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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Native Sons Truckee Tour 2017 Review

The original concept of fly fishing tours was the brainchild of Lance Gray of Lance Gray & Company. After teaming up with Lance with our popular Lower Yuba River Tours I asked him if I could  do my own on different waters. When I got the go ahead, I wanted to share my love of the Truckee area, and it only made sense to include "The Dean of Guides" Frank Pisciotta. I've been fly fly fishing the Truckee river since 1973, and Frank began plying the banks of the river since 1979. Back then seeing another fly angler was rare, and the crowds we see today were nonexistent. Even when I lived in Truckee from 1986 to 1991 the town was very quiet, as was the river. Both of us are native Northern Californians and are proud of such, the region offers so much diversity that it is utterly amazing.

With so much experience in the area, Frank and I are passionate about sharing the knowledge and giving back to the general public, we simply want to see others to excel in their pursuit of fly fishing. The Truckee Tour itinerary starts on Friday evening at Frank's house in Tahoe Donner, we do a meet and greet with a light dinner of fresh fruit, salami, capicola, prosciutto, brie and manchego cheeses, truckee river sourdough, prawns, kalamata olives, and bitscottie for desert. Yeah, we're also proud to be Italian. After eating all that delicious food, Frank presents his latest powerpoint on the Truckee area while answering in depth questions on the topic.

The following day we start the official tour. After filling out our log books, we then give our guests the most informative handout with tips, tricks, articles, gear list, and a custom made map. By caravan we tour the Truckee river access areas, and also the Little Truckee River explaining local inside knowledge. After lunch Frank and I go through fly selection, and rigging for dry fly, nymphing, high sticking, and streamer presentations. Then it's off to the banks of the Little Truckee River where we guide them and instruct on the proper techniques needed to be successful. One of our guests hooked 7 and landed 5 fish, it was his best day ever in the Truckee area.

If you are interested in participating in the Truckee Tour we have an open date of September 29th & 30th. Our highly popular and successful Truckee Tours fill up fast, in fact the August 25th & 26th tour is already filled. We book on a first come basis with a deposit required. Frank and I look forward to sharing the Truckee area fly fishing venues with you in the near future, give me a call and sign up and make sure to click on the highlighted links for more info! 530.228.0487 Baiocchi's Troutfitters

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Northern Sierra Fishing Report - 6/21/2017

On Monday the 12th we had extremely cold weather and snow, in fact at Frenchman’s Lake there was 2 inches on the ground. A week later and it’s been Africa hot, thank goodness it cools down at night. I’m seeing the effects from a wet winter all around in the mountains. There are so many wildflowers blooming right now that are providing a beautiful color spot everywhere you look. Also there has been an explosion of many different species of beetles flying about. Birdlife is also off the charts, and with all this high water and free standing water in Sierra Valley the ducks are loving it. It seems Mother Nature is about 3 weeks late when it comes to a normal rhythm of seasonal life.

Lake Davis – Hot weather has ignited the damselfly hatch at the lake and the fish are keyed in on them. With low populations of fish, it is important to find the points that have working fish around them. With hotter weather the hatch will start earlier and being on the water at 7am ready to stalk is the smart thing to do. The resident rainbows are being very selective so change your damsel pattern often and slow down that retrieve until you find a combination that works. 

After the hatch winds down, indicator rigs are working in 8 to 12 feet of water using callibaetis patterns and chironomids. Surface water temperatures are 60 in the early morning and by late afternoon are topping out at near 70 degrees. I saw my fist hex the other morning while buzzing across the south end of the lake, you can expect the hatch to increase in the weeks to come.

All the fish I’ve seen landed are huge! There are some really big toads out there to catch, and there is some opportunity to catch them on Callibaetis adults when the timing is right. Cast less, observe more, and carefully plan your attack.

Frenchman’s Lake – It’s been really fun at Frenchman’s the last week, lots of grabs and big numbers to the boat. Coves north of Lunker Point have been very productive either stripping flies or using the indicator. There have been some brief moments stalking fish off the bank eating a black size 16 midge adult. 

Chironomid hatches have been thick and throat sampling reveals just that. There are a few callibaetis in the mix but that’s about it. Fishing pressure has been heavy but everybody is catching fish. Water temps are about the same as Lake Davis, and getting on the water early is very beneficial. Using a personal watercraft or boat is best to fish deeper water, especially during mid to late in the day. 

Middle Fork Feather River – The river is dropping into shape nicely but the flows are still big, but manageable. Water temps are in the mid 50’s. Snow melt has increased with this hot weather and feeder creeks have risen a bit with colder inflows to the river. Hatches of PMD’s, BWO’s, and the little green stone are out. Golden stones are staging on the side water waiting for emergence. It’s been a nymphing game and a good rig will consist of a Flesh Juan Worm with an olive X-May trailer. We should see some great evening dry fly fishing during the month of July. The best area to focus on is above the Two Rivers Access upstream to Clio, Jamison creek is adding much more volume and the water levels downstream are a little high. Fishing pressure is extremely light, and the greenery lining the banks is amazing. They don’t call this a “Wild & Scenic” river for nothing.

North Fork Yuba River – Currently the NFYR is extremely high and fast, especially in the tighter section of the upper watershed. You’ll have more fishable water lower downstream of Downieville. Water temps are in the high 40’s, and not much bug activity at all. On today’s scouting mission I did not see one angler out fishing, it’s like a ghost town up there right now. One observation I had was at Union Flat campground, the big flows of our past winter has moved the river channel back towards the campground side. I’m sure there are many more changes to see but we’ll have to wait for the flows to recede. I think the river will fall into shape near the end of July, with August, September, and October being the best months. The roar of the white water is impressive right now, as is Love's Falls. Get out there and enjoy the beauty of the Northern Sierra, it’s free and for the taking.

Lupinus Albifrons Silver Lupine at Lake Davis

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Lake Davis ~ Frenchman's Lake Fishing Report 6/15/2017

Just like last June, extreme and unusual weather slammed the region with big wind, rain, and snow in eastern Plumas County. An unfortunate angler capsized his boat last Friday at Lake Davis and lost everything, luckily he was wearing a PFD and made it to shore safely. The cooler weather dropped water temperatures briefly but they will be rising in the week to come, currently at both lakes the water temps are 60 to 64 degrees. 

The straight scoop at Lake Davis is the damsel hatch began around the first of the month, and warmer days provided a better hatch. There is more fish than you think keyed in on the damsels, and to play the game off the bank you need superior skills in stalking, casting, and presentations. So many anglers are ill equipped for such a challenge. Slapping the water while false casting, charging the water while wading, and repetitive casting to a certain area will put fish down, and spook them away.

If you spend a day with me, I can teach you how to hunt shallow water trout and be successful like my workshop I provided for members of the Tahoe Truckee Fly Fishers on just that. Callibaetis hatches have been thick and a few fish have been caught using the adult imitation. Same story at Lake Davis for 2017, fewer fish in the lake, but they are huge, some real toads have been picked up ranging from 20 to 26”, and up to 6 pounds. With this approaching heat wave, all hatches will intensify and the Hexagenia will finally make an appearance. Fishing pressure has been light due to fly anglers getting a big goose egg for the day.

Frenchman’s Lake has been fishing incredibly well with big numbers to the boat. Last Saturday during the Stillwater Outings hosted by Rob Anderson and myself, our guests boated 62 fish to the “Lilly Bob” in six hours using indicator rigs, and stripping buggers and wiggle tails in olive. Big midge hatches at the lake, and not really anything else, just a few callibaetis mayflies, and sparse populations of emerging damsels. 

Lots more fly anglers have been fishing here then at Lake Davis, and most of those anglers coming in from the Reno area. There have been some brief periods of skinny water sight fishing to rising fish. Last Monday at Frenchman’s was one of the coldest days guiding I can remember, 2 inches of snow and a stiff north wind has us shaking all day long, but we were catching lots of fish and that will keep an angler warm on a frigid day.

It’s go time at both lakes, just remember to bring your “A” game at Lake Davis, and finding the right depth at any given time at Frenchman’s will reward you in big numbers. See you on the water… 

Mule's Ear flowers provide a color spot on the Little Truckee River

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Lake Davis & Frenchman's Lake Fishing Report 5/31/2017

With Lake Davis being 13 feet higher than last fall it has been very tough locating fish in the usual spots. The behavior of the resident rainbows has been very odd. A large population of them is in deeper water, 20 to 30 feet down in the main channel of Grizzly creek by the big island. Out of reach for fly anglers, but the trolling meat hunters are being successful, and unfortunately keeping everything they catch. 

Water temperatures are between 60 and 63 degrees. There is a ton of food available for the trout. Last week the carpenter ants littered the water’s surface yet not one single rising fish, again very odd behavior. Damsels have started to hatch but not in big numbers yet, the migration will be late this year as with other hatches. Other aquatics in the mix are blood midges, callibaetis mayflies, snails, and smaller chironomids. 

Fishing is very slow at this time but conditions should change once the damsel hatch kicks into high gear. All the boat ramps are open, and there is good access all over the lake. There are very little spots from the shoreline to fish from so make sure you bring a personal floating device, you’ll have more opportunities to choose from. I will say that the future looks bright with the amount of water that is in the lake and the change in management policy from DFW putting in more catchable trout, and less fingerlings.

Frenchman’s Lake has been fishing a bit better, like Lake Davis, it too is full to brim and still spilling over. Fish are scattered and in all levels of the water column. Water temperatures here are 61 to 63 degrees. Not very many hatches at all right now, just lots of small chironomids, and the occasional callibaetis mayfly. 

Stripping buggers and wiggle tails with a sink tip or an intermediate line has been effective, and the bobber rig is equally successful. Keep in mind that water skiing and jet skis are allowed at Frenchman’s, it can be noisy and crowded. You’ll do better if you can find secluded coves, and softer water. There is no dock at the main boat ramp, but Lunker point does have a dock in the water. Look for conditions to improve in the weeks to come at both lakes. See you on the water...

Tent Caterpillars among the sagebrush of Lake Davis 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Lake Davis Stillwater Outings 2017 w/ Baiocchi's Troutfitters & Reno Fly Fishing Outfitters

We have a few more spots to fill before our popular Lake Davis Outings are full! 

The outings will be a 2 and a half day event that will cover advanced stillwater techniques, proper rigging, shoreline wading, as well as float tube, pontoon boat, and small pram techniques. There will be plenty of free time to practice and catch some of those big beautiful rainbows at Lake Davis. More than a clinic, these outings provide a great social atmosphere where you’ll meet other fly anglers who share the same enthusiasm as you do when it comes to fly fishing.

We will be spending the weekend sharing some of our proven techniques on how to fish Lake Davis and also teaching anglers the techniques to use on all western stillwaters. We will cover everything from early morning sight fishing the shoreline, to deep water nymphing in the middle of the day, and how to best approach the evening Hexagenia hatch. Also covered will be leader set ups for all stillwater applications, entomology (damsels, midges, callibaetis, backswimmers, scuds), equipment requirements, flies, locations, and watercraft. Lake Davis is the perfect venue to sharpen your stillwater skills and practice some of our advanced techniques.

Stillwater Outing Schedule:

Friday afternoon – check-in and rod set up and rigging, dinner at the camp, our detailed PowerPoint presentation on how to approach Lake Davis in the spring and summer months, and an intro to the weekend’s events.

Saturday & Sunday – Two full days of fishing and learning new techniques on the lake with Jon and Rob, including lunch both days and dinner Saturday night.

Dates: June 9-11 & 16-18
Fee: $325
Limited to 14 anglers.

For more detailed information, click HERE

To secure your spot contact me at 530.228.0487, or email at

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Giving Back to the Lower Yuba River - SYRCL Hammon Bar Restoration Project

Volunteering my time is important to me on local rivers and fisheries that I guide on. Today I worked with staff from the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) on the Hammon Grove Willow Restoration Project, as I did last year, but the task at hand today was different. With the six major high water events this past winter, including two at over 80,000 cubes, gravel, cobblestones, and finer material was moved throughout the system. Today was all about relocating and tagging the plots of different species of willows and cottonwoods.

Team leader Courtney Hudson, Restoration Coordinator, used advanced GPS and a detailed map to find the remaining plots to be tagged, while Anna Schwyter, River Monitoring Coordinator, matched each plot with the correct id number tag. My job was the installation technician.

We worked great together as a team and affixed the proper tag to each plot. You would be blown away with the amount of material that was spread over Hammon Bar, some of the willows and cottonwoods that we measured last year were half the size due to being submerged by the new added material. 

So why are willows and cottonwoods so important to the Lower Yuba River? They capture woody debris which in turn controls silt, plus provides salmon, steelhead, and trout fingerlings with cover to hide from predators during higher flows. In some cases, they also provide adult fish with the same type of helpful habitat. Birds, adult aquatic insects, beavers, and rattlesnakes also benefit from the foliage.  

Courtney will be on site for the next three weeks collecting data at Hammon Bar, volunteers are needed and she sure would appreciate any help. You can contact her at 530.265.5961 ext. 216. If you have the time and want to give back to the river you love, give her a call and lend a hand.
I had a great time being next to the Yuba River and can't thank Courtney and Anna enough for the awesome company and good times. We saw deer, turkey, a bald eagle, snowy egrets, a blue heron, mergansers, songbirds, rabbits, and of course the turkey vulture posse riding the thermals. Absolutely beautiful. As far as the river conditions go, the water clarity is a nice steelhead green with about 2 to 3 feet of visibility, flows were at 9,500 cfs, and not one aquatic insect to be found, I surely thought we would see a golden stone, or some caddis fluttering about. Oh well, maybe next time...

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Truckee River Fishing Report 5/3/2017

Gigantic flows are still the norm on the Truckee River and with this brief heat wave they will increase even more. The flows at Glenshire are at 2,900 cubes, and down in the canyon they are at 5,500 cfs. You’ll see minor spikes with water levels in the late afternoon into the evening from the melting snowpack. Water temps are 46 to 48 degrees. Fishing pressure has been moderate, rafters and kayakers are floating down in big numbers on the weekends. Some days have been very productive while others have been slow with no rhyme or reason. 

Finding the slow and deep zones next to the bank is still the only option. There is really no need to wade off the bank, besides it’s a safety issue now. A guide friend lost his footing yesterday and went into the drink, he could not touch bottom, and the cold water took his breath away. He managed to save his rod and more importantly, his life. Wearing an inflatable PFD is not a bad idea, especially for those who are less mobile.

We are losing lots of flies due to all the new woody debris that is in the system. The regular high water flies are still producing with an emphasis on worms and stones. We’ve been picking up a few fish on flashback pheasant tails as there are a few March browns hatching. The girth on the resident wild trout is amazing, even the smaller fish have full protruding bellies. They are eating quite well. Whether you are tight lining or using an indo, setting the hook quickly will help you avoid getting snagged up. I recommend you set the hook often when you feel any resistance while tight lining, and for those indicator rigs, set on every little movement the bobber makes. Don’t just wait for it to go totally under the surface of the water. 

A weak storm system will roll into this weekend with a 60% chance of showers on Saturday, and rain/snow likely into the night, with a chance of rain/snow on Sunday. Air temperatures will be much cooler. I will be guiding exclusively at Lake Davis and Frenchman’s reservoir in the weeks to come. We are still waiting for the Forest Service to plow the Honker Cove boat ramp and parking lot. Fishing the stillwaters will be important in the northern Sierra until the runoff tapers off, which could be in a month or so, lots of snow to still melt at the higher elevations. If you’re interested in a stillwater trip, I’m only a phone call or an email away. 530.228.0487 / Be safe out there!  

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Product Review ~ Shwood Eyewear

Eyewear is an important piece of equipment for a fly angler, we rely on the polarized optics to help us see into the water and be able to spot our quarry, and to protect our eyes from UV rays, debris, and the hook point of the flies we cast. I've worn some pretty sweet shades in my lifetime, Vuarnet, Revo, and Oakley all had their special qualities to them. I wore the brand Smith for decades since they first sponsored me while professionally snowboarding in 1989. My Smith rep, and friend, moved out of northern California and into the hunting industry last year. With no more support from the company and him, I have been bobbing in the sea of eyewear searching for something better. You would think Costa would be the next step, but every guide and "20 something year old bearded fly fishing know it all" is wearing them. I've always been one to do things a little differently, and follow the least beaten path. 

Quality is very important to me, and upon learning about the Shwood brand from the West coast reps, I was very interested. These high quality sunglasses are made in Portland Oregon, that's right, American made - Not China. I was sent a pair of the "Canby" model with brown polarized lenses to test. My first reaction while trying them on was the crystal clear optics and superior clarity they provided. The lenses heightened my visual senses. The frames fit nicely, which has been a challenge for my small framed skull in the past when dealing with eyewear. The lens allowed the right amount of light in for me to see trout in the steelhead green waters of the Truckee River a few weeks ago. I feel I can see into the water better than I have before. 

These are not wrap around style sunglasses, but more conventional. I personally have a hard time wearing wrap around frame designs for long periods of time, I feel claustrophobic in them. If I'm going to wear goggles, I'd rather be charging fresh lines in knee deep powder than fly fishing.

Overall I'm really pleased with the overall performance of the Shwood brand, they have a style all their own, and the precision craftsmanship speaks volumes. The key features include; 

  • The original wood framed sunglasses using Birch and Walnut
  • Optional frame materials of Italian Acetate and Titanium
  • Carl Zeiss lenses
  • 5-Barrel industrial hinges
  • Bombproof case
  • Rx options
  • Dozens of colors and frame styles
  • Gray, Brown, plus Rose and Blue flash lens colors
Check out this sweet video of those who choose to wear Shwood;

Shwood sunglasses are hard to find, not just any retailer has them for sale, and you will only find them at quality stores. To see the entire collection, and to learn more, check out their Shwoodshop here;

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Truckee River Fishing Report 4/22/2017

The Truckee River has a unusual characteristic in that despite high cold flows, it produces some quality athletes of the trout world who must endure the strength and stamina to be able to survive the strong hydraulics of the river. It's been an eye opening experience for my guests who first look at the river as we approach it for the day, and simply cannot believe it can be done until the rod is bent, with a large trout on the end of their line. Every watershed is different, some produce good fishing during high flows, while others do not. It all depends on each unique trout populations of those rivers. The Truckee River trout are just plain badass, and all business. It's been beautiful on the river, warblers are singing in the swaying willows, sporadic hatches of bwo's, March browns, and a few skwalas late to the party. As a naturalist, I find great joy in educating my guests about the local flora and fauna, and to truly understand Mother Nature and "The Gift".

It's still about finding the slower deeper side water, and more importantly the areas of the current that must have a "lazy walking" speed to it. Northern California American tight lining has been the go to technique. Keep in mind some of these slower zones extend out quite a ways from the bank and a bobber rig will help in these types of situations. The fish are hanging onto the flies a little longer than normal which is of an advantage to anglers, especially those with less experience. The same big water flies have been the standard; worms, stoneflies, crayfish, and eggs. Many fish have been eating a pegged bead in mottled natural roe, and peachy king colors. A bit of advice, use 10mm eggs in high off color water. Speaking of which, the color of the water is of a emerald green, and I swear it seems we have been fishing on a steelhead river inland of the coast of northern California. 12 and 10 pound floro has been key while fighting these toads in the heavy current, we have yet to break any off. Oh, bring lots of flies, losing them on new subsurface woody debris is the norm.

I really like the telemetry gauge that is located downstream of the Martis creek inflow, adjacent to a run we call "Shipwreck". It's a great source of info for the lower section of the Glenshire stretch, the link is HERE. Releases were increased yesterday from Lake Tahoe and are now at 1,600 cubes, Glenshire has increased to 2,670, and the canyon is pounding at 4,700. As flows increase it will be harder to find the right water that is productive, walking and searching for these areas will be of the most importance as the flows continue to increase. A good tip is to mentally record the conditions where you have caught fish, then duplicating them while covering different areas of the river.

It's been very rewarding to teach fly anglers about the productive techniques when it comes to the big water of late. If you're truly interested, give me a call at 530.228.0487 to arrange your date.

On another note, Frank Pisciotta and I have one spot available for our Native Sons Truckee Tour on June 23rd & 24th, You'll learn all about the Truckee River, Little Truckee River, flies, rigs, techniques, and entomology. Streamside lunch, drinks, handouts, and maps included. To sign up, or for more information click HERE

Spring is upon us, don't delay, and enjoy the great outdoors...

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