Spring Edition

Spring Edition
Spring Edition

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fly Tying Article In Sierra Fisherman Magazine

I'm proud to announce that I've been published in Sierra Fisherman magazine featuring my quick and easy Isonychia mayfly nymph, and a great piece of info regarding "reading the water" in the "Pro Tips" column.  I received a hard copy in the mail and what a great magazine!  Excellent photos, interviews, and a great article on stillwaters by Bill Forward.  I'm so impressed with the magazine I have a hard time putting it down!  You can view the fall issue here at Sierra Fisherman http://www.sierrafisherman.com/ or you can buy a subscription for $19.95 and get 4 issues a year and all those great pictures we love to drool over.  I would personally like to thank publisher Bob Leonard, and the editor at large - Frank Pisciotta (http://www.cyberfly.com/) for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this fine magazine.  Of all the fly fishing magazines out there, this one should be checked out!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bug Of The Month - Hoppers!

Grasshoppers (Order Orthoptera) include over 1,000 species in North America and over 23,000 species worldwide. Here in the northern Sierras we have a good variety of short horned grasshoppers (Family Acrididae) that include the Pallid-winged hopper above. This is the most common hopper next to a freestone creek or river, they love to soak in the warmth of a granite rock. They are so well camouflaged against these gray polished boulders that many predators overlook them, then at the first chance they have to escape, they hop on out of there with their powerfully muscled hind legs. Windy days prove to be an advantage when hopper fishing, naturals fall victim to the gusty winds that hammer the stream side foliage and fall into the water. For a trout there is nothing like a hopper to eat, It's about as close a trout gets to a BBQ porterhouse steak that you and I enjoy.

The Madison River in Montana gave me a PHD in hopper skills and tying the right pattern, We use to chum up some very large fish with captured naturals to study the takes. The really big fish did not even break the water's surface, they just sucked it down in a little whirlpool. It took me three years of trying different hopper patterns and getting refusals from trout before I came up with my own foam hopper, "The Simple Sandwich". The results that summer on the Madison was one of dreams, one day consisted of 19 fish over 20"! For a day like that you need to cover many miles of productive holding areas next to the bank, carefully plan your attack, and have the right fly. I now tie this pattern from a size 14 - 8 in many different colors and combos, for myself I like the tan/brown/tan sandwich with brown legs, and cahill colored 6/0 Uni thread. This pattern sits flush in the surface film, is very buoyant, and bombproof.

Now is the season to fish Hoppers and other terrestrials that sit waiting for action in your fly box. Go Now!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Creekin Report - Gray Eagle Creek

After a short steep climb out of the town of Graeagle the truck and I came to our parking spot before entering the canyon section of Gray Eagle Creek. I opened the door and this roar came spilling in, it was not the creek, but the wind was going ballistic. NOAA was right on the money today issuing a Red Flag Warning for most of northern California and western Nevada - Breezy with a S/W wind 20-25mph, gust up to 40mph. Cedars and firs swayed in the wind, dropping an arsenal of branches, cones, and needles. I was wise to keep a keen ear and my senses on high alert from falling debris above. I put the hiking soles on my Korkers, loaded up the pack, grabbed the rod, and disappeared into the thick foliage on my mission for wild trout.
Your typical Gray Eagle Creek rainbow - Love those orange fins! The creek is beyond low, just a trickle. The high demands for water in the town of Graeagle, and golf courses take water away from the creek, but the fish are just now more concentrated in the deeper pools. Water temps were at 58 degrees and clear, these trout at least have that, shade, and a decent aquatic bug population. It also appears that this spring was a big water flow and the streambed got a good flushing, many new trees have come down across the creek providing even more habitat.
My "simple sandwich" hopper pattern fooled dozens of fish. Inspired by Jay Fair's simple sandwich - Two slices of white bread, mayo and two slices of American cheese: Simple yet effective. The fish really liked green today even though I never found a green hopper. Puppeteering the fly and twitching it was very important today as well as key placements.
The larger trout were found in the deeper frog water areas below plunge pools with no current, most were tight to a big rock wall in the shade. They took the hopper with such confidence, coming up ever so slowly before sucking it down.
There are Brown trout in Gray Eagle Creek as well, in the next few months browns will be making their way upstream to spawn. These browns turn colors into one strange looking fish, by Halloween it appears they are ready to go to the costume ball. Their backs turn black, body appears more golden, and purple hues come off their cheeks down to the mid body - It's a work of art!
It was great to get out today, deep in a rugged forest canyon dotted with mammoth granite boulders who separate the flows of the creek. There were no caddis fluttering about today, not even a cranefly. Though I was blessed to share the river for twenty minutes with a water ouzel as he hunted for mayfly nymphs. We both fished, sang our songs, and smiled. Simple pleasures abound......

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hydration Solutions

No matter if your fishing a freestone river or a big stillwater, stalking trout can be tough on the body and the mind. Just being in the elements; rain, big wind, blistering sun, to snow all effect the human body's water reserves. Keeping hydrated is mandatory to keep your senses sharp, mind alert, and your muscles from cramping up. I tried a camel back at first, and while it was nice on long hikes, it was just another thing to put around my shoulders while working a freestone river. I now carry a filter bottle in my back pocket. Light and easy to use, just dunk it in any creek, river, or lake and the filter removes 99.9% of the bad stuff. The cool thing about is you can carry it empty and not have to lug around the weight - As long as your near a water source. The filter is good for 200 uses and can be replaced. I also like to have a few packs of Cliff Bar's Shot Bloks on me. These are gummy bear like electrolyte chews that keep you going when your ready to hit the wall. Get the most out of your fishing experience - stay hydrated and stay strong!

Monday, August 16, 2010

North Fork Yuba Report

The phone rang on Friday evening, I answered and it was my good friend George from Loomis. "Hey Jon... Adam, Brian, and I are camping and quading in your area, would you like to fish with us on Saturday evening?". "For Sure!" was my my quick come back. Now both boys can get bored with slow fishing, they are not like thier dad who has done countless trips to Montana and beyond in search of trout. There was one river I knew darn well these boys would not get bored, The North Fork of the Yuba. So we fished a stretch near Sierra City, and the weather was perfect except for a downstream wind.

Things started off slow and I was surprised, I just told myself the fish are taking a break and getting ready for the profuse caddis hatches that were to follow. Sure enough after an hour had passed things heated up with the dry fly. I coached both boys on the proper drifts, and dried their flies for them as we marched up the polished granite staircases looking for productive plunge pools and runs. Then things got crazy, almost every cast was a rise to a fly! George was so stoked to see his kids hammer fish left and right, if your a dad then you know what I mean. They missed at least 60 fish combined and landed a dozen and a half each. Every time I hold a NFYR rainbow I'm in awe, like a movie star going gaga over a ring of jewels - They shimmer and shine, and are so full of life! Though I did not take any temp readings, the water is still so cold for this time of year and good reason why these rainbows thrive here.

Smiles were seen from ear to ear with the whole crew, Adam and Brian were hooked! George just may have himself some new fishing buddies, and a chance to able to pass down the art and science of fly fishing to. It's trips like these that are the most rewarding to me. To see two boys enjoying themselves so much with such a simple game - And the rest....is only a dream.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

These Eyes............

I took a hike to Deer Lake in the Lakes Basin Area and took this most amazing shot of a Dragonfly. These are the eyes of a predator, and how they glow! While the fishing was sub par the bug life was off the charts. Upper Tamarack Lake had a damsel hatch in full swing, it is a tiny lake but the hatch is far bigger than Lake Davis had this year - Who would have guessed! Now is the time to get out and explore the upper elevations before the snow flies.

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