This will forever be known as Destination Deet Throat - and if you have ever been to North Park in the summer you know why. We were fair warned, Darren set out early early morning on Monday and got up there around 5:30am - later in the morning he sent us an email saying "if you forget anything, don't forget the bug spray". So we packed a can each, and it was barely enough. Werm and I met at my house around 3pm and hit the road, after a quick McD's and a cigarette break we were pulling into South at 6:15pm or so. We stopped at south to get our bearings and give Darren a call - and suddenly a swarm of bugs were inside the truck - like pirahna's after flesh. To say the least, I am still swatting imaginary bugs away as I can still feel them buzzing next to my eyes and ears.
I should probably get to the fishing reports.... we met Darren at the North, but he was having no luck and we headed back over to South at the Willows - we blew up the kayak and were floating in minutes. The wind was just high enough to give us some reprieve from the bugs and add a little chop to the water. We all caught fish - mostly small ones, but we each caught about 4 during the daylight hours. Werm had a stretch where he had about 8 LDRs in a row - it can be frustrating when they unhook themselves like that. The darkness was creeping in, but the moon was over 3/4 full, so it provided enough light to make a headlamp a nice to have instead of a necessity. We loaded up the yak into the truck/car and were going to streamer fish into the night.
We headed back over to the fence on North and fished there for about an hour. Darren hooked up with a nice brown, but Werm and I got the skunk. So we headed back to South - by the outhouse and the beach and we lined up along the flats and pulled streamers through the beach area. We had really good success as well, I landed a nice little rainbow, Darren caught 2 huge pigs, and Werm landed a few nice bows as well. All seemed to hammer the streamer under the moonlight.
At around 12:15am we called it a night - and headed to Walden for the hotel. Werm and Darren wanted to borrow my underwater camera so they could compare their callibaetis' in the shower and see how they looked wet - but I said no, and they finally settled down and we crashed just after 1am. Before I knew it the light was on, the blinds were opened, and they were bustling around the room ready to go. I fought it for a while, but these guys would have just left me and gone to fish. We were back on the D's at 6:30am.
We started out on the South lake on the lot right at the left of the entrance - a nice little bay with some stinky ass mud. We paddled over to the spillway and started fishing. It was slow going, and we moved again. It was great - no bugs, and not a breath of wind.
Unfortunately no wind = no movement = no fish. We moved again, continuing towards the willows. Then I started hooking into fish - my first 4 fish were beauties, 3 of which ran in the 18 to 19 inch range and were brightly colored females. The 4th fish of the day was 18 or so inches and was bright pink - when I couldn't get the hook out I had to hold her tight and she shot over 400 eggs all over me and the kayak - it was a mess, and I felt pretty shitty. I hate when the females do that and you know those eggs aren't going to make it.
lots and lots of eggs
The boys soon started hooking up as well - most of the fish the rest of the day were the 14-16 inch stockers that would run you all over the water. The smaller the fish the better the fight - it was a lot of fun not knowing what you had on until it got to the boat. Like clockwork, at 9am the bugs started attacking us. We slathered on the deet and sprayed each other with bug spray. And like more clockwork, the wind came, and came and came, and came.
Darren in his yak.
We did have an epic 45 minute stretch between 10am and 10:45am where we couldn't get the fish off our lines - all three of us landed a total of about 15 fish in that span and we have a couple doubles as well. Horsing those fish in on 4X and a 10 foot leader is no easy task in the yak - no ones arms were long enough and the dip net helped, but some you still couldn't reach. Not to mention the fish are net shy - they see your net and RUN! The water temp seemed perfect at around 59*.
Werm with a nice fish.
We literally got blown off the water around lunch time. We parked the yaks next to shore and just shore fished for an hour or so - Darren was the only one who landed a fish, I had 3 strikes in a row, and all three broke off flies. One fish I had on felt like the largest of the day - he pulled me straight into the weeds where I broke off.
We tried a couple more spots - including the outhouse hole and then back at the willows with little luck. By 3pm we were worn out from the wind and we packed everything up and hit the road. We were worn out. The trip home was uneventful and we were at my house by 6:15pm. It was a great trip, with amazing weather (it was in the high 60's or low 70's the entire time), almost no clouds and great fishing.
The pattern of the trip was the jumbo grey juju tied on a 2302 hook in size 16. I hooked almost all my fish on that pattern or a very similar pattern (same color) to it. Werm had some luck on some callibaetis late morning on Tuesday, and Darren had some luck on a caddis green tubing nymph, but they too had as much luck on grey juju's.
There were a lot of other campers/fishers out but it was by no means crowded. It was of course quiet and we had the occassional coyotes crying at night.
Pair of hawks that were building a nest in the willows.
Great trip boys - thanks for hanging with me! I hope to do it again soon!