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Tubing Willard...Again 1-17-18

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Tubing Willard...Again 1-17-18
TinCan posted about open water at Willard north marina. Just hadda get back in the saddle (float tube) again. Weather forecrash looked doable for today so I went for it.

Based on last week's report and pics I figured I could launch at the ramp. WRONG. Either it has refroze or a sheet of ice had blown in from the open lake. Oh sheet.

Drove over to the parking area at the fish cleaning station to look at the possibilities off Eagle Beach. More better. Open along the shoreline and out at least 50 yards...extending out beyond the channel out from the marina. Plan B...Eagle Beach.

Launched about 8ish. Air temp 30 and water temp just over 35...warming to almost 37 by noon. Cool launchings and cool runnings.

Found thin clear ice about 50 yards out...in water about 10 feet deep. Angled south, following the ice edge SW to a point straight out from the marina where the water was just over 19 feet. Saw almost nothing on sonar all the way and got no love on anything I tried...minnows, crawlers, jigs, fligs. Nada.

I continued to make big S turns between the edge of the ice and shallower water...watching for signs of life on my sonar screen. About as uneventful as watching current political pontifications.

Decided to try up in the channel and see if I might be able to get to the ramp by coming in through the ice from the open water. I did see a couple of clusters of something on the bottom straight out from the ramp...and the water temp inside was 38. Hmmmmm? Nothing that wanted to play though. And the ice was just thick enough that I couldn't break through it to the ramp. So back out to the main lake.

I might mention that there was obviously a big shad dieoff under the ice. There were quite a few 2-3 inchers washed up along the shoreline at Eagle Beach. And you could see little floaters under the clear ice near the edges. The gulls and terns were watching for the edges to melt and release new tidbits too and the birds were dropping down to pick up remnants all morning.

As I got back into the main lake I noticed that a little west breeze was moving the ice sheet closer to shore. Figured I better get back to my launch spot before I was cut off. That's when I had a couple of pop and drops on minnows. Wouldn't cha know it? Just when the fish get ready to play the ice moves in over the fishy area.

But wait, there's more. My rod with a white flig and a piece of crawler suddenly developed a big bend and the reel started screeching as line peeled off the drag. Yee haw. The fish had weight and pulled hard. Wiper? Nay, not so. After a pretty good battle my wiper came to net. But he was a gold color, had big scales and puckery lips. Funny looking wiper. But he kept the skunk away...barely.

Today was a good news and bad news day. The bad news was that the fish cleaning station was still closed. The "good" news was that I didn't need it. But it felt good to be afloat again.

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Re: [TubeDude] Tubing Willard...Again 1-17-18 In reply to
Glad to see you made it out, at least there no skunk with the two you caught, went down to LB on sat, seen a guy out in a yak never seen any thing caught, still to much ice in the harbor for me, I bet it will refreeze next weekFrown
O.C.F.D.
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Re: [MSM1970] Tubing Willard...Again 1-17-18 In reply to
My first shot on Utah Lake is usually out of Lindon. It opens up sooner than most other access areas and can offer some good early season action for white bass, walleyes and cats. A lot depends on water levels...especially around the bubble-up and the mouth of Battle Creek.

Hoping the walleyes wanna play this spring. Gotta show them some of my new fligs.

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Re: [TubeDude] Tubing Willard...Again 1-17-18 In reply to
you could have launched at first spring, hopefully the wind will keep the iceawaySmile
O.C.F.D.
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Re: [TubeDude] Tubing Willard...Again 1-17-18 In reply to
TubeDude (pat) I always enjoy reading your adventures tales. Hell you make catching a carp funny and interesting to read. LOL!! To bad the Willard didn't treat you better today. Maybe next time!
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Re: [TubeDude] Tubing Willard...Again 1-17-18 In reply to
Like the new angle on your rod holder. Glad the skunk left you alone today. Was there lots of dead shad by the shore?
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Re: [TubeDude] Tubing Willard...Again 1-17-18 In reply to
Wow this mild weather didn't cause too long of a break in your tubin at Willard. Glad you didn't smell skunk. The new cold spell moving in might force ya to put the tube away again but glad ya got out
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Re: [MSM1970] Tubing Willard...Again 1-17-18 In reply to
I suspect the wind will rip the remaining rotten ice right off the lake. We will soon see the annual icebergs forming at prominent points around the low altitude lakes...like Willard and Utah Lake.

The good news is that wind also aerates the lakes and helps wake the fish up. Wind CAN be a good thing.

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Re: [liv2hunt] Tubing Willard...Again 1-17-18 In reply to
"Too bad the Willard didn't treat you better today. Maybe next time!"

They say you should always fish with positive expectation...and stay focused. Good advice. But when a lake is just losing its ice it usually is not red hot fishing. Willard is a relatively shallow lake with little aquatic growth for oxygen production and it has a lot of biomass (fish) competing for available oxygen under the ice. Even in a year when the ice does not last very long the fish slow down and do not feed as actively until after the wind rips off the ice and aerates the water again.

My next trip will be after the ice is gone and the lake is revitalized.

Thanks for your kindly comments.

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Re: [pa] Tubing Willard...Again 1-17-18 In reply to
pa wrote:
Like the new angle on your rod holder. Glad the skunk left you alone today. Was there lots of dead shad by the shore?

There were only a few dead ones washed up at daybreak. Didn't take the cleanup crew (terns and gulls) long to spot then and snarf them. After that I saw a few floaters and some under the edges of the ice. But the floaters didn't last long either. I had some birds almost land in my tube when dive bombing the dead shadlets.

I think I like the new horizontal hold rod holder. Much easier to see the rods and reach them when you wanna change out. Here are a couple of pics I took during the fabbing and test process. I'll be happy to set it up to show you when you come over.

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Re: [fish_fear_me2] Tubing Willard...Again 1-17-18 In reply to
Yeah, it has only been a month since my last tube trip on Willard (a skunk). The weather for the next few days does not look good for silly float tubers. But I doubt there will be cold enough ice-making temps hereafter to totally recreate the hard deck on at least the lower elevation lakes.

I got in a January tube trip. I can wait a while for the better fishing to come along.

Sounds like you have been hitting the ice a bit.

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Re: [TubeDude] Tubing Willard...Again 1-17-18 In reply to
Hey Pat,
Very cool, to see you out and having fun again... I hope some day I can learn how to catch those early opening in the water fish like you do... Seems like I really crash each year from ice out to April, and have a tough time catching anything... I need to take some pointers of how you do it... I got on the ice and found two 9" crappie and a carp last night. That was fun, but not like a January tube trip.. way to go...

I'm interested in your rod racks as well... How are they working out? Do you think you'll like that design better than the vertical? I may be under taking a new toon set up, so I'm curious if there's a better way... Was just going to move the PVC from old ride over to the new one, but maybe it's time for a redesign... Thanks J
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Re: [SkunkedAgain] Tubing Willard...Again 1-17-18 In reply to
I seldom have great expectations on first trips after iceout. Usually the fish are just waking up and getting energized with more oxygen...after months under the ice. But sometimes it goes wide open and I have to stop at the emergency room on the way home to get the silly grin surgically removed from my face.

I have experimented with several different designs for horizontal rod racks. I think I like this one better than any of the others. It makes seeing and handling extra rods easier than fumbling with trying to stick them down into tubes behind you. A real consideration for old dudes with limited flexibility.

The one potential downside is that if you are backing into shore or a dock you have to be careful you don't break rod tips. I am thinking about a modification that will angle the back end of the rods up at a slight angle.

All in all, it is a compact and lightweight design. Easy on and off...but not too easy. Little chance of failure if you install it right.

And one of the biggies is that it reduces the chances of snagging one of your stored extra rods with your casting rod...or tangling in them when you set the hook a bit too vigorously. Lower vertical profile. A lot of klutzy anglers need that.

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Re: [TubeDude] Tubing Willard...Again 1-17-18 In reply to
Well now you got me thinking what will work best for me in the new lay out... I know the existing design is too big, too much and it's gotten like a battle ship rather than a lite agile machine I'd like to have... Somehow when I put the down rigger and side planner mast on it, I sort of over did it and it became too much to handle easily and use where ever I wanted too... Time to go back to the drawing board I guess... Decide what I really want and need and then see if I can make them easy to install and use... Maybe I can make interchangeable pods for when you need side planers or down riggers, but not that has to be attached all the time... I'll see what I can come up with... Thanks for getting me thinking again... Later J
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Re: [SkunkedAgain] Tubing Willard...Again 1-17-18 In reply to
The offer is always open to bring your ride down to my "tubeatorium" (3 car garage). We can put it up on the table and I can make suggestions as to options for including all of your "upgrades". Like a lot of things in life, it is simple once you have done it a few times but it can be confusing and frustrating trying to figure everything out the first time.

The tough part for a lot of first time tooners is that all of them have different designs and frame layouts, etc. You gotta scratch your head and work on it a bit to get everything to fit firmly, conveniently and economically. And it usually takes at least some minor modifications after you try it on the water and find out what reality is.

If nothing else, you can redo some of your bulky addons to fit down into base holders...with screws and slots to anchor against rotation. That is how I have the new horizontal rod holders. They fit snugly down into anchored fittings...with the bases grooved to slide down over pins or screws in the fittings. The good thing about that setup is that you can break everything down neatly for transport without worrying about hanging up and breaking.

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Re: [TubeDude] Tubing Willard...Again 1-17-18 In reply to
Hey Pat, sorry about that ice in the north ramp area. I was there for awhile last Sunday and the water from ramp around to the west and down the channel looked pretty clear.
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Re: [TubeDude] Tubing Willard...Again 1-17-18 In reply to
Thanks Pat that would really be fun if I could find time to run down. I'll try putting it together and see where I'm at. I think I'll try a few different things than last time and see how it goes. Then I may join you to fine tune things. Thanks so much for the offer. J
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Re: [Tin-Can] Tubing Willard...Again 1-17-18 In reply to
No apologies necessary. Not your fault. When the ice is going out it can move around a lot on any given day. I have had several "ice-outs" over the years when I tried to time my trips right.

But, better to not be able to launch than to get out on the lake and have the ice move in and block you from returning. That has not only happened to me, in my float tube, but has stranded a few boaters in the past as well. One story is about a guy who launched from the north marina but got blocked by ice from coming back in there. So he worked through floating ice sheets to get up to the south marina. He docked his boat there and used the cell phone to call someone to come get him and take him up the north marina to pick up his truck and trailer. Drove back down to the south marina, loaded up and headed home. All's well that ends.