All posts by duffy

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.




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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.



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.



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.


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.


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!


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.


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!


“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.


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!”.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.



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!!!





“Oh, dogs. Sure, I like dags. I like caravans more.”

Memorial Day was this past Monday and for most of us that meant a 3 day weekend. It is a weekend normally filled with BBQ’s, relaxing and of course fishing, but we should always remember it’s truly for remembering the men and women who gave their lives while serving in the countries armed forces.

On Friday afternoon I took a trip out to Pyramid Lake to see if I could get some fishing in before the shores were filled with RV’s, Campers and party animals that were no doubt already getting geared up. The usual suspects were completely filled, bumper to bumper with Caravan’s (spoken in my head sounding like Brad Pitt in the movie Snatch). Pelican, North and South Nets and Blockhouse were all packed and with almost not a single angler on the water. But jet skis you ask? Yes those were out in full force.


So I decided to head South and ended up at Popcorn. There was only one other angler there and he wasn’t having much luck. Cruising the shallows were 100’s of Cui-ui ( a large sucker fish endemic to Pyramid Lake) and one gigantic carp.

It wasn’t long after hitting Popcorn I decided to start moving back down North, The water was glass and although watching the Cui-ui was pretty awesome, I was hoping to get into a few Cutty’s before I called it a day.

Next stop was Sandhole and surprisingly I had the entire beach to myself. There was one Caravan parked but it’s inhabitants were no where to be seen. So I got setup to throw some bugs and beetles and enjoyed the solitude I had, even knowing it would only be for a short amount of time.

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While stripping in my trusty popcorn beetle and wooly bugger combo I felt a bump…a bump! The kind that makes your adrenaline start pumping and focuses all your attention on the connection between your hand, fly line and rod tip. I stripped another 6 inches of line in and then the line went tight! I set the hook and it felt like a had a real nice fish on the other end, but as quickly as that adrenaline rush kicked in,  that stomach sinking feeling of when your line goes slack hit. Figuring the fish just spit the hook I checked the bugs to see if it took the beetle or the bugger. It was obvious which one it took I’d say.

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That was a size 0 Gamakatsu Stinger hook…But I’ll just pretend it was a little guy and take pride in knowing I tied strong knots.

After a few more rounds of switching from stirpping bugs and hanging nymphs I called it a day. Partly because I was hoping to get dinner with the wife and kiddo and partly because the Caravan parade suddenly realized the beach I was fishing was probably the only one on the lake that hasn’t been invaded yet and they started shuffling in.

Glenn had the right idea on Saturday and took his boat out to Pyramid. At least in a boat if the weather is cooperating you can get across to the backside where normally the only other people you’ll see are fellow anglers and no jet skis or wake boarders. Glenn managed to land 23 cutthroat’s to about 24 inches and lost 2 big fish as well. Getting Glenn to use a camera to document these outings while he’s on his boat is about as likely as getting my 10 month old daughter to change her own diaper. So I guess you’ll have to take my word on this one.

The rest of the fishing this weekend consisted of a few trips to the Truckee River which was high and a little off color down through Reno due to the recent rains we just had. The other hours were spent relaxing with family and friends.

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I hope you all had a chance to relax and get outdoors for a bit this weekend. Check back with us next week, hopefully we’ll be chasing some Brook Trout. That’s the plan at least.



Wind can be a four letter word.

Spring time in Reno can be a very short season. Some years it seems like we go from freezing cold to 100 degree days over night.

This year we’ve actually had some decent spring time weather, but that hasn’t been without a few snow storms and 90 degrees days thrown in for good measure. The one thing that Spring always seems to bring with it is wind and this last weekend was no exception.

With another year of light snow pack and a very dry spring Reno can have it’s share of wildfires. While it’s still early for “fire season” as it’s called, driving to the Truckee on Sunday I spotted some smoke on the mountain above where we planned on fishing. Here are a few photos from friends Natalie and Jed of what is now being called the Hunter Falls Fire.

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The wind gusts of 40-50 mph on Sunday certainly played a role in the fire spreading very fast. Currently the fire has consumed 760 acres and is 46% contained. Hopefully the cooler weather and mix of rain and snow today will help give the fire fighters a helping hand in fully containing it.

Now onto the topic of fishing, but as you read you’ll see that the word “wind”  will continue to be a four letter word throughout the weekend.

The group as a whole didn’t have any solid fishing plans for this weekend but Matt did have a charter booked out of Lake Tahoe to go out for some Mackinaw Trout. This was a trip he had been looking forward to for awhile and the group was looking forward to hearing how he did. We have 2 boats between the 5 of us, so a lake trout trip is never far away and knowing what they are biting on and at what depth is half of the battle.

But as luck would have it at 3 o’clock in the morning while waiting to depart Reno with his co-workers Matt got a call from the Captain saying that there had been a lake wind advisory placed on Lake Tahoe and that the trip would have to be re-scheduled for another day. So it seems a lake trout report will have to wait. Wind 2 Reno 0.

While Matt was surely catching up on some much needed sleep, Kelly and I decided to make an impromptu trip to the Truckee River. The wind wasn’t much of a factor first thing in the morning, but that changed as the afternoon approached.


The fish were a little tight lipped but we managed to get a few hooked up for the couple hours we were out. By the time I was packing up my gear the wind was howling and I had already had my fill of wind knots and almost hooking myself in the ear several times.

Luckily I made it home without any extra piercings and only had to worry about tying on a new leader. In general the wind had won the battle this weekend, but we’ll no doubt be back at it again this week.

Thank you all for the support you’ve given When The Line Goes Tight and thank you again to Natalie and Jed for allowing me to use your photos of the Hunter Falls Fire.




Can’t get enough of those Stripers!

A few weeks back I posted about the trip that Glenn and Jason took on the San Joaquin River Delta near Lodi, California with Captain Brad who runs the charter Well this past weekend the whole When The Line Goes Tight crew was able to book a trip out of the Berkeley Maria and do a Striper/Halibut combo on board the Happy Hooker charter.

We had been kicking around the idea of doing a charter trip for Jason’s 40th b-day which is coming up soon. So we started calling around and found that the Salmon season in the SF Bay hadn’t started off as hot as people had hoped but there were many reports that the Striped Bass bite was on and that there was some good sized California Halibut being landed as well.

Live bait was showing up and the Happy Hooker was one of the first boats to get their hands on some. So after following their Facebook page and seeing the boat limiting out on stripers on almost every trip it wasn’t a hard choice on who to book with.

We started our adventure Friday afternoon and left Reno around 5pm or so and drove over to Fairfield, California were we had a few hotel rooms booked for the night. Once checked in we had a nice steak dinner at a nearby restaurant and then headed to the rooms to try and rest up for the day ahead.

The 4 hours of sleep we tried to get before the alarms went off seemed to go by way too fast. But we were all excited to get to the boat and if you are like us, sleep can wait if the bite is on!

Check in on the boat was supposed to be at 5:30am,  but when we showed up at 5am thinking we’d get to pick our spot we were welcomed with almost a full boat already. We laughed as it reminded us of a derby day at Pyramid Lake when you get your spot at 3am and sleep in your truck until it’s go time.

But there was more than enough room and we got our spots picked out, paid for our trip and tackle got our gear rigged up for what was going to be a great day of fishing.


The boat departed promptly at 6am  and we were at the fishing grounds in less than 30 minutes. This was a live bait trip so you rig your gear with a 3 way swivel that your line attaches to, from there you have a tag line which you attached your weight (8oz to 12oz) and then comes your leader to your hook. You want to get your anchovy the bottom and then bounce your weight off of the bottom without getting hung up on the rocks and various other obstacles that were  waiting eagerly to steal your tackle if given the opportunity.


The day started off a little slow but as the tides changed the bite really started to pick up. Our deck hand Mike had his work cut out for him when there were multiple hookups at the same time. Those stripers can take you for a ride and being a full boat you can imagine the tangled mess your lines can become.



The halibut bite never picked up with only boating 1 for the day. But we all went home with limits of striper and landed more than that. Between the fishing, weather, scenery and friends it was a trip to remember for sure.




If you’re looking for a legit charter with a hard working crew check out the Happy Hooker and tell them the boys from Reno with the noodle rods sent ya!

Tight Lines!



Mother Nature…good thing I have unlimited texts.

The California opener was 4/26/14 and the crew had been looking forward to hitting Kirman Lake for some trophy Brook Trout fishing for several months. The original plan was to hike the 3 miles in with all the gear needed to camp at the lake for two nights plus our float tubes and fishing gear. Up until the day before we were scheduled to leave that was still the plan, then that old trickster Mother Nature decided to dump a decent amount of snow over the Bridgeport, Ca area. The mass group text messages went into the 100’s with trying to figure out a plan, but in the end the group decided that Kirman would have to wait a few weeks and we headed to Squaw Creek Reservoir up near Gerlach, NV instead.


Squaw Creek wasn’t without it’s weather issues though. Friday afternoon when starting to set up camp the winds were kicking up pretty good and the sky opened and decided to dump some hail on the group.


Once everyone was settled into camp the weather got better and the weekend lent itself to countless numbers of fish hooked, lost and landed. The crew caught mostly Rainbows and Brown trout, but there are some bass in the reservoir as well. The fish were keyed up on leech patterns in black and olive as well as the Sheep Creek Special all weekend long.




It was a good weekend to be outdoors in our great state of Nevada, but as our “tagline” suggests, we also like to get bent beyond Nevada as well. So stay tuned, we have a whole lot of fishing planned for the spring and summer!

Tight Lines!


Strippers…wait I mean Stripers!

This past weekend the When The Line Goes Tight team split up on separate fishing adventures. Three of us stayed here in Reno and did a mix of fly fishing on the Truckee River and Pyramid Lake. Both were a little slow going so nothing really to report.

The other half of the team took a trip down to the delta for some striped bass fishing.  Jason and Glenn met up with our fishing buddy Donny and went out on a guide trip with Captain Brad who runs a charter called

They hit the San Joaquin River Delta near Lodi, California and started trolling at sunrise and it wasn’t long until Captain Brad got them into some fish. These Stripers are hard fighting fish and a lot of fun to catch.

At the end of the day the total count was 17 fish to the net and 14 of those came from Glenn and Jason. The biggest fish of the day weighed in at 9 pounds.

If you have a chance this is the time to get out to the delta and if you’re looking for a guide, give Captain Brad a call. He’s a knowledgeable friendly guide that will get you into some hard fighting fish!

Check out some of the photos from the trip, and stay tuned because the team will be out over the next two weekends fishing the TruckeeRiver, PyramidLake, hiking into some Brook Trout territory and hitting the ocean for some Halibut and Striper action!

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









A Week of Firsts

This past week marked a handful of firsts for our group of anglers and our fishing community in Northern Nevada.

As you know, Pyramid Lake is a world class fishery that’s located just North of Reno, Nevada. The lake is full of Lahontan Cutthroat Trout (LCT) that grow to monstrous proportions. The world record was caught from this lake in 1925 and weighed 41 pounds.

This year has been an amazing year for big fish caught out at Pyramid and last week was the first official spawn of the season. This “first” of the season is a big one.  This spawn will help to increase the population of the LCT’s and allow us anglers to continue enjoying what this great lake and fishery has to offer.

Check out this 35″ 22lb 14oz Pyramid Lake LCT that our buddy Quinten caught earlier this season.

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The next first is about our own When The Line Goes Tight angler Kelly Dow. Kelly has just starting getting into his fly fishing obsession…and yes it is a full blown obsession. Through many hours on the water with the crew and getting some lessons from our buddy Jan Nemec of Mimic Fly Fishing, Kelly managed to land his first Pyramid LCT on the fly. He also caught his first Truckee River rainbow trout on the fly this weekend. Not a bad start to a life long journey/obsession!



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Here’s a quick video of Kelly releasing his Truckee River bow.


Last but not least, last week was the launch of this site and our first blog post. I want to personally thank all of you that checked out our blog and liked and/or followed us on Instagram at when_the_line_goes_tight. It means the world to us and we greatly appreciate it.

Until next time keep those knots strong and lines tight!




Here we are with the first blog post of undoubtedly many more to come. First and foremost, When The Line Goes Tight is a blog that’s here to capture the moments and experiences of a group of life long friends and fishermen.

Some of us have 20+ years of fishing experience under our belts, while others have only recently started on this journey. We are not professionals and do not claim to be. We also do not stick to one type of fishing. Between the 5 of us we flick bugs, throw spoons, bounce jigs, troll lures and just about everything in between.

Through these writings and photos (videos as well) we hope to be able to share our experiences with fellow anglers and like minded outdoors men and women alike. All while trying to explain the unexplainable. That feeling of when you’re out on the water, enveloped in your surroundings and you feel that bump, that tug…when the line goes tight.


Matt Goff

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Glenn Lemon

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Kelly Dow

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Jason Glines

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David Duffy (Admin)

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