Saturday, December 26, 2015

Busy and Lazy 12/26/2015

The last couple of months have been busy but we were able to make it out to the lake a few times since our last post.  the trips didn't produce anything note worthy so a post didn't find its way up.  Now that we have found our selves in a nice weather pattern the river has come up and its time to get back in to it.  Fly fishing the Truckee river east of Reno during the winter time is one of my favorite ways to use a weekend afternoon.  Sleep in, get a couple chores done then suit up and head out around 10am.  From my experience the best time to fish the Truckee during winter conditions tends to be 11am - 2pm during a stable weather pattern.  The pay off can be great.  I can't think of too many times when we've gone out and absolutely slayed em but the size of the fish is generally much better.  I was listening to the Reno Fly Shop's pod cast talking to Gilligan and he summed it up pretty well - big fish have to eat even when it's cold and they gotta do it every day.  Smaller fish just don't need to eat near as much and that's why you'll catch fewer fish in the cold months but they'll be bigger.

My wife kicked me down a waterproof GoPro for X-mas this year and with any luck I'll get it wet tomorrow afternoon.  Not sure what water clarity is like right now since the flows have jumped all the way up to 500 CFS at the Vista gage and are now back down around 200.  We'll let ya know what we see.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Pyramid Lake - 10/10/2015

This weekend had already been claimed by chores but we were able to make it out for a couple of hours on Saturday morning.  Indian Head beach fished from shore didn't produce anything for us or many folks who where there.  I fished Pelican Point again from the pontoon and was met with similar results.  Only one missed take plus a loan follower that didn't strike.  Pelican was way less busy compared to last week.  One of the boats out there jigging last week returned and they looked like they were still heading for an easy 50+ fish day but not quite as insane as the bite was for them last weekend.  From what I could hear, fish were deeper in the water column than they were last week as well - about 70 to 80 feet though the occasional cruiser could be seen at the surface. 

Weather reports show a system moving through the area next weekend (10/17 - 10/18) with Saturday shaping up to be the day you'd want to target for best results.   After this weekend, temps are forecast to continue on in the 70's with lows in the 40's.  With any luck fish may start to live a little shallower and make for more action. 

The challenge for next weekend is going to be fine tuning a fly rod jigging maneuver.  See if we can innovate beyond vertical fishing a balanced leach, but if that's working, no need to reinvent the wheel.

Monday, October 5, 2015

A buck a suck(er) and a new place to park my truck

Its not the punch line to a joke, but more or less a sum of the summer.  With the Truckee river being so low, I had a hard time even looking over the bridge on east McCarran every morning on my way to work let alone bringing myself to fish it.  On top of that, most of us got an itch to improve our dwelling situations and moved to new houses, work was busy and there were too many chores to keep on top of.  Save for a couple outings in early summer, we kept our noses to the grindstone all summer long.  One such outing, I took the fam up to Lake Davis in July.  Family camping was my cover for experiencing the hex hatch that I've heard a lot about but never fished.  If you've never fished the hex hatch at Davis, keep your eyes on the reports around the June/July timeframe because that 30 minute happening is well worth the 45 minute drive from Reno. 
The fish surface so often they leave a trail of rise forms on the surface and you feverishly try to put your fly in line to be the next one they take.  I failed to make the cut that night but it was a blast none the less.

Next, as we indicated in our last post back in April, we were going to try fly fishing for carp this summer.  We are fortunate enough to know a local gent and a fella I am proud to call a friend who took us out to learn carp on the fly.  If you're a fan of spot and stalk hunting like I am, fly fishing for carp is a fantastic way to spend an entire summer day. Beyond that, there are probably carp in just about every body of water meandering through the Truckee Meadows.  It's less about a flawless presentation with the right pattern and more about stealth, aim, sight and strong leader. 
We met our buddy at one of the many ponds around the area along the Steam Boat watershed, if that's a thing, and got a little how-to on fly fishing for carp.  Great thing about carp fishing (as I have mentioned about other favored activities) is a lack of early rise requirements.  We started fishing at about 9:30am and things didn't start to pick up until about 10:30 or so.  Once it did it was action for the rest of the day.  Carp are big, and they like to feed in slow shallow water.  They are obvious animals, you can tell when they are feeding and you know when you've blown your chance because they vanish behind a plume of silt.  Carp have a reputation for being ugly dumb fish, and while there is little benefit to arguing for their good looks they are extremely far from dumb.  As I understand it, they have one of the longest "negative stimulus retention" characteristics in the fish world which in layman terms means a carp never forgets which.. in real world terms means they have a serious case of PTSD and its triggered by just about anything.  They are spooky, they see you when you think you're being sneaky, and they smell't it before you dealt it.  If you get the spot right and keep a low profile your next task is to place your fly in their feeding path.  Its a blast when you put your fly in the right spot and watch them slowly feed toward it, then they stop, angle down with tail breaking the surface.  He's gumming your rig and now's the time to set it and hold on.  With the popularity of fly fishing for carp has come many new clich├ęs like "golden bones" and "poor man's bone fish".  While I cannot personally vouch for the experience of bone fishing I have the intertubes and a TV and it certainly seems to measure up.  Carp seem to have an affinity for your backing and they will gladly expose it on the regular.  They've got shoulders and can probably bench more than me.  The tug is the drug and its a high that's hard to come off of.

Next came August and a period of more chores, paper work, interest rates and preparation than I care to live through again, but not before the big game archery hunt.  This year (my 8th consecutive archery hunt wherein I was determined to notch my first archery kill) my buddy Tom and I headed back to the Santa Rosa Mountains north of Winnemucca.  We've got to know the Santa Rosas pretty well over the past decade and headed to an area we knew held animals, was rugged enough to keep the road hunters at bay (which aren't much of an issue during archery season) and has given us opportunities in the past.  Long story short, we won that day and I put a stick through a Nevada Mule Deer that I will never forget.  Be that as it may, I will never remember the 10 seconds that followed after I watched my arrow disappear into that buck.  After a 50 yard blood trail we found our harvest expired in a bitter brush grave 8,300 feet above the mean elevation of the sea.  I remember thinking that I've not put eight years of unsuccessful trying into anything else, put a check in that box.

Now the move is complete, and half of our shit is unpacked - the important shit like rods, reels, pontoon mounted to the ceiling, hobby garage set up, fly tying desk no longer relegated to a heap of disarray in the garage.  Time to focus because October one is just two days away and if this year is anything like last year, Pyramid lake has a few chapters ready for us to jot down in our own personal history books.  Come last Thursday, Brandon and Steve headed out for the opener.  The weather favored our efforts and gave way to some much appreciated precipitation and cooler temps.  The gents put up with the Indian Head beach club scene and had a decent day on Friday from shore.  Friday night I tied up some chub patterns and went to bed late, unable to sleep and half tempted to hop in my truck and drive out there at midnight.  Instead I settled into bed and searched for any possible early reports from the local guys but as I figured, they were probably still busy at the lake gaining more material for the mid-week post.  If you've spent anytime looking up Pyramid Lake fishing reports you've probably noticed that there aren't many official web sites with any information newer than 2011.  Most of the valuable info comes from our local guides who do a terrific job but one day into the season that's probably a bit much to ask for. I happened across the Crosby's House of Class (lodge) web site which had actually posted some good info in their big fish log.  From the data, it appeared that the stretch between Spider and Pelican was of particularly high production.  That did it for me, phone off, time for sleep because tomorrow I'm going to give Pelican point a try. And I am glad I did.  While I was only met with three fish to hand, their average size was big.  I'm calling the three I caught 5, 6 and 10 lbs.  My own success was far outshined by the success of boaters jigging.  I sat in my pontoon in a sea of opening weekend boaters continually pulling 10+ lb fish up.  An hour into the morning, 10 lb cutts didn't even warrant a picture.  I must have seen 50 fish get caught between 10 and 12 lbs and the best part of it is just about everyone of them didn't leave the water for more than a few seconds before they went back to their deep-water hangout.  It was remarkable.  I have never had such a good time watching complete strangers work into aching shoulders while I was unable to hook up.  Even fishing at the right depth ( 60ft down in 100ft of water as I over heard a few boats say) I couldn't mimic the presentation on my fly rod that the fish wanted.  After a couple hours of trying, I decided to go find some chub clouds and try the strategy that has worked in the past.  No sooner than I found the first cloud I brought the first one in.  All told, chasing chub was the most reliable way to get bit on a fly rig for me that day.  Shoot your chub pattern past the school, let it sink below them then fast strips back to the boat.  Half-way to the back of Windless I found a cloud of chub that was getting terrorized by a big Summit slashing his way through the middle of the school with his maw gaping wide enough that I could see the white of his throat.  It felt like what I imagine chasing <insert salt water species here> in the flats would be like.  A fair cast beyond the school sent my 8wt double over for a 5 minute trout ride that ended with that same gaping maw in my net.  For now I'm calling him a 10 but some of that mass has probably been shit out by now because his gut was full.  It's amazing how much those pigs love to eat.  Lucky us!  Here's to a long summer, a new season and hopefully, el nino!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Pyramid Lake April 11th / 18th

The past couple of weekends we've done the Pyramid routine with everyone else.  By and large its been slow due to the really nice weather with most of the activity coming in the first hour of the day and then again around maybe five or six in the evening.  The fish are still in shallow cruising in sight of the ladders ( and well behind too) so they'll keep you interested.  Day by day the tactic or color of choice seems to change but the trusty blacks and whites seem to be what you'll hear most guys mentioning being the dish on buggers and beetles while Mahalo Nymps and any variety of size 12 midge (primarily reds) seem to be keeping pace under indicator.  Last weekend was a bit different, there was a period between about 10 and noon when it was on fire.  There was a gent next to us who spent a solid hour catching fish on literally every cast soaking nymphs.  It was almost enough to just watch him like a TV show.

Haven't hit the river in a while but reports have been good.  I did notice from the USGS flow charts that the Truckee River dipped down to 46 CFS (At Reno Marker) at 11:30 this past Friday (4/17) which is a number I've not seen on the Truckee as long as I've been paying attention and according to the USGS page, may actually be the lowest in that gauges history.  Hard to believe that because I seem to remember a period back in the 80s where the river was damn near dry over by Galletti way.  I could be wrong though, it probably wasn't the 80s even, my memory sucks and I was young. 

Regardless, the river is back up to about 140CFS now and fished good for the kids on sunday evening, though we were only targeting largemouth bass in slow back water east of town.  I think this summer we'll all have to learn how to target carp with a fly.  Something I didn't think I would ever do on purpose, but after doing a little reading sounds fun.  Might even have to use a bow to do it once or twice.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pyramid Lake - February 22nd 2015

This past weekend out at Pyramid was the type of outing that you hear about all time but folks often avoid because of the wind.  Most of the avid Pyramid guys know that when the weather sucks, there is a good chance the lake has some good things in store for those willing to brave it.  Crappy weather at Pyramid is like Antelope hunting, you don't have to wake up at 3am and get in place before the sun comes up and you can find what your looking for all day long.

We didn't get on the water til about 10 am, starting at Pelican just to try a beach that I rarely hit while the others hit the South Nets beach.  The wind was already blowing and the bay at Pelican had a muddy water line out to about a hundred feet off shore.  The bay it self was relatively calm so I paddled my pontoon out to the northern point and hit the rough water.  Stripping a chub pattern trailing a white beetle produced a nice 6lb native Summit cutt on the first pass but text messages from Brandon and Steve at South Nets had me itching to move.  An hour of no more action sent me on the move to join the guys. 

The report from the Nets had only about 20 guys fishing but everyone seemed to be hooking up with plenty of big fish being caught and released.  Brandon pulled in a nice 31 inch cutt and we actually managed to get some decent pics of it.  Through out the remainder of the day til sun-down I was frustratingly skunked on the pontoon while gents casting from ladders seemed to be catching fish at a good clip all day.  Most of them looked to be stripping buggers and beetles.  The water was extremely rough, to the point that I almost thought better of being out there but I've got a life jacket, a safety line tied to the pontoon and I'm only a few yards from the shelf.
The guys on ladders looked to have it way worse.  While I was enjoying the roller coaster ride on the pontoon, they had to brave continual Pyramid Lake water boarding and winds from the east blowing directly in their face.

At the end of the day, a fella hooked up and braved the 75 yard walk through the horrendous breakers back to the shore line to land a monster.  From my vantage, I'd guess that pig weighed in at 20+ and like all good boys and girls he let er go for one us to catch another day.  In trying to get close enough to see but still avoid the breakers I hooked up with a good tugger and had to do a SEAL beach insertion to get back to shore and land the thing.  All told the fish might have tipped the scales at 5lbs but the pontoon surfing fish fight experience was the real trophy.   That fish also highlighted the draw backs of fishing from the pontoon.  When fish are in shallow, the ladder guys get all the love while you watch from a distance wishing you were an asshole willing to drift closer to shore and fish the same water.

When the sun went down, it was a day well worth spending out at the lake, regardless of the wind chapped face and wave motion that lingered 45 minutes after getting off the water.  If you too would like the confidence of fishing the big water when the wind blows, visit your local Marine Corps recruiter, or go buy your self a pair of camo pants, a paint ball gun and start watching prepper reality
TV.  A word of caution though, the latter option will not actually make you any safer but you'll think so and that's probably worth something!  Semper Fi.

Looking to this weekend, another system is slated to start blowing through on Friday the 27th lingering through the weekend.  If had the free time, I'd try to be on the water this evening, tomorrow and Saturday.  Sunday will likely be the back-side of the low but that's the day I'll be able to make it out so with any luck, the system will blow through quickly, or slowly putting Sunday in the midst of the low pressure or on the safe side of the backend.  Another system is in line for early next week as well.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pyramid Lake - President's Day Weekend - February 2015

If you were looking for a day of amazing weather and a record flat Pyramid Lake, this was the weekend to be on the water.  On Saturday I went out solo to hit the North Nets again and dropped by the census station to see if they had any good reports. Generally speaking, no one was reporting a whole lot of activity on any of the beaches aside from one report that did have a hell of an active morning coming from South Nets but they were the only ones who kicked any sort ass according to the census.  I ignored the report and carried on to North Nets because that's where my brain wanted to go.  I was on the water in my pontoon at about 1:30 and man, it was flat.  I didn't feel a breath of wind until about 6 when I was getting off the water and temps were starting to cool off.  

Neither myself nor anyone that I could see was doing any good until about an hour before dark at 5pm-ish.  Between 5 and 5:30 I hooked up once and I noticed two other heads stripping buggers from ladders haul one in and very little activity beyond that.  The moon phase is right but the weather is just too nice to provide wide-spread success.  While the bite was slow, my fish at 5:30 hit the tape at about 29 inches making it my first (probable) 10 pounder out of pyramid after 30 years of casting.  It was a terrific way to end the day.  The cell phone pics I took out in the pontoon only haunt me because they are so bad, blurry and make me wonder if I miss measured the length so I won't even post em! It was a heavy fish though and one I'll never forget even though the fight was pretty wimpy - but 11 lb test tippet on an 8wt fast action rod does tend to tame the beast a bit.

Over to Sunday, a couple of buddies fished the South Nets and had an 8 fish morning while another group of buddies fished Indian Head Saturday night and Sunday morning resulting in a one fish trip.


1. Don't go to South Nets, I'll be there holdin it down for you this coming Sunday.  Instead, go to North Nets and make sure the bite still sucks.  Take one for the team.
2. Early, late, don't get your hopes up but the fish may smile yet upon you.  Mid-day, take a nap.
3. My sample size wasn't huge but 100% of the fish I caught late in the day dragging big marabou streamers on the bottom were 10 pounders.  All one of em.
4. Again, sample size not factored, 100% of the fish caught were not on the standard midnight cowboy trailing a beetle but on size 4 chub pattern streamers employing a healthy serving of marabou and bunny strips as seen here.  I also kept with the spinner blade addition mentioned in our post from last week.
5.  I didn't mention it in the body of the post, but I did see a couple of random cruisers in about 10 feet of water mid day and one of them was the largest non-mammal sea creature I have ever seen in the wild.  The mid-day cruisers were probably a sign of the random nature of the feeding pattern throughout the course of the weekend.  Fish are in and out all day long but the more reliable activity is early and late in the day.

As a final note, I paid a visit to the Truckee River near Spice Island on Sunday afternoon just to check conditions.   At the time, the water was still a bit off color but flows returning to the pre-flush levels.  Reno marker showing 390 CFS as of the time of this writing.   Check the Flows Page for current conditions.   Stained, higher flows are great conditions for swinging streamers through current.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Pyramid Lake - Sunday February 8th 2015

Seeing as the river was blown out, and I was feeling like a good float I followed Thomas' lead and hit Pyramid Lake yesterday.  Lots of local reports indicating the late bite is as good as if not better than the early bite, so I elected to spare my sleep and end the day on the water.  I pulled up to North Nets beach at about 2pm and it was hip to hip like an ocean pier.  As I drove up the beach to the north end there was a point where the guys on ladders where almost doing the wave, setting hooks as I drove by, had to be a good sign. I parked at the end of the line and got my self rigged up on the pontoon.   Getting set up was uncommonly anxious, one fella hauled in a good 10lb cutt and a handful of other guys pulled in fish too.

I was trying something new on Sunday, pulling a page from the Pacific salmon folks who you'll see on TV fishing a fly rod but using heavy trolling tackle.  I had it scaled down a bit to the standard bugger lead trailing a beetle but above the bugger I added a couple beads, clevis with willow leaf spinner blade and then a couple more beads.   Being on the toon boat I wasn't worried about trying to cast the added weight but after fishing it all day, casting the rig wasn't overly unwieldy.  Add some wind and I might sing a different tune thought.

The rig's trial run started out silly, pulling the first fish in as I was stripping my line out.  I hadn't even eclipsed the line of ladders with my stack.   A float to the south end and back over the course of an hour didn't produce any more action so I went to the north point of the beach where there wasn't anyone fishing so I could get in some shallower water and not piss off anyone stuck on a ladder.  Floating parallel to the beach in a water that would be reachable by ladder was the ticket, boating two more fish, losing another and few strikes that didn't hook up.

By 6pm it was past legal light so I headed back to the beach and drove home.  The rain was so torrential it was a tough drive, literally terrifying.  It rained the whole time on the water too with perfect wind, couldn't ask for better Pyramid Lake fishing weather.

Key points:
  • I don't know if the spinner blade rig vastly improved the activity but it certainly didn't hurt and casting it from a ladder wouldn't likely be the hardest thing you'll do.  After all, your already standing on a ladder in four feet of water whipping a stack of hooks around your head, just add a toaster and it'll make the dangerous jobs list.
  • Big fish were getting caught, I was just hooking up with the average broads a-plenty.
  • The afternoon bite and extra sleep were worth the wait.  The weather was perfect for fishing at Pyramid, bad for sun bathing or being warm.  I'd take the fishing weather any day though.
  • The river peaked at about 2000CFS earlier today, suffice to say there will be a lot of extra food in there but the fishing will be tough for a minute.  All of that water was after they cut the flows out of Boca so pat yourself on the back , Pacific Ocean, you may have saved the Truckee River from turning in to a cobblestone walking path this summer.  Forecasts are calling for temps around 60 with little to no wind so the morning / afternoon sessions out at Pyramid may be your best bet until the chocolate fondue that is the Truckee River returns to water mode.  

Pyramid - February 7, 2015

I've been out a few times this year, but haven't had the heart to post. My first 2 trips to Pyramid before Christmas produced more frustration than fish, and forced me to break down and upgrade my rod to a more sturdy 8 weight from the 6 weight I had been fishing for years. 3 fish broke me off in one day, and I said "screw it, it's time for new gear." Lucky for me, Cabelas had some great deals after Christmas (although stock was limited), so I picked up one of their Stowaway rods in the 6 piece variety. It's a very fast action rod, and stiff due to the 6 piece construction, which is perfect for me. If you're into a rod with a bit more wiggle, I wouldn't suggest it, but having a rod like this in windy conditions is fantastic!

My buddy and I got out to the lake around 7 am and the winds were "variable" but definitely not light. I managed to wing myself a couple of times, and broke a few flies off due to the wind playing havoc with my line, but once I got the swing of things, it got better. Any time you're shooting line to the backing in windy conditions is a good day at Pyramid.

We hit Wino the whole morning, and the beach was a bit busy. A lot of fly throwers on ladders, and fish were being caught by many of them. I had a few hits before 10:30, throwing a Ghost White Loco Beetle with a Midnight Cowboy trailing. The first fish I hooked must not have set well because he fought me for a minute and spit my flies out. I didn't get a good look at him, but he put up a decent fight which surprised me with the cold water. After 10:30 the wind really picked up, which actually increased the fish activity. I had a few more hits before I finally landed a decent fish on my new rod. I made sure to set the hook really well this time around.

All in all, only one fish to hand, but still a great day on the lake. White seems to be a pretty hot color right now, and the loco beetle as your lead fly seems to be great technique. Medium to fast retrieves with a lot of jerky motion on the flies also seems to be driving the fish crazy. I had a couple of fish follow my flies up past the drop-off and take one look at me and bolt.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

She's a Hot Mess

Last I checked the river was up about 330cfs, topping out around the 550 mark up at the Reno marker.  Down here in sparks the river is chocolate milk!  Some of the most gratifying fish I've caught have come out of similar conditions but thats because the bite is so damn tough.  The gents over at Reno Fly put out a news letter yesterday confirming good activity out at Pyramid particularly in the afternoon's.  I think we'll go check er out.

Monday, February 2, 2015

East Truckee River - Saturday January 31st

We had Super Bowl Sunday plans this weekend so made our trip out to the Truckee river east of town on Saturday.  We got on the water at about 11:30.  Up to that point and continuing on to this moment, the river has been steady right around 200CFS at the Reno marker.  Most of the action came in the first 30 minutes of the day with Brandon edging the success in his favor on a 22in Brown.  We didn't get a tape or a picture so, we're at liberty to say he might have been 15lbs, we'll just never know for sure.  Back in reality land, I was fortunate enough to pull a nice 16-17 inch bow in and snap off some proof for the fish porn at the bottom of the post.

Later in the day there was some isolated top water activity.  The activity was limited to about one fish in any given section of the river but that one fish was steadily feeding on the surface.  Since BWOs were the prevailing hatch (and pretty legit) I threw some BWO dries and only managed to miss a few takes.  Missing top water fish during the winter time is enough to put a smile on your face, irrespective of how not-wintery it may be right now.

Key take-aways from the afternoon
  • With the weather pattern holding so steady lately on higher day-time temps, the bite seems to be best earlier and later in the day.  It's not the extreme like you'll see in the summer but the activity was noticeably better before noon, and then again around 3pm. 
  • BWO nymphs down on the bottom in slow(er) water were the primary producer around size 16 to 18.  Two weeks in a row I've pulled in fish on that flashy BWO pattern so I'll have to give er a name and post some tying instructions in our flies section.   
  • The fish have seemingly moved in to some (comparatively) quicker water but can still be found in the slow stuff.
  • Surface feeding was far more noticeable this weekend and the BWOs were out in force from about 12:30 to 3pm.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

East Truckee River - Sunday January 25th

Continuing on with our East Truckee River push we headed back out on Sunday afternoon for what would be a comedy of errors.  I arrived solo at the river banks around 11:30.  Windless, midges on the surface, water clarity about perfect.  Reached in to my fly pack and shit, I left my god damn nymph box at home.  Oh well, I bring three rods when I go out and my streamer rig is still tied up from last week.  Should I retie?  Nah, just feed the addiction and get your line in the water.   SHIT, where did my fly go??  Musta cast the damn thing off, should have retied.  Oh ya, I put all of my streamers in the Pyramid fly box I'm building so I only have a few garbage streamers left in my river streamer box.  Well, lets just reboot this day and go get our nymph box.  Drove back to the house and grabbed my box and my buddy Garret who's just getting in to fly fishing.  Back on the water at 1:30, where f*ck did this gale force wind come from?  Wind knot, retie, wind knot, retie, move to another section up stream, wind knot, retie, pull out hair.  Deep breath, settle down, god damn, its already 4:30?  I really wasted this day.

I left a lot out but the point looks pretty well illustrated.  It was just one of those days.  After I pulled my head out of my ass I walked upstream a bit to a little tailout that was a good spot prior to the river repair project and found that it had been improved.  One cast right into the riffle sent the indicator into the vanishing act, hook set, fish on.  I didn't land ol' boy but it was enough to get my fix.  I'd estimate him (looked like a male) at about 14" and he was nice and healthy.  He did a series of breach water acrobatics with mouth wide-open, it was a kick.  I was fishing a golden stone as my top anchor fly trailing a custom flashy BWO emerger pattern I tied up about a year ago. I could see my stone fly so suffice to say he'd taken the BWO.  I'll get the fly posted to our flies page tonight with a materials list and instructions.

At the end of the day, that one hook up was the only action we had aside from one indicator bounce that seemed way to ferocious to be a snag but it didn't result in a hook up.  keeping slack limited on the mend was a tough act with that wind yesterday.
As an honorable mention, the flows on the river @ the Reno Marker appear have been bumped up from around 200CFS to 220-230 on Friday (Jan 23rd) around mid-day.  As mentioned above, no residual impact to water clarity but fluctuating flows do have an effect on the bite, good and bad depending on the case you're dealing with.  Here is a link to another blog that cover's the topic in a bit more detail.  -

Key take aways from the outing:
  • Don't be a fool, check your tools - before you leave.  I've been fly fishing for 22 years and forget something every single time.  This time it wasn't the sun flower seeds.
  • We were too busy playing dumb-ass to make good use of our time.  The limited success we had came at 5pm, in faster water than we've been fishing for the last couple of weeks.  It wasn't a drastic change in water speed and our sample size was too small to give any real certainty to the idea that fish might be moving up from the frog water in to the riffle but hey, keep it in mind as a possibility.  The water was still cold as a witches tit, that's for sure.
  • BWO patterns are still working and the flies them selves are certainly still hatching around 1-2PM, present on the water surface til dusk.   That's two weeks in a row with fish caught after 4pm.
  • Regardless of the pace of the water you're fishing get the flies low, the fish still appear to be focused on the lower portion of the water column.


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.