Spring Edition

Spring Edition
Spring Edition

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lake Davis Report 4-26

With a storm fast approaching with low temps, snow, and rain for the next 5 days I decided to get my first day on the lake. Grasshopper was packed with 5 cars, and Coot bay had 4 anglers. I went to Mallard and with the wind coming out of the west/south/west, I fished a small cove to the north and put the wind on my left shoulder. This was a good move as I could cast and use the wind to my advantage. I would make a few casts and take five steps down, then make some more -Repeat. I felt like I was steelheading on the currents of a river.

Within five minutes I had my first fish, an 18"er in really good shape and girth. I used a camo Int. line with a 9 foot leader to 3x, and a root beer glimmer bead head wiggle tail, with a dark cinnamon tail in a size 12. I got three more bumps in the next half hour, but the wind was really turning on. A hint on where to find the fish right now? Look for packs of pelicans chasing rainbows and trying to gulp them down whole!

The wind grew more and with it huge mats of grass and weeds so big, it would please a pair of Dorado looking for cover. The weeds became a problem so I went down to Honker and viewed
the plowing progress and the famous stuck vehicle.

I walked through the woods to Grasshopper and approached from the backside,
Alpine Buttercups were abundant on Sunny moist slopes. Gulls and Ravens did pace lines back and forth on the shore and forest, they were having fun in the big wind. There was the most impressive display of flight as I saw two Golden Eagles so high up they were just dots - And that's a big bird! Only the eyes through the binoculars could get the ID.
I fished the bathtub bucket for an hour and picked up another trout at "16 on the same fly and set up. There were 4 fly anglers at the mouth of the creek who were just hammering fish - It was evident there was a pod of spawning rainbows in front of them. Been there, and done that.
I had such a great time today just walking around and taking it all in for my first day wetting a line here. What beautiful place to fish. I will let you all know how things are on the lake after the storms clear out.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Product Review: Gary Lafontaine's Stealth Rod Series

When I sit down to write a product review, it is about gear that I own and feel very strongly about. Gary Lafontaine's Stealth rods are the best rods I have ever casted and fished. I first learned about them while searching the Internet for a new rod. These are the only rods in the world that will not cost you a fish on the lake or stream. They are beautifully finished rods, but don't shine like a warning beacon that your waving around. The Stealth has a black matte finish, black Fuji double foot guides, and an anodized reel seat with ebony insert. I'm known to dress in full camo when fishing and these rods compliment my attitude of blending in and being stealth. I own the 2 piece "P Taper" in a 6wt. and use it for lakes and rivers. The P stands for power, and this rod can out cast any other rod out there with minimal effort. I also own the 3 piece "H Taper" 6wt. which is very similar to the P Taper but has much more lifting power for very big fish - Like those brutes at Eagle Lake. The rods come with an extra tip, and the customer service that Lafontaine Private Label provides is peerless in the fly fishing industry. I simply love my Stealth rods and plan on fishing them the rest of my life, It's as if Gary is right there with me when I'm stalking trout - That will give an angler some serious confidence. For more information on the rods, or to purchase them, go to http://www.thebookmailer.com/ and click on the "Gear" tab.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Of Mice And Men

Fly fishing with a mouse pattern goes beyond the norm, it's not just your average fly - It's a living creature on the end of your line. My first introduction to the game was by my friend Don. Don had exclusive rights to some ponds next to the Blue river outside of Silverthorne, CO. After seeing a picture of him holding a 32" brown trout while fishing a mouse in the middle of the night I was all ears. We went to the ponds after the sun had set and rigged our rods with deer hair mouse patterns he had tied and tippets to 0x. I asked Don "When do you know when to set hook"? "It's as black as sin out"! His reply was "When you hear the suck of the take and the gulp of the swallow". That night I managed 3 browns 17-22", not the monster I was looking for but the game was so much fun I could have cared less.

When tying mouse patterns I have chosen Gary Lafontaine's creature pattern exclusively. It will never sink, and has plenty of movement that looks "alive"! To tie this small mammal I start with a #6 Mustad Stinger hook and epoxy on a foam cylinder that is made for popper patterns. Now I take a cross cut zonker strip in a natural color and tie it to the rear of the hook, leaving a tail behind the bend, clipping of all the hair from the tail. Next I coat the cylinder foam body with Barge cement and let it sit until tacky - once this occurs I now wind the zonker strip towards the head. I let it dry, paint the head, add eyes, and clear coat it with some Loons hard head formula. The result is the most realistic and buoyant mouse pattern out there. Though I have come up short in Northern California with results, It is dynamite In the Patagonia region of Chile, the Madison River in Montana, and all of Alaska! If you dare fish the mouse you must keep cool, keep a keen ear, and a steady hand when the "gulp" happens.
Below is a trailer from the DVD "Once in a Blue Moon". The infamous mouse run that results in a monstrous brown trout feeding frenzy in southern New Zealand. You can purchase the DVD from www.thebookmailer.com

Fly Fishing - Once in a Blue Moon 60sec promo from On the Fly on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lake Davis Report

I took a short drive up to the lake today to get some first hand accounts of the status of the lake before another round of snow and rain comes upon us. The west side road is still a snowmobile trail and usually the last to thaw. It will be another month I'm guessing before you can safely drive a standard car in there. Ice is covering the lake viewing from the dam as far as the eye can see. There are some patches of ground, more than I thought there would be, but there is also still snow drifts 2-4 feet deep. Since it was cold this morning I could walk on the snow without snow shoes with no fear of punching through and experiencing the dreaded "post hole". My first stop was Grasshopper cove, the creek is still a trickle and there was some open water. No visible signs of trout to be had. As I passed snow creek which feeds Honker Cove I noticed more water than the other creeks. Next stop was Coot Bay and there was more open water here but no signs of trout life. Mallard Cove had the most open water and I talked to a few bait chuckers that had limits of rainbows 17-21" the day before. Rainbow glitter powerbait was their weapon of choice (LOL!).

Water temps were in the high 30's on my thermometer, and I still think it will be at least 3 weeks before a hungry trout will take a fly. What we need now is warm temps and big wind to bust the lake up, and heat the water. The wildlife were very happy as they have the place to themselves. Both adult and juvenile bald eagles strafed Canadian geese, but with no luck. I did hear the mtn chickadees singing their mating call which I interpret as "cheeseburger". I will keep all of you posted as things change, but all I can think about is warm summer temps and damselflies - That's when Lake Davis really lets her colors fly!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Book Review - The Bug Book

If the fly fishing enthusiast wants to take their insect ID skills to the next level...I suggest you consider the newly published The Bug Book, written by The Friends of Deer Creek and illustrated by Christine Elder.While there are other fine examples of insect identification guides in print for fly anglers, written from the fly fisherman's perspective, The Bug Book, is written from the biologist's perspective, with a focus on the scientific identification of 76 aquatic insect families common throughout western waters. In this 100 + page book you'll find all the familiar bugs trout love to gulp, but you'll learn about them from an entomologists' perspective. Thus the blue-winged olive becomes Ephemerellid, the Green sedge a Rhyacophilid, the Salmonfly a Pteronarcyid...you get the idea. Besides identification,The Bug Book also covers the species' habitats, behaviors, and life cycles.
All the jargon is defined in an excellent glossary. With the fisherman in mind, the book also comes with a water repellant laminated field chart with the classification and identification of all the major groups (9 orders plus some non-insect bugs too!) Detailed illustrations are peppered throughout, by my bug-loving river partner, Christine Elder(http://www.christineelder.com/) , an accomplished entomological illustrator.
To make the very most of this book, you'd do well to have a magnifying glass handy, or even a microscope, since some of a bug's physical characteristics neccessary for identifying the critter down to the family level are best viewed magnified. But the books illustrations and photographs are so clear, that lack of one shouldn't pose much of a handicap. In my opinion, this book is a must-have for ultra-serious fly fisherman who really want to know their bugs. To learn more about the book and ordering visit: http://www.friendsofdeercreek.org/bugbook.html

Sunday, April 4, 2010

April/May Prognosis for the Middle Fork Feather River

The fishing forecast for the MFFR depends on a number of factors, runoff, rain, snow, and water temps. Let's start out with the runoff of snow. There is a good snow pack in the Lakes Basin, and Jamison creek watersheds. In fact there is another month at least of good spring skiing. If the melt off is gradual fishing will be good well into July. If we get some warm rain storms and it all goes at once it will definitely have an impact on the whole season. The river this year has not been too high due to the very cold temps we have had. This is a good thing as there will be very little flushing that can effect aquatic bugs.

Water temps is the determining factor for the MFFR, right now they are at 43-45 degrees - not good fishing for these rainbows and browns. Good fishing starts at about 55 degrees to 65 degrees. The native fish here have adapted to warmer temps then most trout in other rivers. Why may you ask? They have to in order to survive and reproduce offspring. When water temps are cold, fish will be in the slower deeper stretches of the river, and if some early hatches come out they may be found in skinny water that is heated quickly by the sun. Come summer time the trout will be found tight to the heads of riffles, runs, and pools where the well oxygenated water is found. I have caught trout in 70 degree water in such places during the dog days of summer. Yep, they are well adapted to this river.

Strategies for April/May would be to czech nymph or high stick the deeper runs, side sloughs, and eddies. Productive flies will be Burk's Bottom Rollers in burnt orange, and olive size 8-12, Golden Stones size 6-10, Bead head pheasant tails size 10-14, and Caddis Pupa in olive size 10-16. You may be able to find some rising trout during the warmest period of the day, hatches will include the Blue Wing Olive, Gray Drake, Golden Stones, and a few caddis thrown in. I think fishing will be good for these months but keep in mind that June, July, September, and October are the banner months for flinging a fly on the MFFR.

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