Thursday, November 23, 2017

Fort Bragg Crabbing & Surf Fishing Mini-Moon


The ocean dwelling Dungeness crab is one of my most favorite things to eat. My family traditionally cooks it as a Thai soup dish with lemongrass, garlic, thai peppers, and a spicy paste called tom yum; both the spiciness and warmth are perfect for a cold winters day dinner.

As far as I can remember we've always bought Dungeness crab at the market but have caught them using pots off a pier in Crescent City a long time ago. All I remember during the trip was that it was cold, dark, and miserable. It's been over twenty years since I've caught a fresh Dungeness crab and with so many visits to the beach this year I've final caught the itch to try and learn how to catch a few keeper crabs for myself.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Lower Yuba Fall Check Up


Mid-fall to winter is usually when the Lower Yuba will fish at its best. The river is still rebuilding itself from last year's calamity flows so the fishing could either be a hit or a miss. Curious about what's out there I took some time in the morning before work to see what I could find.


Monday, November 13, 2017

Redington Crosswater Wader Review


A good pair of waders is a fly fishing essential. Whether it's to keep out of the cold water or to protect yourself when bushwhacking through a stream, a reliable pair of waders goes a long way. There is no real difference between a cheap pair versus an expensive pair because the end result will always the same; it will eventually leak. The real question worth your money is when?

Through countless trial-and-errors I've found that brand name products such as Simms, Redington, Orvis, and Patagonia are the most reliable when it comes to waders. I've tried them all and have come to the conclusion that the Redington Crosswater waders are the best price-to-performance waders currently out on the market.


Monday, November 6, 2017

Pyramid Lake Fall Overnighter


Pyramid Lake is a known as one of the best winter still-water fisheries on the west coast. Each year thousands of anglers from all over the country flock to it's ancient waters to fish for the largest cutthroat trout in the world, the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout.

After my first taste of success earlier this spring it was time to give the lake another try to find myself a double-digit beast. The cutthroat opener for Pyramid Lake is on the 1st of October and each opener has the potential of bringing in crowds of anglers that have been waiting for months to fish it again. It's not a bad idea to wait until the hype dies down before attempting to fish it.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Muir Beach Day


Fall is suppose to be one of the most difficult times of the year to fish the Northern California surf. Structures that were carved out along the surf from spring and winter storms have been filled in leaving flat surf where few fish trend. Curious about what this phenomenon looks like I set out with the missus to Muir Beach to explore and fish the beach.

Simple Shrimp Getting It Done Again

We rolled in halfway through an incoming tide which was fishing. The beach was pretty flat but the fish were coming up and feeding. I caught three surf perch that took my Simple Shrimp before the peak of the high tide; after that it was pretty much a bust. Muir Beach comes in as one of the smaller beaches I've fished but it's a nice one. I've heard that the crabbing on Muir Beach is good especially on the northern end so once I've got the gear and technique for that I may give that a try.


Fun In The Sun

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Getting To Know The Truckee River Pt. 2


The canyon section of the Truckee River is suppose to be one of the best spots on the river. I've scouted this section before but I've never took the time to fully explore it. My findings were a bit disappointing mostly due to the fact that the river was absolutely crowded on the weekend of my visit.

Below Rail Bridge

I fished the deep canyon below Hirschdale to the railroad bridge about halfway to Floriston. Most of the fish I caught were small rainbows in addition to one decent brown that I lost. The river had more anglers in it than fish.
After lunch I tried the Boca Bridge section which was also quite crowded. I didn't catch anything in this section and gave up after covering a few hundred yards of river.


The next time I head up that way I plan on fishing Martis Lake instead of the Truckee. Even if I don't hook a fish at Martis at least it'll be a nice angler-less day on the lake.
Jon Baiocchi has an excellent article on fly fishing the Truckee River that definitely makes you want to keep fishing it despite the crowds.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Getting To Know The Truckee River


The Truckee River is perhaps the most fly fished river in California. Full of quality browns and bows that can get up to 30'' the Truckee is one of the best managed fisheries in the state. Now that I'm within day-trip driving distance to this amazing fishery it was about time I took the chance to get to know the Truckee River.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Scouting The New Yuba At Fall Flows


With fall slowly approaching the Yuba River is now at a stable 1,000CFS. These flows have revealed new areas that will likely remain for the next few months until the winter flows change things up again. I took the time to check out the section above HWY 20 since it's been unfishable for the last ten months.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Eastern Sierra's Fly Fishing Adventure


Every "Fly Fishing California" book I've either scanned through or read includes a part of the state that I've always wanted to explore, the Eastern Sierras. My eyes were set on the East Walker River and Hot Creek where I was hoping to hook into the monster browns and bows that were rumored to live there. For the next four days I would be living off of burgers, fries, coca cola, and soup while exploring the beautiful Sierras.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Fly Tying: Putah Creek Riffle Special


The Putah Creek Riffle Special is one of the few patterns that I've come across named after the creek. It is a simple variation of the zebra midge that utilizes an emerger wing under a peacock collar. Although I am unsure about the origin of this pattern I've had a lot of luck with it on Putah Creek.


Friday, August 25, 2017

How Do I Fish This: Lower Feather River



The Lower Feather River flows below Lake Oroville and is famous for having one of the largest returns of both wild and hatchery chinook salmon and steelhead in California. This river is considered a tailwater fishery whereas it flows below the tallest dam in the United States, the Oroville Dam. The river is diverted into two parts from the Thermalito diversion pool below the dam: one path towards the Thermalito Afterbay and the other towards it's natural historical flow through the city of Oroville.

Although the best time of the year to fish the Lower Feather is during the spring and fall, steelhead can be found throughout the system all year round. This fishery is accessible to both new and experienced anglers and is one of the best rivers to learn how to fish for the fly angler's greatest target, the anadromous steelhead.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Trending Deeper Into Butt Creek


Butt Creek is a small stream located south of Lake Almanor that originates from Butt Mountain where it flows downstream to Butt Lake. I've visited this creek a few times before but never got the chance to truly explore it. The last time I visited the creek late last year I found some nice size brown trout that I was surprised to see in such a small stream. Excited about my discovery, I took the day to revisit and try to find these big brown beauties.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Fly Tying - Matt's Simple Shrimp


Surf perch flies come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. Most patterns are tied to imitate sand crabs and shrimp which are the primary food for surf perch. If you've never caught a surf perch on a fly rod before think of them as ocean bluegill on steroids. Just like bluegill, surf perch aren't too picky about what they eat therefore simple easy-to-tie patterns are all you need.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Stinson Summer Surf Fishing


Every summer in California should include at least one day to the beach. Whether it's fly fishing the surf, laying out on the sand, or admiring the bikini babes stroll by, the summer coast is what the great state of California is all about.

Each visit to the beach puts me back into one of my favorite classrooms, Fly Fishing 105 - Surf Fishing. As always surf perch were my main target however I was keeping my fingers crossed for the opportunity to hook into the other numerous species that occupy the California surf. The California Halibut is the fish I want to catch the most but you never know what you're gonna catch out on the surf.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Whitewater Rafting The Middle Fork of The American River

Tunnel Chute Victory Screech!

Earlier this week I went on a whitewater rafting trip with a few coworkers on the Middle Fork of the American River. This was my first whitewater experience and it was fantastic. We were fortunate enough to successfully complete the trip without any involuntary dips into the river. I highly recommend booking a trip with American River Whitewater Expeditions if you're ever interested. They have a perfect five star review score online and their professionalism, rafting skills, and fun personalities truly show it.

One of the highlights of our trip was when our guide Rebecca saw one of her crewmate's raft starting to lose control in a rough eddy. Rebecca quickly parked our raft and leapt across several boulders to rescue her crewmate's boat. Unwinding the safety rope as fast as she could from it's bag, she tossed the weighted end with perfect precision towards her crewmate. With both ends connected we watched in awe as she positioned herself all the way down to the ground pulling with all her strength. Inch by inch the raft moved closer to calmer water and in less than a minute they were finally in control again. We cheered Rebecca as she returned to our raft. "Wonder Woman" is what we called her.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Giving The North Fork Yuba River A Second Try


The last time I fished the North Fork of the Yuba River was about two years ago during the drought. Low flows and warmer than usual water temperatures made the fishing tough and with no experience of where to go during such times I didn't have a great time on the water. With the excess of water this year I thought it would be a great idea to give the NFYR another try to see if the fishing would be any better. It's quite a long drive to the NFYR from the valley so I was planning for either a hit or a miss.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Annual Big Chico Creek Summer Visit


I try to visit Big Chico Creek every summer to revisit some of the best small stream smallmouth fishing within Northern California. With the heavy flows from this year's runoff I was curious to see what the creek would look like compared to last year. Big Chico Creek is always a great place to beat the heat and catch a ton of hard fighting smallies on an UL fly rod in the summer.


Many of my go-to spots near Five-Mile have changed. The smallmouth fishing in this area was great for the past few years due to the deep water however now that this section is shallower the smallies have moved elsewhere. I ventured up and downstream but had a difficult time finding any decent sized fish. Once I made my way up towards Chico Creek canyon trail I began to find some nicer schools of fish and had a grand ole time catching them on krystal buggers and poppers.

Nothing big except big numbers.

Summer Smallies


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Summer Day On The Lower Yuba


The flows on the Lower Yuba are now at a "normal" 2,800 CFS. The river has changed drastically and was difficult to fish effectively from the bank. I caught plenty of small trout both on hoppers and nymphs but overall nothing too exciting. The fish were more reluctant to take on the retrieve rather than the dead drift which was very interesting. Hot summer days on the Lower Yuba are usually not very productive but it was good get out for a few hours.

I've officially hit the summer slump. Hot triple digit days and too few days off work to travel have slowed down my fishing adventures. Tight lines and stay cool out here!


 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Manzanita Lake Camping Trip


Manzanita Lake is considered one of the pinnacles of stillwater fly fishing in California. The small lake sits at 5,890ft elevation within the Lassen National Forest right below Mt. Lassen which can be observed and marveled at from afar. Many of the lakes around Mt. Lassen were stocked because the fish weren't able to spawn naturally due to the lack of spawning habitat. DFW have not stocked Lassen Park's lakes since the 1980s which makes all the fish found in the park wild. Manzanita Lake is unique in that it holds both wild brown and rainbow trout that are able to naturally spawn due to the inlet of Manzanita Creek.

Reservations to camp at Manzanita Creek are often made several months in advance however there are plenty of walk-in campsites available during non-holiday weeks and weekends. The missus and I made reservations about two months ahead and were excited to visit, explore, and experience a new area within California.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Overnighter On Lake Almanor


The hex hatch has begun on Lake Almanor but it hasn't quite peaked yet. I was lucky enough to get up to the lake and do an overnight trip to catch the hatch but was left fishless along with the majority of the anglers there. I talked to the few anglers who were catching fish and they said they were dragging the bottom with a type 2 and type 4 sink-tip with the latter catching the most and biggest fish. Both anglers had been on the lake for a couple of nights so they were keyed in on what was working and what wasn't. Getting your nymphs down with no retrieve seem to be the ticket. I was using a Teeny-200 but I was retrieving so I wasn't successful.

The hex hatch can be a hit or miss depending on the night making it a tough hatch to fish for a simple overnighter. If I could have had one more night I probably would have been successful but keeping the AC running is kind of important. It was fun to watch the bugs come out as well as beat the Valley heat but it would have been more fun to hook a few fish.

I'm not too disappointed about Lake Almanor whereas I have a few nights fishing and camping at a place I have yet to experience, the legendary Manzanita Lake.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer Scouting The Lower Newba


Summer has officially begun and the weather this week is forecasting record breaking peaks with several triple digit days. It's time to put the waders away and start wet wading again. The flow on the Lower Yuba was at a high ~3500 CFS when I visited but it was fishable despite the limited wading. The water was nice and cool and had a beautiful blue hue to it. The bug life is slowly making a comeback as I observed midges, two or three golden stone adults, and small PMD nymphs and duns.

Fish of the Day

I spent the morning scouting and prospecting different runs and holes around HWY 20 bridge with a streamer rod and a nymph rig. I fished every fishy spot that I could cast to and was successful in finding a few Yuba bows. The fish I found were holding around solid structure and in seams that were relatively deep. Most of the fish I caught were on PMDs and were small compared to what I'm use out there however they looked healthy and fought hard like they usually do.

The flows have been upped +400 CFS which is a bummer but it's getting there...


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Lake Solano Float


Lake Solano is a small lake that is formed by the Putah Creek diversion dam. I have heard mixed rumors that many of Putah's giant trout live in Lake Solano during the year when they aren't spawning. There are very few fishing reports written about Lake Solano so in order to see if what I've heard was true I decided to float it from access five to the bridge.

Long story short, stick to fishing the creek. I saw a few big pike minnows and suckerfish but other than that not a single trout to be found. I'm sure when they use to stock Lake Solano the fishing was phenomenal however it's been almost ten years since the last plant. If there are trout in Lake Solano then they are super elusive and difficult to catch. It was a fun short float though.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Putah Creek Pregame For June


June is looking like it's going to be the best month for the fly rod. Although many high elevation streams and rivers are still running high, stillwaters that have been at record lows due to the drought have filled back up. My schedule is looking quite full for this month so I'll have to pick and choose where I want to go despite wanting to go everywhere for at least a full day.

Putah Creek can be a tough fishery in the summer but it is the most productive trout stream near me at the moment, it's either learn to fish it or don't fish at all. In the book Caddisflies by Gary Lafontaine, Mr. Lafontaine observed that aquatic insects that were at their time of hatching would dislodge from their holding place to a new location in efforts to survive through geographical diversification. This theory can explain why the fishing can be slow in the summer as aquatic insects tend to be active mostly during the mornings and evenings versus during the spring when they tend be active throughout the day. Putah Creek is no exception to this theory.

BWO Nymphs

Throughout the morning on Putah I fished areas that were productive during my visits in the spring. Midges were my only clue above the surface and as I waded through the weeds I picked up a nice chunk of green and found hundreds of BWOs. There was plenty of food in the creek so where were the fish?


I tried different flies after covering an area with my go-to patterns but no takes. This helped me realize that it was my location not my patterns. I switched back to my go-tos and tried a new area. I finally got a grab after making my way downstream. The weeds made setting the hook difficult but I managed to land two out of the four I hooked.

Unsatisfied with nymphing, I tied on a woolly bugger and started stripping a streamer. I got two good grabs with one landed. If I had my streamer set-up I probably would have done better. Nothing big this trip but solved nonetheless.

Fish Of The Day


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Scotts Flat Smallmouth On The Fly


Scotts Flat Reservoir is a medium size lake that can be found just outside of Nevada City. It is well-known for its smallmouth bass population and is a popular place to beat the heat in the summer. I've been wanting to check out Scotts Flat for a while now and with a free day off during the three Memorial Day weekend I packed my tube and rod and set out for the lake.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Martis Lake And Broken Memories Of The Good Ole Days


Martis Lake is a small 70 acre lake that resides just outside of Truckee. It was known as California's first reservoir to be designated as wild trout water and is one of the few lakes that is only open to fishing during general trout season from the last Saturday of April until the 15th of November. Like many of California's famous fly fishing destinations, Martis Lake was in its prime during the 80's. The lake was well-known for it's trophy brown trout along with its famous blood midge hatch. Since the lake's decline due to over-development, invasive species, milfoil, algae blooms, failed Lahontan cutthroat introduction, and drought damage, Martis is now just a memory of the good ole days.

I have a thing about fishing famous California fly fishing locales; it gives me a lesson in fly fishing history and broken memories that the generation before me experienced while fishing those waters. Martis Lake was one of those places I had to check out.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hat Creek Trout Bumming Trip


The last time I was on Hat Creek was about two years ago during a day trip to fish both Hat Creek and the Pit River. As I stalked the banks I found fish but wasn't able to convince any to take my flies. The creek was in rough shape due to it's decline from the invasion of nonnative plants, muskrats, sediment slugs, and erosion. It is a sad tale of a great fishery that is now gone.

Although I've heard stories of how great Hat Creek was back in the 70s I never lived to see those days. Caltrout is working hard to restore Hat to its former glory but until that day comes this is the only Hat Creek I know.

Fly fishing a spring creek is something I don't get to do as often as I would like and though I was refused by Hat Creek last time, this time I came prepared with three days dedicated to fishing the most famous spring creek in Northern California.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

May The Fish Be With You


May of 2017 has been quite the productive year for me. We have yet to get any rain this month and the weather seems to be holding nicely. Most of my favorite rivers and streams are still blown out but I've been able to find some productive water and catch some good ones. With all the great fishing lately I haven't been able to put down my rod... gotta feed the fever.


Friday, May 5, 2017

How Do I Fish This: Putah Creek


Putah Creek originates from springs high above Cobb Mountain and meanders downstream from Lake Berryessa to the valley floor. It is one of the few wild trout streams that is coming into its prime.
Putah Creek is a relatively short 4.5 mile tailwater fishery that runs below Monticello Dam. Famously named the "Green River" by the Clearwater Credence Revival, the nutrient rich waters of Lake Berryessa create a habitat for trout unlike any other within California.

Prior to 2010, Putah Creek was managed as a put-and-take fishery. Past pictures and stories of trophy brown trout continue to circulate the internet however, the fishery has drastically changed since its designation as a wild trout fishery in 2014. Instead of brown trout, which no longer occupy the creek, a self-sustaining population of wild rainbow trout have become the dominant fish in the Putah Creek system.

Putah Creek is well-known as a technical fishery. Fluctuating flows, submerged trees, weedy bottoms, overhanging branches, tight fishing quarters, deep runs, and thorny blackberry bushes are just a few of the many elements that contribute to the creek's notorious fishing difficulty. Although these elements create a great habitat for growing giant trout, they can puzzle inexperienced anglers who are not familiar with the creek.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Green Light On The Green River


Putah Creek is finally fishable! The creek dropped to 500 CFS a few days ago and is currently sitting at a stable 480 CFS. The flow trend shows the creek dropping but it may rise soon to meet its summer flows. The summer flows are tough but I'll take 600 CFS on Putah Creek over 900 CFS any day. The fishing was exceptional however it was very technical.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Deer Creek (Nevada Co) Fishmas Day


Deer Creek in Tehama County is traditionally were I spend Fishmas Day however because of high flows I decided to spend the day at the other Deer Creek up in Nevada County. The creek was lower than the first time I visited but I opted out on waders this trip because of the missus. Despite not being able to get in the water, I still caught a few fish and managed not to fall into the creek.


Bugs were hatching throughout the day but I couldn't entice any fish to come up; nymphs were the only flies that got the job done. I explored the creek further downstream this visit but couldn't find any fish. Hopefully they will begin spreading out once the flows stabilize and the weather gets warmer.

I'm still waiting for the day when I can fish the creek with dries at summer flows. Overall it was a good opener for me.



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Nevada County Creekin'


Living so close to the Lower Yuba has been a real tease this season. As soon as the river begins to come down Mother Nature decides to make it rain causing it to rise again. Hopefully as we approach May the weather will hold so we can gradually watch as the Lower Yuba reveals what its been hiding for the past few months.

A few days ago I was recently struck with trout fever. I needed to wade and fish some cold moving water. With my sickness growing stronger every day, I began scanning through Google maps and the DFG regulations book for open water. This turned my attention to Deer Creek, Wolf Creek, and Squirrel Creek in Nevada county. These three creeks are smaller streams that are less subjected to experience high flows therefore they were viable fly fishing options. However there was one important dilemma, were they open to fish?


Sunday, April 23, 2017

High Flow Scouting On Putah Creek


Putah Creek has been at a stable 900CFS so I thought I'd check it out and give it a go. The creek is generally at around 300CFS and rising this time of year but with all the rain and glory hole spilling over the creek hasn't been fishable all season. I knew my chances of hooking up was low but it was a beautiful day to get out of the house.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Stinson Beach Day


With all of California's rivers and streams still running high and muddy my fly fishing options continue to be limited. For the past few months I've been researching fishing articles, reading online fishing reports, and mapping out new waters to find somewhere where I can wet my line. So far the best options that are within a reasonable drive seem to be Pyramid Lake and the surf. I had just fished Pyramid last weekend so Stinson beach day it was.

The only article about fly fishing Stinson Beach I could find was from Loren Elloit published by Northwest Fly Fishing. Dozens of online reports claim that there are plenty of surf perch to catch along with an occasional bonus striper, halibut, and rare leopard shark.

About a month ago I tried fishing Stinson but left before the prime-time evening bite. I didn't catch anything that day but this time I was determined to catch a fish on the Stinson surf.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

My First Successful Pyramid Lake Outing

Fish On Pyramid

The first time I fished Pyramid Lake about two years ago I came unprepared. The only rod I had packed was a 6WT with a floating line and a few versileaders. After only a few hours of fishing my waders started to leak and I had to leave the lake cold, miserable, and fishless.

Last weekend marked my second time fishing Pyramid Lake. This time I came prepared with a brand new 8wt rod, a shooting line with a sink-tip, and a pair of fresh non-leaking waders. I wasn't going home fishless this time.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Yubageddon


The Yuba has been flowing at a stable 3,600 CFS for a few days now so with rod in hand I decided to check it out and try my luck. For those curious about the what the river looks like I can confirm that the Yuba has completely changed but is it for the better or the worst?


Monday, February 27, 2017

Glory Glory Holelujah!


It's hard to believe that it's been over 10 years since the last time water flowed over Lake Berryessa's glory hole. This spectacle only happens a few times in a century so once good news got out that the hole was flowing the missus and I made the trip to check it out.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Evacuee Here

Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

I haven't touched my fly gear in about two months. My fly tying station continues to sit empty with tools hidden away, feathers in bags, and hooks neatly organized until the news comes when I can start pursing my game again.

I recently evacuated from my home in Yuba City after news got out about the Oroville Dam's emergency spillway possible failure. Tallest dam in the nation + possible failure = the 100 year flood. It sounds like a pretty cool premise for a movie but living it would definitely be something else. Thankfully the dam itself is fine it's the emergency spillway that is damaged. A broken emergency spillway would mean any water over the dam's height would flow uncontrollably out of Lake Oroville. This would lead to disastrous levels of flooding in Butte, Sutter, and Yuba County. The perfect storm.

This could have been prevented if... Is the buzz around the situation right now. Apparently there are a lot of captain hindsights playing the blame game on social media. Fueled by the media's question of "What could you have done to prevent this?" these heroes make the world a little better through their powers of hindsight. Frankly I'm just happy to be home.

Am I stress about the situation? Not really. I am more upset that I can't go fishing. Just as the Yuba was coming down this happens. The release of the Yuba is currently below 20,000 CFS but in Marysville it looks like 90,000 CFS due to increased flows from the Feather. Hopefully the levees hold up and we can end this saga without a repeat of 1997s levee break.
It seems like the local stream fishing will be out of the question until the summer. We've still got a few more weeks until the bass wake up but at least I've got that to look forward to.

I have everything packed in case the worst happens but as of right now it's just the same old same old.

Times like these make me wonder what the Feather River and it's forks looked like before the Oroville dam was constructed. All I know is that the fishing must have been amazing. Imagine fishing for wild salmon and steelhead on the North Fork and Middle Fork. Those must have been the days.



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Flood Of 2017

Not much fishing going on right now as Northern California continues to recover from the flood of 2017. It's been quite a while since I've seen so much water but growing up in Marysville and seeing the soccer fields below the bridges between Marysville and Yuba City flooded isn't anything new. Although the event wasn't 1997 flood levels, we did get a heck of a lot of water.

There aren't a whole lot of options for fishing right now but I'm thinking the low-flow of the Feather River, a few lakes and ponds, and the surf are probably your best bets to wet some line.

Rejoice as the storm provides us with destructive natural disaster entertainment!