KSL Outdoors: Yuba Lake pike

(Adam) “welcome to KSL Outdoors, I’m Adam Eakle and welcome to Yuba Reservoir. Now I know it’s big game season, the archery hunt is in full swing, but tonight we are going big game fishing. If you’ve ever wanted to chalk off a northern pike off the bucket list, Yuba is the place to do it.”

(Steve Smith, Reaction Strike Lures) It’s the middle of August and we got into some good northern pike the other day.

(Steve) anyway we called you and of course you and I being good friends like we are. (adam) lets go fish (steve Smith) lets go fishing so here we are. Lets give them heck, we’ve got a little bit of overcast this morning, that will help us out a little bit. Water temperature is 71 degrees and it looks good. We are on the backside of the quarter moon, we are out of here.

[Notes:good shot of dave playing for the camera at 4:33 on 314]

My buddies Steve Smith and Dave Larsen and are well…a bit nutty. Nutty over pike, especially the monster pike that live in Yuba reservoir.

(Steve fish) there’s one, top water. Yeah (laughs)

(Steve) how funny is that, not a real big one though.

(Steve) there we go, we got the stink out of the boat.

Just the day before, Steve and Dave brought twenty five northern pike to the boat. What’s impressive, is the different age classes that are showing up for both anglers and biologists.

(Mike Slater, Regional aquatics Program Manager) Our netting has shown that we have multiple sizes in there form the 18 inch all the way up to 45 inches and everything in between. These are a fast growing fish so it doesn’t take a whole lot of time to get to that 45 inch length. But it’s neat to be able to see multiple size classes from the perspective of the opportunity that it gives people to catch.

(Adam fish) It just hit the water and he hit it, he’s there. (steve) You got him? (adam) Yeah.

(Adam) Just a nice fish, not as big as the one I have on the wall but man they are powerful little guys. (fish into net) (adam) woo. (steve) nice fish.

(Mike Slater) It’s good in the fact that it’s unique opportunity for people in the state to be able to go to a place and consistently, should I say catch the northern pike. Bad in the fact that they will eat anything they see. And Yuba has always been a place where the prey species or the forage fish has been low in numbers. Now with the new-coming northern pike and the numbers that we are seeing. Again, it’s just another mouth to feed if you will.

To better understand the fishery, the fisherman and the issues that surround Yuba, Mike has put together a working group to hopefully come up with a plan for the fishery.

(Mike) we’ve got multiple different agencies, groups, individuals, including anglers, retailers, water users, state parks folks.

(Mike) See what the issues are associated with that reservoir, how can we make the reservoir a little bit more of a consistent fishery and what I mean by that is we can have great fishing like we are seeing right now the pike and then for the next four or five years the fishing can be really poor. We are wanting to try and mellow that out a little bit to where we have at least or average or great if possible fishing all the time.

(Steve) Oh there he is right there. (adam) oh he got him. (dave) is it a good one. (steve) I don’t know it feels like a good one.

(Steve) he whacked it, he’s not full grown, but he’s a good one.

(Adam) oh that’s a good fish. (steve) yeah (adam) that’s 35. (steve) Yeah you guys get him and then I have to catch him for you. (net fish) (adam) nice fish.

(Adam) yeah they both ate him and they couldn’t get it fixed. So I thought I’d better throw in their and get the fish. (adam) nice fish ohh…bleep! (adam looses fish) If I hadn’t of had that on there it was gone. 57:03 (steve) you catch a big fish in front of these guys and you see what they do

(Adam) I didn’t see it. Did you guys see it?

(Steve) Well, I had a fish better than Adam and Dave both put together probably and I catch it then they get it right into the net so I can look at it and then they were going to hold it up and Adam lets it go (laughs)

(Adam) well there is a nice fish here at Yuba. A lot of different age classes in here. But we are in search of the big boy. We’ll have that in just a moment, but first tonights quiz question.”


(Steve) Let me check your drag. (laughs) nice fish, (adam) it’s not that small. It’s a little smaller than Adam’s.

Northern Pike are a close relative to the Muskellunge or musky. Fishin’ folklore often refers to the musky as “the fish of a thousand casts.” Yuba Northern Pike could easily fit into that category. They can be extremely tough to catch. Don’t expect fish after fish, but do a little homework, and you just might have a day like we’re having.

(Steve) ok Larsen, bring him over here. (fish takes off) (adam) wow look at the power of those things. (steve) holy smokes. (smith) larsen thats…(adam) that’s high 30’s low 40’s. (dave) that’s my biggest one. (smith) that’s a nice fish. (adam) we are in the money, living right or something. (steve) no that’s a good day.

(Dave larsen) that’s my best. (adam) high 30’s i’m saying. (steve) not quite as big as Adam’s. (adam) they are never as big as Adam’s. (fish release) Ok, go get bigger.

(Adam) I’ll tell you what they are kickin’ my butt.

(Adam) We did really well on spinner baits but there’s a ton of lures that will work. (steve) yeah we the Castiac bait or swimming jerky Jays look like these. They come rigged, you can build them so they are weedless, swimbait hook on the bottom. You can put several different weights on them. This one happens to be the seven inch. Perch the five inch is a real good size. I also have the Reaction Strike Rattling Revo. And it’s like a rattletrap bait, that we caught some on today. We make that in a 3 and a half and 4 inch size. You can get those at Fish Tech. Pepper Jigs, the Gilly.

(Steve) golden blades seem to match the carp a little bit and also the gilly type body imitates the perch

(Steve) and we’ve already got how many fish today? (adam) I think that’s six to the boat. Although I don’t know if yours counts, cause I don’t know if you actually touched it. (laughs) (steve) yeah I was just getting ready to…OH THERE’S ONE! Yup it may be a full grown one. Yeah this has got a little weight.

(Steve) This is the one we wanted. (adam) so I can’t loose this one. (steve) no, try not to let this one go…oh yeah it’s a good one. Good one guys.

(Adam) oh look at that. OH, that’s a monster dude, that’s forty. (steve) yeah he might go forty. (net fish) Woo we need a bigger net. (laughs) Look at the girth on that thing.

(Steve) “that’s what we come for!” (high five) (adam) Man (steve) yeah buddy.

(Mike Slater) Most people that fish Yuba will be in a boat and they fish the really shallow waters, maybe back in the bays. It takes a lot of work. You’ve got to do a lot of casting for those fish. But when you catch one it sure is worth it. It’s not very often that you get to catch a 30-40 inch fish.

(steve) 42, 42 and a half.

The DWR actually encourages people to harvest these big predators to protect the forage in the lake, mainly the yellow perch. This is a personal best for my buddy Steve. But, in the end, he’s decided to let this fish go to fight another day. If you do catch a northern and plan on releasing it. Take a few precautions, use a boga grip, a big enough net, maybe even a cradle net. And most important, don’t take out of the water for an extended amount of time. Now let’s turn it over to Dan Smith at Fish Tech for some other techniques for targeting the toothy Northern Pike.

(Steve) How fun is that and then to be able to turn them loose. (adam and steve shake hands) nice job sir. (steve) yeah that one you didn’t turn loose. (knuckles)

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