Friday, June 8, 2018

Visiting Fly Fishing Country

Baum Lake Run

I wasn't able to get out very much last month and haven't had too much time to work on my writing, I blame it all on adulting. Thankfully things have settled down and I can finally get out and fish again.

June in my opinion is by far the best month to go fishing. This is the last month before summer kicks in and the fish and bugs know it. Many of the most famous hatches such as the Hex hatch and damsel migration occur during this month and the top-water bite for bass can be phenomenal.

My wife and I just recently purchased a new SUV more suited for our outdoor adventures and I believed that it was my job to put it to the test. The Cassel/Burney area was my destination and I planned on visiting both Baum Lake and Hat Creek.

Pelicans Stalking Me

This is my second visit to Baum Lake. The fishing was so much fun the last time that I just had to do it again. The lake is accessible and pretty easy to figure out even for a novice angler. You will need to bring some sort of floating device like a float tube or pontoon to effectively fish the lake because it moves like a very slow spring creek. A pair of waders also goes a long way because the lake is spring fed meaning it remains cold all year around.

I caught fish all day on Baum Lake using a variety of methods: dry flies, indicator nymphing, and slow strips got the job done. In the morning around 10am there was a good Trico hatch/spinner fall that had several pods of fish rising to the surface. I didn't have an exact Trico pattern match so I jumped the gun and threw on the closest thing I had in my fly box, a size 16 mosquito dry. To my surprised the fish were very receptive to my dry fly and I rose several fish for the couple of hours that they were feeding.

Baum Bow

Nice Brownie

After the dry fly bite died down in the afternoon I switched to indicator nymphing and caught many more fish. The quality of fish this trip was consistently good however I didn't see or catch any monsters like I did during my first visit. Still, the fishing was great and the catching was fun.

Hat Creek

All my visits to Hat Creek have either been a hit or a miss. Sometimes the fishing will be really good and the fish aren't as picky and then sometimes the fishing will be extremely difficult with fish ignoring every offer you throw at them. The first night around 8pm there was an epic PMD hatch in the lower section where I hooked fish but was only able to land one. It was like heaven being alone in the middle of the creek during last night with what felt like hundreds of fish rising to feed on duns.

The following day I tried a different spot closer to the Powerhouse Riffle hoping that the same PMDs would be hatching. In the late afternoon I found fish along the edges rising for small size 18 yellowish mayflies. I didn't have any thing that size in my box but tried anyway and failed to interest any fish. In the evening instead of PMDs I got Yellow Sallies both depositing eggs and hatching. I didn't have any Yellow Sally patterns and struck out my last night.

The new SUV definitely did its job. I was able to get through unmaintained roads that I would have never been able to get through in my Altima. I also slept in the new SUV and found it much more comfortable with plenty of room to spare. Now that I have a better vehicle I want to plan a trip to a place fly anglers consider the Holy Cathedral of rivers, the Lower McCloud.

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