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Crowds and Solitude – Lake Tahoe

Destinations, Trout

************BREAK OUT THE POPPERS, BASS SEASON IS ON************

 

Steelhead AND wine?! Yes please!

This beautiful video for Sage was shot by long time die Fische supporter RC Cone via his Tributaries Digital Cinema endeavor. Cone has been cranking out stellar videos for years and it’s incredibly satisfying to see his hard work continuouslly draw him to even greater heights.

Please be sure to visit the Sage Flyfish page at Vimeo for more videos from Cone and others.

Recently I was lucky enough to hook up once again with my good friend Nathan for a reenactment of the float from Little Webberville to Big Webberville on the Colorado River that we had done just a couple of weeks ago. Things were much different on this float though, where our previous trip had been at a much more agreeable 500 CFS, this trip found us barely scratching 300 CFS, making this usually mammoth body of water feel like something more akin to a hill country stream. If one was so inclined, one could probably wade a good 80% of this stretch as it was all a good 3-6 feet below normal flows.

The day started off almost too good to be true with Nathan and i both quickly hooking into a few male Guadalupe that all managed to free themselves of their barbed albatross within a few feet of being netted. It was hard to tell where the lack of commitment laid, i assume it was them but it could have just as easily been us. Even though it took quite a few fights before one of us properly landed one it was quite the endorphin rush calling a fishy spot, casting into it and watching your rod tip bend in acknowledgment that you occasionally you do get things right.

photo by @theurbanfly on instagram

A short while later after rounding the bend we came to the first long pool, a bitch of a slog in even the most exemplary of conditions, just as the previously mellow winds whipped themselves up into a frenzy that one usually finds on the coast. We are talking straight upstream, northern bound, blow you backwards, cresting wind waves force winds. They certainly aren’t fun at normal flows and even less so when the river barley has a pulse to move you down stream.

Eventually we made it to a fork in the river where there’s the option to take a smaller channel and use the trees along the shoreline as a welcome respite from the relentless gale force winds. I’ve fished a lot of waters in Texas and this small side alley is one of my favorite, feeling more like a float through a tropical rainforest than a tail water just a stones throw from a major metropolitan area (Austin). Still, at least for me, it’s one of those places that invokes the feeling that if should be absolutely teeming with fish while simultaneously dashing those expectations repeated visits.

Eventually joining back up with the other channel we once again were back in the river proper as the wind died down, apparently losing much of its bluster. It was good timing too as we were approaching the first of two large cliffs on this dugout, carved out over the years by this temperamental river. They generally have deep waters at the base, with currents pushing everything in the water up against them meaning that if you want to find a fish, they’ll be there.

photo by @theurbanfly on instagram

Upon approaching the cliff i spotted a downed tree extending from the bank, surmised it to be holding a bass, cast next to it and watched as a healthy sized Guadalupe Bass darted from the shadows and pounced on my streamer before it had barely touched the water. It might not have been the biggest Guadalupe i’ve caught, but it provided an absolute thrill on te 4WT, pulling me in several directions before coming to hand. Releasing this beautiful specimen extra carefully I looked up to see Nathan (who just seconds ago had snapped the photo above of me and my catch) struggling with his own ordeal on the end of his line.

As his line ran circles around his paddleboard he kept yelling at me to “Get the net!” in a voice that might have as well been screaming “OH SHIT!”

I assumed it was a largemouth or Guadalupe and paddled at the appropriate speed towards him getting the net ready. Then the fish broke the surface and i caught site of the flank, resplendent in its alternating silver and black lines. Around that time I freaked out, knowing that white bass are usually found above lakes of which there are none down on this stretch of the Lower Colorado. Nate, not knowing what he had, saw me freak out, and then commenced to freak out as well sending us both into a spiral of joy and confusion that can only be described as transcendent. Eventually for him it meant a new species on the fly, and in the most unlikely of places.

It was a fitting way to end the day and quite honestly, a great way to wrap up life. Sometimes you choose the outcome and sometimes the outcome chooses you. If nothing else, life is an interesting ride.

Note: The day we we floated it (10/24) it was barely 300CFS. That night it stormed with a vengance and 24 hours later it spiked at 4,500CFS. Interesting indeed.

 

Tonight brings us a full moon known as the Hunters Moon. Historically it was a time for folks to be out hunting summer fattened deer by the full reflection of the moon. For me personally, it’s that time of year where I start tying trout flies late into the night in an effort to fill the boxes while listening to tracks like this. Whatever you prefer, enjoy these late-night tunes to help you get through to sunrise.

 

Two of my favorite fly fishing friends that I’ve never met get together and make something wonderful that we all get to enjoy. Love it.

New feature: For days of adventure that don’t quite end in a full-length story but deserve to be shared to help our fellow anglers we now present Field Notes.

10/08/19  Blanco River at Five Mile Dam:  A month ago I stopped on my way home at Five Mile to find everything below the dam dried up, but making my way up to the dam I witnessed water from bank to bank and promised myself I’d get back soon to put in the kayak and fish the still present river (stagnant as it might be). Unfortunately, Texas waters are temperamental and fickle and by the time I got there two days ago, all that potential was long gone. I arrived with the intent of dragging the kayak down to the water but found that what might normally be a 30-yard ordeal was going to be much closer to 150-yard trudge through overgrown weeds and dry rock. While there are a few pools here they are incredibly shallow (one foot) and if there were any fish in these they are long gone.

All of which is to say, if you were planning on heading here any time soon you’ll likely want to turn your attention to some of the other local rivers like the Guadalupe, San Marcos and Lower Colorado.

Saturday, October 12th – Introduction to Fly Fishing

FREE OF CHARGE AND NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED

Event Schedule:

9:00 A.M. — Doors Open/Round Rock Donuts/Coffee

9:30 A.M. — Introduction to Fly Casting
(Traditional and Tenkara)
We’ll be kicking things off with a casting class catered towards beginners. Join us for a clinic on the basic principles of fly casting. Casting traditional and tenkara fly rods will be demonstrated and discussed, with plenty of interactive learning opportunities!

11:00 A.M. — Basic Rigging for the Hill Country
(Traditional and Tenkara)
This presentation will explain the how’s and why’s behind rod, reel, and line selection for fly fishing our local waters. We’ll also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different fly line tapers, and show you the knots you need to get rigged up and ready to fish!

2:00 P.M. — Local Hot Spots – Llano River, San Gabriel River, Brushy Creek, and more!
Come learn where, how, and when to fish our local hot spots, including techniques and fly selection for each body of water. If you’re new to the area, this is a presentation you won’t want to miss!

6:00 P.M. — Doors Close

New to fly fishing or just a new fly fisher to Central Texas? This is the class for you! More information available at livingwatersflyfishing.com