Thursday, October 31, 2013

Desert Trout Adventure


 Growing up in a bird hunting and fly fishing family, you do a lot of exploring for untouched areas. Seldomly though, do you discover a gem such as a lake in the middle of the desert that holds a bounty of trophy Rainbows, Cuttbows, and even the elusive and very rare Tiger Trout while hunting for chukar, even with help. Hours of driving on highways and hours of gravel and 4x4 roads put you smack dab in the middle of no where and present you with an adventure of a lifetime. Climbing a couple thousand feet in elevation on 4x4 trails is one thing, doing it with four fishing kayaks on top of a UTV is a whole other beast.

     This October fishing trip started off with high expectations and the desert did not disappoint. Four wheeling into beautiful country, seeing wild horses, mule deer, and coyotes (just to name a few); and then tent camping in a rugged landscape with no trees, but rocks to provide shelter is enough to make an excellent weekend. Throw in the frigid below freezing night time and morning temperatures and you have yourself the perfect trout fishing conditions. The fishing started off with two back to back 21 inch Rainbows caught by my dad and myself from the camp fishing rock. It was time to hit the water.       

The UTV goes a little faster than the truck...

A rough road to paradise.

Our fishing rock providing another hard fighting fish!
23 inch rainbow on the Cuda
Our camp in the rocks. The tents are in the rocks on the right.

Taking a break from fishing and hunting for Chukar and Hungarian Patridge.

Dinner fish. Weighing in close to 6 lbs I'd say.

Things were cold in the morning with ice on the boats and the guides on our rods.

Plenty of beautiful fish, in beautiful water, in a beautiful place.

This one had a gut.


Getting windy. That desert air dries you out in a hurry.

Desert Surf and Turf. (Cotton Tail and Trout. We also had Chukar one night)

Such amazing fish.

One of two tiger trout caught on the trip. We couldn't find the big predators this trip.

On our way out.

Racing against the storm that could have snowed us in. We won!

And our good fortune ran out, especially since we forgot the spare. With some Redneck ingenuity we were back on the road.

     After Three nights of sleeping in the cold we were ready to go home, but not without missing the fishing and shedding a few tears. The shredded tire and the storm that dumped 16 inches of snow in the Sierras turned an eight hour drive into roughly a fourteen hour one. It was a miserable trip home that I thought was never going to end. I accepted that I would be living on Chukar and desert trout for the rest of the winter, but luckily we made. My father Rick, my Uncle Mike, and our good friend Les provided amazing company on an unforgettable trip. Stay tuned for the video that includes more fish and our travels!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Yakhopper/ Fisherman's Warehouse Delta Madness Tournament

What a day at Yakhopper's Delta Madness. I made a late launched at Turner Cut Marinia and headed towards Mildred Island. Paddling my Eddyline Caribbean 14 without a rudder for the first time and halfway through Empire Cut I noticed the kayak was faster making it pleasurable compared to my Ocean Kayak T15. In the past, while in Empire Cut I always see fish busting surface after bait fish. But being a little late I didn't see any surface activity. It didn't matter for I knew where fish would stage for an easy meal so the first cast I used my Powell 795 C with 65lb braided line with a 5" Sinister America Shad DeltaWoodbomber. I saw a swirl but the fish didn't commit. Recast and the large mouth bass goes flying in the air missing my lure. Tryed working that area but nothing showed. On the next stop cast the 5" Sinister again and this time a fish stucked. 15 and a half large mouth CPR. Tried the outside of Mildred Island for nothing and with time left before check-in I wanted to paddle back to the marina and work the docks. Eventually, the wind picked up along with high tide pushing hyacinth inside of the docks. With little time to work I had no luck there so time to go check in. To my suprise my catch of the day secured 2nd place and took home a nice placard and a Lowrance Mark 4.

Yia Yang
Eddyline Kayak Fishing Team Member

Yia's new Caribbean 14

2nd place on a tough day of fishing. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

NuCanoe Frontier 12 rigging with Bass Yaks Trolling Motor

Here at Headwaters we never turn down a rigging job no matter how complicated it may be. This one was a NuCanoe Frontier 12 with a Bass Yaks Trolling Motor, anchor trolley, tandem and solo Max 360 seats, front mounted battery, Lowrance Elite 4 DSI fish finder with transducer scupper, Yak Attack Mighty Mounts, Scotty rod holders and so much more. Here is a video walkthrough of the kayak. We hope this helps get the wheels turning for you and your next rigging project. Don't hesitate to call or email if you have questions on how to rig something.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

American River Fish and Cleanup

The American River Fish and Cleanup was the brainchild of Headwaters Fishing Team member Adam Koons. Adam and I had talked about doing a "Fish n Chill" event on the American when the Salmon started running. A Fish n Chill is what the Nor Cal Kayak Anglers club calls a non competitive event geared toward getting new and old members together to fish, relax and potluck. We wanted our event to double as a river cleanup, an idea originally brought to us by fellow NCKAer Jim Meier. Jim host a kayak fishing tournament series called "Fresh Kats" (freshwater kayak angler tournament series). This was his way of promoting and rewarding good stewardship of our fisheries. Usually at all Jim tournaments there is a large prize for the most trash collected. We decided to make this part of our event, and the Headwaters Kayak Shop got on board and donated a Wheeleez kayak cart to whoever brought in the most trash.

Soon after the event was posted interest started pouring in from all over Nor Cal. We had people RSVPing all the way from Paradise, the bay area, and surrounding cities. We quickly realized that we would need to get in touch with the parks and to get a permit and make this a ligament event. Thankfully Adam made the call and talked to the parks person about our plans. Not only did he make it easy to get our permit, but because it was based around a river cleanup he waived the fee, proving doing the right thing really has it rewards. Adam also got in touch with local artist Skinner to design a really awesome shirt for the event. A zombie salmon with some trash in his mouth. Gross sure, awesome absolutely!

The Fish n Cleanup took place on Sunday October 6th at Howe River Access on the American River Parkway. We all started rolling in at dark and watched the sun rise over the river. Mist was rising of the water and Salmon were rolling everywhere. Everyone quickly hit the water and begin working spinners as they drift down the river. Right off the bat as I was side drifting through the first bit of current and I got a hard hit. I was still half asleep and didn't set the hook in time, but it was enough to wake me up and get my attention. Unfortunately for me that was the only action I would get all day. My fishing partners and fellow team members Bam and David continued toward the Pump House near Sac State. This is where a lot of the guys were anchored up jigging the deep hole near the pump.
Bam standing and casting spinner in his Jackson Kilroy

Father and Son fishing the pump house.

Soon after we stopped by the pump house we saw James headed up river with what looked like loaded down kayak. As we looked closer we saw that James had two wood pallets strapped to his back deck. It was obvious James had given up on the fishing and went strait for the trash prize. 

We fished the pump house for about a half hour with no love so we decided to make our way down stream to scope out some trash. Team member David Fowler spotted a section of bank completely littered with trash. The two of us stopped and filled our entire kayaks with bags full of trash. It was simply amazing to see how people just throw everything right on the ground or into the river. 

Trash man David Fowler doing his thing.
Soon after David and I paddled off a young family walked down the beach and had a nice clean fishing spot, and a safe place for their kids to play. It felt good to see our small efforts immediately pay off. 

Soon after this we saw James roll by with his second score of the day. A partially submerged shopping cart.

Our crew spent a few more hours casting around and enjoying the beautiful fall colors before heading back to the launch. On our way back we heard some VHF radio chatter about someone boating a nice salmon. We quickly paddled up to the pump station to find our good buddy Ron with a 36" Salmon on board his yak. He caught him on a spoon, jigging near the pump house. This was Ron's first ever river salmon off a kayak and needless to say he was stoked. It towed him all around the river before he finally was able to net it and get it in his yak. 

One stoked kayak fisherman
The best time of year to be on the river. 

Fall colors are intense right now.  
Mirror reflection.

With a nice fish in the cooler most of the crew decided to get back and get to the BBQ. As with all NCKA events the fishing is only a small part of the fun. The party really starts when the food gets rolling. We had smoked tri tip, ribs, baked potatoes, bacon wrapped jalapenos, BBQ'ed salmon, and more sides and deserts than we could count. As everyone enjoyed the food and conversation, we announced James as the winner of the trash pickup and presented him with his new kayak cart. 

Tim doing his thing

Can you say amazing! 

So when it was all said and done only one salmon was caught, but as a group we removed several hundred pounds of trash off the American River. Everyone really enjoyed the day. The weather was stellar, the water was flat, and the food camaraderie was as good as it gets! I'm always proud to be a part of these events and proud to be a member of the NCKA family.