February 9-12, 2022 With San Luis Lake and O’Neill Forebay still slow but warming up, I decided to do some exploration in the Revel RV looking for nice places to hang out and fish for trout. Luckily, my cousin Wayne had a couple windows to fish and we arranged to meet up with a couple friends –Victor and Ken, at Luc Lake formerly known as Coffee Cup lake. I hadn’t fished it since it was sold to Rolling HIlls Indian Casino in the late 90’s. I recall old man Leroy owed it , Kay Mitsioshi collected the money and managed it. Back in those days, Wayne helped plant Donaldson Strain Rainbows in the pond and it was a great place to catch a hot fish. In those days, the ponds were also used to rear trophy largemouth bass. Since its sale to the Indians, the name was changed to Luk Lake and the Fly Shop in Redding books trips there. The 65+ acre Luk Lake provides a quick trout fishing fix only a couple hours away and sometime the fishing can be great. The fish are planted but the lake is full of weeds and has some great hatches. At times , Luc Lake can be very productive. I left San Jose at 4:30am and arrived at around 8:00am . Wayne was already fishing. Victor and Ken were launching. We fished from 8-4 and most of us caught about a dozen fish on Chironomids, stripped marabou leeches and Ken got some on dry flies. The lake gets better as the weather warms up and bugs get active.
I recently purchased an Alpha 3000 10 foot porta boat to fit nicely on the van hoping to use it on long trips without towing a boat. Porta bote was recently purchased by the fabricator – Morgan Hill Plastics Inc. The 10 footer is much more stable than the 8 footer I used at Bailey Creek two weeks ago. Matched with a Minkota trolling motor and a Honda 2hp gas motor, I think I can fish just about any lake I can 4wd into without towing. I’ve been working with Dan at Vertirack on building the perfect Revel Side Rack for my Portaboats, rod tubes and surfboards. The boat performed flawlessly, Its heavier than the 8 footer mainly because of the new built in folding transom. The sides seen higher and the material seems stiffer which speeds the boat up significantly. I cant wait to put the gas outboard on it after I get the CF numbers on it.
One of the highlights of the day was eating lunch with Victor and Ken. Victor brought the portable Weber and we grilled hotdogs and Italian sausages with the work including sauerkraut and onions. Its very comfortable driving a vehicle with a full refrigerator freezer. I always learn something new when I’m around Victor and Ken, two of the most hard core fly fishermen I know. We will be headed to Cuba in a couple months together. VIctor introduced me to Victoria Secret Amber Romance which is the new DEET like insect repellent that makes you feel romantic. I cant wait to try it in Alaska this year. Ken introduced me to the best Pork Rinds I’ve ever eaten made by Pigwizard in Monterey. Thank goodness they mailorder. my Beer Bacon Caramel Porkcorn and Sweet Heat Caramel PorkCorn are on their way.
Friday, Wayne and I took his boat to Lewiston to test our skills against some very technical trout. The uncontested master of Lewiston is Benson who fishes it regularly and understand the nuances of the lake. During the winter, and especially when they are not planting trout in the lake, small schools of large wild trout cruise the narrow shallow ends of the lake for midges and mayflies. The technique to catch these wild trout are casting platforms, long leaders, perfect flies and small inconspicuous indicators. Fishing for trout in Lewiston this time of year is like hunting. Site fishing is the game and it’s a tough game . We arrived before the shadows came off the lake and there was a healthy midge hatch in the early morning. Fish were rising and cruising . We put long casts with 20 foot leaders over feeding fish for about an hour with fish rushing the fly and refusing to eat, Wayne and I worked through our chironomid and small nymph patterns and it was not until late in the hatch that we actually landed a fish . Wayne put a size 16 PT on and went deeper on the indicator to catch our first fish. We pumped the fish and found it stuffed with small olive Chironomids. When I held up Wayne’s PT next to it, I noticed that the abdomen on his PT was very thin. The PT was the exact length and the abdomen of the fly was the same diameter as the midge. Unfortunately I tried to steal on from him and it turned out that it was the only PT that was tied that way. All the other PTs had larger diameter bodies. I fished a thicker olive chironomid while Wayne caught a couple more fish. Finally I found a brown quill body unweighted skinny chironomid in Wayne’s box and fished the indicator about 2 feet. On the second cast I got a pull down but lost the fish. Wayne ended up catching 4 fish on the skinny PT. Just as we figured it out, a Kayaker decided to paddle right through the fish we were fishing for. Wayne and I stared in shock as she smiled and splashed her way through the only rising fish we saw on the entire section of lake. The fish spooked and took off. We decided to look for more rising fish elsewhere but the bugs turned off and we left at 2:00. I really enjoyed hunting those trout and I think leaving without landing one makes me want to got back even more. Its cool to have this kind of fishing in the winter when most everything turns off. Benson routinely gets some very nice wild fish out of the lake consistently. Practice makes perfect.
Its been years since I needed to make a long cast with a 20 foot leader which is great because it forces you to bring your A game. I brought 10 foot 4 and three weight Helios rods matched with Rio Gold Lines. Until today, I really like Rio Gold lines but now I prefer uplining both rods or using some of the newer lines that have heavier running line behind the WF tapers like SA Infinity , MPX and Frequency which are half a weight heavier perhaps. Having a long cast is an advantage on Lewiston for sure.