Saturday, November 21, 2015

Fishing Reports and some other randomness done during commercials while watching the Irish...

Been a busy few weeks for me, not all fishing related but mostly. October always seems to drag on and then November and December fly by usually and this year was no different. With roughly a week left in November I have been already thinking winter steelhead and crossing my fingers for big winter storms that everyone swears are coming. Here are some reports and other ramblings to read on a Friday afternoon…

Lower Sacramento River – I have been spending all of my time down low on the Sac between Red Bluff and Corning. The red bluff to Los Molinos and Los Molinos to Corning floats are great floats for both trout and wild tributary steelhead. There has been decent numbers of cookie cutter wild half pounder steelhead in this stretch with a few large adult fish in the mix as well as the resident trout. The resident trout it seems on average have been a bit larger then past years as well which is a bonus. There are spawning salmon down in this area and fishing salmon reds can be good but there are also some big runs and such that the fish will hold up in. Nymphing with eggs, stoneflies, and some basic attractor nymphs has been best. Knowing the water and where the fish like to hang is key in this area.

Lower Yuba River – Flows are LOW!!! I have not been over there but I have heard pretty poor reports from the guides that I know that have. Flows are sitting at 628cfs and even with recent rains Deer Creek has not gone over 25cfs and the river hasn’t jumped past 637cfs. November is traditionally a tough month on the Lower Yuba not matter what as the fish have been pounded through October with beads, egg patterns, and nymphs by guides and anglers everyday. For the Yuba to get going it is going to need some big storms to raise the water up to around 1000cfs and for deer creek to pump some color into the river. Traditionally, I LOVE December fishing on the river. Flows come up and the river has good color moving fish around, steelhead up river, allowing anglers to swing flies, and just washing off the fishes shell shock that they seem to go into every November. I am crossing my fingers for some big late November/early December storms that turn the river up and get it going by Late December/Early January.

Feather River – Not a lot of reports…all the ones I hear is that the flows are low and the river is crowded which is a bad recipe for the feather. Most people are under the assumption that the fish are late so big storm in the next few weeks should move some fresh fish up river hopefully. If not the feather fish will all head up the Sac and steelhead fishing around Butte City to Chico will be good again this December. I have even heard from a few of my guide buddies throw the "worst year they have seen on the feather" around.

Events…Last weekend was the annual Simms Delta Bass event down at Sugar Barge on Bethel Island. This is an industry only event where all the Simms Dealers, Guides, Shops, etc from the Fly Fishing and Bass Fishing industry come together for a day of fishing, presentations, beer drinking, BS’ing, and good times. John Sherman puts this event on every year and has grown HUGE leaps and bounds over the years sense it started in his back yard. Big shout out and congratulations to John for a great event!

Tying – So I have been tying a ton of flies lately…My boxes are reaching saturation so I have been really working on hard on some new ideas. I have a few new trout patterns I am sending into Montana Fly Co. for consideration for the 2017 catalog but really I have been working new striper and bass flies. There is a ton of cool fly tying going on in the bass and musky world in the mid west that I think has HUGE striper applications and I have been working with some new materials and messing with some ideas from that world. Blane Chocklett and Pat Coehn ( both are innovating with not only materials but BIG patterns as well. I shared some of Blane’s materials and pattern Ideas in a previouse post but Blane is right up there innovating in the same way. Also check I have been working with some of slow roller tails on the back of some new striper flies…also the Baetis backs look cool as well but I haven’t ordered any yet. This time of year is always fun as a lot of the new material that companies and individuals come up comes available…

In Print…Check out the new Issue of Cal Fly Fisher (Dec 2015) on shelves and in fly shops now. I wrote an article entitled “From Striper Flies to Trout Flies: Crossover Creations.” Also a cool snap shot of the Pit River and a cool idea about how to create weedless flies. Good Issue.

Irish…Watching the Irish right now play Boston College at Fenway in the annual Shamrock Game. Writing a blog post and having my lap top on my lap keeps me from screaming obscenities and maybe keeping a bit calmer…Fat Chance though really. Go Irish!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fishing reports, fly tying, tunes, and college football...all the good stuff.

Fall Fishing is picking up but for the most part is still limited due to lack of water and rain. There has been good fishing at times but it is going to be short lived without some good rain…

Lower Sacramento River Trout: I have been spending most of my time on the Lower Sacramento guiding for trout between Anderson and Jelly’s Ferry. Almost all the guides are fishing between Posse Ground and Anderson Chasing the egg bite/hatch. There is VERY limited numbers of reds and the few that are around get POUNDED early and often. When I put in at Anderson this week there was 20 trailers there taking out and I was the only boat putting in. I had Anderson to Barge hole to myself…it was AWESOME. Now I only saw 2 sets of reds the whole float, but the fish have to eat and are still feeding pretty regularly in what we call bug water. There was a bunch of  fish eating egg patterns on the few reds I found but most came on rubber legs, birds nest, and Olive Amigos. Talking to my buddies that fished the upper floats and chased each other down the river to redds all day our numbers have been about the same….So I haven’t gone up above Anderson in a few weeks and probably won’t for a while.

Lower Yuba River – River is still low and I tend to stay away from it when it is below 700cfs…it is sitting at 686 cfs now with a water temp of 55.6 so temps are good but flows are low. I have not been over there personally but everyone I have talked to said fishing has been tough. To be honest I probably won’t go over to the Yuba until the first big rain and the water comes up a bit to give everyone a bit more room to fish. Below a 1000cfs makes it tough for wade fishermen and drift boat fishermen to go exist.

Feather River – Feather has been decent. There is a fair number of smaller steelhead up in the Low Flow and spread out in the high flow. Things seem a bit late on the feather this year as salmon are still moving up river as a few of my buddies have been salmon fishing in the high flow and catching fresh clean kings. This river REALLY needs some rain and water to get steelhead moving up it or it will be another year of those fish going up the Sac. The Low Flow has been crowded as many of the Sacramento Area guides have been coming north due to the conditions on the American and the Yuba so there is a lot of guide traffic on the river.

Fly Tying…

I have made my big yearly switch from tying clousers to tying trout flies over the last few weeks. This usually entails a big order of the “newest” fly tying materials. One material company that I have been using a bunch of material from is Fly Men…the are working some great tiers like Blane Chocklett and a few others to create some really cool new products. The stonefly heads they call Nymph Head Evolution Stonefly Tungsten Beadheads I have been messing around with and I really like them…I must say I have not fished them yet so I can’t say how they fish but hey they look cool so we can only hope.

I also ordered a bunch of new material from Hareline. Some new to me dubbings, new colors of 3 tone rabbit strips, new hooks to me, and some other stuff that I will share as I use it and come up with some ideas. Most of the new hooks and material I got from Hareline will be for striper flies so it may be a while until I get around tying with them.

I also just finished up an article on fly design for I think (not sure when it will publish) the Nov/Dec issue of Cal Fly fisher where I talk about crossing over striper fly tying principles to trout flies so look out for that if you are interested in fly design and tying.


I have been listening so the new The World is a Beautiful Place and I am no longer Afraid to Die album Harmlessness…these guys are really cool. I couldn’t even tell you how many people are in the band…multiple guitar players, cello, violin, male female singers, drummers, horns, keyboards…all melt into a very math rock, emo, catchy loud quiet mix on epitaph records. The video below will give an idea…lots to digest.

The Irish…
Yes we beat USC…stressful week and game. I was feeling pretty comfortable with a 24-10 lead and then in a matter of minutes it was tied up and with in minutes after the half we were down 31-24…But man team 127 has heart and never gave up! Coming back to win 41-31 and sealing with win with 2 big interceptions. This team doesn’t quit man and is undeterred by failure and mistakes, they just keep battling. Now we have a bye to prepare for Temple who is 6-0 and is going to be a really big game for us. Atleast I have 14 days before my blood pressure climes into the unhealthy range again.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


So, fall is in the air! It even rained a few days over the last few weeks in Northern California. The bottom line though is we are still in a drought and that is a reality if you got out to the river. I have still been guiding and chasing fall stripers on the Lower Sac but have been sneaking out a bit to explore the Lower Yuba, Feather, and Lower Sac for trout and steelhead in my free time and talking to some of my buddies that have been out. Here is some reports and more random yet incredibly useful and simulating content…

Lower Sacramento River Striper fishing: Fishing has been good. Weather is warm again and fish are back on the feed. When the temperature changes or pressure fronts move through fishing can slow down. Flows have come up a bit just over 6000cfs at Ord Bend so about 1000-1500cfs from where they were a few weeks ago. Most of fish are moving into the shallows to feed midday when the water temps warm up. Salmon are moving through but not holding in any way so they are not pushing fish out of the deep water in any consistent way so covering water is key as fish are not always up in the shallows eating in every spot.

Feather River Steelhead – I have not been on the feather lately but have talked to a few buddies that have been out there. Salmon numbers from what I have heard are LOW in the upper river and as one buddy said he had to really look for them and if you weren’t you didn’t see them…bummer to hear as most years by this time we are seeing the “oil slick” of black backs in the riffles from HUGE pods of salmon getting ready to cut redds in the riffles. A few friends have hooked a few fish up there but most of the fish I have seen pictures of seem to be hold over spring/summer fish nothing that I would say, or my buddies are claiming, to be fall fish. I think it is going to be a late year on the feather and may be a very poor year if we do not get some water.

Lower Yuba River – The Yuba is scary LOW like 550cfs low…The river down by Marysville is 410cfs which I can’t imagine gives salmon much water to move up river. I have not been over to the Yuba for awhile…Most of my buddies that have been are just going out for the evening/last hour or so of light fishing. I know last fall when the river was super low the first few weeks of October were stupid good fishing during the egg hatch. I have a feeling it will be that way again if enough salmon made it up or are going to make it up. I have a hard time going over there when the flows are this low as it is chaos with other guides and wade fishermen as everyone is competing for the same water. Last year I spent most of my early October on the Lower Sac between Red Bluff and Los Molinos but this year I may be over there more as the water temps are warmer in the Lower Sac and fish will blow through early in the year.

Lower Sacramento River Trout/Steelhead – The flows have come up to 7200cfs coming out of Keswick but the temps are still a bit warm. I have not heard much but Late September Early October is traditionally prime time for trout and steelhead in the lower river from Red Bluff to Los Molinos. This year I will most likely spend most of my October down low on the Sac doing float trips or running the jet boat getting out to swing or nymph some specific areas. I know more and more salmon are showing up as salmon fishermen are starting to catch more and more fresh fish moving up river in areas that I am spending most of my time striper fishing.

The Irish – Injuries are insane so far this year…obviously the most important Malik but wow what a few weeks of Irish Football. VT and GA Tech games were amazing…obviously the VT game may be a season defining win for us. GA Tech was no where near as close as I had imagined. Triple option teams traditionally give ND a headache and the defensive discipline to defend against them is not something that we always show. I think the biggest take away from the first week is how good our defensive and offensive line is.  We literally destroyed all of our oponents so far this year upfront and all moderately athletic former high school football players that played line know that games are won on the line! Next week against UMass is a bit scary as it could be a trap game between GA Tech and Clemson.

The Giants – Lets be honest season for the gmen is over…while we are not mathematically eliminated reality is we are…No way I have a right to be pissed, 3 World Series Titles in the last few years gives me no room to bitch. That said it was tough to watch us dwindle and fade due to injuries when I think we had the roster to compete. Ya, we were a bit short on pitching, but we had enough to make a run into the playoffs I think, and for sure win a one game playoff as a wild card. All in all though a lot of positive things came out of this season…Duffy, Panic, Byrd (sign him), Blanco (renaissance at the plate for the most part), Kelby Tomlinson, Aoki ( when not hurt finally gives us a lead off) Heston (pitcher/ace of the future maybe) …Another great season from Posey, Bumgarner, and Belt!

Music – Got the new Wonder Years CD No Closer to Heaven…I am really digging it. Good mix of pop, punk, hardcore, and dare I say emo in a catchy, relateable, mix of like 15 songs! I actually bought the physical CD from Target of all places. I really miss buying physical CD’s. I wish I lived closer to a dimple or Amoeba. I have also been digging out some my old Appleseed Cast CD’s mainly Mare Vitals and Low Level Owl v.1 and v.2…Mare Vitals is by far one of my favorite albums. The drumming of Josh Baruth is AMAZING on this album…Great fall, winter is coming, album.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Happy Tuesday!

So Fall is seeming a bit closer…the mornings have been a bit chilly and the heat of the day doesn’t seem to last as long each day. Though I can’t say it hasn’t been scorching hot over the last few weeks at times but it has also been really nice out on certain days. There was a bit of rain nearly half an inch in some places this last weekend in Nor Cal so that helped cool some water temps down but for the most part it is still summer…..

Lower Sac Striper 
Lower Sacramento Striper fishing…I have been exclusively striper fishing and guiding for stripers sense mid June. Fishing the last few weeks has been good. The smaller fish are not as prevalent which can lower numbers for the day but good numbers of keeper size fish and fish in the 5-10lb range are a regular on most days with the chance at true pig on most days. We have been fishing all depths of water from 12-15’ to 1-2’ so the ability to switch up lines and sink rates is key. More and more salmon are entering the river so the deeper water is not producing like it was during July but that is a good thing as the weeds and shallows are holding more fish allowing us to fish lighter lines and flies while sight fishing. That said longer and more accurate casts are a must in this type of fishing. Top water fishing can be good for those that can cast the big top water flies….5/0 pole dancers are not easy to chuck.

Lower Sac Top Water Striper!

T-Bone Fly .... Striper applications?
Great shot of the Tubbing and how to add bulk without weight
Flies…I have been mainly tying striper flies and messing with big but lite and easy to cast striper flies. Fly Men Fishing company has some really cool new products to build flies around this prinicipal. Blane Chocklett of “Game Changer” fame as well as a lot of the Musky/mid-west guys have been at the forefront of this idea as Musky require some BIG flies to get interested. Fly Men is selling Fish-Skull® Chocklett's Body Tubing™ a braided tubbing that Chocklett adabted to fly tying to create large bulky musky flies that are not heavy or stacked with material. The braid is like smaller finer version of the braid used on the Stick Jackets that everyone uses to store rigged rods. I have been messing with creating some big bulky top water and bait fish patterns. Even messing with some articulated flies like many of the Musky/Pike flies guys like Chocklett and Brad Boehen are tying in the mid west. I have always been skeptical of articulated flies with stripers as I am unsure that the joints used to attach on the shanks like the “Chocklett Big Game Articulated Shanks” by Fly Men will hold up if the hook is the last in line. I think the key is to have the hook infront … like the game changer but we will see. I am going to experiment with some fish this weekend and see what works or doesn’t.

New Gear….I have been fortunate enough to have a ton of new gear in my boat over the last month. Here is a quick run down.

Scott Meridian 8’10” 2 piece. This is the new Saltwater fishing rod from Scott that is replacing the S4S which is one of if not my all time favorite fly rod for striper fishing….so I was pretty bummed to hear they were going to be getting rid of one of my all time favorite rod lines BUT I trust head rod designer Jim Bartchi so I knew he wouldn’t get rid of a rod line unless he has created something truelly BETTER. Scott doesn’t just get rid of a rod line every 2 years to get sales like some rod companies. The rod is incredibly light weight and has tons of power but very similar to the Radian in that it has a ton of feel. At first the grip and rod took a bit to get use to but after one session of fishing I was loving it. It is different then the S4S but definatley better in all regards. The tip has more feel and the rod recovers very quickly after loading while casting a shooting head…a bit faster then the old S4S. The grip took me a while to get use to as it is a bit fatter up front but the more I cast it the more I like it. In the end I think and angler would have to do a lot of salt water or striper fishing to justity having a $865 salt rod. That said if you are a bass fishermen, striper fishermen, or guy that travels a lot to salt water fish it is the best on the market. It won best of show and best salt water rod at the AFFTA show this last summer which means is was voted the BEST new product of the entire fly fishing industry this year.

Echo Boost Saltwater 9’ 9wt 4pc is a great new fast action SUPER powerful salt water rod from Echo. Great Price point at $249.99 for anyone that is looking for a bass, salt, striper, carp, or heavy work rod that won’t break the bank but that will perform at a high level. I got the rod with a 10wt floating Air Flo Sniper line to throw the big 5/0 Pole Dancer…literally a big task. I fished it a bit last weekend and I think I need to upgrade to 10wt or 11wt rod with a matched line. I struggled throwing the the big 5/0 pole dancer but I put the 2/0 and some other more medium size top water bugs on it and it launched them. Of all the echo rods this definitely one of my favorite for stripers

Music… Been listening to a few new bands/artists. I bought the New Rocky Votolato CD Hospital Handshakes which is amazing…Just good rock with a bit of a indie/emo/acoustic theme going on – Boxcutters, Hospital Handshakes, Sawdust and Shavings are all great songs. The album kinda starts big and loud and upbeat and then softens up to some all acoustic songs at the end….You Blew It! A great band on Top Shelf Records. Some post hardcore/emo/Alternative leanings with multiple singers and such but good high energy loud soft dynamics music. They even did an ep where they covered 5 songs off of the Blue Album…they are pretty sweet if you like that sorta thing. ….. Moose Blood, great band from the UK and one that toured on the Warp Tour this year. They are on No Sleep Records and also in that post hardcore/emo/Alternative but they are from the UK which is pretty unusual for a band like that. Pretty catchy melodies and some good vocals.

Sports…hard to watch the giants right now. Getting swept by the dodgers and then Watching Vogie get blasted for 4 runs in the first the next night was BRUTAL, splitting in CO gave me some hope but then going 6-1 the first night in AZ was rough…I think injuries and lack of starting pitching is catching up with us and going to make it tough to compete down the stretch. Nothing to be upset about or get to down about being we have won 3 world series in the last 5 years and been in contention all season for the lead in the west. Bottom line who ever comes out of the west is going to struggle with the wild card teams, Pitt and Chi are legit ball clubs.

Notre Dame looked GREAT against Texas so that was a huge pick me up…not sure if Texas is that bad or ND that good. Big injury though in the loss of Folston for the season and Avery for 4-6 weeks with his broken foot…That said man did the O-Line look good! And do we have some weapons at the Wide receiver spot!

My good buddies Chuck Ragan, Tom Page, and Dave Barbiere are hosting a Yuba Clinic coming up on Oct 3 and 4th! should be a great clinic with a variety of perspectives on fishing the Lower Yuba. I know both days are filling so if you are interested jump on this as it is a great time of year to get tuned up, learn some new approaches, and get dialed in for fall and winter fishing. 

This coming Saturday is the Cast Hope Big Night Out in Chico, CA! Make sure to get your tickets and come out for some good food, beer, music, auction, and fun!