Done with Winter, on with Spring!

What a year it has been thus far. The boys turned 21 and Emma can legally vote :))


The boys are still enjoying college as juniors but they have a full plate in front of them. They are studying for the DAT and tough full schedule in school. There’s a tiny light at the end of the tunnel this summer for them….. we have trips planned for Baja and Japan. They can get some R and R at that time.

I fished Collins Lake just about every week in February and March. Well, I would use the term “fished” very loosely. I fished there on the days they plant their trout. As you would imagine, the fishing was easy and outstanding. I’d fish for a couple hours then head home with some beautiful great tasting trout.


I have access to a private section of the Yuba River above the HWY 20 bridge. Typically I get there around 10am and sit and wait for a hatch. I was only able to fish it 3 times before the crazy rains hit. The river has been blown out most of the time. I only dry fly fish that section so if there are no fish rising by 1 or 2pm, I go home. Two of the 3 times I went, there was a hatch. The rainbows on the Yuba are all wild and they are technical. Gotta bring your A game. Twenty foot plus leaders and drag free drifts are a must. There’s a huge satisfaction of landing these rockets on dries.

Got out one day to fish with Kenny Oda on Oroville Lake. It was overall tough fishing (a little over 20 landed) but it was so great to see the lake with so much water. At that time the lake was at 63% capacity. Now it’s almost 90%.

I’m lucky to have Luk Lake so close by. It’s only about 35 minutes away and during the winter months the Fly Shop stocks it with beautiful feisty rainbows with an added bonus… there is a healthy population resident largemouth bass. I fished there multiple times this winter and spring and the last visit was bass nirvana. I landed 32 bass and 10 trout in 3.5 hours of fishing.

Had a free day Saturday so out came the boats to wash. Geez it took over 3 hours to get them clean. I can’t wait that long next time. It’s been at least 2 years since I washed the big jet boat. Gotta get the boys to do it next time.

No fishing with the boys in 2023 yet but hopefully rooster and dorado fishing in Baja will make up for that.

Easter Breakfast

Costco Ahi

Fresh Stone crabs!

Caviar at one of our favorite restaurants

Seared Fois Gras..delish!


33 hour Sous Vide chuck roast. Tender and flavorful!

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Late Summer and Fall flew by

After a wonderful trip to Key West, we laid low and did a lot of little things. I booked a trip with Benson to Fall River with great guide Mike Wright. It has been over 20 years since I was there and it was worth going back. We fished dry flies the entire time and learned (re-learned) areas on the river. I will be going back next spring or summer

The last weekend of the boys summer vacation, we took a drive out to Cache Creek Casino to play their Golf course. It’s a hidden jewel in the middle of nowhere. I’m surprised they can keep that place busy but there were bus loads of people coming in from all over the place. I think that’s the only way.

The salmon fishing this year was the worse in the 31 years I’ve lived here. The combination of extremely low water and hot weather, turned the fishing near completely off. The water temps in our area during peak season was 65-68 degrees. Downstream in Colusa, the water temp was 70 degrees and higher! Salmon were seen dead floating downstream. Our typical water flows during the salmon season is 8,000-12,000 CFS. This season, it was well under 4,000. Towards the end of the season it was at 3200 (it still is). High mortality rate for the salmon this season. I had to cancel every guide trip and only fished 8 days to “scout”. I landed 3 fish total but one of them was a 30 pounder. We’ll see what the fishing will be in 3 years.

On a whim, I decided to go visit Michael in Flagstaff for a couple days. We ate some good sushi with his girlfriend Riley and tried a tasting menu at a local restaurant. It was fabulous. We snuck in a day of golf too.

I can’t go visit Michael without visiting Matthew too. Melanie and I drove to SLO for a long weekend and again ate sushi and other great restaurants. Also snuck in a round of golf.

Wes has been getting into great striper fishing about 2 hours from here and invited me to go. What a great fishery! We boated lots of fish but nothing over 5 pounds. I will have learn it more.

Halloween was fun at the office. I usually don’t “dress up” but the staff really wanted to do something fun this year. I obliged.

Great food..

Looking forward to Christmas break. The boys will turn 21…..

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Beloved Key West after a long hiatus.

It’s been a long 15 years since my last trip to Key West. For 10 years beginning in 1996, Key West was my yearly destination in Late June. It was always during the week of the US Open and Tiger was in his prime from 1997 on. Getting off the flats and after a cool shower, I’d sit and be glued to the TV. Those were some great memories of fishing with my partner Benson and some of the best guides in the Keys. A few of them have retired and some of them are still working their craft they are so good at.

On this trip we hired 2 of my favorite guides, Stevie Impallomini and Pat Bracher. Stevie is a good friend and we have kept in touch over the years. He’s a “conch” (native to the Keys) and he knows the water like no one else. I’ve kept in touch with Pat and his lovely wife too over the years. He fishes completely different and no one has more Grand Slams than he does. He has over 1300 slams…and counting.

Our goal was to get tarpon on this trip. Michael wanted to catch a fish over 100 pounds but I told him before the trip that it was possible but unlikely. However we will be fishing with Pat and if anyone can get you a big fish, it’s him. My largest tarpon came from his boat. That fish is still the largest tarpon landed on his boat weighing around 180 pounds.

The first day out was with a new guide Bob Beighley. Matthew landed 1 tarpon and jumped 2 more. Michael landed 2 bonnethead sharks and a couple jacks. Bob was recommended to us by Stevie. Both Pat and Stevie were already booked that day. Bob was knowledgeable and skilled andI would hire him again if I needed to.

Day 2 with Stevie, Michael fly fished all day with out a bite. The tarpon were not cooperative at all. He made great casts and presentations but the tarpon were not interested. Matthew hooked and landed a tarpon on a lure. That was it for us, one and done.

Day 3 with Pat, Michael was definitely feeling deflated. It did not help that Matthew rubbed it in that Michael was still tarponless.  His luck turned for the better and he hooked up on a very big fish. Pat estimated it at 130 pounds or more. The fish was leadered several times and as Pat was about to landed it, the shock tippet wore through. So the fish was technically landed but Michael really wanted a picture with that fish. We all did! However we did manage to get some great video. Matthew jumped one more before we headed to a flat and landed 3 bonefish on fly.

Day 4 with Stevie was very windy. It limited us to where we could go to fish. Stevie found a couple spots for permit and after a while in the first spot, Matthew hooked up into a beauty. A little while later, Michael hook up too but this time the fish sounded and broke him off on a deep ledge. That was bad luck for Michael. It was our last day fishing and he really wanted a picture with a tarpon or permit. It was not to be.

The fishing was overall slower than normal but the boys got a taste of the potential the Keys has to offer.

We ate at wonderful restaurants all week. The best one was Cafe Sole. They specialize in Hogfish and it was spectacular.

After fishing on day 2, we drove to Big Pine to visit one of my dearest friends and mentor Howard McKinney of Fishabout Travel. He offered me my first real job when I was still a teenager over 40 years ago. I’ve learned so much from him. He’s had a tough few years with the Covid shutdown and family health issues. I have not seen him for 15 years and I almost teared up seeing him and when I said goodbye.

Before we arrived in Key West we spent a couple days in Miami Beach. No fishing but we played golf at the Miami Beach Golf Club. Nice course but boy was it hot and humid out.

This late spring we fished a couple private ponds for trout and the fishing was really good. Pop B (Benson) met us at one of the ponds (Bailey Creek Ranch). The last time he saw the boys (his god children), was pre Covid. The fishing was good and it was good to get them together again.

We had to cancel our Cuba trip this year. I booked in the winter of 2019 and have been waiting patiently for the pandemic to settle down. However a few turns of events forced us to cancel this year but the group is still going. I’m so glad and appreciative Shiz Nakawatase took over the helm and kept the group together. Best of luck to them!

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Pretty good fishing for late winter early spring so far.

Winter and spring has been so nice this year. It’s bittersweet. We need the rain tremendously but if it’s not going to rain, the mild temps have been wonderful.

In January I fished Luk Lake twice. It’s been 10 years since I fished it. The Fly Shop in Redding plant fish in the lake every winter and it’s a good place to fly fish for trout only 40 minutes from home. In the early 90’s Kay Mitsuyoshi at Fishabout had a great relationship with the owner of the land and the lake. Leroy was his name and he allowed us (Fishabout and Orland Outfitters) to stock and manage the lake for pay and play. It was called Coffee Cup Lake and that time.  Back then, I was buying fish from American Trout and Salmon and was able to obtain some Donaldson rainbows to stock.  That strain had some steelhead in it and fought very well for its size. They are one of the premier strains of rainbows for stocking. The fish that are planted now are definitely not Donaldsons but they are 17-20 inch average and eat flies well. Another bonus is the Fly Shop allows for fishing half day. I can fish 5 hours and still have plenty of daytime to get home to do chores.

In the beginning of March, Meng invited me to fish Henderson Springs Ranch with him and a group of friends he’s become close to through Jim Cramer. Indeed they are a great bunch of guys. All very successful and charismatic gentleman. All were retired CEOs, attorneys etc.. I kind of felt unworthy but really enjoyed their company.

The fishing was off the charts great. Very few places offer quality AND quantity. This place has both and thus puts other ranches to shame. I arrived Thursday at 11:30 AM and after a quick tour of the 5 lakes, we launched our personal watercrafts at one of the lakes. Both of us were into fish right away and it continued until we quit at 5:30. Many fish were in the 3-5 pound range and surprisingly quite a few over 7-8 pounds. I landed one we thought could have been around 10 pounds but these fish are crazy hard to hold! Got a pic of it in the net but that’s it. I landed 33 fish in that half day of fishing with 20% eating stripped leeches down deep and 80% on small flies under an indicator 12 feet deep. If the trip was only for that day, I would have left a happy camper. But, it wasn’t and I had another day and a half of pulling on big trout.

The 2 dinners at the lodge were very good. Melissa the cook, did a nice job on the meals. Hearty and tasty with great desserts.

The accommodations were also good. Each person has their own room and there are 3 bathrooms shared for a maximum of 8 guests

Henderson Springs is a great trout fishing getaway. There is no better place in California to hook many large trout on flies. It does come at a price…and that price is $357/day. If you add dinner at $100/person/night, it’s pricey. However, hiring a good guide for a day’s fishing with a buddy will be $300 each. For a little more money, you could be into huge trout all day long and fish dawn to dusk if you like.

Since the boys are going to different schools in different states, their spring breaks do not match up. Michael came for a few days and we were able to play some golf with Emma too!

Matthew came home a week later and was sick most of the time:((. Good thing he had us, well mainly Mom, to cater to his every need:)).

The striper fishing up here has been good. I fish at first light (6:30am) and usually I’m home by 8:30 or 9 at the latest. There has been subsequent smolt releases the past few weeks and the stripers are really keying in on them. When the sun is off the water, the fish are busting on the smolts on the surface. Makes it easy for me to find them. So far I have not had a bad morning out there. However, I took Kenny Oda recently and the fishing was not as good. The majority of the smolts are downstream now so it’s definitely slowing down. There could be more smolts released soon but because I live so close to the river, I have the luxury to pick and choose the best mornings to go out. Smolt release, cloud cover and no wind! That combinations is the ticket for great fishing.

During the off season, I spent some time putting together a golf simulator in the barn. I had to sell my drift boat to make room but it was worth the swap! Will it help my game? I don’t think anything will but at least I can hit balls anytime I want…indoors!

In early January I walked out to the pond and noticed a big swirl in the middle. I thought it might have been one of the sturgeon I occasionally see. WRONG! It was an otter. Apparently I saw him too late because he ate just about all my fish! When the weather warms up I start feeding the fish again…..what fish! They are gone. Usually they feed on the floating pellets like piranha. Nowadays only 2-3 inch bluegills are eating. There were  60-70 catfish from 6 inches to 15 pounds in the pond along with dozens of black bass up to 6 pounds. They are are not showing themselves like usual so I think they were all in the belly of the otter. Otters can eat 20 pounds of fish a day so maybe by the time I noticed the critter in there, it must have been eating for weeks like Kenny Oda or Jerry Wang or Mark Won!:))

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The boys are no longer teenagers.

The boys turned 20 in December. All grown up and doing well in college. If they stay on the path they’ve chosen, they should be in graduate school in a year and a half. Miss them so much when they are gone.

The salmon season was really good early season then it petered out to the regular slow rate we are now growing accustomed to. The size of the fish were larger this year and for the first time in the 31 years I’ve fished here, I never landed a jack salmon. Incredibly unusual, or lucky as some might say.

I fished a couple days at Pyramid Lake with Jerry. Windy conditions made for slow catching so we left early. The swells were ocean like. Kinda spooky in a small pontoon boat out in 60-100 ft of water.

In November, I took half my staff to Miami for a continuing education conference. Amazing to see the difference in Covid protocols and mandates our state (California) and Florida have. Night and day difference. We were very fortunate to get there and get home that weekend. That was during the time when American Airlines were mandating the vaccines to all their employees or get fired. Hundreds of flights were canceled or significantly delayed. We were delayed but still got there and got home OK.

Brett and Victor joined me for a day of good midge fishing at Baum Lake. Since the rivers were extremely low in the valley, 4 guide boats launched at Baum! Pretty small lake to take clients and it’s a no brainer fishery. I guess there are some clients that will pay good money to catch small planted fish.

I go to Baum because it’s one of the times I can bring out my light fiberglass rods. Brett fished his extremely rare Hal Janssen fiberglass rod. Here is a pic of him landing a fish. Good thing that rod bends at the cork😂

It has been many years since my entire staff were present for our Office Christmas Dinner. I made sous vide filet mignon, lobster, mashed potatoes and Melanie made a delicious salad. I’m grateful to have a wonderful team.

We celebrated the boys 20th birthday. They are both enjoying college and are heavily involved in Greek Life. It was a short winter break for them. No fishing but we did squeeze in a couple rounds of golf.

Emma turned 17 recently. Pretty soon Melanie and I will be in the Empty Nest stage of our lives. Crazy how fast time flies.

Papa John returned from a trip to Africa. He adds another amazing catch to his already impressive list.

Welcome home oysters!

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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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