Monday, December 31, 2012
2012 brought great success, tail spinning disasters, big fish, big smiles, and lessons learned the hard way. This year was by far my most successful year in the books regarding my guide service. Most of you may think guiding is all ice cream and cake but behind the scenes are massive campaigns with networking, marketing, and public relations. Not to mention the countless hours of tying flies, researching, organizing, writing articles, and problem solving be it a complicated fishery or a boat motor. It's a job that I don't just love but know I was put on this earth to do; sharing the knowledge. The picture above says it all!
I want to first thank all my clients who ventured in the deep canyons and combed the fertile stillwaters with me whether the fishing was red hot or mediocre, no matter the venue I will always provide the very best to them in service and adventure. Next I'd like to thank my Dad who made my fly fishing knowledge what it is today, and the rest of my family and friends for their support. To all the fly shops, magazines, lodges, restaurants, cafes, hotels, newspapers, fly fishing clubs, sponsors, fly fishing reps and manufacturers, my website designer, mechanics, guide friends, the bugs, the fish, and to all those I have forgotten - THANK YOU!!!
In the grand scheme of things 2013 is just another year, a set of numbers that click away with each passing of the moon. Yes, we are all a little older, but a bit wiser too. May this year bring all of you good fortune, happiness, good health, and plenty of hook ups! See you on the water.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Looking for more information on the Yuba River and Eagle Lake? If your near these two stops I have scheduled please come by and learn more on these two magnificent fisheries as I unlock the secrets so you can have better angling success on your next trip!
The following evening Ill be in the hub of great trout fishing at the Trinity Shasta Fly Fisher's monthly club meeting in Redding on January 9th presenting my best power point program; "Eagle Lake". If you have never fly fished the ancient shores of Eagle Lake you will most certainly want to after you see my program. The history of the lake and its connection to the great Lake Lahontan is reason alone to come check out and learn about the Eagle Lake Rainbow trout. You'll be introduced to a variety of access points to fish, and the unique habits of these magnificent trout. Flies, tactics, and techniques are thoroughly covered as well. The general meeting starts at 7:00pm followed by my stellar presentation. For more information click here; http://shastatrinityflyfishers.org/
Knowledge is power!
Friday, December 14, 2012
|Photo by Ralph Cutter http://www.flyline.com/|
The flows on the Yuba river are way down after running so high from the huge amount of rain a few weeks ago. During the peak of the storm flows were at 34,000 cfs and Englebright dam was spilling over the top in dramatic fashion. Right now the flows are stabilized at 1,300 cfs and the river will be clearing in the next week, look for the resident rainbows and migrating steelhead to be on the bite again. Yuba County Water Agency just announced that the regular winter flows will be released from Englebright until spring. These flows range from 900 to 1,300 cfs and depending on the size of storms or lack of will determine the flow schedule. For anglers this means you will have plenty of spots to fish from the bank and you will be able to cross the river in select spots. Right now your best approach for fly fishing is using san juan worms, micro spawn shrimp in pink, jimmy rubber legs stonefly, red copper johns, Hogan’s red headed step child, and Skwalla stone fly nymphs. These flies are best presented under an indicator and a dead drift in the deeper holding water below riffles and runs.
Monday, December 10, 2012
For fly fishing it has become an indispensable tool when doing missions at Eagle lake at O dark-thirty, lighting my way to the bountiful buckets before the other guys are waiting for first light. It's also my best buddy when rigging the boat in the dark and making sure everything is safely in its place. I highly recommend this headlamp and the customer service provided by FoxFury is the very best; They want you safe out there no matter the job! Check out their website here; http://www.foxfury.com/ and look over the complete line.
Don't be stuck with inferior lighting and suffer like a caveman waving a low power torch, Illuminate your next adventure with FoxFury!
Sunday, December 2, 2012
This is an easy fly to tie but there is one key element to it that Gary preached, and that was tying it sparse so it held the air bubbles just like the natural had when emerging to the surface. It's also the translucency of the fly that pulls reluctant fish off the bottom to consume on this sparkling creation. There are some basic color combos to this fly like yellow underbody/brown overbody, bright green/brown, ginger/tan, dark gray/gray, and orange/brown. Don't be afraid to experiment. I tied a combo of an amber underbody with a clear antron overbody and cleaned house on the Madison River in Montana around the West Fork area.
My two favorite ways of fishing the Emergent Sparkle Pupa is to cast down and across current and swinging it into pods of rising fish, or greasing the entire fly and feeding it with a fly first drift to individual fish down technical feeding lanes. Even fished poorly this fly catches more trout than any other caddis pattern and that alone may explain its popularity with fly anglers.
Hook: Tiemco 100 or standard dry fly hook #6-20.
Underbody: Finely chopped sparkle blend touch dubbed.
Overbody: Sparkle yarn/Antron.
Wing: Deer hair.
Head: dubbed fur or marabou fibers.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
November 23th and not another fly angler in sight but my boys, there was nobody. The weather yesterday was absolutely gorgeous, 58-60 degrees, and not a puff of wind to be had. The water temps ran 42-47.8 degrees and there was no ice or snow to be found thanks to the last storm being so warm. Snow geese were hanging out before making the long flight south, and the coots were still tearing up vegetation while being on the lookout for one hungry northern harrier hawk that was swooping in for the kill. It was one of those unbelievable days when you had to pinch yourself and say "Really?"
Duane from Anaheim and his nephew Will had such a good time hooking fish in the skinny water. The fishing is still great but the fall bite is past its peak, not as many hook ups today as the past 3 weeks have provided. There were some rising fish as well and quite a bit of small brown spiders (size 18) falling on the water when their web rides came to an end. The fish were keying in on them. Floating lines, 3x, burnt orange and peacock wiggles tails got the attention of rainbows running 16-19". One fish was 23" and close to 4 pounds, it was a real slab!
It's safe to say we have some more fans of fly fishing stillwaters off the bank. Once I show anglers just how easy it can be during the most productive times of the year they understand why this game is so special. Another shot of rain/snow is forecasted from late Wednesday through Sunday, but until then it's going to be nice during the day at Lake Davis. Go get some 'cause once she freezes over it's a long time until the damsels get active and the fish are found in the skinny water right at your feet.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
The latest storm blew through leaving a wake of 3" of fresh snow and bitter arctic air. This morning the temps were a balmy 20 degrees, our friend the sun was out though and greeted us with some much needed warmth. I've decided to put the boat away for the season so all of my endeavors to the buckets will be on foot. Hiking out is not a bad thing at all, you generate a little heat and hear the quietness that only can be found after a snowfall.
In only a matter of days the creek had frozen solid offering a precarious crossing with a chance of falling through, the ice crackled and moaned with each step but held my weight as I reached the other side.
My guest today was Mario who had never fished Lake Davis in the fall, after averaging 10 fish an hour he understood why I get so excited about this time of year! He was also amazed how many fish he hooked into from this spot without ever having to move or get his feet wet. Water temps ranged from 38-44 degrees and there were many rising trout midging on a nice windless day. 60 fish were touched at least with 50 to the bank. In one word Mario described the fishing; INSANE!
An averaged sized rainbow from today, they were clean, beautiful, and full of fight ranging is size from 17-20". Stomach samples showed many damselfly nymphs, daphnia, and a few crawdads.
It's that time of year when the stove gets put into the pack, a hot meal keeps one warm and focused on the task at hand.
Burnt orange wiggle tails did the damage today as did sheep creek specials and damsel nymph patterns. Shore ice was creeping in on certain banks and some coves were locked in solid. The end is near but for now Lake Davis is very fishable. For those willing to hike 20 minutes, I can guide you to an excellent day of catching big numbers right off the bank!
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
The final two days of "LeTour"commenced at beautiful Lake Davis blazing wild in fall color. This was a very important trip for me since my clients were the guys who were on my vessel when we had to make a mayday distress call at Eagle Lake. I needed to wave the magic wand and pull a trout out of my hat, needless to say the fish gods had my back on this trip. I arrived on Saturday and went to Camp 5 boat ramp to see who was around. I met an angler who I had spoke to on the phone earlier in the week, Dave is another soldier who stalks trout from the bank and sight fishes when conditions allow. It's always great to hear stories from individuals who ply the shores of Lake Davis.
I rough camped full gypsy style for the next two nights on the log skidder site by Camp 5. Just the bare necessities came on this trip; A simple stove, the 15 pound -20 degree sleeping bag, and my insulated camo "mansuit" that is a must when you're cold weather camping. Once night came it was cold and a bit spooky, and those thumps and crunching sounds in the distance always add a few extra hairs to stand up on the back of my neck. The modern age lends a hand though as I answer business emails, Facebook my thoughts while checking in on my special friends, and running the Foo Fighters channel on Pandora keeping them bears away. Smartphones are one serious tool. The coyotes kept me company while singing the most eerie melodies, and the stars brilliant sparkle lit up the night sky in grand fashion. I pondered life in the darkness and thought of my upcoming birthday; 47 years old and to be honest life just keeps getting better, and better. I feel blessed.
Dan and Dean from the east bay had rescheduled another 2 days with me after the Eagle lake debacle. Talk about about winning the lottery, these guys picked the peak of the fishing at the lake combined with the warmest November weather I can ever remember! Yesterday the high was near 70 degrees at 5,700 feet; I was wearing a t-shirt! Very little wind to deal with and at times many rising trout.
It's hard to explain to someone how good the fishing was and how many hook ups we had. To an average person it would seem like the old fisherman's lies and bragging breath. Bent rods all day long no matter what style of fishing we chose to present flies; Shallow water with a floating line, Int. line with a fast strip, stalking individual trout off the bank, or the Jay Fair trolling technique all kicked ass! In two days these guys touched about 140 rainbows, bringing about 100 to the boat. So much action and so many fish we really lost count on the exact numbers. This is by far the best two days of the entire year on Lake Davis I got to experience - It was insane!
The rainbows ran from 16-20" and some so colored up in a crimson scheme that it looked like someone airbrushed them. These fish now have shoulders to them and they fought extremely well. The fishing will remain good but cold arctic air and snow is moving into the region for the next few days and the end could be coming soon. In any event I'll be back up with a few more client trips after the storm blows through.
I'm kinda sad that this trip has to end, I wish I could provide these perfect conditions everyday to my guest. But reality stares me in the face and I realize that times like these are gifts in life that are meant to be cherished memories. You know the ones that you play over and over in your head that make you grin and put that sparkle in your eye no matter how bad a day you're having. On my way home driving down hwy 49 through the twisty turns I was jonesing for a hot shower to rid my body of that stinky trout smell I had acquired from two days of pure bliss, and my temper-pedic bed. Through every turn in the damp darkness of the canyon I kept asking myself; "Did we really hammer all those fish or what?" Yes Jon, there is a Santa Claus!
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Please join me and the Santa Cruz Fly Fisherman on November 7th at their monthly meeting as I share the secrets of Eagle Lake; home of the special and ancient rainbow trout. My Power Point program consists of over a 130 slides explaining the history of the lake, access points, techniques, tactics, flies, and entomology. If your near the Santa Cruz area make sure to stop by as the meeting is open to the public, and everyone is welcome! For more information and directions to the clubhouse follow this link: http://www.santacruzflyfishermen.org/
Sunday, October 28, 2012
My second leg of "LeTour" was a short 3 day run at Lake Davis where prior to my arrival a foot of new snow had fallen upon the region. The fall colors where either peaking or just starting due to our complicated Indian Summer. I had my concerns about the necessary baggage this time of year; the boat. Backing down an ice covered ramp with a potential for jack knifing your trailer into a dock is not a good thing. I'm fine about not using a boat and having a long hike to the buckets, but with paying customers they deserve the best service possible; I will deliver come hell or high water for them.
As I made my way down to the Camp 5 boat ramp on Thursday I helped remove a pine tree that some good old local boys started to wrestle with. This is pretty common after storms up at the lake no matter what time of year and a good reason to keep a saw in the truck.
The new snow was melting fast and the cold weather dropped the water temps from 55 to 43 degrees! Saturday the fishing was still good but those rainbows had to adjust to the quick drop in water temperatures so the catch rate was a little off. It was such a gorgeous day, a fresh coating of sparkling snow around the lake and the willows blazing in color against a cobalt blue sky. Mother nature continues to take my breath away no matter how many years I've been around her; what a sweetheart!
Sunday was "OFF THE HOOK"! Water temps started out at 44 degrees again but by afternoon they climbed to 55 degrees. I chose some spots away from the masses of tubers that crowded the north end of the lake that offered these trout some sanctuary. Quiet coves filled with floating grass, junk, and noisy Coots splashing about can be very productive.
Rainbows today ran 15-20", the color and condition of these trout have got to be seen; absolutely beautiful for being from a hatchery. It's the fertile waters of Lake Davis and the abundant food that make them what they are.
We also had plenty of risers in front of us today and the boys had never had so much fun casting to targets and stalking individual fish. Between the two of them they touched at least 50 rainbows and landed about 30 of them! Effective flies right now are the ones in your stillwater box; These trout are on the gorge trying to fatten up for winter and will hit anything. JUST GET YOUR FLY IN FRONT OF THEM! We did best on Baiocchi's Sheep Creek Specials, and Jay Fair wiggle tails in dark fiery brown and burnt orange #10 & #12.
There is a high for guides after a day like today that no drug or bottle of booze can replicate, your so pumped up; you glow! It is so satisfying to me to be able to share and teach the shallow water style of fly fishing stillwaters. I give my students a solid foundation that they they can grow from and have confidence on the water when they are out there on their own. That in its own is worth more to me than anything. I'm happily tired from chasing these two trout bums around with a net all day. Today was awesome, this trip will float around my head for quite some time.
THE FALL BITE IS PEAKING AT LAKE DAVIS AND WILL CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS, GET YOUR ASS IN GEAR AND GET UP THERE TO EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC!
Friday, October 19, 2012
I'ts day 13 of my gypsy guide tour where I weave the waters of Northern California sharing the knowledge and spreading the magic to my clients as we enjoy the beautiful fall colors on the surrounding landscapes that trout call home. My travels have taken me to the North Fork Yuba river where once again water temps will always dictate the fishing. During Autumn we must wait until water temps raise into the mid to upper 50's for good fishing, usually the middle to late in the day. The next stop was the Middle Fork Feather river where the water levels are so low and the fish are ganged up in the deeper runs and pools. My 14 year old client had a field day in one such run where he caught and released 8 nice rainbows on a San Juan worm; Stripped like a streamer!
I was done with the rivers and now onto the pristine stillwaters that fly anglers all over the west and beyond come to explore and fish. Prime time is now at Lake Davis and the trout are cruising in very shallow water looking for anything to eat. The blood midge hatches that were so prolific earlier have waned as the water temps have dropped in to the the upper 50's. The fish are rising for small back swimmers and tiny midge adults. floating lines, long leaders, and wiggle tails in brown, burnt range, and black are crushing them. The best time to fish has been the middle of the day when the sun warms all the aquatic insects up and they become active. I have fished all over the state during this time of year and Lake Davis offers the best game in town, catching big rainbows off the bank is simply the best!
I headed up north to the greatest stillwater on earth, Eagle Lake and the home of the ancient Eagle Lake Rainbow. I had such a great time as I hosted my home club Gold Country Fly Fishers and turned on many individuals to this crowned jewel. Most everybody caught their fair share of fish and we had lots of laughs around the campfire (Thanks for those that brought ample amounts of hardwood!). It was my pleasure to share my passion for Eagle with the club, looks like it will be an annual event for GCFF members to participate in for years to come.
The fishing was was very unusual at Eagle this October as the unseasonably warm temperatures had the trout doing totally out of character feeding habits. Fish were scattered but we found the most concentrations at Christie, Pelican Point, and Youth Camp. Lots of Tui Chub minnows were balled up and the fish responded to them by crashing the party. The best flies to chuck at them were brown and copper leeches, minnow patterns, and wiggle tails. There is one thing I can say about the angry Eagle Lake rainbow and that is it really doesn't matter the fly, just get it it in front of them and they will inhale!
On Tuesday I had the biggest scare yet of my boating history. Of course it had to happen at Eagle with big wind, 3-4 foot swells, and clients on board. The motor sputtered to a stop and would sometimes start but not keep an idle. I used the electric to flee to a shoal and dropped both anchors hoping they would hold and not lift and break free; if that happened we would drift and bash against the rocks at youth camp. I called 911 and sent out a mayday distress call, Lassen county sheriff came to the rescue and towed the boat back to the south marina. We got lucky, it could have been really ugly. The culprit was a cup of water throughout the entire fuel system. James from J & L Boat Repair in Spalding dropped everything and got my motor running again. Fantastic customer service from James; he is the man!
Back to Lake Davis and I'm running on fumes, Eagle Lake beats an angler up. The high alkaline water eats yours hands to the point where it feels like you've washed them with 60 grit sandpaper, and cracks in the skin bleed from the constant abuse of casting and stripping line. It also tires you out from waking up at 5:30am to get ready for the first light bite which this trip did not pan out as it usually does. I can't help it when I'm at Eagle to get up early, and see this magnificent lake come to life from the blackness of the early morning night sky is truly a gift to behold. I love how the birds begin their choir of chips and chirps as the morning fog blankets the basin, with a hope that a rainbow will rise in the calm waters at your feet.
Where was I, oh yeah, I'm tired....More clients, more trout, and now some winter weather coming my way for next week's sessions. Stay tuned as there is never a dull moment in the Baiocchi camp.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
I was very fortunate to work with Ken Hanley of http://www.pacificextremes.com/ and take part in making this video. "Small Water Matrix" was produced to get the blood flowing and let the kid in us all come out and explore where the wild things are! This short clip just oozes the passion I have for fly fishing, it doesn't matter the venue or the size of the fish; It's all about the journey and the memories that last a lifetime.
For HD click here; https://vimeo.com/50645169
Saturday, September 29, 2012
If you're as intrigued about Eagle Lake and the unique Eagle Lake rainbow trout as I am then please join me for the most informative lecture on fly fishing this ancient lake available. All bases will be covered in this 155 slide show including the history, hot spots to fish, the flies, techniques, and tackle. The first presentation on 10/2 will be at the Gold Country Fly Fishers monthly meeting at the fairgrounds Grass Valley, all the info is available here; http://www.gcff.org/ GCFF is a great club and I'm proud to be a member.
The second presentation will be held at Tom Page's Reel Anglers Fly Shop on 10/6 at 10am. Tom's shop is located at 760 S. Auburn St. in Grass Valley's Village Center. Seating is limited so come early to reserve your spot. There will be flies available after the show specifically just for fishing Eagle Lake as well as a complete inventory of gear to satisfy your needs.
Please join me and learn all about one of the best kept secrets of Northern California. Both presentations are free to the public and the information provided will most defiantly shorten your learning curve while casting to where the ancient trout roam!
Sunday, September 23, 2012
As I crept down that dusty road to Cow Creek inching my way to Lake Davis my hopes were high just rolling through the woods and taking it all in. The lake came into view and so did the memories of last year at this time, I knew the tears were coming. Not so bad this time around but enough to have a few roll down my cheeks and rest in the corner of my mouth. The taste of those tears were sweet this time, and with that taste came a feeling of true happiness that I was lucky enough to fish with such a loyal partner. Everything was the same as last year, the weather, the hatches, the fish rising right off the bank, and the low angle of the autumn sun giving the landscape a different perspective of nature's special effects. Everything except Madison being there at my side.
Tucked away in my little pullout off the road I rigged the rod and took my time getting dressed. It was so quite out, not a puff of wind or any other sounds to be had. Sightings of any two legged creatures casting in the distance could not be seen as well. There was nothing, just the sun beating down on me providing a blanket of warmth and security. The trek to the buckets is not that far but I took my time to observe some strange bird behavior I solved the mystery to a few years ago at Eagle Lake that baffled a top ornithologist. There were dozens of red shafted northern flickers in the meadows far away from any pine trees or normal habitat. They were rooting deep in the grass completely oblivious to my oncoming presence and the loud noise of dry grass crunching under my boots. The flickers were eating grasshoppers at the right time in the morning; just enough warmth to get those hoppers active, yet not enough sun for them to be able to hop away and fly. The birds were gorging themselves. I love it when the creatures of the great creator think outside the box and prove the experts wrong.
Surface water temps ran 62-65 degrees, and though not the best they are coming down. Hatches included sparse calibaetis, little chartreuse midge, and blood midges in a size 12. They were really keyed in on the blood midge emergers that were popping up from underneath the surface. The trout are already in the skinny water searching for high volumes of food before winter comes on, how skinny? 2-4 feet! For the next 2.5 hours I hooked into 8 rainbows that were so beautiful and clean of any parasites; all on the dry fly. These shallow water trout were stalked and sight fished to. Does it get any better than that? Not a chance, and with my eighth fish released I sat in the shade of a lone pine tree and just watched the fish rise away. Later that day I ran into Gene and the rest of the Granite Bay Fly Fishing club members and we compared notes. They were doing well with calibaetis nymphs and casting to rising fish. They also said the fish they caught and released were very clean as well. Good news!
The fish are in the skinny water and it's getting to be that time of year when the bite really turns on. I saw my first fall colors in Truckee on Thursday and like a passenger train, autumn is on its way. Get your boarding pass now and hop aboard!
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Sorry for the short notice but I will be doing a Power Point presentation on the Wild & Scenic Middle Fork Feather River this coming Tuesday at the EC Powell Fly Fishers Club in Yuba City. I will cover access points, techniques, tactics, entomology, and flies for the Middle Fork with 140 slides, including maps. The meeting starts at 7pm at the Lincrest Elementary school (1400 Phillips road) in the multipurpose room and is open to the public. I look forward to sharing with you one of California's most beautiful rivers - See you there!
For more information click here; http://www.ecpowellflyfishers.com/ScheduleMeetings.php
For the EC Powell Newsletter click here; http://ecpowellflyfishers.com/pdf/Sep2012Newsletter.pdf
Friday, September 7, 2012
I love my Korkers boots, they have exceeded my expectations when it comes to durability and being user friendly. Here in Northern California we have polished granite boulders that line our freestone rivers. I have been wearing the studded soles but they are very slippery on the "dry" granite, and it does not matter what brand of studded soles - they all slip. Once in the water they preform well but it's the boulder hopping that has had me land in ways I'd rather not say. I called Korkers this morning and relayed the information and within minutes I had replacement soles of just "all felt" being processed for delivery ready to ship. That's what a stand up company does when it comes to superior customer service, and why I wear and promote the Korkers Brand. http://www.korkers.com/