Thursday, April 27, 2006

Upper Snake Creek

I think I may have found a new favorite fishing hole.

The other day while fishing on Snake Creek in the Heber Valley, I met the landowner (who will remain anonymous). We had a nice conversation about farming and fishing and I thanked him for allowing us “bug whippers” to use the creek that ran through his property. I explained that I was much more comfortable fishing small water with no people in sight than the big river full of other fishermen.

His reply was one that will warm the heart of any angler. “If you like this spot, I have another one that you will really like”, he told me with a straight face. He had confessed to me that he was an avid fisherman as a boy but hadn’t fished in years. The place he referred to was also on his property and was the same creek as the one by which we were standing but further upstream.

After catching the large browns on the lower end of the creek earlier this week, I suspected that they had been washed downstream from the high spring flows due to more rain than average and from spring runoff.

I decided that I would have time to check out the new spot early on Wednesday morning before catching my plane back to Houston.

I got up well before sunrise and drove to the place where I had been instructed to park. The creek was visible from there and it was running high and swift. I decided since I only had a short time to fish, and because the water was up, that I would only take the UL and Roostertails and would leave the fly rod in the car. (mistake #1)

I walked along the creek and cast where ever I could but got nary a nibble. The creek looked promising with undercut banks and small runs, riffles, and pools and lots of brushy banks to catch a hook on. It looked like it would be fishy when the water flow was normal. I was getting the idea that my time was rapidly slipping away and that I would probably go home fishless today.

Then I saw the beaver.

At first I thought it was a muskrat as I have frequently seen them on the lower section but when it passed within three feet of me I could see that it was definitely not a muskrat – or a nutria – but a full grown beaver. My first thought was, “Where there is a beaver there must be a dam”. And we all know where there is a dam there is a beaver pond and that means slower deeper water. I suspected that if I could locate that spot I would find the fish.

I continued to follow the creek down through the pasture and there it was near the end of the property. The small dam had backed up a small pond and the flow spread out over a larger area before continuing downstream.

I put the sneak on the pond through an opening in the brush and eased out to a place where I thought I could cast to the deeper part of the pond. “This is perfect!”, I thought. I cast twice to the most likely spot I could see and - nothing. Not even a flash or a bump. I cast again & again but no takers. I was just about to leave and throw in the towel when I heard a fish surface downstream from me. I looked up and saw the ripples widening and knew that it was worth another cast or two. I dropped the white RT in the general vicinity of the rise and was rewarded by a good sized fish taking a swipe at it but refusing it at the last moment. Hey – that’s better than nothing!

I hooked and landed a 14” brown on the next cast.

“Maybe I needed to get out a little further”, I thought and took a small step forward. (mistake #2) Just as I took the step, a big trout flushed from under my feet and went streaking across the pond leaving a big “v” wake in front of me as I stood there with my mouth open.

I cast a few more times and was about to leave (mistake #3) when I decided to cast a couple of times back upstream near the mouth of the pond where the creek emptied its load into the flat calm water.

I hooked a nice fat brown trout.
He gave me a great fight before coming to hand.

I cast again after the photo shoot and caught another in the same run. I learned from a previous outing that once you catch one nice fish from a spot keep fishing!

In all I caught 5 browns and a rainbow between 15” and 18” and also a few small ones.

Brown #2

Snake Creek Rainbow

Big Boy

Another Chocolate Colored Brown

This would have been a perfect spot for the fly rod as long as you are proficient at roll casting. There was no sign of other human activity – no tracks, worm buckets, trash, etc. The fish were gullible but feisty. One brown jumped continuously until I got him off the hook.

I moved upstream to try once more before I was to be squeezed by time and caught only one more small brown. It was a great spot especially that time of day. I saw a small herd of deer on the way in and a couple of kingfishers along the water in addition to the beaver.

What better way to spend the morning but outdoors enjoying God’s creation?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Browns on the Lower Snake

Everybody's heard of the famous Snake River.

Fishermen come from across the country to float and fish the scenic river and many a beautiful brown trout has rewarded those who took the time.

Not many have heard of the almost famous Snake Creek near Heber City Utah.

Only the readers of this blog know my fascination with a small stretch of water between the fence on the upper end bordering the now-closed Midway Hatchery and the fence on the lower end below the Heber Creeper railroad trestle that prevents access further downstream. This short, shallow, weedy, piece of water has provided me many hours of fun fishing and even a few nice fish.

This trip was exceptional.

I started off fishing the pool at the upper end. I had a few hits but caught nothing which was unusual. I decided to wander down to the spot below the trestle where I usually catch rainbows.

I kept well back from the bank and picked up a few small browns (10-12") like this one that fell for the light yellow Roostertail.

As the sun slipped behind the mountains and I was beginning to think that was it for the day, I cast a 1/8oz white Roostertail upstream along the bank and was I surprised when I hooked this 21" 2.5lb brown!

This fish was resting in no more than 8" of water and when he decided to hit the RT there was no going back.

Big Boy!

Back You Go

This was similar to the big brown I caught earlier this year in the Boise River.

I decided to go back upstream and cross over so I could fish the opposite bank.

I used the same stealth technique to approach only close enough to get my cast over the bank and was rewarded once again with this 18" 1.5lb beauty.

"Confidence Bait" at work

I continued my quest up the bank, crawling up 20 feet or so and casting tight to the bank with the white 1/8oz RT. Nearly every cast yielded a nice fish.

Here is a 17" brown that was as colorful as any in the Green River.

Butter yellow markings

This 16 incher put up a great fight.

Another pretty 16" brown

These fish were all colorful and healthy.

The last fish of the day was almost chocolate brown. I caught it almost under the trestle in some fast water and had to use my headlight to see to remove the hook.

It was almost full dark when I finally gave up and headed back to the hotel. I had landed about a dozen fish in all with half of them between 15-21". Not bad for a small creek in the middle of a cow pasture! I didn't catch one rainbow nor did I see any fish rising for flies. What a difference a few weeks makes.

I suspect that the higher flows caused by recent rains and runoff may have moved the fish downstream.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Baffin Bay & The Play

Needville's One Act Play advanced to the Region level of competition which was held in Kingsville yesterday. We decided to go and support the effort and ended up staying in one of the Wild Horse Lodge's bay houses on Baffin Bay.

You have already figured out what this means - Fishing!

We arrived on Thursday after lunch and after unpacking and getting some bait, I got in a couple of hours on the pier before we were to meet our friends for dinner.

JB with the 10 footer.

I had four rods - three were rigged with dead shrimp on the bottom

One was for casting artificials and fishing live shrimp under a popping cork

Croaker - nice colors!

Full from dinner at King's Inn

Evening on Baffin Bay

We had a nice visit from my nephew Paul and his three compadres. They brought two guitars and a mandolin and we played and sang some tunes. Paul has really improved and now plays the banjo, guitar and mandolin and is writing songs. Keep it up Paul!

Time to go to work

This is the time
This is the place
It's all about you, the dead shrimp, and the water

Three nice black drum and a 13" croaker

One of the drum was really Paul's but he couldn't
beat me to the rod when it started jumping!

I'm Watching You!

The light was pretty good and brought up some baitfish on Friday.

I caught several trout but I left the camera in the house!

In addition to being a good good fishing hole, Baffin Bay is also a birders paradise.

We saw a lot of birds and really enjoyed them as our current area is limited to blue jays, sparrows, cardinals, mockingbirds, and hummingbirds.

Tufted Titmouse in flight

This was an Oriole that was building a nest on the house.

Tufted Titmouse looking for seeds

I took my conference call on Friday morning on the pier.

I'm not fishing - I'm on a call.

We watched six one act plays on Friday afternoon. Needville was awarded alternate Advancing Play -third place- as two schools advance to State.

Our gang did a great job and we are proud of you!

This is the last year Needville will be competing in the Region that will meet in Kingsville.

In all, my fishing adventure yielded six keeper drum in the 5-10 lb range, two 15" spotted sea trout, several croaker and undersized drum and trout, and last but not to be forgotten some big hardheads (saltwater catfish).

I guess I'll just have to find another reason to make the trip South next year.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Time to get in shape.

Brother Mark - you have inspired me! After my latest checkup I decided it was time to get some exercise and the time was right for a couple of bikes.

We found the Schwinn Voyager Sport had just the features we were looking for.

We are not really big on the "His & Hers" scene but these were just different enough to suit us.

We have been riding in Brazos Bend State Park the past two Saturdays.

Brazos Bend is known for many things.

"Home of the American Alligator"

"Home of exotic birds"
White Ibis
American Bittern

Oh - did I mention alligators?

There are lots of trails and shade.
Some even lead to some small lakes.
(Are you getting the picture?)
"I need to stop and rest....

Hello Neighbor!

I did get some exercise - both my legs and arms got a workout!

Later this evening after grilling some burgers I headed out to Evans Lake for the last hour before sunset. I caught the second tagged fish - Pierre.

Tag ID 14 - AKA "Pierre" W=2.1lb, L=16.0"

Happy Easter everyone

Pete & Repeat

I finally did it!

I caught a tagged fish. I was begining to wonder if I was ever going to find one that was ready to bite again.

I went to the dentist yesterday and on the way home I decided to recover by spending the last of the daylight at Evans Lake. Ryan came out to join me and we headed to the far side of the lake to get the wind behind us.

I found "Jimmy D" in a different spot then before but his stats were identical.

Tag ID 15 - AKA "Jimmy D" W=0.9lb, L=12.75"


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Georgia On My Mind

What's the Boy Scout Motto? "Be Prepared"

I agree with that especially when it comes to fishing.

I made a trip to Atlanta GA this week to make a presentation and to visit one of my employees. After we conducted our part of the meeting it was time to get out and visit some field locations. Georgia is a beautiful place in the springtime - the Dogwoods were blooming and the new leaves were a fresh green color. Everywhere you looked there was a refreshing sign of new life.

This was until one of the employees at a facility near Comer, GA started talking about his pond. "My grandfather built this pond in 1951", Rick said.

"My son caught a 13lb bass out of it last year".

All thoughts of Spring and newness dissappeared as that old feeling started to creep up on me.

You know - the sickness.

Rick then asked Wayne and I if we would like to go fish a while. Well it was quitting time and we didn't have to be back until later... and as luck would have it I did have my ultralight along.
(actually I had two rods and two reels and a box full of BGWs and small crankbaits)

OK OK I sort of planned this. I had mentioned to Wayne that I could bring the tools if he could find the place. I just wasn't figuring on a beautiful pond full of willing bass and the chance at taking a real lunker.

We did catch some nice fish and had a great time even if it was too short.

Wayne Struck First with the BGW.

Hey Joe - This is what a fisherman looks like.

Pretty Fish and Feisty too!

Future Lunker

Thanks Rick for a great time fishing in your pond!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Fish Finder

I had to do it. I've been off the reservation too long.

Today was partly cloudy and warm (in the 80's) and I was off work. I took yesterday off too to watch Matt in the Area One Act Play competition. Needville's play, "The Night Thoreau Spent In Jail" had advanced from District competition. The cast put on quite a show and the outcome was as good as you could hope for. The play was chosen to advance to Regional competition and Matt was awarded Best Actor out of the six plays.

I got to sleep in and catch up on some paperwork. After enjoying a nice lunch with T. I headed out to Lake Evans. It took me a while to find the fish but when I did I had some good action for a change. The wind was blowing 10-15mph and I tried the BGW(Big Green Worm) and the BWG (Big White Grub), a new addition to the tacklebox thanks to brother Paul.

I picked up one bass on the BWG.

Next I tried a Chug Bug and had some fun topwater action!

I ended up adding four bass to the study and also caught a nice crappie.

I broke off a couple on the BGW so I guess its time to change my line.

Four Bass:
Tag ID 24 - AKA "Waldo" W=1.1lb, L=14.0"

Tag ID 15 - AKA "Jimmy D" W=0.9lb, L=12.75"

Tag ID 13 - AKA "Henry" W=1.0lb, L=13.5"

Tag ID 17 - AKA "The Mama" W=1.5lb, L=14.75"

One Crappie:
Tag ID 14 - AKA "Opal" W=0.6, L=11.5"