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Mark Kautz
06/27/2014 11:40 AM

Last weekend, my wife and I took the Clipper (our travel trailer) over Carson Pass and parked in Hope Valley Campground. If you’ve never been up to Hope Valley, there are a zillion places to fish. Just to name a few, there are the West Fork of the Carson River, the East Fork of the Carson River, Upper and Lower Blue Lakes, and ... .

All are good places to catch fish, if you know where to look. Obviously, the 88/89 bridge, if you can beat the “fish to extinction crowd,” is one of them. West Fork of the Carson River, across from Hope Valley Campground, maybe.

While we were up there, I did a little more recon. If you remember, in my column a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned a new lake and creek. Well, I got there, and here is what I found.

On Friday afternoon, after getting the trailer set up, we drove over to the 88/89 turnoff. Instead of turning left (toward Tahoe), we went right. The road is called Burnside Lake Road and its 5.4 miles of — let me see if I can put this into perspective. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being a nice, paved road and 1 being dirt-bike accessible only, I would rate it a 5. It has some washouts and plenty of bumps and rocks in the road, and will probably destroy your front-end alignment if you go more than a couple of miles an hour.

It took us the better part of an hour to get there, but it’s always longer going than it is coming back. We stopped at the end of the road and found this very nice little lake about three times the size of the Camanche Trout Pond. To me, it looked like a “float tube” kind of lake. Guys fishing there said it was only about 12 feet deep at its deepest. One said they had caught a couple of stocker Rainbows.

One guy told us that he had been skunked for the first time in his life. We could take this one of two ways: either he hasn’t fished much and was lucky every time; or he’s a real fisherman, and you know how real fishermen are.

Anyway, we yacked for a while and then he started to pack up, so I figured it was my chance to see if there were actually trout in this lake. Before I tell you how it went, I want to mention that I found this lake on the DFW stocking list. Before that, I never knew it existed.

I got my little Okuma from the back of the truck and put on a 1/4-oz. gold Kastmaster. Eight or ten casts later, I had nothing to show for it, so I did the only logical thing and changed to another color. This time, I put on a 1/8th-oz. Kastmaster in Rainbow Pink. That color has always been good at Camanche, why not here?

On the fourth cast, I had “fish on,” and the guy who got skunked couldn’t believe it. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a short-distance release (that’s where you get it almost to the shore and it comes off). We watched the skunked guy and his friend drive off.

It was probably a good thing they left, because, three casts later, I had two hits on the retrieve, but couldn’t get the fish to stay on. Two casts later, I brought an 11-inch Rainbow to hand, gently releasing it for another day. That was all I did. Ten minutes, two fish on and two hits. I put my rod back in the truck and off we went.

We did pass those guys on the way out and I mentioned the hits and the one I put back, but drove off fast. I think they were throwing rocks at us.

There was a creek that crossed the road on the way to Burnside Lake I was interested in for fly fishing, but you could get more water out of a garden hose than was in that creek, so that part of the exploration was a bust. The lake was good, although I don’t know how long the fishing will last.

On Saturday morning, I bounced some Tenkara flies off the noses of several fish in the West Carson across from the campground, but none were interested. A couple of other guys tried Power Bait and salmon eggs, but they didn’t fare any better.

Tight Lines.

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