This is why the sport is called ‘Fishing’ rather than ‘Catching’
Last Thursday, Don Hettrick of Carson City and I drove to Walker Lake for a day of fishing for cutthroat trout.
The weather forecast was perfect: Temps in the low 70’s and light winds in the afternoon. That was too tempting to pass up and as it turned out, the weather was fabulous and the lake was like a mirror, all day.
On that two-hour drive from Carson City, we giggled and laughed about going fishing, while our other two partners were both home, slowly getting well from assorted aliments.
One of them, Norm Budden, was recovering from knee surgery and the other, Bob “Slick” McCulloch, was nursing a very bad cold. Those two love to torment the two of us, unendingly, by boasting about how good they are and how bad we are, as fishermen.
During that long drive, we reminded one another that the conditions were perfect for a great day of fishing and it was going to be our turn to crow!
We knew exactly where to fish at the lake, we had an electronic fish locator, we had all kinds of lures to troll from Don’s big boat and we were going to kick butt on the fish.
Then at the end of the day, we were going to return home with smug grins to torment that miserable twosome with tales of our own fishing prowess.
We arrived about 8 a.m. at the Sportsman’s Beach boat ramp and were joined by Rich Bachle of Fernley and John Holloway of Carson City.
They would be in John’s boat and planned to accompany us on our day of fishing.
The four of us quickly launched both boats, rigged up fishing equipment and downriggers and then began to slowly troll toward “The Cliffs,” along the highway.
As we trolled to The Cliffs, we teased Rich and John (whose boat was in the lead) on the CB radios by lying about all the fish we were supposedly “Catching.”
We anticipated that once we got in front of The Cliffs, the action would get hot and heavy in its deep water for nice-sized, deep-bodied “Cutts.”
When we got to the north end of The Cliffs, we dropped our TOR-P-DO lures down to 45 feet deep, trolled next to the shoreline and waited like two spiders for that first big tug of the day on our fishing lines.
BY the time we reached the middle section of The Cliffs, I had already switched to a different lure, cranked my downrigger up to a depth of 25 feet and hopefully waited for that first strike.
I have a Second Rod Stamp for my fishing license, so I also rigged up silver flasher blades with a Rapala lure and toplined, right behind the boat.
Same result: Nothing!
We called the other boat and they also reported no action.
Somewhat puzzled, I told Don, ” Let’s reel in and go to the south end of the lake. Perhaps, the fish are in shallower water and they are there.”
We reeled in pulled up our downriggers, roared down to the south end and began to troll at a depth of 15 feet.
Nothing happened there!
Perplexed, we tried to raise the others on the radio, they did not hear us, so we decided to return to Sportsman’s Beach and troll north from there.
We trolled and still nothing.
By this time we were two frustrated fishermen, with all thoughts of bragging about our big catches, long gone for the day. In fact, we were hoping Budden and McCulloch had forgotten we had said we were going fishing at Walker Lake.
For the day, we trolled in front of Sportsman’s Beach, in front of The Cliffs, in front of the Buffalo Stop, in front of the town of Walker, at the far south end of the lake, back in front of Sportsman’s Beach, at Sand Point, at 20-mile Beach, way over on the east side of the lake, and in desperation, right in the very middle of the lake.
The result was: Nothing.
At the end of the day, we returned to the dock, met Rich and John and they had the same report: No action.
Two other boats reported they also got skunked.
Then, when I got home: I had four messages on my recorder, plus later I also received a number of other calls from Dick Biggs, Budden and McCulloch.
All three of those miserable callers were totally enjoying the fact that Don H and Don Q had gotten skunked.
Finally, I’ve told everyone that I don’t harbor any bad feelings toward those three guys, but they are no longer on my gift list when I hit the grand prize in the California Lotto.
— Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can’t tell you the depth of the deepest water that we found in the middle of the lake.
If he grins and says, “It was 83 feet,” he might have been peeking at our depth finder.
— Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal.