Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

May all your catches become Christmas tree ornaments.

See you guys next year.


Friday, December 21, 2012


I got an email from a company that does gear reviews. They sent it over a week ago and haven't been bugging me every day since, so the least I could do is give them a shoutout and if you're looking for something, stop in and see if they have reviewed it.

Here's the context of the email:

My name's Perry and my wife and I own We found your site through the Outdoor Blog Network and just wanted to introduce ourselves.

We're a husband/wife team that goes out and interviews outdoor junkies about their gear. We record those interviews and put them on our site so that people can have an unbiased, objective, and high quality video review. We also launch monthly contests where we give away free outdoor gear. This month we are giving away a Jetflow Raptor backpack (you can check the contest out here:

Anyway, I just wanted to say hi and let you know about our site.

We're just getting started and trying to get the word out, but it's been a tough go-around. Everyone who sees our site loves it though!

Like I mentioned, we're just starting up and can't believe how difficult it is to get any recognition out there.

Thanks and have a great day,

Perry and Allyson

Check them out.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Can't Believe This Happpened

After coffee and a quick stop at Walmart I headed out to Lake Amador to try my luck with those Cutbows they have out there.

Down the highway, hang a left on Ione Rd, and then a left on the road to the lake. About 50 yards in, there were two trucks parked, well you know the way they park when chatting and taking up all the road. I slowly pulled up behind the one in my lane and it drove off toward the lake. Cool, no complaints there. I followed the truck up the winding road on the front of the dam and you can't go more than 5 or 10 miles per hour because of the lousy pavement, but keeping a car length or so between us.

At the top of the dam, the truck suddenly hooked left and blocked the road. A young girl (maybe mid 20's) got out and walked toward my truck. I thought maybe she had a fishing question about the lake or something. I rolled down the window and when she walked up to the truck, she asked if I lived near here? I said I didn't live near here, but in the area. Then she just yelled at me "Stop tailgating me". I said "excuse me." "Stop tailgating me" she yelled again and turned to go back to her truck. I was flabbergasted. I didn't know what to think since I'd been a good car length behind her and we were only going 5 or 10 miles per hour, I had no idea where that came from.

But, being fast on my feet and quick with a response, I stuck my head out the window and called "Maybe you should get the hell out of the way". A favorite phrase of mine from Quigley Down Under. I mentioned it to Laurie when I got inside to check in and she just shook her head. Was this something that had occurred before and it was just my day in the barrel?    

Any way I drove over to the point where I usually fish and with the water still really low. I slowly made my way down to a spot where I could safely fish from and put out one rod with Power Bait and tried Kastmasters and Rapala's on my little Okuma. After casting my little heart out and getting nothing, I finally settled for two rods with rainbow Power Bait, one to the left and the other to the right out about 20 feet from shore.  

After a couple of hours of sitting, drinking coffee and eating cinnamon swirl coffee cake (from Starbucks) I finally got one bite. 

Lake Amador Cutbow
I would have put it back, but it was bleeding when I put the net under it, so I kept it on the stringer until I was ready to leave, then gave it to a couple of guys in the parking lot that were just getting there. I figured it was a good way to start their day. The fish was maybe 18 inches and maybe 2 pounds. I didn't bother with the tape and scale since I hadn't planned to keep it anyway. 

I don't suspect I'll be out again before Christmas so I wanted to wish everyone Merry Christmas and I hope Santa brings you all the goodies you have on your wish list.

Maybe I'll give the North Shore of Camanche a try next week. I'll let you know.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Are You Smarter When You Get Older?

Probably not. Friday I subjected myself to the Camanche Trout Pond once again. At least I didn't go through all the trouble of launching the Float Tube Cumberland this time.

I had a spot close to where the "good" fishing is normally and put out two rods with slip sinker rigs and rainbow Power Bait. Then I proceeded to plant my butt on the retaining wall and wait.  

It's not that there weren't any fish being caught (two or three that I saw), but they were few and far between. Most seem to be taken on a Power Worm under a sinking bobber. In the past couple of years since the new management took over the lake (and pond) the methods of catching have all gone to hell. Things like Kastmasters (tried several colors), Power Bait (tried several colors and several Pro-Cure bait scents), for the float tubers, certain flies, have all gone out the window. 

Now there is a kid out there (Dillion) that fishes the pond on a regular basis and even he wasn't catching anything. He's one of those that runs around the lake (young and energetic) and chases the school (which consisted of about 15 fish on Friday) and tries to take them on any of the 10 or so lures he has in his lure box. 

Let's talk about stocking. 600 pounds, three times since the pond "re-opened" for trout fishing maybe a month ago or so. At least that was what I got out of the "stocking" board at check-in and when you take out the number that the 18 (that I saw on Friday) pelicans and numerous cormorants ( I didn't bother trying to count them) take, that doesn't leave very many for those that pay $11.00 to fish there.  
6 of the 18 pelicans
More of the pond
So I guess I'll have to stick to the North Shore Day use Area, when I feel the need to fish Camanche this winter.

As Porky Pig would say, That's, That's, That's all folks.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Unsafe Conditions For Fishing

I'm sure you all have seen the reports of rain that we received in the last week. As National News goes, you would have expected us in the West to have been washed away with all the flooding they've been showing you. Let me assure you that they only show you the good stuff.

They will give you one street out of all of Sacramento that has flooded and make it seem that all of Sacramento looks that way or they will give you one of the local creeks (Arcade Creek or Dry Creek are good examples) has overflowed it's banks and make you think every creek and river is overflowing their banks. T'is not the case. All this news coverage you've seen is a pretty typical event when it rains a lot in Northern California.

One of the news stories was the fear that the Truckee River was going to overflow it's banks and flood out all the residents in the area. What area? The Truckee River runs 121 miles from the dam at Tahoe City to Pyramid Lake and it turned out that the rain came as snow and the river was fine. All that aggravation for nothing and the same aggravation applies to the Valley. 

So what does this have to do with me going fishing today? Last Thursday I checked out Bear River Reservoir and today I wanted to continue up the hill to see if any of the other lakes could be fished. As I passed Silver Lake I noticed that the lake is starting to freeze over. There is still a good portion of the lake open, but to access it you'll be required to find a place to park that is not a foot deep in snow and then walk the distance of a couple of football fields in that foot deep snow to get to fishable water.

I continued on with Caples Lake or Red Lake in my sights. I bypassed Caples Lake and shot (very slowly) over Carson Pass for Red lake. In the picture below I'm parked at the local pitstop at the pass (7990 feet elevation) and you can see how the parking lot looks. The road from 8000 feet was just like that. Not 4 wheel drive type road, but slippery none the less.

Pitstop parking lot

Same parking lot back toward the way I came.
Jumped over the pass only to find Red Lake frozen over. OK, Plan B, back to Caples Lake. I had watched for a good pull off on the way up and this was the only one plowed. You can see how far down to the lake it was in 12 to 18 inches of snow. Walking down there would not be a pretty picture. 

The only plowed pull out at Caples
Oh, did I mention the next storm due today? Close, but not quite here yet.

Same pull out looking Northwest.
I drove back to the usual fishing spots at Caples and all I could find is snow, snow, and more snow. Had I been able to find, even a small pull off, I would have had to negotiate areas that are difficult to walk down when they are dry let alone have 12 to 18 inches of snow on them. No need for a broken leg or a dip in the lake today.

Since there was to be no fishing today I thought I'd just take a couple of spectacular nice photos of the view from Carson Spur on the way back. Risking life and limb by stopping in an avalanche area I got out (sign says no stopping, parking, or pedestrians) I shot these for your pleasure.    



For those of you in the warm conditions back East, I hope this helps you cool off some. At the time I'm writing this, the previously mentioned storm is just north and moving in my direction. The last three storms produced just short of 11 inches of rain to add to the 10 inches we've already had this year. No more dry, powdery dirt here.

I did stop at Bear River Reservoir on the way back and the gate is closed until next spring. I could have driven around it, but I hear the fine is $500 if you're caught and a walk of 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile was just not in the cards especially with the storm coming.  

Maybe I'll hit Lake Amador or Lake Camanche later this week when the storm is gone, since I have neither errands to run or remodeling (my part is done) to do.  

I'll let you know what happens.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

As Promised, A Post About Fishing

Tuesday was a day prior to the incoming storms that was somewhat dry. As usual, I had errands to run, but thought I'd take an early run up the hill and see if I could catch a fish or five. 

Plan A was to fish Bear River Reservoir if the gate was open and I didn't have to walk way down to the water. If that didn't work out, then I was headed to Silver Lake and Caples Lake as a last resort.

As it turns out, the gate at Bear was open and I parked down at the "beside the lake" parking area. You know the type of area, the part that will be underwater in the spring. Took my two rods with slip sinker rigs and put rainbow Power Bait on one and rainbow with a little Pro-Cure sweet corn on the other. While they were soaking, I exercised my little Okuma with a couple of colors of Panther Martin and a couple of colors of Kastmaster. I use the word exercise because I only have a two rod license and the Okuma makes three and I don't want to say I was fishing with three rods. On the other hand, there wasn't anybody up there except me, so who would have known?

I held out for a little over two hours and with nary a bite, packed it up and headed for town. It's not like I went out of my way, it's only a short detour and then down the highway to town. 

The dam

Across the lake

The hump of rocks
The hump of rocks just below the tree line is only out of the water late in the Fall when the level of the lake has dropped a lot. When the lake is full, the water is all the way to the trees.

A little further to the right of the shot above.
This brings us to this morning. I've been fishing Lake X and catching a brown here and there, but always on crickets and my spinning rod. This morning I went up there (we are in between storms and the worst is yet to come) with the intention of finding out what fly the browns will bite on. When I got there, I was surprised to see the water level a lot lower than last time.

The inlet
We usually stand on the top of that rise when we fish.

Up the lake
You can see from the exposed sides that the level is down.

The inlet
In this area (the inlet) the water is usually straight across not the rapids seen here.

Fly rod in hand, the first fly was (of course) the Thin Mint. I gave it eight, maybe ten swings and I think I got one bump, but it could have been a rock or twig, then changed to an olive Wooly Bugger. Same thing and then I tried a Zebra Midge under an indicator. Emily (The River Damsel) usually does well with this one, but not for me today. In desperation I put on an egg pattern that I would, use for Steelhead in the American and Voila  the fight was on.

I got him to the shore and then had to figure out how to get him off because of with the slippery shale on the side of the lake and the three feet of incline, I decided early that I wasn't taking a swim today. I got him close enough that I could almost reach him and then he decided he wasn't sticking around. He flipped the fly back at me and was on his merry way. I figure him to be 12 maybe 13 inches. A brown of course.

After that I tried a rust Crystal Bugger, black Wooly Bugger, another egg pattern, but this one kept getting all tangled up with the sinker, and finally back to the original egg pattern. Even tried a couple of colors of San Juan Worm, but one was all there was to be.

Oh, did I mention the skunk? Not a fishing skunk, but one of those little black and white ones? Country Kitty I believe they call them. Fortunately for me, he was on the other side of the inlet, but as he moved closer, the smell got stronger AND I was down wind. Speaking of wind, when I got there it was calm and by the time I left it was blowing about 15 mph and in my face, of course.

On the way out, I came across this guy standing on the side of the hill so I HAD to ask him what he was doing. He was collecting Lady Bugs. There must have been thousands of Lady Bugs on the side of the hill. He said he has some type of business that uses Lady Bugs for some environmental purpose and he spends weeks collecting them (he's from Oregon) and takes them back to his business. He had a bag full that he said holds about two gallons and his business need is about 700 gallons. So he travels down every fall and collects them from a bunch of different spots he visits each year.    

Lady Bugs
If you've never seen this phenomenon, double click on the pictures and take a good look.

More Lady Bugs
In my 66 years I have only experienced this once before and it is amazing. He says that this occurs every year and the area has to meet certain qualifications. A certain direction, a certain amount of sun, fall weather, and I don't know what else. He knew a lot about them.

That's it for this week. Storm coming in tonight and lasting through the weekend. They (the weather guessers) say this one will be bigger than yesterdays and the one Saturday into Sunday, even bigger yet. But fear not, we are 15 to 20 feet above the creek and I've yet to see the creek flood in the nine years we've lived here. 


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Remodel Update

Thought I'd throw in a little remodel update. I didn't think to take pictures before we started, but I had some from when we bought the house so I'll use them as "before" shots. When you look at the "before"shots try to picture it without the furniture. Concentrate on the walls, molding, beadboard, ceiling fans, and in the bottom picture the carpet.   


Then the other way.


Once we get the furniture all put together, I'll post some pictures of the room. About half is put together.  Tomorrow a short post on fishing. Yes I actually got to go yesterday.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Present or Winter Reading

Don't forget to get a copy of "Fishing, Ghosts, and my Mother's Gray Hair" for Christmas presents or if you need some interesting to read during those long cold winter nights or in the case of those below the Equator, warm summer nights.. 

If you've looked out on the Internet, you'll find that the low price of $10.00 and about $4.00 for postage and an envelope (in the US, overseas is slightly more, around $10.00) to send it in, is rather inexpensive. PLUS you get it signed by the Author (that would be Moi) AND you can show it off to your friends and relatives telling them "Hey, this guy is a friend of mine".

All you have to do is send me an email at with your name and address and I'll figure up the total cost and send you an invoice via Paypal.

I have plenty of books so come and get them.

The book is written in the same flashy unique style as the blog posts. I don't think you'll be disappointed.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone...........

Eat, drink, watch football, and zzzzzzzzzzzzz


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

This Has Absolutely Nothing To Do With Fishing

Off and on over the past weeks I've mentioned the remodel of my wife's sewing room. Last Saturday my son Ken and I installed the laminate floor. I would have done this post earlier, but I'm still recovering. Just kidding.

If you've never installed a laminate floor there are two things I suggest. One, don't try it alone and two, don't try to do it all in one day, unless you're feeling like Superman.

We started about 0900 and got most of it done by 2:00 pm and then I had to throw in the towel. The old body just won't take that kind of abuse any longer. I did manage to finish the last 6 or 7 rows Sunday morning, but that also took a toll on the body.

Late Saturday morning help did arrive, but it seemed to be help in a supervisory capacity. This little boy stood outside the window and watched supervised for a good 20 minutes.


Keep working
With the floor in and the wife off to IKEA tomorrow morning, I'll be putting in the base boards and the door casing. Once I get those two done, I'll do a short post with pictures. Once all the furniture is in I'll do another short post with the finished produce. Maybe one of these days I'll get to go fishing again.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Little Trip To Camanche

You might have gotten the idea that I'm remodeling my wife's sewing room. Since we've moved in nine years ago the room has been decorated in some hideous wallpaper and all the molding and casing was in bare wood stained to a dark brown color, but never finished. You know, clear coat, varnish, something like that. About 6 months ago we decided that she needed a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (I don't know if that word applies) sewing room. So began the demolition of the room.

One fine Saturday with a crow bar, hammer, and my pickup truck parked by the front door, down came the room. Out came the carpet and the 12x12 peal & stick faux wood tile that was under it. Then the wallpaper was removed and we found that there were a gazallion nail holes in the walls and no texturing at all. I've patched, textured, primed, painted (and you don't want to know about the venture trying to find the "right" color) and now we're putting down the new laminate floor Saturday.

Which brings me to this post. I had to run into town (Jackson) to pick up new base molding and door casing and since I was fairly close to Lake Camanche, thought I'd drop in and see if anything was biting from shore. One has to take opportunities when they present themselves.

I yacked with Aaron at the check in gate and he said they had planted the day before at the North Shore boat launch which is across from where I usually fish. I paid my entrance fee, drove out to the Day Use area and parked by the double buoys. I didn't have any expectations because the lake has not turned over yet, but I needed some rest and what better way than to sit in the red camping chair with a couple of lines with Power Bait out and an audible book on MP3. Skunked, yeh. Care, nope. Needed the rest. But I did take a couple of pictures of the lake. It's not as far down as Amador or New Hogan and it is rising (although slowly) which is a good thing.

We're expecting rain starting tomorrow and lasting through Monday so that will help the down country lakes and add some snow to the resorts. We did get dusted last weekend at the house, but nothing that we even worried about, maybe 2 inches at the most.

So here are some photos.

To the left of where I was fishing

To the right

Another left shot
Water is clear, but I didn't have my thermometer so I don't know how cold. There wasn't a place near by that I could safely access (most of the ground is clay and slicker than s!!! when it's wet) to stick my toe in or maybe just a finger. Finger is easier since you don't have to take off your shoes and socks.

Maybe next week I'll take a run up the hill and see if I can still access one of the lakes and today is November 15th making it the last day of the general trout season, so no more stream fishing (unless it's a special regulation stream) until next April.

I'll let you know if I find anything exciting.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Couple Of Firsts

My friend Yuki sent me an email the other day and asked if I wanted to fish for Stripers at New Hogan Reservoir. "Sure, why not" I said. 

We met at the Starbucks in Valley Springs and I followed him out to the lake. I asked if we were going to the area back a couple of miles from where we were, and he said no, we were going to a "secret" place. Crap, here we go again.

After a couple of miles of city streets, curvy roads, and gravel roads we arrived at the Whiskey Creek Day use area of New Hogan Reservoir. This is the first of the couple of firsts as I've never fished New Hogan before. It's as close as New Melones, but for some reason I've never gotten out here. 

In anticipation of this trip and the information I'd gleaned over the past couple of weeks, I figured a shad imitation on the fly rod would be a good way to start. Just to be prepared, I also took both of my spinning rods down to the lake too.

A little low on water
Looks more like a Florida canal that a lake
When I got to the water I put one rod out with a slip sinker rig except this time with a big (I don't know the size, it's just one I had in my tackle box) hook and a frozen shad about 5 inches long and let it sit on the bottom about half way across the "canal".

Then I tied on a fly called a "silver smelt" from a recipe I found on the Streamers 365 blog site. I figured it was a "shaddy" a looking fly as there could be. From putting out my spinning rod I know that the water was only about two feet deep so it was cast and then immediately start stripping. 

After 20 or 30 casts over an area of about 100 feet of the "canal" I switched to a Clouser Deep Minnow in white/chartreuse. Two reasons for this, one I just read in a book I'm currently reading that the Deep Minnow is good for a lot of different types of fish and the white/chartreuse color is one that has been used here in a lure called a Fluke. Nothing on the Deep Minnow except the green gunk off the bottom so I switched to a lighter version, but nothing there either.

So, shifting to plan B I got my spinning rod and put on a white Fluke on a 1/8 jig head and started back across the 100 feet I'd covered before. Then came the one and only hit (which, as usual came as a surprise) and that was it.

Reeled in my spinning rod with the frozen shad on it and since the hook was bare, put another frozen shad on it. Then I decided to move my chair (by that time my back was giving me fits and I had to sit down) over to where the guys where so I didn't have to shout as we were discussing the areas we had fished together before. The other two guys that were there, besides me and Yuki, were from the gang at Middle Bar bridge. So were sitting there talking, I'm about 75 feet from my rod, having decided to wrap it up and call it a day, I notice my rod starting to bounce.

Then it started to really bounce, in fact it was starting to bounce over my tackle box and toward the lake. I double timed it over and grabbed it just as it started to clear my tackle box and set the hook.

Now comes the second of the firsts. Never in my life (and you know this if you've read my book) have I caught a Catfish. Those little ones I caught in the canal in Florida don't count as catching one. Of course I couldn't catch a little one. No I had to catch one that weighted 4 pounds 3 ounces. Not that I'm complaining mind you.  

How do you pick this thing up?

OK, got it by the gill
Hold still !!!!

You grab it this way

OK, I'll take it home.
You can't see the end of Joe's stringer, but there is a 6 pound 11 oz Catfish on the end of it that he caught before we got there this morning.

So there you have it. First time at New Hogan Reservoir. First time I've caught a Catfish, but no Stripers to be seen unless those fish breaking the surface across the "canal" were Stripers.

That's it for this trip. It was fun, I'd do it again.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Naked Lady Scores

If you've followed my blog for any length of time you know I have this affinity for things with odd names. Example, Bray Vineyards (here locally) has a wine called Brayzin Hussy Red.  I did a post on this Vineyard and wine.

A while ago I came across a fly called the Red Naked Lady. After red there are seven other colors and who knows where you can go from there. A simple fly to tie. It has a hook (duh), a bead (another duh), thread to match the color you want (more duhs), and floss to match.

Doesn't take a Rocket Scientist to figure out how to tie it. Wrap some thread, tie on some floss, and wrap the thread over the floss. 

So what's the big story? Again, as you know, I've been inducted into the Amador Flyfishers (no secret handshake or ritual blood letting ceremony) and now I'm invited to all the cool fishing expeditions.

A week ago Saturday a few of the guys were heading up to Heenan Lake for some Cutthroat fishing and I met them at Cooks Station (you know the place) for breakfast.

I had other things on my plate that day, but here's what happened:

We met Mark Kautz and three naked ladies for breakfast at Cook's Station. When we arrived, the naked ladies were laying on the table. We were thinking this was the beginning of a magnificent fishing trip.
We eventually got on the water and started fishing just before 10am. Dennis picked up his first fish (a Lahontan ~18 inches) within 5 minutes of launching his float tube from the weedy area near the boat ramp. The fish took a prince nymph fished on a (Type 6?) sinking line. For a lake where fly anglers normally average .48 fish per hour, this seemed like a great start, but it would be Dennis' only fish of the day. We clung to the curved western shore of the lake, working our way around points and through little bays, fishing ~50-100 feet from shore. Dennis' fish finder marked fish at all sorts of depths, from 2-10' deep.
Fishing was slow for Ron all morning, but starting at noon he started "getting some action" with the naked ladies. For the record, Ron was fishing a 5 weight type 3 full sinking line with a two-fly rig tied with 4X tippet: the upper fly was a size 12-14 bead head Prince Nymph or red Naked Lady, with the trailing fly being size 8-10 brown mohair leech (or Hale Bopp leech with a rust-colored marabou tail). The retrieve style alternated between a repeated and syncopated stripping retrieve of 2-5 inches each. From 12:00-1:15, Ron picked up three cutthroats (24", 16", and 23"). Two of the fish fell for the naked lady (who wouldn't?), while the third fish took the Hale Bopp leech. He also had a really nice fish break off on a Hale Bopp leech; the token "one that got away". Around 2:45pm, Ron picked up a 4th cutthroat (21") on a Hale Bopp. Both Dennis and Ron also had a few missed grabs between 11:00-2:00.
The afternoon winds were pretty bad and kept us pinned to the western shoreline. Fed up with wind knots and tangles we worked our way back to the boat ramp and left around 4:30pm. Special thanks for this trip goes to Mark Kautz, who provided the Naked Ladies!

I've got to tell you, when I gave the 3 flies to Ron I didn't know if they would work or not because I never tried them. All I knew was that the guys over at American Fly Fishing Company in Sacramento said at Heenan fish something red at about 10 feet. Guess they were right.   

Red Naked Lady
So that's the story of the Red Naked Ladies.