Snowing a bit right now, and it’s trying to stick….. I think I’ll be working early morning. Have a client who wants to go around 11:00am. tomorrow. This will be a minimum sleep period…. We will see what we have to work with.
I rarely make two posts back to back. But I thought I would clarify what I could mean by perfect….. I went for a water walk yesterday in bluebird conditions. For over an hour a t-shirt and a windbreaker was comfortable. An hour later it was 10 deg. colder with 35mph wind and sideways blowing snow. I was not in danger, not that I’d mind…but temporally uncomfortable would describe it. I got back to the truck to rewarm, the sun came out the wind let up, and it stopped snowing. The unstable cold air from the arctic can produce some localized squalls. When I say it’s perfect out, bring an extra layer or two….. Weather should be fishy this weekend. Monday things will get real again. The weather boosters are calling for 3+ft of snow up high. We will probably get a 1ft here in town. With deep breakable crust, snowshoes are a good idea.
I started fly fishing in 1972. That adds up to many hours. Way over 10,000….I have learned a lot about fish, and that original plan has satisfied me. The thing that keeps me going to water is the ecosystem. My attitude is anyone can catch a fish with practice. But, when you go to the water enough you begin to see things that are just for you. Think of it as insider trading…. I learned years ago that Ravens like to eat Skwallas. They change their feeding style to suit the food (we do too). they patrol the bank for the helpless/tasty nymphs. This helps me to determine if Skwallas are emerging. The main reason Ravens are after them is for food obviously….But, yesterday I watched a male Raven find a nymph, and instead of eating it on the spot, he flew over to his mate and handed it off to her for a snack. After eating it, they did a little beak fencing….think rubbing noses with your sweety. A little while later, he showed up with a “starter pack” of nesting materials and then “presented” it to her. She accepted it stylishly….and flew off to start another breeding season. Spring to you and me. The male went back to hunting for goodies. To me, he looked pleased the way things were going.
Those that have followed for a while know I don’t use the word perfect very often. Well, it is getting very close right now. Flows are 300+ above Martis crk. Big bugs are in play, along with a few small bugs. Water is pretty clear, and the temp has come up a bit. Fish are not over-pressured yet…..get it while it’s good.
Here you go…Trying to drive to fishing? It took 1.5 days to spike, and three days to level out to a fishy level. 538cfs is really nice if you have bigger water game. 33 years ago when I moved up to Truckee, I waited till flows were low and easier to fish with a dry. Over time I got tired of waiting for conditions to become suitable to my abilities. Now I know that when others say “it’s blown out”, I go fishing. Therefore, I get 4-5 more months of fishing than the average fisher. Right now we have a very light snowfall that isn’t sticking. This is the kind of weather that makes fish comfortable. Saw a couple of Skwalla, and am seeing some BWO’s occasionally. It will be a long Spring if it stays cold at night and overcast during the day. Let’s hope.
A day ago the Truckee peaked at close to 1450cfs. It has dropped to 950 today. Water color is green mostly with a pinch of tan. It looks big but fishy. This is the time I wait for every year. So, now that it’s time to fish, are you ready? The cliche is to fish those low placid sections for risers. I used to feel the same way……Now, I seize the day and fish while it’s good. Big water makes the fish feel protected by lots of cover. Secondly, there is a bunch of food scoured up for them to eat. A lot of types to choose from…..Crayfish, nymphs, worms….and more, Don’t get hung up on what to fish….GO FISH! I am available to teach with a bigger stick, and help get a spey cast going. In addition I can help to figure out how deep and how much more weight to use. Give a call if you are ready for the next level on the Truckee.
After 13 years of reporting on the Truckee river, it is getting harder to predict what will happen on the day. The last week has been crazy wet, but shifting from fat drops of warm rain, to big conglomerate flakes the size of goose feathers. The range of changes are happening within minutes. Sometimes simultaneously. It rained all night and never got to freezing, and now mid-morning it’s snowing hard. We had about 5ft of snow near town which, with the rain, is down to 3ft and going fast. People often ask me, when is a good time to fish the T? My answer is…..when there is water in it! The flows right now in town are 950cfs and off color, but not muddy yet….. A bit big for wading solo. I keep to shore because it’s safer, and because the heavier flows force fish to the softer edges. I don’t put a foot in the water at these flows. Bug-wise, they are coming soon…I’m seeing more Skwalla nymphs near shore. I bet they go very soon. No shucks on the snow banks yet, nor any Robins out and about. They always show up when the Skwalla arrive so I watch closely. On that note…..Last night a pair of Killdeer showed up to begin another season of life…..I love seeing critters return. I’ve said it many times, fish don’t follow clocks or calendars. Every year is different, and all you need to do is watch them, to know.
I’ve heard that each snow flake is unique….well there is a bunch of uniqueness up here right now. We have three feet of fluff on top of a two-foot base. Flows are still below 200cfs so be warned that small water needs extra stealth. Parking is an issue for everyone, so share. Water is in the 34-36 degree range, wear your warm Chones (underwear) under your waders (which hopefully don’t leak!). Bugs are very scarce… Snowshoes are a good call. Today is a bluebird day, tomo will be partly cloudy which is better for fishing. In two the fishy weather will end and then, more uniqueness. Stay tuned…..
Haven’t posted for a while…… When flows drop below 200cfs in town I will give the fish a break, by not pumping it up online. Then, add on a bunch of snow to plow, ALL NIGHT! So….my day-times are for recovery. I still go to the water almost everyday, 300 days on the water is where my bar is set. My report is, still no Skwalla to be found yet. Checking my bug traps and no takers so far, and no shucks on the shore. They are out on the Yuba, so we will probably have another week or two till they arrive here. We have a foot+ of fluff on top of a packed foot of snow underneath. This next storm coming, in another hour, will be bigger than we have had this year so far. That week of T-shirt (40deg) weather spoiled us. National Weather Service is predicting very high winds and a bunch of snow…..They used the term “life and death” for travelers. Carry blankets, food, water, and anything you might need for a day or two stuck in your car. Given that warning, I would wave off fishing this next couple days. I have caught enough fish in a gentle snow storm to want to want to go out. But having tried to fish in a 50mph ground-blizzard, I can say it would be good idea to wait. Proud to say I’ve reached the new best….230 followers…Thanks for your support!
Night time temps creeping down to -8 near dawn. Flows have dropped to 220csf due to the temps. Kinda hard to melt snow when it’s this cold. We are in the quiet stage of the year….Bugs, are limited to midges mostly. The wait for Skwalla has begun! I know they are coming….they set the schedule….but I enjoy trying to get in sync.
Above, is a bug trap….from previous years. It’s my secret to knowing what the Skwalla are up to. I don’t wander around randomly turning over rocks. I’ve learned they appreciate a flat rock with some water flowing under it. These bugs “post-up” about two feet from shore, in about 6″ of water. So, I set them up with the appropriate shaped rock. I feel a bit like a good realtor helping out.This year so far, I have only found one nymph near shore. I just walk along my stream beat for the day, seeing if anybody is thinking about molting into the adult. This is how I stay in the know as a guide…..among other things. Give a holler if I can help you raise your game!
ANOTHER GRAPH!! I know how entertaining these are…I don’t exactly love them myself. But, they are the key to learning flows, to fish effectively. You can see the difference, day to day. It takes a few years to be able to see a graph and know in your mind’s eye what’s going on the water. I have learned to calibrate what a particular run looks like from my computer. Combine the ability to predict the weather and then, factor in the flows….and you are dangerous. Certain flows are best on some parts of the river and not others. Too deep or too shallow, I can see it from where I sit to post this. This information allows me to have a plan when I go to the water….not just go see! The Truckee fishes well between 300-500cfs. I teach the art of the fly….Reading the water, the cast, the menu, drift (presentation), and playing them to the net. The final difficulties to master, are where and when to go. And now you know…….
It is snowing ever so lightly right now. We got about an inch last night, which means I got some sleep for a change, instead of plowing. That means I will call a fish team 6 audible and see who can go fish today. We will have a couple windows this week. The river will stay in leveling mode. The high temps will be 30deg. Lows will be around 10 deg, That means little to no melting, to cause the river to change. See you on the water!
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