Sunday, November 13, 2016

Musky Fever

Fishing Time:  8:00 to 2:00 PM
Weather:  Mostly sunny, slight breeze, T-50s
Moon Phase:  99% Moon
Location:  Pineview Reservoir
Water Temp:  52 degrees
Best Bait:  Perch and crappie imitating Lures
Who Went:  Bobber John, Rick, Dunc
With Muskie Fever still in full swing, Rick, John, and myself headed back to Pineview to harass some more tiger musky.  We hit up the crappie and perch fishing first thing again, just in case we didn’t land a muskie, we could go home with some pride.  The crappie and perch were right where we left them last week, and just as willing to bite.  We played with them for an hour or so, and then moved on to musky fishing. 
We approached the musky fishing using the same approach as last week hitting all the underwater ridges along the narrows, concentrating on the tops of the ridges in 24 to 30 ft of water.  We didn’t see as many fish today as we did a week ago, but they were showing up here and there on the fish finder.

Not long into fishing we had a fun experience that reminded me of lake trout fishing at Flaming Gorge.  Rick was reeling in his lure from the bottom and I told him I could see it coming up on the fish finder.  Soon after I saw a fish show up on the fish finder and start racing up towards his lure, just like lake trout do.  I told him to get ready and sure enough his rod instantly doubled over.  When lake trout do it we call it the reel and chase.  Bobber called this one the reel and chomp due to the teeth of a musky.  It was an epic fight and Rick won the battle landing a beautiful 40-inch musky.  They have to be one of the coolest looking fish ever.
After releasing Rick’s nice musky we were right back to it.  We had a few drag bottom errr bites that were unconfirmed, but no other muskies made it into the boat on this trip.  We searched a few different areas trying to find more musky, but it seems like all the life is in the narrows this time of year.  However, any day you land even one 40-inch musky is a good day in my book!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

10,001 Casts Finally Pay Off

Fishing Time:  7:30 to 3:00 PM
Weather:  Mostly sunny, slight breeze, T-50s
Moon Phase:  39% Moon
Location:  Pineview Reservoir
Water Temp:  54 degrees
Best Bait:  Perch imitating Lures
Who Went:  Bobber John, Dunc
The weather this fall has been unbelievably dry and warm.  Most days you can’t find a cloud in the sky and the day time temps are reaching the upper 60’s.  It’s not good for our current drought situation, but it makes for some comfortable fall fishing.  Bobber John and I took advantage and hauled the boat up to the land of muskies at Pineview Reservoir.  Reports have been good for crappie suspended in the narrows, and where there are crappie, there are muskies nearby. 
We were the first boat on the water and the lake was glass and covered with fog.  We made our way to the narrows and as soon as the boat came to a stop the fish finder began to show the treasures below.  Crappie were suspended everywhere just above the bottom in 50 ft of water.  We decided to give it a go for a bit and quickly started catching some 8-10 inch crappie and a few decent sized perch.  It wasn’t on fire, but it was consistent.  Soon the pan fish brigade showed up in numbers and we decided to move on from the crowds and search for some toothier critters. 

We focused on underwater points where the lake contours would jump up to about 20-30 feet and then drop back down to 50 ft.  We would drift across the points running perch imitating lures right across the tops of the ridges.  If your lure ticked the top of the ridge as you drifted by then you were in the right zone.  The fish finder proved this to be true as most ridges held fish on top that we felt were tiger musky.

Muskies are called the fish of 10,000 casts, and I know because I think I’ve made about that many casts since I last caught one, but today the fishing gods decided to shine some light on me.  We were crossing over a ridge in 30 ft of water and I felt the tick of my lure touching the bottom just as we made our way across the ridge into deeper water, and then my rod went bendo.  I laid back with a good hook set and it was musky on!  The fish came to the surface for some aerial acrobatics, but then quickly went back underwater.  Muskie don’t usually put up long fights, but they are ferocious to the bitter end.  Bobber did an excellent net job and we had our first musky of the day taping out at 40-inches.
After the celebration we went right back to it, continuing to focus on underwater points.  We were seeing musky on the fish finder every time we hit the crest of these ridges in 20-30 ft of water, and on the second ridge we passed it was Bobbers turn to hook up.  He fought the heavy fish for about 10 seconds before his line went limp and the fish was gone along with his leader.  Bobber was heartbroken to say the least.  You just don’t get many chances to catch these awesome fish, however, it gave us a lot of confidence in our technique and we started down the bank of underwater ridges once again. 

We made a few more passes over each ridge with no bites, but on our last pass on the last ridge in 24 ft of water just as we passed the crest of the ridge and started heading to deeper water, my rod slowly doubled over.  I told Bobber that I was snagged, but I set the hook anyway.  Again I confirmed to Bobber that I had a snag and started to pull upwards to set it free, but the rod started bouncing!  Sure enough I had another musky on.  This musky did not come to the surface, but instead went to the bottom peeling line off my reel.  I told Bobber this could be the big one.  It was the hardest fighting musky I’ve caught to date, but ended up being just another nice musky at 38 inches long with a bit more girth than the previous one I had caught.  Either way I was ecstatic!

I’ve never caught two musky of that caliber in one day, so I was totally stoked.  No better way to start your work week on Monday with the memory fresh on your mind of two monster musky landed the day before.  Needless to say, Bobber and I both have a major case of musky fever!  

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Not the Usual Fall Trip at "Da Berry"

Fishing Time: 8:30 to 1:30 PM
Weather:  Partly cloudy, breezy, T-50s
Moon Phase:  1% Moon
Location: Strawberry Reservoir
Water Temp:  50-52 degrees
Best Bait:  White tube jig (1/4 oz) tipped with worm
Who Went:  Bobber John, Devin, Dayton, Dunc
I had the opportunity to take my boys up to Strawberry Reservoir for some fishing from the boat this weekend.  Bobber John tagged along, but the jury is out whether he will do another kids trip again.  We shall see. 

October is usually red hot fishing up at Strawberry, and my hope was to get my boys into some non-stop action.  I should know by now that over confidence in fishing usually ends up with me eating a big slice of humble pie! 

We tried all my usual haunts with very limited success.  We never did find a good group of fish to sit on.  Usually by late October it seems like you can’t move without finding fish, but not so on this trip. 

That’s fine.  I got to watch each one of my boys catch a fish all by themselves, from hook set all the way to the net.  The weather was beautiful and the scenery like always up there in the fall, was unbelievable. 
I was especially proud to see Dayton (5 years old) catch a fish all on his own.  Devin (7 years old) is already a pro, but little Dayton saw his bobber start to go down and he was all over it.  We were screaming at him “reel it in, reel it in”!  He did and had the fish on for a few seconds, but then it came off.  As he was reeling in his tube jig I noticed the fish was still following it to the boat.  I told him to stop reeling and when he did the 20-inch cutthroat kept on coming and inhaled his bait.  We all started screaming again, “REEL”!  This time the fish held on and little Dayt had his first ever cutthroat trout in the boat.  Getting him to hold the fish however, was not as easy, but big brother Dev was more than happy to help out…
Not long after Dayton landed his fish it was Devin's turn.  He made a cast out towards the shoreline and had what we like to call instant action, where the bait hits the water and immediately it's fish on. Dev did a great job with the hook set and reel in.  Proud moment for his old man.
It wasn’t the fall fishing at the Berry that I’m used to, but getting the boys outdoors made the trip a success.  Devin, who is usually terrorizing his little brother all day when we are at home, asked me “Dad can Dayton come with us all the time, it was fun to have him here.”  It looks like little Dayton has earned his spot on the team.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Breaking in the New Downriggers at Bear Lake

Fishing Time: 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Weather:  Windy, clear, T-70s
Moon Phase:  95% Moon
Location: Bear Lake
Water Temp: 60 degrees
Best Bait: 3-inch white/blue swim bait
Who Went: Bobber John, Dunc

With the word getting out about Devin’s 20 pound lake trout from Bear Lake, I had interest from others wanting to try their luck on the big blue.  I just bought two brand new Cannon downriggers and they were installed and ready to go, so Bobber John and I headed to Bear Lake to try them out.  Turned out to be much better than the $70 clamp on model, imagine that.
We were on the water with downriggers in action before the sun was up.  Just like last trip we instantly started to see fish on the fish finder.  We had four rods rigged with two running the bottom for lake trout, and two running mid-depth for cutthroat. 
We had a lot of lookers but nothing wanted to commit.  We tried a variety of lures with no success.  It was windy most of the morning, but we had an hour where it died down, so we turned to jigging.  We found a good school of fish on the finder and dropped our jigs.  Within a few minutes Bobber John, the lake trout whisperer, had a fish on.  It was no 20 pounder, but a beautiful Bear Lake, lake trout none the less. 
The wind kicked up again, so we went back to trolling.  This time Bobber John ran a 3 inch swim bait on the deep rod, and it proved to be a success.  He caught a clone of his first fish.

One more hour of trolling was all we could handle in the wind, and the fish seemed to be lock jawed.  We felt lucky to have landed the two fish we did.  Looks like Devin still holds the lake trout record at Bear Lake! 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Bear Lake Monster

Fishing Time: 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM
Weather:  Slight breeze, clear, T-60s
Moon Phase:  5% Moon
Location: Bear Lake
Water Temp: 65 degrees
Best Bait: K-13 Flatfish (rainbow color)
Who Went: Devin, Dunc

Every year since I have been alive (1981) my family has gone to Bear Lake during the summer/fall.  The last 10 years or so it has been over Labor Day weekend.  It’s a fun tradition and a good way to end the summer fun before school starts.  I typically don’t take the boat, only because it’s the last trip of a busy summer and a chance to relax, but this year Devin was adamant that we take the boat because he has become obsessed with catching lake trout.  He’s seen pictures of big lake trout I’ve caught at Flaming Gorge and when I told him they live in Bear Lake, I was done.  The boat was coming!

I woke him up early and he was very excited.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that a fish that size doesn’t come easy and I tried to ease the pain during the drive to the marina by telling him you can go all day without a bite when fishing for lake trout.

We launched the boat and drove over to Gus Rich Point and dropped a K-13 rainbow colored flatfish down to the bottom (80 ft) on my $70 clamp on downrigger and set the cruise at 1.7 mph.  We instantly started to see fish and within minutes I saw a large green blurb (fish) come up off the bottom to look at our flatfish.  I was explaining to Devin that this was a big lake trout coming up to take a look and those are what we want to see on the fish finder.  Two seconds later the rod started bouncing and we had him on! 

I grabbed the rod and gave it to Devin, but it about pulled him into the lake!  We finally found a good system with me helping hold the rod upright and Devin doing the reeling, and after a good 5-10 minute fight we could see the large fish coming up from the clear blue depths of Bear Lake.  Devin couldn’t believe it and seemed shocked when looking at it in the net.  It was a very proud moment for me and something I have dreamed of doing for a long time.  Putting Dev on a big lake trout.  I always assumed it would be at Flaming Gorge, but now Dev holds the Duncan family record for lake trout at Bear Lake.  The fish hit the scales at a shade under 20 pounds!
In true 7 year old form we dropped the flatfish down again and within 5 minutes Devin was wondering why we hadn’t caught another one.  Patience is a tough virtue at that age.  We never did get another bite, but we didn’t need to.  We had accomplished our goal and couldn’t have been happier!  

Friday, August 12, 2016

Dev's First Smallmouth

Fishing Time:  6:30 to 7:30 PM
Weather: windy, T-90s
Moon Phase:  68% Moon
Location:  Starvation Reservoir
Best Bait:  Curly tail grub (1/8 oz jig)
Who Went:  Chris, Cari, Devin, Addison, Dayton
Cari and I took the kids for a night of camping, fishing, and exploring up at Starvation Reservoir.  We found an awesome primitive camp spot in Rabbit Gulch.  I could launch my boat right from shore and we also had our own private little beach.  The only thing missing was shade, but for one day we toughed it out.  Time to invest in a canopy.
The kids had so much fun playing at the beach, catching crawdads, and lizard hunting, that fishing didn’t catch their interest too much.  We went out on the boat in the evening, but the wind made it tough and the kids were anxious to get back to camp to eat s’mores and tell ghost stories around the campfire. 
Dev was excited to cross off another species with his first ever smallmouth bass.  He caught it all by himself by throwing a curly tailed grub in near the rocks on shore and then slow retrieving it back to the boat.  It was a proud moment for dad. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Mirror Lake in the Uinta's

Fishing Time:  1:00 to 4:00 PM
Weather:  Cool, partly cloudy, T-60’s
Moon Phase:  89% Moon
Location:  Mirror Lake (Uinta’s)
Best Bait:  Worm off the bottom
Who Went: Dave, Carlye, Linkoln, Dayne, Chris, Cari, Devin, Addison, Dayton
We had the opportunity to get out of the city this weekend for a fun camping adventure with our friends the Revill’s.  We headed to the Uinta’s for the weekend and stayed at a nice primitive camp site up near Soapstone at the bottom of Mirror Lake Highway.  The kids instantly fell in love with the dirt! 
On Saturday we loaded the kids and fishing gear and drove up to Mirror Lake.  The place was absolutely beautiful, but also crowded.  We made our way through the crowds to the only fishing spot left on the lake and set up to let the kid’s fish.  It may have been crowded, but that didn’t stop the fish from biting.  We had a fish on most the time we were there and it was a mixed bag of rainbows, brook trout, and tiger trout.  Devin (age 7) was excited to cross another species off his list with a nice little tiger trout.  Unfortunately I failed him by not getting a better picture.
Addi (age 6) also got in on the tiger trout mix with the biggest fish of the day.  My little man Dayton (age 5) had more fun playing with all the fish that were caught by transferring them from one bucket to another.  Reminded me of what I would be doing at that age.  Linkoln and Dayne Revill also got into a bunch of fish.  Unfortunately again, I failed on pictures.  I was pretty busy untangling and re-baiting hooks! 
We stayed until we ran out of bait, and Devin told me this is how fishing should be.  Cast out, bite within minutes, and then fish on!  It was fun to see the kids catch fish and continue to learn to enjoy the outdoors.