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    Wednesday
    Jun292016

    LAKE ALMANOR HEX HATCH 2016

    This year we were determined to make it to the hex hatch at Lake Almanor. We have been wanting to fish the hex hatch for over ten years, but for whatever reason we kept missing it. We stumbled upon it last June while fishing for smallmouth bass. Unfortunately we were not able to stay for that evening bite. This year would be another story.

     

    The Hexagenia Limbata is known as the giant mayfly. They can reach up to an inch and a half in length and make for a tasty meal for just about anything that swims in Lake Almanor.

     

    This year Andy pretty much owned the lake. Every time I looked over at him he was battling a big trout.

    Or smallmouth bass....

     A typical rainbow trout caught during Almanors hex hatch.

    Andy and I  believe this may possibly be the best stillwater fishing in California.

     

     

    While Barb did not catch any rainbow or brown trout on this trip she did catch a couple of nice smallmouth bass.

     

    Barb brought along her friend Jaimie who caught her first fish on the fly. This nice smallmouth bass.

     

     I did not catch anywhere close to the amount of fish Andy caught, but I did manage a half dozen smallmouth bass and this nice rainbow trout.

     

    On the way home we stopped at a small lake to fish for brook trout and brown trout. Andy caught this peculiar looking guy. It had the vermiculated pattern of a brook trout but looked more like a brown trout. Could this possibly be a tiger trout caught in California???

     

    Overall it was a tiring but great three days. I know one thing is for sure!!! We will be setting aside a few days every year for the hex hatch..

    Sunday
    Jun052016

    PERCHFEST 2016

    Its that time again when family gets together to enjoy each others company and celebrate all we are thankful for.  No I am not talking about Christmas or Thanksgiving. I am talking about Perchfest: the greatest holiday of all.

    Several years ago, a buddy introduced us to this lake. It is probably the best panfish lake in all of California. It contains: Yellow perch, bluegill, crappie, pumpkinseed, shad, green sunfish, largemouth bass and rainbow trout. The lake receives very little pressure, so little pressure that the fish have become so prolific they can be caught by the hundreds.

    This lake is only one of two lakes in the entire state that contains yellow perch. Yellow perch are a close relative of walleye. They have flaky white meat and make the best fish tacos in the world. Under normal circumstances, I always practice catch and release but this lake has so many perch and they taste so good. I make an exception.

    A simple batter of: Beer, flour, garlic salt and eggs. Garnished with cabbage, hot sauce and lemon, wrapped in a warm tortilla is all you need. We also boiled the perch in 7up and dipped them in cocktail sauce. This was a favorite of Andy's.

     

    Last year we brought our fish counters and logged in over 500 fish caught. This year we blew those numbers away and caught all eight species of fish we targeted. I even added a new species to my list.

    The pumpkinseed

    Tuesday
    May032016

    OPENING WEEKEND AT MARTIS

    This past weekend we decided to hit Martis Lake. Martis is located just outside of Truckee Ca. It is one of our favorite early season lakes. It is a catch and release lake. This seems to keep the crowds down.

    The bite really started out tough for Christy and I. We were both fishing near the dam with intermediate lines and bugger patterns. After about two hours we decided to head over to the inlet where Jeff was fishing . On the way over Christy managed to catch a small brown on a halfback. I was happy she finally caught one but that meant she was now ahead of me.

    When we caught up to Jeff he had already landed four fish and had many bites. Throughout the morning Christy and I watched Jeff catch fish after fish. We were all pretty much doing the same thing, it just seemed to be Jeff's day.

    After fishing all day, I could only manage to bring one small cutthroat to the boat. We finished the day with one fish for Christy, one fish for me and nine fish for Jeff, including the little brown trout pictured below.

     

    Wednesday
    Aug262015

    HOOVER WILDERNESS 2015

    Those who follow my blog know that the fishing trip I look forward to most is the week-long trip I take every year. Last year I went to Oregon, and the year before that, Wyoming. This year I was forced to pick the month of August. Traditionally August is a poor month to fly fish, but the dates had to be chosen on fairly short notice because of our work obligations. My cousin Andy and I decided on a horse-pack trip into the mountains. We invited Jeffro, and he was in.

    I completed so much research on which pack station to use and where to go that I was starting to lose my mind. The websites were so confusing and the prices were so high. I started to think that a horse-pack trip was not for us. Then I stumbled onto Leavitt Meadows Pack Station out of Bridgeport, California. As soon as I started perusing the pages of their website, I felt relieved. Finally, a website I could understand with prices that made sense. As soon as I made first contact with the owner (Craig), I knew I had made the right choice. His sense of humor was a perfect match for me and I knew the group would dig him as well.

    Many different options were available for our pack trip, but we chose the "spot" pack trip: We were taken by horseback and our gear and provisions were taken by pack animal to a desirable campsite on a lake. The packer and stock then returned to the pack station. Then we were picked up on a predetermined date by the same packer. We furnished all our own camping equipment. The duration of our stay in the back country was up to us. We chose a solid week and it went by wayyyyy too fast.

    Jeffro had backpacked into this area years before and assured us we would be blown away by its beauty, especially at Fremont Lake. Craig also suggested we base camp at Fremont Lake. He felt we would enjoy the fishing.

    When we arrived at the pack station and started loading the mules, one of the ranch hands showed us a picture of a 4-pound wild rainbow that was caught a couple of weeks prior. Everyone that fishes Fremont Lake tries to practice catch and release, so there was a good chance that the fish was still there, along with others in the same size range. We were told all of the fish in Fremont Lake were 14 inches and larger and fought like 5 pounders.

    Craig was absolutely right about the great fishing. On the first day after camp was set up, I decided to take a nap while Andy and Jeffro inflated the tubes for an afternoon bite. I awoke a couple of hours later and put the float tube in the water.

     

    I did not know what to expect. When I paddled over to Andy and Jeff to see what was going on, they informed me they had caught lots of fish and were amazed at how hard they fought. I soon hooked up with a couple of scrappy rainbows and was blown away by how hard they pulled. They reminded me of the smallmouth bass we had been catching at Lake Almanor.

    After fishing Fremont Lake consistently for 3 days and catching a couple hundred hard-fighting rainbow trout, we decided to hike into the headwaters of the Walker River and catch some smaller rainbows and brook trout.

    The canyon was steep and hard to hike. The fish were very spooky and we caught a few rainbows and brookies, but I have to admit I missed Fremont Lake and couldn't wait to get back to those trout.

     

     I actually enjoyed the view much more from up here.


    A typical high-mountain-stream brook trout.

     

    On the way back we ran into this peculiar fellow. He claimed to be a prospecter and yelled at us to get away from his claim!

     

    A view of Fremont Lake. I could not wait to get back and catch some more rainbows.

     

    There were so many crawfish in the lake that we decided to keep a few and boil them up and add them to our spaghetti. A little hot sauce and some sausage made for the best spaghetti we had ever eaten.

     

    On our last full day Andy decided to do a 12-mile round-trip hike to a brookie lake that we heard was full of fish.

    Cinko Lake was a great brook trout lake for Andy.

    We knew Andy would catch a lot of brookies. He said he stopped fishing after catching a little more than 100 fish, when he decided to start the long hike back.

     

    Jeff and I decided to just stick around camp and catch more of the rainbows from Fremont Lake.

     

     

    Jeff looked very tired but Andy and I both agreed, it should have been Jeffro's horse that was the tired one after this trip!!

    Overall it was one of our best trips. Andy feels it was his favorite. You know it was a good trip when you return home feeling like a new person, disconnected from the daily grind. We also all agreed that our pack guides were a big part of making our trip such a great adventure, and we would highly recommend them to anyone.

    Next year we might fish Wyoming or do another pack trip. Regardless, I’m sure we will have fun planning for it in the meantime.

    Tuesday
    Jun162015

    RECENT RAMBLINGS

     

    Lately I have been very busy fishing. I have been fishing so much I have not had time to update the blog. Some trips have been good and some not as good. The last two trips to Lake Almanor have been amazing and a trip up to our property in Modoc county is definitely worth posting about.

    This lake is my favorite lake in Modoc County. It was created over 150 years ago when an earthquake caused a landslide damming up the stream and creating the lake.

     From the research I have done, I have found it is  the only lake in California that you can find  Goose Lake Redband trout.

    Many many years ago Goose Lake overflowed into the South Fork of the Pit River. The Redband trout migrated from the South Fork into many different tributaries one being the stream that created this lake. The lake receives very little pressure and we have never really had a bad day there. We fished it on Memorial weekend and there was only a few other people fishing from shore. My sister Barb and I both qualified our redband trout here for the California Heritage Trout Challenge.

     

     Our weather patterns are a little off this year. It seems the Hex hatch at Lake Almanor started the first week of June. We did not stay for the evening hatch but there were plenty coming off in the morning.

    The fish will gorge themselves on these mayflies. We did not catch any trout but managed to catch almost fifty smallmouth bass.

    I think smallmouth bass are the most beautiful of all the bass.

    This guy had Jeff's six weight fly rod bent all the way into the cork handle.

    Smallmouth bass on a fly rod. It doesn't get much better.

     

    Christy with a small but beautiful smallmouth.

    Two weeks before the above trip, Andy and I came up and caught a couple of dozen smallmouth on the opposite end of the lake. This lake is really starting to be something special for Andy. His biggest smallmouth, brown trout and until we went to Wyoming his biggest rainbow trout were all caught at this lake.