This is my favorite time of the year to fish. The arrival of fall is always a welcome change for me. The crowds are gone, the air is getting to an ideal temperature, and the brown trout are preparing for their yearly spawning ritual. They are fattening up before it starts and getting into those exquisite displays of color that make them so distinct and unique.....the most beautiful trout of them all, in my book!
With the water level dropping fast at Wickiup, it makes launching a dicey issue in the fall. They are actually extending the ramps down further into the lake this year so both the main ramps are now out of commission. I did make it up by myself this past Thurs. for a little action while I could still get my boat in. It was a perfect day with temps in the 70-80's with light and breezy winds. I was only going to get to fish the evening but was excited just to get out, even if only for a few hours.
I was coming down a stretch of water that has traditionally produced a lot of browns for me in Wickiup. That is a key factor. If you can develop patterns of where to catch fish, that is a huge advantage to cutting out "dead water" and increase your odds of getting bit. It is something that can only be developed over time and experience. Anyway, I got slammed right where I have hooked many a brown. The only other boat on the water was wisely working the same area and could hear my drag singing as he was only about 40-50 yards away.
The big hen came right to the top and rolled violently, as they often do, before she took off for the bottom. I was in 25 feet of water and hoping she wasn't heading for one of the infamous stumps that are scattered along the bottom of the lake. After a short tussle, I finally worked her within about 30-40 feet of the boat.....she had stayed down which is often a sign of a better fish. I leaned into her a bit to determine her size......she felt good......your mind runs crazy with the thoughts of a truly big brown. Suddenly she rocketed up from the depths and what took place seemed to be in slow motion. She was easily between 8-10 LB. and as her writhing body shook and rolled about three feet off the water, I could see that there was only one hook in her. She stayed on, even after the loud splash of her return to the water, and I was praying she wouldn't jump again.
After getting the net down and preparing to take a shot at her, she suddenly jumped again right beside the boat. As luck would have it, the lure flew over my head and I actually got wet from the splash as she hit the water and was gone. My loud groan could easily be heard from my fellow angler who had witnessed the whole thing from his boat. All I could say was " did you see that brown jump?" It isn't that often that you see a brown that size get into the air that high and twice in two minutes! I had to shake it off and get back to fishing. This isn't the first time I have lost a good fish and surely not the last!
On the next pass, I had a vicious strike and this nice buck was photographed and released....he was in the 6.5 LB. range and put up as great fight. It was one of those nights that you really dream about. Every time I could get my lure out, I had a hit or fish and had a ball. I ended up with browns of 3.5,4, 4.5, 6.5 and lost that bigger girl in the 8-10 LB. range. All the action took place between 6:30 and 7:30 and then just as quickly as it started, it was over.
Look for more reports soon as I will be working on the browns all fall. I should have a report up by next weekend of the upcoming film shoot with Gary Lewis for his "High Desert Outdoorsman" TV program we will do at LBC for bull trout on 9-14-09. It should be fun as we take some rodeo bull riders out for some bull trout action. The program can be seen on our local station COTV channel 11 here in Central Oregon.