A Native Northern Californian with 45 years of hands on fly fishing for trout, Jon Baiocchi carries on the tradition of sharing the knowledge and the passion passed down from his father; a fly fishing hall of famer, and a legendary voice for saving California fisheries. Jon’s home is the rich flora and fauna of the foothills to the Northern Sierra. Fishing, guiding, public speaking, tying, writing, and teaching. The legacy continues.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Damsel Nation Invades Lake Davis
I did not expect much Saturday at the lake, Colder temps and a good north wind 10-20 mph would not be the greatest of friend to the hatches. As I rolled into the camp 5 parking lot I could see white caps and big water pushing in from the north east. Boaters were already taking out and some men stalled at launching their craft. This day was my only "Jon Time" day, as for the last 6 weeks as I've been burning the candle at both ends working weed abatement and guiding anglers. Despite the cold conditions (gloves and gore tex for the ride out!) I was excited to get out on the boat - Much needed therapy. I called Pete and he was already fishing Fugawi cove with a few hook ups. "Hey buddy, I'm gonna find shelter and put this wind at my back" I said.
We found a bank along Freeman Creek that provided a "soft window"of water in front of us with a hope of a riser or two. We caught a few fish on blood midge pupa #14 with floating lines. Water temps were 55.6-58.7. The lake has experienced many warm windy days and periods of cold weather with some dusting of snow over the past month. This is good as it stalls out and spreads the good fishing that is coming upon us now for the month of June.
About 9:30 am we started seeing a damsel nymph or two, nothing to get excited about and I was surprised at the time that we even encountered some on such a cold day. I began seeing more as time went on, and now some splashy rises here and there. By 11am damsel nymphs were pouring into our bank, I saw more nymphs yesterday than I ever saw all of last year. It was happening, a hatch was in full swing!
This the most unusual rainbow I have ever caught at Lake Davis, Pete caught one too. No spots as well, who's got a clue? Rainbows ran 17-19 ", clean for the most part, red hot runs and into the backing with a few!
Today was special for we had sight fishing opportunities! I had 12 players in 1-2 feet of water on the mud flats. My theory on why these rainbows come into the mud flats is this; The dark damsel nymphs stick out like a neon flag waving in the wind. I really think they can see them better. Pete had the hot rod of the day and missed so many fish.
There was a line up of boats that formed after we had our spot on the banks. These guys were bangin fish left and right as I saw dozens of fish caught. I did not see any indicators whizzing back and forth and can only guess they were using Int. lines with damsels or blood midge. What was also interesting was the fish were moving in small and large pods from east to west, and west to east in Freeman Creek. These anglers in the boats would have good fishing for a while and then it would shut off, only to get good again. We experienced the same thing on the bank.
Welcome damsel fans, it's showtime now at Lake Davis with daily shows 9am to 2pm. I have no idea how good the hatch will be this year or when it will peak. I know, I know...It's not what it used to be like back in day - Is anything as good as it was back then as far as fishing goes? I do know this - As I age with my fly fishing I'm at the point in my life that quality over quantity is where it's at for me. Seeing the damsel hatch, the fish and birds responding, sight fishing, good friends and trout dogs - Simple pleasures for a simple man.