Saturday, June 28, 2014

Fishing Among The Masses

As you know, I don't normally fish on the weekend for just that reason. Masses of people. Today was no different.

My wife was going to Sacramento to get her hair cut and what ever else she has done to it and although I usually go with her, she has expressed concern for me sitting in the car for the three hours it takes to get the hair thing done.

Me, I'm OK with it because I can go to Barnes and Noble to look at books, stop at Starbucks for coffee and a piece of coffee cake, or Cold Stone Creamery for an ice cream. Today we decided that she would go alone and that left me free to go fishing.  

I left at the same time she did (0900) and got to Bear River Reservoir around 0945. It was one of those trips that I didn't care if I caught fish or not. I was just at the lake zoning.  It's probably a good thing too because there were masses of people there, but no road work. I didn't even stop at Cooks Station for coffee. 

I went to the near side of the second dam and found a place where I was pretty much alone. That lasted about 15 minutes and the crowds flowed over to where I was.

Since I had two rods out and had marked out my territory, I decided to stay a couple hours anyway. While I was sitting there soaking Power Bait, I took some shots of the lake. Most pictures you've seen before, but just so you can see there there is quite a bit of water in Bear River.

To the right

The a little to the left of the picture above

The dam for upper Bear is in the back

Off to the left
Then as the crowds filled the gravel area in the shot above, I gave up on catching anything. Once the crumb crunchers/lawn lizards/two legged dynamo's, or what ever you want to call the kiddies, start chucking rocks into the lake, that just about does it for fishing. That's OK though, remember I was zoning.

I did get a visit from this big Dragonfly who spent five minutes sitting my rod.

The later it got, the more people arrived. What started out as five turned into fifteen or twenty by Noon. I was OK with that because these are the hard working younger families that only have the weekends to be up there, so let them enjoy. I can go anytime.

On the way across the first dam there wasn't a soul there. On the way back there were fifteen people fishing off it. See how quickly they amass. 

I'll just go home, have some lunch, and watch the A's and the Marlins.

No fish, no bites, no Nada.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

3 Will Get You 5

I'm not one to name my fishing rods, but that last post was fun. So, back to reality. I wanted to take the 3 wt. out for a spin and see what was what. I figured the best place to go would be the Middle Fork of the Cosumnes at Cat Creek Rd. Close to home, should be fish, should be a good test for a new rod.

While I'm sitting here watching the Giants and the Padres I'll tell you how the morning went.

I headed out of the house at 0745 and after a quick coffee stop at Cooks Station, I got to the creek at 0830. Got wadered up and started by walking across the bridge and upstream. I thought some of the holes up that way would be a good test of the 3 wt. action.

First hole, first hookup, but it turned out to be a short distance release. Second hole and the first wild Rainbow brought to hand on the 3 wt. Wet hand, quick photo, and back for another day.

First trout on the 3 wt.
A couple more misses here and there and the second wild Rainbow came to hand. This one a smidge bigger than the first one.

Second trout on 3 wt.
The plants in the river are getting so big that it's almost impossible to find a piece of water to fish in. The best I can describe them is they look like the elephant ear plant. I didn't think to take a picture of them, but next time I will. In the Spring, they are just a tuber, but they grow to a height of about 3 feet and are all over the place.

I managed two more to hand in the area I usually fish, then walked back to fish the pools below the bridge. The pool directly below had a couple hitting the surface, but no interest in any I fly presented. I brought one to hand in the pool below and missed a couple. So there are still some fish in the creek, but they are small. The one in the second picture is of the biggest I saw and it's maybe 6 inches.

I did have one experience that I've never had before. I had one fish that saw the fly, came up to it and "sniffed" it and then took it. Would have been worthy of a picture, but once again a short distance release.

Before I go into my opinion of the 3 wt. rod, let me tell you about the hole I stepped in. No stumbling or falling or anything like that. Just a hole in the river deep enough to flow over the top of my right hip wader and let a little COLD water in. I was quick enough that all I got was a damp leg all the way to my sock. Could have been a wader full.   

My take on the 3 wt. (5'9") is this. It's an awesome creek rod. Can't get quite the distance of a 9' rod (maybe 20'), but in most of the creeks, the size I fished this  morning, 20' is enough. Rod action is excellent for small streams. Next stop for me and 3 will be the Silver Fork of the American River.

Stay tuned.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Little Fly Rod That Wants To Be

Hi, my name is Streamlight. I was born in a big building called LL Bean and spent most of my short life with a bunch of other guys that looked just like me.

Streamlight 3
Since my name is Streamlight and I'm only 3, you can call me Streamlight 3. That's as good a name as any. Even though I'm only 3, I am big for my age. I'm 5'9" tall. Some of the other guys, where I lived were bigger and some were smaller. Some had different names too.
One day a guy put me into a box and then put me inside a big brown trailer. THEN he shut the door. Total dark is scary when you're only 3. Apparently the trailer was taking me somewhere because it began to move. Sometimes it was bumpy and I got bounced around and other times nothing at all.

Then another guy, who I hadn't seen before, put me into another big brown trailer. More bumpy and bouncing until finally I landed in a small building just like where I lived before.

Then they put me into a smaller brown truck and more bumpy and bouncy, but this time it also had a bunch of dust flying around. Finally the truck stopped and the girl took me and put me on some boards and just left me there.

It got dark and there were animals all around. Lizards almost as big as I was. Frogs that made a lot of noise so I didn't get any sleep. Then it was light again, then it was dark again. I felt abandoned and nobody loved me any more.

Then a truck and trailer drove in and I had more dust on me, but this old guy picked me up, brushed me off, and took me inside away from those dinosaur sized lizards.   

After that old guy took me out of the box and hugged me, I felt a lot better. That's when I found out there was another Streamlight there only he was bigger than me. He was 6 and had been here a long time. He said it's a good place to be and I'd get all the loving care I needed. 6 also told me that the reason I was there is that the old guy wanted a Streamlight that was smaller and lighter than he was. He also assured me that he would still get to go as much as he used to, so I wasn't to worry about being a replacement for him just an addition to him.

Streamlight 6
 Now I don't feel so bad, I'm inside, warm, and in a nice place.

Me and 6
6 told me to get ready for some adventure. That old guy that hugged me was going to take me out to a creek and see how I could perform. I'm ready.

6 knows a lot since he's been in this place for a while. Maybe someday I'll grow up and be like 6.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Clipper Weekend

We hooked up the Clipper on Friday and headed over Carson Pass to Hope Valley Campground. Hope Valley Campground is right in the center of some mighty awesome fishing spots.

I can get there in an hour in the truck, but it took a little longer hauling the trailer. We got the trailer all leveled and decided to take a drive up to that creek and lake I alluded to back a couple posts ago.

View across from the site

The Clipper on site
Back on November 29, 2012 Paula Lane and her boyfriend Roderick Clifton were on their way from his home in Citrus Heights (down by Sacramento) to her home in Gardnerville, Nevada (South of Carson City) when he decided to test the four-wheel drive capability of his Jeep Cherokee and drove around a locked gate on a closed dirt road. Several miles in the Jeep got stuck and they couldn't get it out. He decided to walk out and get help. When he didn't return in a couple days she started out. She survived on tomatoes that they had taken along and ate and drank melted snow. She also passed his body on the way out. Six days after they went missing her brother found her crawling along the side of the road. He knew where to look because they had camped in the area near Burnside Lake. Burnside Lake is at 8080 feet elevation. A lot of snow, in November, at that elevation.   

I wanted to share that with you because that's where we went Friday afternoon. It took us about an hour to drive the 5.4 miles from Highway 88 to the lake. The only reason I knew about the lake was the DFW listed it on it's stocking list back a couple weeks ago. I also noticed a creek running across the road about 2/3 of the way there.

It turned out the creek had less water in it then if you turned on a garden hose, but one has to look. We got to the lake and there were four guys fishing already. Instead of pushing my way in between them, I just got my camera out and took some shots for you to look at.  

To the right

to the left

Across to left

Straight across

Again to the right
The guys had caught a couple Rainbows, but one in particular said he was skunked for the first time in his life. Not a young man so it makes me wonder if one, he's been lucky and not fished very much or two, he's a fisherman and you know how they are. He and the guy he was fishing with were packing up for the day so I went back to the truck and got my little Okuma with 2# and the little blue box of Kastmasters. First out was a 1/4 oz, gold. Ten or so retrieves and I changed to the rainbow pink 1/8th oz. Three casts later and I had "fish on". Unfortunately it turned out to be a short distance release. They guys were still packing and couldn't believe I got one so fast.

After they left and a couple casts later I got two hits on the same retrieve, but it wouldn't stay on. Back in the same spot and two casts later and I brought an eleven inch Rainbow to hand. Actually I just took the hook out while it was still in the water and let it go for another day.

That was it, ten minutes, one short distance release, two hits on on retrieve, and one brought to hand. On the way out the two guys we sitting on the side of the road. I reported what had happened and then took off. I think they were throwing rocks at us as we left. That was Friday.

Saturday morning while my wife was fixing breakfast (we always have her special pancakes, eggs, and sausage on Saturday morning) I walked across the street to the West Fork of the Carson River. There were two guys fishing so I walked upstream through a bunch of bushes. That was a big mistake. There were so many mosquito's I thought I was back in Florida with Mike (Troutrageous!). I was eaten alive and I had doused myself with Cutters. I jetted out of there is a hurry.

So I wandered back over where the guys were fishing and chatted for a while. Once they left I got out my Tenkara rod and a black/white fly that TJ showed us last Tuesday and started drifting it to about a dozen fish holding under that light green bush in the picture below.   

He wasn't catching either
I  literally bounced it off their noses and they didn't show the slightest interest. My guess is they've seen it all, heard it all, and weren't going to bite no matter what. You can see them in the picture below. I took these pictures this morning.
Holding trout
Then I noticed the dead ones on the bottom. There were three in a space of five feet. I could only get a clear shot of two of them. I wonder if the "fish to extinction crowd" had anything to do with this.

Dead on the bottom

This one too
One would think there is a certain amount of attrition among the stockers, but on the other hand did man have anything to do with so many dead while others continued to swim?

That's all the fishing I did. We drove over the South Lake Tahoe on Saturday. My wife looked in a quilt store and we stopped at a flea market on the way out. NO, we didn't gamble. With Katherine working at Jackson Rancheria Casino, the urge to gamble is just not there.

I'll have another post tomorrow about the fly rod that wants to be.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

We Got TJ Tuesday

For all you Tenkara Bums out there, you know who TJ is. For those of you who don't, TJ is in charge of Customer Service for Tenkara USA.

He also did a Tenkara presentation for the Amador Fly Fishing Club last Tuesday evening.

TJ, Tenkara Customer Service
Since I've been fishing Tenkara for about two years now and have known TJ for about the same number of years (we met at the Fly Fishing Show in Pleasanton, California just about the time I started fishing Tenkara) I went to support him and Tenkara USA. Besides that, being a member in good standing of the AFF, I should be at the meeting anyway.

You'll recall my first time out and Tenkara Sasquatch broke my Iwana. Tenkara USA's Customer Service (and it was TJ I talked to) had me back on the water in a couple days. You can't beat Customer Service like that and I was in Customer Service for about 40 years, so I do know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, his presentation was great. After the meeting he went out to the parking lot and waved a stick around for a while giving some of the club members a good demo and I think we have some future Tenkara fishers in the making.

So thanks TJ, Daniel, and Tenkara USA for a good presentation. Oh yeh, and I won a copy of Tenkara USA's magazine volume one. The question I had to answer was a little too easy (what does kebari mean), but how could I pass up such a deal.  

We're off for the June camping trip. Check back Monday for an update. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Trout Move Begins

This morning while I was watching the morning news, they did a story on the closing of the American River and Nimbus Dam Hatcheries. The thing is, they are in the same place, just raise different fish. One raises Rainbow Trout the other raises Salmon and Steelhead.

The information they are providing on TV is a little confusing. They talk about two and three pound fish, talk about putting fish in the American River, but it sounds like they are putting those two and three pound fish in the river, but this is not the case.

About 1 million Rainbow trout will be planted throughout the state mostly in Sierra Nevada lakes, but at a much younger age and smaller size.

The department also will release 430,000 Steelhead from Nimbus Hatchery into the American River about six months earlier than usual. Because they have not yet matured to the point where the instinct to swim downstream takes hold, they will remain vulnerable to warm temperatures and predators, including birds and striped bass. Steelhead are normally released from the hatchery when they are about 1 year old. These are half that age.

Read more here:

State and federal officials took extraordinary measures, earlier this year, to protect some 12 million hatchery salmon from warm water temperatures and low river flows throughout the Sacramento Valley. Most of those Chinook salmon made their downstream migration in tanker trucks to the Delta rather than via the Sacramento River, as a means to assure that more of them will survive the drought.

One bright side to this is the facility will be able to do some much needed maintenance and repairs that they've not been able to do, since they've only been shut down once since World War II.

The other bright spot is that there are going to be a BUNCH of fish out there to catch.     

Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Fathers Day

Those that have read my book (and there are still copies available) know that my fishing life began with my Father on the lakes of Wisconsin.

You should read it.
My father passed away a long time ago, but that doesn't mean I don't think about him on a regular basis. He was, after all, the driving force behind me being a fisherman.

What brought me to writing this post was the post on Robin's Outdoors about her Dad teaching her to fish.

I'm not fortunate enough to have a picture of my Dad to show you because there is only one picture in existence (or there use to be) and I think it ended up in my (now deceased) brothers garage. It could be in the garage in Long beach or it could be in the garage in Louisiana, who knows.

My Dad was a United States Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer on the USS William P Biddle, a troop transport, during WWII and the picture in question above is of him in full dress uniform. That is a whole nuther story.  

Over the years we fished a lot and more so after we moved to Florida in 1955.

So even though you've been gone quite a while Dad, you're not forgotten.

Happy Fathers Day.

Friday, June 13, 2014


Not you, that's for me. Here's the story.

I had a little time this morning so I drove up to the Middle Fork of the Cosumnes River at Cat Creek Road. You all know the place.

I decided to head upstream first, instead of fishing the pool below the pool under the bridge like I usually do.

I picked a place here and fished Tenkara and a place there and fished with my fly rod. I wasn't planning to wader up, but glad I did because there were some places where I wouldn't have been able to get to with all the green plants growing all over the place, but by wading through them and into the creek, I was able to fish most of the good spots.

This pool was one of the first places I threw a dry. 
I was quite pleased that there was a good amount of water in the creek and at 51.4 degrees, perfect trout water. The second place was this stretch with a little moving water at the top and slow the rest of the way. All in all about 30 feet long. I fished this one with my fly rod. Tenkara won't stretch quite that far.

Short stretch
After many misses, I brought this one to hand. Not big, but a healthy specimen.

First fish of the day
So let me get into the title of this post. I would like to know and I don't know if anyone out there knows the answer, how is it that when you have a good dead drift going and your attention wavers for a fraction of a second, that is when the fish hits your fly.

Now I've taken into consideration that today is Friday the 13th and it's also a full moon. By the way, for you Geezers out there this will be the last full moon on a Friday the 13th you'll ever see, so make sure you take a look tonight. The next one comes in 2049.

With all that against me, I still missed a minimum of 8 and possible more hits coming when I was distracted whether it was a bug, or an itch somewhere, or whatever. I missed a bunch because I was out of practice too or maybe just slow.

What I want to know is: How do they know?

This is a nice little pool that produced several misses. At least I'm honest and don't tell you I catch every fish that hits the fly.

Nice little pool
On the way back to the pools under the bridge, I tried a couple other flies. One I don't know the name of, but it's rust colored with a white parachute (I suppose I could research it, but it's not all that important) and a couple of different color stimulators, but they wouldn't touch anything except the Sloan's Paralyzer. Green seemed to be their go to color.

Back under the bridge, I brought this little gem to hand. It's the first fish out of that pool in all the times I've fished there. Had drive-by's, but none ever to hand. The pool below that pool had several drive-by's, but here again I was just too slow. Must be old age.   

First fish out of the pool below the bridge.
Again I ask the question: How do they know? Must be one of the great mysteries of Nature.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I Just Couldn't Wait

Tuesday morning, 0715 and I'm on my way up the hill to Upper Blue Lake. I didn't care if it got to 100 today, I was going.

I got a coffee at Cooks Station and settled into the 60 mile drive to the lake. One would question why make a 60 mile drive (now this is mountain roads, not freeway) to fish a lake when you have one at 20 miles (Bear River), one at 30 miles (Silver Lake), and one at 40 miles (Caples Lake)? 

I can answer that in a couple ways. one, it's finally open. Two, I always catch fish at this lake. Three, just take a look at the pictures below. 

Normally I just show you a couple of shots across the lake from where I'm sitting, but today I did a 360 to give you a feel of the surrounding countryside.

Behind to the right

Directly behind me

To the left

To the left with a little shoreline

Toward the inlet of the lake
Note the snow on the hills. More about that below.

Across the lake

The dam end

Back around to the right
Now Mel is going to ask why I don't put the Float Tube Cumberland in there. If a problem were to occur, the only landing spot is the bottom of the lake. Those two old guys in the picture above sure couldn't help. The lake is big enough that it would take one of the three boats that were on the water a half hour just to get to me, that is IF they knew I was having trouble. It's just to desolate.

The stuff floating in the lake in the picture below is pollen. Good thing I'm not allergic to it because it was all over the lake. I'm thinking fir tree pollen.

Pollen, loads of pollen
Then when it hits the shore it becomes something like yellow milk. It just mixes into the water and fades into the sunset.

Looks ugly
So, now that you've had a tour of Upper Blue Lake, do you want to know if I caught any fish? Yup, but only two. The first one came at about 10 minutes into the day and the second one came at about an hour later. Both on rainbow Power Bait as far out as I could cast the line.

I've always maintained that I've never caught less than four fish here, that was until today. A couple things to take into consideration. One, they haven't stocked the lake yet this year. Two, I would have had four if I could have hooked up the two bites I missed.

Then on the way out I almost got run over by the stocking truck. Some of the roads around the lakes are one lane, dirt, almost 4x4 roads. We met at a place where I could pull over enough for him to squeeze by. Maybe I should have turned around and went back. I could have had an 80 fish day like the "fish to extinction" crowd does.

The temperature was nice with the wind passing over the snow across the lake until about Noon. Then it started to get a might toasty so that's when I left. I was slathered up with sunscreen, but warm is warm any way you look at it, even at 8100 feet.

If I went back tomorrow, I bet I could catch a bunch. Naw, I'll wait for next time. 

Now a little, no, a lot of bad news. This is mainly for the locals here in Nor Cal and second hand according to the Bob Sims Saturday Morning fishing show on KFBK. With the drought and the water levels dropping at an alarming pace, the Bureau of Reclamation (they control the output at the dams) has told the DFW at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery (where we get the stocked trout up the Highway 88 corridor) that they can not guarantee cold water (for the hatchery) past the end of June.

From what I've heard, the DFW has decided to close the hatchery and take all the fish in the hatchery up to the lakes along the Highway 88 corridor as well as the East and West Forks of the Carson and  Upper and Lower Blue Lakes and a few others.

The question is: How long will recovery take to have stocking trout in the hatchery again, if we get water this winter or will it ever recover? What will happen to the Salmon and Steelhead Smolts and will that recover? I'm at a loss. What a disaster this will be. I think all our fishing flags should be at half mast. One can only hope I'm wrong.  

Monday, June 9, 2014

I Really Wanted To Go Fishing Today

I got up this morning with the idea of driving up to Upper Blue Lake for the first fishing trip up there this year.

Then I watched the morning news and what they reported was bad. Sacramento was expected to hit 106 today after hitting 104 yesterday and possibly 100 tomorrow.

At 8100 feet elevation it would only be in the high 80's, but the UV Rays would be at the max.

The sun  would look something like this.

Bright Sun
 Sitting out in it for a period of time (it doesn't take long) I would probably look something like this.

Toasted - Ouch

By the end of the week, it's only supposed to be around 90 in the Valley, so it should be comfortable up there. Besides they are stocking the lake this week and it will probably happen mid-week.

Instead of subjecting my body (I have plenty of sunscreen) to the heat (us Geezers don't handle heat as well as we used to) or another Melanoma, I think I'll wait until the end of the week and go up then.

While I was out on the web looking for a good interpretation of being toasted, I came across several gross and several interesting pictures. Thought I'd share a couple with you. If you tend to be grossed out by stuff, you might want to leave at this point.

The Sun Tan Lady
 A sunburn blister:
That's Gross

Miley Cyrus Sunburn


Super Hero Suntan

And from a sunburn, this one will kill you.


Fishing later in the week.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I Should Know Better

As you know, I'm an equal opportunity lake fisherman. Therefore today, since I won't have any time the rest of the week, I headed up the highway to Caples Lake. Got coffee and crawlers at Cooks Station and got to the lake at 0845. I put out one rod with rainbow Power Bait and the other with a crawler and white floaty things.

Then I sat for two hours changing colors of Power Bait, adding a scent here and there, and had I need to, would have had plenty of time to pick my nose. Yes, it was that exciting.

I don't think Caples has been planted since 2009 and I haven't caught anything since the one I caught last August 2nd, but I am an equal opportunity fisherman, so I gave it a shot.

Since I had so much time on my hands and everyone said keep taking pictures, here are a couple.

To the left

To the right

 Now, there are fish in the lake. Just take a look at the picture below.

Lots of fish
The problem with these fish is that they are, and I'm stretching this, 2 to 3 inches long. But I gave it the old college try and hung out for two hours basking in the UV rays at 7800 feet. Then I decided to go somewhere where I can catch fish. 

Did I tell you they moved the road construction from the Bear River access road out to Highway 88? Yup, wait in line and follow the pilot car only this time there really was a pilot car. The wait was relatively short. I think 5 minutes was the max.  No way to get around it, they're working 24/7.

Silver Lake, check in, and out to the rock. One line with Power Bait, one line with a crawler. First fish came at 5 minutes and the other 3 came in the next hour. All caught on Power Bait. The delicate part of this catching was being away from my red Coleman camping chair to put fish on the stringer and getting back to the chair before it was blown into the lake, again. I was successful with that. The old boy can move pretty quickly when necessary. I called it a day at Noon with four on the stringer. I could have hung out and caught the other one, but I had some chores to attend to at home. 

That's it for today.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Have You Ever Googled Yourself?

Yesterday I was wandering around out on the web and I googled me. Man, there is a lot out there AND a lot about you guys too. This is from Images of, well me.

Me of course

This too

And the book
From Amador Fly Fishers

Tenkara Normandie

Guess who?

Small Stream Reflections (Alan)

April Vokey ?

How cool is that?

And Dan (Impractical fisherman)
There are tons more people connected to me, but I have, for the most part, no clue who they are. You should try it, it's a kick. I think Dave Knapp (The Trout Zone) is in there too.

Silver Lake from the Ledger Dispatch

Had to put one last one in.

My  laptop is out of battery, later.