Monday, July 12, 2010

Merry Christmas Flaming Gorge

Fishing Time: Friday-Monday
Weather: Hot with thunderstorms
Moon Phase: New Moon
Location: Flaming Gorge
Water Temp: 65 degrees
Bait: 7-inch tube jigs
Who Went: JJ, Ed, Me
Flaming Gorge is probably one of my favorite lakes to fish, camp and boat. Lake Powell has always been number one in my heart, but Flaming Gorge is making a good push for the lead. One year ago in August my buddy JJ's dad Ed called me and asked if I knew any good guides for Lake Trout at Flaming Gorge. It was an easy question to answer as there is only one guide at Flamining Gorge I would recommend to anybody and that is Captain Jim Williams. No one knows lake trout at Flaming Gorge like he does. I asked Ed why he was inquiring of a guide service and he told me that he was going to book him as a Christmas present to surprise JJ with. I told him that was a great idea and left it at that. Christmas morning I woke up and went through the usual hoopla of gift exchanging and spending time with family when I got a phone call from JJ. I answered the phone and said "Merry Christmas, I bet it was a good one for you,"and he replied back and said, "it's about to be for you too!" I asked him what he meant and he told me that his dad paid for an extra spot on the boat with the guide so that JJ could invite a buddy to go with him. I was that buddy! It was a long wait but we finally made it to that magical date of Monday July 12, 2010. Of course we had to go up early and spend the weekend fishing before going out with the guide on Monday. We got there Friday night and within 5 minutes of being at camp we were already on the water. Friday was more of a find fish evening and no lake trout were landed, but we did get a good idea on where they were hanging out. Saturday was just one of those days that stick in your craw for awhile because we didn't get a hit all day long. We saw tons of fish and had them interested but they just wouldn't take the bait! By Saturday night I was pretty bummed out and I gave my dad a call to give him the report. He did his best to keep me in good spirits by telling me it was just one of those days and that tomorrow would be better. He helped my confidence by telling me he knew I could catch them because I have helped him and his buddy Mike catch them last year. It revived me a bit and I got a good nights rest and we were on the water again by 6:00 a.m. Sunday morning started just like Saturday with no bites and by 9:00 a.m. my hopes began to fade. Then I saw a racing mackinaw on my fish finder coming straight for my jig, I prepared for him to do as the rest of them had done and come up fast to take a look and then head on back down to the bottom, but this time he hammered my jig and I set the hook. JJ was taking a nap and I yelled fish on! It was a good but short fight until I landed this 9 pound mack. Soon after letting the 9 pounder go I got hit again and pulled in a small 3-4 pound lake trout. This was it for the day, but at least we didn't get lake trout skunked. We did get to spend some time bass fishing, but I mostly caught rainbows. I put on a small crankbait and couldn't keep the rainbows off. They were nice healthy 17 inchers and fought well. We caught a few bass as well, but with all the storms rolling in and out all day I think it effected the bass fishing drastically.JJ began to wonder if we would even catch lake trout with our guide and I laughed at him and said, "you haven't met Captain Jim Williams!" This guy has spent 30 years perfecting techniques that will catch big lake trout at Flaming Gorge. JJ was biteless for lake trout for the entire weekend and he was pretty discouraged about it. Monday morning came around and I promised him that this was his day to land a big laker! He said all he wanted was a bite! We got on the water with the guide and we instantly started seeing fish everywhere! This guide knows exactly where to go and where the fish are at all times of the year. Ed was the first to get hit, and in fact he got 3 hits in a row, but couldn't quite put anything in the boat. I was the next to get hit and landed this 18 pound lake trout.

Soon after letting this one go, JJ finally got his hit he desperately wanted and landed the biggest fish he's ever caught in his life with this 22 pound laker!It was 10:00 a.m. by this time and we had two nice fish in the boat. Captain Jim is unbelievable at how he has you sitting on top of fish all morning long. I think that is the biggest difference between him and myself. I can master the methods needed to land them, but he knows the lake so well and always has you sitting on top of fish, while I have to do a little more searching in order to find them. I guess thats the advantage he has being out there everyday, and doing this for 30 years! It was a good trip as usual at the gorge and all I can think about is when I get to go back. I will leave you with pictures of all the storms we endured over the weekend. We never did get to much rain or wind so the storms were nice as they kept it cool and bearable.

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