Salmon-nado…part 2

You might recall a post we did back in July called “Sometimes fishing isn’t about the fish at all“. Well this story starts out very similar, except ends very different.

I again get a text from a buddy that lives in Grass Valley telling me that he has the Feisty Fish Guide Service dudes booked for that coming Thursday and wanted a “roll call” of who could make the trip to Chico and get out on the water.

Again the thoughts of landing a big Sacramento River King Salmon raced through my head, this time more so than the last because our last tangle with these mighty Kings wasn’t so productive for putting meat in the freezer.

So taking full advantage of those ever so important unlimited text messages we gathered the troops and confirmed our day on the water for round 2 of the 2014 King Salmon season on the Sac River.

The same three hooligans (myself, Glenn and Kelly) made the trip, but this time Matt was able to join. The only one of us that hasn’t been able to make the trip has been Jason. But with the newborn at home and work stacking up it’s understandable. Next time for sure though buddy!

I’m always blown away with the drive to Chico. There is just some awesome scenery on the way to there from Reno. Some of those low land farms are places I’d dream of retiring on some day. Having a sweet mini goat and pot belly pig farm. And raising herds of majestic Boston Terriers…running wild in the fields, chasing birds and causing ruckus…


Rolling into Chico a little earlier then last time allowed us not to have to eat dinner at the outpatient mental health clinic called Denny’s, but rather the prestigious malt and hops ivory tower that is the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

We had a good but not so healthy dinner of wood fire pizzas and chicken wings…Matt did get a cute little salad though. That’s why he’s actually in shape and not just always talking about getting into shape. Whatever.

We then headed to our hotel which is a nice spot to rest your head for the evening. If you care Wednesday is Karaoke night, not to be confused with Tuesday salsa night…we were a little disappointed.

As the iPhone alarms all went off at 4:00am we were all anxious to get ready and out the door to what was promising to be a glorious day of fishing.

Once at the boat launch were met up with our friends Chuck and Casey as well as Captain Scott and Deckhand Josh. Everyone was pumped up and ready to get those lines tight!


Just as the sun is coming up, warming the cool river air we all get a jolt of adrenaline as Chuck’s line goes tight and the drag goes off screaming!  These Kings are no joke, they hit like a freight train and pull like a Mac truck!

Chuck played the fish to perfection and within a few minutes deckhand Josh netted the beast and we had the first fish on board. After watching the fight these fish put up and seeing what a salmon pushing close to 30 pounds looks like up close and personal we were all amped up and eagerly waiting our turns to get into a fish of our own.


It wasn’t long until several of us to get our chance at fighting a fish. Captain Scott was a fish magnet and the next 3 fish came from his rod. Once he set the hook he passed the rod to one of us on the boat to try and land the tugboat on the end of the line. Matt, myself (Dave) and Glenn all had the opportunity to fight a fish and in all 3 chances deckhand Josh netting the fish and we were 4 for 4 for the morning.



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The next fish was one I won’t soon forget. As we are trolling I thought it would be a nice “good morning” to my wife to send her a photo of the salmon I had just landed. So as laws of fishing work as I’m hitting send I get a huge tug on my line and instinctively set the hook. Now I’m sitting there with an iPhone in one hand and my rod with a very angry fish attached to it in the other.  While fumbling to get my phone in my pocket and trying to keep tension on the fish it’s like the voices in my head are also talking to me in real life.

As I’m reeling down on the fish to get the slack out of the line I’m telling myself ” Don’t f*ck this up Dave!” which is weird because that is exactly what my friends are screaming also. And then like I’m sitting in a IMAX theater with that awesome surround sound Captain Scott is yelling the same thing!


Not my proudest moment in my angling career, but who’s to say the fish would have hit my lure if I was actually paying attention? At least that’s my excuse for almost losing the 5th fish of the day. But as luck would have it the fish stayed buttoned and we were 5 for 5!

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Up to bat next was Casey. As we were bouncing some roe he felt a solid bump and set the hook. There was certainly a fish on the end of his line, but to all of us it seemed to most likely be a pike minnow and not a king salmon. Casey effortlessly reeled the fish closer to the boat, but then we all saw a big silver flash…that was no pike minnow! As we realized it was a salmon, the salmon realized it was hooked and then the fight was on!


That fish gave Casey a great fight and put a good bend on that rod. In the end Casey won the battle and we were now 6 for 6!


The next 2 fish came from Glenn’s rod. Glenn had already landed the one earlier in the day and right after Casey’s fish was on board Glenn hooked up again. His fish was a head shaker for sure and ended up being the first Jack landed on the Black Mamba this season.

The next hook up Glenn got he knew was a bigger fish than his Jack. But he also knew that the only person left on board that hadn’t fought a fish yet was Kelly. So he graciously passed the rod to let Kelly have the honor of fighting our 8th fish of the day. To put it lightly this fish kicked Kelly’s ass all over the river. This was the best fight out of all the fish we got into and there were several opportunities to have lost that fish. But the expertise of deckhand Josh and Captain Scott made it possible for Kelly to land that fish and put us 8 for 8 for the day.


Shortly after Kelly’s battle we called it a day and headed towards the boat launch to take some photos of the days catch and get our fish cleaned and packaged for the car ride home.

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I said it in our last salmon fishing post and I will say it again and again. I’ve never had a guide crew work as hard to get us on fish than Scott and Josh do. They are both super passionate and love what they do. That shows in their eagerness to get their clients on big fish and the energy on the boat keeps you pumped up and ready for the moment those big fish smash your line.

So if you’re looking for a great fishing experience with 2 of the best dudes on the river book a day with Feisty Fish Guide Service and I promise you’ll be a client for life!



Also you’ll have the privilege of fishing with little Capt Jack Sparrow! Such a fun pup to have on the boat.

Thanks again to Chuck for the invite and coordinating the trip. We’ll for sure be hitting the Sac River again one more time before the season comes to an end!

Until next time- Tight Lines!



Be Bear Aware!

It’s finally September and the air and water temps in the greater Reno/Sparks area of the Truckee River have started to finally come down.

The crew has been able to get out on the big T in the mornings over the past few weeks and have been rewarded with some nice healthy trout.

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We have been getting off the water around 10:00 am but the water temps have yet to exceed 65 degrees while we’ve been fishing, which is a nice change from a few months ago.

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Though this past weekend Jason ran into a bigger problem than water temps and what flies to choose from.

This trip on the Truckee started like most others. We all text each other the night before on what time and where we should fish, which then turns into the following morning of texts asking where the hell everyone is at and which person is heading to the predetermined hole because they are sick of waiting for whoever is slacking this weekend.

Well the main slacker this past weekend was myself (Dave). I had no excuses other than my bed was warmer than the river and those extra 30 mins of sleep seemed worth it at the time. Which of course didn’t make a damn bit of different in the long run.

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Kelly was the first to head towards ye old fishin’ hole. As Kelly walked to the river’s edge he heard something walking though the tree line, rustling leaves and whatnot. He didn’t think much of it as the sun was just rising and we’ve seen multiple deer in this area many times before.

Second on the path to the river was Jason only a few minutes behind Kelly. As Jason passed the same tree line he met eyes with a foraging Black Bear looking for his morning breakfast. The bear saw Jason and with only about 30 feet separating the two the bear stood up on its hind legs and stared Jason down.

Now if there is one thing true about Jason it’s that he has never and I mean NEVER backed down from a fight. So in true Jason form he started yelling and hollering at the bear, now if this was me I’m man enough to say I probably would have more than likely crapped my pants and ran my ass back up to my car smelling like the changing room at your local day care center.

But Jason is a big dude and this bear thought the same (or just laughed and decided that chasing squirrels and eating out of people garbage cans was a more fitting use of its time) and so the bear walked away about another 40 feet, turned and stood up to see Jason making his way down river, with just a little more pep in his step I’m sure.

Last on the trail to the river is me, slacker Dave. Luckily I hear no rustling and see no bears as I approach the fishing hole where Kelly and Jason had already gotten into a few fish. But I’m greeted with the question “Did you see the bear?!?!” and of course I answer “Holy shit! you guys saw a bear?!?” which then starts making me think, wouldn’t one of you two “friends” have texted me after seeing said bear to say “Hey Dave, because we don’t want you to die and get eaten alive, watch out for the bear we just saw 30 feet in front of us…oh and it looked pissed so be careful.” But I’m guessing seeing me running down the river with a bear chasing me resembling something out of the movie The Great Outdoors would have made for a much more entertaining morning…touché gentlemen….touché.


Once the bear scare was talked about we got into some fishing, and man did we. There is no doubt that the river is really low and slow right now, which has the fish stacked into deep hole and seams throughout the river. Sometimes these fish spook really easily and are fairly tight lipped. This morning was the opposite, they had a very specific fly they would only eat, but once all 3 of us had the same fly tied on it was lights out! By the time we started to pack out we had landed 5-7 fish each and many more than that lost. These fish were aggressive and fought like champs. Best of all they all swam away strong with usually leaving us splashed with water from their tails as a final “kiss my ass” as they swam off.


I’ve talked about these 3 guys before and will continue to do so. Matt “Gilligan” KolesDoug Ouellette and Jan Nemec are all killer guides on the river and all tie flies that are available in retail shops and online that will get you into fish on the Truckee. So if you want to know what flies we are using 99% of the time it’s a fly tied by one of these 3 guys.

With fall right here and the temps lowering we can only hope that we see some moisture soon. Until the flows return to reasonable levels please respect the river and the fish we all love. We will continue with the efforts in participating in the Hoot Owl Closure.

Come to think about it…Jason said the bear stood up on its hind legs. There wasn’t a lot of light yet because the sun was still coming up. There isn’t a photograph proving it was a bear. This means there isn’t a photograph proving that it wasn’t a Sasquatch that Jason saw! Ladies and Gentlemen, when fishing the Truckee please always be bear aware…but also always keep an eye out for the elusive Calvada Squatch that roams the river banks as well.


Until next time – #ibelieve