Monday, January 19, 2015

East Truckee River - Sunday January 18th

We headed out east of Reno again this Sunday to continue our campaign on the Truckee River's desert sections.  We were on the water by about 10:30 AM and the bugs were already active, flows steady at about 190CFS (at the Reno marker) for the past week or so.  With in the first hour we had hooked up but lost three fish on nymph rigs under an indicator.  We kept our focus on just fishing tailouts leading in to the slow deeper pools.  Most of our takes happened in about three feet of water between the seam and the shoreline.  The fish seemed to be stacked on the rocky bottom but were willing to move a bit to feed.  We spent the bulk of the day under an indicator with a heavy stone anchor fly up front trailing one or two size 16-18 BWO / midge patterns.  Four feet between anchor fly and indicator seemed to be a good all purpose leader length for the depths we were fishing with the trailers about 18 inches apart. 

Around noon or so the BWOs got active for a couple hours and we had a few takes on the surface.  I even saw a few big surfaces in the deep stuff but not much fishable action came out of it.  Just a few random splashes.  One particular tailout hosted a gathering of about 100 adult BWO duns in a 20x20 area that went unharassed for the 20 minutes that we were there for.  Deeper in the water column remains the focus of the fishes feeding.

The day was winding down and the wind was picking up around 3 so Brandon headed out (but not before I stepped on his rod tip and secured myself a shipping and handling bill).  I decided to stick around and swing a big heavy dead drift craw through the tailout that had been producing for us and it paid off almost immediately.   Second or third cast I hooked up but failed to bring it all the way in.  I could tell from the flash and fight it wasn't anything special but it was a nice heavy hit.  I worked the length of that tailout from top to bottom one more time over the next 30 minutes and ended the day with the nice 18" rainbow pictured at bottom.   On the streamer bite, they all came at the end of the swing after a few short strips and the takes were nice and heavy.

In summary:

  1. Right now fishing is good all day from after the sun hits the water til it leaves, with the best activity around 11 - 1 or so.
  2. Fish slow deep tailouts and focus on the section where the riffle is almost gone but still moves a little faster than the water on either side of it.  That outside seam was where almost every hit came from.
  3. Get to the bottom, whether your soaking nymphs or swinging streamers.  I suspect that the seams we had good luck in where probably that way because those were the ones that were the easiest to get deep enough on.  The inside seam likely held fish too but we had a tougher time getting down and giving a proper presentation casting over the multiple currents (When I say inside / outside seams, I'm speaking from the perspective of standing in the middle of the river.  Bank-side seam would be the outside seam)  
  4. Nymphs that worked for us were size 16-18 midge patterns and the typical Truckee River standards like your pheasant tails and hair's ears and some other newer BWO nymph / emerger patterns.  Streamers - only threw the dead drift craw in size 2, brown / olive but white or black buggers have produced in years past and I suspect this year would be no different.
Get out and experience some unusually warm winter fishing conditions while you can.  If this weather continues the river is going to have a rough summer ahead of it.


This is an obscured, out-of-focus picture (solo operating the camera and keeping the fish happy was a chore) but is shows a nice fat belly on a healthy fish.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

East Truckee River - January 11th 2015

We hit the McCarran Ranch section of the East Truckee River today.   Got on the water at about noon and the bugs were pretty active.  BWOs and Chironomids ranging from size 16 (BWO) to size 20 or 22ish Chiros.  The fish were relatively active all afternoon with red midge patterns in size 16 - 18 having the best results in deep tail outs.  Also hooked up with the biggest fish of the day on a size 16 bead head hare's ear in natural color.   The big fish was an acrobat and skipped the photo session so we're at liberty to call it 15 lber, though 3 or 4 might be a little closer to accurate.  

The flows @ Reno marker have been pretty well stuck right at 200, even with the rain last night. That rain did impact water clarity a little bit.  The clarity had improved by the time we got off the water at 4:30 but it wasn't bad to begin with.   After this and the past few trips the main take-away seems to be that micro isn't a necessity right now.  Size 16 - 18 was right today and getting down to the bottom of the deeper tail outs is key.

Here is a shot of the one that didn't manage to outmaneuver us and a picture of Brandon bringing it in.  The tail out he's fishing produced all but two of our takes this afternoon, including the nicest fish of the day. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

East Truckee River - December 27th

On Saturday (Dec 27th) we hit the Truckee River at the McCarran ranch section above the private bridge.  As a note, this road is off limits to public vehicle traffic.  We received a visit from a gent who lives off that road who confirmed that he maintains the road and public traffic makes it a hassle for him.  The best access to this spot is by the way of he Mustang exit, heading east until the road bends to the south.  At the bend you'll find a dirt road that continues east, up around a hill and back down in to the flat.  Follow that road to its end near a highway billboard and your just under a half mile walk to the bridge.  There is a spot where the road forks and crosses the railroad tracks but its not a real crossing and I'm pretty sure crossing tracks like that is illegal plus a good chance of getting stuck on the tracks, which would put a damper on your day.

As for the fishing, we got out there around 10AM, rigged up and got on the water about 10:30.  It was friggen cold, I think the day topped out just above freezing.  We had ice in the eyelets most of the day and nary a bite to the effort but it was a nice day out for sure.  From about 2:15 to 3:15 there was a small hatch of chironomids that probably tipped the scales around a size 22 for the adults so I'd put the emergers around a size 20.
This section holds just about every type of water from quick rocky flows with 3ft deep runs in to tailout after tailout ending in a nice riffle into a long deep slow section (guessing up to 10ft deep) with big submerged boulders in it.  We hit the whole thing with just about ever type of presentation from nymphs to dead drift streamers but it was so damn cold we would have had to have drifted the stack right in to an open mouth to get a bite.  The south side of the river runs along a 50 foot tall cliff so we ventured up and had a peak down.  The water clarity was pretty good so any real activity would have been evident and there was none.

If time allows we might head out for a late afternoon effort today so fingers crossed.

Friday, December 26, 2014

East Truckee River - Monday December 22nd 2014

Kellen and I have the week off and decided to shift our focus to the Truckee since Pyramid has started to slow down and the river has returned more reasonable levels.  Prior to Monday morning, the river had been steady around 200 CFS at the Reno marker.  With that said, we had some snow the week prior followed by very mild day time temps.  When I checked the water clarity @ vista on Sunday afternoon it was pretty good with the flows at 209.  Monday morning we got on the water at about 7:30 or so and the water seemed a little dirty but not bad.  Looking up at the sky, it looked like the entire Truckee River was basking in morning / mid-day sun except for the section we were on which was stuck in cloud shadow all day.  From morning til eve we only had a few takes but nothing that produced a catch.  We were sticking with the 18-22 midge patterns and birds nets but no joy on the section below USA Parkway or McCarran Ranch. 

By the time we got off the water it had become noticeably more stained and upon checking, the flows had shot up to almost 350CFS.  Suffice to say, our timing sucked!  We figured their must have been some melt contribution to the flows but it looks like the little Truckee outflow had been boosted a little bit too.  We are going to hit the McCarran section again tomorrow and hopefully catch more than a nice day out of the house.  Flows at the Reno marker have leveled off around 250 and the water clarity at the Lockwood nature path park was real good this afternoon.  Hopefully we'll have some fish porn to post tomorrow.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Year In The Dark

Whaa, where am I, what is this shit on my face, my god what is that awful smell ((tm) Sublime)What happened?? We're.. We're alive!  

We've been radio silent for the past year mostly on account of too much work, life and too lazy to post a report.  Not to mention our infrequent outings have not really warranted a post, but we probably should have anyway just to help keep the page active.  At any rate, for one reason or another we've elected to revive ourselves and start living again.  For myself, the kids are finally old enough to almost wipe their own asses and things are starting to return to a semblance of normalcy, kinda.  We have been fortunate enough to get away over the past year and do our typical big game archery hunts but fishing had been the sacrifice.  Since Pyramid opened up this year ( I'll add some shameless text to help the Google search relevance by saying "this year at Pyramid Lake Nevada 2014 / 2015 Fly Fishing #KimKardashian " ) we've managed to make it out to the lake just about once each weekend.  To date, our haul has been fair but the fishing in general at Pyramid has been pretty good.  If you've been paying attention, Pyramid Lake has started to become extremely consistent with it's big fish production.   The wall at Crosby's probably doesn't have room for fish under 15 lbs at this point.  It seems like any given day on any given beach, at least one head will bring a 10 lb cutt to net, snap a cell phone pic and let er go back to make more pigs.  It seems like every week there is a new pic of dude with another 20 pound piggy hauled in and many of them are getting released to keep this good thing going. 

There is also the buzz around the Pilot Peak strain of the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout and their successful reintroduction to Pyramid Lake and (most importantly) resumption of their heavy feeding and excessively fast growth tendency.  If the Pilot Peak trend continues upward, we may all sport a desktop background of our selves hoisting up the 30lb Pyramid LCT that up to now only exists in crusty black and white photo's taken by guys who remember a time when the Ichthyosaur wasn't chalk .  To make things more promising, the Pilot Peak fish have been confirmed to be spawning up the Truckee for the first time since they bit the dust.  There is a good story on the rediscovery of the strain HERE (might not be the original publishing but seems to be about the same thing I read a while back).  To further promote Pyramid Lake's management strategy, none of the pigs, that I know of, have the green tag indicative of the Pilot Peak strain, nor has the effort been in place long enough to produce pilots of that size.  Full disclosure, I'm not a marine biologist and may be totally wrong but what basic knowledge that I do have says that what the Pyramid Lake Tribe and US Fish and Wildlife are doing is working beyond just the potential of the pilots.  

That's probably enough chit chat for now so we'll move to what most folks are looking for when googling "Pyramid Lake Fly Fishing".  There are plenty of sites out there with occasional reports but far and away Gilligan's Guide Service has been the most common by my weekly research posting two or three reports each week.  As Gilligan reports and as we have found, the season started out variable with the warm water but was plenty fun with the chub clouds.  Over the past month the water temps have dropped and production is getting real good for the shore casters.  The standard approaches are working, shooting buggers and beetles as well as nymphing on the bottom.  My visits out to the lake have all been on the pontoon but I can't say I've been much if any more productive than the gents on shore recently.  Back in October I spent a full day out in the pontoon and had better luck than the guys stuck on shore but since the temps have migrated southward the fish have migrated inward.  That said, I still like the pontoon so I can get out away from the crowd a bit and pick my nose or piss in relative privacy.  The beaches are starting to look like a pier fishing scene in a movie, nuts to butts, you'll probably get to know the group next to you pretty well.  More specifically on the fly selection, the midnight cowboy buggers and wooly worms have been a typical main stay along with your olives, browns, chartreuse and white patterns.  The foam beetle / tadpole in white with chartreuse underbody has shown the most success for me but the black patterns have had positive reports as well.  On the nymph topic, I broke my 8wt fast rod tip on the opener so I was using my 7wt nymph rig to shoot with until my new tip came in so I hadn't been nymphing much.  I did rap with a gent at Indian Head beach who has been focusing hard on the nymph approach and claimed an above average production compared to others stripping buggers and beetles.  On his word, the mahalo family and patriot midge were reliable ranging from size 8 to 16.  From my experience and homeboy's report, the key was ensuring your getting down just off the bottom.  Casting from shore, there's a number of ways to gauge depth but one technique that I liked was to clip your pliers to your bottom fly and (floating fly line just to be clear) with an indicator on the line that isn't secured in place so it acts like a buoy.  When you cast out your line will slip through the indicator down to the bottom and you can eye where the indicator is sitting on your line to give you the depth.  Adjust tippet length if required and start soaking nymphs.  I'd like to give more info on the technique but to be honest am pretty novice on it.  Come spring time, I'd like to boast more proficiency.   It's midnight so here's a little fish porn so I can get to sleep.