Best of the outing was this nice 8 LB. hen from East.
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After taking a week off to take care of my “honey-do’s around the house, I was anxious to get back out. It seems like summers pass way to fast up here in Oregon so I like to get out often to enjoy what we are blessed with here in the Bend area. I headed up to East since the moon was right for some good morning action. The Solunar chart was right on this day as I put an old favorite lure down on the rigger. Before I could get my leadcore rig out I saw the rod bouncing and got onto a nice 3 LB. hen. She was gorgeous as many East Lake browns are. Even though all these browns come from Wickiup stock, they always seem to be the most colorful of all our browns in general.
The action was so good that in short order I went with only the downrigger rod because the bites were coming fast and furious! I was spending way too much time bringing in the second rod and it just wasn't worth it. It is totally a depth game this time of the year so you want to work around the thermocline which is around 30-45 feet right now. I lost count of the browns after 8 in the first hour! The best of the morning was a male around 5 LB. I would guess I probably caught and released over 30 browns before I got off around 10:15 to have breakfast at the resort. The only part of that plan that didn’t work was the meal. Seems the cook was fired or quit and they wouldn’t have a replacement until the weekend.....oh well!
I decided to head down to LaPine and have an early lunch at Taco-Bell on my way to Wickiup and then ultimately ending up at Crescent for the evening bite. After a couple of double-decker taco’s and a drink, I was on the way back to Crescent via a short detour to Wickiup.....my first trip to the lake this year! When I pulled into the Deschutes mid arm ramp, I was not surprised to see how low the water was for early July. The lack of snow this winter meant that we would not be holding as much water in the big irrigation reservoir this year. This is looking like water depths of Sept. 2010 this year......we will know more in another few weeks. Actually, you can figure it out for yourself easily. Go to: http://www.usbr.gov/pn/hydromet/destea.html and see how many acre feet it is dropping a day. Then you simply multiply that times the number of days you like and you can fairly, accurately figure out the acreage of water at any given time in the rest of the summer. For example; if it is dropping a 1,000 feet a day in a month it will drop around 30,000 acre feet and you subtract that from the current acreage for today. The outflow during the summer is fairly steady and won’t slow down until sometime in Sept when temps start to drop and farmers start to back off on their water usage.
The main ramp at Gull Point is at the bottom and won’t be of use after next week. However, you can still launch but won't have the dock to access your boat....not that big a deal! I decided to head to the store at Twin Lakes to see what photos were up. It was pretty sad that, out of a couple of dozen photos, the biggest brown I saw was around 3 LB. This time of year 10 years ago, there would have been at least a couple of dozen photos of browns over 10 LB.!! My theory is the fishery in Wickiup is changing and for the worse. I will know more by Sept. but can tell you that we caught fewer last summer and they were the most skinny browns I have ever seen in 20 years up here! The introduction of the bass and the brown bullheads have changed the fishery in my opinion. I will try to fish it soon so check back next week for a report on Wickiup if I make it out this week.
I arrived at Crescent to a big thunder and lightning event and took a nap in the back of the truck to wait it out. When I awoke, I headed up to Manley's for some chicken. I finally got on the water around 6:00 and luckily the storm had moved north so I was more encouraged about getting out without all the lightning. I did catch this super fat hen that was probably only a little over 20 in. but easily 5 LB.. She came on the lead rig and fought like crazy....I thought she was much bigger until I saw her. The highlight on the evening was this beautiful 6.5 LB. hookjaw rainbow. When I got him near the boat, I was blown away to see it was easily the biggest rainbow I had ever caught at Crescent. My buddy, Steve Kroll has a 7 LB.+ to his credit but rainbows of this size are like “hens teeth” at Crescent. In fact rainbows haven't been planted in the lake for many years so they are all self sustaining these days. Cool fish that fought hard!!
I decided to head back to the Crater and spend the night so I could hit East again the next morning early. I stay in the snow-park at the 10 mile marker and sleep in my custom bed in the back of the truck under the camper shell. I was on the water a little after 5:00 the next morning and it was a repeat of the morning before. I was banging some browns that averaged 3 LB. all morning until I got off to eat around 10:30. It was so good I didn’t bother counting that morning but would honestly say I caught browns easily north of 50 for the two mornings. My best of the morning was an 8 LB. hen......everything was released. That reminds me, if you come up and fish East you are only allowed to keep browns under 16 inches! There is a mercury warning on the lake and they don’t want you eating too many so they limit the size and suggest you not eat many browns from the lake. So if you catch a trophy, get good photos.......you can’t keep them!