Thursday, May 21, 2009

Buggin Bass

My trip to Benewah Lake

On Tuesday May 19th, Alison and I explored one of the southern most lakes in the CD'A chain lake system. If you want to see where the pictures are taken on google maps visit my Picasa album here, the google maps is in the left column, and I have flagged the physical location for each picture. The picture above was taken at the end of the day and is the dock at the boat launch. Only one other person had shown up to fish, and she sat on this dock and caught nothing (using a worm thrower pole). I thought that maybe some big bass or pike were hiding in here, so I took a few minutes to try to catch them. Directly behind me was a big rain storm coming so I didn't spend much time here (it was well after 6 PM and I wanted to pack before getting hit with the rain.

This picture is of the lake facing east from the boat launch dock, which is the direction I traveled in the canoe to get to my bay. I was here to catch some pike, which I did not do. However this bay (pictured next) held a bunch of very large bass. Given wind conditions on the lake, this was the only accessible place by canoe so I was stuck (unless I was willing to pack up the equipment and move to another lake). I have no pictures of the fish I caught that day, because Alison had my camera and was playing around. But let me tell you, I caught the largest bass I have ever seen. It was a large mouth, and I could fit my whole fist into its mouth. It's over all length was 35 inches, and its girth was larger than both my hands wrapped around it. It had to be pushing the 6-7 pound range. I also caught several small mouth bass in the 4 to 5 pound range, and at least two more get off the hook (and another that followed my fly all the way too the dock).

It is spring, so the lakes here are very flooded. I could walk 400 yards in any direction from here, and the water depth still would not get above about 4 feet. After I caught my really big bass, I wondered back to were Alison was and she discovered this really cool Dragonfly that must have just "hatched". Alison was very intrigued with this, especially since it was on my butt.

Now I did not see any more dragonflies "hatching" that day, but the wind was very strong all day. The only way to remove him from me was to use my net, no manner of handling with fingers got him to budge. This dragonfly still needed some more time before taking off. (the next picture is one taken right before he did). However, I noticed the osprey circling the lake all day long, but not one every came down for a fish so I wonder if the hatch wasn't bigger than I knew and that the osprey were feeding on these big dragonflies getting sucked up into the wind, but boy was this one big! Sorry there is no pictures of fish.

Well, TIGHT LINES everybody!

Friday, May 8, 2009

6th grade fishing day - May 2009

First let me say, with the exception of Eliason, no fish were caught today by the sixth graders on a fly rod (only 10 fish where caught by 73 students using a worm/spin cast setup). However, you know the fish are hanging deep when even the osprey decided to nest today instead of fish. Depth in this reservoir would not normally be a problem for Eliason and I in the float tubes, however it was very difficult for "newbies" to get to any depth from shore. While the school rods where loaded with dry lines, I still had two rods setup with full sink type III and type IV, and only two students all day said they had a bite (however one was early in the morning so I suspect that it more of a log or a rock than a bite.)

If you want to download or view any of these pictures please visit:

Ok, so here is how the day went. I arrived at the reservoir at 0830 and set up rods. I could tell instantly that it was going to be a slow biting day. Usually, at this time of year, the grass is already starting to grow in, but you will notice in the pictures that is not so this year. The Russell Elementary student arrived by bus at 0900, with one very excited Eliason jumping up and down on the bus waving trying to get my attention. The first group of 20 students in fly casting was extremely challenging (this could be due to the fact the the kids only had one hour of instruction with a fly rod before today). In the first group, every child snapped their fly off the line at least once (with one child going through 5 flies in an 1 hour period). Once you add the time of untangling bad casting knots to tying on new flies, then you will realize that Eliason, Mr. Markely, and myself barely had a chance to give any instruction!

For the second group of 20 students, Mr. Markely and I choose a different tact. We split the group in half, with Eliason and I taking half of the student on a little longer hike to reach the dock you see in this picture. . . . ..

From 6th grade fishing day
As you can see, I can comfortably fit 5 casters on this dock. At the foot of the dock, I had two more casters casting out and away from the dock. That just left 3 casters for Eliason to work with. He would work the shore just before the dock. Here is a picture from the dock looking east at Eliason and his group.
From 6th grade fishing day
At this point, we all broke for lunch. The St. Mary's 6th grade class arrived just shortly before we broke for lunch. They only had 13 students and 6 helpers! So I skipped helping them and had a nice roast beef sandwich lunch with the kiddo. After lunch, there was two biologist with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game that gave a cool talk about native and non-native fish species of Idaho, fish ecology, and fish identification. While hiking out with the third and last group of students, I noticed much more activity in the shallows (including bluegills starting to congregate). I thought for sure someone was going to catch a fish in the afternoon, but alas I was wrong. Eliason also noticed the bluegill, and as the students were hiking back to the bus to go home, Eliason casually casts on olive willy to them. Imagine how all 20 students stopped to see Eliason's catch! (Even though the bus was loudly honking at us to hurry up)
From 6th grade fishing day
By the time Eliason and I helped Mr. Markely break down his equipment and put it all away it was 4:00 pm and the skies looked like this:
From 6th grade fishing day
Even though there was a midge hatch that just began, Eliason and I decided to call it a day. Sometime at work, I will were a pedometer and average over 8 miles a day going up and down the halls. But, keeping 10 kids at time with their line the water must have taken 4 times that amount of energy. Oh well, I am sure Eliason and I will get one more day of fishing in before our June departure date, when we get to go fish "The Ranch" for some blue ribbon trout!


Thursday, May 7, 2009

More Rain

Hello Everyone,

Just a quick update from Moscow. Tomorrow, May 8th, is the 6th grade fishing day at Spring Vally Reservoir. However, I have not seen the sun all week. Everybody pray. . . I don't mind fishing in bad weather, and neither does Eliason. However, 73 kids will be a lot of kids to have fishing in the rain. . ..

Hopefully all goes well and there will be new pictures this weekend!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My very first blog

Hello everyone!

Ok, so this is my first blog ever. In fact, this is my first time even attempting to set a blog site. So please bear with me as I figure all of this out.

The motivating factor to get me to start blogging is the fact that I love my digital camera. In fact, as my son and I fish I love to send pictures to Grandma and Grandpa Mendenhall. However, email seems to be a rather difficult way to send them these grand pictures. So enter the blogosphere.. . . .

Ok, so here are some pictures from last Wed. My son is in 6th grade, and he is lucky enough to have a PE Teacher who loves to fish also. About four years ago, Mr. Markely got a grant from the FFF (Federation of Fly Fishers) to integrate fly fishing into his 6th grade curriculum. He has 3 classes of 6th graders averaging about 20 students a class. We combined with a local private catholic school that has one sixth grade class of 13 students this year. One sixth grade class from my son's school and the private sixth grade class meet in the morning to rotate between three stations; Fly Tying, Fly Casting, and Spin Casting. For the morning session I was tapped to teach the fly tying section.

That was a whole lot of fun, and I certainly hope to be asked to do it again next year. In the afternoon, the remaining two 6th grade classes got to rotate through the same three stations. We were short of help in the afternoon, and Eliason and I were asked to do a father/son fly casting clinic. Here are the pictures of Eliason being a fairly good teacher. In the picture above, Eliason is setting up some targets for students to cast at.

Now remember, the object here is for the "other" students to learn how to cast a fly rod.

Ever since the Woolly Bugger Fly Casting Clinic in Boise, Id in June of 2008, Eliason has always kept that rod very high during casting!

The picture to our right might be too wide of an angle to see, let me know what you think!

Ok, so how is someone supposed to learn how to cast if the fly rod is not in their hands?

Eliason is still holding the fly rod!

Finally, someone is learning to cast.
I have to admit, that afternoon I was really impressed with Eliason's focus and maturity during the fly casting clinic. In fact, I do believe he was better able to "reach" some students more so than me. However, when I got home that evening I was struck by how many of the pictures showed Eliason holding the rod, rather than the student. It could be due to the fact that I kept the camera at my hip, and each shot was taken in less than 10 seconds.
Well, I think my first attempt at a blog is not too shabby. Please feel free to leave a reply to give me hints on how to make this more readable, however, after 4 hours of work this is the best that I can do. Let it roll. . . . .