Note: the full report with pictures is in the August newsletter. Go there for the grip & grins...
TVFF Truckee Watershed Trip Report
Michael Frietas experience:
Friday night arrived at Stampede reservoir and met the crew. Fished Little Truckee near the corner of the meadow with Gary Prince. Good company but no fish.
Saturday morning fished the Truckee river under the Glenshire bridge, caught one small fish on a pheasant tail nymph under an thingamabobber. Saturday evening fished the Little Truckee near the base of the dam. Not much happening until dusk and then the fish started rising. Hooked one good fish that immediately broke off my tippet. Unfortunately it was too dark to tie on a new one since I did not have a light.
Sunday morning fished the base of the dam again. Lots of PMDs, but no action for me. Fish were rising in three locations down the seam but I could not figure out what they were taking. I helped Gary Prince land a nice sized fish just above me, and then watched him fight and loose another one a little while later. Gary was tenacious and did not want to leave but I gave up and headed back to camp.
Sunday evening headed back to the base of the dam to wait for dusk and try to get the fish I missed the night before. Incredibly the same thing happened again. A fish broke off my 5x tippet in nearly the exact same spot between the two boulders. I guess it was not meant to be.
Monday morning headed out to the corner of the meadow of the Little Truckee but decided to try something different. Instead I headed out onto highway 80 and parked near the bridge after Horner’s Corner towards Truckee. Fished for a while and caught one small fish using a Perdigon under a thingamabobber. From there I decided to take the scenic way home and headed out to highway 49 via highway 89. I stopped at several spots along the highway and fished the North Fork of the Yuba. Caught small fish at every stop so overall a nice way to end the trip.
Denis Haire experience:
After an obligatory stop at the Mountain Hardware and Sports store in Truckee to stock up on any last-minute flies and gear, we all individually arrived in the Loggers Campground. We were greeted with intense heat (easily in the 90’s) and a need for something to drink. I think we were all reminded of the seriousness of the drought as we looked at the Stampede Dam Reservoir low water level. As the source of water for the Little Truckee, this was a sign of things to consider for tactics.
The Loggers Campground was a great location as it was less than 10 minutes to the Little Truckee and maybe 20 minutes to the Truckee River. The group, including Greg Blandino, James Kirschner, Gary Prince, Mike Prokosch, Jim Felardo, Gary Prince, Denis Haire and Rob Farris (fishmeister) quickly set up camp at their respective sites in anticipation of getting to the river.
Although hot, a welcomed wind through the trees helped make that exercise go quickly. With camp set up it was time to rig up. The questions begin; what will the bite be and when?
The Truckee and Little Truckee Rivers both have an incredible population of wise, wild rainbows. Both rivers are healthy and support a large amount of aquatic insects. Understanding, or at least being informed of the type of hatches was of great value. Thank goodness for the club’s entomology class! And those hatch charts become even more valuable. From nymphs to dry flies for both the morning and evening hatch, one should anticipate the range. And I am sure those fish have seen them all. Seems to me I need to update my flybox!
There is a truism that 10 percent of the anglers catch 90 percent of the fish on these rivers. It’s not easy and it takes many, many hours on the water to master. Wise fish require wise anglers. This truism was put to the test on this trip. So enough with preparation and philosophy, on to fishing! After an early dinner, we decided to fish the Little Truckee for the evening hatch. At about 6:30 pm, Gary and Mike headed to the meadows as Rob, Jim and myself hit the area below the power plant.
Rob determined the water temperature to be 58F, ideal for the evening hatch. The water level was low as many rocks and river bed were showing. Being unfamiliar with the water I went with a confidence fly of a black rubber legs on a Euro Rig. The rocks were covered with moss so getting deep was a challenge. I did luck out to catch a nice rainbow before dusk, as well as another strong take that broke me off. As dusk drew closer, around 8:30 the hatch of caddis in their “behavioral drift” started. As I did not bring a dry fly rig, all I could do is watch. Lesson learned; bring a second rig! As usual Rob did catch some fish.
The next morning (Saturday) after a quick breakfast, we headed to the Truckee and at the water by 7:30 am! We landed at the Glenshire Bridge run and to our surprise there were no other cars there. It looked like good pocket water under the bridge.
The air was already warm and we quickly suited up and got to the river. Water flow was good with a temperature of 62F; good conditions! Using everything from beaded pheasant tails to crayfish we all entered the river. Of course, the best seam was further out so wading above the hips was required!
In the four hours we were there, four fish were caught: two by James, and one each by Rob (a classic Truckee river fat boy) and Michael. By the time we left the water temperature was up to almost 70F so it was definitely time to observe the voluntary “Hoot Owl” closure to help reduce fish mortality.
After a light lunch, short siesta and a light early dinner it was time to head back to the Little Truckee for the evening hatch. This time I brought 2 rods! As we crossed the river at about 6:30pm we could see lots of midges hatching on the water. Shaking the bushes did show some caddis so we had a better idea of what to expect. We all nymph fished until about 8:00pm and then waited, and waited, and waited, and waited for the hatch. I really learned from this to just stop and observe, to not disturb the fish early, and be patient.
Take the time to see the rises and possibly what type. Are they feeding on the surface or just underneath? What are the currents I will have to deal with when casting? As Rob might say, “We need to crack the code” or as I thought, ”We are being schooled by these wise ones…”. Rob discovered that a slow retrieve after the swing was bringing him success. After some strong hits and more lost fish than landed, we headed back to lick our wounds with a cold one (s) …. I must say crossing the river in the dark was challenging, but “you’ve got to pay your dues.”
Not to be deterred, it was back to the Little Truckee in the morning and hopes for the PMD hatch. As we approached the river, we could see the fish from the trail! Big fish just sitting there in the usual spots. The norm of nymphing to start until the hatch began. I was fishing a beaded pheasant tail with a jigged hare’s ear to start. I was trying to get deep but often caught on the rocks and moss. Still trying to learn that Euro style. And of course Rob did find that hole with the big one….
At about 10:30 the PMD hatch set in and it was productive. We could see the fish feeding but trying to find the right fly was the challenge. After determining the right color and size they were still very selective (ah wise ones). We even had the DFG as a spotter for us on the trail above Frustration Pool! Good drifts and presentations and they did not bite. I even had them swimming within 5 feet of me. But by noon as we started to head up the trail, Gary Prince had figured it out. He found a great hole where they kept rising to his orange colored PMD. It was entertaining watching him from above and seeing the fish rise.
In the afternoon, Rob and Gary continued on to Milton Lake where they camped and then encountered a crowd of 10 boats on the water the next day, and few fish. On the water at 6:00 AM Rob hooked up with two medium sized browns with both a wiggle tail and then doing his dry fly thing for two more on the surface. Gary really worked the dry flies from his boat and shore fishing for a couple more. Something has changed in the lake as the last three trips by club members have seen smaller fish of about 12-15” when the average size was between 15-18” last year. Hmmm…
In the evening again we went back to the Little Truckee one more time. Mike, Greg and myself and later Michael Freitas started nymphing.
Michael Frietas did catch one on a zebra midge but broke him off and Greg had some big hits with alligator rolls to break him off! The hatch wasn’t quite as strong as the previous night but Mike had a very strong hit in the same spots he had the night before! That fish certainly had his number…. It was back to camp to have a campfire and enjoy the rest of the evening.