Tasmanian Devils Produce

After a month of getting skunked and catching little stock trout. I decided to go out to Antero and try a few new lures. I purchased a few 1/2 oz silver and gold CastMaster lures and a pink/blue (trout pattern) Tazmanian Devil and hit the ice. It was a super warm day out with limited wind. The Ice was very sketch in some places which made me reluctant on fishing the shallows. I decided to post up on the south shore nearest the dam about 15 yards off shore in a good 4-6 ft of water. I drilled 3 holes dead sticking one pole with a 1/16 oz pink head jig with half a wax worm and drenched in Shrimp Lunker. The second a tip up rigged with sucker meat. My last pole I set up with a (pink/blue trout) Tazmanian Devil. I worked my Devil using a few different jig patterns from 8am-230pm, with a few sightings but nothing interested. After feeling the defeat set in, I decided to give it a few more hours as we had a 3/4 moon the night before I figured the fish would hit that 230-3pm hot spot. Not even 10 minutes after 2pm I caught a glimps of what I knew to be atleast a 3-4 lb Cutbow circling my lure. I slowed down my retrieve to a steady bob and as soon as this Cutbow went nose to lure, I instantly set hook. After a good 5-8 minute fight with a broken tipped rod I was able to get this Colorado trophy 5 lb 22 in Cutbow otu of the ice. I worked fast and gently to pose for a photo with this girl and safely get her back threw the ice into her home for the next angler to attempt to catch. The feel was amazing I was able to also get a 3 lb 18 in cutbow this day. The Tazmanian Devil proved to be a great weapon in the winter as well as summer fishing.

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Hitting the Ice

This year has been a frustrating one to date. We havent had much to report on other then the abnormally warm weather we are having up in the high country of Colorado. The warmer weather could be having a high impact on the way the fish have been acting. We have hit a few lakes here in Park County (11 Mile, Antero and Tarryall), we have tried all the tiny ice jigs and tackle we have had success with in prior years. Trip after trip we would get fish interested in our baits, they would swin around and stalk them, with an occasional bump and go, not much more action than that. No strikes daily would leave us walking away in frustration as we watch trophy fish lurking our holes but nothing to show for.

We were fishing 2 times a week, bouncing from lake to lake with the same outcome. We finally were able to narrow our bait and lure searches down to 3 top baits that finally put fish on our lines. The temperature plays a big factor as to how the activity is while on the Ice. Noise and light disapline are also all key factors. We decided on many nights to stay until after dark and really tried push the limits of our fishing spots while on a empty lake opposed to the weekend mad house that Antero Reservior has been attracting every weekend this last year. Not to blame the fish that are being pulled out of there at record size and numbers. Attracting anglers from all over the world to try and catch that 6-12 pound fish that is rumored to be calling this lake home. We hope that most anglers are practicing safe catch and release methods to insure the fishing in Colorado remains an Anglers Dream Spot.

Catch and Release

After a whole year of hunting Colorado lakes and reservoirs for the montsers we hear about thru local fish tales. We finally narrowed in on Antero Reservoir after a good tip from a reliable angling buddy.I gave in and decided to fish this lake for the first time Aup 9th, 2017 after its grand opening June 5th, 2017. My sons and I were skunked for 4.5 hours before we landed us a great 24.5 inch 5.5 lbs cuttbow trophy trout.

Since, I have been going back with different family members who dont believe the hype or that we are pulling in fish on an average of 3-5 lbs. I took my father up and he landed him 2 4.5 lbs Cutbows, my wife got her a 3 lb cutbow and then I took my cousin Brandon recently who caught this 22.5″ 6lbs Cutbow. when we were there, I noticed that we weren’t the only group of anglers that were hot on the tip. In the last 3 weeks I have seen more and more 5+ lbs fish being kept on the stringer like a bunch of stockers. Now. If you eat what you catch and you are using it for healthier eatting and as a way to provide for your family, this doesnt apply to you. If you are catching these beautiful fish and taking them home and letting them sit in your freezers for years, have no intentions of mounting or usign the fish for anything positive. CATCH AND RELEASE!

This is a great way for anglers to insure that we preserve our lakes and reservoirs for generations to come. With rumors of fish reaching the 10+ lbs range I believe if we practice better “catch and release” techniques we can insure the growth of these fish. We will also be able to “pass the feeling” as i wrote about in previous blogs. So please if you care about the preservation of Colorado’s Fish and Wildlife, help out and do your part to educate fellow anglers not using good techiques.

 

The Feeling of Defeat

 Every anglers nightmare is to have that trophy fish on your line and to lose it over pety equipment malfunctions. I recently last week had a similar event happen to me.

It was right around 8 am at Tarryall Reservoir where I have been actively hunting the Northerns that populate the reservoir. I have heard good stories of people pulling out giant trophy size pike. As of recent rumors that fueled our trip of a 40 lb 42 inch pike retrieved from the inlet by a fly fisherman early July. Knowing that this reservoir is home to a variety of fish to included Rainbow, Brown and Cutthroat Trout, hybrid species as the Cutbow [rainbow x cutthroat] and a good population of the beautiful Northern Pike. Which, by the way, have to be along the speciality fish when it comes to meat for cooking.

After careful planning and weeks of study, lake layout and data collections. We decided to worked the west side of the reservoir nearest the inlet. There you will find  good ambushing points in the grass and where the water drops off from 3-10 ft. Also a good fishing location for trout, anywhere you find lots of trout gathering you will find pike waiting patiently to strike. The morning was very unactive as the sun started to get higher and warm the waters. I moved location to the north cove just east of the north inlet opposite the dam. I walked out and worked pretty much every inch of the knee to waist deep shallows with my white spinner bait, seen lots of trout, pretty decent in size hiding under grass and weeded areas along the banks. I finally was able to find a good location nearest the inlet casting out towards the dam 60 yards off the west bank in thigh deep waters.

I casted out not knowing what to expect using the SavageGear 3D Duckling [yellow] for the 2nd day. I worked that along with my spinnerbait for hours, had a few followers with no success. the time is now 1030 and the sun is beating down on us with a steady temperature of 71 degrees. Near submission I decided to work a patch of weed near the inlet one last time. Out of NO WHERE i got my first top water strike on my new lure. The hit was undescribable. Having caught 3-5 pound trouts, this strike was strong and with instant bolt action. I started my battle over 15 seconds, heart pounding, I started my retrieve and heard a “SNAP”, to find my rod which was rated med action med weight, broke in three, also having a good amount of tension set on my reel. Leaves me only to believe that I had finally hooked that trophy northern I work 2-3 times a week to catch. I am truly a believer in having the proper tools to handle a fish you can only dream about, then to be unprepared and lose you trophy. I now use green, low visability, 30lbs weight, 12 pound test with a 18″ steel lead. I upgraded to a heavy/medium action fishing rod so something like the situation I have been through does not repeat itself. Better safe than sorry.

Tarryall Still Producing

 I have been working this lake for about a year now. I have caught pike hear and there from the 10-15 inch range. I have had success with white stick-baits, jigs and now spinners. I picked up these spinners after investigating an anglers YouTube page and seeing the success that he has had. These run anywhere from 1.00-7.00$ for a decent spinner. You want to make sure that the strings are long enough and it has a decent size flasher [double flashers work too] for better action.

 I have worked about every part of this lake from the deeps to the shallows. I have had the most action on the west side of the lake, last camp ground south of the inlet along the rockbed. 20-50 ft out is a nice grass bed with lots of cover for these northerns to hang out in and stalk prey. This also being the most active shoreline for trout make it even more believable that the pike love to be in this area as well. The best times we have noticed is early morning fishing while the sun is coming up and the late evening an hour or two before sun down. I know that if there is pike this size in this reservoir then the chances of catching a throphy like the fly anlger that landed him a 47″ 30lb pike out of here a month ago, is alot higher. However never seen the picture, os only rumored at this point.

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Green Moutain’s Pike Problem

After a few months of targeting Northerns at Tarryall Reservoir, a smaller lake, to see what these picky bastards are hitting. Trying everything to include SavageGear’s 3D Ducks/Rats, Spinners, Chatter baits and even the good ol fashioned crawler. Finally tuned in on the smaller pike, who were hitting off the white 4″ Spinners and white spinner with chatter rattles. So we planned a day trip and loaded up the family.

Once on the lake at Green Mountain we had high hopes with all the hype we have been hearing about the over population of notherns. The Colorado Division of Wildlife is paying $20 a pike to have these beauties removed from the reservoir. So we got busy, we worked about every patch of grass, coves and points the lake had to offer. Had a little action on the south inlet opposite of the dam west side on the river bend, lots of 12 inch followers but no strikes. Lots of Anglers including myself do not understand that the Northerns are sportfish and as aggressive as they are, they are smart and very hard to catch. I wont count this lake out, I saw a bunch of pike minnows along the west boat ramp and on the south part of the inlet. If there are babies their are pike. We also baited up and attempted to fish for trout, as I like to have a trout line close to where I am working pike lures. If there are pan fish activity chances are there is a bunch of northerns hunting near by. I will be venturing out a few more times before snow and will keep you posted.

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Educate the Youth #edukatetheyouth

 My almost 4yr old daughter has blown my mind this past year along with my other 3 children with their ability to understand and work together to become some pretty legitimate Colorado Angler’s.  We were fishing Dillon Lake last August, I was working a bubble and fly rig for hours with nothing to show for.  As a mask for my frustration I asked my little girl if she wants to reel my line in and you wouldnt believe it but she was able to nab her a little 5in rainbow. Since that day anytime I have a fish on she grabs the net, or if our ringer bells go off she is one of the first on site to grab the pole and set the hook. She instinctively walks the shore with her catch to insure it doest get off. She has now caught fish in the 12-20″ range her biggest was a 2lb Rainbow out of Slack-Weiss Resevoir.  At first site, you can

 see how she was blown away with the size fish she just retrieved. I am very excited to see her develope more as the years go on I will progress her into one of Colorados best Anglers.

 

Her older brother Gabriel, 9 yrs old who suffers from Intellectual Disabilities [mental retardation] has also set the bar high as a youth angler. When we first tried to let him work the reel, he would just hold it and act like he was reeling, partly cause he had not very good motor skills. This quickly changed. With patients and him seeing his little sister getting fish to shore he started to push himself more and eventually landed him a good size rainbow out of Tarryall Reservoir last August as well. I was hoping that him feeling the fish fight and lossing them he would eventually figure it out like any angler, after his first catch to see the sense of accomplishment on his face was priceless and thanks to fishing he now has a release and a way to live in this world without judgement and complete freedom. Gabriel has learned to sit patiently by his reel until he sees a strike and will also set the hook apon retrieve and has also grown to be one of my favorite Colorado youth Anglers.

One of the things that I find about fishing as a family team is it builds trust, sense of accomplishment, bonding and most importantly time spent with eachother. Most families don’t have as much time as they might need to spend with the family. So the next weekend you are bummin around the house the kids have their faces buried in the IPADs n video games. Load up and head to the closest lake and figure out how to catch fish together.

TIps:

1- google what kind of fish are in the lake of your choice [city lakes are no exception].

2- google the top baits for your fish [night crawlers usually do the trick]

3-YouTube!!!! look it up and show your family how to provide. Catch fish together, cut and prep fish together, sit down and enjoy the fish as a family and store it away as another awesome day and memory with eachother.