Ice melting on Strawberry Reservoir

<(paul) "woo, fish on.">

On Thursday ‘ol’ man winter’ started to loosen his grip on Strawberry Reservoir as the ice started to retreat. Anglers were shoulder to shoulder coveting any open patches of water.

<(Fish splash) "sweet ice off, it's awesome.">

Paul Phillips the owner of Strawberry Bay Marina, took a few hours off of work to show us the ice off bite.

<(Paul) "oh that's a rainbow!" (Adam) I can't even get my line in the water!" (paul laughs) look at that, aren't they so much fun those rainbows. (fish jumps) >

<(Paul) "You are going to see a huge increase on your catch rate on rainbows this year.">

<(Justin Robinson, Strawberry Project Biologist) "As we grew a large predator base of cutthroat we were getting poor survival on our stocked fish, we figured out through some some studies that we did that we needed to have an 8 inch fish stocked. We went to an all 8 inch fish in the fall of 2008 and we've seen that with the rainbows, they are getting big, they are surviving well, the numbers are up, anglers have been catching them all last year and all through the ice. As we saw today we are catching a lot of them. Even a better size class than we've seen previously. We are excited with what the rainbow are doing. We haven't seen as quick of a response with the cutthroat even though they are in the 8 inch stocking program. We are a little bit worried about that because they are so important to us for chub control. What we are doing with that is we are going to increase our production, work on the timing of our stocks, do some minor tweaks to try and get some better survival out of our cutthroats. We are not seeing a rebound in the chub yet, so we are not in any sort of a panic mode at all. It's just we always at Strawberry want to be pro-active, ahead of the curve.">

<(Paul) I don't know what I've got, but he's good. (line screaming off reel) I don't know if I'm going to be able to turn him around.>

Thursday found open water mostly on the Soldier Creek side of the reservoir. More should open up this week. There are plenty of techniques that work, but the one that was absolutely on fire today was Pauls favorite, this black marabou jig that Rod Zundel aptly nicknamed “Black Death.”

Paul really wanted to show us a big fish this trip and on the last hour of our trip. He hooked into a beast.

<(Paul) "It's one we want to see. (adam) what is it? (paul) a big rainbow.">

<(Paul) "One thing about Strawberry, you have the potential of a 15 minute fish to get it in, you just don't know what you have in this reservoir, it's awesome.">

<(Adam) "that thing is huge!" (paul with fish) "strawberry Reservoir, (aDam) oh show me the side of that fish, oh, look at that head.">

<(Justin) "That was a a great rainbow and every fish that we've seen come out has just been in really great shape, they are obviously feeding under the ice, not loosing weight, and we are just going to step into a great season i think">

<(Tag) I don't know about you Justin, but I'm believer in that black death marabou jig? (justin) that was incredible, I really liked that. (adam) even though you and I stunk it up, someone else didn't. Hey get up here with your family and friends the next 5-8 days should be great up here. (paul) Oh yeah, now is the time, you can see the pull back here and this is about 3 days worth of pull back, so get up here, it will be short. (adam) Now with some more fishing tips, with the guys at Fish Tech.>

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