Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve been out fishing….been real busy in the shop with rod building. Mary Ann just finished building her second bamboo rod, a beautiful 7′ 9″ 4 wt Progressive Medium-Action rod. What a great taper…casts dries like a dream. She cast dry flies hard for a few hours while I took out my 9′ 0″ 3 wt Czech Nymphing rod with #20 zebra nymphs and Bead Head Pheasant Tail Nymphs. I picked up several fish on nymphs, but there was nothing hatching and she was fishless on dries. But, she eventually went over to small nymphs, and her new rod handled them great. And….she got several fish to the net. As her first fish on her new rod she picked up a nice 13” whitefish. After that, several feisty rainbows. Here are a few photos from our day.
Here we are on the Crooked River this past week.
A nice little rainbow that took my #20 black Zebra Midge.
Mary Ann putting a bend on her new 7′ 9″ 4 wt rod.
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.
I recently redesigned my tapers for my Czech Nymphing Bamboo Fly Rods and I can’t tell you how great they’ve come out. First, as a Czech Nymphing rod, I want the rods to be a light line wt rods, have a slow action to them, and have a very soft tip to detect subtle takes. And, I also want the rods to cast dry flies well in the event you’re out on the stream nymphing and a hatch happens. These new tapers in 3 wt and 4 wt rods do just that. I build these rods with Custom Engraved Reel Seat Hardware, Figured English Walnut Reel Seats, and Olive Wraps with Straw and Black Tipping.
Earlier this week I tested out the new 9 ft. 0″ 3 wt. rod on the Owyhee River in Eastern Oregon. For Czech Nymphing, it roll/lob casts small to medium sized weighted nymphs great. And, at 9 feet in length, it lets you get further out in the stream than traditional bamboo fly rods. The soft tip is super-sensitive and light takes are easily felt. I then put on a standard 3 wt floating fly line with a 10 ft. 5 wt dry fly leader. The rod did well at casting large #8 Hopper patterns, as well as #20 PMD dries. The slow action of this rod wants you to slow your dry fly casts down, but once you do, the rod loads deeply and turns over flies nicely with very little power put into the cast. These rods will prove to be great longer, lighter line wt. bamboo fly rods for those anglers who utilize Czech Nymping in their fly fishing adventures.
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.
Mary Ann and I braved the high water on the Deschutes River yesterday and drifted the Warm Springs to Trout Creek stretch of the river. Yep, the water was fast and high (6500 cfs), but the color was decent and we found a few spots where we could get out and drift our nymphs. It’s still too early for the legendary salmon fly hatch on the Deschutes but we found some willing rainbows interested in a tan LaFontaine Caddis drifted near the bottom with a Czech Nymphing style. We didn’t get any huge fish, but it was still fun to get out and tempt the smaller ones. Here are a couple photos of our day.
Mary Ann on the sticks!
A small immature stonefly that crawled up on our boat.
The hot fly of the day….a #16 tan LaFontaine Caddis.