Monday, April 22, 2013
The Middle Fork Feather River in the Graeagle area is about a month early and is fishing like it does in late May. Water temps are running 52 in the morning and 55 during the warmest point of the day. Gray Eagle creek and Frazier creek are running at 50 degrees, normally these creeks should be running at around 46. The weather was so gorgeous this weekend, warm and comfortable! It was such a pleasure to back on home water that I know so well.
Hatches? Wow! Skwalas, Gray Drakes, Brown Duns, March Browns, and a few BWO’s in the mix. No fish rising at all but they are taking sub surface aquatic insects. The top producing flies were olive Copper Johns #16 and San Juan Worms in earthworm color. Not that much lead is needed as the flows are very low for this time of year. No dinks in the last few days as well, wild rainbows ran 12-17” with two at 18”! It’s been a long time since I have seen some big fish come from out of the depths here. Streamers were also used with a fast sinking line in the big pools but only one good bump on a 4” long Double Bunny. Spring is the best time to land a trophy brown trout here in the upper watershed.
I’m so surprised at how well the river is fishing right now! If the warm weather continues with no precipitation you can bet the Graeagle area will be too low and warm when June rolls around and one must fish below where Jamison Creek enters the river; In other words get it now while it’s good!
Much has changed since my last report at Lake Davis. The large majority of the fish are done with the spawn with some remaining in the feeder creeks that have a good enough flow to them. There was a strong North wind Thursday through Saturday and fishing was slow. Water temps have come up a bit into the lower 50's and the blood midge have started to hatch, the size of them are big; #10.
Since the fish are so scattered and are on the move I tried a different tactic today. I put in the electric trolling motor at the slowest speed and my guy casted to different areas using a floating line with a weighted Jay Fair trolling fly #8 in brown with copper flash. We netted 3 fish in about an hour and all the fish were dark and beat up from the spawn, they were not pretty!
Loons, Cormorants, and Pelicans cruised the lake looking for fish to eat. By studying the birds I was able to locate pods of rainbows and intercept them.
To sum it all up the majority of the fish are in the south lake from Catfish cove up to Camp 5 and are holding in the upper water column from the surface down to 5 feet. I saw a damsel swimming gracefully on the water’s surface on Saturday; this could be a good omen for the future of the hatch this year. I watched a troller clean his fish and stomach contents revealed junk; moss, and other organic matter. That right there tells me the bugs are not out in force yet and things are early. As I type this I’m sure conditions have changed as everyday this coming week will be warm. It won’t be long and in the following weeks the fish will settle down and be more likely to hit a fly. I will say being back on the boat was quite a joy, and how I love Lake Davis - What a pretty girl she is!
On my way back to Nevada City I rolled on down Highway 49 and checked conditions on the North Fork Yuba. It’s running a bit high but very fishable. I stopped by The Lure resort to drop off some brochures and water temps were at 52 degrees, there was no bug activity at all.
I put on the waders in the Rocky Rest area and fished on my own with a rubber leg Golden Stone #6 with Hogan’s Red Headed Step Child trailed behind it. I also ran a bunch of split shot to get down. Water temps here were at 56 degrees. The fish were not at the heads of runs but in deep tail outs. One dink came quickly to the net. I probed a deeper slot and hooked a very large fish that possibly ran 20”. I got a good look at it from a top view but I never saw the side of it so I don’t know if it was a brown or a rainbow. I played the fish for about 8 minutes (seemed like an eternity to me!) before the fly pulled out. Damn! There was a little chunk of flesh on the Golden Stone Nymph; I guess that fish wanted a big meal.
The first flower of the season Darmera Peltata or Indian Rhubarb was out lining the banks of the river, absolutely stunning! As far as bug activity a few Gray Drakes, Carpenter Ants, and some caddis was all that was out. It will be while before the North Fork shapes up but I imagine it won’t be long!
Friday, April 12, 2013
My philosophey on fly fishing and fly tying is to blend "new school" techniques and tactics with "old school" tradtition. I also like to say the day I know everything about fly fishing is the day I quit; and with that said I'll never quit because the staircase of progression is what fuels my fire for fly fishing and life in general. The new age is constantly tweaking and evolving ideas and science, Spirit River has taken a giant leap into the future with their new line of Ultra Violet spectrum tying materials so that we may increase our chances of hooking more fish.
Most humans can perceive only a small section of the Light Spectrum. We call this the Visible Spectrum, or VS, which runs between about 400 to 700 nanometers
Below the VS light spectrum is the Ultra Violet spectrum. There are 2 types. One is a UV Reflective Light or UVR and the other is UV Fluorescence or UVF.
UVR are the shorter wave lengths the human eye does not usually perceive. These are what we are primarily concerned with. UVR reflects through a material or is emitted by the species and cannot readily be seen by the human eye unless very expensive equipment is used.
UVF are what we all know as the usual florescent tying materials which absorb light and will emerge back out in a longer wave length we can see as brighter or will radiate under a black light.
The UVR spectrum is extremely common in the animal/insect world. This is how bees find flowers and mayflies find mates. While many male species exhibit UVR to attract mates or to feed, many females exhibit less UVR to camouflage themselves and their young.
UVR is abundant in plankton, algae, baitfish, invertebrates & similar species. UV sensitive cones in the eyes of fish allow them to see in much greater detail in adverse water and light conditions. While visible light is lost in red at approximately 10 feet and orange at 25’…UVR and UVF light can penetrate up to 150 feet depending on water clarity. The RODS in a trout eyes do not allow them much sight in low light periods of dawn and dusk. However, UV sensitive CONES in their eyes do allow fish to see more details and at greater depths. Perhaps this is why some species prefer to feed at night. Bass anglers have known about UVR and UVF which is utilized on many of their baits and lures.
Our special UV2™ dye processes on feathers and furs add more UVR by increasing its electron mobility, its luminescence and overall light spectrum. The UV2™ is high in reflectivity and has diffusing properties, which the animal world identifies and exploits. With a special UV light held behind a material, the lighter shades (red and above) will glow ever so slightly.
A better way of saying this is that our fluorescent materials “scream” at you and our UV2™ materials “whisper” to you.
Check out this clip, it will shed some "light" on UV2 materials;
To see the full line of Spirit River's UV2 materials and to place an order click here; http://www.spiritriver.com/
Thursday, April 4, 2013
What I thought was going to be a very wet and windy day turned out to be quite nice depending on where you located yourself. Dark cloudy skies with intermittent light rain settled onto Lake Davis this morning with air temps in the upper 40’s. Fishing pressure was very light and my guest and I fished Coot Bay with not another angler to be seen. We had great protection from the wind and the bay was one big “soft window”. Water temps were at 48.3 degrees and the lake is definitely up to about 80% of capacity. Most of the fish are ganged up in front of feeder creeks looking to spawn, but many of the east side snow melt creeks are already at a trickle so the trout are unable to swim up them. Grizzly, Snow, and Cow creeks have the best flows. There are two types of behaviors being displayed right now by the fish, full on spawn mode and active feeders taking midges off the surface and below. The only hatch I saw today was a very small black midge in a size 18-20, no signs of blood midge or their shucks from previous days.
The fish are in really good shape running 16-20” and clean. My guest fished “stock” style off the bank with a long leader to 3x on a floating line. Fly color was everything today! I started out tying on the tried and true orange glimmer – Nothing. Red – Nothing. Then I put on a wiggle tail with a bright olive glimmer shuck with a black tail and the trout responded on the first cast with a hook up! I’ll be tying up more of those ones for sure. 13 fish were touched in about 4 hours of fishing with 7 to the bank.
Access? It’s wide open! There is very little snow at all except a few bogs at Jenkins, and Cow which will melt out quickly with this warm rain – Just watch out for muddy areas if you are in a 2 wheel drive vehicle. As I stated before Camp 5 is fully operational with the dock in. The state of the lake is about 3 weeks ahead of a normal year. All we need now is warmer weather to bring the water temps up a bit which will intensify the hatches for more productive fishing. Good luck!