Monday, April 30, 2012

Truckee River, Truckee, California

    I have a love/ hate relationship with the Truckee River.
     The Truckee flows out of Lake Tahoe, past Squaw Village, through the town of Truckee, California, to the California/ Nevada state line and into Reno, Nevada. 
   From Lake Tahoe into Truckee it is anything goes. You can fish with bait, lures, flies, whatever. 
   From downstream of Truckee to Reno is gold medal fly water. You can only use flies and lures with single, barb less hooks. It is mostly catch and release and there is one section of private water. 
    I have fished the Truckee for several years now. I love the river because it is so easy to get to. It is a great freestone trout river. There are lots of trout, including browns and rainbows - and you can catch some pretty large trout, often in excess of 25 inches. Many
people often get trout that are 5 pounds or bigger.
      I also hate the Truckee since it is easy to get to, becaue it means a lot of fishing pressur, which means it can be a very difficult river to fish. It is increasingly easy to get 'skunked'.
     Like the Little Truckee, poaching is a problem too - and the Truckee is very technical,
meaning you really have to do the right things to have success.
   You need great presentation and the right selection of flies. I really got frustrated with the Truckee last year - and for the most part I avoided it. But this year I have been in the area a few times and took my rod to a few of my favorite holes and I have done fairly well - all things considered.
     I went in July. Just as it gets dark in July, the Truckee can be wild. They get some pretty amazing hatches. I saw stoneflies, various kinds of caddis, little moth-like flies that I am still trying to name - not to mention giant Salmon flies.
   You can hear trout jumping. They sound like somebody tossed a small boulder into the river.
    There are so many bugs in the air I have to swat them out of my face. A giant Salmon fly landed on my shoulder. I wonder, even if I select the perfect fly how will any fish choose mine over the millions of 'real' ones on the water? Somehow I catch a couple of trout, and call it a successful night.
      I went back in August. There was a much smaller hatch this time. It was nearly non-existent, but I noticed a couple of kinds of caddis, and those little moth-like things.
    I think the caddis are the spotted sedge and the glossoma (a black colored sedge). I had used a big fuzzy march brown as an attractor dry fly - and added an olive emerger nymph dropper. I had a few hits, and hooked one. But he jumped and flipped in the air throwing the hook.
     I eventually landed another small one. I decided to change my set-up to match the sedge hatch better. But it was now so dark I could not tie the new flies. I had forgotten my little hat flashlight. Major mistake. So I had to call it a night.
    I came back the next night knowing what to expect. I went with the same march brown and nymph dropper to start the evening and had a few more hits. But this time I had pre-tied a different caddis dry and a dropper set-up - AND, I had my light.
        Sure enough, at dark the hatch came. Just before it got too dark I switched. The pre-tied caddis was a light tan color and could double as a little yellow stone. The nymph was a small brown hare's ear.
   Bang! Right off the bat a rainbow hit the dry fly, and I landed him. But just as fast as it started - the hatch ended. The river was quiet. I stayed for a few more casts, but got nothing. And soon it was too dark to fish any more.
      I fished in the morning too. I had pretty good luck. It was a very hot day, but I landed four - two browns and two rainbows.
     I also had several hits that I missed. I got out of the river at one point and walked a well
known trial upstream to another location. Along the way I met a lady walking her dog. She asked if I had any luck. I told her I had netted three so far. She said she was surprised. She walked this trail every day and I was the first person she had met who had had any luck. I'll take that compliment.
   I entered the river upstream, and proceeded to net the fourth fish.
       So, today I love the Truckee again. Ask me tomorrow and I may give a different answer. Read my story for the Little Truckee. The same applies for the Truckee. Bring your "A" game. But with luck and skill you will land a few - and maybe a whopper or two.
     Good Luck - and tight lines.

Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch - Loveland, CO

   If you want great fly fishing on a great river, but without all the pressure of weekend crowds - try the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch outside Loveland, Colorado. It is a complete dude ranch. They have horseback riding, cozy individual cabins, a swimming pool, lodge, trophy trout ponds and more. Most fly fishermen will be interested in Sylvandale's private stretch of the Big Thompson river.

I was recently there for a private function, and was really impressed. The cabins are rustic, yet well appointed. There are picnic grounds, and for our event, the food was catered and there was a great country band. The staff is very professional and accommodating.
Included in the stay was fly fishing access to their private water. A staffer told me she had seen trout rising in the river, right in front of the restaurant. I donned my waders and set out. I didn't have my full selection of equipment and flies. I could have used one of the guides from the ranch, but decided to try it on my own. I used a large "hopper" above, with a mayfly emerger tied about 10 inches below the 'hopper.

Another man and his son were also going to fish, and were just entering the water near me. I didn't mind. there were plenty of places I wanted to try and I could have found a more remote spot, but I chose the easy place to start. The fish didn't seem to mind. A few minutes into fishing, I had a hit. I had cast in front of a large boulder, letting my fly drift through the hole. The only rod I had with me was a six-weight, and I was glad. The trout was big. He put up quite a fight. Since I was in a highly visible spot, a small gallery of people gathered along the bank to watch. I netted a good size rainbow. I did not have my hand-held scale to check his weight, nor a tape measure, but I estimated him to be close to 20 to 24 inches long and about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds. Not bad.

About then I noticed two things. More trout rising in front of a smaller boulder up stream, and dark clouds coming my way. It wasn't long before I heard the sound of thunder rolling through the canyon, and saw the flashes of rapidly approaching lightning. I got out of the water immediately and headed for cover. A few moments later the storm was upon us, and a gentle rain began to fall. I hung out on the deck of the lodge, watching the rain.

When the skies cleared about 30 minutes later - it was time for our diner event to begin and I had to stop fishing. I met Susan Jessup - the owner of the ranch - and we had a nice talk about its history and how it has stayed in her family over the years.

My experience was enough to definitely wet my appetite. If you want to fish their private stretch of river, you have to hire a guide at full price on your first visit - but then your next visits can be guide free and are 20 bucks. Not bad. By the way, the trout pond looked really fun too, and there is so much more river to check out. I will be back to Sylvan Dale some day.
You can check them out for yourself, by going to

Little Truckee River, California

      Arguably one of the most difficult rivers to fish in America. Actually, it is really easy to fish the Little Truckee. It is just nearly impossible to catch anything despite the fact there are trout everywhere.
Little Truckee River
     The Little Truckee is between Stampede and Boca reservoirs, outside the town of Truckee, California and is a great stretch of river. It is easy to get to.
    It is beautiful. There are lots of fish. There is a lot of great fly fishing water. But it is also a very "technical" river to fish.
     That means you have to do everything just right. You have to be at the right place at the right time. You have to select the right fly. No getting fairly close to the right fly. You have to have it down to the right bug, the right color, and the right size.
     Your cast has to beperfect. Too much splash or the wrong drift and it's all over. These fish are very savvy and selective. They get fished hard, and have seen it all.
     I was there in late October and the fishing was optimal. After a summer of very low flows, the water was up, the temps were very conducive, and you could find fish everywhere. I caught two very nice trout.
     One was behind a pair of side-by-side boulders. I had seen his fins surface a few times. I knew he was there and tossed a size 18, parachute BWO with a size 20 emerger nymph as a dropper. Two casts, and he hit hard. Wham! This fish jumped three times - tossing and turning - trying to throw the hook. What a fighter. He was a meaty fish and I estimated him at about two pounds.
Little Truckee River

      I moved downstream a few yards. A riffle emptied into a fairly large pool. At the head of the pool were two boulders, one behind the other. I had seen another trout on the far side of the bank. I hated to wade into the water and ruin the hole, but I also hated to make a long cast, putting the thicker fly line on the water, and potentially spooking the fish.
     I stepped into the water, about an arm's length from the bank. I cast about a foot ahead of the trout, and the water sucked the fly into the flow. At that moment I saw my parachute BWO slide under the surface and I set the hook. Sure enough, I had the trout. He hit the nymph as the previous trout had done. I netted a really nice fish, about 18 inches long. That's why we fish the Little Truckee.
     Time to move again. I continued downstream a few more yards. That put me in the middle of a large, quiet pool. The water was barely moving, and was very clear. I could see fish rising all around the pool. But I could not get a hit to save my life.
    Another angler came along, and I told him he could have the hole. I had given it my best shot, so it was his now. We talked. I showed him what I had used to catch my two fish. He had caught a couple himself, and gave me a fly to try. I offered him one as well. He took the hole, and I hiked downstream about a quarter of a mile.
       Pretty soon I came to a stretch of food dry fly water. The river almost becomes a small pond. There was a fallen tree across part of the river. Just in front and just behind it, I could see fish feeding.  In fact, they were everywhere. I fished that stretch for nearly two hours and never got a hit. I tried everything I knew to do, but nothing.
      At one point, a really nice trout swam right between my boots – almost rubbing on my leg like a cat! I couldn’t believe it.
     I changed my set-up, but still nothing. I figured I had moved into water where the fish could see me, the line, and everything else much better. The water flowed slowly so they had plenty of time to check it out before hitting.

Little Truckee River

    Eventually, Arlo Townsend, the head guide from the Reno Fly Shop came along with a client. He was very polite and went out of his way to make sure he did not disturb me. We talked and I eventually relinquished the hole to them.            

     Arlo also gave me a few flies to try. I wished them luck and headed out. I had had enough for one day. 
   Several guides I spoke with say that particular hole on the Little Truckee is among the most difficult they have ever fished.
    The best of the best get skunked in that hole. But for those who can land one - the reward is awesome.
     The Little Truckee is one of my favorites, as well as a favorite for hundreds of other fly fishers. But bring your "A" game - and some good luck. You might catch a few.  And remember: "a bad day fishing is better than a good day at work. "
  Enjoy being on a lovely stretch of river. If you have a rough time, try a guide. The Reno Fly Shop and the Truckee River Outfitters are owned by the same folks.
    Check 'em out at
     I also like Joe Cerniglia. You can often find him at Ace Hardware in Truckee. They have a nice fly shop inside, and all the folks there are knowledgeable and helpful. Try emailing Joe at
   Good luck - and tight lines.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fishmas Eve 2012

Happy "Fishmas Eve". Saturday April 28th marks the start of the 2012 fishing season in California. Fly fishers along the eastern Sierra are ready to celebrate. Check out the website.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


     There are as many reels out there as there are rods. They range in price between $25 and several hundred dollars. I have two made by Okuma. I use the Sierra model and have had good luck with them. They run about $50 to $60, but handle well. They are rugged enough to perform well, yet not so expensive that I worry about banging them on a rock, or if they should fall into the water.
     Most reels either come with, or need to be loaded with backing and fly line. Most good sporting good stores or fly shops have machines that can get it done. If you buy from them the service is often free.
     When you buy a reel, make sure it matches the weight of your rod. I have a three to four weight Sierra reel to go with my three and four weight rods. My second Sierra reel is a five to six, and goes with my heavier rods.
     Reels also come in a variety of sizes. The newer models are larger in diameter. Having a larger wheel allows more line and backing to be put on. You also do not have to try to grasp a tiny little crank handle, and turn it a zillion times to reel in your fish. The larger wheels make it much easier to bring in a fighting trout.
     There are a couple of things to consider when choosing a good reel. Make sure you get one that is well made and can withstand rain, and dust, and getting banged around.
     Make sure it can accomodate enough backing. For most trout, this is not a big issue, but if you fish for Salmon or Steelhead, you better have plenty of backing because these guys will run out the entire spool.
     Get a reel with smooth action and that means nice ball bearings. My favorite reel is made by Orvis. It is one of the oversized versions, and I really like the way it handles and the distribution of weight. The Orvis reel is a dark color, with a brushed metal look. That is something to think about, because I also have a very shinny reel made by Martin. In certain light it can reflect sunlight like a mirror, spooking the fish. The brush metal does not relfect as much.
     Many anglers have a spare spool. Most good manufacturers these days make extra spools. You buy the reel, but you can then get a second spool for a little more money. That way you can load two different types of fly lines, and easily switch them while on the river, depending on the situation and the kind of fly line you want.

What happens when your rod is broken

      It happens to the best of fishers. No matter how careful you try to be - sooner or later your fly rod gets damaged or broken. An eyelet might pop - or a tip gets snapped off - or the cork handles breaks.
     Nice fly rods are expensive, so buying a new one may not be an option. Often times a rod is never as good as new after a repair. So damaging your favorite rod can be a real set-back.
     But there is good news. I recently lost two rods back-to-back in different accidents. My Loomis rod was shut in a car door - snapping it in three places. My St. Croix rod was rolled up in a window - snapping off the very end of the tip.
        Both of these companies are wonderful to work with. I went on-line to the St. Criox site where I found a complete repair report. I filled it out and pressed "send". Just to make sure everything was going to go the way I expected, I called the office in Wisconsin. They assured me that everything was going to be fine. I fill out the model and serial number of my rod. For 30 bucks they send me a brand new top section of rod. No repair. No mailing my old one in. They process my order with 24 hours - and ship the replacement right from the factory. Just think - a 300 dollar rod - repaired - no questions asked - for 30 bucks. And no worries for me. I don't have to package and ship the old one. I don't have to worry that the repair is not as good as the original condition. I get a brand new tip.
     Next - I placed a similar call to Loomis.  All Loomis rods have a lifetime warranty. I thought they would send me a new tip as well. Instead - they send me an entirely new rod - the whole thing - brand new - for 50 bucks. All things considered, I thought it was a great deal.
     I checked the web, and Orvis and Sage offer similar warranties. In fact Orvis claims to have been the first to offer this kind of coverage.
     The good news - if you spend 200, 300 even 12 hundred dollars for a nice rod, you can rest assured you will be in good hands and back on the water soon when you buy from one of these fine suppliers.

Fly Lines

    You will need to select the kind of fly line you want.
The fly line is the colored, plastic line. There are two basic types, floating and sinking line. Obviously the floating line floats. The sinking line is usually a lead line that is coated with the colored plastic, and thus - it sinks.
     The sinking line is good for nymphing, or for when the fish are feeding just below the surface. If you have the luxury of multiple reels or interchangeable spools, go with one of each kind of line. But if you can only have one spool of fly line I suggest getting the floating line because you will be able to dry fly fish with it.
And you can easily nymph using a bead-headed nymph or a little split shot.
      The jury is still out on the color of the fly line and if that matters. I have a spool of florescent yellow, a salmon pink, and a light green. But I also have a newer spool of moss green. I seem to get a lot of fish on that reel. Is it just coincidence? Or, is that because fish have a harder time seeing the moss green? I'm not sure yet, but it is something to think about.
     Make sure you get a quality fly line. I have had cheaper brands and I cannot tell you who made them because the reel and line were given to me, so I don't know the maker but it is really hard to straighten out. A couple of days on the reel, and it curls. I go to cast and it curls, making casting more difficult, and in some cases, curling on the water surface and ruining my drift.
     From time to time you might want to clean your fly line especially if it is a floating line. The line can collect dust, dirt and particles and that causes it to sink a bit. You can get a solution, and you just rub down your line to keep it clean. Many people also un-reel their fly line during the winter months and hang it on a garage wall to keep it from curling too much while not being used.


   Getting started in fly fishing is fairly easy. You need a good fly rod. They either come with, or need to be loaded with backing and fly line.
   Most good sporting good stores or fly shops have machines that can get it done. If you buy from them, the service is often free. And there are many, many kits on the market that come with everything you need – ready to go.
     Getting a good rod is key. If you are just starting out you may not want to spend a great deal on a rod until you see if you like the sport – where you will fish - and how often you will go.
   Fly rods come in ‘weights’. Light weight rods are 2 and 3 weights. They are good for small fish like brook trout or any place where the fish are less than a pound.
    Next are 4 and 5 weight rods. These are pretty good mid range rods. I have two, and they are perfect for most trout.
   Next are 6 and 7 weight rods. These are for a little larger trout. They tend to be stiffer rods and can help you cast a little further.
     In California you might even need an 8, 9 or 10 weight rods. In places like Lake Davis outside Tahoe, or Pyramid Lake outside Reno, NV people often catch 10 to 20 pound trout.
    You need a heftier rod for that kind of fishing. The weight and length of the rod is printed on the rod itself, usually just above the ‘handle’ – above where the reel attaches.
      Rods also come in various lengths. Beginners, or people fishing in tight quarters might like a 7 ½ foot rod. Many rods are nine feet long. They also come in various numbers of segments. Some rods are two-piece rods. Some break down in as many as seven pieces.
     Two piece rods offer better “feeling” and stability. Seven piece rods break down into small sections, which are great for packing in a backpack or in a suitcase. But each joint means less flexibility and ‘feeling’ for the angler.
        Rods vary in price too. You can find complete kits for as little as 25 bucks, with high end rods selling in excess of  12 hundred dollars.
     I had two cheap rods that I use as ‘instructional’ rods for newcomers to learn on.
   One time, my wife was casting with a cheap rod and one section flew off in the middle of the cast and landed in the river. Needless to say she now uses my 300 hundred dollar Loomis 3 weight.
I have a pair of St Coix rods that cost about 150 bucks each. I really like them.
     I have seen more and 3 – 5 weight rods for 60 to 80 dollars at several Sporting goods stores.
  One advantage to using a guide service is that they usually provide all the equipment you need for the day – including rods and reels – which means you can try a few out and see what you like.


      Having a pair of waders is not essential - but it really helps.
    As you will read in my trout tips - presenting your fly is critical in getting fish to bite. Part of achieving good presentation is putting yourself into the right location. That means you often need to be in the water - and that means you need some sort of waders.
        Trout love cold water - so if you do not have waders you are going to get really cold. Even with waders you can begin to feel like you are standing in an ice chest after a few hours in a icey river.
      There are several different kinds of waders. Some people like neoprene which is kind of like the material used in wet suits for divers and surfers. I have never tried that type, so I cannot give an accurate perspective on them.
     I have two pair of waders. One set are chest waders by Hodgeman. They are like having a pair of bib overalls that cover your chest. However, I can remove the suspenders and roll them down, and they become hip waders - more like a regular pair of pants.
     Having chest waders allows you to get deeper into the water. But I have a rule of thumb, especially in fast moving water: I do not go in water deeper than my shins. Rocks are very slick and the force of the raging water is very powerful. If you get off balance just a little bit, you can end up in the water. Your waders quickly fill and become like weights. You can be in serious trouble in the blink of an eye. So, I just try to avoid danger in the first place. Thus, I rarely use the full chest wader.
     My chest waders happen to be made of a thicker material, which means they are more rugged against snags and tree branches etc, and are less likely to tear. Because they are thicker, they are also better in colder water. I buy them a little big so that I can also wear thermals or light sweat pants underneath in cold weather.
    My other pair of waders are light weight and are great for summer. They are hip waders and are very comfortable and easy to move in. Both pair of waders have neoprene booties that are attached to the pant leg. I just slip them into my wading boots, and I'm ready to go.
       A new thing I am seeing more and more of are things called wader sox. They are made of the neoprene material. Imagine somebody cutting off a wet suit at about the shins. It is like having a pair of knee high, water proof socks. Again, you just slip them into your wading boot, and you can get into shallow water without the hassle of a big pair of wading pants. Take a look at the picture and you will see me in my lightweight waders, and Jason in a pair of the wader sox.

Big Grizzly Creek, Portola, California

      In the never ending quest to find great trout fishing waters I recently went on a bit of journey to what I had been told is a great place to fly fish and "nobody knows about it."
      The place is Big Grizzly Creek, commonly called Grizzly creek, outside Portola, California. It is a small stream that flows out of the Lake Davis dam. Getting there is tricky. Leaving is even trickier. The stream is at the bottom of a very steep canyon. There is a service road to the outlet of the dam but it is closed to public cars. Otherwise, there is no way in or out. So, I parked above, and walked down the road to the base of the canyon, and to the stream.
      Grizzly Creek is only a few feet wide. Often times my fly rod is longer than the creek is wide. There is a foot trail along the bank thus ending the claim that "nobody knows about it". I had been told there are many small trout, but in the larger holes are some very nice, big, browns. I never saw any big browns, but I did see a couple of small trout. I had no luck getting any to bite.
      Casting is nearly impossible, between the small size of the creek and the abundance of bushes, trees and tall grasses.
         There are tons of bugs, but despite the marshy type areas, mosquitoes were not a big problem.
     The best thing to do is to stand in the water and flip your line up or down stream into a hole.
   I saw one other fly fisher and a couple of bait fishers. The bait guys were using worms and had caught a couple of small trout. The fly guy had no luck - like me.
       Getting around is very difficult and perhaps dangerous. Due to the long, marshy grasses, you often cannot see where you are placing your foot. Sometimes I'd get solid ground. Other times I'd step in a hole carved by the miriad of "finger" streams in the area.
    Making your way up and down the stream along the bank is difficult due to all the bushes, fallen trees, rocks and canyon walls.
        On the way out I decided to climb a canyon wall as the guy who turned me on to the place said he did - rather than fight the bushes all the way back to the service road. Bad idea. Not only is it extremely steep but the dirt and rocks are not stable. I'd fight to climb ten feet only to slide back down three feet. I'd make it to the top of a ridge only to realize it led to a sheer cliff meaning I'd have to change directions to continue the upward climb.
       Overall, the amount of effort was incredible and the payoff - well - there was no payoff in terms of fish.
All the fish in Lake Davis had been erradicated a couple of times in an effort to get rid of killer Northern Pike which were put in the lake illegally. This may still be affecting trout populations in Grizzly Creek.

      It is scenic along the creek, and I've included a few pictures (coimg soon) but I cannot say the trek in and out.

Boulder Creek, Colorado

         One of the things I really like about fly fishing in Colorado is that you do not have to go too far from a major metropolitan area to get to some great fly fishing. I recently tried Boulder Creek, just outside Boulder, Colorado with my friends Jason and Gage Lawley.
       The creek runs right into town, and some people fish within the city limits. But it is also a very easy and scenic drive up Boulder Canyon along highway 119 to nice fly fishing.
   The Fall colors were beginning to show, but the water flows were also receding. There are several pullouts along the road, but the canyon can be steep down to the water in places. The bank is also lined with a lot of trees and bushes, so you have to be careful casting.

       Unlike many larger rivers where you can get into the middle of the water for a snag-free cast, Boulder Creek is a little more tricky. You can wade out, or in some places just jump from rock to rock, but then again, you spook the fish since the pools are small and clear. So, using the brush as cover, and being careful with your cast is a must.
     We began a couple of miles below Barker Meadow Reservoir just outside Nederland, Colorado. Because the water was low, we really had to find pools where a fish might be hanging out.
     I found a nice looking pool below a sheer rock wall. I started with a size 16 BWO that had an orange parachute as an indicator, then a size 20 black zebra midge as a dropper.
       My first few casts produced nothing. But then I noticed a brown trout feeding near the back of the pool. I cast right at him. It took a few tries, but then I got him! He hit the zebra midge and I netted him.
      There were few options of pools to choose from, so we moved downstream a bit. This time we pulled in just below where water from Boulder falls enters Boulder Creek.
    I found a nice looking pool. Keep in mind, some of the pools were so small, my nine foot rod was longer than the hole - much less including the length of my tippet.  No need to even let the fly line hit the water – which is a good tip anyway.
       The river snakes through some beautiful scenery. There were many small pools cascading over boulders and falls. We all picked a hole or two and worked them, but none of us had any luck – so we moved again.
This time we pulled in just a couple of miles outside of town. There is a large pullout with paths right to the water. There are even a couple of nice benches creek-side. I had my doubts about success because, if this area is easy for me to enter, it is easy for everybody else too, and the fishing could be difficult.
         I had changed my set up a bit. This time I used a different BWO mayfly above, with a light colored emerger nymph on the bottom. I had a hit on my first cast, and landed a small brown – not much larger than the size of my hand. I cast into that hole a few more times and moved downstream. I eventually caught up with Jason and Gage. Jason had not seen much action, but Gage had caught one.
         I spotted a place where there were a series of small rock and log dams that created small pools. The main river split around a section of land, creating an island of sorts. Gage had caught his fish near this divide, in a pool along the backside. It looked good, even though he had already fished the hole, so I gave it a try.
      The pool was at the base of another sheer cliff wall, completely in shade, and framed by a number of bushes and trees. I actually went to my knees to flip my line into the pool from under the branches. After just a couple of casts I had one on, and landed my third little brown trout of the morning.We only fished from about 8:00 in the morning until about 11:30, but I netted 3 fish, saw some great sights and had a good time.

Colorado River, Granby, CO

     The mighty Colorado is one of the most storied rivers in America. It is well known as the waterway that snakes its way through the Grand Canyon. It eventually empties into the gulf of Mexico. Many people know it as a great river for premier whitewater rafting. But long before all of that, it has its humble beginnings high in the Rocky Mountains, near Longs Peak, outside Estes Park Colorado. It flows into Grand Lake - then out again, and east of Granby, Colorado.
         I had about two hours to fish the Colorado on a recent September afternoon, about three miles downstream of Granby, along state highway 40.
     The autumn colors were beginning to show in vibrant hues of gold. It was a perfect fall day - temps in the upper 60's and only a slight breeze. The river was low and slow.
    The water was clear and I saw a few trout rising from time to time. There was not much of a hatch, but I saw a few mayflies, what looked like blue winged olives (BWOs). I tied a size 14 BWO with a bright orange parachute as my top fly - to be used as an attractor and indicator. Then I attached a Pale Morning Dun (PMD) emerger nymph - also about a size 14 - to the back of the first fly - so that it trailed about eight inches back. 
      The water was moving slowly and there was a lot of moss on the rocks, flowing in long strands.
As you can see, water levels are only shin deep in some places.
    The fish were hiding down in the rocks and moss. I looked up stream and saw a small riffle. The water was hardly more than ankle deep, but a few yards down stream it cut under a bank, and into a deeper little pool.
    I figured the more oxygenated water, the bugs off the bushes and grasses along that bank, and the deeper pool would make a great spot for a trout. I began casting and letting it drift through the pool. After just a few minutes I noticed a trout rising under the branches of an overhanging tree. I cast right at him. He struck at my indicator fly, but missed. I tried again, and this time he hit! I had him hooked, but was trying to get my photographer's attention. She snapped one long shot, but was so far downstream she could not tell I had a fish on. While I was mugging for the camera, the trout darted for an underwater branch, and tangled the line. I lost him! And to make matters worse I spoiled the hole getting my fly rig off the branch. I recovered both flies, but lost the fish.
     I did not get any more action and thought I needed to move to a new hole. But unfortunately, time did not permit and I had to head back to Denver. But at least I got some action in the limited time I was there.
   I fished a new river that I had never fished before. And the Fall colors were worth the trip in their own right. I suspect the evening hatch would have made for great dry fly water in this location. My timing may have been bad. I was there from about 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm. I suspect 4:00 pm to dark would have been much better.
     The Colorado is a great stretch of fly water, and there are many more small streams, beaver ponds and lakes to check out in the area. I will be back some day.

Feather River - Graeagle, California

    There are several places that are easy to acces off Highway 70 - and there are other places a bit more remote via back roads and hiking trails.
       I saw a lot of bugs. There were caddis, and mayflies, and gnats, and moths of all sizes, shapes and colors. I had good luck with blue winged olives - yellow stones - and hare's ear flies.
    I tried nymphs, dries, and a combo of both. Everything seemed to work. They especially liked the yellow stone dry, with a yellow stone nymph dropper combo.
       There are several deep pools and slow water - but I had better luck fishing the riffles and faster moving water below small drop-offs. I think the water was better oxygenated and had better nutrients, therefore more bugs.
      Many of the trout I caught were small. But they put up a good fight, are fun to catch - and because they don't hit as hard as the larger fish, they make good practice trying to hook.
   There were also several nice sized fish. (coming soon) I have included pictures of a few. I tried to take pictures and fish at the same time.
    There many campgrounds in the area, but hotels are sparse. You can find upscale lodging in the 200 dollar a night range at several golf resorts. But the River Pines Resort is much more reasonably priced. It is more rustic - but has a pool and grills and things for the kids. The people who run it are very nice, and the rooms are clean. Your other choice is the Sierra Sky Lodge down the road about eight miles - and that's about it. You have to try Quincey or Portola for other hotels and motels. Fishining the Feather was fun. I recently tried several parts of the river near Graeagle, and did fairly well.