Category Archives: trout fishing

Cancel that Alaskan Fishing trip while you can

reefmadnessNow there’s more reason to “Go West, Young Man” – given as how Oregon, Colorado, and California are soon to upstage Alaska, New Zealand, and Argentina as the last bastions of pure angling body count …

While each has its own unique allure, all are “blue” states, home to free thinkers, liberals, men of letters and science, but more importantly – legal Weed.

In an effort to breed Tuna that Tastes Good, scientists have determined that stress-free fish tastes better than those forced to watch their brethren dismembered during processing. Those “fight or flight” endorphins released just prior to death turning grey and tasteless farmed salmon into grey, bitter, and plank-like salmon, which by all accounts – being even worse.

As the Filet of Fish and therefore the culinary health of all America is at stake, scientists have been redoubling their efforts at reducing stress in farmed fish by introducing cannabis extract to the water supply prior to harvest …

… and while it is too early to determine if cannabis in the water was better than issuing blindfolds, it did make the fish eat like a sumbitch.

Well, it did something. Although the fish didn’t appear to be any healthier or happier after the study concluded, the researchers noted that their metabolisms had increased, so they ate and digested food more quickly – a case of the fish munchies, you could say.

-via the Sac Bee 10.24.17

Given how most of California is being reseeded with medicinal hemp, all a canny angler has to do is stuff a couple of wader bags full of his neighbor’s unwanted chaff, stake the bag into the headwaters of his favorite creek, and bask in the benefits of “Trout Tea” and its ability to unlock the watershed – turning even the wiliest fish into a frenzied eating machine.

Hell, it’ll take years for the wardens figure it out, and even then we can blame it on the Sinaloa Cartel, or whatever the latest ill Donald Trump is peddling us to fear …

Before pulling up stakes and selling the homestead, there was a conspicuous lack of infomation on the effects of cannabis extract and the local mosquito population – and while they are wired a bit differently, it could be they never recovered the journals (or the bodies) of the scientists tasked with that bit of errata.

Barbed wire, machine guns, and a handful of hackle

manzanar My past experiences with fishing videos had made me unprepared for something quiet and truly dignified.

I’m used to a (pirated) over-amped  Van Halen “Jump” – blaring at me while the artsy- angle turns Agile, Big & Silvery into Slow-Mo, while it showers the camera attempting to free itself from some coifed super-consumer, who’s just as intent on not spilling his Banana Daiquiri, while waving the carbon equivalent of a house payment.

Rather it was a simple historical narrative suggesting that to us fishermen, the McQueen-esque “Great Escape” is something we’re all willing to endure, given how fishing can be both defiance in the face of oppression as well as instrument of restored dignity and balance.

The film is entitled “The Manzanar Fishing Club” and recalls the outbreak of World War II and the subsequent removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast and their relocation into the interior of California, near Lone Pine.

You see, in our house there was a sort of family prejudice against going fishing if you hadn’t permission. But it would frequently be bad judgment to ask. So I went fishing secretly, as it were–way up the Mississippi. – Mark Twain

With trout streams bordering the mile-square perimeter, and with 10,000 Americans penned within, many featuring a life-long fishing heritage, it’s not surprising that the barbed wire and armed guards of the US Army might prove porous in the face of large and willing fish.

As it was Veteran’s Day and my television was already dominated by tales of bravery mingled with blood and guts, it seemed fitting to take a break from Steve McQueen and James Garner evading the Nazi Menace and watch the ingenuity of an internee fashion a split bamboo rod out of glue, a garden rake, spent brass cartridges as ferrules and bent paperclip guides.

Funny how there are no red carpets and Academy Awards for that …

Lines made from cotton sewing thread and hooks made from bent needles, flies scrounged from Sears Roebuck or Herter’s, or simply a pocketful of freshly dug earthworms to make unsophisticated trout into a meal.

What’s more astounding is the details of long forays into the Sierra, how the lure of Mount McKinley had the most adventurous in search of Golden Trout, climbing the 12,000 foot peak and catching both the Colorado Cutthroat and Golden Trout, spending weeks in the woods with a minimum of equipment and often alone.

I’ve always been keenly interested in this period in American history, so I enjoyed the 70 minute feature very much. It illuminates a sordid piece of our past we’d just as soon forget, yet through their narrative gives us anglers insight and understanding on how our hobby can represent so much more in the face of loss of Liberty.

The DVD is $24.95 and available from

Why the trout fairy tale no longer has a happy ending

Global_Warming I’m a sucker for the dim view, given that economics and temperature mixed with apathy and the potential decline in size of the US government adds up to be  the worst scenario, not the neutral agent others envision.

The short version is that a panel of 11 scientists from Colorado State University, Trout Unlimited, the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group, have released a study of four trout species that suggests we’ll be losing half of all trout habitat over the next seventy years.

Most of that loss will be attributed to rising temperatures and global warming, and depending on which warming model is chosen – will dictate how much and how fast – and determines whether we care whether girls use saddle hackles or mule dung in their hair …

Congress is adamant the size of government must be reduced, given we owe most of the GDP to those countries still able to buy our debt, and depending on how much we decide to divest, will be eager to prune wasteful dollars funding watchdog agencies and trout planting – areas that hinder industry from creating  millions of jobs, or serve only the privileged few … us fishermen.

Trout Unlimited and every privately funded conservation group added together couldn’t save  a single river, especially so due to the waves of genetically-superior invasives outcompeting historical residents. Carp might be able to survive a couple of decades longer, but standoffish salmonids have no chance whatsoever.

Mostly because you guys balked when AquaBounty insisted they could insert the gene for sharp teeth and claws – which would’ve allowed them to go toe to toe with all those foreign regiments climbing out of the bilge water.

Instead you left their fate to boards of directors filled with well meaning retirees gashing themselves over “how come they let them trout’s die,” whose wailing lent wings to global warming.

health_careThis being the age of Tea Parties, Beauty Queens from Alaska, and indistinguishable political parties, who’ve got no reason to keep industry in check, or slow their exploitation. Well meaning types weakened by foreclosure and the enforced idleness that comes with 24 months of unemployment, are likely to let down their at the lure of lasting and permanent jobs. Most of those will be cleaning the Pristine because BP fracked it, or something equally poisonous.

That’s more than likely the causal agent of most of the habitat loss, only the body scientific is reluctant to confess and endanger additional grants.

Should the globe warm a couple of degrees as science is predicting, that’ll clear both coastline and interior so they can pave and erect great glass edifices proclaiming our victory over Nature; how we booted Bambi from crapping on all that real estate – and gave her a spacious suite at the Zoo as reward …

They’re hurting, these men of a certain age. Losing their livelihood isn’t the only “transition” they’re going through. Dr. Jed Diamond, author of Surviving Male Menopause and The Irritable Male Syndrome, calls it a “double whammy.” The first: “a change of life, hormonally based, affecting our psychology and emotions from 40 to 55.” The second: unemployment. “It’s devastating. The extreme reaction is suicide, but before you get there, there’s irritability and anger, fatigue, loss of energy, withdrawal, drinking, more fights with their wives.”

– from Dead Suit Walking, Newsweek Magazine

Newsweek calls our demographic the “Beached White Male” (BWM), suggesting the real casualties of the recession being middle aged college educated white boys. Add in all them guts spilling over waistlines and the Type II Diabetes epidemic that’s about to leave the streets paved in corpses –  and our generation will have destroyed most of the tillable sections of the globe, as well as eliminated any need for (non televised) sports, the out of doors, and John Wayne …

… then paid the price in one spasmodic orgy of cholesterol.

Which I find strangely appropriate, proof that despite all the advances of science we’ve never listened to anything other than our reproductive organs and our gut – settling the whole issue about whether we read it for the pictures or the articles …

Why you should stock up on Carp lines this Christmas

The Yellowstone Carp line, new for 2035 Dire news on climate change suggests that Western US and particularly the Yellowstone basin are already in the grip of a warming trend, and warming  quicker than the rest of the continental US.

The demise of the whitebark pine trees is the most noticeable result of climate change. Warming temperatures have allowed the mountain pine beetle to thrive in previously inhospitable, high-elevation whitebark forests turning the mountains in every direction brown. Aerial surveys have established that whitebark pine die-offs are approaching a staggering 85 percent. A recent study concludes that climate-induced beetle kill will render the pine species functionally dead in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem within the next seven to 10 years.

-via the Bozeman Daily Chronicle

As the Whitebark Pine offers precious cover to delay snow melt, it suggests that Spring runoff will be quicker and potentially much more violent, and summer flows smaller and warmer than those of the past.

Studies indicate that within the next 50 years the Yellowstone River between Livingston and Laurel-one of the world’s great trout streams-will likely become a warm-water fishery.

So B.A.S.S. can add both Lake Tahoe and the Yellowstone River to their ever-increasing list of exotic venues.

The National Park Service has released a 36 page response to the impacts of climate change to the national inventory of parklands. As you might expect it is a roadmap to handle the effects and adaptations anticipated, as they cannot stop the process by any means. As part of the issue is carbon sequestration on park lands, I’d imagine that it’ll require vendors and visitors to adjust to a lower carbon footprint (possibly affecting their ability to enter the park, or the means by which they’ll be allowed access), and the end to livestock grazing – as it’s a known source of gases.

(… rivaled only by fly fishing blogs and their authors … )

Whirlwind fly fishing tour of Northern California, because the TroutUnderground left the SOB undefended

Kelvin fins through forest fire smoke You’re looking down at the tailgate wondering “how’d my five weight line wind up on a System 6 reel, and why is the SOB set for left hand wind?”

That’s when the cold prickly happens. Three hundred miles away from home, 20 miles from camp, and your buddy has his waders paused at his midsection looking at you expectantly, figuring you’re going to confess to an egregious screw up …

… and he’s not far wrong.

That awesome eBay score where you landed a System 6 for under fifty bucks, with an oxidized Cortland SL line in light green (which matches the color of your floating #5 on the correct reel), with a leader butt resembling a buggy whip, whose nail knot just parted when you sneezed on it …

That’s what you’ll be fishing with for the next four days.

… and if you can’t make it serviceable with the contents of your truck, assisted by a generous and overflowing parking lot garbage can, you’ve been domesticated to the point where anything involving sunshine is risky.

A nine foot leader comprised of eighteen inches of butt and seven foot of tippet might raise an eyebrow in traditional circles, but not in the pre-dawn abyss that is necessity.

Lassen Park

I likened it to a black cloud trip, where everything you fear most shows itself in a long string of misfortunes.

By day two I actually preferred my new leader, and reeling left handed. Only a couple of fish had attempted to break the long reverie of finning, stripping, and casting, and seven foot of tippet allows unparalleled sinking for nymphs and leeches.

Dark colored Rainbow with cheeks ablaze in embarrasment

Swim fins require you walk backwards when making the transition from water nymph to terrestrial bi-ped. That round piece of driftwood I stepped on while backing out of the lake was an instant takedown, and trapped in fins those big feet stayed pointing North, while the rest of me landed South.

I’m laying there groaning and holding the knee that got folded under and failed to rotate with all that falling flab, recognizing that the solution set was the same as the earlier calamity of the reel …

If you can’t make it serviceable with the contents of the truck, assisted by a generous and overflowing

As fortune would have it, side to side stabilization was affected but finning my way through the lake was pain free, permitting me to endure 14 more hours fruitless finning and much casting.

Slowly and inexorably that black cloud began to lift. It started imperceptibly with the discovery of two dozen flies bobbing in the shore grasses, still viable in their The Fly Shop container. 110 meters of fluorocarbon tippet bobbed nearby, likely both donated to Davy Jones in a fit of pique. While feeling for my unknown benefactor, I helped myself accordingly.

The final straw was the hour-long nap under the shade of the bank side bushes, completely forbidden, a hideous and shameful luxury, and I’m woken by Kelvin’s involuntary cry – who’d paddled over to see why them big feet protruding from the brush hadn’t moved in a fortnight – and something large and wild had ate his bug and delayed my rescue.

… nice to know that eventually someone would find the body.

Why 4X is your friend Why you resist the urge for 6X

It’s as brushy and formidable as the willows and pines lining the bank. A  lush green forest both above water and below.

Matching tippet to conditions yields more hooked fish, but it leads to even more heartbreak later. The scene at left demonstrates why swimming a nymph between those underwater “pines” might make 4X the better choice.

Freshly invigorated from my nap and in twenty feet of water, my innocent little bug was inhaled by something fierce and predatory.

A couple of throbs on the rod and it was dormant – intertwined with the fibrous vertical weed. The adrenalin of the initial grab quickly wears off with grim reality replacing it, yet the resolve of sticking with the heavy leader means there’s a chance…

Slim, made even slimmer if you don’t test your knots frequently.

Clearheaded and resolved to shake chance from the equation, and emboldened by the momentum swing in my direction, it had been my first thought once back on the bridge …

Yellow belly and red dots

… and I thanked my vigilance, as I wrenched up a big yellow-bellied brown with a yen for deep, no match for momentum shift, 40 winks, and fresh knots.

We revisit the Old Gal in her Dotage

Kelvin and I snuck over to my alma mater to pay the old gal a bit of respect. With the lake fishing slow, and Hat Creek only a bit further, it was a nice opportunity to stretch the legs while I revisited the creek that had aided me in learning flat water – and how easy a spring creek can humble even the best angler.

Hat Creek, and empty parking lots

Change was everywhere, starting with empty parking lots and new bathrooms, and magnified by a forest fire that had ripped through the watershed.

Gone were all the placards espousing wild trout and CalTrout’s involvement – replaced by run of the mill lectures from DF&G or PG&E. As CalTrout’s website lacks any mention of the creek or the wonderful project they initiated, I’m left wondering whether Hat Creek isn’t some soiled dove they’re attempting to disavow.

Streambank restoration by a consortium Bank stabilization efforts were dated 2004, and while all those wading feet had removed 100 feet of the Powerhouse stretch – dumping it into the flat water below, placards at Carbon Bridge suggested the consortium of CalTrout, Pg&E, and Fish & Game was still active.

I keep thinking of all those cleated rubber soles and how they’ll accelerate the problem, in the very places we revere most.

Carbon Bridge was as menacing as ever, but the slug of silt that played havoc with the creek many years ago was still very much evident. This former Holy Water was responsible for thrown rods, complete and total frustration, and was an inescapable draw for those that fancied a single grab from large and difficult fish.

Carbon Bridge stretch of Hat Creek

I spent summers on the far bank, mostly walking away muttering that I’d never return, but stubborn would get the best of me each evening.

Now it’s home to small fish, who were evident as they dined on the light smattering of spinners that comprised the morning grab.

We turned tail and ran.

Hat Creek Wild Trout, burned but recognizable

The entire stretch below Hat Creek Park had been burned badly and showed the effects of salvage logging.

I showed Kelvin the fish weir that marked the end of the trophy water, and even the sign had been consumed by flames.

Absent the shade of all those pines, the march back to the parking area was a blistering hellish moonscape. All the slopes leading down to the creek are matchsticks and once logged of the evergreen timber, will take many years to restore, if ever.

The oaks that give shade and cover to the creek were mostly intact, but even these weren’t spared.

It was a bit melancholy for a homecoming, but that was shortlived. Memories of all those good friends and better times were ever present, as every tree could still boast of owning a half dozen of my flies in the lower branches, there to rust with those of pals, now gone.

… and I still had a trick or two up my sleeve.

Hat Creek still has 20" fish, but you'll have to dig hard

Momentum was on my side, or perhaps it was the Ghost of What Once Was. The Old Gal is burned and wounded, perhaps a bit neglected, but there’s large fish left, as the above “hero” shot describes.

If I had squeezed in a nap they’d have been twice as big.

Lassen Brown Trout

Four days and a couple of memorable book-ends to the expedition, good company, and explains my silence of last week. I’ll have a bit more on the experimentals that slayed these dragons, but have to craft a note to friend Chandler – who’s halfway across the country while I’m pillaging his backyard …

It may be us colonists like a good insurrection

I had wondered whether the e-zine phenomena was a reflection of the US fly fisherman and the paucity of quality reading material we’re forced to endure. With a blizzard of product surfacing, it might be that us colonials are practiced at grass-roots insurrection, and therefore unashamed to show our collective discontent.

Then again, it may be a world wide angling issue and like all asexual invasives, it just takes a little time to gain a foothold in more rarified venues.

New Zealand colonists join the e-Bellion

Instead it may be the colonial thing, what with New Zealand entering the fray with an e-zine featuring horribly colorful and obese trout whose obscene lust for feathers will make you shield your child’s vision, lest they be tainted forever …

We missed the first issue, but it’s available online.

Flyfishers Inc. is in the stunning photography coffee table mode, where you quickly leaf through the pictures in awe, yet there’s little text to accompany the work. Each issue features a reader poll, which is a hint of interactivity, something not yet seen in the US versions.

Something to consume with your lunchtime sandwich.

Dissolved oxygen responsible for aquatic upheaval

Stonefly nymph Confirmation of what we’ve always suspected, that with the climb in water temperature due to summer’s heat, and corresponding decline in dissolved oxygen, that stoneflies migrate to the faster flows where the oxygen is again plentiful.

Anyone who’s held a stonefly in still water has seen the gyrations it goes through to force oxygen over its gills, but what is less well known is how nearly everything else changes its behavior in light of warming water and less oxygen.

The probability of the stonefly presence increased significantly with current velocity in summer, but not in winter. Because current influences oxygen renewal rates, our results suggest that the distribution of the insect could be restricted by oxygen.

It’s thought to be one of the triggers for benthic drift, wherein an aquatic population lets loose of their former haunts and drifts to find better water (more food, more oxygen, different temperatures) often during the cooler evening hours where they’re less vulnerable to predators.

Therefore, mayfly nymphs must restrict themselves to a narrow range of habitats where behavioral regulation of oxygen consumption is never required, or they may utilize
less than ideal habitats, changing positions when
necessary during periods of lower oxygen availability.

… and as a response to diminishing oxygen, both mayflies and caddis will crawl out from under to perch on top of the rock – exposing their gills to the full force of the current, versus the lesser currents under the rock.

Experimental investigations in a small artificial stream showed that the positioning of mayfly nymphs (Ephemeroptera) on stones varied with dissolved oxygen concentration (DO). At low DO levels nymphs moved to current-exposed positions, presumably to increase the renewal rate of oxygen at respiratory exchange surfaces.

Making them readily available to foraging fish, and more apt to become dislodged and tumble around, something we love to exploit.

While the nuggets abound poring through the scientific papers, trout season precludes exploiting all of them:

Recorded as a percentage of the total number of items recovered per month, stoneflies account for 47% (December), 82% (January), 70% (February), and 57% (March) of the items consumed. These findings demonstrate the importance of stoneflies in the diet of eastern populations of trout during the winter months.

January appears to be the month for the “fattened calf” as the bigger stoneflies appear to be markedly favored by trout. Perhaps the turbidity associated with winter storms makes all but the larger bugs less visible, but 82% is a mighty compelling number.

Tags: Stonefly nymphs, benthic drift, mayfly, caddis, dissolved oxygen, trout fishing, fly fishing

The Bug died screaming, make sure you imitate that

carpenter_ant If fly tying wasn’t such a mood based hobby your flies would be twice as good. A big order of tiny, upthrust, and gossamer locks the poor tyer into a mayfly mindset and when a big black ant is up next – being a “slab” of protein completely out of place on water, the result is tiny, gossamer, and neat …

… which has no parallel when imitating a drowning Chuck Roast.

Knowing my coworkers will be demanding ants by lunch hour, and armed with a half dozen photos from yesterday – whose details are still fresh, I eyeballed a couple of the larger catalogs and noticed every ant was an upright aquatic insect … none were tied as a dead bug, and fewer yet were tied screaming in terror.

The Gods had smiled ever so briefly, and while it may be five or six seasons before I need them again, I learned my lesson.

First of all terrestrial insects don’t ride the surface upright like mayflies. Most of them are dead, the rest are struggling to free a big terrestrial wing from the water’s surface and will expire on their back or curled on their side, and there’s nothing neat and orderly about it.

Wings aren’t gossamer as they’d get in the way. They’re stubby thick affairs that once dampened lose most of their aerodynamic qualities, trapping the insect in whatever position was first contact.

Fish (bless them) are entirely unsophisticated when the equivalent of a Virginia Ham is struggling on the surface, and it’s likely that color and size is all that’s needed.

… and something that allows you to see that flush-in-the-film imitation so you’ll know when to strike.

Not pretty, nor is it meant to be

I dubbed the traditional ant profile using black deer hair, which left fibers poking in every direction looking like big black legs. I slapped some brown and black permanent marker on the lettuce bag from the trash, posted some closed cell foam upright and wound a brown-dyed grizzly hackle around it to add a bit more brownish tint to the overall fly.

Those wings will flop onto the surface and stick as the saran is so light it won’t hold its tied-in shape.

Curled and dead

Contrast the dead ants with the live picture at the top. Orderly and shipshape versus cold and curled – wings splayed. This was the look of the wet insect we fished over Sunday.

Surely, if a large Adams was all it took to fool the fish we’re splitting hairs, yet if you’re taking the trouble to imitate something lose the live bug bias and get disjoint and nasty.

Coifed and combed is for that sweet smelling fellow with the droopy backcast, and was never meant for the bait …

I call it four grabs and a welcome asterisk

It's his lake, the rest of us are backdrop

I lack the Warden-aint-looking-Velveeta “rod holder”, the depth meter, but more importantly I’m missing that gracious and relaxed look that comes with consistent success.

I was too busy sulking to notice. Fishing is five grabs – and if you’re lucky enough to hook most of them it’s a good day; sunburn hurts less, dinner tastes better, and the mosquitoes bother some other unfortunate.

Me. Mostly.

I flopped around trying secret and double-secret, figuring with each new color I’d unlock the lake and its secrets, but it was for naught. The weather was friendly, yet the fishing remained deathly.

calibaetis spinner

Not a Factor.

My Savior

Why you keep a #10 Adams in a box of #16’s

After the sixth or seventh honey bee floated by I was rethinking the McGinty – and why hadn’t I been smart enough to have a half dozen at the ready…

Everywhere was “Pizza” water. Toppings included every terrestrial not supposed to be there, a smattering of everything that belonged, throw in some midges just to confound everyone and a rise was something to dread, not its normal welcome quickening.

Two fish over was the fellow that likes mayfly, and I’d just cast at the fish that prefers Ladybug…

… and that welcome breeze, the one that adds enough cooling to your burnt forearms so’s you won’t notice – suddenly delivers enough protein to wake up everything downwind plus sending the sunbathers screaming.

It’s the reason you have that one bedraggled #10 Adams in your box of sixteen’s – where you pray you used lots of black thread, because having tried everything earlier, you know you’re lacking ants of any shape or color.

A deft use of the nippers – a bit of artistic license, and sent on its way with a prayer. The first fish shakes it loose in midair, and with only four grabs left …

Why you have a #10 Adams

… that satisfying feeling of a solid hookup. Large meat heading for the weeds and suddenly 5X is too thin, gossamer even.

Everything looks better

Suddenly everything looks better. The girls are prettier, the sky bluer, dinner is strictly gourmet, and there’s still some fish working. No one’s noticed – none have crept closer, and after those two Canada Geese trail past my fly …

NO. He did not just eat that

(The honker is making a wry face, beak and tongue suddenly active)

… and the line is moving smartly from the slack position to nearly taught.

Canada Geese love big dries

Time freezes.

The little Devil on my left shoulder says, “ Dude, figure she’s nearly eight or nine pounds, that bitch can peel line …”

The lesser Devil on my right says, “True, but you’ve got about 60 small children and parents on the beach to your left, that Honker is going to scream bloody murder, likely go airborne – and while you’re flying that kite with your click-pawl pointing its ugly finger right at you, the entire National Park Service is going beat you to death in a really public way.”

… so I feed slack as fast as I can, the Goose is still mouthing frantically and I’m praying the last of my five grabs is a clean miss.

Ptui … and the fly drops safely into the water.

Left shoulder Devil isn’t done yet, “Dude, that counts. It’s aquatic, it lives here – it’s natural, and it was a clean take.”

Right side responds quickly enough, “ An asterisk at best, what’s important is that as the National Park Service has recently converted from wheel guns to the Model 92 – featuring 15 in the clip and one in the pipe – they’ve stopped counting until the slide locks at empty.”

We all agreed that was a good point.

Nothing like a inflated backrest to bring happiness to a deflated angler

I’ve flung them, swung them, and twitched them back. I’ve labored over exotic materials, rare colors, and exacting detail – and for all that labor I’ve got squat.

Now I’ve abandoned any pretense of tradition – any thoughts of skill or science, instead I’ll fin myself around the Pristine on a soft inflatable recliner and tow flies into the waiting maw of Them as Would be Fed.

… and if that don’t work, there’s always the California nouveau cuisine luncheon – featuring the caviar Velveeta sand. I’ll let the wind blow me out of visual range and add an obligatory marshmallow indicator.

Friday I’ll be headed North to try some of my favorite lake venues. Streams are shot, rivers are worse, and I’m tired of fishless fishing trips. Maybe a month of dry weather will restore some of the local water to a semblance of their former selves.

I’ve got the traditional lake fare covered. The Calibaetis mayflies – dry and wet, and the generalist flies that resemble most of the other fare. Float tubes and breeze means you’re going to hook as many fish with the fly being towed as being cast – and those searching patterns are lake fishing staples.

Modeled on the J.Fair Wiggle nymph, a proven lake pattern of long standing, featuring a wisp of marabou for a tail and some sparkle chenille with a hackle rib, it’s the fly of choice for twitching over weeds, or simply finning from one side of the impoundment to the other.

Olive Wiggle Tail

These are dressed very lightly compared to a traditional Wooly Bugger or Leech, using just 5-6 strands of marabou and a pencil thin body. I’ve always assumed it was a combination of damselfly and small baitfish – in between asking pals if they could spare another handful.

Brown Wiggle Tail

I tie them in Olive, Black, Peacock, Brown, and the tail is left intentionally long – so you’ll get the occasional short strike. Shortening the tails makes them less effective, so endure.

I use the bead version so I can merely lengthen the leader and fish them with a floating line. In between the morning, midday, evening, mayfly activity I’ll use the lull following to tow these over weedbeds.

The darker colors are perfect for deeper water and sinktip fishing. A slow retrieve to seduce those reticent fish that are busy digesting an early insect snack and don’t expect to see a steak this close to home.

Tags: J Fair Wiggle Nymph, fly fishing stillwater, Wooly Bugger, leech, Calibaetis, lake fishing, trout