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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Another Generation of Fly Fisherman have been released on the waters....

My wife is a cheerleading coach for our local high school.  Each year, cheer has several camps they attend to better their skills and compete against other schools.  It has become a tradition in my home for the boys to "get away" during these days.  About 9 years ago, I started taking my older son, Tyler, fly fishing.  At the time, he was 8-9 years old.  We chose the Lower Owens River, outside of Bishop as our destination.  For those who have never been there before, it is a great river to teach kids to fly fish.  Lots of fish per mile, easy access, flows are usually in the "small stream" size making wading doable and close to town when the day is done.  We had some great times and my son got better each year, catching more than his fair share and at about age 11 started betting dad who would catch the biggest fish of the day (the winner got to chose the dinner spot).  For those of you who know Bishop (and 11 year olds) there are not many choices and on those days when he "won" we ate at McDonalds.

Now, 9 years later, Tyler now 17, a teenager, mostly hangs out with his buddies and doesn't fish as much with dad.  However, my 10 year old Carson, has been dying to go on these trips since he was 5.  This year Carson and I headed for the Eastern Sierra's for our first lesson in fly fishing and fine dining on a "guys'" weekend away while mom did her cheer thing.

Our plan was to fish Hot Creek and the East Walker River (the Lower Owens has been flowing high lately, Bishop was blazing HOT, and staying in Mammoth Lakes seemed much more appealing.  I hired two guides, one from Sierra Drifters, "Two-Bug Doug Dolan" for the East Walker and one from The Troutfitter, "Cog MacNeil" for Hot Creek.  I figured the help of a guide would speed up the learning curve for Carson and make the trip much more enjoyable for both of us.  I was right, both guides were AWESOME!

Day one we fished with Cog and Hot Creek. Hot Creek can be very technical so Carson as a first time fly fisherman had a 50/50 chance of success.  Cog got him into fish right away and he hooked what we think was a "lunker" in the first or second drift.  Hooking and landing a large fish your first time are completely different things and "touch" and "play" are required, all skills Carson learned on that fish and throughout the day.  Cog was very patient with him and Carson landed some really nice fish on Hot Creek.

Carson got a little over-heated mid-day but "powered" thru it. It can get warm in the canyon section of Hot Creek and that particular day we had little or no wind to cool us off.  A nice dip in the pool afterwards  got him rejuvenated and ready for Day 2 on the East Walker.


The East Walker was a completely different experience.  We added wading!!!  We met "Two-Bug" Doug Dolan from Sierra Drifters early in Bridgeport.  I have to say that Carson was a little worried about  getting in the water for fear of floating away.  The first 15 minutes were "spooky" and both Doug and I were thinking this could be a long day!  Doug was a rock star.  He got Carson into fish within minutes of  stabilizing him in the current (very important) and again Carson hooked a nice one.  Here is the issue, we are not fishing for Marlin on 200lb test and horsing them in like you see on the Bass Pro Tour is a technique that should be left at home when fishing trout in fast moving water.  The East Walker has some very large browns and rainbows, and at anytime you could hook one.  Carson proceeded to hook but not land several more.  Doug finally got him "dialed in" and he landed several throughout the day.  Each fish landed Carson made it clear that he had "beat his record"!

I would like to personally thank both Doug Dolan of Sierra Drifter & Cog MacNeil of The Troutfitter for  making our experiences memorable.  Carson has learned skills he can take with him forever.

If you are in Mammoth Lakes, I have to mention Hot Chicks.  By recommendation, we tried this "chicken joint". Talk about the BOMB!   The portion alone could choke a dinosaur.  The chicken was perfect and even though I am not a big Mac & Cheese fan, I was pleasantly surprised with the selection.




















All in all a great trip, good memories and fish in the net.  Thanks Sierra Drifters, Troutfitter for filling our fishing nets and Hot Chicks for filling our bellies!  Oh and on a side note, Carson made the September cover of Western Outdoor News!!

Father's Day Gift

My great family gave me a float trip on the Lower Sacramento for Father's Day....so I made a weekend of it in the Redding area.  The float was great, The Fly Shop in Redding really came thru with a guide and expert advice on other places to fish while in the area.  Day two I fished Hat Creek in the morning and Pit River 5 (I believe).  Both were productive, however, "the Pit" was much more so. Some nice rainbows were had.    I always love the north area when I get up there. Next time, I will fish the Upper Sacramento AND the Pit again.

Thanks guys for a great weekend!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Quickie on the Calaveras River

With this crazy weather, my last minute chance to wet my line changed drastically Saturday morning.  Although fishing the Little of Big Truckee on Saturday could have been decent, I just wasn't into bundling up one more time and fishing with numb feet and fingers.  So I opted for a close-to-home trip on the Calaveras River.  The Calaveras River, outside of Valley Springs, CA is a short, scenic one hour drive from my home in El Dorado Hills, CA.

The Calaveras is a good choice this time of year (with the spring run-off) as it is a tailwater flowing out of New Hogan Reservoir.  Saturday was "opening day" for this stream.  The River is closed until the 4th Saturday in May.  The weather co-operated beautifully, 60 degrees and partly cloudy and an opportunity for "some" small bug activity/hatches.

I was able to hook and land 11 fish, most wild, a few planters.  They all ranged in size from 8-13 inches, of fought hard and were clean and colorful.  I nymphed the whole day, using Mighty Mays, Mighty Mite and some small PMDs with an occasional San Juan Worm as the lead fly.

I needed a fix and got it on the Calaveras.  A good choice if you live in the Gold Country!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My ten year old...BORN TO FISH!

Back in April, my ten year old son, Carson & I made our first "fly fishing" trip together.  Now I have been taking my older son and daughter to the Lower Owens River outside of Bishop, CA for year.  This time, however, we decided on a float trip on the Lower Sacramento River in Redding.

What a great experience!  I really like the guys at www.sacriveroutfitters.com!  Tim Root was awesome and really worked with Carson.  About 15 minutes into the days float, Carson hooked one. He wanted to do it "all on his own.  Well his line (as you can see in the photo) is wrapped wrong and in turn he lost that one.  Needless to say he was into another one soon thereafter.


Carson hooked about 10 and landed 4. Not bad for your first time fly fishing, on a drift boat.  The Lower Sac Rainbows are no easy fish to land, powerful, full of life and all of good size.




I didn't do to bad myself....




If you go, be sure to use Sac River Outfitters and ask for Tim (owner and wonderful guide).  Lodging and food are cheap and there are tons of choices.  I typically use Priceline.com to get the best deals.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fished Big and Little Truckee on Thursday.....

One word....blanked!!!

Fished Truckee around Hirschdale until about 11. Water was COLD to the point where you had to get out every so often. It was clearer than I thought and had an off green tint, flows were up but not as much as expected. We threw everything at them, traditional streamer fishing & nymphing with small micro & Mighty mays, PMDs, etc & even larger stones with either a may or worm dropper. I did read and hear that dead drifting streamers with a stone or mayfly nymph dropper was working but much lower in the river.

Started fishing the LT around 11:30 after changing rigs to much lighter tackle (5x/6x) , tiny indicators and midges in and around size 20 or smaller. We saw quite a few fish and some with good size, they were in clear, shallow water and were skittish. 

Had some looks but no eats on red and black colored midges. Actually had Baetis coming off around 4pm in very small numbers but didn't change our luck. We covered from the first pull out past the campground to within 1/4 mile of the damn and left no riffle un-fished. Only heard of a few fish taken by anyone the whole day. Daytime temps never passed 50 degrees.

River needs to get past melt off and temps need to warm up.....

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spring 2010-2nd assault on Truckee and LT Rivers

Making a second attempt at the BT and LT tomorrow.  Will start out on the "big" and fish lower in the river.  Interested to see the flows and color of river as the weather has warmed significantly in the last few days.  Will throw everything at them (streamers, midges, small mays, some march brown and green drake nymphs, stones, ants (may be a little early but they know what they are), beetles & san juans.  Hit em' deep, in the slow & just below the surface too.  More to follow.

Monday, May 3, 2010

2010 First Trip to Truckee...

With high expectations, I jumped (not rolled) out of bed Saturday to hit the Truckee Saturday.....I fished high and low in the river, meaning off Glenshire and below Hirschdale.   Nymphed Rubberlegs Golden Stones with a Mighty May Dropper....or San Juan Worm, also tried poxyback golden stones...saw a few fish but no eats.  The lower part of the river was a bit fast but was clearer than I expected and looked good.  


Between fishing the Lower and Upper River, I ran over to the Little for a look. Saw fish, fished small and light with midges and mays....got a few to move but no eats. I was hoping for those large browns who come up from Boca to be around but only saw bows.    We needed some overcast in my opinion to get bugs active....  Going again Thursday.  More to follow.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Montana Sampler-Armstrong's Spring Creek & the Lower Madison

My son, Tyler and I set out last Thursday in an attempt to float the Yellowstone River in Livingston, Montana. Having spoken to our local guide (Eric Adams of Montana Fly Fishing Guides www.montanaflyfishingguides.com) our chances of hitting the "Mother's Day Caddis" hatch were pretty good.

We hit the ground in Bozeman around 3pm and ran over to Montana State University. My son is a sophomore in high school, plays football and thought a trip to a local college might get his "post-high school" juices flowing. After a very quick campus drive-by and stadium picture shoot, we headed off to Livingston.

Weather was looking promising for some increased bug-action, cloudy with a chance of caddis (we hoped).

Upon arriving in Livingston we checked into the Super 8 and then headed to the Sweetwater Fly Shop two miles down the road to get latest report and get licenses for the next two days. We were informed that the previous weeks warm weather had increased flows and the Yellowstone was high, chocolate colored and not fishable.

Upon meeting our guide, Eric and the 49er in town (good pizza, tough steak and an interesting crowd) he confirmed fishing the Yellowstone was NOT and option. He was checking reports from other guides and we determined our best bet was to do some spring creek fishing at Armstrong's spring creek. For those not familiar, there are three quality spring creeks just miles outside of Livingston, Montana (Depuy's, Nelson's & Armstrong's).

Armstrong's proved to be a great choice. We sight-fished to large cut-bows & rainbows and browns all day, landed some solid fish, losing some others. My son (thru Eric's excellent instruction) really improved his angling skills. This is a kid who fishes about as much as I golf, once or twice a year. So to watch him sight fish to a very large brown in very still water and actually get the drift right(against the far bank) & then actually get the fish to eat was really something to special to see. Midge and Baetis nymphs were the trick, using light 6x tippet, long leaders and tiny indicators.

We decided to float the Lower Madison on day 2 just to mix things up. Crayfish were beginning their molt, so the idea was to dead drift and swing streamers trailed by a midge or baetis nymph. We hooked up pretty early and then the wind started. I guess in that part of Montana they refer to another four letter word, the "W" or as Mariya. Not sure where the Mariya reference comes from but man did it start to blow thru the canyon that day anywhere from 5-20mph. Mariya made for some extra work in the casting department but regardless, we were still able to land some nice browns. Tyler had one hooked that even go the guide excited, which quickly turned into a nice roll (to show us he could) and then just as quickly broke off.

Fishing was great but I also want to make mention of some good eats. Montana's Rib and Chop House. The pork chop and ribeye were both "out of this world" and served up with great Montana-style hospitality.

If you go, make sure to book with www.montanaflyfishingguides.com and be sure to try the Chop House!

Blog Virgin

First post. Returned from Montana on Sunday having fished Armstrong's Spring Creek and the Lower Madison. Back in CA now and planning on hitting the Truckee and or Little Truckee this weekend.