Magdalena Bay 2020

Mag Bay 2020 is in the books and was one of the best if not the best annual Baja trip yet.  La Nina affected the overall fishing, leading to less marlin and yellowtail tuna but the abundance of several other species of tuna, snook, dorado and grouper made for some very exciting action.  Jeff de Brown of Reel Baja upped his program significantly with new accommodations and gourmet food.  Joe Staller, Tom Horvath, Skip Culbert, Dave Weaver, Vince Deadmond and myself enjoyed 6 days of great weather, good fishing and great food…really lucky for saltwater fishing.

Skip…aka “Pappie” with beautiful 18 lb snook caught in the mangroves

Tom getting chummy with a mangrove grouper

A flock of frigates in the mangroves.  When outside in the blue water, we look for these birds circling to locate baitfish.  Find the baitfish…you find the game fish.

One of the nightly appetizers served by our gourmet chef, Crystal.  We were served these every night, usually large enough that it could have been my entire meal

If you are looking for a first class trip to the Baja…either East Cape or Magdalena Bay check out the Reel Baja at www.thereelbaja.com…888 2874076.

Dave with a nice dorado

 

Sunrise Lake

Fished Sunrise Lake this morning and landed nice 16″-18″rainbows stripping Mega Simi Seal leeches…2″  Nice to feel the old Sunrise grab.  No lake up here has a better strip bite than Sunrise.  They eat it like they’re going 100 miles an hour…broke off the first couple on 3x.  The bobber boys were doing even better.

Sorry for the lack of reports but I’ve been hitting Show Low and Becker and you can only do that same report so many times.  All the rez waters are open now and I would imagine they are all fishing well with the lack of pressure on them early this season.  Time to hit it.  You don’t really know if they will stay open.  It all depends on the number of new virus cases that show up.

Hit it while you can

Becker, Show Low AGAIN

Joe and Dick Brooks came up for a few days of cooler weather and some fishing.  Hit Becker first morning and landed some very nice rainbows and a couple Tigers on #16 midges.

Hit Carnero the next morning to find a bunch of floating fish in the weeds and at least a dozen boaters on the very small fishable area with two more ready to launch.  Decided to go hit Becker again.  With Becker being Becker, the fish did not want to play with the same midge that day and we pretty much got spanked.  Not the first time…won’t be the last.

Decided to fish Show Low the final morning and she came through for us again.  Landed bluegills, green sunnies, walleye, catfish and of course some nice smallies…all on the Jiggly again.

Nice to have such a versatile fishery so close to home

 

Show Low

Show Low has been decent for some good smallies the past couple weeks, mostly fishing Jiggly’s under a bobber.  Next time out I plan to try stripping some baitfish patterns.

Big still is off and on and hasn’t really turned on like past years.  My theory is that the Snake River Cutt’s haven’t been planted for three years now and the numbers are way down.  These cutt’s came into the shallows to spawn every Spring.  They were followed in by the egg eating Rainbows in the lake, making them more available to us shallow fishing fly flingers.  This happened on a much smaller scale than previous years.  The Bonneville Cutt’s didn’t come in shallow (maybe spawning in deeper water?).  We may have to adjust our tactics somewhat in the future.

Becker has been Becker.  Good one day, off the next.  The ticket has been size #18 midges but that seems to have tailed off lately.  Off to new tactics again.  The ant hatch has finally arrived with the Monsoons, so some good fishing should follow.

Been a rather wierd year up here with the Rez lakes closed.  Luna Lake has gotten their aerators installed and fired up so hopefully it will make a difference in future years to keep the lake fishing strong later into the hotter months.  Hopefully Crescent is next.

Stay safe

Becker, Big, Show Low

Sorry for the lack of posts, but between all the work and wind there hasn’t been a lot of time on the water for me.  I hit Becker with Charlie yesterday and we got almost three hours in before the wind forced us off.  We both landed some nice 16″-18″ rainbows on hoppers and of course missed a few as well.  He landed a nice 18″ Tiger that was the big fish of the morning.  The water is up and reeeaaally clear.

I have hit Big Lake three times with some seriously good fishermen and the biggest fish any of us caught were 14″ Bonnevilles.  There were some Snake River cutt’s in South Cove but not many were landed.  I’m not really sure how many are left in Big.  AZG&F hasn’t stocked the Snakes in three years so numbers are almost certainly down.  For some reason the bigger Bonnevilles just haven’t come in yet??? …as of a week ago.  The water is as good as I’ve seen in years and is up.  Eventually it will turn on.  This Spring has been surprisingly cold at times and the wind has been continuing even into this month??  Life in the mountains…love it.

Show Low has still been putting out some fatty smallmouth.  With the wind kicking up all the time, it has been my go to, even if I only get a few hours on it

Wish I had a better report but with the rez shut down, it definitely limits our choices.  One good thing about the shutdown is the fish should be in good shape once it reopens….let’s hope sooner than later

 

Show Low, Big Lake 5/14-16

Joe came up Wednesday night to fish Thursday-Saturday.  We hit Show Low first thing Thursday am to a nice day comparably to what has been going on up here wind wise.  The weather had turned cool the previous couple days…cool enough that I actually turned my heat back on for a bit.  I believe this contributed to the slow early fishing that day.  That and the fact that we switched to a fly they wanted…a Dk Olive Jiggly.  This was my main fly last season with the stained water.  Earlier this season I switched to a Copper/Olive Diamond Dub Jiggly that worked well too but not that morning.  Once we found something they wanted we proceeded to have a good day….probably 14-15 smallies between us, a walleye, nice holdover trout and a green sunfish.  I love Show Low for it’s diversity.

No really big smallies but several 2-2.5 lbr’s that fought like the usual SL smallie.

Next day we hit Big Lake to see what was going on troutwise.  I hadn’t had any good reports yet on the lake but it was time to start playing with the trout.  We hit South Cove first thinking the trout may still be deeper and that cove has better access to deep water…wrong…nada, not a bump.  Off to old faithful Railroad.  We met Tim there and fished with him for awhile, landing a couple 14″ rainbows.  Tim didn’t have much time so Joe and I headed around the corner to the next cove (not really sure what it is called) and got into some fish there stripping BH Flashback PT’s.  Joe landed 4 brookies and I got a Bonnieville Cutt about 14″ and a brookie.  Not what you’d call on fire but at least some action.  Didn’t see much else going on so we hit Show Low again Saturday…..loving that 7 minute drive.

Tim and Bob Boyd met us at the lake and we were into fish almost immediately.  Bob landed several really nice females.  The one at the top went a good 5 lbs and fought him like a tuna…..on the Dk Olive Jiggly again.  I could hear him screaming “where’s my 8 wt?”  We didn’t get a lot of pics because we were spread out pretty good….but we caught a lot of fish that morning. Tim got a nice 2.5 lmb which is pretty rare for that lake.  I landed the fattie above, a female that looked like she was ready to burst.

A very nice three days of fishing with some gooood weather.  This wind usually starts dying down about now.  Which is great because I plan to keep hitting Show Low for the big girls that will be coming in soon.

Show Low smallies

With the virus keeping us homebound, it’s time to tie flies.  This was the case all last month as April was the busiest month I have ever had with materials.  Great for the wallet but tough for the fishing experiences.  I didn’t have much time to hit the water lately.  Some early season trips to Becker with some good/bad success was about it.  I have had some luck fishing Show Low lately for the smallies.  They have just started to play this past week.  You usually get two-three hours before the wind gets you.

Water temps are starting to warm so this should be fun for the next month or so.  Carnero is the hot spot right now.  Fish are being caught on small nymphs and simi’s stripped.  Holdovers 16″-17″ are taking smallish top water flies as well.  Big Lake fish are still out deep so a deep water nymphing trip is in the future.  I just need to find a day where the wind will let me play more than two hours.  I tried my hand at the grassies in rainbow and got totally spanked.  They average 24″s and are everywhere.  Another new project.  Love it!

Hopefully I’ll have some trout pics next report.  It’s just so easy to hit SL….seven minutes away and those smallies are some kind of fight.

Parker Strip, Havasu

Tim Oliver, Joe Staller and I hit the Parker Strip Saturday and met up with Phil Click for an afternoon of bed fishing.  We all caught fish, mostly smallies and one good lmb.

We headed up to Havasu City that afternoon and got ready for the lake the next day.  We split up and found some of the waters we normally fish, not fishable because of the water being pretty cloudy.  Not sure what is going on but the lake was not the usual clear water we were accustomed to.  On to Plan B.  Joe and Phil fished his boat and Tim and I hit another spot. 

Not sure how many fish we caught but we kept busy all morning netting fish.

Next day we hit the river again at a different spot

We fished it all day, taking turns and landed smallies and lmb’s.  Curiously the lmb’s were all paired up and the smallies weren’t.  Not sure what’s happening there either…usually it’s reversed.  Great trip with a good group.  Havasu comes through again but it is definitely not the same old Havasu of years past.  I’m seeing more and more gizzard shad harassing the bass.  Between the fish that are taken off the beds and left unguarded and the gizzard shad gobbling eggs, I have doubts Havasu can maintain the fishing it once had.  I talked with a conventional guy who saw a ball of gizzard shad rolling a spawning female like a football gobbling the eggs as she was laying them.  All her eggs were not going to be hatched.  You wonder how often that goes on.

 

Havasu 2/27-28

Hit Havasu this past couple days.  Water is still a little cold but managed to land 10-11 in the afternoons.  Mornings they were off the beds until the water warmed a bit.  All were between 2.5 and 3.5 lbs.  Solid, hard fighting smallies.  Lost 4 to jumps that I didn’t get to the net.  I only found them in one of my usual spots.  It seems the water is getting a little dingier every year.  Not sure what’s going on.  Maybe the quaggas have something to do with it?

Here’s some pic’s

Headed back again next weekend.  Hopefully this coming storm won’t cool things down even more.  We need more of that good old AZ sun.

Spring almost here

Spring is right around the corner up here.  It has been a weird Winter. We have had a pretty normal snowpack and some fairly mild weather the past month, but it has gotten cold enough at night that I still have snow on the North side of my house from last Christmas???  Show Low Lake has been spilling over the spillway since the end of January.  It didn’t thaw last year and spill until early April?  I’ve tried finding the bass at SL but have had no success.  I’ll pick up a trout every now and then but no smb’s or walleye.  Becker has been fishing well for a month now.  I have had my best luck stripping bunny leeches slowly on the bottom.  Two weeks ago it was 38-40 degrees.  Yesterday it was up to 44 and the trout were doing their spawn dance in the shallows?  Haven’t seen that in several years.  Not quite sure what’s going on there because these are supposed to be Triploids that don’t spawn.

Overall the outlook is good.  Lakes are up and the runoff really hasn’t started yet.  Luna is scheduled to have aerators installed this Spring.  I’ll believe it when I see it.

Here’s to good 2020 fishing season

John