Tuesday, September 22, 2015


So, fall is in the air! It even rained a few days over the last few weeks in Northern California. The bottom line though is we are still in a drought and that is a reality if you got out to the river. I have still been guiding and chasing fall stripers on the Lower Sac but have been sneaking out a bit to explore the Lower Yuba, Feather, and Lower Sac for trout and steelhead in my free time and talking to some of my buddies that have been out. Here is some reports and more random yet incredibly useful and simulating content…

Lower Sacramento River Striper fishing: Fishing has been good. Weather is warm again and fish are back on the feed. When the temperature changes or pressure fronts move through fishing can slow down. Flows have come up a bit just over 6000cfs at Ord Bend so about 1000-1500cfs from where they were a few weeks ago. Most of fish are moving into the shallows to feed midday when the water temps warm up. Salmon are moving through but not holding in any way so they are not pushing fish out of the deep water in any consistent way so covering water is key as fish are not always up in the shallows eating in every spot.

Feather River Steelhead – I have not been on the feather lately but have talked to a few buddies that have been out there. Salmon numbers from what I have heard are LOW in the upper river and as one buddy said he had to really look for them and if you weren’t you didn’t see them…bummer to hear as most years by this time we are seeing the “oil slick” of black backs in the riffles from HUGE pods of salmon getting ready to cut redds in the riffles. A few friends have hooked a few fish up there but most of the fish I have seen pictures of seem to be hold over spring/summer fish nothing that I would say, or my buddies are claiming, to be fall fish. I think it is going to be a late year on the feather and may be a very poor year if we do not get some water.

Lower Yuba River – The Yuba is scary LOW like 550cfs low…The river down by Marysville is 410cfs which I can’t imagine gives salmon much water to move up river. I have not been over to the Yuba for awhile…Most of my buddies that have been are just going out for the evening/last hour or so of light fishing. I know last fall when the river was super low the first few weeks of October were stupid good fishing during the egg hatch. I have a feeling it will be that way again if enough salmon made it up or are going to make it up. I have a hard time going over there when the flows are this low as it is chaos with other guides and wade fishermen as everyone is competing for the same water. Last year I spent most of my early October on the Lower Sac between Red Bluff and Los Molinos but this year I may be over there more as the water temps are warmer in the Lower Sac and fish will blow through early in the year.

Lower Sacramento River Trout/Steelhead – The flows have come up to 7200cfs coming out of Keswick but the temps are still a bit warm. I have not heard much but Late September Early October is traditionally prime time for trout and steelhead in the lower river from Red Bluff to Los Molinos. This year I will most likely spend most of my October down low on the Sac doing float trips or running the jet boat getting out to swing or nymph some specific areas. I know more and more salmon are showing up as salmon fishermen are starting to catch more and more fresh fish moving up river in areas that I am spending most of my time striper fishing.

The Irish – Injuries are insane so far this year…obviously the most important Malik but wow what a few weeks of Irish Football. VT and GA Tech games were amazing…obviously the VT game may be a season defining win for us. GA Tech was no where near as close as I had imagined. Triple option teams traditionally give ND a headache and the defensive discipline to defend against them is not something that we always show. I think the biggest take away from the first week is how good our defensive and offensive line is.  We literally destroyed all of our oponents so far this year upfront and all moderately athletic former high school football players that played line know that games are won on the line! Next week against UMass is a bit scary as it could be a trap game between GA Tech and Clemson.

The Giants – Lets be honest season for the gmen is over…while we are not mathematically eliminated reality is we are…No way I have a right to be pissed, 3 World Series Titles in the last few years gives me no room to bitch. That said it was tough to watch us dwindle and fade due to injuries when I think we had the roster to compete. Ya, we were a bit short on pitching, but we had enough to make a run into the playoffs I think, and for sure win a one game playoff as a wild card. All in all though a lot of positive things came out of this season…Duffy, Panic, Byrd (sign him), Blanco (renaissance at the plate for the most part), Kelby Tomlinson, Aoki ( when not hurt finally gives us a lead off) Heston (pitcher/ace of the future maybe) …Another great season from Posey, Bumgarner, and Belt!

Music – Got the new Wonder Years CD No Closer to Heaven…I am really digging it. Good mix of pop, punk, hardcore, and dare I say emo in a catchy, relateable, mix of like 15 songs! I actually bought the physical CD from Target of all places. I really miss buying physical CD’s. I wish I lived closer to a dimple or Amoeba. I have also been digging out some my old Appleseed Cast CD’s mainly Mare Vitals and Low Level Owl v.1 and v.2…Mare Vitals is by far one of my favorite albums. The drumming of Josh Baruth is AMAZING on this album…Great fall, winter is coming, album.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Happy Tuesday!

So Fall is seeming a bit closer…the mornings have been a bit chilly and the heat of the day doesn’t seem to last as long each day. Though I can’t say it hasn’t been scorching hot over the last few weeks at times but it has also been really nice out on certain days. There was a bit of rain nearly half an inch in some places this last weekend in Nor Cal so that helped cool some water temps down but for the most part it is still summer…..

Lower Sac Striper 
Lower Sacramento Striper fishing…I have been exclusively striper fishing and guiding for stripers sense mid June. Fishing the last few weeks has been good. The smaller fish are not as prevalent which can lower numbers for the day but good numbers of keeper size fish and fish in the 5-10lb range are a regular on most days with the chance at true pig on most days. We have been fishing all depths of water from 12-15’ to 1-2’ so the ability to switch up lines and sink rates is key. More and more salmon are entering the river so the deeper water is not producing like it was during July but that is a good thing as the weeds and shallows are holding more fish allowing us to fish lighter lines and flies while sight fishing. That said longer and more accurate casts are a must in this type of fishing. Top water fishing can be good for those that can cast the big top water flies….5/0 pole dancers are not easy to chuck.

Lower Sac Top Water Striper!

T-Bone Fly .... Striper applications?
Great shot of the Tubbing and how to add bulk without weight
Flies…I have been mainly tying striper flies and messing with big but lite and easy to cast striper flies. Fly Men Fishing company has some really cool new products to build flies around this prinicipal. Blane Chocklett of “Game Changer” fame as well as a lot of the Musky/mid-west guys have been at the forefront of this idea as Musky require some BIG flies to get interested. Fly Men is selling Fish-Skull® Chocklett's Body Tubing™ a braided tubbing that Chocklett adabted to fly tying to create large bulky musky flies that are not heavy or stacked with material. The braid is like smaller finer version of the braid used on the Stick Jackets that everyone uses to store rigged rods. I have been messing with creating some big bulky top water and bait fish patterns. Even messing with some articulated flies like many of the Musky/Pike flies guys like Chocklett and Brad Boehen are tying in the mid west. I have always been skeptical of articulated flies with stripers as I am unsure that the joints used to attach on the shanks like the “Chocklett Big Game Articulated Shanks” by Fly Men will hold up if the hook is the last in line. I think the key is to have the hook infront … like the game changer but we will see. I am going to experiment with some fish this weekend and see what works or doesn’t.

New Gear….I have been fortunate enough to have a ton of new gear in my boat over the last month. Here is a quick run down.

Scott Meridian 8’10” 2 piece. This is the new Saltwater fishing rod from Scott that is replacing the S4S which is one of if not my all time favorite fly rod for striper fishing….so I was pretty bummed to hear they were going to be getting rid of one of my all time favorite rod lines BUT I trust head rod designer Jim Bartchi so I knew he wouldn’t get rid of a rod line unless he has created something truelly BETTER. Scott doesn’t just get rid of a rod line every 2 years to get sales like some rod companies. The rod is incredibly light weight and has tons of power but very similar to the Radian in that it has a ton of feel. At first the grip and rod took a bit to get use to but after one session of fishing I was loving it. It is different then the S4S but definatley better in all regards. The tip has more feel and the rod recovers very quickly after loading while casting a shooting head…a bit faster then the old S4S. The grip took me a while to get use to as it is a bit fatter up front but the more I cast it the more I like it. In the end I think and angler would have to do a lot of salt water or striper fishing to justity having a $865 salt rod. That said if you are a bass fishermen, striper fishermen, or guy that travels a lot to salt water fish it is the best on the market. It won best of show and best salt water rod at the AFFTA show this last summer which means is was voted the BEST new product of the entire fly fishing industry this year.

Echo Boost Saltwater 9’ 9wt 4pc is a great new fast action SUPER powerful salt water rod from Echo. Great Price point at $249.99 for anyone that is looking for a bass, salt, striper, carp, or heavy work rod that won’t break the bank but that will perform at a high level. I got the rod with a 10wt floating Air Flo Sniper line to throw the big 5/0 Pole Dancer…literally a big task. I fished it a bit last weekend and I think I need to upgrade to 10wt or 11wt rod with a matched line. I struggled throwing the the big 5/0 pole dancer but I put the 2/0 and some other more medium size top water bugs on it and it launched them. Of all the echo rods this definitely one of my favorite for stripers

Music… Been listening to a few new bands/artists. I bought the New Rocky Votolato CD Hospital Handshakes which is amazing…Just good rock with a bit of a indie/emo/acoustic theme going on – Boxcutters, Hospital Handshakes, Sawdust and Shavings are all great songs. The album kinda starts big and loud and upbeat and then softens up to some all acoustic songs at the end….You Blew It! A great band on Top Shelf Records. Some post hardcore/emo/Alternative leanings with multiple singers and such but good high energy loud soft dynamics music. They even did an ep where they covered 5 songs off of the Blue Album…they are pretty sweet if you like that sorta thing. ….. Moose Blood, great band from the UK and one that toured on the Warp Tour this year. They are on No Sleep Records and also in that post hardcore/emo/Alternative but they are from the UK which is pretty unusual for a band like that. Pretty catchy melodies and some good vocals.

Sports…hard to watch the giants right now. Getting swept by the dodgers and then Watching Vogie get blasted for 4 runs in the first the next night was BRUTAL, splitting in CO gave me some hope but then going 6-1 the first night in AZ was rough…I think injuries and lack of starting pitching is catching up with us and going to make it tough to compete down the stretch. Nothing to be upset about or get to down about being we have won 3 world series in the last 5 years and been in contention all season for the lead in the west. Bottom line who ever comes out of the west is going to struggle with the wild card teams, Pitt and Chi are legit ball clubs.

Notre Dame looked GREAT against Texas so that was a huge pick me up…not sure if Texas is that bad or ND that good. Big injury though in the loss of Folston for the season and Avery for 4-6 weeks with his broken foot…That said man did the O-Line look good! And do we have some weapons at the Wide receiver spot!

My good buddies Chuck Ragan, Tom Page, and Dave Barbiere are hosting a Yuba Clinic coming up on Oct 3 and 4th! should be a great clinic with a variety of perspectives on fishing the Lower Yuba. I know both days are filling so if you are interested jump on this as it is a great time of year to get tuned up, learn some new approaches, and get dialed in for fall and winter fishing. 

This coming Saturday is the Cast Hope Big Night Out in Chico, CA! Make sure to get your tickets and come out for some good food, beer, music, auction, and fun!