2014 Top Ten List

OK, it’s time for my top ten list.  The top ten places I want to go fishing this year.  These are places I love to go or new places I’ve yet to try.  This year, I’m going to try to get away for an overnight trip or two but where will be determined later.  We’ll see if I can’t check off the entire top ten this year, something I didn’t come close to last year.  I only hope we get some snow and another big fire doesn’t keep me indoors for weeks on end or the fishing season might be pretty dismal.

So, here is the list:

  1. Twenty Lakes Basin – A chain of lakes near Yosemite and behind Saddlebag Lake.  I’ve wanted to go here for years and never did it.  You take a ferry across the lake which is sort of cool in itself.
  2. Cooney and Frog Lakes – This is another place I’ve wanted to get to but never have.  Last year it was thwarted in part due to the Yosemite fire.  These are up beyond Virginia Lakes and might become an overnight trip.
  3. Highland Lakes – These are drive to lakes off of Highway 4.  These can be windy so I’ll need to set out early.  Again, I might camp there (need to look into that possibility) and I’ll definitely bring the tube.
  4. The Owens Gorge – I’m probably stupid for attempting this with my back but what the hell.  You only live once.  This is the rugged, rattlesnake and trout filled canyon below Crowley but it’s small creek fishing at it’s best.
  5. Upper Owens River – I want to hit this either this spring or next fall during the spawn.  It’s a spring creek that takes a lot of patience and stealth.  I might get skunked hard but it will be fun.
  6. Milton Reservoir – Northwest of Truckee, this is a wild trout lake.  I’ve been here many years ago.  It’s small and scenic and being it’s about 2.5 hours from home, this might be a nice spot to spend a night it the wilderness.
  7. Mokelumne River, North Fork – Another water up Highway 4, the river is a small meadow stream here.  A short hike will take you into the wilderness and a Jeep trail will take you up Deer Creek.
  8. Yuba River, North Fork – This is a roadside water but in some beautiful country with a lot of other waters to hit if the Yuba is slow.  Again, over three hours from home so a possible overnight trip.
  9. Toiyabe Range – I gotta have one in Nevada, right?  No specific location.  Maybe Big Creek, Reese River, Peavine Creek, Kingston Creek or Groves Lake, all places from my childhood.
  10. Warmwater Fishing – I haven’t fished for bass and bluegill for years.  I’m not sure where but I’ll do a little research and figure it out.  I’ve got a few spots I’ve fished but I’d like to try something new.

So, that’s it, 2014’s Top Ten.  A list will appear over to the left and I’ll add links to the reports as I check these off.  Hopefully, by the time fishing season rolls around, I’ll have shaken this damned plague the boys brought home.  I’m so over coughing and feeling worn out.  I really do hate winter!

Fly Fish Nevada Premiers on YouTube

After some fits and starts, I’ve finally premiered my first video on my YouTube channel.  It’s a short video about my afternoon in the East Walker detailed in this post.  As I’ve said before, this is a lot of work and more difficult than it looks.  I could have chosen to just do a simple gear review or something but I chose a more complex subject with a lot of editing, music, etc.  I probably won’t be doing these kind of videos often.  It’s hard to fish and film at the same time.

I will, however be doing some gear reviews, educational stuff and a few rants from time to time on my channel.  I intend for the YouTube channel to be a companion to the blog.  For instance, when I review something, say my “tactical” fishing bag, I’ll do a write up for the blog and a companion video.  Each will stand alone but act together too.  Some things are easier to write about and others easier to talk about on video.

Anyway, hope you enjoy and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel.  Thanks!

East Walker River – One More Time

Beautiful stretch of water just downstream of the Elbow.

Beautiful stretch of water just downstream of the Elbow.

I had so much fun last week down on the Elbow I did it again.  This time, however, I fished downstream of the Elbow and though I never found any water as productive as my honey hole, I did find some good fishing.  I also “camped” again and this time, I got some usable footage that become a YouTube video I will debut next week.  All in all, I had a good day and there aren’t too many left before the river starts to ice up and shut down for all intents and purposes until spring.

First fish of the day.

First fish of the day.

So, like last week I left home about 12:30 pm and got to the spot I wanted to fish a little after one o’clock.  It was warm but there was that chill in the air you get this time of year.  I donned my gear and hit the river, first hiking a bit down stream to some good-looking water.  I hooked my first fish of the day on a nymph and I spend the rest of the afternoon finding trout where you’d expect them, all rainbows this time around, with a light but steady breeze at my back that chilled me as the sun got low in the sky.

Nice panorama of the crag behind my "camp."

Nice panorama of the crag behind my “camp.”

I switched to a dry early on when I spotted some fish rising and stuck with it until the end.  In some riffles, trout were rising pretty aggressively but taking emergers, I suspect, as often as dries.  In other spots, mostly the flatter water, the fish rose more sporadically.  I bet a nymph would have done well too but sometimes dries are just too much fun.  Most of the rainbows were between eight and ten inches but a few went up to maybe eleven or even twelves inches.

A spooky fishing trail.  It was Halloween after all.

A spooky fishing trail. It was Halloween after all.

About 4:30 I was getting hungry and my back was getting sore so I packed it in and set about making dinner.  Mountain House spaghetti and meat sauce this time.  A little runny but tasty enough.  After that, I whipped up some hot chocolate.  Damn, that hit the spot as the air began to cool.  I leaned up against the Jeep, enjoyed the hot chocolate and listened to Peter Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like We Do” as it got dark.  A little bit of perfect.

Making hot chocolate.

Making hot chocolate.

So anyway, I had another great day on the East Walker.  As a side note, my back (really the nerve that runs down my leg that my shoddy lower spine is pinching) felt pretty good.  My leg hurt a few times and after about three hours my back was getting sore (probably from all the bending and walking on the uneven stream bed as much as anything) but all in all both this trip and the last one were pretty good.  The back’s not better but for the most part I’m able to manage the pain.

Selfie!

Selfie!  BA, baby, BA :roll:

Probably won’t get out next week.  I’ve got some writing and editing to do.  Looks like next week will be the end of temperatures in the 60’s for a while but the weather looks generally good for the next couple of weeks.  You never know.  I might get burned out on the writing and sneak out.  High school football is over too so I might get the kids out with me fishing or shooting before basketball practice starts in a few weeks.  But now that I’ve rediscovered hot chocolate, I might just stay home where it’s warm and drink some of that.

East Walker River – Fishing and More!

Jeep

Yes, I’m in love with my Jeep ;)

I finally pried myself from my writing chair today and went outdoors!  I know, right?  I’ve been cooped up in here quite a bit lately.  Honestly, I’m digging on my writing and I spend a lot of time working on it.  You only see part of that hard work her on the blog.  I write under another pen name too.  I like to keep them separate so I’m not telling you what that name is.  Sorry but if you’ve ever wondered why I’ve turned out so few books but spend so much time writing, that’s why.

OK, back to the matter at hand.  I did some editing today and then about 12:30 I left for the Elbow.  I dragged my cameras and my survival bags along for the ride.  I wasn’t just going out to fish.  I was hoping to get some video to put together something for YouTube and practice some of my “survival skills” as well as wet a line.  Things, as they seem to do, didn’t go as planned. Continue reading

Summer Kind of Sucks!

DSCN0392

Dumping Rain in Pickel Meadows, sunny down by the junction.

I’ve been cooped up in the house for a while, avoiding the outdoors because of the crowds, the heat, the fires and the thunderstorms.  If it’s not one of those, its another and most of time its more than one.  This year has been especially bad for fires and thunderstorms.  The Sierras, or large swaths of them, anyway, have been socked in with smoke from the various fires all summer.  Thunderstorms seem to be the norm this year.

Jeep Surreal

Da Jeep!

As if to hammer that point home, yesterday, the 21st of August, was one of the worst days for thunderstorms all summer and today, the 22nd (my birthday by the way), the skies of Reno, Carson City and Minden/Gardnerville are thick with smoke and falling ash Continue reading

Dana Fork and Parker Pass Creek

Like an old Jeep ad.

Like an old Jeep ad.

What with the 4th of July crowds, the heat and the previous cold and wind gone, I took my youngest son, Owen, and we went fishing.  We were headed to Laurel Lakes but on the way down 395, I just didn’t feel like making the four mile trek up that treacherous road, so we changed our plans.  We stopped for breakfast at the Mobile station at the junction of US 395 and Highway 120, gassed up and headed up the hill towards Yosemite.

We drove up to Tuolumne Meadows first to check that out.  It wasn’t crowded, maybe only 9:00 am.  Very pretty.  My first time in the park.  Yes, yes, I’ve lived in Carson City and Smith Valley my whole life and never driven past the Tioga entrance.  So sue me.  I guess you just take things so close for granted. By the way, this is only my second National Park visit.  The first was Redwood National Forest in northern California.  Now you know.  I know, you’re thrilled. Continue reading

2013 Top Ten List

Blue Lake

My obligitory shot of the pass up behind Blue Lake.

I used to do this every year and every year I failed to fish all the waters on my Top Ten list.  It’s not really a top ten list but more a the ten places I’d like to fish.  The reasons always vary.  For some I’ve never been but want to go.  Others are old favorites I haven’t visited in a while.  Whatever the reason, I’m compelled to fish these waters and they go on the list.  I haven’t done this in a few years, but I decided to go ahead and make up a list this year.  Motivation to get out there and inspiration when I’m not sure where to go.  Note that many waters I will probably fish anyway, say the East Walker, are not on the list.  Those are givens.  Here it is in alphabetical order:

  • Cooney and Frog Lakes – A short day hike that will test my back.  These are above Virginia and Blue Lakes which I fish often.
  • Crowley Lake – Never really fished this lake but plan to this year.  Probably in the fall when the temps cool down.
  • Dana Fork of the Tuolumne – Just inside the Tioga Pass entrance, my kind of water.  Meadow stream with dumb but pretty fish. Continue reading

Getting in Fishing Shape – Lower McGee Creek

You must cross at least one ladder.  It's sturdy but on uneven ground and shifts as you climb.  No biggie but a nice surprise.

You must cross at least one ladder. It’s sturdy but on uneven ground and shifts as you climb. No biggie but a nice surprise.

I walk a mile and a half or ride my bike five miles almost everyday, weather permitting.  Sometimes I do both.  I do my back exercises along with a few other resistance exercises twice a week.  For a fat guy, I’m in decent shape.  So why is it a three mile trek to fish Lower McGee Creek kicked my ass?  Let me tell you, walking on uneven ground, high stepping through grass and getting down to my knees and back up repeatedly isn’t simply walking or riding a bike. Continue reading

What Was I Thinking?

Should have stayed home and drank!

Should have stayed home and drank!

I’d been trying to get out on the water, specifically the East Walker before the tough summer flows hit, but with my anniversary, my son’s birthday and all the end of the school year stuff, I was having trouble finding a day.  So I targeted Friday.  Yes, the Friday before the Memorial Day weekend.  What was I thinking?

Look, I don’t have a real job.  Holidays are meaningless to me for the most part.  It just didn’t occur to me half the people on the planet would be leaving early for the long weekend.  I pulled up to the Elbow and saw half a dozen RVs spread around, two guys on dirt bikes ripping up one of the trails, but my honey hole was open.  However, as I approached, six middle aged RVer’s walked around the bend in swimming suits carrying blow up inner tubes and rafts.

I can take a hint!  I just gave up on fishing and did a little exploring.  No pictures, nothing spectacular.  I don’t like crowds.  I know the East Walker isn’t mine or exclusive to fishermen, but it seems harder and harder to get away from the crowds.  Places I visited five years ago and had to myself, now are teaming with people.  I guess the economy means camping out is preferred to expensive tourist destinations and fancy hotels, not to mention the whole outdoors experience is being promoted heavily.

Unfortunately, a lot of the folks that go, just don’t understand part of the attraction is the peace and quiet, the solitude.  They bring the city and it’s noise and crowding with them.  They don’t respect personal space and have no idea how loud and obnoxious they can be.  I wish it were just rich lawyers in the Simms waders with their $800 Sage rods like the locals in Montana complain about.  I could deal with that.  Weekdays and waters that don’t show up in magazines.  That’s my mantra.

P.S. Props to our men and women serving in the armed forces and to those that have sacrificed all in the name of liberty.

P.S.S. Yes, I am a curmudgeon.  Thanks for asking.

2013 Fishing Season has Officially Begun

The Yellow-Headed Blackbird.  World's most annoying bird!

The Yellow-Headed Blackbird. World’s most annoying bird!

Yes, hard to believe, but I finally got my butt out of the house and put it in some water.  Notice the word “fishing” was conspicuously absent from that sentence.  Oh, I whipped some water and drowned some flies but fishing usually involves some participation on the fishes’ part.  That did not occur today in any shape, form or fashion.  But I did get to put the new Dave Scadden Outlaw Escape through it’s paces (except I forgot the oars) and also tested my new vestless fishing rig (is vestless a word?)

Finally, things are back to normal here at the homestead.  I’m done fiddling with my back and though it’s not fixed, it is manageable.  My wife,Jen, is also feeling much better. Continue reading

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