Sunday, August 23, 2009
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
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!
-Tiemco 3761 Size 16.
-8/0 Uni thread in Olive.
-Body; Jay Fair Schlappen hackle in Brown/Olive.
-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
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.
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
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.