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Monday, October 28, 2013

Gypsy Tour 2013 - Week 4


Four weeks on the road sharing the knowledge of our classic still waters and it never gets old. Once I show my guests the skinny water game of cat and mouse with a large rainbow, they're literately hooked for life. A stalked trout off the bank is worth 10 on the bobber. There is no comparison. Some days are better than others and when the planets align themselves and perfect conditions exist it's like magic.

Mark from San Jose with a nice rainbow from Lake Davis - Look at those shoulders!

Lake Davis has been the main venue, and we finally got some of those warm windless days that dreams are made of. With calm days the trout are very spooky and using longer leaders with perfect presentations is a must. Slapping the water in front of you repeatedly is not good, a few false casts and let it fly to your destination. Water temps are now running 44 in the morning warming to 53 in the afternoon. Mornings are a bit slow but once the shallow water warms to 50 degrees, it's game on. Pressure has been heavy and you can blame that on me and this blog. It's hard for me not to share, being selfish and greedy is not what I'm all about. Helping the local economy and seeing other anglers enjoy themselves in beautiful surroundings is. 

Dave from Walnut Creek with a slab.

As for flies the most effective pattern in the last week has been a Jay Fair dark fiery cinnamon wiggle tail with a rust tail, #12. I've been hammering certain coves and let me tell you those trout are really getting tired of me and my guests. Refusals? Even during the silly season? You bet! My good friend Gene showed me a fly that I have duplicated and it gets the grab from those picky rainbows. The key is tying your wiggle tail more sparse and using some Spirit River UV2 dubbing. Also adding a little lead above the hook point will allow the fly to drop ass down so that tail comes straight up on the pause. Use a fixed loop knot when tying on your fly for even more action.

Bob from Oakland getting revenge at Lake Davis after a disappointing trip at Eagle Lake.

The fishing at Lake Davis has slowed down in the last week, my first two guesses are heavy pressure and the full moon having a drastic effect. But conditions are changing; Snow. A front finally came in and with it some big wind. Gusts so strong it ripped my business magnets off the sides of my truck while driving though the Sierra Valley yesterday while I was dodging tree limbs, tumble weeds, and heavy debris. I think with a little snow on the banks those trout just might get the clue that more is on the way and will feed even more aggressively in the weeks to come. We'll see...


During my Gypsy tour I spent 5 days guiding at Eagle Lake, a lake I know very well and have spent countless days roaming the banks for the now elusive Eagle Lake Rainbow. In all my years I have never seen the pond fish so poorly. 


The current low water levels have completely changed the behavior of the trout, Tui Chub minnows, and has decimated the habitat of the freshwater shrimp. Add to that a full moon, calm conditions, and what I believe are very low populations of trout, and you have some rough conditions. It was so bad that I took my guests from two separate bookings to Lake Davis the next day so they could remember what it was like to feel the grab from a hungry rainbow. It's so sad...and many of my colleagues have agreed we may never see Eagle Lake recover the water levels of days gone by in our life time. Help is on the way though and some actions by state and federal agencies have started to go in motion, not to mention the Eagle Lake Guardians. Time will tell, but will it be too late?


Last Saturday I had the pleasure of working once again with Ken Hanley of Pacific Extremes on a still water project I've been looking so forward to. We both wanted to capture the essence of stalking trout on the flats at Lake Davis. We got lucky! Beautiful windless weather allowed us to capture stunning fall color mirrored in the fertile waters. The short video is still being edited but once it is done you can see it here or on Ken's website. I hope everyone of you has an opportunity to cross paths with Ken in the future, his enthusiasm and love for fly fishing is so inspiring! What a good dude!



The fall colors peaked as well this week and the drive up Lake Davis road from Portola was mind blowing. When the sun is just right the aspens, cottonwoods, and willows glow like coals from a well stoked fire. Here is a little eye candy for you;





Another two weeks on the road with trips awaits me. I want to thank all my guests and friends who have helped me along the way on this great journey, I'm so lucky to have you in my camp and appreciate your kindness from the bottom of my heart. After the fall still water season is done I'm eagerly looking forward to spending some quality time in my home office in Nevada City writing new articles, tying flies, and unleashing some new projects for 2014. 

Life is grand.....


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