Thursday, January 31, 2013

The First And Probably Only NCT Giveaway

OK, probably not, but let's get through this one first. 

Long ago (October 2009) and far away (Maupin, Oregon) I got excited about Steelhead fishing. Before you know it I was back in town and buying all manner of Steelhead flies.

One of my purchasing mistakes was this collection of flies from Cabela's that are designed (I believe) for a Spey Rod and bordering on impossible to cast with a 6wt fly rod.

Since they've been sitting on a shelf in the nerve center of Northern California Trout and collecting dust, I thought I'd just do a giveaway and let someone who can use them, use them.

I want to note upfront, that there are only 23 of the 24 original flies. Apparently I lost one somewhere along the way. Actually if I remember right, I dropped it in the river and was not able to find it. These 23 flies come with one of those fine green Cabela's fly boxes and it is nicely engraved (with a Sharpie) with the word Steelhead. I know kind of dorky, but live with it.   

Collection currently priced at $76.99 at Cabela's
Let's see how we're going to handle this. I'm not on Facebook so you don't have to "like" me. I'm not on Twitter, so you don't have to do what ever it is you do on Twitter. I guess the best way is to leave me a comment and I'll use the old random generator and pick the lucky winner.

To make it fair, I'll let the commenting go on until 2/15/2013 and then we'll have a winner. On the 16th (which is also the day I'm getting my taxes done) I'll do a post and name the lucky person and also ask that lucky person to send me an email with the pertinent information so I can send the flies out.  

Let the commenting begin. Hey, if you can't use them, let some one that can have a chance.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Close, But No Cigar

The Plan: Meet Glenn at McDonalds by the river at 0830 and have him follow me to the "secret" Steelhead fishing spot that everybody seems to know about.  

Glenn called me on my cell at 0800 and said he was stuck commute traffic in South Sacramento. Capital city traffic at it's best. We finally hooked up just before 0900. A short 10 minute drive and we were at the river. Wadered up, we trudged down to the river.

We fished a series of egg imitations, I swung some wet flies, and a egg sucking leech. Just about 30 minutes after we started, Ray hooked up what looked like a 24 inch Steelhead. Ray is someone we met and a new fishing friend.

This is Ray
Ray fought the Steelhead for something like 10 or 15 minutes and like so many times, had the line snap on him at the last minute.

Glenn worked the opposite side of the river while I fished the near side. Glenn socialed with another fisherman and he set Glenn up with good advice and show him how to see the fish and before long he was getting close. Since he couldn't get a good hook set, he stepped back and told the guy to go ahead and catch one. The guy said keep going, those are too easy to catch. Had I been over there, I probably would have kicked the guy in the shins. Too easy to catch my ass.

Glenn kept working that area and I wandered upstream to a place where there was a nice bend and a little deeper water. While I was swinging an orange egg imitation (orange was supposed to be the color of the day) I had a little company walk by. Trust me, this guy was catching more fish than anyone on the river even though they were small.   

Fishing company
On one of the 20 or so swings, I got one of those line slapping hits, but no hookup. When I stripped in the fly, it was apparent it was a bona fide hit because only half of the fly was left. Below is the before (on the left) and the after (on the right).

Before and after

I also got a second hit on a new egg (one on the left) in the same area, just not quite as violent.

A lot more action, a lot more fun, and more "learn as you go" training on Steelhead fishing. Most of all and the most important thing is that Glenn had a good time.

Not sure what's next, but I'll let you know.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Word Verification

Sorry guys, but I've got a bunch of Yahoo's out there putting crap in the comments so I turned on word verification for a while. Hopefully it won't last long because I hate it as much as you do.

Bear with me.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Melones Yesterday

Late last night, Yuki sent me some photo's he took so I thought I'd share them with you.

From the parking lot

Warm, hummmm
I'm down there somewhere

The art of non-catching

Friday, January 25, 2013

It Ain't Right, I Tell Ya

Left the house at 0730 amid fog and rain heading for New Melones Reservoir. I had everything loaded just in case. Waders, boots, fly bag, fly rod, and all my spinning gear.

I had no expectations because of the fog and rain and the report Yuki sent me about yesterday. What the report said was cold, raining, foggy, and generally miserable. That's OK, I had my parka which is water proof, gloves, hand warmers, and watch cap. I could handle anything.

Got to the lake at 0900 (takes me an hour and a half to get there) and the sky was blue, the temperature was long sleeved tee shirt warm, and couldn't have been nicer. What a contrast to what it was when I left home. When I got home, there was a morning email from Yuki saying cold, foggy, and wet at his place. What a difference a mere 25 miles makes.  

When I got down to the lake, the fog (with the fog comes the wind) was just starting to come over the hills across the lake so I didn't bother with fly fishing and set up two rods with rainbow Power Bait and Pro-Cure garlic scent and there I sat.

Good place for a fog horn

Later in the morning it got calm and a few fish started surface feeding so I went back to the truck and got my fly rod. Tried a Baetis dry, nymph under and indicator, stimulator, and several streamers, but they weren't having any of it.

Back to two rods with Power Bait. Mean while Yuki, sitting next to me, kept reeling in trout after trout. Now you all know about the Yuki, me, and the jinx. I catch fish and Yuki catches them after I go home. Back on the 17th the jinx was broken when Yuki caught 3 before I left.

Which brings me to the title of this post. Today, Yuki caught ALL the fish. I even tried what he was using but couldn't catch a fish for the life of me. Don't get me wrong, I had a bite here and there, but I couldn't get one to stay one the hook. Guess my expectations on Wednesday's post were a little too high. Come hell or high water. Yeh, right. Looks like the jinx is on me now.

That's OK though, it's about time the tables were turned. Besides, Yuki has a new smoker that needs to get fired up.

Next Wednesday is on for Glenn and I to take a shot at Chrome. Well see what happens. 

Till then.


Friday, January 18, 2013

I Lied

OK, call it a Geezer moment or a brain fart. I said I didn't take any pictures yesterday, but I did take one.

That's Jim in the burgandy jacket and Yuki behind him.

Jim & Yuki
See, it still looks the same from the last pictures I took.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Go Where The Fish Are

If any of you read the comments from my last post, you saw the one with the Japanese characters next to the Blogger logo. That's my friend Yuki.

It went something like this: Since Im not obligated to fish in Amador County I went to New Melones today. I caught three nice ones and missed four strikes. The guy fishing next to me, Jim, caught seven (released three.) Trout was hitting Jim's red Power Bait, later night crawler.

He also said that he was going back out today and wondered if he would see me there. How could I pass up on an invitation like that? 

So I headed out at 0730 when the wife left for work and after coffee at the donut shop, I hit New Melones at 9:00. Just happened that the above mentioned Jim was parked right next to me, but no Yuki. After setting up my red camping chair and putting out two rods with rainbow Power Bait, I started chatting with Jim. 

Between 0900 and 1000 I put three on the stringer and released one that was a bit small. Just after that, Yuki came hobbling down the hill (one of those black, clunky, foot things on his right foot) and set up on the other side of Jim. Now remember, when Yuki and I fish together the jinx applies. If you don''t remember, Yuki doesn't catch any fish until after I leave. How? Why? I have not clue. It's just the way it's been since we met a couple of years ago. 

But today the jinx was broken. When I left at Noon (needed to clean the flue on the wood stove because it is the first time I've been able to get up on the roof without snow) Yuki had three (3) on his stringer. 

So all this time we are socializing and fishing, I'm watching the many trout out in the lake feeding on the surface. Did I bring my fly rod? Of course not. Why would I do something like that? Next week, I'm back out there not only with my fly rod, possibly my Tenkara rod, and even the Float Tube Cumberland. Oh, if I could have only set a BWO on a couple of those surface feeders............

OK, I could have taken pictures,  but you can go back to the 2nd and the 8th and see what it looked like. It hasn't changed any. I guess I should mention that I caught five total with one going back for another day. The small one was nine inches and the largest was thirteen inches. Bob (I plow for fish) is happy and should it snow, my driveway will be plowed.

It was sunny, warm, and about 60+ degrees. Hip waders are due next Tuesday. Maybe Wednesday at the lake. Maybe sooner.   


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Catching Comes To A Screaching Halt

My wife was home with the "bug" today so I decided to head out (actually I had already decided before she got the bug) to Lake Camanche.

Since I'd been doing so well at New Melones I figured I give somebody else a try (My editor keeps yelling "Fish Amador County not Calaveras County". So I do and get skunked.). At check-in the guy said they planted 1200 lbs yesterday and fishing should be good today or tomorrow. Where have we heard that before?

I got out there at around 10:30 which is late for me, but since the wife was sick, we slept in. I set up the red camping chair and one rod with rainbow Power Bait and a couple of dabs of Pro-Cure garlic scent.

On my little Okuma I put the rainbow pink Kastmaster that works so well out there and walked in the direction of a couple of guys fishing a point about 100 yards to my left. 

There hasn't been any reports from the shore guys at Camanche for some time so I thought I'd walk around and see if anyone was catching anything. The guys on the point had one and that was all that had been caught. There was one other guy there, but he was fishless. 

On the way to the point, I threw out the Kastmaster and on the third cast, hooked up what I figured was a small one. Didn't fight much and after a few seconds, was gone. A couple of casts later, the one I hooked at that time was much bigger. The fight only lasted, maybe five seconds, but the time was spent with the fish stripping line off my reel. My guess was lightly lip hooked and like the first one, gone. 

The rest of the time was spent casting various colors of Kastmaster all around the point I was fishing on and soaking rainbow Power Bait with garlic, anise, and sweet corn scents, but no body wanted anything. I fished 50 feet out, 100 feet out, and as far as I could cast to no avail. 

The level of the lake is up and the spot I usually fish (that was across the sunken road the last time) is completely under water now.

So a skunk today, but I really would have liked to know what that big one looked like.

Oh, I did take my fly rod out and tried a Thin Mint, but couldn't get it out very far because of the layout of the terrain. The water was really shallow out about 15 feet and then drops off to a couple of feet for another 15 feet or so and any fish that would be out there would have been out a lot farther.  About 40 feet is about as far as I can sling a fly and since it's been a while since I fished with the fly rod, I was way out of practice.

Since we got back from LA (my brothers memorial) Sunday the weather has been between the low
20's at night and the mid 30's during the day. The ground around the house is frozen and when it does ice crystals form. It's an odd phenomenon and I don't know if it occurs in other places, but I took a picture so you could see. Most of the ground around the house is like this.  

Frozen ground

I might also add that the last time it snowed was somewhere around two weeks ago and there is still a good chunk of snow on the ground. The picture below is at the entrance to our property. The "keep out" signs are for, well that's another story.

Property line
A couple of days ago, I placed an order at Cabela's for a pair of stocking foot hip waders. I want them for the creeks next summer so I don't have to fight with chest waders in the heat and I want to try them at New Melones so I can wade out a few feet and chuck a Thin Mint out to see if the trout there are more interested than the ones at Camanche. They are not due until next week, so I'll try them then.

That's it for today.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

ISE Show

For those of you not familiar with ISE, it's the International Sportsman Exposition at Cal Expo in Sacramento.

Lots of hunting and fishing stuff.

Since I don't hunt, I bypassed that area and focused on the fishing area. This year they had one area dedicated solely to fly fishing. As soon as I walked through the door I ran into Gary from American Fly Fishing Company. We chatted and joked while he was setting up his booth and then I moved on.

Most of the vendors were the "Come fish my resort" types in California and Alaska with a some vendors thrown in like the usual jerky seller, and the cooking spice guys.   

After two rows  and I can pass by those guys in a heartbeat, I came across this guy.

Yours truly and Daniel Galhardo from Tenkara USA
OK, I know the picture was from last year, but Daniel was with a future Tenkara fisherman and all I got to do was say hi, but I did spend a good amount of time chatting with TJ whom you all know if you've touched on the Tenkara USA forum. If you haven't, jump out there and have a look.

After the fly fishing area I cruised by the Hobie Kayak area and drooled my way to the other fishing area. Man, some of those kayaks are really cool, but big bucks. The fishing area was same old, same old, but I was on a mission and had two things in mind that I wanted to get. First I needed a new spool of 2# Fluorocarbon for my little Okuma (they were there too). I figured Fisherman's Warehouse would have it, but there was so much stuff I was overwhelmed and decided I'd get it later. The other place was Pro-Cure (they had a booth and a gazillion bottles of bait scents) where I picked up another squeezer of garlic scent. OK, they probably have some scientific name for the bottle, but you know what I'm talking about.

After walking by booth after booth with corn dogs, BBQ, burgers, and kettle corn, and with my stomach growling I wrapped it up and headed for Carl Jr's for a Big Carl Combo and the drive home.

All they way up the hill, all I could see was dark clouds. Did I mention that it snowed last night? No, well it also started snowing just as I drove into our driveway and it snowed hard. I also have to mention that it only snowed on our property, not Bob's or Roy's, or anybody else's, just ours. I detect some discrimination here. 

OK, that's it for today. Next week, maybe the American River for chrome if the crowds have abated. If not, maybe New Melones with my fly rod and a Thin Mint. Well see.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Damn It's Dark At 5:30

My wife had to be to work at 0600 this morning so I took the opportunity to take another shot at New Melones Reservoir.

I headed out at Zero Dark Thirty (not to be confused with the Seal Team 6 movie about squashing Osama Bin Laden)  and quickly realized that it's damn dark at 0530. Most days I'm barely into my first cup of coffee at that ungodly hour of the morning.

So to satisfy my need for additional caffeine (after two cups at home) I stopped at the donut shop in Jackson and got a large cup.

Exercising my Geezer pass (I purchased it back on the 2nd as I left) for all Federal Parks, I zinged past the check in and was at the parking lot by 0715. With massive equipment (three rods, tackle box, net & stringer, chair, rod holders, rags, camera, gloves, hand warmers, and a bottle of water) in hand, I made my way over to the exact same spot I fished on the 2nd.

Sunrise at New Melones Reservoir
I had just gotten my red camping chair set up so I stopped for a second and took a quick shot of the sunrise for your enjoyment. 

No fooling around today. Two rods out with rainbow Power Bait and a couple of dabs of Pro-Cure Garlic and the hits started. By 0930 I had 4 on the stringer and had released 4 smaller ones for another day.

Then I got adventurous. I put a #18 gold treble hook on my little Okuma with the 2# test and added a small split shot. A small blob of rainbow Power Bait, the dab of garlic, and out it went. I don't think it was in the water for more than 15 seconds and the fight was on. It was a 12 incher, but on a light rod, it was a fight with a screaming drag (OK, maybe not screaming), reeling back in, and the line screaming (not screaming this time either) out again. Lip hooked, it went back for another day even though I only had four on the stringer because I knew there would be more.

By that time, the two guys to my left had seven on their stringer and the guy around the corner had five on his. I played around some more with the Okuma until I got it caught in the rocks and had to break the line. Then I  went back to the original two rods and right around 10:00 I had a double hookup. One was about nine inches and the other around twelve inches.

I gave the nine incher to a gentleman that had just joined us to start his day and put the other one on the stringer. Since I now had five (the limit) I packed up and headed home.

I didn't take any pictures of the fish, but they looked just like the five below that were from the 2nd.

The day totaled up like this. Five kept, one given away, and five released for another day. Not bad for the second fishing trip of 2013.


Monday, January 7, 2013

NCT Beginning Year Five

I started this blog in January 7, 2009. Let me tell you, it's come a long way since. 

When I changed over from to there were 143 followers and somewhere around 50,000 hits. Now there are 63 followers, a lot of them being duplicates of the 143, but a lot of new followers too and I've recorded an additional 27,300 hits. 

These numbers still amaze me. Those of you that have touched this blog and read what I've written, I thank you for hanging with me. Other things that amaze me are where the readers come from. Most from the US as one would expect, but many from the Ukraine, South Korea, Russia, China, Europe in general and many places around the world. I thank you all.

Many of you have become my friends. Some reside in other countries. Callan in Fiji, Phillip in South Africa, Carlos in Spain. There are many others, but I can't list them all. 

So, for post number 557 I thought I'd repost the very first one I did as long as you promise not to barf when you read it. 

A New Year

This is my first shot at blogging. I've been fishing all my life and wanted to share my experiences with all my fellow fishermen. I contacted a local news paper about putting this information on their website and they pretty much blew me off, so I started this blog.

I've lived in Northern California since 1975 and have mainly fished streams and rivers for trout. In 2007 I discovered lakes. OK, I know a lot of you fish streams and lakes and want to know what this guy knows that I don't. For some, probably nothing, for others maybe I can help them catch more fish. I figure if I put out here what I do and how I do it, it will help somebody have a nice trout dinner once in a while.

Last year I had a major surgery at the end of May. Before and after I did as much fishing as I could (I might note that I'm currently retired) until the snow hit in December. So for the time being, I'm doing some other stuff around the house that I've let go, we live on 5 acres in the mountains, but fishing is always on my mind. Did I mention I caught 130 trout and 1 Small Mouth Bass last year? A lot of the trout were catch and release. One can only eat so much fish. The Small Mouth Bass was a quirk. I was fishing for trout and it hit the lure. He got to go home too.

OK, I could go on and on, but then it wouldn't leave anything for another day. Just remember, "A bad day fishing is better than any day at work".


I mention in this post that I contacted a local news paper about putting this information on their website and they pretty much blew me off. Well last Friday was the 75th article I've written for them as a freelance writer and that they've published. Puts me right up there with Patrick F. McManus and John Gierach. Never mind, I'm not even close to those guys. 

2012 was a soso year for me. I fished 53 times (2 less that 2011) and caught 50 less fish than in 2011 (and almost the same amount as 2008). Looking back on my journal, I got skunked a lot more this past year than 2011. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that the reason was the Department of Fish and Game wasn't stocking as much and therefore less fish to be had. Who knows. 

So as I start year five of Northern California Trout, I want to thank all of you that have stopped by and read what I wrote, those that have gotten my book and thought is was fairly good, and most of all thank those that continue to come back again and again to read what is posted here. 

Let's make 2013 a great fishing year. 


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

First Outing Of 2013

Thank you all for the kind words about my brother.

Again, I had an errand to run in town so what better chance to do a little fishing afterward. There aren't a lot of options this time of year so I flipped a coin. Heads, I'd go to Lake Amador. Tails, I'd go to Lake Camanche.

It came up ? I went to New Melones Lake. This is the place I fished last February when I ran into the Blue Winged Olive hatch and didn't have my fly rod. Today I brought my fly rod along and were the trout surface feeding? Of course not. I did have my spinning gear though.    

I got to the lake at 0930 after a stop at the donut shop in Jackson for coffee (and a couple of maple bars) and then another stop at Starbucks in Angels Camp for more coffee (it's been a might cold lately). I set up my red camping chair, two rods with rainbow Power Bait and waited for the first bite. And wait I did. And waited some more. And even a little while longer.  

In between all the waiting, I changed to new rainbow Power Bait, tried a little pink (People are catching limits of 14 inch rainbows on pink Power Bait at Angels Creek. Sorry, private joke) and then started to experiment with Pro-Cure bait scents. 

First I tried sweet corn, then anise, then garlic, but to no avail. Finally I settled on garlic and sat back to enjoy the sun and some warmth (hooded sweatshirt still one). The first hit came at 11:30 and was so fast, I missed it. It was bump, bump and then it was gone. Whoa......

Then the hits came one after another and I missed the first six or so, but finally I brought the first trout of 2013 to hand. The second came shortly thereafter and then nothing. My guess is that the school moved on. Somewhere around 12:30 number three came to hand. By the way, these all went on the stringer for Bob. Came close to needing my driveway plowed last week so I thought I'd better drop him off a couple, just in case. 

Then around 1:30 (I probably should keep better track of the time, but who cares) numbers four and five came one right after the other. With five (the limit) on the stringer, I said good by to the two guys fishing around the corner and headed home.

The launch ramp
Want to be mighty careful launching your boat off this ramp. That is about a 20 foot drop at the end of the ramp. There is another ramp behind where I was fishing so boats could still be put into the water.

A view to the right

Straight across
Double click on the picture above and look at the clarity of the water.

Just to the right of the cement launch ramp
You can see some to the clarity in this picture too.

A limit
And, of course, a picture of the catch of the day. They ranged from (4th from the left) 9 inches to about 12 inches. All rainbow stockers.

Not a bad way to start 2013.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The End Of The World 12/21/2012

I've debated whether or not to do this post and decided to wait until the new year and not ruin everybody's holidays.

The world was supposed to end on 12/21/2012. Well, for most of us it didn't, but that doesn't mean that for some it did.

After successful surgery for an Aortic Aneurysm, my brother threw a blood clot that lodged in his brain. Another surgery for repair of the clot and he was on the mend until his brain hemorrhaged. His world ended Friday night 12/21/2012. 

Rest in peace, Brother

I'm not looking for condolences, or "I'm sorry" or anything like that. I've made my peace with losing my brother. What I want to say is that I fought for several years to spend more time with him doing "brother" things and was only able to accomplish this a couple of times over the last 15 years or so. I managed to get him and his wife up here to Northern California once in those years. I only managed to get together with him once in 2010 to fish on Big Bear Lake. There were a couple of times passing through his place on the way to this cruise or that cruise, but that was it.

My brother was about his family and it was like pulling teeth to get him to do something that wasn't related to his house, his family, or his cabin.

I'm not saying this was a bad thing, all I'm saying is if you have family, spend as much time with them as you can because you never know when "they" will turn off their or your clock.

I mentioned, in my book "Fishing, Ghosts, and My Mother's Gray Hair" how I wished I could have had more time with my Dad. Now there are two I wish I'd had more time with.

Now is a good time to get out there and spend time with those you love, even if you have to beat them into submission to accomplish it. If you don't, there will come a time when you wish you had.

No, this is not prompt for a New Year's Resolution. Just do it.