06-21-2010, 04:35 PM
Join Date: May 2010
Re: Big Bear Fly Fishing?
Just wanted to follow up on my other post in case others were interested.
I managed to get up to Big Bear Lake, albeit a bit late, on Saturday the 19th of June, 2010. I didn't get to fish for more than 45 minutes due to some other obligations, and my primary objective was to try and catch some carp on my flyrod.
Now I know that might sound odd to most people, seeing as the lake is stocked with rainbows, bass, and catfish, but after reading that carp were "the poorman's bonefish," I was intrigued.
Previously, while kayaking, I had entered Grouse Bay, which is an inlet to Big Bear Lake. I had seen some fish breaking the surface in this area, and due to the murkiness of the water, I was thinking they were probably carp.
Well, I was correct.
While finding an access spot, I saw multiple fish, probably 15+ inches, leeping completely out of the water with that distinctive yellowish, brown underbelly. I tossed on my wader and waded out about 15 feet to clear the trees and started casting a #10 Oslive Woolly Bugger. The only thing I saw prowling the surface were dragonflies, occasionally, so I wasn't exactly sure what the fish were biting at.
After about 10-15 minutes of sightcasting with no bites, I switched over to an Adams to try and entice the fish, but still to no avail. I figured maybe the #12 adams might be a bit large, so I went with a #20 Griffith's Gnat, but still couldn't even get a strike despite fish literally leeping out of the water.
It was about this time the sun hit the water just right and I could see a couple of feet below the surface.... Jesus, was it freaky. Carp, big carp, were just about EVERYWHERE around me. Literally dozens just cruising the bottom, all in excess of 15 or so inches.... It was almost like they were surrounding me, getting ready for an attack or something.
After a couple of more minutes I was off the water and back to family obligations, but on the way back to the car I saw a couple of bowhunters heading out into the bay. I knew that carp were the only fish you could bowhunt for, so I stopped to see what the situation was.
Lucky for me, the bowhunter was also a flyfisher, so he understood what I was talking about when I mentioned the Woolly Bugger. He told me carp were a serious problem in the lake because they are spawning at an incredible rate and eating many of the trout eggs, along with the smallmouth bass and baby catfish. On some days, he claimed, he has killed up to 200 carp in a single day bowfishing, and during the "carp round-up" rallies they frequently exceed a couple thousand carp in a single day (that would be the total for all participants). He said you are definitely NOT supposed to release any carp caught, but I told him I couldn't even get one to bite. He said they mostly "chew on the muck and the algae." Did I mention this guy had a huge machete attached to his belt, too? Yikes.
What I did learn about the flyfishing up at Big Bear is you have to head off out on the fireroads and look for some pocketwater along some of the tributaries that lead to both Big Bear Lake and Arrowhead. So that will be my next foray when I get the chance.
I found casting on Big Bear Lake a little difficult because of the wind. Even on a calm day my casting is mediocre. Add in some wind, and it gets downright dangerous. This was the first time I had to cross my right arm over to my left side and cast. A little weird at first, but I was getting the hang of it.
In hindsight, I probably should have stuck with the Woolly Bugger. I read later it's a fair resemblance of dragonfly nymphs. Go figure?