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.

A quick trip to the West Carson — River off-color and cold

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.

CA opening weekend 09 – West Carson River

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!

Save the Mokelumne

EBMUD is attempting to get approval to raise the height of Pardee dam.  If they succeed, miles of the Mokelumne river will disappear under the raised dam.  In my humble opinion, the potential recreational opportunities provided by the expanded dam will not even come close to the destroyed recreational opportunities buried under feet of water.

I understand the argument that several years of drought have depleted water reserves for Bay Area and Southern CA water users, but I propose that BEFORE we spend billions increasing water storage and transportation, that we spend a few million educating people on water conservation.  I know that folks “think” they are conserving, but the majority do nothing.  Most waste considerably more than they should.  We need education programs, subsidies or credits for installing water saving devices, and in certain communities, restrictions and enforcement.

For more information, please read Mikey Wier’s blogs on this topic here and here.  You can also find more information on the Foothill Conservancy’s website as well as over at Friends of the River.

Volunteers needed for 20th Annual Kids’ Fishing Derby

The 20th Annual Kids’ Fishing Derby is set to be held at Lampe Park in Gardnerville, NV on June 6th and 7th this year.  Last year there were over 2,200 participants, so there is a real need for volunteers to help out with everything from setup to tear-down.

I went with my daughter Bailey last year to check it out, and she really wanted to fish.  I just felt that she was a year too young, but that is not the case this year.  She has been practicing her casts and is ready to catch some fish!  This is a fun day for the kids and is important for the continued success of our sport.

If you would like any additional information, or wish to volunteer, please contact one of the event organizers  below:
Trent Dowell, President (775) 267-2724 or email: KFDVolunteers@aol.com
Pam Rodrigues, Treasuere (775) 265-1795 or email: NevadaBobE@aol.com