Saturday, I met my Uncle Mike at 10:30, to go attempt to catch some of my favorite fresh water fish crappie, at Owyhee reservoir. We stopped to get lunch on our way out as well as pick up a 1-day fishing license and then got to the reservoir by around 2:00. Once on the water, we made our way to a spot in the reservoir called The Elbow, fished there for a while, didn't catch much other than a few small bass, so we swam a bit to cool off. After that, my Uncle gave me a crash course in boat operation... All these years hunting and fishing with him and I had never been at the controls of his boat... An important word of advice: pay attention to the buoys. We saw a couple damn near wreck their boat when they ignored a buoy that had the word "rocky" painted on it in BIG letters. They attempted to get through the area instead of going around. Their engine did not sound happy as they were heading back up the reservoir. We watched them for a while to make sure that they didn't get stranded and when they were out of sight we went on our way.
I drove the boat from the Elbow up to 3 forks canyon. It is an absolutely beautiful area. Unfortunately, I neglected to get my phone out for some pictures on this trip, I really wish I had gotten a few of the canyon. The chukar were really vocal that evening and after hearing so many we are planning to take advantage of Oregon's 3-day bird hunting license in order to do a combo chukar hunting/crappie fishing trip. That won't happen until October but I think it'll be really fun if we can find a day or two to do it that doesn't interfere too much with deer hunting.
After checking out 3 forks we decided it was time to quit messing around and do some fishing. Mike hooked into a monster bass and then lost it. Another word of advice: remember to bring a net. This experience is almost painfully predictable. In fairness, we are out there to catch crappie, and rarely have any use for a net, but not landing this bass was an argument for carrying one in the future... Mike must have fought it for 5 minutes before finally getting it up near the boat, and of course, as soon as he did, the damn thing broke the line. I did manage to get my phone out and take some video of some of this, which you can see below.
We fished that area for a little while longer and then moved to a cove where Mike has had a lot of success on previous trips. When we arrived at this cove I looked across the reservoir and saw a herd of wild horses. We were not close enough for a picture and in hindsight, I wish we would have gone over and got a few, it was pretty cool to see nonetheless. We fished this cove for a few hours and got into an active school of crappie with some good size fish. We continued fishing, catching one almost every cast until the sun went down over a ridge. Mike out-fished me, but he normally does. At around 8:30 we made our way back to clean the fish and make the drive home. It was a great day trip, and I am really hoping we can make a chukar hunting/crappie fishing trip happen in October.
The next day, after not getting home from fishing till almost 1:00, I had a scouting trip planned with Luke. Luke and I have known each other since we were 7 years old. He was the best man at my wedding. I love him to death. He also had a period in his life where he was a vegetarian, and I continued to love him despite. :). Luke started eating meat again a few years ago and has really wanted to get into hunting. Last year he took advantage of the Idaho Hunting Passport Program. This program allows 1 year of hunting without having completed hunter education as long as the Passport holder is with a licensed hunter. Luke and I spent time hunting deer and ducks last year. I felt very privileged to take him on his first hunting trips.
We were not successful last year in our efforts to bag a deer, which is no surprise. We didn't scout at all, just went out to an area that I am pretty familiar with, but I had never hunted deer there. The lack of planning, prep, and scouting was due to the fact that my family had just moved back to Idaho a month before deer season started. We saw a few doe but the hunt was pretty bleak. So this year we have been doing some more scouting. I have not successfully hunted deer in Idaho, but I have shot a few bucks in Washington, and that was after a year of solid scouting. I logged a lot of miles on foot finding places in western Washington to hunt blacktail. We put in some effort this year in Idaho, but not as much as I would like. So on Sunday we spent our day in the same place my Grandfather and Uncles used to hunt deer. We even spent the evening trying to locate where my Grandfather used to set up. We saw a few deer, a lot of sign, and got familiar with some places I hadn't seen before.
I must have forgotten how many miles I covered when scouting for deer in Washington. I put more work in scouting than I did hunting. While I have hunted this area of Idaho before, it was years ago as a kid. My skills in area familiarization were lacking quite a bit when I was younger. As such, it means I am playing catch up a bit as far as scouting is concerned because I really have to learn the area. My Uncle can tell me what he remembers of hunting this spot, but the fact is, he has not hunted it in a lot of years and a lot of things have changed. The drainage where my Grandfather used to hike for "easy walking", is now covered in aspen trees at the bottom and as such is now a place where the deer might be, and not as great of a place to walk. We did not see any bucks, but the moon was pretty bright that night and I would be willing to bet that any bucks in the area didn't come out till the moon was up. We will need to scout it at least a few more times before hunting season starts, but it was good to get out and get a better lay of the land. The weather was perfect for an evening hike. Overall, between the fishing and scouting, it was not a bad way to spend the weekend.
Stay tuned. Good Luck. Be safe.