Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jan/Feb Northwest Fly Fishing Magazine

Everyone check out the new Northwest Fly Fishing magazine. I wrote an article on the Lower, Lower Sacramento and all the striper, shad, and warm water fishing I have been doing out there. I know I have talked to alot a people about it over the years but now everyone can read a more formal article about it. Let me know if anyone has any questions or wants to fish out there this year. It is a pretty amazing fishery 15miles from chico.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas and the last few days on the Lower Yuba

Hopefully everyone had a great Xmas. We had both our families over to our new house for xmas eve and xmas morning. While it was a lot of work it was nice to have family around Oliver and not have to travel all over the state to see everybody. Oliver got tons of gifts and was pretty over whelmed with everything.

Fishing has been off and on. I have spent most of the last few days on the Lower Yuba. The last few winters have been very good for me on the lower yuba, but this winter the river seems to be behaving a bit differently. It isn't fishing an worse or better just different. The river in reality is fishing much like a winter tailwater fishery should fish. The bite has been tough in the morning and once the air temps warm a bit the baetis and midges get active and fish start to feed. Yesterday we found good numbers of fish rising in the flats eating mayfly dries and emergers. We had good luck fishing a hackle stacker with a SIM Mayfly emerger off the back. We rose a few fish but these fish get pretty selective and are tough to fool. The afternoon/evening bite can get tough again but by changing nymphs out we have been scrapping a few fish. Finding a consistent bite on any one nymph has been tough but mayfly nymphs seem to be the most consistent in sizes 16-18. Have some family stuff to do the next two days then I will be back on the water thursday. Hope everyone had a great Xmas and has a happy new year. Over and Out

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

you know on your on vacation when...

You can have a Pabst and fried hot dog and cheese sandwich for lunch

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lower Yuba the last few days...

Well the weather for December and fishing on the Lower Yuba has been great...the fish though have only marginally cooperated.

Sunday we had great cloud cover, a light drizzle, but like ten degree temperature swings every 20-30 minutes. It was crazy it would get warm, get cold, rain...all over the place. bugs would hatch then the cold wind would come up and no bugs. We managed about 10 hook ups with the biggest fish landed just under 20". Switched flies every run and never really found a fly that the fish were on with any regularity. PT's, rubber legs, eggs, and san jaun's all caught fish.

Monday was about the same with a bit more consistancy to the bite as temperatures were a bit more stable. Fish got on a mayfly grab midday and hate Military mays in olive and PMD pretty good for about an hour or two and then it was back to switching flies every run until we found what the fish wanted.

One thing I will say about the Yuba is the flows are gin clear and the water is as low as I can remember. I am not sure what the mandated flows are but it is probably damn close to those. Over and Out.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Idylwilde on Face Book

Idylwilde Flies is now on facebook check it out. make sure to add them as a fan as you will get notified in the next few weeks when our new website launches. I have had a few sneak peaks on this thing and it is amazing. By far the best fly company website in the biz...tons of info on all the flies...oh and tons of hummor.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Skagit Master Trailer

This movie looks Sick - nice to see some inovative movies out there - not the same rehash fish porn

Serious fly tying knowledge

Monday, December 14, 2009

CA Fly Shop Fly Tying Day in review

Want to thank everyone that came down to the California Fly Shop for their Idylwilde Fly Tying Day. It was really well attended and was a ton of fun interacting with people, seeing some clients, and helping people of all tying levels with questions. I have only been to the CA fly Shop a few times but every time I am blown away with the shop (and I am not on their pay role...this is totally unbiased). Their fly selection is probably one of the best i have ever seen, lay out is amazing, tons of merchandise, and probably one of the best selections of rods around. If you live in the bay area it is worth going to check out.

With regards to fishing I have been off the water for two weeks. So no recent reports. It has rained a bunch all over nor cal the last few days and more rain is forcasted for tuesday and wednesday. The Lower Yuba flows didn't move much over the last storm, 50cfs at most, but Deer Creek peaked at 462 cfs and is now down to 150 cfs (normally at like 10cfs) so their should be some color to the river. This is a good thing.

Other than that is finals week at school so I hand out tests, read the paper and watch them sweat. I'll be back on the river saturday for a few days before to follow.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Serious knowledge and football

First of all check out Clay Hash's blog "fly fishing traditions" Serious Yuba Knowledge here, cool pics, and good insight on fishing the Lower Yuba.

Also what a great day of football yesterday...My trip got canceled and at first I was kinda bummed as I drove home from red bluff - meeting clients at the fly shop - but once I sat down and watched the first quarter of the AL v FL game and looked out side and saw the trees blowing side ways I was totally Ok with how things worked out. Full Moon winter ale, safeway sandwiches, and a roast in the oven...good day.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

CA Fly Shop Fly Tying Day

Just wanted to let everyone Know me and the Idylwilde Crew (Kevin Price, Mikey Weir, Jason Hartwick) will be tying and giving presentations at the California Fly Shop in San Carlos on Dec. 12 from 11am to 3pm. We will be giving out some free stuff, kicking down some knowledge, giving out some free beer while it lasts, and hanging out talking fly tying and fishing. Come by and check it out.

California Fly Shop
985 Industrial Road, Suite 106
San Carlos, CA 94070

Monday, November 30, 2009


Guided the Yuba this weekend....Tough. River is low and super clear. Some people have always had the idea that fish at this time of year move up river and the lower river becomes devoid of fish. Not sure I buy this as fishing has been tough through out the river. I am more of the opinion that the month of november is always tough as fish have gorged on eggs for the better part of 6 weeks and just sit on the bottom and digest.

Fishing this weekend was tough but by changing flies, rigs, and weight we caught fish. Most fish came on small tippet 6x and 5x, small caddis or mayflies. Once the sun was off the water we caught fish on eggs but nothing on stoneflies or bigger attractor patterns. Fish were spread out and we did find a few steelhead in the lower river landing one and loosing another. So fish are still moving in. Bottom line is we need some rain to mix things up, move fish around, and get fish back on the feed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Whiskey, low flows, clear skies...great steelhead fishing

Went out to a small steelhead trib of the sac yesterday afternoon...super low flows, clear skies, clear water, no rain recently....great steelhead thing about the afternoon was the drinking of the new green label Jack Daniels...Good stuff. Didn't touch a fish, see a fish, or miss catching one after a few pulls of JD.

Monday, November 23, 2009

the weekend...

Finally seems like winter weather is here. In chico it has been cold high 30's low 40's over the night and hovering around mid 50's to 60's during the day. Spent time over the last few days guiding the Lower Yuba, Lower Sac, and helping my buddy Ryan Johnston and his wife Bonnie move into their new home. Fishing on the Yuba was good when the weather was bad and bad when the weather was good....Bottom line fishing on the L. Yuba has been tough. The fish are there but November fishing is always a bit up and down after fish gorge themselves on eggs for two months. Floated the Lower Sac on sunday and fishing was fair to good. Hooked one nice adult steelhead and good numbers of typical football L. Sac rainbows. Was a little bummed we didn't get another steelhead in a few runs but over all a great day on the river.

Other than that have the whole week off from school...gonna fish today when my wife gets home from work...Tuesday paint kitchen then go kill somthing with wings...Wednesday fish or shoot...not thursday...back on the water fri, sat, sun. Have a great thanksgiving and time off with family...over and out.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

back to the world...

So we moved into our new house on veterans day and I have finally unpacked my office and got internet hooked up again. Still no dryer as our old house had gas and this house needs gas hook up put in and my wife won't let me mess with gas lines after various "incidents" with electrical projects. Other than that the house is great and oliver and the dogs are loving all the new space.

Trout season has come to a close and the winter season has opened...Butte Creek, Big Chico Creek, Salmon Fishing on the L. Sac all opened on Nov. 15. While I am sure some commando's were on butte and big chico at first light on sunday I have not heard any reports yet. I am sure there are a few fish in each system but I know from driving over both creeks that they need rain. I usually don't fish these creeks until the first big blow out of the year and then rush out to fish the drop.

Guided the Lower Yuba this last weekend and fishing was TOUGH. Only saw a few salmon on redds and the egg bite has definately dropped off. We did scratch a few fish and lost a few nice ones but almost all our fish came on buggs in what I call bug water. For the most part though I would say the fish are sitting on the bottom digesting a month and half worths of eggs. Fishing should pick up again in mid dec.

If you live in the Bay Area the idylwilde crew (me, Kevin Price, Mikey Weir, Jason Hartwick) will be at the California Fly Shop on Dec 12 from 10-3 for a fly tying day. All of us will do a presentation, tie, and answer any questions people have about flies or tying. Also there will be plenty of Idylwilde stickers, hats, some prizes of beer and flies....cases of sierra nevada to be specific...Free lunch and tunes I think as well...should be a good time

Monday, November 9, 2009

Nov. 7 and 8th weekend

Spent this weekend on the Lower Sacramento from Red Bluff to Los Molinos. Fishing was fair. Caught some nice size rainbows for this stretch of river and a few clip fin steelhead but not the big fish you go down there for. Most of the fish came on bugs but a few came on eggs. This might have to do with the fact that there are scary few redds. Like maybe 3 or 4....there should be a ton by this time of year in about 2-3 spots on this float. Couple this with the fact I only saw 4 salmon...scary for the sac. I think the river up and down is fishing fair but there are not a lot of salmon around on the L. Sac from what I hear. I don't fish up high much anymore but I know that those that do are not impressed with the numbers of fish.

So...back to the Lower Yuba next weekend. I was glad to see we may get some rain wednesday but kinda pissed since that is the one day we have decided to move ALL our stuff into our new house...nice....never moved in the rain. Any how keep in mind as the egg bite on most rivers slows down fish move to deeper, slower water to digest. Down size flies, weight, and tippet and you can still get em...and the big guys start eating again first so keep that in mind.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A day wasted

I had presentations by Butte College in all my classes today (all senior econ and govt) so I spent the whole day cruising the web, reading, sleeping while the lights were out for a power point...great day. Any how if you get a chance check out the new issue of catch magazine at also Also check out all the drake movie award winners on sweet flics even if you have to watch them with out sound as I did. Also check out the new issue of this is fly at much cool stuff on line now adays. with regards to fishing this week none in sight...lots of fly tying in the morning and guiding this weekend both days. Red Bluff to Los Mo on the sac saturday and we'll see on sunday maybe L. Yuba or secret canyon river....I am out of to pray for a Phils come back in the 8th

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Yuba Weekend

Guided the Lower Yuba this last weekend. River was not that crowded at all but fishing was fair. Fishing has definately slowed down over the last week. There are still good numbers of redds and more redds showing in the lower river but fish seemed to have moved off the beds. Most of the fish we caught were on bugs in slower deeper water. This usually means fish are gorged on eggs and moved off into deeper water to digest. We did find some fish eating eggs in the shallows but the consitent bite was on smaller Yuba Pupa's and red headed stepchilds. Next weekend I am going to move over to the Lower Sac I think in the lower floats (redbluff down) to start looking for some bigger steelhead. Haven't heard any good reports from the feather but I am sure with the next big storm things should pick up over there. Over and out.

Monday, October 26, 2009

h1n1 and that is about it....

Came down last weekend with h1n1 on saturday night...Brutal...fevor like the worst shroom/acid trip ever. Was in bed until tuesday and started coming back to life on wednesday and stumbled into work to clean up the mess on Friday. Hung out this weekend and watched football and tied flies still pretty worn out and tired. Should get back on the river this coming weekend. Reports to follow.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lower Yuba

Guided the Lower yuba this weekend and fishing was still good. Had to work a little harder for the numbers. Not every run did a fish eat an egg. We had to change flies up, switch egg colors, and try some different lines but we scratched out some good numbers and a few over 20" plus a clip fin. River was crowded with wade fisherman pounding the reds. Heavy rain is forcasted for mid week and should mix things up nicely...move some salmon up the rivers and give the fish a new perspective after getting pounded for the last few weeks. Next weekend back out on the river...for today back to teaching.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Feather, Pizza, beers, redman, Yuba

Lets do this in order:

Feather: Took a chance on hopes of early season success on the feather Saturday with two great clients. Put in at the River Park in Oroville and floated down to Palm Ave. No other boats on the river and didn't see one wade fisherman out there. Usually the first part of October is really good fishing in the upper river if you are one of the first guys through the run. Fishing was good. We hit 6 adults and landed 4 with one that was pushing 30". Good numbers of Salmon down to about Robinson and then they thin out pretty good. Didn't hit one fish in the high flow even though the flows are great fishable/wadeable levels in the high flow. All fish came on eggs and caddis pupa. Good fishing for kinda early in the year with no rain but I wouldn't rush up to fish the feather yet.

Pizza: had pizza at Woodstocks in Chico, CA Saturday night with Steph, Ollie, and my clients. Had some meat concoction that my clients ordered...I had no idea that you could accomadate that much meat on flat surface. Steph opted for the vegitarian pizza.

Beer: I am not a big drink and guide guy but .... when your clients bring their own cooler full of beer ... you know your having a few through out the day just to stem their alcohol consumption and keep them landing fish. Also a few shared bud lights through out the day take the sting of loosing 30" steelhead at the boat...look but don't touch is a bitch whether it is a hot stripper or pig just over the gunnels that you watch swim away.

Redman: I love it. Promised my wife I would quit. And aside from this last two days I have....I think.

Yuba: Fished the Yuba on Sunday. Fishing was really good. Caught a few nice 18-20" fish with a bunch of 14-17" fish. Lost one big steelhead right above Daguerre so there are some nice fish on the way up. Consitant action down the river with good numbers of salmon on redds, pairing up in the riffles, and dropping eggs. Most fish came on caddis pupa and eggs...tough time getting fish to the eat the stonefly. If you are wade fishing the Yuba make sure to stay out of the redds. DFG has marked all of them with orange paint for those that don't know really what to look for.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lower Yuba over the weekend...

Guided the Lower Yuba River over the weekend. Fishing was good and on the verge of getting really good. There are a few fresh redds in the upper river but no salmon sitting on them. This is usually all the trout need to get the river's egg bit going though. Most fish in the upper river were eating eggs but not right behind redds usually in the water below the few redds. A few fish were eating stoneflies and dark caddis patterns in slower water. Lower in the river there were no fresh reds but a few pods (10-15) of salmon holding in deep holes - Which is a good sign. I will say there was far less redds than have seen previous years, but that doesn't mean anything at this point yet. I would expect that the egg bit will go off in the next 5-10 days. Fall is officially here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Friday night Stripes

So I have been having some engine trouble with my motor and it is in about a million different pieces as I contemplate repairing...tagging it for scrap metal and buying a new one...or spending today and everyday this weekend sitting in the gutter drinking coors light and cussing at it. One of my good buddies who I fish with a lot decided to take pitty on me and take me out on his boat this friday. Fished a small section of river that I have never fished before...We hooked about five fish and I farmed a big one...came tight to the fish which flexed the rod (10wt) through the cork...thing started to move to the middle of the river...I fumbled with the line as I attempted to drive the 4/0 hook into his Cranium...came up again and I could feel myself pull the hook out.... then saw a massive boil as the fish swam a way....Damn!!! I Blamed my buddy as we were in the middle of a heated debate about some element of baseball...both being baseball nuts. Any how may head out to the feather today to poke around for some early steelhead...may stay home and swear at my motor...who knows....

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

As I brace for a the coming fall guiding season a three day weekend with no guide dates is something to cherish. Fishing wise I spent an evening on the Sac chasing stripers amidst shot gun blasts from dove hunters and monday I drove up to the north fork for a little trout fishing.

Striper fishing was fair got one nice keeper and a bunch of dinks. The flows have droped and cold front has moved threw so I think fishing is going to be slow until the weather heats back up mid week. The north fork on the other hand fished great. I always try to get up and fish it a few times in september as it has a great Isonychia hatch. While I rarely hit the actual hatch the fish eat the nymphs with abandon once the bugs are moving around. Caught fish in every pool and bucket I fished and most fish came on my Isonychia nymph. Average size was about 14". Most of the fish were in the fast water and deeper plunge pools. Here's some pics of the river if you have never been there.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Flies

Usually about this time every year I get the sample run of my flies that are to come out the coming year. I have been a comercial tier for Idylwilde fly co. now for a number of years and am always humbled to think people actually pay money to buy my flies at fly shops around the country. If you talk to other tiers that work with other companies when they get their samples they began a laundry list of issues with the flies... materials are not the right color, this is to long or to short, this is to bulky, this isn't tied in right, etc. I have about 30 some patterns out now and I can't remember a time my sample didn't come looking perfect but actually better than I tied them....kinda sad when someone ties your own patterns better than you do.

Thought I would post some pics of what the new stuff looks like. The caddis patterns I have been working on for two seasons now trying to incorporate some new materials. Both have fished great for me on the L. Yuba, L. Sac, and other Nor Cal Waters. The mayfly nymph is a pattern I came up with while fishing a couple Sierra Rivers that I fish big dries and droppers on. It is also a great fall or winter baetis attractor pattern. Pair it with an egg or more match the hatch style fly like the S&M or Military Mayfly. Also keep an eye out for Kevin Prices top water bass bugs that are coming out through Idylwilde.... they are sick and VERY innovative. I have fished them for 2 years now off and on as he has developed them and I haven't found a better top water assortment of flies...

*Mind you I am not a photographer and these were really quick snap shots.

Hogan's Starling Darling Caddis

Hogan's Short Shuck CaddisHogan's Tungsten Bead Exploding Baetis

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday evening with the family

Went on the Sac for some dinner and striper fishing with steph and Ollie. Wind was blowing pretty good so as soon as I put the boat I knew fishing was most likely out based on the white caps. Rode down to camp and had some dinner then swam for a bit then headed out to throw some poppers but with the wind blowing the boat all over the place and the spray from the poppers going horizontal we gave up on fishing really quick. Gonna see what the wind does today.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More pics from this weekend

Whirl wind of fish

Two good buddies of mine who are editors of a fly fishing magazine came into to town Friday night. This was a long planned trip to come and fish with me around chico, ca - take some photos and hammer out some articles. Saturday we fished a local lake for bass and carp and even with wind and off color water we caught a few nice bass and got some great photos. As the wind laid down the carp also moved into the flats and we found some nice tailers close to the banks. After lunch at Scotty's we headed to the Sac and some stiper fishing. First spot we hooked a few nice 2-3lb scrappers and a nice 8lber. Later in the day we moved into the sloughs to chase some large mouth. found some nice fish but they were not very willing to jump on our flies.

The next day we headed back out to the river and chased small mouth and large mouth up some creek channels and sloughs. Caught plenty of fish but nothing that big. Seems to be that most of the large bass are seeking cooler water in the main river channel or are barring them selves in the weeds. During the late afternoon we started chasing stripers in the main river. We found a bunch of nice 2-4lb fish in deeper water and then as the sun went down moved to some top water spots. Top water fishing turned on about 745pm. We boated about 10 fish up to 8lbs on poppers and most passes multiple fish busted on our flies. Great top water fishing is hard to beat.

Next night we head over to the Oroville After Bay to chase some spoted bass. We found good numbers of fish up against the reeds once the sun went down willing to come up for any popper we put up tight to cover. Not the biggest fish but spots always fight bigger than they look. Overall a great few days of fishing with some really fun guys and great fisherman. Gonna get back out again this weekend on the Sac for some top water stripers.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Aug 8 report....

Went out striper fishing with my buddy Jay and the Sheek on Saturday. Fishing was good suprisingly. We caught or hooked fish at every spot we fished. The river in certain areas was crowded with bait and plug fisherman but if you know the river you can get away from people. I am really looking forward to the next month and half of striper fishing. Back out there probably tomorrow after work (first day back to school - all meetings though) and then again thurs/fri.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

home, settled, and back at it...

Got home from South Carolina late sunday night and took monday and tuesday to put my life back in order after being gone two weeks. Paid some bills, answered emails, put a massive todo list for the next week together and was sucseful in putting off cuting my jungle of a yard. The trip was great .... fishing, golf, family, and the southern coast. I have visited this area a few times and the south is a great place, Savanah GA, Charleston SC, and HIlton Head are great towns and areas.

The fishing was good. Summer redfishing is really tide dependent and as the grass flats flood on the high tide schools of fish move in and you get your standard tailing red fish for about 2 hours. When this ends you can go to off shore reefs and fish blue fish, spanish Macs, or look for tarpon. I caught plenty of fish and had a blast

Regards to CA fishing, I was on the Lower Sac yesterday from Barge to Bend and the fishing was good. Put about 20 in the boat and lost another 10-15. All the fish were a fat 15-16 inches for the most part with a few under and a few over that we lost. Today gonna do some work to get ready for school to start and then head out for striper fishing.

Here are some pics.

The Stalk...swirl is the tailing fish....the grab (not subtle take with redfish)...the run....the fish....repeat this 10 - 20 times in 2-3 hours is a ton of fun.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

stripers and fall off to South Carolina

Guided stripers on the Sac thursday. Fishing has been tough. There are good numbers of small fish around and a few big ones but the big ones have been tough to get to eat. We hooked up almost every spot we fished and saw some big boils but couldn't get the bigger fish to eat. This is really frustrating as you began to wonder is it flies...location...time of day.... or did the fish just go the opposite direction from your cast. Either way it was a frustrating day on the water. So striper fishing goes some times.

next morning at o'dark thirty I left chico to get up to the clearwater lodge by 8am. Fished the morning on the Fall with marginal success. We rose a bunch of fish but on really small flies and LONG LONG drifts so setting the hook was next to impossible. BUT we did fool them. Pulled off about noon and went over to Burney creek and beat up on some creek trout with stimis and droppers then headed back to the lodge for a nap and dinner before fishing the evening hatch on fall. The evening hatch was a mix bag...kinda the end of the hex hatch and the start of a really thick dark brown sedge hatch. The fish were much more receptive the sedges than the hex's believe it or not. We hooked and landed a few fish and then headed home.

Next day we fished the Pit in the morning and did good until it got hot and then we headed over to Burney creek again. Pit was standard issue pit if you could get the tight line deep drift down you caught fish if not you struggled.

Now I am home packing up my stuff and heading out tomorrow to South Carolina for some red fish, tarpon, golf, and family time. Over and Out.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Last few days...

So the last few days I have been all over the place. I guided the Lower Sac from Barge Hole to Bend bridge on Friday and had a good day. Fishing has improved slightly on that float from a week or so ago. We seemed to hook bigger and more fish which is always nice.

Saturday I was on the L. Sac outside of chico for stripers. We had been doing well on stripers during the early part of the week, but a low pressure system moved in on Saturday morning, temps droped and there was a few rain drops present. We managed a few small fish during the evening but it was pretty tough fishing. I will be back out there tomorrow and thursday so hopefully fishing will improve.

Other than that back up to Fall River on Friday and Saturday then off to South Carolina on Monday for some red fish, tarpon, and anything else that swims.

Get out and fish. Over and Out.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Striper Time

Weather has cooled down a bit (not that makes a differance) and I have been on the Sac the last few days for stripers. Good numbers of fish in the keeper siz (18") slot which usually go about 3-5lbs and a few big fish in 10-20lb range. Caught one yesterday at about 3:00pm that had two tails plus my fly hanging out of its mouth - pig. Tails were pike minnows sot that is good news that that shad buffet has thined out and the bite will continue to pick up. There was a 39lber caught a and released as few days ago by a friend of mine so there are some big fish around. Top water is a still a few weeks away but you can get fish in the evening throwing bit poppers if you want to search it out. Other than that have a few trout and striper trips in the next few days and then back up to Fall River before I head out to South Carolina for 2 weeks. Tough Life. Over and Out.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

3 days on the fall

Every summer I am lucky enough to spend a few days guiding on the Fall River. This year I have been able to guide out of the Clear Water house. Before I talk about my 3 days of guiding and Spring Creek time let me say this about the Clear Water House... It is freaken top notch. I have guided for a ton of outfitters and a few lodges and never as a guide have I been that well taken care of. If I was planning on going to stay up in the shasta area and fish the fall, hat, or pit I would stay there, from a clients perspective it is a deal. $150 a night with all your meals and then sum included. All the meals are amazing!!! Definately five star. Billy and Vanessa Downs run an amazing lodge and guide service.

Now the fishing....Let me preface this by saying I fully consider myself a skilled trout guide but fall river ALWAYS requires me to adjust my tactics. Spring creeks are great trout fishing and a great place to test your metal as an angler and guide. Clear slow moving water, a smorgesboard of hatches, and educated fish do not put the odds in your favor.

During the moring until about noon there were multiple options for catching fish. We drifted weed flats with indicators smaller than flies I usually fish and shot smaller than some of the beadheads on my flies and tied on leaders longer than some of my longest rods and cast PMD emergers, cripples, and spinners to rising fish as well. Both produced fish but I will say hooking fish on #18-20's is not a sure thing. Most of the time takes on the nymphs were very subtle and diffcultt to detect, but we did manage fish. The dry fly fishing was equally challenging and as I explained to my clients just rising a fish to your fly should feel like success as you achieved a good drift and fooled the fish. This only made them feel moderately better as they were rising fish almost every cast to PMD crips and spinners at various times.

One night we stayed out for the Hex hatch and while we didn't see many bugs we did hook fish on nymphs and dries along with getting bit my mosquitos. Overall it was a great 3 days spent on an amazing river in truelly one of the last isolated and wild places in CA. Now for a few days off and then back out on the sac for some stripers...
Over and Out.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

2 days on the Sac and off I go to Fall River...

Spent the last 2 days with clients on the L. Sac drifting from Barge Hole down to Bend bridge for Trout. The flows are high and stable with fishing being fair...not great but fair. Fish ate a ton of different bugs and I couldn't pattern anyone as the hot bug. It was nice to be on the water considering how hot it was outside as it was a bit cooler on the river. This morning I am on my way up to the Fall River and Clearwater house to guide on the Fall for a few days. Should be a nice change of pace and fishing should be could with the hex hatch in full swing.

Back home on Monday and will be back out on the L. Sac chasing stripers for 2 weeks before I head out to South Carolina for Red Fish and Tarpon. Tough life...I know.
Over and Out.

Monday, June 29, 2009

small stream fishing

Took a client up to walk and wade fish Yellow Creek up the NF Feather Canyon yesterday. I hadn't been there yet this season, but every time I go am suprised at how beautiful this little creek is. Great trail along side it that is nestled in a beautiful forrest canyon. Granted it was still hot, but no where near as hot as the valley. We caught and lost a bunch of little wild rainbows on dries and nymphs, nothing special just standard attractors, and had a great day.

Spent Saturday striper fishing on my own. Hit a ton of spots across about 5-10 miles of river and lost one nice fish and hooked a bunch of dinks. There is actually still plenty of shad around (hooked about 25 monday night) so I think most of the bigger stripers are still munching on shad. Making it very hard to interest them in my 4/0 clousers. Usually we don't start catching those until the shad numbers dwindle down.

Today and tomorrow I will be guiding the Lower Sac for trout from Barge hole to bend bridge, my favorite summer float on the L. Sac. Beautiful scenery, usually no other boats, and no back yards. I'll let you know how it goes.
Over and Out

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Little Small Stream Small Mouth

Did some chores around the house and then went to a little local stream for some small mouth fishing. I love small mouth and on this stream it is all site fishing. Granted the biggest fish you catch is about 14-16" they are a ton of fun on a 4 wt. Fished two holes caught about 15 fish and then went to Costco for handles of tequila and margarita mix, burquettes, and tri tip. Nice way to spend a day. Back on the Sac for stripers tomorrow. Over and Out

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Striper - Shad - L. Sac 6-24-09

Guided the L. Sac last night outside of chico, CA for shad and stripers. We put 3 nice stripers in the boat and missed a few other nice fish. Ran into a nice pod of shad from about 8pm on as well. Put about 20-25 shad in the boat in an hour with a few nice females mixed in. River still has a bit of color but definately fishable. Other than that I have my first golf lesson today (getting tired of my father mopping the floor with me everytime we play - he shoots high 70's - I think one lesson should get me there ;), and then I am back on the river this afternoon to search for more stripers. Over and Out

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cast Hope

A very close friend of mine, and exceptional guide, Ryan Johnston came to me about a year ago with an idea to start a non profit organization. I must admit when I heard the words "non profit" from some one who is in their mid 20's, who has a Business degree from Davis, and a Masters in Business from Chico I thought maybe ole' Ryan had hit his head or spent way to many days confined in a boat in the sun. I also began to question the quality of education the business department at davis and my alma matter Chico was cranking out. Basiclly I thought anyone that wants to buy a house, start a family, and not be completely broke while paying off student loans would not start a non profit, guys that have made fortunes and need tax write offs start non profits.

Well over the last year I have watched him build this thing he calls Cast Hope from a simple idea talked about over beers to a full fledged 503(c) IRS approved non profit with a .org website, T-Shirts, Stationary, a board of directors, big money donations, and most of all a living working business.

You ask what it does?? well this is how Ryan puts it, "Cast Hope is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization aiming to positively impact the local Northern California community through the donation of guided fly fishing trips on Putah Creek, Sacramento, Feather, Yuba, and Trinity Rivers. Through each guided fly fishing trip it is our mission to foster and deepen relationships; refresh hearts, minds, and souls; create long-lasting, joyful memories; and provide opportunities for learning, loving, and reaching out."

How I see it: Cast hope is a group of guides that takes youth and adults on guided fishing trips for free and helps spread fly fishing and a love for the outdoors to those that need a little of it in their lives.

Yes I am involved as one of the guides for cast hope, but don't think much of that as when a friend like Ryan asks me to do something there is little I would say no to.

Why I bring this up here on the board is a) I don't think Ryan would "toot his own horn" b) it is a great organization and idea Ryan has and c) I was reading on American Angler online and they were having a survey as to the "up and coming people" in the fly fishing industry. Tiers, guides, photographers, etc. and one of the qualifications was that the person must be under 40 years old. Now no knock on those around or over 40 but when 40 years old is the bench mark for "up an coming" you have a sport or industry that is in serious trouble and in need of youth. The bottom line is that more people are dieing that fly fish than that are starting and that is a serious demographic issue. In an age where kids are glued to screens, whether it be video games, cell phones, or computers, and if the sport doesn't have extreme infront of it most aren't interested fly fishing is loosing a generation. I believe what Ryan is doing by introducing fly fishing to a generation that may never know it is an admirable thing and one that is criticly important to the industry and those that love the sport.

I know many fly clubs and organizations are involved in spreading our sport to the younger generations and I commend your work. If it wasn't for groups like you I would not have ever known the sport. There was a small group of guys from Nevada City, CA that took a chance on me a punk looking skater kid they saw one day in the fly shop and taught me everything they knew and I will be indebted to them the rest of my life for that. I think because of that I feel a bit bound to spread the sport and help younger people get involved. So.... as long winded as this seems... kudos to Ryan and check out what he is doing....hire a young to the youngest person you see in the fly shop.....take a kid fishing.....spread the sport.....The sport we love, the places we cherish, the shops we frequent, and the companies we like depend on it.

Lower Yuba

Guided the Lower Yuba yesterday and fishing was good. River has dropped 300 cfs in the last few days but that didn't seem to affect the fishing. there was a few caddis flying around during the day but most fish were caught on Yuba Pupas and Rubber legs plus a few new buggs I am working on. Always good when the new stuff actually catches fish for clients and not just me. Found most fish in deep slots and runs not accessable to wade fisherman during the day. In the evening fish seemed to move into more accessable water. Evening hatch was a mix bag and not super thick. Saw little yellow sallies, caddis, PED's, and few drakes of some kind. Most fish that were rising were one and done. I didn't see any fish come up consistantly. If someone wanted to pound likely water with dries they may get lucky and get a few fish in the evening but continued to catch good numbers of fish on nymphs so it was hard to change. Most of the fish were good size 14-16" and we lost one PIG 22-24" fish at the boat after a few huge jumps and LONG runs.

It continues to amaze me how well the river has been fishing for the end of June. Usually it is a one hour deal at dark this time of year. My only guess is that the mild weather has kept bug activity consistent through out the day and the fish keep eating. Who Knows.

Today I am back on the L. Sac for stripers. I have a string of striper dates this week and the river is looking in good shape. I'll let you know how it goes.
Over and Out.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Turning 30 and never wade fishing again...

Well I turned 30 years old yesterday...Crazy. I went up to Almanor to play 54 holes of golf with my dad on Friday (36 holes) and Saturday (18) morning. Turned out I came home to a huge suprise party that my parents, wife, and in laws had put together. Totally freaken clue.... So cool though...I couldn't believe it.

So with that as my theme ... I also went wading fishing on the L. Yuba Wednesday. I had a few great guide dates in the last week there and I wanted to pull on some fish myself. Flows were about 2000cfs and I remember as a younger man tromping all over the river at flows up to about 3000. First of all, forget walking on rocks like that, about 500 yds into my hike down river I remembered why I fish out of a boat and hadn't actually walked and waded this river in so long. I wade it often but not more than 10yds from my boat. I don't consider myself out of shape either as everyday I don't row I ride my life cycle, but wading acrross the Yuba at 2000cfs was not as easy as it use to be. I fished for about 2 hours and caught one fish and realized that when this river is over 1000 cfs it is a truelly a drift boat river.

Thursday after mowing the lawn and what I know now were chores my wife was making me do to get ready for my own party, I went striper fishing out on the Sac. The river was still muddy from all the thunder storms and rain and I didn't hook a single fish...I did see a few monster blow up on pike minnows though which kept things interesting. I will be back out there tomorrow to see how things are going and then I have a few guide dates mid week for stripes.
More to come. Over and out.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Slide Shows...stomach flu...trout

Started the week by heading down to the bay area for a slide show presentation tuesday night at the Diablo Valley Fly Fishers. Great Club, by far one of the best I have spoke at. Headed back to the hotel full of Mexican food and talked out. Had a few Coors Lights and called it a night....thinking I would wake up early get go to Amoeba Records in Berkely and spend some dough on CD's then head into the City and see Keith W. at Leland and then mosey my way down to San Jose for my presentation at the San Jose Fly Club....Awesome Day....Well my plan took a huge diversion when I woke up at 330am feeling like a WWE match was going on in my stomach. Very quickly I was laying in bed with cold sweats and running back and forth to the toilet...Sorry house keeping at the Danville Best Western....

Well I had to cancel my presentation and go home as I had gotten a bad case of the stomach flu... as did my whole family. Wife and 1year old Oliver. So for wednesday and thursday me and my wife laid around eating saltines taking turns changing some really disgusting diaheria diapers. Fun.

Back on my feet by Friday - Got business taken care of to get back on the water Saturday.
Guided the L. Sac for trout on Saturday. Fishing was fair. River is blown out above Cow Creek and Posey Grounds is closed so there is like maybe two floats open on the whole river. this makes it a bit crowded. Sunday had planned to guide the Sac for stripers but the river was blown out so I had to move the trip the L. Yuba for trout. Definately a great day on the L. Yuba. I will insert a report here below but lets say I am headed over there for all my trout fishing until the weather gets smoken hot. Gonna try to get up to the NF Feather this week for some trout fishing as well. I told the wife it is my Birthday week. I turn 30 on Saturday. WOW. Where does all the time go. Over and Out

Flows are stable and gin clear at 2000cfs or so which makes wading a little tough that said we did catch fish in wadeable spots. The last few days we have had about 15-20 hook ups and put about 10-15 fish in the boat. Good spread on size from 12-14" to a few 17-19" fish hooked and/or landed each day. Been fishing from about 10am to 7pm and fishing has been consistent all day with the cooler temps. Hatches have been sparse to fair with mainly caddis coming off in the evening but we have risen and caught plenty of fish on caddis dries throughout the day when there are just a few flying around (usually smaller fish though). Most of the fish caught on dries are in the riffles or against the bank, areas where I get clients out and wade fish them. We have also caught plenty of fish on nymphs - stoneflies and caddis pupa have been the best. Best thing though has been that there is no one on the river, I have had to move my striper trips to trout trips on the Yuba as the Sac has blown out. River should fish great as long as temps stay in the 75-90 degree range with cool evenings.

Monday, June 8, 2009


I haven't been trout fishing in weeks but yesterday I helped my buddy Ryan Johnston out by rowing two young men down the river for his Cast Hope organization. This is a great non profit Ryan has started to introduce young people to fly fishing and do a little youth missionary while on the river. I am one of the guides involved and so proud of what Ryan is doing that I can't even began to explain it. In an age where kids are plugged into screens and our sport continues to be stagnant it has become an imperative that we introduce young people to our sport. Ryan and his board of directors are deeply committed to this mission and I am happy to be a part of this organization - Stay tuned for more info as Cast Hope Develops

With regards to fishing - The trout fishing on the L. Sac was tough but both young men caught their first trout on a fly rod and lost many more. The lower river outside of chico is still muddy but I am going to try to get out this afternoon to poke around for some stripers. Tomorrow I hit the road for some club presentations at the Diablo Valley Fly Casters and the San Jose Fly Club.
Over and out

Friday, June 5, 2009


The weather the last few days has been crazy. One of the coolest lighting/thunder storms I have ever seen in CA the other night. Scarred the crap out of my dogs but didn't even wake up Oliver. Went out yesterday on the Sac outside of chico with a guide buddy of mine and managed a few small stripers and my buddy beat up on some shad while I drank a few wheat sodas. There wasn't anyone on the river and the fishing wasn't that bad for the river coming up about a foot and all the weird weather. Striper fishing should pick up again once the weather stabalizes and warms ups. Shad are still around so if anyone is still jonesing for shad they are here in numbers. Still no really big fish but what ever. Going to be back on the water Saturday and then some trout fishing on Sunday. I will down at the Diablo Valley Fly fishers on Tuesday and at the San Jose fly club on Wednesday giving slide slow presentations if anyone wants to swing by. Over and Out.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

No more sardines .... Striper Time

As I said earlier I am done on a personal level fishing for shad this year. I have never been a huge shad fan so it doesn't take long for me to move my attention to something else. Granted I understand while people love them and love to fish for them, I just guess I get bored easy....So me an my buddy jason went out striper fishing for a few hours yesterday between setting up for my sons first birthday today (yes he gets a fly rod for his first birthday). We hit two spots and hooked 9 fish landing 8. We also had a double which was cool. All of them were about 2-4lbs and a few were below the 18" "Keeper" mark but Stripers 15mins from your house in May is cool no matter how big they are. I expect it is going to be a great summer of striper fishing as I have never caught fish this early. Last year was amazing so I can only imagine what this summer will hold.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

tough...tough...tough...stinky ovesize sardines

Shad fishing was tough tonight. first of all the river was packed. What the hell don't people work on fridays. Who stays out until 900pm fishing and then gets up to go to work the next morning. In all seriousness the river was as crowded as I have ever seen. It was like every guy that bought a $20,000 boat in the last 3-5 years and never uses it decided to go out today. What ever...

Fishing was tough we found fish but all our grabs were really subtle and my client (only had one client today) had trouble hooking up. We did manage a few fish right at dark but from about 5-8pm I burned more gas than we hooked fish looking for willing fish. Bottom line is we had been doing well for a few days and must have just hit a dry spot. I am sure fishing will pick up again as more pods move our way. Personally I am done with shad. While I have shad dates on the books still and will guide them for shad plenty over the next few weeks my own fishing will turn to stripers. Good numbers from Butte City to Rd. 48 if you have a boat. Go fish life is to short not to. Over and out.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Had clients on the river again saturday night and the grab finally turned on again. Scratch out fish from about 4pm-6pm and then it started to pick up. By 715pm or so it was every cast. Also it was one of the first nights that we hit good numbers of bigger females. The first big spawn should be coming up soon as smaller males were following the females to the surface when we hooked them.

We have been hooking plenty of fish each night and having short stints of every cast hook ups but Saturday was a good hour or so of non stop action. By 9pm my clients were done and worn out.

Tomorrow I am going to go exploring a little lower in the river to look for some stripers as the last few times I have been out on my own I have caught a few and the migratory fish should be around and as the pulses of shad go through the resident fish should start feeding heavily.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Another day and a few more Shad...

Spent friday evening guiding for shad just south of chico. The evening started slow again, found a few fish but nothing that would be considered great fishing. Ran into some buddies that said they were on a pod for a while but had hit a bunch of spots before the one they were at and thrown up zeros. Went up around beer can beach and Scotty's.... looked like somthing out of Mad Max... there was sherif boats giving one point jetskiers pulled behind my boat and started jumping my wake....lotsa bikinis and dudes drinking keystone....nothing like graduation weekend....

We did finally run into some nice pods of fish. Again the bite seemed to start late about 7-730. Most of the fish were small to average size males. Gonna be back out on the river today and am gonna focus on some deeper holes early and move to the heads of pools and runs as the evening progresses and see if that helps the early bite. Still no huge females but keep scratching out good numbers each evening. Hot colors are chart and hot pink.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Had two clients out for an evening shad trip on Wednesday and the bite was fairly tough. Didn't get into a serious pod of fish until maybe 6pm and it was a small pod at that. The river had been on the drop all day so that was probably the cause. We ended up scratching out fair numbers but nothing compared to the numbers we were seeing earlier in the week.

The key was we found some small pods of fish moving behind snags and any current break in faster moving water. Most of the fish came on pink and chart. flies on 250 - 300 grain heads. Most anglers I talked to that day had similar evenings, back out the next two evenings with clients so we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


May 16 and 17

Spent saturday and sunday morning checking every shad spot on the river I know of and even tried a few new ones and found atleast a few fish at each one. There are not huge schools yet but each spot seems to hold a few fish. The most caught at one spot I heard of was about 12-14. If you move around and hit different spots or get luck and a big school moves through your spot you can rack some numbers. Most fish are coming on 250-300grain heads and flies with a ton of color...I am never one to believe there is a secret shad fly...the secret is putting it infront of a fish I think.

The water is still stained but fish don't seem to mind. I found some nice smallies in a few back waters but nothing red hot on the smallie bight. The flats are staring to clear up for carp but still not clear enough to fish for them. Found a few but by the time I saw them I was to close. LMB are off the beds and on the feed. Good numbers of bait, small bluegills, and other assorted fish are moving around the sloughs and LMB are chasing bait in the evening. There are a few stripers around but hard to tempt them with a clouser when they could eat a shad.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Fair numbers of shad are being caught around chico, ca even with off color water. Went out last night and hooked about half a dozen in about 45mins. Water is clearing and weather is suppose to be in the 90's this weekend. Fishing should explode in the next few weeks.

As water clears smallmouth and largemouth fishing should pick up as well.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Lower Yuba River 2 May 2009

IT PISSED RAIN ALL DAY!!!!!!! Woke up and saw Deer Creek was up to about 300cfs but the river hadn't moved more than a few CFS. I figured the river would be plenty fishable, but would have some color. Put the boat in about 8:30am and was a little surprised at how much color the river already had. By the time we ran the shuttle and my one client and me got in the boat the river was about 1' -2' of visibility. Definitely more than a little color. Switched to muddy water fly set ups....differently flies when the water is off color.... and started fishing some standard spots with no results. Adjusted the game plan and started fishing spots that fish get pushed when the water rises and clarity is compromised. Started picking up fish. We hooked about 10 landing 5, not a bad day for one angler, but not great...just good. Remember when flows rise, lines and the areas where fish hold get pushed towards the banks. Also remember sediment in the water is like standing in a smoke filled room for the fish....they want to find clean water. Look at the banks, shallow water, or deep water to get below the sediment. I would imagine the river will blow out tonight and be blown out for a few days. Trip tomorrow moved to the L. Sac....
Over and Out.
Hogan Brown

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Saturday on the L. Sac

My Friend Jason Lozano and I went out on the L. Sac outside of chico yesterday and after transporting a nearly drowned college tuber back to the boat ramp (who the hell goes tubing when it is 70's out and the water is like high 50's low 60's) and being interviewed by the local news on our thoughts about the salmon fishing closure we went fishing. Spent some time throwing flies for some early stripers with only a good bump to show for. Checked some flats for carp and got one to eat but lost it pretty quick into the fight. Then decided to check out some smallie spots and found some nice pods of 2-3lbs smallies eating bait and wrecked havoc on them for a bit. Consumed some Keystone light ($4.50 cheaper a 12 pack than Coors Light and when it is cooler cold you can't tell the difference). All and all another afternoon on one of the coolest fisheries in the world.

Over and Out. Hogan Brown

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Spring is here and so is the spring weather, Wind, Warm, Hot, Cold, then perfect...alternating on a daily basis usually. Most of my guiding has been on the Lower Yuba River over the last few weeks. Fishing has been fair to good with any where from 10-30 hook ups a day. 90% of the fish have been coming on nymphs. There are good numbers of caddis (tan and olive 14-16), lil'yellow sallies (12-14), PMD's (16-14), and a few remaining Gray Drakes (12-14). While fish are not keying on the surface they do seem to be keying on the corresponding nymphs. Many days we are changing flies every run to match what we see in the air or on the water. Also if there are no bugs on the water or in the air we match the runs habitat with the types of nymphs we know to be in that water. For example slower runs mayflies, runs with rocky fast riffle water up top stones and caddis. This is an important key on the Yuba as the Macro Invertebrate population is so diverse to have consist ant success one must always analyze the habitat of the given run when picking flies to fish it with.

Most of my recreational fishing has been on the L. Sac outside of Chico looking for shad, stripers, and fishing the pre spawn/spawn bite for large mouth and small mouth in the sloughs, creeks, and back waters. I have yet to catch a shad but I know they are coming and with the drop in temperature over the last few days I have turned my attention more towards the bass and carp. This is great time to find carp schooled up in the shallow flats prior to spawning and I have had a few great afternoons casting to both carp and bass in very shallow water. 

I have heard striper fishing down lower in the river has been good but I rarely make the drive south while the fish interest me the crowds and type of fishing does not. The river sees huge numbers of people for the big migratory push of fish and most of the fishing is casting to rock walls which is not the most fun way for me to catch stripers. I prefer to wait until mid to late June when the resident fish around chico run out of shad to eat and feed in the slough mouths, back waters, and sand flats on anything from bass, pike minnows, bluegill, and even lamp rays

Over and Out. Hogan Brown