Sunday, October 30, 2011

Feather River and Lower Yuba

Met up with Kieth at 6am on Saturday morning with means I had to get up at 3am. We drifted the high flow section of the Feather from 7am-1:30pm. We were nymphing egg patterns and prince nymphs. Got a few squaw fish and hooked a couple small steelies. Also caught squaw fish on size 16 PMD nymphs.
The Salmon fishing is pretty much over here. We did see one bait guy catch a salmon but it was pretty dark and didn't look like it was very far from its impending meeting with the bottom of the river, or the buzzards. Lots of near death fish swimming around still.
All and all I think it will be a while before the Feather picks up for Steelhead and I wouldn't go back until then.

The Feather at 630 am.
Kieth had to cruise home for Halloween duties with his kids and I wasn't ready to call it a day so I went over to the Lower Yuba at the HWY 20 bridge. I just got a new Helios 906 tip flex and wanted to see how it threw a heavy streamer. I threw a couple different sculpin patterns for about 3 hours until it was almost dark and didn't see one fish. I saw a spin guy catch one trout but I couldn't see what he was using. The new rod worked awesome. The thing I love about the Helios tip flex is it has great power but isn't really stiff in the tip like a lot of other comparable rods. It loads up nicely without feeling like a piece of rebar.
I also had the opportunity to throw Kieth's 6wt Sage switch rod. It was really smooth and at first didn't seem like it had as much power as my Helios Switch but it definitely does. I don't think I could choose one or the other. Both really awesome rods.
The Yuba seemed to be fishing pretty slow although I may have hooked some fish with a nymph. There was a decent hatch of various mayflies and midges around 530 that looked promising. It was a bigger hatch than I had seen earlier in the summer around August. It was predominantly caddis back then and they were nowhere to be seen yesterday.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Dark Seam: Back inthe Saddle

For all you Steelhead junkies, stay tuned to The Dark Seam for reports from Josh Schwartz and Kieth Scott throughout the Steelhead season...

The Dark Seam: Back inthe Saddle: Hey there Dark Seamers ..... Been a while since i or anyone has posted. It has been a busy summer for us all. Good news... Steelh...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Come To Florida Honey

Bull Red Fish, tons of Sea Trout, Snook, Jack Crevalle and its 85 Degrees!! All that and one of my best friends wedding. That was the plan for my 10 day trip to Sarasota. What actually took place was slightly less exciting, and included me passing out at the wedding.
The first day was spent getting a new battery for the 1987 Mercedes that we would be driving while in FL. Once that was taken care of we were able to hit the beach and catch some nice sized ladyfish. I also hooked some kind of Jack but it came off the hook before I could land it.
On the second day we hit some flats out on Long Boat Key and caught some lizard fish, definitely a new species for me and one that I could have gone my whole life without catching and have been happy.
Lizard or Snake fish are about what you might expect. They are long and skinny and have big toothy mouths like a lizard. They have beady little eyes and are aggressive as hell. I was reeling one in and another one latched on to its side and was shaking like a shark. I reeled them both in and luckily they came of the hook pretty easily.
I caught one sea trout and some other small fish in the same area but didn't get into any fish with size.
That was about it for the good fishing for the whole rest of the trip. A big weather system came in and mixed up the water for the next 3 days. We still fished but the wind was high and the water was really off color making fishing nearly impossible.
We rented kayaks on Thursday and paddled around for quite a while looking for tailing fish or any other action with little luck. We finally found a pod of lady fish but that was it. We did see some dolphins feeding as well as what looked like big snook chasing bait but couldn't get them interested. We also saw a couple of manatees which was cool.
Everything was caught on chartreuse and white clousers or decievers on size 1 hooks, the more flash the better. I tied on some shrimp patterns a few times but only caught smaller fish so I stuck to the larger clousers and decievers. I stripped fast with a slight pause followed by more fast stripping and that seemed to work best. We used floating and intermediate line with the same results.
The rest of the time was spent doing wedding stuff. I was a groomsman and passed out during the ceremony. That was weird.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Going home is always great but also really exhausting. I went home this past weekend for a few days to spend time with my family and my cousin Tanner who just got back from a tour in Afghanistan. Didn't do any fishing except for a few casts for some bass in the back yard.
My back yard growing up

University of Wisconsin Union Terrace

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Mark it 8 Dude!"

I walked up to a guy at work the other day and asked if he needed a hand. As soon as he looked at me I knew it was Smokey!
I immediately said, "were you in the Big Lebowski" and of course he said yes.
He went on to tell me that he's more famous for the 2 minutes he's in that movie than a lifetime of making music. He's a singer songwriter and was in town for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass which is a huge festival here in Golden Gate Park.
He plays with a couple bands, one is called the Wronglers and the other is the Flatlanders.
I was fortunate to be able to shoot the shit with him for quite a while. He came back the next day to shop some more and told me about touring with Bob Dylan which was awesome.
The coolest thing about Jimmy is that he's the most down to earth guy you'd ever hope to meet. A real breath of fresh air to be honest. Sometimes I think there are more assholes in San Francisco than in NYC. Actually I'm positive about that.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Hidden Spot

I don't think I've ever been to a truly "hidden" spot and while the place I fished isn't exactly hidden either, hardly anyone knows about it, or has the means to get there. Thanks to Keith's Land Cruiser we made it down pretty easily...but slowly.
I had visions of 20" rainbows and big Browns attacking my streamer. At the end of the day we managed a couple nice bows in the 15" range and had to leave early for fear of rain washing out the already horrible road we had to take to get down into the river.
All in all it was an awesome day.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

2011 Fishing Back Log (Abbreviated Version)

January 7th - Trinity River - Downstream from Steel Bridge
I small hatchery Steelhead and one Steelhead lost - Jimmy Legs #8, Golden Stone #10 Red Prince #12

January 8th  - Trinity River - Steiner Flat and Junction City
Skunked all day.

January 9th - Trinity River - End of Steiner Flat Road
1 wild Steelhead landed - Jimmy Legs #8, Golden Stone. Weather was sunny and about 40 Degrees.

January 10th - Trinity River - Down river from steel bridge by hwy
Fished early...probably too early. It was only about 24 degrees and water was COLD. Skunked.

January 16th - Trinity River - Big Hole
Fished #8 pink egg and Jimmy legs. Water was cloudy from recent rain. Cloudy with light rain. Got schooled by a nice sized fresh fish. Much more active than the previous week. Landed a 1/2 pounder.

January 17th - Trinity River - Med Hole
Fished the bright egg patterns again, along with Jimmy Legs. 1 Small fish FARMED.

January 31st - Putah Creek by Dam
Cruised up to Putah for the first time ever with Sebastian. Used Pink egg, #18 Zebra midge, and #18 Copper John. Only fished from 9-noon and got skunked.

March 7th - Lower Sac drift through Posse Grounds
First time on the Lower Sac. Water was clear up in Redding despite the rain and snow melt. Partly sunny and about 60 degrees.
#16-18 mayfly and #12 tan caddis poopah. Landed half a dozen fish from 16-22" and farmed a few.

March 14th - Mokelumne below dam
Cruised up with my friend from the shop Sam.
High water and dirty. I heard there were big fish here and I used big streamers for about 3 hours for nothing.  Switched to nymphing with big copper johns and red egg patterns. Quit fishing after some dude said I couldn't wade and they were giving tickets for wading. Then I saw some meth heads walking on reds and I said FUCK this place and probably wont fish it again.

March 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th - Panama - Pacific side
Stayed at a sick resort for $100 a night. All inclusive! Amazing. Brought rods and reels for all my buddies thanks to the Orvis Loaner program. Got hassled at the airport for my fly lines...what the fuck do they think i'm going to do, choke the pilot with them?
Anyway, caught some little jacks from the beach on the 26th and 27th. They wanted a really fast jerky retrieve and Chartruese and white clousers were the only thing they liked. Only had to cast about 50 feet into the ocean.
Went out with guide Tony Herndon on the Bayano River for Tarpon at about 5am on the 28th. I'll write a full blog about this trip sometime but for now suffice it to say we didn't catch a Tarpon, but we caught some Mangrove Snapper and a couple of other fish that I can't recall the name but they fought like hell. The best part of the whole day wasn't the fishing, but bullshitting with Tony all day. What a crazy guy, worth every penny.
Saw monkeys, Gators, lizards, ...oh and rolling Tarpon that wouldn't take a fly. Oh well...

April 4th - Alpine Lake Marin County - Below Dam
Caught a bunch of hatchery bows after fishing for bass for a while. I think the water temp was still too cold to get the bass going.

April 18th - Lower Sac (wading)
Flows were back down to 6,000 CFS. Fished Posse Grounds and RR bridge by dam. Tried every fly in my boxes and got skunked. No hatches all day, no rising fish. Sunny with scattered showers. 70 degrees.

April 26th - Lower Sac - Second Drift
Fished with Steve and Josh. Used Steve's 117 switch rod, Awesome. Caught a bunch of fish on Oregon Cheese, next best was rubber legs and 1 was on a PMD nymph. PMD's coming off all day but the fish liked the cheese.
Met Ernie.

May 19th - Sacramento Delta - Stripers
Caught a few small stripers on grey/blue/ and white clousers. Wind really picked up fast around 11am so we went and casted some top water stuff for bass. Snake Charmer was working, red and white. Casted Keith's TFO 8 Weight with the Rio outbound short line...sick! I'd like to throw that line with my rod.
The wind was gusting at probably 40mph so we got the hell out of there. Off the water at 2pm.

May 26th - Hit up the American with Keith for stripers. 
Farmed a nice fish and landed a couple smaller ones. Caught them on my smaller red and white clouser. Didn't catch anything until about 11am. Off the water by 2pm. Nice day, no wind and about 75 degrees.

June 2, 3, 4, 5 - Wisconsin trip
Fished Lake Monona for bass and pan fish but the bass had just finished spawning and weren't that interested in what I was throwing. Caught one tiny bass.
Went out to Gilson Creek, Blue River, Tainter Creek the rest of the days. We had great fishing and were catching fish on PMD nymphs and dries and Para Adams, mostly size 16 and 18. I also caught a lot of fish on FKA Prince.

June 13th - Lake Manzanita
Used Steves 6 wt intermediate line and a black woolly bugger for about 4 hours on Sat morning and only was able to get one brown....and i hooked it in the ass. I should have tried some different flies but was totally unfamiliar with this lake and was busy just chillin in my float tube, enjoying the views.
I went back out in the eve and caught a few on a PT.

June 14th - Lost Creek
Went down to Lost Creek with Steve and one of his buddies. This is an awesome creek, crystal clear and really skinny water but there are some big fish in here. I wouldn't know, except I spooked a bunch while I caught little rainbows.

June 18th - Hat Creek
High fast water.
Hit this river for the first time with Jordan. Used a #5 sink line and stripped a few different small streamers. Caught some nice fish off the bat but then it slowed the further up river I went. Caught some on #16 Prince.  Didn't try dries. Lit a fire and chilled out for the eve.

June 19th - Hat Creek
Water still high. Walked up stream about 1.5 miles. Awesome walk but fishing was tough. Just a few dinks.

June 28th - Striper fishing in Hercules Bay
Weather sucked, rainy, windy and cold.
Threw clousers  for a few hours in the eve. Incoming tide. Sebastian hooked 2 and I didn't hook anything. He was using a bigger clouser with angel hair instead of deer hair. Maybe I needed a brighter fly because the water was dirty.

July 8th - Lower Yuba River
Got to the river mid afternoon and it was about 100 degrees. I fished a big hole on the other side of the hwy 20 bridge for about 20 minutes and just about got heat stroke. I decided to wait till the next day and went to the bar in Nevada City for the rest of the afternoon. Camped on the south fork of the Yuba

July 9th - Lower Yuba River
Walked up river from hwy 20 bridge. Everyone else thought it was too high to wade (5000 cfs) but I caught a bunch of fish including 2 over 16 inches. One about 18-20. Used FKA Prince and black stone.
Fished from about 8am til 2pm and cruised home.

July 21 - Lower Yuba River
Drifted with Keith and Carson. Hoppers everywhere but the fish weren't really cooperating. Carson picked up a nice one later in the day. Fucking heat got to me so we didn't fish the eve.
Flow was about 3800cfs

July 22 - Upper Sacramento
Fished the lower section well below Dunsmuir. Picked up a couple fish on tan caddis poopah. #16.
Carson picked up the nicest fish right as it was getting dark. Some dry fly action but the bigger fish seemed to be staying below.

July 23 - Upper Sacramento
Fished the park in Dunsmuir as well as the portion from the bridge past the Retreat entrance up to the waterfall. Lots of fish on #18 olive micro may and AKA Prince. Carson was sticking some nice ones on a size 8 Bitch Creek. I tried a large black and olive stone and didn't get the same response.

In the afternoon we fished Pit 3. Nice fish here. Landed some smaller ones and lost two huge fish. AKA Prince and #8 Kauffman stone. This was nearly impossible to wade but worth the hassle. I got dunked totally underwater once and fell numerous times.

July 24th - Upper Sacramento
went back to the lower section south of Dunsmuir. Tried micro mays early for nothing. As soon as we switched to Caddis we started to stick fish. I lost two nice fish and landed a few smaller ones. Carson lost a real lunker that he never saw.

August 6th - Lower Yuba Clinic #1
Met Kieth around 7:30 and fished under hwy 20 bridge for nada. Used Hogans S&M, Jimmy Legs.
Hit the big hole just across the bridge with a bitch creek for the hell of it and stuck a nice 16 in bow on the second cast. Met the clients around 9am and got them into a few fish. They couldn't fish so it was pretty tough.

3300 CFS. EC Caddis in the afternoon.

August 13th - Lower Yuba Clinic #2
7 ppl including two gay guys, two 10 year olds and their aunt, and two dudes that were mildly proficient fishermen. Everyone was having trouble getting their flies out where they needed to be but it was tough fishing also.
We got the two dudes on fish later in the day at rattlesnake. Caddis dries and LaFontaine deep sparkle pupa (swinging).
note to self - No more 10 year olds allowed at the clinics.

September 3 - Labor Day Weekend on the San Juaquin!
Jordan and I drove our asses all the way to the eastern sierras because I missed fishing the Mammoth Lakes area. After spending the night at a hotel on the western side of HWY 108 we came over Sonora Pass and into Bridgeport. Had breakfast and drove on down to Mammoth. Didn't stop at the East Walker because I was with Jordan. Decided to take our chances and try for a camp site on the San Juaquin. Unbelievably there were a ton of sites open and we got one right by the river. The fishing was good all day but right at dark it was REALLY good. Lots of PED's and the fish would hit any Adams size 14-18. Used my new bamboo all day and got to lay out some nice casts right at dark about 50 ft from the campsite. All the other campers were sitting around the fire and I was catching fish after fish on my new bamboo. Nothing better.

September 4th - San Juaquin and little tributary to the Tualumne in Yosemite at 9500 ft.
Fished just below this water fall for about an hour.  Couldn't get too close because it was really windy and wet. Saw some spinning dude catch a nice trout near the bottom of the falls. I hooked a couple down river about 200 yards.
Hopped in the car and drove through Yosemite. Stopped at a little creek on the side of the road and caught some tiny little rainbows.

September 10th - North Fork of the Stanislaus
Not much of a day but memorable. Picked up English Tom. Drove 3 hours to river. Fished for two dinky fish for an hour. Got rained on for 2 hours. Drove home 3 hours.
Tom caught a 12 incher swinging a tiny muddler. Water was super warm from rain up stream. Lightening and wind also.

September 16th - Steelhead on the Feather
Lots of Salmon in the river. Didn't hook many steelhead. Sebastian caught one small hatchery fish. We hooked some salmon which was fun but will return when there are more Steelhead in the system. The steelhead and the salmon were hitting size 12 prince nymphs and beads. Also hooked a big salmon swinging one of the Strickland Specials.

September 24th - North Fork of the Stanislaus - Orvis 301
20 ppl. Me, Steve, and Nathan. Kieth baled cuz Lovey was sick. Long fucking day but overall it was cool. Didn't catch much nymphing in the morning but most people caught or hooked something on an orange stimulator in the afternoon. The hot dogs were a hit, especially with one dude name Jim who is also probably the worlds most helpless person, and cheap as hell.
I did my first dry fly presentation. I think it went well.

September 25th - Beaver Creek
First time to this little creek. Jordan caught the fish of the day and her first ever! on an orange stimulator. Of course I dropped the damn thing before we could get a picture.
Fished most of the day with just a dry fly. Lots of fun.