No Cuba again this year so a quickie trip to Charleston.

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  Our Cuba trip was rescheduled to July 2022. Typically in late July or early August, we would be in Oregon crabbing, clamming and fishing. We would be in Bandon and Charleston Oregon to be precise. Well this year we … Continue reading

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Spring fishing and the Pyramid

It has been a busy spring. Both boys were pledging fraternities and their time was extremely limited. That enabled me to fish quite a bit. As a matter of fact, this spring was the most I’ve fished since the boys were born. To clarify, I did fish with the boys a lot during springtime over the years but the boys did 99% of the fishing. This spring did 5 trips to Bailey Creek Lodge, Yuba River and Sac. River many times and Pyramid Lake 5 times.

Bailey Creek Lodge is 65 minutes away and makes for a great one day excursion for trout. However during the early spring, there are no good hatches and the dry fly fishing was near non existent. Long leaders with a tiny yarn indicator was the ticket. It was good to fish some of my fiberglass rods there. I have 2 Hal Janssen fiberglass rods that I thought I would never fish because they are so rare. Brett Jensen brought his out there to fish so I brought mine too. What wonderful fishing rods they are.  My McFarlanes, Steffens, Epics and GrayWolfs all got work outs from those super healthy Bailey fish. If I fished more days, more fiberglass rods would have seen the light of day. I’ve kinda gone full circle. Started with cheap fiberglass rods in the late 70’s then graduated to graphite and then the newest graphite technology then now back to fiberglass. I love the feel of casting a softer rod but the real enjoyment is hooking and playing fish with fiberglass. They are tippet savers! There is one new graphite rod I really like and it’s the Douglass Sky G. The 5 weight is the easiest casting 5 weight I’ve cast. The 8 weight was great to fish with at Pyramid and I have yet to fish my 4 weight. Hopefully soon.

Kenny Oda and I fished the Yuba with Jon Baiocchi a month and a half before he tragically died. It was a crushing blow to us and the fly fishing community. I was impressed by his ability to teach, intense knowledge of his home rivers and just genuinely a great guy. RIP Jon.

The dry fly fishing was good but the hike was brutal for us old folk. The fish were eating #14 PMD duns, Unit Skwalas and caddis.

The past few years I did not fish Pyramid Lake. Last year it was due to the Rona and the year before, many beaches were closed. The year before that was the high water heavy rains year. That year, in October right before the rains, I bought a yearly pass for the first time ever. What a bust! Used it once and the rains blew out the entire season. Expensive day of fishing! This spring was my Pyramid payback! Not so much as far as money (the Paiute tribe charges a lot more now!) but in catch rate and good size fish.

Good friends were able to meet there through out the spring. Jeff Sasaki, Garrett Kubota, Mike Sasaki, Victor Inouye, Jerry Wang, Meng Syn and of course the leader of the pack and Pyramid cutthroat whisperer Benson Kanemoto. Benson and Jeff are the ones that got me started on this incredible fishery years ago.

This spring was Jerry’s first trip to Pyramid. After the first couple days he dubbed it “the best best trout fishing of my life”. I asked him to join us again a couple weeks later and he had an even better trip. Landing more fish and he got a trout of a lifetime.

Most of the fish were caught stripping T11 lines. One day Jerry and Benson fished indicator and chironomids off the “Rocks” and did very well.

My trailer has been in “hibernation” for over 2 years so it was great to get it on the road and use it at Pyramid. It sure is convenient to have a home away from home so close to the water. The first few trips this year I stayed at the Nugget in Sparks. Nice bed, hot showers, good food, but… and I mean Oprah butt….it is 40 minutes away!  Getting up super early to put ladders out at 4:00am was not going to happen! Fishing until dark then driving back to the hotel for a super late dinner was not appealing either.

Michael is back for the summer now so I’m hoping we can all get some fishing and golfing in. Both boys have signed up for summer school and they will both need to work so the amount of fishing and golfing might be limited. Michael finished his second semester with straight A’s. He only received one B in the first semester. It was a good first year in college for him. Emma has always had straight A’s so nothing has changed. Matthew, struggled a bit but still managed B’s or better. He will have a chance to do well during summer school.

Our Cuba trip this year is rescheduled again. Our group bought our airline tickets one weekend and the very next weekend AA canceled our flights! It appears Cuba is experiencing more cases of CoVid. Looks like we’ll try again in July 2022.

The boys had a free day so we towed the bay boat to the Afterbay for some bowfishing. We saw hundreds of carp on the mud flats and the boys had 40 or more shots at them. Since it was their first time with a bow, only 3 fish were struck. The fish were in pretty shallow water so the bay boat was just a little too big. The next day Michael and I went back to the exact same spot at the exact same time with the Lowe and we found ZERO, Zippo, Nada! The area looked sterile. To add to our luck, our trolling motor battery was completely dead for some reason. Thank goodness I carry a shallow water anchoring system onboard. We used that to pole us around the flats which worked great.

I’m looking forward to summer with the kids. Hopefully we can all make a family trip somewhere before the boys leave for school.

 

 

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Winter break with all the kids! Good times in spite of Rona.

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Michael came home from Flagstaff for about 6 weeks. It was wonderful to have to family back together. The boys did not fish much during the holiday break but we played a lot of golf. Michael plays a set of … Continue reading

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Some of the going away meals for the boys.

We are a foodie family. The boys in the family love just about everything especially seafood. The girls in the family… not so much, but they do enjoy steaks and pasta and limited ethnic foods. They WILL NOT eat anything that comes out of water.

Before the boys left home I was getting requests to make this and that. Of course I obliged. And of course I had to make two different dinners, one for the boys and one for the girls. 

Now that the boys are gone, I’m eating less of my favorites because I’m cooking for the girls. 

 

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Salmon season…like Covid-19…terrible.

The DFW predicted well over 300,000 salmon returns this year. How they know that I have no idea. They have been wrong multiple times but they keep predicting. They did not predict the salmon collapse 10 years ago. So last winter when they predicted a run of 300,000+ fish for fall of 2020, I was very skeptical. Even though the season does not end until December, it’s virtually over now. They have dropped the water levels so low that it’s very difficult to launch boats. I’ve fished this area consistently for 30 years and have never seen the water below 4200 CFS. It was 3600 CFS as of this writing.

As for the salmon counts, the “official” numbers are not in yet but as a group of guides in this section of the river, we all agree it’s the worse season ever. Even worse than the year it collapsed. We actually caught more fish that season.

It could be the fish were here, but due to the very hot summer, very warm water, very low water and lots of fires that caused lots of ash fallout could have put lock jaw on these fish.

Last year my boat landed 45 salmon and it was a very slow year. This year only 19. Good years are 300-500 fish a season. The full time guides get 500-900 a season sometimes more. I stop fishing when the fish turn too dark to be good table fare. However we got into a few late in season that where really fresh.

Lots of clients ask what is the biggest salmon I’ve caught on the river. A long time client and one of my first customers from the Millpond in Cupertino, Frank Clohan, landed a 56 pounder. A local client Seth Burreson landed a 54 and a group of guys that came out from Texas, one of the guys (Hardy), landed a 52. My personal best is this fish. Not sure what it weighed but it was every bit as big as the others. Just for scale, the other fish posted here are 15-28 pounds.

If the “official” numbers are as low as we think, there’s a pretty good chance the salmon season will be closed or altered in the future. This years’ run will seed the run in 3 years so if few fish this year….. you get the picture.

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Off to College…… and a quick trip to Texas.

The boys are off to college and they are really loving it. According to Michael when he was asked how are things? His reply was ” Living my best life”. That is so great to hear.

Michael is in Flagstaff attending NAU. Matthew moved out to an apartment with his best friend in Chico and is at Chico State.

I see Matthew at least a couple times a week and it’s a joy. When he comes by the house, he’s like a celebrity because we are so happy to see him and so happy to cook for him. I’m starting to play a little more golf and they boys have taken a liking to it so I’ve been hitting the driving range with Matthew and playing with him about once a week.

Michael came home for a surprise visit a few weeks back and it almost brought me to tears. I missed him so much it was a wonderful surprise. No one knew except Melanie. Mo and Po were surprised too and Mo did break down in tears.

Emma is now the only child at home and is a sophomore at Chico High. She just started back to school a few days a week for only a few hours. Michael is full time at school and Matthew is still 100% online. Looking forward to having Michael back for the winter break!

Spent a day and a half north of Houston last weekend. Got to fish one morning for hybrid bass. Man they pull hard for their size. Still a little warm there for good hybrid fishing but we got lucky and got a few.

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Late spring fishing.

This season the trout fishing was really good. We fished lakes I haven’t fished for 20 years or more.

I stopped fishing Manzanita Lake when the fish were resembling snakes. They are still pretty skinny but it was a lot worse! That was in the late 90’s. I heard there was a great callibaetis hatch going on up there so I headed up there on a day that was forecast for good weather. The con man…I mean weatherman ,was wrong again. It was supposed to be 42 to 56 degrees in the morning but in actuality it was 34 degrees all morning! I was not prepared and was freezing my bumm off. It even snowed on me. Fishing was good for a couple dozen fish but I was only able to dredge for fish. I would have preferred to fish a callibaetis hatch.

I fished McCoy Flat 3 times in 4 weeks. It was that good. Over the winter and early spring we fished trout in Baum Lake and McCumber. Great fishing for numbers but the fish were between 10 and 17 inches. At McCoy Flat they are thick and healthy 18-19 inch plus fish. They pull much harder than the fish at Baum and McCumber.

McCoy fish also have a very different diet. Their flesh is deep orange/red. They are eating some kind of critters with an exoskeleton to get flesh that color. The fat fish I cleaned had this in their tummy.

We explored Echo Lake too for the first time. Pretty lake loaded with brook trout but a float tube or pram is needed there. Too much brush and trees on the banks to get a good cast out.

Got into a few Hex hatches at Almanor. Just mediocre fishing for us but the real highlight was getting invited to stay with Dr Hood at his beautiful house in Almanor West!

Dr Hood has been a great positive influence on the boys. They look up to him and they both want to be orthodontists like him. I guess I’m chopped liver!

The pond was fishing well too. Michael landed a 10 pound catfish on a spinner bait early one morning.

I got to spend some time with Wes Yamaguchi on the Yuba. It was an exceptional shad year there. Shad fishing on the Yuba is automatic. As many as you wish to catch. Incredible fishery in our area.

 

We have been on an oyster binge lately. I think that would be an understatement! Devoured over 200 oysters in 2.5 sittings.

I have the recipe for the Felix’s charbroiled oysters in New Orleans. At least I think it is. Tastes just like the original. It was posted online for a brief moment and then it was gone. My timing finding it was impeccable. It’s the bomb!

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Drive by graduation for the boys.

Chico High school graduation was a single file drive by ordeal. We were told where and what time to be there. When we got to the “spot”, the boys got out of the car and walked up to the principal and received a faux diploma, then a quick picture was taken then straight back into the car. That was pretty much it. Anti climatic high school graduation for the boys but at least there was some kind of graduation ceremony.

Next stop…college!

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COVID-19 and Senior year in high school

All three kids had dates for the Winter Formal in February and we took a bunch of pictures. Thank heavens we did because as it turns out these would be the last school “Formal” pictures we will get.

I did not post these pics in late February because I knew (thought) we would be getting some nice photos from the Senior Prom. As you know, that is no more.

The kids are doing some schoolwork via internet but for the most part they are done with school until late summer or fall.

The school says they will have a graduation ceremony sometime this summer. The way our luck has been playing out, it will be the same week as our Cuba trip late July. If that is the case, I would have to cancel Cuba in which we would loose most our money.

Hopefully the timing will be favorable.

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Fishing, cleaning and organizing during the shutdown

It has now been 9 weeks since we closed the office. Getting the taste of retirement but it’s not quite the same. The kids have been home mostly, staying up late and sleeping in until 11am or later! When weather permits we were able to get out and fish some local waters. Where we have been going is very remote with few anglers, if any, around us.

Low water Feather River stripers were the target earlier on but the bite died and the full moon came and the spawn happened so we turned to some trout fishing.

Lake McCumber has been fishing well for a few months. PG&E is doing some work at Grace and Nora lakes so the fish normally stocked in those lakes are going into McCumber. The fishing is excellent for planter rainbows from 10-17 inches and wild browns are also abundant. It has been about 20 years since I last fished there. I remember it well because that’s where I asked my Father in Law for his daughter’s hand in marriage. There was cussing and yelling and we almost tipped our prams over…….. NOT… 😂 I married above my pay grade and my FIL is awesome.

After a few trips to McCumber, we switched gears to Black Butte Lake. The launch ramp is closed so we launched from a gravel bank. We had got word that the carp fishing was great and that we would get hundreds of shots at thousands of fish. That did not happen for us. We saw 30 plus fish and cast to maybe 20 of them. The carp is a tough fish to catch. Michael got one to eat but never came tight on the line. We fished bass on the way back to the truck and landed 6. We went back a few days later and saw even less carp and only got 3 small bass. The full moon was coming up so that’s our excuse and we’re sticking to it.😃

We also fished the river, the Afterbay and the backyard too.

During this down time, I was able to get a lot of things cleaned up and organized. One of the major tasks was my fly tying station. I don’t think I’ve seen the desktop in years. So within 8 seasons of Game of Thrones (70 plus episodes) I got my tying desk organized! I even organized my fly boxes which was a huge deal since there are well over 200 fly boxes to go through (those are just trout flies). I didn’t have the stamina to go through the saltwater stuff (another 100 boxes). Now I’m afraid to tie flies! Don’t want to mess up the desk!🤣

Did not have the will and stamina to go through this cabinet.

I will be back at work soon so everything else will have to wait. Hopefully NOT due to another shutdown!

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