I am starting the process of purchasing all new licenses for the upcoming season.
Officially, my Nevada license does not expire until the 28th of February. Since they are normally available for sale on Feb 1, I grab it at that time. At $41 for the season, it is the least expensive of the annual licenses and can be done online. There will be no gap in my legal fishing status in NV.
California is a bit different. Since I have to purchase a non-resident license, it is both costly and a pain to get. More on that in a moment.
What started this thought process was the hoops that i just went through in Colorado for a simple day tag for my day on the South Platte. When I arrived in Deckers and went into the fly shop, they only accepted cash for licenses. Having just spent some good cash the night before, I was paperless in a paper only store. But no fear, you can order your license over the phone…yes…phone. After a fairly quick and simple info gathering process, the phone agents reads you an EXTREMELY long (27 digit) code and you are supposed to write that code on a piece of paper and carry that as your license. Wow! A fishing license on a post-it note! My question on this system – how does the warden verify that the code is valid and not just some long 27-digit code someone wrote on a piece of paper?
Back to California, my most expensive annual tag. Not only is the state that brought us Silicon Valley still using an antiquated paper system, but they do not allow licensing agents to charge appropriate fees, making it a loosing proposition for them to sell licenses. Getting a license becomes a cash only transaction. I know that they have a new online system this season, but you still can only print a temporary and they still mail you an official paper license, and they tack on extra convenience fees (which agents are not allowed to charge) making an expensive license that much more expensive. No thanks on the electronic system at this time. I go give some cash to my local fly shop and get some additional supplies at that time as well.
In contrast, my annual Utah license is half that of California, all electronic, and they allow me to print my own. They even have me saved in the system from previous purchases, so typing in my DL number brought up my info for a quick verification. Easy and simple is my opinion of their process. Why get an annual UT you ask – well I fish there enough days each season to justify the expense, and in most years it saves me a few ducats over paying for days a la carte.
Who knows what other licenses I will acquire in 2010, but so far I have three in the pouch and we are barely into the second month of the year.
I finally got the chance to start off my 2010 season. I was in Denver for the SIA Snow Show and while many of my peers rallied up to Winter Park to get in a day or two of skiing with the Show crowd, I headed in a different direction. I hooked up with a friend of mine and we headed to the infamous South Platte (Deckers section) River.
The day was shaping up to be a warm, bright and cloudless day. It was in the mid-40’s for most of the day. The water was crystal clear and about 200 CFS. A perfect COMFORTABLE day to fish in Colorado. We planned our trip so that we would be on the water around 10am and back off around 3pm. Those are pretty much the winter sweet spots.
One valuable lesson which I keep forgetting to learn – bring cash to the mountains and rivers. When I stopped by the fly shop to get my license, I was told they only take cash…doh! Fortunately, I was able to call in my license over the phone and they issue a 27 digit number that you write down and keep on your person to proxy as your license. Note to self – always have spare cash in the fishing bag.
It is true what they say about this section. We saw fish feeding in almost all holes that we scouted. Hooking them was the tough part. I flailed at the water all day and came up a big fat zero. My buddy noticed a single rising 10″ rainbow, tied on a #22 Midge, and proceeded to hook the only fish of the day. Great job!
All-in-all, I had a great day and it felt good to get outside and have some peace and solitude.
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.