Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I've Come To The Conclusion

I've come to the conclusion that there isn't going to be any Mark/Steelhead bonding this year. There isn't going to be any Steelhead pals. No warm & fuzzy. No Nada. 

You see this picture below? Right in the middle is a Steelhead not 4 feet from where I was standing.


Keeping in mind that I've thrown everything in the fly box today. OK, here's a list. Caddis flies (multiple), egg imitations (multiple colors), all kinds of streamers, nymphs of every color and variation, and here sits a Steelhead not 4 feet from me as I stick a San Juan Worm with a single orange egg dropper in it's nose, but will it take it? Oh hell no. It was so close I could have skewered it with my wading staff and trust me, I thought about it. On up the river it went.

After a short sandwich break and back on the river I look upstream and who has a fish on? Yeh that's right, "Glenn, I've caught Steelhead and you haven't". I show the guy the "secret" Steelhead spot and he catches not one or two, but three Steelhead today and I go home skunked.

It's s darn good thing he and I are good friends because if we weren't I'd have keyed his pretty new truck just because. I'm not a vengeful person, but I can only take so much.   

Steelhead #3

It's there somewhere

Keep working it

A little further down stream

Standing on the point still working it

Back upstream and then back down stream


A second look
And that folks, is an American River Steelhead caught on, of all things a black Wooly Bugger. Go figure.  

So I've decided that I'm going back out to the down country lakes where I have at least a chance of catching something. That should keep me busy until the Shad start up the river toward the end of May. Now them, I know how to catch.   


Saturday, February 23, 2013

I May Never Get This Steelhead Thing Right

When this pursuit started back in October 2009, you remember that wonderful trip to the Deschutes, the so called guide said that you have to use "this" fly. Taken as gospel (the guys was a guide already) I fished "this" fly there and here. It looked something like this.

Purple Angel
Purple something or other

I get back to Sacramento and attempt to fish this on the American and nothing. So I research and find out I should be fishing this:
Estaz Egg Sucking Leech Fly |
Egg Sucking Leech

I get one bump the first time out and think I'm on the right track. Then I meet a former blogger, again on the American, and he's back to the purple something above. So I'm swinging the purple something and a similar burgundy something and nothing.

Years later (OK maybe two years) I stumble across an article that says you should fish Steelhead like Rainbow Trout because for all intents and purposes, they are the same fish. Spoons would be good, the article said and specifically a Little Cleo 3/4 oz. silver with a #2 Siwash hook. OK, off to Cabela's for (online) three ( I always do fishing stuff in 3's) 3/4 oz. silver Little Cleos and #2 Siwash Hooks.

Little Cleo with #2 Siwash Hook

 I take my big Uglystik (7ft) with 8 lb. test and fling said Little Cleo. Nope.

Then a month or so I come across Ray, you remember Ray from the January 30th post and it's a San Juan Worm with an orange egg dropper. I've got this box of egg imitations and I put on the triple egg orange one. Good, got a couple of good hits. Now I'm on the right track.

Glenn goes down last Wednesday and comes back with the report that they are hitting on Caddis Emerger pattern. This is just one of the gazillion styles out there.

Fly Tying Pattern Archives - Caddis - Caddis emerger - tan - Fly ...

Sifting through my fly boxes (remember I'm still Entomology stupid) , I can't find anything that looks like a Caddis Emerger so I go back to the orange egg. When I get to the river yesterday there are about 15 guys covering all areas of the spot we usually fish. The only space available (and that's probably because that's where everybody crosses to the island [the spot on the right]) is here:

Not having a Caddis Emerger pattern, I fish my trusty orange egg. Down at the point on the right up there, this guy's is reeling them in one after another. Finally a spot clears on the opposite side of the river and I walk down there. I ask what he's catching them on and he says a Caddis Pupa. One of the gazillion patterns of Caddis Pupa.

Caddis pupa - Fly tying patterns step by step catalog
Caddis Pupa
So you see the dilemma. You have to fish wet flies. You have to fish the egg sucking leech, You have to fish the silver Little Cleo. You have to fish the orange egg under a San Juan Worm. You have to fish a red egg pattern. You have to fish a Caddis Emerger. You have to fish a Caddis Pupa.   

Do I use a spinning rod (with silver Little Cleo)? Do I use a fly rod with intermediate sinking line to help get the fly to the bottom? Do I add a small split shot? Do I use a fly rod with floating line (what it seemed the guys were using yesterday). Do I use eggs, leechs, Wooly Buggers, Caddis Emergers, Caddis Pupa? I was lead to believe (from the "guide" up on the Deschutes) that wet flies were the only way to fish Steelhead.  

"I'm so confused". That's from Vinnie Barberino on Welcome Back Kotter.

Not really, I just needed to whine a little. I plan on sitting at the Northern California Trout tying bench and see what I can come up with in a, something that looks like, Caddis Emerger and Pupa patterns and maybe give it a try next week. We are running out of Steelhead time.

They also consider the Zugbug as a Caddis Larvae pattern and I have some of those. We'll see. One last time this year.   


Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Tribute To Those Who Follow

Once in a while I scan the stats to see who the audience is. Each time I do it, I'm amazed who they are. So, I'd like to take a minute and than everyone who follows in their language. I trust I don't insult anyone because I could only use Google to get the phrase translated.

This is the stats from those that touched the blog from 2/14/13 to 2/21/13. They are in line from the most hits on down. 

The English version is what I translated.

United States
 Thank you for reading what I write.
 Спасибі за читання, що я пишу.
 Спасибо за чтение, что я пишу.
 Danke für das Lesen, was ich schreibe.
Bedankt voor het lezen wat ik schrijf.

For those that speak English, Thank you for reading what I write.
For those of you that speak French, Merci d'avoir lu ce que j'ai écrit.
Tack för att läsa vad jag skriver.
Merci d'avoir lu ce que j'ai écrit.
Dziękuję za przeczytanie tego, co piszę.

I appreciate and thank each and every one of you. You are what keeps this blog alive.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

All Those Fish To Bob (I plow for fish)

Just wanted to show you what all those fish I bring to Bob does. Yesterday at 1:30 pm the ground was dry, it was sunny (well kind of) and then the the skies opened up.

We didn't go from cloudy to rain to snow. We went directly to snow. A lot of snow. Don't get me wrong, we've had a lot more than 6 inches in one storm, but most of this came between 1:30 pm and 5:00 pm.

Now, no dissing Bob for the crooked plowing. Granted he doesn't have a laser sight on his tractor for guidance, but the problem lies with my driveway. Yes, it's crooked like that, but would you want to shovel all that snow? It's 900 feet from the house to the property line and then another 600 feet or so to Bob's driveway. Well worth catching all those fish for Bob.   

The driveway at 0800 this am.
If you watched National News this morning (I watch HLN) they showed pictures of the storm and put the caption that this was occurring in Sacramento. Granted the snow level was down to 900 feet (which put it below Jackson) yesterday, but Sacramento is at 100 feet above sea level, maybe. No snow there.

This is what the house looked like after I got done shoveling the deck and walkway.

Just a little taste of winter. Hey you guys in Colorado, it's coming your way.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

President's Day Holiday, The Fish Take The Day Off

Without thinking what day it was yesterday, I headed out to Lake Camanche to give the North Shore a shot. My friend Yuki said that he heard some rumors that the fish had been biting. 

Since the wife is still off work after surgery, I slept in (for me that's somewhere around 0600) and finally got going about 0800. Got to the lake at 0900 and set out two rods with rainbow Power Bait, one plain and one with garlic.

In the picture below, my truck is parked right at the beginning of the day use area. Not much of the peninsula left. The lake is getting full. 

If you double click on the picture below and look to the right of the car and the green patch, there are some bushes almost underwater way off in the distance. That's where I usually fish. 

What's  left of the peninsula
Ten minutes into the day I got one tug on the rod with garlic, but when I picked it up, nobody home. After an hour or so without any further hits, I moved out to the end of the peninsula.

Same spot as above, just a different angle
I sat for another two hours and nothing, but in between I worked Kastmasters on my little Okuma in several colors including the rainbow pink one that works so well out there. I even walked over to where I those two good hits last time, but not this time.

Seems even the fish took the President's Day Holiday off. I checked with several of those fishing and nobody had anything. Maybe I should have gone to Pardee? Ya never know.  

Till next time.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

And The Winner Is?

Here is the list of contestants.

1. Blake from Illinois Wisconsin Fishing
2. Alan from Small Stream Reflections
3. Bill Trussell from Fishing Through Life
4. Lambton from November Rains
5. Brad from FishTales
6. Jim Yaussy Albright from Home Waters, A Fly Fishing Life
7. Glenn Melanson from “I caught a Steelhead and you haven’t”.
8.  Howard Hart from WDSTK3 hand crafted lures.
9.  Tim Gerke from Old Man River, OR

I have to apologize that I'm not as tech-wiz as a lot of you guys out there, but I assure you this contest is on the up and up. I entered number 1 to number 9 and the winner is.............

Blake (#1) from Illinois Wisconsin Fishing.

Blake, send me your full name and address ( and I'll get the flies out to you on Monday.

Thanks to the rest of you for playing.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Wow, Two Posts In One Day

Today was opening day (always on the Friday preceding Presidents Day weekend) for Lake Pardee. If you'll recall last year, opening day was a disaster. As I recall, I saw about 6 fish for about 300 fishermen. I think the poor lady at check-in was hiding so the fishermen couldn't find her and string her up. Wasn't her fault the fishing was bad, but the fishermen were hunting for someone and she was the most visible.

Today, a completely different story. At check-in, the board said that 6000 pounds had been stocked in the last couple of weeks. That was definitely a good sign. As I passed the parking lot for boat trailers, the place was packed. OK, another good sign.

On the other hand, the parking lot at Porcupine Point was almost empty. Last year the lot was full and I got the last space. I grabbed my three rods and headed down to the lake with the intent to fish a couple of lines of Power Bait and if nothing else, my little Okuma with a Kastmaster or two.

Once set up and with one rod and plain rainbow Power Bait and the other with rainbow Power Bait and a little Pro-Cure garlic scent, I noticed some commotion at the group to the left of me.

The group, as it turns out, was mom, dad, and two munchkins with a fish on a small Zebco rod & reel (note, mom holding the rod in the background). By small, I mean the rod was maybe 4 feet long, but bent in half. Once the fish was on the stringer, I wandered over and asked if I could get a photo.

The fish were large enough that he couldn't hold them by himself so dad gave him a little help. 

Thanks for the help, Dad.

Didn't get his name, but when I said smile, he said "cheese". Must be familiar with having his picture taken. The three in the picture were somewhere between one and two pounds. Do check out the Bass Pro Shop ball cap.

Next to me on the right was Ed. He was fishing around the point and had two on his stringer. Ed mentioned that everybody he saw leaving had limits. 

I set up at 0900 and at 0945 I had a double. First fish to hand was a little over one pound (on plain PB). The other was 1 lb. - 13oz. (on garlic). Land the first one (all stockers) and leave it in the net while fighting the second. They were going to Bob, so no matter if they were stressed. With both on the stringer and both rods back out, I paused for a photo of one being landed on the boat across the cove. 

That was one of several I saw them land.

I continued with two rods and Power bait and over the next hour, landed two more, one going
2 lbs. - 2 ozs. then I put out one rod and a gold Kastmaster on my little Okuma. Before I could get a third cast out with the Kastmaster, I hooked my fifth and final fish on the Power Bait.

A Pardee Limit
Compared with last years opening day, this one was fantastic. I stopped at check-in on the way out and gave the girls an update of what I caught and complimented them on a great opening day.

Maybe Steelhead early next week. I'm still trying.


Final Day For The Contest

This is your last chance if you want in.

Here's the current list.

1. Blake from Illinois Wisconsin Fishing
2. Alan from Small Stream Reflections
3. Bill Trussell from Fishing Through Life
4. Lambton from November Rains
5. Brad from FishTales
6. Jim Yaussy Albright from Home Waters, A Fly Fishing Life
7. Glenn Melanson from “I caught a Steelhead and you haven’t”.
8.  Howard Hart from WDSTK3 hand crafted lures.
9.  Tim Gerke from Old Man River, OR

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Where Do Your Flies Go?

This is a question for all you fly fishers out there.

I notice as I'm reading all your blogs that you're always tying up a bunch of this or that because you noticed (and Joel is the one that prompted me to ask this because of his post this morning, OK last night) that you only have one of this or one of that left in your box and Spring is approaching.

The question is the title of this post. I fish flies a lot during the year and I rarely lose any. Is it because I'm careful with my back swing (where I lose most of them) or do you guys fish places with more trees/bushes/snags?

I went out earlier this week and fished Lake X strictly with my fly rod and several different flies. I came home with the same amount of flies I left with. I went out earlier this week and fished Lake Amador with the old reliable Thin Mint and only left one in the bushes somewhere.

So tell me, do I fish open spaces too much, should I be getting into the bushes more, or am I just lucky that I don't leave many flies behind?


Friday, February 8, 2013

Contest Reminder

One more week until the contest is over. Here is a list of names I have just to make sure I haven't missed anybody.

1. Blake from Illinois Wisconsin Fishing
2. Alan from Small Stream Reflections
3. Bill Trussell from Fishing Through Life
4. Lambton from November Rains
5. Brad from FishTales
6. Jim Yaussy Albright from Home Waters, A Fly Fishing Life
7. Glenn Melanson from “I caught a Steelhead and you haven’t”. 

If there's anyone else, let me know. Drawing on Saturday the 16th. 


Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Steelhead Monster Emerges

When we met last 4th of July weekend, my friend Glenn wanted to try Steelhead fishing in the American River. On January 30th, being the nice guy I am, I met him in Rancho Cordova to do a little Steelhead fishing. If you haven't read the post, just scroll down and take a look.

So Monday I get an email from Glenn saying he was planning another trip up on Wednesday with his friend Mark (another retired cop) to take him fishing for Steelhead. I had to pass because I was still recovering from the last rock hopping trip. Geezers don't recover as rapidly as younger guys.

THEN, I get an email from Glenn on Tuesday night threatening me with a call from his wife, if I don't contribute half the cost of him buying an 8wt rod so he can continue fishing for Steelhead in style. Can't imagine what was wrong with his 6wt, it's what I use.

In that same email he said he would report on the trip. I said that the best way was for me to do a guest post and have him write it. So, here you are.

Glenn Melanson, retired Alameda County Sheriff, Rookie Steelhead fisherman, and my friend.

Okay my friend...first the bad are definately on the hook for part of my new 8wt. steelhead rod...unless you want me to revoke your membership in the "Man Club."  As a man in good owe it to yourself to help me overcome my new addiction...for lo, you are in fact the one who led me away from the straight and narrow, down a path fraught with visions of fast action rods and inexplicably priced reels...I remember your words well..."'ll like it...don't be won't hurt and nobody will ever know..."

Left the house at 0500 was was was foggy...I had coffee, chew and a good fishing partner, also named Mark...all that was missing was my loyal dog.  Traffic was non-existent entering Sacramento, but the fog grew pretty thick...thank God I have a big truck so we wouldn't get too hurt if we hit somebody while doing 75 down the off-ramp for Sunrise Blvd.  Entered the park, paid my $5.00 parking fee and started to dress by 0630...still dark...still cold..still foggy.  Hit the same stretch of river we hit last Wednesday, the narrow channel on the south side of the island.  I started out with a pretty pink nuclear yarn egg I had tied the previous night...the nuclear comes from the addition of "Krystal Flash" before the was pretty...pretty pink...pretty fat...pretty useless...but it was mine... Saw several fish as it got lighter.  Had my first good hit at the point of the island...had that puppy on for all of three seconds...five more seconds and it would have been an official cowboy ride...Switched to another yarn fly I tied...I called this one, "Glenn's red yarn fly."  (So I'm not very good at names...sue me) Ran into Vic and Max the Wonderdog...Vic is the guy who was fish spotting for me last week.  Vic was telling me about a snag in the area I was fishing and I saw my indicator stop dead...BAM...I'm a hell of a bend in the old 6 wt. and I'm thinking...if only I had a new 8 wt. I could yank this fly right out...but no...I'm pulling and the snag...she no wanna give...then a funny thing happened...the snag started to move upstream...and splash...and pull...Holy S@!t...its a steelhead...FISH ON!!!!  Took about ten minutes to land it and arm was tired...thought I was gonna loose it at one point until Vic called Max the Wonderdog off...who knew German Shepherds liked to fish for steelhead with their teeth?...24 inches and about 5 first steelhead...caught on a rod I made and a fly I tied...That was the only fish I caught...saw a bunch just upstream of the hole you started out at last week...literally bounced an egg sucking leech off their noses but I think all they wanted was sex...have I morphed into a steelhead???

Saw one guy catch three in the riffels and met another nice guy named Greg who gave me two new strike indicators to try...he caught one in the pool at the top of the run after I left the sex crazed males to fight it out amongst themselves...all in all a great day on the river...which leaves me with one perplexing question...How come guys named Mark can't catch steelhead???  I have never seen a Mark catch a steelhead...Glenn's do Vic's and Greg's...but Mark's???

And with that, Ladies and Gentleman, you see the crap I have to endure being friends with cops. Once again, I'm not contributing to Glenn's 8 wt for the same reason that if he came down with gold fever that I wouldn't fund his gold mining addiction. 

So there you have it. I take him to the "secret" Steelhead place, he catches one, and I get a ration of shit. 

Good thing we're friends.