Cloudy with a chance of Sunburn

I didn’t think it possible to incur a sunburn in February. The notion that mornings are chill and by midday you’re peeling everything you carefully layered earlier, suggests less of explainable science and more of the looming Zombie Apocalypse.

Winter has a scant 30 days remaining and we’ve seen nothing in the way of water – although the weather pundits are claiming something damp may arrive next week.

Too little too late.

Fishing has been mostly an afterthought of late given how many environmental elements are out of sync. I’ve been out scouting different water each weekend, but nothing is visible, nothing bites, and exercise is the main event, with the promise to return when Nature rights itself.

This weekend was Gunfire Lake and a hunt for leftover tackle.  I amused myself carrying a rod, mostly to reassure the horde of camouflaged militia that I was local talent and not a Taliban sympathizer. My lust for tromping dry lakebed and scooping old fishing tackle being shared by a regiment of the California Militia, complete with badged yellow Humvees, wives that looked really tired of “Meathead” playing soldier, and a dazzling array of AR-15’s carried lovingly in the crook of an arm.

I’d always assumed the constant patter of rifle fire and the whine of ricochet stemmed from dumbasses drinking beer, now I know it to be patriotic dumbasses drinking beer.


The lake itself was reduced to a shallow two mile long depression. The boat launch was high above the waterline and some 300 yards distant. Water clarity was good as the morning was airless, and I threw fast sinking things at tree trunks and donated some tackle that I’ll be back for next month …

Scouting the launch area yielded a Wee Wart, a smattering of rubber worms and their sliding sinkers, 8 golf balls (Callaway), three six inch flasher rigs, a couple hundred yards of lead core, and one Indian acorn pestle which was a delight to find.


Apparently the trolling gear is for Kokanee Salmon, but it was still a surprise to see how much of the found gear it represented. Twenty pound monofilament, flashers, and lead core is a trifle heavy when the quarry is nearer sixteen inches than sixteen pounds.

I’m guessing the volume of timber in the water dictates the overly heavy gear, and donating chrome flashers is likely to hurt, making their preservation a priority.

Fish were visible only when porpoising in deep water. I tossed flies at timber near the bank, noting the absence of any protective algae in the water. The lake itself appears completely sterile of weeds and organic buildup (refer to the topmost picture to see the absence of growth on the submerged timbers). I saw a few Threadfin shad and assumed in the absence of any other life forms this was likely a “minnow” lake, with small fish the main event for all resident life.

I found a single monstrous fish spine and one desiccated turtle. The spine appeared to be carp or pike minnow, much too heavy for Kokanee salmon or bass.


A couple miles of bank yielded more flashers and trolling gear, another fistful of Carolina-rigged worms, a Heddon Torpedo, and a bullet riddled electrical panel which saw its final service as a Taliban sympathizer.

There were no hits anywhere on the paper, which isn’t all that surprising given the volume of poorly directed lead that splashes around us each visit.

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