Finally!…

Some of you may remember that the wife and I purchased a $60 permit so we could fish a local trout pond and extend our fishing season. After 6 outings to that area and only seeing one trout, we became fed up and started looking elsewhere. I could post a long rant but I won’t. Let me just put it this way…2 days after the alleged November stocking date, and the lake is smooth as glass, and we are there for 2 hours and didn’t even see a single trout rise??? I am beginning to believe that this City only stocked at the beginning of the season and haven’t done it since.

We used to fish this lake pre-COVID all the way back to the year 1998 and never had an issue catching trout. Most times we would catch a limit in about 30 minutes. I’m sure there are possible reasons or excuses, but if you take peoples money, deliver on your promise. I’m talking to you City of Sapulpa.

We found another trout pond that is somewhat local to us and went to visit. First thing we noted was that the parking lot was full of cars and we could see people spaced around the lake. That is always a good sign that trout have been stocked. We found a spot and started fishing. It didn’t take long before we were hooking up with trout.

I’m not going to get into the “Wild versus Stocked” debate. I live in Oklahoma so we don’t have native trout, none that I’m aware of anyway. Not much choice but to fish for stockers. Trout fishing opportunities are sorely limited in this state. Especially when people are allowed to own portions of rivers so wading can be illegal at worst or problematic at best. You don’t have to look far to find “Kens and Karens.”

Now onto more important things…The last two rods we purchased were the Daiwa Silver Creek Glass Progressive 53L and the MajorCraft FSG-4102UL. Both of these rods are fiberglass and we have been testing them out quite a bit lately. Both will make excellent stream rods, especially for the types of fishing we do.

Both fish really well and the Daiwa rod pairs nicely with the Daiwa Exist reel. But from a cost to performance view…the MajorCraft wins hand down. It fishes identically to the Daiwa and costs 1/3rd the price. As I’ve said many times before, MajorCraft gives you A LOT of bang for the buck.

I really like the flexibility of these rods as well as their durability. It brings back memories for sure, and I can’t wait for Spring to come so we can get back out and go after our native smallmouth again.

I don’t see any major changes coming in our fishing gear for 2023. Honestly, I have more rods and reels than I need, but it is fun trying them out and filling a niche in some circumstances. I am looking at a 2019 Shimano Vanquish spinning reel. Rumor has it that they will revamp it in 2023 but if they go to the super slow oscillation like what is on the Stella, I will give it a hard pass.

I am working on a ‘Best of 2022″ or “Most Used Gear of 2022” blog post and will try to get that out soon. I hope everyone is doing well out there. Thanks

Still Kicking….

Happy belated Veterans Day to all who served. Time is getting away from me, that’s for sure.

Fall is upon us which means we will probably switch to trout fishing instead of fishing for river smallmouth. We have visited the local trout pond twice so far but haven’t caught anything as of yet.

I’ve been playing around with an old-school Abu Cardinal C3 lately. I’m not going to lie, I prefer modern spinning reels! But it’s fun to pull a vintage reel out of the display case every once in a while.

I have looked at the stocking schedule and it appears that they will stock the pond once a month. I am not sure about the size and quantity but will keep digging for more info. We used to do really well at this pond but it has been abysmal the last 4-5 times we have fished it. But then again, as soon as the trout are released, people flock to the release point and beat the water to death. We usually pack up and leave at that point. I’d rather give the trout time to disperse throughout the pond/lake, but that’s just my opinion.

As a side note: We have opted to try out Instagram and both of us have pages there…#Velox Seeker and #okfishingwife. We hope everyone is doing well and getting a chance to get out and fish. Stay safe and we will see you again soon.

Outing to Local Lake 30OCT2022…

After receiving some much needed rain Friday and most of Saturday, we awoke to a very light breeze and partly sunny skies. We decided to hit a local lake and fish for a bit.

Last outing I was using Varivas Bush Trail VEP Nylon line with my Stella and was having some issues. My wife hadn’t tried out her Stella yet so on Thursday we went to another local lake for her to cast and test it out. Hers was spooled with Varivas Super Trout Advance Twitch Master VLS line and performed flawlessly. I re-spooled mine with the same line she was using and today was the first chance I had to try it out on this reel.

It definitely solved all of my line issues. My guess is the Stella didn’t like stiff monofilament too much. In the short time we were there, we managed to catch 6 fish, although nothing of size.

As the season advances deeper into autumn, our fishing options narrow down quite a bit. We decided to buy a permit for another lake that stocks trout during the winter so that will extend our fishing season quite a bit. I honestly don’t think they stocked it too often due to the pandemic but we’re hoping they will get back on track.

And what would one of our outings be without picking up trash.

The plaque was laying up on the shoreline and I brought it home. Seems to really fit the current time we are living in!

It breaks my heart to see so much trash, especially after all of the time and effort we put into cleaning that area up earlier this year. Now…you can’t even tell we did anything. Looks like I’ll have another winter project.

On a side note- The Stella is amazing.

River Outing 21 OCT 2022…

I have a few days of vacation that I need to use before the end of the year so I decided that today was as good as any other day. The morning started off colder than I expected with it being 34F when I stepped into the river at 0730. I was wearing my usual wet wading gear and opted to just suffer until the sun came up. The forecast called for temps to rise into the mid-80’sF by afternoon.

Autumn is upon us as the leaves are starting to change.

I decided to take 2 rods today, both TenRyu’s. A TenRyu Rayz Spectra RZS51LL and a TenRyu Rayz Integral RZI50L. The first one is a 2-piece “Light Light Action” and the second one is a 4-piece “Light Action. The Spectra was wearing a 2022 Shimano Stella C2000SHG and the Integral had a 2022 Daiwa Exist LT 2000S-H reel.

This was my first outing with the Stella and I had several line issues throughout the outing. It might be the type of line, I don’t know yet. The Exist performed flawlessly. They are both spooled with the same line, the Varivas Super Trout Advance Bush Trail VEP Nylon.

TenRyu Rayz Spectra with the Stella
TenRyu Rayz Integral with the Exist

It was good to get out and go fishing, but it wasn’t the same since the wife and dog weren’t with me.

Soto Amicus stove boiling water for coffee.
Need to come up with a better way to carry a rod on the Yeti.

The water was crystal clear and lazily flowing its course. The temperature climbed rapidly and I happily fished along. I ended up catching 15 decent smallmouth. I figured with the recent cold snap we’ve had, the fishing would be more difficult and it was. It sure beats working!

Masters of Camoflage.

A Much Needed Outing…

The alarm went off at 0345 and I wasn’t having any of it. I ended up hitting snooze twice. We were out the door by 0515 and stepped into the river at 0720. The starting temperature of the air was 48F while the stream temp was 72F. Needless to say, we both wore hoodies this morning.

First cast! I felt a butt-kicking coming on.
I thought her and the dog had a plan and were working together.

I damaged my leader while rigging up at the car and only had about 8 inches of fluorocarbon to work with. I ended up stopping and tying on a new 3ft section of fluorocarbon and immediately started connecting with fish.

Due to the flood we had last May, the river had completely changed. We had not fished this section of the river at all for 2022 so we were re-learning it as we moved upstream.

Was using a new jig head and a 2 inch B-Vibe.

I wanted to try a 3 inch B-vibe in green pumpkin since I was testing a new jig head. First cast into a deeper pool and it was instant hook-up. I ended up pulling 5 fish out of that small pool. I even managed to catch my Personal Best Velox (Neosho-strain Smallmouth Bass) and was really excited.

For a river that rarely produces a fish over 2 pounds…I was happy. Most people around here will tell you that a 3-pounder is a trophy.

2020 Shimano Vanford 1000 and a Daiwa Presso ML 62 rod got the job done.

Due to other commitments we had to bail at noon. I wanted to fish all day but that wasn’t in the cards. But still, I caught several good smallmouth and may stick with the 3-inch B-vibe from now on. Out of 17 fish that I caught…only 3 were under a pound. I’d call that a good day on this section of the river.

19 September 2022- Return to the Elk River…

The wife has every Monday off for the rest of the year so I decided to take a day off too. We talked and decided that we should go back to the Chambers Spring Road Access to the Illinois River in Arkansas and the Elk River outside of Noel Missouri. Neither one of us had caught Smallmouth bass in Missouri so we made a day of it.

Old Chambers Spring Road Bridge
Rockfish!
What are the odds?
Illinois river

We stopped at Chambers Spring Road Access just to see if we could get access to the river and wade-fish here. Yes we can! At least if we head upstream. We ended up catching 5 fish here before we decided to head on up to the Elk River. Our goal was catch smallmouth in Missouri and we weren’t going to get it done by fishing in Arkansas.

It didn’t take us long to reach the Mount Shira Access on the Elk River.

First things first…we made coffee.
The river was really low but that was to be expected.

It was a good trip and we had fun. We both caught Smallmouth bass in Missouri so that was great, which brings my total up to 4 states that I’ve caught Smallmouth in this year. The total catch of the day was 17 and 2 of them were decent. The sun was intense at 94F and we are both tired of summer. This access point gets a lot of traffic and we picked up 2 bags of trash on the way out. Even Zip spent an inordinate amount of time swimming in the river and he slept most of the way home.

I have a couple of gear review updates coming soon so stay tuned for those.

Great Day to be Fishing…

The weather forecast called for a low temp in the 40’sF so we decided to go fishing. We left the house at 0445 and arrived at the river at 0645. It was a little chilly to say the least. We donned our raincoats over the normal wet wading gear we use to add a small layer of warmth until the sun came up high enough to warm the river valley.

I surprised myself with how this picture turned out!

I opted to use the TenRyu Rayz Spectra RZS51LL spinning rod and a 2022 Daiwa Exist LT2000S-P spinning reel. Both worked flawlessly and were a pleasure to fish with.

A well balanced outfit.

We didn’t bother taking fish pictures as we weren’t catching anything of decent size. I think 12 went about a pound or a little more. Our total catch for the day was 86 so it’s obvious how many were dinks. They were fun to catch in current, but we would’ve liked some bigger fish. It was still great to get out and enjoy the day though.

As I sit here typing this blog post, Zip is curled up at my feet sound asleep. It takes days like this where we cover several miles of river before he’s completely worn out. We could tell that he was glad to get out too.

We’ll catch you on the next one…

Fishing Conditions…

The first day at camp, we fished for about an hour without ever getting a bite. We were both using titanium leaders since we anticipated catching quite a few Pike. I switched over to a 20# fluorocarbon leader and immediately hooked a smallmouth bass. At that point my son switched over to the same setup. We knew it would be risky and decided to chance it. We ended up catching 6 Pike over the duration and only had one break-off.

We caught several smallmouth in this range.
First Walleye of the trip.

I’ve never spent much time chasing Walleye and when my son started catching them, I asked him what his technique was and tried my best to duplicate it. He definitely has the touch since he caught twice as many as I did. He ended up trying hard to put me on good Walleye and I reciprocated by trying to put him on good smallmouth.

I’ve made several trips up to the Boundary Waters in LateSpring/Early Summer and the fishing was fast and furious. The last several trips I’ve taken in early September were mediocre. Fish just weren’t where I expected them to be. We fished some amazing water without any success.

Our most productive areas to fish were above and below Beaver dams. I’m assuming the oxygenated water had a big factor in that. We could fish the entire shoreline of a small lake and catch two fish, yet at the dams we would catch 10-12.

And true to form, we both packed too much fishing gear. We primarily used a 3/16th ounce jighead and a 4 inch curly tail grub in green pumpkin. That combination caught all of our fish except two. Next time I will pare things down A LOT.

I did have a reel malfunction though. My Shimano Stradic drag gave out which cost me a fish. I surmised that the clip ring had disengaged from the clicker on the spool support shaft. When I returned home I tore into it and confirmed my suspicion. It was an easy fix.

As stated before, conditions were tough and we earned every fish caught. We generally fished for about 5 hours a day and spent the rest of the time in camp just kicking back and talking. Something we rarely have time to do these days and it was nice to catch up as well as strengthening a bond. I will definitely make more time for that in the future.

It was good to see how our son had taken to canoe travel and the skills he had developed and honed over the five trips he has taken. He is a top notch camper and canoeist and is getting better at fishing. There will come a time where I will not be able to make trips like this anymore and it is safe to say that he will carry the mantle forward and pass it on to future family.

Video of a Typical Portage…

I thought I would do something different and so I filmed a complete portage crossing from beginning to end.

This particular portage was 60 rods long. A rod is equal to 16 feet in length. This is one of the easier portages that we encountered.

Pardon my breathing, I was carrying two packs and this was my second trip across the portage that morning.

Portage Part 1
Portage Part 2

Portages are necessary to go around steep drops, waterfalls and/or lake to lake. Everything has to be carried over.

Camping on Lower Pauness Lake…

Normally we paddle and portage a minimum of 10 miles into the interior of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to get away from people. This time we paddled in about 2 hours and set up a basecamp on Lower Pauness Lake. We didn’t really have an itinerary or a time schedule. Our main goals were to fish, explore and relax.

View from our campsite.
View to the Northeast from our campsite.
Relaxing.

Ultimately we would get up around 0530 every morning to see the Milky Way and watch the sunrise. We would eat a quick bite of breakfast and then be off by 0700. The first day, we fished the lake. The second day we paddled over to Shell Lake to look around and scope out campsites for a future trip. We fished Shell Lake as well. The third day we crossed the Devils Cascade portage into the Little Indian Sioux River up to Loon Lake.

General overview of the area we were in.

We saw Beaver, Otters, Eagles and lots of other wildfowl. No Moose or deer were seen on this trip but that was to be expected. Without having a real itinerary it was nice to just travel and explore at our own pace. This was probably the most relaxing and stress free trip to the BWCA that I’ve ever been on.

Back in Town…

I was talking with our oldest son about 2 months back. He had just returned from a trip to the Boundary Waters with a group of friends that didn’t go as well as he’d hoped. I commented about him and I doing a trip together and he agreed. I went about getting a permit as well as a rental canoe and lodging and planning out an itinerary.

Long story short, we spent the past week canoeing and fishing up in the Boundary Waters together and it turned out to be one of the best trips ever. The fishing was tough due to them still being in their summer pattern/deep water. We earned every single fish we caught. I don’t have all of the pictures yet so will only post a few of the main ones.

Shell Lake
Devils Cascade Portage
Resident Trumpeter Swans who sounded off every morning at 0600 sharp.

I am currently surrounded by gear that needs cleaning, drying, sorting and stowing. I have a pile of things to do before I can write a proper blog post but I will do that ASAP. Feels kind of strange knowing that I was in Des Moines at 0530 and home by noon. At least I have 2 more days to get things caught up. See ya soon!