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Old 05-02-2017, 07:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Joes valley

3:00 am and my alarm goes off. The canoe and gear are already loaded. I wake the girls up and a half hour later we are in the car and on our way. Girls slept the whole time leaving me to watch and avoid hitting deer. They seemed to be everywhere. We arrive at the lake a half hour after sunrise and decide to just bank fish.

I caught a splake on the second cast but it got off at the bank. O this is going to be a good day I think to myself. About a half hour later lindsay says o o look at that. As she is reeling her bait the fish hits at the bank and gets off. It also spits the hook but I catch a glimpse as it speeds away back to the depth it came from. Only thing I know is it was huge. Maybe the size of a carp. I'm sure lindsay at this point in time is also thinking this is going to be a good day.

Lindsay and I return to get the canoe. We leave makenzie so she can fish. When we return with the canoe Makenzie is reeling in the first fish of the day. It's a splake. The exact fish we are trying to catch. A few photos and it's back in the water.

We all get on the canoe and try and verticle jig. The problem is the wind is too much for our drift sock and we don't have enough weight on our jigs to get down. I knew this was going to be a problem but my stubbornness keeps us in the canoe. I know how hard it was getting the canoe down the bank and It will be very difficult getting it back up without wasting precious minutes of an early morning bite.

I finally gave in to the wind and dreaded what awaited us at the end of the boat ride back to the bank. When we put the canoe in the lake the mudd next to the bank was frozen. I could see it wasn't frozen now. So lugging that 10,000 lb canoe back up the bank was going to be a complete mess. Makenzie was the first one out of the canoe and she was stuck immediately. Lindsay couldn't help to but get in on the action and was also stuck in less than 30 seconds later. Good thing they had mudd boots on. Lindsay helped me unload the canoe. Makenzie kept on being stuck. I finally had to say something to Makenzie. This is when the thrashing started. She was throwing herself so hard trying to free herself she fell in the mudd and landed on her back. I couldn't help but laugh. This only aggravated the situation and caused Makenzie to thrash harder. Hard enough to come completely out of her boots. So lindsay went in to save the day. She pick makenzie up and put her back in her boots. Then with lindsays help makenzie was back on dry ground. I wish I had it all on video.

Lindsay and I grabbed the front of the canoe and pulled it out of the mudd. We all three then put the canoe on our shoulders and headed up the bank to the car. We put the canoe on the top of the car and I turned around just in time to see the bait cooler and life rests rolling down the bank and into the water. The wind was pushing them further from the bank. I could see the lid to the bait cooler was open and it not only had the worms, frozen chubs, it also had a couple of fishing lure boxes with 50 bucks in lures still in it. I ran down the bank grabbed my pole and tied a big treble hook and sinker on my line knowing I only had a few seconds to get them before they would be out of reach and I'd have to lug the 10,000 lb canoe back down the bank. On my first cast I some how snagged the cooler. With all my fishing life experiences I new this was more luck then skill but it didn't hurt to have both. A few seconds later and It was on the bank. Two casts later and I had the life vest. To my suprise we hadn't lost anything to the lake.

We decided to drive back to town and get some lunch. On our way back we saw elk, deer and turkeys still feeding in the medows. When we got to the gas station we were rewarded with the worst tasting chicken strips I have ever tasted. Should be illegal to serve them that old. As I choked them down with ranch dressing I pondered leaving. However I didn't get up at 3 am and drive nearly 3 hours to the lake to let the lake win. So we headed back. When we got to the lake we all took a 3 hour nap in the car.

It was 4 o'clock and the wind was howling. Canoe was out of the question. I knew the fish were deep maybe 30 feet or more and we only had a few options. So we found a piece of water that was being sheltered from the wind. We cut up some chubs and put them on our hooks. I absolutely hate fishing this way but we were out of options.

After letting the bait soak for nearly an hour I decided to reel in and try a different location. As I burned in my line a fish hit about 30 yards from the bank. It simply hit and took all but a few wraps of the 4 lb test line. I literally almost jumped off the stump I was standing on and ran down the bank after it. I literally only had 30 feet of line left when I finally turned him. Back down the bank it came and I quickly gained line. I new the fish was over 10 lbs but didn't know what it was. It was still two deep to see it however I could tell it was going to go under the roots of the tree stump I was standing on. I lifted as hard as that 4 lb test would go and the fish cleared the roots. I could now see what I was up against. It was a Tiger! It was huge biggest fish I have ever caught on 4 lb test. I knew there wasn't much hope of landing it so I just enjoyed the ride. A few runs later and I had my hands on him. Couldn't believe it worked out the way it did.

This completly energised our hopes. We had beat the lake! No matter how the rest of the day would play out it would have be worth the trip. The lake seemed to come alive with fish. Right after the tiger was caught our poles were getting hit but we were having trouble with the hook sets. Lindsay finally caught a Cutthroat it was dissapointing to me because of our goal of eliminating splake off our bucket list but was great for her.

I knew as light faded fish would move shallow and become vulnerable to a jig. So I switched baits and a few casts later I was on the board with a splake. A few minutes later and Lindsay's pole got hit. Problem was lindsay was catching crawdads with Makenzie's pole 50 yards away. Makenzie yelled to lindsay but it was to late. Makenzie set the hook and reeled it in. Splake! So close to our goal of all three of us catching splake but so far. Looks like the lake left us another challenge. We will be back!

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Old 05-02-2017, 08:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Dang! You and your girls have a lot of fun. Jealous as hell....

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Old 05-03-2017, 07:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Looks like a fun trip...this is a good time of year to fish Joes Valley from shore with cut bait like chubs. My older brother used to take a family trip over there every year on Mother's Day to specifically target big splake...
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Old 05-03-2017, 08:26 AM   #4 (permalink)
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That's about the size of splake that followed my oldest daughters jig in. It bit her lure at the bank and she set the hook. However her drag was set to loose and it didn't stick. It spit the lure out and took off. Cool experience though.

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