Thursday, July 21, 2011

Back on the Bandwagon

So if I haven't said it already, this past April I sustained quite a devastating ski crash that partially exploded one of my knees. Considering the gravity of the accident, I was pretty fucking lucky to walk away with a 'stock' knee injury. If you would like to see exactly what I'm talking about just watch the movie trailer below and take note at mark 2:38.


Attack of La NiƱa Trailer HD from MSP Films on Vimeo.

I've digressed. What I am trying to say is that after a wee bit of surgery I haven't been able to fish too much.  That is until this past week.  I finally got the doctoral clearance to be a bit more active, hike around a little bit and be on my feet for extended periods of time.  I'm sure the two readers of this blog know exactly what I thought when my doctor laid these words down.  Time to go fish!

The first opportunity was thrown my way by my buddy Nick Bliss.  He pitched the idea of a trip up into the Northern Sierra's to fish the legendary Hex hatch.  I was in like flynn the moment he said to me, "Donkeys on size 4 dries." Other than bumping Hoppers of the banks in Montana and skating mice in Alaska, I'd never heard of huge fish rising to such huge dry flies.

When we arrived the first thing I noticed when getting out of the car was this guy.  It was a good omen.
For my bug nerds: Hexagenia Limpata. I just call them "Big Fucking Yellow Mayflies".

It proceeded to fly away with my finger.
 Before the evening hatch we did some exploring in some remote parts of the Sierra.
Some Northern Sierra creeking.  There is literally hundreds, if not thousands, of amazing streams like this in the Northern Sierras.

Trying to stalk small and skittish fish.

Nick spotting a riser.

Got 'em.  Beautiful wild fish on dries. One of the best parts of fly fishing
 After a couple hours of driving we launched into the sunset on Lake Almanor.
Nick getting his pre-hatch nymphing on.
 And then they started showing up.
And while the hatch has been slow this year due to high waters and cold temps, the bugs starting coming off pretty heavy right at sundown

If you look carefully you can see the thousands of bats swooping in on the high calorie Hex.  Birds, Bats and Trout all gorged down on these giants flies.
 When the hatch started raging and the risers started coming from the depths, it became one of the most hectic 10 minutes of fishing I've ever experienced. We casted into rise pattern lines in the hope that the fish wouldn't stray off their line of attack and pick your fake looking fly out of the hundreds of other Hex's around.  Sure enough we got into some fish.  I hooked into two, totally botched one and got a donkey rainbow three feet up the edge of the boat before it benched pressed itself out our winky little 'trout' net and back to the freedom of the lake.  So no pictures of mine, but that doesn't really matter because the excitement of a 25 inch bow taking such a large dry was pretty much unmatchable.  I still get the shivers from it.

But we did get some glory for my bud David Lass from the Truckee TU chapter.
Look at the size of the dry this guy took.

Lass doing a classic "Grip and Grin". Big fish in the scheme of things but honestly, this guy was a midget compared to the toads out there.
So stoked to be back on a healthy knee and on the fishing train!

Friday, July 1, 2011