Fly Fishing Traditions

Fly Fishing Traditions Blog and Website
"It's about Life & Fly Fishing"

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays to Everyone

Hoping that Santa Trout brings you and your families everything they have wished for. Health and happiness with friends and family.

I was talking to Zack this morning and he said "All I want for Christmas is for Keesha to come home". Keesha is one of our three cats that are all sisters that we brought home 5 years ago. We had gone to the local animal shelter looking for a kitty and there they were, three eight week old kittens, sisters. Well needless to say we took all three home. Keesha went missing 3 weeks ago and we canvased the neighborhood, put flyers out, kept checking the animal shelters and no luck. Not a sign, sighting or anything. We just keep hoping.

Zack was looking out my bedroom glass door about an hour after he told me his wish and low and behold, there was Keesha looking in the window. Merry Christmas Zack from the bottom of my heart.

May your Christmas or holiday wishes come as true.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Yuba River Flows

I'm sure everyone is wondering what's happening on the Lower Yuba River with the higher flows. At 4:30 today the Smartsville monitoring station (YRS) shows 13,900 +/-.

A run down on how the flows have escalated and then currently receding is as follows.

12/20/10 12:00 noon at YRS 14,500 cfs +/-
12/19/10 12:00 noon at YRS 18,000 cfs +/-
12/18/10 12:00 noon at YRS 5,503 cfs +/-
12/17/10 12:00 noon at YRS 3,992 cfs +/-
12/16/10 12:00 noon at YRS 3,980 cfs +/-
12/15/10 12:00 noon at YRS 3,823 cfs +/-
12/14/10 12:00 noon at YRS 1,456 cfs +/-

This doesn't take into account Deer Creek (DCS)

12/20/10 12:00 noon at YRS 655 cfs +/-
12/19/10 12:00 noon at YRS 2,440cfs +/-
12/18/10 12:00 noon at YRS 3,720cfs +/-
12/17/10 12:00 noon at YRS 129 cfs +/-
12/16/10 12:00 noon at YRS 108cfs +/-
12/15/10 12:00 noon at YRS 258 cfs +/-
12/14/10 12:00 noon at YRS 106cfs +/-

I'm not sure exactly how this works, but I believe that this means that on 12/19/10 the Yuba was probably flowing at over 20,000 cfs. That's a bunch.

I ran down at about 4:30 this evening to snap some photos of the Lower Yuba River at the Parks Bar Bridge. My son Zack had his wisdom teeth removed today and I couldn't get down to the river until late.

This photo was taken above the Parks Bar Bridge looking upstream around the 1st bend. The river is flowing at about 14,800 cfs. It's into the bushes quite a bit and the side channel at the top is flowing pretty good.

Here are the old bridge abutments and the water just about flowing over the top, The water is on the back side of the willows on the far side.

This photo is looking down stream from the Parks Bar Bridge. The water on the left of the willows is normally high and dry, at 5,000 cfs or less the river stays in the channel to the right of the willows.

This is the tailout of what we refer to as "The Aquarium". At this tailout, years ago, there used to be islands and the river is now channelized and flows river left. Right now there are many braided channels where the water is flowing through the willows and cutting the corner., river right. This is an example of where the high flows could be beneficial. That is if the main channel doesn't get cut deeper. It would be good to open up these side, braided channels.

This is the main channel which is river left of where the river is cutting the corner. This is an example of where we hope the river won't channelize deeper.

Here's the view looking upstream where the river is cutting the corner. We are hoping that a new channel would be carved through this area. I think this would be a good thing. With a week more of high flows predicted, time will tell.

This the "Long Island" which is about 3 1/2 miles below Parks Bar Bridge. Usually about 80% of the river flows river right. You can see here that a good portion of the river is flowing river left. The main flow is still river right.

The big question is. Where do the fish go when the flows get this high?

I'll try to get out and take additional photos as the week progresses. I'll keep everyone posted.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Alternative Fly Fishing Dictionary and Alaska Speak

Fly Fishing, like all great sports/hobbies/obsessions, is littered with its own collection of words and phrases that have evolved to describe specific circumstances or a particular event or item.

I found this, "Alternative Fly Fishing Dictionary" featuring some different interpretations of some of our best known words and phrases at

The Alternate Fly Fishing Dictionary

Trout Bum – An unfortunate affliction that only seems to target guides who sit in a drift boat all day

Mending the fly line – A flat-fisher’s nightly ritual after casting around coral heads and mangroves all day

Scuds – What you get if you drink the wrong water in Mexico

Belly in the line – an impedance to casting often caused by lodge meals or locally, bacon cheese burgers.

Wide Gape – The fully extended positions of your upper and lower jaws after losing that 10lb steelhead/insert your own disaster

Arbor – That place where the boats are parked

FishPimp – The guide in the 70’s flares and floral shirt

Single-haul – A destination that is only one flight away

Double-haul – What do you think?

Deceiver – That guy who sold you his leaky waders as “nearly new”

Tippet – A small financial reward for services rendered

Weakfish – The runt of the litter

Gink – The sound made by a bead-head hitting your fly rod

Pescador – What you must pass through to go fishing in Mexico

Crazy Charlie – What you get for turning up late when they allocate the guides

Bonefish – Any species that elicits a strong physical reaction from male fly anglers

Tarpon – See above – as in if an angler shouts “I’ve got a tarpon” you’d better hope he’s wearing loose fitting pants

Weight Forward – Typical mid-Western angler with a centre of balance issue

Spey – Self-castration by constant immersion in icy water

Alaskan Speak

Here's a guide to Alakan Fishing speak also from

There are appplications here in Northern California,

Tiddler - noun. A particularly small fish. “I tried to get my flesh fly in front of Walter [see below], but a tiddler grabbed it first.”

Blub – verb. To briefly break the surface of the water, as done by a big steelie “I knew I was about to hook up when I started seeing all those fish blub.”

Mega – adj. Big, many, or extremely. “That king was mega!” “There were mega silvers stacked up at Zoo Bar.” “Billy was mega frustrated when his brother kept catching fish behind him.”

Gagger - n. A big fish.

Slab – n. A big fish, particularly one with big shoulders.

Pig - n. A big fish.

Choker - n. A big fish.

Toad – n. A big fish.

Hawg - n. A big fish.

Torpedo - n. A big fish.

Gack - n. A gross, slimy substance. ”I need to get this gack off my hands before dinner.”

Walter, Jerry, Jethro, et al - n. A specific particularly large fish, usually a rainbow trout, or a mythical giant fish. “I know that Walter lives down by Puppy Bar, and I’m going to try to catch him today.”

Tumbler - n. A spawned-out salmon tumbling downriver. ”I got gack all over my waders when I got hit by that tumbler.” See also Chumbler.

Chumbler - n. A spawned-out chum salmon tumbling downriver. “There were chumblers everywhere– flesh flies worked good.”

Critter - n. A resident fish (e.g. trout,). “My arms are tired – let’s go fish for some critters.”

Critter - v. To move with stealth. “I crittered my way along the high bank, looking for Big Jerry.”

Crittery - adj. Shaky, unsure. “He must have had a rough night – he looked awfully crittery on the river this morning.”

Farm - v. To lose a fish once hooked, usually due to angler error. “I can’t believe I farmed Jethro this morning.”

Grocery hole - n. The gaping mouth of a giant protein-fed rainbow trout. “You should have seen the grocery hole on the choker that ate my mouse yesterday.”

Got any additions and I'll add to the list.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Artwork of Eileen Klatt

"Steelhead Trout"

I spent this Thanksgiving in Markleeville, California, in a quaint little motel and restaurant with my family and friends. My brother, Joe, had rented the whole motel and restaurant and we took the place over and cooked our Thanksgiving dinner in the restaurant. It was a memorable Thanksgiving to say the least.

In the room we were staying in, there were a couple of remarkable framed lithographs by the artist Eileen Klatt. One piece was tiltled "Rainbow/Rainbow" and the other was titled "Three Brown Trout". I was drawn to them each time I entered the room.

"Spring Chinook Salmon"

The piece of artwork above is titled "Spring Chinook Salmon". The Artist, Eileen Klatt's fish prints are found around the world. In 2009 she completed, "A Litany of Salmon", 61 life-size paintings of spawning salmon couples dedicated to the extinct salmon of the Columbia River Basin. Eileen lives in Hope, Idaho on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille.

The Artist Eileen Klatt at Work

I purchased the print above called "Rainbow/Rainbow" and the one below called "Brown Trout". I can't wait for them to arrive so I can hang them on the walls of the "Fly Fishing Traditions World Headquarters".

The photos here really can't do justice to her work. You can see much more of her artwork, in much greater detail at These prints would make great Christmas presents for your favorite fly fisher that has everything he needs. Go to Eileen's site and check her work out. Tell her, Clay sent you.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dec 1st Opening Day Above the Parks Bar Bridge

I met Frank Rinella and Blake Larsen yesterday at 7:00 and headed down to the Lower Yuba River for opening day above the Parks Bar Bridge. That stretch above the bridge has been closed since September 1st, which means it hasn't been fished in three months. I've been fishing the river below the bridge about once a week since the upper river closed. The bite has gotten tougher in the last couple of weeks. The salmon are pretty much gone and lately, it seems, so have the fish. We've speculated that the fishing pressure has chased the fish up stream. Good logic when you're not catching as many fish as you'd like or think you should.

With this in mind we anxiously had been waiting for the day to arrive to test our theories. We also were expecting the day to be a zoo with people everywhere. As it turned out this didn't pan out. We arrived at our put-in spot and we where the only and first boat. There was a couple of pontoon boats being blown up but their owners were using them to cross the river and then they were headed upstream to walk and wade. We also didn't see any anglers that had hiked up from the Bridge which was sort of unusual too. All good omens in our minds.

The water was a little off color with visibility of above 4 to 5 feet, also very good. Clear enough for the fish to see our bugs but still murky enough too give us some stealth while in my drift boat. This was also just what I was hoping for. I have an Orvis Dropper Rig Box which I filled up the night before with different combinations of Eggs and flies tied up and ready to go. Each rigg had a Troutbead, either Light Roe, or something in that color range a little darker. and 2 additional flies. I tied some up with the egg first and trailing two nymphs for the runs when we would be deep dead drifting under indicator and then some with a large nymph, like a "Superfloss Rubber Legs" or a "Rubber Leg Skwala" then a trail a nymph and end with a Troutbead. I like to use this combination when fishing rollers or buckets. Anyway I had about 10 of these 3 fly riggs tied up and ready to go. Just so you know when tying these riggs up you just have to take your best guess as to what combination of flies will work. That doesn't mean that it's a sure thing. You may need to tie some riggs up from scratch on the river if you have an intuition to change things up.

We started hooking fish right of the bat, we landed a nicely colored rainbow of about 17 inches which was the first fish landed. We then started hooking smaller fish at a drop off into a deep run. Every fish up too that point had taken a troutbead. We started getting the feeling it was going to be an egg bite day or for the most part more of an attractor day with the off colored water.

We moved downstream into a tailout that had always been pretty productive and had a couple of tentative takes, landed one smaller fish, but most of the other takes were not hooked solidly. Frank had one solid take, a couple of head shakes and when he checked out his flies, his San Juan Worm had scales on it. We chased a big fish out of a bucket and the fishing in that section was over.

We headed down a riffle and turned an inside corner to a much changed corner eddy with some soft water to the inside. It was my turn at bat and I landed a few smaller 10 - 12 inch fish in the softer water to the inside. To this point in the day we had netted a couple of nice sized fish and all the rest were smaller.

We headed down the riffle until the water returned to that quick walking speed tempo. This is typically the water that I like to target, slow to moderate to quick walking speed water in the runs. It was about 11:30 when we started fishing this run and all I can say is that we found out where the fish were hanging out. Lets just say that when we left that run Blake commented that his arm was sore and it wasn't from casting. It was good to see good numbers of fish in the 16 to 19 inches range.

One thing that was curious when fishing that run, was that the fish were predominately taking eggs with a few on Rubberleg Stones and mayfly nymphs but they were keyed on one color. Frank had tied on a Dark Roe Troutbead and Blake and I were fishing Light Roe. We could not keep the fish off the Light Roe Egg and Frank was fishing without a hint of a strike in the same lane, the same depth and the same amount of weight. When he switched and changed to Light Roe Eggs, bingo, fish on and I'm talking immediately. Sort of an eye opener for sure.

We stopped for a shore lunch and heard a shout from some friends, Wayne, Norm and Trent. We parked the boat and stumbled into a shore side wine tasting event, some good tales and quite a few laughs. After lunch we headed on down stream and the bug bite turned on. We started getting as many fish on bugs as we were on eggs. We continued to hook, play and land fish all the way down stream until dark.

How would I classify the fishing for the opening day. In the true sense of the word it was pretty "epic".