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).

NEW FLY WEDNESDAY

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


REPORTS

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


MUSIC NEWS 

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 www.northcotemusic.com 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

Saturday...

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.

Sunday....Music



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.

Olive

PMD

Black

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. 










Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Fly Wednesday: Hogan's Little Amigo

Learning my lesson about designating days to blog posts....barely making it here at 6:29pm. Enjoy!


First Fly For New Fly Wednesday is “Hogan’s Little Amigo” … This fly comes in sizes #16-20 and Brown and Olive to imitate all the small olive and Brown mayfly nymphs on the Lower Sac and Lower Yuba River. That said as I developed the fly I have fished it all over the west. I have been working on this fly for a long time. Basically as soon as the S&M came out and gained mass popularity I figured I needed to come up with a new small mayfly nymph to fish as everyone and their mother was now fishing my old one…the S&M. So I tired all sorts of ideas, hooks, materials, natural, synthetic…you name it. Always keeping in mind my tried and true may fly principals of may fly nymph design, Trim profile, straight shank hook, darker wing case then thorax, and minimal flash.

I have fished the Amigo side by side the S&M and it fishes as good or better most days…some days fish want one or the other more but they are different flies. The Amigo has more movement in the thorax representing gills along with having a slim flash back with epoxy over it. It also has natural fibers as legs which gives the fly a bit more action in the legs. It is a different fly then the S&M and while my goal for my own fly box was to develop a fly that replaced the S&M but it didn’t do that at all. Many days I fish both at various times and catch fish on both nymphs. I am currently working on a PMD to accompany this line and should get to fish it a bunch this spring so look for some additions to this line as the years role by…Here are some Pics.

Little Brown Amigo

Little Brown Amigo
Little Olive Amigo

Little Olive Amigo






Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New Fly Wednesday!!!!!!!

So, as many of you may have heard, know, or will learn hear this very minute.... my flies will be produced this coming year, 2015, by Montana Fly Co...Lovingly known as "MFC". I signed on with MFC early this year and have been working very hard with them to develop a line of new flies to be released to dealers, guides, and consumers this coming year.

Many of you are familiar and up to speed with the chaos, espionage, back stabbing, corporate take over, douche baggery, crookedness, and many more expletives that I will refrain from, that have surrounded the Idylwilde/Umpqua saga.  Umpqua attempted to strong arm me into a contract by telling me that they were going to tie my fly patterns weather I signed a contract with them or not, basically saying they were going to rip off my ideas no matter what I did, said, or what the ethical thing to do was.

I spurred the beast though and refused to sell out as many of my fellow Idylwilde tiers did. While I could of signed with Umpqua, and made a fat stack of cash, my principals and ethics are not for sale. If money was important to me I wouldn't do what I do....I would of worked a little harder to get that cumulative GPA in high school up over a 3.0 by not spending an inordinate amount of time calf deep in the Yuba River and Deer Creek...and get into some college other then a community college (I love community college and encourage and support the community colleges system but lets be honest if your goal in life is to stack money you don't shoot for a community college)....Long ago I learned Quality of Life is what is important...I believe sunsets and sunrises on the river, smiling people, time with my kids, and the sound of water in my head are things that money will never buy...that said everyone follows their own path so no judgement here if those things don't get your blood going or your soul warm.

Now Umpqua has proved themselves consistent and is tying well over 10 of my patterns and offering them to dealers in the 2015 catalog even though I asked them not to under the auspice that fly sales pay for things in my house like groceries, pre school, PG&E, and T-Ball AND it is just a messed up thing to do to rip off my ideas...all that said they didn't seem to care. Apparently making money was more important then ethics and what the right thing to do is. I know I should not be surprised as the business world is full of this type of thing, but the fly fishing industry is a small world and I was always under the impression that if I did right by people they would do right by me...not the case but at this point there is not a lot I can do except....

Continue to innovate, spend days on the water, ask questions, and solve problems with fur, feather, and steel at the vise and on the water. I started tying flies to catch fish for myself cause I was young and fished with anglers that were way better then me on a river that got fished a ton...I believed that if the fish hadn't seen my flies then  maybe they just might eat them a bit better...when I started guiding I was a young guide and I continued to tie to help my clients catch more fish as I was the rookie and knew I didn't know enough or had logged enough years to have the experience to be as good as the veteran guides, maybe if I had flies they didn't I could hold my own...

I have always tried to keep my original focus when it comes to fly design: tie flies that catch myself and my clients fish, by addressing fishing situations while I am on the river...if that translates to commercial sales then so be it. Bottom line I never started tying flies to be a contract fly tier or make money. I signed with Montana Fly Company cause they get that, everyone there has been a guide, and long before they worked in the corporate side of the industry, long before they were guides, they were fly fishermen. They slept in the dirt, drove all night, drank shitty beer, chewed cheap tobacco, wore the same fishing shirt for a week, got funky foot fungus from wearing waders and wool socks for way to many days in a row, and never lost sight of the fact that as we all try to pay our bills through this industry the real reason we got in to it was to maximize our time on the water not money in the bank.

All that said it is finally time to share with everyone the fruit of my last 3-4 years of labor. Why do I say 3-4 years? cause believe it or not that is how long it takes to develop a fly pattern...I take the fact that MFC, their reps, a fly shop owner, and most importantly a fly fisherman or woman is going to spend their hard earned money on my fly pattern seriously. They are going to put faith in my idea that it will catch fish on  one of their few days they spend on the water, so I have to do my do diligence and make sure it works!

So stay tuned for NEW FLY WEDNESDAYS STARTING TOMORROW NOV 19TH! I will share some photos of all the new flies that are coming out through MFC and tell everyone a little bit about them and why I developed them.

AND... Be good to each other, drink some good beer, sip some brown water, and listen to the river a bit before you cast into it.