This won't be the typical blog post of a fishing report, a fly pattern, or notes from a trip from me today. Gonna be freestyle, something that I'm very familiar with. I'm taking a suggestion from long time native Northern Californian fly angler/guide/artist Hogan Brown and just share something totally different, AND my special friend from Arvada, Co who has the most inspiring posts on social media platforms - The Cat! Today I write about thoughts of the past, present and the future. Just random flashes of thoughts, the ones that keep me up at night, or wake me up in the morning - The good ones. Like, do you realize I get to fish with Hogan this spring on a scheduled payed trip to Lake Oroville for bass, a lake I lived right up the hill from growing up in Paradise. My dad was a master on that lake, and I was lucky enough to have him take me fishing there when I was very young. Funny thing is, back then, there were no bass. We fished for rainbows, browns, and Cohos. Lime Saddle Marina, the arms of the North Fork and West Branch Feather, Goat Ranch, Parish Cove, and Brown's Cove just to name a few. By the way, click on the orange highlighted wording for external links to those subjects.
It's Thanksgiving, I'm alone today, and that's just fine. I've been looking forward to being holed up during a big storm where I can work on upcoming articles for publication. This winter I will be writing at least a half dozen articles on various subjects that publisher Richard Anderson of California Fly Fisher can use throughout the year. I do my best writing during stormy weather with rain pelting off the windows, or dense falling snow swirling around with powerful winds that scream and whistle. I love the power of Mother Nature, and it's always good to have our asses kicked by her now and then. So yeah, it's Thanksgiving, and I'm thankful for the life I've lived so far from the highs of being an action sports pioneer, fly fishing in the good old days, and the adventures of mountains from climbing technical granite walls to ascending monoliths of snow hoping to reach the summit - and the lows of the shittiest cards ever thrown my way that either teach me lessons, or continue to haunt me and effect my perception of reality. Yeah, we all receive some of those bad cards from the dealer of life, unfortunately some of us lose at the game of life with those bad cards, while others handle them better, and keep our heads above water. I won't be drowning anytime soon, that's for damn sure, so don't worry about me, but I'm thankful for all of your support - It makes a huge difference and keeps me motivated to keep on doing good things.
Down time and tying. Winter time is my tying time. Sessions. Not just banging out patterns all the time, but really looking over the huge amount of materials I have which spawn new ideas, or remind me of old ones. Like the vast supply I bought from Jay Fair when he lived off West street in Portola some 20 plus years ago. I cherish those older materials from Jay because you cannot even buy them anymore. Chick-A-Bou, the feathers from around a chicken's ass. You cant buy that anymore with the creative custom colors that Jay came up with. When his materials company sold, the colors of his products changed, in my opinion those colors changed because the passion and knowledge from Jay was lost. Yeah I get it, some of the ingredients and suppliers of the stuff have run out, and it is what it is. Another aspect of slowing down at the tying bench is making custom dubbing blends. For example I ran out of my olive blend which I use for all sorts of nymphs and dries, so I mixed another batch yesterday which is a combination of a natural and synthetic base, mixed with some of the real Gary LaFontaine antron and Jay Fair glister (sparkle dubbing). When you create fly patterns using totally different materials than the main stream fly shop crap, your catch rate will increase. Like when bead heads first came out in the mid 90's. Man, I caught so many nice quality fish with those golden balls of plenty. One trip on the McCloud river that first year of using them was ridiculous. I could do wrong. I offered them to some of my old school mentors and they put their hand out in the fashion of a street traffic cop and simply said "No thanks....LOL"
Gratitude: /ˈɡradəˌt(y)o͞od/ noun - the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. The older I age, the more I'm thankful for and really realize just how lucky I've been to do so many things in life so far. So many, it seems almost impossible to me. I've lived the lives of 10 people so far, and I'm far from being done. I've also learned to appreciate the knowledge from many of my older peers, men and women with life skills that teach me to understand just how life works, and why. Hats off to those fellow board members of the Truckee River TU Chapter Board of Directors and my fellow club members of the Tahoe Truckee Fly Fishers - Your insights, support, and appreciation for what I bring to the table does not go unnoticed. A big part of gratitude is to return kindness. A good example would be when I was on the Yampa River during my vacation in Colorado last September when I stopped fishing to help a complete Nube with his rig (supplied everything for the dude, leader, tippet, flies, indicator - the works), then showed him how to make the proper presentation, which minutes later landed him the biggest trout he ever caught in his life. That's what it's all about right there. I love to help others, so much that other guides feel I give away too much information. Tough shit. My dad did the same, it's the legacy he left me, and I will continue to share all things fly fishing and help others until I leave this earth.
I had a great time on my So Cal Presentation Tour. You know... this time on my second tour was a lot easier, I knew what I was in for. The logistics of it all, the fast pace, hopping from one town to the next. I'm thankful for the nice lodging provided by the clubs, and the patience it took for a little slow paced mountain troll like myself to cope with the traffic. During my tour, most of the program directors where very concerned if I was on time, and if everything was ok. Things like, do you have the right equipment? Are you sure you're going to be there? Just the details of such that can mean complete failure or stardom. I take my presentations very seriously and my programs are meticulously put together with so much detail and information I could make three programs out of just the one. I'm currently revamping three of my power point programs, Eagle Lake, Lake Davis, and Frenchman Lake for the Northern Sierra Stillwater Seminar hosted by Delta Fly Fishers this coming December 7th in Lodi, Ca. For example I'm totally redoing the mapping with the Eagle Lake program including animation and graphics on key access areas to SOME of the major buckets. This involves many hours of physical work with raw graphics from scratch. When club members sit in the audience to watch the show, they don't see that, and think I'm being payed too much for my time (hey, I'm a lot cheaper than the so called expert presenters out there). The latest from some of the fly clubs in Northern California is that they do not want to pay for speakers anymore and just pay expenses due to a few guides with shitty ass programs who over charged them (thanks pals...). I don't work for free...Do you expect your attorney to work for free, or your plumber? Yeah, I didn't think so. Either way, I enjoy sharing my knowledge on fly fishing and entertaining the crowd. It's what I do.
I got a lot on the table for this month, one of which is filing my actual use reports to the United States Forest Service for my three permits in the Plumas, Lassen, and Tahoe National forests which includes my 2020 operation plans for each forest. In case you didn't know, when you have a forest service permit you can't just go anywhere in the forest and guide. You have to list those areas and provide detailed mapping of those areas. Guides who work for a shop or a booking agent have it easy, everything is done for them, all they have to do is prep for the day, then meet Mr. Jones and bang out the trip. Being an independent guide, I do it all from website maintenance, this blog, booking trips, the permitting and the details of such, presentations, trade shows, writing articles, advertising, social media platforms, fly club programs, conservation issues, and filling the big shoes of being a positive ambassador for fly fishing. It's a lot of work, but I love every minute of it, and for that, I'm truly thankful for on this Thanksgiving day.
See you on my winter home water, the Lower Yuba River...