Saturday, July 6, 2013

Getting out of the Heat up at Huntington Lake

Huntington Lake as it is before the sun rises too high and summons wakeboats, jet skiers
swimmers, sailboats, and all the other loud annoying things that ruin a peaceful day fishing. 
            Over the last two weeks California's central valley has been an oven baking its citizens low and slow with temperatures between 104 and 110.  The predominant outdoor activity appears to be sweating and racing from the car to an air-conditioned space. I sit in my air-conditioned office reading fishing blogs and following threads on CCKF in the breaks between tasks at work daydreaming about getting off early to cast a line. I open the door leading to the parking lot on my way home and immediately get overwhelmed with the blazing sun. Getting in the car becomes a daunting task as I try to decipher what is cool enough to touch and what will burn me.

             My wife was excited to go camping, I was excited to get out of the heat and fish with Derrick again. We left the valley by six PM and got to the campground around dusk. I highly recommend Racheria Campground. It has great access for kayak fishing, newly renovated campsites, good bathrooms, bear lockers for every site, and the staff is pretty relaxed.
Many of the photos I took to not show the true beauty of this place. The lake sits around 7000 feet above sea level, so it was about fifteen degrees cooler than in the valley, which was a welcome relief. The lake holds brook trout, rainbow trout, German brown trout, and land locked sockeye salmon known as kokanee. My luck was not so good, I got two hits the whole time. Many other people agreed the bite was super slow. Derrick ended the trip with a rainbow and three kokanee.
Derrick rigging up
They see him trolling...
Derrick really liked that rock for some reason
There is something about being one of the first people on the water, before the motor boats and screaming kids hit the water.  The first day I woke up a little late and decided to make breakfast at the campsite. Once I was ready to go it was nine o'clock. I got out on the water and started letting out line when my fish finder ran out of battery. I figured I could do without it and started letting out leadcore. I got my lines set and the winds started picking up to the point there were small whitecaps in the water.  After that it was a mess, I got hung up, and in the time it took to untangle I would get blown back thirty feet. My handheld GPS clocked my speed at 2.1 MPH just sitting dead with the wind pushing me. That is faster the the recommended trolling speed for kokanee! I gave up, it was time to go back to camp and eat. After lunch we hit several shore spots with no luck.
Got a little bored waiting for derrick, so I had a photoshoot
          The second day started a lot sooner, I had a hit on my leadcore once I switched to an orange dodger and orange squid tipped with shoepeg corn, but it came unbuttoned before I even got to see it. I trolled around from seven AM until the winds picked up again around nine thirty, because I was exhausted and defeated. I have still to catch a trout or salmon besides a brook trout in California.

Derrick's 2nd day catch
         I got back to the campsite to find my wife and fed Derricks girlfriend my breakfast, so we broke camp and headed down to Shaver Pizza in Shaver Lake, California for some chicken pesto pizza. It was great spending most of the weekend with Derrick but I wish I could have gotten my wife out on the water. Her being pregnant didn't really help though... I'll get them next time. When we got back to the valley the heat hit me like a slap to the face. I left the gear in the truck and on the trailer because I didn't feel like sweating for two hours after unloading it. Too bad for our gummy vitamins that melted into one solid gooey mass in the bottle. Back into the heat. My wife and I just kept saying "why couldn't we live here?" the entire trip. Places like this make California, most of the state does not live up to the hype, but areas like this make it seem worth it. Worth the traffic, smog, crazy people, and even the summer heat in the valley.

Thanks for reading,

Dan

5 comments:

  1. Dan, beautiful piece again! That self pic is crazy great!
    I feel bad you weren't on them but MAN what a place to get skunked!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It happens, my day will come. I can feel it.

      Delete
  2. Mercy that is warm (hotter than bejeebers)! Wish you could have found the secret to hit a few fish that would have taken your mind off the heat, if only, temporarily.

    BTW, would like permission to use your picture wading on my blog for a post I am putting together. Will give a link back. Hope that is o.k.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mel, and you have my permission to use the picture.

      Delete
  3. That place looks like Paradise, man! Great pictures. I dig the new banner at the top, too!

    ReplyDelete

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