Sunday, June 23, 2013
Meanderings Through The Northern Sierra
The last few weeks has been a blur of coniferous forests, polished granite, lush wild flowers, and crystal clear waters that flow through remote canyons. It seems everyone is delighted with the harmonic vibrations that only summer can provide in the Northern Sierra. The Western Tanagers are back hiding behind the pine bows, and the Dippers busy diving under the currents with their underwater goggles picking off mayfly nymphs and caddis to their heart's content. Wild flowers are popping out all over providing a vibrant combination of colors to compliment the vast green landscape. Fly anglers too are savoring this special time before the real heat comes upon us by venturing out to their favorite haunts whether it is a famous still water, a big free stone river, or a special creek.
I had the pleasure of guiding some special guests into the Jamsion Creek canyon, they were a hardy father and son duo who reminded me of my past with my own dad who taught me how to understand and appreciate the great outdoors. The small size of the wild rainbows did not matter to them, it was the experience and solitude that pleased them. When you see a smile like this on the water you know you did your job of sharing the good things in life.
There is something about stalking spooky wild trout in gin clear water with only the sound of gurgling water around you. It's a simple pleasure that many like myself call therapy. It's free and for the taking, all one has to do is take the first step into the unknown where the wild things are and completely lose themselves within the realm.
When you get right down it their is an instance where everything else just doesn't matter anymore, and it's usually when you hold one of these beautiful rainbows. Time stops, you behold your catch, and once again smile at the simple things in life.
Let's flip the coin and meander to a different setting of a still water that on the outside is a busy place full of recreation and people, but on in the inside offers a mouth watering delicacy of incredible scenery and ambiance. Lake Davis is all that and more. The month of June is a special one here with Damselfly nymphs hatching, Western Grebes doing their special two some dance walking on the water, Bald Eagles strafing through the air, and California Gulls laughing it up on the fertile shores.
The meadows that line the lake and stretch out to the west are filled with wildflowers, the purple haze of Sierra Penstemon glow from afar.
The damsel fly hatch this year is pretty good after seeing the last three years of measly proportions. I've been impressed to say the least. If you've never taken the time to get on your knees and watch a nymph swim from the water and crawl out on land to hatch, you're missing out on one of Mother Nature's wonders of the world.
The Electric Blue male looks fragile and sweet, but in the bug world both the nymph and the adult damselfly is a ferocious predator reeking havoc on small midges and other unsuspecting victims.
Higher up in the food chain the Lake Davis Rainbow finds Damselflies rather enticing to the pallet. Fishing the Damselfly hatch off the bank and sight fishing in 1-3 feet of water is so special that until you actually do it you'll never understand. It's a specialized type of fly fishing where one must use all their senses and skills to place the fly on the nose of a trout without spooking them - And you better have the right fly too or it's refusal time.
I have heard of reliable reports from other fly anglers that pulled up their anchors to have found snails latched on. This is the missing link that is needed to fatten up the rainbows of Lake Davis, fish that used to range in the 4, 5, and 6 pound range had a diet rich of abundant snails. I have not seen one since the last treatment of the lake to eliminate the Northern Pike since Rotenone the agent used darn near kills everything. Last week I found a small snail floating in a quiet cove, picked it up and smiled. They're coming back slowly but surely, and I can only hope to see the populations flourish again that were so huge in the mid 90's.
Where ever I may roam......