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.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Weekend at the Gorge

Fishing Time:  June 25 and 26, 2016
Weather: Slight breeze, Sunny, T-80s
Moon Phase: 73% Moon
Water Temp: 60 degrees
Location: Flaming Gorge
Best Bait: 7-inch Tube Jig (Rainbow colored)
Who Went: Bobber John, Dunc

Made a quick weekend trip with Bobber John to Flaming Gorge to chase the elusive lake trout.  We were also hoping to find some spawning smallmouth bass, but the weather had pushed them a bit too deep for sight fishing.

Saturday we fished hard and spent a lot of the morning looking for active fish.  Antelope Flats seemed to have humps full of active fish, but as usual it was tough to get any bites.  We got a couple, but unfortunately no hook ups.

In the afternoon we went to look for smallmouth along the shoreline in Sheep Creek, but the cold start to the morning and big wind storm the night before had them heading for deeper water.  We did manage to catch a few including this nice 2 pounder.
On the way back from Sheep Creek we detoured into Horseshoe Canyon to admire the steep rock walls.  What a gorgeous lake.  Saw a few sheep as well...
That evening we set up the downriggers and tried our luck trolling for kokanee near the pipeline area.  We saw a lot of fish on the finder, but for whatever reason couldn’t put any in the boat.  Usually if I can find them I can hook a few, but it wasn’t to be on this trip.

Sunday morning John wasn’t feeling well so I launched the boat myself.  It wasn’t a problem early in the morning, but loading it later that day when the recreation boaters were out made for a fun experience.  People yelling at me for taking so long, I guess it’s just normal boat ramp talk, but what’s up with that.  We are all there on vacation.  Relax!

I fished at Swim Beach first thing in the morning, but soon realized I needed to move.  Not many fish were showing up.  I headed back to Antelope Flats and tried my luck there again, and after some effort I was finally able to land one.  It wasn’t a monster at maybe 8-10 pounds, but after two mornings with no hook ups I wasn’t complaining.  At least one lake trout went into the net on this trip.  

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Mud Cat Bonanza

Fishing Time:  1200 PM to 3:00 PM
Weather:  Hot, sunny, T-90s
Moon Phase:  50% Moon
Location:  Utah Lake (Provo Boat Harbor)
Best Bait: Worm underneath a slip bobber
Who Went:  Dad, Devin, Addison, Dayton, Dunc
Cari was busy and I had a day alone with the kids, so I called up my dad and took him and the little ones down to the Provo Boat Harbor at Utah Lake to waste a few hours doing what I love.

We were hoping to find some big channel catfish, but only the bullhead catfish wanted to play.  No worries.  The kids just wanted to catch a fish, and they caught plenty.  The bite was hot and the kids were catching them all by themselves.  They would watch that bobber like a hawk and once they saw it go down it was fish on.  We had a bucket full of catfish in no time.  I laughed as the kids would brag to everyone who docked their boats, of how good of fishermen they are.  They were kings of the fishing world for a few hours. 

It was great to have my dad out there with us as well.  He struggled a bit in the hot sun, but I think he enjoyed seeing the kids have so much fun catching fish.  Even if they were just little mud cats.  I remember the days when my dad would take me to do the same thing.  He taught me my love for fishing and I hope I can pay it forward with my kids!  What a fun day.