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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Product Review ~ Shwood Eyewear


Eyewear is an important piece of equipment for a fly angler, we rely on the polarized optics to help us see into the water and be able to spot our quarry, and to protect our eyes from UV rays, debris, and the hook point of the flies we cast. I've worn some pretty sweet shades in my lifetime, Vuarnet, Revo, and Oakley all had their special qualities to them. I wore the brand Smith for decades since they first sponsored me while professionally snowboarding in 1989. My Smith rep, and friend, moved out of northern California and into the hunting industry last year. With no more support from the company and him, I have been bobbing in the sea of eyewear searching for something better. You would think Costa would be the next step, but every guide and "20 something year old bearded fly fishing know it all" is wearing them. I've always been one to do things a little differently, and follow the least beaten path. 

Quality is very important to me, and upon learning about the Shwood brand from the West coast reps, I was very interested. These high quality sunglasses are made in Portland Oregon, that's right, American made - Not China. I was sent a pair of the "Canby" model with brown polarized lenses to test. My first reaction while trying them on was the crystal clear optics and superior clarity they provided. The lenses heightened my visual senses. The frames fit nicely, which has been a challenge for my small framed skull in the past when dealing with eyewear. The lens allowed the right amount of light in for me to see trout in the steelhead green waters of the Truckee River a few weeks ago. I feel I can see into the water better than I have before. 



These are not wrap around style sunglasses, but more conventional. I personally have a hard time wearing wrap around frame designs for long periods of time, I feel claustrophobic in them. If I'm going to wear goggles, I'd rather be charging fresh lines in knee deep powder than fly fishing.

Overall I'm really pleased with the overall performance of the Shwood brand, they have a style all their own, and the precision craftsmanship speaks volumes. The key features include; 

  • The original wood framed sunglasses using Birch and Walnut
  • Optional frame materials of Italian Acetate and Titanium
  • Carl Zeiss lenses
  • 5-Barrel industrial hinges
  • Bombproof case
  • Rx options
  • Dozens of colors and frame styles
  • Gray, Brown, plus Rose and Blue flash lens colors
Check out this sweet video of those who choose to wear Shwood;

Shwood sunglasses are hard to find, not just any retailer has them for sale, and you will only find them at quality stores. To see the entire collection, and to learn more, check out their Shwoodshop here; https://www.shwoodshop.com/us/shop/sun-eyewear


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Truckee River Fishing Report 4/22/2017


The Truckee River has a unusual characteristic in that despite high cold flows, it produces some quality athletes of the trout world who must endure the strength and stamina to be able to survive the strong hydraulics of the river. It's been an eye opening experience for my guests who first look at the river as we approach it for the day, and simply cannot believe it can be done until the rod is bent, with a large trout on the end of their line. Every watershed is different, some produce good fishing during high flows, while others do not. It all depends on each unique trout populations of those rivers. The Truckee River trout are just plain badass, and all business. It's been beautiful on the river, warblers are singing in the swaying willows, sporadic hatches of bwo's, March browns, and a few skwalas late to the party. As a naturalist, I find great joy in educating my guests about the local flora and fauna, and to truly understand Mother Nature and "The Gift".



It's still about finding the slower deeper side water, and more importantly the areas of the current that must have a "lazy walking" speed to it. Northern California American tight lining has been the go to technique. Keep in mind some of these slower zones extend out quite a ways from the bank and a bobber rig will help in these types of situations. The fish are hanging onto the flies a little longer than normal which is of an advantage to anglers, especially those with less experience. The same big water flies have been the standard; worms, stoneflies, crayfish, and eggs. Many fish have been eating a pegged bead in mottled natural roe, and peachy king colors. A bit of advice, use 10mm eggs in high off color water. Speaking of which, the color of the water is of a emerald green, and I swear it seems we have been fishing on a steelhead river inland of the coast of northern California. 12 and 10 pound floro has been key while fighting these toads in the heavy current, we have yet to break any off. Oh, bring lots of flies, losing them on new subsurface woody debris is the norm.



I really like the telemetry gauge that is located downstream of the Martis creek inflow, adjacent to a run we call "Shipwreck". It's a great source of info for the lower section of the Glenshire stretch, the link is HERE. Releases were increased yesterday from Lake Tahoe and are now at 1,600 cubes, Glenshire has increased to 2,670, and the canyon is pounding at 4,700. As flows increase it will be harder to find the right water that is productive, walking and searching for these areas will be of the most importance as the flows continue to increase. A good tip is to mentally record the conditions where you have caught fish, then duplicating them while covering different areas of the river.



It's been very rewarding to teach fly anglers about the productive techniques when it comes to the big water of late. If you're truly interested, give me a call at 530.228.0487 to arrange your date.

On another note, Frank Pisciotta and I have one spot available for our Native Sons Truckee Tour on June 23rd & 24th, You'll learn all about the Truckee River, Little Truckee River, flies, rigs, techniques, and entomology. Streamside lunch, drinks, handouts, and maps included. To sign up, or for more information click HERE

Spring is upon us, don't delay, and enjoy the great outdoors...



Thursday, April 20, 2017

South Yuba River Citizens League ~ Lower Yuba River Restoration Projects

I could not attend SYRCL's "State of the Yuba" address last night but would like to share a map of their upcoming projects on the Lower Yuba River. With Spring-run Chinook salmon hovering on the brink of extinction and fall-run salmon fairing no better, the time to act is now. Last year, critically low numbers of migrating salmon were recorded. As few as 148 Spring-run salmon were counted as of August 2016. SYRCL is working on an action plan to restore critical habitat on the lower Yuba this year which will be revealed at the State of the Yuba. 

River Science Director Rachel Hutchinson says, “SYRCL is excited to be working collaboratively with agencies and local non-profits to produce a plan that will allow us to take action and improve conditions for fish now. We are working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and groups like the Gold Country Fly Fishers to help save these key species and their habitat.” SYRCL and partners are focused on salmon and steelhead restoration because they are indicators of river health, from the headwaters to the ocean. When a watershed is able to support strong salmon and steelhead populations, the entire river ecosystem can thrive.



As you can see with the map and the key symbols above, there is going to be some very beneficial work to completed that include proper measures to improve riparian habitat, lowering of the floodplain, side channel formation, large woody debris (lots of that around after our two 80k events!), interpretive signage, and additional spawning gravel.

I'm excited to see the changes the projects will make. There is plenty that you can do by volunteering for SYRCL and making a difference for the Lower Yuba River, and being a part of our community.



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Truckee River Update 4/13/2017


The Truckee River continues to run with big flows, and those flows have increased in the past couple of days. Lake Tahoe is now releasing 1,210 cubes, Glenshire is now at 2,310, and down in the canyon it’s even bigger at around 4k. Weak storm systems have been passing through with intermittent breaks. We’ll see another break into this weekend, with another storm coming in Sunday night. Snow totals from last night on the crest came in at 10”. Even more impressive, there is a slightly larger storm forested for later next week. The faucet may turn off at the end of April with the typical high ridge of pressure that dominates through late spring, summer, and early fall. 




Well, the record of 1982/83 has been broken! 89.7 inches have fallen so far this season, and our snowpack is at 207% of normal for the northern Sierra. Keep in mind there is more precipitation to come, and the bulk of the runoff has yet to commence. This summer into fall is going to be unbelievable for all waters of the Sierra. Will there be the "Dog Days" of summer this year? Hard to say, but at this time it is hard to imagine. 



Fishing continues to be productive nymphing the slower deeper side water, and the quality of fish being caught is impressive to say the least. With the increase in flows, an angler will have to work a little harder to find the right water. The color of the water has been amazing, a dark steelhead green, with decent clarity, which could change from the fresh new layer of melting snow. Same flies, same tactics apply as in my previous reports. I have some open dates on my guide calendar, here is your chance to learn about fishing high water instead of sitting on the couch. Call me 530.228.0487 or email at baiocchi'stroutfitters@yahoo.com 

Get out there and enjoy the great outdoors, it’s awesome, and it’s free.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Truckee River Fishing Report 4/4/2017


The Truckee River seems to be the best game in town for moving water in the north state, and it just keeps getting better despite the high flows. As you are well aware, the spring runoff is under way, but the bulk is yet to come. We may see it peak at the end of May if the region does not experience a huge jump in air temperatures, big wind, and continued sunshine. If that happens, watch out. There is still a huge snowpack at the upper elevations, even on south facing slopes. Water temps are still in the mid 40’s, colder in the afternoons from snow melt, or below feeder creeks. I have noticed a slight increase in water clarity in the last week, enough to be able to see fish holding in the soft side water. It’s been busy on the river in the more popular access areas, and an angler will do better fishing water that has not been pounded on.


I had a special day yesterday with a long time guest of mine where he got into a great session with double digit numbers of fish, a feat not often accomplished on the Truckee River. The key for success was location, and we fished 6 different areas and kept moving. The bulk of the trout are podded up, and if you catch one in a certain slot, keep hammering the water, there will be more. Try different flies and stance positions within the same slot. We also had three different rods, a tight line rig, an indo rig with a three fly set up, and a streamer rod with a heavy sculpin pattern. I really like the RIO Versi-Tip for streamer applications, both the clear 1.5 ips, and the green 3.0 ips are really all you need. I tie on a #12 swivel at the end of the tip, and then run 3 feet of 12lb. floro. You still have complete control to your fly with more sensitivity due to a direct line down to your fly. As always there are nine different ways to achieve the same principal in fly fishing, if a guide tells you there is only one way to do such – doubt them. 


Once common mistake novice anglers make when tight lining is they try to probe the bottom right away. A “sighter” section on your leader also becomes a depth indicator, and when I approach a slot during high water I will focus on the middle water column, then slowly drift deeper with each successive presentation. Effective flies have been worms in flesh, red, and sparkle tan, Golden stones, black rubber legs, larger Hare’s Ears, and #10 eggs in natural roe, and peachy roe. No matter what rig you choose, set the hook often as the takes are light.


More weather ahead with a downgraded atmospheric river of moisture that will slam northern California starting Friday through Sunday, with lingering precipitation heading into next week. Current models are in conflict with rain and snow totals, as with mountain weather, we’ll just have to wait and see. Either way this next system is impressive for the month of April. If you want to learn more about how to fish big water, don’t mind hiking and dropping down steep banks, while visiting multiple locations, give me a ring at 530.228.0487, or email me at baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com to book a trip with me. I do have a few days available in both April and May. See you out there…


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