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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Throw-Back Truckee Fly Angling

Somethings change, somethings do not...a reprint:

                                                                                Paul Dillon Image
Currently PMD emerger patterns are the most effective for surface-feeders

My apologies for this long delay. I was unaware how many cyber-surfers bookmarked this UPDATE, and actually read my comments! Thanks for the vote of confidence on the reliability of my written word. I will  attempt to be more timely for the rest of the season.

We are now experiencing above-normal warm, mountain weather in the High Sierra. During the last four weeks we've had a mixed bag of climatic conditions; sunny and clear skies, endured rain, hail, snow in the higher slopes, blistering winds that at times made it almost impossible to cast or even lob a cast to showing fish or suspected lies. To compound matters relative to fly fishing; regulated federal flows out of Lake Tahoe into the main Truckee had been erratic and unpredictable, maxing-out to 1500 cfs!!! During the last 10 days they've been relatively stable...angling conditions on most waters are now superb. 

MARTIS LAKE as been sporadic at best. The lake is settling into its mid-summer pattern of warm water temps; 71 degrees in the shallows at mid-day on Wednesday the 15th. The bloom of surface vegetation makes it almost impossible to float-tube the inlet area. The inlet channel is clearly defined, with observable, midge-slurpers in the morning; before the wind starts-up. Prams or pontoon boats are best in this area; float-tubes are fine for the rest of the lake. Aside from the midges, be on the look-out for Callibaetis, both duns and spinners. During the day search the drop-offs and lake edges with Damsel or Dragonfly nymph imitations or your favorite searching streamer...HINT: the red-side shiners have an iridescent red stripe on their sides. I've used a foam beetle with much success in the past during hot summer days; they should be in your lake-fishing fly box. Blood Midges and small dark midges appear in the evening. A BB Midge or Blood Midge Cripple, on a dead-drift or slow draw (creating a V-shaped surface disturbance), attracts cruising fish. You must discern the "decent" gulpers from the planted 7"-10" Cutthroat & Rainbows.

TRUCKEE RIVER flows are ideal; water temps are spiking at 66-68 degrees, admittedly warm and on the upper cusp for triggering the trout's ideal feeding metabolism of 55-65. Some anglers are starting split-session excursions; early and late. Adult Little Yellow Stoneflies, Green Rock Worm and Spotted sedges, the river's three featured hatches are present in good numbers; in addition to the small, #16-18 tan caddis (Glossosoma?). 

Dry fly fishing has been good. High-Stick/Short-Line and "stick and move" in th pockets, or precise drifts to showing fish gorging on emerging PMDs and Mahogany Duns in the runs and tail-outs of pools. HINT: Swing  #14 Partridge and Yellow or Grouse and Orange soft-hackles in front of targeted risers if you are getting refusals. Best surface patterns have been a #14 Glickman Yellow Stone, Orange or Yellow Parachute Humpy, and #16 Grey Elkhair Caddis

Sub-surface,  search with nymphs/larvae/pupae suggestive patterns.  Try a #6 Golden Stonefly, #10 BeadHead Prince, a #14 Foster's Turkey BeadHead, a #16 BeadHead PT or BH Green-Sparkle Caddis pupa. Wild Rainbows and Browns to 19" have been netted.

Increase flows into the LITTLE TRUCKEE rom Stampede dam have made the stream very fishable. There have been a mid-day PMD hatch which can keep you busy casting to rising trout. The trout are not spooky when they're working the surface. But, be forewarned; the feeders are very selective. A Mercer PMD emerger works very well. Your presentation has to to float in the exact feeding lane...accuracy is imperative. Unfortunately the fish are smaller than last year. I attribute this my observations that too many large spawners/broodstock were being harvested last year. DFG has a lot of data and angler input on this fishery; they've been indecisive...this fishery needs special regulations with limited kill and gear restrictions.

Guide client, Paul Silva of Santa Clara, received my coveted TRUCKEE CONSERVATION AWARD for "actions above and beyond the call of angling" for rescuing about a dozen, stranded, Rainbows and Browns who faced certain death in standing pools of water; the result of a sudden flow draw-down from Stampede dam. A tip of the rod to this unselfish act!

The SMALL CREEKS, surprisingly, are fishing quite well for this time of year. A 12" trout is considered a "hog". Attractor dries are sufficient. Use your USGS topo map. Next report will have a detailed report on MILTON LAKE. until nest year...Tight Lines!

*This  UPDATE was initially on my early website onl ...eventually, per request,  I e-mailed it directly to near-400 recipients

Sunday, July 8, 2018


Green Drakes here for 6-Weeks!...first BT then LT

Well, still mobile, having pulled a calf-muscle...Nevertheless, been busy enjoying and gratified by mid-June into early July's guiding, clinics, tours and both TTFF's ( Cliff Frazier Memorial Youth program and Novice Clinic. While not "working" I made every opportunity for personal angling.

The "Big Bugs Of June" all made an appearance on the BT. The Winged Blacked Carpenter Ant were first during an intense 3-4 day period. The trout were aware, creating a great surface "searching" pattern on all moving waters and lake inlets; beyond the ant's short availability.
Winged Black Carpenter Ant dries also produced in creeks...
...and at stream inflows at accessed via boats

Mid-morning to noon emergences of PMD's and March Browns made for happy sight-fishing to rising trout.
Pancho bent during the predictable late-morning PMD hatch

The trout were very selective; so we increased the odds of a grab by tailing soft-hackles or generic bead-head nymphs behind our flush-floating dries. Little Yellow Stonefly adults were and will continue to be a bug to imitate for the next 4 weeks; most especially at dusk. Also, nice adult imitation to use as your indicator fly when dry/dropper fishing while  methodically "prospecting" pocket-water. 

As usual the phantom hatches ( in sparse numbers) of the other two "Big Bugs"...Golden Stonefly  and western Green Drake followed the black ants. We have been on our ritualistic, sunset "Drake Watch"...even though, personally, I saw them at mid-day. In the Drake's absence there are volumes of Little Yellow StoneFlies, micro-caddis and non-IDed mayfly spinners


On the BT; warming waters; hence morning and evening times. Remember that below dam inflows such as Prosser and Boca there will be cooler waters than above and more flow. 

The LT currently has Drakes (started last week of June); so they'll be around for another week. Be aware of a "masking hatch"...PMD's. My hope is releases from Stampede dam do not get any lower. It is crowded...practice amiable stream-etiquette.

Small Creeks are finished locally, seek higher elevations.

Lakes...Locally wait for the big Browns staging at the inlets this fall. Milton is a choice now.