Wednesday, December 26, 2012

River > Lake

Got this guy to come back after a missed grab.  That doesn't happen on the Truckee.

Did the full Pyramid experience with my buddy Ryan.  Some guys love the Pyramid thing. He's one of them.  I get it.  That said, my first love is the Truckee, and days like this cement that in my mind.  He got a few nice fish while I got pounded on my ladder.  Click to enlarge.  If you look closely, you can see me violently shivering.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Learning & Teaching

Convinced a long time friend and avid vegetarian to come try fly-fishing.  Gary did wonderful, and was a great sport.  Gary is interesting because he used to be a strip club bouncer, and has trained in jiujitsu for a long time...but he also has a real heart for animals.  Never was I so happy to practice catch and release.
Power stance.

Dad hired Gilligan for a half-day session.  He got us into some great fish.  Gilligan is a great guide, and I highly recommend him.  He's direct but easy to be around, and pays attention to you to make sure you learn while you're out.

Been reading through Ralph Cutter's "Fish Food".  Last night, read about Stoneflies dropping out of vegetation that hangs over the water.  Decided to put into practice my "research" and on the first cast, this hefty hen grabbed my stonefly.  Thanks Ralph.

Browns are such a blast to get into, even the lil guys.

Took a friend of mine that frequents Pyramid down to the Truckee.  He was skeptical, but in the first 5 casts he got a hold of this nice rainbow on a midge.  Gotta love the winter colors.

There's many ways to spot a planter.  Worn fins and muted colors are dead give-aways.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Broken Hearted

In the neighborhood overlooking this stretch, I met an old timer that told me about a monster brown that lived down below, that he had named "Hank".  He said he'd hooked him 2 times in 10 years, and landed him briefly one time.  I laughed when he told me the name, but I quickly realized from the cadence and tone of his voice, that this story was no laughing matter for him.  I wondered how many mornings he popped down from his backyard for a date with Hank.

15 minutes after I caught this little brown, I hooked Hank.  25"+ brown with attitude.  Saw him 3 times before he spit the 2-bit hooker out of his mouth.  Lost him when he figured out where I was and headed straight for the other side of the river in fast water.  He darted from big rock to big rock and covered an insane amount of water in about 6 seconds.

I was heart-broken.  I still have chest pains when I think about it.  Some fish really do act like they have a plan in mind in the event they ever get hooked.  Hank was a planner.

Some other shots from this month:

 Par Tolles making it happen.
 Creepiest animal I have ever encountered on the river.  Some kind of fox with 3 legs.

 Swim away dude.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hook Em in the Heat

Found her in the back of big deep run that gets constant pressure.  This is one of those fish that you feel good about, not because you out-smarted the fish, but because you probably out-smarted the last 20 guys that fished that run.  I'm usually one of the 20.

Brandon Balkenbush with a beast.

Found 3 great fish stacked on top of each other.  Summer does weird things to this territorial animal.



 The G6 doesn't discriminate...she loves fish of all colors.  Both the bow and brown above are evidence.  Thanks Gilligan.
 Back to your hole with you.

 Not sure why, but I love this shot.
 Fall brownie.
 Whitefish strikes again.
 Eatin' good in the neighborhood.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Uptown Downtown

 Oliver knows when I start getting dressed properly, that it's time for what he calls "adventures".

 Little brown, lotta fun.

Skipper stone assassin.

Browns must go to some kind of boot-camp before they are allowed to swim around.  Sometimes a 10" brown feels like a 16" rainbow.

 Don't tell anyone but there are serious fish downtown.  Patented Gilligan release.

 Hit the river with Brandyn Rayda, a good guy I went to high-school with.  Was a slow day, so I snapped a few from above.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fly Like a G6

As obnoxious as it is, you have to listen to this song while reading this post.  Trust me.  Context.

After a brief family trip to the Bay Area, the trip home gave me an excuse to stop in Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee, CA.  After some tinkering around the internets this shop seems to be the only place you can get some flies I have been trying to acquire...namely some Skipper Stones and a little fella called the G6.  Would be nice if someone picked them up for distribution in town.  Both of these are crafted by the Truckee's finest guide, Mr. Matt "Gilligan" Koles

One iPhone function I have been using lately is dropping a rendezvous pin on the map and sending it to a fishing buddy.  This saves lots of obscure descriptions, like "the seventh dead-looking tree on the right" or "after the tire pile, before the abandoned shanty".  After joining up with a friend, I jumped in downstream and tried out my new flies.

After a slow start, something big and heavy took off downstream towards the casinos.  He didn't slow down at all with a little thumb drag, but in the instant it took me to look down to adjust my footing, he was gone.  After 30+ casts through the same run, I tipped my hat and blessed his children's children.  Losing a big one brings out all of my worst personality traits.   It feels like loose ends.  I hate loose ends.

After moving upstream, the wind kicked up and my dropper rig was quickly becoming more trouble than strategic.  I trimmed the G6 off, and threw the skipper alone across some fast, deep water.  Almost immediately, a nice rainbow greeted the fly at the surface, and then thrashed around a bit before spitting the hook.  After 30+ casts through the same run, he returned for a second look.  Pretty uncommon.  The moment when you see a dark shape rise from the blurry stones below the surface and follow your fly for a few yards is priceless.  I think that's where "the tug is my drug" comes from. 

After realizing I was happier to see him than he was me, I got him re-oxygenated and he took off as fast as he hit my fly the first time.  19" is my streak these days.  I may have to return to this stretch to break the streak and tie up some loose ends.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I Can't See Anything...Pack It in

Summer time means fishing early or for me, that means late. I've caught great fish at dusk, but I have a habit of hiking out too far and not turning back when it would be smart. Then I'm in the middle of the river in darkness.  One more cast, right?

 ...and going.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Set It Free

I've been starting to revisit some of my favorite holes in the Truckee since making the switch to a fly rod.  It feels like starting over in many ways, but the rewards have appeared occasionally.  Last week I returned to some deep water I was fond of. 

Two casts in, something angry ripped my beer-head baetis off the line with 2 big shakes.  I used to be able to tell the size of a fish plus or minus 2 inches from the moment I hooked up.  Not so anymore.  Learning what fish feel like on the fly rod has been one of the biggest challenges, but having recently landed a few 20"ers, I am pretty confident this guy was much bigger than that.

Then a few casts later, something lighter took me for a ride.  After a nice surfacing and plenty of swim-bys, he broke me off.

Fast forward a week.

Determined to finish our exchange, I popped back to the same run yesterday.  Despite the silty water, I managed to hook up with a fish before heading into the office.  I'm 90% sure this is the same 19" fella.  My need for closure satisfied, I left with a grin on my face.  Long live the baetis.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Frenchman's FTW

Frenchman's was insanely windy and insanely productive. We caught around 50 trout between the three of us over four hours. None of them were huge, but it was one of those days when you hardly had enough time to let your thoughts wander because there was so much action. Most of them took a blood midge or zebra midge below an indicator. Good times.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012


30 casts.
15 bites.
10 hook-ups.
6 fish.
1 new personal best.


After losing one over 20" moments before hooking this guy, I resolved to not just muscle the next one in. This new plan backfired. I ended up covering almost 250 yards in the stream (yes it was that far), after he refused to be steered or directed towards quieter water for netting.

Once I finally closed the distance, I realized that my friend had unclipped my net from my vest to assist me 20 minutes earlier. Translation:  I didn't have my net on me.  I looked over my shoulder to see him sprinting towards me up the bank, giggling with my net in hand.

21" of beautiful color.

Got skunked 3 times after this trip out, so rest assured that the Truckee keeps score.