Fly Fishing Traditions

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Webber Lake Report

I had the good fortune to be invited, along with my son Zack, once again, by Mike Williams to fish Webber Lake this last Friday. I want to thank him again for the opportunity to fish this beautiful lake with his son Todd and their good friend Rex.

The last time we fished Webber the wind was whipping and the fishing was what I thought pretty darned good. I had good luck fishing a Wiggle Tail and catching some feisty rainbows. This time I got the opportunity to fish Webber on a calm hot day with just a slight, if even that, breeze. What a difference a week makes. The water was much clearer and the fish were pretty selective and the fishing was challenging. Mike made the comment of "don't let anyone try to tell you the fishing at Webber is always like shooting ducks on a pond" or something like that.

We rigged up and kicked out to where the lake dropped off to about 16 to 20 feet deep and found pods of fish picking midges or callibeatis in or just below the film. The fish were actively slurping away. For me anyway, I was rigged up with an intermediate line and a wiggle tail. I cast that through the feeding fish with a slow retrieve and got a few bumps but no solid takes. There were a lot of empty midge cases in the film so I had a good idea what was happening. Unfortunately, this is all sort of new to me so I tied on a Rickards callibeatis nymph with a midge pupa dropper and started retrieving with a slow hand twist retrieve. I got one soft take but missed it.

I asked Mike about the fishing on Webber when the conditions are like this and this is what he had to say.

"You already know that Midges in lakes are abundant during the spring and fall. No different than streams. Webber with a mud bottom, is going to have a healthy population of Midges. We had Midges coming off yesterday and none of us figured it out, at least to the point where we could readily hook up fish. I saw the skins on the water that morning. I've thought about it today and it is simple. The fly I used was a Crippled Callibaetis, not an emerger like I said. My mistake, but important to remember because the two are so different. This fly probably represented a Stillborn Pupa, or the stage where the the adult is separating itself from the pupal husk. I greased the dear hair portion and fished it with a Cortland Clear Camo 7' sink tip. I didn't bring my floater. The intermediate sink tip pulled the cripple into or just below the film. Wham! A very slow take with the fish just sucking it in. I caught two and lost the third and then nothing. Todd told me later, today, that he watched the Midges splitting out of their shucks or husks about the same time. The bluebird day made it a beautiful day but a really tough day of fishing for us. Say the water averages 3' to 12'' ft deep throughout the lake where we were fishing. High sun, a pontoon boat, no wind, make the pontoon boat look pretty big to the fish. The sun penetrates through the shallow areas. You also have to remember the boat traffic on Webber can make fish spooky too. That doesn't help us. Last year when I fished out of my 14' Gregor I caught less than half the fish I would normally catch. The fish move off on us as we saw with our sidefinder equipment. Fun day though. We just need to continue to work on this. "

I believe that is a pretty clear insight. Like he said you just need to be ready for all of the possible conditions, with the right lines, right flies, and the knowledge of how to present them. For me this is a work in progress.


Here's Todd with a Webber Lake Rainbow.
The few fish that came to hand on this day were nice healthy ones!



Here's Zack lounging as he cruises in his pontoon boat.

I decided to stick with the techniques that I am more comfortable with so I rigged up an intermediate line and tied on a Rickards Seal Bugger. I used the one with a black marabou tail, a body with a mix of 4 parts black Simi Seal to 1 part red Simi Seal with a burnt orange hackle run through it. I concentrated on the areas of the lake where the bottom dropped off from about 8 or 10 feet to about 14 to 20 feet. This is the area where I had consistently spotted fish on my fish finder. I alternated between 4 to 6 inch pulls to a long slow pull of about 20". I had quite a few takes but was not connecting regularly. I finally had a solid take and had a fish on. The fish rolled once and I got a glimpse of it and it seemed like a good one. As I worked the fish in I kept changing directions and making the fish go where I wanted it to go, attempting to get it in as quickly as possible.


Here's a shot of the fish's back once I got it up in the water column
about 15 feet from my pontoon boat.

I managed to get the fish to the net and it was a beauty. It spanned the whole width of my stripping apron which is about 24" and was very thick and heavy. Denny Rickard swears by his Seal Bugger for trophy trout and I guess he is right.

Although not many fish were caught on this day, lessons were learned, in a beautiful environment, with good friends. Zack had a fun day cruising around the lake and checking in with all of us and even had 2 or 3 fish on when he attempted fishing. Learning to get them in is his next step. All in all a fun day doing what we love to do. Goin' Fishin"

1 comment:

  1. Try the LT inlet next time if you haven't before, you have to hike about 1/2 mile or so through Lacey Meadow but you'll dig it, there are big bows that come up from the lake and tons of lahontan redside (I'm guessing the bows come up to feed on them).


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