June 29, 2009

TU Truckee River Fish Outing

The Sac-Sierra chapter of Trout Unlimited hosted a fish outing this last Sunday on one of my favorite rivers, the Truckee River. We had 29 people join us, including Trout Unlimited members from the Sac-Sierra and Sagebrush chapters, members of the Granite Bay Flycasters, and several other guests new to Trout Unlimited. It was good to meet some folks from other chapters and spend some time doing what we all love to do, fish.

Every good fishing trip always begins with a healthy breakfast and some Joe, so I figured everyone would be ready to fish after a few maple glazed and a couple cups of house blend. We all met at 8, but I was ready when I walked out the door at 6. I just have to remember to eat the doughnuts before the three cups of coffee next time. We broke-off into groups and tried to spread-out as best we could, but I'm pretty sure we had the river corked from Trout Creek to Hirschdale.

My good friend Jason and I headed straight to Horner's Corner to drop-off the gear for lunch.

We fished for about an hour and a half before we had to head back and start grillin' for 29 hungry fly flingers. Not a whole lot of action for us in that hour and a half. Two smaller fish to hand and a lost whitefish that Dave Lass said may have broke the state record... Not the greatest fishing record, but I would've accepted it gracefully, "And the biggest whitey award goes to JJ..." Rad...

We had quite a spread ready for lunch as people came in from the river. Thank you to Nancy, Don, and Joy for helping arrange all the food and other good stuff.

Some better morning reports came in from up river. A couple of guys said they had some solid takes and several good fish to hand swinging streamers through the schoolyard. Another group had some luck on the ol' tan worm (san juan), but nobody really ran into numbers of fish (it's not like we'd been fishing for hours though). The numbers didn't start to show until the afternoon... and did they ever...

While we ate lunch, Dave Lass, the Nor-Cal Field Coordinator for TU, talked with the group about some of the conservation work that's going on around the Meiss Meeadows and Little Truckee areas.

The Little Truckee is considered one of the most fun and technical fisheries in northern California, but it's having problems with some of the unauthorized "social" OHV trails that are distributing sediment into the riverbed. TU is wanting to designate new routes and improve/remove older routes to help protect this fishery. For more information about this and other projects, visit the TU California webpage at http://www.tucalifornia.org/. It was a great talk and I think I'll be participating in that project for sure. I hope to see other familiar faces.

After lunch we headed up river for some nymph action.

Before we could even get our lines in the water, Jason proceeds to snap the tip off his rod on some sagebrush. A total bummer, but I have to admit that the face he made was pretty good when I snapped his photo.

I'll give it to him though, a broken rod didn't slow him down at all.

The first 30 minutes were slow, until around 4:00 when the fishing simply got stupid! We were hooking 4 to 10 fish in every fishy looking run, and they weren't little fish either. None of the fish we got to hand were less than about 16" with some beef on 'em. Nearly all the fish we caught were taken on my "signature" trout slayer fly. The slayer struck hard that afternoon!

There was one wide run where I proceeded to catch 5 fish in 5 casts, plus an additional 5 more in the next 10 or so casts including a 24" bruiser on my last cast that I had to chase about 150 yards down the river before landing it.

I could barely fit the fish in my hand. It was hard enough to take pictures of fish that were like 18", with the fish in one hand and the camera in the other. Try doing it with a 24" fish. I got 'er done though. Check out the bent hook from that bad boy.

And that wasn't even the fly he took! The hook bent from the pull of the dropper fly.

Every fish fought hard! I came to the river with about 10 slayers in my box and broke-off all but 3 in some monster trout.

Jason was also nailin' fish on a big green drake pattern (the pattern that did absolutely nothing for me last Friday) broken rod tip and all.

When I caught-up with him upstream he was re-rigging after breaking off his entire setup in a fish's mouth. After setting his indicator a little higher, he hooks a fish in the same run, and (I could've guessed that this would happen) in one corner of the fish's mouth was his freshly tied-on nymph, and in the other corner was the rig he had broke off 10 minutes prior. Like I said, stupid fishing...

We had several instances where we had double hook-ups and fish hooked only about two or three feet from our legs. Check out this fish hanging out in the back eddy behind Jason's legs.

Good stuff all day long. Met some great people and had some great times fishing. Jason and I bailed before the evening hatch. To be honest, my arm was tired. The count at the end of the day for Jason and I was well over 40 fish with a couple of pigs to brag about. This fishing thing is easy... sometimes...

Thanks again to everyone that helped put the outing together, it was a great success. Thanks to Tom Smith for giving a good talk about the Sagebrush chapter, and thanks to Dave for giving a great talk about some of the now and upcoming conservation projects. Dave was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic and he opened some ears about TU's mission. We'll see everybody at the next TU function.

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