Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Reports, Music, College Football...the good stuff.

There seems to have finally been a respite from the triple digits in Chico, CA. Amazing how low to mid 90s feels after straight weeks of triple digits. Low 60s in the morning is down right COLD. Overall it has been a busy last month or so and fishing has been as good as I thought it would this striper season. Fall is coming though as I was on the river yesterday and it is really obvious the angle of the sun is changing late in the day and the sun is going down earlier.

Lower Sacramento Striper Report: Fishing has been good to great depending on the day and conditions. We have been getting good numbers of 3-4lb fish and on most days finding some bigger and even trophy fish. Fall (Sept-Ocotber) is a great time to be on the water as the bigger fish get pushed to the banks by salmon anglers and salmon and we get some sight fishing shots at some true giants. With good flows and plenty of water the back waters should have fish moving around very soon. On most days fishing heavy sink lines in the morning and switching up to Intm. Lines by lunch is the best program. While I am pretty much booked up for the rest of the season I have two other captains that have open dates if anyone is looking to get out.

Fall/Fishing: This fall I will spending most of my time striper fishing but by late fall I will be focusing on the Lower Yuba, Lower Sac, and Feather depending what is fishing the best. My preference is to spend Late fall and winter on Lower Yuba River as I really love fishing and guiding over there in the late fall and winter. Winter is quickly becoming my favorite season the Lower Yuba. There are hatches, nymphing, and options to swing flies on most days. Fall and Winter will book up soon so if you would like to get out here are my open dates.

Nov 4, 22
Dec 2, 9, 18, 19, 21, 22, 27-30
Jan 2-6, 13, 15, 20, 27
Feb 3, 10, 12, 19, 17,

Other News…

The Inaugural Yuba Jubilee is in the books and I must say that John Baiocchi ( , Lance Gray ( , and Lincoln Gray ( did a great job organizing and putting the event on. Next years event is already scheduled for August 4th 2018 so put it on the books if you missed this years.

Music News…Lots of good new records. I have been listening to the new Manchester Orchestra album “A Black Mile to the Surface” – It is by far the best Manchester album I think in a while. I like Simple Math and Cope but this one is better. Also been listening to the new Jason Isbell album “Nashville Sound” – To be honest I am a total Isbell homer/fan, I think this album is great but I haven’t personally connected with like I did Something More than Free. I also bought Jets to Brazil first album “Orange Ryhming Dictionary” on Itunes as I had my CD copy stole a long time ago…I forgot how good that band was. If you don’t know it is the band that the singer of Jawbreaker formed after Jawbreaker broke up.

My band Royal Oak has some shows coming up as well. We will be playing sept 2 wtih Shamans Harvest in Chico and Sept 22 with Chuck Ragan in Nevada City.

College Football – we are nearly 2 weeks from the Kick Off of Notre Dame football and a week I think from the kick off. I LOVE COLLEGE FOOTBALL so I am pretty pumped…been reading all sorts of preview and such and I am pumped. Notre Dame should improve on their 4win season and in reality I am optimistic…I just want improvement. I think 9 wins would be Amazing but as a realist I think 6-7 is probably more realistic.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Summer So Far...

Well so far it has been a busy summer…lots of guiding, some fishing, river time with the kids, a vacation, travel for work…more guiding. Seems summer like winter is going to be and extreme one as it feels like we are having more triple digit days then any summer I can remember. That said with all the water fishing is great most places and there are even a few that are just coming into shape. Here are some reports and what I have been up to.

Lower Sacramento Striper fishing – Lets be honest this is what I do 6 days a week most weeks in the summer. I love striper fishing and this is my main fishery May-October. Fishing so far has been really good. Good numbers of fish and the average size fish this year seems to be a bit bigger on average and we are just starting to see some of the bigger fish get active as the shad have thinned out and the salmon and salmon boats are pushing the bigger fish to the banks. The rest of July through September may be some of the best fishing we have seen in years as fish are pushed to the banks due to what is forecasted to be a big salmon run and that usually brings lots of salmon boats…which can be an inconvenience but it does push fish to the banks and even on some years to the big back waters and slough providing great sight fishing opportunities.

First Striper EVER on a fly
Average Size fish this year ... pretty good. 

One of my favorite ways to shoot a pic of a striper

Lower Yuba River – Got a few days in on the Lower Yuba River guiding and then fishing on my own. Fishing is good for small fish…most of the fish are in 10-12” bracket with a few 16” fish around but most fish are very small which is not a bad thing for the future of the river. It is by all means a new river as close to 80-90% of the river is very new and different. Overall it is really cool all the changes are really interesting an provide some cool new water. Most of the fish I have caught have come on nymphs – small mayfly nymphs and rubber legs – and Dry Dropper rigs with chubby chernobyl  and a red copper john dropper. Flows contine to drop and are down to below 3K for the first time this year that I can remember. I imagine that flows will be pretty stable into the fall and hopefully we get the rain this fall to keep the river up above 1500cfs for the salmon and steelhead – never to see the river down around 700cfs again while the salmon are trying to swim up river and spawn.

Nice healthy summer Yuba River Rainbow.

A FEW OPEN DATES LEFT for the season before fall fishing starts…
August 3
Sept 2, 4, 23

Fishing – I rarely get to just go fishing as if I have the time off I usually take the family and my boys out on the river. We have been chasing bluegills and bass so far with the fly rods but will switch over to bait casters and spinning rods soon for stripers – shooting head and a 9wt are bit much for a 7 and 9 year old. Obviously river trips are also full of rock throwing and swimming.

Oliver corked up on a nice smallie
Nice Sac Smallie

Beck getting a Largemouth all on is own

KICK PLASTIC – I was very fortunate and honored to be part of the introduction of the Kick Plastic campaign at this years ICAST show (big fishing show for all dealers around the world) in Orlando Florida. The Kick Plastic campaign is a partnership between Cost Sunglasses, Yeti, and Klean Kanteen working to eliminate single use plastic in all of fishing, guiding, and outfitting. They are providing the tools and programs for all guides, outfitters, and lodges to do so and I served on a panel this year to introduce it and talk about how I have worked to eliminate single use plastic in my own guiding and life. It was a true honor and something I am very proud to be part of. All are such great companies and the program goes beyond company loyalty, profits, and money. Check it out here at this website and it is very easy to eliminate plastic water bottles and single use plastics in our lives and every little bit helps.

Check out the MOVIE below to learn more about the Kick Plastic Campaign aw well

Big League.

Klean Kanteen - amazing and determined company

about 150 people showed up...pretty cool

The Drake Movie Awards - Always one of the funnest parts of ICAST 
One of the best part of ICAST is seeing Old Friends...the legend KP

New Rock Music – Been listening to a ton of new music…driving to the river every day does this. My buddy pro bass angler Chris Hart turned me on to Corb Lund and if you are a fan of Sturgill Simpson and outlaw country this guys is a must. Also been listening to the new Jason Isbell and my wife eve surprised me with tickets for the Oakland show in September…AWESOME! Album is really cool…not sure it is as good as something more then free but it is damn close. Also listening to the new Rise Against album Wolves which is pretty straight ahead old school Rise Against. Strong album as always, they just keep cranking out solid albums.

Sports Report – The giants are the 2nd to worst team in all of baseball – second to the Phillies. The bottom line is I keep watching, not as diligently as other season but I keep watching as I feel I have to. It is almost paying for the last 6-7 seasons of amazing baseball…almost like paying for all those World Series titles and amazing wins. I will not let myself the guy who stops watching and turns my back when his team goes south…didn’t do it to Notre Dame last season won’t do it to the Giants either. Tough year for me as a Notre Dame and Giants fan.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


I will be heading out to the annual American Fly Fishing Trade Association and ICASTFly and Tackle Retailer Show next week in Orlando to speak on a panel about getting rid of single use plastic in the fishing industry and guiding industry. This will the role out of the #kickplastic campaign where Costa Sunglasses Klean Kanteen YETI will all be working together to achieve this goal through offering "Guide Packages" to guides to help them eliminate single use plastic water bottles. If any of my fly fishing people are going to be out there swing by and check it out. Also for those of you that are not going to make stay tuned for the role out of the program as I will be sharing it here SOON!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Heat wave 2017 or the coming of the apocalypse....

Well 3 weeks into June we have seen rain, snow, scorching hot, and freezing cold...Presently we are in the middle of one of the longest heat spells I can remember. Personally I toughed it out a few days then pulled up the Brown family compound and headed to the cool confines of Santa Cruz, CA for a good 8 days where the high barely hits 75 while the rest of Chico, CA melts under sympathy for my fellow city of trees comrades.

I have had a few cancelations this last week and have had a few dates open up July that are during PRIME Striper time. Anyone interested in getting out shoot me a text, phone call, or email.

July 2, 3, 22, 24, 25, 26
August 26
Sept 2, 23

Lower Sac Striper Fishing ....Fishing though has been good. I have put in a few 6 day weeks on the Lower Sac Striper fishing and fishing has been good. Some days are better then others but good numbers and good size of schoolie fish in the 4-8lb range and a few fish over 10lbs...the last part of the week we had our first trophy fish chase flies and follow hooked fish in which means the bigger boys and girls are running out of Shad to eat and moving into their traditional summer feeding haunts. With this heat the weed growth should get going in a major way and the food chain should respond in force, pulling fish along new weed beds and growth to feed on the bait that is attracted to the insects in weeds. So far weed growth has been pretty sparse but there are some starting to pop up so knowing where the early submerged weeds are will be key.

Clarity has been an issues as banks have caved in along various bends adding color to the river a few miles down river and knowing where these banks are and where the color is has been critical. Though the clarity is not something that can't be overcome by switching flies and going with more "off color" water patterns.

Obligatory Blog Post fish pictures....

The Lower Yuba River has been coming in and out of shape based on the heat and snow melt. I have talked to a few friends who have wade fished the river and caught some smaller fish on dry dropper rigs and swinging flies. I think I am going to try to float the river in the next few weeks. Usually around 3500cfs is a good flow to float the river after a high spell and pound the banks with dry dropper rigs. Some of the best dry fly fishing I have ever had on the Yuba have been on years where the waters are high into late June and finally get fishable late June/early July.

Sports Report...Giants are worst team in baseball horrible. Which I am fine with to be honest. I am blown away that the same line up that was decent last year making a strong play off run is this bad though. What the hell happened?...All that said I am a realist, prior to the first World Series win all I asked for was one World Series win in my life time and then they rattled off 3...In reality I just ask for .500% baseball and maybe some meaningful games in September. I am a devoted and continue to watch most games to some degree though many times they are hard to watch and really just not entertaining. Watching shitty baseball and utter failure over and over and over is not that fun or entertaining to watch. One postive about this season though is as turn off the giants game, some times in the first or second inning, I turn on other I have been watching a lot of other baseball which is fun. Watching young players from other teams and divisions and watching some pretty damn good baseball from teams that traditionally don't play well...If you love the game it is fun to watch it played well, even if it isnt your team.

Music News...the new Jason Isbell album is really good...still digesting it but so far it is a classic Isbell album about life, lose, good, bad, up, down, and all that stuff in between. I also have been listening to Arliss Nancy A TON...their latest two albums are amazing. They are one of those bands I listen to and hear the music I want to make. In other news Royal Oaks, my own band, is nearly finished with their first album. I have one more verse to record vocals for but the other 9 songs are in the midst of being mixed so SOON it will be available and we will also get out on the road and play some shows.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Hot Water Music - Never Going Back (Official Lyric Video)

New record coming out from one of my dear friends band in September. Check out the new lyric video from Hot Water Musics new album "Light it Up"

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cast Hope - A Victory for everyone involved

If you read this Blog and/or know me you know about Cast Hope. You have most likely heard how my friend Ryan Johnston and I have worked to create this organization from a crazy idea for Ryan’s MBA project he shared with me at the bar in Tres Hombres in Chico, CA to a full fledged non profit impacting lives and sharing the outdoors throughout Northern California and Western Nevada through the sport of fly fishing…and soon further. Many of you have sent in donations, donated time, been to a fundraiser, watched a video, shared our posts on social media, or just plain talked about it with someone else. For all that…the big, the small, the intentional, and the unintentional, we could not achieve the things we have without everyone’s support.

As Cast Hope has grown it has become an animal in and of itself…needing to be fed with time, money, and hard work. That is the blessing and curse of growth, it became a long time ago less of a hobby, or side project, for us.  Now most weeks it borders on a full time job and others it is all consuming….and to be totally honest there are just as many times where it is a huge pain in the ass as times where I get more out of it then nearly any thing I do in my life. There are times at the bar where Ryan and I hang our heads in despair and frustration, asking our selves what the hell are we doing with our lives, cast hope, and all this work we put in….How much do we have left in the tank for this thing, can we work this hard for another 10 years or hell 6 months..…then there are times when we see and feel a room full of people “get it” and I am literally brought to tears, and I look up to the sky and say I will fucking kill my selves, give away all my belongings, work until my hands bleed, and my mind is fried for this cause, for these kids, and for these people who believe in us.

I think those feelings go hand in hand with anything in ones life that means something, and that they are truly invested in. I think about my kids…many times they nearly bring me to tears with the amount of love I have for them and then like last night when they left their klean kanteens out at band practice and I had to drive back out North of town to our practice space after a REALLY long day and get them I was ready to dare I say go Homer Simpson on them. What you care about is never easy or without challenges. In the end you get what you give I believe. When you put everything into something it gives and takes everything at any given time, that is what makes it so important and meaningful.

Yesterday we had one of these moments at Cast Hope. We met Dakota over 7 years ago when he was ten years old. He is now 17 and we put him on a plane yesterday to start his guiding career at Barnof Lodge in Alaska. To say Dakota has over come a lot to get to this point is like saying climbing Mount Everest is a small afternoon hike. Many of us will never face the challenges this young man has, and will crumble under half the weight his shoulders have beared in his short time on earth. While I truly believe that we all bear our own burdens and no one person’s burden is heavier then another, but I can truly say, personally,when I look at my own life between 10years old and 17 years old I would not have made it if I was Dakota.

One of Many fish along the road...
Licensed to Guide 
I explain what Cast Hope is about to people daily. I have sat down with millionaires, corporations with check books deeper than some nations, anglers who work all week at dead end jobs to just get a few days a month on the river, guides who work daily on the river and barely make ends meet but love the life they chose, people who don’t know a fly rod from a bait caster, and everyone in between and around AND not everyone understands what we do. At this point in the game I think you either get it or you don’t….At some point I lay out the numbers, and to be honest in the non-profit world our numbers don’t blow anyone away…Ya we will put 500 kids through our program this year, we have nearly a 100% retention rate, we have given out hundreds of free fly rods, reels, and gear, our pull through is 81/19 - well above the national average and expected healthy mark for a non-profit, I can tell stories about showing kids stars without the glare of street lights for the first time, how we got a kid through high school with fishing as the motivation, brought kids from the hood and peninsula together via the sport of fly fishing….AND yes that is impressive BUT we are not Wounded Warriors, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, The National Cancer Society, or some other national corporate non-profit with a budget bigger then, certain small nations we mentioned earlier, solving the worlds problems…so people smile and get that blank stare at times and nod there head…I can’t say it doesn’t get frustrating, end in long nights at the bar, or those moments where I question my own life choices and what the hell I am doing with it….
Its been a long road my friend...

Moments like yesterday though give it all value. The long weekends, late nights, presentations where you pour your heart out to a room or conference table and all you get is blank stares…all the money on gas, time away from family, sleeping in the truck, shitty hotels, out and back flights to places, and doubt…doubting all the time if this is really worth it, if you are earning your donors money, putting it to work in a way that makes a difference,  asking your self  while your flight is delayed hours if you should just pile it all up and give it to curing cancer, are you REALLY making a difference, doing right by the people that support you, and just in the end living the life you believe in and doing what is best for the world around you….

Knowing that what I have done changed Dakota’s life gives it all meaning. I know, even though at times doubt creeps in, Dakota is not the only one I have helped via Cast Hope and I know what we do has value.  I know that Cast Hope changes lives, preserves our wild places for the future, AND is what I am meant to do with my love and passion for the outdoors and the sport of fly fishing. BUT DAMN it is nice to see it all pay off in such an amazing way! We fucking did it!!!! It is a long road for Dakota but we are off the back roads where the pot holes and obstacles are EVERYWHERE and on to the freeway now where the chances of safe arrival at our destination are a bit higher.  

Cast Hope will never be McDonalds or the Boys and Girls Club or some organization that can say we served 1 million kids this year…that is not what we are about. Even if we (hopefully when) grow throughout the nation I can’t imagine putting millions of kids through our program. I want to put thousands and know them all, be able to tell all their stories, walk them from 10 years old to 18 or 20 years old and send them off to college or to guide some where and help them start their careers and their lives. I want them to fish ounce every two weeks with a guide and their mentor, go on trips with other kids from all walks of life, learn about their local watersheds and ecosystems, and fall in love with rivers, lakes, oceans, and the lands that surround them so that they will be the ones to do what Ryan and I do with Cast Hope for their generation any way they can.  

I end every discussion or presentation I make about Cast Hope with the following quote. It means a lot to me personally and I think speaks to everything I rambled on about here….


Good Luck Buddy!!!!

“What you have done for yourself alone dies with you; what you have done for the others and world remains.”

Tuesday, May 9, 2017, sports, tasty morsels

When multiple people email and message you and ask “whats up with the blog…are you posting somewhere else…are you not blogging anymore….” Its time to post…The reason for the delay is April/May are just straight up crazy months!!! With 4 little league games a week with my boys, putting in my garden, yard care, trying to find fishable water, school wrapping up….just chaos. So what have been doing…well holding down a lawn chair at chico east side little league 3-4 days a week, yard work, and chasing bass and stripers are the main things as well as working on a record, playing music, and working on a Cast Hope expansion and 2 big fundraisers…no big deal right?

Fishing Report

Lower Sac Striper fishing Flows have come up again but so has water diversion so it somewhat equals out – 16000cfs at Ord Bend – 13500cfs at Keswick. The canals are pumping a TON of water! Fishing for stripers has been hit and miss. There is a TON of migratory fish around but they were on the spawn last week so that shut the bite down and the clarity below some place between Woodson and Irvine Finch goes from good to like a 1’ for some reason…May go look this week if I get a chance. May is a great month for multi species fishing on the Sac. Last week we got smallmouth bass, largemouth, blue gill, and stripers. Fishing should be pretty dang good this month and only get better over the next month. This summer is going to be AMAZING striper fishing.

Carp and bass fishing has been pretty decent to if you can find clear back waters…fishing the creeks coming in on foot has been best for carp and bass and a few of the flats are clearing. Carp fishing is going to be really cool this year with all the flats cleaned out and full of water.

FULL Irrigation canals

22" Striper...
Nice Smallmouth from the Sac. 
If anyone wants dates there are only a few left and these will book soon…after the dates are full I will be booking Captains Chuck Ragan ( and Darrin Deel

My open Dates:
June 27, 28, 30
July 6, 8, 11, 19, 22, 24
August 19, 26,
Sept 2, 23

Shad Report – I can’t say that I have much faith for a good shad season. Shad need to see the fly and the clarity around the area I guide for shad is not really that good as it relates to shad fishing. Their maybe some options above woodson if you can get above what ever is muddying the river up. No idea yet as I have been mainly focusing on stripers and bass.

Lower Sac Trout Fishing – The flows dropped down to 7K but have sense come up to 13.5K which is a good flow. Will need to do longer floats but that is kinda nice as you cover more water and just don’t have to back row the same runs. Clarity is pea soup but the tribs like cow creek and a few other are dumping clean water so the clarity is a lake issue. Fish are mainly eating beads, rubber legs, and occasionally nymphs. I fished Anderson to Balls this last weekend and things have CHANGED dramatically on that float! I would say 30% of the water is completely different. We got some nice fish and landed some numbers but there was a good number of places where I was clueless where to fish as it was all new. As tail water trout fishing the sac is really the only option right now and fishing should be good down through Bend but I am not sure if anyone has gone down to fish it yet.

Lower Yuba River – Flows come up and down…every time I think they are going to get close to 3-4K the river blows out again. I am sure this will be a late June/early July year for the Yuba with all the snow melt coming down.

Sports Report –
Yes the Giants are playing Terrible…I will not say they ARE terrible as I can’t see how players that have been so good just went to crap in one year but you are your record and right now they are officially the worst team in the MLB. I keep watching though…Last night against the mets was brutal to watch. I can’t say I watched much of the Cincy series either as that was pitiful. 31-5 over 3 games…no Bueno. In other news the Irish had their spring game and it was nice to see the “new” Irish. A completely different coaching staff from the coordinators to the strength and conditioning coach…The new O and D schemes looked good and Brandon Winbush looked like a BEAST! He is big, strong, and fast which is exciting. The defense is going to be the issue this yeas as I am pretty confident the O is going to be fine…we will score points we just have to stop the other team from scoring points.

Music News -
Personally the Royal Oaks and myself have been working on finishing our first full length album…Like most things it is taking 2-3 times longer then we thought, but what do you expect for guys with kids, day jobs, and lives. I think we should finish up in the next month or two, have a release show, and put it out for consumption by our few friends, parents, and random people…meaning like maybe 50 people. Its not that we suck just who knows what to expect with a bunch of fishing dudes with kids, jobs, and no time to promote a record…

Listening wise I have been really loving Arliss Nancy…Great rock and roll band. Similar sound and vibe to Lucero but that is a GREAT thing!!!! – Earlier Lucero, not full horn section lucero. Other then that listening to some of the new Hot Water Music Album that Chuck shared with me...I am going to be honest if you are a HWM fan it is going to blow your mind. REALLY REALLY GOOD!!!!!