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Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Gypsy Guide Tour; Part 2

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 ramp was in pretty good shape due its location of a southern exposure with protection from the wind. Even though the sun would do most the work, I still shoveled off the ramp and sanded it in preparation for my trips.

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.


Friday, October 19, 2012

The Gypsy Guide Tour; Part 1

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

Small Water Matrix


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

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