Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Reports, AFFTA, and new year so far.

So, it has been a busy new year so far … even though we are only 14 days in. Lots of travel, guiding, fishing, tying, and planning…2019 is going to be a big year I can feel it already.

As reports go it seems I am writing this the day of a big storm that will last through this weekend. Forecast for Northern California is rain from tonight through Friday and while who knows how much that will be we need it and the rivers and lakes will change as a result.

Lower Yuba River – Spent Saturday guiding the lower yuba river. Flows were around 1100cfs, Deer Creek had dropped below 100cfs and clarity as we fished down the river went from about 2-3feet to gin clear … so river is clearing if not cleared from the last big bush of water down deer creek. We spent the whole day getting out and swinging flies on “trout spey” rods and my FAVORITE switch rod the 11’ 4wt glass Echo Rod. I have yet to get any of the new “Trout Spey” rods from echo but I am sure they will be solid as well. Also looking at getting one of the T3h 4wts or L2h 5wts for winter swung fly season on the Yuba and spring steelhead season on the Feather.

Most fish on the Yuba came on spun egg yarn head - olive over white streamers about 2” long swung on heavy sinking leaders in the more off color water and then switch it up to patterns with out the egg yarn head. I am sure a stonefly nymph or something in that vein would work as well as while my client was fishing I was turning over rocks and found a TON of stonefly nymphs under most of the rocks. Most were about 1.5” long and lighter in color more of a golden stone color but I am sure they are skwalas heading towards the banks.

Other hatches were BWO/Baetis and some larger dark orange mayflies in a size 14-16. Most of the baetis were in the 18 range and really only a few fish were up on the surface eating mays. I actually saw only a few fish up on the surface eating – much fewer then that last few times I was out on the river.

With the rain coming I am sure Deer Creek will blow out again muddying up and adding flow to the river but the good news is so far with all the rain storms we have had the flow out of englebright has not changed so the lake and up stream reservoirs are not full yet. So as Deer Creek may come up I am sure it will drop pretty quick and the river will clear quickly.

Swinging on the Yuba

Lower Sac Striper fishing has been realistic the last few days…River is in good enough shape to fish though clarity and water temps are an issue. Adjust flies and types of flies with clarity, fish slow, and there are big fish to be caught. I have not gotten out between that last two storms but may get out after the next one. Air temps are really cold as well so fishing during the warmest part of the day is a must. Jan and February we can start to see some unseasonably warm days – especially in Feb – and this can really get the fish going.

Lake Oroville Spotted Bass Fishing – Recent rains has really gotten the tributaries going and with inflowing water the spots really move to these influxes. Water temps are now down into the winter temps area and fish will be slowing way down, making the Float and Fly method the best. Float and fly fishing through Apirl can be deadly on our foothill lakes and we get some true world record spotted bass on our foothill bass lakes. As we reach the months of Jan-March when many of our reservoirs fill and our rivers blow out these foothill bass lakes fish great with a fly rod.

Feather River through town – The feather river through the town of Oroville above the highway 70 bridge opened up Jan 1 and from what I hear is fishing really well. The fall steelhead run on the feather was as good as we have seen and the upper stretches above the highway 20 bridge seem to be pretty full with fish. Good friends have been getting out and hooking multiple fish each session. Beads, caddis pupa, and mayfly nymphs have been best. March will be here before we know it and Spring Swing time will be here so do not fret.

AFFTA Board Meeting – If you don’t know yet I decided to run this fall for the AFFTA (American Fly Fishing Trade Association) board of directors. This is the trade association for the fly fishing industry and encompasses Manufacturers, Lodges, Guides, Fly Shops, Media, and Outfitters. It is one of those things that I was apprehensive about as it requires travel each quarter to a board meeting some where in the continental US and work between board meetings on Committees….that said it was something that I always wanted to do so I threw my hat in. I really had no thought that I would win as I was running against like 15 other people for 6-7 board seats. Well I won…I wanted to win but I tempered my expectations and knew that it was a national election among a whole lot of people who don’t know me or what I am about.

Well this last week was our Q1 board meeting and the first part of our strategic planning for the coming 5 years. I will be on the board for a 3 year term so it was really cool to come in when policy and agenda is being set for the future of the organization. It was a pretty humbling experience sitting at the table for 3 days with some of the most influential and smartest people in the fly fishing industry. Makes me realize that while I know my little bubble there is so much more out there going on and that the industry (like the world in general) is MUCH bigger then my little area.

I think it is going to an amazing opportunity and learning experience over the next 3 years professionally and personally as I serve on the board and give back to the industry. I am amazed at how few of the shops and guides in my area are members of our trade organization so first and foremost my goal is to spread what the organization offers and can provide for our local shops and guides.

Music – Been listening a lot of pod cast and tunes lately…The new barbless podcast with Ryan Williams and then with Jason Cochran are both really good if you are looking for some fishing filler on a drive. Check them out here The Drake Magazine podcast is good as well…a bit shorter episodes but great short and sweet content.

Also been listening to some Comic book podcast and Youtube channels but nothing that really is a game changer. My favorite so far is Joe Ryan Comics on Youtube…but lets be really not many reading this are comic book nerds so I am going to spare you the comic book talk….I will save that conversation for my 10 year old son.

Music wise a good buddy introduced me to Marshal Mclean – Really unique sound and voice that I am digging. He has to albums on Itunes I down loaded and have been really liking. Great sound with some lap steel in the back ground and drenched reverb guitars and his voice is really unique as well. Also been listening to some of the new songs off the yet to be released Pedro the Lion album that comes out in its entirety soon.

Other News...My boys are starting up Hockey again which means Monday and Thursday nights are FULL for the Brown Clan. BUT GAME CHANGER this season...they may be on the same team! Try outs were this monday and I made my youngest try out for Pee Wees after playing Squirts for 2 seasons and My oldest is not Old enough to move up so i made a STRONG request that they are both on the same Pee Wee team which would literally mean only one game and practice a night!!!! My wife and I won't even know what to do if we are not at the rink 3 hours two times a week! 
Beckett ended with a runner up...lost by 1 goal in the final

Ended last season with the TITLE!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Some reports, News, and what is coming up....

So the christmas and new year revelrey is cleared and the drudge of the winter is feeling apon me. I am not a winter person. I get the whole coastal steelhead thing and the winter steelhead draw. Just doesnt do it for me anymore though I should go this winter at some point

I deal with winter though as I love Christmas and the whole holiday season as my kids and nieces and nephews get jacked! Plus I love being around family, cooking, and just the whole seen. Then it is over and I am left with cold, short days and blown out rivers kinda of a buzz kill as I wait for spring! That said there is a lot of good winter fishing that I get excited about...Winter is my favorite time of year to fish the Lower Yuba, There are windows to catch some truelly enormous stripers, and getting the foothill bass lakes dialed in is really fun so lots to do even though the days are cold and short.


A storm is comming this weekend! Looks like rain is forecasted for Saturday through Wednesday so that will change many things...but for now here is what I know.

Lower Yuba River: Fishing has been good. Flows are around 1000cfs but I am sure with the rain coming will increase as Deer Creek will I am sure blow out and add color and flow. That said fishing has been really good. The average size of rainbows has been solid - in the 14-16" range and for the first time in years there has been a legit winter steelhead run with multiple guides and anglers hooking into legit 25+inch winter steelhead. My clients hooked 2 last time we were out and I have seen pictures of a few anglers and guides with similar fish. Hatches have been sporadic and during the warmest part of the midday and compsrised of small mayflies with the very occasional and smaller caddis - and no Skwalas yet. Most fish are feeding on dries in the slow slack water on emergers or cripples. I have found the best success fishing a sparkle dun or parachute pattern with a unweighted dropper only about a 1' behind the parachute. Most fish are coming on the dropper. Remeber to let the rise forms of the trout tell you what stage of the insect they are focusing on and adjust fly selection accordingly.

Lower Yuba Fish

Nymphing has been catching the most fish for my clients lately. With the clear water lately going down to 5x has been critical on the smaller bugs. Most fish are coming on #16-18 Lil'Amigos and Micro Mays in Olive and Brown. A few fish were coming on egg patterns but it seemed to be only fish lower in the river and during low light conditions in faster water. With the rain and off color water all this will change I am sure so dont put away your eggs, rubbers legs, and san juan worms yet.

Lower Sacramento River Striper Fishing - Fishing has been up and down ALOT lately. A week ago fishing was pretty good but the last week fishing slowed dramaticlly and with the rain coming the river should blow out again. Water temps the last week have been in high 40s to low 50s which really slows down the fish in my opinion as well. The next full moon is Jan 21 and the week prior fishing should pick up if the river is fishable. - Spring migratory run fishing should get going in late march through May ALL depending on river conditions.

Winter Stripes

Lake Oroville Bass Fishing - Fishing has been decent to good and getting better. The rain this coming weekend/week should get all the tribs going again and that will get things going again. Fishing has been a bit stagnant without any rain but if you look and cover water you can find fish. Best fishing is still ahead of us - Jan-April is best.

Feather River Spring Steelhead - Fishing should pick up in March as downstream fall/winter fish move out and warmer weather and spring rains move fish up. This is by far the most willing run of valley fish to eat swung flies - most days I dont even bring the nymphing rods. March-mid May is best.

Open Winter Dates/Early Spring Dates
February: 11, 16,
March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
April 19, 20, 22, 25, 27

I will be opening Spring and Summer Dates soon ounce I lock down some personal trips.

I will be raising my rates in 2019 to the rates listed below. Still with home made lunches, two new boats, the best gear, hand tied flies, and over 20 years of experiance I am still one of the cheaper guides around so no complaining.

Full Day: $500
Half Day: $375
Evening Trip: $275

Other News...

Check out the You Tube Channel with a few new fly tying videos (The S&M and Lil Amigo tutorials).  Checkout last blog post for links to teh videos

Feb 22-24: Fly Fishing Show and Cast Hope After Party is coming up. More news to come

April 6: Cast Hope Fly Fishing Film Tour Stop in Nevada City, CA - more news and details to come. 


As many know I am a huge Notre Dame football fan...season ticket owner and just silly fan...I was pretty excited we made it to the Playoffs this year. I figured we had a shot to beat Clemson, but I was realistic about a team like Clemson. That said I figured it would be a touch down or field goal game...not an utter embarrasment like the game was. It was painful to watch. Now I think we matched up with Clemson we just didnt get ANY Damn breaks. The fumble on the goal line with game tied 3-3 was ours but call didnt go our way...Ians fumble, Whistle had blown the play dead so fumble was obsolete AND that touchdown right before half time are you KIDDING me 99.9% of the time there is no way that Clemson Kid makes that catch...Hat tip to him. PLUS two big play touch down come against a sub for our All American Safety who gets knocked out of the game...that is one thing we didnt match up was with Clemson is depth as when Love went down it HURT, 2 big play touchdowns hurt. Either way a 12-1 season with a play off bid is nothing to complain about! On word to baseball season and now I have to do some research and find out who these guys the Giants are signing...our BIG OFF SEASON signing are not looking good when I have to google their names and read deep about who they are. Not good Farhan Zaidi 

Monday, December 31, 2018

A Couple new fly tying videos for your enjoyment...

Here is a tutorial on how to tie the S&M Nymph for all those that have not figured this guy out yet...Also includes my rambling and theories on mayfly nymph design. 

Here is a turtorial on how to tie the Lil' Amigo .... the fly no one fishes that I came up with to replace the S&M in my own fly box cause everyone and their mother, brother, cousin, and father were fishing my old Mayfly nymph pattern .... the S&M

Saturday, December 22, 2018

As promised...every two weeks....give or take a day or 3

Fishing Reports

Spent the last week guiding. Did a few days on the inland ocean of Lake Oroville and the Lower Yuba River as always there was highs and lows…

Lower Yuba River – With the rain last weekend deer creek blew out pretty good Monday and Tuesday adding some serious color to the river on Monday. Right to the point where I would usually loose some confidence in catching fish. Keep in mind that I LOVE the Yuba off color and have confidence more so on the Yuba then any other river catching fish in some pretty off color water. Fishing was pretty good on Monday with standard off color flies…bright eggs, san juan worms, big stones and attractor dries. Flows didn’t go up to much as the dam release stayed around 850 but Deer Creek jumped up to 400 something…

By Wednesday when I was out there again it was nearly gin clear and low at 850cfs. Completely different game. We were fishing 5x size 18’s and struggling to set the hook on some pretty selective and short strikes. We scratched some fish out and even got some fish at the end of the day swinging streamers in some deeper water but it was tough. There was some sparse hatches in the flats that brought up some of standard pods of fish and we got a few to rise which is an accomplishment in it self. Most fish were eating small micro mays and S&M’s but there were a few caddis around but I couldn’t get any fish to eat a small olive pupa which is usually the secret…nothing on eggs or stoneflies.

In general I like the Yuba this time of year with some color and flow. It is hard fishing out there if it is low and clear in the winter. Looks like some rain coming in this week so hopefully that helps get some water going down the river and colors up the flow a bit.

Lake Oroville – I have spent a few days with my the family and clients out on the Lake the last few weeks. Now I know that most people don’t get to excited about fishing indicators in still water but the lake is such a unique and cool place and the fish are pretty darn fun to catch I like it. Learning and figuring out environments and their fish that are so different then anything else I have ever fished or spent time on is really cool and challenging. We have been finding good numbers of 1-3 pound fish most days and as long as the rain keeps coming and the tribs keep flowing fishing should only get better over the next few months.

Winter Striper Fishing took a pause as the river blew out last week with the rain but has come back into shape around 6500 cfs and the rain coming in looks to not be as heavy so hopefully it will hold for a few days next week to get some time out there. Fishing had been good and big water events usually mixes things up a bit and gets the bigger fish feeding. Should be a good few weeks here on the back end of the full moon.

Butte Creek – Drove over Butte Creek a few times this week and looked more then fishable and even talked to a few people that have had some luck up there. I have yet to get out on the creek. Maybe next week if I have a morning to get up early and go. May even drag the boys out there to pound the banks and get it done….or may just take a morning to myself. Usually after the first rain and blow out is prime time.

Music –

Timing is everything I think when it comes to music. I have been searching for new music to connect with the last few months. Nothing was really getting me excited or hitting home. Of course all the old greats are always nice but, I need new music and songs to connect with or I feel some what lost…A good album that I connect with last years some times in how it speaks to me. It speaks to me through out all times, situations, up downs, everything… I do realize that is a lot to ask from an album. Not sure anyone else has this experience or “thing” in their lives, but a good album inspires me, gives perspective on life, takes me away at times, and says the things I feel but can not say or didn’t even know I was feeling.  

Sometimes music finds you at the right time…I follow a ton of musicians, bands, record labels, instrument companies, and such on instagram and literally search out music. I found one guy name David Ramirez a while ago and I follow him on social media and even downloaded his album on ITunes and gave it a listen...I think I deleted it and moved on as it didn’t really click or just wasn’t for me then…I downloaded it again today just on a whim and holy cow did hit me. It literally spoke to so much of what is on my mind right now and what I have been thinking/going through. It is amazing how things go, albums find you at the right time I guess.

If you like Ryan Adams, Ryan Bingham, John Moreland and just good honest music check out David Ramierez and his new(er) album We’re Not Going Anywhere.

BEST of 2018 Also there are many many “Best of 2018” album lists coming out and while I usually just blow them off and pay little attention as to many are just lists of BS or so crazy eccentric out there that I never find anything off of them….There is ONE though that is a treasure trove of awesomeness and variety each year and that is the Bitter Southerner List of Best Southern Albums I would highly recommend checking it out…really diverse and well rounded list and always some new finds on it. I pulled 5 albums on to my Apple Music off the list to listen to just based on reading it over.

Taking the kids fishing – Been taking the boys out to the great inland ocean of Lake Oroville. If you want a report read above … and I will be honest taking an 8 and 10 year old fishing does not generate the most accurate reports so reader beware. As taking your kids fishing it really never ceases to amaze me how much the whole experience is what it is all about…We have been starting with a home made waffle and sausage breakfast and getting up early. A BIG breakfast is crucial and to be honest the only sales pitch that is going to get them up at “school wake up time” on a Saturday and rush them out the door earlier then school in the frigid December weather. It always seems to work out where we catch some fish or I hook some fish and pass off the rod to them. That said I have worked hard to make sure they struggle and I am not always there to help them or clean up their mess so to say. I let my 8 year old work on a tangle with his indicator rig this last weekend for atleast 10 minutes before I stepped in. I also made him sit down with a backlash on his bait caster a few weeks ago and un tangle it. I have never helped them to much so they know the struggle is part of the deal BUT I always make sure that the whole experience is fun…untangling sucks and not catching fish is not always fun but hot French fries, candy, and just hanging out makes it all worth it. That said I am always surprised by some of the stuff that makes it fun for them.

This last weekend we were fishing way up in one of the arms of the Lake, basically a canyon, and they started to notice there was an echo. Both boys started yelling at the canyon walls and thinking that the echo was the coolest thing in the WORLD!!!! Who doesn’t love the sound of their own voice saying fart face echoing off canyon walls. Also while up in the canyon we found a few land locked Chinook salmon that they hooked and landed but on the car ride all they talked about was the echo. Finding fun in the small things with your kids is sometimes what it is all about.