Friday, December 29, 2023

Part Two: Snowbow Chasing

December 22, 2023

Friday was a complete reversal. Sunny with no wind. Perfect conditions. Buddy was not feeling well so he rested in the truck before heading out later so we never got to fish together and why my fish pics all suck. Began fishing earlier but did not get my first fish until just before 11am. They were resident fish, none worth me taking my camera out of its pouch. By 11am though I managed my first laker. I had to chase him downstream 60 yards as it took to the current and forced me to follow or risk breaking off. Finally got it into calm waters to land it.
Next fish was smaller than the first but I was able to wrangle it much easier as it never got past me and into the rapids.  It seemed that the three hook ups came from the end of a pool and not from the undercuts where I typically catch them.
The next fish was a resident stocker that was holding in front half of the pool.  It hardly fought and from the moment I hooked it I knew it was no lake fish.  I would go back to the truck to meet my fishing partner who fished below me and managed to hook about five but only could land two.  After lunch I went back out while my buddy stayed in the truck to rest as he wasn't feeling well. 
Hiked up further up and I had caught several resident fish ranging from dink to respectable.   In time I would lose another nice laker.  Not quite sure why the hook came loose could have been from a poor hookset.  I honestly do not recall.  In time I'd have another chance though. 
This was holding in the middle of the river.  I casted blindly upstream of a big hole and before the fly plunged down into the pool my indicator dipped and I set the hook.  Another nice buck.  Like the first fish, this one got past me and into the rapids so I had to chase him down.
By 2pm I was satisfied and worried about my buddy's well being I headed back to the truck to head home.  Not sure if I'll be able to make it out here again this winter season but I certainly hope so.  I do hope the next time, if able, is s snowshoeing experience. 

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Part One: Snowbow Chasing

December 21, 2023

Rain was forecasted in the Southland but the eastside was supposedly spared.  On the drive up clouds would have us question that forecast and had us worried.  There would be some sprinklings here and there but nothing serious.  Over the 395 a rainbow would award us for our early drive but no pot of gold was at the end of it.  We had breakfast burritos at Mercado Mexico and after getting some sandwiches at the bakery we were off up the mountain.
Windy and cold from the start at 10:30am and it only got worse. Managed several resident fish ranging from dink to respectable but none worthy of a photo. At 2pm I finally managed to hook my first laker. With the winds now howling I had to keep my rod tip low to avoid the line being dragged and when I set the hook I set it low and to the side. Instinctively while fighting it I then raised the rod tip high and after a brief battle the hook came off. Had I fought the fish at a low angle I likely would have not lost the fish. By changing the angle I likely rotated the hook and it's a matter of time with the right head shake it will pop off. After that I went back to the truck where my buddy was having lunch. After sitting in the cab we decided it didn't make sense to continue fishing here as winds were predicted to get worse with top speeds up to 20mph. Moved to Hot Creek to hide from the winds. First fished the canyon section.
I recently acquired a try new 6wt Recon and I wanted to test fire it.  I had prerigged it before we left with a fast sinking line and a Nancy P streamer. Too lazy to switch the set up I fished it anyways. Water was low and so I was using wrong line.  I had to pick and choose my shots. I would have to cast in between the weed lines and strip fast to prevent the line from sinking in the garbage. In time I switched to a Boogeyman and had one flash at it.  Flared its gills gave a brief chase and then let up. With about an hour of light left we left for the interpretive center.  Fish were rising. I was too lazy to rig a dry fly rod up and with little light anyways I decided to stay with the streamer set up. Blanked here while the fishing partner was able to get a few on emergers.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

New Gear Testing

December 17, 2023

Took to the locals once again in order to test some new equipment.  An Orvis Superfine Glass 6'6" 2wt.  New lightweight Orvis wading boots. OM Systems (formerly known as Olympus) TG7 camera.  I had planned on fishing with a buddy but due to a miscommunication he never arrived.  By 8:50am I was on the trail making my way, at around 10am I was 2 miles in and I started to fish the hole I saw the foot long the last outing.  While I managed several fish the 12 incher never showed.
I took my time here trying desperately to get that local hog but after a while I gave up and moved to make distance.  Since days are now short I wanted to make sure I had enough time to complete the course unlike last time when I was about a half mile short.
Fished a few more locations before I reached the area I had to turn back last outing.  By now it was closing in on 1pm.  I knew if I didn't want to be hiking out in the dark I needed to be heading back before 3pm.  I had a plan though I would fish the canyon and go through it to where it pops back out to the trail and hightail it out of there. 
When I entered the canyon I started to fish more aggressively than I did before.  I haven't seen this area since the hard winter and was curious how it looked and if the fish were still there.  The rest of the river the fish are scarcer than in the past few years.  Fishing here was decent, there is much better holding water and bigger pools.
I'd estimate 60 rises for the day.  Half were landed.  The half the fish popped off or were missed.   Don't know why but fish seemed to come off very easily on this rod.  It seemed to happen mostly when I had the rod angle horizontal to the water.   I was forced to hold this angle many times since I was canopied with trees branches above.  I was reaching the end of the canyon by 3pm and I could see the trail a few thousand yards away.  Unfortunately I could reach it as I reached a spot in the canyon I couldn't confidently or safely go forward.  This meant I had to go back from where I came.  An area without a trail.  Backtracking cost me an hour of light so now I knew I was going to be making a few river crossings in the dark.
I got on the trail past 4pm and with more than 3 miles I needed to start booking it.I took out my head lamp from my pack and wore it around my neck in preparation for the sunset.  Upon reaching one of the river crossings I saw a pair of hikers putting in their boots.  I asked them if they had headlamps and they did not.  I told them they're going to be making a few stream crossings in the dark.  So they followed me out and with each water crossing I made sure to light up the water so they could see their footing.  Got out of there in the darkness by around 5:30pm. 

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Blank at Canyon

 December 7, 2023

Went out with Luc again.  It's been a while and popper season is officially over.  Sinking lines only.  I generally hate winter bass fishing but I do like spending time on the boat with Luc.  He's been catching fish lately so I was confident we'd at least get a few.  Also I had a few flies I wanted to try out so I get get out there.  Unfortunately it was a complete bust.  We may or may not have had a handful of nabs but there was no action at all.  Even Luc suffered the stink of the skunk.  So it goes.  Not sure if I'll come back for a while but we'll see.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Three Rivers One Day

 December 5, 2023

Three tributaries in one day. First one I fished for little more than an hour before I gave up on it because it was so canopied movement was simply too troublesome. I knew there's fish in there as my buddy had fished it in the summer with great success. I fished it until the growth was so bad I simply couldn't go any further without so serious bushwhacking. The second I was curious to see how it was doing after the fires and then the winter flooding. The last time I was here it wasn't promising. All holes were covered in silt and it didn't look like a freestone. Today it looked a thousand percent better. It was low but the river is healthy. Silt for the most part is gone. There is holding water for fish. Bug life abound. Unfortunately no fish. I've been told by a friend when I was driving home that I needed to go further. I only made it half way before quitting and heading back. I wasn't going to get skunked today so I had committed to going over to the next tributary where I knew I get a fish or two. While hiking down a county employee in his truck stopped and we chatted he asked if I would a ride back down the trail. I accepted because with short days now I wanted as much time on the other water as possible. He dropped me off and I headed toward my car. While unpacking I realized I left my gopro in his truck. I race down the road to see if I could catch him. I knew I had some time as he still needed to unlock and lock the gate. I caught up with him at the gate and got my camera back. I was told about a section downstream that was fishing well. I tried to get into the area but found no easy way in so I gave up after looking at a few options. By this time it was nearing 3pm. I'd have about two hours of light or so. If I wanted to prevent the skunk I needed to get on the water soon, so I abandoned this area for another I knew held fish. I normally do not fish the next area as it easy access and trash, both in liter and human form, is excessive. But with no time to hike in I would have to fish here to save me from the skunk. I was fishing fast and probing all day. Much quicker that I normally do. I didn't want to waste time on dead water. I eventually came up to a big pool. I stood perched on the man-made boulder dam and threw a cast in. Because the boulders were unstable I looked down to see my footing when I looked back up my fly was gone. So I lifted the rod and I was on. Bent my 2wt and ran me ragged. Gave me multiple jumps and would not come to the net. Ended up at least 12 maybe 13inches. Surprisingly big for this part of the river. Managed a few more before giving up for the day. Got out of there before the sundown.


Thursday, December 14, 2023

Not Ideal

November 25, 2023 

Tried a couple new routes in but they ended up being a bust which cost us about 2 hours. Diverted to another area and was on the trail by around 10:30am. Hiked in a few miles. Water is stained, fast, and completely silted over. Place looks like a war zone. Timber, trash, and eroded banks everywhere. I was still hopeful as the last time I came here with Steve it wasn't much different. It was slightly more volume though. Fished for hours and no fish were found. Couldn't even spook one. Fish must have been pushed further downriver. After hours of boulder hopping buddy was having back issues so he started to head back so he could lie down and rest in the truck. I was only 30 yards behind him when on the way out perched on a huge boulder while trying to gingerly lower myself down I got a cramp in my left inner thigh. Couldn't move or readjust my body as I was in a precarious position. With my rod placed in my mouth, I managed to wedge myself in between the boulders to lower myself enough to jump down safely. Afterwards I basically crawled to the nearest island so I could try and recover. Pain was excruciating after what seemed like an eternity it subsided enough for me to try to rub and stretch it out. Once I felt it was adequate enough to walk on on I still had another 7-8 foot boulder I needed to get over so I could cross the river. Managed to get out and while I reached a the tributary, where we parked, I ran into a father and son who were spin fishing and said the tributary was fishing great. So I headed into it and checked it out. Looked in great shape. Some silt but it at least looked like a freestone river. Spooked a fish at least 14 inches but it was too canopied to cast with a fly rod.. I managed to reach the truck, opened the back window where my buddy was resting the bed and told him the creek is looking awesome. He told me once he got back to the truck there were fish rising right there in the small opening where we parked. He managed one and went to sleep. With him avoiding the skunk I was determined to do the same. Getting the skunk on a local is pretty insulting. With only an hour or so of light I hiked up the creek. I've always bypassed this section and fished further upstream so I had no clue where all the openings and holes were. The pressure was on now to avoid the skunk. First two I either was too late or when I set the hook my rod was interfered with by an overhanging branch. Fishing this creek is hard because it's very canopied and everything thing that will interfere with your cast will. Anxiety grew as daylight faded, castable fishing spots were becoming harder to come by. Eventually I managed to get one to stick and come to hand. Pressure now off, I could actually enjoy the last remaining minutes of light. Managed to hook, loose or miss another 8 or so before heading back to the truck just before the sun went down.


November 22, 2023

PreTurkey Day fishing. Got a late start and wasn't on the trail until 10am. Hiked in just under 2 miles before I started fishing. I haven't been here since July. At that time the water was high, fast and looking glacial. Now the water is low and filled with silt. River has completely changed all my favorite holes are no more. Fish are larger on average and no local "trophies" were caught. Although I did have 12 incher chase the 7 incher I had hooked. Fish are more spread out but once you find them you'll easily pick out a dozen or so in the nicer runs. Wanted to make it to the end but with about 1/4-1/3 mile left in the slowest portion (the area with no trail and a ton of boulder hopping) I decided to head back by 3pm. After all I had a two hour hike back to the car and multiple stream crossing I needed to make and I did not want to do that in the dark.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Before November Rain

November 14, 2023

Before the rains I took to the mountains in search of trout.  Like the last time I started at the beginning of the trailhead.  It proved once again a waste of time in terms of fishing as I've yet to catch a fish there in years.  Once I made so distance however I began getting stikes from micro dinks.  These fish were too small to take my size 10 dry.  So though managed to get their tiny mouths around the hook.  Eventually I was starting to see some fish in the more respectable range.  For then on out many fish were in the 9-11 range. Fishing was good.  Found a titty mannequin along the way.  Have no clue way it was there and I'm not asking any questions.  Don't know what these mountain people do in the woods and I don't care to know...

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Murphy's Law.

 November 10, 2023

Murphy's Law, What can go wrong will go wrong. Executive Summary: Smoking motor. Broken flyline. Missing every fish on the wall. Broken rod. Dry heaving. Puking. Trailer issues.
On the drive down it took me three seasickness patches before I could get one to stick on my neck. That one ended up falling off on the boat later in the day and I had to reapply another. When we arrived at the launch ramp, I was backing the boat into the water, Roy fires up the engine and smoke starts coming out of the motor. After taking the covers off and inspecting it he could not find the source. Fire it up again without the cover and it appeared fine. 
Launch the boat and we are off. Hit the wall first. Roy is on first, second and third...I on the other hand can not get one to stick. Every hit I missed. I was testing some new fly patterns all got a reaction but I simply missed everyone. Roy snags and as he pulls his flyline breaks. I get skunked on the wall which is the first time ever. Move on to PV kelp forest.
Since we are now in unprotected water I ask Roy if my patch is still on. He tells me no. I reapply another. By this time no tidal movement and we putz around from one area to the next with little to no reaction. I start to feel slightly queasy. Roy tells me to drive the boat I feel a bit better. Continue fishing. After a couple hours we start to head back. I tell Roy take the wheel and start puking off the side. 
On the way back the tide starts to pick up and Roy is catching fish. While after puking three times I feel somewhat better, I'm still in the back seat trying to get me head together. After watching Roy smacking a few fish I decide fuck feeling bad I'm not coming home skunked and start fishing. After all I have a new rod that still hasn't broken it's cherry. First fish a jack smelt. At least I'm not skunked. Continue on get a calico. Small. After a while I finally on a decent bass. Bent my 8wt down to the cork. He bulldogs me into the kelp I finally drag him out. The I turn my head after I hear something from Roy. He just broke his rod. My fish as i turn my attention back at him now pops off once out of the kelp forest. I see it all happen before my eyes. 
Now Roy is now without a flyrod. I ask him if he wants to use my spare. He doesn't and asks me if I want to keep fishing. At this point I've had enough of the ocean. Let's head back. Once in protected water I'm starting feel better. We trailer the boat and start washing it. Roy notices the boat is off center. Put it back in the water. Boat simply wouldn't center. After nearly two hours of repositioning and rewashing the boat we were finally heading back home. Got home sleep for the rest of the day. Woke up at 10pm and in the middle of making dinner, neighborhood experiences a blackout the rest of the night.

Nothing to Write Home About Canyon

November 2, 2023

Cold morning but warmed at sunrise.  We started with poppers and manage a few topwater bites.  I missed all of mine. This is likely the last topwater session for the season.  Luc connected on a couple but could not land any.  Went to sinking lines.  I was using a new H2 rod that Orvis replaced for my broken Zero Gravity.  I got a couple bumps but no fish. Luc a had a few and landed a couple of dinks. 

Kern Schmern

 October 29, 2023

Reports coming from the Kern were promising particularly with the dry fly action.  So I called up my buddy KB to see if he wanted to day trip it up there.  We fished from 10am to 5pm.  Everything that was reported, well let's just say it wasn't what we experienced.  One, reports claimed air temps were in the 80°s.  It was 65°.  In fact I checked all the week it was in that range the whole week.  Two, water temps reported in the 60°s.  I was reading around 44° measured at three locations and three different times of the day.  Three, hatch going off around 10-1pm.  I didn't see that.  There was a minor hatch around 4pm.  Even without a hatch, reports were they were looking up all day.  Not really what we experience.  We would have been better off nymphing most of the day.  KB got two for the day and I manage a small one all on dries.  Most interesting part of the trip was the low flying Navy F16 that buzzed the canyon while we were having lunch.