Saturday, July 14, 2012

Nature Always Wins at Flaming Gorge

Fishing Time:  Friday – Sunday
Weather:  windy, rainy, 70’s
Moon Phase: 18% Moon
Location:  Flaming Gorge
Water Temp:  70 degrees on Friday, 68 degrees on Saturday and Sunday
Bait:  7-inch tube jigs
Who Went: John, Alonso, Dustin Pelligrino, Sean Nelson
I headed to Flaming Gorge this past weekend for a three day mack fishing adventure with my buddy John and his brother in-law Alonso.  Another buddy of mine, Dustin Pellegrino, and his friend Sean Nelson met us up there to try and learn the ways of trophy mack fishing.  We arrived late Thursday night after car trouble when Alonso’s Dodge pickup overheated near the summit in Parley’s Canyon.  We carefully drove it back down the canyon and picked up my Pathfinder to start round two of the 4 hour journey to Flaming Gorge.  We arrived at 2:00 am.  Here is the day by day recap of the trip…

Friday:  Were on the water by 5:30 and began jigging the flats in Linwood Bay.  We had only been jigging for about 15 minutes when John hooked up with the first mack of the trip, but unfortunately it came unbuttoned a few seconds later.  Shortly after we moved locations over to the Swim Beach area where we snuggled up to the greatest fishing guide Flaming Gorge has to offer… Captain Jim Williams.  Seeing Jim in the area gave us confidence we were in the right place.  In a span of about 15 minutes we watched as his clients landed 4 macks and missed another.  All of this happened while my fish finder was showing no fish.  I got so frustrated that we had to leave the area so I could forget about how much better of a lake trout fisherman he is than me.  We continued to fish other locations in the Swim Beach area and John missed a couple more hits.  We decided to run north to our ice fishing spots and see what was doing up there.  John and I both missed another hit and John hooked into this hat…  
Shortly after my buddy Dustin and his friend Sean arrived and met us on the lake.  The wind came up as soon as they met us, so we went back to camp and rested in preparation for the evening bite.  The wind never really died down enough to lake trout fish (must have calm conditions) so we finished out Friday evening by catching small rainbows and smallmouth bass drifting the shores of Linwood Bay.  All fish were caught off white/silver and black crankbaits.
Saturday:  On the water with breezy conditions at 5:15.  Worked through the breezy conditions the best we could in the Swim Beach area, but only an hour or two into morning the weather took a turn for the worse and we headed into shore to wait it out.  Unfortunately we never made it on the water again, except to trailer our boats due to high wind conditions that were causing my boat and Sean’s boat to become beached later that night.
Sunday:  On the water around 6:30 am and again dealt with breezy conditions.  Fished Linwood Bay for as long as I could stand keeping the boat positioned over fish due to the windy conditions.  We moved locations to Swim Beach trying to find shelter from the wind and found it for another couple of hours.  I was able to land one 8 pound mack before the wind and rain came in with a vengeance!  
We trailered the boat in the rain and loaded our campsite in the rain as well.  By 1:00 we were on the road with wet clothes and gear.

Conclusion:  Once again Flaming Gorge shows that nature controls everything.  I’ve had many trips up there ruined due to the wind, but I think this trip took the cake.  We had a few hours with calm conditions, but most were during off times for lake trout.  It’s always tough fishing up there and when you have to battle the weather on top of slow fishing conditions, it can become extremely tough.  It wasn’t the trip I was hoping for, but such is life at Flaming Gorge!

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