I love Big Bear Lake. It fascinates me and frustrates me all at once – just like my wife. It is one of the most beautiful local lakes I know and it is also one of the most elusive lakes I have ever fished.
Big Bear has some twenty miles of accessible shoreline, shallow flats, deeper water, rocky coves and quiet back bays. Trout, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Catfish, Crappie, Sunfish & Carp are all found there.
Unfortunately, Big Bear is not known as a great place to fly fish, which is too bad. Virtually every piece of literature you read about fishing there recommends using floating bait or an inflated worm fished off a sliding sinker or trolling with lead core line –possibly two of the most boring ways to fish, in my mind.
Don’t get me wrong…If you were fishing to eat or as a cover for consuming massive quantities of beer while sitting in a fold-up chair… well, then I suppose those methods would be fine – I’m not judging here, I’m just saying…
Anyway, I had a chance to sneak off to BB recently with my bride and I had it fixed in my mind that I was going to pursue Carp…on a fly rod.
Now, right about now, some of the purists out there are getting a shrinking feeling in their nether regions and likely just spat out their coffee in an involuntary spasm of disgust.
So be it. I like catching Carp and I like catching them on flies. Not that I actually get to catch them on flies that often but I love the pursuit nonetheless.
So, we get up to BB and decide to take out the kayaks into Grout Bay. Grout Bay is generally protected from the wind, is shallow and quiet and makes for a great place to paddle around and have lunch while quietly bobbing amongst the floating patches of water plants.
While our little float was primarily an opportunity for some quality time with my spouse, it was also a chance to do a little reconnaissance since Grout Bay is a well-known hang out for Carp.
Sure enough, they were there and they were active. In fact, a courting/mating pair literally ran into the bottom of my kayak as they romped around in spawning oblivion. Viva l’amour!
I took mental notes, plotted a strategy and waited.
Around 6:00 pm, I drove back to Grout Bay, stripped down to swim trunks and t-shirt, a neck lanyard with just the bare essentials, my 9-wt. with sinking tip line and a few carefully chosen flies.
Grout Bay is named for the sandy soil that was just the right consistency to be used as mortar during construction of the Big Bear Dam. Sure, it has accumulated a nice thick layer of black ooze on it over the years but, I gotta’ tell ya’, there is something totally cool about sloshing through the warm water with the aquatic plants brushing gently against your legs and feeling the coarse sand and silky ooze squish up between your toes while sight fishing for massive, feeding Carp.
During the next hour and a half I cast repeatedly to some two-dozen fish but none would take my offerings. They didn’t spook – except the one I actually hit on the head with a leech imitation (note to self: keep working on the targeting skills)– but they wouldn’t be fooled either.
Yet, with the glassy water reflecting the setting sun, the soft calls of the various birds and the absolute peacefulness of the entire surroundings it didn’t seem to matter all that much.
Like I said, I love Big Bear Lake.
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