Steve Kroll with a nice 8 LB. bull caught at LBC.
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I met Steve Kroll back in 1996 at Simtustus Lake. The lake was a sleeper trophy brown fishery back in those days and one of my favorite lakes in Central Oregon. Back then it was known for really big rainbows, bulls, and browns. A 24 LB. rainbow was pulled from its waters back in the late 80ís and my biggest brown at the time, ( a hair under 10 LB.) came on a late May evening back in 1998. Unfortunately, ODFW stopped stocking the brown trout around 1998 and that ended the trophy brown fishery. There is probably some natural propagation going on but not enough that would constitute numbers of quality browns like the old days. I quit fishing it about 10 years ago.
I was pulling my boat out of the water when Steve and his wife were arriving at the dock in his boat. We just started talking about fishing and one thing led to another. We recognized in each other the traits of obsessed trophy trout junkies. That was the start of our friendship. As things progressed, I found out that back in the day (1960-70ís), Steve was one of the top surfboard shapers in the World and had worked for most of the big name board producers. Since I had grown up in Southern California, I started surfing myself back in 1963. I surfed from then until the mid-70ís. Steve had actually worked with some of the iconic surfers of that era that I had always looked up to. It gave us a lot to talk about.
It was Steve and Terry Bennett that actually put me onto the lake trout fisheries of Odell and Crescent lake and introduced me to kokanee fishing as well. They are two of the top laker anglers in the Northwest. I learned a lot from them both. When I met the owner of Pro-Troll, Dick Pool, at the inaugural Central Oregon Sportsman Show, I was asked to go to work for Scotty Downriggers as a sales Rep. covering Central and Eastern Oregon. At my request, Dick put Steve and Terry on as pro-staffers and we made quite a team. Unfortunately, Dick and Scotty had a falling out soon thereafter and the companies split their alliances and everything changed. It was kind of like a marriage break-up and we were the kids. Steve and Terry stayed with Bill and I went with Dick. When I got on with Walker downriggers, soon thereafter, we all went in different directions.
This past week was the first time Steve and I fished together in probably 10 years. It was fun to get together again and it was like the old days right out of the gate. We headed up to LBC because it was the only game in town with the few other lakes that were open to year round fishing, iced over.
It was a really tough day and we didnít graph many bulls or kokanee for that matter. Steve was pulling a Bomber that was the hot plug and accounted for the only two bulls we caught. The first came out in front of the Cove Palisades ramp and was a nice 8 Lb. bull that came off the rigger from 100 feet. Later in the day he hit another bull in the 6 LB. range that knocked out the plug when it spit up two kokanee right before we tried to net it. I did grab the floating kokanee that was around 7 in and in good shape. The other was mostly a filet and slowly sank before we could get to it.
We did try some herring but no takers and we wound it down around 5:00 that afternoon and headed home. It was good to spend time with Steve again!
Look for more LBC reports to follow as I get up there when I can this winter.