Fly Fishing Traditions

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

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Kayaks - Product Reviews

Zack's been wanting to go kayaking for quite awhile. He kayaked in a lake in Montana with my brother in law's kayak with his cousins and had a ball. I bought him a sit on top kayak for his birthday in April and this weekend the weather finally got nice enough to give it a try. The kayak I decided to buy him was the "Spitfire" manufactured by "Emotion".

Spitfire from Emotion Kayaks

This kayak is 8 feet long and is very maneuverable. You can turn it on a dime and Zack could probably eventually run the Lower Yuba with it with no problem. It is light weight and comes with the backrest. This kayak was a package price including the paddle for $325.

Standard Features
  • Manufactured from specially compounded
    polyethylene plastic
  • Easy to repair, UV resistant, designed for
    years of care free use
  • 3-year warranty on hull
  • Dual carrying handles at each end of kayak
  • Specifications
  • Length: 8 ft (243 cm)
  • Width: 30 in. (76 cm)
  • Weight: 38 lbs. (17 kg)
  • *Weight capacity: 225 -240 lbs. (102 -109 kg)
*Depending on water conditions

Tarpon by Wilderness Systems

I picked up a "Wilderness" kayak for myself 12 ft "Tarpon" touring kayak. It has a large storage compartment in front and a small compartment right in front of the seat. The seat is very comfortable and has good adjustments. The foot rests are on rails and also very adjustable. I purchased the model that was the touring kayak because the "fishing kayak" is set up with spinning rod holders. The touring kayak is the same setup but without rod holders. I can order a "Fly rod holder" when I want to. I'm mostly going to use the kayak for playing around with the family and not for fishing. But you know how it goes. The Tarpon retails for $1049 without the paddle. I purchased the kayak on sale with the paddle for $875 from Wolf Creek Outdoors in Grass Valley.

  • Phase 3 SOT seating syste
  • TriggerLock adjustable footbrace system
  • SlideTrax adjustable accessory system
  • 10" oval Orbix bow hatch
  • 8" round Orbix center hatch
  • Large tank well/ bungee storage system
  • Dual paddle holders
  • Scotty spinning rod holder - My model came without the rod holders
  • Two flush mount rod holders
  • 3.5 lb Anchor w/ Bag
  • FREE Scupper plugs included
  • Optional Rudder System

  • Freedom 12 Angler Kayak fro Wilderness

    Now if you are really serious about fly fishing from a kayak you should check out the "Freedom 12 Angler Fishing Kayak" also from "Wilderness". This kayak features removable multi-position outriggers so you can actually stand up and cast. It has a casting brace and stabilizing bar. They had one on the floor at "Fish First" in Chico if you wanted to take a look at one. What will they think of next.

  • High-density polyethylene plastic
  • Removable multi-position outriggers
  • Watertight storage in each outrigger
  • Casting brace & stabilizing bar
  • High back seat
  • Multi-position molded-in footbraces
  • 2 cup holders
  • Paddle holder
  • 2 flush mount rod holders
  • Self-bailing scupper holes w/ plugs
  • Reinforced floor
  • Stainless steel, aluminum, & plastic hardware
  • Tuesday, May 27, 2014

    Fishing the Lower Yuba 05/26/10

    I had made plans and was really hoping to get out and fish the Lower Yuba River with Blake Larsen on Wednesday. It was raining all Tuesday night but the forecast for Browns Valley was partially cloudy with 20% chance of precipitation. We talked it over and decided what the heck, the worst thing is we could get wet. It's better than working. The Deer Creek flows weren't too far up and the Yuba flows hadn't changed much with the flows charting at about 2300 cfs. I had a feeling that the river would be clear enough to fish. The flows on Deer Creek had only risen about 15 cfs, so it looked good. It's always a bad sign if Deer Creek flows pump up.

    We headed down to the river and got our first glimpse of the river and it was running clear. With as much rain as we had in Grass Valley last night it was surprisingly clear. There was sunlight beaming down through big broken clouds and the view to the west forecast a beautiful day for fishing.

    As we were getting ready to put the boat in the water at about 10:00 the swallows started swooping down on the river which meant the PMD's were just starting to come off. We've been having good luck recently using nymphs under indicator so we set up for deep nymphing with a thing-a-ma-bobber, seven feet to an SSG shot and various nymphs under that. We made sure that we had good representative PMD nymphs rigged.

    I'm usually behind the oars but I got ready rigging my rod with a with a red San Juan Worm which has been working well with the higher flows, a black copper john and a two-tone HBI nymph that I picked up at Kienes in Sacramento. (This is a good looking bug). Blake rigged up with a San Juan Worm at the top and trailed a Dark Lord, and a standard HBI behind. We fished using the deep indicator nymphing method in the deeper runs and switched to tight line nymphing in the tailouts and some of the dropoffs.

    Blake got off to a hot start hooking up but had the LDR blues (Long Distance Release). We anchored and I was able to get the skunk off the boat with a strong fighting bow. My day was already complete. It was about 10:30. Funny how that is when you get accustomed to rowing a drift boat. I get as much satisfaction watching other friends catch fish.

    The prominent bug of the day was the PMD. We noticed a strong hatch coming off at about 10:30 that lasted for about 1 1/2 hours and we also saw PMD's in scattered numbers throughout the day. Even though there was a good amout of duns on the surface we didn't notice many rising fish during the hatch. The nymph bite on the HBI was strong all day. There was also a period when the BWO's were coming off along with a some hydropscyche and brachycentrus caddis. There was a short time about 2:00 when the caddis were coming off but not in enough numbers to really get the fish up in the riffles. There were enough that we switched to adding caddis nymphs to our riggs. I added an olive Caddis Pupa and the Shop Vac.

    In the early evening at about 6:00 I rigged up to swing caddis in the drop offs and had success using caddis emergers. I used an "Iris Caddis" and the Antron Caddis Pupa. I was able to hook up a number of fish but my success rate to the net wasn't great. We had anchored the boat 20 feet from the takeout and I fished a drop off about 30 feet from the boat. I hooked and landed a nice fish right off the bat. It was a little tough because I had to keep the fish from bolting downstream. I managed to keep it in the soft water near the bank and bring in to the net. I wasn't so lucky after that. I was hooking up but the fish got the better of me.

    I believe that we helped our fishing successes by adapting our rigging based upon the water type and the bugs present.
    (1) We used deep nymphing techniques in the deeper runs
    (2) We used tight line nymphing in the tailouts and the drop-offs
    (3) We were conscious about adding and removed split shot depending on the depth and the flows.
    (4) We raised and lowered indicators depending upon the depth
    (5) We swung emergers at the tailouts and drop-offs in caddis type water.
    (6) We didn't rigg up a dry rod as there was little indication that the fish were interested in duns or adult caddis.

    If you are observant the river will tell you what to do. You just have to listen!

    We wrapped up, loaded up our gear and watched the sunset and remarked what a great day it was to be outdoors fishing. Oh by the way it was snowing in Truckee.

    Go west young man!

    Here's a short "Flip Video" of our day. Just press the arrow to play.

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

    Toolbox - Repairing a Chine on a Drift Boat

    I was cleaning up my Hyde drift boat after fishing the other day and noticed a bad ding on one of the chines. I had purchased the boat used from a private party and it had a couple of areas where the gel coat had been popped off along the chines. The biggest one was about a inch long. What I found was that I had an area that has grown to about 3 inches long with the fiberglass core exposed. I decided that I'd better get it fixed or fix it myself.

    I started by doing an Internet search and low and behold I found a You Tube video put out by TAP plastics that showed how to go about repairing a damaged gel coat. This gives you a good insight to the process. This video shows a repair using "Gel Coat" material for repairs which is for primarily cosmetic repairs where the fiberglass is not exposed.

    Gel Coat Repairs

    Structural Repairs using "Goop-Supermend"

    I also sent an email to Hyde Driftboats in Idaho Falls, Idaho and described my problem. They responded by saying that they recommended using a two part epoxy that is made by TAP Plastics called "Goop- Supermend", which is a putty-like epoxy for doing a chine repair. This product and application is slightly different than the process shown on the videos above.

    One thing to point out is that the "Goop-Supermend" is a two part epoxy product and is not compatible with a "gel coat finish" You tint the "Goop-Supermend" to the color of the gel coat. You sand it to blend it in and you are done.

    There are two TAP Plastics stores in Sacramento and I stopped by to pick up the necessary materials for the repair. A customer service person helped me figure out what I needed and how to go about the repair. This is the list of materials that I purchased for about $40;
    • Goop-Supermend Epoxy 16 ounces - $24.00
    • Mylar film - $5.60
    • Tap Plastics - Super Pigment white color $6.40
    • 1- 16 once plastic cup with ounce measurements - free
    • 2- 100 ml plastic cups with ml measurements - free
    • 4 - wooden sticks (large popsicle sticks 1/2" x 5" long) - free
    In addition I'll need to pick up the following items;
    • Blue masking tape
    • Acetone
    • Wet/Dry sandpaper from 150 to 600 in graduations
    • Sanding block
    • Plastic Putty knife
    • Vapor rated dust mask
    • Disposable rubber gloves
    • Beg, borrow or steal a Dremmel tool.
    I'll outline the basic steps as told to me by Tap Plastics. Once again, this is not a gel coat system it is a two-part epoxy repair material.
    (1) Prepare the damaged area by grinding off all loose areas and sharp edges of the repair with a Dremmel tool or rough sandpaper or both. You want to remove any lose material to enable a solid bond with the Goop=Supermend epoxy.
    (2) Clean the prepared area with acetone rubbing in one direction. Do not use a circular motion.
    (3) Take the two 100ml plastic cups and pour one part of the epoxy into one cup and the equal amounts of the second part into the other in equal amounts. The epoxy has a thickness to it so use the wooden sticks to get it to level in the cups and make sure that you have equal amounts.
    (4) Slowly add the white Super Pigment into each cup in equal amounts until you have the desired color to match your gel coat.
    (5) Mix the two epoxy parts into the larger 16 ounce plastic cup. You now have 15 minutes to make your repair.
    (6) Use a plastic putty knife to place the epoxy. Attempt to smooth out the epoxy slighly higher than the desired shape of the repair.
    (7) Cut a piece of the mylar film and place it over the repair. Use one of the plastic sticks to do the final smoothing of the repair (Refer to video). You will be running the wooden stick over the mylar not the epoxy. Note: To use the mylar you will have to target smaller areas at a time to have enough working time.
    (8) Remove the mylar once the epoxy cures.
    (9) Let the epoxy cure for 5 hours and the use a sanding block and sand the repair with successive grits of sandpaper. Remember to use your mask.
    (10) Add more "Goop-Supermend" if required and repeat the process.
    Let your repair cure for 24 hours before abusing it again.
    Hope this was helpful, Clay

    Friday, May 9, 2014

    Lower Sacramento River for Zack's Birthday May 2010

    Saturday, May 8th, 2010

    It was Zack's birthday last weekend and I took him for a belated fishing trip yesterday on the Lower Sacramento River with my friend and guide Mike Hibbard. About 3 weeks ago I had asked Zack what he wanted to do for his birthday. By asking I'm thinking a party at our house, miniature golfing or something like that and he says "Can we go fishing with Hibbard?" I wasn't expecting that and I said, "You know Zack, that's a good idea."

    I talked to Mike and he said the river had been fishing a little tough lately. He said this typically happens in May when the Sacramento River rainbows move onto their redds and before the Hydrocyche Caddis start up in June. Mike doesn't like to fish the redds when the rainbows are actively spawning. He thought it would be best to fish a lower section of the river. He suggested that we do the Bonnieview to Balls Ferry float and that we meet at about 8:00.

    I got Zack up at about 4:30 and we headed north. Zack slept while I listened to "Restless Kelly" and other alternate country tunes on the drive up.

    We got to Bonnieview and we were the only one's there. Mile wanted to get a jump on the other boats and get an early start. Mike was getting rigged up when we arrived. Its always fun to get Zack and Mike together. We've been fishing together with Mike for about 6 years. Mike's sort of like Zack's fishing uncle.

    Mike rigged us up and we headed down the river. He rigged me up with a new Idylwilde pattern "The Jimmy Legs Stone", a "Little Brown Bug" caddis and a PMD nymph. He rigged Zack up with "Yellow Sucker Spawn", a "Queen Prince" and an HBI nymph. He likes to always start with 6 different bugs to get a feel for what the fish want on any given day. Once he sees a trend he will adjust his pattern selection.

    It was a simply gorgeous day, warming with hardly any breeze at all. Blue skies, big billowy clouds and distant views of the snow capped mountains. The fishing was a little slow to start off but Mike worked with Zack to get his casting, mending and presentations in order. We worked our way downstream and turned a river left corner and we fished the inside of a nice run, Zack hooked up a nice fish and we were off to the races. With Mike's patient direction and after the fish took a couple of nice runs we were able to get the fish to hand. Zack did an great job fighting this fish. Most people would not have landed this fish. He listened to Mike and when you do what Mike says you will be successful. "Keep your shoulder square to the fish", "Keep the rod tip up", "Get your line on the reel", "Let your drag do the work", "Keep his head up and lift the rod tip back so I can net it". The running commentary that enables success

    How's that for the first fish of the day and a big happy smile.

    We fished on down river and we stopped at a side channel and I waded and fished it standing in about knee deep water. There were some old salmon redds there and a nice pod of fish. They were stationed in the deeper drop-offs in the rollers and I was able to pick up a number of them. Mike coached me as how to best present my flies as they worked their way through. There's always new tips and techniques to learn and refine. It's one of the things about fly fishing that I enjoy, there's always something to learn and improve on. Lose your ego and you will learn and become a better and more knowledgeable angler.

    Here's Mike with a typical Lower Sacramento rainbow. With Mike's help and knowledge we were able to have a great and successful fishing day even though the fishing has been tougher in the last couple of weeks or so. I'll say it again, if you're wanting to experience what the Lower Sacramento River has to offer, you can not do better than calling Mike Hibbard to spent the day with you as an experienced river guide.

    Here's a picture of a Salmonfly that was crawling up Mike's leg. There are some of these large bugs on the Lower Sac but not in great numbers. This one was about 2 1/2" long.

    I've always said that "It isn't always about fishing". We stopped and Zack build a cairn out of rocks and topped it off with a golf ball he found in the river. I think if we all had this attitude we probably would be better anglers to boot.

    Here's another beautiful Sac Rainbow. Most of the fish were taken with a HBI nymph. We saw more PMD's on the river than any other bug. There were a few caddis and we were also able to hook up with caddis nymphs.

    It was a most memorable day, rekindling friendships, bonds between father and son and keeping a "Tradition" intact. I am once again thankful that I can blend fly fishing, that is a passion that has been burning within me for most of my adult life, and pass it on to my son, family and friends.

    Make your own traditions,


    You can contact Mike Hibbard to book a trip at:

    Cell 530-526-5535

    Home 530 -247-3970

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014

    Fishing with High Flows on the Lower Yuba River

    Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

    After a week of high water and off color conditions, Blake Larsen, Frank Rinella and I made it out to the Lower Yuba. The flows had dropped to 2400 cfs +/- and we were hoping that the water clarity had improved. It was a beautiful spring day with blue sky, a few billowy clouds and with no breeze to speak of, that is until about 11:30 or so. We set up our shuttle and got our first view of the river. It was high but out of the willows and a light greenish blue color. The visibility looked perfect for nymphing. It looked like using dry fly presentations would only be possible in some of the tailouts and runs where the current wouldn't be too pushy.

    We rigged up rods for indicator and straight line nymphing. I also rigged one rod up with a dry line just in case we got the opportunity. To start Blake rigged up with a rubber leg stone, sucker spawn and HBI nymph. Frank rigged up with a San Juan Worm a black copper john and a Hogan's pattern mayfly nymph.

    As soon as I rowed into the flow of the river, I could tell how pushy the current was. I felt that that the fish definitely would be looking for places outside of this big pushy current so we started targeting the areas where a trout could comfortable hang out. Some of the areas we fished were;
    • Areas of a run below riffles, but further down stream than usual, where the currents could spread out and the current speed would get to be about a moderate walking speed.
    • In tailouts, but to the edges where the current was softer.
    • Eddy pools below the riffles.
    • In the flats below riffles
    I tried a little while casting dries in a tailout but didn't have any takers. It really was a indicator with lots of shot kind of day. With good results I might add!

    Flies of the Day
    • Black Copper John
    • Red Copper John
    • Sucker Spawn
    • Red San Juan Worn
    • HBI Nymph
    • Hogan's Spring Fling
    Photos of the Day

    Frank with the first fish of the day.

    Blake with a deep colored rainbow from a big eddy pool

    Fish on with Frank taking a turn on the oars.

    A bright bow that had taken a black copper john in the flats

    Monday, May 5, 2014

    Glossosoma Black Caddis Larve

    I found this video of Craig Mathews tying a Glossosoma, Black Caddis Larva. He has some interesting comments about the importance of this bug, especially in Greater Yellowstone area.


    Friday, May 2, 2014

    Bug Collecting

    As we all know fish can sometimes feed very selectively. There are some days when the fish “Lock Into” certain bugs. Our job as anglers is to figure out what they’re eating.

    Most successful anglers are also very observant and can determine what stage of the bug the fish are taking. Once they determine the stage, a fly is chosen to match that particular stage of the hatch. The more you know about what fish feed on, the better you can match the hatch. The better you can match the hatch, the more fish you will catch in many circumstances.

    This where being observant and being an active collector of bugs comes into play. It pays to know what kind of bugs are available in each of your fishing areas, runs, riffles, and tailouts. One of the best angling tools that you can add to your arsenal is a “kick screen”. It can be made easily by taking a square of window screen with a wooden dowel attached to the edges of each end.

    It will pay big dividends if you sample the river each and every time you head to the river. The bottom ends of the sticks are jammed into the river bed with the screen strung between them perpendicular to the current of the river. You just position yourself upstream from the screen and shuffle your feet to loosen up rocks to get the bugs to lose their grip and flow downstream into the screen. Anything that is dislodged from the bottom is washed into the screen and held there by the water current. Carefully raise the screen to the surface, being careful that the trapped insects stay on the screen. Bring along something like a white plastic lid or Frisbee and pick out the bugs from the net and place them in the lid with a little water to see what’s going on in the insect world.

    Once you have the bugs swimming around in the lid, pull out your fly boxes and find the flies than match the correct size, and color. The first thing that you will probably find out is that you have been regularly fishing with flies that are too big. Rick Hafele, who is a popular writer and entomologist, often says that the most important trigger for flies is to match size. This is one of those things we need to burn into our brain. “Size matters”.

    If you can find one, the “Borger Color System” is a chart of systematically arranged color swatches which allow you to judge colors accurately.

    It is also a good practice to take notes on what you find and keep them in a fishing journal.

    Match the bugs and go fishing!

    Preserving your Bug Samples

    If you are interested in collecting bugs to bring home as references for your fly tying, you will need to learn how to store the bugs, and probably the most important, label your samples.

    Aquatic invertebrates, bugs, should be preserved in 70 to 80 percent alcohol. It is recommended using 80 percent since the organisms you add to it will carry some water and dilute the alcohol. If the alcohol becomes too diluted, your specimens will become mushy and useless for study. Ethyl alcohol should be used whenever possible because it provides the best fixation of body tissues and is good for long term storage. However, isopropyl alcohol is a good substitute and can be purchased cheaply in drug stores. Whichever preservative is used, you should change it once with in a day or two after collecting.

    Collections from different locations and dates should be preserved in separate containers and individually labeled. Small glass vials with tight-fitting screw cap lids or rubber stoppers are the best. The minimum amount of collection information should include name of water body, location of water body (e.g. road route, mileage to nearest town), elevation (if available), date (day, month, year) and name(s) of collector(s). Label information should be written on 100 percent bond paper using a pencil or alcohol-proof black ink. Labels should be placed inside the vial with the organisms. Below is an example of a typical label.

    Lower Yuba River
    1 1/2 miles above the Parks Bar Bridge
    Honey Hole
    Smartsville, CA
    January 25, 2010
    C. Hash

    Identifying and studying your collections can be rewarding for several reasons. First, you can learn more about the different kinds of potential trout food/ organisms present in a stream you fish. Second, the size, structure, and color of preserved organisms can provide tips on how to model your flies at the vise.

    The Basic identifications (order and family-level) required to benefit your fly tying activities can be made with a hand held magnifying glass.

    The better information and samples you have on your tying bench, the better flies you will tie.

    Have fun out There!

    Wind River Bug Balmer

    Notes from Wind River Products

    Bug Balmer dispatches and preserves insects. Special ingredient fixes and maintains the color of almost all aquatic organisms. This preservative solution is the best we have used. For best results kill the insects by drowning them in the solution. Some larger insects will secrete body fluids when they die. This will pollute the solution and color it. For best results drain off this tainted fluid and replace it with clear fluid. For best results fill your container to the top so that no air is trapped between the closed lid and the fluid. Bubbles contain oxygen which will harden and bleach your specimens. Also bubbles tend to erode and break up your specimens if the container is tipped back and forth. Bubbles also obstruct your view of the specimens. No know solution will preserve colors for ever. Specimens preserved for six months Bug Balmer showed little change. Specimens preserved for over two years showed major change in color but most specimens preserved for over five years are still intact.