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