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Monday, October 26, 2015

Trinity River ~ Steel On The Brain

My buddy Dave got a hold of me this past summer and wanted to hook into a steelhead and book a trip on the Trinity River, I combined his desire with an early 50th birthday present to myself and it was a done deal. It had been 15 years since I last fished the currents of the Trinity for the mighty steelhead, you know, the fish of a thousand cast as they say. The Trinity watershed is dear to my heart, as a young boy my father and I fished the upper river before it dumps into Trinity lake, and also fished noted tributaries such as Coffee creek, Eagle creek, and Blue Tangle creek. We used to go for a couple weeks every June after the bulk of the snowpack melted. During those times I honed my fly fishing skills and created memories that I cherish to this day since my dad passed away. As we started our float yesterday I held those memories close to me, with a hope of hooking into an elusive fish that has power and strength beyond belief.

I'll admit I was a little rusty in my nymphing presentations since I rarely get to fish on my own anymore, but it soon came back and I got into the zone, focusing on every drift, and mending away. My first hook up was a complete rush! The aerial acrobatics these fish display when first hooked is heart stopping, followed by long runs, and deep bullish tugs of authority. You may be able to stop a trout most of the time, but when it comes to fighting a steelhead - They've got the upper hand, they're in control. My first fish was a beautiful wild hen. I hooked three more throughout the day, one spit the hook, one broke a hook in half (that fish was beyond toad status, a real athlete!), and the last I fought for quite a while before outsmarting me and wrapping me up on the bottom. I was in heaven.

Our veteran guide was Jason Cockrum who makes his home in Truckee, Ca along with his adorable family. Jason is an awesome guide who approaches guiding the same way I do; It's the client's day, and they come first no matter the circumstances while providing the knowledge and instruction despite the skill set. Jason is a great teacher and has SO much patience, along with a wealth of information on the Trinity River. My buddy Dave was a complete rookie with everything to do about fly fishing, let alone steelheading. Jason worked tirelessly with Dave until he hooked into his first ever steelhead. I think I was more stoked than the both of them. Jason is an independent guide and you can contact him here by clicking the link; Jason Cockrum Fly Fishing. He also works out of the Clearwater Lodge taking guests on the Fall River, the Pit, and the Lower Sacramento just to name a few. the Clearwater Lodge is a must experience, unbelievable food and accommodations for the the fly angler who wants the very best. Jason is such a good dude and a pleasure to be on the water with! One of the things I was most impressed with is that Jason networks with quite a few guides on the Trinity like Dave Neal and others. As we floated down the river they would be texting each other sharing reports on certain buckets, and helping a brother out. Commeruatity like that on such a river infested with so many guides, boats, and anglers was refreshing to see.

Dave and I have already planned our next fall trip in 2016 with Jason on the Trinity River, we had an absolute blast! If you're looking for a top quality guide for the State of Jefferson, look no further; Jason Cockrum is the man and a true troutstalker of the highest level!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Lake Davis Fishing Report 10/21/2015 ~ The Evil North Wind

Lake levels continue to drop and currently the capacity of the lake is at 43% revealing some unusual topography in the north eastern corner. Last week water temperatures were very high for October at 59 - 67 degrees, but after last weekend’s cold air mass and rain, it has now dropped down to 50 – 58 degrees. Fishing has been extremely slow the last few days due to a north wind which can really affect the bite. Jay Fair told me once “Jon, if the north wind is blowing you’re better off staying at home and tying flies”. He would know.  

The lake has been a ghost town with hardly anyone fishing; today my guests and I did not see another angler until 11am. Fall colors are really kicking in now and the willows, cottonwoods, and aspens are blazing with color. It’s absolutely gorgeous out there.

Hatches have come to a halt after the cold air mass slipped in compared to last week when we had rising fish in a foot of water, targets to cast to, and blood midges. The Sheep creek special still remains the hot fly tied on a #12 TMC 2457. Good fall colors for buggers and wiggle tails in fall at Lake Davis include fiery brown, rust, burnt orange, and black. If you’re planning on coming up and see a wind forecast that reads “calm wind to 5 mph in the afternoon from the southwest”, pack your vehicle and go! We’ll see what transpires in the weeks to come as more seasonable air and water temperatures come into play. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Baiocchistroutfitters.com ~ New website is up!

I'm very happy and proud to launch my new and improved website! There is plenty of new information to view, and you'll find you won't have to leave my site to book a trip, buy a fishing license, book a room, and find the best restaurants in the area you'll be visiting. Once again Christine Elder Design & Illustration Services did a fantastic job with the overall layout and construction! You can check out my new site here; Baiocchistroutfitters.com

Thanks for all the support over the years, without you I'd have nobody to share my passion with.

Lake Davis Fishing Report 10/12/2015

My guests and I have been working the middle and northern areas of Lake Davis in the past week with hit or miss action. The low lake levels are very apparent walking in the north section, the above image says it all. This is where the bone dry Grizzly creek enters the lake as of now, the creek itself just has idle pools of water here and there. It's amazing to be standing in areas that are high and dry that at one time I have caught dozens of fish. 

Record high temperatures have blanketed much of California, last Friday it was 83 degrees at the lake, and 102 in San Diego! Water temps have jumped up and are now ranging from 58 to 64 degrees. Abnormal for this time of year. Fall colors are getting ready to peak in the next few weeks, with drought conditions, this fall is not that spectacular in the Northern Sierra. I've also noticed a complete halt on sandhill cranes migrating from the Modoc plateau down to the greater central valley due to the warm weather we have been experiencing. 

The rainbows of Lake Davis are showing the same characteristics of last year due to low lake levels. They are consuming Daphnia (zooplankton), and feeding in areas that they usually do not inhabit, like the bay in front of Lightning Tree. I have found a few pods of working fish that are sipping #14 blood midges. They are not easy to catch and precise and accurate presentations with the right fly and 4x tippet is a must. Still a few callibaetis mayflies are fluttering about, but nothing to get excited about. I've learned over the years to concentrate on the points of peninsulas during low water levels, these are transition zones that offer more comfortable water temps, and a greater food source - It's all about the fertile flats.

A good plan for the day would be to target rising fish on the skinny flats with dry flies or slow sinking patterns, then fish deeper water with either a very heavy fly and a floating line, or a light fly with a sinking line. Effective flies have been brown and burnt orange wiggle tails, and the sheep creek special. We need a cold snap and some weather to get these fish on the grab again. So far September has had better action than the famous month of October. Best of luck out there, I'll see you on the water in the weeks to come.

Late blooming wildflowers ready to pop and welcome a new day.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Tying Gary LaFontaine's Roll Over Scud

Gary LaFontaine thought so far outside the box that the box did not even exist. I've always admired Gary's approach to solving fly fishing's tough questions of why. He would first study as much written literature as he could possibly find on the subject, then take that knowledge to the water and execute. Sometimes he would put on the scuba gear and slip underneath the currents while a colleague made drifts, looking at how the trout reacted to a new pattern. Gary's Roll Over Scud is an incredible fly that has some lively action to it that gets the attention of large trout in still water conditions. A piece of lead wire is tied directly on top of the hook shank. When stripping the fly it swims upright, but on the pause, it rolls over due to the top heavy design. This creates a trigger mechanism for the fish, and they react by changing course and intercepting the fly. Genius.

My fascination with freshwater shrimp began in the mid 90's when I started to fish Eagle Lake. Back then the water was much higher than today, like 15 feet! The scud beds during that time were fenomenale and rich with life. I wish I would have had Gary's Roll Over Scud back then, it could have increased my catch ratio. 2 years ago I discovered fresh water shrimp at Lake Davis, which was new to me. I'm looking forward to trying this pattern there.

Mario Dinucci with a fat Eagle Laker ~ photo by Duane Dinucci

I've modified Gary LaFontaine's pattern a bit, something I usually do just to add my own flair. First I use a zip loc plastic bag for the shell back so it looks juicy and succulent. Secondly I add some ice dubbing in the mix, when this pattern rolls over, the ice dub flashes like a neon sign saying "eat me!". Be sure to pick out the dubbing between the ribbing to add more translucently. Standard colors include brown, olive, pink (freshly molted), and orange (pregnant female full of eggs). 
I highly suggest obtaining Gary's book "Trout Flies ~ Proven Patterns", you can order it by clicking on The Book Mailer. I'm dying to see the results of this pattern over the next few seasons, tie some up and give me a report, I
sure would love to hear from ya.


Hook - TMC 2457 #12-16.
Thread - 6/0 color to match.
Tail/Feelers - Jay Fair Schlappen hackle.
Lead - size .025
Dubbing - color to match with ice dubbing mixed in.
Rib - Thread.
Shell Back - Zip loc bag.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

LG&C Pontoon Workshop 11/30/15

After a very successful and super fun Pontoon Workshop last week, Lance and I have decided to run another one on November 30th, 2015. We'll be floating the Lower Yuba River from the Highway 20 bridge down to the take out at Sycamore Ranch campground. This is an all day event, with lunch included. The price for the workshop is $175, limited to 8 anglers.

Check out the video below, what a hoot!
Drifting through Miners Corner on the Lower Yuba

All aspects will be covered including picking line choices, paddling strokes, drifting through skinny water, equipment requirements, rigging your rods, portaging, and safety on the water. This workshop will fill quickly, to get in on this contact Lance at lancegrayandcompany.com 530.517.2204 Hope to see you there!

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