Saturday, April 25, 2015

Tumbleweed Crappie

Tumbleweed, to me, has always been restricted to cowboy music and Western movies. In Utah, tumbleweed is real, and at Lake Powell, it plays an important part in the fishing equation. There maybe various kinds of tumbleweed. I'm not sure. However, the stuff around Lake Powell, which is actually I kind of thistle, I think, breaks off and "tumbles," in the wind or down the hill, which means it collects along the lake's edge, usually in the backs of pockets, and the fish love the cover it offers.

From a practical standpoint, dropping a jig between tumbleweed clusters or casting to such an edge is little different from fishing around other kinds of vegetation in other parts of the country. From a western adventure standpoint, though, the simple fact that we were fishing around tumbleweed added to the whole canyon thing and only added to the fun factor.

Of course, it didn't hurt that the fish in those areas were big, boldly marked black crappie that were willing to eat our jigs!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spectacular Lake Powell

Sitting at the boat dock at Lake Powell Marina. Just returned by houseboat from 30 miles up the lake, where I've spent the past few days with a great crew from St. Croix Rod and several other writers.

No ATT service where we were, or I would have posted along the way, although in truth, it's a pretty tough task to even begin to convey how how cool the setting was, with half a dozen deluxe houseboats beached beneath canyon walls. Fishing
days started by stepping off the houseboats, into Bassmaster boats. Days ended with big meals and time around a big campfire.

Fishing action was fast, sometimes furious, with smallmouth bass being the main attraction, and in truth exploring the lake would have been worth it on its own if we hadn't caught a fish. I'll talk more about those things in future posts, though.
posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, April 20, 2015

Lake Powell Bound

Long day of travel today, but with quite the final destination. This week I'll be fishing Lake Powell, a canyon lake along the Colorado River that is just upstream of the Grand Canyon and has similar topography. From the photos I've seen, the scenery is spectacular and unlike any other lake I've ever fished.

I left home dark and early to drive a couple of hours to the Atlanta airport. A little after 9:00 I hopped on a plane to fly to Phoenix. That was a four-hour flight and the biggest part of the journey. At the moment I'm hanging out in in the Phoenix airport. I'll hop on a prop plane in a few hours to make a short flight north to Page, Arizona, probably with most of the rest of the group on the trip, and from there we'll ride in some sort of shuttle to the lake.

Upon arriving at Lake Powell Resorts, though, we still have one more ride to take before we're fully there. We should be able to settle as we ride, though, I suppose, because we are staying on houseboats somewhere out on the lake. Of course, I might not care about setting in at that point. I'll likely want to be on the front deck taking in the scenery and taking photos!

No wifi, from what I understand, so I'll be limited to phone posts. Nevertheless, I'll do my best to keep this page and my Jeff Samsel Fishing Facebook page updated.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Gaston's Shore Lunch

As spectacular as the trout fishing can be on the White River, neither plentiful rainbows nor big browns are what I hear the most talk about from friends I fish there with each spring. As folks anticipate the annual Gaston's media event, arrive at the resort, head out each morning, and look back on the trip, the thing I hear about the most is the shore lunch.

That's understandable, and in truth it may be the thing I talk about the most. Anyone who is part of our group for the first time probably hears, "Just wait for the shore lunch!" from a dozen people before the first day's lunch occurs.

The food itself is spectacular and includes a portion of the morning's trout catch, fried chicken or the best pork tenderloins anyone has ever cooked, plus and amazing spread of sides a couple of varieties of cobbler to top off the meal. The event goes way past the meal itself though and includes seeing the guides clean the trout boatside, watching the chefs fry the fish over coals to a perfect golden brown, and then walking down the buffet, which is served in a White River style johnboat under a big riverside pavilion and filling plates.

The shore lunch is also about trading stories and passing around cameras and cell phones to share photos as everyone recharges a bit and anticipates the afternoon's fishing session. There's something spectacularly fun about sitting at picnic table and enjoying the morning catch while exchanging stories about fish caught, big ones that got a way and usually an amusing mishap or two -- and all with the river right there, offering a reminder of what awaits after lunch.

Eventually everyone finds their way down the boats, refueled for round two. Though almost too stuffed to move, pretty much everyone is already looking forward to the next day's (or next year's) shore lunch, and most are likely talking about how good it always is, even as they begin fishing again.

To learn more, visit the website for Gaston's White River Resort.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bank-Fishing Day

Expected high water made Nathaniel and I think we'd be doing all of today's fishing from the shore, casting to any eddies we could reach, and that was indeed the morning plan. Water releases were cut back just before lunchtime, though, so we actually got to wade this afternoon.

Our best fishing was directly out from Gaston's White River Lodge, where we are staying. We caught a dozen trout, all of which were rainbows.

Tomorrow's approach will be substantially different as we are going out with a Gaston's guide instead of going on our own. I'm actually hoping the water will be high again so we can throw jerkbaits, but we'll see in the morning!
posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, April 13, 2015

Banking on the White

Nathaniel and I arrived today at Gaston's White River Resort in the Arkansas Ozarks and are looking forward to a couple of days of fishing on the White River.

On Wednesday, we'll spend the day in a boat with a Gaston's guide, but for tomorrow, we're going it alone. My original hope had been that we could wade-fish tomorrow, but they've been running four generators all week, so wading will likely be out of the question. That's OK. That makes the big fish more aggressive and will allow us to fish jerkbaits from the shore, and I look forward to exploring the state park, the Gaston's shore and other areas to see what we're able to accomplish.

We did cast just long enough get out lures wet upon arriving today, but that was about it. I missed one rainbow trout during that time.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Surprise Carp

While bass fishing in a small Alabama lake last week, I was certainly surprised to catch a big carp on a crankbait, with the fish hooked in its rubbery lips. Adding even greater surprise, I caught another carp, the very next day, in a totally different lake, with a Pop-R. The second carp, with probably weighed 5 or 6 pounds, absolutely annihilated my little popper on the surface, hitting it with as much vigor as any striper or redfish I've ever caught.

I've only caught a few carp in my life, so to catch two on back to back days in different waters, and both on artificial lures, was pretty odd. In both cases, I was astounded by the fish's strength, speed and stamina. Considering that carp live fairly slow-moving lifestyles (from my understanding anyway), not doing any hunting, they seem to be amazingly fit. I actually don't know when or if I would have gained enough control of the bigger first-day carp to unhook it without "gripper" help from another angler.

Carp was species 13 on my 2015 species list. The first of a couple of spotted bass I caught the next day on the Coosa River was No. 15. To be more specific about the carp listing, I'm guessing grass carp, simply based on the fish having been stocked in small private lakes for grass control. However, if you know the carp species, based on the photo, please let me know (