2-15-04 - WFF Ice Clave Part II - Southern Waters
Waters Fished: Lake Como
Fish Caught: several
Outing Date: 2-15-03
Air Temp: Around 20-25F
Water Temp: didn't take it
Water Level: Normal
Water Color: Olive, maybe 2 foot visibility
Fish Species: Northern Pike, Largemouth Bass, Black Crappie, Perch
Pattern Fished: Bait including Frozen Smelt, Shiners, & Spikes
Pattern Color: n/a
Fishing Quality: arguably the most predatory fish I've seen caught
in a single day on Lake Como....from other reports it sounded like
a slightly below average day.
This all started with me trying to attend the first
annual WFF Ice Clave up north. For whatever reason (I honestly don't
remember, it might have been the weather) I ended up not going!
Totally bummed, I figured there were other folks down south like
myself who may not have been able or willing to make the hike north.
And as you all know, I'm all for a fishin' party (i.e. The
Brule Clave, The Pet Fly Smackdown,
MP's BBQ etc...). Well, I got on the
boards and started planning this Ice Clave Part II. We definitely
had the sweet setup with our family home on Lake Como; I figured
we could ice fish, tie flies, rod build, eat a ton, and overall
have a great day. It took some persistence, but in the end I think
it paid off for everyone!
Some of you may not yet know what a Clave (aka.
Conclave is) - more or less just another way to say a "gathering"
of people, in these cases fishin' people. You'll hear of things
like the Spey Clave, Spring Clave etc...more or less kind of like
a motorcycle rally, but for fisherfolk! As a general rule the big
ones are a weekend affair; in this case we technically had a mini-clave.
Going right along with with the "Clave" is the "Tie
and Lie"; generally a shorter winter gathering for folks to
get together, tie flies, and well you can figure out the rest. To
sum it up, we had a great gathering no matter WHAT you call it.
So first let me start this report by saying there
is NO WAY I could report on everything - as the host it's just a
bit difficult to be everywhere at once! I started my day off waking
up before the alarm...as early as 7:30 am...admittedly still tired
from my day in Iowa! A Mountain Dew and a smoke and before you know
it 8:00 am rolled around, and Saltwaterinmyviens rolled in (for
the sake of my memory, and to protect the innocent, I'm opting to
stick by WFF aliases for this report!). I believe next was Flytrap,
so glad he could make it 'cause he really wasn't sure he'd be able
to! Not too terribly long after, Chiro and his buddy showed up,
and things were already getting started! Sorry guys....I never did
get that chance for a morning shower - my apologies to all my guests!
FAT arrived with Chief and Dutton, and soon thereafter
Alex & SDHflyfisher. Folks started unpacking the ice fishin'
gear. In the chaos of it all, Spin shows up and without even introducing
himself he gets right up in my face and asks, "So WHERE'S THE
WEEDBEDS?!" LOL what a character!
In no time folks got out on the water...first drilling
close to shore but by the time everyone settled in on their spots
they were probably 200 yards out...maybe more. Meanwhile some tyin'
got started indoors, with Flytrap demonstrating his Buffalo Fly.
Earlier and later in the day some other neat tying demonstrations
came from Spin (with the Puglesi flies made with "loopy chenille")
and Mr. Mad-Dry-Fly-Tier Chiro and that awesome spent wing spinner
pattern he was working on (but for the life of me I can't remember
the name!). Somewhere during our tying in the morning FMA showed
up (surprise surprise, I was glad my fellow Smokin' Tahoe made it,
he was another on the "not sure" list!)
I didn't make it out for the morning bite other
than to take a picture or two; I remember hearing Chiro whoop it
up when he landed his first of a few dink crappie...now the interesting
part is that when fishing in shore we'd maybe catch 1 crappie per
year. Not too long after some of the guys jigging brought up dink
perch...man we only get perch maybe once every other year during
summer fishing. What's up with all the "rare" fish today?!
Chiro's buddy was simply on fire...I think before
lunch he landed a pike and a 3lb. Largemouth. Spin was really doing
well too...brought in probably the only legal (26"+) northern.
Meanwhile I was grilling, and around noon folks started showin'
up for the full spread of Johnsonville Polish & Brats, along
with Spicy and Mild Italian Sausage, all hot off the grill! My hat's
off to Saltwaterinmyviens for doing up some of the best grilled
onions I've had in a long time!
I did manage to make it back out on the ice (14"
thick!) to check out the spread....I know we were legal but with
something like 12 folks in attendance there was simply a minefield
of tipups out. Chromeseeker and Jacek showed up right in time for
lunch and brought more bait....the afternoon would be exciting.
The highlight for me was watching Chiro's Buddy's tipup go off!
He simply had THE hole. I didn't stay out long, but the first time
he lost the pike! As I was walking towards their shanty, the tipup
shot of again, right in front of me. This time they fared better,
landing a vibrant northern. Ask FAT about Chief & Dutton's Day
(all I'll say is Dutton got wet again, and Chief got his first northern!)
Towards afternoon some of us headed back in; I
had planned to have some rod building going on and I knew a few
guys wanted to see the finishing process (now that I had been enlightened
@ Creekside, I felt confident enough to demonstrate even though
I'm far from a pro and we all know it!). Unfortunately I had forgotten
to pre-apply the color preserver, so that took up most of the time
for folks who had to leave all too soon :(
Not to worry, there will be more rods to build!
Meanwhile Chiro was heading out for the evening bite; I suggested
he take the camera out and get some shots while I applied coats
#2 and 3 of color preserver to the rod. By nightfall several folks
had packed up (family obligations); the temperature again dropped
like a rock the second the sun slid past the horizon. The day winded
down with Chiro, his buddy and Spin hanging out while I started
to apply the finish to the rod. Chiro and his buddy (we need to
get you a nickname!) headed out to prevent the wrath of their wives.
30 minutes later Spin and I are sitting there, I'm just finishing
the rod and we're enjoying the end of the clave, when it hits me...wait...where's
LOL, turns out Chiro had forgotten about it in
his truck when he brought it out to pack up their shanty. So we've
figured out that we'll just have to fish together next weekend (like
that was a real hard decision regardless of the camera). So to answer
that question, the pictures will be here NEXT WEEK!
I have to wrap up by saying that I really enjoyed
having everyone out, we've got this already on the books again for
2005. And I do owe GIMP a special thanks for getting the ORIGINAL
Ice Clave going up north which lead to and inspired this "Part
II"...next year I hope maybe we can con him into coming down
here (hey, the Como house is Gimpcessible buddy, so please do come
on down next time!). Oh and I do have one nagging question...did
ANYONE catch a Bluegill? They're EVERYWHERE in Lake Como, granted
mostly small. Where were the Bluegills?
In the meantime, stay warm and watch the forecasts....Steelhead
will be here sooner than you think...hee hee!