Monday, May 31, 2010

Lost My Hat and My Fish.....

Someone once said, "you can't win them all.." I'm sure he was a creek angler.
I had been working the creek about a mile or so and came across a great looking little pocket of water that had a few big rocks stacked on top of each other.  The water had formed a small pool on the opposite bank that was overgrown with cottonwood branches.  There was no way to get to it from the other side and from my side it was going to be a reach, even with my 8 foot fly rod.  I had to try to weave my rod tip through a whole bunch of twigs just to get close to where I thought a fish would be.  The best way to do this is to draw your line up to the sinker which is about 3 inches from your Salmon Egg and hook.  When I got over the spot I released my line so the egg would drop and before it hit the water it got hammered by a Rainbow.  The fish was hooked, my rod tip was under water and I was stuck with no way to get him out.  I leaned out as far as I could to get some kind of position as my line jerked violently and my hat came off.  I stood watching hatless as the fish fought to get away.  The line now weak from rubbing against branches finally broke and the Trout was free.
I don't think I'm the first person that has lost that fish.  He seemed to know what he was doing.  I didn't get to see how big he was, but he felt big and there was no way I was ever going to get him out of his pool. 
That's creek fishing at it's best.  Many get away and sometimes they take your hat with them.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Perfect Creek Rod Is A Fly Rod

If you've fished a creek with a spinning rod you probably have ended up tangled more than a few times in sticks, branches, brush and everything else trying to get your bait to that one spot where you just know a fish is waiting for a fight.  I see it all the time, an angler moves into a great hole and then just stands there looking around at all the places that are out of reach.  Then the bail is clicked open and their bait swings back and forth a few times until the line is released sending hook, line and sinker across the creek and most of the time nowhere close to the spot that was targeted.  If they are lucky they can reel in and try again but most of the time you will see a tree branch on the other side start to move like there is a wild animal fleeing some sort of danger.  You might see these anglers standing around tying on new hooks and swatting bugs away from their faces all day.  Most of the time they end up with a great sunburn and no fish, or they just give up all together.
The best way to avoid all these problems is to get the right rod for creek fishing, a fly rod.  I use an 8 foot fly rod on every creek I fish and here is why.  A fly rod will give you that extra reach you need to get to the sweet spots that most creek anglers can't reach.  From one spot you can cover a large area of the water.  In wide open places you can stay back from the water so you will not be seen by the fish and still present your bait in a natural way.
If you happen to run into a large area where there is a pool or pond you can quickly tie on a fly and cast to where you want to go.  You will find that most creeks have natural dams where tree trunks or boulders have restricted the flow of water creating a pond.  Most of the time the water is clear and if you stay back about 25 feet or so and toss a fly a hook up will be a sure thing.
You don't have to use fly line just because you're using a fly rod.  I keep fly line on my reel as a backer and then tie on about 30 feet of mono.  This will give you enough line to drift your bait if you want to risk it but most of the time 18 inches off the rod tip is all you will use. 
In the pictures below you can see the reach I have with my fly rod, and keep in mind it's an 8 footer.
Take along a fly rod on your next Creekside adventure and I'm sure that you'll see the difference right away.  I'll see you on the creek!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Upper Sage Flat Campground

Ten miles west of Big Pine California at an elevation of 7600 ft. you will find Upper Sage Flat Campground.  This cool little spot is surrounded by Pine trees and has about 21 campsites.  The creek that runs next to the campground is loaded with mossy banks and deep undercuts that hold some big Rainbow Trout.  There are hiking trails that go for miles into the John Muir Wilderness and Inyo National Forest. 

Check campsite availability here.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tuttle Creek; The Creekside Angler

Tuttle Creek; The Creekside Angler

Set Up Camp

I like a campsite that is simple but has everything that I need.  A good flat space to set up a tent, a fire pit and a table.  I try to choose a spot with a tree or two and quick access to the creek.
This is my camp at Tuttle Creek in the Sierras.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Camping at Mount Whitney

                                                                                                                                                         Whitney Portal Pond

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Big Pine Creek Kicks Out Big Fish!

I took some time to check out Big Pine Creek in the Eastern Sierras and man what a time I had.  The banks were loaded with Rainbows and we were hooking up in the white water too.  Power Eggs punched the ticket most of the time but garlic Salmon eggs came through with a few hits as well.
I let the eggs float downstream about 30 feet and without fail the line would go straight and the fight against the current was on.  These fish put up a great fight.  We took a few back to camp for dinner but many were released back into the creek to fight another day.  This is one of the most beautiful creeks that I've seen in a long time.  The sides lined with Pine trees and the banks covered with moss.  Definitely the best place to be this side of heaven!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Creek Fishing Footware

  A good pair of boots are a must for the Creek Angler.  Creek fishing will take you to places that many people have never been.  Places that are wild and untouched by mankind.  You will find yourself waist high in thorny brush one minute and climbing over boulders and rocks the next.  This type of extreme activity calls for some special foot protection.
  Many Creek Anglers find that hiking boots offer the comfort and tread grip that is much needed to deal with the sometimes rough or slippery places that will be encountered on the creek.
  A boot that offers some ankle support is a good thing to think about as well.  Unstable ground that is often found along the path of the creek can twist an ankle if your focus turns for a moment to something other than the footing in front of you.  When you're surrounded by magnificent views seldom seen by most anglers it's easy to lose track of what you're stepping on. 
  I like to use a boot that offers some protection a little past the ankle.  One thing that I'm always thinking about is a snake bite.  Outside of a heart attack a snake bite might be one of the worst things to have to deal with miles form camp and even further from any town.  High top boots can at least give a sense of security and the ones I use have no laces so if I have to cross the creek my feet can stay somewhat dry.  Sears carries the ones I recommend.  Take a look at this link and see what you think.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Why Every Creek Angler Needs A Fish Creel

When you fish a creek you will run into more than a few anglers wearing a fish creel.  If you're new to creek fishing this might seem a little strange until you catch a fish or two.  You might be tempted to hang them on a stringer and go on fishing.  If you can keep the flies off your catch you might return to camp with something that looks like jerky hanging from the stringer, not to great for dinner.  A fish stringer is great for lake fishing where you can set up a chair and hold one spot for most of the day.  Catch a fish, put it on the stringer and fling the whole deal into the water right in front of you.  That is not the way fishing a creek works.  You need something to put your fish in as you work your way along the water.  You're going to be covering a lot of ground, sometimes a few miles in a single day.  What is the best way to make sure your catch stays fresh?  The fish creel.
  Back in the old days fishing creels were made out of wicker and woven into something that looked like a basket with a shoulder strap on it.  The angler would gather moss along the creek and line the inside of the basket with it.  The fish were then placed into the basket and occasionally dipped in the creek to keep them cool and moist throughout the day.  By the time they returned to camp the fresh catch would be cleaned and made ready for dinner.
  These days creels are made out of nylon or canvas but they serve the same purpose.  You might even see a few anglers dipping their creels in the creek.  The gathering of the moss is pretty much a thing of the past as the creels of today have plastic liners built in, but it is still a good idea to help your fish stay cool and fresh.
  A good fish creel needs to have a sturdy shoulder strap, mesh vents on the sides and grommet holes on the bottom.  The vents and holes allow water to drain from the creel when dipped into the creek.  The strap on most creels will adjust to any length desired.  Nothing says, "this is my camp" like a fish creel hanging from a tree branch next to a fishing rod.  
  At the end of the trip rinse the inside of your creel out with fresh water so it will be ready for the next trip.  When you get back home you might want to go one step further by putting a small amount of baking soda in your creel to remove any unpleasant odor that might develop over time.
  I'm sure that your creel will become your best friend on the creek.  Wear it with pride.  You are a Creekside Angler!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Eagle Valley Report From Tim Flessati

The fishing at Eagle Valley was good and many anglers caught their limits early Saturday Morning.  My buddy Tim made the trip with his family and had a great time. 
Tim said Saturday offered the best opportunity to hook up with some nice fish but on Sunday some stray thunderstorms made him think twice about getting out on the lake.  All in all it was a fun weekend and everyone caught fish. 
Three tagged fish were caught on Saturday.  For more info. check out this Facebook link for Eagle Valley!