Jon Baiocchi, Baiocchi Troutfitters
Fishing is just fair to average, when in reality we should be reaching the peak of the fall grab – which has never even materialized…..yet. There is still hope, and with that I still believe there is going to be a short hot bite to experience. So what’s preventing the historically good fishing the lake is known for in fall? Fish are deeper than normal and staying put in certain areas, I have yet to do a stomach sampling on these trout but Daphnia feeding is high on the list. The resident trout are also at all depths from the very top to the muddy bottom, no matter the depth of the water being looked at. There is also a very low percentage of trout in the skinny water, and fewer rising. Today though my guests and I did fish off the bank to a good pod of fish, they were rising and we had targets to casts to. That makes me very happy! No aquatic insect hatches in great quantities except for tiny midges are to be found at all.
I’ve ruled out the full moon cycle, angling pressure (which has been light), Low water (I’ve done much better with a 45% capacity), and water temperatures which are currently at 51-55 degree. Is there any good in this? Absolutely! A gorgeous lake, stunning fall colors, bird and wildlife sightings that rival any other Lake in Northern California, and the best of times mingling with other die hard still water anglers. There is plenty of food in the lake and a few fish netted have been spitting up, and pooping out snails; a typical sight of Lake Davis trout in fall who gorge on them during this time of year.
The weather has been flat calm one day with little or no wind, and the next blowing 30 mph. Air temperatures have been warmer than normal, of all things I think this is part of the missing link. Some ice and maybe a snow storm could tip things and put the fear of winter into the eyes of those rainbows. If you feared living under an icy tomb in the weeks ahead, I’m sure you would act differently and would want to bulk up for those long winter months ahead, after all, we are all animals.
There have been a few flashes of some great fishing like last Saturday when some close friends of mine stumbled upon a large pod of active feeders and got into double digit numbers. For the rest of us that can only hook a few, there is a silver lining to this dark cloud; the fish that are being caught are large, with full girth, and most specimens are clean and so gorgeous. If you plan on heading up there make sure to have two rods, one rigged with a floater where you can fish the upper water column, or use a bobber, and the other with a clear camo Intermediate so you can target depths from 3 to 10 feet. If you want to go any deeper a break away indicator on a floating line would be the way to go as there is no guessing at which depth your flies are being presented. You get to make the call and set the depth you think is right. For fly selection, olive has been the best color, followed by black and burnt orange no matter if you’re stripping a bugger or wiggle tail. A closed loop knot is important as it gives your flies so much more action, my catch rates have improved since switching to this knot and I highly recommend it. Snail patterns in brown and olive are starting to produce as well. For bobber rigs, chironomids and mayfly nymphs have been getting the most hook ups, but don’t forget about a balanced leech for your bottom fly.
My best advice and one my father taught me is to keep pounding the water with flies and presentations you have confidence in, when you start second guessing yourself, or your equipment, you are doomed! Be positive, have fun, and make the most of it!