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Friday, November 9, 2018

Still Waiting....

Let'em Breathe!
...for the big Browns bulking-up for winter. Thus far no luck nor success. Mornings have been in the single-digits. We need some cloud-cover and mild, wet  precipitation; snow nada.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Late Fall

Well, still haven't used the eggs that I featured in my last post...

Both my targeted, egg-eating Browns & RainBows are not migrating upstream from the local reservoirs in good numbers...yet. HINT: fish the inlets where their staging. In the interim were having some fun fishing for the local Kokanee. 
Stay clear of the Kokanee's needle-sharp teeth!
During the last few days, gusting winds have severely impacted our casting; whether angling local still-waters or streams. These strong winds occur early-afternoons. Seems like the weather is in a cusp period; late-fall into an early winter.

The past six weeks we've been blessed with classic Fall weather; soft-breezes, cirrus-laden clouds, blue sky and clear, cooling waters. During the period we've encountered surface feeders confidently ingesting the occasional hopper (...the remaining few are active during the warmth of mid-day) and "slurpers" sipping the minutest of BWO's, PsuedoCleons; spinners and emergers. Personally I've not observed the fabled, humongus October Caddis; locally very sparse, unlike the immense numbers on NorCal's McCloud and Upper Sacramento rivers.
BT dry/dropping the pockets...along "Glenshire"

Thus far were netting Browns and RainBows to 20"...waiting for the big guys to appear. As aforementioned, dry flies are working. The most effective tactics on the BT remain dry/dropper fishing in pocket-water and inflows at the head of pools, swinging streamers in the deeper runs or high-sticking, indo or Euro fishing. One will find solitude, in the BT's "canyon" waters below Hirschdale. Size 14-18 Generic nymph patterns are being used;  The exception being #20-22 Organza-Winged Spinners
BT above Hirschdale
Most of the BT Wild Trout are in the 10"-14" range 
The LT requires expert skills with its current low-flows and its mid-day bug hatches...very selective trout! Multiple bugs are there; midges, Mahogony Duns, BWO's 18-24, micro-caddis and Little 
Olive Stoneflies.

Monday, October 1, 2018


While many anglers are currently obsessed with the huge Lahontan Cutthroat at Pyramid Lake; now is the time some Truckee anglers start thinking about fishing for the big Browns of fall-time. Our "fly" of choice is that of an egg imitation.  Personally I do not "peg" a plastic ovum pattern. I use yarn, egg imitations; many anglers call them "Glo-Bugs". I will experiment fishing with different colors, in  light and dark shades; finding-out which produces best.

Tactically, we do not fish on/in spawning redds...unethical! We look for that first riffle and/or vertex of currents below the redds. I always trail a smallish fly pattern (midge larva or BWO nymph) behind my egg fly. You'll be surprised what may eat the trailer...could be a big brown. About 10 years ago I netted a 24" Brown which ate a #20 Black Midge emerger...a unique occurrence for inclusion into the "20-20" club.

ince I
...they do not always ingest the egg
Recently I received an egg-tying lesson from long-time Truckee guide and expert fly-tyer "JR" (John Roberts). I was enlightened as to how the circular, yarn patterns were made. I had envisioned the tyer meticulously scissor-cutting/trimming the yarn into a perfectly round globe...I was wrong.    

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Sage Words from the Icons #13

Let'em Breathe!

"Rivers and the inhabitants of the watery elements are made for wise men to contemplate and for fools to pass without consideration."


Monday, August 27, 2018


Rio Simpson...southern Chilean Patagonia...circa 2006

There came a point in time after numerous years of guiding and instructing experienced, semi-skilled and novice fly anglers that I realized I was espousing recurring themes and concepts. These aphorisms; simple, concise and truthful sayings, I've coined FRANKISMS. These  are exceedingly useful when I want to instill a concept that is beneficial and easily understood; an idea that I am emphasizing for a client, with the intent being that the concept/s will be subconsciously imbedded into their angling psyche.

My selective use of the Frankisms is based on its appropriateness when instructing beginners with core insights or useful and adaptable to the existing skills of experienced fly anglers...taking them to another level.

During my last few excursions in the Truckee area; fishing over finicky surface-feeders, I have reinforced one of my ingrained Frankisms:

"Observe More...Cast Less"

There are two things the fly angler has to consider when they have sighted a surface-feeding trout...before making that first cast! 

1----What are the lateral perimeters of the trout's feeding lane?....One's  fly presentation has to be within those precise boundaries.

2----What is the rhythm of the trout's feeding?....Time the feeding behavior of the trout  and make your cast at what you perceive as the appropriate time of the start of the trout's rise sequence. 

Finding the precise feeding lane is a start. If there is a consistent rhythm you up your chance of the take. Of course you have to accurately present the right fly; size, shape and color...IMO, in that order; if all three, the better.

Rio Nirehuao..southern Chile...circa 2004

Thursday, August 16, 2018

"Old Timers" Perspective

Let'em Breath!

As I note in my previous July 17 post..."Somethings change..." 

Below are two commentaries/observations from a couple of "old timers".

#1---An excerpt from AMERICAN ANGLER,  July-August 2018: 

"The kid certainly looked the part; expensive sunglasses dangling from his neck, even though we were inside on a cloudy day; fashional  fishing shirt from one of the more prestigious makers of fashionable fishing shirts.; trendy stubble on his face (I've had a beard since 1966, but have never figured out how to keep it permanently frozen at one-week length); and a look that announced to me and all the world that he he knew more about fly fishing than I ever would...--

Back in the 50's my father and I used to float blue-ribbon Montana trout streams all day without seeing another angler....

..things have changed. Several years ago I realized that everyone in southwest Montana between the ages of 14 and 50 was or had been a fly fishing guide...

No longer an obscure pastime practiced by the eccentrics, fly fishing had become a Scene...

Then there was the "The Stuff"---the high-end shades...clothes...Spey rods longer than the creeks are  wide...

I just couldn't understand how so many new guides could learn more after six months on the water than I'd learned in 60 years...

...simply most knowledge of the outdoors is better derived from the internet. It would benefit us all to remember that."

#2---"A Time Perspective on Fly Fishing" 
Frank R. Pisciotta 

"For those of us who have been fly fishing for a few decades, there is a point in time when we realize we are of the “older generation”. Our fly angling psyche has changed; influenced by the introduction of modern methods, concepts and gear. With the mid-90’s advent of the Internet, the learning curve for those of us very experienced or novice is now quicker and steeper. We grizzled fly anglers accept this …maybe reluctantly…and recognize that our passion has been and will continue to be a dynamic sport; although some things may remain constant in our minds.

During the ‘70’s there were few concerted attempts to tweak or enhance what was learned when we initially entered the sport; the exception being some classic, fly fishing books. The ‘80’s provided an up-tempo in the print media, and the increased use of the Internet during the late-90’s and into the first decade of the 21st century provided us with limitless, easily accessed information and purchase opportunities. As a consequence, there has been a decline in fly fishing specialty-shops. There are now only a few small, “brick and mortar” fly shops, those survivors able to compete with the on-line and huge mega-sports stores.

Below, hoping to provide a brief historical perspective on the evolving changes that have occurred during the last few decades, are some general comments of our mutually-shared sport.  “New school” participants….and this is a relative moniker…may appreciate what we “old-schoolers” or “booth-strappers” have witnessed over the years.

My first waders had attached boots and were both bulky and clumsy. “Stocking-foot” waders made an appearance during the mid-‘70’s. They were either seamless, solid rubber or seamed, water-proofed nylon; weighing mere ounces. With the former we experienced sweaty walks and wades, most especially during the heat of the summer…they did not breathe! I had a rubber pair with many repairs; I looked  like a walking, worn-out and heavily patched inner-tube.  The seams separated on the nylon ones after only 4-5 outings. 

There were few wading shoes available. They had felt-soles and were made of leather which became very rigid when dry; making it difficult to put-on for your next outing. Now we can select boots made by numerous manufacturers; they are synthetic, light-weight and durable to withstand boulder-scrabbling in freestone rivers. Modern-day brogues have various types of tightening features utilizing wheels, wires, zippers and speed-lacing gadgets.

Common use of bamboo fly rods was a bit ahead of my time. I’ve experienced the progression of fiberglass and the present-day graphite or graphite/boron composites. My first fly rod was a 6-weight, “glass” 8-footer. Then I was gifted the first production graphite rod, which hardly bent being as stiff as a broomstick. You will notice I’ve intentionally avoided discussing two-handed rods.
Fortunately the rod designers became more sophisticated. We then could select a “taper” that fit our casting style and preferred type of fishing. Simply, the “action” indicated where the rod bent, as in fast (…at the tip), medium (…at the middle, the term used was “parabolic”) , and slow ( …at the butt). Currently, I see no need to decipher all the marketing and engineering jargon such as “torsional stability”, “damping” with “nano-sized silica”, all encased in an “advanced modulus positioning system”  Geez, I merely want to fish and not launch a fly to the moon. Our prime concern, simply, is how the rod flexes, loads or bends to accurately and efficiently cast the line and fly.

It seems like fishing vests are no longer de-rigueur. At times I feel like a Neanderthal when I put on my “guiding” vest…it easily weighs 20+ pounds! The trend is obviously towards being a minimalist. We now can use devices such as slings, chest-packs, waist-pouches and lanyards.  They are ergonomically designed and may include water devices, D-rings, clips, Velcro fasteners, loops, straps, and in-built nooks and crannies.

Long-time fly anglers remember most fly reels being from three producers. For trout angling we either had a proletariat’s Pheluger 1494 Medalist or Scientific Angler System One. Having the money we could splurge for an English-made Hardy Princess or Perfect.
Currently there must be close to 100 reel makers at all price-points. Some salt-water reels cost as much as my first VW “Bug”.

Flies, hooks and fly tying have evolved. In the past there were few synthetics; mostly natural feathers, hairs, furs and wool yarns. The current plethora of non-natural ingredients used at our vises and in patterns commercially produced are endless. There was one major hook producer, providing a limited style of hooks. We now have the privilege of selecting from several firms with an endless array of hook designs; weights, bends, points, thickness and gaps…for both freshwater, saltwater flats, estuaries and deep sea. Depending on a fly tier’s temperament, fly designs can be simple and quick to tricky and time-consuming.

I recall two basic fly line shapes:  a double-taper or a weight-forward. They were full-length at 90’ or 30’ shooting-heads. The line floated or sunk, the latter having 3-4 sink rates.  Now there is a bewildering amount of different fly lines that are available in a  kaleidoscope of colors…some of them blinding. They are designed for very specific angling situations, whether used in fresh or salt environments. Advertising, packaging and catalogue descriptions can be so esoteric that one almost needs computer analytics before making a choice.

A last category of fly angling needs is an all inclusive group that is marketed as accessories. It sort of sounds like high-end jewelry, but; I call them extraneous paraphernalia or “danglies”. My first “nippers” were essentially finger-nail clippers, which hung on my vest by a string (…flashing brightly in announcing my presence to every trout in the immediate area) or placed-in an often-forgotten-pocket. Attachment devices have evolved into an array of retractable “zingers”; some of which are inconspicuously built into our outer-wear and gear packs. Some of us carried heavy needle-nose pliers or surgical hemostats for de-barbing hooks. We now have many choices which incorporate multi-function features:  hook-eye clearing , cramping-on weight, and scissors for cutting hackle, hair or leader materials.

The list of gadgets continues and entails paste and powdered floatants, indicators, weights, hook-hones, thermometers, knot-tying aids, nets, tippet dispensers and fly boxes. The common denominator is that now there are many options; most of which were unavailable decades back.
My intent here is to not create “revisionist” history. This very loose chronology of fly angling developments are my recollections only, I’m sure I’ve missed some. If so, please drop me a note to refresh my memory."

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