Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dry Fly Fishing Yosemite

We're going through runoff in California so the larger rivers that course through Yosemite are a little high. Some friends and I fished small creeks in the park last week and it was great. The small wild fish were eager to take a well presented fly. We fished mostly ant patterns but I threw on a #12 beetle pattern and was having success with that also.
One awesome thing about fishing the park is that its never crowded. Most tourists don't even think you can fish in the park and locals don't want to pay or deal with the traffic so most of the time you can have these streams to yourself.
Stealth was the key for catching these fish. Even though they will readily take almost any fly as long as its the around the right size, they are so spooky that any hard footfall, shadow, quick movement or poor cast will spook them. You can see in the first picture below how skinny and clear the water is. Even standing 20 feet away the fish will spook if you're not careful. Dark clothing is key as well.
Being able to make very light bow and arrow casts and having a longer rod help also. A lot of people will use shorter rods when they fish these tiny creeks but I've found that being able to reach over a rock or bush with a 9 foot rod will get you better presentations (on average) than a short rod.
Its nice to have a short rod when you're whacking through brush, or if you're making overhead casts under trees but if you can sneak up on the fish you're targeting a longer rod is best, in my opinion.
This creek was so small you had to walk up stream and hide behind rocks/foliage  and use the rod length to place the fly up stream of the fish. Small bow and arrow casts of 15 feet were helpful. 

Here I am making a reach mend over the fast water to fish a small pocket of still water on the other side. With a longer rod I can keep the line out of the fast water after the reach mend.

This shot shows how clear the water is. In this particular creek the water was moving fast enough  that you didn't have to be quite as stealthy, and the fish were less picky about presentation.

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