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      Thursday
      Jun192014

      Modoc Country

      This was a special weekend for Christy and I. It was our ten year wedding anniversary. We had thought about what we wanted to do for months to celebrate, but with the shop short staffed and me only able to take a couple of days off we decided to head up to our property in the Modoc Forest. We would do some camping, fishing and a bit of exploring.

      Our first stop on the way up would be in the McCloud area. Christy needed a McCloud Redband Trout for her second Heritage Trout Certificate. It was only a few minutes off the path so we figured it would be a great place to take a break from the drive and catch a few fish.

      Home of the McCloud Redband Trout.

       

      Christy's first McCloud Redband.

       

       

      That night I cooked up some delicious spicy sausage sandwiches in the dutch oven.

      The next day we decided to get up early and head to the most beautiful swamp in California. To get to the swamp requires traveling on a long dirt road only suitable for high ground clearance vehicles. The road climbs for what feels like eternity passing abandoned cabins, old mines and all kinds interesting terrain. When you finally arrive at the swamp, you realize the name is not very fitting. There is a small creek that runs through the swamp that contains an extremely rare subspecies of the rainbow trout called the Warner Redband. Christy would also need this fish for her Heritage Trout Certificate.

       

      Home of the Warner Redband Trout.

       

      Christy's first Warner Redband.

       

       

       

      On the way back to camp we decided to stop of at the Stringer Plum Winery. The winery uses the Native Pacific Plum which is extremely rare and only grows in that region. We bought two bottles. We were getting a bit hungry so we decided to just have  lunch right there at the winery. They had nice picnic tables that offered a great view of Goose Lake. The wine went very well with our crackers, summer sausage and cheese.

       

      On our third and final day we headed to the famous Lava Beds National Park. The park is somewhat close to the property and it really is amazing. The park blew us away and I have to warn that the next section of this post is going to get a little picture heavy.

       

      Should I go in?????

       

       

       

       

       

       

      A big one!!!!!

       

       

       On the final night I made an amazing rosemary chicken in the dutch oven. Christy said it was the best chicken she ever had. It could of been the alcohol talking, but it was pretty good.

       

       

      Friday
      Jun062014

      Truckee California.

      This past week Christy and I snuck out for an overnighter at our favorite catch and release lake near Truckee. It was an absolute perfect day and once again we had the lake to ourselves.

       

      The campgrounds are some of the nicest around and always quiet. The fact that the lake is artificial only, barbless, catch and release really keeps the masses down.

       

      The bite was not red hot but we managed to catch about a dozen and a half between the two of us.

       

      Christy with a spunky rainbow.

       

      I managed to catch all three flavors of trout in the lake: Cutthroat, Brown and Rainbow Trout.

       

      Christy with another beautiful rainbow.

       

      Brown Trout are the predominate fish in the lake and make up about eighty-five percent of the catch rate.

       

      Christy still needs a Lahontan Cutthroat Trout for her second California Heritage Trout Challenge certificate.

      On this trip, all she could muster up were browns and rainbows.

      Oh well maybe next time.

       

      Tuesday
      May272014

      Taco Time.

      Green Sunfish tacos.

      Our local Brown Trout lake seems to be over run with small Green Sunfish and we are noticing a decline in the trout population. I usually always practice catch and release, but there are so many dam sunfish in the lake, I felt it would be a great time to make some tacos.

      Beer battered sunfish.

      There is not a lot of recipes on the internet for Green Sunfish tacos, so I had to wing it. I made a simple beer batter with flour, salt , pepper and of course beer. We topped them off with chopped lettuce, salsa, cheese and a lemon. They were extremely tasty.

      One of over 100 fish caught this morning.

      I was here the week before with Pete and we caught so many fish, I could not wait to get back here. I could only get one day off for the Memorial Weekend and Barb was the only one who was free to fish. I told her about all the fish we caught and I think she was a bit skeptical. After about an hour and a half and over twenty-five fish by herself she was a believer.

      The two fly rig was lots of fun.

      As the day went on and the water started warming up, the fishing got even better and at one point, it was a fish every cast. We put on double fly rigs and were catching two fish for every cast.

      Barb with a small brown.

      We did manage to catch a couple of small brown trout mixed in with all the sunfish. Barb also had a nice brown try to eat one of her sunfish, while she was reeling in.

      We fished until about three in the afternoon and decided it was time to head out and make the tacos.

       

      Thursday
      May152014

      Recent Trips.

      Andy fishing on a cold windy morning.

      I have been working so much I have not had time to post any of the recent trips. Here is a photo collaboration of the past few months. There has been some good days of fishing and some very bad days. Work is really starting to slow the fishing down and that is going to change.

       

      Andy with a small cutbow. This lake holds Tiger, Cutthroat, Rainbows and Brook trout.

       

      Barb with a small Tiger Trout. Tiger trout can be very rare in the west.

       

      Christy and I decided to take a day off from trout and go for some sunfish.

       

      I love Bluegill.


      Christy with a nice Redear Sunfish.

       

      The always reliable Brown Trout lake close to home.

       

       

      Opening day. The background gives away our location.

       

      Barb would catch no Cutthroat Trout on this stormy day.

       

      Andy and I found an amazing hike to lake that contains Wild Kamloop Rainbow trout and Brook Trout. The Lake was put on DFW'S wild and scenic list in 2012. The lake is no longer stocked and is just loaded with fish.

       

      The fish are very healthy at this lake and there are lots of them.

       

      It does not get much prettier than this lake.

       

      Type three lines were the key to catching fish today.

       

       The bite was consistent all day.

       

      Andy finally broke down and bought a Supercat 50 float tube.

       

      There were a lot of fish located on these steep banks.

       

      Andy with his first fish, caught in his new boat.

       

      A good spot.

       

      The lake was very full.

       

      Another hot spot.

       

      Andy just missed another one.

       

      The lake also contains Brook Trout.

       

      The water was cold and so were our feet . We had to call it a short day.

       

      Monday
      Apr072014

      Jay Fair Wiggle Tail Nymph.

      If you could use only one fly for the rest of your life, which fly would you use? Lately my friends and I have been debating this topic regularly. For some this would be a difficult decision. Would it be a wet fly, a dry fly, or a nymph? For me it is an easy choice, and those who fish with me already know my answer: a variation of the wooly bugger called the wiggle tail nymph. This fly was created by Jay Fair of Eagle Lake but I changed a few things.

      I have used the wiggle tail nymph in every lake and pond I have fished. I even took this fly to Hawaii and caught trevally on it. I think this fly is so productive for me because of its action. This fly really comes alive in the water because of the type of material used and the way it is tied. To be effective, stillwater flies must have more action and be more realistic. Trout in a stream or river do not have a lot of time to look at a fly. They must decide quickly whether to eat before the possible meal is swept away. The fish in a lake or pond are looking for their food and can take their time deciding whether something is edible.

      I am a strong believer in using quality materials and for this fly I use the best marabou and saddle hackle I can find. I start with a Daichii number 1120 hook, size 8. This is a rather large scud hook. I use this hook because it is part of the recipe, but more importantly it is a short hook with an extra-wide gap that allows for better hook sets. The extra-wide gap also keeps the tail of the fly from fowling on the hook bend, which is a common problem with wooly-bugger-style flies. Next I tie in the lead. I think most people skip this step, but the lead makes a huge difference in my catch rate. I use .020-size lead wire and make about eight to ten wraps from the hook bend toward the eye. Use this fly with an intermediate fly line, a nine-foot 3x leader, and three feet of fluorocarbon 3x tippet. The combination of the lead and the line setup will cause the wiggle tail nymph to sink at the same rate as the fly line. Therefore, the lead is an extremely important addition when fishing a sinking line.

      Next I add the tail. I tie in the marabou very sparsely, using only about eight to ten fibers. This keeps the tail from bunching up and allows for a lot of movement. Next I tie in the body and hackle at the tail and carry them forward toward the eye. The body is a synthetic product called short shuck made by Jay Fair. I wrap the body forward and tie off the material. Then I wrap the hackle forward. I use a grade-one Mets saddle hackle dyed in a color that matches the body. How you tie in the hackle is a minor detail that makes a huge difference. The hackle should be wrapped sparsely with no more than three to four wraps. This allows the hackle to breathe and move in the water. I then whip finish, add my head cement, and we are done.

      I can make this fly imitate many different food sources by simply changing its color, fishing it at different depths, and/or changing my retrieve. It's no wonder that the wiggle tail nymph is my favorite fly. Next time you are talking about your favorite fly, stop to think why it works so well. I bet there is more to your fly than you thought.

      Recipe:

      Hook: Daichii #1120 size 8
      Thread: Black 6/0
      Weight: Lead Wire 0.020
      Body: Jay Fair Short Shuck
      Hackle: Jay Fair Nymph Saddle or Metz #1 Grizzly Saddle
      Tail: Jay Fair Marabou