Saturday, November 24, 2012
November 23th and not another fly angler in sight but my boys, there was nobody. The weather yesterday was absolutely gorgeous, 58-60 degrees, and not a puff of wind to be had. The water temps ran 42-47.8 degrees and there was no ice or snow to be found thanks to the last storm being so warm. Snow geese were hanging out before making the long flight south, and the coots were still tearing up vegetation while being on the lookout for one hungry northern harrier hawk that was swooping in for the kill. It was one of those unbelievable days when you had to pinch yourself and say "Really?"
Duane from Anaheim and his nephew Will had such a good time hooking fish in the skinny water. The fishing is still great but the fall bite is past its peak, not as many hook ups today as the past 3 weeks have provided. There were some rising fish as well and quite a bit of small brown spiders (size 18) falling on the water when their web rides came to an end. The fish were keying in on them. Floating lines, 3x, burnt orange and peacock wiggles tails got the attention of rainbows running 16-19". One fish was 23" and close to 4 pounds, it was a real slab!
It's safe to say we have some more fans of fly fishing stillwaters off the bank. Once I show anglers just how easy it can be during the most productive times of the year they understand why this game is so special. Another shot of rain/snow is forecasted from late Wednesday through Sunday, but until then it's going to be nice during the day at Lake Davis. Go get some 'cause once she freezes over it's a long time until the damsels get active and the fish are found in the skinny water right at your feet.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
The latest storm blew through leaving a wake of 3" of fresh snow and bitter arctic air. This morning the temps were a balmy 20 degrees, our friend the sun was out though and greeted us with some much needed warmth. I've decided to put the boat away for the season so all of my endeavors to the buckets will be on foot. Hiking out is not a bad thing at all, you generate a little heat and hear the quietness that only can be found after a snowfall.
In only a matter of days the creek had frozen solid offering a precarious crossing with a chance of falling through, the ice crackled and moaned with each step but held my weight as I reached the other side.
My guest today was Mario who had never fished Lake Davis in the fall, after averaging 10 fish an hour he understood why I get so excited about this time of year! He was also amazed how many fish he hooked into from this spot without ever having to move or get his feet wet. Water temps ranged from 38-44 degrees and there were many rising trout midging on a nice windless day. 60 fish were touched at least with 50 to the bank. In one word Mario described the fishing; INSANE!
An averaged sized rainbow from today, they were clean, beautiful, and full of fight ranging is size from 17-20". Stomach samples showed many damselfly nymphs, daphnia, and a few crawdads.
It's that time of year when the stove gets put into the pack, a hot meal keeps one warm and focused on the task at hand.
Burnt orange wiggle tails did the damage today as did sheep creek specials and damsel nymph patterns. Shore ice was creeping in on certain banks and some coves were locked in solid. The end is near but for now Lake Davis is very fishable. For those willing to hike 20 minutes, I can guide you to an excellent day of catching big numbers right off the bank!
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
The final two days of "LeTour"commenced at beautiful Lake Davis blazing wild in fall color. This was a very important trip for me since my clients were the guys who were on my vessel when we had to make a mayday distress call at Eagle Lake. I needed to wave the magic wand and pull a trout out of my hat, needless to say the fish gods had my back on this trip. I arrived on Saturday and went to Camp 5 boat ramp to see who was around. I met an angler who I had spoke to on the phone earlier in the week, Dave is another soldier who stalks trout from the bank and sight fishes when conditions allow. It's always great to hear stories from individuals who ply the shores of Lake Davis.
I rough camped full gypsy style for the next two nights on the log skidder site by Camp 5. Just the bare necessities came on this trip; A simple stove, the 15 pound -20 degree sleeping bag, and my insulated camo "mansuit" that is a must when you're cold weather camping. Once night came it was cold and a bit spooky, and those thumps and crunching sounds in the distance always add a few extra hairs to stand up on the back of my neck. The modern age lends a hand though as I answer business emails, Facebook my thoughts while checking in on my special friends, and running the Foo Fighters channel on Pandora keeping them bears away. Smartphones are one serious tool. The coyotes kept me company while singing the most eerie melodies, and the stars brilliant sparkle lit up the night sky in grand fashion. I pondered life in the darkness and thought of my upcoming birthday; 47 years old and to be honest life just keeps getting better, and better. I feel blessed.
Dan and Dean from the east bay had rescheduled another 2 days with me after the Eagle lake debacle. Talk about about winning the lottery, these guys picked the peak of the fishing at the lake combined with the warmest November weather I can ever remember! Yesterday the high was near 70 degrees at 5,700 feet; I was wearing a t-shirt! Very little wind to deal with and at times many rising trout.
It's hard to explain to someone how good the fishing was and how many hook ups we had. To an average person it would seem like the old fisherman's lies and bragging breath. Bent rods all day long no matter what style of fishing we chose to present flies; Shallow water with a floating line, Int. line with a fast strip, stalking individual trout off the bank, or the Jay Fair trolling technique all kicked ass! In two days these guys touched about 140 rainbows, bringing about 100 to the boat. So much action and so many fish we really lost count on the exact numbers. This is by far the best two days of the entire year on Lake Davis I got to experience - It was insane!
The rainbows ran from 16-20" and some so colored up in a crimson scheme that it looked like someone airbrushed them. These fish now have shoulders to them and they fought extremely well. The fishing will remain good but cold arctic air and snow is moving into the region for the next few days and the end could be coming soon. In any event I'll be back up with a few more client trips after the storm blows through.
I'm kinda sad that this trip has to end, I wish I could provide these perfect conditions everyday to my guest. But reality stares me in the face and I realize that times like these are gifts in life that are meant to be cherished memories. You know the ones that you play over and over in your head that make you grin and put that sparkle in your eye no matter how bad a day you're having. On my way home driving down hwy 49 through the twisty turns I was jonesing for a hot shower to rid my body of that stinky trout smell I had acquired from two days of pure bliss, and my temper-pedic bed. Through every turn in the damp darkness of the canyon I kept asking myself; "Did we really hammer all those fish or what?" Yes Jon, there is a Santa Claus!
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Please join me and the Santa Cruz Fly Fisherman on November 7th at their monthly meeting as I share the secrets of Eagle Lake; home of the special and ancient rainbow trout. My Power Point program consists of over a 130 slides explaining the history of the lake, access points, techniques, tactics, flies, and entomology. If your near the Santa Cruz area make sure to stop by as the meeting is open to the public, and everyone is welcome! For more information and directions to the clubhouse follow this link: http://www.santacruzflyfishermen.org/