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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West Carson River – 06/03/08

I got a chance to run up to the gaging station section of the West Carson river today for a quick 1-hour after-work session. You know that you have a section dialed when you can drive there, rig up, fish for 45 minutes, and get back home within a 75 minute time span. No thought required — just get in and go. I know that I sound like a broken record hitting the West Carson so frequently, but it really is the best choice when run-off is in full force and it is so close that it makes sense when gas is as expensive as it is. I am only a week or two away from having tooooooo many choices, including several sections of the East Carson, the West Walker, the Little Walker, not to mention several tribs that I will leave nameless.

Flows were up slightly (just slightly) and the water was just a hair tinted versus Sunday. Other than that, there were more bugs on the water and I could see fish (mostly stockers) swimming around. It was super windy, so I decided that a dry would be of little use, so i tied up a double nymph rig with a #14 BH hare’s ear on top and a #18 copper john as the dropper. I crimped on a single split and added my strike indicator pretty high up the leader.

I tossed the line in close to the bank for a few drifts, then tossed the line mid-stream for a few more, just to “clear” the water. I waded to the rock out-cropping mid-stream and proceeded to fish the deep slot against the far wall. It was not too long into my efforts when I was rewarded with a solid take by a nice fish. He immediately took refuge under a submerged log and I could not coax him out. It was a battle of wits patience game at this point, and having none, I gave a great heave to try to yank him out and broke him off. ROUND ONE TO THE FISH.

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An evening outing on the West Carson – 05/06/08

After a long day at work, I was able to hit the West Carson for a quick session. I decided to fish the gauging station. I arrived around 5:20p to wind and more wind. A quick check of the water told me that flows were up just slightly from the previous outing and that the water was even more tinted. Runoff is getting into full swing.

Because of the wind, I immediately rigged with a dual nymph rig and I crimped on tons of weight. It was a tough hour with many casts going astray due to wind, but at the end of the hour I had two half-hearted strikes, two or three fun chases, and one hookup on a small 8″ stocker Rainbow.

This is a perfect end to a long day!

Opening Weekend Follies – 04/27/08

Setting the stage

Opening weekend is mainly tradition and a Pavlovian response for me. Most of the fish-able waters in Western Nevada are open year-round, and as of last year, many of my favorite California rivers are open year-round as well. Add on this that I have had many outings on various rivers this year already, and this weekend becomes “just another” fishing weekend, like any other.

The River

I decided to fish the West Carson for no other reason than it was one of the rivers previously closed. Add to this the fact that the river was heavily stocked by CA DFG this week, run-off is evident but not out of control, and that the section I was planning to fish is only 11 miles from my doorstep. Upon arrival I note that the water clarity is about 6-8″ down and that flows are definitely up on this normally calm river. I toss in the thermometer and the water temps are COLD at a chilly 41 degrees. No sign of bugs or hatches.

The craziness Begins

I rig up with a double nymph rig as there are no hatches in presence and no signs of rising fish. On my third drift of the morning, I snag on a rock in some deep fast water and the rig is irretrievable, so I have to break it off. I re-tie and move to a different spot. Again, on the third or fourth drift, I snag and have to break off. So now, I am no more than 15 minutes into the day and I am out 4 files and no fish. I re-tie again, and move downstream to one of my favorite “automatic” spots.

And continues

This river is usually pretty placid with some fast pocket water, but lots of easy wading and rock hopping. Not when it is at 150 cfs. I am wading across what is normally an easy boulder garden and I slip and have nothing to grab, so I go into the water. In the swift water, my thoughts quickly turn to grabbing something to stop my downstream movement. I scrape my hand in the process. Again, I note that the water is COLD, but this time I am the thermometer. So I get up and finally get into position and I cast right into a tree branch on the other side. Another break off and re-rigging. Feeling pretty defeated at this time, I decide to head back to another spot and slip on the same rock and go into the water again.

The white towel

I am now cold, wet, and feeling pretty humble. I decide to call it a day. This is just one day in a season and one day in a lifetime of fly fishing. These things happen and you have to pay your dues every so often.