Friday, October 30, 2009

Bear River Reservoir

Hadn't been to Bear River since October 1st, so I thought I'd take a short drive up the hill this morning. Short drive since it's only 21 miles from home. Stopped at Cooks Station for coffee and decided, since I did so good at Red Lake on the 10th with crawlers, I'd take a box with. Got coffee, no crawlers.

Got to Bear before the sun got over the mountains and hit the lake. Put out a rubber worm (Berkeley Gulp worm) on the bobber rig I created at Red. When I say created, it's not your normal bobber rig. Picture this, barrel swivel, 6" on line with a clear bobber (one of those you can fill with water or it fills by itself, which in my case it does), barrel swivel and then 18" of 4 lb Fluorocarbon leader with a bait hook. The reason for the second barrel swivel on the top, it that the line runs through the center of the bobber and the swivel stops it from sliding up the line too far. No hooks like a regular red/white bobber. Second rod with yellow PM.

Barely got the second rod casted out when the bobber started popping. A rubber worm no less. I had no expectations for the rubber worm. I stand before you astonished. Oh, I missed him. Reeled in the line and added a little fish scent from a bottle I have in the tackle box (I don't even know what flavor) and put it back out. To make a long story short, over the next hour or so, I caught 3 on the rubber worm. Being they were on bait hooks, I was able to release them. Then nothing, so I switched to the old stand by, Rainbow Power Bait on a slip sinker rig.

OK, won't drag this out. One on Black Panther Martin, 3 on rubber worms, 3 on Gold Kastmasters, 5 on Rainbow Power Bait. Brought home 5 for my next door neighbor, Bob, and got my driveway graded. Thanks, Bob. Was able to release the other 9.

One other thing, took a drive out to Camanche Reservoir on Tuesday and checked out the lake and what they call the Trout Pond. It's a good size pond that they stock regularly with 2 to 3 lb trout. Like Lake Pardee and Lake Amador, this is one of those lakes that charge you to park & fish to the tune of about $14.00 to $18.00. Good place to fish in the Winter when the Upcountry Lakes are frozen over. More on this lake in another post.

That wraps up this week. Might meet Rich and Mark at Caples on Sunday. Depends if they can get away. Will let you know if that happens.

Till next time, remember: "A bad day fishing is better than any day at work".

Mark (Shoreman)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

American River - Friday & Today

I had a doctor appointment on Friday, so I took some time to wander over to the American and ply my Steelhead Fishing skills. What skills? I went to the Harrington Access where I fished Shad in June and gave it a shot. I fished one riffle without any results, but I feel that since I got two bumps in the second riffle (I think it was the same fish because it was two casts in a row), the day was a success. I used a fly I got from the guys over at American Fly Fishing Company, before I went to Oregon. Since I just got the 2009 Cabela's Fly Fishing Catalogue (Man, they know how to get to a guy) I found a fly called Moe Egg-Sucking Leech in black that looks like the one I have except mine has an orange fuzzy on the front instead of an orange bead. With this fly fishing thing, please don't expect me to remember all the names for all the flys I have. As it is, my head is spinning just looking at what I have and trying to figure out what to do with them.

Today, I met Rich at El Manto access for a little Striper fishing. Back on the 6th, Rich sent me a bunch of pictures of his Son, Mark, and the Stripers he caught the previous evening. Our plan was to meet at 0700-0730 at a pre-determined place. I got there and Rich wasn't there yet, so I tied on a Rattle Trap in Silver Shad color and started slinging it out. Three quarters of an ounce and it sailed most of the way across the river. I'm not sure how many casts, but on one, I got a follow up by a Striper about 24". OK, that's cool. Kept heaving it out and shortly there after, I got a follow up from a fish that was so big, HOW BIG WAS IT?, I started hearing the Jaws theme in my head. This thing must have been 36" if it was an inch. I stood there thinking, What would I do if I hooked something that big? I was fishing with my 7' Ugly Stik and 120 yards of 10 pound test line. That thing had to go 30 - 40 pounds. Would have been one hell of a fight.

After that heart stopping fish moment, Rich popped over the hill. We set up with Sardines on a 4 oz pyramid slip sinker rig and out it went. I had some bumps, Rich had some bumps and that was about it. I fished a little with Steelhead flys and some more with lures, but no results. Rich, on the other hand, threw a Sardine in his Crawfish trap and is having Crawfish for dinner tonight.

Steelhead are just beginning in the American, so there'll be more times down there. The best time, from what I understand, is December, January, and February. If I can stand the 26 & 21 degrees on the Deschutes, I shouldn't have any trouble with a Sacramento Winter on the American.

Till next time.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

For Your Snow Enjoyment

No need to comment. These are the two pictures that Blogger wouldn't upload Tuesday.

Across Red Lake toward the North, early Tuesday morning.

Standing on Carson Pass (Elevation about 8000 ft or so) at the rest stop, facing North, earlier Tuesday morning.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Winter Comes to Northern California

First, a little note about yesterday (Monday). Got up to go to the lab for a gallon or so of blood for my 6 month check ups. OK, maybe not a gallon, but 4 tubes. Since the lab is in Sacramento, I already had my fly gear packed and was going to apply the knowledge I learned in Oregon on the American. Got upstairs and one of the first things I do in the morning is feed the cats. You remember those two, from a couple of posts earlier this year. Got a cup of food out of the can and bent over to put it into their bowl. That was it, a small snap and I couldn't stand up. I was walking around like I was 110 years old. The back went south. Hobbled out to the truck and made the hour and a half drive to the lab. Hobbled in and gave my gallon. Hobbled out and thought, maybe I could go down to the river anyway. Nope, it started raining. Now, I'm not a fair weather fisherman, but rain does tend to dampen my spirits, erk, erk. So I drove home and became one with the heating pad.

Second, and this is really bizarre. You know from the last 5 posts or so that I spent last week on the Deschutes River in Oregon fishing for Steelhead. When I went to the Post Office to pick up the mail after we got back, the newest issue of Fly Fisherman (just started my subscription) was in the pile. When I got home, I opened the magazine to remove the cards (you know, subscribe now and save 50%) and the page I opened it to was a story called Deschutes Gunmetal. Fishing for Steelhead right where I was last week. How bizarre is that? Wish the issue would have been here a week earlier.

Third, as I said above, it rained yesterday, that means snow in the high country. My back was better this morning, so I took a drive up to Red Lake. Got there at 8:00am and only one other person fishing. Yup, it was cold. Snow on the ground, BUT, the lake was still open. Set up in my usual place and put out one rod with Power Bait (Rainbow). Fished the usual lures and nothing. When I had stopped for coffee, thought I forgot, huh, I also picked up a box of Mini-Crawlers. So when everything else didn't work, I put a crawler on the slip sinker rig. Nope, that didn't work either. As a last ditch effort, I put a crawler out on a clear bobber and 18" of fluorocarbon leader. By now it was 10:30 am and the sun was hitting the water. That was the thing. Barely hit the water and a Brookie snatched it. After that, it was about every half hour and another Brookie was added to the stringer. There was also one small Cutthroat, but I released him. Six total for today.

I did take some pictures, but for some reason, Blogger won't upload them, so I'll keep them for another day. Going to try for Steelhead on Thursday when I take the car in for service and Stripers on Sunday with Rich and Mark. If Thursday turns out good, maybe Steelhead on Sunday too. We'll see.

Till next time, remember: "A bad day fishing is better than being one, with the heating pad".


Saturday, October 17, 2009


Last summer I had the chance to get some Thermals from a company called The Sock Site. I listed it at the left side of the blog under the link named Outdoor Clothing.

I didn't have a chance to try them until this trip. I wore them on Saturday (26 degrees) and I was toasty all day. On Sunday (21 degrees) I purposely didn't wear them and I was much colder. So, I would recommend them if you need some warm "Unders". I got the Duofold model 620A (top) and 620B (bottoms). Not expensive, but warm. They're a blend of 60% Cotton and 40% Polyester. Very comfortable.

I plan on using them when ever it's cold out here, and it's coming.

Till next time, remember: "A bad day fishing is worse if you're not warm".


Friday, October 16, 2009

Oregon Trip Days 5 & 6

Since we decided to leave on Monday, I thought I could fish a couple of places I saw on the way up. Took a picture of Mount Hood, Oregon on the way by, in case any of you haven't seen the mountain.

The wife wanted to see a little town called Sisters, Oregon. It's a well known town in the quilting community, so we thought we'd check it out. I figured she'd be in the store a while, so I drove around the town looking for a motel. It was getting later in the afternoon. Came across a fly shop on a back street and of course, I had to stop in. Young man behind the counter said I should fish the Metolius River. Showed me a section that was fly only, but should have some good trout. Got back into the truck and stopped in at the Best Western, got a room, and the man at the desk suggested, either a lake up the road, or a little stream in town.

Started to take a drive up the road to look at the lake, and almost forgot the wife. Turned around, went and got her. By this time, it had started to rain and started to get dark, so I figured I'd just put it off until morning. This was what I found in the morning.
Three inches of snow on the truck and still snowing. With four wheel drive and new tires on the truck, I'm not afraid of a little snow, BUT since we still had miles to go and weren't sure what we'd find, I decided to leave the river, lake, and small stream for another day. I did run into a gentleman that had gone up to the Metolius earlier the day before. He said he'd been fishing the river for 50 years and knew it pretty well. He also said that he tried everything he could think of and couldn't get a bite until he netted some of the hatch and matched it. Still he didn't get anything until he tried a really small imitation of the same fly and things started happening. He said he caught about 20, but it was the size of the fly, not the fly itself.
So the rest of Tuesday & Wednesday it was wind (sometimes in the area of 40 - 50 mph) and rain (sometimes so hard that fast windshield wipers wouldn't clear the window) and reduced speeds, I gave up trying to fish the rest of the trip. I'm sure you saw the National Weather report. Well, it's all true.
We got home Wednesday night and we had branches strewn all over the property and in some areas of the neighborhood, tree limbs and trees down. Neighbors said it was bad.
That's the trip. Not what the wife and I expected. Most of the Quilt & Cast retreat was badly put together. It was supposed to be a Friday, Saturday, Sunday deal. The quilting part actually started Thursday and the attendants were mostly locals. There was only one other couple (we were expecting upwards of 8) that was part of the Q & C. The quilting part ended early Sunday afternoon. The fishing part was supposed to be one morning and one afternoon on separate days, but since there were only two of us, it got slammed into one day. Sunday, the guide (Mark) left on a three day trip and we never saw him again. His wife (Marni), we never saw until dinner on Saturday night and then not after that. They were supposed to be the hosts of this shindig. After all was said and done, we also (both couples) thought it was vastly overpriced for what you got. I don't recommend this retreat or resort. I know we'll never return.
Although the fishing seemed to be good, there is another motel in the town and it looks pretty nice. there are also several guides if you want that type of service, but I would recommend going it on your own.
Till next time, onward to the American.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Oregon Trip Day 4 - Sunday

Saturday Morning, 21 degrees.

OK, I was a little pissed about the 9wt telephone pole. I felt pretty good Sunday morning after resting Saturday afternoon. Slept in, had breakfast, and since the wife was going to a quilt store with the rest of the gang, I decided to take a solo drive up the river and see what I could do by myself. Fred (I mentioned him earlier) was going up to where we launched the boat on Saturday so I told him I'd meet him up there. Got there and didn't see his truck. My fault, I was looking for a cream color truck and his was tan. Anyway, I missed him. Found a spot along the river, put on the gear and walked out into the water.

None of the fancy Spey stuff this morning. No back, loop, swing around, cast forward, hold the rod close, whip with the butt of the rod, mend right, mend left, lengthen the loop, holy cow.

I let out about 35 feet of line (I have a mark on my line at 35') with a Steelhead fly I picked up at the fly shop on Saturday afternoon. Don't know if it had a name (I'm sure it did), but was mostly black. Pulled in some line, flipped it out, up stream and did a roll cast to get it about 1/3 of the way across the river. Add a little mend to the left and it floated nicely down the river to where I wanted it.

Won't go into all the cast after cast (they call Steelhead "The fish of a 1000 casts"). If you remember, from Saturday, I got three bumps, well Sunday I got 5 or 6 good bumps using my little 6wt in 3 different areas I fished AND I only fished 4 hours instead of the 6 we fished on Saturday. I still haven't got the hook set thing down yet, but watch out American River Steelhead. Shoreman is on the way.

Since I was still moaning and groaning a little from Saturday, I decided to call it a day, besides we were leaving Monday morning. We had planned to stay two extra days, but after the total weekend experience, we decided we didn't want to stay there any longer. In the next post, I'll wrap up the trip. I have plans to fish a couple of streams on the way back and will let you know how that went.

Till then.


Oregon Trip Pictures, Day 1 - 3

First thing, I wanted to thank everyone for your support. Second, I wanted to catch up on the pictures, now that we're home, from the first 3 days.

From a distance, driving by, Mount Shasta. I wanted to get a shot from the back side, which was a better profile, but thought I'd wait until the trip back. More on that later

Next, the "Cabin". Inside & out. Front to back, back to front.

The Native Americans (politically correct) fishing for Steelhead on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation access to the Deschutes River. Note the safety belts they are wearing. Also the picture on the right is the water they are netting in. From what I saw, they stick this huge net in the water and, I guess, they can tell when a fish gets caught in it.

This was the one I saw caught during the 10 minutes or so that I was watching. Looked like it could have been 36" or bigger. Double click for a better view.

Finally a couple of river pictures on the way back to the "Cabin".

That's it for this post. Next is Day 4

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oregon Trip Day 3

6:00 am, met with Mark, the guide, at his boat in the parking lot of the resort. Wadered up and pole in hand. I was advised that I should use his pole instead of mine. “Why” I asked. His was bigger. OK, bigger pole, bigger fish? Pulled the drift boat down to the launch area on a road I had driven the night before and turned around because it was rattling my teeth and I have four wheel drive.

6:30 am on the water. Temperature 26 degrees, but shoreman was prepared. Long underwear, heavy socks, hooded sweatshirt (must layer in the cold) and new agua-stealth boots. Got passed the rod I was to use. This thing was so long, I couldn’t see the top of the rod. Mark got me set up and said I was supposed to use the Spey cast to get the fly out as far as possible. “What’s the Spey Cast?” So he showed me and spent the next 3 hours trying to get me to perfect the cast. Back, loop, swing around, cast forward, hold the rod close, whip with the butt of the rod, mend right, mend left, lengthen the loop, Jeez, what did I get my self into? All I wanted to do was fish for Steelhead, not take hours and hours of fly fishing lessons.

I finally got the fly out and drifted correctly a couple of times. I even got the first bump about an hour after starting. Of course, my immediate reaction, being a spin fisherman, is to immediately set the hook. Nope, not with Steelhead. That’s what the loop is for. Get the bump, release the loop, wait for the line to tighten, and then set the hook. OK, change the fly to a different color and try again. This time nothing.

Moved to a different spot and same thing. Back, loop, swing around, cast forward, hold the rod close, whip with the butt of the rod, mend right, mend left, lengthen the loop. Got one bump and set the hook. Again nothing. By this time, I’m having trouble holding this telephone pole. Why you need a 12’ rod, I have no idea. Probably has to do with getting the fly out far enough, who knows. All I know is that I was bracing it next to my body so I could hold it.

Moved to next hole. Oh yeh, I forgot to tell you that each time we got to a place Fred (the other guy I was fishing with, more about him later) and I got out of the boat and walked up and down the river lugging this telephone pole, trying to put the fly out there as far as possible. In this spot, I got another bump, but this time I let the loop go and waited until the line tightened (see you can teach an old dog new tricks), then set the hook. Nope, fish was smarter. I finally gave it up and went back to the boat. When I took a good look at the pole, I found out it was a 9wt, 12’ rod. No wonder I was having so much trouble carrying it. Thing weighted a ton. I think Mark got disgusted with trying to get me to cast the rod correctly, and took his other rod and fished the same area I just went through. He didn’t get anything either.

By now it was going on 11:00 am and we were heading back in, but stopped at one more spot so Fred (he’s much more experienced than me at this, besides, I was done) could take a dozen casts. The last cast he took, he hit one that bent his rod, then was gone.

Got back to the resort Noon and Mark told us that the other guide (Brandon) would pick us up at 2:30 pm for the afternoon trip, 2:30 pm until 7:30 pm. We changed clothes and had some lunch. It was at that point that I started pounding the Tylanol. I had parts of my body that hurt, that I didn’t know could hurt. When 2:30 pm rolled around, I threw in the towel and let Fred go it alone. Spent the rest of the afternoon sucking Tylanol and laying on the bed in pain.

Turns out that the afternoon session was a bust too. Actually Fred said that there were some places he was scared and I should not have been, taking in my inexperience at this. Guess it’s a good thing I stayed back at the resort. He didn’t get any hits at all in the afternoon. Me, I’m still chuggin Tylanol and moaning and groaning on the bed. It’s hell getting old.

At lunch today, Fred, a guy I met named Bill, and I had a discussion about fishing with the telephone poles. Now Fred has fished Steelhead a bunch of times and has a 7wt rod. He’s also younger than me (by a year) and has fished with his rod a lot longer, so he’s used to it. But the cruxt of the discussion was, that there is no reason I couldn’t use my 6wt, and had I used it this morning, would have been a lot more comfortable. This was part of the deciding factor I used in passing on the afternoon torture session. The moaning and groaning was the other. By the way, Bill said he caught several that morning, one 36” long that took him an hour to land. He was fishing in his special hole. Wouldn’t tell where that special hole was. Can’t blame him and would be hard to find him since there is about 20 miles of accessable river there.

Well, that’s day 3. Tomorrow is Sunday and the final day. More on that in the next post.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Oregon Trip Day 2

Up and at them, later in the morning. Couldn't check in until afternoon, so didn't rush. On a personal note, the last 40 or so miles to Maupin were pretty boring. Flat high desert, nothing much to look at, and had us wondering if there was actually a river anywhere near where we were. We finally dropped into this valley and low and behold the Deschutes River finally showed up. Let me tell you, it was a lot larger than it was at Bend. A lot larger. Actually it was really big.

Right after we hit the bottom of the hill, we turned into the Oasis River Resort. Checked in and got the key to our "Cabin". OK, ready for this? The "Cabin" was 12 x 16. My work shop is
12 x 16. It had a king size bed, small fridge with a microwave on it, a bathroom with a shower that was 24" x 24" and a rod to hang clothes on that was 24" long. That was it and from what I found out later in the weekend, ours was the luxury cabin. Don't know how we got lucky, but after seeing some of the others, glad we did.

On a positive note, the cabins were built to house the railroad workers that built the railroad that runs parallel to the river. After the railroad was completed, the "cabins" were moved, in approximately 1915, to the current location and called the Williams Camp Cabins. The current Cafe was originally a gas station and small grocery. The cafe, cabins, and the building that the women were quilting in, are now known as the Oasis River Resort.

The wife got set up with the other women who were there quilting and I checked in with the guide (and owner). Since I wasn't scheduled to to fish until the next morning, I took a ride up and down the river to see what it looked like. I've got pictures and will post them when I get back home on Thursday or Friday. To much trouble to download to this laptop.

That's pretty much it for day 2. Drift boat fishing for Steelhead starting Saturday (Day 3).

Till the next post.


Oregon Trip Day 1

We left beautiful Volcano about 8:00am. Drove our little hearts out and arrived in Bend, Oregon at 5:30pm. Got a room at Shilo Inn with a room right on the Deschutes River. Although this wasn't where our destination was, it gave me a good look at the river. The plan was to drift boat for Steelhead. Based on what I saw, they were going to have a hard time getting a boat on this river. I could practically spit across the river. Even though the river was small, I did see fish rising and surface feeding. A good sign. Had dinner, called it a night. Maupin, Oregon was a mere 100 miles away.

That's it for day 1. Day 2, next post.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

South Fork of the American River

First, a quick note on the weather. Lake Tahoe got it's first snow of the season. Stateline (that's where California meets Nevada and all the casino's start) got 4" overnight. That means that lakes like Red, Caples, Silver, and Bear River Reservoir on the Highway 88 corridor should have gotten snow as well. Just depends where the rain cell went. We, on the other hand, only got a little rain.

OK, went on a drive to the South Fork of the American River to do a little fly fishing practice. Hit the river at Crystal Basin Rd and found the area where I normally park, fenced off. No parking. Hmmm. Drove further up the road and every pull off had a sign that said emergency parking only or no parking. Makes it difficult to access the river. Finally stopped at a place called Indian Springs River Access. Walked down to the river and found a couple of nice pools to fish. Noticed two ropes tied to trees across the river. You know what this place would be like in the summer. Good place to practice though. Lots of trees and bushes to get hung up in, but I did manage to get some casts in. The other thing about this place is that there are huge boulders that you have to crawl across to move up and down the river. Tends to wear you out after a while.

Since I didn't see anything that looked like a fish, got back into the truck and drove further upstream. Discovered I was just around the corner from a little place called Silver Fork and just past that is a little place called Kyburz. Remember years ago when Andy Williams wife (Claudine Longet) was accused of killing a guy called Spider Sabich (Olympic Skier). Claimed it was an accident. He was from Kyburz. It's claim to fame.

Decided to drive up Silver Fork Rd and take a look at the creek. See if I could fish it. Again, every where I went, the river access or camp grounds were closed or too far to hike down. Long, steep hikes are tough on an old guy. What's going on up here??? I might mention that this was the route I was going to take to go home any way. Finally got to the bridge where it crossed the creek and the area where I used to park was closed too. At this point, since the American River (Silver Fork, Coloma, and Riverton which is at Crystal Basin Rd) is on the DFG no stock list, I threw in the towel and called it a day. Probably no fish left anyway. Too bad, the bridge was always a good place for a limit. Nice deep pool under the bridge. Yesterday, it was a nice shallow pool with the water barely moving.

Off to Oregon on Thursday. Taking a small laptop, so I'll try to do some posts during the trip. We'll see what happens. If not, I'll be back late on the 15th and will fill every one in.

Till next time, remember: "A bad day fishing is still better than any day at work".


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Today At Bear River Reservoir

Wanted to get a little fly fishing practice in so I drove up to Bear River this morning. Got to the lake at 7:30 am and was the only person there. My plan to practice was put on hold due to winds in the 10 to 15 mph range. Last thing I wanted is a Wolly Bugger in the face. Ok, so you say, cast with the wind behind you. Nope, would have been casting up the hill away from the lake. That's OK, because I put a silver Kastmaster on my spinning rod and away I went. Nine trout later (most in the 10" - 13" range) the wind died down to practically nothing. OH, all nine were catch and release.

I grabbed (gently) my fly rod and put on a Wolly bugger and started practicing. Switched to a Clouser Minnow. Switched to a Copper John. By now you've figured I didn't get any interest in any of the flys, but I did notice that there was surface action a ways out. All the fish I caught on the Kastmaster were hooked at least 100' to 150' out. Not someplace I could put a fly. So I put on a Royal Wulff and put it out there and let it sit. May not have been the right one, but I'm still learning. I noticed that close to shore, a lot of really tiny fish were making a lot of commotion. These little guys were 2 to 3 inches, but I hoped that further out, might be something bigger. T'was not to be. The Wolff just sat there.

About 10:30 am, I packed in the fly rod and took a couple more shots with the Kastmaster, but that was the end of bites for this morning. All in all, I did catch & release some and got some fly practice in, so it was a good day. By the time I was ready to go, a dozen or so people showed up. I hope they had as good a day.

One more trip planned for Saturday to the South Fork of the American. A little more practice before we leave for Oregon next Thursday plus, I still have a few spots I want to fish on that part of the river before Winter sets in. It's already getting a little chilly in the high country. Lake Tahoe (elevation about 5600 ft) was 25 degrees this morning. The section I want to fish is well above 4000 ft. Could put a little frost on your pumpkin.

Till next time, remember: "A bad day fishing is better than any day at work".