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Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Hell Portal

The alarm sounded at 3:45 but I was already awake, when it comes to dreaming of fishing at Eagle Lake, sleep takes 2nd place to my memories on her waters.  Suited up in our fishing gear and coffeed up, we left for the lake from the Mancamp on the banks of the Hamilton Branch at O Dark-Thirty.  There was challenging conditions to drive through but we have done this same voyage hundreds of times, and we were prepared.

We arrived at our right turn to the Wildcat Point area, TC drove and I rode shotgun. The Chub King and
JoeBob were behind us in another truck. We chained up and headed in, and there was a good amount of snow, more than I have seen in several years. Chub King had laid down some tracks the day before and things were going well at first, then we could not stay on track due to a lost chain, This was not going to work!  After struggling down the snowy road for what seemed an eternity, we plowed into a turnout to let some other buddies go by to the buckets, they told us a truck had just flipped coming down the A1 summit! Chub King went forward to turn his truck around while JoeBob and I shoveled off a platform to turn the van around.

We had to take pause and check out this stunning sunrise, it lifted our spirits and gave us hope.

Turning around the power steering box pump failed, and our only chain snapped. Chub King came back and he towed us out but it was not easy as we got stuck several more times running with no chains. About halfway back JoeBob found the first missing chain, we put it back on the tire and the next big hill came up - and the last usable chain broke. With a little muscle we got back to the A1 road and headed for the Christie Fingers.  I'm so proud how the entire crew did not blow a fuse and solved the problems at hand.  It could have been really ugly!

At last we were on the water.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous with sunny skies, temps in the high 30's, and not a puff of wind.  The water temp was 37 degrees.  Upon reaching the fingers there were small pods of rainbows and strays rising here and there, but no mega pods.  Sparse midge flies floated on the water.  It was so warm out we were stripping layers, gloves, and the ice in our guides had thawed for good.

Effective flies were Jay Fair Wiggle Tails #12 in Black/Peacock, Floro Orange, and Leach Brown.  The trout were hanging on the first ledge and coming in periodically to feed in the shallows.  Long leaders and slow strips brought results if you were in the right spot.  The wind then came up at 5- 10mph but it was a workable wind.

It was slow today, we touched 12 fish, landing 8.  It took me all day just to get into my only fish.  This is the smallest fish we caught today but it is still a nice hard fighting Eagle Laker.

After getting fuel in Susanville, TC went to start the van and nothing but a small whirl.  He had been through this before as his cam sensor was going out, with a jiggle on the wires it started right up and we were bound for the  Man area at last, and with trout for the smoker I might add.

We were all smiles heading home and talking about today's fishing when we approached the west side of Fredonyer Summit and saw a closed road due to a severe accident.  After a 15 minute wait we were rolling, I hope the drivers and passengers of these "T-Boned" vehicles are all right.  Home at last we laughed at our misfortunes and triumphs during this bizarre day.  I'll be back up for the closure on the 30th and the 31st with my crew - It's payback time....

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