Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 End Of The Year Reflection

Chunky Yuba Bows

My trip to the Yuba River today was my last outing for 2015. The river is fishing well and has a great olive tint with about 2ft of clarity. San Juan worms, midges, and mayfly patterns were getting it done. I went 5/8, easy pezy. Lots of folks out on the Yuba so be prepared to share.

The past couple months have been rough. My car got wrecked, our family dog passed away, and my future is a bit clouded right now. However life is short so instead of focusing on the bad times we  reflect on the good times.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Shhh... Don't Tell Santa

Breaking In My New TFO Rod

With a good flush from a winter storm the Yuba is fishing pretty good. I managed to sneak out with my Christmas present, a TFO Finesse 5WT, and tested it out on some fatty Yuba bows above the bridge. The river is sitting at 590 CFS and the conditions were bright and cold.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Yuba's Winter Puzzle

Solid 17'' Winter Bow

During my recent outing to the Yuba this week I was really trying to figure out the trick to these winter trout. The water is very low this year sitting at ~580 CFS and without any winter blowouts, the fishing has been pretty lackluster. I haven't gone home skunk but the fish are really concentrated in certain parts of the river at the moment.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Getting Into The Winter Swing

Winter Yuba Trout

The early winter weather is starting to settle in with near freezing nights and cold days. This time of the year is often a tough time to fish. Low water temperatures slow down a fish's metabolism making them less likely to move to take a fly. Finding the correct depth and presentation is key to hooking up. The flip slide of pursuing not so active fish is that there is a better chance of hooking into something big.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Taking It Easy In November

First Fish In Over A Week. Goin' Crazy Here

Oh November. Trout season is now over and those who are itching to wet their lines have begun migrating to fish waters that are open year around. As fly anglers we can often forget our fishing etiquette as we begin to find other anglers in our favorite runs and riffles during these cold months. Instead of becoming frustrated that someone else is in your honey hole, visit it later during the day and remind yourself that that angler is there to enjoy themselves just like you... unless they hog the run for the entire day...

Friday, November 6, 2015

Feather River Steelheading Tips & Fall Run Fun

Fall Run Football Fatties

The Feather River is one of the many prime destination to fish during the fall steelhead run. As one of the main tributaries of the Sacramento River, the Feather River has one of the highest returns of salmon and steelhead in the valley. Although gear anglers don't focus on steelhead much until the stretch between the hatchery and HWY 70 bridge opens up in January, fly anglers are hot on these fall chrome domes from September to December.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Insta-Winter In Plumas County

North Fork @ Caribou Road

California got its first taste of El Niño on Monday when the first true rainstorm of the fall swept over the valley and Sierras. This storm resulted in a bit of snow at elevations above 5,000ft which was pretty awesome to see. It is typical for the Sierras to start getting really cold in November; last week in October the high was in the low sixties and now in November the current high is in the upper forties.

For the past few days I have been house-sitting for my in-laws in Quincy. By using their house as a base of operations, I had the opportunity to explore and fish around Plumas County. The streams I checked in at were Butt Creek, the North Fork, and the Upper North Fork of the Feather River.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Deep Pocket Punching the North Fork of the Feather River


The North Fork of the Feather River that runs along HWY 70 often goes ignored throughout the season in favor of other streams, creeks, and rivers. The North Fork is most frequently fished during the spring and winter seasons.

On the drive back to the valley on Tuesday, I fished the North Fork.

Feather River Middle Fork: Fall In Full Effect

Majestic Middle Fork

In the Sierras the transition between summer and fall happens much quicker than it does in the valley, one day you're in indian summer the next day you're in what feels like early winter. It was truly fall in Quincy, California and on Monday I took the opportunity to fish the Feather River Middle Fork.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Green River Turns Brown & The Yuba Remains Gin Clear

Brown River

Today I wanted to fish Putah Creek at winter low flows however when I arrived I was shocked to discover that the green river had turned brown! After that disappointment, I drove to the Yuba where conditions were the complete opposite; bright and gin clear.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Trophy Fishing in California

Hoping To Catch A Trophy

In California there are many rivers and lakes that hold big fish. Whether you're fishing for bass, steelhead, salmon, or trout there is always a good chance you'll hook into something big. It's a shame that we're missing out on the big toothy species that live on the east coast, but what we have here is just as great.

Here is a shortl list of trophy fisheries with a bit of added context. The official fish records for California are on the DFW website:

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fly Fishing The Feather River Parkway

Feather River Parkway

The Feather River Parkway is a relatively new recreation site on the Yuba City side of the Feather River. The Feather River Parkway opened in 2013 and continues to provide a safe and clean area for river recreation. This was my first time visiting and fishing the park.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Indian Summer Days On The Yuba

Couldn't Believe How Bright It Was Today

The Yuba is pretty much fishing the same as it was this summer probably a little worse due to the lowered flows. From my experience fishing the Yuba over the past few years, I've found that Indian summer days are the most difficult conditions to fish the Yuba. Something about cold mornings and hot afternoons put these fish down in a bad mood.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Truckee River In A Drought No Doubt

Truckee River Canyon

Of all the rivers and streams in California that have been hit by the drought, the Truckee River has been hit the hardest. I don't understand how a long and fairly large river with several high sierra reservoirs plus Lake Tahoe feeding it gets reduce to barely a trickle. This trip was my second time fishing the Truckee River. I was at the right place at the wrong time.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

October Levee Bassin'

5th St. Bridge

October is usually the month I begin catching less bass. Although the current day temperatures are still pretty damn hot, the water is a lot cooler than it was a month ago. I haven't figured out how to fish the Feather River in Yuba City for bass yet so I decided to go out and try to unlock some secrets.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Nymphing Putah Creek: Make Mistakes. Learn. Win.

Access 4 Monster Bow
For those who can successfully nymph fish Putah Creek, I truly envy you. Delicate tippet and micro sized flies are still a relatively new concept to me. This trip I tried nymphing the creek to make mistakes and try and learn from them.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Wild Putah Creek Beast Appears!

Putah Creek Beast

Despite feeling a little sick, I took advantage of the overcast weather conditions and set out for Putah Creek. The flows are currently dropping and were at 270 CFS when I last checked. Although I was more curious about how the creek looked and fished at these flows, I was pleasantly surprised when I finally hooked and landed my first Putah Creek beastie!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Good Morning On The Feather

Feather River Fall-Run?

Steelhead can be found in the Feather River all year around from below the hatchery to the end of the Oroville Wildlife Area. These anadromous fish aren't too picky about what they eat and can be pretty grabby depending on the time of the day and the weather. However as most anglers who pursue these magnificent fish know, the most difficult aspect of fishing for these elusive fish is finding where they hold in the river. Fact: 90% of the steelhead hold in 10% of the river.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Checking In On The Feather

Empty Outlet!
The water is cold and the salmon are in, but where are the steelhead? I took some time to scout out the Feather and what I found wasn't too exciting. Usually about this time of the year I start finding fall-run steelhead on the Feather, however after fishing the entire day with several different flies and methods I didn't get any takes. Although I was fishing 92 degree sunny and clear skies in the afternoon, I'm sure if there was a fish around they would have taken my flies right?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Spiritual Rejuvenation On The Trinity

This Is What I Need
Sometimes life can get to even the best of us. The stressors of work, finances, and future planning are some of the prices we have to pay in to live successfully in society. Someday all these stressors will hit you and you will start to feel lost, afraid, and stressed out of your mind. As you continue living each scripted day you build up these emotions until one day you can't take it anymore.

This is when I know, it's time to take a trip. Somewhere where I can be alone and free. Free of responsibilities and rules. A place where I can forget about the world and just fish. A place where I can spiritually cleanse all of my problems and begin anew.
The Trinity River. This is my place of spiritual rejuvenation.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Redington Palix River Wading Boots Sticky Rubber Review

Worn Out Redington Palix

The Redington Palix River Wading Boots Sticky Rubber are a pair of entry-priced wading boots starting at $89.99. These are my second pair of wading boots that replaced my first pair of Cabelas felt wading boots. Here are my thoughts about the Redington Palix River:

Monday, September 14, 2015

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Fall

Fat Healthy September Bow

The leaves in the valley are starting to turn orange, brown, and yellow; all colors of the fall. The temperature has also been on the decline despite the triple digit heat wave that we had last week. September is a transitional month leading into October, one of the best months to go fishing. Although September can sometimes be hot all the way up until the following month, we have been blessed this year with early lowering temperatures. If timed right, you can find excellent angling opportunities as the fish go on a feeding frenzy to prepare for the winter. I haven't gotten out much due to the heat but here is just a little update on my recent trips to the Yuba and Shanghai Bend.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Exploring Plumas County On Cooldown

This Labor Day weekend I spent a lot of outdoor time with the in-laws in Quincy. The weather is starting to turn around with night temps in the high 40s and day temps in the low 80s. Although the weather is great, the water levels are still very low. Here's to the predicted El Niño of 2015.
The only fish I landed this weekend was a baby smallmouth, but I was able to fish a few new streams and sections of rivers I've never experienced before.

Indian Creek Tailwater

Monday, August 24, 2015

In Pursuit of the Beasts of Putah Creek

Almost Perfect Flows At Putah Creek

Despite Putah Creek being a tailwater fishery that is relatively short and narrow, the water is cold all year-around, deep, and has ample cover. These factors are some of the reasons why Putah Creek trout grow to such immense sizes. Putah Creek trout that are 20''+ make up about 10% of the creek. 
The adult male rainbow trout, also known as a buck, of Putah Creek are what the local anglers refer to as "The Beast of Putah Creek" due to their dark colors, kyped (hooked) jaw, and huge body. These beast are elusive creatures that are not easily caught. Now that I am more familiar with the creek, I set out to find myself a monster.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Round Two At Putah Creek

High Flows At Putah Creek

When it was discovered that trout in Putah Creek were able to spawn successfully, a campaign was launched by local agencies, guides, and anglers to protect these wild self-sustaining fish. In 2010, Putah Creek was officially designated as a catch-and-release fishery and only barbless artificials can be used. Putah Creek remains the only wild and scenic fishery west of valley. Prior to these new regulations, the creek was once stocked with hatchery rainbows and brown trout.

The rainbow trout in Putah Creek are a bit of an anomaly because they can grow to huge sizes despite living in a 4.5 mile stretch. Many have theorized that these big rainbows are the genetic cross between steelhead trout and ancient coastal cutthroat trout that hybridize a long time ago. But who knows?
This trip was my second attempt in trying to catch a Putah Creek native.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fly Fishing the Feather At Shanghai Bend

Shanghai Bend Rapids

Shanghai Bend is a well-known access to the Lower Feather River in Yuba City. This area was once known to have had several beautiful wide waterfalls that were form from clay deposits. However in 2012, heavy floods caused the falls to collapsed and in effect reshaped the falls into a narrow rapid. The fishing remains good despite the collapse and crowds of anglers continue to visit Shanghai Bend during the peak of the striper, shad, and salmon run.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Why You Shouldn't Eat Fish From Ellis Lake

North Ellis Lake

After a long day of fishing you bring home a cooler full of a bass, bluegills, and crappie. The fish look healthy, no sores or anything unusual. You fillet the fish, batter them up, and throw them into the frying pan. The aroma of fresh fish smells absolutely amazing. You've invited a few local buddies over for a good ole fish fry with plenty of fried fish and beer to go around. "These fish taste great! Where did you catch them?" asks a friend. "Oh, I caught them from Ellis Lake!" Everyone immediately stops eating and stares at their plate. Their faces in shock and a tingle of terror runs down their spines as they realize what they've just eaten.

You sir, are an asshole.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

#Droughtlife North Fork of the Yuba River

North Fork of the Yuba Duba

The North Fork of the Yuba River is a stream that carves its way from its headwaters down to New Bullards Bar. The NF of the Yuba is known to be full of wild rainbow trout along with a fall-run of spawning brown trout and kokanee. This was my first trip fly fishing the NFYR. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Riverfront Park Take Two

Feather River Riverfront Park Fun
This marks my second outing fly fishing the Feather River at Riverfront Park. The day was a bit breezy but the temperature was perfect for some good outdoor time. After doing a bit of thinking about what the fish liked and didn't the previous trip, I tied a few clousers and a couple of carp flies in hopes of hooking up big. Since I know where the fish are already, I set out to refish the areas where I found fish and made plans to explore the northern end of the park.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Riverfront Park's Feather River Access

Feather River At Riverfront Park
Riverfront Park is a recreational park below one of the bridges that connects Yuba City and Marysville with the Feather River separating both counties below. The park is maintained by Yuba County and is primarily used for soccer events. There is a small boat launch that was recently cleaned up and gives access to the Feather River upstream from Shanghai Bend. I set out to explore the banks of Riverfront Park in search for any thing that bites.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Feels Good To Be Home

Wild and Native

Two weeks of no fly fishing make Matt go something something. Go crazy? Don't mind if I do!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Wetting My Line On The 2015 Family Roadtrip

Indiana Walleye

Of all the states that we driven through during our epic family road trip I still believe California is the best state. We Californians pay a higher cost of living but we are blessed with the best weather, most varied terrain, and some of the best fly fishing waters. I was finally able to wet my line during the trip when my uncle took us out to do some fishing. The first trip was a small short one in Michigan and the second trip was an all-nighter in Indiana where I caught my first walleye and freshwater drum.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Family Road Trip 2015

Viewing Mt. Rushmore
Right now I am on an epic family road trip with my parents and siblings. The destination is from Marysville, California to Detroit, Michigan. So far so good.
Not a whole lot of fishing going on but I've seen some pretty nice water on the way. Hopefully I can wet my line sometime during the trip with my East Coast relatives. Maybe next summer I can make my first pilgrimage to the fly fishing mecca, Montana. It can't be worse than driving all the way out to Detroit.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

California Water Law: Private vs. Public Access

"No Trespassing"

The water business is a very lucrative business with over hundreds of agencies involved as well as the federal and state government. The California water system is a huge damn bureaucracy that we all have to deal with..
As anglers we need to have some knowledge of California water rights to keep out of trouble. Let's talk private and public access, where we can fish and where we can't fish.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Upstream of The Lower Yuba

Upper Lower Yuba

The Lower Yuba below Englebright to the mouth at the Feather River is open all year-around with a few restrictions. Only barbless hooks and artificial lures can be used and the stretch above HWY 20 bridge to Englebright Reservoir is closed from September. 1st - November 31st for the salmon spawn.  Easy rules to follow yes?
After finding a crossing point a few trips ago, I've been fishing the other side of the Yuba above HWY 20.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Bucks Lake Family Fun

Bucks Lake Yakin

Bucks Lake is a large reservoir in Plumas County. Although not known as a popular fishery, Bucks Lake is home to kokanee, rainbows, browns, and mackinaw. The reservoir is made of two additional bodies of water, the Grizzly Forebay and Lower Bucks. The main lake is fairly shallow in comparison to others with the deepest point being 100ft. This weekend Amanda and I spent some time on Bucks Lake with some of her family. In addition to drinking and partying, I also had a few opportunities to get out on the lake and wet my line.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Good Ole Ellis Lake

Evening On North Ellis Lake
Ellis Lake is one of the most recognizable and historical areas in the city of Marysville. The lake was once a swamp before it was converted into a park in the 1930s. Pictures from the "golden days" of Ellis Lake can be found online and they show a very different lake than the one we have today.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Yuba River Streamer Dreamer

Oh How I've Miss You

It's official, I'm back in Yuba City! Chico has truly been a great 5 years of my life. A lot has happened within those five years: college life, meeting new friends, meeting my future wife, figuring out what I want to do in life, and the list goes on. Now that I am back though, I am looking forward to contributing back to the community I grew up in as well as exploring and getting to know my local waters.
My first trip back home was to the Yuba River.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

In Search of Stripes

The Striped Bass
The striped bass also known as a striper is an anadramous fish that is prized by many anglers due to their strong fighting abilities, size, and taste. The possibility of catching a 30-pound striped bass keeps anglers fishing on their toes in hopes of landing a fish of a lifetime. Native to the Eastern United States, the striped bass was introduced to California in 1879 as a commercial food source until 1935. Commercial fishing for striped bass ended at this time in efforts to enhance California's sport fishery.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Almanor Hexing With a Poorman's Sinktip

Next To Canyon Dam
Lake Almanor is home to one of the biggest hex hatches in California. The hatch revolves around the time of the summer solstice and usually starts to dwindle down by the second week of July. This summer has been a hot one with triple digit temperatures hitting in early June. The very warm temperatures and severe drought this year make fly fishing for trout, which are coldwater species, a dangerous C&R game due to their inability to recover after being landed. My trip to fish the Hex hatch at Lake Almanor this year was a bit of a bust for trout due to the temperature but it was good for bass.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Redington CPX Switch Rod 7wt 11'3'' Review

Redington CPX Switch Rod 7WT

It can be difficult to get into the double handed fly rod game on a budget. You need something that casts well and will be put to use for the trips to come. Switch rods average at about $300 and with a matching reel, line, and sink tips it can get expensive.

The Sierra Trading Post webstore is a fantastic place to look for anything outdoors. More often than not they will have 30-35% coupons for anything over $100. This is where I found my first affordable switch rod, the Redington CPX switch.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

First Time On DeSalba Reservoir

DeSalba Dam

DeSalba Reservoir is a small body of water located along the Skyway heading eastbound towards Magalia. Unlike Magalia Reservoir and Paradise Lake, DeSalba is PG&E owned and is used for power rather than city use. The reservoir is very accessible and is easy to tube or kayak.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Unstoppable Invasion: American Bullfrogs

Hello My Baby! Hello My Honey!
The American bullfrog is the single most invasive amphibian in the world. Adaptable and voracious, the American Bullfrog can survive in nearly any type of climate and will eat anything it can get a hold of. The American bullfrog is native to the Eastern United States, however they have been introduced and invaded different parts of the entire world. In its native range the American bullfrog lives in an ecosystem where predators such as herons, turtles, fish, snakes, raccoons, and humans keep the population in check, however in areas where they have invaded, they become the top predators.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Most Famous Spring Creek In California

Hat Creek Spring Creek Section

Hat Creek is one of the most famous streams in California. This spring creek was once renown for it's world-class fly fishing due to the creek's abundant aquatic plant growth, witty fish, and beautiful scenery. Hat Creek was a frequent bucket-list destination for many fly anglers around the country. During its prime in the 70s and 80s, anglers would visit the spring creek to test their fly fishing skills. Since it's decline in the 90s due to sediment problems, erosion, lost of aquatic plants, invasive plants, and muskrats, Hat Creek has since lost its popularity.

The Most Notorious River In California

Can I Wade Here?

There is a river in Northern California that is considered to have one of the highest wild rainbow trout density in the state. This particular river is also notorious for being one of the toughest streams in California to wade. The bottom is said to be made completely of irregular shaped algae-covered boulders and the water is just murky enough to hide the bottom making every step deceiving.

This river has swallowed thousands of freshly tied flies, left battle scars on both flesh and gear, and broken countless rods and wading staffs. Anglers have called this river unfishable and too dangerous to venture since the flows went up. These ominous conditions keep the casual anglers away and hardcore anglers coming back. With a name that truly fits its characteristics, the notorious Pit River.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Tips On Overcoming the Expenses and Struggles of the Fly Fishing Newbie

Okay so you want start getting into fly fishing. You've seen the videos, read the articles, and you've even stumbled through the fly fishing section in a department store a few times. You want this, you need this. You find a local fly shop thinking it would be the best place to visit to get started. Wait I need to pay how much to be able to do this? Why is everything fly fishing so expensive?
I've heard supply and demand being the main reason but surely there should be some shortcuts to get me on the water faster right? Well that costs money too. Casting, tying lessons, and day trips on the water. I can feel my wallet getting thinner and thinner. But always remember that money doesn't catch fish, good anglers catch fish. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Big Chico Creek June Opener; Horseshoe Lake Fishkill

BCC Alligator Hole

I've explored and fished a bit of the upper, middle, and lower watershed of Big Chico Creek, but my favorite section to fish is the lower section. The lower watershed from the mouth to Bear Hole is unique in that it opens in the middle of June and closes the same day trout season ends in November. This section hosts mostly warm-water fish but salmonoids can be found in the deep holes in Bear Hole waiting to spawn in the fall. During the dog days of summer when I don't feel like driving all the way up to the Sierras to fish, I wet my line at Big Chico Creek.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Golden June Days On The Yuba

Golden Delicious

June is the month of the golden stonefly hatch throughout California. After rummaging and flipping a few rocks on the Yuba, I found that they were on the menu; both nymphs and adults. Although not as prolific and well-known as the salmon fly hatch or the local skwala hatch, active golden stones keep the fish looking for food throughout the day.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Afterbay Hexagenia Madness

Hexagenia Limbata

The Hex are the world's second largest mayfly and they have the reputation of bringing big fish from the bottom to feed on top. Hexagenia are native to North America but have established populations all over the world. These mayflies are burrowers that require a specific muddy substrate in order to thrive and reproduce. For this specific reason, the Hex are only found in abundance in certain bodies of water. In California, the most popular and famous Hex hatches happen on the Fall River, Lake Almanor, Butt Valley Reservoir, and the lesser known Thermalito Afterbay. Hex have also been recently sighted on Lake Davis.

Monday, June 8, 2015

You Should've Been There 45 Years Ago

Yellow Creek Meadows

With 95-100 degree temperatures in the first week of June, I'm going to say its unofficially summer. School is officially over which leaves me with more time to spend on the water. I have a feeling this summer is going to be a long hot one.
This week I spent some time on the Feather fishing for steelhead as a small warm up for Yellow Creek where Amanda and I fished and camped for the first time.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Chico's Tiechert Pond

Tiechert Ponds
One of my favorite characteristics of largemouth bass is their explosive topwater tenacity. Unlike salmonoids that quietly rise to eat whats on top, a bass eating off the top sounds like someone threw a stick of dynamite into the water. Convincing a nice size bass to eat off is off the top is one of my top favorite adrenaline rushing ways to fish.