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Fish Tales

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  • September 09, 2011 2:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    The backpack fishout this year, August 7--13, once again defaulted to us of the hardcore,  Gary Trott and myself--no matter, we had a great time.
  • August 22, 2011 4:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    A small cadre of us returned for the second annual Tenkara fishout.  As most of you know, Tenkara is a Japanese method of fly fishing using very long rods and no reels; the ultimate tool for tight line nymphing.

    Rich Slade and I headed up early on Friday to grab a campsite in the Sweetwater campground.  We arrived just after 10 and had camp set up by noon.  This is car camping so we brought everything but the kitchen sink.  Oh yeah, we left our camp chairs in my garage so to be accurate, we were missing the kitchen sink and a comfortable place to sit.

    At noon we were joined by my younger brother Gary, and we headed up to Cherry Creek.  This has to be one of the most beautiful and least visited fishing spots in California.  The creek is really a pretty good sized stream with lots of great water. You walk in for about a mile, passing 2 abandoned gold mines.  The creek runs below you for most of the hike.  Below you see a series of fantastic runs and deep pools -- most of which are never fished.

    Once on the creek we were rewarded with some great fishing for small sierra trout. We had the stream and pools to ourselves.  During the day we stayed with tight line nymphing and then moved to dry flies in afternoon.  At one point I caught 10 fish on 10 consecutive casts (this was an anomaly - and not representative of the rest of the day)

    EJ joined us the next morning, arriving just after breakfast.  With EJ in tow we returned to Cherry Creek for a second great day and then back to camp for a steak BBQ and some liquid refreshments.  

    We headed out to do some exploring before returning Sunday.  Lots of great water but most of the access points can best be described as challenging.  Whether you own a Tenkara rod or not this is a fishout that you should put on your calendar for next year.  Relaxed camping, fun fishing and unbelievable scenery - find out why John Muir loved his Sierra's.

    Dave Peterson (DB)


  • July 27, 2011 5:14 PM | Anonymous

    I was up and out of the Bay Area by 5 am on Thursday, picking up my wilderness permit from the NF office in Oakhurst.  Based on the reports they gave me, I half expected to be wandering around aimlessly in the snow for the next 5 days.  As far as Sierra winters are concerned, this last one was no less than epic and many places which would normally be easily accessible by mid-July are still under many feet of snow.  As it turns out, the timing of this trip was nearly perfect.  Early enough to beat out the mosquitoes (and the crowds) and late enough that most of the terrain was free of snow.  I was on the trail out of the Chiquito trailhead before noon on Thursday, as I was told that the Quartz Mountain trailhead was still inaccessible by car.  The hike through the Chiquito Lake area was an unpleasant combination of snow, standing water, and aggressive mosquitoes.  Luckily, the conditions improved significantly from that point on.


    Chiquito Pass... Underwater

    The only creek crossing which I felt might be cause for concern was the SF of the Merced, and it ended up being no trouble at all.  From the South Fork, the trail was completely free of snow until about 1 mile from Johnson Lake.  It was at this point that I ran across the only other group I would meet on the trail during my trip.  I saw one other group from a distance on Friday, but other than that it was complete solitude.  I realize this is a less popular part of Yosemite, but I was quite surprised to seemingly have the whole place to myself during a beautiful weekend in July.  After chatting with the group for a while concerning the conditions, I crossed the Johnson Lake inlet creek and found a great site on the southern side of the lake.  There was still appreciable snow in the wooded areas around Johnson Lake and up towards Buena Vista Pass, but the south side of the lake gets good exposure and provides a number of nice sites. 


    The South Fork

    I stayed at Johnson Lake for 3 nights, taking day hikes to many of the surrounding lakes on Friday and Saturday.  At one point on Friday, I was very near Buena Vista Peak but didn’t bother to climb the extra ~300 feet to the summit.  I was slightly annoyed with myself afterward, but seeing as the day was slightly overcast, I am not sure how Buena said Vista would have been.  I imagine that on a clear day one can see over the San Joaquin Valley, possibly even to Mt. Diablo.  Friday night was a full moon, but I was too exhausted to stay up very late and enjoy it.  I did see two shooting stars in the sky (and thousands on the ground) over the course of the trip.


    Shooting Stars


    Royal Arch Lake

    Sunday morning was a warm one and I was easily up, packed, and on the trail by the time the sun made its way over the ridge.  I was headed towards Merced Pass.  The trail was mostly clear, although at times it looked more like a small creek than a trail.  Before reaching the pass, I found a nice campsite with a beautiful view.  The topography which afforded me that view also ensured a steady wind all day and into the evening, which kept the mosquitoes at bay.


    The View from Camp

    Monday morning I contemplated whether to head over to Chain Lakes for one more night or call it a trip and head back to my car.  I am fairly certain that the trail to Chain Lakes would have been mostly snow free, but I didn’t feel like chancing it and to be honest I really wanted a hamburger.  I decided to pack up and head back to the trailhead, followed by a stop at the Pines bar for a cold beer.  The drive back to the Bay Area was made all the more pleasant by a beautiful sunset over the Diablo Range and the KNBR broadcast of a Giants victory over their rival Dodgers.

    I did not run into any bears; however, I did run across some fresh tracks in the mud at Chiquito Lake.  On Saturday at Johnson Lake I was joined by a bald eagle.  I think that we may have had something in common, in that we were both principally concerned with the healthy population of rainbow trout in the creek.  The Mosquitoes were worst at Chiquito Lake but otherwise tolerable.  I did not notice one mosquito at Johnson Lake; however, that will change quickly.  With all the standing water that I witnessed on this trip, I expect that the mosquitoes will be out en masse for a good portion of the summer.


    My Only Company on Saturday Afternoon

    While I have saved it for the very end of this report, the primary purpose of this trip was to chase some sizable fish.  As I am sure many of you will agree, true fisherman are known to be quite vague when it comes to the details of their best fishing experiences.  That being said, the inlet creek to Johnson Lake is filled with a healthy population of nice sized rainbows.  I have to imagine that the spawn was over by mid-July, but they sure looked as if they were competing for spawning territory rather than the best feeding lies.  Royal Arch is a great spot to toss dry flies at some beautifully colored and very eager brook trout.  The biggest brookies of the trip were not easily fooled and topped out at an honest 16 inches, if I had to guess.


    Rainbow


    Brookie


    "The One That Got Away"

  • July 19, 2011 9:34 AM | Anonymous member
    Kay and I tried to fish Salmon River (Stanley, ID) last week in June, Cache Valley, UT first week in July and Plumas Forest (Feather River) July 8/9, only to find "rushing rivers" at 1400 cfs or more everywhere. Guides are whining that their season is 6 weeks late. We did get to fish Stanley Lake (boat ramp a foot underwater) to try out sinking equipment, and Bear River, ID (off State Highway 34 between Thatcher and Grace) for rainbows and browns.

    Had a lovely dinner in Logan, UT at Elements with the Logan River rushing between Al fresco dining and a sandbagged Round Rocks Fly shop.

    -Mike & Kay Harris
  • July 01, 2011 9:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Barbara Steven's and I joined the Veteran's for a fishout at Bear Gulch reservoir. Located in the hills above Menlo Park, Bear Gulch is a private facility owned and operated by the California Water Service.  Access to the reservoir is extremely limited with only two fishing days a year.  One day for the vets and the other for the Ronald McDonald house.

    It was already warm when I drove through the gate at 9:30 in the morning.  I met a couple of the Mission Peak fly fishers in the parking lot and we hiked up the hill to the water.  As soon as we arrived I could see large bass cruising in the water below.  I quickly began gearing up only to realize I left my leader wallet in the car so back down the steep hill.   After the brief grind back up the hill I was ready to go, however, the vets were still getting organized at the base of hill

    So... what to do while I wait for the vets.  No one would mind if I just do a little warm u and try to find just the right fly for these fish.   On my second cast I was into a nice bass.  Then the vets arrived and I was paired with a young vet named Buddy.  Buddy was blind and had lost use of his right arm.  Fortunately Buddy had the support of his parents and the four of us teamed up to catch 3 good bass (with 2 deep water releases thrown in for good measure)

    Barbara was working with a young women who did quite well herself, catching a number of bass with the smallest being a very aggressive 3 incher.

    At noon we broke for lunch and were treated to a great BBQ put on by the water district employees.  After the feast some of us headed back to the water while others rested in the shade of the Oak trees.  


  • June 27, 2011 10:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    For the past few years, the folks over at Duck's unlimited have invited us to join them at their annual kids day to teach kids how to cast a fly rod.  This is a great event.  EJ and I spent a couple of hours casting into a pumpkin patch.  The kids ranged from 3 to 14.  While a few expressed their disappointment when they noticed that not many trout were rising in our pumpkin patch... too early in the season, all had a great time learning to cast.


  • May 31, 2011 9:19 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Rich Slade, Chris Willard and I arrived at Kistler around 8:30 AM on Saturday, May 28th. The temperature at that time was in the low 60's with a slight breeze coming out of the west.  It looked like a perfect day for bass fishing at the Ranch.

    A number of members preceded us... how early do these guys get up?  Some were in the ranch kitchen when we drove up but we were anxious to get fishing so we did not join them but  drove directly to the first pond.  There we joined Rich Holubek who was struggling with a stuck valve on the his float tube.  

    Once on the water we ran into a substantial amount of water plants.  The good news,  the weeds were relatively soft so I could get my fly back, the bad news, I did as much gardening as I did fishing until I found a fly that was somewhat weed resistant.

    I got my first hook-up near the put in point on a bead head, crystal wooly bugger. Then nothing for an hour.  I switched to a small black popper and hooked up 5 minutes later... then nothing for another 45 minutes.  I then switched to a medium size popper, green with a bullet head and caught a small bass. Fortunately, unlike my past 2 flies, this one continued to work, albeit intermittently for the rest of the day.  

    Doug and Barbara Weber were fishing with their grand daughter, a beautiful young girl who caught her first fish!  All of the members I spoke with caught fish, with Rich Holubek catching an especially nice bass.

    After a great pot luck lunch we were greeted with intermittent rain and some gusty winds.  Yes, we kept fishing although there were not a lot of fish being hooked.

    Dave Peterson

  • March 17, 2011 12:50 AM | Anonymous member
    If you enjoy watching fly tying videos on "youtube", you are going to love a new web site called www.theweeklyfly.com

    This site features rocky mountain guides demonstrating their favorite bugs and being videoed from the FFF library in Livingston, Montana.

    Also. as the name implies, every seven days a new fly is featured. You can view for free if a small format is OK or  for a mere $0.85 per video you can download the video to your hard drive and watch on the big screen.

    I think you will enjoy it. I know I do.


  • March 05, 2011 10:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
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