Monday, September 5, 2016

Blue Mesa Reservoir 8-26 to 9-4

On Friday August 26th we took off to Blue Mesa as our last major trip of the summer. I didn't get off work till 3pm, so we didn't get on the road till about 6ish. First part of the drive wasn't bad at all, we hit very little traffic. The last half of the drive was a little rough. I hate driving at night, especially when I'm tired. I had to drive on tiny one lane roads in the mountains, over Monarch pass. We made it to the hotel without major incident :) We did wait at the front counter for literally 15 minutes before the clerk decided to show up and check us in...

The next morning we took off bright and early and drove the 16 miles from Gunnison to the reservoir. We took the boat out to a small flat I found on the previous trip and caught all kinds of fish. Diane caught a bunch with her best being 22.5". After that day we had high hopes for the rest of the trip..haha. That night Diane broke out the rice cooker and made pork bulgogi. Who says you have to rough it when camping!

The next day fishing just sucked. We each caught two or three fish all day. I guess it should be expected in late August. The water temp was almost 70 degrees. I think most of the lake trout were hanging out in 120+ feet of water trying to stay cool. I don't really like to target fish over 100 feet deep. It's hard to control your lure and it's hard on the fish to come up from that depth quickly. Think of a diver getting the bends. To top off the slow day a huge wind storm came up. My boat is an open bowed 16' aluminum V-hull. It does pretty good in the windy Colorado reservoirs..but this was pretty scary. The waves were probably around 3 feet tall, but they were really close together and breaking out in the middle of the lake in 100+ feet of water. It took about an hour to get back, but we made it and took no waves over the bow or stern. I figured I should read up on some tactics for small boats in biggish water when I got home. Check out some of these videos of boats crossing bars if you're into that sort of thing :D Once we got the boat loaded we stopped at the restaurant at the marina to wait out the rest of the wind and rain. The waiter took a picture of us... you can still see me freaking out silently in the picture haha.

The rest of the trip was pretty slow. We always managed to catch enough fish to keep us interested, but it was still slow. Next year I plan on hitting Blue Mesa much earlier in the summer. In the middle of the week we drove to Telluride area to hike to Blue Lakes at the base of Mt. Sneffels. I'll put that in it's own blog post.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Turn Around Trip At Granby

Took another trip to Granby from August 15th to the 19th. August can be one of the slower times for fishing at Granby due to the water temperatures. My first few days were pretty slow. I think I got 5 the first day, 1 the second day, and 3 the third day haha. At this point this was the worst trip I have ever had to Granby. The 4th day I tried a new jigging technique my friend Jeremy showed me. Instead of a slowish up and down of about 1.5 to 2 inches I normally do, I went with a faster 1/2 inch up and down motion. This basically all happens with the very tip of the rod. The backbone of the rod doesn't really move at all. With this new technique I caught 11 fish the 4th day. On the fifth day I tried a new spot I found on a flat sandy area about 70 feet deep. I caught 19 fish in 4 hours. Most of the fish were in the 18-21 inch range. I literally went through an entire package of jigs. The fish just destroyed them. I'm glad I was able to turn the trip around. The new technique I really think was key. The new St. Croix rod I have been using really shines with this new technique.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Blue Mesa Reservoir First Week Of August

Diane and I finally made it to Blue Mesa Reservoir! Blue Mesa is the largest reservoir in Colorado. It's 20 miles long with 96 miles of shoreline. The state record Lake Trout, weighing in at 50lbs, came from Blue Mesa in 2007. The lake is beautiful and offers great fishing. Only reason we have never been is it's about 5 hours away. When you consider the fishing it offers that's really not too far.

Wednesday about 3pm we left our house for Gunnison, Colorado. We decided to stay the night at a hotel in Gunnison since we would not get there till after dark. We made good time and arrived at Gunnison about 8pm. The drive is longer than a trip to Granby, but it's really a lot less stressful. Driving to Granby on 70, once you get out of Denver you have to drive up a huge incline to Idaho Springs. The whole trip the left lane is moving at 75 mph, and the right moves at about 25 mph. So it really sucks towing a trailer up to Idaho Springs. Then, once you get past Idaho Springs you have to go over Berthoud Pass! Berthoud pass is about 20 minutes of really tight switchbacks on a very exposed road. The summit puts you at about 11,300 feet in elevation. The trip to Blue Mesa has much much less incline and the only real obstacle is Monarch Pass. Is actually 5 feet higher in elevation, but the road is way less vertical and just feels a lot safer. Anyway, we spent the night in Gunnison then took off to make the 16 mile drive to the reservoir at about 5:30am.

At first Blue Mesa was a little intimidating because its a new body of water and it's so huge. New water always put me a little on edge for some reason hah. It didn't take long for me to relax. Once we had the boat launched and I was heading out of the bay I started to relax. We headed to the first spot of interest I had identified on a map. We fished in the Cebolla Basin in water about 85 feet deep. It didn't take long before I had two Blue Mesa lake trout :)

After that we hit a couple of other spots near by then decided to make the long haul to Sapinero Basin on the other end of the lake. I caught my very first Brown Trout ever there. I had no clue they would hang out in the deep water with lakers. Diane quickly caught two or three 20+ inch lakers. After that fishing was pretty slow for the rest of the day. We got rained on pretty much all day, but the wind was pretty calm... which was a REALLY nice break from Granby fishing.

The next two days fishing was pretty slow. This is pretty much expected when fishing for lakers in the hotter months of the year. I was marking lots of big fish on the sonar. They would come and look at our 2.5" radical glow jigs, then just swim off. We still managed to catch 5 or 6, but it was pretty slow. Our last day of fishing I started trying baits I don't really use often. Like jigging spoons and jigging raps. Fish did not seem very interested in them either. At that point I decided to try a huge 4" green tube jig with a heavy 3/4" ounce jig head. I had that jig in the water no more than five minutes and I started getting hard hits. I figured they were hitting the jig skirt so I pulled the jig up and modified it a little. I cut about 1/2" off the skirt then made vertical cuts up the tube jig to give the jig a lot of life in the water. Dropped it back down and had a nice 20" laker in a few minutes. We needed a break from the sun so we went in and had an early dinner. After dinner we went out again and fished for about an hour before the wind blew us off the lake. I used the green jig again and caught a nice size laker right away. As soon as I got the laker in the boat he threw up a large *green* perch in the boat. This was a major ah-ha moment for me haha.

I worked out that the smaller radical glow jigs we were using was getting reaction strikes from aggressive fish. It's a small jig that glows and we were working it pretty quick. It occurred to me that Blue Mesa doesn't really have mysis shrimp, so the jig probably didn't look like anything the lakers would normally feed on. So the fish would only hit it when they were feeling aggressive. When the fish were feeling lethargic at best they would ignore the radical glow, and at worst, they were probably scared off by the weird looking jig hah. The big green jig looked at lot like a perch. Because of the heavy 3/4" jig head I was using I had to work the jig a lot slower. I think this looked much more like a small perch dying. Most fish seeing a fish that they eat all the time dying in front of them will eat it. Even when they are feeling hot and lazy lol. So.. anyway, I remembered something I had known and used a lot in the past. I had just gotten into a rut using a pattern that had done so well for me in the past. Moral of the story, doing the same thing over and over, when it's clearly not working, and expecting different results is silly. Life lessons from fishing :)

We both had a really good time at Blue Mesa and plan on going back in two weeks.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Granby - July 25th

I got back from 11 mile on Sunday, then took off for Granby at 4 am the next morning. My friend Brett and I camped and fished for 4 days. We had a good time. Caught a lot of fish and mostly had good weather. Did get a bit windy a few times.. as you can see from the destroyed canopy in one of the pictures below. The new St. Croix rod I bought for jigging worked out really well. It has the perfect amount of flex in the tip.

11 Mile Reservoir July 22

Diane and myself went to 11 Mile Reservoir the weekend of July 22nd. I have a love hate relationship with this lake. My first three or four times I would go and fish for trout from the bank. Fishing was usually hot or I would get skunked. For the last few years I have been fishing for northern pike from my boat. This can be a really fun style of fishing. You basically cast spinners, jerk baits, and swim baits in and around all the weedy areas of the lake. Diane and I have caught quite a few big pike doing this. This trip that was not the case. I managed to catch one tiny fish and miss another bite. That was it for the whole weekend. Still had a good time being on the lake and camping. Figured out that the stiff Fenwick rod I bought for lake trout actually makes a great swim bait casting rod. Does pretty good for heavy spinners too.

Friday, July 22, 2016

My First MA!

Took me two years :D

July at Granby

So far I have spent a little over 2 weeks in Granby in July. The fishing has been pretty good. No monsters, but catching a lot. Time on the water has been pretty limited due to the wind. The only fishable hours have been from 6 to 11 am. After that it just gets too windy to really make a good presentation to the fish. Headed up on Monday the 25th for 4 days. The wind on those days is only supposed to get up to 7 mph at most. I might be able to fish all day :)

The weekend before the 4th I headed up by myself for the first 2 days. Fishing was good and the weather was great. It was so sunny I had a chance to use my new fishing shirt and Buff to keep the sun off me. The Buff is really nice. Keeps my face out of the sun without having to smear sunscreen on it. The shirt from Columbia is really nice too. The material is something synthetic so it keeps the skin cool and wicks away moisture while blocking something like 90% of UV rays. I probably look kind of silly, but it's worth it to keep my skin safe.

I had a chance to use my new phone mount and remote control to take pictures. Worked great. Totally ready for any monsters I might catch by myself :D

After my 2 days alone Diane came up. The weather for the next 3 days was pretty miserable. Rain all the time and very windy. We still had a good time and managed to catch fish. After all the time I have spent fishing alone it was very nice to have some company :) Diane caught plenty of fish and got to see me play the suspended fish using the sonar.

That weekend Diane's two brothers and their families came up. We rented a pontoon boat for all the extra people. We took the pontoon and my boat out to fish. This was really fun. I had her brother Danny's two boys and wife in my boat. Danny was driving the pontoon with his brother David, David's wife and David's two girls. We managed to catch some good sized fish and decided to keep some for dinner. It was really cool seeing the boys catch fish. All the kids were great. I'm not even kidding, I actually had fun hanging out with kids lol.

We had to take the pontoon back at 11 am. After that we went back to camp and started cooking fish. The fish were really too big to cook in a pan. So we cut them up into smaller pieces. Even then we burnt through a whole bottle of propane. Danny must have spent an hour cooking all the trout. One of Danny's boys and his wife even cleaned a few fish. I was pretty impressed.

After eating fish we broke down camp and went to a nice hotel in Granby to stay the night. I managed to catch a cold that day so I went to bed early. Diane's brothers and their families went to Frasier or Winter Park to see fireworks that night.

The next morning we all met at Java Lava and had breakfast then headed home. Well Diane and I headed home, everyone else headed to Yellowstone to continue with their vacation. It was really fun to hang out with Diane's family. Hope we can do it again next year.

I spent the next 3 days at home with a cold, then I went back to Granby for a week. I was alone most of this trip. My friend Daniel made it up for a day though. We did pretty well fishing the day he was out. He even managed to hook a fish in the ass lol. Told him that only counted as a half fish. The rest of that trip was pretty uneventful. Caught a lot of fish, nothing huge though. I was very happy to make it home that weekend.

Over those two weeks I did learn some things though. First was how to operate my boat properly. I discovered on accident why you adjust the motor trim in a position besides all the way down when the boat is moving :s It's honestly kind of embarrassing to have been driving a boat for years and not known this. One morning when I launched the boat I trimmed the motor down into the water. Not all the way down. Just far enough so the prop and fins were completely submerged a few inches below the water. Then I fired the motor up and let the engine warm up. I usually then trim the motor all the way down and take off, leaving the engine trimmed all the way down the whole time I'm on the water. This time I forgot and took off. I noticed right away that my boat was moving way faster. My boat would always go on a plane, but now the bow was more out of the water than usual. Also the ride was smoother. So yeah, this is why you trim the boat engine up a little when driving the boat haha. My boat actually got a 25% increase in speed from this. So not only do you get a speed increase and a smoother ride, but you also save on gas. Feels like I have a new boat now :D

The second thing I learned is that the new Fenwick rod is not exactly what I want. I went from a super soft tip with the Shimano to a really hard tip with the Fenwick. The longer I fished with the Fenwick the more I visualized myself fishing with a 2x4. I think for heavier jigs it will be perfect, but for a 1/2 oz jig, it's just too stiff for me. I picked up a St. Croix Premier this week. I think it's going to fit perfectly in between the Shimano and the Fenwick. I'm also pretty happy that the St. Croix is 100% made in the USA.

Misc Update

Last few short trips I have hit Geanos reef and Oconto. Geanos reef was a bust. Marked nothing all day, but did see people musky fishing on ...