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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Truckee Angling, Last Century Throwback PART # 3

Let'em Breathe! 

Circa mid-80's Thy Rod & Staff's 8-panel brochure 
Inside Panel #3: 


If fortunate, the autumn angler experiences a glorious Indian Summer with only an occasional, 
shot-lived thundershower. Crowds are gone, nights become brisk, and the aspens and alders turn golden. It is a special time of year. Stealth become a prime tactic.
Fall...Crowds are gone
Solitude is the rule at Milton. If action is slow. one  can vacate the belly-boat and start prospecting for fall spawners leaving the lake and ascending the short stretch of the Yuba River's Middle  Fork. The same regulations apply.

In October, the Truckee basin lakes will produce the largest trout of the season. The migrating 
6-10 pound Browns are encountered in Stampede, Boca, and Prosser impoundments. Fly-rodders are starting to get their share.
JR with an inlet Brown
Ex-Truckeeite Stan McCleod with fall-time Truckee River RainBow 

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Native Sons Tour of Truckee & Little Truckee

Currently there is space available for the Native Sons Tour scheduled for September 20-21.  If you can't attend this tour get on the e-list and we'll send you future schedule tours. 2020 will be our 6th year conducting this unique angling event and the quality of the experience is spreading throughout the fly fishing community.

Friday night's "meet & greet" snacks prior to PowerPoint talk 
The Big Truckee's "Willow Run"
JB Hooked-Up at the Little Truckee's  "Sweeper #1"
2019 had Green Drakes present in Truckee area for 9 weeks! 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

E-Quicky #22...mid-July-late August

...Or, a selective, 5-week peek into the e-life of CyberFly

7/16---Inquiry on Angling Conditions:

The BT in the Glenshire stretch has been fishing well via dry dropper rigs in the pocket water. Bring your thermometer because the water is warming...I leave the water at 67 degrees. 
The PMD hatch on the LT has been really good for surface feeding trout...progressively getting fickle because of the crowds; most especially the upper area. The flows are currently at 126 cfs; decent. 

7/18---An e-note on the passing of a longtime local fly angler, John Lim:

Thanks for the update on John...we'll all miss him. He was a fixture at the LT inlet at Boca. If you wanted to know what was happening there; he was the man. I'm planning on attending his "celebration" in Auburn.

7/18---An inquiry about a recent blog post:

…stillwaters other than Boca; too crowded now with the summer crowds. I’m talking Inlets into Prosser and Stampede; best accessibility is via boats.

For sure, I can provide info as needed.

7/20---A request for angling info:

...didn't do the BT on Friday; doing an early start on the LT...recently bumped-up to a nice 140cfs. At 8 AM there were 10 vehicles in the upper parking area!...walking all the way down to the Swimming Hole for the first open run. The first PMD was observed at 9:15 and the first Green Drake in flight at 11:45.

Overall two anglers during a 6 hour session hooked 12 and landed 7; RainBows 12"-14" and two taped at 18". Productive patterns on top were #8 GD Cripple and #16 PMD Spot-Lite Emerger... indo-fishing with one or two #4 lead; a #18 Pearl Lighting Bug or a Red Rubber-Legged Copper John trailing a #14 Flesh Juan.

7/20-22---TTFF's Cliff Frazier Memorial Youth Event: "free-lancing" for two days...lot harder catching than last year...didn't make last of the three days; was a "honey-dew" time for Karen and our new pup...Pico 

7/24---Guide e-Talk:

“I’m guiding on the LT with two Monday; meeting them at 10 AM at upper parking lot…working middle or lower section if crowded.

7//31Inquiry on Conditions:

"…PMD emerger patterns are fooling the trout, even though occasionally we’ll induce a grab via #8 Green Drake Cripples…in the fast water. Carry an indo-rig for the deeper water; a PT trailing a midge pattern.  Crowds are an issue on the LT, most especially when the presence of Green Drakes in the region are mentioned via high-profile posts on FB or Instagram …Come-on guys, don’t kill the golden egg with self-serving posts!!!”

8/2---Inquiry on conditions:

"....guided on LT Monday & Wednesday, upper parking area. Both times from 1:00-4PM when the bugs are emerging and there are a few rising trout. Seems people going in the AM and leaving noon-1PM…before the hatches begin. Fish to 18” netted; mostly small 13-14 inchers. Have hooked a couple of 17”+ browns but no “to net”.

The flows are above normal. I can’t say if the existing flows are affecting the hatches. Admittedly, the hatches have been sparse, although there has been some intense emergences during the last three weeks.

The LT is really becoming too crowded.”

8/7---Inquiry on conditions:

"The BT is getting warmer and has been bumped-up to 325cfs. . I received a report of 65 degrees at 11AM!! along the Glenshire stretch….pick pockets and look for the seepage springs entering the river, flowing in at 52-54 degrees. It is now “Hoot Owl” time. So, fish below Prosser inflow now…lots of caddis at dusk”

Unbelievably Green Drakes are still emerging on the LT; masking the PMD’s that are the preferred fodder.…noticing some BWO’s, although not Flavs yet. Flows were recently dropped to 94cfs.Unfortunately, the trout are being hammered by crowds of experienced and novice anglers alike. Consequently,  trout are becoming extremely difficult to fool. Best bet has been dry/droppering in the riffles. It befuddles me why guides are taking their clients there, since trout are easier to dupe on the BT.”

8/10---Personal note to Self:

"da Consigliere informs me he saw a lone Green Drake on the LT today...WOW, 6 weeks now, after 3 weeks on the BT...PMD's are fading. Now anticipate the late-brood BWO, appearance of the Flavs, the Little Olive StoneFlies and Watery Green Sedges. Don't forget GrassHoppers as the indicator dry when fishing the riffles, deeper slots and the hydraulic cushion in front of  obstructions. 

8/19---Unsolicited Kind Words:

“got a nice rainbow…I remember Frank telling me let the fly drift down from the shallow riffles into the deeper water. That worked. It’s super fantastic to be able to put everything together on my own, using your training, and make it work.  :-)”

8/21---e-Brainstorming a New Print Advertisement:

LIZ …"1/2 day barter for an ad is you have a subject that you would like to explore? Was just looking at some of our ads recently and laughin!”

ME: “Well….how about me running for president, as a 3rd party candidate as ‘the other chosen one’…a military drill instructor...the Frankie Hendrick’s Experience…Uncle Sam demanding you vote."

 8/27--- Question about the LT:

Yes, it seems your observation is correct on the LT. Similar to the past more small fish (6"-12") this time of year...also browns are appearing in the mix.

My only guess is that the large trout, 16 inches plus, have been /harassed/hammered/hooked several times that they are more educated and have become very selective...allowing the small fish to come-out of hiding to play and eat without being intimidated by their bigger brethren.


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Sage Words from the Icons #17

Let'em Breathe!
"Most fishermen use the double-haul to throw their casting mistakes further"


Friday, August 9, 2019

Massive ButterFly Hatch in Tahoe!

There has been thick flights of TortiseShell butterflies in the Truckee & Tahoe area....the most I've personally witnessed  since building my first home in Truckee in 1979. I'm not seeing them along the streams or lakes not a fly angling pattern to imitate...thus far.

California TortiseShell Butterfly
Nymphalis Californica 

Here is an article from the SF Gate:

Massive butterfly swarms becoming the talk of Tahoe

There aren't enough to block out the sun, but social media posts out of the Lake Tahoe area show enough swarming butterflies to get just about anyone who encounters them to pull over and start taking pictures.

While some think the butterflies are migrating monarchs — which have been declining at an alarming rate in California — the Reno Gazette-Journal identifies them as California tortoiseshell butterflies that are visiting the Sierra in search of the remnant of our winter snow pack.
The butterflies are known to frequent beaches and puddles in search of salt from the soil, according to the newspaper.
The bugs can be identified by their orange and red wings, and social media posts show them swarming in a few locations around the region".

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Truckee Angling...Last Century ThrowBack...PART #2

Let'em Breathe!

Circa mid-80's Thy Rod & Staff  8-panel brochure, Panel 2, Inside:

*notes present-day changes

"The water warms and the runoff subsides. Up to the end of July, an angler can spend pleasant mornings at Martis Lake* casting to sighted "cruisers" along the wees edges. These "gulpers" leisurely inhale Callibaetis duns and spinners. Timing their rises and tracking their movement pattern is a challenging and contemplative game.
Mid-day angling on the Truckee Rivers is relaxing. Access is easy and the wading is non-threatening on the upper "Wild Trout" section. About six miles** of it have special regulations of interest to the fly rodder: 2-limit,; single, barbless artificials only; minimum 15". A freestoner, the Truckee has a balanced mix of riffles, runs, pools and pocket-water. Large fish are in residence. Keeping things in perspective, the median trout size in the Truckee River is within the 10"-12" range. They are all well-finned and stream born.
During the evening  sessions, entailing late-afternoon to dusk. the Truckee becomes intriguing. During the period, the river confirms its well earned reputation as a "night-stream". There are opportunities for double-digit hook-up during the even rise."

* The lake's fishery and angling experience declined in the mid-90's. Nowadays it is seldom fished by knowledable, local anglers. There is an occassional report of decent fishing in early spring. 

** as of 2008 there is 20 miles of special reg waters to the CA/NV state all year. General season is articicals only, 2-take, minimum 14". Winter regs (November 15 to lst Friday in April) same excepy, no take!

Truckee's Toilet Bowl along Legacy Trail
daDean casting to risers at the "Willows"

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Truckee Angling, Last Century ThrowBack PART #1

Let'em Breathe!!
I was going through a jumble or paperwork in my upstairs office space and I came across an 8-panel Thy Rod & Staff  brochure I had printed and distributed in the mid-80's to early '90's....the infancy of my fly fishing guide service.

I quickly read through the copy and then wondered if there were similarities or the Truckee, fly fishing "scene" then and now. Here's Panel l, Inside:

 The Area 

The Lake Tahoe region is a world renowned, diversified recreational playground. The addition of trophy trout angling in the area's alpine waters make this the premier outdoor site in the pristine High Sierra

During the70's California's Fish & Game became aware of the natural fishery potential that the area possessed. Working with California Trout, the angler conservation organization, the state instituted "Wild Trout" waters. Restrictive regulations in the form of creel limits, minimum and maximum size requirements and gear use was mandated. The area now sustains self-perpetuating, natural trout populations without the intrusion of hatchery fish that dilute their native instincts. Rainbows, brooks, browns and cutthroats, all jewels in their own right, are available to the conscientious fly angler in and around the Tahoe-Truckee basin 
Let'em Breathe!!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Sage Words from the Icons #16

"Trout are not smart; they are instinctive. They know that their food is a certain size, shape and color, and most importantly, that it travels at the same speed as the current. Anglers who stray from that basic formula have extreme difficulty catching trout."


Book: All Anglers Lie...Chapter 4, Fly Fishing 30

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Summer Mode in Truckee

Lot of consecutive warm and breezy afternoons. The BT has receded, we're seeing more airborne bugs throughout the day...and at times, intense, evening caddis emergences, thick flights of Little Yellow StoneFlies and sparse mating-swarms of Sulfurs (?). 

Middle Truckee water-temps range 51-59. Picking-pockets within boulder gardens temps a lot of feisty (read smallish 7"-10" RainBows). The largest I've witnessed is an 18" RB which ate an #18 Black/Red Zebra Midge, it was stationed at the riffle-inflow of a deep-pool. I've netted RB's to 16 inches; via a #16 PMD Hackle-Stacker. I've heard of a19" trout eating PMD emergers, at dusk (below image)...But, no first-hand nor grapevine Browns; most especially those of out-sized proportions.
Magic-Time on the Truckee's "Toilet Bowl"

As you proceed downstream below either Prosser or Boca dams; you'll  experience two things; heavier flows AND cooler water-temps, 1-3 less. The aforementioned is enlightened angling strategy as we progress into the heat of late-summer to early fall-time.

Don't forget you'll encounter lots of commercial rafting below the inflow at Boca. They are legally permitted to enter the main river at the Boca dam's inflow of the LT no earlier than 10 AM and off the water no later than 5PM; at Floristan only. During the entire trip from Boca to Floristan; the rafters can not disembark.

Water-temps are not an issue on the Little Tricky (LT); being a bottom-release tail-water. My last reading of the inflow from the dam was 46; it should remain in 44-46 degree range...warming as it meanders through meadow,  "canyon water" and into Boca.
Fooling one at "The Willow"
Last Saturday, Stampede looked like it was dampening the spillway. It was ramped-down to "I-don't- like" 70cfs for about two weeks (my preference is 125-250); dropped quickly to 50 cfs and immediately to its current 126cfs...I like it! During an up-ramp my go-to sub-surface, searching, terminal-rig entails  a #14 FleshJuan ... trailing anything small; #18-22 Black Zebras, JuJu BaetisRubber-Legged Red Copper Johns.

As for the bugs?...the usual suspects for mid-summer: BWOs, PMDs and Western Green Drakes.
LT BWO...Be aware of a "masking hatch"
Late-morning to mid-afternoons are your best opportunities for the mayfly emergences. Thus far, unfortunately, the hatches and corresponding surface-feeding has been less spectacular than I've anticipated. Overall, bring your "A-Game" or be humbled here.

HINT: Stillwaters
                                             Yeah!!!..a collector hat 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

ThrowBack Truckee River Regulation Sign

My recollection is that the below California fishing regulation sign was mid-'80's; guessing '84-'86. I consider it the second-generation sign in that the first special regulations for the Truckee River were instituted in either '82 or '83. These C and R rules made the Truckee River a new addition into California's "Wild Trout" program.


Last Saturday in April through November 15


Minimum size limit: 15 inches total length.

Only Artificial flies or lures with

Barbless hooks may be used

(B) Truckee River from the confluence of Trout Creek downstream to the Glenshire Bridge.
artificial lures only
(C) Truckee River from the Glenshire Bridge downstream to the mouth of Prosser Creek.    
artificial flies only
(D) Truckee River from the mouth of Prosser Creek downstream to Boca Bridge.
artificial lures only
(E) Truckee River from Boca Bridge downstream to the confluence of Gray Creek.     
no gear restrictions

               CCR SEC.  7.50 Title 14
Resources Agency of California

The first generation sign had just two special regulation sectors, not four as noted above. From Trout Creek to the Boca Bridge (the old one...closed when?) it was barbless artificials only, two take, minimum 15". From Boca Bridge down stream to Gray Creek it was any gear, two-take, no size requirement. General regs from Gray Creek to the CA/NV border; any gear, 5-take, any size.

Below is the current Truckee river reg sign; 4th generation. These rules were instituted in 2008. Main change was the river being open to angling during the winter; November 16 to the last Friday in April. 
There will be new regulations forthcoming in 2020; the Truckee seems to be included; along with other local waters. If such occurs, then there will be new signs posted. These will be the 5th generation signs. The new signs will be produced and hung throughout the area by volunteers from the Tahoe Truckee Fly Fishers...such has been done in the past.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

SummerTime in Truckee

...Bring it on! Flows & water temps are near-perfect alignment...

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Seek & Find Uncrowded Truckee Angling

Progressively, as the Big Truckee and Little Truckee water flows become more "user friendly" there are likely crowds at these venues. If you want to avoid such; explore other regional waters within an hour's drive of the town of Truckee. You'll likely find some solitude at popular spots, venture way upstream or down and think about boats for difficult access.
Have Boat...Will Travel
Even on well-known  waters one can find no other
Waiting for the hatch...and heads

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Brookies & Bent Rods...Truckee Area

I love fly fishing small waters...been doing such for eons in the Truckee area. There are numerous  tiny brooks and creeks within a hour's drive of my home. Some are "secret"...others not. If new to the region study your topo-maps and start exploring. A few provide us the chance of bringing-to-hand the area's "Hat Trick"...brookies, rainbows and browns. In the near future Lahonton Cutthroat will be available; creating the area's unique "Grand Slam". A trophy is  in the 12"-13", most are 6"-10"...perfect quarry for a 3 weight rod...and dry flies.

There are important  considerations when seeking such waters. Below is an excerpt from my Destination Theater's presentation at Pleasnton CA's 2019 Fly Fishing Show

a) initially, the water temps are too cold and flows are too high
b) then, the flows are ideal, but water temps remain too cold
c) finally, flows and water temps are optimum for about 10 days ONLY
...then flow and temps are too low and warm!
if there's water , there are trout
Your first cast is the most productive for these opportunistic feeders
Above and below..."pan-size" or shall I say "hand-size" stream-bred trout
"OK, rise again..."

Monday, June 10, 2019

Lower Sac & A Near Death Experience?

The Lower Sac...sort of reminded me of southern Chilean Patagonia
Recently, I've been spending some time fishing well-known tail-waters of the West; the BeaverheadBigHorn, Missouri and the Green in Flaming Gorge; the latter three being BIG, tail-waters, below really huge dams within sometimes wide and sometimes narrow terrain.  (see images at bottom).Then I realized we have a famed and productive tail-water in the Lower Sac; right in our proverbial "back-yard".
Mike Brugh with a typical LS RainBow
So recently I spent two fun-filled days drifting the Lower Sac with members of the local fly fishing group; Tahoe Truckee Fly Fishers. Suffice it to say; we netted respectable numbers of RainBows which made long runs, pulled hard and were healthy and strong.
 The LS is an "urban" fishery...along Interstate 5
The fallen tree, right-side of image, just missed the drift-boat
Peter, the fella in the center of boat has new name, " Woody". The fella in the stern was brushed by the tree as it broke into pieces as it hit the port-side of the drift-boat.…really lucky nobody got seriously injured. We were up river around a bend and our guide Shane received a cell-call from Peter. The other boat in this image was drifting behind and saw the whole thing; seeing and hearing the tree falling and smashing on boat.

the Wide-Missouri
...a wadable Missouri side channel 
The Green River...entering the infamous Flaming George
One of the few rapids on the Green  River
The across-stream footpath covers the entire 7 miles of the Green's Section A
the BigHorn….with its ugly terrain
BigHorn Brown
BigHorn RainBow

Monday, June 3, 2019

Ants!!...Truckee Area

Today is my first sighting of the Flying, Black Carpenter Ants, one of the three infamous "Big Bugs of June". I didn't notice them yesterday on the LT. Now, we await the Green Drakes and Golden StoneFies on the BT to make their sparse and unpredictable appearance.

As for Truckee area's fly fishing. This is the opportune time to encounter a hefty river trout; not numbers, but quarry measured in pounds. Our second opportunity occurs at lake inlets in fall.

Well, we're experiencing still heavy flows on moving waters and the still-waters are at near-maximum pool; both water-types make for challenging conditions. It seemed the snow-melt/run-off was waning and then we had an uptick in with the melt this last week. There still remains a lot of snow at the higher, north-sloping mountain peaks. Prior to the increased river flows we had some mid/late-spring, dry fly action; BWO's and March Brown and the occasional terrestrial pattern. Both huge attractor/indicator flies to sparsely dressed, small emerger patterns all fooled the sighted surface-feeders. Netted trout were RainBows ranging from 12"-19".

Guess I'm going to fashionably "redact" my 5/7/2019 post saying "Now, water temperatures supplant flows as the more important consideration...most especially on the BT."  Flow volume has re-entered our angling strategy again; along with its equally important partner; water temps. We're still awaiting a sustained warming period and the last-waning melt; thus triggering the early sequence of seasonal hatches.

The BT is flowing high and clear in its upper reaches; 835-1920 cfs from Tahoe City to Prosser Creek's inflow. Below Boca dam, there is less clarity and it is raging at close to 3000cfs. All these flows are ideal for kayak and sturdy inflatable fans; less so for us fly anglers...but be patient. As for wading the river...forgetaboutit! Besides, no need to be in the water, the trout have dispersed to the stream-edges, avoiding the turbulence of the main flows; resting and preserving energy behind obstructions that create deep, quiet eddy water.

 The productive techniques remain going deep, "low & slow" along the river-bottom. Suggested searching rigs adhere to the small/large concept; either a #12 San Juan or #6 Pat's Rubberlegs trailing a #16 FB Pheasant-Tail or Green rock Worm larva. I've no fly selections relative to Euro-style sub-surface fishing; if I did I'd be lying; being old-schooled in NorCal's tight-lining or high-sticking.
We're a MINMUM six weeks from the lower flow in the above image
Here are three FRANKISMS relative to angling during high water periods:

1---"Stick & Move"
2---"If fishing is slow, move fast, if fishing fast, move slow"
3---"When in doubt, add" related to weights

The LT below Stampede dam recently ramped-up to 760cfs; still too high for my jaded, liking.

 If you are resolute fishing there, I suggest the same BT advice as above. The exception being a #8 Green Drake nymph for the anchor-fly and the trailer being a size #18-20, black or red midge larva pattern (off-set the hook!).