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Fishing Report

Just Another Surf Fishing Story..

By Sam Arkin

Growing up in the inner sunset I spent a lot of time at ocean beach and a fair amount of time thinking about the great whites that cruise around the shore.  I was vaguely aware that the Farallon Islands were a place sharks liked to congregate, although I tried not to thing too much about how many might be lurking around.  I comforted myself with the knowledge gleaned from a friend who surfs that sharks aren't really that into us, and that the ratio of fat to calories expended does not justify eating a human deep in some primordial calculus within them.  I confess I also wondered how accurately this calculation occurs in the moment and whether it can be relied upon! 

Yesterday we got an order for a stripping basket from Lizzy Masotta.  I called her to confirm and she told me the most extraordinary story.  Her husband was fishing the surf in Pacifica when he heard a long distance swimmer screaming that he had been attacked by a great white.  Her husband Thomas used the waist strap from his stripping basket to create a tourniquet and the basket itself to prop up the man's leg.  Paramedics arrived quickly and the victim is up and walking.  Much to our chagrin Thomas has yet to catch a fish in the surf! We can only imagine the the fish gods smile on this act of kindness Thomas, and we send out our sincere hope that you catch a monster (although not a great white!) in the surf very soon.

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Sebastian Seduces the Stanislaus

By Sam Arkin 

A week or two ago friend of the store Jeff came in wondering where he might take his six year old son Sebastian to get him into some fish in some kid friendly water.  I had recently returned from a terribly dry trip over 108 towards Bridgeport but had experienced some good fishing fortune tight-lining the middle fork of the Stanislaus close to the Eureka Valley Campground with golden stones and rainbow warriors.   (For those who have never done it- driving from the Bay Area over the Sonora pass towards Bridgeport is glorious and fishy all the way there.)

The water in and around the campground is child size and fun for adults as well, and Jeff thought he might give it a try.  Today he came into the shop and gave the best news of all- he and his son made the trip and even better, Sebastian got into a bunch of fish! The next bit of news stunned me- Sebastian tied his own fly, already for us at the shop the happy sign of a burgeoning fish bum.  And yet more great news- he hooked a fish on it!  Sebastian, we here at the shop salute you - congratulations young man!  Come show us the pattern and we will tie up some "Sebastian's Seekers" for you!

Sebastian with one of his 6 fish and his own fly

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Putah Creek Fishing Report August 5th

Putah Creek Fishing Report

August 6th

Submitted by Sam Arkin 

Casey's Fish 

Putah is a great place to get your trout fix right now- the water comes out cold and in this difficult trout Summer we encourage you to give it a try.  I feel compelled to write again after a long talk with friend of the shop and Putah devotee Casey Harris yesterday.  As any of you who fish Putah often know, the place has been defined by a narrow set of flies for decades: the smallest of Zebra midges with a San Juan worm under a bobber.  Those of us (well mostly me!) who fish Putah all the time have wondered about other approaches..I mean there are crayfish everywhere! Surely we can dance them along the bottom and euro our way into a monster! Well Casey pranced into the shop yesterday and I could tell from his beatific smile that something special had happened at Putah.  And sure enough it had! Steve had suggested he fish a jawbreaker in crayfish orange in the Eastern Sierras, and on a whim Casey rigged the thing up with about 6 feet of fluorocarbon on a floating line....and wham!

Casey's Fish with the Jawbreaker Firmly in Place 

The fish of his Putah life.  And while the jawbreaker wasn't dancing along the bottom Euro style, it somehow crawfished its way into a seriously awesome fish.  I suppose the message is keep experimenting, and don't give up on Putah! 

 

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Lower Sacramento River Fishing Report

Lower Sacramento River Fishing Report 

Submitted by Captain Hogan Brown 

To be guided by Captain Brown please call 530-514-2453

Capt. Brown has been guiding the Lower Sacramento between Colusa and Red Bluff for striped bass.  He reports that most fish are in the 5-10 pound range with a few smaller and a few trophies also in the mix.  Conditions have been low and clear in most places though there are areas where the visibility is a bit better and the water will pick up its normal foggy green.  He is dealing with low flows- about half the water as usual- conditions are more like September or late summer already.  Most fish have been coming on standard striper flies and heavy sinking lines but he is also fishing a fair amount of lighter lines as well.  He expects fishing to remain strong into the winter with the peak of the season August through October.  

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Lower Yuba Fishing Report

Lower Yuba Fishing Report

Submitted by guide Ben Thompson 

To be guided by Ben please call 916-743-8290 or bthompson30@gmail.com

Ben has mostly been guiding on the Lower Yuba where he reports a few awesome days throwing hoppers with the occasional tough day mixed in.  He has been throwing dry-droppers with great success as the temperature starts to rise during the day.  His preferred nymphs right now are rubberlegs, San Juan worms, caddis pupas, and baetis.  

Flows are good but temps are getting very hot in the afternoon.  Fish early! 

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A First Timer Tells All About The Surf!

Like A Fish out of Water: My First Day in the Surf

By Sam Arkin

One of the great joys of working at Lost Coast is learning from my fellow employees.  While I am an avid freshwater fly fisherman, I have always been intimidated by fishing the surf.  Tides, rip currents and shooting head systems along with a few mildly traumatic Ocean Beach swims as a kid kept me away.  Tons of customers come into the shop to talk to Ben, who is our in-house saltwater guru.  I’ve been lucky enough to overhear and absorb a few of his mantras: after a cast, be sure to take a few quick steps back away from the surf break to tighten up your line before you start stripping.  Wind can be brutal, don’t blame yourself! And most importantly: get out there and fish.  This last weekend I took the plunge.  Rather literally, alas, but more on that later! Ben hosts Surf fishing clinics which are a great place to get started: there is one coming up  August 29th and another September 12th both at Crissy Field.  To register click here.

Another employee and friend Ariel was kind enough to meet me south of the city at Montara Beach.  (We met at the southern-most parking lot and fished the south end of the beach.) We rigged up eight weight rods, large reels, and partial sinking lines with leader so thick my delicate freshwater fingers felt like I was tying a non-slip loop knot with copper wire.  I was wearing my freshwater waders and a stripping basket which felt extremely clumsy at first- more ready to sell a hot dog at the ball bark than fish.  The moment I started my feeble attempt at a smooth double haul cast that basket became my best friend- you really don't want line and waves mixing at your feet. Casting in the surf makes even a challenging stream situation feel relaxed, and for me it has to do with all of the variables.  One has to be mindful of the waves, of the current, and of course of the massive amount of line and heavy oh so ready to pierce you ear flies you are whipping around.   My first few attempts didn’t go so well, and as I was admiring my back cast a surging wave slapped me across the face- Ben calls it Poseidon’s kiss. But after some awkward stumbling I developed a rhythm and a kind of wave-based pattern: wait for the surf to break and do everything in my power to land my line and fly in the trough created in between the waves.  After each cast I would take a few quick steps back to tighten up my line and start stripping.  At first I felt like my line was out surfing- it kept ending up as a tangled mess at my feet.  Gradually I grew more comfortable with the stripping basket.  And then, bam! A tug! It wasn’t the mighty pull of a striper, but I am pretty sure I have never been so happy to have a fish on, in this case a small surf perch.  A few more followed, and I can now say I am in love with another dimension of fly fishing.  And the great news is that in San Francisco we are surrounded by places to fish the surf.  I followed up the weekend session with a quick before work session at China beach today and found a few more perch.  A man walking the beach visiting from Washington DC walked over when I had a fish on and exclaimed “ a fly rod in the surf? I didn’t know people did this!”  Well I for one can now understand why. 

This Beginners Thoughts on Gear:

I was using an older single handed eight weight designed by the owner of our shop George Revel which is no longer made.  Ariel was fishing a two handed “switch” rod.  I experienced the benefits of each.  It is wicked fun to put everything you have into a double haul on a heavy-duty single-handed set up- but relaxing into a nice two-handed cast on the “switch” rod felt great.  We sell a variety of surf set ups at the shop: please click on this link to see our surf rods and kits that can have you fishing in no time. 

George and Ben had a hand in developing our very own Lost Coast Outfitters Surf Rods which are two handed- the Golden Gate and her heavier counterpart the Ocean Beach.  Two handed rods are versatile and can also be used to throw a nymph rig from the shore at places like Pyramid lake.  Double hauling can be tricky, and these rods are a cheat code.  Reduce your fatigue, take a deep breath, and experience the joy of flipping a two-handed cast farther than you thought you could. 

This will sound obvious but a sealed drag system on your reel is an absolute must, and I found myself coveting Ariel’s beautiful Abel SDS, or sealed drag salt.  You need a tough reel for the sand and salt, and the beefier stuff we carry from Hatch and Galvan started to make a lot more sense to me.  We have the Abel SDS in stock now. 

We also have the Abel "Super" in stock now, and it is a thing of beauty.  With a sealed drag system that can work from the smallest tippet to the roughest surf conditions, this reel can truly do it all.  We have a Satin Bronze 7/8 that will only look better with a bit of wear and tear.  

Many of the serious saltwater enthusiasts who come into the shop have been waiting on Hatch to release their new "Iconic" series and the reels have not disappointed.  The drag system is stronger and even more impervious to corrosion.  The Hatch 9 Plus is a perfect striper companion. 

And of course the Galvan Torque is a shop favorite.  These fantastic reels are made up the road in Sonora California and they are indestructible.  

 And the stripping basket! Don’t leave your car without it.  Poseidon’s kiss could quickly become Poseidon’s net!

George has created an exhaustive guide to shooting head and other surf-based line systems: click here to access it. This can all seem a bit overwhelming, so don’t hesitate to call the shop and we can simplify it for you.  For our two handed rods we recommend an OPST Groove Head in 225 grain with a 10 foot piece of T-11.  That last bit is a sink tip.  The basic principle of salt water lines is this: you want a heavier line to cut through bigger surf and can get away with less sink in areas where it is more calm.  

For a single handed eight or nine weight line we recommend the Rio Intouch SW Custom Cut also in a T-11- the “T-11” means 11 grains per foot of line.  The Redington Predator in an eight weight is a great starter rod.  Ben recently picked up a Hardy Demon which he likes a great deal. 

 

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Truckee River Fly Fishing Report

Truckee Fishing Report 7/31/2021

Click on any fly described in this report to be directed to purchase them on our website. 

This report was submitted by Jeremy Wright a Truckee based guide.

To be guided by Jeremy please call Matt Heron Fly Fishing at 518-225-6587

If you’re on the water by 5:30/6 a.m. and off by 11 the Truckee is still fishing rather well.  After 11 the water temps really skyrocket with the sun so high in the sky.  The smoke from the Dixie and Tamarack fires helped keep the temps cooler in the day, but our incredible firefighters and some much needed rain the last few days have put the fires down so we’ve got blue skies again.  Fortunately it’s been a little cloudy as well so temps haven’t been nuclear and the nights have been in the mid 40’s, giving the water a chance to cool off.

The upper river from Tahoe City to River Ranch can be fun in the morning.  Walk the bike path, throw some #8-#12 orange/yellow Stimulators near the willows or tightline/dry-dropper the runs.  Fish are eating pretty good sized Stimis so don’t be shy. Hang a #18 Brassie, or a red Copper John about 18” under the Stimi and good things should happen.  If you can handle it, put the Copper John first and tie a Brassie/Zebra midge onto the Copper John.  Roll casts help!!

USFS Campgrounds from River Ranch to Truckee are productive. Same techniques as the upper river, just less access due to private property.  Don’t trespass, stay in the campgrounds.

Glenshire area has been pretty good lately.  The key is fishing fast water!! Pocket water is your friend, tight-lining and dry-dropper are the way to go.  Don’t need to be super deep, the fish are in the fastwater, at the very beginning of the runs, right behind or in front of larger rocks and anywhere 2 runs/bubble lines converge.  Get out of the pools and walk upstream.  Midge hatch when the sun hits, then PMD’s and small white Caddis, #18-#22’s should get the job done.

The Canyon from Hirschdale down to stateline is great right now. 500 CFS.  Access to Hirschdale is basically non-existent right now (ask Sam at the shop) so go farther down the canyon and explore the other exits/pullovers.  Crawdads are molting, Summer Stones are everywhere.  Go big with one of your nymphs and don’t be afraid to try a Chernobyl Chubby dry. They’ll eat them.  And as always add more weight when nymphing!!

Please carry a thermometer, I clip mine on my wading boot and get off the water when it’s 66 degrees.  It’s 8 a.m. I just got off the river and the water temp was 60ish when I left.  Get out there early, stick a few, go home and take a nap. 

Sam from the shop here.  
You can also go to our Lost Coast Outfitters River Specific Fly packs, link here, and select the Truckee river.  The box will reflect Jeremey's suggestions! 
We recommend the Fishpond Swift Current Thermometer- right now we have them in stock in blue.  

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Putah Creek Fishing Report June/July 2021

Putah Creek Fishing Report June/July 2021

Sam Arkin reports on Putah Creek: June 24, 2021

Putah Creek is a cruel mistress for this shop.  She offers some of the strongest and most beautiful rainbow trout that Northern California has to offer and flows tantalizingly close to San Francisco, our home base.  She is also notoriously fickle and difficult to fish.  We here at Lost Coast feel that fishing Putah is well worth the occasional frustration, and we want to do all we can to set you up for success.  First I will talk a little bit about gear, and then move to specific techniques that might help you run into the trout of a lifetime only a little more than an hour away from the dinner burrito at El Faralito in San Francisco that walking Putah’s banks will make you crave. 

Putah requires a good roll cast and an almost obsessive attention to mending your line especially when suspension nymphing.  The owner of our shop and our resident casting guru George Revel will be hosting a roll casting clinic at the casting pools in Golden Gate Park on Wednesday July 7th from 8-9AM- as well as the rods which we feel offer you the best chance for roll casting success here. George swears by the 10 foot 4 weight for roll casting success- and Putah's dense banks thick with underbrush require it.  Come to the clinic- you won't regret it! 

Fly Fishing Putah Image Otter

The Gear:

Felt boots are not allowed in Yellowstone or Alaska, but it is  possible they should be mandatory at Putah.  Decent current in places and New Zealand moss that grows like an 80s metal band’s hair make felt a great choice if you are going to be fishing Putah a lot.  All of our most experienced guides on Putah wear felt. We cannot recommend the Simms G4 Pro enough for Putah, even when wet wading.  

The water which flows through Putah comes from the bottom of Solano Dam, and so she remains ice cold year long.  This is great for the health of everything that lives in Putah in times of devastating drought, and especially for her rainbows.  It also means that waiters are a must, except for summer when wet waiting Putah, which is located in an agricultural valley where temperatures often spike over 100, is a must.   Dialing in your wet waiting set up for light weight and ease of access can make you feel compact and efficient on the water, which is often a real benefit on Putah’s banks which are sometimes crowded with brambles and trees. 

The Techniques: Suspension Nymphing

The tried and true technique on Putah is a suspension rig (please see our comprehensive guide to setting up such a rig here) with 2 infinitesimal midge nymphs and a worm- traditionally two zebra midges in a size 18 or smaller- and a San Juan worm.  This technique works, although on Putah especially it requires patience.  The idea of a suspension system is that allows you to fish multiple levels of the water column at once, which is a great idea in theory.  The problem is that Putah is full of conflicting currents and rocks which make perfect mending (a state very few of us actually achieve!) a necessity.  You can fish the same pool with the same suspension rig for 15 fruitless casts only to see a bobber go down on your 16th cast, the only one that featured a perfect mend.  This makes Putah a great place to learn how to indicator fish a suspension rig.  And remember to ALWAYS assume you are not getting deep enough- a snag or two on the creek bed with the bottom fly is a good place to start- move up from there.  We here at lost coast in conjunction with our favorite guides have found 2 techniques that have not conventionally been fished on Putah to be extremely fun and productive: euro or tight line nymphing and streamer fishing.

Euro or Tight Line Nymphing:

Dan Snags A Beauty on the Tight Line

This techniques cuts through the Jacques Cousteau like intricacies of the Putah water column and allows you to get your flies down where you want them.  It also relieves the incredibly demanding task of mending for a suspension rig on Putah.  Try one of our recommended euro setups just under the bridge, where slightly smaller water and pockets of boulders hold surprisingly large fish.  Hooking up with an 18-inch putah rainbow on a 4-weight euro rod is positively tarpon like, and the most fun I have had fishing in many months.

Streamers: 

For many years Putah was thought of as a place where nymphing is your only chance for success with a frustrating and brutal ratio at play: the smaller the midge the bigger the trout and the harder to land that trout becomes.  Leaches and streamers are a thrilling alternative option.  While you may not catch as many fish as the skilled suspension or euro nympher, when you do catch something it is likely to be big and ready for a fight.  Leeches in a size 8 or 10 are what we recommend to start. 

June/July 2021:

Show up early if you can! The temperatures climb steadily throughout the day, and be prepared to start with a full wading setup and transition to truly refreshing wet wading throughout the day.  Most people park by the bridge just past the camp ground and head down towards the stair case riffle- if you are looking for a change of pace and possible solitude, head across the road, across the little canyon, and make you your way up as far as you can towards the dam.  Roll casting will come into play here, but try roll casting a leech across to the opposite bank and giving it a rapid retrieve.   Again, you most likely won’t have a fish every cast.  But if you do hook into one, be prepared for a battle! And speaking of roll casts and other potential areas of life where we might want to go longer, who doesn’t want more distance? George will be hosting a roll casting clinic at the fly casting pools in Golden Gate Park on July 7th between 8-9 AM where we will tell you exactly which rods are best suited for it and why- spoiler alert- for George it is these.

Down from the bridge but above parking lot 4 are many areas which may not be suitable for suspension nymphing but have been super rewarding with a euro rig.  In fact, learning to tight line nymph opens up boulder pockets and fast water that you may not have considered fishable before 

And our final piece of advice for this month or any other month: try streamers! Typically the streamer fishing is hottest (forgive the pun) in August, but it works year round and can alleviate both nymph and mending fatigue.  Heck, it might even alleviate fatigue in general. 

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Hat Creek Fly Fishing Report

Hat Creek Fly Fishing Report

George Revel Report on 6.24.2021

Fishing was excellent mid morning from 8-11am or with some Trico and PMD spinner falls. In the evening the Pmd's and Sallys were coming off with regularity. We predominantly fished dries during these prime times. In the middle of the day nymphing and leeching was the ticket as fish moved to their deeper mid day hiding holes. 

Like clockwork, the fish start sipping trico spinners at 8am. The tricos lay trapped in the surface film of the water. Trapped after laying their eggs the night before the spent spinners float downstream and collect in the seams and swirls. 

The rainbows jockey into position to sip these tiny bugs with gentlest of ease. The gentle sip is the tell-tale sign that fish are eating spinners. With no concern of the dead bug flying away the fish can afford to such laziness in eating their breakfast. For this reason, even the slightest drag on your fly will not be tolerated by your quarry. Pair that with crystal clear water slowly meandering and you have the recipe for a chess game that can ensue for the coming hours. Stealth and presentation become paramount. Fishing become more akin to hunting. 

My spring creek spinner leader is 12ft 4x with 3ft of 6x fluorocarbon. The fluorocarbon sinks just below the surface film of the water removing the dimples the tippet causes on the surface film of the water. These fish will not eat your fly otherwise. 

To catch this fish my client and I slowly got into position and watched the pod until we spotted the largest fish in the pod. We watched him sip flies at very regular intervals. Knowing where he was eating was likely several feet behind where he was holding, we slowly positioned ourselves to make a perfect presentation. A quick pep talk about how one bad cast will put this whole pod down and description of the cast that I thought would fool the fish was spoken softly so as to keep our nerves down. We made a cast well upstream of where the big fish was feeding, trying to be careful to not put the fly in line with one of the other smaller fish that were feeding in the area. To catch a smaller fish would be failure and put this larger fish down. The cast landed exactly where it should have. The arial reach mend put the line above the fly so as to avoid a noisy on water mend. Seeing where the fly lands is so important in spinner fishing because often the fly is very hard to see as it lays flat on the water. We feed the line down to the fish with zero drag. My heart was pumping knowing that this drift stood a real chance.  Just as I was beginning thoughts how to phrase our next cast the fish rose to sip the fly seemingly in slow motion. 

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California Delta Fly Fishing Report

California Delta Fly Fishing Report

Captain Bryce Tedford Reports on 3.31.20

Spring Striper season is in the air with these warm valley days, water temperature are climbing upwards towards 55 degrees. I have been finding a fair amount of fish & prime Spring Striper Fishing is just around the corner. Delta Stripers will continue to ramp up as we get into Spring, April & May are prime Striper months & I am excited for a strong season. April is all but booked but I still have some prime Striper dates remaining in May. For June-September I will turn my focus to Topwater Largemouth
& Smallmouth trips, then I will finish out Oct.-Dec. with Striper Trips. Remaining Spring Striper dates won’t last long so book your adventure soon or get out there & enjoy the CA Delta!

 

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