Friday, November 21, 2014

Big San Luis Striper

Since San Luis Reservoir... only one hour away from my house, it has been my "home water" since it was built, in 1970.  
I still recall President Kennedy dedicating the dam and reservoir, as part of the aqueduct system, transporting water to Southern California.  

Along with the water, stored in the reservoir, came small striped bass, and other species, and most thrived in the nutrient rich water.  By the 1990's, many of the striped bass had grown to trophy size, and many people were catching stripers over 20 lbs. regularly.  There were a number of world records caught there as well, and San Luis became know as the "lake of giants".  One of our favorite places to fish was called, "Bay of Pigs", so this gives you an idea of the potential San Luis has, to grow big stripers.  

I caught my first true trophy in 1997, and that fish taped out at 45" and was just short of 40 lbs. and the 6kg world record.


During the 1990"s I was fortunate to catch many stripers,
 over 20 lbs...

...and a few over 30 lbs

In the late 1990's, and later, illegal netting, and poaching reduced the numbers of big stripers dramatically, and it was sad to see such a wonderful fishery depleted of these giant stripers.  

We have seen a bit of a resurgence in the striper population, and we are hopeful that once again, the trophy stripers will be a part of the fishing landscape, at San Luis.
Due to the long drought, in California, San Luis has been dewatered to dangerous levels.  However, the population of stripers is strong & healthy.  

This past week, November 14th, I was fortunate to catch yet another "fish of a lifetime" at San Luis.  It taped out at 44", and was estimated to be about 38 lbs......once again, a couple of pounds short of the 6kg world record for inland, freshwater stripers.  

Since I fly fish San Luis from a float tube, you can imagine being towed around, while trying to get a fish like this under control.  However, after pulling almost 150 yards of backing from my reel, and a 20 minute battle, I was able to slide the trophy striper up on the rocks.  
My 30# scale was very inadequate to weigh the fish!

After few quick pictures, I was able to revive this fish....and it was a great feeling to feel the surge as she bolted from my hands to continue swimming the waters of San Luis Reservoir!! 

The fly I was using is of my own design, and imitates the small 3" smelt that are the primary baitfish at San Luis.  

San Luis Smelt

I am hopeful that big trophy stripers will, once again, be a part of my "fly fishing story"!