October Caddis are popping up in the northern stretches of California – Upper Sac, McCloud, Pit – and in the Sierras – Truckee, East Carson. It’s great because trout go stupid for these big bugs.
Over the weekend, one of my clients told me that Caples Lake was going to be lowered for some long overdue repair on the outlet works. It has deteriorated so badly, that it has to be replaced now rather than later. Also this will allow the state parks service to build a new boat ramp. As of today (7/21/08), the El Dorado Irrigation District has started the release of water from Caples Lake. The release will continue well into September. This means that Caples Creek and the Silver Fork of the American River will be blown out.
For the official word, click here.
I’m thinking that this last outing will be my last one on the North Fork American River until next spring. The water has dropped so much, that the trout have moved in search for colder water.
I fished the NF today from 4:00 PM until 8:00PM. From the looks of it, I knew that I would have to dredge the pools. I rigged up with a #14 Pheasant Tail and a #16 Mercer’s BWO Trigger Nymph. Within five minutes, I hooked up an eight inch Rainbow Trout. It was a feisty little bugger that jumped around. I worked my way downstream to the next pool. No fish were to be had. I walked back up to the first pool and hooked up immediately with another eight inch Rainbow Trout.
For the next two hours, I decided to work the downstream pools. There were lots of baby Smallmouth Bass swimming everywhere! There were not fly shy either. I would drift my flies through the slots and yank ’em in. I saw a few 18″+ smallies. They wouldn’t even look at a fly. I wish that I had my streamers with me.
I walked back up to the first pool since it was getting late. Immediately, I hooked up. A ten inch Rainbow Trout took my Trigger Nymph.
Before calling it a day, I decided to look down from the footbridge. I saw a slot that could potentially hold fish. I walked down and fished it. I first dead drifted my nymphs. Nada. I changed to a #16 Pheasant Tail soft hackle. I got a grab, then it went limp.
From there, I called it quits.
I fished the North Fork of the American River at the Iowa Hill Access on Sunday afternoon from 4 to 7 PM. Bugs were not coming off, so I decided to nymph the pools. From my experience a week earlier, I drifted a two fly rig using a Solitude Tungsten Golden Stonefly (#8) with an Angel Cased PMD (#16) dropper. Within minutes, I hooked up and landed a 15″ Rainbow Trout. For this size river, this is a large fish. As I worked my way downstream, I hooked up with two more 8″ trout.
The North Fork headwaters start near Donner Summit in the Sierras and finally ends at Folsom Lake in Placer County. The areas that I fish from Lake Clementine in Auburn to the Iowa Hill access near Colfax is home to Smallmouth Bass and Rainbow Trout. It’s great fly fishing when the water flows subside after the winter runoff. The best trout fishing runs from May into July. During the rest of the summer, the water flows are low and warm. Trout can survive in the deep holes, but they just hunker down. During this time, it’s Smallmouth Bass time, baby!
Here’s a picture of the Iowa Hill Bridge with a lone fly fisherman starting to rig up.