Fall Fishing For Trout at Strawberry Reservoir By Ralph Naylor Old Coot

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1 Fall Fishing For Trout at Strawberry Reservoir By Ralph Naylor Old Coot Most avid Strawberry fishermen all have their favorite time of year, techniques, tackle, lures, and locations for fishing the Berry. In this document, I will share with readers my preferences knowing very well that many Strawberry fishermen, much better than I, probably have better, more successful ways of fishing the Berry. You could think of the following information as my personal notes for my own personal reference. Also, I must say that very little of what I will be sharing here is original. Much of what I know I learned from other good fishermen thank you. Now that I have covered the disclaimer, let s get to it. There are two basic, but very different styles of fall Berry fishing that I like. One is casting and retrieving crank baits into, and around, the shallows. And the other is to vertical jig tube jigs in deeper water. I will cover them both here. Casting and Retrieving Crank Baits in the Shallows ~ ~ ~ Time of the Year ~ ~ ~ My favorite time of the year to fish the Berry is in the fall. Specifically, mid September through mid November. Mid September is when the water temperatures start to cool way down. The trout have been in the deeper cooler water all summer and when the surface water and shallow water start to cool, the big trout start to come up out of the deep and spend a lot of time cruising the shallows for chub. I look for water temps that start to approach 55. It seams like, when the water temps drop to 55, the bite really starts to turn on in the shallows. Fall_Fishing_at_Strawberry_Reservoir Page 1 of 10

2 ~ ~ ~ Location ~ ~ ~ As I said, because the water temps have dropped to a comfortable level (53-55 ), the cuts start to cruse the shallows, weed beds, and points looking for the small chub fish to forage on. In general, I like to fish from the Renegade Marina to the east side of Indian Creek Bay and all the points and bays in between. More specifically, I like to fish Renegade Point, the point just to the S-E of Renegade Point, and the edges and bays on either side of those points. The trout I am targeting are those in the shallow water that is 5 feet to 15 feet deep. That seems pretty shallow but that s where they re at. Since I don t have an electric trolling motor on my boat, I just anchor up near the bank and cast and retrieve crank baits parallel with the bank. Fall_Fishing_at_Strawberry_Reservoir Page 2 of 10

3 I strongly recommend that you purchase a map of Strawberry. The map I like is the Strawberry-Soldier Creek Reservoir map by Fish-N-Map Co. They are available at any fishing supply store on the Wasatch Front. There is a nice boat ramp right there in the Renegade area. To get there, take US-40 for about 20 miles S-E of Heber to the turnoff to the reservoir (Strawberry Rd.). Stay on Strawberry Rd. for about 14 miles past the turnoff to the main Strawberry Marina and around the west side of the lake. The end of the 14 miles is also the end of the pavement. The Renegade Marina is right there at the end of the pavement pretty easy to find. Fall_Fishing_at_Strawberry_Reservoir Page 3 of 10

4 ~ ~ ~ Tackle ~ ~ ~ To describe my preferred tackle setup, I will start at the lure end and work backwards towards the reel. Using a Uni-knot, I tie a #1 Duolock snap to an 8 foot piece of 10 lb. test 100% Fluorocarbon leader. The reason for the snap is to allow me to quickly change lures without having to re-tie. The fluorocarbon leader I use is generally either Bass Pro Shops XPS or Berkley Vanish. I believe that the fluorocarbon leader is much harder for the fish to see in the shallows than any other kind of line. Then, using a Double Uni-Knot, I connect the fluorocarbon leader to my main line. The main line (on the reel) is 10 lb. braided line such as Berkley FireLine or Spiderwire Stealth. I have found that this 10 lb. braided line is very easy to cast long distances and doesn t have that annoying curling memory that monofilaments have. Color of the main line doesn t matter to me because what the fish see (or can t see) is the 8 foot invisible fluorocarbon leader. I do avoid white or crystal colors of main line simply because of less contrast, it is a little harder to see when tying it to the fluorocarbon leader. You will note that I did not mention anything about using a swivel of any kind. They are just not necessary at all because the cranks or jerk baits that I Fall_Fishing_at_Strawberry_Reservoir Page 4 of 10

5 use don t twist or turn like a spinner or spoon does. Not using a swivel allows you to reel the lure in closer to the rod tip too. Another benefit of a no-swivel rig is that it makes your presentation a little more natural to the fish because they don t see an added swivel anywhere. I have come to highly depend on the uni-knot for terminal end connections (snaps and jigs) and the double uni-knot for line-to-line connections (leader to main line). Unless you have knots that you are pretty passionate about, I highly recommend that you consider using these two knots. Look them up on the Internet or get someone to teach them to you. The rod I prefer for this style of fishing at the Berry is a 6 ½ foot medium or medium-light rod. This rod aids in long-distance casting yet is strong enough to work large 20 inch plus trout. I prefer open-face spinning reels just because I can cast them further and I like working a fish on a spinning reel a lot better than I do on a level-wind reel. That is definitely just personal preference. When ever possible, it is important for me to prep all my rods, reels, knots, and snaps the night before. It s much easier for me to do it at home in good light with no pressure rather than in the morning on the boat in the dark while fish are jumping all around me. ~ ~ ~ Lures ~ ~ ~ The lures I use for fall Strawberry shallows fishing are mainly chub imitating crank baits and jerk baits. Specifically, my two favorites are the 3 inch long Lucky Craft Pointer 78 s in the Ghost Brown color and the Aurora Brown color. I often try other lures but I seem to always come back to these two favorites: Fall_Fishing_at_Strawberry_Reservoir Page 5 of 10

6 They cost about $15.00 a piece so, even more reason for me to make sure my knots are impeccably tied. ~ ~ ~ Presentations ~ ~ ~ Again, because the big trout are cruising the shallows for chub, I cast into toward the bank (or parallel to the bank) and retrieve my Lucky Craft (LC) back towards me. My retrieval methods vary, but generally I retrieve one of three ways: 1. A regular retrieve just fast enough to cause the LC to rattle and wiggle it s normal action. 2. Under-water walk-the-dog : These suspending LC lures will zigzag left-right-left-right under the water just like a Zara Spook does on Fall_Fishing_at_Strawberry_Reservoir Page 6 of 10

7 top of the water. Simply cast it out and reel in slowly popping the rod tip down once every second just enough each time to make sure that the line goes completely limp each time you drop the rod tip. Pretty cool eahh? 3. Jerk bait action: Retrieve the LC just as you would a typical jerk bait. I like to give it two quick long hard rip strokes followed by a 3 second pause. The pause allows the LC to belly-up rise just a bit before repeating the two quick strokes again. See a short video of that at this Lucky Craft Web site: 8sp.htm Vertical Jigging Tube Jigs in Deeper Water ~ ~ ~ Time of the Year ~ ~ ~ Any time of the year but for me, mostly from mid September right up through the ice fishing season. For many folks, this same tactic is how they catch Strawberry trout in the middle of the summer and all year long in the deeper parts of the lake. ~ ~ ~ Location ~ ~ ~ Vertical jigging works pretty much anywhere on the lake but my favorite areas are in the small bays where the water is about feet deep. And again, like shallow crank bait fishing in the fall, I prefer targeting the bays around the Indian Creek Bay and the Renegade area. ~ ~ ~ Tackle ~ ~ ~ With only two exceptions, I use the same tackle setup for vertical jigging as for casting cranks (see Tackle under Casting and Retrieving Cranks above) same leader, same main line, same knots, and same rod and reel. Fall_Fishing_at_Strawberry_Reservoir Page 7 of 10

8 One difference is, of course, that I use a tube jig rather than a crank bait. The other exception is that I don t use a Duolock snap to connect to the tube jig lure like I do to the crank baits. Rather, using a uni-knot, I tie directly to the eye of the lead head. Because the presentation for vertical jigging is so much slower than casting and retrieving cranks, the fish have a lot more time to closely inspect the lure before biting it. I personally think that using a snap looks a little too unnatural. And since there is very little need to change lures when vertical jigging, not using a snap isn t that big of an inconvenience. ~ ~ ~ Lures ~ ~ ~ The lure is the basic, time tested, tube jig. I like the 2 ½ inch tubes with a ¼ oz. lead head. Even though about any ¼ oz. lead head will work, I prefer those shaped especially for the use in tubes like the one in the picture below. I find them to be a little better balanced and a bit easier to fit into the tubes. The problem is, the only place I have been able to find them are at Angler s Den in Roy, UT. The tube colors I prefer are pearl white speckle or glow-in-the-dark. Some times, when fishing is slow, I ll try a crawdad color because there are so many crawdads in the lake. It is not uncommon to find crawdads in the stomachs of those big cutthroats. 95% of the time though, I go to the pearl white speckle. Glow seems to work best early in the morning or ice fishing when it is dark down deep. Fall_Fishing_at_Strawberry_Reservoir Page 8 of 10

9 Also, one important piece of the lure is that you should tip your jig with a small piece of chub or shiner meat. I like to use a piece about the size of a dime to tip my hooks with. ~ ~ ~ Presentations ~ ~ ~ Basically, you find some fish on your fish finder, anchor up over the fish, drop the tube jig right to the bottom into the mud, bring it back up about 6 inches, and jig the rod tip up and down about six inches gently, vigorously, or somewhere in between. Every once in a while, if I haven t been getting any bites, I will rapidly bring the jig up about three feet and back down again just to wake up the fish or get their attention. Often times, that will trigger a strike. Understand that the bite of these cuts is VERY light. So if you think you are getting a nibble, set the hook! Also, understand that a lot of those very light nibbles right on the very bottom aren t really fish. Many times they are crawdads munching on the meat on your lure. Fall_Fishing_at_Strawberry_Reservoir Page 9 of 10

10 Here is one of my favorite tips when it comes to vertical jigging for Strawberry cuts: So often, when jigging, you will feel that trademark light bite and set the hook only miss the hookup. Some days you can miss 5-10 fish in a row. That can be pretty frustrating. Here is a trick that I use 99% of the time now and it increases my catch rate by about 80%: The instant you feel that nibble, do NOT set the hook! Rather, instantly, DROP your rod tip for one second, THEN set the hook. 80% of the time, you will secure a hookset when otherwise you would have missed it. It can be difficult to out-think your natural reflexes to set that hook. But if you can master this little trick, I think you will be pretty impressed. Some times, early in the morning, just as the sun is coming up, I have also been quite successful in casting and retrieving a tube jig. This is a little unconventional but it is interesting how well it works sometimes. One last tip that I would like to share: I like the use of fish attractant bait scents. I think they sweeten the offering just a bit. I like to cover both my crank baits and my tube jigs with it. My preferred brand and flavors for the Berry are the super sticky, super long lasting, Pro-Cure Super Gel in the Trophy Trout or Anchovy flavors or a mix of both. Pro-cure Super Gel can be ordered at: Fall_Fishing_at_Strawberry_Reservoir Page 10 of 10

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