Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Truckee River in 1867

Some old photographs from a western settler, Timothy O'Sullivan were recently discovered.  The series is breathtaking, but here is one from the batch of the Truckee:

"Sailing away: The Nettie, an expedition boat on the Truckee River, western Nevada, in 1867. This was the river that O'Sullivan almost died in and according to the magazine Harper's 'Being a swimmer of no ordinary power, he succeeded in reaching the shore... he was carried a hundred yards down the rapids...The sharp rocks...had so cut and bruised his body that he was glad to crawl into the brier tangle that fringed the river's brink.' He is also supposed to to have lost three hundred dollars worth of gold pieces during the accident too."

Read more here.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Beat the Heat

I firmly believe the fish grow accustomed to the increased traffic on the water's surface this time of year.  I've hooked heavy fish drifting nymphs ten feet just upstream of a group of tubers multiple times.  I recently heard a story about someone dropping a camera behind their raft and having multiple large browns come "kiss" the lens.  I buy it.

Once hooked, this 21" cutt-bow below took it nice and easy in the off-color water...until she spotted me and took off downstream with a vengeance.  While running her, some inflatable recreation types entered the run and actually passed over the top of the fish before she went to the net.  Slightly more stressful than I like.  Either way, the San Juan worm wasn't going anywhere.  Photo credit to my Mom visiting from OKC, who insists I was born 6 weeks early because she went on a fishing boat on Pyramid Lake.

I lost a huge gigantic monster brown recently, and after resting the run a few weeks I decided to go renegotiate.  I insist he was still there, but I connected instead with some nice fish pictured below including a nice 20"+ bow that ran me for the longest fight ever...this fish did not want to come in.

Despite a lot of advice to the contrary, I've been having a lot of success recently with a very short leader.  As in crazy short.  Sometimes you just have to try stuff out and let the results do the convincing.  Summer tricks I guess.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Trout Boot Camp

Quick evening stop with the Griffin and Velarde boys.  Despite tubers, heavy fishing traffic, splashing, and screaming at high volume, we managed to hook a few little planters for our little river warriors.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Chasing A Unicorn

Flyfisherman are gamblers.  They play the odds in hopes of pay-dirt.  They are chasing some kind of fictitious creature with all the determination they can muster.

Every time I throw my gear in the car (who am I kidding, I leave it in there all the time) I set out in hopes of that perfect evening.  It's been a while since I've had that kind of trip out.

Last week, I got a text from my buddy Brandyn to hit a stretch I have fished down, but never worked my way up.  Two hours of perfection ensued.  15 grabs, 12 fish, 8 over 17" and my first brown over 20".  Unicorn captured.

Big stone in fast water was the ticket.  Pocket water is neglected by some, but I'm a firm believer you can find what you're looking for there on occasion.  Inspired by Hank Patterson, I made sure to yell something obnoxious upstream when I hooked something decent, to let Brandyn know the weather.  Brandyn did well too.  Favorite quote of the evening:

"I'd tell you where the big fish are but you seem to be doing fine.  Thanks for catching and releasing."
-homeowner with property backing up to the river

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mine to Care For

I've had several conversations recently about the increased pressure of the Truckee.  Everyone has their take on how we got here and what should be done.  A subtle hypocrisy exists in most guys that think the river should be closed off to outsiders, because that should conveniently start after they get rolling.

Guys talk monetization (guides), immigration (bay area weekend warriors), and conservation (press those damn barbs down, son).  Their concerns are more than fair even if there proposed solutions aren't.

I don't know the answers.  I do know that a handful of guys that don't subscribe to the "Santa Cruz-esque, don't surf my break bro, or I'll slash your tires" type of attitude are the reason why I started fly fishing in the first place.  I know I would have started sooner if every fly guy I ever crossed paths with wasn't an ass.  I also know that if no one pays attention, the Truckee is destined to go the way of countless streams in the west...used, abused, and then forsaken.  My dad fished this river.  My son does now.

I've kicked around a few ideas on how to help the river's condition. 
1.  Tubing companies should do a drink count when parties put in upstream, and then request to see empty cans and bottles when the rafts are turned in, or the party is fined a small sum. 
2.  Give monetary rewards year-round to grass roots groups that bring back certain benchmarks of trash and/or targeted non-native vegetation.
3.  Steep fines for guys that hike over or fish to marked spawning redds.
4.  Stock the river away from the parks so that the juveniles have a chance to scatter before they get hammered.

My hope is that we figure out a way to embrace newcomers while educating and teaching sustainable practices.  I'm trying to do my own part by catching and releasing the hundreds of fish I've caught in the last few years and supporting organizations that are lobbying for protections where they are needed.  I grab a plastic bottle or beer can on my way out.  I head out when the water gets too warm.  These are small things that help in small ways.  The river may not be mine to keep, but it is mine to care for.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

It "Seams" Simple

In the words of the Fresh Prince, it's summertime.  The heat and thunderstorms have had the river clarity all over the map.  When the ovaltine starts flowing, I find them along the banks.  I'm out for the trifecta: a good seam (conveyor belt of food), a decent size boulder or structure (shelter) and some fast water (oxygen).  If you find these three things in one slot, you will find a fish or two.  Foam lines always gets a few drifts.  As the temps come up, proper handling is even more important.  When the water hits around 68 degrees, I call it a day.

Bugs are out in big numbers in the mornings and evenings right now.


 Lorquin's Admiral hanging out on the banks.

Cicada?  Robber fly?  Any guesses? (post a comment if you know)

Strong little bow smashed a tungsten-head 20"er stonefly.

Swim away chap.

Had a few recently take the "Ragdoll".  A new stone pattern from Jan Nemec.

Light and dark.

This 18" cutt-bow had 2 spots down his entire body.  Bizarre looking fish.

I've been taking a few friends out to show them why I love this thing called fly-fishing.  Cory got into a few planters and began to understand.  He also caught one with his bare hand against the bank.  NBD.  He was gifted a rod from his Dad too, so I think we'll hit it again together.