Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sand Fire Update

I had to go over to Placerville this morning and to do so I took Highway 49 past the Sand Fire.

From 49 you couldn't see anything, but I got a better perspective where it was. The Middle Fork of the Cosumnes crosses Highway 49 about 5 miles (only an estimate) beyond Plymouth and then runs along the side of the road for several miles. Another 5 miles or so is Sand Ridge Rd. and where Sand Ridge crosses the river is where the fire was (or somewhere close). I didn't drive up Sand Ridge because they've had enough grief and don't need any lookie loos.  

What I did see on the way across was a bunch of Cal Fire trucks heading away from the fire area. When I say a bunch, I'm thinking somewhere in the area of 30 to 40 or maybe more.

Image result for cal fire truck pictures
Most of them looked like this one
The fire is 90% contained so it pretty much a mop up situation and with the Monsoonal Moisture back, should be 100% in a day or so.

I talked to the guys at the RV place (my destination) and they said many of the trucks were heading to the fire down by Yosemite.

So that's it, we're all good for now.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Scratch Silver Lake

Headed out of the house at a little after 7:00. Got to Silver Lake at 8:15 and found a nice flat rock to put the red Coleman camping chair on. Two rods out with rainbow Power Bait and settled in for the duration.

Parking spot

All that, was under water not too long ago
Keeping in mind the fish hatchery thing and that there aren't going to be anymore plants this year, here is how the day went.

Rainbow Power Bait, plain, with garlic, with sweet corn, with anise.
Pink Power Bait, plain and with garlic.
Red and white Power Eggs.
Kastmasters in various colors.
I even sunk to putting Pautzke's Balls of Fire salmon eggs under a bobber.

And the answer...............

A little take on Edwin Starr's song:

Silver Lake, huh, yeah, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. 

Scratch Bear River Reservoir.
Scratch Silver Lake.

Looks like more miles to catch any fish.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Heard About The Sand Fire?

The Sand Fire is burning just North of the town of Plymouth, California. Plymouth is 16 miles down the hill from La Casa Kautz.

The fire is outside of town about 5 miles or so or about 20 miles from us (as the crow flies). Last I heard, it's burned 4000 acres and consumed 5 houses and 7 outbuildings.  The scary thing is that it's near quite a few of the wineries. That, could be alcohol abuse in a big way.

Just wanted to let everyone know that we, as well as my sons house, are fine. We are not in the path of the fire, although National News probably tells you the whole area up here is on fire, and it is burning away from us at least for now.

This does hit close to home, though. When you live in an area like we do and you talk about wildfires, it's not a matter of if, but when and this one sure opened our eyes. 

So the wife and I spent some time this morning reviewing our evacuation plan and who, does what, if we have to go.

Trust me when I say this, but I will not be one of those who stays to defend the house. If authorities say go, we're gone. All we need is about 20 minutes (probably 15 just to catch and cage the cats) to gather, load, and get the hell out of Dodge.

So, for now we're good.    

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

No Masses, But No Fish Either

Before I get into the fishing part, I wanted to relate a little phenomenon I came across last Saturday. Our wine tasting friends came up and we met them at the Volcano Union Inn for lunch and then went to Black Chasm. It's one of those cave places, in fact if you remember I did a post back in May of 2010 where I went there as a chaperone for my Grandson on a school field trip.

Turn Here
As we were getting ready to descend the 150 feet down into the cave, our tour guide asked if anyone had any questions. I did and what I asked was:

The cavern entrance
Down the road less than 1/4 mile is a gravel plant where they dynamite the hill sides every weekday at just about 11:45. My house is eight miles from the gravel plant and it rattles the windows in the house. My questions was, what did it do inside the cavern? Surprisingly, he said that if you were in the cavern at the time, you wouldn't even hear it or feel it. How could that be? He explained why, but lost me with some technical geological jargon, but he did say that it did rattle the windows in the little shop that is just above the entrance. How weird is that? 

Headed out of the house a little after 7 this morning with Bear River Reservoir the target for today. Remember, last time I was there, there were masses of people because it was a Saturday. Today there were only a couple people, one guy up on the dam, and a guy and his grandson fishing to my left.

The spot I like to fish is 100 feet to the left of the near side of the first dam. I put out two rods with rainbow Power Bait and over the following 2 1/2 hours tried PB, PB with garlic, sweet corn, and anise. In between I also threw Kastmasters in several colors and NONE of us got so much as a nibble.  

The first dam from where I was sitting
Then who shows up but my friend and fellow Amador Flyfisher club member, Barbara. We've fished together here, Cat Creek, and PIPI Valley, in the past. Barbara was working a new Tenkara rod with a beetle pattern, but without success. We've brought another one to the dark side. She said that while she was standing on the dam, she didn't see any fish from up there either. So after chatting with her for a while, since I haven't seen her in many months, I packed up and headed home.    

I didn't have any expectations so I wasn't disappointed when I went home fishless. On the other hand, I didn't have a bucket to put any fish in, nor did I have any ice to put on them should I have had a bucket to put the fish I didn't catch in. So I guess it's just as well I didn't catch any. Hell of a note.   

That's all until next time.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Success, This Time

Remember the little birds that got trashed by something a while ago?

First Wren nest
Well, I found a second nest in late June. This time it was well hidden on a ladder beside the shop and behind another ladder. I would have never known it was there except I needed the front ladder to get something off the overhead in the shop. When I put the ladder back I saw the nest. There were only three eggs in this nest so I decided just to leave it alone, although I did check on it once in a while.

Once the eggs hatched I snuck in while Mama was out getting some breakfast and took a couple pictures for posterity. I didn't want to draw any attention to the nest in case somebody (ugly) was watching.

Early July and they were just little fuzz balls.
Then they started to look like birds.

 A couple days later and they really looked like birds.
 And then they had flown the coop, so to speak. At least these survived.
Till next hatching season.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

That Stinking Creek Yesterday

Juan sent me some pictures he took with his Smart Phone/Camera. I call it a Smart Camera because like all cell phones, they don't work up there only the camera part.

He'll probably post them on his blog too except I'm just faster. He has a job, wife, and other distractions that keep him from posting as fast as I do. I just have a wife, but she works and that leaves me a lot of time to post.

So we hit this creek that was supposed to have beaver dams, Brook Trout, and lots of catching. This is what it looks like.

Creek View #1

Creek view #2

THAT is a beaver dam

Who's the fat guy?

There he is again way out there.
Did I tell you we were fishing with our fly rods? Oh yeh, I told you that yesterday. 

We still didn't see anything, but did I tell you about the hole I stepped in? No, well let me tell you what happened.

I was walking along minding my own business and there was this little (couldn't have been more than 9" wide) washout? It was covered with grass and you couldn't see if you were standing on top of it. And I was, right up to the point where I stepped into it. The only thing that stopped me falling was my butt hitting the ground. Yes, that's right, I had one leg in the "hole" and the other crumpled on the ground.

I did, of course, use several four letter words some of which you've probably never heard before. When I  pulled my leg out, it was wet half way up my calf. Could have been anything down there. It was a very body jarring experience especially for this old Geezer. So once we got back to the truck I did the only sane thing and that was take a stupid pill, even though I wasn't stupid at all. Sometimes you have to make exceptions.

This morning I had my yearly doctors appointment and told him about the incident. You have to understand my doctor. On the very first visit I told him I needed more energy. He jokingly asked me if I've tried Meth. OK, you get the idea, so when I told him about this he started in about the Lock Ness Monster, the Lake Champlain Monster, and assorted other monster suggestions, including mutant beavers. I went home and took another stupid pill.

So that's my opinion of that Stinking Creek and I can't wait to get back up there and fish another section.       

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Rush To Catch Fish

Juan from Breaking the Bank Blog came up to La Casa Kautz for a day of fishing.

Some time ago I got an email from a couple of guys in the fly club about a place with beaver dams, Brook Trout, and lots of catching. What a place to take "3", Tenkara, and Juan.

After a stop at Cooks for coffee and to drop off a couple of my books, we headed up the hill. Over the top of Carson Pass and down into Hope Valley. Juan has never been farther than Silver Lake so all this was new and eye opening territory for him. I had a constant monologue going explaining every place we passed.   

We got to the place of beaver dams, Brook Trout, and lots of catching, we got the rods out and headed down to the creek. Maybe because we were on the other side of the highway from where the guys were fishing, we saw beaver dams, but no Brook Trout and no catching at all.

We walked back to the truck and headed toward Upper Blue Lake which was our second destination of the day. More places Juan hasn't been so the monologue continued. 

Got to Upper Blue at 10:30 and set out his one rod, my two with 4#, and my little Okuma (2#) all with slip sinker rigs and rainbow Power Bait. Our intention was to catch fish and catch fish we did.

Juan's first of the day

I know that hook is in there somewhere
By 11:30 we had six on the stringer with one released. It was about 9", but too small to keep. By Noon the clouds started building. If you've watched any national news then you know about the high pressure sitting over the "4 corners" and sucking all that monsoonal moisture up California way. 

What you see in the picture below is that monsoonal moisture building. That particular cloud in the center just above the trees was the one that started with the thunder.

Monsoonal moisture
More monsoonal moisture
Once the thunder started (we only had six on the stringer remember) that is where the rush to catch fish began. We wanted to get Juan a limit as well as me a limit (10 total) and the catching started in earnest.

Now, you ask, how do you make fish bite so you can go home with two limits? Magic? Voodoo? Maybe positive thinking, who knows, all I do know is that they started biting and by 12:30 we had 10 on the stringer. While we were bringing in the last rod, there was still one more on the line which got to go back for another day.

Juan with two limits
All were at least 10 inches and a couple going close to 13 inches. A fine limit for Juan and a good fish feast because he took all 10 home.

On the way back to La Casa Kautz, we hit rain just on the other side of Carson pass and rained almost all the way home. Not enough water to do anything about the drought, but enough for the windshield wipers. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Just A Thought

As you know, I had a skin cancer removed from my right ear. For a long time I've thought about skin cancer because I grew up in Florida and spent most of my life in the sun. The question was not "if" I'd get skin cancer, but when.

Now that it's happened, I've become somewhat paranoid about it happening again. So I've gone the way of sunblock, a bucket hat, and long sleeve shirts when possible.

The problem, and you all know I fish flies, Power Bait, worms, and assorted lures, is how do you get the sunblock off your hands so it doesn't get on your fish flies, Power Bait, worms, etc?

If you do any painting around your abode then you probably have those beige colored rubber gloves. I've used them for years, but the only drawback is that to get two on your hands, it takes about six before they stop ripping as you put them on. You know what I'm talking about.

A while back I accidentally bought a box (100) of Nitrile Gloves. The blue ones in the picture below.  
Nitrile Gloves
I get them from Lowe's at $15.00 a box.

Here is my solution for the sunscreen on your hands.

I carry a Ziploc bag with a handful of these gloves and have another Ziploc bag for disposal of the used ones. Put on the gloves, smear sunscreen on my arms, nose, cheeks, and any other exposed areas that need it, pull off one glove with the other and then hold it in that hand and pull off the other one around the first one. Then just drop it into the other Ziploc bag. That way you don't get any sunscreen on either hand. Just remember to not touch your body where you've applied the sunscreen while you're fishing.

The thing with Nitrile gloves is that it only takes two to get two on your hands. They don't rip like the beige ones. 

I suspect a lot you already know this, but if this helps keep one you from skin cancer, this post was worth the time. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Quarter Of A Million

That's 250,000 and that is the hit count as of this afternoon. 

I continue to be astounded at the numbers and THANK YOU one and all that read what I write. 

When I started this blog on January 7, 2009 I had absolutely no expectations for it other than to let people know what I was using to catch fish.

I don't know what else to say. I am flabbergasted. 

Now to ruin your day, I thought I'd put that first post here so you could see how bad my writing was and probably still is. 

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".

Well, maybe not so bad after all. 

I promise to do my best to keep your interest and keep you coming back for more.

Thanks again, 250,000 times. 


Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Next Monday I'm supposed to fish with the fly club at a place called Blue Creek. Thought I'd do a little recon before just showing up Monday morning.

Google Maps is a wonderful thing. Just look at where you want to go and follow the map. So, come on along and see what I found.

I got to Lower Blue Lake and instead of making a right turn to Lower and then Upper Blue Lake, I turn left. The road turned into the same type as I experienced on the way to Burnside Lake a few weeks ago. A little rough around the edges, but what road up there isn't?

Came out at a Day Use Area for Twin Lake. Since I was there for a pit stop anyway I thought I'd just take a few shots for you to look at.



A little further to the left

Not sure if there are any fish in the lake, don't recall seeing it on the DFW planting list, but I did see some surface ripples, but could have been tiny fish.

Back the way I came to the outlet for Lower Blue Lake (actually I passed it on the way). This I assume (I hate using that word) is the beginning of Blue Creek subject of the fishout Monday.  

Not a cabin

Looks fishy

Looks fishy here too
Got an email from the guy running the fishout that said he fished the creek yesterday and C&R'd 21 Brookies. I didn't see any Brookies. I didn't see anything that looked like a fish, BUT.............

The continuation of the creek
This, according to Google Maps is a really long creek. Me, there is no way I can navigate down all those rocks to fish that creek. The arthritis in my hips would be so bad that I wouldn't be able to walk for a week and that would be WITH drugs. I'm already having some trouble with just the short recon I did. I did put a few flies in there (as long as I was there) to give "3" a little exercise. Unfortunately I'm going to have to pass on Monday's excursion.

Back out to Lower Blue Lake. To this day I've never fished it. Why start now? On to Upper Blue Lake and my spot of choice. Getting to be around 9:30 and time for a little something to eat.

Got my gear down to the lake, one rod out to the left with rainbow Power Bait and putting a dab on the other when the first one starts bouncing. Crap, I hadn't been there two minutes. Reeled in a 12" Rainbow for the stringer. Put that rod out and got the other one out. As I picked up my PB&J BOTH rods started bouncing. How's a guy supposed to get anything to eat with this kind of interruptions?

One was small and lip hooked and if this was to be the action for the day, I let him go. The other rod (still bouncing a couple minutes later) had another 12" Rainbow on it and it went on the stringer. OK, got both rods out again and my PB&J in hand and then NOTHING. Ate the whole sandwich, a chocolate granola bar and drank a half bottle of water and still nothing. What the heck?  

While I was sitting around, I took a picture of a bunch of little fish scarfing away on something on the bottom. There must have been a couple hundred of them.

Scarfing little fish
Just beyond them, there were larger fish (maybe 9") scarfing on something out there too. I put a little dab of PB on my little Okuma with a small split shot and dropped it into the middle of those bigger fish. They didn't even notice the PB.  

The picture below is of some wave action on the lake. The odd thing is a boat didn't go by, there was no wind, just this wave action moving across the lake. Lately I've been reading a story about the monster in Lake Champlain (the locals call him Champ) and maybe, just maybe, we have an Upper Blue Lake Monster. Oh, never mind. Sometimes my imagination runs away with me.  

Upper Blue Lake Monster?
Over a period of an hour and a half, I released that one and put five on the stringer. 

A limit
I thought that maybe a picture would be good for verification. Don't want you to think it's just another fish story.

The picture below shows you that while you're fishing, you should take in your surroundings. Just might find a nice red and white bobber for future use.

Tackle box addition
On the way out of Hope Valley, I stopped at the camp ground and gave the campground hosts a couple of the fish for dinner. They are the nicest people and have always been friendly when I've stopped by or we've been there camping, like last month. They've even read my book.  

The weekend trip (hint:Navarro River) has been moved up to early August, so the next outing will be with Juan and I've got a couple surprises in store for him.

Stay Tuned.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Internet

Have you thought what it would be like without the Internet?

Thursday night our DSL Modem died. The following occurred:

  • Panic
  • No Internet
  • No Northern California Trout Blog
  • No checking all the blogs I follow (blogroll)
  • No Bookbub  (we get electronic book suggestions from there)
  • No Amador Flyfishers site
  • No Outdoor Bloggers Network
  • No fishing forums
  • Couldn't access our bank to pay any bills
  • Couldn't check the local newspaper to make sure my latest article was there
  • Couldn't send next weeks article (no Outlook)
  • The next day was a holiday (4th of July)
  • Is our Internet provider closed on Saturday (to get a replacement modem) meaning no Internet all weekend? 
  • And so much more  
I'd be pulling my hair out, if I had any. 
I am pathetic........................

How about you?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Not So Many Masses

Got an email from Yuki on Monday. He and Marisa fished Silver Lake and both scored limits.

Today, the plan was to take my 6 wt. (long casting ability) and a fly box of Wooly Buggers and hit the lake. Rolled out of the house at 0715, a quick coffee stop at Cooks and up the hill I went.

Now understand, Silver Lake is inherently windy and its usually an "in your face" wind. Today was no exception. When I got to check-in, it was indeed blowing and from the "in your face" direction.  

The purpose of the picture below is two fold. One for you to see how the wind was blowing and two, to see how the water level of the lake has dropped.

A two fold picture
Last time I was here was exactly a month ago and all the rocks you see were underwater. My, how fast the lake drops.

I'm in the parking lot of the Day Use Area, the wind is already blowing hard, and I decide not to drag my fly fishing gear all the way down to the lake because the wind will only get stronger as the day goes on.

Took what gear I  needed and headed for the big rock. 

The big rock
Just as I got there, two guys walked out on it, so I settled for a little cubby.

I won't drag this out any longer, I got five (a limit) for the stringer and missed two bites. Fish number 4 hit the bait and when I set the hook, the sinker jammed in the rocks. I had two options, one break the line (I had already lost one that way earlier) or let it sit and see if the fish would pull it out. When I set the rod down there was a big bow in the line and finally the fish pulled it straight. When I started reeling it in, the sinker came lose and a 12" Rainbow was brought to hand.

Not exactly the way I planned to fish, but a good day none the less. And the "Not So Many Masses", the two guys fishing on the big rock and a half dozen kids over on the rocks in the top picture. Nothing like Saturday. 

One other thing I noticed is that apparently people are feeding the Canadian Geese on the lake. As soon as they realized I was sitting there, they came in droves to see what I had to eat. Not good. Rule number one is don't feed the wildlife. Once they depend on it, it'll kill them in the winter. 

July camping trip in the Clipper is happening soon. Won't tell you where (so you can see the pictures when I get back), but I'll give you two words. Navarro River.

Stay tuned.