West Carson River – 06/18/08 Late PM

Today presented a treat in that I was able to get on the water first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening.  My in-laws were camping at the Hope Valley RV Park and invited my family to dinner.  We loaded Bailey into the car, along with our fishing gear and headed up to Hope Valley.  We arrived in Hope Valley right around 6:30pm and almost immediately deposited Bailey with “Granny”.  We are told that we have approximately 30 minutes before dinner.  Erin and I rigged up and headed a short 50 yards to the West Carson.

This section of the West Carson is very rocky with lots of rock climbing and tons of bankside brush and fallen obsturctions in the river.  A very good trout habitat for smaller fish and for some technical fishing in a drop-pool envirnment…my favorite!  We immediately notice that there are tons of bugs on the river, along with a larger mayfly (I did not stop to identify and none of these bugs was generous enough to land on me for observation).

I decided to tie on a larger #12 Elk Hair Caddis to start the evening.  After rigging up, I get into the water and carefully make my way to an advantageous spot from which to cast to a nice hole on the opposite bank.  I was getting strikes on my fly from the first drift, with fish checking out the fly on every drift.  No takers though.  Erin was fishing the hole behind me and by her shouts, I figured that she was experiencing the same thing.  The main problem is that the fish were too small to take our offering and the bigger fish were avoiding our flies, or striking short.

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West Carson River – 06/18/08 Early AM

I snuck off to the West Carson river to the gauging station section for a quick morning outing.  What I love about this time of year is that you can get out on the water, fish for an hour or so, and be back to work before anyone even knows you were gone.  Gotta’ love those early AM’s!

The river was running lower and clearer than last week, so it seems like the snow melt event is winding down.  As I string up I observe a small fly on the water along with some straggling March Browns.  I decide to string up with a March Brown dry and a Hare’s Ear soft hackle as an emergent dropper.  I wade into position and immediately start getting strikes.  It took about 4 drifts before I got the timing dialed in, but I was no more than 10 minutes into my morning when I hooked my first fish.  I proceeded to catch three smaller fish in rapid succession on the March Brown dry before the strikes ended.

I decide to re-rig with an Elk Hair Caddis with a flying ant as a dropper.  I was able to catch and land two 8 inchers on the ant before this rig stopped getting interest.  Off with the ant and on with a Trude.  I took about 15 drifts with no interest in either fly.  I decide to stop and just sit on a rock and observe what was happening.

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Father’s Day Fishing – Lake Alpine – 6/15/08

What a better way to celebrate Father’s day then to get in a few hours of fishing. We were spending the weekend with a friend in the Arnold area, so Lake Alpine was the perfect solutions for a quick morning outing.

Reports from the local shop told us that the lake had iced out no more than three weeks prior and that the fish were biting on variety of lures, bait AND flies. We got a slow start, but arrived around 9AM. I noticed immediately that the fish were hitting the surface, just out of casting range of my 5wt fly rod. I tried to patiently observe what they could possibly be hitting and was rewarded with several flying ants. My initial rig was a flying ant to a soft-hackle Hare’s ear. Cast after cast and no fish. All casts fell short of the zone that the fish were rising, but I had hope that I could “interest” one enough to cruise over and take the fly. I switched up to a Rickert’s Seal Bugger and continued casting. Still no luck. I next tried a #12 prince nymph. Still no strikes. At th is point, the fish were still hitting the surface, but with less frequency and now further out of range.

My friend spent most of his morning going between his two kids and keeping them rigged and baited. In between, he fished conventional lake hardware. Not that we are sure, but neither child received any strikes on their power bait rigs.

Note to self – remember to bring float tube to flat water locations. I am not going to say that I WOULD have definitely caught fish had I been within casting range of their zone, but my chances would have been better.

All-in-all, a very relaxing morning and a very fun day watching two children get hooked on a sport that I love myself.

East Carson Dry Fly Fishing – 06/09/08

I headed out to the river after work for my usual hour or so.  Instead of heading to the West Carson, I turned left at the Markleville junction and headed to the East Carson.  I will be the first to admit that I lazied out today and headed upstream of my usual starting point at Hangman’s Bridge.  I was just not in the mood to do any serious wading or hiking, so I sought out an easy roadside spot.  I started and ended my evening in the vicinity of the Carson River Resort.  Even thought this area is heavily stocked and heavily fished,  I found my self alone on this stretch this evening….sweet!

I wader up and head to the river to have a gander before I rig up.  I immediately notice that there are bugs on the water, if I had to guess I would say MAYFLIES, and judging by the size, color and time of year, I guess March Browns.  I note that flows are still on the high side, but just barely.  Water clarity is really good considering the flows.

I chose to start with one of Andy Burk’s Indicaddis (a caddis dry tied as an indicator) that I got from the Reno fly Shop, dropping to a #14 soft-hackle Hare’s Ear, and dropping from that to a #18 Green Copper John.  I went pretty light on the split shot as the Indicaddis does not support a ton of weight without having to redress it frequently.  To clarify, the Indicaddis comes in several sizes and I have not had a chance to grab the bigger sizes.  I have to remember to grab a handful of the bigger sizes next time I am in Reno.

On my first drift, a small fish hits the Indicaddis but can’t do much more than sink the fly.  Now I am excited.  The next few drifts offer more of the same – small fish hitting a huge dry fly and sinking the fly.  So far, lots of interest in my dry from the small fish, but wait….a nice 12″ rainbow actually comes up and takes a look at my dry before doing the refusal roll.  That was all the encouragement that I needed to snip off all the nymphs and tie on a much better dry fly.  I made the decision that I was “gonna catch then on dries or none at all” tonight.  I have been nymphing for what feels like months (actually it has been months) and I am ready for the graceful casting and exciting action of dry fly fishing.  Yahoo!!!!

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Doomed to the West Carson – 06/07/08

After a hopelessly late start, my buddy Dave and I finally got going around 10am. Since we had to be back on the home front around 3pm, we decided to stick close and fish the West Carson. I have been fishing this river a ton lately, so I had a game plan.

First stop was the gaging station. This spot, and the three holes upstream, consistently produce fish for me. Today should have been the same.  In every likely spot I could see fish swimming around. I decided to rig up with my traditional dual nymph rig.  My standard goto rig that I use BEFORE I get a chance to really analyze what is going on is to use a #14 BH Soft-hackle Hare’s Ear and a #18 Copper John with a ton of split shot and a strike indicator.  Right away I was getting grabs, but I was chronically late on EVERY SINGLE hookset.  I managed to flub every grab that I got. Doh!  Dave managed to hook and land the first fish of the day on a Denny Rickert’s Seal Bugger pattern that I tie for lakes, but find works really well in rivers.

Dave and I hopscotched each other up this section of river hitting all the likely holding spots for the next hour.  In one spot, I managed to entice a small trout to chase my nymphs on every single drift.  But no matter how I adjusted my angle, my line mends, or the position of the nymphs in the water, I just could not entice him to commit.

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