California fly fishing

Catalina Fly Fishing Video - Ken Hanley

Check out this cool video by Ken Hanley on fly fishing off Catalina Island near Los Angeles California. Click on the link to view.

Total Eclipse of the Truckee

Fished the Truckee last Sunday & Monday. Sunday was the annular eclipse visible from that area. I guess it was an excuse for people to stand in the middle of the street and use three pairs of sunglasses to stare at the sun (because we all know that totally protects your eyes. Morons.) making me drive around them.

Anyway, the Truckee fished pretty well. All nymphs and streamers for me. Though I saw a few March Browns, BWO's and caddis around it wasn't enough to get excited about. I hooked a lot of fish on olive crawdads, brown rubberlegs stones, CDC soft hackle mayflies and caddis pupae. My landing success wasn't the best but I'll blame it on the high, swift flows and hard fighting fish. Because we all know I'm an expert fly angler, um, yeeeeaaaah, or total idiot...

Anyway, they started releasing water out of Boca so the lower river is a little colored and high but I still managed to hook some nice fish down there and the Glenshire stretch was great too with more manageable flows. I fished the Little Truckee for a few hours on Monday morning and got roughed up. Don't know what was up but I went back to the big river and started wailing again. All in all a great trip.

Evidence of a good time below. The fish in the third photo was so fat and soft it looks like I'm squeezing the life out of her but her fatness is just actually engulfing my hand.


Brownlining - Fly fishing in Urban Napa for Striper

Monday marked my first California brownlining experience. I fished the Napa River with Mike and his boy Joshua, who kept us entertained the whole time.

For those unfamiliar with brownlining let me explain. Normally when you're pouring over maps trying to figure out how to access a stream you're following the little blue lines on said map. And likely that river is fairly blue. Brownlining however is just what is says. Rivers whose lines run brown instead of blue. Usually running through an urban area visibility is limited to a foot or two. Mud, industrial pollutants, lawn chemicals, golf course runoff are all responsible for this. Tires, empty Thunderbird bottles, hazardous waste containers, broken washing machines, the ubiquitous plastic bag and crazy hobos yelling about their favorite Harry Potter character are standard sights. Many fly anglers look at brownlining with the utmost contempt since Carp are often the target in such fisheries since trout are a little too fragile. And the resilient striper in the Napa. That's good for them. Let them battle each other for a 50' stretch of water on Hat Creek. Carp and stripers are just like dragging in a boot after they're hooked anyway. Oh, wait...

Anyway, on this trip we rowed our pontoons around downtown Napa trolling and casting and stripping in the holes. We hooked a few small fish on the rising tides but later as we began to cruise back down river with the outgoing we started whackin' 'em pretty good on chartreuse/white and olive/white clousers. Nothing too big but we definitely hooked some fish that corked an 8-weight pretty good. All in all a great day brownlining as evidenced by the photos below.


My buddy Chuck, actually my protege who took over my position at Creekside Angling Co. in Seattle when I moved down here, sent me this fly and I have to say my heart skipped a beat as soon as it fell out of the package. I got a little light headed at the thought of getting a sharp tug in the midst of crashing waves on the CA coast. Makes me shudder now, writing about it.

He actually grew up in the Bay Area and is very familiar with the striper game. And I'm amped to strap this sucker on and not get it stuck in my scalp as I try to launch it with a 10 weight (I hope it won't fold the rod like a cheap suitcase). After all stripers like big meals and I'd like to oblige them. Chomp!


Truckee River Part Deux

Ok, second posting attempt...

In keeping with the Truckee theme, I fished it and the Little Truckee the last two days. The weather was perfect and fishing was good. Saw some small, dark stones, caddis and BWO's but everything was under a bobber with a load of lead.

The water was in great shape (about 500cfs at Boca Bridge) though with the weather now the graphs are on a sharp incline. The dam released water on the Little Truckee yesterday morning while I was on the water. It got dirty and fishing was no bueno after that. Good thing the main river was still in good shape. Though I didn't land either of the two jumbo pigs I hooked I popped some really nice fish. It was a great time. Here's some Sierra love.


PS-Ignore the blurry spot on some of the photos. My camera is trying to die. So much for water/shock proof.

New Drake Mag

Yo yo, check out the latest issue of The Drake, Spring '12. It just hit your local fly shop this week. Editor Tom Bie and friends put out the best fly fishing magazine in the business. Hands down.

I even have a short piece in this one involving vampires and steelhead.

Keep it real. Go angle.


Gettin' the Boot

So I caught a boot on Thursday. Seriously, a boot. A giant hip boot. It felt like I was in a Loony Toons cartoon. I drug it out of Putah Creek on 5x with a #20 Zebra Midge. It had obviously been there a while judging from the cased caddis that had made their homes on it. It tricked me for a second too. When I set the hook it moved just a bit, like a super jumbo trout that didn't really know it was hooked. Yeah. But I quickly realized it was a poor fighter. Here's my catch.

Anyway, I did actually hook a few trout. Nothing terribly large today, from what I could tell but a couple encounters were very brief. The water was up and a really kind of clearish-green that made me wish steelhead still ran up there. The graph said it was running about 175cfs but I'd guess more like 250-ish? Still wadable but pushy. So yeah, go capture your own. Maybe we'll host a boot catching contest soon. Like send in your best boot (or rock) photos and we'll pick a winner. Yeah, so...


At the Vise

A couple of flies I tied today while praying for rain so I can go fish the Russian and capture some chrome.

Tube FlyTube FlySpey FlySpey Fly

Putah Report

Fished Putah yesterday with Mike. Though the fishing was sub par, it was a fun and pretty day. The Man cut the flows Tuesday night from 120-ish cfs to 67cfs. Not fun if you live in the water. So I think it kinda freaked out the fish a bit and maybe put them off. Or I can just fess up and admit I'm just a sissy and couldn't figure out what the fish really wanted yesterday.

Either way we did manage to hook a land a couple of pretty fish. And of course I didn't bring a camera, which usually means one of us would've roped a super tanker. But alas... We saw some jumbos for sure, like fish over 20", but they were either obviously post spawn or mega spooky.

Can't complain though, a pretty day in a pretty place with good friends. What more do you want? Oh, uh-huh, consistent water flow you say? Is that really too much to ask? No, but I'd like to own Hot Creek Ranch too. I mean, it could happen buuuut not too likely.

Stan the Man

I had the chance to fish the Lower Stanislaus a couple days ago and thought I'd file a report. The gauge it Ripon read about 550cfs, pretty typical for February I believe and I fished mostly up around the dam.

First of all, it was 70 degrees. It felt like summer, in a weird way like I've spent so many summer days fishing tailwaters or small mountain streams hiking and sweating, slathered in sunscreen. But it's not summer, it's freaking February! So yeah, it was kind of surreal for a Northwest kid. Anyway, I hooked a few fish in the am on top with #18-20 Parachute Adams and midge patterns. I found a big foam swirl with a pod of fish going off. Problem was it was across 500+ cfs of deep, fast water with little backcast room and little line control. So lengthy, wild casting ensued. But I managed to hook a few bows in the 12" range.

Later I lost a gagger after it ran me under a log and down a riffle, hooked on a tiny Zebra Midge on 5x. It was pretty awesome though, sight casting to a fish that big, watching him swim up and chomp down.

The rest of the fish I hooked were on small mayflies and midges. They didn't seem to want the worm at all but maybe it just wasn't a wormy day. I ran into a guy that asked me, "what size hooks" I was using. It was kind of comical but he was nice enough. Anyway, long story short, I hooked probably a dozen fish in t shirt weather in February on a pretty canyon stream. Does it get any better? I doubt it.

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