turning them into something to take out on the water.  Nothing really new this time other then some of the color combos and that these are larger then I'd cast before with this mold and the intended hooks made for the mold.  I had cast some on wire before though of these sizes and made spinners out of them.  So here's the initial picture of them.  Note I've not yet painted the eyes on them or put the top coat over the eyes.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

May 15th Trip to Willard in the Tubes

So as our opening trip of the year on the tubes Jason and I picked Willard Bay to see if we could get in on some of the action others had been reporting.  We got up there and setup and on the water just before 7am at the south marina.  We had been planning on the north marina but a bit of intel suggested south might offer some good activity.  I still consider myself a novice when it comes to Willard so any guidance I can get is more then welcome.

Weather was looking great and the water was calm and glassy.  So we kicked out and started to pitch plastics as we worked out into the channel before heading out to the main lake.  We didn't get any response to the plastics nor to the cat rigs we were dragging as well while we moved out.  Water is lower then my previous trips and temps were in the mid 50's at launch.  Once on the main lake we got a surprise look at the number of boats that were out there.  For a Thursday there sure were a lot of people that SHOULD have been at work...  Nobody really every bothered us, nor did they really get near us (though maybe they knew something we didn't).  We moved down the shoreline toward the feed lots.  We had to stay pretty far out from the shore line to get into a depth greater then about 8'.

I was a bit further down the shoreline on the way to the feed lot when I managed the first fish of the day for use, a nice cat.  Never measured it but it looked close to 20" long.

Not that much later Jason landed the first wiper.  I was a bit off so the picture leaves a lot to be desired.

We had a breeze come up just enough to put a light ripple on the water but things stayed pretty darn mellow for the day.

Some time just before noon we started to head back toward the marina.  Jason had 2 wipers in his basket at this time and I still just had the 1 cat.  While approaching the marina Jason brought in his 3rd wiper to fill his limit.  He then tried to focus on adding a cat to his basket.  I was able to add my first wiper to my basket a bit later.

We ended up drifting down past the marina seeing if we would get anything more as we approached 2pm and when nothing much more happened we headed back in.  While cleaning up a fellow fisherman stopped over to see how our day had gone and reported that he had dome quite well trolling over on the west side and south side of the lake.  He noted that the crappie were out along the south end too.  Some food for thought for a future trip but it also fit with where we saw all the boats too.  Where we went didn't seem to attract many people and maybe for good reasons.  This also got me thinking about a map I saw posted that gives some details of the bay: Willard Bay Map

Well that's it for now.  Was a very nice day to be out for sure.  BTW Water temps got up to the low 60's before we got off the water.

Ice Fishing Strawberry April 12th 2014 (Mud Creek)

(Again a month late...)

So having been watching the forums on BFT it was clear that the ice on strawberry was still solid enough for a last ice trip of the year.  From the details other reports had shared it seemed that the easy to access spots had had enough pressure that people suggested looking elsewhere.  So I got it in my mind that the mouth of the mud creek arm might be enough out of the way to not be where the masses had been.  What I didn't know is if walking from the gate for mud creek (gate is as close a vehicle could get) or the marina would be the better pick to start from.  I choose poorly....

It was a beautiful day weather was wonderful, maybe a bit too wonderful.  As we walked down from the mud creek gate we noted that the snow on the dirt road was solid enough and then the ice seemed also more then solid.  Reports said ice was about 30" deep and that matched what we say.  The ice had a set of interesting layers to it through such that the top 6" or so was a mix of hard and less hard layers before you hit the solid base that was solid till you broke through.  Well (being that it's been a month since we went) I'll spare a play by play as I couldn't retell it well enough now to do things right and simply say that Jason out fished my skunk of a day but we both came home with a limit and then some of UV rays and more then our fair share of physical activity.  Before I explain that I'll throw in the token pictures:

So here is the short of the story...  Fishing was slow and we moved around some trying to find the fish.  We marked some and had a few missed bites but Jason landed all that we caught.  I should point out that we drilled at least a couple dozen holes with the hand auger and I was very impressed at how well it did with the depth of the ice and how easy it was to cut.  As the day went on the wonderful weather started to soften the top of the ice.  This resulted in the edges near where we were softening up to the point you would, much to Jason's pleasure and joy, break through as you tried to get on dry land...  So we packed up and started back.  Now is where the poor choice for the day started to reveal itself...  Those top 6" of ice layers I spoke of were now soft.  They were now only firm enough to tease you with every step that they MIGHT just hold you this step before you would punch through to the hard base below them.  This was like walking on a stepping machine the whole way across the ice.  Well we made it to the mud creek boat launch where we would walk the snow covered road back up from there.  At least here we didn't break through the ice near the shore.

Now if the stepper machine walk across the ice wasn't bade enough we now learned very clearly that the dirt road did not just have 6-10" of snow on it as I had wondered on the walk down...  No, it was knee to hip deep the whole way and now the snow followed the example of the ice and taunted us the whole way to the vehicle...  And it was a long way that took way to long to get back.  Lets just say that lots of create ideas were thought up, tested and marked as failure as we attempted to make our way to the vehicle.  There were no easy tricks or ways around it...  It stunk worse then the smell I had coming off the ice without a fish to show for the day.

Well we made it...  Eventually.  We did drive over afterwards to the main marina and looked at where we could have parked there and walked to the same spot and thought very clearly that that would have been a better pick.  Next time, which will be next year at the earliest... :)

Maribou 4-8-2014

(yes this is over a month overdue...)

So since starting to cast my own jigs (even before then) I've been a bit interested in Maribou jigs for their movement characteristics while in water, specifically for a vertical jig presentation.  TubeDude (Pat) has shown me (and sold some to me for my Dad) some of his offerings that use Maribou along with Flashibou accents.  They have just stuck in my mind as something really nice (though that qualifies for most of what TubeDude has shown me... ;))

Anyway I kind of got moving on this at Christmas time where I put a Fly Tying kit that was on sale from Cablelas on a wish list and then later found it under the tree.  This got me the base tools but I did not yet step down the path of materials as I had some questions.  To start with I got a good case of pre-buyers remorse worrying that Maribou was maybe not the material to pick but a synthetic might be better.  I got hung up on wondering about costs, durability of color, durability of material, ease of use, etc...  Anyway I sent a few notes off to TubeDude and Barlows asking opinions and got some solid responses back, including an open invite to head over to Pat's for a sit down session.  I never did get a chance to take him up on that during the winter break though...  It was clear though that Maribou was still the right pick for the application I was after.

Then heading toward April I again got into the mode to pursue this more and got materials on my birthday wishlist: thread and maribou in a variety of colors, pearl, silver and gold flashibou for accent, and some hard as nails clear polish to coat the thread wrap.  I also again tried to get my schedule such that I could take Pat up on the offer of his time he had made...  I struck out on that again due to family and work schedules....  YouTube ended up being my backup plan as I could fit in some time watching videos on the train rides to and from work.  So with all that said, and realizing I had no in person training I got started and have tied up a few dozen jigs now.  Seems to be easy enough to tie.  I'm not sure how durable my work is yet, but I've liked how things have gone.  Here are a few pictures form the initial batch.