Well, we finally did it! Cracked the 10 pound mark on a beautiful hen caught from Crescent Lake, March 27, 2017. Carrie and I have been working hard and having a blast trying to reach this Oregon benchmark since 2010, what a journey!
We ventured Willamette Pass, it was recently plowed but snowing and starting to ice up…I think we timed it perfectly. Here’s a shot of the road from highway to the lake.
The trip started out a little rough…boat batteries were dead and the truck got stuck after launching the boat, but Gene and I (I call him Geno) prevailed! We disconnected the trailer and were able to get the truck out of there to chain up. We then reconnected the trailer and were able to get it out of the water. Then we drove the truck down nose first and jump started the boat…I’m glad I had the extra long cables!
We had lures in the water by 10am and gave the lodge side of the lake a couple passes from the campground point to Simax beach. We caught a couple laker pups in the 10 pound range and were glad to at least get the blood flowing with a couple fish. The S/SW wind was blowing pretty good, so we decided to run across the lake and avoid the wind fetch near the lodge. We were pleasantly surprised to see Tandy Bay partially frozen, how cool is that! We were loving the scenery and the solitude of being on the lake alone…guess we were the only fools silly enough to tackle the lake that day!
We did a couple passes from Tandy down to Rainbow point, working 15′-45′ water depths. We weren’t marking anything, but that’s pretty typical for us at this lake and doesn’t necessarily mean there are no fish! We caught one more laker pup, which is always fun! I always treat these like a Brown, you never know! Regardless of the fish, I always enjoy the play and try to appreciate every tug along with the beautiful scenery…we are blessed to have such awesome lakes in our backyard!
We decided to troll from the island all the way down the summer home side. This run proved to be unproductive as usual, but we’ve caught a couple over there and you never know! We continued the shoreline troll past the lodge, Simax and onto Boy Scout Bay. It was approaching 3pm and we were settled into the thinking that it was gonna be a grind with little chance for a square tail. I had been getting tangled a couple times and lost one of my favorite lures, so I decided to run 2 rods instead of 3 to keep it simple. I like this approach, as it allows lots of mobility and sharp turns without tangling the long-lines. We had one out on planar board and the other at the boat. I like to make sharp turns and stall the planar board, stopping the lure. We then turn back sharp the other direction and start the lure working again…we’ve caught a lot of fish this way. As we entered Boy Scout, we had to avoid a buoy way out from shore…didn’t see it until the last minute. This had the same effect as the stall method we do. I’m not 100% sure this caused the strike, but soon after that I noticed the planar board tugging and lurching backwards…fish on!!! Geno quickly reeled the other rod in while I slowly reeled the planar board in. It’s tough with these, we’ve lost lots of fish on these boards, so you have to be gentle. We had the board WAY out there, so it took a while to get it in. Once I did, I was super happy to feel the tug of a nice one still on the line! I was thinking it was probably another laker, but I’ve learned to play it like a prized brown and enjoy every second. We were being blown into shore, so we had to motor out to deep water with the fish on. Once we finally settled, I could start playing the fish, woo hoo! The fish still had LOTS of fight left and was quite crafty, sometimes running towards the boat and other times going on runs. My heart was pumping! After a good fight, we finally got it to the surface out away from the boat…WAIT…did I just see a square tail!!! Holy moly Geno, it’s a HUGE brown dude!!! Get the net ready bro! I couldn’t tell if it was male or female, but it didn’t matter, it was big! The beauty made another run and held deep for a little longer. Condidering how long it took to get it this far, I assumed it was hooked good and took my time playing it to the net. Finally we coaxed it into the net, a big fat hen, yee haw!!! Paging Doctor Dan, Paging Doctor Dan…hook release needed in room #1! Haha, we were able to get the hook out pretty easily and I continued to give her a rest before hoisting her up for a weight. When I lifted the net, I realized just how heavy she was, woah!!! Surprised the heck out of me and I thought it just might crack the 10 lb mark! We used our certified Boga grip and weighed her in our rubber net. Knowing what the net weighs, I was looking for the magic number, come on baby! We took our time and wanted to make sure we could claim the 10 lb mark. Sure enough, she did! High fives!!! She taped at 29″, not bad! I rarely measure girth and forgot to in all the excitement, but I can tell you she was thick!
She was caught on a #4 Lyman on planar board on top-water. Tough to say exactly, but the water depth was around 40′ where the planar board was. We were trolling 2.8 mph. Water temp was 37-38 deg F. As you can see, it was sunny but windy. Here’s a shot of the lure, it’s called Purple Jesus 2.0…officially named for Lyman by our very own Bwild!
We fished a couple more hours with not a bump, but we were super stoked and looking forward to taking a break and grabbing some dinner. We fished the next morning early for a few hours and caught another laker, but that was it. All together, an amazing trip! Thanks Geno for toughing it out with me bro!
Special thanks to my TTH bros, R.D. (Coyote), Dan McAlister (Hookjaw) and Brian Wildish (Bwild) for taking me under their wings and getting me to this point, you guys are the best and I love ya!
Hugs and Hookjaws my friends!