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3699 Views 29 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  JAT83

First of all, let me just say that I'm sooooo happy to be back online! Thanks to my brother, my pc is fixed (somehow) and my forum addiction can be appeased. Thanks to everyone who stayed in contact via the old forum pm's (while that lasted). And SPECIAL thanks to FishGlyph for playing middleman, posting some basic reports for me, and keeping me in the loop on everything. Not too many folks would do that and I knew right where to join once my access was restored. Again, thanks.

More gratitude goes to "the team" that brought this site into fruition. This is home for those of us who became displaced by the DWR shindig. I'm sure it will be every bit as good as the old site and more (except I can't access at work now :lol: ). And thanks to the folks that posted responses and showed support while I was limited to email interaction.

Okay, enough of the sappy stuff! Let's get a report in here, eh?

We woke up early with an appetite for Yuba. I knew that the recent weather trend could really trigger something there and that today was supposed to be sunny and mild. Add to the equation last year's heavy stocking campaign and we've got ourselves a little fishing trip with reason to be hopeful.

I was a bit nervous about the perch situation, though. We only went to Yuba a couple of times this year because of those ridiculous little bait thieves. I suppose it wouldn't be too bad if we could keep a couple of deeply hooked perch, but all we can do is cut the line and hope for better results with the next cast. Honestly, I didn't think we'd go to Yuba again until next year.

I went out to get the cooler in the car and noticed something a little strange. There was a layer of frost and ice covering my car. I couldn't help but take a picture.

Hopefully, things would warm up during the drive.

The sunshine made its way over the mountain tops while we were en route and was working its magic on the water once came into view of the lake.

There were actually quite a few substantial clouds that had formed from this evaporation. Pretty cool.

We pulled up to the Oasis (Sonia didn't want to go to Painted Rocks, this time) Campground and I quickly realized the other reason we hardly make it out to Yuba: $7.00 day use fee. OUCH! There I was thinking it was $5.00. Maybe that's why we go to Scofield so often (besides the girthy fish).

The water level is way down right now...It's not even high enough to spill.

The boat ramp is still submerged and there's still one dock floating, for those of you who might make a trip.

Sonia was still pretty drowsy and James was slumbering deeply in the caress of his car seat, so I thought I'd just go down and see what I could do before they became active. It's also a bonus to get in a few minutes of solo time before the family comes down and gets the distraction going.

I started flipping my trademark blue fox and had a couple of tiny chasers within a few casts. They didn't look or act like perch, so I'm guessing they were some of those brookies they planted this year. I stopped getting chased in that area, so I moved over to the boat ramp and started casting straight out.

Pretty quickly, I had one of those dinks on my lure and got it within a few feet of me shoes when it flipped off. It definitely wasn't a perch. It was really shiny and with the sun in my eyes, it was hard to tell what species of trout it was. I had another on with the same results a couple of minutes later.

I realized that my solo time was decreasing every second, so I swapped the spinner for a size 16 treble hook. I put my other trademark (minnow) on and tossed out in hopes of seducing a monster bow to the shore. I knew that there are also walleye and catfish in Yuba and wouldn't have felt too bad to end up with one of those instead. I also knew that there are pike in there, but pretty much counted myself out of getting one of those. Even if one took my minnow, the teeth would probably snip my line before I could get it to hand.

I let the minnow settle while I fiddled around with my other rod. I saw a lot of surface activity start to pop, so I rigged up with a dry behind a bubble. I only have 1 type of dry and I think it's a renegade. Anyhow, wrong fly for Yuba, this morning. I worked that for about 10 minutes and then notice the line on my minnow rod starting to straighten out.

This is what I live for. I absolutely love the suspense of having line jump out of my open bale while I wonder what could be on the other end. In the waters of Yuba, the list of possibilities is pretty long. That just added to the moment. I let the line go for a little bit longer than normal to up my odds of a good hookset and then shut my bale. I was surprised how quickly the slack pulled tight. This had to be a really nice rainbow. I set my hook firmly and instantly had a tug-o-war with whatever this beast was.

I gained a little ground just to have it taken right back for about a minute and eventually got it closer to shore. Still no visual confirmation, but I knew it was bigger than anything I'd ever caught here, previously.

My heart was racing and I started wondering if my drag was too firm. I didn't want my line to snap, but the creature kept taking line whenever I got it close. Finally, I got several explosive rolls on the surface giving me a brief, squinting glimpse at the silhouette of part of this thing. Still not sure, but I thought it was a huge bow.

Sonia noticed the commotion and brought James down (she was pretty much on her way anyhow). She asked me what it was and we both found out simultaneously that I had just caught MY FIRST NORTHERN PIKE!!! (Woot!)

I was very surprised that my line was still intact with the hook way down its throat like it was. I couldn't pass up this opportunity to taste some new flesh, so onto the stringer it went and it was time to stike a pose. (The first time I put it on the stringer, it fought the clip loose and I barely got it back...double clipped this girl.)

A closer look:

Wow. Another notch on the belt and another scratch off the list. I'm still tingling with joy.

Sonia started fishing with her worm/bubble combo on her new rod (I'm jealous). Quite a bit of time passed before she noticed any action. She had something going for a minute, but she still doesn't set her hooks well (even though I try to coach) and it got away.

She moved over by the dock. I put another minnow on, hoping for a rainbow or a walleye. She lost another one (she said it was big) and I decided to reel in and walk around with James for awhile. The only problem was that I was stuck on something. I tugged nice and hard and ended up busting loose whatever it was I snagged and reeled in the ancient sagebrush.

"How did I get myself wrapped up like this," I thought. The line was all over so many branches, I wondered if it was all mine. Then the bush tried to jump out of my hands. I looked down and saw some flashing at the end of some line (mine?) that came from the branches. Turns out, all that line was mine and a freakin' perch had stolen my minnow and wrapped itself up in this sage. Stupid perch! :lol:

Not bad for a perch. What I'm wondering is how the perch fit that big of a minnow in its mouth. Naturally, I cut my line and sent it on its way. I think it even lived because I didn't notice any belly-ups drifting along the surface for the remainder of our stay.

I was already pretty satisfied with my day and Sonia hadn't caught anything yet, so I put the rod down and went over to visit. Just as I got there, Sonia chased off the skunk.

Not exactly the greatest thing to pull in, but it was something and it fought her pretty well. I asked her if she wanted to keep it (just checking) and she winced and responded with an obvious negative. :lol:

Actually, the people fishing down the shore from us were reeling in carp left and right. The strange part was that they were keeping them. Apparently, they like to eat them and told me that the carp from Yuba taste a lot better than the carp from other waters they like to fish. Neat.

I recognized them from a previous trip to Scofield a couple of weeks back. I especially recognized their Russian accents. The man I was speaking with showed me their bucket. It had about 20 lbs worth of medium/small carp in it. Then he showed me his "fresh line". It had about 20 lbs of carp swimming on it. Check it out:

They had another "fresh line" in the water, but I'd seen my fill of huge golden scales. I congratulated him and went back to my area to pack up. Sonia was in the mood to leave and the wind had really turned on in force. I thought about going to the PR side, but Sonia didn't want anything to do with it. We decided to play it by ear for our next destination. I still had an itch for trout and Sonia would've been happy to catch something nicer than a carp.

Let me just say that cleaning a pike is no easy task. The inside edge of the gills are thin and sharp like razor blades and they have spines all over. It was a difficult endeavor, but I managed to clean it up with only a little of my own blood. :?

We head out and made it to Nephi before I had a whim: Nebo Scenic Loop. I could fish Salt Creek and any other waters I encountered while taking in the spectacular vistas afforded by a drive I had never completed from end to end. That's right. I'd never driven the whole loop before. I've never even been to Payson Lakes. I went to Camp Maple Dell when I was 14 and Devil's Kitchen when I was about 19 or so. Other than that, my exposure to that area was nil.

I was saddened to see how big of a scar the last fire left. We pulled off at the retention pond in Nebo Canyon and I flipped my blue fox into the brownish, ashy water below the spillway. I got lucky and a starving brown hit it.

I released the poor thing and hopefully it will find some food before the next guy sees it.

We thought about fishing the pond, but it didn't look too appealing. We took off looking for nicer water and scenery. Just a few minutes later, we turned onto the loop and we were glad to see this:

The water was crystal clear and pretty shallow. It was loaded with fish that were rising nonstop, but the clarity of the water really played to my disadvantage. The fish in each area chased my spinner for one pass and then spooked and wouldn't even look at it. Even though they were spooked, they kept rising arrogantly (little jerks :lol: ). It made me realize that sometimes, there just isn't a substitute for a fly rod. I thought about tying on my dry and attempting to whip it out far enough to get a strike with my spinning rod, but decided to go and hit the stream below, instead. I knew I could fare well on a stream with my choice gear.

I was wrong again. There were fish everywhere, but the water was so shallow and obstructed that fishing with a lure was just silly. Again, another perfect time to have a fly rod handy. I suppose I should dabble into that relm pretty soon. No biggie, though. There are other times that a fly rod just doesn't cut it, I'm sure.

So I didn't catch any fish in the beautiful spawning pool, but James got a chance to stretch his legs and have a snack and I caught something else that I noticed.

I can't believe that cute of a kid came from me. :wink:

That reminds me...Is americanforkdude on this forum? If so, sorry...Don't look. :p


Fishing was great, but now it was time to take in the natural beauty of a pleasant drive through the mountains.

I'd like to hike around up here, sometime.

Some gnarley red rocks.

A quick stop at the Nebo overlook.

Same spot, different direction.

First view of the valley 4500 feet below (thereabouts).

We took the turnoff to Payson Lakes for a shot at some brookies and bows, but were discouraged by a fee station and turned around. My wallet had already taken a beating, today.

We pulled over to eat some crackers and cheese ball and I tried my luck in Bennie Creek, but didn't hook up with anything. The water was really murky...Probably from all that melting snow upstream.

Another turnoff to Maple Lake, but another pay tube and ultimately, another big U-turn. No sweat. We had our meat for the weekend fish dinner and I was starting to smell my clutch. It was time to keep it in gear and get back to civilization.

All in all, a great day filled with new experiences and an overall positive outcome. I'm sure I'll make some time to wrangle up some trout during the week, so until then...

Happy Fishing, Humans. It's nice to be back.
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Welcome back home LOAH!
Good to see your PC's working again.
We have missed your posts.
Bt the way, great first post!
Grandpa D.
I used to catch northerns as a kid as most do trout around here. It was my moms favorite fish, said it tasted like a mild chicken.
The rush after you catch a pike is something, you got lucky he didnt snap your line. I had them cut though my steel leaders many times. When they are in a agressive feeding frenzy there isnt much they wont take. We used to "dead stick" for them with big meaty plastics. I wish they would get a pike fishery up north here, take them over the tigers anyday.

Also, welcome back....I got a blue fox based report to post here in a min myself.
Looks like an great trip and congrats on the Pike. 8)
Nice Pike, welcome back, I enjoy reading your detailed fishing trips! Sounds like a successfull fun filled trip(s)! :D
Thanks, everyone. I had a blast. It's good to see familiar screen names, once again.
I don't even know, yet. We were pretty tired and ate leftovers, last night. I'll let you know tonight. Sonia's excited for the white meat. I guess I am too. :mrgreen:
Hey LOAH, good to hear from you. Good to see you're still getting out and chasing fish around with the family. We'll have to hook up now that you're back online and go give some of these trout the "spinner/minnow" surprise on some of our local creeks. I'm in the mood to get out and do some fishing again before snow closes me out of some of my good spots. We'll have to stay in touch and go fish a spot I know you'd really enjoy if you can get a solo trip in.... if I have to, I can even take off during the week for it. 8)
...Tell me more. :twisted: Weekends are best for me. Getting time off during the week is quite a stretch. I'm the only one that knows my position (great planning from mgt, right?), so taking time off is like putting the warehouse in a coma for a day.

Crap. Now I have to go to work. No access there. :evil: Guess I'll be back tonight.
LOAH welcome back man! Its good to see your fantastic reports again! Congrats on the pike too, thats an awesome catch. I have yet to catch one of them or a musky! I wonder how that pike will taste... Anyways good to have you back and look forward to more reports!
Riverrat77 said:
Hey LOAH, good to hear from you. Good to see you're still getting out and chasing fish around with the family. We'll have to hook up now that you're back online and go give some of these trout the "spinner/minnow" surprise on some of our local creeks. I'm in the mood to get out and do some fishing again before snow closes me out of some of my good spots. We'll have to stay in touch and go fish a spot I know you'd really enjoy if you can get a solo trip in.... if I have to, I can even take off during the week for it. 8)
If you go let me know, would love to get out again and weekends are best for me as well. Riverratt we sould even show LOAH how to throw a dry he would have a BLAST! Seriously let me know if you would like a third wheel. LOAH good to see you back on line love the posts keep them comming!
LOAH, Nice fish, do you ever think of quiting your job and becoming a writer?.
blueboy22 said:
LOAH, Nice fish, do you ever think of quiting your job and becoming a writer?.
Do you mean do I ever stop dreaming about quitting my job and getting paid for my hobbies? :lol:

As much as I enjoy operating warehouse machinery and putting up with the bureaucracies that spew forth from the office, I think I could let it go. In fact, they've really ripped me off for the past year and it's about to come to a head, I think. I'll just say they're lucky they take all of my job hunting time and that I care enough about feeding the family to show up everyday.

Yes, I think about other options. I don't know how I'd go about escaping my current situation, but writing about the outdoors would be a breeze and it would be much more fulfilling than tossing boxes...Even in the winter.

Your responses are appreciated.

Orvis1, I don't think you'll get a fly rod in RiverRat77's hands. I think the last one left a mean sliver. :lol:

I may try that out next year. It would be fun. I'll still never stop using a spinning rod, though. I can see myself using the fly rod while I wait for the monster to take my minnow. Oh yeah.
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I don't know yet. In fact, could anyone tell me whereabouts this "mud vein" is on the Northern? How much should I cut off of the fish to ensure I don't get any goo line? I really don't want to ruin such a large chunk of meat and I hear if I cook the bad part with the good part, I'll ruin it.

Sorry, I just don't have much experience with the warm water fish.

Fatbass, I love the curb-check avatar. And the sig.
LOAH said:
I don't know yet. In fact, could anyone tell me whereabouts this "mud vein" is on the Northern? How much should I cut off of the fish to ensure I don't get any goo line? I really don't want to ruin such a large chunk of meat and I hear if I cook the bad part with the good part, I'll ruin it.

Sorry, I just don't have much experience with the warm water fish.

Fatbass, I love the curb-check avatar. And the sig.
Do what anyone else in america would probally do....
Google it!

I remember my mom used to cook them in tin foil with butter, lemon and dill for a suggestion.

Also Im pretty sure that pike quailify for a cold water fish, and Im sure would flourish up north here.
It's in the oven. 350 degrees and I'm thinking probably an hour. It's got a butter bath going and I'll squirt some lime (don't have any lemons) all over it once I get the skin off. When I chopped the head off, I couldn't see any dark veins, so I guess I'll just see how it goes. I barely got the foil around the darn thing.


I actually was Googling it for the last hour while browsing around other sites. That's funny. I didn't get any good info on the vein, but there are a lot of tasty sounding recipes out there. In fact, the fish that kept coming up in the topics was the carp when "mud vein" had anything to do with it.

We'll see how it goes.
Yeah, right after I posted that I decided to go and google it myself and the first result has some crazy relavence to pike, but the rest were all carp. _/O -)O(- _/O -)O(-
Now that's a tasty fish! Turns out, the bake time was off by a little. I pulled it out of the oven after an hour and tried to pull the fins out with a fork. If a fish is done, the fins will pull out with little to no resistance. If it needs a little longer, you'll strip the tissue off the fin bones instead of pulling the fins out.

I decided this fish needed another 20 minutes, so back it went once the foil was closed tightly again.

20 minutes later, I pulled the pickerel out and plucked the pointy paddles from its pecks and pelvis. :lol: (I know, that was corny.)

The rib meat separated from the bone with ease and I made sure to study the structure as much as I could. I didn't want any surprises stuck in my throat indefinitely. It seemed like I avoided breaking off any ribs and then I went for the back meat.

Holy crap! There are tons of long "y" shaped bones right above the ribs. They were pretty easy to avoid, though.

I piled the meat onto two plates (mine, Sonia's) and cut a lime in half. Then I stabbed each exposed cell of the lime to allow for a better flow of juice. A strong squeeze showered every piece of meat with the tangy juice and then some fresh cracked pepper. A pinch of salt (dang it, I'm out of Kosher salt!), and dinner was served.

Much to my surprise, there were tiny little floating bones about a third of an inch long right in between flakes of rib meat. Strange. They must be little branches of the actual ribs that break right off when the meat is slid off the bone. They weren't much of a problem, though. Once I found a couple of them, I knew where to look for more.

My overall impression of Northern Pike for food was that it's a lighter taste than trout and is delightful with the lime/pepper seasoning. The work to get to the meat was significantly more than trout, but not too bad once the bones were located.

Will I keep the next one? Most likely not. The meat was tasty, but this was my test and I don't feel that having the taste in my mouth again is worth taking one of these exotic beauties out of existence...Nor do I wish to combat the bones any more.

If Sonia catches one, someday and wants to keep it...She's her own person and that's totally up to her. Somehow I feel I'd still end up having to clean it (what a pain).

If I keep another Northern Pike from Utah waters, it will most likely be a wall mount. Given the fact that I don't usually keep a few hundred bucks handy for such an occasion and that I don't particularly desire a dead animal on my wall, I'd say they're pretty safe from me, for now...I still like trout better, all around.
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When I was looking up info on Google about preparation, a guy that eats them all the time says that if you're boiling them or frying them, to get the skin off, but if they're to be roasted in the oven, leave it on. The layer of mucous under and over the skin helps to keep the meat moist and tender. I was surprised how long I had to cook it, but 28.5 inches (minus the head...24?) is kind of new to me.

A recipe on the internet said to roast at 450 for 5-8 minutes per pound. I couldn't risk that. 350 is my staple for fish and I really wasn't sure how much the fish weighed.

Oh well. It tasted great and Sonia and James loved it too.
Sounds really good! What did it taste like in comparison with other utah game fish?
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