Fishing Time: 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Weather: morning fog, -8 degrees at launch, clear afternoon, no wind, and single digit temps
Moon Phase: 73% Moon
Location: Strawberry Reservoir
Water Temp: 36.9 degrees
Bait: White tube jig tipped with minnow
Who Went: Rick, Me Rick and I went to Strawberry in hopes of sneaking one more trip on the boat before putting her away for the winter. Let’s just say, we were pushing the limits. The day started out with a flat tire on the boat trailer, so bad that the tire un-seated from the rim. We were also pulling the boat with my new Yukon and had too low of a receiver hitch to get the trailer off the jack wheel. On the drive up, we watched the temperature steadily drop down all the way to 8 below zero by the time we pulled up to the ramp.The boat ramp was icy and covered in snow. Luckily, the other die-hard fisherman that was up there had a plow on the front of his truck and took care of the snow so we only had to deal with the ice. Finally with the boat launched, Rick was able to crawl my Yukon off the icy ramp, and it was time to set off into the thick fog for some fishing….or not.
The water intake on the motor froze somewhere between the intake and the discharge point so we weren’t cooling the engine. Neither of us had experienced that before so we weren’t sure on an easy fix.What we ended up doing was just running the engine until the overheat beep warning sounded, then let it cool for a few minutes and did it again. It cleared after about the third time. Went to drop the thrust motor in the water, and the shaft was frozen to the collar where you adjust the height so we were without its services for awhile.It finally thawed after a couple hours, but up until then we relied on a little icy wind to give us a drift. We started our day by fishing in Strawberry Bay over near the visitor’s station.
After getting all the bugs out, we finally had our lines in the water and the first fish of the day ended up being my long awaited big cutthroat from Strawberry. I have caught a thousand cutthroats up there waiting for this moment to happen and it finally came. The fish measured out at 27.5 inches long and weighed in at 7 pounds! We took a couple pictures and let it swim away.Soon after catching the big one I noticed I had some thick ice at the end of my line and when I went to chip it off I took the tip of my pole with it. Just add it to the list for the day. We continued fishing around the lake hitting various spots including Renegade and the mouth of the narrows. The mouth of the narrows ended up being the most productive area with each of us landing close to 10 fish each. Using the classic white tube jig tipped with a shiner, and dragging it along the bottom in about 25-35 feet seemed to work best. Rick landed one slot buster with a nice 3.5 pound cutthroat, but most our fish were in the slot with a few smaller rainbows. Ugly hat by the way!We worked the shallower water for a bit with some crank baits and swim baits, but that only produced 2 or 3 fish. By 1:00 the fishing had completely shut off and even though we continued fishing for 2 more hours we didn’t get any more bites and the fish finder went blank, so we called it a day.
The plowed part of the ramp was melted by the time we left which helped, but we did find out that one of the runner boards came loose on my trailer which added one more obstacle to the day. Oh, and I lost a hub cap off my boat trailer. -8 degrees mixed with boats just don’t seem to go together very well. Whoever was trying to keep us from fishing that day failed!