East Walker – 06/12/09

Headed to the East Walker with a virgin fly fisherman today.  I figured it would be a great day on the river with a little “beginner’s luck” on our side.  The day did not disappoint.

The weather definitely played a role.  It was overcast and raining on and off most of the day.  We dove for cover several times when the squalls were at their hardest, but for the most part, fished through the rain.  Flows were at 165 CFS and some of the wading was tough.  Water temps were 52 degrees and the ambient air temps hovered in the mid-60’s.  Could not have asked for better fishing conditions.

We started off the day in the NV side down in the Rosachi Ranch.  Upon getting to the water, we noticed that there were fish rising all over the first pool.  There was nice pod of fish right in the shallows in the near bank.  Reinforcement once again to ALWAYS clear the water nearest you first before casting to what you think is better water.  We tied on two different dries to try to search for the winning pattern.  My buddy tied on a Stimmie (at my suggestion) and I tied on a #12 Para Adams to try to match the large-ish gray mayflies that were on the water.  Second drift and my friend was into a nice brown on the Stimmie.  We got the fish all the way to his feet when the hook came out.  Welcome to barbless fly fishing!  He proceeded to pull another two fish out of the same slot.  I ventured upstream and managed several refusal rises to my Adams.  The first of the big rain squalls came rolling in at this point and put the bite off so we headed to another section of the river.

Second stop was at the bridge at the top of the Rosachi Section to fish the meadow section.  We wind up sitting in the car for about 15 minutes to wait out the worst of the rain before hitting the water.  When we get down to the meadow, we notice MORE rising fish.  Now they seemed to be rising to a very small mayfly.  I work with my friend on some casting technique as most of the rising fish are on the far bank.  After about 10 minutes of casting instruction, he is hitting the distance needed (great job!) but next we will have to work in drift.   Not now as there are rising fish to be caught.  My first fish of the day was a nice brown.  He took the EC Caddis that I tied on and I got him by timing his rise to my drift.  The caddis was probably the wrong fly as I got nothing more than refusal strikes after that one fish.

Next stop in the day was much further upstream in the California section.  Again, we arrive and scope the water and there are fish rising everywhere, including some big browns.  So we carefully wade into the water and start casting to the fish.  We each manage to catch trout in the section both on purpose and on accident…hey…I was retrieving the fly to shake it out and a fish just snagged it from right in front of me.  We wound up fishing this section for over two hours until the rises stopped and ended with many nice fish each, although, the big mack daddy in the corner eluded both of us.

That wound up being the last stop of the day as we got back to the truck and it was 7PM…yikes…we told the wives that we would be home at 7.  We drove up to the spillway to have a look and broke down all our gear and headed for the home front.

Overall, it was a great day.  We never once put on a nymph or a streamer and we caught fish on dries the entire day.  Unusual for the East Walker, but beggars cannot be choosers.  For the record, I did see many large Browns cruising sub-surface and am positive that if I have wanted a hog or two, I could have tied on a streamer or bugger and caught a few.  But given the chance to fish to consistently rising fish, even if smaller, I take that option almost every time.

East Walker River (03/27/09)

Did a quick morning session on the EW Rosachi section today.  Temps were in the mid-50’s, light to moderate winds and definitely less crowding then last week.  I drove straight to my favorite starting spot and there was one car there, but no anglers in sight.

A short hike later and I am in the water.  The flows were also noticeably higher than the previous week and a look at the flow reports that evening showed they were at 125 cfs…perfect!  Water temps were still pretty cool…but no specifics.  I forgot my thermometer (again).  There was no evidence of any hatch activity on the water at 9AM when I arrived.  Throughout the morning, I kept vigilant watch for noses and hatches, but they remained elusive, at least to my observations.

I fished my favorite spots pretty hard and was able to hook into two nice browns on a #18 Copper John.  I was also getting some hits, but could not set up quick enough.  Guess that I am still rusty with the reaction times, but getting better versus the previous week.

Continue reading East Walker River (03/27/09)

East Walker 03/18/09 – A new season begins!

First I need to clarify what I mean by a new season.  NV fishing licenses run march 1 through the last day of February.  This is my first trip on my new license, not 2009.  The few trips I have made this year have all been winter fishing trips more about solitude and freezing my ass off, then about catching fish.

Today was a beautiful pre-spring day.  Temps on the EW were in the mid-60’s, slightly overcast, little to no wind, and a flows that have been steady for several days.  The reports trickling in from friends fishing the EW have all been good.  The downside was that every angler much have been suffering from the fishing jones as there were cars and fishermen at every corner – it was pretty crowded for this section of the river.  I could only guess at how crowded the Miracle Mile section would be if the ranch was this pressured.

I drove past the first 3 likely parking spots as they were all stuffed with cars.  I decided to drive down to Red Wash and was the second car there…rats!  No matter.  I suited up and headed toward the fence that demarks the special regs from the put and take sections.  I will admit that I almost never fish this section, always going in the opposite direction (as does everyone else when they start at Red Wash) and I am happy to say that I discovered some new water that will get more attention from me this spring and fall.  In fact, one of my found spots produced the only two fish that I caught the entire day.

Yup…you read that right…only two fish.  And I had such high expectations because I have been hearing about “20 fish days” and “fish on every other cast” stories all week.  I tried a handful of flies, but the one that got the job done was an olive streamer that I call the green goblin.  Pretty sure that is not this fly’s official name, but it’s what I call it.  It is an evil fly that has caught some of my biggest fish.

I did fish all the way up river to my usual favorite spots.  I only saw one of the three people that were in the other car, so we were all spaced out pretty well.  Back at the parking area, the other crew was getting ready to split, but the word from them was that they had a tough day as well with a total of 4 fish netted between 3 angles.

Make no bones about it though, it is time to start fishing and I will start hitting the water with some frequency before spring runoff starts.

Hot Creek on Memorial Weekend – 05/24/08

When we planned a camping trip to June Lake with the family to kick off our camping season, we never predicted that we would have to endure cold temperatures, rain, and about 2-3 inches of snow. I know that we were at 7000′ feet elevation, but this is still the end of May. Guess it was meant to be one of those challenging weekends.

My in-laws offered to watch Bailey Saturday morning so that Erin and I could get in a few hours of fishing. Saturday dawned cloudy, wet and cold. We suited up and headed out to Hot Creek which was just under 20 miles from our campground. I fully expected that it would be shoulder-to-shoulder since it WAS Memorial weekend AND this was the FAMOUS Hot Creek. Upon arrival, there were a few cars at the first parking area, so I headed to the second parking area and we were the only car at that lot. I was still in shock at the lack of crowds.

Wonder why it\'s called Hot Creek?

We hiked down the steep trail to the river and commenced to fish with minimal crowds. The stretch pictured below had two other fishermen. I have fished this section in times past with 20+ other people, so this is EMPTY water.

Some good holding water

It snowed and rained intermittently the entire time we were on the water. The morning started off slow for me, but about 30 minutes into the morning, I got a solid grab. I could not set the hook quick enough, so the fish shook off.

This pattern proceed to plague me for the following few hours. When it was all said and done I was 0 for 5 and Erin was 1 for 2. Erin’s second fish, the one she lost, was a monster – and that is a funny story of loss, in and of itself. It was a classic case of husband-wife miscommunication. I *thought* I told her to tippet down to no less than 5X. She swears that she asked me if 6X was fine. I must have not heard and just gave a stock husband answer of “yes dear” as that is what she was using the entire day. Now, do not get me wrong. You can be quite successful with 6X on Hot Creek as the average fish in only about 12″. But the creek is known to harbor some MONSTERS. And that is what happened. Erin hooked an 18″ brown who knew that to get off you run downstream to the fast water. Erin put up a decent fight for about three minutes, then the fish broke off.

At this point it was time to head out. We both noticed that it seemed the river was really turning on at that point as people around us seem to be hooking up with some regularity. Funny how the fishing always seems to get good when you have to leave.

Now for some tackle specifics – I was using my Sage 8′ 4-wt SLT and was dead drifting a double nymph rig under an indicator. Erin was using her Sage 7’6″ 3-wt SLT and was swinging a double nymph rig wet-fly style. I am going to guess that most of my strikes were on the #20 flashback PT as the timing between the strike indicator movement and my sets were always indicative of a less than tight line. Erin’s hookups were both on a #18 PT as well.

I hope to get back for another round or two before it gets too hot and weedy.