Winter Edition

Winter Edition
Winter Edition

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Angry Trout



I'm back from my last trip to Eagle Lake for 2011, normally I fish the closure on December 31st but this year I can't make it.  The Eagle Laker's behavior this fall/winter has been strange, not many rise forms in the skinny water and most the time they sit on the first ledge waiting to come in and feed.  In fact my colleagues and I are wondering just what the hell is going on.  My first inclination is that we have had a high pressure dominating the atmosphere, very little rain, and an east wind most of the time for months.  There is plenty of food in the shallows and the scuds have come back after some bleak years due to the lake's falling water level.  When the trout have come in to feed in the shallows it is only for a short time.  Some days have been good, and some not.  My best day was last Tuesday the 27th, 10 fish hooked, 9 landed - The morning bite that day was great!  Many of the fish I caught were quite large this late season, so clean and beautiful.  I like to think of them as fresh water tunas!

The Eagle Lake rainbow in an angry trout.  When they see your fly there is no hesitation on their part, they want it, they grab it and you've got a hook up.  Lake Davis fish can get picky and shy but not the Eagle Laker.  If your fishing Eagle Lake and are not getting hook ups, it's a sure bet that the fish are not there.  If they are there you will get hook ups, bumps, and takes.  My advice is to move to another spot if no action takes place in 20 minutes of fishing.  When fighting an Eagle Laker you've got your hands full, angry pissed offed trout do not come in easily!

These trout are angry because the powers that be are draining the lake for a handful of cattle ranchers.  It's hard to imagine that any government agency would let this happen to a special species of trout that cannot be found anywhere else on the planet.  1.5 million gallons?  Are you kidding me?  I smell a big pile of BS!  For more information on the Bly Tunnel and how you can get involved please visit Val Aubrey's site; http://eaglelakefishing.net/index.php  After a very cold late season I'm looking forward to t-shirt weather in the late spring and rise forms at my feet!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Saying Goodbye To My Best Friend


They say all good things must come to an end, but when it happens in a blink of an eye you gasp for breath, trembling, and find yourself asking "What the hell just happened"? My trout dog Madison, a pure bred Australian cattle dog, redefined the definition of a fishing buddy. This post is a tribute to his life and the good times we had.


My friend turned me on to the ACD breed in the mid 90's, he had owned several dogs and after spending some time with his current dog Ivan I said to myself "I gotta get one of these"! I wanted a female to mate with Ivan, but when I showed up at the Becka Ranch in Corning, Ca the owners pointed over to Big Blue, as they called him. There he was all alone, and even at 6 weeks he was the dominate male of the litter.  I paid $80 for him and headed for home what would be the start of a journey between man, dog, and trout.



At 4 months he was growing like a weed and pushing the envelope, like falling out of the boat while trolling and not coming up for over 10 seconds - Which seemed like an eternity to me! He then one upped himself by falling out of the truck passenger window weeks later at a slow speed, and walking away wagging his nub of a tail. The toughness of a ACD is remarkable, They only know to put out 110%!



I began taking Madi on fishing trips when he was 6 months old, showing him the life style of camping out, and enjoying the flora and fauna. The ACD is known not to like water, but this dog adapted to the lifestyle of fly fishing for trout and became a water dog. He knew the game that I was playing, trying to catch a wild animal. Having the Australian Dingo in him he was a hunter, and very smart. Queensland Heelers have the brain capacity of a 6 year old human child, and they know it. He knew when I was tying flies at the bench it was for the trout. I'd call out the name of the pattern and the location it was intended to be used at, and his legendary bark would ignite like gasoline on fire, deafening the room.



This was his favorite corner high up on my deck at the Mohawk Vista property. He was the ultimate watch dog, nothing got past him. His sniffer was so good he could smell the bear coming miles away and sound the alarm. Sure enough, 20 minutes later the bear would show up looking to raid the trash cans. He treed 3 bears in his lifetime, one of which he chased down and bit the ass of. He knew dozens of words and their meanings when it came to animals; bear, deer, coyote, bird, lizard, bug, bee, and on and on.




His true love in life though was to be my shadow where ever I went, which most often was on a river or lake. Fishing was a way for us to spend quality time together and an excuse to find adventure. He traveled to many places with me including his name sake "The Madison River" in Montana.





The East Walker River, Nevada.

Mills Peak lookout, Ca


Lake Davis, Ca - His home turf.



Madison loved boats more than anything, he would lean off the bow and let the wind whip over him, sniffing and searching...


Or go fishing with Grandpa and kick back.


He also loved motorcycles of all kinds, and would get so revved up when I would twist the throttle. I took him and my dad to a race at Honey Lake.  He was so smart and observant he would follow my pace around the track, and as I came ripping by he would let out a string of barks, then resume watching me make another lap. If he had thumbs he would have been out there too.


Madison did more in the last ten years than most people do in their entire life, and that makes me at peace with this great loss in my life. He was spoiled, had the best of everything, and was loved by many humans. Up until the end he was in great shape and blazing down the trail full of piss and vinegar. On 12/5 we learned that Madi had cancer of the spleen, and it had spread to his heart and lungs. His vet did not think he was going to make it through the night but I wanted to spend one more night sleeping next to him. After more tests, it was confirmed that it would be a painful death and not wanting Madison to suffer anymore, we had him put to sleep. I'm sure he's somewhere in the spirit world chasing a squirrel, or stalking a trout, and thinking of me.  God speed Madi boy - I'll never forget!

Madison Baiocchi 6/22/2001 to 12/6/2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Eagle Lake Report - The Wrath of Freezing Fog!


First off the straight scoop.  After a slow November the trend has creeped into December.  With not very many fish actively working the shallows, bank fishing has been slow.  Water temps are running 34.5 to 40 degrees.  Fish that have been caught have been perfect specimens running 2.5-4 pounds.  Not many chubs around but stomach contents revealed scuds.  Effective flies were brown/olive scuds #12, and Jay Fair wiggle tails in dark fiery cinnamon.  The trout are really battling hard and I suggest using 3x tippet, 2x if your are stripping a chub.  Air temps are running around 15 degrees to high 30's / low 40's, expect freezing fog in the mornings - Any amount of wind will only make it colder.  Bank fishing should pick up once the full moon phase passes.  There is a new ramp on the west side of the south marina just past the general store and the breaker wall.  There is no dock, and it's prone to wind but it drops off quickly into deep water. 


On Thursday we fished late from 12-3pm.  Right away I had two fish.  The wind was right in our face but that's why a 7wt is the rod of choice here.  Tony hooked one and we kept casting but never got another bump.

EAGLE LAKE CHROME.

DOG FIGHT!



Friday morning brought the dreaded death fog - It's beyond cold.  Even the smallest of fire can bring relief.


We burned what we could find but the rocky points don't have much, a dead duck gave the fire a little fat to juice it up a bit.  I'm bringing out some oak and pitch wood next time!



STRIPPING FLIES COATED IN DEATH FOG.






Once the fog starts lifting and the sun pierces through the cold you can instantly feel the warmth, and the ice in your guides begin to soften.  This makes so happy!



Saturday brought the same conditions as Friday but with no wind.  It was perfect conditions for large rainbows to come in and sip in the skinny water, but only a few showed themselves.



These are the remains of a native American fish camp.  Back in the day the natives would build rock circles about three feet high, then lay pine branches over the top much like a tee pee for shelter.  The pile of rocks in the lower center of the picture is the oven they used to cook meals.  The history of this lake is just as amazing as the fishing there.


The best news from the whole trip was that the scuds have increased their populations in the shallows!  Many areas were infested with scuds.  I'm heading back up next Friday so I'll let you all know how it goes this time around.  I know one thing...It's gonna be cold!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Baiocchi's Troutfitters Swag Now Available!

My new store is now open!  You can purchase hoodies, t-shirts, hats, stainless steel water bottles, coffee mugs, and stickers with my logo.  Fly our colors the next time you go fishing!.  Click on the link and check it out!  http://www.cafepress.com/baiocchistroutfitters






 

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