Tuesday, September 17, 2019
The Eastern Sierras is what I would consider to be fly fishing country in California. With an average elevation of over +6000ft, a large majority of rivers, lakes, and streams in this part of the state hosts wild populations of rainbow, brown, brook, and even cutthroat trout. The Eastern Sierras is every fly angler's dream and should be on their bucket list as a place to take a pilgrimage.
I've taken the pilgrimage to the Eastern Sierras twice so far once in the fall and the other during the early spring. It's beautiful country out there and the fishing can be spectacular if you hit it just right. This recent visit to the Eastern Sierras wasn't as grand as my last three day visit two years ago however exploring new waters and getting away from it all in the majestic outdoors made up for the lackluster fishing.
Monday, September 9, 2019
Fall appears to be on its way as temperatures during the afternoon and night have dropped by about ten degrees. The fall is every fly angler's favorite season because it means migrating fish, low flows, and comfortable weather. I myself am a fan. My calendar for this fall is booked and I am looking forward to exploring new places.
While I waiting for time to pass I've been fishing the Yuba River. The fishing has been quite good with the lowered flows and cooler temperatures. Not a whole lot of people fishing the Yuba yet which means more fish for those who find them.
Monday, August 19, 2019
August can often be one of the warmest months in Northern California. The average temperature this time of the year usually ranges from the low 90s to triple digits making the heat miserable for both anglers and fish. This summer however has been a bit of an exception. The large snowpack that we received during the winter and spring has helped provide cooler water for fish giving anglers more time than previous years to purse their fishy friends.
I spent my last weekend in Plumas County, a recipient of this cool water blessing, and got into some of the best fishing I've had this time of summer in a long time.
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Milton Reservoir is a small 12-arce lake within the Middle Yuba River drainage. It sits within the Tahoe National Forest at an elevation of 5650ft and is supposedly managed as part of DFG's wild trout program. The lake is not stocked, has a two fish limit that must be below 12'', and is barbless artificials only.
Hoping to beat the heat and catch a few fish, I decided to explore Milton Reservoir to see if it would be a place worth visiting again.
Friday, July 19, 2019
Spanish Creek is a small stream that runs through the scenic town of Quincy. This creek flows downstream from it's headwaters near Mt. Pleasant and Spanish Peak where it eventually merges with the North Fork of the Feather River. I've passed through Spanish Creek many times and have fished it near Gasner Park however I have never really took the time to go out of the way and explore it.
The Middle Fork of the Feather River is also reportedly fishing well in the Graeagle/Blairsden area. I've fished this section many times as well during the early opener however have never fished it during its prime.
Rather than taking the typical route of fishing the Hex hatch at Lake Almanor this year I decided to explore Spanish Creek and MFFR to find what lurks in it's waters.
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
I've been curious about tenkara fly fishing ever since it's first initial introduction to the US several years ago. It essentially takes a minimalist approach to the ever increasing complexity of western fly fishing by limiting an angler to rod, line, and fly. Tenkara's rise to popularity in the west has created controversy of whether or not is considered "real fly fishing" with western anglers seeing it as simply dabbing flies and tenkara anglers seeing it as a true fly fishing due to the lack of a reel therefore not focused on casting special lines.
Every angler will have their own opinion however the most important question to me is, "Is it fun?"
Thursday, May 23, 2019
The last time I fished the Truckee River in April the banks were blanketed with 2-3ft of snow. Naturally as the warmer weather arrived the majority of the snow has melted leaving only the highest peaks with plenty of powder. Nevertheless California continues to get rain and even snow in May. The more the merrier.
Saturday, May 18, 2019
It looks like California is going to be getting more rain this year with a series of three atmospheric storms. Snow is predicted at the higher elevations though I believe that it'll mostly be rain. Rivers and streams will continue to run high perhaps even higher with the predicted rain melting the snow. A quick look at the capacity percentages of reservoirs in California show that a majority of lakes are at or near capacity putting California's water supply in excellent shape for this year.
I've read a lot of fishing reports of the American Shad run being in town. I took the time to explore the Feather River one evening and was lucky enough to hook and land my first shad this year. The rain started soon after I released my catch and the bite turned off (not that it was on by any means). Cold fronts tend to put the shad down as flows fluctuate from rain or water release; these are migrating anadromous fish after all. During these difficult times try fishing the opposite of what you would on a hot summer shad filled day; fish during mid-day when temperatures are at their warmest and cover lots of water or get a boat.
It's going to be a tough season for wade-in anglers as the flows are going to be too high to safely position in the areas where the shad like to hold. I'm going to try and explore a few new places to fish for shad but will most likely be spending my time fishing elsewhere.
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Martis Lake is always on my list of places to visit and fish after trout season opens. It is one of the few stillwaters that I consider a true fly fishing trout lake whereas it has all the optimal conditions to grow wild trout. The lake is weedy, shallow, has access to a spawning inlet, full of food, and is catch-and-release only.
With a long incoming storm front on its way this visit was most likely going to be my only fishing outing for a long time so I took advantage of it and decided to give Martis Lake a go for the first time this year.
Saturday, May 11, 2019
The Sparkle Tail is a unnamed pattern that I stumbled across on the internet while searching for new shad patterns. I took an interest in this pattern because it didn't look it your typical shad dart. Curious about it's possible applications I tied a few up and swung it through my local river during the shad run. I was surprised to find this pattern outfishing many of my other shad patterns. After a successfully trial run I immediately went home and tied more.
The image I found that inspired the Sparkle Tail appears to have disappeared from the internet however I am sharing it so that it continues to live on.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Baum Lake is a great destination for any kind of fishing any time of the year. I tend to like fishing Baum Lake when the weather warms up in the spring as it is more comfortable and scenic. This trip I decided to do something a little different and solely fly fish from my inflatable kayak rather than my float tube. I was looking forward to getting some more experience learning how to effectively catch fish from my kayak with a fly rod.
Monday, April 22, 2019
Stone Lagoon & Mad River Beach
My wife and I made a two day camping visit to Patrick's Point last weekend to enjoy the beautiful north coast. We were unfortunate to be there the only day of the month were it was going to rain. Due to the heavy downpour the fishing conditions were poor however I gave both Stone Lagoon and the surf a try regardless.
My efforts were fruitless and I didn't end up catching any fish during this trip. Fishing on the north coast tends to be a hit or miss due to the wet weather however it is always nice to be surrounded by giant redwoods, wild elk, and ocean.
The flows are at 6k right now making it nearly impossible to fish. It's a bit of a disappointment because the water looks amazing and the goldfield wild flowers are in full bloom. I found a few productive spots at these current flows but they were few and far between. I managed to hook and land one nice Yuba rainbow during my short outing.
At this rate it looks like it'll be high flows until fall.
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Stripping baskets are an essential piece of gear for fly fishing the surf. When you're fighting wave after wave trying to get your flies into the strike zone line control is everything. It's fine to start off with a makeshift plastic tub but eventually you'll want to upgrade to something more substantial. The TFO Linekurv Stripping Basket was my first real stripping basket and has served me well during my time out on the California surf.
Friday, April 12, 2019
The Hackle Stacker is one of my favorite mayfly emerger patterns as it is one of the more unique ties that I find very innovative. I love how the material pops out of the wingcase and how the hackle, which is spun around the wingcase material, helps the fly float right below the surface. The Hackle Stacker is a proven pattern for picky trout that like to rise for those emergers that you most likely won't be seeing on top of the water.
Monday, April 8, 2019
Lake Englebright is a relatively large lake that can be found near the Nevada and Yuba County border. It is the last reservoir in the Yuba River system and empties both under and at times over the top of the Englebright dam. This lake is better known as a trolling lake and is home to rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee, and several different bass species. It also has boat in only campgrounds which I found very fascinating and cool.
With new Intex Challenger K1 inflatable kayaks, the missus and I decided to take the day and test our new yaks to see if we bought kids toys or something worth keeping around and of course I brought along a fly rod to compare the difference between fly fishing from a kayak versus a float tube.
Friday, April 5, 2019
California is home to some of the nation's best trout waters. Not only do we have natural runs of anadromous fish such as steelhead and king salmon, we also have several of subspecies of rainbow trout and two species of cutthroat trout. All of these trout and salmon species are in decline and special regulations have been put in place so that anglers of all ages can continue to enjoy catching and keeping their fair limit of fish.
The proposed changes to California's inland trout regulations are meant to simplify some of the confusing regulations that are currently in place in regards to open season, take, and method of take while protecting anadromous and heritage fish.
The census to the proposed changes is to transform many current regulated trout waters that aren't anadromous or heritage trout waters into a general five limit no gear restriction waters.
Monday, April 1, 2019
The Truckee River is currently in it's run-off stage with high flows near 1,300CFS. Despite raging waters and limited access the Truckee is known to produce big fish in times of big flows. With an upcoming storm front and no viable fishing options in the valley I decided to test my luck and discover the truth about the Big Truckee during high flows.
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Hat Creek is known as one of the best spring creeks in California. Originating from its headwaters near Mt. Lassen, this creek flows downwards through rugged terrain, meadow valleys, and several campgrounds before reaching Baum Lake. Baum Lake diverts the creek into two flows: one flow directed into the famous Powerhouse #2 and the other below Baum Lake's dam. Both flows eventually merge below Powerhouse #2.
The upper section of Hat Creek is primarily a freestone put-and-take fishery that is well-known for it's large brook trout that are stocked by DFG during trout season.
The lower section below Powerhouse #2 is a spring creek wild trophy trout section that is known for it's well-educated brown and rainbows trout.
Although Hat Creek is recognized as past it's prime it continues to offer the challenge of spring creek fly fishing. It is one of the few spring creeks in California where you can freely stalk your target and watch as they ignore every single fly you throw at them.
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
For the most part it looks like the majority of the severe winter storms are finished for the year which means spring time fishing is here. Every river and stream that feeds the valley is still too high to fish therefore options continue to remain limited. From the fishing reports that I've read it seems like stillwater fishing for bass and surf fishing for perch are the most productive. Stillwater fishing for bass is out for me because I don't own a motor boat and driving to the beach to fish without taking my wife is a guilt-trip conversation I don't want to have.
With all day-trip options out and wanting to fish some moving water I kept a close eye on the Eastern Sierras. The flows on the rivers and streams where fishing remains open all year looked great. It was just a matter of how to fish it during winter/early spring.
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Mission Bay is a large man-made lake that can be found near the San Diego International Airport and is primarily used for recreational purposes. Several different species of fish can be found in Mission Bay however anglers primarily focus on the abundant spotted seabass holding within the bay's eel grass. I've always been interested in fishing Mission Bay and an opportunity to fish some new waters during all these blowout storms was well welcomed.
Friday, February 8, 2019
The Lower Yuba was been fishing pretty well. It is currently blown out due last weekend's storm event but I had the chance to fish it during both a sunny and overcast day before the storm rolled in. I checked out a few "new" areas and found my new favorite spot. Lots of holding water in a close proximity a ways away from the main road are the perfect goldilocks zones.
San Juan worms were producing a lot of good fish in the deeper areas and the rubber leg stone seemed to work best near structure. I mostly nymphed but swung where I felt I could cover the most amount of water with good results.
The Lower Yuba just lowered to it's regular winter flows today but is predicted to rise again this weekend with rain predicted all week. The river will most likely not be fishable for a while but that's how it goes.
Monday, February 4, 2019
The Jimmy Legs stonefly nymph is one of my favorite stonefly patterns. It is simple to tie, has good movement from the material of the legs, and creates a great silhouette underwater. Stonefly patterns often take a lot of materials to tie and when you lose one of the more intricate patterns it can be heartbreaking. The Jimmy Legs is a remedy to that problem.
Thursday, January 31, 2019
The Plfueger Medalist is considered to be one of the most iconic and classic fly reels of all time. The Medalist is well-known to be a tough, reliable, and great performing click-and-pawl reel. Revisions of this reel have been in production for generations and as the saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I'm not much of a gear collector but I do enjoy things that come with an interesting history.
After hearing all the wonderful things about the reel I purchased one for myself to see if Medalist truly lived up to its name.
Monday, January 28, 2019
The prince nymph is a classic pattern that I never had confidence in until I started catching fish after fish on it. It is a great attractor pattern that can imitate a variety of aquatic insects making it one of the most versatile flies ever created. There are many iterations of this pattern however my favorite is the classic with the brown hackle, peacock herl, and white goose biot.
Thursday, January 24, 2019
Big Chico Creek a tributary of the Sacramento River that shares a common trait with many of the Sac's other tributaries in that it is open to fishing throughout the winter. The lower portion of the creek is open until February 15th and the upper portion above Bear Hole is open until April 15th. Big Chico Creek serves as an endangered spring chinook and central valley steelhead spawning ground making it an important watershed for salmonids.
Despite living in Chico for nearly five years I never took the time to try and fish the creek during the winter. With limited options due to high and muddy flows I decided to kill my curiosity and spent the day fishing Big Chico Creek.
Saturday, January 19, 2019
Winter can be a tough time of year to fishing due to the weather and streams being closed but where ever there are rivers or streams open I take the opportunity explore and fish. The Lower Yuba and Feather are the rivers I spend the most time fishing during the winter. Both rivers are about thirty minutes away and I have, for the most part, figured out their winter patterns and secrets. I will often try to make a few trips a bit further up north to fish Butte Creek for the solitude and possible wild steelhead. There's always somewhere to fish here in Northern California!
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
In 2018 I completed my first California Heritage Trout challenge. This journey was by far one of the most memorable fly fishing experiences of last year. I encourage all fly anglers in the great state of California to take the challenge and experience it for yourself. Not only do you get the feeling of accomplishment as an angler, you also get an amazing certificate and an awesome old man hat.
Monday, January 14, 2019
Midges are a primary food source for trout that are perhaps one of most easiest insects to imitate through fly patterns. Midge larvae can come in all different sizes and colors however they often share the same shape making patterns quick and easy to modify.
The zebra midge is the most basic fly pattern used to imitate midge larvae. Tied with only black thread, silver wire, and a silver beadhead this simple but effective pattern is an absolute must-have in every fly box.
Thursday, January 10, 2019
The San Juan Worm is a classic fly pattern that imitates the greatest fish catching bait of all time, the mighty earthworm. This is a simple pattern that tends to produce fish after a fresh rain spell or when fishing discolored water. During or after a rain event worms will often come out of the ground in efforts to find a new home however more often than not many don't survive and end up becoming food. Aquatic worms that fish feed on are also perfectly imitated through this pattern. Many anglers will tell you that a San Juan Worm isn't a fly but to me if it's tied onto a hook I consider it a fly.