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Monday, November 30, 2009

Tying Flies - A Serious Sickness




A fly angler reaches a point in their life where they need to tie his or her own flies for a great number of reasons. It certainly is not about saving money, because once the addiction or "sickness" sets in you find yourself with so many different materials and hooks that it all adds up to some coin. Sure, one can simply do it by only tying a few different patterns, but again your brain starts buzzing with ideas for new patterns or copying that "hot" fly your buddy had when he kicked your ass at Lake Davis last spring. Many tying junkies simply do it to show the fish what they interpret in their own mind what an artificial should look like. With feathers, fur, foam, and other natural and synthetic materials we try to copy the great creators own creations, and fooling our finned friends into thinking it's the real thing. For myself it is an art that I find so fascinating that it consumes my every thought while living and breathing on this big blue marble. I am sick. So sick that when I get a package in the mail I look at the packaging materials and think what pattern I could use this for instead of the merchandise itself. Sicko!

As winter draws in and the sun arcs lower in the sky, I find myself energized by the light of the tying vice. This is the time to tie. I love nothing more than cranking out patterns and looking out the window as the clouds release huge amounts of swirling snow bouncing of my bedroom window. It is during these times I think about next years trips and the flies that will join me on those adventures. Then the fever follows you on those adventures as you must tie "on site" to be exact with that days hatch, and it never ends. The whole realm of tying is like slow dancing with my sweetheart, it moves me....and I never want it to end. H1N1 has got nothing on this sickness. It can last a lifetime with no cure in sight, and that's just fine with me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tying The Blue Wing Olive Cripple

Legendary fly inovator Bob Quigley came up with the Mayfly cripple to imitate a struggling mayfly trying to escape it's nymphal shuck and getting stuck. This also happens when mayflies hatch and get fried in the hot sun thus being "still born", as often seen on Hat Creek in the summer months. Selective and wise trout seek out these crippled mayflies as they are an easy meal. I have had great results with this fly but be warned, the fish take this fly with such confidence that they take it deep! A barbless hook is a must when using it. One fine Autumn day on the McCloud River a few years ago a nice BWO hatch was happening in a tail out of a large pool. There were a large number of rising trout and of course they were being picky. I put on a cripple and that solved the problem, but the fish were taking it so deep I felt guilty as I may end up killing such a beautiful creature. I put the dun back on and settled for a few more fish before the hatch waned in the orange haze of the afternoon light.

I tie my cripple using other materials than Mr. Quigley does, It's just my own way of doing things. For the thorax I use closed cell foam to keep the head up, and the forward wing is of antron to better cast the reflection of light. This fly can be tied in various sizes and colors depending on what species is hatching.

RECIPE:
-Tiemco 101 size 16.
-8/0 Uni thread in camel.
-Tail; webby fibers of a brown schlappen hackle.
-Body; dubbed webby fibers of a brown schlappen hackle.
-Ribbing; fine gold wire.
-Thorax; closed cell foam.
-Hackle; grizzly or cree.
-Wing; Antron.

Friday, November 6, 2009

How To Smoke Trout


Fall is my favorite time of year as fishing for trout in lakes is red hot! I’m a catch and release guy most of the time, but now is the time to keep a few fish from stocked lakes and fire up the smoker. I just finished up a smoke out yesterday and thought it would be nice to share my thoughts on just how to smoke trout.

Right after you land your fish, gut the gills and bleed them out, keep em cool in an ice chest until you get home. Now gut the fish, clean, and rinse in cold water. There are many ways to smoke the fish, whole, chunks, or fillets – I prefer fillets. Once your fish is prepped it’s time to soak them in the brine. My recipe for brine:

-64 ounces of water.
-Half cup salt.
-Half cup brown sugar.
-3 tablespoons of red raspberry jam.
-3 tablespoons of crushed garlic.
-3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.

Mix ingredients well in a glass, stainless, or crockery container (not aluminum!). Immerse fish. Chunks and fillets let soak for 4-7 hours, whole fish 8-12 hours in the refrigerator. After soaking rinse the fish with cold water, for more flavor do not rinse. Pat dry and let sit for 1 hour. You will notice a tacky glaze on the surface of the fish, this is called the “pellicle”. Your fish is now ready for the smoker. Smokers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. I own a “Big Chief” smoker and it has never let me down. Pre heat you smoker and add your smoking chips. I use three pans of chips on the hour, alternating alder and apple. Check the meat periodically for the degree of doneness you desire. Your fish should be nicely colored, and flaky to the touch. Now, enjoy the reward! You will want to smoke a number of fish at the same time as they are so delicious, and they don’t last long!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fishing Report - Lake Davis




My good friend Feather River Sam and I fished the lake today, not a puff of wind in the morning, but very cold. As I backed the boat down the ramp I began sliding due to the thin layer of ice that formed from other boats being launched. I kept my cool and managed to get the boat in safely - Whew! We headed up to the north end of the lake and anchored of slaughter house point. There were many fishing rising around us, but they appeared to be on the small side. We fished both floating and sinking lines using olive and brown wiggle tails. We hooked 4 fish but they were very small. We moved down to Jenkins to find bigger fish, which we did! The wind came up big though with huge gust and white caps that had us finding shelter at Jon's cove. We hooked into another 11 fish from 17-21", I kept four rainbows for the smoker. Water temps were right around 50 degrees. Stomach contents showed midges and crayfish. For November it was a nice, warm day - even the wind was warm - Go figure. The lakes in great shape and with no snow on the ground it should be fishable for a while.

Fishing Report - Middle Fork Feather River


I ventured below Camp Laymans to fish the MFFR for the last time of the season last Monday. It was a beautiful sunny day with the fall colors in full effect. The water levels were up for this time of year due to a few storms that have rolled through in the past month, and water temps were cold at 50 degrees. The wild trout of the MFFR prefer temps from 58-62 degrees, and with the cold water temps there were no risers to be found. A small BWO hatch was coming off, no big numbers but enough to put on a #16 emerger. I high sticked fishy looking holding water and did well as I C&R 12 fish 12"-16". It was strange though, no small fish. The fish were not as hot due to the cold water temps, sluggish at best. Besides the BWO's there were a few different caddis out from size 12- 16, laying eggs and fluttering about. No Oct. Caddis were out as well and that was a bummer, this river used to have a huge hatch until the flood of the late nineties flushed them away. It was a great day to close out the MFFR, not another angler to be seen, plenty of eye candy, and a bent rod here and there.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fishing the October Caddis




The October Caddis (Dicosmoecus) is by far my favorite aquatic insect as well as my colleges, we have done an in depth study of this insect for the last 10 years and have learned so much. Great hatches of this bug occur on the McCloud, Upper Sac, the Pit, and Truckee rivers. There are many other rivers and streams that hold the Oct. Caddis as it is a very prolific insect. The larvae builds a case out of small pebbles and spends 1-2 years in the river before it seals the case up and begins pupation, This transformation takes about two months. When ready to hatch, they chew their way out of their case and hatch mid stream or on rocks that are in slow skinny water between noon and evening. Known as the "Big Bug" these insects are 30mm long, and thick! Pupa imitations should be tied on a #6 or #8 3xl hook with a burnt orange body, burnt orange front hackle, black ostrich collar and a black bead. I prefer Gary LaFontaine's deep sparkle pupa as it holds many air bubbles that shimmer and shine. Short line high sticking pocket water will get good results.

Fishing the adult is my true love for this bug, after all, fishing a big dry is simply the best game in town. Many anglers fail to catch large numbers of trout on the Oct. Caddis due to the fact that they simply cast and watch the bug drift. There is so much more to it than that. First, the fly should be of the right size, shape, and profile. You would think that color is of high importance but it is not, which was proved by a college of mine who used a blue bodied pattern on the McCloud and caught fish. Your pattern should sit low in the water, be able to float in all types of water, and be very durable. The color of the wing is important though, on the natural the color of the wing is of pine bark - this is how it camouflages itself from the birds. Also note that the Oct. Caddis loves sunny sections of the river, so find a good bend in the river that gets all day sun.
I tie the Oct. Caddis on 3x, this way when I get hung up in a tree or on an elephant ear I can get my prized fly back. Using a short line I dab the pocket water keeping most of the leader off the water. Here is the key to your success, you must twitch the fly like a natural, even bringing it off the water and back down several times. When a longer drift is needed, cast downstream and drift it fly first so the fish do not see your leader - much like a Fall River drift. The Oct. Caddis lives quite a long time for an aquatic bug, but the cold weather usually gets the best of them. Snow - Some of the best days fishing this bug has been on snowy days when the insects fall from their perch, whether it is a tree or stream side foliage and are helpless drifting down the lanes into a hungry mouth of a trout.

Best game in town folks, so get out there and experience this fascinating hatch!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fishing Report - Lake Davis




I Woke up this morning with a need to prowl the banks of Lake Davis from Jenkins to Fugawi north in search of large rainbows in the shallows. Water temps were at 62 degrees, and not a puff of wind to be had, it was hot today and will be through the weekend. This only stalls things on the lake as far as the fall gorge is concerned. Around 9am fish began to enter the shallow water, by shallow I mean 1-2 feet of water. The tiny lime green midge was out in full force, and the fish were coming up for them. I fished a floating line with a 12 foot leader to 4X using my searching fly, the brown wiggle tail. Large trout are loners and tend to be in the shallows while the "dinks", trout from 12-14 inches are podded up and rising in deeper water. I caught and released 9 fish in 3 hours, but the game I chose was quality over quantity. I sight fished every rainbow I hooked, so many were in ankle deep water that is was just amazing! You could see the large trout as clear as day just cruising for food. They did not spook when casted to, and often it took several casts to hook into one. The trout then switched to blood midges around 10:30am and the wind came slightly up from the south east at 5 mph, I adjusted and hooked more. Overall , fishing is good to very good. Once we get some freezing temps at night, followed by cool temps during the day the fishing will turn to "red hot". It is such a pleasure to be able to cast to fish that are not freaked out by some 30" pike, but instead feed like cattle in the fertile shallows of Lake Davis. If your a still water fan, this lake has it all!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fishing Report - Lake Davis




I took my Dad up to the lake yesterday and trolled flies using the Jay Fair system, which is the most effective way to bring in big numbers of fish. It's a great game for Dad in his old age as he is not able to cast a fly rod at 70 feet to rising trout anymore. Fly anglers in general put down trolling as they think it's all about bait and flashers, when in reality, a fly angler in a float tube or pontoon boat is trolling between casts by pulling the fly through the water by means of fins or oars.

When we arrived at the lake we were surprised to see the fog. You could only see about 50 feet so we opted to troll right out of Honker Cove. Once the fog lifted we buzzed over to Jenkins Point. There are a ton of fish in this area right now. Water temps were at 63 degrees, and the rainbows were rising to the tiny lime green midge (#18). The most exciting news is that the trout are hitting bigger flies! We used a #6 3xl Jay Fair Trolling fly in dark fiery Cinnamon and hooked 23 fish in 3.5 hours of fishing. 6 of those fish were 18-22". The parasites on the fish are going away as well with the cooler water temps. Stomach samples were filled with small midges, blood midges, and crayfish. One fish had 4 crayfish in his belly! The lake turned over a few weeks ago and the water clarity is getting better, and the floating weeds are less of a problem as well.
Get your chores and honey do's done and head up to Lake Davis, the fall gorge has started!




Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fishing Report - Deer Creek, Tehama Co.







Deer Creek holds a special place for me as it is one of the many places I learned the art of flyfishing in the early 70's. Back then I fished with my Dad, Dick Nelson, and many members of the Chico fly fishing club. We fished the meadows back in it's hey day, but with so many fences now I turn to the canyon for a good time. It has been at least 15 years since I last laid down a good presentation on this gem of a creek. Coming home from a hiking trip in the Lassen Volcanic National Park, I opted to fish for a few hours while Christine painted the starting of the fall colors. Water temps were at 61 degrees and there were no bugs in sight. I chose my searching dry, the foam hopper and within the first cast I had my first rainbow. I C&R 23 fish in a rather short time, fish ranged from 5-11". I flipped rocks and found a ton of Hydropsyche, some were huge. It was late in the day and the light fell upon the elephant ears and cast the most beautiful green glow, one that only mother nature could paint - it was breathtaking! Today on Deer Creek brings back some good memories fishing with Dad long ago, when we could go to Potato Patch campground and be the only ones there. Times may have changed, but those warm fuzzy childhood dreams are only a cast away.

Lake Davis Improvements
















The west side road / chip seal project is completed and they did an outstanding job! Deep culverts, and drainage piping was also added to the new road which will help when we get the spring thaw. Even better the “new” Camp 5 puts Honker Cove to shame. There are now benches, picnic tables, more bathrooms, more parking, and a better boat ramp. They also put in a solar powered light/beacon for boats that launch early, or come in after dark. It is also ADA compliant for the handicap. They really took it to the next level! I would like to thank Bob Baiocchi of the California Salmon and Steelhead Association for his relentless work to give the public what they deserve with the improvements on Lake Davis, and I quote him “I’m not done yet!” It will be so sweet once the lake fills up a bit and the docks are put in at Camp 5, once that happens I will only use Camp 5.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fishing Report - Grizzly Creek







Today I fished Grizzly Creek below the dam of Lake Davis in the canyon section. Warning! This section is sketchy at best. Steep walls with rock fall, loose unpredictable footing, mountain lions, and deep holes in the creek will claim a victim. It's spooky and remote down here. With that in the back of mind but ever so present, I scanned the water before casting my fly. Water temps were 59 degrees, and the water here is very dark - Not muddy, just dark and very far from being gin clear. I have fished here many other times and from those trips knew that dry flies were not the answer. I rigged up with a san juan worm with a #14 orange atomic worm with a good amount of weight and high sticked. This creek for the most part is tangled in high grass and willows, an angler must choose the open spots to cast to likely holding water. If you set your hook late your line and fly will find itself a home amongst the many branches, and you will be bushwhacking just to get your prized fly back. I C&R 21 bows from 9-15", and take note these fish are very strong fighters. As I made my way down to the last pool in a series of three, I took a deep breathe for this is the pool I C&R a 5 pound brown 4 years ago. I fished the pool and took 2 bows rather quickly. I then concentrated on the few foam patches and back eddies. I felt a tug and set the hook and my rod nearly came out of my hand - It was a brute! Fishing 4x I quickly got on the fish and muscled it back to the bank, and there it was, a 22" 4.5 pound brown! as I bent over to take a picture (mistake) The brownie screamed back into the pool and tangled me on a submerged snag - Game over, I just got my ass handed to me. Not the first time and it won't be the last. As I made my way out of the canyon one of my favorite birds came to check on me, a Clark's Nutcracker said hi, gave me a few calls and returned to his job of stashing pine nuts for the upcoming winter. Though this creek is beautiful, it is gnarly as well, and I would never recommend fishing it to anyone.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tying The All Rounder Schlappen Nymph


I came up with this nymph as I was not happy with how delicate fibers from a pheasant tail were. On my tying bench laid a bunch of semi used Jay Fair Schlappen hackle and one thing led to another. With just one single feather I can tie a dozen nymphs. For the tail I use the fibers on the tip, for the wing case and legs I use the middle portion of the hackle, and for a dubbed body I use the webby fibers on the bottom of the hackle. The coolest thing about using Schlappen hackle is the movement The fly has under water - It's alive! So many commercial patterns are rigid like sticks when fished, but not this one. Give the Schlappen nymph a try and see if your catch rates improve. When Blue Wing Olive mayflies are active, this little fly has your back!


RECIPE:

-Tiemco 3761 Size 16.
-8/0 Uni thread in Olive.
-Body; Jay Fair Schlappen hackle in Brown/Olive.
-Ribbing; thread.
-Tail; Jay Fair Schlappen hackle in Brown/Olive.
-Wing case and legs; Jay Fair Schlappen hackle in Brown/Olive.
-Flashback; Jay Fair Copper Flash.
-Bead; Gold or Copper (Optional)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fishing Report - Jamison Creek
















The chores were done and my Gary Lafontaine stealth 6 wt. sat on the rod rack begging for action. I chose a section of Jamison Creek I have never fished, it is located just past the Jonhnsville bridge at the day use area. My usual haunt is deep in the canyon, but something new always gets the juices flowing. The gradient of the creek here is much less than the canyon. Long skinny pools mixed with pocket water, and my favorite - Lots of big log jams! Water temps were right at 60 degrees. Fishing was good, but here many other anglers hit this stretch due to it's easy access and the numbers I usually get were not the same. No complaints here though as I saw millions of Seep Spring and Scarlet monkey flowers that were in full bloom! I even saw a few of the rare Lewis's Monkey flowers as well. Calliope and Broad Tailed humming birds were busy pollinating these magnificent flowers, and having a great time. Once I leaped frogged a few other anglers I had complete solitude once again. My old friend the water ouzel showed me the way and sang a song that touched my inner soul. White headed wood peckers filled in with the percussion, and Eureka Peak stood guard to the west. I might add this is a great stretch to take the little ones who are new to fly fishing, it's a perfect classroom! There is something about fishing small creeks, it's as if I'm 7 seven years old again, combing the waters for trout, and learning the craft. In this rat race of a world it's the little creeks that make me feel so young and alive, and at peace with myself.

Gold Fever




Now is a great time to search for our state fish "The Golden Trout" in the higher most elevations of the Sierra Nevada. To find these jewels one must plan and prepare to hike deep into the back country, like the the Golden Trout Wilderness. But there are some opportunities to find goldens north of Lake Tahoe, but it will require a search that resembles what the early pioneers of the gold rush went through. I know of a few lakes that hold them, but I'm sworn to secrecy and not about to spill the beans! On one secret lake the goldens cruise the shoreline mixed with cutthroat trout in search of blown in feed. In this case it was lady bugs, and the fish were being very selective - Nothing else worked that day. If you plan on mining for gold, use long leaders to 6x, and try lady bug and ant patterns. There is nothing like holding a golden trout for the first time, the glow they radiate is just like what the miners called "Gold Fever"!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fishing Report - NF Yuba







On my way home from Grass Valley I stopped to wet a line above Sierra City. I found a turn out with no cars and made my way down to the river, flows are a bit lower than last time out, and the water temp was 59 degrees. Caddis flies and Crane flies hovered at the heads of plunge pools. I tied on a #16 X-Caddis in tan on 5x and proceeded to work my way upstream, dodging Seep Spring Monkey flowers and Lewis's Monkey flowers as I crept into position to cast. Fish were stacked at the heads of pools and deep runs in the white water, and a few heads poked up every now and then to give myself a target. Red Skimmer dragonflies patrolled their beats in anticipation of a meal, giving chase to other dragonflies who wanted some of their territory. Fishing is still very good for mid day, and as evening comes it will only be better. I caught and released so many wild rainbows from 5-13" I......lost count! The trout really had me second guessing as the smaller bows would rush the fly, and the larger ones would take a slow sip. Sharp eyes were needed as to set quickly, or wait a few seconds longer for the bigger fish. I fished for three hours until the recreational swimmer hatch came on, and with that kind of company the trout dropped to bottom of the river and out of reach of my dry fly. I saw many anglers here and there, but the old saying rang loud and true - 10% of the fisherman catch 90% of the fish. This is such a fantastic fishery! I hope one day you can wet a line as I did on this fabulous first day of August.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fishing Report - Middle Fork Feather River







I fished during the day in an area near The 20 Mile House. This historic Inn has been a haven to travelers since 1854, welcoming prospectors, pioneers and adventurers who journeyed on the storied stage coach from the east. The river is low, but that makes it easier to catch the native rainbows as they are concentrated into the deeper runs and pools. The water temp was 62 degrees. A few bugs were active including Sulphur spinners, and couple different Caddis flies. With no rise forms and plenty of hoppers out, I tied on my tan and brown foam hopper. Fishing was excellent! Many rainbows came up for the hopper with takes so slow and confident, you just knew that they had ate them before. I would fish a run, walk back down, and tie on a Baetis nymph dropper in a size 18 and catch more fish. You don't see very many people down here, and for a Saturday there was complete solitude to be had. I caught and released 37 fish 6-14". With that many fish in a short period, I put the rod down and rolled rocks to bug hunt. The highest percentage of bugs is cased Caddis, followed by Golden Stones. The amount of bugs is off the charts and this is a banner year for all species. If you plan on fishing the Middle Fork, fish below where Jamison creek dumps in by Two Rivers. There is cold water here and the trout will navigate the river for miles to find it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Eagle Lake - A Blast From The Past




Our good friend Tony was camped out in the north lake for a 4 day fish out, he had found the fish and they where only a mile away from his camp. He called us Saturday night and invited Battling Bob and myself for a mid morning to early afternoon bite that was going on in the tulles. We left the house early Sunday morning, it was cold out, as low as 16 degrees. By 9am we were in Tony's boat that sat camouflaged amongst the tulle reeds and headed for the hunting grounds.

The conditions were unreal for sight fishing, like bone fishing if you will.... on the flats. This was trout stalking at it's finest. We anchored in 5-6 feet of crystal clear water, it was sunny, bright, and not a puff of wind to be had. You could spot the large trout coming in at 70 feet away. Their dark backs and shadows really stuck out against the white sandy bottom of the north lake. The fish cruised for aquatic beetles, and dragonfly larva swimming about in the surreal world of the tulles. Sometimes you would be tracking a fish far off the boat when out of the blue a large trout would just appear 30 feet off the boat - they have ghost like characters of nature. Some spooked when casted near, but many came to your bug if they saw it, often you would strip your fly aggressively until a head turned and saw it. Then adjusting to your normal swim strip of the dragonfly the fish would then suck it down. One nice toad Dad caught was so close that Tony and I spotted the fish grabbing the fly, then telling dad to set the damn hook. If this was a paid trip, I would have tipped the captain $200 - Tony's eyes and coaching was a thing of beauty.

With a simple olive mohair bugger, a marabou tail and no hackle (but very fat and heavy) in a size 10 we hooked 11 fish in a little under 3 hours. The rainbows averaged 3.4 pounds and 22". They have been on the small side since the lake has been low for the past 3 years. Once that lake fills a bit, we will have some very large trout in the 4, 5, 6 pound range again.

Dad was in his glory as Tony sighted the fish for him and then casted to the target, all Dad had to do was fool that rainbow into sucking down his bug and setting the hook. For myself it was such a special day, one I might not see for years - It was that good. By the time we got off the water around 1pm it was 62 degrees and very warm, shortly after then the wind picked up out of the west south/west and the sight game was gone. After a terrific lunch provided by Tony, we headed out for home with 10.5 pounds of flaming orange meat of the Eagle lake rainbow - Hands down the best tasting trout on the planet. Dad and I just could not stop smiling the whole way home, even the drive down Hwy. 395 was special with that warm autumn sun on the face and those fall colors glowing in the distance. After eating a fresh deboned fillet that had been cooked with a panco, olive oil, and a fresh made bacon bits coating, we hunkered down for bed with dreams of stalking trout again at Eagle Lake. The lakes natural beauty and the stunning rainbow trout will forever haunt me. I am speechless at the wonders I have seen…



Monday, July 20, 2009

Hoppertunity







With the dog days of Summer settling in, one of my favorite games in fly fishing is here - Presenting grass hopper patterns to big bank feeders. Fishing hoppers is much more than just casting to a bank and giving the fly a splat. I got my masters degree in fishing hoppers on the banks of the Madison river in Montana. It took me years to come up with a pattern that floated all day, kept a low profile, and made refusals a thing of the past. Typical hopper patterns were of no interest to these brutes, in fact after getting no looks from my fly, I would send a natural down the current lane and sure enough the fish gulped it down. I then tried a club sandwich hopper tied with foam and rubber legs. It did the job quite well but I wanted more. I took that fly and simplified it, no bells or whistles. The results were awesome, and one fine day I C&R 17 fish all over 20"! Presentation is key when going after big bank feeders. I like to present the hopper "fly first", feeding out line much like a Fall River drift. Walking softly, and keeping a low profile is a must - I'm talking hands and knees here. Ideal bank habitat for large trout include undercuts, depth, high grass, and willows. These elements give them security, and you the angler a greater chance of hooking up. Yep, now is the time for a hoppertunity, and a oh what a game!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tying The Skimmer Dragonfly Nymph




Fossils of dragonflies date back 300 million years, today there are 450 species in North America alone. Fly anglers are only concerned with two of these nymphs, the Darner (Family Aeschnidae) and the Skimmer (Family Libellulidae). This skimmer pattern is one I came up with for Eagle Lake (Lassen county, Northern California) while stalking the Eagle Lake strain rainbow amongst the tulle reeds. I like to tie up some that sink slowly, and some that drop like a rock. In the North part of Eagle Lake there is a white sandy bottom, and with gin clear water sight fishing is the name of game. I fish the heavily weighted dragonfly nymph here, and after I cast I let it sink to the bottom, and let it sit there. As a rainbow comes close to my fly I start stripping, leaving a puff of sand in it's wake - And those rainbows see that very well, darting over to the fly and eating it like it's the real thing!

The pattern is quick and easy to tie. I also only use four rubber legs instead of six, with one tie in point I can speed up the entire process. And lastly I use a brown sharpie felt pen to darken the back a bit and mottle the legs. Try a skimmer next time you find yourself fishing at Eagle Lake or any other place that holds dragonfly nymphs.

RECIPE:
-Mustad 9672 streamer hook in sizes #8, and #10.
-Body; Jay Fair mohair in olive brown.
-Legs; large olive rubber legs.
-Eyes; tungsten, chain, or mono depending on your target depth.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Volunteering with SYRCL







I was Invited by the South Yuba River Citizen League to be involved with their Upper Watershed Assessment on the headwaters of the South Yuba River and assist with the aquatic macro invertebrate study in the Van Norden area. As an assistant to Christine who headed the bug study, I was more than ready to get my "bug" eyes on and get busy. This was a unique study as it also involved The Gateway Mountain Center, a place-based learning and adventure program for kids, and young adults. We worked with a private charter school out of Houston, Texas. These kids were the creme of the crop, only being honored into the program by their top grades. Though they came from the city, these attentive pupils had some great background on our Sierra Nevada, and it showed. We did cross transects of three different riffles, runs, and pools collecting specimens. The students got to learn how to collect, process, identify aquatic insects, and learn about their habitat and behavior. It was such a pleasure to share the world of trout food with these kids as they were so interested, and consumed every bit of info Christine and I could offer them! Besides learning about the bugs, they got to get involved with on site birds, native grasses, plants, and stream hydrology. There was an abundance of wild rainbow trout in the stream, schooled up in the deeper pools. The high light was during the introduction from Jen Hemmert of SRYCL, a pack of coyotes not far off were yipping and yapping, welcoming us to their home!

Fishing Report - Crooked Lakes, Placer Co.











I had never been to Crooked Lakes, and with an invite from Christine and promises of trout - I was there! We took off and made base camp at Long lake, from here we could do day hikes with light packs to dozens of lakes in the general area. It was so amazing how fast we reached a plateau of the alpine environment with little effort, more bang for your buck I might add. Many lakes held Brookies, Rainbow, and Brown trout. As usual with high alpine lakes they seem to know just how far an angler could cast, and hung out in the middle of the lake rising to insects. The fish wanted the fly on top with quick strips and lots of splashing to induce strikes, over sized hoppers and Airheads in orange got their attention! I got my fair share of hook ups, and with plenty of food on hand, I had a hard time keeping any fish as they were SO beautiful! Other than trout and gorgeous scenery, there were hundreds of wild flowers, many warblers sang their song without a glimpse of their presence, a spotted sandpiper bobbed its head and kept gaurd of our campsite, and mergansers cruised the lakes in search of juvenile trout. It was a great trip, one that will last in the memory banks for a long time.

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