After just returning from Montana and catching lots of grayling, we decided we wanted to catch something exotic from California. Andy, Dave, Don and I headed up to a lake just outside of Placerville that was loaded with the elusive Sacramento Pike Minnow. The road to get there was interesting to say the least. It was a narrow winding dirt road with shear drop offs that went down hundreds of feet. If you were not paying attention you could easily steer off the road and end up in the water. We actually saw the remains of a few vehicles that had plummeted down the canyon. The lake was like nothing I had fished before. It would go from just a few feet deep to super deep in just a few feet from the bank. This was an extreme canyon fishery and would not be the norm for a fly fisherman. There was no cover except for a few small rocky points and a few trees. With the deep drop offs and lack of cover I felt a fast sinking line like a type 3 or a teeny t-130 would be the best. I put in and caught two fish right off the bat on a burnt orange wiggle tail nymph. One of the fish was just under eighteen inches. We had a wager that the guy with big fish would not have to buy his own dinner and with this fish I felt I would be eating for free tonight. I was wrong. Andy put on a purple wiggle tail and started catching fish, including one pushing 22". Dave put on his olive and gold bugger and started catching fish as well. The wind picked up and slowly started pushing us down the lake. We were not paying attention and before we knew it we were several miles from the launch ramp and had to start kicking back against the wind. By the time we got back to the launch we had caught about 45 fish between the four of us and we were ready for some beer.
I decided to squeeze one last trip in before I left for Montana. My cousin and I headed out to a high sierra lake that we had caught lots of fish from last year. We were a little hesitant to go this year because the fish were so small, but the lake is so pretty it makes up for its small fish. It started out a little slow and not even the bait fisherman were catching anything. The water temp was 43 degrees and I could feel it. Friends of ours had fished it last week and done really well, so we were starting to question our fishing skills. My cousin noticed some fish moving in the shallows so we put the intermediate lines on and started throwing sheep creeks at the banks. We were catching fish right away now. They were hitting on nearly every cast. These fish were but shallow and it was fun. They were averaging about 10 to thirteen inches, not big but still lots of fun. We were catching both brookies and rainbows. The fish were a little larger than in years past and this made it more of a fun trip. I started catching fish that were a little strange looking compared to the rest, and as I released one I noticed red slash marks under the gill plates below its jaws. I just caught a cutthroat. Then my cousin called me over and said he had caught a fish he could not identify. I paddled over and it was one of the most beautiful fish I had ever seen. I believe it was a Lahontan Cutthroat. I have sent an email to a friend of mine at DFG to see if that is possible. All in all we caught about 50-60 fish between the two of us.