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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Angry Trout



I'm back from my last trip to Eagle Lake for 2011, normally I fish the closure on December 31st but this year I can't make it.  The Eagle Laker's behavior this fall/winter has been strange, not many rise forms in the skinny water and most the time they sit on the first ledge waiting to come in and feed.  In fact my colleagues and I are wondering just what the hell is going on.  My first inclination is that we have had a high pressure dominating the atmosphere, very little rain, and an east wind most of the time for months.  There is plenty of food in the shallows and the scuds have come back after some bleak years due to the lake's falling water level.  When the trout have come in to feed in the shallows it is only for a short time.  Some days have been good, and some not.  My best day was last Tuesday the 27th, 10 fish hooked, 9 landed - The morning bite that day was great!  Many of the fish I caught were quite large this late season, so clean and beautiful.  I like to think of them as fresh water tunas!

The Eagle Lake rainbow in an angry trout.  When they see your fly there is no hesitation on their part, they want it, they grab it and you've got a hook up.  Lake Davis fish can get picky and shy but not the Eagle Laker.  If your fishing Eagle Lake and are not getting hook ups, it's a sure bet that the fish are not there.  If they are there you will get hook ups, bumps, and takes.  My advice is to move to another spot if no action takes place in 20 minutes of fishing.  When fighting an Eagle Laker you've got your hands full, angry pissed offed trout do not come in easily!

These trout are angry because the powers that be are draining the lake for a handful of cattle ranchers.  It's hard to imagine that any government agency would let this happen to a special species of trout that cannot be found anywhere else on the planet.  1.5 million gallons?  Are you kidding me?  I smell a big pile of BS!  For more information on the Bly Tunnel and how you can get involved please visit Val Aubrey's site; http://eaglelakefishing.net/index.php  After a very cold late season I'm looking forward to t-shirt weather in the late spring and rise forms at my feet!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Saying Goodbye To My Best Friend


They say all good things must come to an end, but when it happens in a blink of an eye you gasp for breath, trembling, and find yourself asking "What the hell just happened"? My trout dog Madison, a pure bred Australian cattle dog, redefined the definition of a fishing buddy. This post is a tribute to his life and the good times we had.


My friend turned me on to the ACD breed in the mid 90's, he had owned several dogs and after spending some time with his current dog Ivan I said to myself "I gotta get one of these"! I wanted a female to mate with Ivan, but when I showed up at the Becka Ranch in Corning, Ca the owners pointed over to Big Blue, as they called him. There he was all alone, and even at 6 weeks he was the dominate male of the litter.  I paid $80 for him and headed for home what would be the start of a journey between man, dog, and trout.



At 4 months he was growing like a weed and pushing the envelope, like falling out of the boat while trolling and not coming up for over 10 seconds - Which seemed like an eternity to me! He then one upped himself by falling out of the truck passenger window weeks later at a slow speed, and walking away wagging his nub of a tail. The toughness of a ACD is remarkable, They only know to put out 110%!



I began taking Madi on fishing trips when he was 6 months old, showing him the life style of camping out, and enjoying the flora and fauna. The ACD is known not to like water, but this dog adapted to the lifestyle of fly fishing for trout and became a water dog. He knew the game that I was playing, trying to catch a wild animal. Having the Australian Dingo in him he was a hunter, and very smart. Queensland Heelers have the brain capacity of a 6 year old human child, and they know it. He knew when I was tying flies at the bench it was for the trout. I'd call out the name of the pattern and the location it was intended to be used at, and his legendary bark would ignite like gasoline on fire, deafening the room.



This was his favorite corner high up on my deck at the Mohawk Vista property. He was the ultimate watch dog, nothing got past him. His sniffer was so good he could smell the bear coming miles away and sound the alarm. Sure enough, 20 minutes later the bear would show up looking to raid the trash cans. He treed 3 bears in his lifetime, one of which he chased down and bit the ass of. He knew dozens of words and their meanings when it came to animals; bear, deer, coyote, bird, lizard, bug, bee, and on and on.




His true love in life though was to be my shadow where ever I went, which most often was on a river or lake. Fishing was a way for us to spend quality time together and an excuse to find adventure. He traveled to many places with me including his name sake "The Madison River" in Montana.





The East Walker River, Nevada.

Mills Peak lookout, Ca


Lake Davis, Ca - His home turf.



Madison loved boats more than anything, he would lean off the bow and let the wind whip over him, sniffing and searching...


Or go fishing with Grandpa and kick back.


He also loved motorcycles of all kinds, and would get so revved up when I would twist the throttle. I took him and my dad to a race at Honey Lake.  He was so smart and observant he would follow my pace around the track, and as I came ripping by he would let out a string of barks, then resume watching me make another lap. If he had thumbs he would have been out there too.


Madison did more in the last ten years than most people do in their entire life, and that makes me at peace with this great loss in my life. He was spoiled, had the best of everything, and was loved by many humans. Up until the end he was in great shape and blazing down the trail full of piss and vinegar. On 12/5 we learned that Madi had cancer of the spleen, and it had spread to his heart and lungs. His vet did not think he was going to make it through the night but I wanted to spend one more night sleeping next to him. After more tests, it was confirmed that it would be a painful death and not wanting Madison to suffer anymore, we had him put to sleep. I'm sure he's somewhere in the spirit world chasing a squirrel, or stalking a trout, and thinking of me.  God speed Madi boy - I'll never forget!

Madison Baiocchi 6/22/2001 to 12/6/2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Eagle Lake Report - The Wrath of Freezing Fog!


First off the straight scoop.  After a slow November the trend has creeped into December.  With not very many fish actively working the shallows, bank fishing has been slow.  Water temps are running 34.5 to 40 degrees.  Fish that have been caught have been perfect specimens running 2.5-4 pounds.  Not many chubs around but stomach contents revealed scuds.  Effective flies were brown/olive scuds #12, and Jay Fair wiggle tails in dark fiery cinnamon.  The trout are really battling hard and I suggest using 3x tippet, 2x if your are stripping a chub.  Air temps are running around 15 degrees to high 30's / low 40's, expect freezing fog in the mornings - Any amount of wind will only make it colder.  Bank fishing should pick up once the full moon phase passes.  There is a new ramp on the west side of the south marina just past the general store and the breaker wall.  There is no dock, and it's prone to wind but it drops off quickly into deep water. 


On Thursday we fished late from 12-3pm.  Right away I had two fish.  The wind was right in our face but that's why a 7wt is the rod of choice here.  Tony hooked one and we kept casting but never got another bump.

EAGLE LAKE CHROME.

DOG FIGHT!



Friday morning brought the dreaded death fog - It's beyond cold.  Even the smallest of fire can bring relief.


We burned what we could find but the rocky points don't have much, a dead duck gave the fire a little fat to juice it up a bit.  I'm bringing out some oak and pitch wood next time!



STRIPPING FLIES COATED IN DEATH FOG.






Once the fog starts lifting and the sun pierces through the cold you can instantly feel the warmth, and the ice in your guides begin to soften.  This makes so happy!



Saturday brought the same conditions as Friday but with no wind.  It was perfect conditions for large rainbows to come in and sip in the skinny water, but only a few showed themselves.



These are the remains of a native American fish camp.  Back in the day the natives would build rock circles about three feet high, then lay pine branches over the top much like a tee pee for shelter.  The pile of rocks in the lower center of the picture is the oven they used to cook meals.  The history of this lake is just as amazing as the fishing there.


The best news from the whole trip was that the scuds have increased their populations in the shallows!  Many areas were infested with scuds.  I'm heading back up next Friday so I'll let you all know how it goes this time around.  I know one thing...It's gonna be cold!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Baiocchi's Troutfitters Swag Now Available!

My new store is now open!  You can purchase hoodies, t-shirts, hats, stainless steel water bottles, coffee mugs, and stickers with my logo.  Fly our colors the next time you go fishing!.  Click on the link and check it out!  http://www.cafepress.com/baiocchistroutfitters






 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Eagle Lake Fishing Report


I spent a few days up at the pond to celebrate my 46th birthday, do some scouting, and fish.  Tuesday and Wed. the weather was very nice and sunny, and the nights not too cold.  We fished the south basin and had T's boat to use as a high speed taxi to jump from shoal to shoal.  Water temps ran from 44 degrees in the morning warming to 50 by mid day. 


                    5AM - Wader up, coffee made, rods rigged.  One cold boat ride coming up!


Fog greeted us once it got light, there is no two ways about it - The fog sucks.  It's cold and it gives one the sense of vertigo, your balance is off, and it is hard to see rising fish.  A few fish came in for about a half hour and then they were gone though we did get a few taps and LDR's.


About 10:30am the fog began to break and our friend the sun was so much appreciated!  We fished about several areas but the fish never came into the shallows.  We marked a ton of fish hangin out on the first ledge 12-20 feet down.  The game we like to fish is when the trout come into the skinny water and show themselves,  But an angler in a tube or boat can have a good shot at these deeper fish using an indicator or a good sinking line.


 Snow geese were really on the move for the central valley, they were flying day and night.  We estimated about 3- 4 thousand birds flying over Eagle Lake in a 24 hour period.


There is nothing like having a good trout dog in the crew, the ever observant Lyle looking for sippers.



                                                                            We had a good simple camp...


                                                        The boat was right there ready to go at O Dark thirty...


And the fire was blazing and kickin out heat.  When you camp at Eagle Lake bring more wood than you think you need - Once that sun goes away it's cold!



Thursday brought a powerful fast approaching cold front and big wind right out of the chute at O Dark.  This was not a camera day.  We fished the Circus Grounds and T had one on until it spit the hook.  We then fished another shoal by Slough Point, the wind was pushing chub minnows up against rock spines leaving them disorientated and the fish took full advantage of this.  In the next hour and a half I hooked 6 landing three on the Jay Fair "Searching" fly (see above) in brown with copper flash and the chub minnow version, with a white tail, pearl body, and a olive wing with a few strands of pearl krystal flash.  The wind became stronger and we could have still fished but we were looking at a rodeo of a boat ride back to camp.  By the time we were packed up and done shuttling it was raining lightly to a heavy mist with big black angry clouds to the west.  This storm is much needed to put the fear of winter into these trout and get them in the shallows for good.  I'll be back up in a week and I really can't wait to fish my favorite still water!



                               Enjoy the radiant heat of pitchwood









Featured Guide in Fly Fishing & Tying Journal


I'm proud to announce I've been featured in Fly Fishing & Tying Journal magazine in their "Guide Profile" column.  It's a short interview that reveals my favorite flies, favorite destinations, and a little bit about myself.  I'm very honored to be included in such a fine publication!  Though the article is not available on line, you can find it at most fly shops.  Special thanks to Dave Kilhefner of FF&T magazine for making this happen.  You can treat yourself to a subscription by following this link; http://www.amatobooks.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=FTJ-MAG&Category_Code=MAGAZINE_SUBSF

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My New Home

After care taking for my dad for 14 years I've relocated him to the Napa Valley, and now that I'm free I've made up my mind to live at a lower elevation during the cold winter months.  Ever since high school I've chased the storms around the world in search of powder.  In fact I have devoted 32 years of my life to snowboarding, 10 of those being a top professional.  I'm done with owning a home at 5,000 ft.  All the plowing, the blowing, and the shoveling can suck hind tit for all I care!

I now call Nevada City my home and things are good.  I've got my sweet heart, my heeler by my side, and a good solid house.  There's something strange here, there are actual services!  Anything I want can be found here and I don't have to go to Reno or Quincy!  There is water to fish, and Donner Summit is 40 minutes away to get my pow fix.  I'll still be guiding in Plumas, Lassen, and Sierra counties from May until the rivers close and the lakes ice up - When you have spent hundreds upon hundreds of days on water you know, walking away just can't be done during fishing season.  Nope, you just look to the future and hope for the best....... 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sight Fishing Season Is Open At Lake Davis!


The fishing at Lake Davis is getting ready to peak, and with this cherry weather we've been having it does not get any better!  It's so good that in the last week the fish are foraging in ankle deep water as they hunt the shoreline for an unlucky crawdad.  You can actually "see" the fish move right in front of you, and your fly has got to hit on the head as their vision is so short and narrow in 6" of water.   Keys to successful sight fishing is keeping the sun at your back, staying low, and as little movement as possible.  The fall sun is so productive for this kind of fishing, it is lower in the sky and illuminates the side of the fish like a neon sign.


Quiet coves like this one above have been the most productive, it pays to watch the shoreline closely for rising fish.  The trout are now getting active in the middle of the day, I saw my first riser at 10:30am.  I C&R 5 trout today, and 4 of them were sight fished to - To see the take 10 feet in front of you is such a rush!


The color of the fish this fall are the best I've seen in a number of years!  Today they liked the Sheep Creek special in a #10.


I love driving up to the lake in fall and being greeted by this old growth stand of aspens.  The glow they radiate is awesome.  The leaves are starting to fall and these colors will be gone soon - Get it while you can!

Another rare find on the banks of Grizzly Creek, a beautiful little member of the harebell family, called Calico Flower, or Downingia.


 

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