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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yuba River on 12/30/08 & Holiday Special

I got the chance to go fish the Yuba with one of my good buddies on Tuesday. It was great to get back out on the water after all of the Christmas madness. The weather and the river were both nice and clear. We floated from the Highway 20 bridge down to the rod and gun club access a couple of mile past the Sycamore campground. The fishing was about average on the Yuba for a single rod fishing out of the boat. We managed to hook thirteen fish and land 8 of them. We probably would have gotten a handful more if we had some more flies in the water with a second rod. The bugs that were the most productive were a Red Copper John (16), Hogans S&M (16), and Flashback PT (16). I tried eggs throughout the day but I think that the clear day and high sun really killed the egg bite. If you get out there under some dark rainy conditions then make sure to try throwing your favorite egg patterns.

In the warmest part of the day there were some bugs coming off. There was a decent baetis hatch and a handful of PMD's coming off. The baetis were about a size 18 and the PMD's a 16. I was surprised by the PMD's since it is in the middle of winter. Needeless to say there were a handful of fish feeding on them. We were able to rise one rainbow on a dry. However we just pricked him.

For those of you interested in a holiday special. If you book two trips between January 1 & March 15 then I will give you a third trip free during the same time period. This is a cool deal because it will give you the opportunity to fish the second egg bite on the Lower Sac in January, the Skwala Hatch on the Yuba in February, and then finally the caddis hatch on the Lower Sac in March. Three trips for the price of two. Get together with a buddy each pay for a trip then the two of you get a thid trip to hang out.

Hope you all have a safe and wonderful New Year.

Tight Lines!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Putah Creek and Lower Sac

I had the opportunity to guide both Putah Creek and the Lower Sac twice this week. All I can say is that Putah Creek is starting to fish really tough. Putah is flowing between 40-50 cfs and it is hard to find water that has enough depth and current to hold lots of fish. It seems as though you can find a random fish here and there but not multiple fish in single spots. Most days it seems as though a guys can hook between 4-6 rainbows in about 5 hours of fishing. You really have to put your time in and focus on the deeper slots. It has been cool to hook some larger fish on the creek. This week clients of mine hooked two different fish that were between 20-24''. The hot bugs have been black/red zebra midges (18), biot baetis (18), Hogans S&M (18), flashback pheasant tails (20).

The Lower Sac continues to fish well below Red Bluff. The trout fishing has been consistent with about 20 rainbows being boated on a daily basis. We are seeing some big steelhead continuing to move through the system. The Lower Sac steelhead are some of the most pissed off big fish in all of Northern California. I wish all steelhead acted like those on the Sac. The hot bugs on the Lower Sac have been Rubberlegs, Red Copper Johns, Tan Birds Nest, and Hogans S&M.

If you are interested I will take $100 off anyone who is interested in booking Sunday, November 30 for a day on the Lower Sac or Feather River.

Tight Lines!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Last Two Weeks of Valley River Steelhead Fishing

The last two weeks I have had some tough steelhead fishing on the Feather River. There are not lots of fish in the system. Most days with clients in the last two weeks has resulted in hooking 1-2 adult fish with another 4-5 half pounders on top of that. I did have one really good day during the first week of November where my clients hooked 14 steelies. However only two of those fish hooked were considered adult sized fish (22''+). The most productive flies have been eggs, san juan worms, and any small baetis nymphs. Usually caddis patterns are effective on the Feather but I have not been seeing many of them on the water. I would try some caddis stuff only after you have fished a slot effectively with all of the other bugs mentioned.

What I started doing my last three days on the water was switch my clients over to the Lower Sac to do some trout and steelhead fishing. My thinking is we can get 1-2 adult steelhead on the Lower Sac but at the same time catch an additional 15-20 rainbows. It is a no brainer because you are hooking the same number of adults as the Feather with more action on the trout. This last week one of my clients hooked an absolute monster steelhead below Red Bluff. This fish was easily 30''+. We fought the big hen for a solid 5 minutes before she found a stray log on the bottom of the river. When we lost this fish I was seriously depressed for a solid two hours. Not to often do you get shots at fish this size on the Lower Sac. Another missed opportunity.

So what is the outlook for the Feather and Lower Sac Steelhead fishing? I think the Feather needs a serious dosage of water to get those fish to move in large groups. It seems as though the fish that the Feather is getting are trickling in as solos or pairs of fish. I think that the fishing will start improving whenever the first big storms come in. So there is quite a possibility that the Feather might start fishing really well in December. Or the river might be having a small run of fish? Who knows!

I think that the Lower Sac steelhead fishing is going to improve over the next couple of weeks. The majority of the fish we are getting are big wild fish. With the river having relatively lower flows (5,000 cfs) it is going to be easier to get to these fish. It seems as though the steelhead are on the move and are staging up in the deeper runs. With all of the other steelhead fisheries struggling the Lower Sac is a viable option right now. As long as the lower sections of the river don't blow out they should get better and better later in the year.

For those of you interested I will take off $100 to anyone who wants to book this Saturday, November 22 for a day of guided steelhead/trout fishing on the Lower Sac.

Hope everybody has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Fish Hard!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Three Rivers in a Week

It has been a whirlwind of a week. I have been guiding all over the state from Putah Creek, Lower Sac, and Feather Rivers. It has been a challenge to get in the groove for each of the rivers. Here is a little piece on all of the rivers.

The Lower Sac is near the end of its egg bite. I fished in the upper part of the river twice this week from the Posse Grounds down to Anderson. Eggs are still catching the majority of the fish with a handful of nymphs starting to work. Nymphs that have proved effective are red copper johns, gidgets, and micromays. Most days are seeing between 20-30 fish being boated. For those of you planning on a trip up there you should try to go in the next week because the egg bite is going to stall out here for about a month. Those fish have seen and eaten a lot of egg patterns in the last month so they are starting to get a little picky on egg patterns. For those of you that cant make it up in the next week dont worry because the second egg bite will start back up between the middle of December through the end of January.

Putah Creek has seem some major flow fluctuations in the last week. The creek has been as high as 200cfs and as low as 40 cfs this week. You gotta love it when the state messes with flows that much. So before you go out there make sure to check the flows out. The fishing was a little difficult this week. My client hooked 6 fish in a full day of fishing. The hardest part about fishing the creek at low flows is finding water that has depth and current. So find some depth and current and from there you should find a handful of fish. Make sure to throw small midge and mayfly patterns between sizes 18-20 in the fall and winter. Most of the fish we got this week fell to a zebra midge.

I was excited to finally get on the Feather because I love to steelhead fish. I was out there this last Friday and all that I can tell you is that there is not many fish in the system. There are some fresh salmon that are starting to bed up. So when the fish move in there should be just enough salmon to keep them interested in eggs. I think that the Feather is going to fish better this year during the later part of November. The clients that I had out there the other day only hooked 2 halfpounders and 1 adult. We got lucky to land the adult and in went a HUGE 27.5'' BUCK. For those of you that dont fish the Feather that is a monster fish for the river. This buck that my client landed was bigger than any fish that I landed on this river all of last year. Get excited because the Feather is going to blow up in the next two weeks.

Steelhead Fishing is just around the Corner!

Fish Hard!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lower Sac Egg Bite in Full Swing

The Lower Sac has hit its October peak. In my opinion this is hands down one of the best times of year to be on the Lower Sac. The rainbows are ready for their steady dose of egg nutrition and we are there waiting for them with egg patterns. Fishing is pretty amazing because when you find some salmon you find the rainbows right behind them. The whole key to fishing the river this time of year are to find those salmon redds. When you are out on the river just watch the other guides and they will get you keyed in to the spawning beds. This is not to say that you wont catch fish in your typical riffle and run kind of water, but you have a much higher probability of catching multiple fish in the redds. When I drift the river this time of year there is a lot of flat water that I row over trying to get to the next redd. Water that holds fish in the spring and the summer doesn't necessarily hold fish now.

The majority of the last week 95% of the fish that I have caught have come using egg patterns. The colors that seem to be more productive are peach and orange. These are generally the two go to colors during the October egg bite. To be honest the fishing has been pretty awesome. You know when a guide gets excited about the fishing then it must be good. Most days during this last week we were hooking 40+ rainbows between the Posse Grounds and Anderson.

The outlook for the river is good for the next couple of weeks and the egg bite should remain through the end of the month. If the river gets another push of salmon then it could remain longer than that but don't get your hopes up. For sure you have a two week window to get in some great egg fishing on the Lower Sac.

Love Those Salmon!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

L:ower Sac Report 9/25-9/30

The Lower Sac egg bite is about a week from blowing up. There is a nice push of salmon rolling around on the lower sections of the river. So all of these fish will be cutting redds in the next couple of weeks. It looks like there will be about a two week period where the Sac will go off and you are going to want and make sure you're in the game. This is one of the coolest times of year on the Sac.

The last five days on the river have been a little unusual on the river. It seems as though you get two goods days of fishing and then there is a big drop off on the third day. The majority of last week I fished the lower river from Balls Ferry down to Bend Bridge. The cool thing is that I have hooked a steelhead each day that I have been on the river. The bad thing is that we are 0 for 5 on our land ratio for these big fish. Oh...the joys of steelhead fishing! Most of the steelies we have hooked have been between 23-26''. Its addicting watching a big fish fly three feet out of the air when it is hooked.

The trout fishing has been decent on rubber legs, birds nest, and amber wing princes. It seems as though one day all they want is the birds nest and then the next the amber wing. At this point on the lower drifts the rubberleg should never come off. Its catching lots of fish and its a great steelie fly.

Starting next week I will be bouncing back and forth between the Posse Grounds trying to get in on the egg bite and the lower drifts looking for steelhead. If you are interested I have a couple openings for October if you want to try out the Lower Sac in the middle of its glory.

Tight Lines!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Lower Sac 9/19 - 9/20

I had the chance to guide the Lower Sac two days this last weekend. After throwing dries on the South Fork of the Snake all summer it was pretty tough going back to watching indicators on the Sac. Throughout the day I found myself thinking if this was Idaho there would be cuttys rising all over this riffle. I guess I will have to wait until next summer to get back out there. Those fish eating PMDs in the riffles during the afternoons are still haunting my thoughts.

The news on the Lower Sac is that it is fishing a little tough. Friday we decided to float from Anderson down to Balls Ferry. While Saturday we did the Bonnyview to Anderson drift. Both days it seemed like the afternoon bite was better than the morning. To be frankly honest the morning was just bad. There were spots in the morning that are always dependable for a couple of fish but as we floated through them the indicator didn't even move. Needless to say the mornings were a lot of indicator watching. Both days we ended up in the mid teens with boated fish but as most of you know those are slow days on the Sac. I think the reason that the fishing was hard was due to the lack of bugs on the water. There was absolutely zilch of a hatch the two days I was on the water. The only thing that I could get them to eat on somewhat of a regular basis was a size 6 rubberlegs.

One cool thing that did happen in those two days of guiding was that I was able to take my father-in-law fly fishing for his second time. This was his first true day since the first time only lasted about an hour. My father-in-law did great for his first time nymphing. He figure out the Lower Sac Lob and set the hook every time that indicator started moving. It took a couple of fish to figure out how to fight them properly with things like rod tip up, let the fish run, strip as the fish comes to you, etc, etc. For his first time he landed 7 and hooked 10. Those are good percentages even for dedicated anglers. All in all the two of us had a great time out there and I think it was a bonding experience for both of us.

So what is the outlook for the Lower Sac? At this point we are waiting for the Salmon. Hopefully a decent number of them will show up this fall. Since they are not projecting as many salmon as last year then the egg bite is probably going to be really short. The gang busters egg bite fishing will probably only last for about 10 days when that first major wave of fish start spawning. The good news is that we are seeing salmon rolling around on the lower drifts. So they are a couple weeks away from dropping eggs.

For those of you interested I still have a couple of prime weekend days open for the Lower Sac egg bite. As of today I am still available Oct. 5, Oct.19, Nov.1, and Nov.2. There is also several weekdays open in October if you are looking for a last minute booking.

Tight Lines!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

San Diego Saltwater Fly Fishing

Over the last three weeks I have had the opportunity to go down to San Diego twice to do some fly fishing with guide Peter Piconi. In total I was able to get three days of fishing in. Im sure some of you guys have heard of Peter. He is one of the go to saltwater guides down in Southern California and has published several articles in California Fly Fisher. Needless to say Peter is a stud on the water! I have been fishing with him for about 5 years now and every time we get into fish. The majority of the fishing I have done with him has been done in San Diego Bay. So this year I wanted a chance to fish the local kelp beds and blue water just a couple of miles off La Jolla.

The first day we went out was epic! The seas were flat and the wind calm. In the morning we set up just outside of the kelp beds and wailed on calico bass during the first two hours of light. Calico bass put up quite a fight on a 7 weight. Especially when you are trying to keep their heads up out of the kelp. Around 10AM we saw some birds starting to work just a couple miles out of the kelp so we ran out there to see what life was swimming around. We were pleasantly surprised by schools of large mackerel that were more than willing to eat your fly. For about an hour two of us must have landed over 30 fish. You didn't want to even stop and take a picture because there were so many fish busting around the boat. I know most of you think that the mackerel is a bait fish, but when this fish schools you on a 7 weight you get a different perspective. It was a great first day.

The second day proved to be a little more difficult. We went out in the blue water searching for a little bigger game. The wind was still calm but overnight about a three foot swell moved in making standing in a 20 foot boat a little tricky. We were able to find a couple of kelp paddies that had dorado swimming underneath. I was lucky enough to get two small dorado around 8-10 lbs in the first hours. Playing these fish on an 8 weight was awesome. After the two dorado we never even hooked another fish. Throughout the remainder of the day we had a couple of yellowfin chase our flies right to the boat but they were not willing to play. Overall a little tough but I guess that depends on your perspective. Dorado on the fly is still cool!!

The third day we went back to the kelp beds to find a couple of smaller bonita, lots of calicos, and more mackerel. The third day was different than the first in that we slide way up into the kelp. So every cast you made had to be accurate so not to hook the kelp and break off flies. If you could find a lane between the kelp there were plenty of hungry calicos. Once you hooked one you had to put the wood to them so that they didn't get you hung up. Thank goodness for 20lb floro. In the afternoon I had one chance at a school of barracuda but they did not commit to the fly. The whole school followed the fly all the way to the boat. Dont you hate it when they do that!

In all it was a great couple of days on the water. I highly recommend any of to go and check out this fishery.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Donner Hat Creek Ranch Report 9/8/08

I was lucky enough to go and wail on some big fish this last Monday. A friend of mine won a couple of free day passes to the Donner Hat Creek Ranch. The ranch has a half mile of private access on Hat Creek and two private ponds. To be honest I was more excited about the stocked ponds and they did not disappoint. We arrived at the Ranch around 10AM to find out that we were the only guys fishing the property that day. What is crazy is that the first cast around 10:15 resulted in a fat 21'' bow. In about six hours of fishing I landed a little over 20 trout. But what is crazy about it is that a dozen of those fish were between 20-24 inches. Even though those fish were stocked it was still a blast. I got my big fish fill in before the busy guide season starts. All of the fish were caught stripping crystal buggers on a floating line. Even with the successful day those fish were not nearly as dumb as I thought they were going to be. It took a little bit of skill and the ability to make long casts so not to spook them. For anyone looking for a fun day of pulling on a bunch of chunky trout this is a cool place.

With the guide season around the corner I still have a handful of prime weekend days left for the Lower Sac and Feather. Two weekend days that I am open for the egg bite on the Lower Sac are October 5 & 19. To get in on some great steelhead action on the Feather I am available November 1, 2, & 9. I hope you all get some fishing in this fall!

Fish Hard!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The South Fork of the Snake 8/1 - 8/10

Well the name of the game on the South Fork of the Snake the last week has been to fish the upper, the upper, and then the upper some more. Needless to say the upper river from Palisades Dam down to Conant has been really good for the last 10 days. It is pretty funny because the upper is probably my least favorite section on the entire river. But as we all know you gotta do whatever it takes to catch some fish. Most days we have been boating between 30-40 trout. This week we started to see some big fish moving around. Throughout the week I had clients catch a 21'' brown, 20'' brown, 20'' cuttbow, and lots of fish between 18''-19''. It is nice to have those big boys moving because I went through a 20'' fish draught for over a week in the end of July. The hot bugs the last week have been a small Chubby Chernobyl, Eldens Ant, Pink PMD, Pink PMD Cripple, and the Lightning Bug.

The other sections of the river have had there moments in the last 10 days but there has not been any consistency. One day you can go down in the lower sections and have a great day and then the next be scratching your head at where all of the fish went. Since there has been a little inconsistency I have really tried to stay up where the fishing is the best. I will go for consisentency every time over a gamble.

I only have one week left before I get out of Idaho for the summer. I want to thank all of you out in Idaho for another great season. Hopefully I will see you guys next year. For those of you interested in doing some fishing this fall on the Lower Sac, Yuba, and Feather start figuring out your schedules because my days are filling up. Give me a call if you are interested in doing some fishing.

Fish Hard!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

South Fork of the Snake 7/10 - 7/26

The South Fork of the Snake is continuing to fish well through the later part of July. Over the last several weeks the better fishing has been up in the upper parts of the river. Most of the good big bug fishing has been from Palisades Dam down to Cottonwood. On bright sunny days the fish are starting to wise up to some of the big bugs. With the high sun the fish are a little shy and not quite as willing to take a taste. If you can get lucky and get some cloudy weather the dry fly fishing has been insane. I had a couple of 60 fish days this week under dark light conditions. It is pretty crazy how the darker light gets those fish active. The hot bugs lately have been a small chubby chernobyl, eldens ant, lighting bug, pink pmds, and pheasant tails.

The riffle fishing between noon and 5PM has been really good. The canyon is the place to go if you are looking for some red hot PMD fishing. The name of the game is to throw some adult PMD with an emerger behind it. It seems like on the South Fork 8 out of 10 fish eat the emerger before the adult. Throwing the adult helps you to locate your emerger. Even though the riffles have been loaded with fish most of them are between 12''- 18''. But when you are hitting between 5 - 10 fish per riffle then who is complaining. Make sure you don't pass up the foam holes because you can pound fish during the PMD hatch on lighting bugs. Last week there was one foam hole on the upper drift that produced 20 fat healthy trout. It was plain silly. We actually left because the clients were getting bored of not being challenged.

This is turning out to be another great summer. The outlook for the next couple of weeks is that the second hatch of goldens should be just around the corner. The second hatch of goldens are immature and cant fly so make sure to put a little wiggle on that bug. There have already been a handful of bugs seen down between Byington and Lorenzo. The madness will start all over again when those goldens decide to come off in full force. Other news is that I heard 3 hoppers in the canyon this week. So if we get a couple really warm weeks then that should also help to light things up.

For those of you who are looking to do some fishing in California this fall it is time to start booking as my calendar is filling up. It is gonna be tough going back to staring at indicators on the Lower Sac. But then again who can complain when you are wacking some fish. I'm getting amped up for some early steelhead action. Make sure all of you get some dry fly action in during the next couple of months.

Tight Lines!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

South Fork of the Snake 6/28-7/8

The bugs are here. The last week the dry fly fishing has been insane on the lower sections of the South Fork. We are putting up some huge numbers with size 6 & 8 dry flies between Cottonwood and Lorenzo. I had a solo client the middle of last week that boated over 40 fish all on dries. Since the water has stayed cold for so long there is a multitude of bugs coming off. Everyday we are seeing Salmon flies, PMDs, and Green Drakes. What is cool is that you can pound the banks with big Salmon fly patterns and then slide up into the riffles and throw mayflies to sipping fish. There are lots of fish in this river and it seems like you cant go wrong right now. The mornings are still a little slow but as that water warms up both the bugs and the fish get really active. The only part that is a little confusing is that we aren't finding lots of big fish coming up on the Salmon Flies. It seems like we are getting a lot of fish between 12''- 16''. Most of the big fish that we have been seeing have been in the 18'' range. But for this river that is nothing to brag about. The bugs that have proved most successful are Eldens Ant, Chubby Chernobyl, Green Drake emergers, and PMD emergers.

What is awesome about this whole big bug hatch is that the Salmon Fly Hatch is not the best hatch on the river. When you really want to be here is when the Golden Stones start to come off. The Golden hatch is hands down the best hatch on the South Fork. For those of you heading out this way get excited because it is about a week away! Put some cloudy weather with a Golden Hatch and you just might have the most epic dry fly day of your LIFE.

Here are a couple of crazy stories for those of you who like to hear about some of my client stories from on the water. The first is something I have never experienced since I have started fly fishing. I had a client have two seperate fish blow up on her double dry fly rig. We were setting up on this riffle and when she laid her bugs down by this log two seperate fish flew out of the air trying to kill those things. The funny part is that she missed both of them. That is one of the coolest dry fly shots that I have ever seen.

The other story I have since my last post is a couple who are in their early 70's did over 80 guided trips last year on different watersheds throughout the world. When I guided them the first part of July they had already done over 40 guided days in 2008. Now that is a family that has their priorities straight. Can you imagine spending that much time on the water with someone you love and a guide. I think I have found my dream life. So this means about every 5 days of the year they are getting guided. Wow! Where do I sign up for this program?

Until Next Time.

Tight Lines!

Friday, June 27, 2008

South Fork 6/17-6/27

Well I thought that the big bugs would be out by now. We are all still waiting. At this point it looks like all of the bugs might just have one big party and come out together. It might get a little confusing on what to cast if you have Salmonflies, Goldens, Green Drakes, and PMD's all coming off at the same time. But I guess this is a good problem to have. I did see two Salmonflies a couple of days ago but have yet to see another one. The good thing is that the fish are starting to look up for their next meal. Some of the other guides at the Lodge have been getting limited success on dries throughout the day. However the ticket is still to put an indicator on and do some nymphing. The fish in the lower river are really looking for big rubberlegs and worms. We havent seen a lot of big fish lately just a whole mess of browns in the 15''- 17'' range. I guess you could say it has been the attack of the preteen brown.

One cool thing that happened to me this week was I had a solo client catch a fish using an indicator, streamer, and a dry. I have never had a client pull a trifecta like that. We started off the day throwing a 4 inch streamer and proceeded to catch 5nice browns. Then in the middle of the day we switched to an indicator and caught about 10 more browns. Then we ended the day with 5 dry eats on an Eldens Ant. It is pretty cool to have a client skilled enough to throw all three methods of river trout fishing.

The other moment I will probably never forget is when I took my father-in-law and wife out in the canyon. This was my father-in-law's first time ever fly fishing. He was a serious prodigy and only got in one tangle the entire day. He ended up outfishing his daughter with 9 nice fish to the net. Hey I even got to catch one on a dry. This is the first fish I have caughten on a dry in a long time. It was nice to throw something that didn't have a piece of split shot on it. Overall it was a great experience. The best part was when the father-in-law got on the oars and started rowing for the two of us. You gotta love putting the in-laws to work.

Fish Hard!

Monday, June 16, 2008

The South Fork 6/14 - 6/16

Still waiting on the Salmon Flies!

My first three days of guiding are done out here in Swan Valley, Idaho. The water temperatures are still very cold from snow melt. The temperatures in the upper river are about 49 degrees and the lower river is measuring in around 52 degrees. The water needs to get around 55 degrees before we start seeing those big bugs fluttering around. I have tomorrow off and then I am back on for another eight in a row. This is going to be a great summer of guiding.

The last three days we have been stuck stairing at the indicator. But this time nymphing paid off pretty huge. I had the pleasure of rowing Dave and Kim from Seattle, Washington. On the second day Kim hooked a big fish that just stayed on the bottom of the river for a good 5 minutes. She fought this fish for about 300 yards down two different runs. Kim ended up landing a 24'' Brown! This is the largest fish that she had ever caught and the second largest I have ever had a client land. All three of us were fired up. This was a pretty cool moment.

Most of the fish that we have been catching have been coming on rubberlegs, golden stones, san juans, and copper bobs. I think I have about another week of of nymphing with clients. I am just itching to start throwing some dries. I guess it will be here sooner or later.

Tight Lines!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Early Idaho Report 6/4-6/10

Well for those of you planning a trip to eastern Idaho and western Wyoming you might want to postpone your trip a few weeks. They have gotten tons of snow this way and the majority of the rivers look like chocolate milk. You can find some decent water clarity if you fish some of the tailwaters, but all of the freestones are unfishable. According to some of the locals this is the most snow they have seen in over twenty years. The weather forecast is projecting more snow this evening and through tomorrow. With all of the rain and snow it is going to be a late summer for fishing. People should expect great fishing in the rockies all the way through September. There shouldn't be any river closures this year due to low warm water.

With all off the freestone rivers being unfishable I have got one day in fishing the Blackfoot and then another fishing the South Fork of the Snake. The Blackfoot in Idaho is a little gem that not to many people know about. The Blackfoot is a tributary to the Snake River. The river doesn't boast a huge population of fish but the cutts and rainbows in there grow to large unhealthy proportions. For some reason they are short and fatt. The two times that I have fished the river it has resulted in some chubby specimans that are strong and full of fight. Well last week the fishing was pretty tuff with only about two feet of clarity. A fellow guide friend and I spent the whole day throwing streamers and we only managed to hook 7 fish. But 4 of the fish hooked were all 18''-20''. The great side about it was that I was able to get some fishing in before my busy season starts here this next weekend.

Monday I went and checked out the South Fork of the Snake. It was good to get back on this river after guiding it all last summer. For those of you who have not been here it is a must see for any fly fisherman. The bugs on the South Fork traditionally come off near the end of June so for the next couple of weeks we will be stairing at indicators in the riffles and throwing streamers on the banks. The fishing was good the other day with about 30 fish landed between two of us in about 5 hours of fishing. We decided to float from Palisades Dam down to the Lodge at Palisades Creek. The streamer bite looks like it is just getting started and the fishing with eggs and San Juans was pretty silly. The big fish of the day was a 21'' cutty that had the biggest shoulders I have ever seen on a cutthroat. It was probably a 5lb fish. At first I thought that I hooked a decent brown because it just stayed on the bottom and bull dogged me for about 5 minutes. To be honest I was thoroughly impressed that it didnt do its normal cutthroat roll and give up routine.

Just for some additional information. I have heard that the Henrys Fork is fishing. It should be any day now before those Salmon Flies come off on Henrys. That means we are about 2-3 weeks from having them come off on the South Fork. Get exicted because those big bugs will drive the most seasoned fly anglers crazy. I guess you could say that it is a hatch of a lifetime.

I hope this helps for those of you coming out this way in the next couple of weeks. I will be guiding out here through August and then I will be coming back to California for all of the famous egg bites. I guess you could call that California's hatch of a lifetime.

Fish Hard!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lower Sac and Yuba Report 5/2-5/11

Check out this Yuba River FATTY!

Well it has been a while since my last post. Things up here in Chico have been crazy hectic trying to balance the responsibilities of being a guide and part time graduate student. Only a couple more weeks before the school will be out of the picture until next fall. That will be a nice break. The last week and a half I have been bouncing back and forth between the Lower Sac and the Yuba. It is pretty wild how different these two rivers are and you really have to change your style when fishing each one.

The Lower Sac has been fishing average with most days seeing 30+ rainbows being boated. I have really turned my focus onto the lower river from Balls Ferry down to the Bend Bridge. This time of year the lower river really starts to fish well. The key to the game has been mainly stones with the hot patterns being rubberlegs, golden stones, iron sallies, and twenty inchers. On average the fish in the lower river are smaller than those up by Bonnyview. However, if you are on the water enough, there are still a small chance at hooking some big late steelhead. So dont be surprised when your indicator goes under and you set up on a 24-26'' fish.

The Lower Yuba has been fishing decently as the summer caddis are starting to crawl around. This last week has seen some great caddis hatches with a handful of PMD's in the mix. The key has been to fish the river really early or late. It seems that the cooler times of the day are when the fish are feeding heavily. The morning bite is solid until about 1PM. Then from 1PM - 5PM things get a little tight and you really have to start working for them. My advice is keep changing bugs until you find something that they are willing to eat. I know on Friday my clients hooked 20 fish on 8 differnt flies throughout the day. I could get the fish to eat one bug for about and hour and then an hour later they wouldn't touch it. Just teach yourself to be methodical and you should find them. We all know that the fish are in there and it is just a matter of making them eat. You gotta love and hate the Yuba.

This week I need to commend two younger kids that I took out. Matt, who is 15 and lives in Conneticut, is hands down the best 15 year old fly fisherman I have ever seen. I sware this kid is serious prodigy level. One thing I can tell you is that he is more skilled at nymphing than probably 80% of my clientel. When he gets to be in his young twenties the fish better watch out because Matt is going to have some serious game. The other kid I took out was Kent, a 13 year old, from Sacramento. Kent had never nymphed fished in his life and he had the skill down within thirty minutes. I fished Kent and his dad on the Lower Sac on Sunday and Kent only had one tangle the entire day. If Kent would spend a little more time to enjoy fly fishing he would be a complete natural. From my perspective it is awesome to see all of these young men coming out with their fathers to enjoy a day of fly fishing. These young men are the next generation of fly fishermen and in their own time they are going to teach us a thing or two.

To keep all of you informed I will be leaving once again the first part of June to go guide in Idaho for the summer. I am looking forward to another summer of throwing dries on the South Fork of the Snake. It is going to be a nice change of pace after watching indicators day after day. I will try to throw up some reports on the blog to let you all know how it is going.

Fish Hard!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lower Sac and Feather Report 4/24 - 4/28

I found myself on the Lower Sac four out of the last five days with the fifth day taking place on the Feather.

The Lower Sac is still fishing well fish with most days seeing about 25-30 rainbows being boated. I have been concentrating my efforts between Bonnyview and Barge Hole. It wont be long now until the lower river starts to fish really well. Typically as the first signs of summer start to show up it is then time to start fishing from the Balls Ferry bridge down to Bend Bridge. The Sac has been getting some decent PMD hatches happening in the middle of the day and there are a handful of golden stones flying around in some of the riffles. When you are out there you will see the occasional caddis buzzing around but still not a lot of them. It wont be long until the summer caddis hatches start. The hot ticket in the upper river has been rubberlegs, pmd nymphs, prince nymphs, and pheasant tails. One great thing about the Sac is how consistent the bugs are. Not to often is there a hot new pattern that just smacks them. Lately it seems the feeding patterns have been extremely sporadic. You will catch a handful of fish on one fly at a specific time and then the fish stop eating it. Once you start messing around with your flies and changing bugs out then you find one that they start eating again. I guess that is what you have to love about fly fishing. It is a never ending puzzle where you have to find the right piece that fits.

Got the opportunity to fish the Feather on Sunday and the fishing was pretty good. We focused all of our efforts in the Low Flow section from the Hatchery down to the afterbay. In about 5 hours of fishing a couple guys hooked 8 steelhead. What was a nice surprise was that 4 of the fish were smaller adults in the 22-24'' range. These spring fish are a lot of fun to catch. They are super hot and pissed off when you hook them. The key was to throw small mayfly patterns in the morning and then the afternoon switch to caddis stuff. If you can get away with a bigger hook then this will increase your chances at landing these spring steelhead in the faster water. Good luck with that one as it is common to drop a lot of fish this time of year.

One cool story that I had from this weekend is that I got the chance to row two younger kids down the Lower Sac. Sean was 12 and Colby was 13, and neither one of them had ever touched a fly rod. So we got them started in the morning and I taught them the ins and outs of indactor nymph fishing. After a couple of hours they had the process figured out and they started pulling on some fish. By the end of the day the two of them they had hooked over 20 rainbows and the grins on their faces were huge. I love getting the chance to row kids because they have that pure joy when they hook a 14'' rainbow. At times I think that us die hards forget to appreciate every fish we hook. Kids have a way of bringing you back to the true reason of what you are doing this sport for. Every fish should be appreciated because each one has its own beauty and fight.

For those of you looking for a deal I had two cancellations in the next couple of weeks and I need to fill the days. I will take $100 off a full day rate and $50 off a half day rate if you book either Monday, May 12 or Saturday, May 17. You get the same long day of fishing with a patient guide on either the Lower Sac, Feather, or Yuba for a great deal. I dont do this very often but I need to fill the days. So if there is anyway you can do it make sure to contact me ASAP.

Fish Hard!

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Lower Sac 4/18-4/20

I found myself on the Lower Sac all weekend. The majority of the time I was around the Anderson area. This weekend was a little different from the rest in that the weather was not as stable as it has been. Friday was a beuatiful 75 degree day on the water. Then Saturday and Sunday were windy and cold with highs in the 50s. It was about a 20 degree tempertature change in a day. Sunday was the coldest it has been up in Redding for over a month. For the most part the fishing on Friday and Saturday was good but Sunday was not to great. Friday and Saturday saw pretty average days with about 30 rainbows boated. However, Sunday was a little humbling when we only landed a dozen. For the most part the bugs have not changed a whole lot in the last month. Still the hot bugs are rubberlegs, princes, sucker spawn, micromays, and golden stones. It seems as though in the riffles they are getting pretty keyed in on that golden stone.

Friday I took out one of my clients sons and his buddy. When my client booked this trip for his son Eric he really wanted me to work with him on his casting, knot tying, and figuring out easier ways to get out of tangles. It was a little wierd for me because when Eric would get into a tangle I left it up to him to figure it out. I made him tie on the majority of his own flies and re-rig when necessary. Normally I do all of that stuff but it really made Eric appreciate the abiility to try and fish without getting into as many tangles. Throughout the day I would park the boat on a riffle and make him get a drift by himself by shaking out about 40 feet of line below him. I was showing the ins and outs of mending, adding line, and hook setting. The real highlight came in the afternoon when we were parked on a riffle and Eric was just about at the end of his drift when the indicator went under. Eric swung real big and hooked what we thought was a trout. He was struggling to strip tight to the fish as it ran at him. Then about 15 feet off the boat this 7-8 chrome steelhead launches itself over three feet in the air. It was one of those slow motion moments as you are starring at the fish all of sudden you see your flies come flying back at you. I think both of our jaws dropped when we saw that steelhead. So I think we can officially say that the fish gave Eric the FIN! For those of you who don't know, you get the fin when a fish jumps and shows himself to you but then you immediately come unbuttoned. It is like having a friendly commuter give you the bird! LOL! Well I guess that will make Eric want to come back again to have another shot.

For anyone who is interested I had a cancellation for this Wednesday April 23. If you book this day I will give you $100 off. This is a deall since I will be giving you a full day at a half day rate. For those of you who dont have as free of schedules to book last minute then I still have May 2, 7, 9, and 12 available. The first couple weeks of May should be rocking on the Lower Sac and Yuba as those summer caddis start rolling around.

Tight Lines!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Lower Sac 4/7 - 4/13

I found myself on the Lower Sac five times this week with different clients from all over the Bay area. The weather was great and the fishing was just as good. This is a beautiful time of year in Redding with 80 degree days and lots of bugs on the water. This week saw solid hatches of PMD's, caddis, and the start of the Golden Stones. Heck I even saw a handful of Salmonflies this week out on the water. Seeing those big Goldens and Salmon flies is getting me excited for my summer of pounding banks with big bugs on the South Fork of the Snake. I spent the majority of my time this week in the middle part of the river between Anderson and Jellys Ferry. Most days we hooked 40-50 rainbows with the majority of them being between 12 - 16 inches. The hot bugs for the week were yellow microspawn, rubberlegs, princes, and pheasant tails.

I like to tell all of you a few of my favorite stories each week to tell you some of my personal highlights from fishing with my clients. I had two memorable moments that really made my week. The first was when Jarrett Black, a great friend and long time client, hooked and landed a great 23'' bow. Jarrett and his wife Alicia have fished with me many times and this is the biggest rainbow that either of them has caught on the Lower Sac. Jarrett finally has a picture of a rainbow that is bigger than one of his wifes. So now I guess Alicia will just have to out do him again in the future.

The second highlight of the week actually happened on Sunday. My friend who was formally known as "Steelhead Steve" hooked what we thought was a big steelhead down by Roosters Landing. When he set up on this fish it quickly came to the surface and violently head shook about five times. Then it took off for deep water peeling off line. It totally acted like a Lower Sac steelhead. We fought this fish for about 5 minutes avoiding bridges and log jams to find out that it was a 28'' squawfish. It was a monster squaw! I dont care how you look at it, a fish that big on a 6 weight is a great battle. Personally I thought it was awesome but Steve was a little disappointed. So know until he comes back out in the fall he is known as "Squawfish Steve". LOL!

I hope all of you are getting some fishing time in. For those of you interested in doing some fishing on the Feather, Lower Sac, or Yuba I still have May 7, 9, and 12 available.

Tight Lines!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Yuba and Feather Report 3/31 - 4/5

I spent the whole week bouncing back and forth between the Yuba and Feather Rivers. The Yuba was in decent shape with most days hooking about 15 fish. Most of the fish were still coming on eggs patterns and mayfly nymphs. There were a handful of PMDs, March Browns, and Gray Drakes buzzing around. However there still wasn't enough bugs to get the fish to rise. Im still hoping for some of those big PMD hatches to get all of the fish looking up in the flats. Im in need of a good dry fly day. To much time staring at indactors is not good for a fly fishermans soul.

Actually this week I had a first that had never happend to me since I have been guiding for the last 4.5 years. I had a solo client for three days that absolutely refused to fish an indicator. She said that she would rather not catch any fish than have to catch one nymphing. Well to be perfectly honest she must not enjoy fishing California that much because it seems that a lot of our fishing is subsurface. The first day we spent swinging on the Feather and landed 3 nice spring steelies. The second day we spent swinging streamers and throwing dries blind on the Yuba. Then the third day we were back swinging on the Feather where we got another couple springers. I thought that after not having tons of success that she would eventually give in but I was impressed by here stubborness to stick with the more technical styles of fishing. It was awesome to watch those springers wack her bug and then fly about three feet out of the air. I must admit there is nothing better than a streamer grab especially when it is from a steelie.

The news on the Feather is that there are some fish in there. Most of the spring steelhead are in the 16-20 inch range with a few really nice adults mixed in. There were a couple fish hooked this week in the 5-8lb range. If you hook one of these spring big boys good luck in landing it. These big fish act just like fish on the coast and rip you a new one every time. It is pretty hard to land those big guys on 3X and 4X. The majority of the fish came on san juans and caddis patterns in the faster water. The Feather should keep fishing until the first week of May for those of you looking for some steelhead options.

For those of you interested in doing some fishing on the Yuba or the Feather here are a couple of my prime availabilities. My days available are April 19, April 30, May 7, and May 9.

Tight Lines!

Monday, March 31, 2008

The Lower Sac on 3/29 & 3/30

I had the opportunity to guide a couple of my regulars from Sonoma on Friday and Saturday last weekend on the Lower Sac. Both days we decided to float from Anderson River Park down to Balls Ferry. Both days saw significant hatches of PMD's, Baetis, and March Browns. The funny part of both days was that the fishing was better when there were less bugs out. I really couldn't figure out what the fish wanted with all of the different mayflies. The river fished a little above average and we were hooking around 35 rainbows a day. The hot bug was a coffee brown rubberleg. Friday there were a few special moments that dont happen every day on the Sac. We managed to get three rainbows on PMD dry fly patterns in the middle of the day. The real big surprise was the 26.5'' steelhead that we managed to catch on the last run of the day. I have never caughten a steelhead that late in March. When I saw that fish I got really excited. It really makes me want to get the chance at some more steelies but the odds are that is going to have to wait until next fall. I guess we will have to see if there are any left in April.

For those of you who are interested in fishing the Lower Sac of the Yuba I had two cancellations for April 18 and 19.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Yuba and Lower Sac Report 3/7-3/9

I had the opportunity to guide Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this past weekend. The weather was beautiful with these warm 70 degree days that we have been having in northern California. I think that spring is finally upon us. It is time to shake off those winter blues and go check out your favorite trout stream. It wont be to long now until trout opener. Those of you who are waiting to fish all of the upper streams make sure not to miss out on the good opportunities that some of our tailwaters have to offer. For those of you interested in doing a little fishing I only have a few days left. My availibiilities are March 30, April 9, April 23, April 30, and May 9. Here is a little summary of my last three days on the water.

The Yuba River on Friday was tough. Since the weather was warm I was expecting some great hatches out on the water. The entire day I only saw a handful of pmds, march browns, and skwalas. Nothing was coming off on anything of what I consider a consistent basis. Flats where there are usually lots of rising fish only had a single sporadic riser here and there. So with the lack of bug activity it was hard to get the fish to eat. In total we hooked 10 fiesty rainbows and landed 8 of them. Lucky for us we got a couple really nice ones that were in the 18'' range. I wish every fish fought as hard as those Yuba bows. They are hands down the strongest fighting trout I have ever seen.

The Lower Sac on Saturday and Sunday was good. On both days there were decent hatches of spring caddis and it really got the fish eating. Saturday was a lot of fun and I got the opportunity to guide Maggie (junior in high school) and Erin (5th grade) on their first ever fly fishing trip. Both of them did great and caught a handful of rainbows, but Erin out did everybody with her 18'' fish. When you are 11 and your first rainbow you ever catch is 18'' that means there are good things to come in this girls fishing future. I was thoroughly impressed with both of the girls willingness to learn and enthusiam to pull on some fish.

Sunday I had two of my regulars up from Sacramento and we hooked close to 50 fish. The real treat on Sunday was that we ran into two clipped half pounders. One halfpounder was 19'' and the other was 20''. That is the latest that I have ever caughten a steelhead on the Lower Sac. Prior to the ones yesterday the latest I had ever caught one was in the end of January. The Lower Sac is a great river. You truly get spoiled with nubers like the ones we have been having over the last several weeks.

Give me a call if you are interested in doing any fly fishing on the Lower Sac, Yuba, Feather, or Putah Creek.

Tight Lines!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Lower Sac 3/1-3/3

The Lower Sac was a little up and down this last weekend. I kept hoping that the spring caddis were going to pop, but the wind did play a little havoc on the hatch and our drifts. On Saturday the fishing was pretty average with 20 fish to the boat. The wind blew for about 2 hours in the middle of the day and it really turned off the flats. This time of year the flats can really hold lots of fish as they get into their spring caddis mode. So that was a little disappointing. You know the Lower Sac is a special river when an average day is 20 fish landed in the net.

Sunday was a different story all together. I had one angler who had never fished the Sac and I was excited to show him what a gem the river can be. Just be thankful that you weren't out there because it was brutal conditions and fishing. The wind was blowing 20-25 mph from the time we started until about 4PM. At 3PM my client had only landed 3 fish. With winds like that it is better to spend a day going and flying a kite. However when the wind started to die down the fish got really grabby. From 4PM until about 530PM, when we took off, my client landed 13 really nice rainbows. Getting pounded out there in the wind ended up paying off in the last two hours. All in all my client had a great time, but I am glad he had a little glimpse of what the Lower Sac can fish like.

Again Monday was another story. The weather was warm and the wind calm and we saw our first real nice hatch of caddis come off on the Sac. Lets just say that the Lower Sac went off. We hooked over 50 fish and we actually rose 4 fish on dries. The river is starting to get into its spring trend where the morning is a little slow and the afternoons the bite picks up. The hot flies for the weekend were eggs, stones, and princes.

If you are interested in doing any trips in the next month I have March 30 and March 31 available.

Tight Lines!

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Lower Sac 2/22 - 2/23

Well lets just say that we did some fishing admist another winter storm. It is about time we get somewhat of a normal winter. This rain is going to be great for all of California's and Idaho's water sheeds. Both states need the rain and snow desparetly. Even with the nasty weather we had this weekend we managed to find some fish feeding. I dont know if it was the darker conditions but my last two days on the water really got those big rainbows eating. If you read my last report we were catching lots of little guys, but the last couple of days it seems like every fish was between 16''-20''. Both days we hooked over thirty fish. It has been a while since I have seen all of those larger fish eating heavily like that on a consistent basis. Who says that you can catch fish in the rain? As long as the wind stays down it seems like the fish on the sac will eat. The patterns of choice were eggs and copper johns. We caught a handful of fish on small baetis patterns with the rainy weather but it seemed like they wanted flies that were larger and brighter. The Lower Sac is still fairly low around 4500cfs and the upper river is most likely going to explode with spring caddis during our next stretch of warm weather. For those of you who dont have dates booked get ready because it is just a matter of time before the Lower Sac turns on fire. I have Feb.29, March 3, March 14, and March 30 available for those of you that want to get in on the spring caddis bite!

Tight Lines,
Ryan Johnston

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Lower Sac 2/16 - 2/19

Well lets just say that the Lower Sac went off the last four days. It was some of the best fishing that I have seen out there since the egg bite in October. At times there were spots that were just plain silly. The fish were being supper grabby and the majority of the time your indactor was slamming under the water. Three of the four days we hooked over 50 fish and the fourth day we managed to do 30. Most of the fish we were catching were a little bit on the small side for the lower sac with the majority of them going between 10''-14''. However Eric Roesser, a student from Chico State, got a pig rainbow that went 22''. It doesn't get much better than hooking 50 rainbows and landing a 22'' toad. Last time Eric and his dad fished with me Eric got a 23'' steelhead. I guess he has got the big fish mojo going. Im not exactly sure what turned the fish on because there were not many bugs out. My best guess is that the fish were really active due to the first true warm weather of 2008. It is pretty nice when you are out in the middle of February and it is 70 degrees on the water. The water is still pretty low on the sac with flows around 3500 cfs but at these flows most of the upper river sets up pretty nicely. The fish were on all kinds of different bugs from small caddis, small mayflies, big stones, and eggs. You just had to figure out what was on their menu for the particular day you were out there. If you are interested in doing some fishing I have February 29 and March 2 still available. Tight Lines!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Yuba River on 2/11/08

I had the opportunity to guide Steelhead Steve and Jarrett Black on the Yuba yesterday. The river was a little off color yesterday with about 3 feet of visibility. However it did not seem to affect the fishing because we had a fairly successful day. We boated 12 rainbows and lost about 10 others. We had a latter start time and got on the water at 10:00AM and we were off around 5:30. Most of the fish we caught came on San Juan Worms and Stones, but we did get the random fish on baetis and pmd nymphs. There were quite a few Skwala's out with a handful of March Browns. So we were able to raise 5 rainbows throwing Skwala and March Brown Dries. With this warmer weather I would expect the hatches to get better from here on out. With that said though the color of the water will probably remain the same with as much snow is still up in the mountains that will pump off color water into Deer Creek. So it looks like another early spring is upon us. Get those shorts out and get ready to throw some dries! If you want chances at nypmhing, throwing dries, and stripping streamers than the Yuba is the river for you. It is truly a special place. If you are interested I have a few prime dates left to go and hit this Northern California gem.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Lower Sac on 1/31/08 and Feather on 2/1/08

Well lets just say that the last two days on the river did not go as planned. I had Ron Lustig out to do some fishing from Nashville, TN. The plan was to do some winter trout fishing on the Lower Sac. As most of you know the Lower Sac is a fairly dependable bet during the winter months with fish eating eggs and baetis. Well it wasn't so dependable yesterday, but the main reason was due to the storm. I was planning on floating from Posse grounds down to Bonny twice, but we only managed to get down it once. We started fishing around 8:30 with about 2.5 feet of visibility. By 9:30 the visibility was down to 1.5 feet. By 10:30 the visibility was down to .5 feet. So needless to say that the river blew out. We did manage to get a single fish on an egg pattern right off the posse riffle but that was the only grab to be had. I haven't had a morning that tough on the Lower Sac for over a year. I must admit that it was quite the humbling process.

So when the two of us got to the boat launch we had to figure out our game plan for the following day. The options were to fish the Lower Sac again the following day even though it probably wouldn't clear (not a good idea), go fish the Yuba which is also blown out (not a good idea), or go fish the Feather really late into the season (also not the best idea). Well we decided on the Feather since it was the only river that I guide which is running clear. It wasn't a horrible day out there but very tough. Ron managed to hook one nice adult steelhead and one half pounder. Ron hung in there and I am sure his arm is going to be sore from all of the casting that he did. So I guess you could say that it was another humbling day. Well I think I have had all of the humbling that I need for a while. Hopefully we will get a little break from the storms to let the rivers rest. For those of you that are interested in throwing some casts this winter I still have a handful of availabilities for February.

Tight Lines from a humbled man!

Friday, January 25, 2008

S. Fork Eel and Matolle Rivers on 1/21 - 1/24

Well how can I sum up my annual coastal steelhead trip? I think the best way to say it is that I got my butt royally handed to me. I guess that is just part of chasing the grey ghost. I went a long ways to catch a glimpse of only a ghost. Here is a little summary of how the trip went.

On Monday Greg Schuegar from Napa and myself decided to fish the S.Fork of the Eel. The clarity of the river was awesome with about 4 to 5 feet of visibiility. We started fishing around noon and got off around 5. We floated from Richardson Grove Park down to Bear Creek off of Benbow Drive. Greg hooked one fish about a mile into the drift. Take note that I was at the oars when this happened. The fish looked to be around 8lbs but she managed to throw the hook as she rolled just beneath the surface of the water.

Tuesday we once again decided to float the S.Fork of the Eel hoping to go a little higher to find some more fish. We floated from Piercy down to Bear Creek (about 8 miles). The conditions on Tuesday were even better on Monday. Once again Greg hooks a fish about a mile into our drift. This time the fish was around 6lbs and she threw the hook as she flew out of the water extremely pissed about the hook in her lip. Once again I am at the oars! After that fish we didn't manage to get another one. Can you see a trend starting to progress.

Well after two tough days of fishing on the S.Fork of the Eel we decide to go and check out the Matolle River on Wednesday hoping to run into a couple more fish. Neither Greg or I have ever fished the Matolle so we were fishing and floating completely blind. The conditions on the upper river were great, but the lower river only had about a foot of visibility. We ended up floating from Honeydew down to Lindley Road. For those of you who have never fished this river it looks like a gem. Perfect size for the fly rod. Well to keep in our trend Greg hooks and land about a 8lb hen about a mile into our drift. Once again I am on the oars. We continue down our drift working over each run diligently with no prevail. Third day in a row with our one fish routine.

So here are a couple of observations I have made from our last trip. Maybe we should have floated the first mile of each drift ten times! Im thinking ten drifts ten fish. Second observation either I am a great rower to get Greg into fish, he is a much better fisherman than me, he is a crappy rower who cant get me into fish, or I am a crappy fisherman. You know a man begins to wonder after three days of going 0 for 0.

To be directly honest I was just stoked to be out there with one of my great friends. And for those of you that fish the coast for the grey ghost you know that they always dont show themselves. I go into each coastal trip with no expectations and that is exactly what I got.

I hope this helps for those of you thinking about doing some steelhead fishing in the near future.

Ryan Johnston

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Feather on 1/16/08

I had the opportunity to go and fish the Feather River this morning. I only had about 4 hours to fish so I focused all of my efforts on the sections of river above the highway 70 bridge. It was great to be out during the middle of week. The whole morning I only saw one other person fishing. The fishing was decent with 4 steelhead landed. Two of the fish were smaller adults around the 22-23'' mark and the other two were juvenile half pounders. I got the two adults on egg patterns and the half pounders fell victim to the san juan worm. I hate that fly but the fish on the Feather seem to eat them at certain times. I hope that all of you are getting some fishing in. If you are interested in a guided trip then there are lots of options this winter that people forget about like the Feather, Lower Sac, and Yuba. It seems as though this time of year everyone is in the steelhead mind frame and focuses on the Trinity and the Coast. Don't let the winter blues get you down. Get that fly rod out and go chase those fins that we live for.

Tight Lines!

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Feather on 1/13/08

I went out and fished the Feather on Sunday. I had forgotten how much pressure that river gets during the winter months. There must have been 12 anglers in about a mile of river up by the hatchery. Needless to say the fishing suffered due to the large crowd. In about 5 hours of fishing I hooked two steelhead. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially since I was steelhead fishing, but I was expecting the fishing to be more like it was on Thursday. The two fish I hooked both ate egg patterns even though there were no salmon to be found anywhere. It is funny how easily a steelhead will eat a big bright egg pattern when they probably haven't seen a real egg in several weeks. I guess you can call those steelies optimists and the best fighting fish in fresh water. I have a couple availabilities for those of you that want to go and fish the Feather in the next month. The fishing should remain consistent until the first part of February.

The Lower Sac on 1/12/08

I had the opportunity to guide Tom and Kent from Sacramento this weekend on the Lower Sacramento. The trip was extremely close to being canceled due to the off color water coming out of Keswick Reservoir. The clarity on the Lower Sac was about 2.5 feet and the river fished extremely well for the winter. In total we hooked 28 rainbows with four of them going between 18''-19''. All of the fish we caught came on eggs patterns. We tried a variety of nymphs underneath our eggs but they wouldn't touch them. I think the fish were having a difficult time seeing the little nymphs and were largely eating the bright eggs because they could see them. It was a great winter day out there. For those of you that think the Lower Sac is only a fall and spring fishery you are missing out on the less popular months. Imagine fishing the Lower Sac with only a couple other boats and have the majority of the runs all to your self. For those of you interested in fishing the next couple of months I have several availabilities for those of you with the winter blues. Looking forward to seeing you out on the water.

Tight Lines!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Feather River 1/10/08

Well I finally got out to fish for the first time in 2008. I hope all of you had a wonderful New Year. I am looking forward to all of the fish memmories that lie ahead of us in the next year. Well I must admit that my first trip of the year was a success. I got the chance to sneek out to the Feather with Steelhead Steve to do some fishing and filming. The day went extremely well with 16 fish hooked and released. In total we hooked 10 adults and 6 halfpounders. The largest fish was a beautiful 26'' hen. The hot flies of the day were pheasant tails, red copper johns, and a variety of eggs with peach and orange proving most successful.

All day we were trying to film our fishing session as one of us hooked and fought a steelhead. The problem with that though is that at about noon I figured out that I wasn't using the video camera correctly and that all of our morning footage was not saved on the camera. At the end of the day it worked out and we managed to get a couple really nice fish on film. The bad thing is that we didn't get to film the 26'' hen and I screwed up the filming when Steve snapped his rod in half trying to land a fish. No worries though because I am going back Monday to get some more shots. So in the next month or two start looking for a handful of videos on the rivers I guide.

For those of you interested there is lots of great winter fishing available. So if you have the winter blues book a trip to get back on the water to feel the surge of that fish on the end of your fly line. The trout fishing for the next month should be excellent so don't miss out on the action!

Tight Lines,
Ryan Johnston

San Diego Bay Fly Fishing

While I was home for the holidays I got the opportunity to go on two guided trips with Peter Piconi on San Diego Bay. If any of you guys ever make it down there this is something that you need to check out. Most of the days on the bay start around 6AM and go till about Noon. For the most part you are casting 6 weight rods with shooting heads. Usually the fly of choice is a smaller sized clouser in a variety of colors. One great thing about fly fishing in San Diego Bay is that you never know what you are going to catch. The first day alone we caught 7 different species of fish (halibut, calico bass, sand bass, spotted bay bass, mackerel, lizard fish, and jack smelt). Every time you get bit you have no idea what is on the end of the line. The majority of the time we were catching some variety of bass but my father was lucky enough to catch a 7lb Halibut. Yes, it is possible to catch halibut on the fly. Just check out that fly hanging out of the Halibuts mouth. After guiding for four years now I have a special appreciation for guides who do a good job. I can honestly say that Peter Piconi is hands down the best fly fishing guide in San Diego. So next time you are heading to southern california make sure to check out some Bay fly fishing.