Fly Fishing Traditions

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Stillwater Days

With the Lower Yuba's flows roaring this spring my friend Mike Williams said, "Clay, you need to spread your wings and get into stillwater fishing".

My experience with stillwater has been mainly fishing high alpine lakes in Montana for cutthroat and brook trout in the Montana back country. For years I would hike with my buddies in the Beartooth and Absorokee wilderness areas in the quest for trout. This was a minimalistic approach with mainly a floating and deep sink line and that was about it. The trout were either on top looking for dries or if not we'd just go deep and strip flies up from the depths. This is about as simply as it gets. The trout were usually willing and it was not technical fishing. As I'm finding out, fishing our Northern California Lakes are. Technical that is.

I used to have a nice float tube, it was a Buck's Bag one, but I never really got comfortable in it. This is going back 20 years or so. I always felt I was sitting too low in the water and if I fished a lake like Lake Davis when the weeds were thick it was a battle getting through them. This was back before the "Pike Wars". Back then I just said heck I'd rather fish the streams and rivers and that was about it. I've been doing that every since. As Mike said sort of one dimensional.

Back about 10 years ago I bought a used Water Skeeter pontoon boat, but I got it mainly to cross the Lower Yuba when the flows were high. I stripped off all the attachments, like the bags, stripping apron and used it for transportation. I never used it for fishing, just to get across the river so I could then hike up or downstream and then when done, used it to cross back. That was it for years.

Well, Mike Williams convinced me too rigg the pontoon boat back up for stillwater. Problem was that I had no idea what happened to all the attachments. I looked all over for the stripping apron, rear platform, storage bags and anchor and all be darned if I could find them. I guess they went away in one of my many yard sales over the years. I originally paid $275 for it so it didn't hurt so bad when rigging it back up.

As far as setting up rods, reels and lines I bought a "Scotty" rod holder to put at the right front position, an "Outcast" tubular rod holder for the left rear so I could rigg up two rods. Mike suggested that I set up a 6 weight with a full sink line and have an extra spool with a sink tip. He also suggested that I set up a 5 weight with an intermediate line and a midge tip on an extra spool. That's what I did, I bought some extra spools and updated my fly lines and got them spooled up. I'm using my Sage 99 6 weight and a Saint Croix 5 weight that is 10 ft. long. It's a pretty good combo.

I made a rope platform for the rear storage and strapped an old milk carton on it to stash a small cooler and other misc. gear. I purchased a couple of pulleys, some 1/4" diameter cord and a 7 pound mushroom anchor. I also bought a simple anchor cleat and attached it and I have a pretty smooth operating anchor system. The only thing that was missing was my storage bags (I found them both this weekend) and the stripping apron. (I haven't found it yet).

So with a little ingenuity and elbow grease its looking pretty good. Almost looks like I know what I'm doing. I made it out with Mike and my buddy Blake to fish and we had a decent day about a week and a half ago. It was a lot of fun, and relaxing in a beautiful environment. Looks like I'm a convert or I guess I should say I'm reconnected to stillwaters.


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Have any Questions or Comments? Let me know, Clay.