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    Tuesday
    Nov052013

    A cold trip for Eagle Lake rainbow trout.

    Seventeen degrees, perfect for float tubing.

    Barb, Christy and I managed to get a couple of days off together, so we decided to head up to the Eagle Lake area. Barb had just finished her first California Heritage Trout Challenge and was ready to try for a second certificate. She wants to catch the other six fish she did not get in her first certificate. That would give her two separate certificates with twelve different fish.

    The trailhead.

    We could of just went to Eagle Lake to catch our fish, but it is a very large and windy lake. I thought it would be better to head up to the hike-to lake, that Andy and I discovered a couple of years ago. It is one of the prettiest lakes I have ever seen. It requires a nice two-mile hike, in the snow.

    Enjoying the two-mile hike in.

     

    The lake is part of the Pine Creek drainage. It is not stocked by the DFW and has a remnant population of Eagle Lake Rainbow trout. The lake is extremely clear and is one of the most difficult bodies of water we have ever fished. We have never seen a fish under eighteen inches and they are some of the hardest fighting fish we have ever tangled with.

     

    The water was so clear, it was like fishing in a swimming pool.

    Between the freezing cold temperature, the clear water and the small population of fish that live in the lake, I expected an extremely tough bite. Christy and Barb both proved my theory wrong. Christy was the first to hook up and Barb shortly followed with a nice Eagle Laker of her own.

    Christy scored first.

     

    Followed by Barb.

    The trip was also a first for Barb, because she caught her first fish on the first fly she tied.

    Barb's first-tied fly.

    Christy hooked a couple of more before I even got a bite. The storm was moving in and my feet were so cold I knew I would not have much time to fish. I really had to catch a couple of fish or I would hear it from these two all the way home. Fortunately I was able to put two in the boat real quick before we had to head out.

    I finally caught a couple.

    After only getting to fish for about three hours the storm rolled in and we had to hike out. We stopped for dinner at the Lassen Ale Works. It is a great brewery located in the historic Pioneer building in downtown Susanville.

    I am so stuffed!!!

     

    An IPA, a blonde, a porter and two dorks.

    The next morning we got up real early and stopped at one of the lakes in the Carabou wildernes. The water was so cold we could only fish for a couple of hours. We caught a few small brook trout and headed home.

    Thursday
    Oct102013

    Quick run to the Golden Trout Wilderness.

    This week Christy was working at a conference in Visalia. She invited me to crash at her hotel room and have dinner with her and her coworkers. I thought this would be a perfect plan. I would get up early, drive over to the Golden Trout Wilderness, fish all day and make it back in time for dinner.

     

    The first day I fished one of the headwater streams of the Little Kern Golden Trout. We call these  stringers. The fish are very spooky and extremely difficult to catch. The fish are very small, but I love to fish this way and find it very fun.

    Little Kern Golden Trout.

    After a couple of hours rooting around these stringers. I thought it would be fun to head over to the Kern River Rainbow trout drainage. I found a creek that had pool after pool loaded with small but pretty Kern River Rainbow trout.

     

     

    Kern River Rainbow Trout.

    On Day two, I decided to drive a little farther and go a little higher in altitude for the California Golden Trout.

     

    After a couple of hours of driving on long winding roads I found a small roadside stream that was loaded with California Golden trout.

    The creek was extremely small, but held a large population of golden trout.

     

    California Golden Trout.

     

    After two days I had a blast catching all three subspecies of the golden trout, while Christy was working.

    Life is good.

    Wednesday
    Sep112013

    Native trout of Nevada.

    After driving several hours into the Nevada desert, including forty-nine miles of dirt road. We finally arrived at our destination.

    The tiny town of Jarbidge is considered the most remote town in the lower forty-eight states.

    While Jarbidge is extremely fascinating, that is not the reason we had made this journey. In a small creek just outside of town lives two of the most rare and unique trout of Nevada; The Columbia Basin Redband trout and the Bull Trout.  The plan was go into town, buy a T-shirt for my buddy Heath and see if we could get any Intel from the locals. The first place we stopped at was one of the two bars in town. It is amazing that no matter how small or remote a town is, there is always at least one bar. The bar tender told us to head over to the general store and we could pick up a nice T-shirt there.

    The general store was all the way across town, so we decided to drive the 100 feet.  When we arrived at the general store we were greeted by some of the nicest people we had ever met. After picking up the T-shirt we headed to camp to get a good nights sleep for our hike in the morning.

    The creek we planned to fish contained redbands in the lower stretch and the bull trout would be located towards the headwaters. The trail was not used much and we found ourselves mostly bushwhacking through some of the thickest but prettiest terrain I had experienced.

    As we worked our way upstream, we seemed to have no problem catching redbands. Just about every pool or riffle had a redband eager to eat our flies.

    After hiking several miles without even seeing a bull trout, Mike and I were starting to get a little worried. At this point I was starting to believe we would strike out. Mike kept his spirits up and noticed a small fish in one of the larger pools.

    The fish caught his eye because it appeared to have white spots as opposed to the black spots the redbands have. Could it be a Bull trout? Mike gave the pool to me and let me make a cast, I had hooked my first bull trout.

    After a quick picture, the fish was released and we kept fishing. We worked our way upstream for a few more hours catching redbands, but could not manage to land another bull trout. It was ok with us, Mike had caught several in this area a few years ago and I was more than happy with the one that I caught.

    The next morning we would decide to head into the Nevada desert and see if we could catch a Humboldt Cutthroat trout. I did some research before this trip and picked a stream that would be on the way home. When we arrived at the stream it was dried up. This did not detour Mike or I, we had fished similar terrain and knew that small creeks often disappear underground and reappear above ground. We headed upstream looking for water and a place to camp. We eventually found both and decided to set up camp, take a rest and have some lunch.

    The section of creek that went through our campsite had fish in it. This got us very excited. We rigged up our rods and begin fishing, We caught very small cutthroat trout from the very small creek.

    We worked our way upstream finding a little bit bigger water and some beaver ponds that contained quit a few Humboldt Cutthroat Trout. Mike and I caught enough fish to make us feel content and decided it was time to head back to camp and get a good nights rest for the long drive home.

    Friday
    Aug302013

    Northern California coastal lagoons

     

    This past weekend Christy, Barb and I headed up to the north coast to try and get Barb her last heritage trout. I always look forward to the lagoons, because you never know what you are going to catch. Some trips we do really well with the coastal cutthroat trout and some trips we do really great, catching steelhead trout. The lagoons are some the prettiest water you can float tube in California.

    The weather in Sacramento has been so hot and with all the smoke from the fires, the area is quit miserable. I knew the temps would be in the low sixties, and with the coastal fog we would be very comfortable.

    The pressure was on for Barb to catch her fish. We are approaching the end of the year and we all have a lot on our plates for the rest of the year. Barb needed to catch this last fish because she plans to do another six fish for next years Heritage Trout Challenge. You can only do one challenge per calendar year and if she did not get this fish it would throw her whole plan off.

    Fortunately Barb was able to catch a Coastal Cutthroat on her second cast of the day. This really took the pressure off and allowed us to just relax and fish.

    We found a nice tule point with a drop off right where we put in. It was good for a few fish for Barb and I, but shut off fairly quick. Christy had not caught a fish so we decided to paddle over to the bridge. In the past Andy and I have done very well at the bridge. It is the inlet of the main stream that flows into the lagoon. I promised both Christy and Barb they would catch a bunch of fish. I was very wrong. Christy caught only one steelhead and Barb caught nothing. Fortunately it was only about a two mile paddle to get to it.

    After wasting time paddling to the bridge we decided to head back to the spot we started at. Once we got back we each caught a couple more before heading out.

     

     

    At about three o'clock in the afternoon, we decided it was time to hit the Six Rivers Brewery for some grog and grub.

    The next morning we felt that it would be fun to fish a different lagoon. I had read that this lagoon contained a large population of holdover rainbow trout. The plan was to fish until noon then grab some lunch and head home. Christy and I caught a few nice rainbows and Barb just seemed to run out of time before she could catch one.

    We felt The Lost Coast Brewery would be a great place to have lunch on our way home.

    During our lunch we started talking about the North Coast Brewery and thought that it would be fun to hit Fort Brag on the way home and stop for a beer there.

    Once we got to North Coast Brewery I was really craving hot wings. North Coast did not have hot wings, so we decided to hit one more brewery in Willits that claimed to have great hot wings.

    We finaly got home in Sacramento around 10:30 P.M. Barb still had to drive to the bay area, She made it home around midnight. It was a long, long weekend but a great time.

     

    Monday
    Aug262013

    Barb's California Heritage Trout Challenge.

    With our recent trip to Humboldt County, Barb has now finished the California Heritage Trout Challenge.

    Full story and photos coming soon.

    Lahontan Cutthroat Trout.

     

    Coastal Rainbow Trout.

     

    Goose Lake Redband Trout.

     

    Warner Redband Trout.

     

    McCloud River Redband Trout.

     

    Coastal Cutthroat Trout.