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!

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