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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!).

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Being A California "Old-Timer" Fly Angler

You know you're an "Old Time" California fly angler when:

1---You fished  the Upper Sac starting in  '70 way before "the '91 spill"

2---You fished  Martis Lake at its "Wild Trout" opening in '79 and  it's hey-day of the '80's

3---Your first flyrod was a fiberglass 8' 6-weight...'70

4---Your first graphite rod was the industry's first production rod by Fenwick...'74

5---Fished  the Truckee River before there were special regulations...'70's

6---Fishing the McCloud River before at the arrival of the Nature Conservancy...'70-'73

7---The nostalgia of "Opening Day" in California; when there was no winter trout stream angling

8---Being one of only three (3) fly fishing guides in the Tahoe/Truckee area...'84...currently a joke!

9---Reserving a cabin and fished Hot Creek as early as '72...using the hot springs before its closure

10-Fishing the Merced River in winter; outside western entry to Yosemite, highway 120...mid '70's

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Early Season: Truckee & Little Truckee Rivers

         Let'em Breathe!
Relative to this year's huge snow-pack and the melt that we're currently experiencing; my March 3 2019 post, Springtime Trout Fishing...Timing, Venues & Strategies remains spot on.

For sure, a minimum of 4 weeks, more likely 6 weeks, behind a "normal" season remains a viable/reliable prognosis...gleaned from my four decades being laser-focused on Truckee area waters.
In lieu of late-May thru July, I project early-July thru August being prime-time for all tactics; entailing "dredging" or "purist" dry-fly angling in the north Tahoe area; especially the LT nd BT
In the "Grand Canyon of the Truckee"...fall-time, not now!

     "...May to the start of June can be an “iffy” proposition for the start of optimum fly fishing conditions; wholly dependent on what remains of the previous winter’s snow-pack, its percentage of water content and resulting melt/run-off. During this period, one’s best methods are to hug the river’s bottom strata; where the fish rest.

     Waning spring marks the arrival of the unbeknownst, but locally beloved, “Big Bugs of June”; Western Green Drakes, Golden Stoneflies and huge, winged, Black Carpenter Ants. The Green Drakes and Golden stone adults do not appear in great numbers, but they are present and the trout are aware. The former two insects will emerge over a three-four-week period while the Ant’s appearance in the region is more intense and short-lived; as brief as 3-4 days only
     These food items provide hungry spring trout high-caloric morsels. The trout are on alert. Tactically, search for these ambush feeders; toss your big dries along cut-banks, under over-hanging stream-side vegetation, shallow-riffles and pocket-water. In the past out-sized trout, in the 20”-25” class, have abandoned caution and succumb to their voracious appetites, vacating  the depths to bust the surface for these big bugs. During this waning “post-melt” period, you can experience explosive, top water takes."  ……….Truckee River Primer, California Fly Fisher, November 2017

So, a fly-fan’s first, real chance to trick a trout to the surface remains the month June. Now, water temperatures supplant flows as the more important consideration...most especially on the BT. The stream occupants are aware of the "Big Bugs of June" and on the lookout for the opportunity to ambush such high-caloric morsels.  

HINT: NOW! is the time to search the small creeks (still too high & cold!) and lake inlets, subject to access.
a throw-back..."Have Boat*...Will Travel"..
* in lieu of "Gun"

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Watching the Truckee River's Flows

Ideally, a smooth melt; as opposed to an erratic preferred during this early-spring on Truckee area waters.

Pre-melt angling HAD been picking-up...until the rising waters that have occurred starting the 1st week of April...It has been changing day to day. With the receding snow; access is readily available.

There are two phenomena I observe this time of year; water flow and water  temperature. Right now, of the two, water temps are of lesser concern. Tactically, with high-volume, early-melt flows...simply, look for the proverbial "soft-water". Something to think about...the "precise holding water changes with the tempo of the snow-melt and rise and fall of the flows" (quote...Dean da Raven).
Along the Glenshire sector at 1800cfs
Lots of water to share...right now