I’m on a boat!

Well, I definetly got my fishing fix for the week. I took my first float down the lower section of the Yuba river. Not only did I get to check out a new section of the Yuba, but I also had my first drift boat experience. Kick ass! I loved how much water we covered but didn’t neglect wading; stopping a few places to hop out and get wet.

The weather was spectacular, if a bit windy at moments, but that just allowed for some Belgan casting practice. A bonus for that day was hooking my first fish of the year on a dry fly (a PMD). Yewwww, it’s sexy watching a fish explode on a dry fly!

Jeff caught two nice rainbows and Jordan was an incredibly skilled skipper; also super patient… the wind combined with my bouts of general spaziness made for a few epic tangles!

A whole day spent fishing, taking in the sunshine (I’ve got a super hot forearm burn to prove it!), and hanging out with some pretty awesome dudes. Life doesn’t get much better than that. Its safe to say that life is always good, when you’re on a boat.

“I can hear the bull frog callin’ me….”

This week I had the opportunity to check off a location on my “wish to fish” list; Putah Creek. This beautiful creek and its feisty trout (browns and bows) are a result of the construction of the Monticello Dam in the 1950’s and stocking by the California Department of Fish and Game in the 1970’s. In the years since then, the trout have reproduced and the creek is now a thriving wild trout fishery. The scenery is abundant with wildlife among green, rolling hills; the water is cold and crisp, staying at a consistent temperature year round as it flows from the bottom of Lake Beryessa. It’s even been the muse for the Creedence Clearwater Revival song “Green River.”

A fellow fishing enthusiast, Jordan Romney, who is also a guide for Off the Hook Fly Fishing and Fly Fishing Specialties as well as an active trout conservationist, grew up in Winters and has spent countless days fishing Putah Creek. I’d wanted to fish this area for quite some time, so when he proposed a fishing trip, I jumped at the opportunity to have a local expert show me around. Jordan has an ingenious method to fish the slower moving sections of the river; float tubes. It had been years since I last kicked around in a float tube, and I’d certainly never floated in moving water. It allowed for easier casting: helped reach spots that would normally be out of bounds from the bank: and made it more efficient to cover larger areas quickly. Not to mention it was seriously fun to be out and active on the water. Looks like it’s time to rustle up that old float tube out of storage!

Later, back on land, we waded a couple of other spots on the river. A few large fish were spotted, but before they could be lured in with the small nymphs favored on Putah Creek, a local river otter cruised by and spooked ’em. I was even so lucky as to have a good omen bestowed upon me…. Not a tree in sight overhead and a bird poops on my head. Priceless. It just makes me like the river more.

The fishing that day was slow on account of the fish still acclimating to an increase in flows from the previous day, but it was a great day of fishing (not that I’ve ever had a non-great day of fishing….). I look forward to going back again soon and often. John C. Fogerty’s words have never made more sense. “Well, take me back down where cool water flow…

For more information about Putah Creek visit: http://www.putahcreektrout.org

*Thanks again Jordan for showing me your home waters!

Going Loopy

Whew! Steelhead season has come to a close on the San Lorenzo River. I sit here shaking my head and wonder how it all went by so quickly. Only 266 days until the start of next season. Trips to rivers further north are still an option, but the lack of rain has me turning my eye toward trout, mountain streams, and dry flies.

Actually, I find myself itching to cast something lighter than the streamers, attractor patterns, and eggs I’ve been throwing for the past few months. Being a small river with no room to back cast, roll casting has been the seasonal special on the San Lorenzo. It has been too long since I last threw a nice loop. And really, it has been TOO long. I recently demoed a rod at a show; holy moly, was it ugly. It seems that roll casting and hucking weighty flies all season has left me with a few bad habits. I’m pretty sure I saw my dad visibly cringe while he wondered what happen to the lovely loops he taught me to cast. Tangling the line at a casting pond in front of a bunch of people……NICE. My face was probably as red as my shirt! I’d like to say that it was equipment failure, but it was a Red Truck rod; basically perfection in the form of a fly rod. Yup, this one was 100% operator error.

While my pride took a bit of a hit from this incident, it reminded me to be mindful of my form. Its one thing to know better, and it’s another to actually do better. I’ve started frequenting the local park with my dog and rod in tow. He enjoys chasing the feather at the end of my line while I enjoy practicing my casting. Since I don’t have a river close by I can fish after work in the evenings (yet…more on this soon), this is as close as I can get to a post-work fish. It is a great way to unwind and I find it rather cathartic. As long as you don’t mind a few sidelong glances from other park goers (if I had a dollar for every time people jestingly asked what I was fishing for…), this is an excellent way to put some polish on your casting. You can even bring hula hoops for some target practice.