Monday, September 26, 2016
Even though we are in another warm up, water temperatures are falling and currently at 58 to 63 degrees. Conditions are changing for the better. Resident rainbows are starting to feed more and the fall bite has started. Fishing pressure has increased, but it's not a problem to find your own spot. Target areas that are not being picked on, the trout will be way more receptive to your offerings. Stripping is getting more attention than the bobber. Leeches, wiggle tails, flashback pheasant tails, and red Copper Johns are producing. I'm booked up for October, but November has some days available if we do not get any serious weather. 530.228.0487. See you on the flats....
Monday, September 19, 2016
Lance Gray of Lance Gray & Company and I held our sixth Pontoon Workshop on the Lower Yuba River yesterday, and once again it was a great success. It was hot out, near 90 degrees with sunny skies. I was so tempted to go swimming during the heat of the day. This was our last Pontoon Workshop for 2016. We will have more dates opening in 2017 so check my blog frequently or head over to Lance's site.
Our day starts early at Sycamore Ranch boat ramp as we assemble our crafts making sure they are up to par to make the float down safely. We then shuttle all the boats and our guests up to Parks Bar bridge.
Once all of the boats are down on the north beach Lance and I go through safety measures, must haves for your boat, proper cases to carry your rods safely, and tuning your oars and seats for a personal fit. I then go through all the maneuvers one needs to effectively float down. Back strokes (your friend), forward strokes, single oar pivots, and scissor pivots.
I then explain how to ferry across the river, this is a critical skill to learn so you can pilot your craft from one side of the river to the other. I also went over how to pick safe lines by looking far ahead, and how to avoid dangerous obstacles.
Then it was time to float!
About half way down we parked the boats and had a delicious streamside lunch on the banks of the Lower Yuba River. The shade that the pop up provided was much welcomed!
We then beached the boats and tied them off, and broke out the rods. Swinging sculpin patterns and Hopper/Dropper rigs were most effective.
We worked on proper presentations for all styles of fishing. There were also more salmon in the system than previously reported by other guides, still though, it was light for this time of year.
Special thanks to all of our guests who attended the Pontoon Workshop, we all had a blast floating with you and teaching you the mechanics of being an oarsman. Big kudos to Steve Bohnemeyer for helping out! I can't forget to mention Outcast Boats for their continued support, they really are the best Personal Watercraft on the planet! We hope to see you for one of our workshops next year, until then, be safe, and experience the glide of drifting down your favorite river.
Thursday, September 15, 2016
It’s been cold in the mornings at Lake Davis with air temperatures in the low 30’s, and because of such the water temps at the lake are down to 62 degrees. Fishing pressure has been very light, on Tuesday my guests and I had the only boat out on the water. The populations of large trout are fewer, but the sizes of the rainbows are huge, 3 to 6 pounds! The Department of Fish & Wildlife did plant on May 15th, and June 15th, though I do not have the numbers that were put in. The lake is at 57% capacity.
Hatches have started again and there are blood midges in the morning, and a decent callibaetis spinner fall in the late afternoon. We had a rare fall treat on Tuesday at the dock, I looked down and there was a male Hexagenia dun mayfly, we brought him along for a boat ride. Fish are scattered right now, with some in summer mode and hanging out in the channel, while others have migrated back over to the west shore feeding off the ledges and flats. Effective flies have been Albino Winos, red Copper Johns, cinnamon leeches, Sheep Creek Specials, and flashback pheasant tails. Honker Cove boat ramp is still operational, as is Camp 5 but the dock was never put in this year and can be challenging for the less experienced operator backing up a trailer. Grizzly campground is closed, but Grasshopper and Lightning Tree are still open. There is a new DFW survey box located at the Honker Cove boat ramp, and I encourage all anglers to fill out the survey honestly.
Wildlife observations have included a Mountain lion crossing the road in front of me at o’dark thirty, the coot are back in good numbers but not like last year, The falcons are also back as well. Lots of deer roaming the area with some big mulies, and the coyotes have been howling at around 5am, serving as my alarm clock. Ospreys are starting to leave as they make the big flight to South America, which leaves the bald eagles without an easy meal to steal from.
I have a two days open for September, and 12 days open for October. If you wish to book a trip I’d advise to do it quickly. More than just an average guide trip, I teach my guests about the lake with access areas, rigging, flies, and other techniques, and if you need help on your casting, we’ll work on that too. I’m excited to be back on the lake, it’s so beautiful, and such a special place to fly fish.
This past weekend Lance Gray of Lance Gray & Co. and myself did a two day workshop on the Truckee River near the town of Hirschdale. Day one was the Nymphing School were we taught about high stick nymphing, and the dead drift indicator system. It went really well and all nine of our guests learned about different leader set ups, reading water and seams, what areas to concentrate on with warming water, and the flies that are effective on the Truckee river. As always with our clinics, schools, and workshops, a streamside lunch was provided with a little shade.
On Sunday we had another six guests for the Streamer School. Many fly anglers do not fish streamers which is a shame, it's a active and fun way to entice large apex predator trout to grab your fly. We covered all the different presentations, leader setups, floating and sinking lines, and the go to Truckee River meat flies. It was a big success to say the least.
Lance and I will have another two day workshop on the Truckee River in September 2017, dates to be announced. It's a great feeling to teach our students, then watch them progress throughout the day. Special thanks to all those that attended, we sure had a blast with you!
The North Fork Yuba is still fishing well. I had a 74 year old as my guest on Monday and he hammered them! We will have another warm up so the upper watershed will still fish well. As I stated in my last NFYR post, it is not necessary to be on the water early, 10am is perfect. Same flies and techniques apply as well.
The October caddis has started to hatch on the banks of the North Fork Yuba River. I finally solved a riddle that I have seen in past years. I've found empty cases of the October caddis on top of large flat boulders from time to time. Now, I know that these caddisflies crawl out of their case and emerge on the sides of rocks right above the water line, and not on top. I was studying a water ouzel, commonly known as the dipper bird and saw the proof. The dipper would go underwater and come out with an October Caddis in its beak, it then placed the case between his feet and pulled the pupa out from its case and gobbled it down. Really cool.
Lots going on in fall for the fly angler, I'm looking forward to grinding out my trips, then getting a little play time for myself on the Trinity River. See you on the water...
Lots going on in fall for the fly angler, I'm looking forward to grinding out my trips, then getting a little play time for myself on the Trinity River. See you on the water...
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
The North Fork Yuba River continues to fish well from the top of the watershed, down to the lower reaches below Downieville. Water temps have dropped a few degrees with the colder overnight low air temperatures. Fishing pressure is extremely light, and you'll be able to find complete solitude now, especially mid week. Water levels are at their fall season low concentrating the trout into the bigger plunge pools, and runs. Look for pockets with some depth to them, I often find the bigger fish in these small areas.
Same dry / dropper rigs apply, a big bushy rubber legged stimulator or the equivalent, with a red copper John underneath. Purple is another great color. Don't forget about hoppers and ants in the afternoon when warmer air temperatures make them more active. For aquatics, the Psuedocloeon mayfly spinner fall has been on one day, and sparse the next. A few big Pale Evening spinners in the mid morning, and a resurgence of caddis during the day. It's not necessary to be on the water early with these cooler temps, starting at 10am is fine.
In the weeks to come focusing on lower down in the watershed will be of importance, remember you're chasing the happy zone of water temps that are 57 to 63 degrees. By October you'll want to be below Downieville. At the end of October bring your streamers as the brown trout will begin their fall spawning migration up from Bullards Bar reservoir. I like to bring two rods, one for dry / dropper rigs and indo set ups, and the other dedicated for streamer presentations. For the streamer rod I use a WF floater, and a sink tip for the deeper pools.
By special request I took my guests down into the grand canyon of Jamison creek, it's gnarly down there, and so remote. We did not see any evidence of human footprints, but plenty of game tracks like deer, bear, and mountain lions. The fishing was just ok, lots of little wild rainbows. I find the best time to fish Jamison creek is the middle of June to the middle of July, more hatches, and the trout are more eager. On a side note there were signs of a big runoff last spring as the creek's character changed. Lower populations of trout that were smaller than usual was a red flag. Again, I think the drought has affected this little gem. The same flies and tactics used on the North Fork Yuba River will work on Jamison creek.
My fall dates for Lake Davis are starting to fill. My guide trips on the lake are more than just catching, I'll teach you all about the lake, access areas, rigging, and flies. Sharing the knowledge of the lake is of great importance to me. If you want in, give me a call at 530.228.0487 or email me at email@example.com
Here comes fall, it's over quickly, so be prepared to enjoy every minute of it!
Thursday, September 1, 2016
Ken Hanley has entered his short film "Gift Of Gold" in RIO's Film Awards. So far the response on the high altitude video on stalking carp has been receiving some great feedback. Please click on the link http://riofilmawards.rioproducts.com/vote-page/ and give "Gift of Gold" a Like to support Ken and his passion for sharing, and educating the fly fishing public on a verity of different species, and waters.
Thanks for your continued support!
Sunday, August 28, 2016
Northern Sierra Fishing Report 8/28/2016 ~ North Fork Yuba River, Middle Fork Feather River, Lake Davis, Truckee River
Summer is coming to an end, days are noticeably shorter, mornings are colder, and the sun is arcing lower in the horizon each day. The North Fork Yuba River is still fishing well. You'll have better success if you seek out sections that have not been fished, it's time to hike into remote sections of the unknown. Water temperatures are stable at 57 in the morning rising to 62 degrees by the early afternoon in the upper watershed. Crowds are disappearing since the kids are back in school, but expect Labor Day weekend to be busy on all Northern Sierra waters and recreation areas. My guests and I had another fantastic week on the river, and for all of them it was the first time on the North Fork Yuba River. As always, they were blown away at the sheer beauty of the canyon, and the amusement of dry flies and eager wild trout.
The pseudocloeon mayflies (tiny blue wing olives) are hatching again, and spinner falls are happening in mid morning. A great tactic during a spinner fall is to have a big dry like a rubber leg crystal stimulator and dropping a #20 spent wing spinner 18 inches below. You want the spinner in the film or just below, no floatant is needed. Hoppers and ants in the afternoon. I've been seeing many trout in idle water away from the main flow of the river. I suspect they are waiting for terrestrials to fall into the water for an easy meal.
There are only about 3 weeks left in the upper watershed before water temperatures start to fall below the happy zone for the native wild trout. As autumn sets in, an angler should adjust their location further downstream towards Downieville.
Into October, venturing even further down will be necessary, remember you're chasing the optimum water temps that are between 57 and 63 degrees. Fishing during the warmest time of day will also be of importance. If you have not been to the North Fork Yuba River this season, or you want to make another trip, get the goods before it is too late.
Water temperatures are coming down as well on the Middle Fork Feather River ranging from 58 to 65 degrees below the confluence of Jamison creek. Fishing pressure is extremely light, and fishing is fair. The drought has had an effect on the river for sure, I'm seeing less resident trout, and those I'm finding are in the deeper pools, and runs. The river is so different than say 20 years ago, lots of skinny unproductive water and areas that are filled in with small cobble stones. Another observation is revealing very little populations of carp below the town of Clio, and it's not just me, many anglers have spoken out loud to me about their absence. The Middle Fork Feather is in dire need of multiple flushes of high water this winter.
The pseudocloeon mayflies have also started to dance above the river in mid morning with a pretty thick spinner fall with rising fish. Overall I'm seeing less hatches than a decade ago. The culprit in my opinion is Didymo, also known as rock snot. This type of algae chokes out aquatic insects providing less habitat. Didymo did not use to exist in the river until 7 golf courses in a 10 mile radius started to have an effect on the health of the river by spewing return flows laced with fertilizers. Follow the money as they say, and think not of the environment. In early August when the Didymo was at its highest it was thick in the Greaegle area all the way down to below Camp Layman, yet it was almost absent in the Portola area. Speaking of which, if you want in on the Middle Fork carp scene, you better get in there now as conditions will be changing with colder days and water temperatures. Time will tell if the river receives the needed precipitation to enhance the health of the watershed.
Air temperatures are starting to fall at Lake Davis, and the mornings are much cooler than a few weeks ago. Still, water temperatures are 68 in the morning rising to 72 degrees in the afternoon. I've been camping up at the lake all summer and I'm amazed that fly anglers are still fishing during these times of warm water, for many it's not being educated on the subject of the effects of thermal pollution and the dangers of releasing fish safely. There are even anglers who know the facts of warm water, yet still fish. Sure, you can catch rainbows when the surface temperatures are extremely warm, and release them watching them swim away, but are they surviving? Since the population of trout are extremely low in Lake Davis, my friends, guests, and myself are waiting for more favorable conditions, the last thing we want to do is unnecessarily kill more trout.
I'll be scouting the lake by vision, and by sonar starting next week, and locating the best areas to fish as my trips start in the middle of the month. Currently there have been some good Callibaetis hatches, and good numbers of small midges both emerging, and on the surface. We'll see how this fall season turns out, I'm being optimistic, and hoping we have an awesome autumn at Lake Davis.
Flows are way down on the upper and mid section of the Truckee River. Many anglers and guides do not understand where the "in town" gauging station is located on the Truckee River. For example on the USGS site listed under Pyramid and Winnemucca Lakes Basin section there is station number 10338000, near Truckee. It's not in town, but rather upstream by the USFS Granite campground. One must factor in the outflow of Donner creek at station number 10338700 where the creek crosses Highway 89. Right now the combined flows are 37 cubes, that's too low. This may not be significant during the fall, but in spring it can really add up to higher flows downstream of the confluence. Also during spring one must factor in Trout creek, and Martis creek for accurate flows through the Glenshire stretch. The good news is the water temperatures are dropping and are currently in the range of 58 to 64 degrees. The water temps drop faster on the Truckee river than other Northern Sierra watersheds because of colder air sinking downstream from the east slope of the high elevation mountains. Forget about fishing or guiding on the Little Truckee which is flowing at 27 cfs. Anglers and guides need to take responsibility and put the resident trout first, and their needs last. It comes down to ethics, please do the right thing.
The flow below the junction of the Truckee and Little Truckee Rivers at the Boca bridge are at 439 cubes. That's a good flow for this time of year and fishing through the canyon has been good, but some days are off, which is typical for the river. I've heard they are supposed to reduce the flows down to 150 cfs through the canyon by representatives of the local Trout Unlimited chapter #103, I have no idea of the validity of such. My advice is get out there and fish with techniques and tactics that warrant the changing conditions of Summer into the Fall season. Streamers, and nymphing with beatis and worms.
See you on the water, and the fertile flats....
Scarlet monkey flowers Mimulus cardinalis display the last of summer's color