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Tony Grove

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Tony Grove
We're hosting an exchange student this month. This was the only weekend he doesn't have other activities scheduled so we decided to go up to Tony Grove lake. The colors were beautiful on the drive up, and we looked forward to a day of fishing and maybe some hiking with great anticipation. When we reached the parking lot, I got out and wandered over towards the lake.
Admittedly, I have only ever fished the lake once, and seen it 2 or 3 times from a trail head, but I was somewhat puzzled by the lack of water. The lake was down to no more than a third of the normal surface area, and pretty poor shoreline access around most of the lake. The far side had steeper banks, so we could get closer to the water, but even then there were thick weeds around most areas 10-15 feet from shore.
I went back to the car to get fishing rods for the group, and saw a sign stating that the lake was scheduled to be drained on Sept. 20 for dam inspections, and that there might be heavy machinery and a drill rig on site for a week or two after that. That explained the low water. There is a drain at the bottom of the dam, and the water level was about 6 inches below the grate, leaving the water 15 feet or so lower than normal.
As we worked our way around to the far bank, we spoke with the only other angler on the lake at that time. He had just landed what looked to be a 13-14 inch rainbow using worms. He stated that we could catch as many fish as we wanted and that the forest service was suspending limits as the lake is likely to winter-kill. I'm not going to dispute the accuracy of his statement on limits, but neither was I concerned about filling a freezer with trout. I'm just not that interested in trout. For anyone else going up, it might be worth verifying whether limits have indeed been suspended.
Once we got set up, we put lines in the water and waited just a short time before I picked up the first fish using a worm on the bottom. We let our guest fisherman reel it in, and he was pretty excited. A couple of minutes later, I got hit on another rod using a piece of worm 3' below a bobber. He reeled that one in too. After that, things stopped for a bit, and the rest of the family caught up to us, so we got a total of 5 lines in the water.
The next fish was on my first cast with a Jake's, but I only got one bump in the next 10 casts, so I went back to the worm. We had a few hits on jig-heads dressed with garden hackle, but few hookups. I re-rigged my line to drop shot a piece of worm, and the bites picked up enough that we soon switched all 5 lines. Everyone caught fish on their own rod after that, from my grandson, to my daughter, my son, and our guest. At 10 fish, I suggested we had plenty, so we let the last couple go to brave the winter.
After a quick lesson in cleaning fish (entrails were bagged and removed from the lake), we headed back to the car for lunch.
All in all, it was a terrific day. Beautiful views, lots of fun, fishing success, and sharing a passion with a new friend. No pictures today, but I'm sure you've all seen at least as many stocked rainbows as you care to. All fish were between 10 and 13 inches.
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Re: [gaardvark] Tony Grove In reply to
Hey thanks so much for this report, I hadnít heard about the draining and Tony is my go to first ice fish pond. Sounds like it may not be all that great this year if they are saying catch as many as you can. Canít figure why they keep doing this fall drainages. Wasnít long ago that they did it last. If that water is down 15í there is probably only about 5í left if I remember right we fished around 20í deep in the center of the lake. That will likely freeze solid unless they get a plug in it so it can start to refill a bit. Glad you guys had a fun day and thanks so much for passing on the info. Later Jeff
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Re: [SkunkedAgain] Tony Grove In reply to
Silly question but, we have a cabin in Bear Lake. I swear I have seen the gate across the bottom of the road to Tony Grove for weeks now. We drove to the cabin today and the gate was across the road just above the highway. What am I missing? How do you drive up to Tony Grove it the forest service gate is across the road?

Thanks

GSP
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Re: [GSP] Tony Grove In reply to
Maybe they changed their regs this year. Itís usually open till the snow is too deep to drive up there. Or there is two roads thereís the turn off, the one that goes straight to a camp ground there at the bottom. That might be closed for the season. Then the one to the lake turns left right after you get off the highway. That gate is up the road a ways and probably canít be seen from the highway. That is the one that you need to make sure is open. Itís a long walk up there if the road is closed. I hope itís still open or I will be headed to the Unitas for early ice this year. Long drive for me. Later Jeff
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Re: [SkunkedAgain] Tony Grove In reply to
Thanks Jeff, I must be seeing the campground closure gate then. I was going to take my wife up there for a ride and saw that gate from the highway and figured they had closed off access already. Did not make any sense to me so I learned something new!

GSP
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Re: [GSP] Tony Grove In reply to
I hope I didnít lead you astray but I think what I told you is correct. The oil road letís them keep it open longer since it doesnít rut and track up like the dirt roads. Itís a very popular back country ski location so they try to allow access for that purpose. Last year I was ice fishing in the middle of a hockey game up there. Lots of folks like that area, but not too many crazy ice anglers yet. I should keep my mouth shut. Anyway hope you get a chance for a ride up there. Iíll bet the trees start dropping their leaves really fast now. They sure are at my place. 18 degrees tends to change things fast. I had 3/4Ē of ice on the pond this morning. Itís gone now except in the shade but it was cold. Later Jeff
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Re: [SkunkedAgain] Tony Grove In reply to
I think your description of gates was spot on. The road that goes up perpendicular to the highway is the one to the campground, and that gate was closed. The 7 mile road up to Tony Grove was wide open. There was snow on the ground up at the top, but only in the shade, and only a light skiff of snow.
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Re: [gaardvark] Tony Grove In reply to
Sweet thanks for checking it out. Did you try fishing. Thanks Jeff
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Re: [SkunkedAgain] Tony Grove In reply to
I did, the snow was there on the day of my original report. I haven't been back up again since then as I'm not the biggest fan of planter trout. They are a once or twice a year pursuit for me.
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Re: [gaardvark] Tony Grove In reply to
Sorry about that, I assumed you went back up and checked the gate. Probably the same as it was on your original trip though. Thanks for clarifying that for us. Jeff