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Plan B - Willard 12-14-16

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Plan B - Willard 12-14-16
Several of us Wasatch Front tanglers had made plans to hit Bear Lake today. But Mama Nature heard about it too early and had time to prepare some snowy roads for us on the way. I know several who changed plans rather than try to become statistics.

I was one of them. Ditto for FatBiker. We opted for taking a (possibly) last tubing shot at Willard...to try to catch some more of the big perch that have shown up near the north marina.

I launched alone about 8. Air temp 30 and water temp 35. As evidenced by the half frozen marina and the cold water temps it shouldn't take long before we will need an auger to launch. But I have decided to hang up ice fishing. You wouldn't guess that from today. Constant snow falling all morning. And a chilly wind that cut through all my layers. And that cold water really tested my Heat-Holder socks.

Saw a couple of dead baby shad laying on the bottom just off the ramp. And saw some terns picking a few more off the surface as they floated up during the morning. The shadlets were only about 1 1/2" long...remnants of a late spawn that could not get big enough to switch their diet before the cold water dropped the zooplankton numbers.

Watched the sonar as I worked around the edges of the ice inside the harbor...and then back and forth across the open water. About the only evidence of life I saw was a cluster of something back in the northeast corner...in about 8 feet of water. I am guessing "moon-mouth" crappies...closed mouths because of the full moon...or whatever excuse might be applicable.

Nary a nibble inside the harbor. Electric motored out to the mouth and started dragging a minnow on one rod while pitching a series of plastics with the other. Nothing on sonar and nothing on either of my rods. But then...a twitch on the minnow rod. No chomp and run...like a kitty. Just a line twitch. I picked up the rod, reeled down a bit and felt faint signs of life. Set the hook into my first fish...a nice 13" porky perch. Looked like the day might turn out okay after all. Looks can be deceiving.

FatBiker came kicking out in his tube about 9:30. He didn't look any warmer than I was feeling. I decided maybe his temporary name might be CoolBiker. Unfortunately, the fishing turned out to be as cold for him as the weather. Skunksville.

I moved around to some of my fave humps and bumps...looking for more perch...or anything else that might get me warmer with some exercise. Saw stray fishy marks here and there...and groups in a few places. But they also had "moon-mouth". I did get a few more whisper bites...almost like ice fishing. And I did stick one more footlong perch. But it was a lot slimmer than the first.

By 11 AM the snow was picking up and the temperature seemed to be going down. The cold apparently had an affect on my sonar battery and it was reading "low voltage". Hmmmph. Wasn't from displaying a lot of fish.

Larry had already gone inside the harbor to try to find some more of the fish he had located while in his boat a couple of days ago. He didn't. I headed in also and just went straight to the ramp. I had overfunned. Crazy golfers, indeed.



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Re: [TubeDude] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
Shucks Pat, I never got cold until a looked at the picture you posted of me. Got me shivering and had to take a hot shower. No shame in a Skunk under today's conditions.



Larry



Larry

...one flew east, one flew west,
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest...
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Re: [FatBiker] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
I have always maintained that a skunk is not my fault. I can't help it if inexperienced fish just don't know how to take a bait or lure in a way that hooks them well. Some days a few will make it all the way in. Other days only a few will hit but none will stay hooked. Then there are days like today when they simply forget to open their mouths.

Stupid fish.

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Re: [TubeDude] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
Hey Pat thanks for the report. I'd wondered about a whitefish trip this week but seems like I can't find a day when the wind isn't blowing and I can get away. Nice Perch, glad you got some quality for your tough dues. Later J
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Re: [SkunkedAgain] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
I don't know if you guys are better men than I am, or hardier men than I am, or crazier men than I am. But I DO know one thing: you sure are colder men than I am.



Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult
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Re: [SkunkedAgain] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
There were more fish there to be had...on a better day. But a couple of porky perch is better than a poke in the stick with a sharp eye...or whatever.

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Re: [RockyRaab] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
Cold does not equate to "cool".

And I'm the guy who always says "I fish for enjoyment, not endurance." Ha!

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Re: [TubeDude] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
I had a day set for Bear L on Thursday but weather changed those plans. Was to meet a friend coming down from Idaho Falls to join me. Going for the gusto again next week hoping MN will grant the Cinderella pass. As long as BL doesn't cap I will continue my assault. Hope to run into some of you folks.



2007 Columbia Fisherman XL Yamaha F150 Yamaha 9.9 High Thrust 4 Electric Walker Downriggers Raymarine Element HV 9

Harrisville, Ut
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Re: [TubeDude] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
Hay pat it looks like water levels are good, might be a good omen.
I would love to see ice on the South marina side about 300 yards out.
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Re: [TubeDude] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
Nice report Pat!

Too bad you didn't brave the drive over here to bear lake (but I don't blame you... the roads are horrible). Two big perch to show for your effort is better than nothing. Good job!

I hit bear lake today with my uncle and we limited out in 3 hours. Also caught 5 big cutts. The smoker will be full tomorrow!

Mike
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Re: [gmwahl] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
Still catching them are ye Mike? Nice job, Howz the waves been? I'd sure like to catch a few but been terrible for me to find a day that I could stay on the pond long enough to try. Catch ya later J
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Re: [TubeDude] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
Are you sure you were at Willard catching nice Perch like that, and not some other "SECRET" honey hole?

I would rather have a cold day of fishing then a comfortable day of working. Thanks for the desk candy I am pretty sure I will not hit any water until I can walk on it this year.



"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day."...Anonymous
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Re: [doitall5000] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
Most years Willard is at least capped in the harbors by now...and the whole lake by early January...if it is going to go.

Yes, the water levels are definitely higher than the two previous years. The fall rains helped. And the early snowfalls in the hills are worth having optimism for good runoff this year.

Your anticipated ice fishing spot sounds like the new rock piles. True?

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Re: [gmwahl] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
I really wish I had been able to make it to your neck of the woods. I have had 3 trips planned and weather defugalties have kept me away each time. Too bad I have gotten so wimpy in my old age. But then again, erring on the side of caution might keep me around a bit longer. Maybe next week...if the fish hang around.

Heard from a fishing buddy who hit it Tuesday and he said they had pulled out the little docks at the ramps on the east side of the lake. That makes it tough for boats to launch and trailer over there...especially if the breezes kick up. Can you confirm that?

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Re: [SkunkedAgain] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
Ya, we're still catching them, but having to work harder for the ones we get. The weather has been a beast this year. One boat was swamped on Monday off of Cisco beach from the waves and even the marina has been rough for waves. Waves are a fact of life on bear Lake, but this year they have definitely been worse during the whitefish spawn.

Oh well, after the perfect weather we have had for the last two spawns it was about time that we had to pay the piper. It's too bad you weren't able to get out here and get more whitefish. They're such a great eating fish that we stock up and use them for the next few months.

Mike
(This post was edited by gmwahl on Dec 15, 2016, 5:53 AM)
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Re: [Majja] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
Majja wrote:
Are you sure you were at Willard catching nice Perch like that, and not some other "SECRET" honey hole?

Believe me, if any of my FORMER secret honey holes were still producing big perch I would probably be there instead of subjecting myself to the abuse at Willard. But as I go down the list of former fave perch ponds I cry real tears. Yuba, Deer Creek, Jordanelle, Pineview, Starvation...all are no longer reliable places to rack up big totals of big perch. Enough to send a perch junkie into violent withdrawals.

Sigh. Sob.

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Re: [TubeDude] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
Hey Pat,

They pulled them alright! I can't for the life of me understand why though. For safety's sake you'd think they would have left them in through the spawn....it is an annual event that attracts lots of anglers. They even anticipate it.

I wouldn't call it being whimpy in your old age, rather I'd call it wisdom! The waves this year have been enough to flip a tube most days and no fish is worth that.

Mike
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Re: [gmwahl] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
Do you think it might be a good idea to post a special announcement on the board about the ramps? Might save some anglers from making the trip around to the east side if they know they can't use a dock. Might also save some damage to boats...or worse.

I'd like to think that wisdom comes with age. But I still make a lot of bonehead moves that a guy my age should have the smarts to avoid.

Might be because of my "credo of life" I adopted many long years ago. "Existing is not living. I'm gonna live until I die. If it's living that kills me, so be it."

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Re: [TubeDude] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
Now that the state as started removing perch form fish lake it seams like they are starting to get some size to them, to bad it is such a long ass drive up there. I was introduced to the perch late in life, and it pains me i have not put any on my table for a couple of years.



"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day."...Anonymous
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Re: [gmwahl] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
Yup Mike, I'm afraid I missed it this year... Saturday looks like clear weather but colder than all get outs... So I probably won't try it then... Have to hope I find a few on the ice over there after the cisco... thanks for the update... J
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Re: [Majja] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
A lot of lakes are cyclical. But as far as perch fishing goes the cycles may never happen again as they have in the past.

Yuba for example. In the 80's...into the 90's...the lake was full of perch...and walleyes. The perch grew fast and grew big...over 16 inches. Lots over 12". Aftger the last drought ended (2005) perch were replanted and the population exploded...again with many fish exceeding 12"...until an explosion of growth among the pike population and heavy predation on perch. With the major drawdowns due to heavier demands by waterusers...and drought
conditions...the ecology was wrecked and who knows if it will ever return?

Deer Creek. The bottom used to be paved with perch...all over the lake...in all depths. The introduction of smallmouth took care of that. The smallies pushed out the largies and ate all the baby perch as fast as they could be hatched. As long as there are a bunch of stunted smallies in Deer Creek the baby perch don't have a chance.

Ditto for Jordanelle. The smallies ate all the chubs and then started on the perch. After a big perch dieoff one winter the perch crashed and the smallies stunted.

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Re: [TubeDude] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
With just my simple minded observation it seams if there are no forage fish the larger fish seam to stunt. I may catch hell for this but it might be time to get a taste of bass. Save perch eat a bass Sly

I know these last few year of drought have not helped with water levels being extremely low and lack of cover on the smaller prey fish.



"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day."...Anonymous
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Re: [TubeDude] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
TubeDude wrote:
But I have decided to hang up ice fishing.
Pat - say it isn't so! Who would I be able to leave stranded at the ramp if you stop going? Come on Buddy; have a heart. I need you out there. Unsure

Smile
Bob Hicks, from Utah
I'm 77 years young and going as hard as I can for as long as I can.
“Free men don't ask permission to bear arms.” - Glen Aldrich
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” - Dr. Seuss
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Re: [dubob] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
Are you tellin' me I should forget my personal feelings and take one for the team? I heard that before. I think it was right before the wedding ceremony.

I am not yet totally debilitated and can still handle some cold and ice skating. I sold my basic gear but do have some ice rods and lots of other gear. I suppose that if I had someone to leave me on the ramp occasionally I might still be persuaded to hit the hard deck. Kinda like Charlie Brown continuing to try to kick the football while Lucy holds it.

TubeBabe has always been my primary ice fishing companion. She has always been more sensitive to the cold and has developed some slow-down physical things. So that has limited our ice jaunts, along with lower water and poorer fishing on some of our fave spots. After going only once or twice a year for the past two years we decided to make some space in our storage area and pass on our gear to someone else at a good price.

If I join you again, in addition to leaving me behind you will have to supply the auger...for drilling the holes I will be unable to use because I am stuck back on the ramp.

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Re: [TubeDude] Plan B - Willard 12-14-16 In reply to
Hey TubeDude!

I saw you mentioned those new rock piles at Willard and was wondering if you'd be willing to steer me in the right direction? I know that's a lot to ask but would very much appreciate any guidance.

I've been wanting to get the boat out after some of those big perch! Should I go with a night crawler or minnow for those big perch?

Thanks again!
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