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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

O.A.R.S-Rafting for Conservation

O.A.R.S. - Rafting for Conservation from Mikey Wier on Vimeo.

This summer, veteran rafting outfitter O.A.R.S. has donated six fully outfitted rafting trips over the course of two days down the Mokelumne River on the border between Calaveras and Amador counties in the Sierra Nevada Foothills.  To date, the Angels Camp-based organization has helped raise nearly $10,000 to help fund the Foothill Conservancy and their efforts to support National Wild and Scenic River designation for the Mokelumne River.

 The Foothill Conservancy’s mission is to protect, restore, and sustain the natural and human environment in Amador and Calaveras counties for the benefit of current and future generations. Currently, the greatest threat to the area is an East Bay Municipal District (EBMUD) plan to expand Pardee Reservoir – which would inundate some of the river – destroying a popular whitewater run and flooding some of the best riparian habitat left on the lower reaches of the Mokelumne.

 To prevent this from happening O.A.R.S. and the Foothill Conservancy hope that you will join the growing list of businesses, organizations, and individuals who support National Wild and Scenic River designation for the Mokelumne River.

Add your name to the support list today at! 

Monday, July 20, 2009

Massive Trout Tail.

O.K.,O.K. Everyone keeps asking about the big cuttie, or cut bow or what ever it is.  So here's the deal.  I was out for a hike with my roomate and his girlfriend to Far Lake.  I wasn't planning on fishing much if at all, but of course i had some fishing stuff with me.  It's a place with allot of water and allot of water takes allot of time to cover and we had other adventure on our minds.  We were way out on a far shore and from the trail i noticed a couple fisherman near where a seasonal feeder flowed in.  It was odd to see other anglers out there so i stopped for a closer look.  It was a guy and a girl with spinning rods. I watched from in the bushes as she pulled a decent trout from the deep dark water.  They flopped it on the rocks he whacked the shit out of it.  I was bummed i had to witness that, but i took a mental note that there must be some trout in that area.  Later in the day, we passed that spot again.  The other fisherman were gone.  I figured it had already got whacked, but what the heck, i have a few minutes and i'll throw a few cast.  

As i neared the water i was looking, looking, looking like I always do.  In a crack between some big boulders i spotted a face looking up at me.  It was a trout face.  Clearly a rainbow.  We made eye contact.  I threw my streamer at it.  A few small bubbles came up as it laughed at me and disappeared into the deep.   I yelled up at my buddy, "Hey, there's a trout in here.  I'm going to fish for a few." Since the trout had already laughed at my favorite streamer, i decided to probe the deep with some nymphs.  After about fifteen minutes of slow fishing in deep water with a size 12 stonefly nymph, my line stopped.  First i thought i snagged the bottom again.  Then came the huge thud and i could feel i was into something with some weight behind it.  It started making massive body bends that translated into huge pulsating thumps down my rod.    i reefed back and we danced.  He went this way and that and stayed deep.  There was some, for sure loose the fish, snags near by that i tried with all my rods might to steer him away from.  

After several minutes of this, he rose from the depths.  I saw his color and shape and started to shake.  I knew it was a cuttie and the fish of a lifetime.  I could also see my little nymph barley sticking out of the tip of his upper snout.  

He looked at me and i looked at him.  He ran out away but near the surface of the water.  I thought this is it, he's not stopping and i'm going to loose him.  Then all of a sudden he stopped and turned around.  He started heading right at me.  I was perched knee deep on just a small foothold that was the only place in the boulders i could stand and cast a fly and possibly land a fish without dragging it over rocks and jacking it all up.  I didn't have a net, but at this moment i wished i had.  I stripped in line as fast as i could and he just kept coming.   Right at me.  He came in like a torpedo.  Trying to take out my knees.  The first week spot he could see from the water.  I juked as best i could and lifted a leg.  He went through my legs and banked off the rock. I lifted my leg over the line and my rod and barely managed to keep my balance on one leg without going in.  He ran out again and made an attempt at a jump.  His massive flanks barely clearing the water as he pulled a 180.  He came in again fast and this time with his mouth open.  I could see the glean of his razor teeth.  In a split second i switched the rod from my right hand to my left.  I leaned sideways and just as he came in for my leg i tried to punch in in the side of the face.  My fist grazed off his this boney head but managed to knock him off course enough to deflect his attack.  

In a second he was back off the rocks and turned for another assault.  He shot in fast and I tried to give him a left foot kick because my right foot was on the best foothold.  He swirled around me trying to wrap my legs like how Luke took out the At At's in The Empire Strikes back. I pulled a Karate Kid and switched feet with a quick jump.  I raised my left leg high.  Distracted, he glanced at it for a split second.  It was all i needed to swan kick his ass in the side.  He turned up on his side and in fish talked yelled "Uncle".  I tried to make a quick grab at his tail.  I couldn't get my had around it with any kind of grip.  I didn't want to grab his gill, so i went for the jaw.  I grabbed his lower right jaw bone hard with my thumb in his mouth and four fingers dug into the lowers of his outside mouth.  Chomp once, Chomp twice.  He cut a tick tack toe board into my hand.  I let go and he thrashed like mad.  I thought he was gone but my rod came tight.  Somehow he was still on my line.  We were both winded, but i knew i had to whip him in round two.  

I wanted to climb the top rope at that point and DDT his ass.  Instead i just played him out.  Give and take, give and take.  In the end, it was my high priced graphite that whipped his ass.  He once again played dead and rolled to the top.  He opened his massive jaw and i took it as a sign he was giving up.  i mistook the white of his massive mouth for a white flag.  i took the bait and once again went in for the grab.  As soon as i had a tight grip on his massive jaw, he came back to life and began to thrash.  It was like a gator had gotten ahold of my arm.  He almost ripped it out of the socket with his gnarly body bends.  I knew this might be the biggest trout i ever get to touch.  Death grip set in.  With my rod barley dangling i grabbed the rock with my other hand to hold on.  All my roomate could do was stand helplessly on top of the rock as i held on for my life.  Then a miracle, the trout stopped shacking.  I yelled quick, quick, get the shot.  My buddy held his arms down the face of the rock.  I grabbed the fish with one arm completely around it like you would hold a small dog or a 4H pig.  I couldn't lift it out of the water.  I repositioned and bent my knees into it this time.  I hoisted him from the water and smiled like i just won the lottery.  Rubini got the shot right before the giant creature bent and i dropped it.  My line was tight and the hook popped out when it hit the water.  I made another slash for it's tail but couldn't grip his mass with one hand.  He splashed and disappeared into the depths again.  I just sat there shaking until....Drip, Drip, Drip, the blood from my hand stained the water.   Who ever said Lahontans don't fight is tripping.  It was one of the best and one of the most frightening moment of my life.  

I put my rod down and said "that's it.  i quite. "  "Rubini, i'm done.  Tell everyone i quite fishing.  That was the trout of a lifetime."  He said "That was gnarly but, yeah right.  That's like when Snoop Dog put out a press release telling everyone he stopped smoking weed." " You'll probably be fishing again in a few minutes.  In the mean time, let me get a couple cast up in there."

Livin Large in Smallywood.

Dams suck. But in some instances they have created a condition where the water is the right temperature that Trout can mingle with Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Catfish, Squawfish, perch and Carp.  These situations can make for some interesting fishing.  Tonight i watched a trout pull a full on smash and grab on a school of small bass.  It was right in front of a bait fisherman with a ball of power bait out.  The trout swam right past his bait to ram the tiny bass.  It looked like a basking shark swooping through a wad of krill.  Then we watched some huge carp jump.  Then we got some large and small mouth to come up and smash poppers.  That's pretty cool.  I really needed to catch a bass after the beating Mike O'Dell, Derek Rust and I sustained the other night on lake oroville.  Mike O'Dell Quote about the hike out up a 60 degree scree slope, "When i had to grab handfuls of star thistle too keep from falling back, that was the only part where i thought for a second i might die." 

Big mouth easy to lip.

Small mouth harder to lip. 

Hung Over

On Sunday every guide working for the Tahoe Fly Fishing outfitters was assigned to guide a wedding party.  We were scheduled to meet 23 people at 7 in the morning for a half day guide trip.  I was assigned to hike down into the canyon of the carson on one of the steepest trails around.  Jeff Babbitt and I got the three guys with "Fishing Experience".  They said they were up for a walk so we agreed to take them to the real waters.  Turned out they were all pretty hung over from the night before.  Like good wedding party guest should be.  After some huffing and puffing i decided to take my client for a walk up stream so Jeff could have the two killer runs near the end of the trial.  Decision paid off for Louis Gendle from Montana.  In just a couple hours of fishing he got 4 fish on dries and two on nymphs including this monster bow with great colors and nice orange fins.  Wish we got to see the one that broke off.  

Death Ride Saturday

Joe Snyder with an East Carson Brown.   Pressure was off when he got a killer brown on his second cast.  Moments like that, i love my job.  
We had a great day on the river.  Getting lunch in Marleeville was a bit tough though.  It was Saturday of the Death ride.  On this weekend 3000 crazy road cyclist descend into this area to ride five passes and over 100 miles in one day.  The very small town of Marleeville looks like the Tour de France for this one day of the  year.  In town the streets were lined with people ringing cow bells and shouting at the riders as they went by.  Once down on the river though, all the commotion falls away.  The beautiful scenery was interrupted only occasionally by a mass of florescent colors and spandex wizzing by on the road above.  
Like Father, Like Son. 

Brown Town Smak Down

After several drifts from the side, Rob Horgas changed to a straight up stream presentation.  This brown came up and grabbed the hoppicator first drift.  Great visuals.  I thought for sure he was going to take the dropper.  

At 8, Ryan's got the grip and grin down.  
The first time i ever fished with Ryan and he got a nice 13 inch rainbow on the second cast.   Made the cast, i helped a bit with the hook set, and he fought it in.  I knew it was going to be a good day.  Ryan really wanted to fish where Loren Elliott fished in FISH EYE 3.  
He wants to be a professional fisherman when he grows up.  He also wants to drive a Monster Truck around to all the good fishing spots.  He could become the youngest pro BASS CAR driver.  

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Surf Zone

A seldom taped into resource for California Fly Fisherman is the sometimes awesome, most of the time frustrating surf fishing potential for Striped Bass.   On his days off of working at Western Sports, Loren Elliott has been out chasing the stripes from some of the beaches both north and south of the golden gate.  With many days not even touching a fish, it's a hard game of paitence and reward.  All Loren's time spent and hard work pays off once in a while.  He got the top fish last night.  On a day last week, Loren pulled 3 nice stripers out before 10a.m.  He asserted that it was his best day yet.  Check out the popper caught fish on the bottom from another of his outings.  It's possible.  

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fathers Day

Fished the East Carson Fathers day weekend with Loren and Doug Elliott.  We had a great day to say the least.  It had been a couple years since we had last fished the high sierra's together. Both Loren and Doug whaped some nice bows on the carson.  The highlight was a solid 20 incher coming up and grabbing the hoppicator.  Loren set the hook and landed him.  It was super fun to watch.  Water was high still and just coming into shape.  It also happened to be Doug's Birthday and he was rewarded with a killer 24 inch bow.