Fishing Reports - Most Recent
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I've spent the last 10 days touring around the amazing Skeena System in British Columbia, where I have been hosting trips for the past 5 years. I am expanding my hosting operation this year, and will be offering multiple location and trip options in the future to better suit time and financial concerns for the avid steelheader.
The fishing has been fantastic since I've been here, with rainy steelhead days and cool temperatures. This is a drastic change from the hot dry weather this summer I experienced in California, Washington, and Oregon. The steelhead seem to like it too. I've seen some amazing fish landed this week from 8 to 21 lbs, and saw some larger ones hooked and lost. This place is truly amazing.
Darcy Bacha with an insane specimen
I had a fun day on the Pit River today with father/daughter duo Rich and Nina. FYI, the Pit River Road is still closed 24 hours/day a little ways above Rock Creek. We came in from the Big Bend side and started in Pit 5 and worked our way up to Pit 3. We did okay nymphing the deeper buckets, but the best action was with a hopper/dropper rig in the smaller, shallower pockets. Nina rose fish up to 16" on her hopper pattern. She had a lot of hopper grabs on pink and olive hoppers in the mid-afternoon. The best fish to hand was a fat 16" rainbow on the dropper nymph. Nice going guys! Rich and Nina both survived the Pit without falling in and they both caught fish!
Nina with a typical size rainbow for today
Nina with a new fish pose
Rich hooked up
I fished the Lower Sac the last two days with clients Chuck & Bill from the Walnut Creek area. Overall, the fishing was okay. The nymph grab was pretty tough at times, but good enough for decent action. We had fun yesterday fishing dries and dry/dropper in the afternoon. Those of you who enjoy the afternoon DFO (dry fly only) half-day trips will be interested to hear that the caddisflies are starting to hatch and there are some very big fish eating them on the surface. Chuck hooked one that was well over 20" yesterday. Bill did well on the hopper-dropper rig, hooking two nice fish on his dropper on consecutive casts.
I fished with Cheryl from the Diablo Valley Fly Fishers today on Battle Creek. Fishing started out pretty slow, but the bite turned on around 1pm and improved throughout the afternoon. Cheryl had a 7'6" 3wt, a perfect rod for our private section of Battle Creek. She landed a lot of nice 10" rainbows and countless smaller fish on a variety of dry flies. The best fly by far was a size 14 parachute Adams. The biggest fish hooked was a 12" rainbow that ate a size 6 orange Chernobyl ant. This was my best outing on Battle Creek so far this season.
Cheryl with one of many fish caught on dries today
Battle Creek is the perfect size for a 3wt fly rod.
I spent a half-day scouting for stripers on the Sac this morning and the bite was really good! I landed 5 schoolies and lost 3 bigger fish, the largest about 15 pounds. I also landed a 10 pound plus squawfish - one of the biggest I've ever seen. I had one really big striper (I'm guessing 20+ pounds) follow my fly, too. The striper grab should be pretty solid for the next two months. Come up and check it out!
We just finished up our Spey Camps on the beautiful Lower Klamath River. Our Spey Camps are instruction based, but we also like to catch chrome half pound and adult steelhead while we are teaching beginner to expert spey casting and angling techniques. The first few camps had some exceptionally hot weather. Then things really cooled off dramatically, and the river temperature in our home water dropped from 72 degrees to 69 degrees. Steelhead poured in and we had some excellent fishing in our home water and the other amazing swing runs close to our camp. Leslie prepared superb meals, Gino cruised us to some of the best swing water in the lower 48, and everyone left a better spey caster and steelhead angler. Spey Camp is such a good time.
I would like to address some concerns that I have heard regarding high water temperatures on the Klamath, and if we should be fishing in such conditions. This drought has really heightened awareness for our rivers, which is a great thing. I appreciate and share everyones concerns about this situation. We are acutely aware of the water temperatures where we are fishing, and continuously monitor the situation. We don't look on the internet for temps, we put a thermometer in the water that we are fishing in. When the temps got to what we felt like was too warm, and it looked like the heat was going to continue, we canceled a few trips. When it cooled off, it was game on.
In relation to the inland trout streams that most fly anglers are use to fishing, the Lower Klamath is a much different fishery. Water temperatures between 68 and 72 degrees are quite normal on the Lower Klamath in July and August. As a trout angler, I realize that we are used to fishing much cooler water temps. The Lower Klamath is simply a totally different animal compared to trout streams, and other steelhead rivers for that matter. There are multiple temperature gages on the Klamath, and the temperature above Blue Creek will be several degrees higher that the water that we fish during Spey Camp, since we only fish below the closure. The fish that we encountered and carefully released shot off like bullets, like all chrome steelhead do. We didn't pose for any hero shots with fish, and a fish never came out of the water. Spey Camp is one of the coolest experiences out there for two handed enthusiasts, and look for Confluence Outfitter Spey Camps going into the Fall months next year.
Here are a few photos from Spey Camp!
Gino giving a demo
Leslie demonstrating a perfect D Loop
Dax giving a demo
Dan hooked up!
Jon Hazlett blasting out another perfect cast
Campfire chats watching the sunset
Stunning scenery abounds on the Lower K
Andy rigging under the morning fog
Swinging our epic home water
Jen cranking out a big cast
Jen hooked many fish
Jon Hazlett from the Ashland Fly Shop hosted a group in Spey Camp #4 this year. Follow this link
to the AFS blog for a report and some photos from the trip!
I took my sled out on the Sac today to try out my new electric trolling motor. I just finished installing it and it works great! It will be a big help on striper trips. In two and a half hours of fishing I landed two shad and one small striper. Pretty fun! I can't believe the shad are still around in mid-August.
Fishing was a bit slow today on the Lower Sac. I floated clients Bill and Brig from the Posse Grounds to Bonnyview. They both landed nice fish, but the grab was just off. Temps in the 80s were nice, though. It's pretty smoky up here but not bad enough to bother you while you're fishing.
I did a Tenkara trip today on Battle Creek with Mel from Berkley. The creek is in great shape. Plenty of cold clear water. The fish weren't jumping on the hook, but we had plenty of opportunities nonetheless. The native rainbows liked a parachute adams and a size 10 parachute grasshopper the best.
Tenkara gear has come a long way in the last 3 years. Many of the new rods have two or three locking lengths from 9ft to 12ft. This variable length adds a lot of versatility, especially since the length of line that you fish is fixed. The first Tenkara rods were 12-14ft and I really like the shorter lengths with the option to go longer. 6-10" rainbows are a lot of fun on these rods.
I took Bill and John striper fishing today below Red Bluff. Our quarry was nowhere to be found, but we did have some interesting shad fishing. I was surprised to see shad still in the river in late July. There are thousands of them still in the Red Bluff area. We landed a couple, including Bill's first ever shad. I also landed a pristine 20" wild rainbow trout on a shad fly on 12# maxima. On the retrieve!
Bill's first shad
The Lower Sac fished well today. Regulars Bill and John wanted proof that they were actually fishing today, so we took photos of their first fish of the day. No really big fish today, but we did well on the rubberlegs stone. Bill hooked about a dozen trout while fishing without an indicator - nice job! No other boats out today on our float.
Bill with his first fish of the day
John with fish #1 today
We hooked and landed a lot of quality fish today on Fall River. My clients Gene and Roger hadn't been on the river since 1998, which was about when I started guiding up here. There was a good callibaetis hatch in the morning and Roger landed several very nice fish on nymphs. Gene had a hot streak fishing streamers after lunch and landed 21" and 19" rainbows. Roger finished up with back-to-back hookups on nymphs.
The evening fishing was very good also. The hex hatch is still going strong and we had at least two dozen grabs on our big dry flies.
Gene landed this one on a big streamer
21" rainbow on a streamer
Roger with a big one
I had a great day on the Lower Sac today with mother/daughter duo Margo and Lily from Marin. Lily had never caught and landed a fish all on her own until today. Lily figured out the drift boat casting and mending technique right away. Her first two fish were a little on the big side and got away right at the net. Throughout the day she managed to land 4 wild rainbows and one giant Sacramento sucker. Margo did very well also.
The fish were hitting smaller flies (size 14 and smaller) for the most part today. I saw a few caddisflies but not much bug activity overall.
Lily landed several wild trout today
Lily's big fish of the day was a big Sacramento sucker
Margo with a nice bow
Lily with her first fish today
Our typical fish today
Margo with another one
The weather in the Fall River Valley has been great this past week. We've got some much needed rain with afternoon thunderstorms and some great fishing during the day between 11 & 2. Not much dry fly action, but great streamer grab. The hex hatch has been high maintence and tough with wind and clouds the last 6 nights, making visibility tough...but we are still hooking nice fish. Not many hexes in the upper river this year, stay below the confluence and you'll find em.
Tony with an awesome Fall River Rainbow
I had the opportunity to spend a few days fishing in the Boise Idaho, Eastern Oregon area and the fishing was great.
Spent the first day on the Owyhee River in Eastern Oregon, and the fishing was incredible. Big Browns mixed in with a few rainbows all day long. I caught fish on drys, nymphs, swinging streamers, and the big thrill of the day was stripping salmon fly dries on the surface and getting crushed. Huge grabs! The scenery was incredible. An unbelievably beautiful river in the middle of a high mountain desert. What a unique place to spend a day fishing. Definitely a busy river this time of year.
Day two sent me into a whole different type of fishery. I drove up the Payette River canyon. The area was referred to me as the "Tahoe" of Boise. This was a beautiful river separated into a lower section that was more of a meandering meadow stream, winding its way through pastures and ranches, and an upper section that was a beautiful alpine river. I drove to the upper stretches, and although the river was flowing at whitewater rafting flows, it was a great evening chasing rainbows with a dry fly in the slow edges.
Day three was still another unique fishing experience. I decided to wear the hat of Urban Angler. Woke up, got my Starbucks, and walked into the Boise River minutes from the state capitol and right behind Boise State University. Had a great couple hours pulling up rainbows on various nymphs, and as the weather got warmer, I had a nice PMD hatch to enjoy.
Overall, a great trip to a great part of the country for anglers with a fly rod. I definitely will be back.
Crushed a skated salmon fly! 10 of these in two hours. Whee!
The beautiful Owyhee!
Did they film Stand By Me on the Payette?
Fishing in the shadows of Bronco Stadium.
Gorgeous way to beat the heat.
Had to check out my "other" job.
Lots of these on the Payette & the Boise!
Nabbed a tagged one on the Owyhee...of course not worth $.
Venti rainbows to go please.
This is apparently not a river.
I just got back from a last-minute trip to Bay Flats Lodge in Seadrift, Texas. I got them all set up with LodgeRunner.com, my software package for fishing and hunting lodges. The lodge owner, Captain Chris Martin, treated me to a day of fishing and I had a blast. Bay Flats Lodge is located about half-way down the Texas coast, about a 3 hour drive south from Houston. They have over a dozen guides that specialize in redfish and sea trout. The fishery down there is incredible. There are endless shallow flats that are teeming with redfish, sea trout, and many other species. I spent a day wading and started off on an ankle-deep sand flat and would have sworn I was casting to tailing bonefish. They were actually tailing redfish, and I started hooking them as soon as I put on a shrimp pattern. The tailing fish were mostly small ones 16" or so, but there were a few mixed in that were much larger. I landed one about 21" and broke off a really big one. Later in the day I saw a lot of fish crashing bait on the surface, so I switched over to a small saltwater popper. I had a ton of action with that thing. The skipjack, which look and act like baby tarpon, would hit it before I even had time to strip it. I landed a few of those, broke off another big redfish, and landed a sea trout on the popper. I almost always had targets to cast to and made blind casts the rest of the time. The wading was pretty easy. There are a lot of sand flats and a lot more weedy flats. You could wade for days on end out there. The guides say that the fishery is productive throughout the entire calendar year.
I wholeheartedly recommend this fishery and Bay Flats Lodge. The accommodations are very nice and the lodge has great food, a great management team, and excellent guides. I can't wait to go back.
They use pretty sweet boats down here
Steelhead season the rivers of the Pacific Northwest is just right around the corner. I spend my time chasing steelhead with a spey rod on the best rivers in the Pacific Northwest, during prime time on those watersheds. I had an incredible overall season last year, and expect a very busy season this year. I just opened up my online booking calendar for my season, and bookings are very limited for these venues. Please contact me with any questions and more details regarding my venues, and if you wish for me to hold some dates. Here is my upcoming calendar:
July/August: Spey Camp on the Lower Klamath. Just a few spots left. Join fellow Confluence guides Gino Bernero and Leslie Ajari for the one of the best on water spey casting and swing angling instructional opportunities in the business. Super fun camping experience too! Just bring a sleeping bag, we have everything else.
September: British Columbia Hosted Trip . This trip is full, as always. Inquire for next year. I will be several different lodge based and camping trips on both the Lower Skeena and Upper Skeena System.
October: The Grand Ronde. This will be my 5th season working for Scott Odonnell's Speywater Lodge on one of the coolest and most celebrated steelhead rivers in the States. There are some spots left on my multi day float trips, one of the best steelhead experiences in the business through a remote wilderness canyon. Lodge spaces are also available.
November: The Trinity River. The closest and one of the most productive steelhead rivers to the Bay Area. A superb place to learn how to spey cast and swing for steelhead.
December-January: The Southern Oregon Coast. Chasing winter fish on the diverse rivers on the Oregon Coast is one of my favorite venues. Just a days drive from the Bay Area, these rivers are more stable than Nor Cal rivers. Very limited openings this season.
February-April: The Olympic Peninsula. I've extended my season up here in the land of the winter giants that run through these amazing rivers. These famed rivers that come out of the rainforest hold the biggest winter steelhead in the world. Epic swing water abounds. This venue is for serious swing anglers looking for a specific fish, a specific moment in their steelhead journey. Not for anglers who still want to fish from a boat and have their guide row them into a fish. You need to stand on your own two feet to get them here.
Southern Oregon Coast chrome
Spey Camp on the Klamath with Gino and Leslie
British Columbia Hosted Trips are my most popular trip
Mist on the water, a Hardy, a dry fly...heaven
Southern Oregon small stream swinging is something special
The Lower Klamath is an amazing place to camp and swing with Confluence
Trinity River in November is still home
The Trinity isn't just a bobber fishery! It has excellent swing water.
Olympic Peninsula is a must for every winter steelheader
Hoh River sunrise in the rain forest
Steelhead Green on the O.P. Epic.
British Columbia is the mecca for every steelhead junkie
Andrew, Bob and I had the Fall River to ourselves today and it was the best grab in two weeks. Sadly, not much dry fly action but the sinking line and nymph grab was on fire from 10 to 1:30. Overcast helped. Hex hatch has been excellent. Keen anglers Steve and Jon absolutely crushed the other night. Landing ratio isn't always great for the hex, but lots of eats if you can cast accurately, aren't in a tangled mess, and don't thrash the water aimlessly before the hatch...