Saturday, January 09, 2010

Maybe I should take up ice fishing

The last time I went fishing in below freezing conditions was early in the morning on a day in February 2003 (same day of the Columbia shuttle re-entry disaster). While I was doing OK catching some white bass that morning, I had problems with the tip top guide accumulating ice and then my monofilament line breaking off on casts as it absorbed a little water and then froze. I have an old fishing buddy who grew up in Minnesota and he mentioned fishing through the ice and I thought that was insane.

The past couple of days we have had record low temperatures due to the same bitter cold weather gripping a large portion of the country. Yesterday we had lows in the teens and barely got above freezing. This morning it was 13F! Needless to say I did not head out to the lake or the river to try and catch popsicle bass. I just hope that this cold weather doesn't cause any fish kills on the coast as in years past during long lasting, real cold weather caused the death of lots of speckled trout.

Anyways, I just dumped out the 2 1/2" to 3" thick solid piece of ice from the metal washing tub that serves as the water bowl for my dogs. Hope it thaws out tomorrow.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Waders required

I've had my kayak loaded in the back of my truck for a couple of days now itching to get some more fishing in. We had a cold front come in on the evening of New Year's eve and I got up late on New Year's day and had a few things to do so I didn't get out. I had a late start this afternoon but thought I would try the San Gabriel river once again.

Last time I was here the water level was high and the current was fast. The level went down just a bit and so did the current so that was good. The thing this time is the water was cold (probably in the 50s) and it was extremely clear like green glass. I haven't seen it this clear in a long time.

As I paddled upstream headed towards a favorite spot about 2 miles upstream, I could see some fish, mostly carp and spotted gar, every once in a while. I could see the bottom in spots that I know where around 6 feet deep.

The rapids were not too bad to get past but the shallower, fast water just upstream was a pain as I had to wade it since I couldn't get my paddle stroke deep enough in the water to make much headway that way.

Just before I got to the section I wanted I came across a deep pool that held several dozen spotted gar with some around 3 feet in length that looked like torpedoes. I've caught them only a couple of times when they have been feeding but I was really after bass this time so I kept going.

Once I arrived at my destination I realized that the river had changed here. It looked as if flooding from rain changed it somewhat. Since it took me about an hour just to get there and the sun was already getting low, I only had a few minutes to actually fish. I had to wade in the cold water since there was brush along the shoreline in my way.

No fish were caught and so I headed back to the low water crossing. Needless to say, the paddle downriver went way faster. I did get out once and misjudged the depth in the clear water as I went from shin deep water and stepped off into a drop-off where the water came up to my waist! Good thing I didn't fall!

I'm grateful that I was able to get out on the water again even if I haven't caught that first fish of the year. I will try again soon.