Saturday, May 1, 2010

It's Been a Long Time

Fishing Time: 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Weather: Rain, clouds, 50's
Moon Phase: 88% Moon
Location: Goshen Warm Springs
Bait: Double tailed grub, drop shot with roboworm
Who Went: John, Me
The month of May is starting off as cold as April was, with storms throughout the week bringing snow and rain often. The warm water fishing has been affected tremendously as the water temperatures have stayed low and the weather patterns have been very unsettled. This is usually the time of year when most waters in Utah begin to warm up and the fishing is off the charts, but not this year. The weather has backed up the schedule and who can tell when the weather will finally give us a breath of fresh air and sunshine! With most the waters I love to fish this time of year being slow and unproductive, I decided to make a visit to a small pond that I haven’t seen in 6 years. The Goshen Warm Springs is a group of three natural geothermal warm spring ponds where temperatures stay a mild 60 degrees year round! With rain in the forecast today I figured this might be a spot that won’t be affected by lowering water temperatures and barometric pressure. The last time I fished here I landed 8 nice largemouths in the third and last pond going in sequential order from the parking area, and with my polarized sunglasses I could see bass swimming all over this shallow yet crystal clear pond, including some very nice sized ones. The only issue that’s kept me from fishing this area the last few years is the fact that is was closed to the public approximately 6 or 7 years ago. The reason for its closure is adjacent to these warm spring ponds is an old ore mine with tailings that have leached heavy metals into the water of these ponds. It was once a very popular swimming hole for the locals of this area and in order to keep people from swimming in the metal infested waters they had to shut it down completely to the public. This being the case, its closure has only spiked my interest in fishing there even more, because I know that no one has been fishing it, and the potential for some very large bass has my head spinning!!! I invited my buddy Johnny Leach to go check it out with me and we were fully prepared to take our trespassing tickets like a man if we were to be caught, but with six years of dreaming and thinking about the size of fish that might be growing in this pond without the predation of man, I couldn’t overturn my curiosity now, even if there was a cop sitting at the front gates when we arrived! We reached the entrance into the wildlife area midday and were greeted by a big no trespassing sign and an old Warm Springs sign that had been spray painted CLOSED! The signs made us a little weary, but we were there now with nobody in sight. We quickly rigged our poles and made our way down the overgrown trail to the first pond. I told John about how there used to be bluegill in this pond and that the kids who swam here in the past would spend hours fishing for them in the crystal clear water only to be disappointed by the intelligent bluegill that knew better than to take their offerings. We didn’t see any bluegill today and the only fish we saw were four large carp swimming in a marching line from one brush pile to another. We swiftly made our way past the second pond as I don’t ever remember seeing fish in this pond and today seemed to be no different. Once we arrived to the third and final pond I put on my polarized glasses and began to scan my eyes across the areas where the bass seemed to live 6 years ago.
John kept waiting for me to say okay found them, but it never came. I began wondering where all the fish have went. I walked around a marshy area to another spot where I use to find bass and this time I saw one fish that began to swim away upon seeing me approaching. I told John to cast right out in front of where the fish seemed to be heading and as soon as his double tail jig hit the water he hooked up with this bass. It was a small but healthy looking fish and we took a quick picture and let him go. Upon release the bass swam slowly toward a shallow area and sat there appearing to rest after the big ordeal. For fun, John and I decided to cast to him again and see if he would bite, but the small bass would only turn and stare at our bait as it fluttered by. I finally made the perfect cast and put my bait one inch from the fish’s mouth and let it sit there for several seconds. I soon saw him suck my plastic in like a vacuum. I prematurely set the hook like I have so many times in the past while sight fishing, making the mistake of going off a visual instead of feel. I had him on for a split second until the hook popped free from his mouth. The fish did not startle at all and went right back to the same shallow area he was before. We casted at him for another 10 minutes before realizing he had enough and wasn’t going to make a mistake for a third time. We continued our way around the small pond making a few casts, but never again seeing another bass. I have no explanation of how or why that many bass have disappeared from this pond. Maybe the metals got to be too highly concentrated for even the fish to live, or maybe the locals disregarded the closed signs like we did and have finally fished out the small pond. I don’t know the reason, but it makes me sad to see another small bass fishery bite the dust! We took the Lincoln Beach road around West Mountain on the way home and stopped at a few spots only to get rained out or bored from the slow fishing. It looks as if we will have to wait out this bizarre weather for the fishing to pick up. I sure hope it’s soon!

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