I was able to sneak break away for an hour after work and hit the West Carson for an hour. My wife and daughter came along for the ride. Knowing that I was going to have to maximize the fishing with minimal movement and wading, I chose to hit up the Gauging station section. You have this section of rivers two best holes within sight of the gauge itself and there is a nice “beach” area as well.
The weather was perfect, about 80 degrees, and no clouds or rain. Water temps are warming and levels are almost all the way down to pre-runoff levels. The bonus was that even though I took some drastic anti-mosquito tactics (wore waders and slathered on the juice), that proved unwarranted as the pests were non-existent this evening.
There was good bug activity on the surface, so I decided to start off the evening with a Royal Trude, my searching dry of choice on this river. I was not dissapointed with this selection. Almost immediately I was into a small fish. He was able to shake off, but a few drifts later and I am release the first of several fish of the evening. One tactic that works very well on the lower hole is to present your dry fly with a downstream presentation. The upshot to that method of presenting the fly is the difficulty in setting the hook when you have 60 feet of line on the water all downstream of you. Practice makes perfect!
Since a picture speaks a thousand words I am going to end this post with several pictures that my wife took throughout the hour that we fished.
Headed out to the West Carson for a quick 2-hour evening session. Figured that I would check out my ole’ favorite, the gauging station. Upon arrival, I noticed a truck belonging to one of the guides who works for Tahoe Fly Fishing, so I headed downstream. After about a 10 minute walk I am at one of my favorite spots and am rewarded by seeing fish flashing around and eating.
Weather was nice, winds were light to moderate and flows have been steadily coming down for several days, so this is an ideal evening. For anyone who fishes these canyons, they know that the winds always play a role here, and by late afternoon they can be howling down-canyon. Guess I lucked out. Bug activity was light and I cannot immediately assess what bugs are present, but being the impatient sort, I pick one and hit the water.
Started off with a yellow and orange Stimmie. Figured that I would tie on an attractor dry and do some searching. My second drift rewards me with a solid hookup. It was a smaller fish in the 8-10″ range, but a beautiful native no less. A few more drifts and some half-hearted refusals and I determine that it is time to tie on a proper dry to match the bugs coming off the water. There are a smattering of light colored mayflies hatching, but for the sake of visibility and flotation in the still-runoff-laden waters, I tie on a cream Elk Hair Caddis. Bingo! That does the job and I am rewarded with another nice native. About 6 more drifts and I concede to the fact that this particular hole is probably spooked.
I head downstream to a section where the river splits. There is a very nice flat just above the river split and having a dry on, figured that I should look for, and fish, calmer waters. Second drift in the new hole rewards me with another nice native. I work this hole to the tune of 3 more fish, all under 10″ and notice that it is now 7pm and the sun is edging behind the canyon lip.
I start the walk out as I have no headlamp with me that afternoon. I hit up several more spots on the way out, but do not grab any more fish. Guess I should have changed up to a nymph rig since there were no more bugs on the surface at this point in time. One thing I love about fishing my little local rivers is that they are an easy read and I always catch fish.
Spent a short hour on the West Carson with a good friend of mine. It was pretty brutal fishing. River was running high, off-color and cold. The only fish I saw, flashed one of my nymphs and then hit the deck. A fishless day, but a very serene day with the mist and clouds swirling around the mountains.
I met one of my buddies at the bridge at Picketts junction. On the drive up the canyon, not only did I notice that the water was chocolate milk colored, but the slight drizzle had not deterred any of the weekend crowding. At least the wind was slight.
I strung up my 5-wt XP for some power in case the wind whipped up. We decided to hit the meadow right there at the bridge. First order of business for me was to take the water temp and turn over some rocks to see what kinds of nymphs I could find. First reading registered 39 degrees….hmmm…that could not be correct, the water was 46 degrees earlier in the week. I submerged my hand and held the thermometer about a foot below for about 30 seconds. Hand was frozen after that exercise. OK. The new reading was 38 degrees. Note to self – trust the thermometer. The fishing was most likely going to be s-l-o-w. With warmer water temps and clearer flows, I would have been ecstatic about an overcast day. As to turning over rocks, it seemed pointless as the water was raging pretty good. Plan of attack – pound the banks and no sense in wasting time hitting anything but the slack water.
You have to give us credit for trying. We walked from Picketts to first bridge, made about 200 hundred drifts, saw a total of two fish, and had a great time talking and catching up. More to come later this week.
Headed out Sunday morning to fish the West Carson. Been since closing day in November, so I was curious to see how the river weathered the winter. The weather cooperated and the flows were high, but the water was running only slightly off-c0lor. I have seen it much worse, and as runoff starts up, it will get worse. The West Carson in one of the Alpine County waters that the DFG has been instructed NOT to stock until further notice. Even though Alpine County will most likely take stocking into their own hands, I was doubly curious to see what kinds of numbers of fish are in the water, and will be keeping an eye out for numbers of fish as the summer progresses. I know this is a put and take river, but I plead with anyone that will listen to PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE practice catch and release until fish plantings resume.
In a nutshell, I spent 2 hours fishing, caught 2 dinks and missed a very nice Rainbow. Since the water clarity was about 6-8″ it was easy to see fish moving about in the shallower sections. I was very please with the numbers of fish that I spotted.
I stopped at gauging station and there was already someone there. I strung up and got ready to fish while observing the river. I then hit the car and drove downstream to the parking area at the bottom of the meadow. I proceeded to walk into one of my favorite hike-in spots. Some serious bushwacking and two ticks later, I am staring at a beautiful greened out stretch of water. In this section, the river splits out and creates a nice island that allows you to fish both river channels while also sneaking up on trout. Normally this works, but not today.
One observation is that there is a ton of downed timber in the river right now. Hope that when the river blows out in the next few weeks, that some of that timber gets blown out as well. I lost 6 flies, all to branches and logs in the river.
I also did a driving reconn of the river starting about Woodfords and turning around at Pickett’s Junction. There were 12 cars at the bridge at Pickett’s, and cars lining the highway all the way down to Sorenson’s. That mile or so took the brunt of the fishing pressure. As I drove down canyon, it was evident that no one wanted to brave the raging river in its element – the canyon. There was one car and one fisherman at gauging station, but anyone who reads my posts knows that I only fish there if I am the sole person. There is just too much good water requiring light hiking.
With everything open for the season, I hope to have more excuses to get out and fish!
Back from Utah and back to my home waters. I am finding that I am super busy trying to get caught up with three weeks of email, phone messages, honey-do’s, etc. I start to burn of the catch-up routine, so the best remedy is to head out fishing. Since this is a work day, I have to do one of my early morning slams.
Leave the house by 6:45am. On the water by 7:15am. Done fishing by 8:30am. Back in the office and ready to work at 9:00am.
I decided to keep it simple and hit up the West Carson at the gauging station up the road from the house. The first thing I notice when I see the water is how much lower and clearer than even a month ago. I guess that I hoping it would be the same, but that is an unrealistic expectation. As I string up the rod, I am diligently keeping an eye on the back wall of the gauging station hole. I see some gentle rises in the slack water, so I tippet down to 6x and tie on an olive-bodied spinner. I slowly creep into position and start casting. Up comes a fish to look at my offering – refusal. Another fish comes up to take a gander – refusal. Hmmm…..
After about 10 more drifts with no activity, I change to a #18 Para Adams. First drift, a fish comes up to take a gander. Nope! Then another. Again, refusal. Now I am getting flustered. In total frustration, I try a #12 Royal Trude. This fly is like NOTHING that is on the water and is much, much bigger than any fly hatching. But, a friend once told me that you sometimes have to “give them a reason” to react. First drift and I nail the 12″ ‘Bow that seems to prefer the back wall between two rocks. She is easily the biggest fish in the hole in this thin water and she fought nicely. I figured that she spooked the entire hole at this point.
A quick readjustment upstream to the cable hole, and I grab a super spunky 10″ trout on the first drift. He was tight agaist the bank, under a rock that I have seen many anglers stand on to fish this hole. Just goes to show you that just because you fish the same river freqently, does not mean you have to fish it the same was every time. Mix it up a little and you might be surprised.