Thursday, May 9, 2019

Taking a Look at New Water

I went to bed exhausted and fell asleep early around 9ish.  I thought I'd have a nice long sleep but woke at 11:30pm and was awake for of the night into the next morning.  I think I managed to fall asleep again at around 5am only to wake up an hour or so later.  After breakfast we packed the truck and cleaned the apartment before heading out to some new water (for me).
Having driven past this water hundreds of times, I've never actually fished it despite wanting to for ages.  Kelly has fished here so he took the lead and we hiked into the field bypassing much of the water toward the parking lot.  After climbing a fences we made it to some good looking water.  I wasn't sure if the cutties had started their migration into the water yet and left my egg box in the truck.
Well they were in the system and saw a pair doing their thing.  I moved down to and targeted a hole with rainbows waiting to intercept eggs drifting past them.  Without any eggs on me I drifted my nymphs past them.  The hole was only a few feet deep and I highsticked my nymph through it.  Several times my flies were taken but I couldn't get a proper hook set.  Eventually I managed to get one one.  We wanted to get out somewhat early so after a few more drifts I hoofed it upstream to meet up with Kelly.  Along the way I aided a fellow angler with a pic cuttie he just landed. 
I met up with KB and asked how he did.  Not so well and we fished here and there as we moved closer to the jeep.  Evetually though we just gave up as the wind was simply too much to bare.  It was time to head home.  Along the way we made a pit stop at the hatchery to check it out.  I've never been but Kelly suggested I take a look at it so I did.  He was right it was definitely worth a visit.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Good Karma

May 4, 2019
The decision was made to head up further north and see how one of my favorite waters was fishing.  It also allowed us to fish the Nevada side as well in case the California side was too busy (as it always is).  While in town we bought our Nevada licenses which seemed to take eternity because the computer system for whatever reason recognized my address as a foreign country.  After which we headed off to the water and after seeing all the crowds we drove further down the road to our neighboring State.
It's been a while since I fished this part of the river.  The last time was at least a decade or more back when the Sherminator and Joel were my regular fishing buddies.  Back when they were without kids.  It took me a while to recognize any of the water.  When we began rigging up I noticed that I mistakenly brought a mismatched pair of boots.  Initially I intended to bring both pairs.  My Rivertek boots are on it's last leg.  The soles are falling apart.  I glued them back together with aquaseal knowing that it was not an fix but rather a bandage.  I just wanted to get a few more outings with them before they are tossed in the bin.  So I wanted to bring my other pair in case the Riverteks die.  At the last moment I decided that since I wasn't driving I didn't want to bring so much gear with me.  I without noticing mistakenly took of one boot from each pair.  Jokingly I said "I look like fucking Punky Brewster."
Trying to get to the water was a pain.  The river is now swollen with reeds and quite difficult to access.  This was never the case before.  Trying to navigate through that mess with a ten foot rod is quite the ordeal and extremely frustrating.  Finally made it to the water, California flows were at 312 and we were told Nevada was slightly higher and off color, so wading was doable but slightly quick but some spots were not going to be easily navigated through.
I fished a very productive looking run only to break off my entire nymph rig on some submerged structure.  After rerigging I moved up and maned my first fish on my Sage X 4100-4.  It was a Owens Valley Speckled Dace.  Definitely proof that spending big bucks on fancy rods has its merits.  All joking aside, I guess I can add it to the species list.  Fishing here was disappointing especially the difficulty accessing the good parts of the water so we drove further downstream to explore.  It looked much the same and while speaking with a local, he told us that access to the water is so hard now that NV no longer allows cattle grazing in this area.  They used to create the pathways into the water.
After sampling some of the water, I decided enough of this and head back to the CA side where I know where the fish are hiding.
We fished a few holes without success before I decided enough of this skunk nonsense and head out to my favorite hole.  When I got there I saw an angler standing in it Czech nymphing the other side of the bank.  Cursing him under my breath I looked for another hole before coming back.  When I came back 20 minutes late he had moved upstream.  I began fishing my hole hoping it had reset.  It was not long before the angler was on a fish.  A good one that ran him downstream toward me.  He was having a hard time self landing it and I asked him if he need an assist.  He declined but after a few failed attempts he said yes.  So I got out of my fishing position and moved toward him.  His fishing partner was now with him and I noticed it was his son and after landing the fish I asked if he wanted me to take a photo of the two together with the fish.  After the photo I returned to my hole now with good karma.  It was no time before I hooked up on a fish that jumped three times before spitting the hook.  It was bigger than the 18 incher the angler just landed.  On the next cast I hooked up another before my knot broke.  Eventually I did land my fish the smallest of the group but at least the skunk was off.  Fished the hole for some more before leaving and heading back to the trunk to meet up with KB.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Fishing with KB

May 5, 2019
With a 9:30 am planned departure time, I left the house before 7am hoping to beat the LA traffic.  For the most part the ride up the 405 was surprisingly clear with only some pockets of moderate traffic.   I managed to get to my buddy's place in Redondo just past 8am.  After having breakfast at his place while he sent his son to school, we managed to leave on time after transferring my gear into his Jeep.  The ride up also was pretty clear of any heavy traffic.
It's been a while since I've taken the 14 to the 395.  This route used to be my preferred way to get to the east side but I started to avoid it as LA traffic is so unpredictable.  So I was surprised (not really) how much it's changed.  Windmills now litter the landscape around Mojave and so do solar panel fields but one stretch remains the same, The Red Rock Canyon area, which still is my favorite.  After a longer than planned lunch at one of my favorite Mexican places in Inyokern, we were on the road again.
We arrived at my buddy's apartment at Crowley to unpack the food into the fridge and headed to our first destination.  With only a few hours of light and somewhere worn out from the long drive, we decided to chose a piece of water where we didn't need waders and didn't require time consuming set ups.  After rigging up our rods with a dry fly we went down to check out the water.  No surprisingly it was crowded and the wind was howling through the canyon.  I managed to get a fish to rise in between two boulders but the knot slipped as I struck.  We decided to move upstream with about an hour of light left.  There the fish were rising more consistently and it was also less crowded.  I was having a hard time seeing my fly and had to guess whether my fly was taken or not.  With the wind and full gale I was having hard time getting a proper drift let alone a decent cast.  We both left the area skunked having missed several fish.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Another Local

April 21, 2019
Took to the water again for Easter Sunday this time with my buddy KB who picked me up at 7am.  bought our breakfast and trail lunch at the local Japanese bakery and we were off.  At the trailhead cloud cover in the mountains made it cold enough that I was glad I brought my Montbell UL jacket.   Now rigged up we headed up the trail to reach the middle section of the river.  Water was a tad fast but clear.  All the large fishable pools refused to give up a fish.  After a couple hours of nothing we decided to skip most of this section get back on the trail and head up to the waterfall.  Once there the river started to give some fish.  I lost, missed or blew well over half a dozen chances.  I did manage a couple to hand though.  KB managed the best fish of the day for sure.  Nice to see that some of the respectable models still exist here.

Monday, April 22, 2019


April 18, 2019
Having tasted the skunk on the last trip, it was time for some "easy" local fishing.  After being told of some intel that one of our local streams has recovered from the trout, I headed out to check on them.  I was in no hurry to get on the water so I arrived at the parking lot before noon to get ready and head down to the water.  After fishing a few "fishy" areas without any result, I focused my attention to the larger pools near the dams.  Yet even they failed to produce.  After several of promising looking holes refused to give up a fish I switched from fishing mode to scouting mode.  Had all the fish really died out form the drought?  I was I told faulty info?  I was getting a bit frustrated and after a few hours of fishing dead water I started my way out.
I had all but quit in my mind and accepted the fact I may have been hit with another skunk until I decided to try one last section toward the start of the trail that I skipped on my way in.  Making my way down to the first hole I managed a rise on my first cast.  As I stripped him in he popped off at my legs.  Moving to the next hole, I set up for a very complicated cast.  With obstructions in front of my target I needled my loop into a triangle of over hanging branches and landed my fly exactly where I wanted.  Once the fly landed the fish took and I stripped her in.  I moved up to the dam and for the next hour or so I was plucking fish out the water.  I lost four flies in poison oak that was in the path of my backcast.  I thought of pulling my flies out as they were all  bunched together in the same spot but thought better of it.  Flies are cheap and risking a rash is not worth it.  Now out of my favorite fly I tested a similar fly but tied in an unnatural and unconvincing chartreuse ice dubbed body.  It still caught fish.  I decided stop and start my exit but not before checking one last section.  I made my climb up the trail onto the water until I reached the first hole only to find a bunch of pale half naked,  fat Asians sitting alongside the bank.  After witnessing the man-boobs I had enough and I made my way back to the main trail to climb out of there.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Year of the Skunk

April 12-14, 2019
2019 is the Year of the Pig but its turning out to be more like the Year of the Skunk for me.  This trip was no different.  With an invite from the boys at the shop we headed up to meet them Friday night.  They had already been there fishing on Thursday.  After running a few errands we were on the road just before noon.  
There was a chance we might be in time for the difficult-to-time salmonfly hatch but we'd never know until we got up there as there is no fly shop that really reports on this water.  We arrived at camp to meet half of our group.  The other half was still on the water.  They all arrived the day earlier so we asked how was the fishing.  The report it was tough fishing but we were glad to hear that there had been an consistent 45 minute dry fly hatch around 4pm.  They were keying on an almost rust colored mayfly in a size 14.
We didn't bother fishing the first evening although we could have as there was plenty of light left but after the long grueling ride up the mountain I was simply not in the mood.  So we set up camp and spent the evening bullshitting with the boys.
Next morning after breakfast and a briefing from the boys we were the first ones to set out.  At 3000 CFS we were limited on both wading and fishing areas.  The snow melt hadn't yet gone into full effect but the water was still slightly tea stained and still dangerous.  Careful wading along the edges were in order.  Fishing was tough for all but the boys managed a few to hand.  I came up with the skunk but lost one on a dry when my knot slipped.  Otherwise it was a tough day all around for me.
The fishing was poor for me but no matter as the scenery more than made up for the disappointment.  Wildflowers while not at full glory were still out in force in all their majesty.  The highlight for the weekend was the salmonfly hatch which must have just started on Saturday.  I managed to see a few on branches and boulders but the trout had yet to target them as evidenced by my failed attempts to get them to rise on a large stimulator. 
Everyone but me managed at least one fish mostly by Czech nymphing, a technique I don't care much for but was necessary in these types of conditions.  The next day while some decided to fish the main river again, while we decided to check a tributary on the way out.  Smaller and ideal dry fly water, the creek refused to give up a fish.  So after about a hour we quit and decided to head home. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Mysterious Fish

April 2, 2019

I had tied some new flies that I wanted to put to the test so I took the boat out and invited Leo again.  Tidal predictions looked in our favor so I had high hopes.  Ran out to my usual spot this time a little more south and started casting.  I started with the spinnerbait fly but had no luck.  Leo was on early with a dink and also landed a respectable on as well.  With the spinnerbait fly not producing I wanted to try my newest invention but I soon realized I left that fly box in the truck.   So I kept the spinnerbait on.  Eventually Leo hooked up on a heavy fish that did nothing but putted line.  No head shakes, no violent reactions.  It eventually broke off his 16 pound tippet.  I suspect that it was a ray due to the nature of the fight but we'll never know.  I got the stench of the skunk which is all too much becoming a common theme of late.  

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Dixon Lake

March 23, 2019
I wanted to try the spinnerbait fly on some freshwater bass so I tried my luck at Dixon.  I've only fished this lake once back in the early 2000s but haven't returned since.  This was home to Dottie a monster bass that everyone taught was going to break the world record someday.  Unfortunately she was found dead years ago but her offspring must be swimming in the lake now.  Some bass were in the shallows but were tight-mouthed and refused out offerings.  Not sure if it was the ever changing weather or the full moon but they weren't in aggressive pre-spawn mode.  Day was a bust and ended with the skunk.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

First Outing of 2019

Almost three months have past this year and I've yet to get out to fish.  Yesterday it was time to rectify that with a new fly in hand.  On Monday I received my order for some spinnerbait components to tie the flies I ordered from Japan for Luc.  I tried to copy it but since the prefabbed wire was slightly different I made a small modification.

Fishing wise, I didn't expect much as the water is still cold but at least the the tidal predictions were in our favor so I was predicting at least a couple fish to hand.  It was a completely calm day almost lake-like in terms of how little chop was on the water.  Most of the day was overcast and it was not long before we were on some fish.  Dink calicos.  I was the first to hook up with a dink calico with my new fly with a spinnerbait. Leo was next.  After a few casts I noticed my fly didn't feel the same.  When I pulled it out of the water I noticed the blade had fallen off.  I had only tied one so I was forced to switch.  We managed a few more fish none impressive.  The largest of the bunch was a jacksmelt I landed but even still it wasn't anything to write home about. 

Can't wait until the summer.  From all indications, predictions are this summer will be an epic one with warm water all the way through November.  Not sure how accurate that is but if that is the case it's going to be one for the books.  Pelagic fish everywhere.  Let's just hope that they are right.  If they are I may wear out my welcome on the boat before the summer is over.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Last Fish of 2018

December 31, 2018
Before the fishing license expired for 2018, I tried once again to land my last fish of the season.  My last two outings resulted in the skunk.  Today was no different from the last outings, tough fishing all around on this day even for Luc.  I tried just about everything in the box.  Fish were deep and lethargic.  After hours of endless casting a fast full sinking line with every sort of submerged fly, I decided to try a different tactic.  I figured I need to keep the fly in the face of the fish long enough to agitate a strike.  So I tied a floating fly, a Iwai Minnow, hoping that the slow elevating action after it's been stripped would entice them enough.  I figured giving them a different look might help.  It was not long and I got my first bite of the day.  Missed another and then we called it a day.  Luc switched to a popper once he saw I got my first fish but wasn't as fortunate as I.  He ended the year with the skunk.  That tells you how hard it was this day.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Pre Santa Bass

December 24, 2018
Christmas Eve I delivered some spinnerbait flies from Japan that I asked Koji to buy for Luc.  He started with them but without any luck.  We'll wait until it warms in the spring to try them again.  Once he switched to an EP shad he was on.  I, on the other hand, apparently been a bad boy and got coal.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Skinner Lake Fly Fishing

December 16th, 2018
Luc invited me to go after stripers.  Reports were that the they were on the bite.  It didn't prove so.  I got the skunk but Luc managed two. 

That Time of Year...

November 3-4, 2018
This was so long ago I don't recall the details only that I managed a handful and lost two early.

Taipei Seabass Skunk

October 26, 2018
Peter and Liszt took me and another American out to try our luck on seabass.  Initially we hired a boat captain to take us out on his big boat.  When we arrive in the early morning to find out the boat was partially dry docked as he did not move the boat the previous night to account for the ebbing tide.  We took his small boat our instead.  It was without a fish finder and was too small to fish four.  Peter and I were dropped off under the bridge.  The day proved extremely difficult.  Out of four anglers only a mullet was caught.  I only managed a bump but no hook up.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Back In Taipei

October 21, 2018
When I arrived back in Taipei, it rained most of the time my first week back.  I had planned to fish on Sunday with Danny for mahseer.   I came back better prepared to fish this time.  I practiced my pick up casts as well as tightening up my loops for better line control.
When we arrived we wanted to start at a location I didn't get to fish last time but when we arrived the water was chocolate.  Odd since it hadn't rained for a few days.  It should have been cleared.  So we drove around checking other spots but they appeared even worse.  The water was also down from the last time.  So we decided to start where we started earlier this year when Danny took me out.
Again we were using black foam beetle style flies.  I was on early.  Not a large fish at all but a good sign and a good start.  This ended up being my only fish the outing though I missed several and lost another beast in the exact same spot I lost him earlier in the year with Danny witnessing both.  Go figure.  It was so tough today Danny only managed a few, the number I don't recall but it was a fraction of his usual amount.