Spring Edition

Spring Edition
Spring Edition

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fishing Report: Lake Davis

The lake just keeps on filling up! Check out the Lighting Tree boat ramp above, it will be usable once the snow goes.

The fish are in post spawn mode now and hungry. The creeks at Mallard and Lighting Tree had no fish in or in front of them. Water temps ranged from 48-51 degrees. I found a decent pod of rainbows near the dam and in a hour and a half I hooked 8 landing 4, 17-20" - all clean. Used a bobber with a #10 blood midge pupa that was hanging 7 feet under. Today was the first day I have seen some decent hatches, blood midge (huge - size 10) and a pale creamy olive midge size 18. There were fish rising for these bugs. Lots of fly anglers out and the guys I talked to all caught some fish, but they were way more stoked on the water levels!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tying The Damsel Nymph

The damsel fly migration at our top still waters like Lake Davis is a hatch that brings out fly anglers from all over.  The migration itself is a miracle, how these fragile nymphs swim great distances to land, a willow, or some aquatic weeds that are above the water to hatch into an adult.  This fishing is some of the best all year, trout show themselves in the shallows and sight fishing opportunities await the observant trout stalker.  They call this the "Gentleman's Hatch" as the nymphs get active in the mid morning until early afternoon, there is no need to be out there at o'dark thirty!  Warm, windless days provide the best conditions for the hatch.

When tying damsel imitations a few key points should be made.  The fly should have movement, the right size and profile (think slender), and the right buoyancy to keep the fly in the strike zone.  The foam keeps this fly right under the surface in that 1-2 foot water column.  You can also just let this fly sit and rest just like the natural does without fear your fly is going to drop like a rock to the bottom.  When it comes to color these nymphs change as the aquatic vegetation does to camouflage themselves from predators.  Early in the season the weeds are dark so damsels will be a light coco brown or a brown olive.  Mid season more olive and green tones.  Late season pale olive to tan works well. 

This damsel nymph will never leave you in distress!


Hook: Tiemco 2457 #12.
Tail:  Jay Fair marabou.
Body:  Jay Fair marabou dubbed on thread.
Head:  Closed cell foam.
Eyes:  Larva Lace body material.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Wetting A Line For The First Time - Lake Davis 4/16/11

Finally after waiting 5 months through snow infested freezing nightmares, I was walking down to the lake full of hope and happiness.  The rhythm of my snowshoes going clickity clack was a welcoming sound as was the silence when I stopped to gaze about.  It was such a warm and beautiful day with expanding cumulus clouds, and not a puff of wind.  The birds are back, my friends, the ones who answer my calls like the osprey.  Cormorants, bald eagles, loons, and California gulls were joyous about their return.  They were back to their summer home as was I.  I fished off Mallard Cove and the first thing I noticed was my line drifting from right to left extremely fast, yet there was no north wind.  I had learned later from a local I know from town that both gates were wide open on the dam creating a current in the Grizzly channel through the lake.  After fishing I hiked down to see the release and it was a loud and thunderous noise.  DWR expects rain Sunday night into Monday as there is still so much snow to melt up in the Grizzly watershed.

Prior to hiking down to fish I got to meet a fan from my business page on FaceBook, Ken B.  From Reno, Ken is a "trout a holic" like the rest of us.   I guess you could call it "social fly fish networking".  I made my way out to the super spine, water temps were 46 - 49 in the shallows from 11am - 3pm.  Pods of fish cruised by thinking one thing - SEX!  But there were fish to be caught that wanted to eat.  I got into a nice 17" fish that was dark, heavy spotting, and blood red sides.  I was stoked to say the least.

I focused my presentations on the spine in about 5 feet of water, I was getting hits and they were light.  At last a hook up, and this one had some weight to it.  I was a bit shocked at first as it's been a long time since I've felt something like this here at the lake.  Cradled in my hands was a 4+ pound 22" rainbow with good color and big wall meat.  It was a handful just taking the picture above, I need a camera/angler buddy this year - That's for damn sure!  I put Ken out on the spine, and just scouted around the many snow melt creeks in the area for trout, and did some birding.  There was a good crowd at the lake, bankers, boaters, fly anglers, and folks just out for a nice ride with the windows down enjoying the mild breeze.

I'm so elated over the the amount of water the lake is getting, look already how the willows have provided habitat for the bugs, the birds, and the fish.  Lake Davis is going to flourish and bloom in the years to come!

THE SKINNY - Hooked 4 fish, 17-22", all clean and colorful.  Ken went 3 for 3, and this really cool older gentleman in a fatcat fishing an indicator with a Hare's Ear flash back C&R at least 10, but he said most were small.  Effective flies included; Brown Jay Fair Wiggle Tail #10, and Floro Hot Orange Jay Far simple snail all fished on the floater.  Fishing is a bit spotty, some areas produce and some do not.  The majority of the fish will be on the east side for the next 3 - 4 weeks during the spawn.  The only bugs out were #24 black midge, and midge emergers.  Fishing will improve on a weekly basis all the way into July.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lake Davis Spring Report

Great News! Lake Davis is 90% open water and the Honker Cove boat ramp is cleared but no dock yet. Space is very limited to put in a big boat, but smaller boats should have no problem.

Even the parking lot at Honker Cove is reduced in size, full of snow, timber, and heavy equipment.

Snow Creek and the rest of the seasonal creeks are pumping water.  The snow pack at the lake is still big, I do not expect the west side road to be open for another month or more!

The expert fisherman have already shown up prowling the mouths of creeks gulping down trout.  As you can tell the water level after this big winter has come up already as the willows are in the water - New trout habitat!

The road on the east side stops at Mallard Cove.

Some brave souls wheeled into Mallard Cove, but still there is so much snow a good snowshoe out to the water sounds better to me.  Water temps were 43-45 degrees.  The trout are already going into spawning mode as I saw fish rolling in Honker Cove (closed to fishing).  I hope to get out in the next few days to see water levels and wet a line with a hope a large trout will bite.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Product Review - VestPac's DriftPac Ultimate Fishing System

I was asked by VestPacs nor cal rep Monty Roach If I was interested in testing this new fishing pack/vest.  After reviewing it online and finally getting a sample to test, I was very impressed with the ideas this new company offered the fly angler.  I have worn a regular fishing vest since I started fly fishing and there is always one thing about them, with all those pockets your sure to fill them up creating a heavy burden to carry around.  The VestPac keeps it simple, and it's made in Jackson Hole Wyoming, USA, and not over seas.

The DriftPac Ultimate includes:

-Neoprene and 3-D Airmesh construction.
-Four pockets.
-Fold-down Velcro pouch.
-5 grommets for attaching tools and supplies.
-Three retractors.
-One T-tippet holder.
-Two fly boxes and two ripple foam fly holders with Velcro bottoms.
-Velcro starter kit to add to your own fly boxes.
-Hydration panel with reservoir.

The VestPac can be worn under your clothes if the weather is wet and cold out, or on the outside when temps are hot.  It is so comfortable and it weighs 23.9 Ounces, is 15 inches long by 11 inches wide by 1 inches deep.

This short video explains the advantages of using the DriftPac fishing vest.  There is also a velcro patch you can place on your drift boat or other water craft that the tackle bag hooks onto making all your flies readily available.

I'm so stoked on my DriftPac!  It's easy to use, lightweight, and fully functional!  I will be testing this out for the entire fishing season and will give an honest opinion then, so check back in around fall for a follow up post. 
To learn more about VestPac go here: http://www.vestpac.com/
To see the DriftPac model go here: http://www.vestpac.com/content/driftpac-ultimate
Retail shop inquiries in the nor cal area can reach Monty Roach at 530 277 3894 monty@surfsleeve.net

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Midge Candy

Fishing midge pupa patterns is a basic standard on stillwaters, at some point during a trout's day they will be feeding on them near the bottom or foraging for them on top.  Tying midge pupas is a simple tie.  There are some key characteristics that a good pattern should have.  Size, profile, and neon lights.  Your pattern should be simple, and slim.  When it comes to color I have found that black, rust, brown, and dark olive to be the most effective.  I have been using clear beads with different colors underneath them since the mid 90's when I came out with my bubble head baetis fly.  I wrapped fine gold wire under the clear bead with amazing results.  My midge pupa patterns are no different but instead of gold wire I chose white glow in the dark thread.  When fished deep the head on this midge glows and brings in hungry fish like a magnet.  Midging does not have to be a pain in the ass, keep it simple and stay focused on every presentation.


-2x strong pupa hook #14-22.
-Clear bead with Uni Glow thread underneath.
-Thread: black, brown, rust, and dark olive 0/8 thread or color to match natural.
-Tail: Uni Glow thread, sparse.
-Body: Thread.
-Ribbing: Large gold wire.
-Wing: 3D Rainbow flash.
*When done coat the entire fly with "hard as nails" for a shiny and durable finish.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Has Sprung!

After this weeks warm and sunny weather many of our spring visitors are showing up like these evening grosbeaks.  I'm a huge birder and this time of year is the best with males fighting over the ladies, laying down the law.  In the last week I've seen turkey vultures, purple finches, red wing blackbirds, brewers blackbirds, kingfishers, marsh wrens, sandhill cranes, spotted towees, and robins - a sure sign that spring is indeed here.

The Middle Fork Feather River opened today from the A-23 Bridge down to the Mohawk Bridge.  The river is really chugging water right now and it's going to be a while until it is in fishable shape.  Once the flows come down and water temps exceed the 55 degree mark, we will have game.  If I were to fish though it would be sinking lines and streamers stripped in the slow tail outs.  With all this snow in the mountains and plenty of water we will see a banner summer of excellent dry fly fishing in the evenings.

This was the scene on the South Yuba above Bridgeport last week, the wildflowers had just began to "pop".
As our lakes and rivers come into shape I will keep you all posted on the latest changes as it will effect our fishing - Tight Lines!

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