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Phil Lilley

Official Fishing Report for JigFest 2019

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Had a great time, food was excellent, and so was the fishing!  I fished one day with Ham and one day with Zigjigman.  They are both good fishermen to fish with, very experienced boat handlers also, and I appreciate very much the opportunity to get out and fish with them.

Friday I fished with Ham. we fished his Super Secret spot and I am not even going to mention what access we launched out of.  We caught plenty of trout on Zig jigs, Ham is meticulous about keeping track of how many he catches, and me not so much.  I was having so much fun fishing that I lost track of how many I caught, Ham probably caught twice as many as I did, but I think between the two of us we boated 100 trout.  Mostly rainbows, a Cutt or two and Ham caught some good browns (I remember catching just one brown).  Ham caught several browns making precise casts into the trees with a jerk bait as we floated down the bank in the main channel.  I wasn't as successful in that as Ham was, but caught a couple of rainbows on the jerk, and got a kick out of watching Ham catch those browns.  

We caught some good sized rainbows on jigs, biggest was one that hit the 23" mark on the board (caught by Ham).  Several more in the 18-20" range.  I've got a few pics, sometimes not the greatest pics, but these fish are hard to photograph as the just won't quit squirming around and we want to get them back into the water quickly, so I apologize for the picture quality.

Saturday I fished with Richard on the Norfork.  The fishing was great, I doubt that we had more than anytime where we went more than 5 minutes without a bite.  I did have a little downtime tying leaders and replacing lost jigs, but other than that the bites came fast and furious.  We caught some good quality fish mainly in the trophy area, Richard caught an 18" rainbow which was our biggest I can remember,  and we had a number of quality bows in the 14-17" range.  All on Zigjigs.  I estimate we probably caught between 50-60 trout in about a 4 hour window.  Jig color didn't seem to matter a lot, I'd say tri-color olive is my favorite, and we also caught them on ginger, black/green and green/orange.  

There's a fair number of cutts in Norfork, I think we caught a half dozen, all quality fish.  Only one brown that I remember.

As an aside, Eric (N9bow) caught a 20+ inch rainbow right off a boat ramp, hopefully he can post up the pic.  

On Saturday we got out on the river a little late, Richard knew of a little food place, I think it is named Heidi's - it's about the only place in Norfork to eat, right on the main drag - she doesn't open up until noon in the winter, but she saw us looking in the front window, apparently we looked hungry so she let us in.  She had a BOGO on these fruit turnover deals, I ordered a blueberry and a peach, they were delicious.  Kind of like one of those Hostess fruit pies in appearance, but much tastier.  I recommend stopping y Heidi's if you ever roll through Norfork.  I believe she also makes sandwiches, and will soon be doing breakfast.  And of course, there are tasty pastries.  Kind of neat to be able to eat some good food, then mosey down to the river and catch fish.

Here's some pics.  The next to last pic with the fish in the net, is I believe, the 23" rainbow.

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Wow, what a great weekend.   I got down there late Friday night.  I got to ride on Seth's boat after a bit of confusion.   Eric @N9BOW, originally offered for me to ride with him, but in mixed conversations, I was under the impression he left.   Meanwhile he was waiting for me to show up at the ramp.  I was in Seth's truck going to Norfork with him and Gotmuddy.   

We got on the water and made our way up through some rough, rocky waters.  Wen up to the dam, started to drift.  Gotmuddy caught the first rainbow his first cast.  Soon after he caught a brookie.  We managed to catch a few cutthroats throughout the boat. Then a walter was caught.  I wont elaborate, but the "monkey dodo-show" began.  (That was the officially designated name on the boat).  Something was mentioned about some gopros, but never acted on.   Someone mentioned some eagles may be seen, but I cant confirm or deny.  Gotmuddy kept going, and got a slam within 30 minutes or so.  I was only hoping for 1 fish.  Just did  not want to be skunked.   I had aothing to worry about in that aspect.  Numbers?  I dont know.  A lot.  Size was great.  On what baits?  You wouldn't believe me if I told you.  

 

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I hope everyone made it home ok, especially Seth and DJ heading north. I saw a Seth’s pic of the road!!

it was another great Jigfest and again, it was great getting to visit and fish with friends and Zig Jig customers. Cost got stuck fishing with me on the White on Friday. I’ve never been in the river that high and we struggled to catch 4 fish, 2 each.

Jeff and I fished together on Saturday and we had  a better day in the first 10 minutes!!! I’m like Jeff, I don’t normally count fish. Most of the time it’s to much work. We caught a bunch of really nice rainbows and at least 6-7 cutties, several were really nice. We saw Seth and his crew and also Bret and his crew in the river. Everyone was catching fish!!!

Great morning and then about noon the technical difficulties started. I broke a trolling motor prop and Hams motor quit right about the time they got to where we were on the river.

We managed to get Ham off the river safely and that was great. I bought two new trolling motor props today at Bass Pro in Rogers!! 
 

The food was great as usual!!! Big thanks to Eric for the pulled pork on Thursday . Thanks too Rick for the back strap and eggs on Friday morning!! really good!!! I think everyone enjoyed the fish fry on Friday night. Rick came through again with great chili and dos for Saturday night!!!

i am truly blessed to have such great customers who have turned into great friends and fishing buddies too. 
 

Thank  you!!!

 

hers a pic of that 18” rainbow Jeff was talking about. It had a weird thing happening with its spine. I caught about a 10” about 30 minutes later that had the same deal. Any thoughts on the cause. Eric said he thought the electro shocking when the do sampling might have caused it???

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The Norfork was rough on all of us. Brett broke his Panoptix transducer bracket and had a dead trolling battery. We drifted through some rapids and drifted in to a rock hard enough to crease one of the outer ribs on the bottom of my hull. Almost went in the drink on that one. I looked like I was break dancing up on the front deck on that one. My trolling motor hit hard too and I thought I broke something for sure but all was well.

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1 hour ago, Seth said:

The Norfork was rough on all of us. Brett broke his Panoptix transducer bracket and had a dead trolling battery. We drifted through some rapids and drifted in to a rock hard enough to crease one of the outer ribs on the bottom of my hull. Almost went in the drink on that one. I looked like I was break dancing up on the front deck on that one. My trolling motor hit hard too and I thought I broke something for sure but all was well.

Ordered a new bracket tonight.  Got crappie to catch!   Norfork can be hard on boats looks like but was totally worth it! 

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I made it home a little while ago.  Had some ice and snow to deal with but luckily Seth and I took out a bit early to get ahead of it.

What another awesome year down here. Got to fish with Ham Brett and Seth and had a total blast.  We survived the rising waters, found some fish, had some amazing food, and shared lots of laughs.

Thanks for all the boat captains taking us out, all the chefs for the great eats, and all of you for the laughs and memories.

 

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9 hours ago, JestersHK said:

I made it home a little while ago.  Had some ice and snow to deal with but luckily Seth and I took out a bit early to get ahead of it.

What another awesome year down here. Got to fish with Ham Brett and Seth and had a total blast.  We survived the rising waters, found some fish, had some amazing food, and shared lots of laughs.

Thanks for all the boat captains taking us out, all the chefs for the great eats, and all of you for the laughs and memories.

 

Glad you guys made it safe. Hope we can go fishing again before next Jigfest.  

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We hit creeks Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  Started at the mouth and fished our way up.  Had something like 60 out of this little creek Thursday in about 2 hours.  jenkins creek Tyler.jpg

Went as far up them as we could get.  Fish were everywhere.  Lane caught this 22" bow right under that rock Tyler is standing on.

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Friday we went back to Jenkins creek first thing and caught them again.  After we wore that spot out, we went to Ham's secret spot.  Did right well there too.  Tyler had a really big rainbow on but lost it on a jump.  Had somewhere around 100 on Friday.

Saturday, Rob, Lane and I started in Ham's secret spot.  The river was down about 2' and the fish had pretty well left that spot.  Went further downriver to the next little creek and went as far up it as we could go.  It was a deep hole and was full of fish.  Rob, Lane and I took maybe 40 or so out of that creek.  Once they got tired of us there, we ran all the way back up to Jenkins creek again.  Fish cooperated again there.  I caught a beautiful 20" fish and we all had several each.  Heard Norfork was fishing good, so we picked up and headed there.  The reports were true, we were on them pretty good again.  Rob was tearing them up on a peach colored 3/16 jig.  Called it a day about 4:00 and headed in for the night.

As everyone has said, it was a great jigfest.  The high water made it challenging for sure, so I just took the easy way out and hid from it.  And was lucky enough to find fish in my hiding spots.  Truly great to see everyone, eat like kings and drink like pirates.  There was a lot of memorable food, from pulled pork, through cheesecake, some of the best ceviche I've ever had, a great fish fry, Griz's famous cowboy caviar and his stuffed mushrooms.  Glad everyone liked the venison for breakfast and also the chili dogs were pretty welcome too.  Lovey's upside down cake disappeared too.

And for me, the best part was spending a great weekend with the grandsons and all my friends.  You're a special group, and I do not exaggerate one bit when I say I love you all like brothers.

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