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.