Wednesday, November 26, 2014

New Fly Wednesday and fishing reports…a pre thanksgiving feast of information!

In honor of thanksgiving and mass consumption of food I am posting big and meaty blog post…reports,  plus new fly wednesday…So much good stuff.

General Report - there is big storm coming in to Nor Cal forecasted for Fri-Mon…supposedly the biggest of the winter so far so reports will most likely change…I imagine the Lower Sac will blow out and the Lower Yuba will pick up some color but remain fishable. Butte Creek should blow but drop pretty quick. Lots of good winter fishing coming up…Winter steelhead on Yuba, Sac, and butte Creek…big winter trout on the L.Sac…winter stripers on the Sac…Skwala and baetis hatches on the Yuba…lots of goodness.

Open Dates:
Dec 23, 27-31
Jan 2, 4-9, 18, 19, 24, 25
Feb 8, 9, 14-16, 28

Lower Yuba River –I spent a few days over the last week or two on the Yuba and fishing was good to poor… just seemed on the day and the mood of the fish. Flows are steady at about 750-800cfs and clarity is what I would call gin clear. There are still salmon up on redds in the “lower river” around Hammond Grove area.  Most fish that clients caught came on egg patterns and I couldn’t find many that wanted to eat bugs even though I tried switching out all sorts flies. There was a sparse baetis hatch on a few of the days that smaller fish seemed to key on in the flats but I only saw one or two rises from fish that I would consider stringing up a dry fly rod for. Talked to a few other guides and eggs seemed to be the most consistent producer but a few fish were caught swinging streamers lower in the river.

Nice Yuba Fish from the last week

 Lower Sacramento River – Fishing has been pretty consistently fair if you balance out the tough days and good days…the last rains blew out the lower river for a few days and the forecasted rain coming in this weekend should blow out the river for a while as well. The river seems to have entered into its winter period where one day can be good the next fair. The Lower river around Red Bluff down has good numbers of steelhead moving around and trout fishing can be good as well.

Nice Sac Fish from last week

Butte Creek – Flows are LOW around 95cfs but this weekends rain should move some water down the creek and get some fish up the creek and moving around. Fishing should continue to improve as long as we continue to get rain. December and January are usually best. That said I have seen some pics and heard some reports of big fish way up in the canyon…most likely big resident rainbows but who knows.

Sports Report…Been a tough few weeks for the Irish. Loses at ASU (which I was present for), Northwestern, and Louisville have hurt…that said I was pretty surprised with our early season victories in the sense that we are VERY young and have suffered some key injuries on defense. My faith is Evert is a big shaken but maybe this is what he is as the National Championship year many of his faults were hidden by a stellar defense. Always hard to be patient when you have a stud like Malik Zaire in the wings but I have always believed that it is hard to know if you are not at practice and in film everyday. Hopefully we can end strong this weekend at USC…beating the Trojans is always a good way to end the season as we are most likely going to the Pawtucket big packers bowl or something.
Go Irish…Unfortunately it was down hill from here
The dudes stayed positive though…ice cream helped

New Fly Wednesday

So for this Wednesday I am going to share one my new patterns just like last week…This fly I have been working on for about 3 years now. It is called Hogan’s March Madness Nymph. I came up with it to fish during the March Brown hatches on the Lower Sac and Lower Yuba but has become a great all around Spring Mayfly nymph, working as a PMD nymph as well in the smaller sizes.

In designing the fly I took the basic flashback Pheasant tail and began tweaking it to match a march Brown nymph. I added dubbing that matched the lighter cream brown of the thorax of a march brown nymph paired with a Brown wing case with a thin strip of flash underneath to give it a bit of flash and appearance of a splitting wing case. I also added some gills along with lead to create the wide silhoutte of a clinger nymph.  vvThe game changer is when I added the CDC under legs with the Mallard Flank over them. Many flies have CDC collars or legs but in the drift the CDC moves all over and spins around the head with the flank over the CDC I have found that the CDC stays pined back along the fly better. Now why the CDC changed this fly or made it catch more fish I have no idea all I know is CDC is an incredibly cool material and rarely when added to a fly does that fly catch less fish.

This fly fished really well in the 12 and 14 on the Lower Sac and Lower Yuba during the March Brown hatches during Late Feb through Mid April but what really sold me on this fly was when I started tying it in 16 and found it to fish well into May and June on these rivers as a PMD nymph. I think the versatility of this fly is that fact that it fishes in different sizes for multiple spring and summer hatches. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Fly Wednesday: Hogan's Little Amigo

Learning my lesson about designating days to blog posts....barely making it here at 6:29pm. Enjoy!

First Fly For New Fly Wednesday is “Hogan’s Little Amigo” … This fly comes in sizes #16-20 and Brown and Olive to imitate all the small olive and Brown mayfly nymphs on the Lower Sac and Lower Yuba River. That said as I developed the fly I have fished it all over the west. I have been working on this fly for a long time. Basically as soon as the S&M came out and gained mass popularity I figured I needed to come up with a new small mayfly nymph to fish as everyone and their mother was now fishing my old one…the S&M. So I tired all sorts of ideas, hooks, materials, natural, synthetic…you name it. Always keeping in mind my tried and true may fly principals of may fly nymph design, Trim profile, straight shank hook, darker wing case then thorax, and minimal flash.

I have fished the Amigo side by side the S&M and it fishes as good or better most days…some days fish want one or the other more but they are different flies. The Amigo has more movement in the thorax representing gills along with having a slim flash back with epoxy over it. It also has natural fibers as legs which gives the fly a bit more action in the legs. It is a different fly then the S&M and while my goal for my own fly box was to develop a fly that replaced the S&M but it didn’t do that at all. Many days I fish both at various times and catch fish on both nymphs. I am currently working on a PMD to accompany this line and should get to fish it a bunch this spring so look for some additions to this line as the years role by…Here are some Pics.

Little Brown Amigo

Little Brown Amigo
Little Olive Amigo

Little Olive Amigo

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New Fly Wednesday!!!!!!!

So, as many of you may have heard, know, or will learn hear this very minute.... my flies will be produced this coming year, 2015, by Montana Fly Co...Lovingly known as "MFC". I signed on with MFC early this year and have been working very hard with them to develop a line of new flies to be released to dealers, guides, and consumers this coming year.

Many of you are familiar and up to speed with the chaos, espionage, back stabbing, corporate take over, douche baggery, crookedness, and many more expletives that I will refrain from, that have surrounded the Idylwilde/Umpqua saga.  Umpqua attempted to strong arm me into a contract by telling me that they were going to tie my fly patterns weather I signed a contract with them or not, basically saying they were going to rip off my ideas no matter what I did, said, or what the ethical thing to do was.

I spurred the beast though and refused to sell out as many of my fellow Idylwilde tiers did. While I could of signed with Umpqua, and made a fat stack of cash, my principals and ethics are not for sale. If money was important to me I wouldn't do what I do....I would of worked a little harder to get that cumulative GPA in high school up over a 3.0 by not spending an inordinate amount of time calf deep in the Yuba River and Deer Creek...and get into some college other then a community college (I love community college and encourage and support the community colleges system but lets be honest if your goal in life is to stack money you don't shoot for a community college)....Long ago I learned Quality of Life is what is important...I believe sunsets and sunrises on the river, smiling people, time with my kids, and the sound of water in my head are things that money will never buy...that said everyone follows their own path so no judgement here if those things don't get your blood going or your soul warm.

Now Umpqua has proved themselves consistent and is tying well over 10 of my patterns and offering them to dealers in the 2015 catalog even though I asked them not to under the auspice that fly sales pay for things in my house like groceries, pre school, PG&E, and T-Ball AND it is just a messed up thing to do to rip off my ideas...all that said they didn't seem to care. Apparently making money was more important then ethics and what the right thing to do is. I know I should not be surprised as the business world is full of this type of thing, but the fly fishing industry is a small world and I was always under the impression that if I did right by people they would do right by me...not the case but at this point there is not a lot I can do except....

Continue to innovate, spend days on the water, ask questions, and solve problems with fur, feather, and steel at the vise and on the water. I started tying flies to catch fish for myself cause I was young and fished with anglers that were way better then me on a river that got fished a ton...I believed that if the fish hadn't seen my flies then  maybe they just might eat them a bit better...when I started guiding I was a young guide and I continued to tie to help my clients catch more fish as I was the rookie and knew I didn't know enough or had logged enough years to have the experience to be as good as the veteran guides, maybe if I had flies they didn't I could hold my own...

I have always tried to keep my original focus when it comes to fly design: tie flies that catch myself and my clients fish, by addressing fishing situations while I am on the river...if that translates to commercial sales then so be it. Bottom line I never started tying flies to be a contract fly tier or make money. I signed with Montana Fly Company cause they get that, everyone there has been a guide, and long before they worked in the corporate side of the industry, long before they were guides, they were fly fishermen. They slept in the dirt, drove all night, drank shitty beer, chewed cheap tobacco, wore the same fishing shirt for a week, got funky foot fungus from wearing waders and wool socks for way to many days in a row, and never lost sight of the fact that as we all try to pay our bills through this industry the real reason we got in to it was to maximize our time on the water not money in the bank.

All that said it is finally time to share with everyone the fruit of my last 3-4 years of labor. Why do I say 3-4 years? cause believe it or not that is how long it takes to develop a fly pattern...I take the fact that MFC, their reps, a fly shop owner, and most importantly a fly fisherman or woman is going to spend their hard earned money on my fly pattern seriously. They are going to put faith in my idea that it will catch fish on  one of their few days they spend on the water, so I have to do my do diligence and make sure it works!

So stay tuned for NEW FLY WEDNESDAYS STARTING TOMORROW NOV 19TH! I will share some photos of all the new flies that are coming out through MFC and tell everyone a little bit about them and why I developed them.

AND... Be good to each other, drink some good beer, sip some brown water, and listen to the river a bit before you cast into it.

Monday, November 3, 2014

My contribution to neglecting responsibilities on a monday....

Recent Observations…aka fishing reports

So, Northern California has seen two “storms” or significant rains this season so far and a few observations about future fishing conditions has come to light. Neither of these were huge storms but more like a good day or evening of rain…This rain has colored up the Lower Sac for a few days and added substantial color to the water lower in the river. Both Cow Creek and Battle Creek pumped some pretty serious color and now the river has color from Keswick down stream. The Feather colored up this weekend as well from Oroville down. What is happening is sense both Shasta and Oroville are so low due to the drought as it has rained the rain has run down mud banks and has in essence blown out the lakes therefore pumping off color water down river. Now this has by no means “Blown out” these rivers and there is no rain forecasted over the next week so if you have a fishing trip planned you are fine. What it has shown though is that a big storm when it does come will add some serious color to the rivers even if it doesn’t had flow AND color up the reservoirs for a LONG time. The amount of exposed mud on the banks of Nor Cals major reservoirs I have a feeling if we get the winter we need is going to play serious havoc with water clarity this winter.

Feather River – Every time I go here I swear I am never going back…same deal. I went I swear I will not be back….Here is the skinny though, with some great returns the last few years the crowds and out of town guides have shown up so the river is pretty damn crowded in the low flow. Usually by November the high flow starts fishing, spreading out guides and wade fishermen. With the low flows and warmer water temps in the High Flow the salmon have piled up into the low flow in search of cooler water so the steelhead are not holding like they usually do in the high flow….So the high flows is not a great option though you can run into fish moving up river. Couple that with the fact we need fresh fish to give the ones in the rivers mandables a break….I won’t be back for 2 weeks minimum.

Lower Sac – Trout and steelhead fishing has been good to great. Clarity on the lower river has been an issue but should be fine by early this week on all stretches as I heard by the end of yesterday pretty much everything was fishable. Get after it on the Sac ASAP this year as I have a good feeling that the first big rain is going to blow the lake out and the river will done for a while.

Lower Yuba – heard nothing but good things…haven’t been there in a bit. Should get some days over there this month.

Rock and Roll music – Been listening to the Menzingers from Scranton PA on Epitaph Records…good rock/punk/emo band. The newest CD is Ok…I prefer “On the Impossible Past”…

Booze News…I am trying not to drink to loose weight…I made a deal with myself. If I get down to 195 I get a new tattoo. It was a close call but I decided I like eating better then drinking calorie rich IPA’s so I have cut beer out for a while…yes I know they make light beer but they also make water and I like water better I think. We’ll see how this all goes…first trip where a client drops a steelhead of a life time look for me in a gutter with an empty 12 pack of Torpedo.

Sports Report
I have been a giants fan sense I can remember. May dad use to take me to giants games at candle stick and would always buy a 6 pack of tickets most years. I remember watching Kevin Mitchel, Will Clark, Robby Thompson…I had the Pacific Sock Exchange and Bash Brothers posters next to each other on my wall with Bo Knows on the other wall and I think the Jordan “Wings” Poster on the ceiling. I remember the 1989 world series and being crushed when the Giants were swept…

Then there was 2002 where I watched on what I remember as about a 12-14” black and white TV in my first apartment in chico while my future wife did her homework in the living room…I had sworn off all homework for the duration of the world series, hence my future wife graduated a full 3 semesters before. I had a tendency to “swear off homework” for things like sporting events and steelhead season…I watch what I thought would be an easy 5-0 win in the bottom of the 7th inning turn to a 5-6 loss and an eventual 7 game defeat by the Angels. That o

ne hurt. It was brutal.

The 2002 world series was followed by a 10-3 Notre Dame season but then was quickly followed by a 5-7 and 6-6 season and a 100 win season by the giants but a 3game to 1 exit to the Marlins in the Wild Card game…At this point I made a deal with the sports gods that all I wanted to was a world series and a National Championship in my life time, I figured that was a fair request and many people never get either. When the Giants first one in 2010 it was an amazing feeling…I have never had that feeling before…I have won Section Titles, League Titles, All Star Games, and many many “Big Games” as a high school baseball coach but it was something completely different to watch “My Team” Take down the world and win the World Series.

2012 I was just happy to have made it past  the Reds, after loosing the first 2 games of the division series at home and then taking 3 games ON THE ROAD to win the series I thought the season was a HUGE success! I figured there was no way we were getting past St. Louis as they were STACKED THAT YEAR! Well ounce again we are down 3 games to 1 AT busch stadium and Zito pitched one of his greatest games of his Giants Carrear to get the team home to win in 7…At that point I though Detroit was going to take us down…They had Cabrera who won the Triple Crown and Verlander who was UNTOUCHABLE at that point…then Pablo hit 3 jacks in the first game off Verlander and I believed…We went on to sweep, I couldn’t believe. Everyone was now a giants fan and jumping on the band wagon. I was a little bitter as many hadn’t paid there dues, sat through a wind fest at Candle Stick, watched Matt Williams do his babe ruth impersonation, lived through ’89 and ’02, or still have your Pacific Sock exchange poster rolled up in the closet, I threw the bash brothers one away.

This year…what can I say. I had written the giants off man. So, many injuries, missed opportunities, UGLY games, inconsistency, you name it…The back bone of the teams success was pitching and timely hitting for the most part and if you watched any of the 2014 regular season neither of those things were in large supply. I watched most of the starting line up for the world series play for the Fresno Grizzlies up until July and August. I regained some hope when they were rallying in Late August/ September…They sweep the Brewers in Milwaukee, take 2 out of 3 from Detroit, win series against the D-Backs, Rockies, but then win only 2-6 games with the Dodgers and get swept by the Padres…We crept into the wild card and seemed to creep our way through the playoffs to an unexpected WS win…If you breat air you know the story.

In the end the Giants have won 3 out of the last 5 World Series and 9 straight post season series where they have not been favored in ONE! I love baseball more then any other sport in that it exemplifies life in many aspects. Baseball is about failure and how you respond. The best hitter succeedes 3 out of 10 times, success for most teams is winning half your games, a series win is determined by not loosing as many as the other team, it is life on a field full of grass, dirt, and c