Monday, January 19, 2015

reports, sports, lack of booze news...

Here we are mid January and things about how they usually are mid January the last few years…there are some options, though limited and weather dependent, AND in need of rain….

Lower Yuba River - I spent two days on the Lower Yuba River over the weekend and fishing was poor to sorta fair. The river is low 550cfs and clearing everyday. I would say that it is about a few days away from gin clear. There are bugs out and fish eating but I think the low and clear flows are starting to really affect the fishing. I have yet to see a skwala adult but have risen a few fish to skwala dries, nothing I would term as "good skwala dry fly fishing" …. that said I am of the opinion that the skwala hatch is one of the more overrated hatches on the Yuba. I think many anglers get blinded by the throwing of big dry flies in january and forget about how many fish they actually rise or catch on a skwala dry…that said there are good days but it is pretty inconsistent compared to other hatches. 

Most fish that I saw come to the surface were taking Mayflies. There are some darker traditional BWO's in a #18 coming off at times, some lighter size #16 mayflies coming off in what seems better numbers, and there are some bank emerging mayflies in a size#12-14 that around. They look like gray drakes but I think they are some sort of Isonychia. I saw a ton of them on rocks right at the rivers edge drying their wings and then got a picture of some schuks on the rocks as well.  We tried fishing #14 may fly and a #16 in likely mayfly water and did not rise a fish. Most of our fish came nymphing with rubber legs, egg patterns, and variations of flash back Pheasant Tails in sizes 16-14. One thing I did have to do with the lower flows is lighten up my weight and go to a much smaller nymph rig…smaller indicator and lighter weight. 
Looks like Isonychia schucks to me…not sure though
Not many fish but some nice ones

With the current flows I think the wade angler has the advantage in most spots as banging a boat down a run and then fishing it is a little tough and there is not enough flow in the flats to make the deeper water a likely holding place. I think the best thing for a boat angler is to actually get out and wade fish the runs before putting the boat down them. Just my 2 cents. 

Nice close up of a great fish

Butte Creek - We need rain!

Lower Sacramento River - As many know Lake Shasta is blown out and this is resulting in the river from Redding down being really muddy. This could take months to clear up and that is a pretty crappy situation. That said a few guys are going out and trying to catch fish with very very limited success. Not good news for February and March which are GREAT months on the Lower Sac for trout. 

IN other Sac news the salmon smolt are making their way out and I have made a few jaunts out to see if  some of the bigger stripers are feeding. I have had some luck finding fish but not much luck getting them to eat…saw some blow ups and got a few half hearted tugs last time I was out but that was about it. 

Music News - discovered a great band…American Aquarium from Raleigh North Carolina. GREAT americana, southern rock style band. They have a few albums out but have new one coming out Feb 3 that I am anxiously awaiting. Just great songs about life with 3 guitars, keyboard, and lap steel!…can't go wrong with that combo. Check out their website and watch the videos for "Wolves" and "The Man I am Supposed to be" off the new album coming out plus they have all their previous albums to listen to as well via sound cloud. Good stuff.

FITNESS NEWS in Place of Booze News…Fitness news, not proud…So, I am pretty good about getting my yearly physical in August and this year my doctor in my home town laid it out for me…I have had the same doctor sense I was like 18 and he is about as avid a fly fishermen as there comes…owns property on the Madison, Fished spey rods back when Sage made the Traditional and European Action models…built his own wood drift boat…so when he lays it down, he doesn't hold back…we got history. So he told me I had some high cholesterol, was one percent away on my BMI from being obese and I wasn't getting any younger…He basically told me what I knew….. I was 35 eating, drinking, and living like I was 25 and I needed to make a change…"I row a drift boat for exercise" didn't really work anymore. 

Now don't worry I didn't go join one of those meat head gyms or drink the coolaid at one of those Cross Fit Cults that think jumping up and down on a box is a sport (Cross Fit games is not a sport - just saying)….though I did buy a fitbit aka the over 35 soccer mom watch. What I did do was really start to watch what I eat - no cheese, fried food, limit red meat, no snacking, no desert, and a whole lot less drinking - really no drinking. I also started running about 2-3 miles everyday I am not guiding…good news I have lost 20lbs or so, bad news it sucks. As Darrin Deel said with complete seriousness and honesty, "you know Gabe would call you a pussy"…I hung my head and said…"yes, yes he would" 

running sucks, not drinking sucks, eating healthy sucks - someone asked me are you training for a marathon or race…no just long life and many fishing trips with my kids. All that said I feel better then I have in years, have more energy, sleep better, recover faster from activity, you name it…I love scotch, onion rings, and butter but feeling good is worth it! --- Long way around the "I have no booze news" news. 

Sports Report - I have some issues with what the giants are doing for 2015 but I have no critique as I have put all my faith in the organization and am residing myself to just wait and watch…no bitching with 3 world series under the current regime. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mid Holiday Drift - Fishing reports, music, sports, rambling...

So, here we are in the “mid Holiday drift” between Christmas and new years…one more blow out on New Years before we settle back into the grind of the new year. Christmas with my two boys is always a TON of fun. At 4 and 6 they are in the middle of the childhood frenzy that surrounds Christmas, Santa, and all things that surround the holiday. Things are settling back down though, the legos have been built, the toys have all been assembled, and the total overwhelmingness of mass amounts of new toys has subsided. My wife went on her post Christmas neurotic cleaning binge removing all signs of Christmas from the house and putting things back “in order”…. Living with an interior designer is nice, works for her to as I could care less about most things and she gives me my office to do what ever I want with, granted it is in the back of the house and she keeps the door closed at all times.

I took a few days off but got back on the river yesterday and will be back out again the rest of the week after a day off today. Really the only place in my neck of the woods to fish is the Lower Yuba River and Butte Creek. The Lower Sac is muddy with a little less then a foot of visability as from what I have heard Lake Shasta is blown out….at this point it may be a while for the L. Sac to get back to fishable. No word on the Feather but I imagine it is some what fishable if you want to go to the opener chaos on Jan 1. Here are some reports…

Lower Yuba River – Flows are around 700 with good clarity, there is color to the river but that perfect dark green color that allows fish to see your flies but not get totally freaked out with a low flow and clear water. All my clients fish have come on nymphs or swung flies. Best nymphs have been egg patterns, stonefly nymphs, and any attractor nymph. There has been a sparse baetis and gray drake hatch but I couldn’t get any of the fish to eat smaller mayfly nymphs and medium size mayfly nymphs. I looked in all my normal spots for fish to be sipping the baetis and drakes but never found any, not to say they aren’t there they just weren’t when I looked. Clarity may still be an issue. Also no skwala sightings yet either, in reality I usually don’t see many unitl Jan or feb.

Not bad for an 11year old...
Maxine getting it done on the Lower Yuba
This is a great time of year and the river is in great shape to get out and swing flies on a light switch or spey rod. Most of the fish we have hooked on swung flies have come on olive’ish streamer patterns, something that looks like an Alvin or salmon smolt. I have yet to try swinging stonefly nymphs but I will soon as the skwalas make their migration to the bank over the next month.

Swing'em up
Yuba Trout
Butte Creek – I have not been out sense the last rain but the flows are stable at about 250cfs which is a great flow for wade fishing. Talked to a buddy who floated the creek and he did OK, fish he said are pretty spread out so if you go cover water. I am thinking another good rain is needed to move some fish up from the Sac but who knows. I will be out there in a week or so pretty heavily as Jan is the month I fish it the most.

Sports Report – BOWL SEASON…a true Christmas present. So far so good with the bowl season. Notre Dame Plays today and lets be honest I have no idea what to expect…coach Kelly is starting a new QB and LSU’s Defense is NAILS so might get ugly but hopefully we have healed up on Defense over the break and can hang with a sub par LSU offense.

Also been enjoying watching the Warriors. I am not a huge NBA fan but the Warriors are fun to watch. It is also fun having a team to root for during the time between College football and spring training…NFL is not my thing though I watch it a bit if I am home. Yes I do play fantasy football but really only to talk smack to my buddies as I have finished last place in my league the last two years…might have something to do with the fact I draft based on if the player went to Notre Dame or not, if they played for a hated rival they have no shot. I then set my roster like ounce or twice in September and then don’t pay attention to it at all. I really see it as a gift to my buddies who are, lets be honest, WAY obsessed with the whole fantasy football thing. For me it is a little to close to 16 sided dice and painting figures of wizards while carrying a fat stack of pokemon cards in your back pocket if you know what I mean.

Music – Lots of tunes have been rotating through my ears…Really been getting back into built to spill, dinosaur Jr, and centro matic…Fuzzed out mid tempo guitar rock for guys that grew up in the 90’s. The Centro Matic channel on Pandora is GREAT! I am digging on that right now, the Ryan Adams channel usually gets me going until I am through with my first cup of coffee though. Haven’t really bought and CD’s lately…On that note I hate not having a record/music store in chico, maybe I am just getting old and should completely commit to this whole digital music thing but I am still like having a CD. May need to make a trip to Sac of SF to Amoeba or something and just spend a few dollars.

Get out there people! No one ever said they fished to much

Saturday, December 13, 2014

delayed because of the perceived apocalypse...

So this post was suppose to go up Wednesday to keep in line with new fly wednesday and all but the arrival of the storm of the century it has been delayed…It was a big storm here in Nor Cal and yes every river is raging but in the grand scheme of things it was a normal storm…Rain was concentrated in a short period and really helped with our rain totals, reservoir levels, and such but at least in our area the wind did not materialize as forecasted and that is really what wrecks havoc. So here goes...

I am going to combine some posts here…in honor of the storm of the century that is rolling into to Nor Cal tonight I am going to provide some reading material for the public…not fine literature or anything more like dribble to drink coffee, whiskey, or beer to…wine may be a bit to high class for this so if you are drinking a glass a wine while reading this do one of two things…1) pour it out and get a beer or glass of water 2) set this blog aside and look at CNN, BBC, NPR, or Fox News/MSNBC (what ever your hideously biased political website of choice is).


In honor of my promise to bring “new flies” to the public under the auspice of "New Fly Wednesday" I will introduce my spring creek geek in PMD and BWO. This is a very special fly to be as its origins can be traced back to a late night tying session in the guide house at Clearwater lodge with my good friend Gabe Duran who passed away almost a year ago this winter. Gabe and I were messing around with tying PMD nymphs and I was explained to my theory on  keeping nymphs trim and how using only 3 PT fibers on your basic Pheasant Tails for the Fall River keep the standard PT much trimmer – like the PMD nymphs in the river. He shared a new dubbing he was using to dub the body of his PMD nymphs so I started tweaking with some ideas and the first versions of the Geek were born.

Spring Creek Geek - PMD
Spring Creek Geek - BWO
This fly was originally designed as a really stripped down bug to fish the gin clear, slow moving waters of Fall River and Hat Creek. It is trim with no bead and one strand of flash. I have found that fish get hip to copper and gold beads at times, especially while eating small PMDs and BWOs in the flats. I tie this fly on a scud hook as it is a pattern that I fish leading up to, or during, a hatch and a scud hook best imitates the nymphs as gas builds under their exo-skeleton and they make the migration to the surface to emerge. As the season went on I also tied this fly to match BWO and Baetis hatches that fish would key on as the weather got colder.

I have fished this fly on the Lower Yuba, Lower Sac, and Feather for spring steelhead as well as the Pit, NF Feather, NF Yuba, and a few other places. I added the tungsten bead based on Jake Chutz recommendation at MFC. I am not a big tungsten guy but in many areas of the west tungsten beads are key to getting flies down fishing dry and dropper rigs. I fished the tungsten bugs on the Lower Yuba this last winter and spring and it fished just fine. Overall this fly is very effective nymph or dropper off of a dry fly during or prior to a hatch where fish are a bit skeptical of beads and flashy flies. 
Spring Creek Geek Tungsten - PMD

Spring Creek Geek Tungsten - BWO


Everything blew out big…wait. With this influx of water we should have a great late december early january this year. Flows will drop as reservoirs are low and as the Yuba, Sac, and butte creek clear fishing should be good - May even get out for some winter striper fishing the feather and sac if the flows cooperate. Either way should be some great swing fishing, skwala fishing, and maybe even a baetis hatch. 

Open Winter Dates:
Dec 23, 27-31
Jan 2, 4-10, 18, 19, 24, 25
Feb 8, 9, 14-16, 28


Been listening to some great new music…

NORTHCOTE - aka Matt Goud - I discovered when Gas Light Anthem announced he would be opening for them on their next tour leg. He is offering his EP "Invisible Diamonds" on his website as a free down load and after I listened to that I bought his most recent album on iTunes - "Northcote". He is from Eastern Canada, but don't hold that against him. Great song writer and great mix of rock, americana, indie rock, and country. Check out the videos on his website of the lowville sessions…really really good!

AMERICAN AQUARIUM N - found these guys over iTunes…kinda country, southern rock, indie rock, alt-country…still sorting through these guys albums and songs. they have a new album coming out soon that I may wait for. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

my weekend ... and the fall yet eventual Rise of Frank the Ford


When shitty things happen it is really easy to focus on the shitty…like right now when I am broke down 50yards from the San Mateo Bridge Toll Plaza on my way to an event at a fly shop in the Bay Area. Exactly 181.85 miles from home (travel is a right off, I keep track of this stuff) I am pretty sure that my transmission is toast and after I pay the $485 dollars to the tow truck driver to get me back to chico, ca I am sure something like a transmission on a Ford F250 is super cheap to fix and totally worth while on a truck with 166,262 miles on it…and lets be honest I am sure if I get the transmission fixed nothing will start to break on the truck and I will have years of care free vehicle owning ahead of me…shit.
My view for a few hours...

Lets not diverge though on the shitty…I mean I did put $100 a gas and spent $20 on food and skipped guiding for the day to make this event happen. Along with getting up at 5am and packing for about 2hours last night all my fly tying and promotional shit…sometimes having a good business or “dollar and sense” kind of mind is a fucking curse cause when shit goes bad it is hard to focus on the intrinsic, non-monetary, things in life…I get stuck on the time sucking, and flat monetary hemorrhaging of the shitty things…that said I am going to focus on the positive…

Like the fact that I didn’t break down ON the bridge and that the cal trans tow truck driver that just towed me from the bridge to a 76 gas station, “off of bridge property” was a nice guy and patient with me being a total “bridge break down retard” ….

Any time I break down a long way from home I am reminded of an experience when I was younger traveling with my dad. My dad for some reason had bought this giant dodge bronco thing and one of our first trips with it was a multi day white water rafting trip on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. Well on the way back we broke down some where north of Lake Shasta. This is way before cell phones so we had to walk to a gas station and call a tow truck driver…knowing what I know now about the redding area now I should not be surprised that the driver was a total tweaker. My dad and I still laugh about the fact that the guy did not stop talking for the whole drive as we sat 3 deep in the cab of his truck while he traveled down and around lake Shasta to redding towing our bronco at 70 plus miles an hour. I am pretty convinced that this meer glimpse of what serious narcotic use did to a human being made a significant impact…so if that guy is still around, which I highly doubt, thanks for showing me the light.

On that note … my fear ounce I realized my situation was “ I will have to drive in the cab of a tow truck from San Mateo back to chico…shit"…Right now as I sit in the cab of that tow truck I am thankful for the fact that the tow truck driver is normal, has good conversational skills, and can appreciate the necessity for silence on a long drive. He also told me that my transmission was most likely fine just something called a “cylinoid” was fucked up and that cost about $250-500 so that was good news and really started us off on a good note to be honest….

….I take back everything I just said I just listened to my tow truck drivers life story and aspirations to turn his life around in 2015 from about Fairfield to Maxwell with a brief pause between Maxwell and Willows and then from Willows to Chico there was a review and recap….

All the above being in the books I am now at home on my couch with my two boys watching some animated movie from the Pixar line of visual crack and things are OK… Frank my truck(he is big, fat, American, and eats a lot) is dead in-front of my house but trucks can get fixed (frank will rise again), more money can be made to pay for it all, and there will be another event next year to get to.


Friday, December 5, 2014

California Fly Shop Fly Tying Day!

The rain is here, the rivers are muddy and it is a great weekend to watch some guys tie flies...I will be at the California Fly Shop fly tying day tomorrow from 10am to 4pm with a host of other great tiers. Stop by if you are in the area!

I will tying striper flies for the Sac, Trout and steelhead flies, and what ever else I get the hankering to tie...6 hours of fly tying is a long time so who knows where it leads me. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

New Fly Wednesday - The new and improved Military Mayfly Nymph

Before we get to new fly Wednesday if you want to see me tie flies in person...I will be at the California Fly Shop Fly tying day this Saturday Dec. 6 from 10am-4pm tying and talking about fly tying with many other great Northern California Fly tiers.

So, while I have come up with some new flies to release through MFC I am also releasing some of my staple patterns. One of the first flies I ever developed was the Military May Fly series. I came up with this pattern in the late 90’s when I was tying with a lot glass beads. I got into tying with glass beads as my number one go to caddis pattern on the Lower Yuba was a Petis Pulsating Caddis pattern…still a great pattern and one I tie and fish a lot but hard to find commercially. Petis had a contract with Umpqua and I am not even sure Umpqua still ties this his patterns.

I came up with this fly after seeing some thread body midge patterns like the zebra midge with clear glass beads. Around this same time my girl friend (now my wife) drug me to the bead store all the time and I began to discover bead stores and craft stores in general as resources for fly tying material…that and you can buy bulk stuff at half, if not more then half the cost, of the same stuff at a fly shop…re-packaging cost money.

The beauty of the military mayfly is the versatility of the basic pattern. This fly can be tied in any color thread, glass beads, wire, and dubbing come in…which means that any tier can make this fly in any color combo they see fit. Also they can mix and match colors of thread, wire, and dub with various beads and such to see what works.

I tend to fish the olive, PMD (rust), and black colors the most in sizes #16-20 but for MFC they will be released in #14-20. For the MFC release I have changed bead colors of all the beads, along with changing wire and dubbing colors to the ones that I have updated over the years. The bottom line is these are now updated patterns, and are just like the ones that I tie for my box.

If you are a tier I would encourage you to tie this pattern in some different colors mix and match and see what works for on your body of water.




Wednesday, November 26, 2014

New Fly Wednesday and fishing reports…a pre thanksgiving feast of information!

In honor of thanksgiving and mass consumption of food I am posting big and meaty blog post…reports,  plus new fly wednesday…So much good stuff.

General Report - there is big storm coming in to Nor Cal forecasted for Fri-Mon…supposedly the biggest of the winter so far so reports will most likely change…I imagine the Lower Sac will blow out and the Lower Yuba will pick up some color but remain fishable. Butte Creek should blow but drop pretty quick. Lots of good winter fishing coming up…Winter steelhead on Yuba, Sac, and butte Creek…big winter trout on the L.Sac…winter stripers on the Sac…Skwala and baetis hatches on the Yuba…lots of goodness.

Open Dates:
Dec 23, 27-31
Jan 2, 4-9, 18, 19, 24, 25
Feb 8, 9, 14-16, 28

Lower Yuba River –I spent a few days over the last week or two on the Yuba and fishing was good to poor… just seemed on the day and the mood of the fish. Flows are steady at about 750-800cfs and clarity is what I would call gin clear. There are still salmon up on redds in the “lower river” around Hammond Grove area.  Most fish that clients caught came on egg patterns and I couldn’t find many that wanted to eat bugs even though I tried switching out all sorts flies. There was a sparse baetis hatch on a few of the days that smaller fish seemed to key on in the flats but I only saw one or two rises from fish that I would consider stringing up a dry fly rod for. Talked to a few other guides and eggs seemed to be the most consistent producer but a few fish were caught swinging streamers lower in the river.

Nice Yuba Fish from the last week

 Lower Sacramento River – Fishing has been pretty consistently fair if you balance out the tough days and good days…the last rains blew out the lower river for a few days and the forecasted rain coming in this weekend should blow out the river for a while as well. The river seems to have entered into its winter period where one day can be good the next fair. The Lower river around Red Bluff down has good numbers of steelhead moving around and trout fishing can be good as well.

Nice Sac Fish from last week

Butte Creek – Flows are LOW around 95cfs but this weekends rain should move some water down the creek and get some fish up the creek and moving around. Fishing should continue to improve as long as we continue to get rain. December and January are usually best. That said I have seen some pics and heard some reports of big fish way up in the canyon…most likely big resident rainbows but who knows.

Sports Report…Been a tough few weeks for the Irish. Loses at ASU (which I was present for), Northwestern, and Louisville have hurt…that said I was pretty surprised with our early season victories in the sense that we are VERY young and have suffered some key injuries on defense. My faith is Evert is a big shaken but maybe this is what he is as the National Championship year many of his faults were hidden by a stellar defense. Always hard to be patient when you have a stud like Malik Zaire in the wings but I have always believed that it is hard to know if you are not at practice and in film everyday. Hopefully we can end strong this weekend at USC…beating the Trojans is always a good way to end the season as we are most likely going to the Pawtucket big packers bowl or something.
Go Irish…Unfortunately it was down hill from here
The dudes stayed positive though…ice cream helped

New Fly Wednesday

So for this Wednesday I am going to share one my new patterns just like last week…This fly I have been working on for about 3 years now. It is called Hogan’s March Madness Nymph. I came up with it to fish during the March Brown hatches on the Lower Sac and Lower Yuba but has become a great all around Spring Mayfly nymph, working as a PMD nymph as well in the smaller sizes.

In designing the fly I took the basic flashback Pheasant tail and began tweaking it to match a march Brown nymph. I added dubbing that matched the lighter cream brown of the thorax of a march brown nymph paired with a Brown wing case with a thin strip of flash underneath to give it a bit of flash and appearance of a splitting wing case. I also added some gills along with lead to create the wide silhoutte of a clinger nymph.  vvThe game changer is when I added the CDC under legs with the Mallard Flank over them. Many flies have CDC collars or legs but in the drift the CDC moves all over and spins around the head with the flank over the CDC I have found that the CDC stays pined back along the fly better. Now why the CDC changed this fly or made it catch more fish I have no idea all I know is CDC is an incredibly cool material and rarely when added to a fly does that fly catch less fish.

This fly fished really well in the 12 and 14 on the Lower Sac and Lower Yuba during the March Brown hatches during Late Feb through Mid April but what really sold me on this fly was when I started tying it in 16 and found it to fish well into May and June on these rivers as a PMD nymph. I think the versatility of this fly is that fact that it fishes in different sizes for multiple spring and summer hatches.