My good friend John Brassfield of Trucksmart stores and I headed up to Caples Lake the hot weekend of June 23rd. It was the perfect destination on a hot weekend – over 100 degrees in the Sacramento Valley, and only 78 at Caple’s almost 8000-foot elevation!
We stayed in a second story lodge room that overlooked the beautiful lake. Saturday morning, we launched the Fish Sniffer Rogue Jet Coastal 21 from the paved boat ramp and turned toward the dam and started trolling.
Since neither of us had ever fished the lake, we were starting from scratch to learn the lake. We started trolling our favorite trout spoons to see if we could find any hold over trout. I managed to land a small mackinaw on a black Jakes spoon trolled near the bottom and a planter rainbow caught on top with a black/white/red Excel spoon.
We had heard there were a lot of planters near the 2 creek mouths on the other end of the lake so we trolled in that direction. We slowed down and John put on a small flatfish, and I put on a Vance’s dodger in copper/pink, followed by an Uncle Larry’s spinner in pink/blue firetiger with a piece of nightcrawler. A few minutes later my rig got ripped off the downrigger and I had a good fish on. After a good fight, John netted a gorgeous 26 inch, 5 ½ pound German brown!
We saw a boat using flashers and worms netting a bunch of fish, so we decided to change tactics again. John used a nightcrawler with just a clear wiggle disc in front, and I used a naked crawler on a Mustad “Slow Death” nightcrawler hook that has a special bend in it to give the worm a nice rolling motion. We caught over a dozen rainbows from 12 to 14 inches trolling right on the surface near the mouth of Woods Creek.
Sunday morning, we were launching at 5 am in a strong north wind that gusted to over 25 mph! Our plan was to target the larger mackinaw that Caples is famous for. We had seen several very large marks on the Lowrance graph, all laying right on the bottom in 40 to 50 feet of water.
However, the north wind didn’t allow us to troll slowly over the bottom, and our plan to drop some jigs on the big marks was waylaid as well. We moved to the mouth of Emigrant Creek, which was at the north end of the lake, and somewhat sheltered from the wind. We caught several more rainbows and John landed a nice 3-pound mackinaw on a chartreuse Apex at 20 feet deep. The wind started laying down about 11 am, just as we started to pack up and leave, of course!
There were lots of folks fishing from the bank, all over the lake, and we saw lots of rainbows being caught. Caples is a very family friendly resort, with fishing boats, kayaks and canoes all available for rent. And there is good bank access for fishermen, and lots of fat rainbows to be caught by shore fishermen.
Caple’s Lake Resort features 9 housekeeping cabins right on the lake, plus a 2-story lodge with 6 rooms and a large living dining area with gorgeous views of the lake.
Location: Caples Lake Resort Is located in the historic Carson Pass Area of the Northern California Sierra on the north shoreline of the 600 acre Caples Lake at 7806′ elevation. It is 1 mile east of the Kirkwood Mountain Resort, at 1111 California State Highway 88. The resort is 30 miles from South Lake Tahoe, California, within the El Dorado National Forest, under a USFS Special Use Permit.
For more information, call them at (209)258-8888 or see them at www.capleslakeresort.com.