Today I got to meet rseas from the site. He, Nate Treat, and I travel down to Riffe Lake. Recent reports were stellar and not to be passed up, especially as the weather held up with the forecast of a great day.
We arrived and had gear in the water around 8am. The water level is super low, the pier s high and dry, but there is still ramp. Rseas had no trouble launching his 18 foot Lund (an excellent fishing machine, BTW – I want one!). We motored over to the dam and started a circular trolling pattern at about 1.3 mph. Winds were light to calm, and it was sunny to partly sunny, a gorgeous day in the 60-70s.
The plan was to run two rods on riggers, and three long lining. The fish, however, never gave us a chance. It was non-stop bites from the word “go”. We ran small dodgers (not sure – 000?) and a simple fly tied by rseas on a 12” leader. Sometimes bait (shrimp, worms), but just as often no bait. Depths were 22-48 ft on the riggers and up to 60 pulls on the long lines. It honestly didn’t seem to matter; they all got bit and kept us busy. We played catch and release until punching our limit around 1pm. We easily caught 50 fish and lost many more. Never went more than 5 minutes between bites/fish and doubles/triples were the norm.
The fish averaged around 12” and we hoped for something bigger, but not happening today. The fish’s guts are full of parasites, long white tapeworms which are pretty gross to see. Signs at the lake indicate these do not affect the fish for eating; indeed, the parasites are only in the gut, none in the muscles. Still, we all agree they were nasty, but once cleaned the fillets are a nice firm pink/red hue. I now have fresh silvers to work on my smoking skills tomorrow.
Thanks to rseas for showing us his silver trolling tips. His knowledge and approach to these fish is most impressive. I could really get used to being a passenger and not the boat operator (but I did get to run a downrigger). Video shot and our next adventure coming soon!