Thursday, August 18, 2016
Tune up your year & casting with RIO and Simon Gawesworth and Golden Gate Angling & Casting Club on Saturday August 27 from 9 AM - 3 PM at the Casting Ponds in San Francisco. I'll be joining the RIO team and fellow ambassadors like Jeff Putnam, and many others sharing some creative insights and knowledge of the type of fly fishing we specialize in.
Fly lines are the most overlooked and possibly most important piece of your fly casting system. This is true for both single-hand and Spey rods. Discover which fly line is right for you and your rods on Saturday, August 27th at the RIO Line Demo Day at the Golden GateAngling & Casting Club ponds in San Francisco. Head RIO line designer and world famous casting instructor Simon Gawesworth, along with local RIO pros and members of GGACC will be on-hand with an assortment of RIO single-hand and Spey lines for you to demo on your own rods, or on Sage and Redington rods that will be provided for the event. Participants will be eligible for raffle prize drawings (must be present to win!). All participants will receive a special discount coupon redeemable for 20% off any RIO fly line at 8 top fly shops in Northern California (see list below). Free lunch sponsored by The Fly Shop. The event runs from 9 AM until 3 PM and is free and open to the public.
There will be two special casting demonstrations by Simon Gawesworth:
10 - 10:45 AM - Simon Gawesworth - "The Importance of Fly Lines & How Tapers Affect Their Performance".
1:30 - 2:15 PM - Simon Gawesworth - "Casting Demonstration - Single handed Rods & Two-handed Spey Rods".
Participating RIO dealer fly shops include:
Remember to mark your calendars for Saturday August 27 from 9 AM - 3 PM for this very special event and be sure to bring your own rods to "test drive" all the latest RIO lines. You are welcome to use the ponds to cast Spey lines as well so bring your waders and boots.
For more information and any questions contact Willy George at; email@example.com
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Conditions remain the same on the North Fork Yuba River, great fishing, and exceptional views. Water temperatures are 57 in the morning rising to 63 degrees in the early afternoon for the upper watershed. The best times to ply the water are 8am to 1pm, then again in the evening chasing the last couple of hours of light. Fishing pressure has been light, but I’m amazed how many anglers like to choose the easy spots right off of highway 49. There is so much more good water off the beaten path where many of the wild rainbows have yet to see a fly this season. Take a hike and explore, if you do not see any footprints, you’re golden.
The hoppers are really out in big numbers right now, and on a windy day they will end up in the water. Not much in the way of aquatic insects as most of the hatches has already played out. In a few weeks expect to see a BWO spinner fall in the morning, or when air temperatures are between 58 and 68 degrees. The fish have been crushing ant patterns dropped off a dry, very aggressive takes are the norm. Summer is almost over, so make the best of it by getting on the water with a light rod, and experiencing some serious fun.
I hiked to 3 different lakes in the Lakes Basin area and forgot just how beautiful the landscape is. Many of the hikes are pretty easy, and by just doing day trips you can pack light and move fast. These lakes have rainbows, browns, and brookies. Morning and evenings are best, while the middle of the day is slower. If you can pack in a lightweight float tube you’ll have better results, and more opportunities. There are lots of people out on the trials, if you want to visit during a more quiet time, wait until mid-September. I’ll be going back for sure.
The Truckee River is fishing pretty well but don’t expect large numbers of fish. Do expect a shot at a large fish though. Swinging streamers or American nymphing (high sticking) has been best. If you’re not getting strikes, try adding more lead to your leader, and space them apart. Water temps today were 59 to 65 degrees during the morning session; in the late afternoons the temps are right around 68 degrees, which means it’s time to stop fishing.
One pattern that has been very effective is Lance Gray’s X-May in red, dropped off a crayfish pattern. Just like the North Fork Yuba River, the further you hike, the better the fishing. The flows right now below Boca Reservoir are 449 cubes. They will be dropping the river down to 150 cfs in the weeks to come. The lower flows will concentrate the fish in the deeper runs, pockets, and pools.
See you on the water…
Hooker's Evening Primrose Oenothera elata on the banks of the Truckee River
Sunday, August 7, 2016
Just completed a 5 day run up on the North Fork Yuba River and my guests and I had such an awesome time. Water temperatures are still cool ranging from 55 to 57 degrees in the morning, and topping out at 62 to 65 degrees in the late afternoon in the upper most part of the watershed.
Location is everything, and locating where the deep subterranean springs flow into the river increases your chances as it provides ideal conditions for the resident wild trout. Flows have really dropped in the last week, but there is even more fishable water to be had. Deeper pockets, runs, and pools should be targeted now.
The wild rainbows are small, yet so gorgeous. Olive tops, and golden sides with a crimson stripe, purple par marks, and those beautiful orange white tipped fins. They’re like jewels that glimmer in the Northern Sierra sunshine. You must be quick on the take but keep in the mind the bigger fish will approach your fly more slowly before sucking it down.
South Yuba River Citizens League Restoration Coordinator Cordi Craig plys the water of a big plunge pool. She had a blast!
What I like best about fishing and guiding the North Fork Yuba River is that it is an active style of fishing, stick and move, boulder hop, non-stop dry fly action, and wet wading in the cool water on a hot summer day. It’s absolutely the best.
Terrestrials are more important now and a main menu item for the trout. Hoppers and ants are getting most of the attention. The one dropper fly that has been doing very well is Lance Gray’s X-May in red and purple. There are some aquatics out like a few crane flies, a random BWO mayfly here and there, and a few summer stones. There are good numbers of small yellow sally stones still out, and the latest observation I saw is the meat bees are targeting them for lunch.
It was a very busy weekend in the canyon as the “Downieville Classic” mountain bike race was in full effect. I’ve never seen so many bikes. Still, my guests and I have yet to see another angler this summer. Again it comes down to location, the gnarlier the terrain, the less people you will encounter. Summer is winding down and I encourage you to seek out one of the most beautiful watersheds in the west.
See you on the water…
Lewis's Monkey flower mimulus lewisii makes its home among the cobblestones of the North Fork Yuba
Monday, August 1, 2016
Ken Hanley of Pacific Extremes, John Marcacci, and myself started a project that revolved around high altitude carp in the Northern Sierra. Our location is no secret, it was the first adopted "Wild & Scenic" river in America - The Middle Fork Feather River. It was a tough project to say the least, carp are smart, challenging, with lots of luck involved.
We started this project in September of 2015, but falling water temperatures put the resident carp off the feed making it even tougher. We resumed last Thursday with more favorable conditions. We gave ourselves 3 days to complete the video, luckily it took only one day to finish. I started to fish for carp on the MFFR in 1997, there was zero interest back then, let alone any type of support. My dad's long time fishing buddy, the late Richard Kennon gave me a book about fishing for carp with flies. I studied every word, and the rest is history. I can finally close the door on what I wanted to share with the fly fishing industry back then. Click the link below to see a truly unique video on chasing the golden ghost. Bravo Ken, and thanks for the memories...
Saturday, July 23, 2016
The North Fork Yuba River has been fishing extremely well, so good in fact you could say it's on fire. Water temperatures in the upper watershed are running 55 to 61 degrees. Lower down near Downieville the water temps are at 59 to 66 degrees. I just completed eight trips back to back and I'm very in tune with the current conditions. Water levels have dropped a tad in the gorge sections revealing more fishable water and pockets. It's perfect right now. The river did change a little from our so called average winter, some runs are much deeper in certain areas.
It's been a complete blast on the river. If you are making a trip to the NFYR to fish make sure you bring a lighter rod like a 3wt or smaller, it will be so much more enjoyable and fun. Bust out the bamboo, or a fiberglass rod, and those vintage Hardy reels too. An angler who can read water efficiently, including drag free presentations in the micro currents, and complex varied seams will do very well. Imagine if you will getting over a hundred strikes in a half day session, and if you're quick on the set you can C&R 40 to 50 fish.
Wild rainbows have been anywhere from 3 to 10", with the occasional 12 incher thrown in. They may not be big but they are without a doubt one of the most beautiful specimens in the west. Their greatest quality is their eagerness to take artificials. It's quite the thing to see one of these smaller fish suck down a big dry, I have no idea how they can get it in their mouth.
One of the many lessons my father taught me was to never ever put rules on Mother Nature. Pictured above is a great example, a summer Skwala stonefly, only 4 months late to the party.
In the idle side waters of the North Fork Yuba River thousands of cased caddis can be found roaming around. I have yet to ID them but their cases are made entirely of organic material like pine needles, and bark. When fishing the evening, go with a single E/C Caddis #14-18 in amber, gray, or olive. Other aquatics in the mix are PED spinners, craneflies, a few golden stoneflies, yellow sallies, and right at dark the humongous dobsonflies.
As we move into the hottest time of the year, it's important to locate the cold springs that come into the river. Where springs flow directly into the river, trout will move into these areas when water temperatures increase. The springs are also a great refresher when it's really hot out by dunking one's head underneath.
I had the pleasure of guiding 7 year old Andrew on the finer points of fly fishing pocket water and plunge pools. Though he has fished before, our day on the water resulted in him catching his first wild trout all on his own! He landed several more as well. It was so awesome to see his dad light up and express his joy to his son. It's these types of experiences why I love to share and teach fly fishing, and always will.
Sunshine and water, with a splash of wild trout. If you're looking for adventure, solitude, and gorgeous surroundings, the North Fork Yuba is the place to be. I have some dates available in August, and the first half of September. Give me a call at 530.228.0487, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on my calendar. See you on the water...
A Crimson Columbine aquilegia formosa hangs precariously on a cliff next to a cold water spring.
Friday, July 15, 2016
The North Fork Yuba River has been fishing very well from morning to early afternoon, then for the evening hatch. Water temps in the upper watershed are still on the cold side from 56 to 61 degrees, they will be a little higher the more one travels downstream. I’m very surprised how much water is still flowing down the river for the middle of July, and in the tighter sections with a steeper gradient, the water level is a tad high with less fishable water. The many springs that come into the river are pumping out good volumes of 42 to 46 degree crystal clear subterranean water. Fishing pressure has been moderate in the more easy access areas, and extremely light in the more remote sections.
It doesn’t get much better than this. Dry flies and eager small wild rainbows, wet wading in the cool water, and amazing flora and fauna. Rattlesnakes are out and I ran into the same snake in the exact same area as the past three years. I’ve decided to name him Larry since we seem to see each other so much. Larry did not coil this time or rattle, and just quietly moved back to his den. I like it when they do that. Fishing wise it’s been so damn fun for my guests and I. 1 to 3wt. rods, a good floating line like RIO’s “Light Line” series, and a 7.5 foot leader is all that is needed. You can fish a dropper off your dry, or just go with a single dry fly, sometimes they just want it on top and that’s when I’ll take the dropper fly off. Great dry fly patterns include yellow and orange Rubber Leg Crystal Stimis, Royal Wullfs, Purple Haze, E/C Caddis, Yellow Humpies, and the R/S Ant. Go to dropper flies have been Copper Johns in red, Psycho Prince, PT Flashback, and hard body ants that sink in black. The wild rainbows in the upper river have been small 4 to 10 inches, with the occasional brown. Downstream near Downieville you’ll get into bigger trout, with some being planters. I’ve heard of some good reports in the evening down in this section with some fish from 14 to 16 inches.
Active aquatics flying around have been a few Golden Stoneflies, Yellow Sallies, PED spinners, Tricos Caddis, and Crane flies. For terrestrials it’s mainly been ants, and I have yet to see enough hoppers to warrant using one, but I’m sure they would get some grabs. It looks like the North Fork Yuba River will be in good shape for the rest of the summer. Just remember to take water temperature readings throughout the day and stop fishing when they reach 68 degrees or higher. The season is short on the NFYR, so get out there and enjoy one of the most beautiful watersheds in all of California.
A secluded patch of Western Azalea rhododendron occidentale inhabits a hard to reach section of the North Fork Yuba River.
Sunday, July 10, 2016
What a beautiful day for a float on the Lower Yuba River, not too hot, plenty of sunshine, and flowing water. Today did not disappoint, I have so much fun on these pontoon workshops! It's awesome to see our students learn so much, and also to see their progression rate by the time we pull out at the Sycamore Ranch boat ramp.
After some controlled mayham getting the boats put together, and loaded up for the shuttle up to Parks Bar Bridge, the class began. The first topic is safety including always wearing a PFD, what to do if you dump your craft, and looking downstream and line selections avoiding hazards. I then go over the basics of a personal watercraft, with inside secrets on how to properly carry your rod, frame placement, proper air inflation, repair kits, and DIY upgrades to oars, and accessories.
Next, I take to the water and describe the different moves needed to safely and effectively maneuver your PWC. Single oar pivots, scissor pivoting, back strokes, forward strokes, jogging forward strokes, and ferrying from one side of the river to another. There is a nice big back eddy for our students to practice in before we send them down the gauntlet of the Lower Yuba River.
About midway down we pull over before Miner's Corner as Lance provides a fresh wholesome lunch under the convenience of some shade. We then walk down to Miner's Corner which is one of the more technical rapids for novices to encounter. We make a game plan with two different lines to choose from. One is more demanding yet more fun, and the other on the inside corner is the safe way out. Then we board our crafts and pound the water through the rapids. Everybody passed with flying colors on this section!
Check the video of tackling Miner's Corner
We continued down the river, and then fished select spots along the way. A few fish were hooked, but the main emphasis on the day was learning how to pilot your PWC. Swinging large sculpin patterns, and dead drift nymphing was the most effective.
I must say that after floating the river it has changed in many big ways from the 13,000, 16,000, and 30,000 high water events we received during the winter. There is way more skinny water as finer material has moved in to certain areas and tail outs. Even today at 1,535 cubes it was very noticeable. When they drop the flows down to 500 to 700 cfs, there is going to be a lot of drift boats grinding through, and many guides will have to get out and walk their boats through. The other thing I noticed is there are many more deeper troughs, transition zones, and bank water since floating the river before the events. Aquatic life is still slim for both nymphs and adults. When the river comes back, there is much more productive habitat to support the wild fish that inhabit the Lower Yuba River.
What a day, so damn awesome! Special thanks to all our guests who participated in this very informative workshop. Lance and I have other workshops and clinics on the 2016 calendar, with some spots available. To reserve your spot, and more info, contact Lance directly to book at; Lance Gray and Company. The upcoming events include;
-The Lake Davis Tour, September 6th & 7th.
-High stick and standard nymphing workshop on the Truckee River, September 10th.
-Streamer School on the Truckee River September 11th.
-Yuba River Pontoon workshop September 18th.
Check with Lance to see the availability to participate if your interested. See you on the water...
Friday, July 1, 2016
After being on the road for 41 days, and mostly sleeping in the back of my truck, it's nice to be home. My own bed, my home computer, and a hot shower anytime I want one. The last week at Lake Davis has seen the fish wise up to artificials when fishing the damsel hatch. It can be frustrating to have boiling large trout in front of you, yet not get a grab. There is a few tricks you can do during this time, which happens every year after the lake gets pounded by fly anglers. During the damselfly hatch the rainbows are way up in the water column, and also in some very skinny water. These two factors combined give the resident trout a very small cone of vision. putting the fly right in front of them is everything. But when they refuse your fly, or worse, grab it and immediately spit it out, you need some different tactics. Try fishing a rubber leg ant pattern, like the Loco Ant. You'll have to have some skill to put it in front of them, and don't forget to twitch your fly. Another tactic is to use a high floating snail pattern with a 12" dropper to a callibaetis nymph, or a blood midge pupa. Other anglers in the know use sparse streamer patterns to entice a take.
There has been a pretty good indicator grab in the afternoon until about 4pm. present your flies 9 to 10 feet down in 13 to 15 feet of water. Albino Winos, red Copper Johns, flashback Pheasant Tails, and snail patterns have been working really well. Use 3x in this situation as the fish can take you into some thick weed beds and break you off. Hexes are still coming off all over the lake, and some fish are on them. Keep in mind the hatch will go through July but warming water conditions will put an end on fish taking them off the surface.
The Middle Fork Feather looked like her old self this spring with plenty of water. Even during my last trip guiding below Two Rivers on the 26th, I marveled on how much water was still flowing, thanks in large part to Jamison Creek. I was surprised on my trips this spring because well, we caught fish. After three years of low water conditions my expectations were low. Nothing big for my guests this season, just wild bows 8 to 14 inches long. Hatches have been great and currently there are a few salmon flies and golden stones still left. There has been a thick Trico spinner fall in mid-morning, and caddis, yellow sallies, and pale evening duns rule the evenings. It's a morning and evening game now.
The river from Two Rivers upstream is done except for making presentations to carp and bass, for those fish this is prime time. Concentrate where feeder creeks enter the river, and cool shady areas for rainbow and brown trout. Water temps are currently 61 to 65 degrees, and fishing pressure is light. this fall should fish well with the annual BWO spinner fall that last for months. Let's hope we see another decent winter so the resident wild fish can excel, and aquatic insect populations can continue to thrive.
Yesterday my first guide trip of the summer season commenced on the North Fork Yuba River. I had the pleasure of teaching four members of the Tahoe Truckee Fly Fishers the finer points of fishing pocket water, pools, and short line high sticking dry dropper rigs. I took them to one of my more remote beats, and with first tracks of the year the fishing was really good for small wild bows. The river was still a little too high for my likes, and water temps started out at 55 degrees at 8am. The usual flies worked, but presentation and location placement was far more important. The river should be in prime shape in the next few weeks. I have some available days left in July and August, and would love to guide you on some special sections of the river where even during the dog days, springs pump in 42 degree water.