Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Plumas National Forest Road Trip

My fishing partner Tony and I took a whirlwind road trip to the Feather River and Lake Davis area of Plumas county, CA. We started out after work Friday evening and drove it like we stole it all the way to Portola. Now, under normal circumstances this probably wouldn't be a long drive however, I live in a somewhat rural area where you have to take mountain passes to go just about anywhere. Concentrating on the road all of the time is the key to survival here unlike the average superhighway where you have 4 or 5 lanes of "wiggle room" before crashing and becoming "bug juice". Needless to say, I never take where I'm going for granted but I can do without the aching backside once I'm there!
Finally...Base Camp at Lake Davis

We camped at Lake Davis as we arrived late mainly because we just didn't want to deal with finding a spot to setup in the forest in the dark. The lake was so quiet with little sign of life stirring about so we decided to make a little noise of our own with setting up tents and cooking burgers at 10:00 PM. Of course, let's not forget the celebratory few too many beers ritual leading up to the surprise bottle of Bulleit bourbon and fine cigars that Tony had procured for such a fine occasion as this. We then proceeded to 'belly-up to the bar' by sipping on some fine whiskey whilst puffing on handmade maduro cigars that Hemingway would have been proud of -Thank you Tony.
Well... if you're twisting my arm
(Note: this pic is a simulation of what actually took place.
The body has been changed to protect the innocent.
AKA: couldn't find the the camera)

Cookin chili beans in the can... man o' man!

Ah?..are those Channel Lock Corn Tongs ?

wipe that chili corn eatin grin off your face!
Ah...this and fly fishing is truly what life is about my friends. The celebration of watching "campers TV" and sipping libations went on well into the night (or maybe it was morning?). 

When I awoke I knew it was going to be a GREAT DAY! Obviously,  the first thing on the agenda was coffee!  Tony was still slumbering so I proceeded to make a campfire to boil water for coffee and find my aspirin! After a few cups I was right as rain again. 
Natures Bounty
Mighty Fine Eats
Old cattle Ranch near Clover Valley Plumas NF
We spent the next day scouting around as Tony drew a special archery only tag for deer hunting in the area so we drove and hiked around doing a little pre-season looking for 'sign'.
A little paint and it will be just like new

After reviewing at least 1/3 of the area (and no sign) we decided to drive back to camp and get ready for an evening fish hunt this time stalking the elusive rainbow trout in Grizzly Creek. Grizzly Creek in one of the tributaries that feeds into Lake Davis and does (from what I'm told) hold some pretty nice trout. We tried our best shaking sticks at the fish by throwing all types of furry fodder we had in our fly boxes but could only come up with a few hits. Now... I know were not the best fisher-dudes but come on WTF? (aka Where's The Fish). We didn't catch any lunkers but it sure was a pretty place.
Grizzly Creek
Grizz creek 2
Trying not to spook the fish
A23 Bridge Middle Fork Feather River
Next morning we broke camp and hit the Feather River from the A23 bridge down to Blairsden. The sun was starting to bake and the river was pretty low. I forgot the thermometer but the river temp seemed borderline. We tried to locate some good pocket water but access was difficult on that stretch as there are numerous private areas. We did talk to a sheep herder coming out of the National Forest gate near the A23 bridge and he told us that he sees lots of guys bow fish for carp in the area. "Huh?...carp?" really? We did see one brown trout rolling and again tried to figure out what they wanted but came up with a big fat '0'
Feather River at Blairsden

Scouting on the Feather (Middle Fork)

We spoke to a guy at the local gas station in Blairsden and he told us of a few other spots down river however we weren't going home that way and decided to save those for the next trip in a few weeks.

Off to the South Yuba river! I've really never fished it so I thought "what the heck, couldn't be any worse that what we've been doing lately". We pulled off the road near the upper South Yuba below Donner and there were trout in the pools under the bridge but so were other fly fisherman! Argh!, foiled again! The South Yuba was very low and access once again was either stopped by private property or too many swimmers. Needless to say, we were very disappointed. Homeward bound and tired from the drive we made one last feeble attempt to save face and take highway 20 down to the little town of Washington where the North fork of the Yuba runs through town. I've never been there and the road down the canyon was steep and windy! That sucked! The town is an old mining town albeit a couple of blocks long but very neat to see. The river was CROWDED with swimmers all over.

So like old tired dogs we continued back home only to unpack the truck in 100 degree weather after a full day of driving on snake-like mountain roads. Pretty darn tired and fishing was a bust but we learned a few places to go back to and a few never to go back to. Life is all about learning and for me every trip is an opportunity to explore new places and things. Thanks to Tony for a GREAT trip! I couldn't think of anyone else I'd want to share my Outdoor experiences with and a big Thank you! to my lovely partner in life Judy for giving me the opportunity to take such trips.  ~ TD
Here's to another fine trip!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Back on the North Yuba!

Well...time has come once again to try my luck on the Yuba river. Since I fish by myself most of the time, it's bittersweet when the fishing's good. Great fishing days are best shared with "like-minded" fly fishing aficionado's. It's hard to plan trips with your fishing friends when they have previously planned obligations or are far away. With that said, I still had a great time as I was able to 'wrangle -up' some nice fish in the 15 to 19 inch class. Flows were pretty fast but the level was fairly low for the end of June. I tried my hand at nymph/indicator fishing using bedheads but most of the rainbows succumbed to dry flies fished wet like Pale Morning Duns, etc.

The Yuba is my home river and I am drawn to it like a moth is to a camping lantern. I can't seem to get enough of spending my time on that river gazing at the splendor of the Sierra Nevada mountians and being in "the zone" as I tie on another pattern to try. Looking across the river at the undercut bank I see trout feeding in the early morning shadows. Even with no hatch on the water I cast a dry fly right in front of him using my Z-Axis rod (which is more precise than I'll ever be). The fly starts to sink right in front of him and BAM!, FISH ON! This buck took nearly a half hour to bring in and I was a grinnin from ear to ear! "Is this just a dream?" I said to myself . No...it's real, I paused to take a pic and to give thanks for the opportunity then I put him back to be one with the river again.

I think most fly fishermen and women would agree there's few things that are finer than being in the mountains catching a 20 inch trout in the early morning light on a 3 or 4 weight rod. That's pretty hard to beat in my book. Sure, there are many other great places to fly fish for all different species like permit, bonefish, steelhead, salmon, etc.... But these mountain waters are my home and will always hold a special place in my heart.-- Tight Lines!~TD
Where's the Beef!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Brothers re-group on the Mokelumne

Good to be back in the mountains. Even better when your visiting family. Time to "tie one on" at the Mokelumne river. The bro's do some real fancy tying and hit the river full force. Too bad the water level was a little higher than normal and we couldn't really get our "game on". Nonetheless, we hit it hard with 2 through 4 wt punishers which made the ol' school lunkers very nervous. In the end, we had to settle for beers and BBQ  Ah... such devastation! I'm so shattered...  we'll need to do that again and soon!  

Custom rod builder and excellent fly tyer Robert Kull fishing with a nymph rig

Professional fly fisherman and superb tyer MF Kull Jr. and Buddy lookin dapper as always

The upper 'Moke'

The Mokelumne River

Friday, December 30, 2011

Tools of the Trade

Saving my pennies towards the purchase of a Hyde Drift boat. Don't know if it will come to fruition but you never know until you try. All help is greatly appreciated! Hyde boats: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LR--D43oO0

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lil Truckee

Had to stop by the Little Truckee on the way home from a hunting trip. What a beautiful place. We only fished for about an hour didn't catch any but we'll be back!

North Fork Yuba River

The North Fork offers some good action on dries when the hatch is on. The bows can go from pan sized to half pounders if you know where to find them. One of my favorite freestone rivers.

Working on the Spey cast

Tony on the Lower Yuba working on his snap T technique

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lower Yuba River

Went to the Lower Yuba recently and must have walked up and down the river for 5 miles in search of the elusive steelies with the new switch rod. Got one on a Rubber legged bugger but he snagged me on a downed tree limb and got off! It was nice to get out and practice my snap T cast anyway. Man, those rocks kill your ankles.