Fish Sniffer On Demand Digital Edition Issue 3615 July 7-21 2017 | Page 18

18 July 7 - 21, 2017 MAP FEATURE VOL.36 • ISS. 15 Stampede is in great shape for boating and fishing this year, since it is full to the brim. Photo by DAN BACHER, Fish Sniffer Staff. S Stampede Is Full And The Kokanee Are Biting tampede Reservoir, situated on the Little Truckee River northeast of the city of Truckee on the east slope of the Sierra Nevada, hosts a diverse array of fish species ranging from La- hontan cutthrorat trout to smallmouth bass, but the kokanee salmon that thrive in this reservoir draw the most anglers every year. Stampede is notable in my angling career for being the coldest place I have ever fished. In December of 2011, Ernie Marlan, Fish Sniffer staff- er, and I fished with Rick Kennedy, then the owner of Tight Lines Guide Service, for mackinaw. As we drove to the reservoir after existing Inter- state 80 at the Hirschdale Road exit, the temperature gauge dropped to 1 degree below zero. It wasn’t much warmer at the lake. We launched the boat on an ice-coated ramp as the steady wind kicked up waves. The res- ervoir wasn’t iced over yet because of the persistent wind, but I remember the spray instantly freezing on the wind- shield as we went across the lake. Fishing was tough; we hooked four mackinaws, but each one came off. Only the heated cabin prevented us from shivering in the icy cold. On June 21, I fished the lake again at a time when northern California was faced with record heat rather than record cold. This time I fished James Netzel, who bought Tight Lines Guide Service in 2013. Netzel has been experiencing a great year season for kokanee at Stampede. We were both glad to escape the brutal heat wave of the Sacramento area to enjoy the much more pleasant Sierra weather. The temperature at the lake was a cool 44 degrees when we launched the boat. I first fished Stampede in 1990 when the reservoir was renowned for its huge kokanee averaging 2 pounds each. Since that time, the size of Stampede kokanee has bounced up and down, with some years producing fish in the 15 to 18 inch range and other years producing a smaller grade of fish. This year anglers are seeing “tons of fish in the 13 to 14 inch range,” but they have to work their way through smaller fish to catch bigger ones in the 14 to 16 inch class, said Netzel. This year his biggest kokanee to date measured 16-1/2 inches long. “We’ve had no problem catching limits of kokanee, along Captain James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Services shows off two hard-fighting kokanee caught while trolling at Stampede on June 21. Photo by DAN BACHER, Fish Sniffer Staff. Russ Cipriani, Lucy Cipriani and Griffin Cipriani of Novato proudly display their limits of kokanee taken on a trolling adventure with Captain James Netzel on June 24. Photo courtesy of TIGHT LINES GUIDE SERVICE, Loomis. with one or two Lahontan cutthroat trout in the 16 to 18 inch class,” Net- zel noted. “The CDFW is now plant- ing the lake with the cutthroats instead of the rainbows.” We got on the lake at 6:00 a.m. “I’m going to fish the area around the boat ramp because that’s where a lot of kokanee have been showing,” he noted. He put out his Cousins Tackle kokanee rods, teamed up with Abu Garcia Ambassadeur 5500 LC reels spooled with Fins 40G 25 lb. test line tipped with Gamma 12 lb. test fluoro- carbon leaders. They were rigged with Powerful Pink Radical Glow Tubes, Micro Hoochies and Paulina Peak or- ange and pink hoochies behind RMT and Paulina Peak dodgers. We also trolled with homemade Apex-type lures, tipped with white corn, soaked with tuna oil and garlic flavored Pro- Cure. Netzel prefers to troll at a very slow .8 to 1 mph. He believes this slow trolling speed increases his catch rate over those anglers who troll the same lures faster. Earlier this season, Netzel trolled down at 20 to 30 feet deep, but lately he has been trolling at 25 to 65 feet deep. He lowered the kokanee rigs down to 30 to 50 feet deep on our trip. For the next couple of hours, we experienced fast action on kokanee while enjoying the cool mountain air. We caught our limits of fish in