Wednesday, December 22, 2010

" True Grit " and the beautiful Eastern Sierra Nevada

With the release of the new movie " True Grit ", a flood of memories about the original " True Grit " was triggered. I saw the movie when it came to Modesto's State Theater in 1969 ( I'm aging myself ). Some parts of the original movie were filmed in the Eastern Sierra Nevada, specifically Hot Creek. Anyone that has visited the Eastern Sierra Nevada ( my favorite area of California ) knows of it's rugged scenic beauty. Many Hollywood westerns were filmed in the Sierra Nevada, especially the Eastern Sierra. Another John Wayne movie, " North to Alaska " was partially filmed on Hot Creek. Check out " The Great Silence " blog about  the original " True Grit " and Hot Creek here.

If you've never been to the eastern Sierra Nevada area, you need to go there!!

 The site where Rooster Cogburn smokes out some bad guys out of a cabin.
Photo credit: Panoramio

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

" The Greatest Migration "

The Greatest Migration from Epicocity Project on Vimeo.

Can you imagine swimming against a current 900 miles from the Pacific Ocean to Redfish Lake in Idaho at an elevation gain of 6,500 feet without eating anything?! Not to mention navigating numerous dams, avoiding predators including man ( commercial fishermen, sport fisherman ), killer whales, sea lions, birds, otters AND this was a two-way trip for all that make it to back to Redfish Lake! This is actually a sugar-coated description of the plight of Pacific salmon. This remarkable fish still survives despite all that is thrown at them. Our own California salmon are facing an even more difficult future. Will they still be here one hundred years from now? Looking back only one hundred years, one would have to say no.

View Larger Map

Monday, November 22, 2010

Seize the Moment!

Now is the time to chase the trout on our foothill lakes! Every year in the Fall, conditions are such that the deep lakes " turn-over ". When this occurs, the surface temps decrease enough that the trout are comfortable  at the surface + threadfin shad near the surface = trout blitzing like stripers!! Don't wait too long, as the water gets colder, the shad will drop into deeper and deeper water as the winter progresses.

Chasing rainbows under rainbows!

 These fish are little piggies and hotter than a pistol!

Try 1-1.5"  long threadfin shad imitations.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pursuit of Happiness

One of the things that makes fly fishing so enjoyable is the natural beauty that I see while fishing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Extreme Float Tubing!!!

I saw this video on the Midcurrent ( check it out ) blog. For people that know my fishing habits know that a lot of my fishing involves fishing out of my float tube. This is beyond insane!

For full effect, click on the " full screen " button in the lower right hand corner of the video next to " Vimeo "!

Tapâm - a flyfishing journey from tapamthemovie on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Bug's Life

I would have loved this movie as a kid!

I've always been fascinated with insects. Like most young boys, capturing insects was an activity that was stimulated by our curiosity of our world. Fly fishing and fly tying still stimulates the same type of curiosity I felt when I was " knee high to a grasshopper "! When fishing for trout, I am always curious to see what trout eat. Before my switch to nearly total catch and release fishing, as a youngster I would nearly always look at a trout's stomach contents. I am still very curious to see what trout eat. These day's I resort to the use of a stomach pump ( I use it very sparingly as I do not know how harmful it is to the trout ).

Recently, I used the stomach pump to determine what these rather picky trout were eating. 
These fish that were rising, seemed to be feeding on a lot of insects ( midges, aka chironomids ) that were hatching, that is it seemed as if they were taking  a lot of the adult midges. Upon looking at the above stomach pump sampling which only included one adult stage midge, nearly all of the midges they ate were the pupa ( emerging ) stage.
The one adult in the stomach sampling.
The pupa were between as size 18 and a size 20 ( 6 mm long )short shank pupa hook.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Day in the Life of Two Fly Shop Owners

I went to the Spring 2011 Simms product lineup  showing today. Some really nice products available beginning in January 2011. The big addition is some really good looking hiking/outdoor footwear ( guess what I'll be wearing next year? ).  They are also revamping their wading sandals/wet wading footwear with the popular Vibram Streamtread soles.

Pursuit Shoe-Low 

Riprap Streamtread Wading Shoe 

After the showing, the Simms Fishing Products' rep, John Sherman arranged for me and long time acquaintance and owner of the Reno Fly Shop, Dave Stanley, to fish for bass with Capt. Kevin Doran of Delta Adventures. We had a number of blow-ups and a few hook-ups despite the 103 degree weather and fishing in the middle of the day! As the saying goes, the worst day fishing is better then the best day at work!

 My fishing partner for the day, Dave Stanley.

Capt. Kev and Dave

Monday, August 23, 2010

Early Years

  The other morning, as I was scanning the local newspaper, I saw in the obituaries that Russell Lacque had passed away. Reading the obituary triggered a flood of memories of my youth. For those of you that have lived in Modesto as long as I have, may remember " Lacque's Sporting Goods " store. Lacque's was one of three sporting goods stores ( Week's Sporting Goods, Valley Sporting Goods ) within a few blocks of each other. It was at these stores that I hung out at, as they were all within walking distance of my dad's office.

View Larger Map
The green arrow indicates the  former
location of Lacque's Sporting Goods
( now a parking lot ).

   Lacque's was my favorite place to hang out as it was strictly fishing and hunting, no baseballs, no skis, and the owners, Russ and Loren were fishermen and hunters. Thinking back, I must have driven Loren ( the fishing guy ) nuts asking him questions! 
   One Christmas, my parents gave me a Thompson fly tying vise, a fly tying book, and some materials purchased at Lacque's. That marked the beginning of my fly tying career. 
I will forever fondly remember my youth and the enjoyment I have received from all my years of fishing. Thanks go to my mom and dad who introduced me to fishing ( see this blog entry ). Thanks also to Russ Lacque ( and Loren, although I don't know his status). for providing a place to learn about the outdoor experience. May they all rest in peace.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My First Bass on a Pole Dancer!

A bunch of members of the Stanislaus Fly Fishers and I went out to the Kistler Ranch this evening to fish for bass. I only had about two hours of fishing after leaving the store about 5:30 PM. It was beautiful evening. 

I landed a couple of small bass on my friend Ron Fisher's version of a KDM Rat ( check out this video I shot of a KDM Rat in action ). Kevin Doran of Delta Advenures Guide Service is the developer of this fly pattern. The bass did not seem to be in a particularly active mood this evening. As I moved down along the edge of the pond, I encountered more open water and decided to try the Pole Dancer ( see earlier blog entry ). After making several casts along the weedline, I pleasantly surprised by a splashy take by 13-14" bass. My first bass on the Pole Dancer! I landed another bass shortly afterward. This bass took the fly without even working it. I can't wait to fish this fly on the stripers this fall when they're chasing threadfin shad!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Snow Run-Off 2010

Well, we're finally getting the 2010 run-off underway. With snow falling in the Sierra as late as May 27, this year's run-off is off to a very late start. The falls in Yosemite will be spectacular! If you do try to fish some of these streams, be very careful. Unfortunately, it makes for very few stream fishing opportunities. The good news is that the water will last all summer long!

This video was shot by a friend of mine, yesterday June 4.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bass-N-Fly 2010

My friend David Merin and his brother Ryan won the Bass-N-Fly Challenge today!!! Their share of the winning was $3,400! To top it off, my other friends Mike Baisdon and Russ Owens took 2nd place!! Both of the teams deserve it as they spend a lot of time on the water in preparation of the event. Congratulations, guys!!

Here are the standings for the top eight places:

1st Place - $2775 – Ryan Merin & David Merin Total weight (12 lbs. 13 oz.)
2nd Place - $ 725 - Mike Baisdon & Russ Owens Total weight ( 9 lbs. 7oz.)
3rd Place - $ 475 - Rod Buchanan & Joe Cerniglia Total weight ( 8 lbs. 12 oz.)
4th Place - $ 425 - Tom Maxey & John Bates Total weight ( 7 lbs. 2 oz.)
5th Place - $ 375 - Darnyl Baily & Steve Orkwell Total weight ( 7 lbs. 1 oz.)
6th Place - $ 300 – Gregg Holland & Matt Greene Total weight (6 lbs. 15 oz.)
7th Place - $ 275 – Dennis Papike & Randy Papike Total weight (6 lbs. 12 oz.)
8th Place - $ 200 – Marty Adrian & Joe Adrian Total weight (6 lbs. 7 oz.)

Big Fish $350 – Ryan Merin (5 lbs. 0 oz)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Highways over the Top are Open!

Sonora and Ebbetts passes are now open!

Below is a video I shot last year driving over Conway Summit on May 24, 2009.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The " Pole Dancers " are here!

It's not what you think! One of the most effective surface lures for largemouth bass AND striped bass in conventional gear, are lures such as the Zara Spook and the Pencil Popper. These lures, if retrieved properly, swim side-to-side in which most anglers call " walking the dog " motion. This motion can be really amazing. We have fished top water fly rod flies side by side against the Zara Spook or Pencil Popper and have had little to no reaction to the fly rod fly while the lures triggered vicious strikes! So, until now, fly designers have not been able to break through to create the side-to-side motion created by conventional lures. Along comes a very creative, innovative fly tier from the Sacramento by the name of Charlie Bisharat. Through a lot of time and effort, Charlie has been able recreate the " walking the dog " action! Watch out bass and stripers, the Pole Dancer is here!

PS  I inquired with the Pole Dancer's developer about the recommended leader to obtain the maximum side-to-side action, here was Charlie Bisharat's reply, verbatim:

" As for leaders. With the 5/0 I like to use a Quigley or equal ferruled leader of 4 to 5 feet with a 4 to 5 foot straight piece of 30 pound floro to the fly. On the medium I will do the same thing but the tippet will be with Maxima in 15 to 20 pound. With the small I use a straight section of 6 to 10 pound maxima to the fly. All tippets need to be attached to the fly with a loop knot.

As a general rule use the thinnest tippet you can for the target species. This allows the fly the best movement possible.I will be working on a video soon with KD to explain how to rig and fish the fly. "

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bass-N-Fly Practice Day; May 9, 2010

The second practice day was, weather wise, was nearly as bad as last Sunday ( see previous blog entry for video ). Jeff was able to land 3 bass but I was only able to land one small striper. Jeff took all of his fish on a Murdich Minnow. The wind really dictated where we could fish, making for a tough day.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bass-N-Fly Practice Day, May 2, 2010

My partner for the Bass-N-Fly and I went out to scout for the tournament yesterday and encountered 35 MPH winds. We gave up after a few hours!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Delta Bass-N-Fly Challenge 2010

The third annual Delta Bass-N-Fly Tournament is set to be held May 21, 2010 in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. It is a fly-rod-only tournament. Last year, friends of mine, Mike Baisdon and Russ Owens won the tournament ( and place second the year before ).

Anyway, the following video was produced by two anglers that have spent a LOT of time chasing warmwater fish in California. Ken Hanley is an author of several books and  frequently  speaks about fly fishing at fishing shows. Kevin Doran ( Delta Adventures ) is fly fishing guide out of Stockton, California who specializes in fly fishing the Delta for largemouth bass and striped bass.

The video is a really informative production.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Favorite Non- Fly Fishing Stuff

The JetBoil is one of my favorite pieces of non-fly fishing gear. Because it is designed for backpacking, it is very light and compact. It's always in my gear bag. You can purchase a French press accessory to make your coffee, but I'm a fan of Starbuck's instant coffee, " Via ". Everyone that has seen this little stove is amazed at how quickly it heats the water! Another great feature is that it has a built-in lighter. Check out this YouTube video.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Facebook Launch

You can now find us on Facebook

Sierra Snowpack Status, 2010

Snowpack map for 2010, above.
Click image to enlarge.
 Snowpack map for 2009, above.
Click image to enlarge.
As you can see, this winter has been much better for snowfall than last year. This coming week promises to bring a little more!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Monster Striper!

Captain Mike Costello ( left ) holds his client's 47 pound striper!

Captain Mike Costello guided his client to a monster striper, recently. Here is his story, as posted on Dan Blanton's forum:

" The Fishing Gods were smiling...

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of fishing with two of my regular clients who definitely have the "fish gods" on their side. Jeff Sasaki and Garrett Kubota have had some incredible trips with me over the last several years, including a day last October when they landed 92 stripers between 4 and 10 lbs. all on intermediate lines with the same two rattle Clousers.

Once again we had an amazing "Delta Experience" as we started off the day by passing numerous boats on the way up to our fishing grounds. After retrieving a seven inch, black over chartreuse rattle Clouser from a tree in which my client two days before had lost it in, we were ready to get down to business. I attached the weathered fly to Garrett's leader and he responded by saying that the fly had been observing fish all night long ,and now it had picked out the striper it wanted to catch. To sum it up, the grab was violent, the great fish peeled off around 75 yards of line, and we were very lucky to land and photograph such a remarkable fish. I probably should add that Garrett and had some bad luck on landing big linesiders lately, but that has definitely changed now. The end result was a gorgeous 49 inch fish that had an incredible 31 inch girth, and on my sixty pound boga grip it weighed an astounding 47 lbs.

We caught the fish on an intermediate line in shallow water with 20 lb. tippet, and we carefully released this awesome specimen back into the Delta so that another angler might possibly share the same experience. Congratulations to Garrett and a once in lifetime fish! "

Mike Costello 

A little over a year ago, I had the pleasure of landing one nearly as large (45" )  for my friend, Mike Baisdon and witnessing another monster ( 46" ) landed 20 minutes later, 200 yards farther down the slough. We were not able to weigh either fish as Mike had only a 30 pound Boga Grip that bottomed out!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fly Fishing and Technology

Google Earth image
Click on image to enlarge

One of my favorite technology gadgets is Google Earth. A great tool on Google Earth is the " ruler " function located in the toolbar. You can measure distance " as the crow flies " or click the " path " tab to create your path such as shown above.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Memories of Waters Past

Location: Rock Creek, East of Farmington, CA

View Larger Map

My earliest memories of fishing are those of my mother taking my grandmother fishing with me tagging along. I was about 5 years of age. I can still see, in my mind, the small pond at " Archie's place " a cattle ranch owned by Archie Moran. By the looks of the map above, the pond may be silted in. I remember fishing with bobber ( strike indicator !? ) and a worm and Mom landing a bluegill for me. Some guys tease me about fishing with indicators and I tell them that the site of seeing the indicator go under is still a thrill!
My dad and I continued to fish at " Archie's place " for a number of years afterwards and fishing with dad there will always remain vivid in my memory.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New DVD: Metalhead

Of all of the fishing that I've done, winter-run steelhead fishing is probably the most challenging. You not only face the challenge of finding a fish that are few in numbers, but the most challenging of conditions. Conditions that include extremely cold water, timing the water conditions ( clarity, flows, etc. )with the runs of a nomadic fish, etc, etc... The reward is a chrome bright, fresh from the ocean, incredible fish!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bobber ( Indicator ) Wars

There's a BIG battle going on, Thingamabobber vs. Sindicator! A big legal battle brewing over a two-bit ( actually $1.25 or so ) bobber indicator????   What the hell?!

Speaking of......

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Late February Storm

Live cam image from Mono Lake February 26, 2010

Live cam image from Lee Vining February 26, 2010

Fortunately, some  late February storms salvaged the month. Mammoth Mountain received 27" of snow on 2/26-2/27.  We still need more though.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

" They're Called Flies "

The Elk Hair Caddis from Reel Escape Films on Vimeo.

Some people are so obsessive! I know one idiot that was so obsessive about fly fishing he opened a fly shop!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Drake 2010 Fly Fishing Film Tour


Once again,it will be showing at Modesto's beautifully restored, art-deco State Theatre. It was originally built in 1930's and was the theater in my teens. It's really great to see historic Modesto buildings preserved.


Pictured from left to right, Rivers of Recovery founder and Executive Director Dan Cook, event coordinator Jim Mayol, and custom fly rod donator Buzz Natzke.

The Drake Fly Fishing Film Tour is making it's return to Modesto on Thursday, March 18, 2010. As in last years event, the local fly fishing club, the Stanislaus Fly Fishers, will be conducting the event. Proceeds will benefit local disabled veterans, mostly those suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, though the non-profit organization " Rivers of Recovery ". Click here for pictures of last year's fishing trips that our local vets attended.

Details are somewhat sketchy at this time, but I will post them on my website and it will also be available on the Stanislaus Fly Fishers' website.

Please forward this blog entry to anyone you think
would like to support this worthy cause.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fly Tying Night

As promised ( go to this blog entry ), we're starting out 2010 a little bit differently. We held a fly tying workshop, just a bunch of guys getting together to share some fly tying and fly fishing ideas ( can you say bull-session? ). It was fun!

Greg Nault was the lead person for the evening. Greg was the showing the interested group, how to tie a recently developed steelhead fly called the " Intruder ". Greg is the most accomplished fly tier that I know. His fly tying works have been published in many publications. He is also an expert Atlantic salmon fly tier which is probably the most difficult aspect of fly tying.

For more information about these events and more information about the shop, please visit our website:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

January 2010 Storm

The lower Sacramento River near Colusa went from 7,500 cfs to 40,000 cfs in 3 days!

Thankfully, we have received a decent amount of rain and especially snow with the latest storms. As my old friend, Mal Rose (RIP) always said " snow in the mountains is like money in the bank ". Mammoth Mountain has received over 63" of snow between 1/17 and 1/21 ( update: now it's 92" as of 1/22! ) in this last series of storms! Hopefully, we will continue to receive additional storms.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bucket List....

Here's one on my bucket list; going to Manzanar, California to see the Japanese American Internment Camp. The Eastern Sierra is my favorite area to fish in California and occasionally I take side trips on my fishing trips. While my family was interned the Granada War Relocation Center (also known as Camp Amache) near Granada, Colorado, I will, on some trip to the Eastern Sierra Nevada, take some time to visit Manzanar. Manzanar is located about 50 miles south of Bishop.

Wiki link to Manzanar

View Larger Map

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Happy New Year!

I am looking forward to a great new year! But looking back, I have been blessed to have such loyal friends and customers! With so much doom and gloom out there, the sales here at the shop were only down 6% from the previous year. A really heartfelt thanks go out to my friends and customers that helped me make it through the most difficult economic times since I started the shop in 1987. I still love fly fishing as much as ever and I really enjoy being in the fly fishing business and interacting with it's participants.
I will be changing many things ( services, products, classes, blog, etc. ) here at the shop in the new year. Keep checking back here on the blog and my website.
Thanks for reading, and have a great new year,