Weather: Calm mornings, afternoon thunderstorms, high 80's
Moon Phase: 8% Moon
Location: Flaming Gorge
Water Temp: 70 degrees
Bait: 7-inch tube jigs
Who Went: Rick, John, Me
My buddy Rick booked a guided fishing trip 1 year ago with Captain Jim up at Flaming Gorge and scheduled it for this August. The day finally came and since we were fishing with Jim on Thursday, we figured staying and fishing through the weekend was a must. Johnny Leach drove up late Thursday night and fished with us on Friday and Saturday.
Fishing on Thursday with Jim was tough to say the least. We had a few active schools on sonar in the morning that we thought for sure would bite, but didn’t. Finally by mid-morning Rick hooked the first bite of the trip and his rod went major bendo! Captain Jim immediately announced that this lake trout was probably over 30 pounds. Rick fought the fish for what seemed like half an hour before it finally gave up and Jim landed it. The lake trout looked as long as a shark, confirming our assumptions that it was well over 30 pounds. Sure enough Jim weighed the fish and the scale wavered between 36 and 38 for a final of 37 pounds! This is the biggest lake trout I have ever seen landed and Rick moved into the number one slot for biggest fish in our lake trout fishing crew!After releasing Rick’s fish, the rest of the day with Captain Jim did nothing but kick our asses! We fished for 5 more painful hours with Rick getting one more bite and that was it. Our brains were fried, and my back hurt so bad I thought I might crumble in half! We gave it all we had in our tanks, and for the first time ever fishing with Jim… I got skunked! Rick and I drove back to camp and sat in our camp chair for over an hour without moving. By the time we gained enough strength to get back on the water, an afternoon thunderstorm pushed us off the lake and we weren’t a bit sad about it. We were beat! We made a quick tinfoil dinner and hit the sack. I think my eyes were closed before my head hit the pillow, and when I woke up in the morning I heard the sweet sound of John sawing logs. He made it in around 1 a.m.We all jumped in my boat and headed out to find the fish on our own, but I have to be honest, Friday almost seemed like a wasted day for me. I was so exhausted from the day before that I just couldn’t get motivated enough to focus on fishing.After the morning was over and I still didn’t know what a bite felt like, my motivation fell to an all-time low. We decided to jump out of the boat and take a swim to rejuvenate our senses. After that we bass fished. The bass fishing is completely crashing at Flaming Gorge due to the burbot eating all their eggs and food. All we caught were 4-6 inch baby bass. We took a couple and put them in Ricks crawdad trap and threw it out on a rocky shoreline to sit overnight.By evening I finally felt enough energy to fish and Rick and I put in a good hour of focus while John ran to the marina for ice. In a span of 2 minutes we had fish all over us down on the bottom and started getting hits like crazy.I had 3 and Rick had 2, but we missed every one of them! The hits were very light, but we observed our jigs after the frenzy ended and sure enough there were teeth marks all over our new jigs. Now it was getting frustrating! We went and picked up John from shore and headed back out to the same spot.The fish were still there and within a few minutes John was hooked up. It wasn’t a monster, but any fish at this point was exciting! It was a good fighting 7 pounder that got John on the board.After landing Johns fish the sun went down and darkness was fast approaching, so we headed for camp and I showed John how to fillet his trout. We cooked some steaks and again my eyes were closed before my head hit the pillow. Woke up early on Saturday and the sun came out quick, and immediately stole our energy. Our motivation was down and our focus was slipping. The fish were still moody and we found ourselves taking more dives off the boat for a swim than dropping lures down to fish. By 11:00 a.m. we were physically and mentally exhausted! We collected the crawdad trap that was set out the night before and we had about 15-20 in there.We quickly cut off their tails and gave them to John as an appetizer to his lake trout dinner. Loaded the boat on the trailer and packed up camp. It was now official… I fished hard for two and a half days straight and got skunked! Mack fishing can seriously kick your trash, but once you know the feeling of having a 30 pound lake trout on the end of your line, it doesn’t matter, you just want to come back for more!