Fly Fishing Traditions

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Techniques - The Lower Sacramento River

I'm a technique geek as you've probably come to know. There is a definite technique to hooking playing and landing fish out of a drift boat and especially on the Lower Sacramento River. It's sort of a multi-step deal. I'll take you through it.

Adjust your Drag Properly

Adjusting the drag properly is probably the most important things to do before you start fishing. Having a reel with a good quality drag system is a must! The drag must be set so that when you have your rod tip up at about the 11:30 position it will feed line consistently and with the correct amount of tension. This will take a little experimentation. Set it right and it will enable you to catch fish, set it wrong and you consistently lose fish.

Setting Up and Managing the Drift

When casting your rigg from the drift boat, you typically want to keep at least 2 1/2 rod lengths away from the boat. You need to manage your drift properly. With that said, this means you need to mend either up or down stream depending what the currents are doing between you and the indicator, but the key is don't overdo it. The flies need to drift, not jigg. To do this you've got to let them drift. Set it up and let them ride. Better a little drag than constant jigging from micro managing your drift.

The technique is, cast the flies to the target area, throw a big upstream mend, or preferably a stack mend behind the indicator and let them run. You can manage the line closer to the boat and probably 1/2 way to the indicator, just try not to move the indicator. When it starts dragging to much or too much line gets downstream of the indicator, pick the rigg up re-cast and re-set the drift.

Rod Position During the Drift

Once you've got the drift set up, lower your hands to belly button level and point your rod tip at the indicator. Flip small mends upstream and downstream as necessary during the drift, making sure that you move the indicator as little as possible. Feed or strip in line as necessary to maintain your drift. Most times if you don't feed line occasionally the indicator will start getting very slowly pulled back towards the boat. Micro drag, this is a not good. Again with this said micro drag is better than jigging your flies.

The Set

If the indicator moves, and we're talking sometimes only 1/2 an inch, rotate your wrist up keeping the butt of the rod chest mid high to set. Rotating your wrist up brings the rod tip up vertically but keeps your hands "In the Box". By keeping your hands "In the Box" you can strip immediately if the fish runs towards you. This is all about line handling ability. As we all have probably done. raising your hands above your head with a fish is running towards you leads to many lost fish. Its just darn hard to keep up.

The Fight and Playing the Fish

The cardinal rule when fighting a fish on the Lower Sac and when fishing out of a boat is to keep the rod tip up. The bend of the rod and the drag of your reel is what will enable you to land big fish consistently. The drag needs to be set so that when the rod tip is high at the 11:00 to 11:30 position it will feed line as the tip bends without having to "give in" to the fish. The bend in the rod is your shock absorber that keeps you flies set tight in the trout's mouth and protects your terminal tippet. When you have to lower the rod position either because the drag is set too high or you feel you need to lower it because the fish is off to a big run the fish will win the battle. The fly will slip out or break off. Now this isn't saying you need to battle fish like a statue, its just that a keeping a high rod position is definitely preferable until the fish settles down.

Landing the Fish

Most of the times when fishing a big river like  the Lower Sacramento, you are rigged with an indicator and shot with 2 or 3 flies. The shot can be from 5' to 7 1/2 feet below the indicator. The flies are spaced approximately 18" apart. With 3 flies this can add up something like this.

Indicator to Shot = 7 feet
Shot to first fly = 18"
1st fly to 2nd fly = 18"
2nd fly to 3rd fly = 18"
Total = 11 1/2'

In the event the fish took your bottom fly and you reel up to your fixed indicator you are still 11 1/2 feet away from the fish. This takes a straight up lift with your arms over your head and a long handle on the net. It also takes skill ans some luck.


I spent a day fishing last week with my son Zack and fly fishing guide Mike Hibbard who showed us how to put all these techniques to the test. With his coaching we had a very respectable landing percentage. With that said you never catch them all.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Egg Bite - Using Glo Bugs on the Lower Yuba River

It's the last week of September and the salmon have just started moving into the Lower Yuba River system. A few have just started staging and are starting to dig their redds. Resident rainbows and steelhead will soon be staged behind them ready to gobble up protein from stray eggs drifting downstream where they wait. It is almost the time for the "Egg Bite" to ramp up. In this and a following article, I will discuss how to get ready for the "Egg Bite", flies to use, how to rigg them and the techniques to present them.
When the salmon are in the system in seems like the trout and steelhead know it before we do. They just sense the opportunity. When drifting the Lower Yuba I have noticed the trout get on the egg as early as August. There are usually a few "springers" still in the system and the days are starting to get shorter. The fish know its coming.

First a word on Wading Etiquette

For fishermen, fishing the redds creates a dilemma. We'd like to take advantage of the staging of the trout and steelhead, but when fishing with egg patterns, we must stay off the redds. We need to understand that by wading through or on top of the redds we may be destroying the salmon's future offspring. Look before you wade in. If you see bright clean gravel devoid off larger stones, Stay Out! Fish from the shore and cast below spawning salmon to where the trout and steelhead should be. Some people say it's OK to wade the ridges of the redds, but I and many of the guides think it's better not to. It's too easy to push gravel down on top of the salmon's eggs or let the current push you down inside the redd itself. Better safe than sorry.

OK, enough of the sermon, I just stepped off the pedestal.

Egg Patterns

There are basically three main types of eggs patterns (1) Glo Bugs (2) Beads, or (2)Alevin Patterns. The first two are used to imitate the eggs dropped by the salmon and the Alevin is to imitate the hatching fry still attached to the egg, sort of a salmon polliwog. The use of Trout Beads is somewhat controversial, abd has to do with th length that the hook trails behind the egg. I'll get to that in Part 2.

Today in this article, I'm going to focus on "Glo Bugs" and "Pettis" or "Surreal Eggs".

Glo Bugs or Yarn Eggs

You can tie or purchase Glo Bug patterns in a multitude of colors and sizes. They are tied using egg yarn.

The photo shows a box with every color of the rainbow, This is typical in Alaska, not quite as important here in Northern California. I usually carry about 4 or 5 colors in three sizes. Typically from about 6mm to as 10 mm. I'll usually start with a 8mm egg. The fish can get selective to a very specific color and its a game of experimentation to find out which color works on any given day. The newer the eggs the darker in color.

Some of the popular colors are champagne, peach, salmon egg, Shrimp pink and Steelhead Orange. They are available at almost every fly shop around. You can get tying instructions easily on the web. They are easy and fun to tie. Here's a photo showing some examples.

Pettis and Surreal Eggs

My favorite egg pattern is the "Pettis Egg". The Pettis Egg is tied with "Cascade" Egg Yarn. If you are going to tie this pattern buy the "Cascade" egg yarn, you will be disappointed if you don't. This pattern is often sold as a "Surreal Egg" which is the same pattern.

I tie the "Pettis Egg in the following colors with Cascade Egg Yarn. Baby Pink, Salmon, Yellow Roe, Champagne, and Flame. You will need to find a dark red or dark orange bead that the yarn is pulled over. These beads are also available from Cascade. The yarn provides sort of a halo around the dark bead. This is what makes it different and special.

Selecting the Right Color and Size

When trying to select the right color and size of egg to use you need to match the eggs of the Salmon in our Northern California Rivers. Salmon enter our rivers and spawn in seasonal waves. A spawning salmon may dig a redd in November, but there may also be drifting salmon eggs that were laid in the gravel weeks before. The trout will have a preference for a certain stage of the egg.

The only way to pick the right egg imitation is by experimentation, although early on the darker shade typically work well. You should carry lots of different eggs and sizes to cover all possible scenarios. Once you find a working solution, you'll need to stay alert because trout may change their preference during the day or on a different part of the river.


You can present eggs in 4 basic ways. (1) Dead drifting in runs under indicator (2) High sticking eggs at pronounced drop offs (3) Tight lining through the redds behind spawning salmon or (4) High sticking in the redds under indicator.

(1) Dead Drifting in Runs Under Indicator

For fishing in runs, I'll rigg up with a deep indicator rigg. I'll tie on a 7 1/2 foot or 9 foot 3x leader and place a large thing-a-ma-bobber about 18 inches down from the end of the flyline. Next, I'll tie a tippet knot about 6 feet down from the indicator to hold my shot. Finally I'll extend a 3x tippet to an egg and then trail the egg with a couple of nymphs. This is my basic deep nymphing rigg that I use all the time. The depth is changed by adding or subtracting tippet or raising or lowering the indicator.

Fish it dead drifted from a boat or from a stationary position from shore. The takes when fishing eggs are seldom subtle. This is opportunistic presentation and the fish in the runs often can't resist an egg dead drifted in the water column.

(2) High Sticking at Pronounced Drop Offs.

For fishing drop offs, you want to rig up with shot and indicator and set your indicator to above 1 1/2 times the depth of the run below the drop off. Use enough shot, more than you think, to get the flies down.

You will first be fishing this rigg on a tight line after making a straight line cast and then transitioning to a deep nymph dead drift presentation and finally holding the line and letting the flies swing up in the current.

Look for areas where there are pronounced drop offs of 3 feet or more. When salmon are in the system and moving up stream they often stop and rest at these drop offs. The resident rainbows and trout will be there with them.

Station yourself just opposite the drop off or slightly down stream from it and cast your flies up above the drop off, the cast wants to be more of a straight line cast. Hold up your rod tip to keep as much line off the water as possible and let the flies drop down into the drop. Don't mend when the flies land, just let them tumble down. Make sure you have enough shot to get the flies down deep. There can be takes right as they drop. Watch you indicator and the tip of your nymph line for any movement. Set at anything suspicious.

Once the flies drift down to just slightly below where you are positioned throw a big upstream mend or a stack mend and feed line downstream keeping a slight hook in you line, like a small "C" , and work the water below you.

Once you have dead drifted the flies as far down as is stll manageable clamp off the line and let the flies swing up in the current. This often brings on a strike. Fish it out until the flies swing below you. Let them hang and then re-cast.

Use the Borger Shot Gun method and methodically cover the water working from closer to farther out.

(3) Tight Lining Through the Redds

When the salmon are staged on the redds the resident rainbows and steelhead will often be waiting directly behind them waiting for stray eggs. Steelhead are know to actually come up and bump the salmon trying to shake loose some eggs. The key is to focus on the area behind the salmon. If you try to run your flies through a pod of salmon you will snag the salmon which is illegal. It's hard, but don't do it.

To rigg for fishing the redds with the tight line method you can shorten up your leader, use less shot and shorten the distance between your flies to about 12 to 14 inches. Often use two eggs of similar or diffeernt colors. Use a small thingamabobber or just use a Rio Nymph Line with the orange tip. Adjust the weight so the flies don't hang up and they just roll them through the redds.

The redds will be a series of rollers with gravel ridges with drops behind them. Position yourself slightly downstream or directly across from the targeted area. Cast to the ridges with a straight line cast, if salmon are not present, and and lead your flies through with your rod tip leading the way. If your indicator or the end of the line moves, set in a downstream direction. If your flies are running into a pod of salmon pick them up and then move downstream and fish behind them. If you do snag a salmon, shake the flies off as fast as you can. The thing is really try not to fishing amongst the salmon.

Back on my soap box. Please don't wade the ridges of the redds and definitely don't walk through them. End of lecture.

(4) Fishing the Redds with Indicator and Shot.

The alternate method for fishing the redds is to use a small indicator and light shot with a single or pair of egg patterns. You need to adjust you indicator so the distance from the indicator to the shot is equal to the depth of the deepest part of the redd. Any deeper and you will just hang up.

The technique is very similar to fishing the drop offs, the redds are basically a series of small drop offs. High stick the flies through the redds with a minimum of line on the water. Pick up if the rigg hangs up and re-cast.

This method works best on longer salmon redds with less ridges.


Be careful when fishing and wading around redds. The "Egg Bite" can provide some of the most fun and fast fishing the year.

Surreal Eggs from Iydlwilde

Here's some photo of "Surreal Eggs" that are available from Idywilde Flies

Surreal Egg - Shrimp Pink

Surreal Egg - Steelhead Orange

Surreal Egg - Salmon Egg

Surreal Egg - Peachy King

Surreal Egg - Pink Lady

Friday, September 26, 2014

Casting Tip - Water Load & Cast to the Bank

This summer I spent quite a few days on the Yellowstone River in Montana rowing my Fishcraft raft and helping my family to learn the technique of casting streamers and dry flies to the bank, looking for the brown trout or the occasional rainbow that hang right next to shore, tight to the bank hoping to get a grab on the fly. As much as I tried to get my son Zack and my Mom and Dad to get the flies right on the bank, their flies would mostly come up short. When they got it to the bank, hold on!

Typically, 6 inches from the bank would get a strike when 24" from the bank was mostly unproductive . Reach the bank and success would follow. When casting to the bank you just can't worry about hanging up and loosing flies, you've just got to go for it. If you take the risk you may end up with a trophy in your hands.

Here’s a tip to help overcome this problem when you're drifting down the river in a drift boat and pounding the banks.

(1)Start your cast with a tight line with the rod tip pointed low towards the river surface. Use the waters surface tension and frictional forces to load the rod.

(2) Smoothly accelerate the backcast and stop your rod at the 11:00 position.

(3) Load the rod on the backcast and apply smooth power forward to a stop, looking at the target on the bank through your thumb.

(4) Drift through and deliver the fly bank to the bank.

If you make the mistake of starting the cast with your rod tip high and straight in the air, there less loading, no initial rod flex, which ultimately shortens the cast stroke and usually requires unnecessary false casting.

When you load the rod from the waters surface, you give your cast a head start.Point to Remember, Start it low, and let it go!

That’s it!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kingfisher Drift Boat Build - Interior Raised Floors

The Kingfisher is designed with two raised level floors. One in the front casting position and one in the aft casting position. When I say level the front floor has a slight slope towards the center of the boat. The aft floor is relatively level. So the idea is to create a raised floor with 1x members that are fit to the correct height and width and then put in a floor made with 1/2" Okoume plywood. The process of building the raised floors is a multi-step process.

This is the front pedestal in position with the bottom scribed to the slope of the bottom. The side with the opening is 19" tall and the back side is about 16 1/2" tall.  I shimmed the pedestal level, scribed it, then cut it.

Scribing in the Pedestals

  • The first step is to cut the bottom of the two pedestals to conform to the slope of the bottom.
  •  marked the position of both pedestals on the floor with pencil lines.
  • The bottom at the front and rear of the boat has a slope to it. The pedestal has to be put into position and shimmed to be relatively level. This is a little bit suggestive as the boat's bottom is not flat. Support the bottom of the boat with scrap 2x4's so that the bottom of the stem and the transom are relatively the same. There is a spot where the boat sits when on the floor relatively level.  This is what you are after.
  • Once the boat is supported as is in it's "resting position", shim the pedestals and use a level on the top. I shot for dead level. I supported the side with the opening up with a 2x4 laid flat and then added shims to attain level.
  • Once the pedestal was level I use a compass/scribe to mark the line to cut the pedestal.
  • I cut the bottom with a jig saw with a blade to cut curves.
  • Once it was cut, I checked the fit and fine tuned it by re-scribing it. I used a random orbital sander to get the final fit.
  • I did this for the front and aft pedestal.

Epoxying the Pedestals

Here is the rear pedestal in position once it has been sealed and sanded
  • The next step was to give the pedestals a coat of clear epoxy. The pedestals will be painted so they just need one coat. 
  • I sealed the inside on one day and then the outside on the next. I sealed the edges and the opening.
  • Once the epoxy had dried I sanded the interior and exterior with 80 grit and then 100 grit.
  • I tabbed the front pedestal into place using 5 minute epoxy to establish its final position.

Installing the Anchor Tube

A piece of 3/4" electrical conduit that is about 5 feet long is installed along the centerline of the boat for the anchor rope to run through. The tube runs through the bottom of the aft pedestal and extends to under the rowers pedestal.
  • The electrical conduit first had to be cut to length. It needs to extend just through the rear pedestal and about half way to the rowers seat.
  • Once it was cut to length the conduit has to be bent and massaged to fit the contour of the bottom. I did this by placing one end of the conduit on a 4x4 and stepping on it to get the desired shape. This was a trial and error process. Bend it a little check it, bend it a little more and massage it into shape. 
  • I had to cut 2 slots in the front and rear of the aft pedestal for the conduit to run through.
  • Once I confirmed it all fit nicely, I duct taped the conduit into position and then mixed up a batch of epoxy peanut butter and tabbed the conduit in place. I let this set up overnight.
  • I then cut and fit a cross support that will form the vertical portion of the step up at the aft level floor. I had to cut a notch in the center for the conduit.
  • Once the support was checked for position and fit I used 5 minute epoxy to tab the cross piece into position.
  • I also tabbed the aft pedestal into position with 5 minute epoxy.
  • I then mixed up a batch of epoxy peanut butter and to fillet the entire conduit and the cross support into place.

Cutting and Fitting the Level Floors

This shows the floor scribed and fit onto place

Now for the tedious part. The fitting of the fore and aft floors is a meticulous process that you just need to take your time and get it right. 
  • The front level floor fits around the front pedestal. I started by laying out the circle for the pedestal. I also took rough measurements for the shape of the piece where it makes contact with the sides. The size of the floor from front to back is about 2'7". The bottom of the floor where it approaches the stem must be planed or sanded down to meet the rising bottom of the floor. This is like a scarf cut. it goes from 1/2" to zero in about 2 1/2". This joint will be "faired" with epoxy peanut butter and then will get a 4" glass strip across it.
  • I made a rough cut to get the approximate shape and then placed it in position. Guess what, it was too big. Just what I was hoping.  I scribed it about 4 times, nibbling a little at a time until it fit just right. The joint where the level floor hits the pedestal and the sides will eventually get a fillet and a strip of 4" glass so it just needs to be close. I got it pretty darn perfect.
  • There are two cross pieces that form the step up that will run from the sides and butt into the pedestal. These pieces are about 3 1/2" tall.
  • I also had to fit a cross piece that in placed at the front of the pedestal for additional support. This gets screwed into the pedestal and tabbed with 5 minute epoxy to hold it into place. 

This shows the front level floor wrapping around the front pedestal as it was being fit

Glassing and Sealing the Parts

The two floor pieces have been glasses and flow coated. You can see the taper cut into the aft floor piece that allows it to fit tightly to the floor.

Once the parts were fit I had to seal all of them with clear epoxy. This is a two or three day affair because you can only do one side at a time. The 2 floors pieces get glassed on both sides and then flow coated. The other parts just get flow coated.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Casting Tip - Roll Casting for Sucess

It seems like the roll cast is used so often, whether you fishing with bushes behind you, doing a roll pickup to re-deliver a dry fly or re-casting a nymph rigg when you're drifting down the river in a boat, that it should be on the top of everyone's list to practice and master. So basic and such an important technique to have at your call when you need it.

I’ll never forget the casting video with Mel Kreiger, when he explains that the delivery stroke/snap when making a roll cast is like cutting of the head of a chicken with a hatchet. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I mean.

Once you start using the roll cast you’ll notice that you use it more often than you realize. That's the key it should be second nature, something you don't have to think about.

The roll cast has two big advantages,

(1) it is a more stealthy cast as opposed to false casting over rising fish

(2) It enables you to present a cast with obstacles directly behind you like, willows, brush or a peanut gallery of people watching you, hopefully people that aren't laughing at you.

What are the keys to making a good roll cast?.

  • After pointing your rod at the flys strip in excess line until you are tight to your flies.
  • Gradually accelerate the rod backwards , drawing the line and flies towards you to build up speed and resistance.
  • As the rod tip and the line moves behind your shoulder, raise the tip up to a 1:00 position with your hand ending up by your ear.
  • Stop the Rod at that position
  • Change Direction and cast forward to your target looking through your thumb at the target.
  • Unfurl the cast to the targeted area.

Sounds easy, but there are a few common mistakes that we are all guilty of from time to time, such as;

  • Starting the roll cast with too much loose line on the water.
  • The rod tip is pointed straight up at the sky and in the wrong position to load properly.

Things to Remember.

(1) Retrieve the rod tip from a low position and keep noticeable tension on the line as it slices through the current.
(2) With this motion and when the time is right, lift the rod tip skyward
(3) Snap the rod forward and unfurling the line to your target.

Practice this stroke and get it down and you won’t be sorry that you spent the extra time..

Monday, September 22, 2014

Casting Practice - The Wiggle Cast

As I’ve stated before, I’ve always been a fan of Dave Hughes, his books introduced me to two casting techniques, the wiggle cast and the reach cast. By adding these two casts to your game you can just about present a dry fly, emerger or dry dropper combination in any situation. If you get a handle on these two techniques and combine them with a reach wiggle you’ll really have something going.

I’m going to go over the essence of the wiggle cast here.

The “wiggle” cast is also referred to as the “serpentine” cast, or a “S” cast. I learned it as the wiggle, so I’ll stick with it. As they say, “That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it”.

The essence of the cast is to place several coils or wiggles in the line as you complete the forward cast. Once accomplished, during the precious seconds that it takes for the complex currents to work the coils out of the line, your fly will have extra drag free drift while in the targeted zone. If you add a reach mend to the wiggle you'll get even more time in the zone.

As with many other casting tips, the line always follows the motion of the rod tip and it applies to the wiggle cast. When delivering the cast simply wiggle the rod tip sideways back and forth. The quicker you start the wiggle after the stop of the rod and beginning the drift forward to the target, the closer the wiggles will be to the end of your fly line. This is what you are shooting for.

If your wiggles do not reach the tip of the fly line, the best thing to do is to practice on the lawn, work on the timing until you get it down. It just takes practice.

Putting the Wiggle to use on the River
When on the river and putting the wiggle cast into practice, the cast works well when casting upstream or quartering upstream, but is a very serviceable cast at almost any angle.

The upstream wiggle cast requires establishing a position either straight across or off to the side of the targeted fish. The closer you can stealthily wade to get into position within reason the better, thirty or forty feet is desirable. Make a normal cast targeting a spot two to four or five feet above the targeted fish. While the loop of the cast lays out reach lay your rod over upstream, the reach cast, and at the same wiggle the rod tip briskly to add the serpentine colis to the line as it lands. This is the reach wiggle cast.

The downstream wiggle cast is a great technique to add to your arsenal. The downstream wiggle cast calls for a casting position anywhere from an arc of 30 to 60 degrees upstream from the trout. Don't position yourself so that you are directly upstream from a working trout. You may get away with it one time but then you'll be done. Pick up the cast one time and the fish will be headed downstream like a freight train. Stay to the side.

Make measuring forecasts well of to the side. You'll need to add extra line into your cast to make up for the wiggle and reach of your presentation cast. Aim your cast two to five feet above the position of the targeted fish and wiggle your rod tip briskly while the line loop unfolds. That should give you a nice drag free drift for your presentation.


Get out on the lawn, work on this and you will have success on the water. Tie the wiggle/reach cast to the tactics of stealthy wading and wading into the correct position to present your fly, and you will have trout dancing on your line.

“I guarantee it”.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Kingfisher Drift Boat Build - Pedestals

Hurray! It's time to start working on the interior of the Kingfisher. I've gone through about 6 gallons of epoxy and who knows how many sanding discs. I'm ready to start some woodworking again. The first thing for me to do is start building 3 pedestals. These pedestals will be used to mount the front and aft seats and the rowing seat.

Here are the 3 pedestals once the have been taken out of their respective forms. 

These seats will be constructed with laminated 3mm Okoume plywood. The first task is to build 3 forms to bend and laminate the respective shapes. The photo above from left to right shows the 3 pedestals once they have been released and cut to their final dimensions. The one on the left, the aft pedestal is the smallest. It will have a small door to access storage underneath. The two hoops in the middle are cut from one laminations and will become the base for the rowing seat. The large pedestal on the right will be for the front and is designed to store a "Yeti - Roadie" cooler.

It starts with the Forms

The first step is to build the forms that the 1/8" Okoume plywood will be bent around. Here's the steps.

  • Cut out a top and bottom out of 1/2" plywood for each sized pedestal. They should be exactly the same size.
  • Measure the length of each lamination making sure the are at least 1" longer than required. 
  • Determine the height of the pedestals. I cut all my 1/8" plywood pieces 19" wide.
  • Cut 3 - 2x4's for each pedestal 3" less than the width of the plywood. In my case it was 19" - 3" = 16".
  • Attach the 2x4's to the plywood tops so that you have basically a 3 legged stool
  • Attach the bottom and you now have a form.
  • Cover the edges of the plywood and the 2x4 edges with clear package tape so the epoxy will release from the form.
  • Pre-bend the laminations. Attach one of the 19" wide edges of each lamination to one of the 2x4 posts at the front.
  • Bend the laminations around the form and make sure they are the correct length.

Now Time to Laminate

You'll need clamps to help massage the laminations around the form and to keep them in place when the epoxy is setting up.

  • Coat the two plywood faces that will mate liberally with epoxy.
  • Attach the two sheets to one edge of the form with screws.
  • Bend and clamp the laminations around the form. I drilled 1 3/8" diameter holes in the top and bottom of the form to secure the clamps. See photo above.
  • Make sure the two pieces of plywood align on the edges as you bend them around the form.
  • Let them set up overnight.

Assembling the Pedestals

Once the pedestals come out of the form you need to cut them to size, sand the edges and then attach the top and front pieces.

  • The first step is to clean up the top edge of the pedestal. I was able to sand them flat without cutting them as they aligned nicely when epoxying them together.
  • I then cut out the pedestal faces out of 1/2" Okoume Plywood. 
  • I cut out the opening in the larger pedestal prior to attaching it.
  • I used waterproof Titebond Glue to glue and clamp the faces to the pedestals.
  • Once the glue had dried I scribed  pieces of 1/2" Okoume Plywood for the two tops. I marked them about 1/16" larger than the finished size.
  • I glued and clamped the two tops to the two pedestals. I cleaned up as much glue as possible once they were clamped.
  • Once the tops were set I used a pattern bit with a bearing to flush cut the tops to the sides.
  • I then used a 3/8" radius router bit and rounded the top edge and the edge at the sides.
  • Last step was to sand everything.
  • I sanded the radius at the edges to about 1/2"

Rowing Seat Hoops

The rowing seat hoops are bent on the same form as the front pedestal. They are 3 laminations of 1/8" plywood instead of two.

  • The rowing seat hoops are laminated with 3 pieces of 19" wide pieces of 1/8" Okoume plywood.
  • Same procedure as the pedestals.
  • Once they are released from the form they are cut into two hoops that are 7 1/2" wide. I used a jig saw to cut them.
  • Once they were cut into two hoops, I sanded the edges and the inside and outside surfaces.
  • I then had to layout slots in each hoop to receive a piece of white oak that was 13/16" wide x 2 1/2" tall that the actual rowers seat will be attached to. This piece needs to stick up about 1/2" above the top of the hoops.
  • I just used common sense and laid the cut out and used a jig saw to cut it and a sharp chisel to fine tune the ends of the slots.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Casting Practice - 40 feet in 4 seconds

I’ve always been a fan of Dave Hughes and have a ton of his books in my library. I’ve got one of them that I highlighted as I read it and he talks about the benefits of carefully and stealthily moving in position to make a shorter more accurate cast. This has stuck with me throughout my fishing career. I’ve never been a long distance caster and probably never will. So long to bone fishing.

If you can deliver a 40 foot cast when Mr. Trout raises his head to have a snack and put it on his nose you will be successful. Here is a drill to make you more accurate with you're presentation delivery.

Set Up

I set up a place on my lawn to do this drill and made 8 hoops that are 4 foot diameter, out of 1" diameter poly water pipe. I bought straight PVC connectors to join the hoops. Cut the pipe to lenght, pressed them together and was ready to go in about 30 minutes.

This drill is to hone these skills.

The Drill

(1) Find a nice grass area with a friend and lay out a course with targets. Take turns with this drill

(2) Place ten targets at a distance of 40 feet from a fixed casting position that are numbers 1 through 10. You can make 4 foot diameter hoops pretty easily out of inexpensive poly sprinkler pipe, sort of a homemade hula hoop.

(3) Have your partner call out random numbers.

(4) You have 4 seconds and one cast to put your fly within 2 feet of the target.

(5) Not fast enough, no good. Not close enough, no good.

Remember – Your cast doesn’t have to be long, it has to be on time and accurate.

Work on this and your casting accuracy will definitely improve. Once you think you've got it down and a reach cast on your delivery. Then a reach wiggle. You get the picture.

Have some fun with it!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tuning Up Your cast - The Newspaper Drill

I'd posted a the video from Kirk Deeter earlier and decided to add the tip to it and have them both in one place.

Here’s a drill to take out on the lawn to groove a straight rod path.

This drill helps you control the rod path and reinforces the principle that your line follows your rod path.If your aim tends to be wild and the path of the line seems to be roving all over the place, the problem can probably be traced to the fact that your casting arm is flailing around away from your body.To fix this, you need to embrace a compact, short stroke.

Here’s the drill.

  • Place a folded newspaper in the armpit of your casting arm.
  • Practice your straight line casting stroke.
  • If the newspaper falls from under your armpit, your arm is wobbling too wide.
  • Concentrate of compact shorter strokes.
That’s it! Groove this and your line will cast straighter and truer.

Here's a video from Kirk Deeter with a demo of this drill

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Axioms of Fly Tying and Hatch Matching

What the heck is an "axiom". Well Websters Dictionary states an "axiom" is "a fundamental principal widely accepted on its intrinsic merit".

I dug into my library and picked out a book, "Handbook of Hatches, second edition", I have the first edition by the way. It was written by, Dave Hughes, someone that has written many books on the art of fly fishing. I've got a bunch of them. I was inspired to dig into my library and refresh my perspective on "matching the hatch". It helped to meet Hogan Brown and watching him give his presentation on matching bugs and selecting and tying the correct fly patterns to match them at our local fly fishing club.

On the first page of the "Handbook of Hatches", after a short introduction Dave lists "Axioms" that outline his premises of the book. I'll share these axioms with you and hopefully inspire you to locate a copy of this book.

These Axioms give a different perspective on how to go about designing fly patterns to match the hatches anywhere that you fish, west coast, Rocky Mountains, east coast or even other countries.

Major Axioms

Axiom #1 - Within each of the three major orders of fly fishing insects, caddis, mayflies, and stoneflies, adults of all species have the same shape.

Axiom #2 - Within each important order of aquatic insects, all species can be matched with size and color variations of the same pattern style.

Axiom #3 - Endless study of someone else's work will never tell you what insect hatches are important on your own home waters

These three axioms are examples of some of the basis of his "Fish don't read Latin" approach to designing and tying fly patterns to match the hatches all over the world. His approach demystifies the process of fly selection and will allow you to approach your local waters with confidence and with success.

(1) Learn to identify the three main insect types

(2) Take stream samples to see what bugs live in your home waters

(3) Take notes and samples and take that knowledge back to your fly tying desk.

(4) Pick out a bug out of the water, place it in a small white dish, place your fly selection in the dish next to it and verify it's the correct size, shape and color.

Your rod will be throbbing a little later if you've matched it right.

Minor Axioms

Minor Axiom #1 - Choose your pattern style based in part on the type of water on or in which the pattern will be fished.

Minor Axiom #2 - See the whole day. On any extended fishing trip be on the water from daylight until dark, watching the water, on the first or second day of any trip. After that you'll know the best times to be on the water and the safe times to take your leisure.

Minor Axiom #3 - On stillwaters or small moving water an important rule is to suspect midge pupae whenever trout are rising but you can't see what they're taking.

Minor Axiom #4 - Anything you can learn about trout will increase your ability to catch them, whether the information is applied immediately in the form of an imitation tied to your tippet at once, or becomes a part of your body of knowledge about trout and the world in which they live and is applied over time.

These Axioms are tied to chapters in the book and has many common sensible examples of putting them to use. I again would strongly recommend picking up this book and it may change you perspective on fly design and matching the hatches on your home waters. I guarantee it!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Kingfisher Drift Boat Build - Fairing

I've been working on "Fairing" the bottom and flow coating the Biaxial cloth on the chines. This is basically adding multiple layers of epoxy over the Biaxial Cloth that goes over the exterior chines and working on smoothing out the bottom.

I'm planning on painting the bottom and up the sides about 4" with a product called "Durabak". It's a truck bed liner that you can apply yourself. It goes on pretty thick and comes in a "Smooth" version. So when you consider that I'll be painting on a 1/8" of rubber, I'm not sure how smooth I need to get the bottom and the chines. I'm working on the premise that I want to completely fill the Biaxial fiberglass cloth and the 8 ounce fiberglass cloth on the bottom.

This photo shows the chine with the Biaxial cloth with 2 flow coats of  epoxy. It still needs at least two more coats to be completely filled.

Tips for filling the Biaxial Cloth 

A couple of things to mention. Epoxying a near vertical surface (the sides) is a PITA. There's a reason you glass and flow coat the sides before you stitch the boat together. You're working on a flat surface. Once the boat is stitched its a different ballgame. Now to do the chines and fill the Biaxial cloth you're dealing with a sloping side that is near vertical.

Its a little hard to see but the Biaxial Cloth is real close to being filled and it has been "faired" towards the center. I'll sand on it tomorrow and see how much more I need to do.

You flow coat the epoxy with a 3" foam roller and then tip it with a brush to smooth it out. The next thing you know is its running and dripping down. I masked off the sides to within 3 1/2" of the chine and am I glad I did. It would have been a mess. After each flow coat I have to pull the tape and then re-mask the sides before the next coat. So far I've  put on two flow coats on the sides where Biaxial cloth is. I'm going smooth it out it by sanding with my half sheet sander and call it good for now.

I'm going to concentrate on "fairing" the bottom now and do the rest of the vertical chine when I flip the boat back over. That way it will be running down instead of all over the sides.

Fairing the Bottom

I used a 36" wide piece of Kevlar placed right down the middle. It's the yellow you see in the photo above and below.  I then covered the entire hull will 8 ounce fiberglass. I added a strip of 8 ounce fiberglass on both edges where the Kevlar didn't reach the chines. So essentially I have two layers and then the Biaxial cloth on the chines. What has happened is that the fiberglass cloth is not entirely filled so it needs to be filled and the "faired". This means making it flat.

Here's a shot from the transom end. The whitish color on the bottom is where I "faired" it with the epoxy mixed with "Microballoons". I'm going to sand it tomorrow and see what I've got.

I mixed up a batch of epoxy and then added "microballoons". This is a filler than is easier to sand than wood dough. You mix the epoxy for about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes and than add the microballoons. It looks like "glass powder". I mixed it so that it still flowed pretty well, dumped it on the bottom and then used a squeegee to spread. it. You essentially, fill, let it harden, sand it, fill the low spots again, and keep going until it's either perfect of good enough to put truck bed liner on. I'm still trying to figure how flat that is. It will probably end up being pretty close to perfect. I'm using a Makita 7" Random Orbital Grinder/Sander to rough it it. Then I'll switch to the half sheet sander as it gets flatter. One nice thing is that you can use 80 grit and call it good. On the sides I'm taking it to 240.

So tomorrow will be a sanding day with maybe some more "fairing" to do. Whoppee!

Casting Tip - Applied Power - Too Much, Too Soon

I just started helping a local high school teach their students the art of fly casting. Many casting errors are traced to these two main causes, breaking the wrist and incorrectly applied power at the pickup of the line off the water and in this case the grass.

We’ll concentrate on the second problem here. Many anglers start their cast by picking up the line with their rod parallel to the water and then applying too much power, with too much slack line on the water. This creates an extremely large loop and will not load the rod properly. The angler spends the rest of the cast sequence trying to tighten up the loop. Bad start equals bad delivery in most cases.

The cure of this malady is to begin the cast by stripping in excess line, and then smoothly lifting the rod tip to 10:00, not 1:00. This sets the rod up for a short, quick power stroke.

Try this next time you're on the water and you'll see a difference.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Techniques - Bounce Nymping

Note: I received an email from Ralph Cutter that said that a California Department of Fish & Game officer informed him that the Bounce method where you have a weight below your flies is illegal in California. After some research into the DFG code book it appears from the Department of Fish & Game that Ralph is right,


· (a) Except as otherwise authorized, all fish may be taken only by angling with one closely attended rod and line or one hand line with not more than three hooks nor more than three artificial lures (each lure may have three hooks attached) attached thereto. Anglers in possession of a valid two-rod stamp and anglers under 16 years of age may use up to two rods in inland waters which regulations provide for the taking of fish by angling, except those waters in which only artificial lures or barbless hooks may be used. See District Trout, Salmon and Special regulations for exceptions.
(b) Maximum Gaps and Gear Rigging for Rivers and Streams unless otherwise provided (does not apply to lakes and reservoirs, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (see Section 1.71 for definition of the Delta), and the Colorado River).
· 1. No person shall use any single hook with a gap greater than 1 inch or any multiple hook with a gap greater than 3/4 inch.
· 2. It is unlawful to use any hook which is directly or indirectly attached closer than 18 inches to any weight exceeding 1/2 ounce.
· 3. It is unlawful to use any multiple hook or more than one single hook on non-buoyant lures exceeding one ounce.
· 4. It is unlawful to use any weight directly attached below a hook.

I have a friend, John, who I fished the Upper Sacramento River with, and I watched as he vacuumed a run right in front of my eyes. He was using a very tight line and kept most of his fly line off the water. As I've since discovered he was "bounce nymphing".

I came across an article in "Fly Fisherman" magazine, written by Larry Tullis. I'll give you a dose of his medicine.

Bounce Nymphing

Any of us that have spent any time nymphing know that trout feed subsurface most of the time. In streams and rivers the bugs drift along in the current and are gobbled up by trout waiting for food to come to them.

Most of this “nymphing” occurs in the lower third of the water column. Of all of the myraid of nymphing rigs and techniques to catch these deep-feeding trout but none is more productive than the uncommon method I call "bounce nymphing". This nymphing style keeps the flies suspended close to the bottom, at nose level to the trout, much longer than regular nymphing.

"Bounce Nymphing" is said to have originated in Utah by Provo River anglers to describe their technique of fishing nymphs on a spin or fly rod with monofilament line and a spinning reel. Larry Tullis experimented and adapted this method's best traits to fly-fishing tackle, and it’s now his favorite nymphing system. It is a recommended method for guides to use with beginning fly fishers to help them catch fish. More experienced anglers have started to use the method regularly because they recognize its advantages. "Bounce Nymphing" with small nymph imitations is especially good for selective fish in heavily fished waters, but this technique works in most places and with most nymphs.

Bounce Advantages

When fishing using slack-line nymphing methods, typically with indicators and shot, the fly:
(1) Takes a long time to get into the strike zone near the stream bottom.
(2) Sinks, and it is near the bottom only a short time before it swings up at the end of the drift.
(3) Hangs up on the bottom when you use heavy weights to overcome these problems.

High Stick Nymphing

When you use High Stick Nymphing methods

(1) High-stick nymphing keeps little slack in the system.
(2) You can keep the nymphs at the right level and detect strikes quickly, but you can’t fish effectively at long distances.
(3) Drifts are short, so this works only in swift, shallow water where you can approach the fish closely.
(4) The slight tension on the line common in high-stick nymphing sometimes discourages selectively feeding trout.

Bounce Nymphing

When you are using the "Bounce Nymphing" method

(1) The weight is on the end of the leader with two short droppers above. This keeps the flies suspended just off the bottom and slows the flies to more closely match the speed of the naturals in the slower water near the stream bottom.
(2) The "Bounce Nymphing" method keeps the flies near the bottom two to three times longer than other nymphing techniques because the flies sink quickly and don’t “ride up” until the very end of the drift.
(3) Because there is no hook on the end of the leader, this rig also reduces the number of stream-bottom hang-ups. Several small split-shot in a row, or some other weighting methods (see sidebar), rather than one large split-shot reduces the likelihood of the weight wedging between rocks and makes weight adjustment easier. Tie an overhand knot on the end of the leader to keep the weights from slipping off.

Rigging for the "Bounce Nymphing" Method

(1) The distance between your buoyant foam or yarn strike indicator and the bottom weights should be about three times the water depth.You can fish a bounce-nymph rig without a strike indicator, but it works better with a visual reference.
(2) It is recommended to use leaders from 8 to 16 feet long.
(3) Start with a 7-foot tapered leader and add 3 to 9 feet of 3X to 6X tippet. The long, thin monofilament allows the nymphs to sink faster and stay down without being pushed upward by the current. Use as light a tippet as possible given the size of the flies, the water conditions, and the size of fish you expect to catch.
(4) Place the droppers 6 to 12 inches apart and keep them short (2 to 5 inches) to help avoid tangles. The bottom dropper should be about 6 to 12 inches above the weights. To make a dropper, connect two tippet sections using a double surgeon’s knot or blood knot. Clip the upper tag end and leave the lower tag end long enough to attach the fly.

"Bounce Nymphing" Technique and Tactics

The "Bounce Nymphing" rig is designed to drift with a tight line between the weights and the strike indicator and a slack line between your rod tip and the strike indicator.

This gives you the advantages of both slack-line and tight-line nymphing. The taut portion drifts more slowly than the surface currents because of the weights dragging and bouncing along the bottom. This taut section transmits strikes better than standard nymphing rigs where there is often slack between the flies and the indicator.

The indicator bounces and twitches as the weights negotiate along the stream bottom, but the rig should not hang on the bottom if you use the right amount of weight. The flies should not drag on the bottom; they should drift suspended 2 to 12 inches above the stream bottom, so do not use weighted flies.

For "Bounce Nymphing", it is recommended to use a 9-foot, 4- or 5-weight rod with a clean and conditioned floating line. Lighter lines are great if you can cast them with weight. Heavier rods and lines cast weights better, but the stiffness and water resistance of heavier lines reduces their effectiveness at achieving a natural drift.

I personally have fished the method using a 9'6", 6 weight with a 4 weight line. and have seen people use as light as 2 weight lines.

Casting the "Bounce Nymphing" Rigg

The most important thing to remember is that you don’t cast the fly line so much as lob the indicator and flies, keeping a wide-open loop. If you try casting this rigg with a tight loop you will constantly be tangled up.

It is essential to start the cast with no slack line between the rod tip and the weight. If you have slack in your system, strip in line or allow the current to pull the line tight to eliminate the slack before you cast. Using water tension to help load the rod, you can often cast the flies from downstream to your target in one smooth stroke.

If you must false-cast to lengthen your distance, wait at the end of each stroke for the leader to straighten and the weights reach to the end of their trajectory before you start the next stroke. A tight loop with a sudden stop will cause tangles and you will spend more time unraveling the mess than fishing. Work on developing gradual stops and starts for an overall smoother cast and fewer tangles.

The most common presentation is often to cast up- and across-stream and drift the flies down below where you are positioned.

You can cast straight upstream with slack between the rod tip and the indicator so the line does not pull the indicator in any unnatural direction. This requires steady line control.

It is a good idea to try to keep the indicator downstream of the flies. This keeps the line tight between your indicator and flies and helps instantly transmit any strikes. The indicator twitches and jerks as the weights bounce along the bottom, so don’t set the hook until the indicator stops or you see something else unusual. Often, the tight line and tension from the indicator causes the trout to hook itself.

In fast or deep water use a tuck cast to sink the nymphs to the bottom faster. Combine the tuck cast with a reach mend for the perfect drift. Mend the line upstream to introduce more slack or eliminate a downstream belly of line that may pull the indicator downstream too quickly.

When you make a full mend to the indicator, follow it by wiggling out more slack line for a longer drift. When the indicator is downstream, you can also lower your rod tip and wiggle out extra line to extend your drift. Add a small downstream belly to your line if you want to speed up a drift that is dragging on the bottom too much.


"Bounce Nymphing" is not intended to replace other nymphing methods. It’s just another effective tactic to add to your all around game. "Bounce Nymphing" works best in gravel runs, riffles, and troughs to about six feet deep with moderate to fast currents. Slow currents make it more difficult to get a good bounce going but it works fine if you downsize your weights and strike indicator.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sage DXL Typhoon Waterproof Boat Bag

There is a lot of gear out there and boat bags are one of them. If you're fishing in a boat it's a good idea to have one bag that you can take along with you in the boat that has what you need for a day on the water. SAGE has just come out with a new water proof boat bag called the DXL Typhoon Boat Bag.

This new bag has a lot of features, making it the "most feature intense waterproof boat bag ever made".

Some of it's features are;

  • Large main compartment with waterproof zipper contains four modular dividers that you can set up any way you like.
  • It has a built-in front flap features a fast/simple one-handed secure closure system... you can leave the main compartment unzipped in the boat, and secure the flap to keep the lid closed and the rain or splash water out. This flap rolls up and secures to the top of the bag via built-in magnets when not in use .
  • A built-in waterproof CLEAR pocket on the inside on the main compartment lid protects your cell phone, wallet & items you to keep your eye on.
  • Full-length zippered pocket in the top side of the lid for maps, leaders etc.
  • Large storage pocket with additional mesh storage on the outside, all zippered.
  • Large zippered mesh pocket along the front is perfect for tippet dispensing.
  • The left side has a roll down pocket that contains a tool tray (holds split-shot, beads, pliers, etc.) and fly patch... both can be removed and placed on the top of the bag while fishing via Velcro fasteners, replaced to pocket when done.
  • Fully adjustable shoulder-strap easily cinches down to be used as a carry handle, or can be secured up tight to the back of the bag (out of the way) when it's in use in the boat. 21" x 12" x 13" (1953 cu. in.)

Here's a Video I found at that shows the DXL Typhoon bag's features. It's a good one. The password is sage

Sage boat bag from Rollcast Productions on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Kingfisher Drift Boat Build - Glassing the Exterior Chines

I've been side tracked with some other projects for a couple of days, but I've been able to catch up and do a few things when I've had a moment here and there. I drove to Santa Rosa and did a presentation "The Seasons of the Lower Yuba", That was a lot of fun. I also helped Mike Williams with a spey day for the GCFF club on the Lower Yuba. So I've been mixing a few other things in.

Here's some of the things I've crossed off the list during the past week;

  • Once the rounded transom was installed I had to fill the gap between the Plascore bottom and the vertical portion of the transom. I used epoxy peanut butter that was very stiff, it needed to be thick enough not to run down and through the gap.
  • Once the gap was filled, I sanded the peanut butter and finish sanded the mahogany plywood on the inside of the rounded transom.
  • I flow coated the mahogany plywood on the inside of the transom with two coats of epoxy.
  • Once the flow coat was dry I sanded the surfaces and prepared the rounded transom at the junction of the bottom to receive the bi-axial cloth. 
  • I had previously applied the bi-axial cloth on all the interior chine everywhere except where I still had to install the rounded transom.
  • I had to do about 3 lin. feet of Bi-axial at the stern.
  • Once the Bi-axial cloth had dried overnight I sanded the entire interior chine with 80 grit with my random orbital sander.
  • I sanded the interior sides with 220 grit and cleaned everything up, epoxy drips, pencil marks etc.
  • I cut a temporary spreader at the stern area to use as a template for the final one. I fit it and installed it.
  • I cut the bottom stretchers to fit, (they were both short when cut to the dimensions shown on the plan). I also reinforced them by adding gussets(4) scribed to the sides.
  • I added gussets (4) to the top spreaders  
  • I vacuumed up the inside and got Zack to help me flip the boat over.
So here's a video that shows the progress through today, Saturday.

 I've got the

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Lower Yuba River in Fall

I created the Fly Fishing Traditions Blog in November of 2009. It's been quite a journey. I've been keeping a journal of my fly fishing adventures for over 4 years. Needless to say there's quite a bit of information packed between those pages. With that said, keeping a fishing journal is the best thing I ever did. I can't tell you how much you can improve your fishing by starting your own journal. Start one the next time you get out there. As they say "Just Do It".

One of the reasons I started the journal was to keep track of how the Northern California rivers I fished progressed through the seasons. What flies worked, what bugs were happening, what techniques and rigging were utilized. What went on with my fishing buddies, my family and especially my son Zack. Notes, photos, video they tell a story about fly fishing and my life.

I'll start here with my other goal which was to share my experiences of fishing through the four seasons on the Lower Yuba. As for people that have spent much time fishing it, the Yuba can be challenging, fickle to down right humbling. My journal has documented these sentiments over the years with some discoveries along the way. I'll start with the Fall season and eventually work my way through the summer. Hopefully the stories will help you gear up for the change of the upcoming seasons.

Fall on the Lower Yuba River

When fall rolls around on the Lower Yuba River, which I will arbitrarily designate as September 1st when the river is closed to fishing above the Parks Bar Bridge, it's a time of reduced flows, salmon and fewer hatches. The river flows have been reduced to the level of about 900 cfs which is mandated by the powers that be to protect the spawning habitat of the chinook salmon. The resident rainbow trout are starting to feel the change of the seasons and their instinct is to eat and get ready for the winter. In the fall this means the egg bite and other large bites will be prime. The rigging for the fall is built around presenting egg patterns. This doesn't mean that the bugs will take a back seat. It just means keep an egg on.

The Egg Bite

In 2009, the salmon were in the system in early September and the egg bite was on from the beginning. This year as of the second week of September the salmon have shown up in small numbers, a few here and there below the bridge, and there are no noticeable redds. This is sort of how it goes, the salmon move into the season once the first big storm comes in and a flush of water goes through the system.

You need to have a good supply of eggs to be ready for this event. My egg pattern of choice is the "Pettis Egg" or the "Unreal Egg" which are basically the same pattern. I carry the "Pettis Eggs" in 4 colors for the Yuba. I also carry a box of "Trout Beads" in two sizes and a variety of colors. I keep them in a separate box, an Ovris M4 compartment box, with beads, toothpicks and egg hooks. The trick is to paint the beads with fingernail polish before you head out as they will take on a more realistic look. I typically rigg up with an egg at the point and then trail 2 nymphs behind the egg. about 12 to 16 inches apart. I'll talk about the nymphs a little later.

One bit of advise is to hit the river early and late for the egg bite and fishing behind spawning salmon. The egg bite changes to more of a bug bite once the sun hits the water in mid morning and through the mid day.

Flies in My Box

Pettis Egg

Unreal Egg


Fox's Fertilizer

The Lower Yuba River Bugs of Fall

The Lower Yuba River supports a lot of bugs, so there are a lot of nymphs for the fish to choose from. There can be afternoon caddis hatches and BWO's coming off on overcast and drizzly days. There is also the Isonychia mayfly that comes into play typically in September.

As far as patterns, I carry a lot of patterns, way too many. I am going to mostly recommend using Hogan Brown's patterns as he is our local boy wonder and I am partial to that. On top of that his patterns work. As for most patterns, almost any pattern will work if you take the time to check that the profiles is correct, the size is right, and the color is reasonably close. This holds to be true whether you tie your own flies or purchase them, Do your streamside sampling and you will be headed in the right direction, before you spend the time or money.

Isonychia Mayfly

Starting in September it is a good idea to pick up some "Hogan's Isonychia nymphs". This hatch starts in early to mid September and peaks at the end of September. They are large nymphs and are a meal for the resident trout. The Nymphs are a blackish/purple color with a long slender swimmer nymph profile and the adult is a dark purplish/gray. When the fish are keyed in on the hatch they will eat the nymph all day and hit the adults when presented. Leading up to and during the hatch fish will key on swung adults in the riffles and runs.

Fish this pattern under an indicator with plenty of split shot and then if you see shucks from the nymphs on the shoreline and anticipate the hatch has been coming off, swing this bug through runs and tail outs prior to the hatch starting. Once a hatch starts, fish a parachute adams to match the size of the adult.

For nymphing, I'll typically use my 9'6 Sage XP or Z-Axis, 6 weight or sometimes I'll string up my 11'6" Sage Z-Axis Switch Rod. I can use the switch rod for fishing under indicator, tight line nymphing, or swinging flies using spey casting techniques. If you haven't tried casting a switch rod, put it on your list.

For dries, I'll have my 9'0" Sage XP, 5 weight ready to go.

Flies I'd Put in My Box

Hogan's Isonychia Nymph - See Photo at Right

Parachute Adams #10


There can be afternoon caddis hatches on the Lower Yuba up until the weather turns colder and we move into the Winter Season. The caddis nymphs are around. Turn over some rocks take some samples and match size and color. Same thing with adults. You can catch a hatch progressing in the afternoons and the trout may look towards an E/C caddis type fly or you may have some fun swimming soft hackles in the runs below the riffles or in the tailouts. Swinging soft hackles is one on my favorites things to do and finding the opportunity to do it in the fall is special.

For nymphing, I'll typically use my 9'6 Sage XP or Z-Axis, 6 weight.

For dries, I'll have my 9'0" Sage XP, 5 weight ready to go.

Flies I'd Put in My Box

Hogan's "Yuba Pupa " Olive - See Photo at Right

Hogan's Chubby Cousin –Peacock

Hogan's Good & Plenty Nymph

Hogan's The Drifter

Hogan's Spring Fling Pupa

Hogan's Yuba Pupa – Dark Olive

Hogan's Last Call Caddis – Olive

Hogan's Yuba Emerger – Tan - See Photo at Right

E/C Caddis

Fox Pupa - Olive, Dark Olive, Cinnamon

Soft Hackles


The fall can turn to a small bug mayfly bite, similar to the Lower Sacramento River where you need small micro mayflies to be effective. The mayfly nymphs are important all year, but the micro-mays really come into play during the fall. Most people just don't go small enough. We're talking 18's and 20's. It becomes a dead drift game. Your favorite indicators, fine tippets shot and fished deep in the slots when necessary.

Developing a tight line deep nymphing technique and rigg can really pay off in the fall. With the river being down to 900 cfs. Fish can hang out in the deep holes and slots for protection, sanctuary and for feeding on bugs, eggs and streamers down deep. Getting your presentation down there is the key. Tight lining with lots of shot is the way to go to access these fish.

When the BWO's are out you can have the opportunity to rigg up a dry rod and cast to rising fish in the flats and back eddies. Fishing cripples in the scum line in the eddies can yield fish on top. If you're in a boat, keep a dry rod strung up and ready to go.

For nymphing, I'll typically use my 9'6 Sage XP or Z-Axis, 6 weight or sometimes I'll string up my 11'6" Sage Z-Axis Switch Rod.

For dries, I'll have my 9'0" Sage XP, 5 weight ready to go.

Flies I'd Put in My Box

Hogan's Tungsten Bead Exploding Baetis

Hogan's Better Baetis

Hogan's Military May - See Photo at Right

Hogan's S&M Nymph

Hogan's Steelie May

Hogan's SIM’s Mayfly Emerger

Hogan's The Sipper – BWO, PMD

Mighty Mites



There are Skawla, Golden and a few Yellow Sally stoneflies in the Lower Yuba River. They can get knocked loose and be in the drift below riffles all year long. A large rubber leg stone pattern can be utilized as a big meal ticket in the fall. I sometimes rigg with a Rubber Legs Stone, an Egg pattern and then trail another nymph of choice. They may not take the stone but I believe that it gets them looking. I fish the rigg with a 9'6" Sage XP or Z-axis, 6 weight.

Flies I'd Put in My Box

Hogan's Rock & Roller – Brown

Hogan'sYuba Rubber Leg Stonefly Nymph - See Photo at Right

Hogan's Chubby Cousin- Golden

Hogan's Good & Plenty Nymph – Brown

Hogan's Rock & Roller – Golden

Hogan's Two Tone Stone

Mercers Poxy Back Stone

Superfloss Rubber Legs

The others - Attractors, Streamers

In the fall some people do nothing but swing flies, olive colored streamers and soft hackles. They target the river for swinging flies and fish the tailouts and runs with the correct current speed to swing their flies at just the right speed. This of course is somewhat of an art form and you've just got to get out there and start trying. This is where a switch rod can really pay off. As I've mentioned before I use a 11'6" Sage Z-Axis Switch Rod which I think is matched perfectly to the Lower Yuba. You can accomplish much of the same thing with a 7 weight. Take a lesson and find out what spey and switch casting is all about. It's fun. When you hook up a Yuba half-pounder on the swing its something you won't forget, even if it leaves you with a limp line instead of a fish in the net.

And lastly, of course there's the attractors that we all carry in our boxes and as long as they match, profile, size and reasonable color they'll work.

Hogan's Red Headed Step Child - See photo at Right

Copper John's

Pheasant Tails

Flashback Pheasant Tails

Birds Nest

Skips Nymph

Hares Ears

San Juan Worm

In Summary, remember, and these points are true for all 4 seasons of the year.

(1) Match the profile of the bug you're imitating. Use a real bug to do so. Do your stream sampling.

(2) Match the size of the bug your imitating. Put the big you've caught in your fly box and compare sizes.

(3) Match the color as close as you can.

Trout Don't Read Latin!

And most of all have some fun out there!!!


The information about the Isonychia Hatch is from