Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow…

Well unfortunately the time we dread about all year is upon us.  As June draws to a close, it is time to part ways with the trout season at our beloved Pyramid Lake.  Every year from Oct-June we pour our blood, sweat, tears, and lures/flies into this ancient body of water, always hoping for that bite that changes everything.  It was a good year for all of the WtLGT crew, with plenty of fish in the nets.  For Kelly, not only was it his first year fishing Pyramid, it was one of those “Beginners Luck” years for the ages.  His 6th time out, he managed to land an 18# Cutthroat trout:photo-51

Due to his own admission, this was possibly the luckiest catch ever.  His understanding of how to play a fish on a spinning setup was limited so he effectively “horsed” it in to the net.  The fish was throat-hooked which made this possible, but at the same time unfortunate for the fish as it could not survive…thus it is going onto the wall.  We’ll strike this one up to the “fish-of-a-lifetime” for the rookie angler.

The luck didn’t end there however.  A couple of months later in a local Pyramid Lake tournament, Kelly managed to land a 12+lb Cutthroat and finished 15th place:

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I think I speak for everyone at WtLGT when I say, “that’s quite enough of that shit rookie.”  :)

Kelly wasn’t the only one that snagged some piggies this season though, Dave had a new first, and Glenn added to his growing total of 10+ lbers this year as well.

Dave set a goal for himself at the beginning of this season: catch a 10lb trout on a fly setup…and he did not disappoint.  In early January this year, in front of the entire WtLGT crew and a few other close friends, Dave hooked into a monster.  It was evident early on that he had a good fish on the line.  The rod was bent and the line as tight as it gets, screamin’ reel and all.  It was a fairly long fight, played perfectly by our own David Duffy.  A few times the fish looked like it was ready to come in, only to dart off into the abyss again and again.  Dave would march up and down the beach maintaining constant pressure until Jason managed to net the beast.  It was a great day for Dave and fun to watch from all of us.  He set a goal, and he conquered it with style:

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Not to be outdone, Jason also threw his name in the hat for 10lb club this go-round.  He also landed one on the fly off of the shore in January, a gorgeous 11lb hog.  Later in the season, Jason was fishing alone at Pyramid when he hooked into, quite possibly, the fish of the century (his words, lol).  It put up such a vicious fight, it ended up breaking his very expensive rod, which did NOT make him happy as you can imagine (thanks goodness for warranties).  From what he saw and felt, he estimates it at well over 20lbs.  Next year, it will be target #1.  :)

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The first 10 of the season for the crew however, came from the most seasoned veteran of us all, Glenn.  After a long day on the boat with decent numbers, Kelly and Glenn were making one last pass through a famed Pyramid honey hole.  Hopes for a hog were all but lost on the day as it was almost time to pack it up.  Mere minutes before making the call to pull up the rods, WHAM!  Glenn’s rod bends with fury and the fight is on.  There was never a doubt that he had a large fish on the line, we just didn’t know how large.  After about 5 mins of angling, the fish made it’s way to the boat and Kelly netted it.  Definitely looked like a solid 10lber when it landed in the boat.  We quickly broke out a scale to check…9lb 10oz.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?  We both looked at each other and smiled…damn close to that 10lb trophy.  We slipped him back in the water and decided to keep trolling for another few minutes to see if the luck would continue…and it did.  Not more than a few minutes later, Glenn’s rod again takes a dive.  This time, he KNEW he had a monster.  Another 5-10 minute wrestling match and this one was in the net too and no doubt it was over 10 this time…a solid victory for Glenn and another trophy 10lber to add to his resume.  The fish was weighed and released at the dock:

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Matt also had an excellent season at Pyramid as well despite no 10+lbers…but confidence is high for next season as Matt is still looking for that first…a WELL-DESERVING first.  Matt had a near-miss a couple months ago on the shore though.  He had an absolute beast on his fly line for several minutes and was playing him like a fiddle until tragedy struck and the line broke off.  It happens unfortunately, but Matt deserved to have that fish in the net more than anyone.  Next year though.  In all fairness, Matt did school us on other trips outside of “The Mid” this year so far.  He had biggest striper on our Bay Area charter trip and the amazing double-hookup at Hobart (Brook and Tiger):

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To say farewell to this Pyramid season, Matt decided to hop in Jason’s boat along with another friend, Keith.  Kelly jumped in Glenn’s boat and everyone headed to the outer banks of the lake.  Things started out slow going for both boats but it picked up in the late morning/early afternoon.  Glenn and Kelly ended with 15-20 fish in the boat (and released), with some decent ones over 24″ while Jason’s boat had smaller #’s but landed the biggest of the day.  A fairly uneventful ending to a fun season, but always a damn good time with great friends and good fishing!

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Most of us were out there whether rain, snow, sleet, or hail…and even the much-hated wind all season long.  In one 2-weekend long tournament, we put 56+ hours into fishing…dealing with 60+ mph wind at times.  You do what you do for the love of “the game.”  We love this sport, and we love our pond known as Pyramid Lake.  We are already anxiously awaiting the opener for next season this October.  In the meantime, we’ll take our talents (or lack-there-of) elsewhere and try our luck at some other spots.  We have some plans to hit up our hometown Truckee River, Knott Creek, possibly another Hobart Reservoir trip, and whatever else comes our way.  No matter where we fish at though, almost nothing compares to the possibility of reeling in a monster from the “P-Mid”.

 

We’ll see you again real soon…

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Getting Schooled!

This past Saturday Kelly, Jason and myself (Dave) signed up for a Tight Line Nymphing Clinic put on by Matt “Gilligan” Koles of Gilligan’s Guide Service and Doug Ouellette of Calvada Fly Fishing.

Tight line nymphing is sometimes referred to as “Czech or European” style nymphing. But as we were taught in our class, this style of fly fishing was happening in Northern California way before it was happening it Europe. In fact, the Europeans learned how to fish this style by reading old fly fishing booked written by authors here in the U.S.  So going forward I’ll just be referring to this style of fishing as nypmphing, plain and simple.

The clinic started off with Matt and Doug getting us acquainted with the ins and outs of what a standard rod and reel setup would be for this style of nymphing. As they explained any 9ft 5wt rod will do the trick, but a 10 to 10.5ft, 4-5wt rod is preferred.

Next came our leader construction and a brief history on where and how this style of nymphing started. The leader construction was very eye opening. For our group, this was a whole new way to set up your rig. This wasn’t your standard tapered leader with a loop to loop connection. Between the nail knots, surgeons knots, clinch knots, mono, flouro, swivels and tippet rings we were all having a great time building our leaders and learning something new.

After our leaders were built, fly selection began and seriously, I’m not kissing ass here but not only are our two teachers of this clinic  guides on the Truckee River and beyond, they are both awesome fly tiers with multiple flies available commercially though Solitude Fly Company and Umpqua Feather Merchants.

Most everyone went with a two fly setup with Gil’s G6 Caddis as a dropper and Doug O’s Stone Daddy as the point fly. These two flies gave us a well rounded meal option for what would hopefully be some hungry trout once we got on the water.

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Once everyone was rigged up we took a quick walk over to the Truckee River to get some hands on experience. Doug was the first in the water to show us the do’s and don’t’s of nymphing and hook sets. Matt and Doug also explain how to read the water and where trout would normally be found in these summer time conditions.

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You could have timed it with a stop watch, but no more than 3 minutes in the water Doug’s line went tight and he had a fish on. It was a nice wild Truckee River rainbow trout and as Doug released the fish back into the water the group was eager to get on the water to hone our newly learned nymphing skills.

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The 9 of us spread out up and down the river. Doug and Matt both spent time with each angler individually helping us sight the water, perfect our drifts and really learn the use your sense of touch while fly fishing rather than how we usually wait for our indicator to sink before reacting to a grab.

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Over the next few hours several of us got into some fish including myself. After wading my way through some nice pocket water I picked up a healthy wild bow.

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As the clinic wrapped up the group hung around and chatted about the days adventures and what we all agreed was a very informative lesson on a new way to fish.

Here is a video of one of the clinics put on by Matt and Doug that was masterfully filmed and edited by our friend Donald Zimmerman who runs a great blog called Catch, Snap & Release that you should check out on a regular basis.

The Truckee River a truly a world class trophy trout river, and it does not like to give up it’s bounty easily. So this is just one more weapon in the arsenal. But I can tell you, it’s one that I’m going to be utilizing a lot. This clinic made me look at fishing the river in a whole new light and if you get a chance you should look into signing up for one of their future clinics. There are links in this post and on our Blogroll page to both Gilligan’s and Doug’s websites if you are interested.

Tight Lines and Strong Knots!

-Dave

Lakes, Streams, Rivers…Waders, Boats and Float Tubes.

Well we have a good handful of things to write about this week. For starters we’ll go back to the weekend before last.

After our awesome trip to Hobart Reservoir, Glenn took his boat out to Pyramid Lake on that Sunday for some Cutthroat action. It’s getting pretty late in the season and with the water temps rising the fish are starting to move into deeper water making it tough on the shore anglers to get a bite. This plus it’s now camping/jet ski/wake board season also hurts your changes of landing “Big Red” from shore.

Glenn was able to beat the crowds and get out to some unoccupied areas of the lake and for his efforts he was rewarded with landed roughly 40 Cutty’s for the afternoon.

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The season officially ends at the end of June, so if you feel like battling the shore crowds or own a boat, you only have a few weeks to get you LCT fix on, the season opens again on October 1st.

The Monday after Matt and I had the day off that we were going to use for a guide trip Matt had won at this years F3T, but due to some unfortunate circumstances the trip had to be rescheduled for another time. So Matt and I took the opportunity to fish some new (to us) waters across the state line into California. It was a beautiful day and we got into a handful of feisty rainbows. I am hoping to spend some more time on that side of the river this summer.

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This last Thursday Jason and I had the opportunity to watch the documentary DamNation. Our local Patagonia outlet here in Reno hosted the screening and provided drinks and snacks as well as showing the film free of charge. Cheers to you guys. The documentary was eye opening and very well put together. If you have the opportunity you should check it out.

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Of course since the Patagonia outlet is right next to the Truckee River, myself, Jason from WTLGT and Jason from our local Trout Unlimited chapter got to hit the river for a bit prior to the screening. The flows have come back down on the T and we were able to get into some mountain white fish before the movie started and the thunder showers showed up. It was a good evening to say the least.

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n2On Saturday Glenn volunteered his time to help out with the NDOW (Nevada Department of Wildlife) annual Kid’s Carp Derby at the Lahontan Reservoir. This annual derby is a good time and helps get the next generation of anglers into this sport we all know and love. Prizes are given out for largest fish caught in different age categories. I think I’m going to volunteer next year as well. There’s nothing wrong with teaching kids how to fish while hooking into a poor man’s bonefish on the fly rod!

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Last but not least…well kinda least. Jason and Kelly set off on a road trip to Indian Creek Reservoir which is located near Markleeville, south of Lake Tahoe. The 160 acre lake holds some good size rainbows, browns and cutthroats but you couldn’t convince Kelly and Jason of that. After hours of trying they packed up their gear and headed to a local stream and also to another still water lake to try and get that line tight.

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Unfortunately they both came back to Reno with a stripe on their back and carried with them the odor that can ward off even the biggest grizzly bear, or attract the cast of Half Baked…But as the saying goes, that’s why it’s called fishing, not catching!

This upcoming weekend should be a good one. If it works out Glenn will be heading up to Knott Creek for the opener and a few of us are staying closer to home to learn some tight line nymphing from the dynamic duo of Matt “Gilligan” Koles and Doug Ouellette.

So until next time keep those lines tight and knots strong!

-Dave

“The path of least resistance makes all rivers, and some men, crooked.”

If weekends are made for fishing, we certainly took full advantage of this past one! The group had been talking about heading up to Hobart Reservoir for a few weeks now and we had heard some great reports of 20-30 fish days being common. Hobart Reservoir is located at an elevation of 7,650 feet in the Carson Range of the Toiyabe National Forest and getting there can be a little tricky depending on weather and road conditions.

There are 2 ways into Hobart Reservoir, one way is to start at Spooner Lake off of highway 50 and hike about 5 miles to the reservoir. The second option is to take a high clearance 4×4 up a gnarly dirt road for about 40 minutes or so then hike down about a 1/4 mile into the reservoir.

Well now I’m sure hiking 5 miles with your gear and float tube strapped to your back sounds like a good time to some of you out there, but the When The Line Goes Tight crew may or may not also be known as the OFS (old, fat and slow) crew…so yeah option 2 seemed like the better choice. But sometimes the path of least resistance isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

We departed Reno in two trucks at about 6am Saturday morning and by 6:30am we started making our way up the before mentioned gnarly dirt road. Kelly couldn’t make this trip but our buddy Quinten (yes the Quinten who landed 2 Pyramid LCT’s over 20lbs this season…yes I’m still very jealous) joined us on this excursion. The reports weren’t joking about needing a “high clearance” 4×4 as we started to familiarize ourselves with the sound of large dirt mounds scraping the bottom of the truck.

Looking down below us on the drive up the hill made you think about how sketchy this road could be if we actually had some snow this year. At the bottom of the canyon you could  see the mangled remains of a few vehicles that weren’t so fortunate on their way to this high mountain fishery.

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After about 40 minutes we made it to the locked gate which was our cue to park and get ready to hit the trail. We all inflated our float tubes, got our gear securely strapped down and started making our way down the hill in front of us.

The hike down wasn’t bad at all, well because it was downhill and even though the anticipation of fishing for high mountain Brookies was pretty much consuming all my thoughts there was a little voice in the back of my head saying “Hey, remember you have to get your out of shape ass back up this steep hill, with all your gear, wearing waders after you’ve kicked around in your float tube for hours”. But when you have fishing on the mind, in the famous words of Sweet Brown “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”.

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Once on the water it wasn’t long before we started getting into fish. Glenn was the first to hook up and it was a colorful Tiger Trout (Brown Trout/ Brook Trout Hybrid). Not long after that I hooked and landed a nice looking Brook Trout. This fishery boasts having Brook, Rainbow, Tiger and Cuttbow trout, but only the Brookies are self sustaining. The other 3 are planted by NDOW throughout the year.

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The reservoir is beautiful and the trek it takes to get there keeps a lot of people out for the most part. We had our group of 5 anglers all on float tubes, there was only one other guy on his float tube and I think I counted maybe 4 other people fishing from shore.

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We called it a day a little after noon, the fish counts were for the most part in the teens but Jason came out with the most fish landed at 27. There is no doubt a healthy population of Tiger and Brook Trout in the the reservoir and though there weren’t many Rainbows caught they undoubtedly put up the biggest fight with the handful we caught going vertical right after being hooked.

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We got our float tubes and gear packed up and started the hike back up to the parking area, all of us in good spirits about the the great day we had on the water and discussing where our next outing should be.

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Then came the realization of walking up the “Steep ass hill” that nobody had time for earlier. I won’t say that all 5 of us are Old, Fat and Slow. Matt is in good shape and managed his way up the hill without too much fan fair and Quinten who I now believe is part billy goat charged that mountain like a champ, while eating gummy bears…no joke.

I won’t go into detail about how myself and the rest of the team made our way up the trail, but if slow and steady wins the race I’d say at least got the slow part right.

But at the end of the day we had a great time and we all felt grateful for having such a unique and beautiful fishery so close to home.

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Stay tuned because this wasn’t the only fishing done this past weekend. We still have boat fishing at Pyramid and crossing the boarder into California for some river action to report.

But until then keep those lines tight and knots strong!!!

-Dave