Jul 16

NOOBS on my Home Water

Recently I convinced a few of my long-time friends to make the 4.5 hour drive north from the Bay Area up to my home town and my home waters of the Upper Sacramento River and McCloud River.

I was happy to be able to bring these guys out on this water, water that means something to me, to share something I love.

I’ve known these guys for about 14 years. We worked together at the Community Foundation Silicon Valley, before it merged with another foundation and went through a $60,000 re-branding process that settled on “Silicon Valley Community Foundation.” Money well spent, eh?

The old foundation was kind of magical with really interesting people both working there and contributing. I have many friends from that period and can even tie my current job/career directly to that experience.

There was a lot of good food consumed, some great beer, some Keystone Light (as punishment) and fish were caught. Everyone got on fish, which was the goal. Mission Accomplished. There was some Chuck Norris movie watching too, despite the bad acting and questionable political views.

Below are some pictures. This is California, by the way. This is the California I was born and raised in. A beautiful place. I call it “Tahoe without the people.”

2016-07-16 09.24.53

A Fred Gordon shark. I want it.

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Upper Sacramento Rainbow.

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Beers at Yaks.

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One of my favorite bits of water, anywhere.

2016-07-16 14.16.35


Upper McCloud rainbow.


Upper McCloud


Clint get’s a fish.

Apr 13

I’ve got a problem

I love fly fishing. I really do. I’ve been fly fishing for about 17 years now, and I’ve been fishing for about 34. I learned to fly fish on the waters of the Upper Sacramento and McCloud Rivers. I cut my teeth one season of guiding on Hat Creek and the Pit River. I can sling BB’s fairly expertly. On my home waters I’m pretty good. I’m in the 10% that catches 90% of the fish. I have a lot of success on those waters.

And for the first time in a while, I find myself not totally excited at the prospect of fishing my home waters again.

Maybe it’s because I just got back from the Bahamas. Maybe it is because I head to Florida in 6 weeks.

I’m not sure.

I’m just thinking about the salt and not much beyond the salt. I’m thinking about 8 weights and 10 weights and size 1/0 flies and bimini twists.

I am having a hard time switching to think about the run-off swollen rivers, the 5 weights, the 4 BB’s and golden stone nymphs.

That stuff normally gets me fairly excited.

Maybe I just need to see the river again and feel the pull of a trout. We’ll see if that river can’t persuade me.

This riffle is one of my favorite places, anywhere.

This riffle is one of my favorite places, anywhere.

Dec 10

Top Posts from 2010

I can’t actually tell you which pages were viewed most over the year, since I’ve only been able to really track viewership since March of 2010… but, I’d bet it is pretty accurate, since about three times as many people read this little project now as did back in March.

1. My review of the Helios reel by Okuma – I wouldn’t have guessed that one would rise to the surface… but it did.

2. Costa Del Mar review – Another gear review was the second most viewed individual post.

3. Interview with Kristen Mustad, Nautilus Reels – What can I say… the guy makes awesome reels.

4. Interview with Chris Goldmark from Puerto Rico – Not a place most folks think about in terms of bonefish, but Chris catches them there.

5. Interview with Joe Gonzalez – Joe was an interview I was tracking down for months.  Glad it finally happened.

6. My review of the TFO LA 375 – Ya love the gear reviews. This one had some fun in the comments section too.

7. News about Buccaneers and Bones – Just a new item I found from the San Pedro Sun.

8. Interview with Scott Heywood, Angling Destinations – One of the first phone interviews I did and a good conversation.

9. Interview with Bruce Chard – Saltwater guru and instructor at Andros South’s Bonefish School

10. Upper Sacramento – A post about my home river, my home water and one cool picture.

I love this picture… not because it is particularly beautiful, but because it shows some of the most important water in my life…. this is from #10.

Upper Sac... Prospect

Jun 10

When life gives you high water

Get out yer split shot.

That water is high...

That should do the trick...


Fishing the Upper Sac is like that sometimes.

Jun 10

Snakes on a River (eating trout)

When you get out there, on the water, you give yourself the chance to see things others might never see in their lives. One thing that fits into this category, I’d think, would be an Aquatic Garter Snake catching and eating a rainbow trout.

I’ve actually seen this four times.  I saw it on Hat Creek.  I saw it twice on the Lower McCloud (in the same spot in different years) and today I saw it on the Upper Sacramento River, across the street from where I grew up.

Is that what I think it is?

Well... it sure is... a Garter Snake eating a Rainbow.

Suffocated first...

Down the hatch.

Jun 10

High Water Home Water

I managed a few hours of fishing today while my daughter was either napping.

The water continues to be just silly-high.  Places I’ve had locked for high water were under water.  Drifts I’ve come to depend on in difficult times were nowhere to be had.

This willow normally isn't 2 feet under water...

This usually isn't under water in June either.

On a day like this you are forced to look at the river through fresh eyes and let go of the mental map you have of the river.  I don’t think it was a coincidence that as soon as I came to that conclusion I caught the first fish of the day.

Lip hooked with a Mercer Stone.


Dunsmuir Tail

On the journey along the tracks I also took maybe the best picture I’ve ever taken of the Upper Sac.  This particular vantage shows my favorite water on earth.  It isn’t a bonefish flat.  It is my home water.  To the left, I caught my first trout on a fly by myself.  To the right, my favorite riffle.  Of course, there is about 3-4 feet more water in the river right now, but this water is just dear to me.  I want to share this spot with as many people as I can.


This is where my fly fishing life started.

I don’t think I’m going to be getting out on the water tomorrow, but that’s OK.  My dad and I have a day on some private water on Thursday before we head back South.  The weather is supposed to turn with showers showing up on the weather outlook.  I noticed snow still under the trees as we went over the summit to McCloud this evening.  There is a lot of water still to come down.

These are classic rainbows in their native range.

I ended up landing 6 fish today, losing a handful of others.  That is probably about as much as I could hope for and probably better than most would expect, given the rather challenging conditions.  Still… you go fishing in the river you have, not the river as you might want it to be.

Jun 10

Upper Sac Trout and HIGH Waters

I headed off North today with my 3.5 year old and dog.  My wife was on her way to NYC for business, so I went to go spend some time with Grandma and Grandpa.

The drive… well… there was a lot of screaming…

Yelling... a lot of yelling (see the flies in the back corner?)

Eventually, she got tired of screaming and let herself go to sleep.  Luckily, she only screamed for about 2 of the 5 hours.

We’ve had a really wet winter/spring here in Northern California and we needed it.  Driving over Shasta Reservoir and seeing all that water made me happy.  There should be some water left over for salmon and steelhead this year.

A full lake = happy fish

Always love this sight…

Mt. Shasta in her white blanket.

Luckily,  my daughter has grown to love fly shops.  Had to stop off at the Ted Fay Fly Shop for a few odds and ends.

An institution in Dunsmuir.

After arriving at my folks place and watching my daughter run to say hello to her grandparents I made a little scouting trip to see just how high the river was… WOW!  I’ve never seen the river with so much water at this point in the year.  That’s a LOT of water for the Upper Sac.

That there is a whole mess more water than is normally flowing in June.

Still… it wasn’t brown, just high.  When the river is high like that the amount of river you can fish is greatly reduced, but the amount of river the fish can find shelter in is also greatly reduced.  You just have to find a seam and go deep.

Could have used a couple more, really.

Hmmm… what should I throw?

Maybe a stonefly nymph?


Not big, but pretty.

Few folks would likely even try to fish the river at these flows… but it can be done.  I didn’t even put on waders, just stood on a rock and fished the same water for an hour.  Caught 2, lost 2.  On a normal day that would be a little bit of a slow strike rate, but, given the conditions, I’m pretty happy about it.

This isn’t a fishing trip, it is a family trip, so we’ll see how often I get to fish, but it was fun to see the river when it was angry and still manage to sweet talk a couple trout from her fast flowing currents.

Feb 10

Bonefish Taste and a Trout Budget

My wife made that comment last night on the phone… “You have bonefish taste and a trout budget.”

So true.

I still love trout.  They are here, which is one considerable Plus they have over bonefish.  Made it out again today for a couple hours on my home water (The Upper Sacramento) in a place I’ve fished at least 100 times, probably more.  Temps were cooler and so was the fishing.  Managed 2 fish in 2 hours, both small.  Did see a golden stone on the water and a great, big massive gray drake, but no noses.  All fish were caught on a 4 wt. and the reel was never in any danger of being tested.

The leaves have mostly fallen, the river is empty.  Love it.

The leaves have mostly fallen, the river is empty. Love it.

As I was out there not catching fish and watching my own breath I did think about how when I am getting my arse kicked some place tropical I seldom lose feeling in my toes.

I’m still hoping to get to Belize this summer with my dad, but we have to see how the tax man treats us and a variety of other, mostly financial, factors end up shaking out.

At my one-time local fly shop (I moved), the Ted Fay Fly Shop, I ran into Guide Fred Gordon who spent a couple weeks in Abaco just after I went to Grand Bahama.  Even in the heart of California trout country, I still see constant reminders of  bonefish… see, I have bonefish on the brain.

Feb 10

Tag Ends – 2/18/10

Some bits and pieces floating around.

Feb 10

Home water

Today I got out fishing… no, not bonefishing, but fishing none the less.  I am up visiting my folks and that meant that when my daughter went down to take a nap I had grandparents to supervise and a trout stream about 2 minutes away.

The Upper Sacramento is my home water.  I grew up in this town, even if I didn’t fish it much as a kid (we were steelhead fisherman more oriented toward the Klamath).   Still, I’ve put more hours on this river than any other and that means I still know where to find fish, even in the winter.

A nice looking Upper Sac bow

A nice looking Upper Sac bow

I got 2 hours… my first 2 hours of 2010 in California… of course, I had 5 days in Grand Bahama already, so, I can’t feel too sorry for myself.

Three fish landed, #16 Bead Head PT was the fly of choice.  Saw some #22’s and some #10’s in the air (mostly #22’s).  The stones haven’t started to move and the larger bugs, I assume March Browns, weren’t bringing up any noses.

This is still the world I know best.  I didn’t second guess my fly selection or my location or my rod/reel/line.  I knew it all.  That just underscores how much I have to learn about bonefish… how they act, what they eat, when and where to find them.

I may never get to know bonefish or any one location as well as I know this water and these trout.  I can try though.