Our extended family & friends spent the past week camping in the Sierras (near the Pickel Meadows Marine Corp training camp for those who know the territory). My cousin and I both purchased float tubes before the trip and made a couple of day hikes to lakes that were a bit off the beaten track. An uninflated float tube fits perfectly within an old external frame Kelty. I'd never tubed before and had a great time floating the lakes, mostly tossing nymphs (thanks Mike).
However, the trout were not cooperative. We both caught plenty of small rainbows on flies in the local rivers but could not even get a strike in the lakes. Finally I gave in to frustration. I switched from my old Pflueger to a spinning reel, attached a mid-size spinner, and began trolling the deep areas of the lake. The results we incredible ...
In the space of an hour I had three strikes and landed two trout, the first 17" and the second 18", each well rounded, probably weighing a bit over two pounds. Prior to this the biggest trout I had caught in the area was 13", and the biggest I had ever heard of was only 15". Wow.
The experience was bittersweet though. I nearly always catch and release in the Sierras but the second trout did not recover. I was using very light tackle (appropriate for the "normal" trout in the area ) and the 5-minute fight exhausted this fine fish. I spent 10 minutes trying to get her swimming again but finally put her on a stringer. Back in camp, we shared the filets for lunch and they were delicious - orange and firm. I also collected 4 or 5 ounces of roe and will try my hand af making caviar.
Hope others are also enjoying these weeks before the bird season kicks off again.
James Lee Mansell, RIP
1 week ago