The Year in Trout, 2017
Related: Eastern Sierra, fishing, health, Onchorynchus mykiss, Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita, Salvelinus fontinalis, travel, trout, wildlife, Yosemite
Cachuma Lake, March 2017
I was down near Cachuma Lake Reservoir (Solvang, California) for the Solvang Spring Double Century on March 18, and so I decided to rent a boat and go trout fishing—overworked and needed some downtime just to enjoy sun and water and fresh air, as I did (plus a sunburn, gotta get one of these once a year).
Stocked with large rainbow trout from a hatchery near Mt Lassen (no smaller than 15.5 inches~), the trout fishing was superb. The lake had gone from 6% full to 46% full and so when I arrived, I rented a boat. There were a total of 2 or 3 boats on the lake all day.
In general, the trout were not on the bite until 10 AM, perhaps 9:30 at the earliest. Things were 'hot' from 10 AM to noon each day. They were mostly shallow, perhaps six feet down (“surface”) but later in the day I had some success fishing 20 feet down in very deep water.
It went well: 15.5", 18", 18.5", 19", 19.5" rainbow trout weighing in (real weight!) from about 1.8 pounds to 3.5 pounds. Tasty dinners, including last night. Good fighters all. The Big One got away due to knot failure—which is incredibly bad luck since my knots almost never fail. So if anyone out there catches a really large 'bow with a red/gold Thomas Buoyant hanging off its jaw, that’s the one. Maybe the line had a nick I did not spot. I had the most fun with a Thomas Buoyant lure, but nightcrawlers were about half the hookups. These are triploid (sterile) trout. A 15" bass I threw back to grow larger.
Get yourself a Benchmade knife for gutting trout in the field. Benchmade 943 as shown has a better shape and thickness to the blade that works ideally for gutting a fish. Benchmade 940 is also excellent for all-around use, but the blade shape is not quite as good for fish gutting. As shown, I put bright green gaffer’s tape on dark objects just in case I misplace or drop them in dim/dark conditions.
2017-03-16: 15.5, 18, 18.5, 19, 20 inches
A solid day, but much harder to catch fish. Several nice ones threw the hook; it was “throw the hook” day apparently.
2017-03-19: 189, 18.5, 19 inches.
Another very solid day. Still, I was bummed that having rented a boat all day, several days of fishing had not yielded one of the 6-pounders that were being landed each day—one by a shore fisherman. Four fish by 11:30, then all went dead until 15:30 where I caught the 5th.
2017-03-20: 15.5, 18, 18.5, 19, 19.5 inches
Kirman Lake, May 2017
Caught two days prior in a lake reputed to hold large Salvelinus fontinalis I was surprised and delighted by this very large Oncorhynchus clarkii.