View Full Version : The Creek My Wife Discovered, etc.

Natural Lefty
09-06-2012, 05:44 PM
So, after leaving Washington state, we did a little touring of Oregon, but no fishing. I wanted to fish but decided that with the trouble and expense, we might as well save it for northern Cal. My wife wanted to see the Oregon coast, so we took a side trip to a place called Florence, Oregon. It was nice there but really expensive. My wife kept asking about eating Dungeness Crab, but it was more expensive than in California. One place in Florence had all you can eat Dungeness for $65. We said forget it. I told my wife it's the same crab we have in California, anyway.

Next, we went to see a lighthouse along the coast, where we could see the ocean. While we were there, we noticed a bunch of Blackberries (yet again) and Blue Huckleberries, so we had another berry snack. I also picked some wild Fennel in Florence which we ate with dinner.


There were an amazing number of natural lakes in the area near the ocean, along with the rivers. The lakes were apparently created by sand dunes, so it was a very interesting area. Along with the ocean fishing, there are a lot of fishing possibilities in the area, so we are thinking of it in terms of a future trip.

However, we continued onward to California the next day, August 21. I had my heart set on going to a lake called Castle Lake near Dunsmuir. Well, I missed the turnoff for the Castle Lake road, and wound up on a one lane road that went on for quite a ways. I thought something didn't look right, so I lowered my window and asked a man in a pickup truck as we were squeezing by each other. He told me that I had missed the turn and we were on the road to Gumboot Lake, so we turned around and eventually made it to Castle Lake. It was a very pretty lake, but nothing was biting. The outlet end of the lake where the road goes, is shallow, while the other end has a cliff and is 120 feet deep. I am guessing all the fish were in deeper water with the hot summer weather. There were a surprising number of people there (7 mile drive on a nice, 2 lane road), but we were the only people who were fishing. This lake has had its Brook Trout population studied for quite some time, so it is rather famous among ichthyologists. I suppose if I had asked the ichthyologists, they would have told me that the Brookies were in deeper water. I did find the outlet creek, which wasn't where I expected, and a pool in the little creek that had a lot of small trout. I did manage to catch one 7 incher on a worm, and missed several bites and strikes on flies, but that was it. The fish was a Rainbow, not a Brookie. I am guessing the creek was a bit warm for the Brookies.


After giving up on Castle Lake, we decided to head for Siskiyou Lake which was closer to the freeway in that area. While approaching Siskiyoui Lake, we found a little parking lot, which not surprisingly, had a bunch of Blackberries growing nearby, so we ate some. Then I found some peapods. I opened them up, tasted one cautiously, and they were just like peas, only better. I later found out that these are Sierra Peas. You are not supposed to eat too many of them, but we didn't, just a few pods which were delicious and caused no ill effects. I took a photo of Eunice with a Sierra Pea that was still blooming.


After our little nature adventure by the parking lot, we made our way to a resort at Siskiyou Lake. It turns out that they have a fishing dock, and visitors can enter the resort for only $1 each. The dock looked nifty, but the fishing there was just as disappointing as at Castle Lake. Siskiyou Lake has a lot of Smallmouth Bass and Green Sunfish, along with Rainbow and Brown Trout. However, we mostly saw baby Smallmouth and small Green Sunfish swimming around, plus one 10 inch trout that kept swimming near us but ignored our baits. We did have some bites, but the only fish was a decent size 7 inch Green Sunfish that I caught from under the dock. We kept trying casting out with Power Bait, Zekes or worms to no avail.

There I am at the lovely dock at Siskiyou Lake.


After giving up there, we headed for Redding. That night, we couldn't decide whether to head for Lassen NP and then down the east side of the Sierras, or head south and maybe fish the Sierras in the Fresno area, where I have never fished before other than a couple of backpacking trips a long time ago. Mother Nature made that decision for us, as when we awoke the next morning, the air all around us was smoky, and a couple of evacuees from the Lassen area told us that all the roads to that area were closed by fires. They said that even inside the park there was a lot of fire. These were natural fires caused by dry lightning strikes that came with the same monsoonal moisture we have been experiencing around here.

Thus, we packed up and headed south the next day (August 22). I was determined to keep driving until there was no more smoke in the air. The smoke continued most of the way to Fresno, in fact. When we got to Fresno, we made a left turn and headed into the mountains. I was intrigued by the big pipe inlet that pumps a river of water into Huntington Lake, so we wound up there around 7 p.m. There were lots of fish surfacing, but they would not bite on anything we tried including flies, lures or Power Bait. Sometimes, we could see fish jump completely out of the water, and it appeared to me that most of them were Brown Trout, around 10 inches long or so mostly. We gave up around 8 p.m. and headed back to Fresno to a Motel 6. This was my first time being skunked in California since April of last year a Big Bear, by the way, although we only fished an hour, and there was obviously no lack of fish in the area. They were being really picky for some reason. If only we knew what they were feeding on...



We wound up staying at the same motel in Fresno for 3 nights. The next day, we decided to try Shaver Lake. We also bought some worms at a fishing store there. The spot we found at Shaver Lake had a lot of people swimming, much like the first couple of lakes we tried in Washington state. It also had lots of baby Smallmouth swimming there. I caught one on a worm, then quickly caught 3 more on flies. These were tiny critters, like 3 inches long, which are babies even at Shaver Lake although the bass there are reportedly stunted. Eunice joined me there after a while, but after trying for something bigger by casting farther out, we quickly gave up and decided to move along.

As I was driving, Eunice informed me that she noticed a deep looking creek, so I stopped the car, and sure enough, there was a nice deep creek there. Some people can probably figure out which creek it is by the description, but anyway I will just describe it rather than naming it. My wife told me to give it a short try, then report back to her. In about 10 minutes, in one pool, I caught a couple of 6-7 inch Smallmouth that I put back, then hooked a nice size Rainbow Trout of about 12 inches, which got stuck on an underwater branch and made me break my line, all on worms attached to one of my friend Leo's (AsianGuy's) jigs that he gave me in return for giving him some fly tying equipment.

When I told Eunice of my success, we decided to fish the creek, but headed for a spot farther upstream, away from the road. In short, the place was packed with fish and the fishing was excellent, although most of the fish were stunted Smallmouth from 6-10 inches long. I think the males were 6-7 inches, and the females, the 9-10 inchers. We both caught quite a few fish in a couple of pools over the next couple of hours, probably around 30 fish in all. In addition to the Smallmouth, Eunice lost another nice size trout that came off the hook, and 2 good size, 8 inch Bluegills. I caught a third Bluegill a little while later. It was almost shocking to see Bluegills like that in a mountain stream. I caught a couple of fish on jigs, but most of them were on worms on a jig, or worms on a mosquito hook.



We eventually decided to give the inlet at Huntington Lake another try, this time with worms, but the fish showed no more interest in the worms than they had in our other baits, so we called it a day.

The next day was our final day of fishing. Eunice wanted me to give my original spot on "her creek" another try. When I got there, I saw an even larger trout of 15-16 inches in the pool below me. I tried unsuccessfully to get it to bite for a few minutes, but it finally slunk away to another part of the pool. I did catch another Smallmouth, somewhat larger than the day before, then I finally landed a trout, another nice 12 incher. (I measured it.) By the time Eunice joined me, the fish had stopped biting there. though.

I decided to try Portal Forebay, a small holding reservoir which is past Huntington Lake and Kaiser Pass on a one lane road. I know I had been on that road a couple of times before, but my eldest brother was driving. Either I didn't remember how bad it was, or the road has deteriorated over the years, with rocks sticking out of the pavement, potholes, blind turns, and many stretches of 50-100 feet where I couldn't see how 2 cars could pass each other. Either one car or the other would have to back up, and the road was of course far from being on level ground. I think they need to redo that road. (The road to Shaver and Huntington lakes is quite nice, by way of contrast.) Anyway, we didn't encounter any cars while going around blind curves, and always found wide spots for car passing when we did see a car coming the other way, and we eventually made it to Portal Forebay. To my surprise, we saw a camper parked along the other side of the lake, by the dam.

The fishing in Portal Forebay was fairly good. I caught a couple of smallish Rainbows by the inlet on worms while Eunice read in the car. I was hoping for Brown Trout or Brook Trout, but these did appear to be wild fish although I know that this lake is stocked. Eventually, the fishing slowed down so by the time that Eunice joined me, she was out of luck again. Finally, I decided to try a deeper looking slope along the south side of the lake. On the way there, I was surprised to see a second inlet. On my first cast along the deeper slope, with a Prince Nymph, I recieved a hard strike, and proceeded to land a 10 inch Brown Trout, a pleasant surprise. After that, neither of us had any more bites at the Forebay, though.

There I am with my Brown Trout from Portal Forebay.


We decided to head back to "my wife's creek" before it got too late. We tried a new spot that had rushier water, and to my surprise, Smallmouth were abundant there, too. Eunice hooked a nicer size one, but it came off. She said her knees were bothering her from all the clamboring over rocks that we had been doing, so she told me to make a quick, 15 minute fishing trip to a spot of my choice along the creek, and "catch fish 1-2-3." As it turns out, I cuaght five fish in that 15 minutes, 4 of those 6-10 inch Smallmouth, plus the prize of the trip, a 15 inch Brown Trout which is my personal best, beating a 13 1/2 incher. I know my bar wasn't too high, but it's still a personal best and a nice size fish. When I looked at it more closely, I noticed a lack of red spots, making it one of those reltively rare Brown Trout we always called "Loch Levens" that originated in Scotland.

We caught most of the fish from "my wife's creek" using worms on Leo's jigs, but by the end, the bass were slamming a Crawfish pattern jig every time. I missed a bunch of bites and lost several fish during that last fishing session too, so it was definitely "wide open," but this was right around dusk, just before 8 p.m so the fishing figured to be really good.

By the time we got a photo of my larger Brown Trout, we were in our motel room, and I did look a wee bit tired by then. I guess that meant we were ready to go home after that fitting ending to the trip.


The next day, August 25, we headed home, with a stopover at daughter Isabella's house on the way. We were too worn out for any fishing that day and I haven't had a chance to fish since then, but we certainly do have the memories.

09-06-2012, 10:39 PM
Nice read as always . Congrats on your Browns . Thanks for sharing .

Natural Lefty
09-07-2012, 05:33 PM
Thanks Troutman65. I forgot I have a photo of the larger Rainbow too, but the last Brown was the biggest one. We had quite an adventure there.

The Fishing Queen
09-08-2012, 08:42 AM
Wow, what an adventure and detailed report, lefty! It must have taken you some time to write it. Looks like a nice relaxing trip with some good fishing. Glad to hear that you two had fun fishing on this trip. Eunice did good job of finding the creek. I think the report should be tilted "Fishing at Eunice's Creek", ha ha... Anyway, thanks for sharing your vacation story with us! Oregon is a beautiful state with gorgeous scenery. I’ve always wanted to take a road trip and visit there with my family. I heard it is a very nice drive along the coast area.


Natural Lefty
09-08-2012, 10:55 AM
Wow, what an adventure and detailed report, lefty! It must have taken you some time to write it. Looks like a nice relaxing trip with some good fishing. Glad to hear that you two had fun fishing on this trip. Eunice did good job of finding the creek. I think the report should be tilted "Fishing at Eunice's Creek", ha ha... Anyway, thanks for sharing your vacation story with us! Oregon is a beautiful state with gorgeous scenery. Iíve always wanted to take a road trip and visit there with my family. I heard it is a very nice drive along the coast area.


Yes, I have been sick too so it was difficult to do the report. I think the stress of events at the school where I teach resulted in my illness.

If you just get on interstate 5 and drive northward, you can cover a lot of ground to the north. Everywhere is scenic in the northwest, whether by the freeway, near the ocean or in the mountains, and there is an abundance of lakes and streams. We couldn't help but having fun on this trip, even though we didn't have much idea about the places we were going to.

09-09-2012, 04:34 PM
Nice trip. If you ever go north again make sure you stop and fish around Dunsmuir. If you read my reports you will find there is lots of big fish here and easy to catch.

09-09-2012, 07:35 PM
Gotta love those wild blackberries Robert ( I can do without the nasty thorns though).
Sounds like you both had a nice adventure.
Congrats on the brownie.

09-10-2012, 04:12 PM
Nice report Lefty
I was just in Lassen NP at the beginning of Aug. and the fishing was great. Best spots to hit was Hat Creek in Old Station or Baum Lake in Cassel, east of Burney, which is north of where the fires were and can get there by taking Hwy 299 into Burney instead of Hwy 44 which takes you right to Mt Lassen. Easy limits at both places and the DFG had planted broodstock Eagle Lake Rainbows up to 7 lbs. in Hat Creek trying to get visitors to come to the area to fish since there's been very light fishing pressure up there.
Baum Lake has the Eagle Lake strain of rainbows planted there too, and the hatchery is right there at the lake. Easy limits in a couple hours only keeping the 1.5 to 2 lb fish for eating. Powerbait, salmon eggs, worms, meal worms, beadheaded prince nymphs, and lures all worked. You just have to look for the deeper water at the limited shore access areas.
Hat Creek above Powerhouse 1 was still closed when I was there because of a fissure that opened up at the forebay above PH1, but it should be full of water by now and I'm sure the DFG has planted it heavily.
Shaver Lake trout fishing is always good near the dam or from the shore at Camp Edison. Using the fly and bubble method, Zug Bugs work great with a very slow retrieve and the fly just under the surface, or using worms and letting it slowly sink after a long cast.
I think the road to Portal Forebay, Edison Lake, Florence Lake, and the San Juaquin River will never be made wider or improved.....it's been that way for over 50 years. You're right to say there are brookies and brown trout in Portal Forebay because I've been there many times and have caught such fish. Biggest brown I've caught there was a 19 incher and biggest brookie was 17 inches.
The water inlet at Huntington lake you wrote about is Rancheria Creek (doesn't look like a creek with all that water coming from a hydro electric plant). Worms, PB, and live crickets all catch trout there. They are just out in the deeper water out of the main current. I've always caught fish there. Rainbows up to 3.5 lbs and browns to 2 lbs.
I've been going up to the west side of the Sierras for over 50 years. Great scenery, fishing, and wildlife. Very quiet too.
My fav lake up there is Wishon Resevoir, which I go to every year usually in June before Wishon Village Campground is anywhere close to being full . They have a site online if you want to check it out. www.wishonvillage.com
OK, I've rambled enough. Glad you had a great trip. PM me if you want more info about Lassen NP or Fresno County Sierras.

Natural Lefty
09-10-2012, 04:59 PM
Hmm, I didn't even think there were any more over the past couple of days, but I just checked.

Siskiyoufisherman, I was thinking just that. I have seen your reports on the upper Sacramento but for some reason I wanted to go to Castle Lake. Now, I think we should have fished the river around Dunsmuir. It's hard to consistently make good decisions while on the move in unfamiliar territory.

Teejay, I forgot one more wild fruit we ate, which turned out to be Serviceberries in the Shaver Lake area. It was always nice to have a snack around when we got hungry -);

Trout-Tuna-for-me, I am just floored that you caught a 17 inch Brookie at Portal Forebay. That's huge for a Brookie. I am not surprised by the 19 inch Brown though. The Forebay gets tons of water from places like the South Fork San Joaquin or Bear Creek, so I am guessing that Brookies and Browns are flushed in from there, plus I saw 2 spawning creeks there. The Rainbows were obviously also spawning there.

We were planning to fish a place inside the park and then keep heading east and south to the east side of the Sierras. I might have also considered fishing the headwaters of Hat Creek. Baum Lake sounds appealing for a future trip.

When we went to the fishing store at Shaver Lake, the employee said the fishing had not been good by the big inlet at Huntington Lake. I know it's called Rancheria Creek, but that seems a bit of a misnomer, by the way. As I said, perhaps there was some kind of hatch that made the fish very picky. We saw several other people fishing the area and they apparently didn't catch any fish there either. We were fishing a couple hundred feet from the actual inlet and casting out as far as we could, fishing both bottom an d surface. I am sure it would be better another time of year. Perhaps the dam area of Huntington Lake would be better, too. When we went by Shaver Lake, we stopped at a place just north of the dam, saw a guy fishing down there but not catching, and thought it looked surprisingly shallow there, so we didn't try it although the store employee recommended fishing near the dam. I have had great success on Zug Bugs over the years myself, at a lot of places, but I couldn't find any during the trip. I guess I lost them all so I need to buy some more.

We kept seeing the turnoff for Wishon, Courtwright and Dinkey Creek, but didn't get around to going there this time. That will have to wait for another time. Well, I guess I have rambled on enough, too.