Monday, October 2, 2017

More Travel and More Fishing

Fishing Time: Evenings of October 1-3, 2017
Weather: Partly Cloudy, calm, T-70s
Moon Phase:  90% Moon
Location:  San Diego Bay (Shelter Island)
Best Bait:  Speckled white grub (1/4 oz jighead)
Who Went:  Dunc
It looks like I’m going to be spending time this fall and winter working in sunny San Diego.  It’s a rough job right on the San Diego Bay.  Try not to feel bad for me.  I had to travel out there for a quick 2-day trip and of course I brought my fishing rod along for the ride.
I spent a couple evenings fishing Shelter Island throwing grubs off the rocks.  I caught quite a few spotted bay bass and may I say… these fish pack a punch!  There not very big, but they make freshwater fish look like pansies.  A half-pound spotted bay bass will actually pull some serious drag.  Gotta love the ocean.  Hopefully if I spend some more time here I can get into a few more species, or better yet, find someone with a boat willing to take me out on the big pond in search of some real ocean fish.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Fall is in the Air

Fishing Time: Evenings of September 14-17, 2017
Weather: Overcast, windy, T-50s
Moon Phase:  8% Moon
Location: Hams Fork River, Wyoming
Best Bait: Blue winged olive (nymphing)
Who Went:  Dunc
I had a job in Kemmerer, Wyoming, so I packed the fly rod and got lost on the Hams Fork River every night after work.  It was extremely tough fishing and the most frustrating part was that the river looked so good!  Every bend looked fishy, the flows were perfect, but the fish didn’t seem to be around.  I talked to locals who tell me it’s been unseasonably warm and they are all packed in deep holes trying to stay cool.  That may be true because I didn’t see any fish and worked extremely hard for only a few bites.  Either way, the river was gorgeous, and it was a great way to spend the evenings while away from my family. 
I also found an awesome deer shed on my job site.  I gave it to a coworker that was stoked to take it home and show his boy. 
Not many fish were caught for my efforts, but I enjoyed getting lost in Wyoming where I seemed to be the only fisherman on the river all week.  You can’t find that many places anymore and I cherished every moment.  

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Walleye for Dinner

Fishing Time:  7:30 to 2:00 PM
Weather: Sunny, slight breeze, T-80s
Moon Phase: 68% Moon
Location:  Starvation Reservoir
Water Temp: 69 Degrees
Best Bait: Spinner rig and drifting jig with worm near bottom
Who Went: Bobber John, Dunc
Bobber John and I made a trip up to Starvation Reservoir to see if we could put a few walleyes in my boat.  It’s never an easy task to catch walleye, but if any lake can produce some walleye it's Starvation.  We arrive a little later than we wanted at 7:30, but the wind was calm and the weather was beautiful.
We started in Saleratus Bay running spinner rigs near bottom in 15-25 ft of water.  We didn’t see many fish on the fish finder and within a half hour we decided to move.
We fished a rocky bay across from the boat ramp and it produced a few smallies, but nothing big.  After fishing the bay, we moved again over to Rabbit Gulch and put the spinner rigs down around 20-30 ft and started dragging.
After about 20 minutes and a few possible light bites, I saw my rod double over and I did my best to give it the walleye sweep.  It worked out and I had the first walleye of the day on the end of my line.  It was a nice walleye and got us excited to work the same area over again. 
We continued with spinner rigs and felt like we missed a few bites, so we switched techniques to drifting a jig tipped with a worm through the same area trying to keep it right near the bottom.  It worked out well and we put another 8 or so walleye in the boat.  They were small, but they were still walleye, and we were excited to have something to fillet. 
Our three dozen worms went quick with the walleye and smallies biting often.  We headed to the fish cleaning station and did the best we could to fillet the little cigar walleye and one big one.  Bobber John took all the meat from the small walleye and one smallie we kept while I took the fillets from the big walleye.  It made for a yummy Sunday dinner paired with some steamed veggies!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Crawdad Feast

Fishing Time: 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM
Weather: Sunny, clear, breezy, T-90s
Moon Phase: 41% Moon
Location: Strawberry Reservoir
Best Bait: String tied to chicken leg
Who Went: Devin, Dayton, Dunc

My Wife and daughter joined the other females in the family for a “women’s getaway” to the Homestead this weekend, so while the girls were away the boys went and played.  I mentioned to them that it was the right time of year to catch crawdads from the docks at Strawberry and they responded by screaming and jumping around the house.  I took that as a yes, they wanted to go.
We left the rods at home to keep it simple.  This is something I have learned as a dad that keeps the boys happy and me out of the looney bin.  Too many options does not work with an 8 and 6 year old.  We stopped at the Heber supermarket on the drive up to buy some chicken (crawdad bait) and get some breakfast, and Devin picked out the biggest donut I have ever seen.  
We arrived to “Da Berry” at about 10:30 AM and first went to the docks by the marina where the boats launch, only to find It’s now posted “no crawdad fishing”.  We walked over to the private docks and sure enough, we found crawdads everywhere. 
I tied some string to a couple chicken legs, handed them to the boys, gave them a bucket and a net, and they were all set!  I pulled out my lawn chair, turned on Pandora, and kicked back while the boys filled the bucket with crawdads.  
After about an hour I noticed the bucket was getting full.  I had the boys bring the bucket over and I took the tails off the crawdads and put them on ice.  Then the boys went back at it for round two.  After another hour, we had more tails on ice.  
We hit the marina store to wash up and get a snack for the ride home.  On our way, we called Papa to let him know we were bringing home a crawdad feast!  As Papa usually does, he told us he would buy some more yummy fixings to go with the crawdads and see us at the house.
 Nothing like a good ole fashion Louisiana fish boil.  Ingredients included; crawdads, shrimp, onions, lemon, red potatoes, corn on the cob, and spicy sausage.  All of it boiled up using Zataran’s crawdad, shrimp, and crab boil with some Louisiana hot sauce to season it up just right.  Made for a spicy treat that the whole neighborhood enjoyed!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Boiling Wipers at Willard Bay

Fishing Time: 6:30 to 11:00 AM
Weather:  Hot, calm, clear, T-100
Moon Phase: 50% Moon
Location: Willard Bay
Best Bait: chartreuse/pink/silver crankbaits
Who Went: Bobber John, Dunc

The scorching summer temperatures are in full effect and this year has been well above average on the heat scale.  With temperatures forecasted to reach 100 degrees, we knew we had to get on the lake as early as possible to beat the heat.  The gates at Willard Bay open at 6 AM and a few minutes after Bobber John launched his boat into calm conditions while I parked his Jeep in the lonesome parking lot.
We motored over to the northeast corner of the reservoir and immediately noticed some surface action.  I told Bobber I thought it could possibly be wipers boiling, but was unsure.  We motored over to check it out and sure enough, it was a group of wipers chasing shad on the surface.  We hurried to tie on the first crankbait we found in our tackle box and quickly began casting and hooking up with some hard fighting, good sized wipers.  One boil would submerge and another would pop up a hundred feet away.  We chased these boils for close to an hour and caught quite a few wipers before it all died off and the surface went calm for good.  It was a blast while it lasted. 
We transitioned into trolling but unfortunately were unsuccessful.  After 2 hours of trolling with no hits, no wind, and a hot sun beating down on us, we called it quits for the day and headed to the fish cleaning station to fillet some wipers and head for home.  Wipers are so fun to catch, but trolling Willard can be aggravating, boring, bug infested, and brutally hot.  Luckily, we were able to find some wiper boils early to make the trip a success.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Spring Catfish at Utah Lake

Fishing Time: 6:00 to 8:00 pM
Weather: Breezy, clear, T-70s
Moon Phase: 93% Moon
Location:  Utah Lake
Best Bait:  Worm 3' underneath a bobber
Who Went: John Schuler, Anthony Schuler, Devin Duncan, Dunc
I took Devin down to Utah Lake to our favorite honey hole to see if anything was biting yet at Utah Lake.  A last-minute phone call added Bobber John and his 3-year-old son Anthony to the party.  On arrival, I was amazed at the water level.  I haven’t seen Utah Lake that high in quite a few years and there is still a ton of snow in the mountains.  Hopefully it reaches full pool this year.

We started fishing and thought we may be a bit early in the year until Devin found the catfish honey hole.  He began casting near some submerged bush and pulled out a few nice channel catfish.  Then we helped Anthony cast into the honey hole and he added a couple fish to the mix.  We must have fished it out though as no more fish came from that spot the rest of the night.  
We moved around quite a bit with little luck.  John caught a couple more channel catfish, but that was about it.  I tried for bass, but nothing was doing.  I took Devin over to an area where there were a bunch of carp swimming around.  Devin has been wanting to catch a carp for a while now.  He made a nice cast out to carp country and within a few minutes his bobber disappeared.  I yelled at him to set the hook!  Soon he had a battle on his hands.  The big fish bent his little rod in half and took him left and right diving deep to the bottom.  I was cheering him on when the fish decided he wanted nothing to do with Devin and made a hard run and snapped his line.  My heart sank and I felt for him.  We told him it must have been the biggest fish in the lake.  He’s still talking about it. 

Not our best trip to the honey hole, but can’t complain about 5-6 channel cats and a break off on the biggest fish in the lake.  Devin is becoming quite the fisherman and makes me more proud every time I take him. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Spring Lake Powell Trip 2017

Fishing Time: April 20 to 24, 2017
Weather: Sunny, warm, mostly calm wind, T-70s
Moon Phase:  20% Moon
Location:  Lake Powell (San Juan)
Water Temp: Morning - 59-61 degrees, Afternoon - 60-65 degrees
San Jaun Mudline:  Mud: Neskashi Wash to the mouth of San Juan River, Green Stain: Piute Canyon to Neskashi Wash, Clear: Main Channel to Piute Canyon
Best Baits:  Trolling crankbaits, casting creature baits and grubs
Who Went:  Rick Everson, John Schuler, Dunc
Our Spring Lake Powell trip took a twist this year due to extremely low water levels.  The north end of the lake has treated us well the last 7 years, but with low water and early runoff, the upper end of the lake is shallow and muddy.  So, we headed south this year to the San Juan Arm.  The boat ride from Bullfrog Marina to our camp spot at Leroy’s Canyon inside the San Juan Arm took almost exactly 2-hours.  This is double the amount of time we are used to heading north to Good Hope Bay.
We found a nice sandy shoreline at the mouth of a small vegetated slot canyon deep inside Leroy’s Canyon and it became home for 4 days.  Soon we found out we weren't the only ones inhabiting this nice cove, but more on that later…
On first arrival we found two critters near camp.  One we were excited to see and the other we were devastated to see. The first was a desert spiny lizard that decided to flare out and show us how tough he was.  The other was the quagga mussels that have now infested the shorelines of Lake Powell.  The muscles are attached to the walls and shorelines where water used to be.  It's a sad sight to see.  What a tragedy.
The fishing turned out to be different than the north end of Lake Powell with very little gravel shorelines and no brush to be found.  We mainly fished deeper underwater structure, points, and boulder shorelines on the main channel.  It was less flipping jigs and plastics into the shallows and more casting and retrieving grubs, drop-shot rigs, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits towards the deeper boulder shorelines and deep underwater structure.  The biggest change in our trip this year was trolling.  We spent a lot of time doing it, and it produced a ton of fish. 
My favorite part about this trip was learning a new area, seeing new scenery, and catching a variety of different species.  In the past we have focused mainly on largemouth and smallmouth bass, with a few crappie and walleye mixed in, but this trip was a mixed bag of everything and in good numbers. 
We trolled and caught stripers, crappie, and walleye.  Casted the shorelines with plastics and crankbaits and caught tons of smallmouth, largemouth, and crappie.  We also drifted jigs to pick up more stripers and a bunch of small channel catfish.  Topwater produced multiple different species including bass, crappie, and stripers. We also found a pile of monster bluegill hanging off a deep underwater point that kept us busy for hours and made us feel like kids again with our ultra-light rods and floating bobbers.  We used a bunch of different techniques to catch fish and they all worked!  Lake Powell is awesome!
We camped at the end of Leroy’s canyon and there were gamefish, wildlife, and carp all over.  We utilized the bow to take part in the carp eradication program, and caught stripers, smallmouth, and crappie from the shoreline when not on the boat.  We also found another critter in abundance that apparently loved the cove as much as we did… Scorpions! 
This camp spot will forever be known as the Scorpion campsite.  We found a couple small ones the first day and didn’t think much of it, but that evening I went to turn on the generator and found what I thought was the king of all scorpions.  It was huge!
Now we were up to three scorpions and started getting the heebie jeebies.  We decided to do a spot check on our gear and sure enough, found another scorpion in Bobbers suitcase! 
Now we were officially creeped out!  Rick had a blacklight in his fishing tackle and we knew that scorpions were supposed to glow under a blacklight, so we put it to the test and went out on a scorpion hunt.  Maybe we shouldn’t have.  The scorpions were everywhere and some of them were gigantic!  I have never used a blacklight to hunt scorpions, and wow!  You can see them from a mile away.  They glow so well all you do is shine a blacklight on the hillside and you can easily point them out as they glow like stars in the sky. It’s crazy.  We started using the blacklight on all our gear before we went to bed.

Anyway, it was another great trip with many fish caught using a variety of techniques.  We had a big fish fry one night and enjoyed good weather the entire trip.  I think we were a bit early on the bass spawn.  This spring has been extremely wet and cold, so it’s taken the water a bit longer to warm up.  I think this Powell trip could go down as one of my favorites and the only thing we needed to cap it off was a monster fish.  Usually someone lucks into something nice, but this year was more numbers and no lunkers.  However, Rick has been trying to catch a pair of 15-inch crappies to mount on his wall for years now, and this trip he finally completed the task. 
In fact, we all caught a bunch of very nice crappie...
Our four days was finally up and we made the two hour jaunt back to Bullfrog Marina.  I think we wore the big fella out.
I also think he got zapped by a scorpion and didn't know it.  What the hell is that...
Overall a very fun and relaxing trip, and the best part… no problems, boat wrecks, or prop killing rocks!  We joked on the way home that we were going to get in a car crash and die because the trip went way to smooth with zero issues.  The spring Lake Powell trip is always my favorite trip of the year, and this year was no exception.