The Filming of Angler West TV
This was a project that I had thought about for quite a while. Perhaps it would have been a much better time back in 1999 or 2000, even 2001. I had caught my first brown over 10 LB. back in 1999 when I landed a 19 LB. 6 oz. hen way up the arm right before dark.
That was also in August and the big hen was up there chasing kokanee around when she mistook my Excalibur Minnow for a 5 in. kokanee. A night I will always remember!
Two years later, while fishing with my Grandson Colin one July evening, I hooked up on another big brown that weighed in at 12 Lb. This hen took a custom painted Rebel F30 off the downrigger and was released.
My point in bringing back those memories, was to state how good this reservoir had been to me. Several of my friends have some really big browns from Wickiup and she remains a lake at the top of my list.
Since 2001, the drought here in Oregon had really taken a toll on the lake. The water levels have dropped quickly each spring, for the last 5 years, and the impact on the spawning fish from tui chubs to brown trout was evident. To that dedicated group of trophy trout hunters that frequented the arm in the summer, it was a bad dream that never seemed to end.
This year could be a turning point back to the days of old. Actually, we will probably need another two years of high water to really make an impact that could restore the fishing to the big brown trout factory Wickiup used to be. Even in the past few years, the reservoir had produced some browns in the 20 LB. class. However, we are only seeing less than a dozen photos a year of 10 Lb. class brown photos showing up at the resort. Back in 2000 there were over 80 photos of fish that size. That should give you some idea of what this lake can produce.
My buddy Gary Miralles had approached me about doing some filming with him this past year. I was looking for the right opportunity for us to do just that. After an outing a few weeks back where we took 9 browns from 4-6 Lb. in 5 hours one evening. I thought we might be coming into a prime pattern to film with the kokes starting to stage and the browns right behind them.
We had settled on the 30th-31st of Aug. for the shoot. Gary and Justin would drive up the morning of the 30th and we would film the afternoon and finish up the next day after doing the morning drill.
Let me start out by stating that as I pre-fished the last few days, things were on the decline. Both numbers and quality of the browns were disappointing. Not what your looking for the day before you will film a TV program. Too late to change things now. You just go with it. Hey, it is just fishing. Right?? The fact that the barometer was all over the place and the temperature dropped 30 degrees in the last few days didn't help, but you still just go with what you have.
I was less than pleased that the first evening only produced one really small brown and one 20 in. fish for Gary. Not exactly what we were hoping for. The next morning was cold with temps at 28 degrees as we left Gary's vacation home just outside Sunriver. We arrived at the lake at 5:30 and got right on it. Gary stuck one smaller brown that got off. Finally he had a fish on the downrigger that felt pretty good. Turned out a big koke that hit his Humdinger and was stuck near the tail. Snagged fish always feel like twice their weight.
It was beginning to look like "game over" without a respectable brown to showcase the show. Around 9:00 a.m. as we were making a turn, my rod went back hard and I was fast into a big fish. After the other rod was cleared, I settled back into the fish. I knew this was a decent fish by the weight alone. Near the boat the 30 in. hookjaw finally appeared from the depths. I thought he might be near 10 Lb. and I just kind of held my breath. Luckily, he didn't work too hard at the boat as you will find out a little later.
The morning fog had lifted and it was flat as glass. The magnification through the water made the big male look huge. After a few short runs out of view, I brought him back up and Gary made a good pass with the net and he was ours. I saw the lure fly out and stick in the top of the net after a few violent head shakes in the net. Lucky for me the hooks held until we had him netted. He was bobbing around 13+ Lb. in my net that weighs 3.5 Lb. Later I weighed him from the livewell at just over 9 Lb.
I'd rather be lucky than good someone once said! I was amazed that we stuck such a nice fish with only a couple more hours to film in less than ideal brown trout conditions. I guess you could say we pulled a rabbit out of the hat right before they had to leave. After releasing the big male, we fished for a couple more laps and then decided to get some scenery shots.
What a happy ending to a tough outing. We think this may be the biggest brown ever caught while filming for TV on the west coast. That could be debatable. Anyway, that fish made the show. We will post on this site the channels and dates when the show will air. Our best guess is somewhere later in the fall or early winter.