With all the snow and ice we had this winter, BWild and I were a nervous wreck in the weeks leading up to our Annual “Dad’s Weekend” trip. We would check in with Karen Brown of Paulina Lake Lodge on a weekly basis hoping and praying for the ice on the lake to melt off. Fortunately our prayers were answered and we were some of the first anglers of the year to fish Paulina Lake!
We made the drive over the snowy mountain pass from the valley to meet up with Karen so we could get situated in our cabin during our 4 day stay. Our timing was perfect and we were ready to fish by noon on our first day at Paulina Lake. Team Wildish went their way, and Team Daniels went theirs. It didn’t take long and I was into a nice 4 pound Hookjaw brown who took a Lyman lure along the north shoreline. After a quick pic, I set him free and we fished on.
Things slowed over the next few hours, so Dad and I headed back in to meet up with the Wildish clan for an early dinner. After dinner, BWild and I walked down to the dock and ran into Andy “Tequila” Rose! Andy is a fellow Trophy Trout Hunter from AZ with a passion for making some incredible Tequila. Over the past few years, he has landed some big browns over 10 pounds out of Paulina. We swapped intros and stories. Andy informed us he had caught a 26″, 7 pound hen earlier in the day and we congratulated him on a great fish!
Pretty soon it was time to get back on the water, so BWild and I headed out with our Dads. Around 7 pm, Dad’s rod slammed over hard in the holder to the weight of a good brown! This fish held its ground and really put up a good fight for Dad. After 10 minutes or so, the glow of a beautiful Paulina Lake Hookjaw broke the surface. Dad steered the big boy into the net and we had our first trophy trout of Dad’s Weekend XI in the books! The beautiful buck tipped the scales at 8 pounds and taped out at 26 inches. This fish also was fooled by a Lyman lure. We high-fived as this was Dad’s personal best brown trout ever! After some amazing photos and cool video, we released the old boy to grow bigger for next time. I was thrilled to see the smile on my Dad’s face, knowing he had finally caught a “good” brown with me during one of our annual trips together.
About 45 minutes later, it was my turn. I caught a really nice 25 inch, 6-1/2 pound hookjaw while working the shoreline over shallow water. The bite was obviously ON!
Not long after that, I had one of those once in a lifetime type of experiences on the water. While retrieving my lure back to the boat, I had the biggest Hookjaw Brown I’ve ever seen in my life come up from the dark depths of Paulina Lake and take a swipe at my stickbait! For some reason, the hook didn’t stick, but the big bruiser brown kind of just suspended there confused by what was going on! I twitched the lure and made it dance hoping he would come back for more. It worked and got his attention and he took another strike at it, but once again a swing and a miss. Dammit! I hollered out to Dad, “HOLY S#%#!!!”, look at this fish behind my lure!!! Dad looked over and hollered the same thing I had said. I even tried a figure 8 in the water with my rod and lure like you see in Muskie fishing, but finally the big boy had enough and slowly swam back down. UGH! I was just sick, but at the same time was shaking from adrenaline due to the shear size of this Beast! Everything looks bigger under water of course, but I can honestly say this Hookjaw was at least 32 inches long and well over 12 pounds. Had an enormous Hookjaw and head too. Amazing experience that I will never forget!
Finally just before legal was over, my Dad hooked a good fish. When he got it up to the net, we were shocked to see the bright red sides of a beautiful Rainbow trout! We got some pics of the 23 inch, 4 pound bow and then released her back.
WOW, what a first day/night of fishing for the Daniels boat! Dad and I pulled in our gear and headed back for the warmth of our cabin to swap stories with the Wildishs’.
Honestly, the next three days produced fish, but we didn’t catch another brown over the 5 pound mark. All in all, Dad and I caught 53 fish for the trip with 12 of those being rainbows. We also got our share of Kokes too, but they were a little harder to catch this year. Nice size though, as some were 13″ and 14″.
We also got to meet Chris Lundy, Josh & Hunter Kidney. All well respected Trophy Trout Hunters who have landed some dandy browns over 10 pounds out of Paulina over the past several years. Great guys with Great stories! And finally we had fun hanging out with the Legendary Allan Cole and his son, Eric! Always a fun time with those guys as well. In fact, Hunter Kidney and Eric Cole both landed Dandy 8-1/2 pound Hookjaws on the same day! Both beautiful fish, congrats guys!
Once again, BWild and I had an Incredible time with our “old men” and can’t wait for next year! We are blessed to be able to share these trips with our heroes and hope they continue for many years to come. Thanks for reading and feel free to contact us with pics or stories so we can share with other TTH readers.
“Browns – Coyotes of the Fishing World!”