Sunday, August 22, 2010

There is a remote place amid the peaks of the high country where the air is crisp and clean, and the smell of pine is truly intoxicating. Where lakes appear as smooth as glass, like giant mirrors, reflecting cotton ball clouds gliding across their surface. A place where time stands still and the wind moves the tall grass to and fro in gentle waves. Only in this high country can be found fish so colorful that they resemble drops of liquid gold.....

Read more in Random Acts of Fishing

Friday, August 6, 2010


The dark water of the Upper Owens River meanders through an immense valley. Along it's course can be found innumerable bifurcations. The confluence of two or more branches most often makes for fertile hunting, as trout will linger and wait for food to come their way from either source.

In the photo above, the turbulent white water seen in the center of the image is the tell-tale demarcation of the joinder of the two currents. It forms a white line or "seam" between the two moving bodies of water. A fly placed at the upper end of the seam near the triangular point of land and allowed to float down the length of the line will surely cause a trout lurking there to rise. Additionally, if no response is achieved, a fly near the tale end or shortly after the confluence has flattened out, can be deadly too.

The fish to the right was taken from the seam in the above photo on an elk hair caddis, danced along the upper portion of the confluence near the point of land, and allowed to move down the seam. Irrisistible!

Next time you're fishing a meadow stream, be on the look-out for branches of the stream that come together and explore the confluence. You might just be surprised!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pandora's Box

When considering the type of fly box that you wish to purchase, take time to think about all the other items you'll be carrying out on the water and what you're going to put them in.

I like using a vest. I started with one when I first took up fly fishing 37 years ago and have stuck with it. But the deciding factor for me in using a vest is more a product of where I fish and how I fish, not one of style. The majority of my fishing tends to involve hiking along rivers and streams in the Mammoth area. Rarely do I fish lakes, and when I do, they are high country lakes to which I have to hike a long distance. For that reason, a vest is extremely useful to carry not only fly boxes but a bottle of water, lunch, bug spray, survival knife, fire starting tools, and anything else that I might need to assist me on those long treks miles from the car. So, as one more necessary piece of equipment to shove in a vest pocket, consider the size, shape, and use of the fly box that you'll need.

I have multiple fly boxes, each loaded with different types of flies; boxes filled with terrestrials, boxes with nymphs, poppers, dries, etc. Of course, I don't take every box with me on every jouney. If you plan ahead, your can pare down your box of ammo to just the types of flies you'll need for the destination. On the last trip, I took with me one fly box supplied with only blue winged olives, elk hair caddis, bead head prince nymphs, and some larger stimulators. That's all I need to inflict a great deal of damage!

I like the cheap, green plastic foam-filled boxes. They float, seem indestructable, and have foam ridges on which to clip the flies. Some people like compartments; some like flies loose in one non-partitioned container. Try out some different styles. I have found that the compartments and the loose style do not work for me, as I have had flies blow out of a box in a strong wind once the compartment is opened. There is an argument that with a compartment box, you only open the compartment that you need. I get that too. The point is, experiment; try several different methods, and you'll discover what's best for you.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Brookies Love Caddis Too!

It has been said that Brook Trout will hit anything and I have found that maxim to be essentially true. Brooks in high mountain lakes have a short season to get food between the winter thaw and the fall freeze. They generally do not see as much entymology as trout on a stream and sometimes I think the simple presence of an invader dancing of the surface of the water excites their curiosity beyond control.

This past father's day, my sons and I made the trek to some high elevation lakes in Mammoth and threw elk hair caddis flies. Yes, you read it correctly! Why caddis imitations? Because that is what we had tied on our lines from fishing lower elevation streams earlier in the day. Did the brook trout care? Not one bit! They savagely inhaled all we could toss in their direction. It seemed that serving up the particular type of fly didn't matter much. Their idea of a delicacy was a bug that moved and was trying to get away. Now that's some good eatin!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Reading the Water

When approaching a new fishing spot, many of us are completely dumfounded as to where the fish are located. While trying cover the entire stream with your casts might be one method of attack, it will usually result in spooking otherwise attainable trout and make for an empty handed day.

The best approach, in my experience, is to think about the trout and what it is that they need to sustain them. Apart from juicy bugs, all trout need protection and food, and more importantly, they need to not expend much energy in their efforts to obtain both.

Trout will most often position themselves in a location that affords relatively quick access to protection from predators, including birds of prey and crazed fishermen intent on tromping through the stream waiving a big stick. Look for trout near undercut banks and fallen trees. They don't necessarily have to be in those areas but near enough to get to protection with little effort.

Trout will also position themselves in well-aerated and generally slower moving water. In pocket water, look for trout in a pool that is moving with an inlet and outlet. The trout prefer water that is moving at a rate of about one foot per second; enough to hold them in position and bring food their way, but slow enough to afford a quick exit if danger threatens. In larger streams, I like to look for trout where fater water in the center of the stream meets slower water along the edges or at the bend of a curve. This "seam" is a great place to prospect for trout because the faster water is providing a continuous smorgesbord of tasty delights for the trout yet, the slower water, especially near protection, allows for a sudden retreat.

Next time you're out on an unfamiliar stream, think about the trout's needs and not so much about complicated entymology. Become the fish. You will cut your prospecting time in half and not come away empty handed!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Opening Day

This was the scene in Mammoth Lakes last weekend. Things are beginning to thaw out and opening day is on the horizon, even if it is a snowy horizon!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Smell the Roses!

Next time you're out on the water, take a minute to smell the roses. Divorce yourself from the act of fishing and revel in the smell and feel of the breeze. Watch the way the wind moves the pines, the motion of the clouds overhead, and the patterns of the shadows on the ground they create. Listen to lapping of the stream side water and commit to memory the iridescence of the fish as they lazily meander the length of the stream. Enjoy being and not so much doing.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Pallette of Color

At the top, the trail widens out onto a pristine alpine beach, framed by a canopy of firs. The surface of the lake reflected the cotton-ball clouds above so that the sky above and the earth below were joined in harmony with one another. The eastern side of the lake was still awash in vibrant colors while the pallette of hues comprising the western shore was tempered with dark muted tones.

Read more in Random Acts of Fishing....

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!

It's almost time to get to the high country! Start tying up those flies and ordering supplies. This is going to be a great season! Let's go......