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Jerry Budrick
06/06/2014 2:41 PM

M

y wife and I headed out on Friday, May 16, for Pine Flat Lake, about 40 miles east of Fresno. The plan was to meet up with a fellow blogger from that area and fish the Kings River, below Pine Flat Dam. I also wanted to visit a couple of places where I had camped in the past. It was a déjà vu kind of thing.

We got to the campground about 4:30 p.m. and, by the time I had leveled the trailer and got the camping chairs out, I was drinking a 16 oz. bottle of water about every hour. It was supposed to be 95 there on Friday, but it sure felt like 115. We got into the truck and decided to take a little scouting trip for fishing on Saturday. Be prepared in advance, if you will.

We drove along, looking at the river here and there and really didn’t find any “special” place. We made a turn on the road toward the dam, passed a park, and pulled into a little parking spot. There were some people doing a Friday night picnic, so as not to disturb them any more than necessary, we took a quick walk down to the river and marked it (mental note) for fishing in the morning.

On the way back to the main road, we turned into the park and it turned out to be one of the places I was looking for. Back in the 80s, I met my brother (rest his soul) and sister-in-Law at this very place and camped for the weekend.

To this day, the place hasn’t changed a bit, in fact, this is where I first wanted to camp, but didn’t know the name. At this point, we couldn’t move there because my friend was meeting us where we were set up and I didn’t have any way to get hold of him to make a change. We checked out a couple more places along the river, but the first one was it.

We took a drive down to the lake, but the water was so low there was only space for the marina and all the houseboats, fishing boats and speed boats docked there. To be able to fish anywhere near that area would have taken a good mile hike and, in that heat, nothing doing. Fishing the lake was now out of the question, unless we had a boat, which we didn’t.

On Saturday morning, my friend Dan showed up, right on time. He threw his gear into the truck and off we went. When we got to the “special” spot, there was no one around. We thought we had it all to ourselves. By the time we wadered up, three guys showed up and immediately ran down to the best spot on the river.

As Dan and I walked down to the river, I committed fishing sin No. 1. I walked right into the water and jumped a good 15-inch trout holding two feet off shore. That was my first mistake of the day (fish close to shore first and then further out) — there were more to follow. In talking to the three guys, I found out that not only had Rainbow Trout been planted, but also Brook Trout. When I was swinging streamer flies, the one I forgot to use (committing fishing sin No. 2) was swinging a Mickey Finn, the killer Brook Trout fly. I guess the heat got to me and torched my brain. It was supposedly only 91 on Saturday, but it was still hot.

We moved closer to the dam and turned to spinning gear. We used Power Bait, salmon eggs, lures of all kinds, and all we managed to do was to lose a lot of tackle. The river is loaded with rocks, everywhere. There was only one person with fish, and he had caught them at the crack of dawn using Power Bait under a bobber. Nobody else along the river caught anything, and there were a lot of nobody’s.

We called it a day and back at camp I gave Dan a few fly-fishing pointers (he didn’t need many) and he headed downriver to a spot he wanted to try on the way home.

I was glad I got to meet up with Dan and we will fish together again. Maybe next time, I can drag him up to the Middle Fork of the Cosumnes for a little dry-fly fishing.

Tight Lines.

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