Black Bird 5000 – Diamond Lake ’11

As many of you may remember back in April I made a post about how Diamond Lake is close to being overpopulated: Diamond Lake Needs Your Help. Well the day finally came for me to do my part in helping out the lake with the annual Black Bird 5000 trout derby.

The derby was preluded by a long work week and a 15 hour work day on Friday. After getting home from work at 9pm I still had to get everything ready for the next day, have dinner, and then get up at 3 am to hit the road. 3am came way to fast Saturday morning, but the girlfriend and I managed to struggle out of bed and hit the road by 3:30.

Mt Bailey in the background

We arrived at Diamond Lake shortly after 5am. After finally deciding where to put in and getting the raft ready we were on the lake a little after 6 and fishing shortly thereafter. It didn’t take long before we got our first bite, and then another one, and another one, but none of them would stick. The fish were hitting like freight trains, but weren’t sticking around to munch on our bait making it extremely hard to hook them. Jacque finally got a hook into one after several missed attempts and we had our first fish in the boat “3 man raft”.

Due to an energy drink that went right through me, we took our first bathroom break after only an hour or so of fishing. We only had the 1 trout in the boat, but still had high hopes as I paddled us back out to a new spot. There were plenty of other boats around, and we saw a few of them hooking up, so we headed towards the group. This new spot didn’t produce right away, but after not too long of a wait we finally got into a decent bite. All the trout we caught were right around 12″ with my largest one coming in at 15″. It definitely wasn’t a derby winner, but was still a nice fish.

Out on Diamond Lake with Mt Thielson in the background

Around 10 the bite had completely died off. With us being in a small raft we had virtually no mobility to travel around and try to find more fish. With both of us starving we decided to call it a day on the raft and head back in.

We met up with a few of our friends at the Diamond Lake Resort and had lunch while the weigh in was being set up. They had all caught near limits and were releasing fish to try and find a big one for the derby. Their biggest fish was currently at 18″ and a couple others that were 16″, but no derby winners either.

After a quick lunch I talked Jacque into hiking a short distance on the North end of the lake to a spot where it drops off quickly to do some bank fishing. After setting up our chairs we soon noticed the huge hatch of bugs happening. The last couple weeks there had been a huge midge hatch, but that had died down greatly by the time we got up there. This was a hatch of caddis flies and may flies that were blanketing the shoreline. After not too long Jacque couldn’t take all the bugs, as bug spray wasn’t helping, and headed back to the resort. Right after she left I got into an extremely good bite. Every cast for a 15 min span would have a fish hitting my bait before I could reel in my slack after casting. Once again though I had a horrible batting average and was only able to hook into one trout. Once that bite died down I decided to finally call it a day as well.

Our stringer of trout for the day
Reed & Adam with their largest trout of the day

We ended the day with only 6 trout, but they were all nice and fat. Our friends all ended up with limits, but none over 18″. All the fish came on power bait fished 2-3ft off the bottom, and chartreuse was the hot color for the day.

The largest trout of the Black Bird 5000 came in at 5lbs 7oz and 23″ long. Ron Pyllki was the lucky angler that caught it and took home $1000. This year Black Bird did something new and released 5 tagged fish that were worth up to $500 depending on how many were caught. Erin Appling was lucky enough to catch one of them and took home all $500. Here’s a look at the top 30 spots as well as the top 5 of the 13 and under category:

Black Bird 5000 top 30 of ’11 (click to enlarge)

Most of the trout this year seemed to run on the skinny side. Last year in the derby I caught a 19″ fish that weighed in at 3lbs 7oz. It would have taken 10th this year, while last year I didn’t even make the top 50. It also weighed more than quite a few of the longer fish in the 19-23″ range. Hopefully this isĀ  just a sign of the late spring we’ve had, and not that the lake has already become overpopulated.

Well I hope everyone else that participated in the derby had as nice of a day out on the lake as we did. Also, thank you for doing your part in helping to keep Diamond Lake the amazing fishery that it is.

Tight Lines….

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