Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Good Bye Bay Area, Welcome Shasta County

No new posts for a few months. But for a good reason , we moved to Shasta County, about 20 miles from Mt. Lassen. as the years crept by, the fishing in the Bay Area has gotten worse. Chabot seems to be stocking smaller fish. A couple of years ago you could catch 6 t0 10 pounders regularly. Now a 3 pounder is a whopper. Del Valle is still good , but a boat gets you the most fish. Rental prices have gone up to be very expensive. The ponds in Santa Clara are still fun, but you need to be there when they plant, or else no fish. The last place to remember is Los Vaqueros. This deep lake was going to be the best fishing lake in California. In the beginning it semed to be true. You could catch 30 trout,and have a striper hit your bait almost every time out.Then salmon were added and you could also catch at least 1 every time out. But then something happened. The fish stopped hitting. The algae bloomed. Boat restrictions came into affect. The fish are there but no longer can you catch them in great numbers,or any size. No answers from the water district, no fisheries biologist to test the ecosystem. Nothing but hours of trolling for one or two fish. I hope they get their act together or flood the lake to double the size as is in the future plans. Then there will be no fishing.

So, before that happens we moved. Now we are looking forward to new waters and new lures to try. I have already begun. I tried Berkley Minnow Heads for the first time and they seemed to work in the local lakes. Looking forward to continue to report on the REEL ways to catch fish

God Bless Ferne@ Michael


Sunday, June 28, 2009


Testing a new blog writing program…looks like a fun one!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Smallmouths, Bluegills, Rainbows, Brookies,and Browns

Well the derby is over. Again just like last year when a crappie was my biggest fish, I failed to get a trout over three pounds. This time it was a 7lb 2oz catfish that was my largest fish. I caught about 100 trout, all under two pounds. Too bad the derby was not a cumulative total weight derby.

We decided to take a trip up north to see what we could catch in the many streams and lakes in Lassen co. The snow had melted and the streams were running. Our first stop was Shingletown, about 25miles East of Redding. Where does one go to find out about local fishing spots? Why the bakery of course. Stocking up on the largest donuts I have ever seen, I got the info. Two small lakes, Nora and Grace, were the local secret spots. Drug Ferne out of the quilt shoppe and on to Nora. Stopped at Nora which is only 4 acres and saw some small fish but no where to fish so on down the road to Grace, a 7 acre lake. Here we saw fish rising every where. Put on the 1/16 oz Wyld spinner and cast out. Soon a fish was on! The first fish of the trip was a beautiful Brown trout. A couple of rainbows later we headed on down the road with 3/4 of the donuts left.

Our plan was to drive to Burney, about 45 miles north and use the motel as a base camp. Driving past Hat Creek we arrived in Burney. Checked in and then out to fish the Wild Trout section of Hat Creek, barbless hooks only. Mother nature had other ideas. We no sooner rigged up when thunder and lightning lit up the sky. We were fishing right next to a METAL BRIDGE. Lightning? not a good mix so we got the heck out of there! Driving back, hail and wind and rain made sure we did not go back. We did manage to take some pictures of the locals.

The next morning we went to Burney Falls, the Eight Wonder of the World. Within two miles you can fish for planted trout, totally wild trout and warm water species like bass and blugills. We did it all. First we went to see the falls and then drove 1 mile to Lake Britton. Here we walked around the shore and saw that the Smallmouth Bass were on their nests. Not having any plastics in the tackle box , I dug out some Rebel Cat'r Crawlers, a one and a half inch sinking worm imitation. WE cast out and let it sink on the beds. Soon I had a nice two pounder on. Caught a few more , Ferne even got her first Smallie . It was the biggest of the five we caught. I even caught a giant bluegill bigger then any I have caught in 45 years!

After going swimming for a lure stuck in a log we went trout fishing. First we tried the planter section above the falls. Had two on but nothing sticking. So we went to the Wild Section. The fly fishermen had beaten the waters for two hours before we go there and did not get a thing. I was not expecting anything when I tied on the 1/4 oz barbless Wyld Spinner . I picked a spot where the river flowed under a tree. I made ten casts and nothing. I was ready to let Ferne try but I did not want to go swimming for the lure stuck in a tree where it would no doubt land, so I make one last cast. I got a hit! I was so surprised that I did not set the hook. I made another cast and ,FISH ON!!! A perfect 13 1/2 in Brook Trout came to shore to be photoed and released. After that we hiked and enjoyed the flora and fauna. It was getting to be lunch time so back to the motel and then out to try to catch a fish at Hat Creek.

We chose to go to Cassel a stocked section of Hat Creek, not near a metal bridge. After finding the right location near the bridge we started to catch rainbows, nothing big but great fighters. Ferne caught her rainbow,and I caught a few dozen before kissing the last rainbow good bye.

A great short trip, lots of fish, lots of photos, and lots of giant donuts. (It took us two days but we ate them all.)

Until we loose ten pounds, God Bless

Ferne @ Michael


Thursday, May 14, 2009


As promised, I took a trip to Del Valle and Chabot this week. Tuesday I went to Del Valle and did some trolling around the dam and the Marina. I fished with broken back J5 Rapalas and those CAGI attractors on one pole and The Wyld Spinners on the other. It was slow . So slow that I only saw two other boats come and go. The Fish Sniffers must have told everyone the bite was off. After two hours it was a draw, one fish on each pole. The wind came up and I motored back to the Marina. Three boats were anchored in front of the Marina. I put out both poles and waited for about two minutes before the first hit, on the Wyld Spinner. The trout just loved the spinner. I caught ten in about two hours with twice as many hits. The other pole with the Rapala got nothing!Then it stopped. The fish turned off . I released all the trout and said that the next fish was coming to dinner with me. Finally the Rapala got a good hit and a nice pink meated 2!/4 pounder was the main attraction for dinner. Final total,11 for the Wyld Spinner. 2 for the CAGI Rapala combo. Del Valle trout love Wyld Spinners.

Today went to Chabot for three hours. I started out with the same two set ups as Del Valle. I put out the poles and waited. I trolled for fifty feet when the pole with the Wyld Spinner started to sing out. I grabbed the pole and held on. The fish was heavy, very heavy. Was it a derby winner? After about 10 minutes of fighting the fish, I had my answer. It turned out to be a 7lb. 2oz. channel catfish! Not the derby winner, and no camera to record the catch. So back into the water it went. The spinner was still perfect. Not a bent hook or spinner shaft,GOOD spinners. For the next two hours it was ,Wyld Spinners out fishing the Rapalas 8 to 1!!! The only thing negative thing about the Wyld Spinners was no whoppers. The bigger fish came on the Rapalas, but 8 to 1, I'll take that any time. The batteries on the motor were getting low and the wind really came up, so back home I went . Another victory for the Wyld Spinners. Here is the link for the spinners, try them, they work for me.

Until the next whopper photo,

God Bless, Ferne @ Michael

Friday, May 8, 2009

Trolling spinners DO catch fish in lakes

There is a joke about trolling spinners on the Fishsniffer trout board. When ever anyone says what did you catch them on the reply is SPINNERS! They mean grubs or other lures. Well, I took a trip to Los Vaqueros yesterday and proved that SPINNERS do catch fish when trolled. You do need to do a few things to the spinners. First you need the right spinner. I use WYLD EDGE spinners from Oregon. They are designed for steelhead fishing in rivers. They have a heavy body and two ball bearings around the blade which reduce line twist. A single heavy wire hook holds any fish. The colours are GREAT. I would not use anything else. You attach the WYLD EDGE spinners to a dodger. I use UV SEPS and SHASTA TACKLE brands ,they troll at a faster speed because of their shape. The spinners are 18 inches back from the dodger. I apply some Pro Gel or Bass Wax to the dodger and the spinner. I let out two colours of lead core and then let out 90 feet more of braid. The lures are 10 feet down and 130 feet or so in back of the boat.

I put on two of these rigs and set out trolling Los Vaqueros. The first time some fish showed up on the fish finder. I got a hit on one pole then the other. The fish just kept hitting, and getting hooked. the trout were in 10 to 35 feet of water and would come up to gobble the spinner. This is the first time that I saw fish on the screen and they bit the bait. They were not great size, about one pound. But they never stopped . I tried putting on other lures like CripLures, but the fish only hit the spinner rigs. With the single barbless hooks ,it was easy the release the fish.

So try spinners, they DO catch fish.

Until I take this rig to Del Valle. God Bless,

Michael & Ferne

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Finally broke my 0-four streak at Los Vaqueros. I switched work days so I could be there when the 3000 pound stocking took place. I arrived at 11:00 am. and rented a boat. The stock was about 1/2 hour away ,so I trolled around the marina until the truck arrived. I was not expecting any hits when one of the poles with a criplure on got hammered. The drag sang out , but the fish got off,too lean a drag. But that was a good omen. The truck arrived and began dumping the three tanks full of trout. I slowly trolled past the truck, looking for fish. I saw the fish but they had gone up into the no fishing zone creek. Smart fish. I positioned the boat off a sharp dropoff ,50 yards from the fish and anchored. I began casting large flies and then x-raps. No hits, so I switched to spoons. I got a few bumps but no hook ups. I switched to a brightly coloured Little Cleo. I got it for 88 cents at Cabelas. The first cast and fish on. For the next four hours I caught fish after fish. About every thirty fish or so I would get one that just stayed down and swam any way it wanted. When I got it to the boat, I saw this big brown speckled fish. It turned out to be a LARGE brook trout. It was one of the breeders from the plant,full of eggs and ready for my tomatoes. (The breeders make great fertilizer). Final total sixty or so small trout from 1/2 to one pound and three breeders, a 4.85 brookie, a 4.38 brookie and and a 3.25 rainbow. Three fish totaling 12.48 pounds!

Every Tuesday in April they will be having large plants at Los Vaqueros. So get going. The boats are great and priced right.,$25.00 for five hours. If the fish are not so smart as these, you can catch them from the shore.So get out there. If I bring Ferne,you will not have many to catch after she gets through catching twice as many as I do.

Now if the King Salmon were so easy......

For my dad,God bless

Ferne @ Michael

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Settle for SMALL trout in the Santa Clara Valley

We just got back from a short trip to Sandy Wool Lake . The small pond was stocked with the usual three to a pound planters. They were all chased to a shallow corner and would not leave. There was room for six people only. No room for us. So we went to the opposite shore about 60 yards away and cast as far as we could with a water bobber and fly. One hour later we caught one and missed two. the one caught was full of eggs , just ripe to plant in the garden.

No room still so we watched the hang gliders and fluff topped duck . Then we went to the garden to bury the trout under a tomato.

This is the way it is going to be, small fish caught for a few days. Than wait for the next plant.

This is not how I want to fish. So it is off to Del Valle and Los Vaqueros in pursuit of the land locked king salmon.I will keep trying until I succeed. when I do find the secret, I will bring Ferne so she can catch them all and I can take photos.

Until the salmon hit the net, God Bless,

Ferne @ Michael

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Where Have All The Fishes Gone?( at Lake Chabot and Los Varqueros)

Just like that Peter Paul and Mary song," Where have all the flowers gone?"The fish at all the lakes and ponds in the San Francisco Bay Area have disappeared. I went out last week to see how trolling was at Los Vaqueros on Thursday and Lake Chabot on Saturday.

Los Vaqueros had about 6 feet visibilty . The winds were light and the water temperature was 50 degrees. Perfect! Well, the fish did not think so. I trolled for five hours, used twenty different lures and did not get a hit. The fish were deep,50 feet . They would not move from that depth. So far I am 0 for four, no fish for four trips. The fish and bait are there but not the bites. I even tried casting from shore for and hour and the results were the same, nothing.

Lake Chabot was even worse. The rains had ended for 5 days. They had planted 2500 pounds of fish three days before. Most of the regulars were at the San Pablo Dam Mud Hole opener. I had the lake almost to myself, a rare thing on a Saturday. Ferne and I put out four poles and trolled for 5 hours. We got about 10 bites, but no hook ups. The longest a fish was on was 2 seconds. we did not get to feel a fish on the end of the line. It was a sharp tug and then nothing. We changed lures every twenty minutes and depths all the time. Nothing worked. I know it was not the hooks, I use only the best and keep them super sharp.

Now, the REEL REPORT on fishing at these two lakes. Lake Chabot reports GREAT fishing for trout. On Saturday, I saw 100 shore fisherpersons and only saw ONE small fish caught. Most of the people left with no fish or bites. They said at the marina that a 9+ lber. was caught that day. It was one of the only fish caught. There may be Whoppers out in the lake but the odds are not good you will catch one.

Los Vaqueros is a puzzle. If I find the key I will let you know. Now the only thing that works is to fish from shore or rent a boat, go to peninsula cove, anchor and bait fish. Trolling is just the luck of the draw. There are no patterns, no go to lures. I am going to do some research on the water quality of the lake . The lake has been stocked with fish for 10 years. There is the greatest amount of bait for the fish to eat in any lake even exceeding Clear Lake. Yet no large trout have been caught on a regular basis. Los Vaqueros should be the premiere fishing lake in California. You can not blame the few stripers for eating the trout. People keep taking them and no fry are sucked into the lake.

Well it is off to the Campbell Perk Ponds for those fighting sardines stocked by DFG this week. I guess that I will have to invest in a lunar chart to see when I should be fishing .

See you all at Race Street Fish Market for my next photo shoot. Until then, God Bless,

Ferne @ Michael

Friday, February 20, 2009

Berkley Glup Alive Baits, they are out fishing all other baits and lures at the Campbell Perk Ponds

I have been trying the new Berkley Glup Alive Baits that have come out on the market. they are a little bit expensive, hard to find, and need special care, but they are catching fish and getting bites far better than anything out their. Today I fished for three hours at those Perk Ponds and caught two fish when everyone else got nothing. I also had three other hits which I missed. This is the third time I have only used these baits, and every time I have out fished everyone else.

The baits I have used are the 3 inch gulp alive trout worms. They come in a tray of twenty sealed in a pack. These worms float unlike the power worms which do not. A great advantage for slowly bringing in the worms, swimming them along the bottom. I also use the 6inch nightcrawlers when the fish want something bigger. Of course I cut them in half so as not to gag the fish.

For the Perk Ponds the bubble gum pink seem to work the best. I fish them on a water bobber with a 6 foot leader of mono, flurocarbon sinks do not use it if you want the worm to float. I cast it out as far as I can and either leave it or drag the worm back slowly. some days the fish like it still, other days like today, they wanted it moving.

When you are done fishing you need to put the worms back in some Gulp liquid. It recharges the worms and keeps them from drying out. I spray some Gulp in the tray place it in a zip lock baggie and then put all of my Gulp in another larger baggie. I have had leaks in the single baggie and the liquid does not smell like a Spring Day!

Berkley makes a power gulp bait dough which has the same attractant but it needs to be mixed with regular power bait as it is really soft and falls off the hook. I have used the worms when trolling with great results Just hook one one the back hook and hold on. I do not recommend any products unless I test them and they work at least twice as good as anything else. So Berkley if you are reading this, I will test some products for you,but be forwarned I do not recommend anything which does not workFor this is the REEL REPORT.

Until the salmon start to bite at Los Vaqueros,

God Bless, Ferne @ Michael

Thursday, February 5, 2009

World Record SMALLEST Trout.

If you want to catch a world record trout, be it the world's smallest, go to the Campbell Perk Ponds.
Fish and Game have planted the smallest trout I have ever caught in a lake. The photo shows a normal coffee mug next to a 5 INCH trout. I just wanted to let you in on a once in a life time chance to catch that once in a life time trophy.

Until that next trophy photo,

God Bless
Ferne@ Michael

Friday, January 30, 2009

How NOT to catch fish in January

You know that old saying,"You should have been here last week. The fish were really biting." well that is exactly what happened to me for the entire month of January. I was an hour late at the Campbell Perk Ponds twice. The fish hit anything for the first hour and then disappeared. When I got there two hours after the plant, no one was catching anything. I tried lures , flies, gulp worms in my favorite colour, pink. I managed one small trout, had a great time practicing casting and got a lot of exercise walking the pond. Same thing happened at Sandy Wool, we got there late had about ten short hits and left with our shoes loaded with the stickiest mud known to man. This stuff does not come off. It bonds to your shoes. If you go after a rain, bring a second pair of shoes.

We read about the offer of a 1/2 day boat rental for catching a salmon at Los Vaqueros, so off we went on a beautiful windless day. I even brought the down rigger. Located bait at 80 feet. Salmon do not show up on my fish finder so I look for bait and fish at that depth. Four hours with four poles at four different depths got three people nothing. So back to shore we went. Around 3:00 the trout at Los Vaqueros start coming into shallow water. We got off the boat ,spotted the fish and began casting cast masters with a line counter reel. This is not for the novice. One mistake and you have the worlds worst birds nest. Between tangles we managed ten fish between one and two pounds in about twenty minutes All were released except one trout which swallowed a 1/2 oz. cast master.

But the worst was when Ferne and I went to Quarry Lake in Fremont. We had heard from reliable sources that the fish had finally begun to bite. Most people caught their limits with bait or lures. That was LAST week. We set up on fisherman's row. We did not see any fish caught or any stringers in the water. Bad signs, but we put out two poles with bait and began casting with the other two. The trout on bait would be put in the garden, any on a lure would be let go. I do not like to let go any fish caught on bait . They usually do not survive. Within ten minutes the bait pole showed a hit , then nothing. The line would go out for a few feet and then stop. The fish spit out the bait. Lures were no better, I got short strikes and follow ups but no hook ups. I finally managed to get one on Ferne's pole. She was too busy playing a game on her i pod to reel in the fish. This 2lb. 2 oz. trout was our only fish of the day. It was caught on garlic and cheese flavored power bait. A real gourmet trout.

So do not believe the reports on line or in the paper, they are old reports. The only sure thing has been at Los Vaqueros after 3:00 to the right of the boat dock. They have been there for the whole month of January. But beware February is Super Bowl Sunday!

Remember if you see two people carrying one thousand pounds of fishing gear with one of them playing with their i-pod, go somewhere else. The fish have stopped biting,we arrived too late.

Until the next new moon.... God Bless(for my Dad),


Saturday, January 10, 2009

THE COMPLETE ANGLER Every thing you need to catch fish in the California Bay area

While the weather is causing the trout in the South Bay to bite lightly or not at all, I will show you the BASIC tackle needed to be a successful fisher person. First of all, you will need a few thousand lures. You will need a box or three of the basic minnow imitations from Rapala or Storm or any of the dozens of makers. Limit yourself to the hundred best makers, and no more than five models in assorted sizes. If the fish refuse those you go to the box of metal lures like reef runner or Shasta tackle. If you still get no bites do not despair you have hundreds of more choices. You can use swim baits, spoons like Michigan Stinger in any or all of the one hundred colours. You can add jigs or flies and jig flies. By now you see that you will need a loan to buy all of your lures. But catching a trophy, PRICELESS!

If you fish from a boat, you will need a larger loan. You have to have in no particular order, pole holders, Nor-East is the best and will last a lifetime. A word of caution, do not use cheap holders unless you want to lose your reels and poles. Speaking of poles you will need specialized poles and reels. These not only are necessary but they look great on your boat. You will need line counter reels and long flexible poles. to fit on your downrigger. A downrigger is a device to put your lures at the exact depth the fish are holding. To know this depth you need a fish finder. This is a sonar device which shows depth and fish and structure under the boat. The more you pay , the better the picture on the screen. Rounding out the tackle, you need a colour selector. It lets you know what colour is the most visible at a particular depth. Trolling motors to slow your speed. A drift sock to slow your drift when not trolling. Leadcore reels when you do not want to raise and lower 8lb. weights on the down rigger. The final thing is a small fork lift to carry all of this gear to your boat, which should be large enough to hold the 1000 lbs. of tackle.

Fishing from shore? Different rods and reels. Various spinning reels from ultra light for trout to heavy for catfish. If you like to fly fish get a second job to pay for your specialized tackle and fly tying station. You will need smaller lures and spinners like Panther Martins and a whole boat load of baits. Gulp trout baits, gulp worms, grubs and every creature known to man in every colour there is. You don't want to be without the one colour the fish are hitting. I will tell you what colour to use but I will not give you some. You need to be prepared.

Rounding out your gear, line, hooks, weights, (non lead), leaders, sunglasses, fishing clothes, nets, rain coats, and finally scents. You need at least twenty different kinds . It may not help but the other fisherpersons will think you're a pro.

Well, that is your basic tackle needs. You need it all to be successful. Just do not get mad at me when the kid fishing next to you with a cane pole and worm catches all the fish!

So use part of your unemployment check to start your collection. Remember the camera to photograph your trophy and a fillet knive to clean your nonnative hatchery, artifically hormone fed fish, released in toxic waters for all to catch and eat.

Let me know your favorite lures, I most likely have 5 of them already. Until the weather gets better.

God Bless,

Michael & Ferne

(Ferne has only one pole of her own.).