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Mark Kautz
08/07/2014 1:30 PM
The granite in Silver Lake becomes more exposed as the water level drops. Amador Ledger Dispatch photo by Mark Kautz

On Tuesday, July 29, I headed out of the house around 7:15 a.m., with plans to hit either Caples Lake or Silver Lake, depending on whether I wanted to deal with the road repair just beyond Silver Lake.

I had hopes that I would have a better day than I had when I was at Bear River back on the 22nd. One has to keep in mind that the Department of Fish & Wildlife is not stocking anything on the Highway 88 corridor because of the closure of the hatchery at Nimbus Dam. If the catching is slow, new places need be explored.

After I left Cook’s Station, climbed over the ridge, and began the descent to Silver Lake, I decided that I didn’t want to deal with road repair and stopped at the boat launch, on Kays Road. After paying the $5 day use fee (the tag says the fine for not paying could be up to $1,000), I drove to my usual parking spot.

Gear in hand, including a small ice chest with a couple of PB&J’s, three bottles of water, chocolate chip cookies and four chocolate chip granola bars (I wanted to make sure I didn’t get hungry if it was a long day), I walked down to the lake.

Since I was the only one there, I had my pick of spots and chose a flat rock that was underwater the last time up. I began the day with two rods and rainbow Power Bait, one in close and the other out as far as I could cast. I gave them a half hour and then moved them, one to the right and the other to the left. I was searching for the “hole” the fish should be in.

With that hour gone, I put on fresh Power Bait, adding garlic to one and anise to the other. After the next half hour, I put on more fresh Power Bait, this time one with sweet corn and the other with pink. This was becoming a hard day, so I did what I teach and started using everything in the tackle box.

Another half-hour gone and I put Kastmasters on my little Okuma and tried that. I used rainbow pink, silver, gold and brown trout colors, and still nothing. The day was becoming very frustrating and I was running out of options.

As a last resort, I sank to the depths of putting Pautzke’s Balls of Fire salmon eggs under a bobber. I bought the jar of salmon eggs when my wife and I did the Highway 395 trip back in June 2010 and I don’t think I’ve used 10 of the eggs out of the jar. Guess what? The fish didn’t want them, either.

Here’s my take on Silver Lake and for the most part, Bear River Reservoir. As you know, the hatchery is closed and all the fish have been dumped into either the Highway 88 corridor lakes or those few over on the Highway 50 corridor. There will be no more stocks this year, and I doubt next year, as well. Don’t forget Bear River has a tournament the second week of September and I’m sure they will do a resort planting for it from one of the hatcheries up north and that will give you a chance for a little fishing there at that time, but otherwise I’d cross off Bear River and Silver Lake from your fishing targets, I know I will. It’s not the lakes’ fault, it’s just the drought.

The next lake in question is Caples Lake. Reports are that catching up there hasn’t been stellar by any means. I’ve not been up there yet to make my own determination and won’t be for a couple of weeks, as I’ll be just returning from **** River today and off to the coast in another week or so. I’ll get there eventually, but probably not before the first week of September — sooner if I can.

If you are wandering up Highway 88, you could always try Kirkwood Lake. I know they’ve planted it in the past, but the problem I’ve run into there is very limited parking. Most of the time, it’s full. The same goes for Woods Lake. Red Lake is a bust and has been for about three years. I got a report from my friend Yuki. He fished Silver Lake last Friday and limited with crawlers and Power Bait. Maybe the fish just don’t like me anymore. He was fishing by the dam.

Tight Lines.

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