Gone for a few days, back a day, then I was gone for almost a week. Got home for a day to do a half day guide trip, do some laundry and stock up on supplies, pay bills then head back out for another week. I just got back after that second trip, now I’m gonna be gone for another 4 or 5 days. I’m on the road again…
The last few weeks I’ve covered by car probably around 5 or 6 thousand miles across the west. A busy few weeks in Tahoe for our trout season opener led up to this burst of travel. It was like a building up and compressing of energy, that exploded into a release in the form of automotive exploration.
This one is an extra long post so I broke it up into 3 parts. If you make it through all 3 in one sitting, good for you, but its probably best for your sanity to take your time with this one.
Part 1 – THE BUILD UP –
It was a little hectic during the weeks leading up to this. I got to help my good friend and fellow guide Matt Heron put together the Fly Fishing Film Tour stop in Reno with the Reno Fly Shop.( http://mattheronflyfishing.com/ & (http://renoflyshop.com/) I got to see some killer flicks, drink brews and just plain hang with the locals. I made a bunch of giant streamers for the Film Tour. This gentleman was going to take them to Argentina for golden dorado fishing. I really wish I got his number so I could’ve followed up on how his adventure went, I was very envious.
Next I got to help another good friend, Stefan McLeod and the rest of the Truckee TU guys do our 10th annual Fishmas Eve fundraiser. ( http://tahoetroutbum.org/) During these two events, we raffled off some awesome shwag to benefit our local coldwater fisheries, who in this drought are going to need as much help as ever. I wrapped up a Fisher glass fly rod for Fishmas Eve. It was an 8′ six weight with some backbone but a soft tip. Perfect for trophy hunting around Truckee. A local angler, Chris Borque, insisted on making it the 3rd Fisher in his collection. We also raffled off a bike, more rods, guide trips, pictures, fly reels, lines, and enough hats to outfit an army. To cap it off, Frank Pisciotta, a local guide and current president of the local angling club, the Tahoe Truckee Fly Fishers, ( http://www.ttff.net ) handed us a check for 3,000 dollars on behalf of his club, to benefit our Little Truckee river restoration program. It was a great show of solidarity and commitment to our local watershed, so hats off to them. Both events are a great time with great folks. If you didn’t make it this year, next year I hope you get a chance to join us.
In between these 2 fundraisers, Dave Lass our regional TU representative, heard info from some of the locals that the fish were trapped at Fanny Bridge and weren’t looking too hot with dissolved oxygen rapidly depleting. California Fish and Wildlife was contacted and the situation assessed. The pool was too deep for a shock crew to catch the fish, so some of the local anglers(myself included) were invited to catch and relocate the trout from the river into the lake with the help of DF&W. Btw – big shout out to Roger Bloom and the rest of the team at California Dept of Fish and Wildlife. We’ve had a number of fish rescues in these drought years recently, and their team has been quick to answer the call to relocate fish in need.
Part 2 – BLAST OFF –
Now the wheels started rolling. I drove to Davis to do a streamer program for the Fly Fishers of Davis. ( http://flyfishersofdavis.org/index.shtml ) Great group of guys with a zeal for fly fishing for largemouth. That right there made them feel like kindred spirits. We had a great time.
Came back to Truckee and drove out of town with Matt”Gilligan”Coles to recon some water. Matt is another local guide and we’d been talking about getting on the water for a while, just never got a chance to with our busy schedules. He runs a great blog with up to date reports.( http://www.gilligansguideservice.com/blog/ ) We had a blast catching a bunch of beautiful little browns on dries, nymphs and streamers.
Now the miles started to accumulate. I drove to Jackson Hole Wyoming with some folks from Trout Unlimited for the Western Regional meetings.
Looking out at the Ruby mountains as we drive across Nevada.
Waking up in our hotel room in Jackson, to see the alpenglow shining off the Tetons.
The meetings went really well. Our TU chapter is fairly new, so it was eye opening to see what all the other chapters were doing to surmount the problems they faced with their memberships and watersheds. After the meetings we snuck in a little fishing. I floated the upper Green with Fish the Fly guide service.( http://www.fishthefly.com/ ) I hadn’t used a guide in probably 15 years, so it was a fun experience to see how other guides operate on other areas. Our guide Will Stuart was a fun guy, and made for good camaraderie during high water. We got some nice fish, but nothing giant.
We floated past a giant great blue heron rookery, with probably a hundred heron nesting in it.
An Andy Burk tied muddler about to be ripped through the murky, early season flow. In case you didn’t know, it’s the #yearofthemuddler
Looking out across the Wyo sky. The whole trip these last few weeks, the clouds have been insane.
I gave our guide Will a few of my craft fun sculpins and he texted me this a few days later….
Heading back to Jackson past the Winds
The next morning we woke up early and headed back to Tahoe
Looking back at the Jackson valley on our way out of town
Just following the rainbow in Idaho
driving past the Jarbidge wilderness in Nevada
stuck behind a truck on our way past the Rubies. We almost stopped to fish the marsh, but would’ve got back waaaay too late.
Dust devils dancing across the Blackrock
We made it home tired, but none the worse for wear. I had one day to wash up some laundry, decompress and get ready for a trip to SoCal to meet some more fly clubs.
Part 3 – SOCAL, LAND OF FLY CLUBS, HOT TUBS AND DRUNK KARAOKE –
The drive down the valley was pretty uneventful, if you’ve ever driven down Hwy 5, you know what I’m talking about. I stopped by Fly Fishing Specialties in Sacramento to pick up some tying mats I’d need for the show. If you’re in the area, hit them up, they’re good blokes. http://www.flyfishingspecialties.com/
I stopped at a city park in the valley and watched this egret fish for a while. Lots of anglers could learn a lot about catching fish by watching these guys.
I did my first program with the Kern River Fly Fishers in Bakersfield.( http://kernriverflyfishers.com/) I did my Truckee program, nice folks. A bunch were building fly rods to donate for Casting for Recovery. http://castingforrecovery.org/
Drove back north to Fresno, scouted some ponds for carp, but no love. That night I did the same Truckee program, but for the Fresno Fly Fishers for Conservation. (http://fresnoflyfishers.com/) Got to tie a bunch of flies beforehand and hand them out to try on their waters. Again, lots of real nice folks. After the meeting I drove down south to the next leg, got late and I pulled into a Motel 6, but the way the tweakers in the parking lot were eyeing my fishing tackle in the back of my SUV got me back on the highway. I ended up sleeping in my car at a rest stop half way down to the next spot.
Last day in the 3 club tour, I headed south to Visalia to present to the Kaweah Fly Fishers. ( http://www.kaweahflyfishers.org/) Snuck in a little fishing beforehand on a bass lake.
I even went over to the dark side for a while and used some spinning tackle. I grew up spin fishing a lot, so it was kinda fun reminiscing of and reliving old fishing pursuits. It worked very well. Club meeting went great. Gave them my streamer program, which people have been really digging it seems.
After the meeting I headed down south to Hollywood and visit my cousin for a few days. We partied and I got to swim a bunch in the pool at her apartment. Really helped to loosen up the road weary back. Got me thinking I’m gonna swim a lot more when I get back to Tahoe. We went to a karaoke club and I watched some pros. I swear one dude was a washed up Temptation. I did the Beastie Boys. Very badly. After 3 or 4 days i headed back north up the 395 to visit some friends on the east side of the Sierras.
Looking back at Manzanar, the Japanese concentration camp used during WW2
Coming into Bishop brings me back to the trips my dad would take us on as kids. Almost every summer we’d drive up and down the east side, from Bridgeport to Bishop.
Coming into Mammoth and getting a sun dog.
Met with some friends and decided to hit up the Owens a little. Some folks had left a bunch of trash, but we made that disappear pretty quickly.
Heading home after another week long leg.
Taking a short cut through the Nevada backroads. I’m not really a religious man, but this sort of stuff makes me wonder about such things.
Tahoe looked like molten Platinum as I drove past. The light and the clouds this whole trip was intense.
Back home today, just for enough time to write this up, maybe have a beer, do some laundry then I’m back on the road again tonight. Who knows, maybe I’ll meet one of you guys out there on the road, take care – Dan