Category: Trout

GIFT OF GAB

By , January 19, 2013 10:14 pm

Gift of Gab

As I was fishing today at Ralph Clark Park Lake, an older gentleman walked up to me to ask me what I was doing (Like you can’t tell that I’m fishing). The thought crossed my mind, “How many fish have I missed out on, because I love talking to people so much”.

I’ve met so many fisherman, and usually as I walk past them, I shoot out a quick hello attached to something like “Any bites”. The normal response that I get is silence or a dirty look. Not in all situations, some of the people that I’ve met have been nice, and at times have even given some good fishing advice. Yet the majority of the times it seems to be people coming up to me, and I end up talking with them for about 30 minutes or so.

For example on this last trip out, I was only able to set aside about 2 hours to fish. Of those two hours I would say that about 1 1/2 hours were spent talking to people.

The first conversation was with a guy out fishing with his kid, and he looked like he had no idea what he was doing. I showed him how to rig up some Powerbait on a treble hook (as I mashed his barbs down, explaining the importance of doing it). By the time I had left, his son had caught his first fish, and the dad was one happy camper.

My second conversation was with an older Mexican guy that I spoke with en Espanol. He asked me what kind of fishing I was doing. So  I explained to him what Fly Fishing was, and let him cast my rod for about 10 minutes. Hopefully adding one new person to the Fly Fishing Community!

What A Way, To End The Day

Finally I moved on, and had a chance to wet my line. After about 10 minutes I was into an nice little stocker Rainbow Trout, that I had caught on a Bead Head Woolly Bugger. Immediately after, a guy who had been tossing around a Swim Bait (Trout Imitation) that had to weigh over a pound walked up to me and asked “What ya throwin”? I showed him my fly rod, as he continued to explain to me that he had no idea you could use a Fly Rod anywhere other than on a Trout Stream.

While I walked back to the car, he followed me as I showed him pictures of the different species that I catch on a fly rod. So I guess it’s a trade off, I may lose some time fishing, but every time I’m out I get to meet some really interesting person.

It guess that’s why we call it Urban Fly Venturing, a Disease Worth Catching!

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

By , January 17, 2012 10:43 pm

In Urban fly Fishing this one statement rings so true ”Timing is Everything”.

Especially when your doing a little Urban Park Fishing for stocked Rainbow Trout.

In the Urban setting we have a lot to compete with.

First there’s the Bait Fisherman. They fish for Trout at park lakes for one reason and one reason only, to eat the fish!

Second there’s the Cormorants, those vicious swimming birds that gobble up any fish they can get their beak on.

Third there’s the Bass. I’m not so much complaining about this one. Just take a quick look at the “All tackle top 25 Largemouth Bass ever caught”. California litters the list, and the main reason is our Trout stocking program. Our bass are getting protein, and a lot of it. Which makes for faster growth rates and heavier fish across the board.

The fourth and final road block is the Trout themselves. We’re talking stocked fish here, and their diet of pellets at the hatcheries sure looks a lot more like Power Bait than it does a Caddis Dry Fly or a Prince Nymph.

However a lot of times genetics kick into high gear, and the Stockers will just as readily take a Garlic Dipped Nightcrawler as they will a Woolly Bugger.

I had one such day last Saturday, as I pulled up to one of the Local Park Lakes with Rod and Reel in hand.

I could see a load of bait fisherman stacked up on edge of the lake. Not hard to see that the  Fish and Game truck must have been there just hours ago, and the Bows were still schooled up trying to acclimate to their new environment.

I took my position carefully across from where the baiters were, and tied on a size 14 Yellow Stimulator with a dropper Red size 18 Midge, and a small Egg Pattern.

One cast and I was into a really decent sized Rainbow splashing about. I finally got it to the net, and before I had even looked up there were 5 guys surrounding me “What are you using” they asked. A Fly I answered somewhat sarcastically.  

They stared at me for a moment and then retreated back, so as not to lose their precious spot they had been in since 5 am that morning.

Second cast. Wait for it “Fish on” I shouted out with excitement, another great sized Rainbow. I let him go to the reply of  “Come on save some fish for us”.

I cast a few more times without luck. So I reeled in my set up, and decided to switch over to a size 12 Black Bead Head Woolly Bugger.

A couple of casts getting the action right , and whack a fish comes out of left field and nails it at my feet so hard the rod almost slipped out of my hand. After a little fight and a quick 16  inch measurement in the net, back to the water he went.

 By this time all of the bait fishermen had switched over to a micro jig, and one kid had even ran to the car to get his Fly Rod.

At that point I decided to call it a day. The water was getting crowded, and I could feel the glares burning holes in the back of my head.

I did make a quick stop over to the kid to check out his fly rig. He had some 10 pound test rigged up to a wet fly with a bobber at the end of the fly line.

I pulled out a couple of flies and some tippet, and showed him how to rig up a hopper/dropper. After a quick casting lesson he was off to the races.

That’s what it’s really all about, seeing the enjoyment on a kids face the first time he picks up a fly rod. I think I can genuinely say that moment was worth more than any fish I had caught that day.

Urban Fly Venturing, a Disease Worth Catching!

 

ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN

By , December 28, 2011 6:04 am

After the last few fishing trips I’ve had, let’s just say that I’ve been reluctant to get out. Let’s do a quick little recap.

The first trip out dealt me nothing more than my 3 Piece Okuma 3 Weight Guide Select Fly Rod, wait I mean 4 piece Rod after I slammed it in my truck door. Luckily it came with a warranty.

You all know how my Second trip out looked from Dan’s post CARDIO-FLY. Let’s just say that I have a high tolerance for pain, but getting stung by a scorpion is no joking matter.

My Third Trip left me with the worst case of Poison Oak that I’ve ever had, and I’m now starting to wear shorts again.

But everything (Yes even my bad luck) has a season, and I think that this season is finally behind me.

I found myself just a little more hesitant to get up in the morning. I was looking for any reason not to get in the car and start driving. But I found all my gear just where it was supposed to be, and yes I have a backup 3 weight Fly Rod.

So there I was driving up in to Mount Baldy, with all kinds of thoughts going around in my head of what could possibly go wrong this time. Maybe I’d get eaten by a Mountain Lion, bitten by a Rattle Snake, a car accident, something. But as the miles counted down I soon found myself standing at the creeks edge, taking long deep breathes.

I thought to myself “Here we Go”, now please understand that I am not a pessimistic person. My wife has even at times accused me of being a little too optimistic in light of some of the situations life has thrown at us.

But come on I was on a roll. I’m a history buff, and let’s just say that my recent history was telling me to be really, really careful.

As I hit the water, my old careless self started to creep back up, and I found myself making dangerous jumps from boulder to boulder, stepping all over Poison Oak, and even fishing freezing cold water and 40 degree air temperature  in my good ol’ Wrangler Cargo shorts.

After just a couple of casts I was back to myself, and pulling in decent size rainbows on almost every cast. After fishing about a 1 3/4 mile section of the stream, I found myself satisfied for the day. Okay I’ll be honest I didn’t want to push my luck. A couple of hours on the water and no accidents.

Call it what you will, Lucky, Blessed, all I know is I’m back.

Urban Fly Venturing, a Disease Worth Catching!

 

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS

By , November 13, 2011 11:10 pm

This Saturday was one of the most amazing experiences that I’ve ever had Fly Fishing.

The weather was perfect, just enough clouds and a little rain to keep the crowds out of the San Gabriel Mountains.

I woke up, checked the forecast (only 1/10th of an inch of rain throughout the day) perfect!

I threw on my gear, hit Jack-in-the-box up for some coffee, and I was on my way.

As I drove up the 605 freeway, I immediately noticed a problem TRAFFIC “on a Saturday morning”, I thought to myself. What was going on? As I passed slowly about 3 mph to be exact, I noticed two cars flipped over on the other side of the freeway.

The adrenaline hit my system, and I drove away with a new sense of safety. Driving  a little slower up the mountain I stopped in to renew my yearly Adventure Pass.

The drive up was beautiful, water flowing from every direction.

I passed up the West Fork, and started my way up the North Fork to my ultimate destination Crystal Lake.

I was scoping out a few new spots to stop and fish as a group of bikers road passed going down the hill. Then it happened, one of the bikers started skidding out of control, and he slammed into the side of the mountain. I screeched on my brakes to pull over, threw the truck in park, and jumped out so fast the guy behind me almost ran me over. I stopped and looked both ways. It was clear, and I darted over to the fallen “Road Warrior”.

He had already gotten up and was carrying his Road Bike over to a small dirt patch. His helmet was cracked, but he seemed to be okay and the man in the truck behind me had an extensive first aid kit.

After he was all patched up and back on his way, I again started back on the road even more cautous, I wasn’t about to make it a day of “all crashes and no fishing”. I stopped at a new section and started my way down the path slipping and sliding down the side of wet rocks. When at last I was at the stream.

I cast into a few holes with nothing more than a couple of small about 3 inch Rainbows to show for it.  As I moved up though, so did the size of the fish. By the last hole I had an 10and 11inch Trout to the net, and things were starting to look up!

Realizing that it gets dark by 5:00 pm I hurried back to my vehicle, still wanting to ultimately wet a line at Crystal Lake. I arrived to find the gate unfortunately locked, and it was time for the cold tired feet to get back to action.

Finally I was there. I pulled out a Size 16 Rubber Leg Yellow Stimulator, with a Size 16 dropper Flash Back Hares Ear Nymph (my lucky San Gabriel Combo). First cast and first Trout was on.

It was a stocked fish, small only about 8 inches. However I was cold and tired and a “fish is a fish” no matter the size. So I cast a couple more times and caught a few more small fish.

I decided to call it quits, but as I looked up I realized I was literally in the middle of a rain cloud. The Air was dense and cold immediately, and it felt like I was breathing in water. It poured out on the Lake for about 3 minutes, and then just a quickly as it came it was gone.

I took it as a sign to make one last cast, and luckily I did. My Stimulator completely disappeared. I sent the hook, and before I knew it I was into a 13 inch Trout.

It was every bit of 13 inches, trust me I measured it in my net, but it was the skinniest thing I had ever seen.

I guess even the Hatchery Fish are feeling the Economic Recession!

Urban Fly Venturing, a Disease Worth Catching!

BIG BEAR RAINBOW SPAWN

By , April 29, 2011 11:06 pm

I brought my mom up to Big Bear a couple of weekends ago for her birthday. Snow was in the forecast and all I could think about on the way up was “Why did I promise not to go fishing this weekend”. We made it up to Angelus Oaks at about 11:00pm, when we suddenly had to get out of the truck and put snow chains on in the freezing cold. The 25 MPH drive up the hill was so worth it, as we watched the snow decend upon the mountain in a blanket of white.

The next morning I woke my little brother up to hit the hiking trail. It was a great hike and the scenery was brilliant. On the way back to the cabin, I stopped as cones and tape hit my field of vision on a little tributary that runs into the lake. We decided to stop and take a look (since it looked like a crime scene from television), and I was amazed to find literally 100′s of spawning Rainbow Trout swimming to and fro .

After a few moments of shock, I decided to get a closer look with my camera. We hit two more tributaries to find these signs posted just about every 10-20  feet.

I stopped a Police Officer passing by, and asked him why the signs where up along with so much caution tape. He proceeded to tell me that over the last couple of years, people would line these small waterways shoulder to shoulder harassing the Trout. He also said ”this was the most trout he had ever seen spawning up there” (which makes sense due to the Extremely high water levels).

I decided to go over to Boulder Bay to see the remodeling, that my co-author and fishing buddy Dan has been telling me so much about. I was shocked to find half the bay frozen over, and structure everywhere.

It looks like they just sunk the old gate and some of the construction equipment. You know where I’m going with this Pier+Structure=Great Fishing. I’m just itching to get back up there during the summer for a chance to fish this new spot!

FOLLOWING THE ROAD NORTH

By , March 24, 2011 11:12 pm

For those of you who haven’t been up to the San Gabriel River in a while. The north Fork Road has been closed at the first gate for a couple of years, due to sections of the road being washing out during the rainy season.

Just a couple of months ago the first couple few gates were opened, exposing us to about 2-3 miles of Trout water that has not been fishing for sometime. This is both a great opportunity and a great responsibility. What I mean is that it’s going to introduce Fly Fishermen to fish that have never been caught, but we have the responsibility to protect these fish and be responsible fishermen!

My day on this stretch of the SGR started off slow with a lot of scouting and not alot of fishing. Pushing back reeds and bushes, and walking up to the banks of the river crouched over like a 90 year old man out for a stroll in the park.

After much watching, it was time to start doing.

I picked out a size 18 Parachute Adams with a dropper Prince Nymph about 12 inches off. First cast and first missed fish. So I pulled my fly in, dried it of,f sharpened the hook (you can never be too sure), and cast my it back out in the riffle.

Another strike and another miss. This went on for about 20 casts, and I started to think to myself, “were these fish really to small to get hooked on a size 18″? They sure seemed to be hitting it hard enough to stay on. So I took off the dropper, and again a couple of casts and a couple of misses. Now I was started to get a little ticked.

It was at that moment that I realized that these were young naive fish that had never seen a fly, and I was probably trying to set the hook a little to fast for the way they were launching. I was just pulling it right out of their little mouths.

So I dried off my fly, put on a little more flotant, and walked up to the next hole on the run. Cast out into the riffle and hit (Sean wait to set the hook just a second) and I was on to my first fish. That little guy fought like a Smallmouth Bass in the Lower Kern River. Back and forth, and wow he was even putting a little bend in my 5 weight Okuma Guide Rod. Not bad for a little bitty Trout, and I could tell that this was going to be one good stretch of River.

I must have walking up about 1 1/2 miles on that stretch pulling at least a couple of fish out of every hole along the way. What beautiful colors, and for a couple of hours it was like the only purpose I had in life was to catch every last fish that I could. Just marveling at their amazing parr marks along the way.

Unfortunately even the best of days can be ruined in an instant, and that was just what happended as I peaked over the ridge on my way back to the car.

TRASH everywhere! you’ve got to be kidding me this place had barely been opened and already people were trashing it. So I grabbed a trash bag out of the car and filled it up until it was just about over flowing.

That is the exact reason why I’m always mentioning that we have to be good stewards of this beautiful resource, because some day I would love the honor of being able to take my Grand kids here to catch fish out of the same river that I grew up on.

Come on guys, if not us then WHO?

LEAVE YOUR PROBLEMS ON THE TRAIL

By , December 7, 2010 11:05 pm

The last couple of weeks haved been some of the most trying times in my life. Personal issues running rampant, work  is non stop at what is supposed to be the slowest time of the year, and the ear ache of the century. What more can I say, it’s been tough!

I remember thinking to myself “I wonder, how can I get some time away from the daily grind?” That’s right! What was I thinking? All I need is a little Urban Fly Fishing. Sometimes you just have to pick up your gear and leave the world behind.  

So I locked the doors to my truck and left it all in the parking lot of Chantry Flats for some adventure in the local San Gabriel Mountains.

The air was crisp, the sound of the creek was filling my ears, and my hands were still warm from my daily caffeine fix. Away I ran. Barreling down the Santa Anita Creek Trail with my 3 weight in hand, ready to hit the stream with full force. I tied on a size 16 Stimulator with a dropper Prince Nymph and the fish didn’t even know what hit them.

It was amazing, for hours it seamed like every cast produced a fish. One, Two, Three, Ten, Twenty, Thirty, I  lost count. Not even an hour on the stream and the battery on my camera was already running low from flash, after flash, after flash.

Was I dreaming?  Is this real? I has to sit down, and take it all in with a few deep breathes. What just happened? Suddenly I could not think about anything but Rainbow Trout, where was the next one hiding? Would this keep up, could I really catch a fish on every cast for more than a couple of hours? So many questions running through my head. What was I doing different? Where is the hatch?

All these questions mixed in with one profound thought “ Thank you Randall Kaufmann”!

It was amazing! I have caught a lot of fish on Santa Anita Creek over the last couple of years, but never had a day that came even close to this. After 4 hours of hiking from hole to hole and fish after fish. I decided to call it quits.

As I made my way back up the canyon to the parking lot (the only part of Santa Anita Canyon that is not to my liking) I just remember sitting down on the edge of the trail for a minute and thinking “Thank You GOD”. This was exactly what I needed!!!

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