Czech Nymphing with Bamboo on the East Walker River

I got the chance to meet up with my “San Jose Fishing Buddies” in Eastern California for a few days last week to fish Crowley Lake.  They have been talking with me about joining them at Crowley for the past few years, with stories of lots of big fish.  While fishing on Crowley was rather slow for us, on the way down there I stopped and fished the East Walker River for a couple of hours.  I’ve read a lot about the East Walker for several years as being a great trout fishery, but I really didn’t know what to expect.  The weather was cold, about 45 degrees, but the overcast conditions were a good sign for some fish activity.  What I found was what seemed to be relatively high and off-color water, with the banks heavily lined with trees and brush.  Take a look:

East Walker River

East Walker River

The only bugs I saw flying were midges and a few small blue-winged olives.  No rising fish were seen.  But, there was a lot of great pocket water that screamed nymphing, and although the water was on the high side, it was fairly easy to move along the river’s edge to hit the good “fishy looking spots”.  I used my 9′  0″  3 wt Bamboo Czech Nymphing rod, and started with several variations of small mayfly and midge imitations.  I picked up a few smaller brown trout on a #18 Psycho Mayfly pattern, but was a little discouraged that I wasn’t picking up more fish since the water looked so good.

A 10″ brown that took a #18 Psycho Mayfly Pattern.

After going through my standard Go-To flies that usually work for me, I finally put on a #16 Prince Nymph just to see if any fish were interested.  That was the ticket, and the fishing, or should I say catching turned on.  In the next hour, I caught 8 fish on the Prince Nymph…6 browns and 2 rainbows…ranging in size from 12″ to 18″.  I sort of pride myself in being able to “match the hatch” with my small nymph selections, but on that day, it was the Prince Nymph.  I’m not sure why the fish liked it or what it was imitating, but what a great day.  Here are a couple of the nicer fish I caught:

A nice 18″ Rainbow

A beautiful 17″ Brown

For any of you who are looking for an interesting fishery with some large rainbows and browns in eastern California, I would highly recommend the East Walker River.  It was definitely not water for the beginning fisherman as it required strong wading skills, and it was very important to be able to put the fly in precise spots with little to no backcast room.  But, with the right fly in the right spot, the fishing was great.



A day on the Fall River Czech Nymphing

I had a few hours to get out on the Fall River yesterday to tempt a few fish.  There wasn’t any noticeable surface activity but some caddis and small mayflies were out dotting the water.  I tried Czech Nymphing with a small #18 black Psycho Mayfly pattern and a #16 Green Caddis Pupa pattern fished along the grassy banks in the fast water and picked up about a dozen rainbows, browns, and brook trout in the 8″ to 11″ range. I happened to have with me my 7′  6″  5 wt FreeStone Series bamboo rod, which is not exactly the best rod for Czech Nymphing.  Normally I would be fishing with one of my longer rods, typically in the 8′  6″  to 9″ 0″  range.  But, since I was working very close to me along the banks, the smaller rod worked fine. Sometimes it’s not about size of the fish…it’s just about getting out on the stream and trying some new techniques.  Here are a couple of photos.

A deep slot along a grassy bank. I caught 6 fish in the small area.

An 11″ rainbow that took my caddis pupa.

A nice little native brown

Salmon Flies on the Middle Deschutes River

Yep, the Salmon Flies are out on the Middle Deschutes River.  I hit one of my favorite sections of the river today for 2 hours to see if I could tempt a few fish.  The river is in fantastic shape, clear and perfect for wading.  While the adult salmon flies were out and flying around, I couldn’t get any interest in the big dries from any fish.  But, several browns and rainbows were happy to take a black rubber legged Kaufman Stonefly drifted on the bottom.  I used my EuroNymphing bamboo rod, a 3 ft bicolored sighter, and about 4 ft. of 5X tippet.   Here are a couple of photos of my morning.

Middle Deschutes River

A big Salmon Fly.

The rubber legged Kaufman Stone that worked well today.

A pretty brown that took my black rubber legged Kaufman Stone.

A New Fly In My Box – The Francisco Midge

I like to pass on new and/or unique fly patterns that work for me, and I recently came across a new fly that has been working extremely well for me in our Central Oregon rivers.  I learned of this fly from Francisco Garcia, a great angler whom Mary Ann recently guided on a couple of our rivers.  So, I can’t take credit for developing this fly, but it sure works.  I fish this fly with a dead drift towards the bottom, usually employing a Euro-nymphing style presentation.  Do the fish take it for a midge…or a mayfly emerger….I’m not really sure.  It’s a very easy fly to tie, if you’re into very small flies.  I call this fly the Francisco Midge.

The Francisco Midge

Hook:  #20 Scud Style

Thread:  8/0 Gray

Body:  Several Strands of Olive Angle Hair

Wing:  White Deer Hair.

#20 Francisco Midge

#20 Francisco Midge

Bug Sampling on the Crooked River

I’m a firm believer that it’s a good idea to “check out the bugs” in the river nearly every time you fish, especially if you’re doing a lot of nymph fishing.  Mary Ann and I were on the Crooked River last week fishing a spot we fish often and started with a bug sampling.  We have a small net that is about 15″ x 15″ that one of us holds in the water while the other turns over rocks upstream.  We then transfer the bugs in the net to a white bowl that aids in viewing and identifying.  For the particular spot we sampled, there were very nigh numbers of olive/tan scuds in sizes ranging from about #18 to #10, as well as black mayfly nymphs that were about #18 and #16 in size.  We both used euro-nymphing techniques for our fishing for the day.  Using #14 and #16 gold or tan scuds, #18 Psycho Mayfly nymphs, and #16 Black Beauties produced a lot of rainbows in the 6″ to 14″ range.  So, knowing the bugs in the water and matching those bugs certainly helped us.  Here are a few photos of the day.

Bug Sampling from the Crooked River

Bug Sampling from the Crooked River

Scuds and mayfly nymphs.

Scuds and mayfly nymphs.

Our fly choices for the day.

Our fly choices for the day.

A nice 14" rainbow that took a #16 black beauty nymph.

A nice 14″ rainbow that took a #16 black beauty nymph.