Bryan Smith came up for some fishing over the weekend. We hit Big Lake Saturday am. The roads opened up April 1 and the lake looked good…. higher than last Fall so it got some runoff. Water was clear and 43-45 degrees. Fishing was slow, probably because it’s a bit early but the wind didn’t help matters either. We ended up each catching one nice fish apiece and missing a few others. Bryan caught a nice hard fighting cutt and I landed a rainbow that jumped 4-5 times. Bryan caught one other smaller rainbow…all slowly stripping simi’s. Bryan tried the bobber for awhile but no action.
We stopped by the store and talked with Rick. He said they had brought in some decent brookies already. AZG&F had stocked them last season as well as in Crescent. Not sure how Crescent wintered. I mentioned in an earlier post that AZG&F only netted one rainbow this past week. Rick said the lake iced over in November and never reopened. We stopped by to check it out but the wind was too bad to fish.
Sunday am we hit Show Low as wind again was in the forecast and Show Low is 5 minutes from my house. It has been fishing slow…as has most everything but Becker. We fished for a few hours before the wind got us again. But not before I managed to land a 4+ lb smallie stripping a simi right tight to the banks. She was a pre spawn female and had to be full of eggs because she looked like she was going to burst…..fought like a mad dog.
Nice weekend spent with a good friend. Fishing was tough but that’s just the way it is sometimes. Going into Big Saturday…we saw herds of elk, muleys and antelope….a nice morning commute.
I got a chance to help AZG&F pull nets on Crescent this morning. Lake is surprising higher than I expected. There’s plenty of water. We only pulled in one trout after a night set. It was in good shape about 17″ and 2.5 lbs. Swam away no problem. I have a hard time believing the lake killed. The oxygen levels tested good all Winter and there was very little ice cover this Winter. The weeds are already up to the surface of the lake. That means they continued to grow over the Winter and it also means they will choke the lake early this season. We also pulled up an 11.5″ waterdog. Had no idea they were even in there but I got a pic to prove it. I have seen them in Carnero and White Mtn Rez but never Crescent.
We found a herd of about 30 muleys on the way in with 6 bucks in it. Several had started to shed their antlers and were a bit lobsided.
Nice day to be out. Spring is definitely here. I’d hit it early this year if you’re making it up. Could be a short season this year.
Hit Sunrise this am at 8. Had the entire lake to myself. Water clarity is much better than last week…still a bit brown but clearer. I fished it last week with busted electronics when water was dirtier….less than 8″ viz. Only fished for 1.5 hours as I was fishing blind….nada. Fished today for 3 hours with new electronics….same results. I eventually just rowed around trying to find fish to fish to and marked only about 20-25 fish….all small. I even went to the bobber but really couldn’t find fish to fish over. Hopefully my new fish finder isn’t working as well as my old one because it was pretty bleak. Several boats and about 6 bank fishermen came and went with no fish as well. Maybe I just didn’t find them even though I covered a good bunch of the lake.
I’ve a good “O’fr” going my last three trips. I hit Havasu last week and the algae was so thick I couldn’t find beds. Hit Sunrise the day after and blanked and now this trip with a big “0” again. Maybe it’s time to start playing golf.
Hit Saguaro Tuesday and Wednesday fishing with Brian part of a day and Ron the next. Ended up with 10 bed fish. This 5 lbr was the best . Lots of beds…lots of boats. Everybody and their grandma bed fishes anymore. May hit Havasu once more and then it’s trout time. Should be good this Spring. Should be no Winter kill anywhere. I’d recommend hitting it early. Sunrise is about 2 vertical feet lower than last year. Doubt it will make it through the Summer
I met Ron at Havasu Wed afternoon. We checked out a new spot I had scoped out and blanked…..found beds but all were empty. I knew we were a bit early but we were itchy for some bed fishing and the weather looked promising. We went scouting a couple spots we knew had fish from before and sure enough they were in…beds with fish on them. Next morning we launched at Windsor and fished the shoreline all the way to the channel. Found a few players but they just weren’t hot at all. Managed to coax a couple to grab but they both spit the hook after vaulting into the air. Hit the channel and found some more active players.
We fished our way back to Windsor but the algae had gotten so bad we couldn’t see much. So we headed to see my buddy Doug Bell, from Whitefish, Mt. Doug winters there for three months and is on the water pretty much every day. He told us about a couple coves up north that his buddies had fished and landed some smallies stripping leeches and Clousers. Next morning we hit it and found bedders right off the bat. Again we found beds but most were empty. We landed a couple and then went to the deeper water stripping but found very few fish that morning. The day before there were plenty of shad but they must have moved out because it was pretty quiet.
A good trip….maybe a tad early but pretty nice for mid February. Next month should be excellent….if the algae doesn’t throw us a curve.
Yes, Ron caught all the big fish…..I know that…he made me aware of it as well. Good fishing with him again…been too long
Went over to Pasadena to see my son and hit Havasu for a day on the way back. Hit Site Six again looking for the stripers…nada. Only fish that wanted to play for me were the largemouth. I fished from 7 to 2 and these were the only bumps I had. Never had a bump after 10. I did see a nice smallie caught by another fly guy. Saw probably 4 stripers being carried away from the fishing pier. But that was pretty much all the other action I saw. I can see why the FLW tourney was so tough.
The water had risen at least a foot and had warmed 6 degrees in the past couple weeks. I didn’t see the numbers of shad that were there last time I was there either. A bad algae has formed…one I had never seen before. Locals said it happens every year but I have fished the lake for 9 years now as late as April and never saw this before. The lake is getting nutrients from somewhere. Maybe that’s why the fish keep getting bigger?????
This is a shot from the London Bridge. Normally you could see smallie beds from this viewpoint…not happening this year. My bed fishing season may be cut short this year. Oh well…the high lakes opened before I left this past week. I hit Horseshoe a couple times and landed this 3.5 lb brown. This guy went into the smoker.
Just an FYI….Simms is launching a new Bass page on Facebook. Give it a look. I’m sure there will be some valuable tips and info on how to better your game for bass. I’m not big with Facebook but I’ll be checking in. I can use all the help I can get….trying to get Mr Bucketmouth to eat when he doesn’t want to.
Hit Havasu again and fished with a buddy from Montana. Got into two big stripers and managed to get one of them in. This one went 10 lbs…no idea how big the other one was. He took me 100 ft into my backing in about 10 seconds. After a ten minute tussle he broke me on the structure below. Both hit 1/0 DHM’s in silver and silver holo. Gonna go back for sure with more next time. In a month it’s smallie time so looks like I’ll be hitting I-40 for awhile in the future…..well worth the 5 hour drive.
I hung up the trout gear and have been hitting some of the bass lakes. I know it’s early but I have to do something. Apache has been a bit stingy. I caught a few smallies but fishing in general was slow. I checked the weather this past week and it called for wind there so I checked Havasu and calm and sunny showed up. Havasu it was. Last year the lake was different for me. I usually start at the Bill Williams end because it is generally warmer. I don’t catch smallies but I usually pick up some lmb’s and stripers. Last year there were very few shad down there and of course that means fewer stripers and lmb’s. I did all my good fishing midlake up last year so this year I started at Site Six….good call.
Fishing wasn’t hot and heavy but after about 5 hours of casting/stripping and losing flies to the structure there the fish finally started to play. First striper I hooked up fought me for about 5-7 minutes and finally broke me on the structure there. Second one I managed to get it away from it and landed him…a nice hard fighting 6 lbr that had me well into my backing. I had forgotten how hard big stripers pull. Man, they are horses. I hooked up one later on but he came unbuttoned on me.
The shad were thick and plentiful there and I’m sure that is why the stripers were there also. I fished til the sun went down and was rewarded with a nice 4.5 lb largemouth that hit my same Ultra Foxy as the stripers had….quite a nice bonus.
Sorry for the crummy pic….hard taking selfies with a cell phone. Next morning I went down to the Bill Williams just to check it out and it was slow too but I picked up two lmb’s…one that went 3. Lots of smaller stripers down there now and not as many shad.
The fish are in the best shape I have seen in the 9 years I’ve been going there. The bass were chunks and have been eating well. The 3 lbr must have been chowing on crawdads because I caught him right against a rocky bank and his mouth was totally red from grubbing in the rocks for food.
It is a 5.5 hour haul from my place up here in Show Low but it is well worth the drive. I don’t think many guys bass fish with a fly rod but there are times when a fly rod will outfish a conventional guy. Site Six has a fishing pier with lights. The locals congregate there all day and into the night. During the 6 hours I was fishing I saw at least 60-80 guy/gals fishing. I never saw a fish caught but in that same time I hooked up 4 quality fish using flies. Give it a shot…it’s a blast.
Tim Oliver, Steve Martin and his brother Pete Martin made the annual fall trip to Erie Pennsylvania area to fish the streams running out of Lake Erie. Water has been low all fall, but there were still a good number of fish being caught on Elk Creek, so this is where we focused our trip this year. Started out on Sunday November 9th fishing upper Elk Creek above Folly’s. Had a ¼ inch of rain the night before, so the fish were pretty active and feeding quite well in moving water. Fish were taking small egg patterns and flash back PT’s. Fishing was good throughout the day and everyone landed quite a few fish. On day two (11/10), started on lower Elk Creek just above the mouth and found very few fish. Did land one nice Steelhead and saw a few Browns taken around Uncle John’s Cabins. Moved back upstream late morning and fished below Folly’s. Found lots of fish, but fewer fish feeding. Did land a few nice fish below Folly’s, then moved up and fished the water right behind the fly shop at Folly’s. Ended the day with regular hook ups the last couple of hours. On day three (11/11) we headed up to Platz Road parking area (Sterrantania) and fished upstream and downstream from the parking area. Another fabulous day of sight casting to Steelhead in moving water. The fish were a bit more picky, but persistence paid off to a well placed PT or Juju midge.
After three days in PA I was developing a little tendonitis in my right elbow from tussling with so many Steelhead. My trip then took me the Cattaraugus River in New York where I met up with Jason Myers, a buddy from Buffalo. This is a big water with its headwaters on the Seneca Indian Nation. We went upstream and fished Zoar Valley above Gowanda. This river is in a picturesque deep valley with high walled cliffs surrounding the river. It is a great size for those wishing to fish it with a spey rod or pinning gear. Having said that, we fished it with our nymph rigs and had several hook ups. Did land one bright 8 lb Steelhead (see picture below) on a cold and windy day.
On Thursday, November 13th, we made our way over to Oak Orchard (flows into Lake Ontario) with hopes of landing a big Brown or two. Fishing started out fast and furious with 8 nice fish landed (a mix of Browns and Steelhead) in the first three hours (one Brown in the 8 lb class – see picture below), then they reduced the water and the fish just turned off. Nothing much happened for the next couple of hours so we broke for lunch. It was during lunch that the snow started and we called it a day. Met two nice guys from West Virginia who had been fishing Sandy Creek with good success. They landed sever double digit Browns and Steelhead on this latest trip on the Sandy. As always, another great trip back east and am already looking forward to next year.
Looks like a terrible time, Tim. I’ll be there next year for sure
Sorry for the lack of posts this past month. Busy with work and the lack of anything major to report is my excuse. I have been walking the banks of Horseshoe working the spawning browns. Nothing major to be seen. I picked up maybe a half dozen in the 3-4 lb range….not really exciting stuff but it was close to home and I’m actually getting a bit tired of trout. Ready to hit the bass scene …looking forward to it. I hit the X Diamond yesterday with Mike Faulkinbury and we picked up a few browns and rainbows each on hoppers…all small. The creek actually was iced over pretty good early on. All the slow water and ponds are solid. Went by Sunrise on the way home and it was solid as well….all except for a couple 30 yd patches full of coots. About 10-12 bald eagles were patiently waiting for the ice to close around them. Horseshoe was still open. Not sure of Big or Crescent….not really worried about them to be truthful. Time for BASS.
I’m trying to get a report up from Tim on our annual steelhead trip. I opted out this year….like a dummy. I’m having trouble getting pics up. I’ll keep working on it.