Jon Baiocchi Reports on 6.16.20
Conditions for the Lake of the Lost Sierra have been as widespread as the weather in the last week. With so many high and low pressure systems moving through combined with big wind events, and fluctuating air temperatures from hot to very cold has really effected the behavior of the resident trout. Simply put, we are not seeing the typical June rhythms of the lake where every day is nearly like clockwork. For example last Saturday I hosted a small group from Santa Lucia Fly Fishers and it was very cold combined with winds from 20 to 35 mph, needless to say we did not do that much fishing but concentrated more on learning about the specifics on Lake Davis. It was brutal. We were all shivering, and longing for a place to escape the wind after we were done with the workshop. Fishing is on the tough side for Lake Davis though some nice quality fish are being caught and released. 2020 just keeps making rogue waves including the new Juneuary in the Northern Sierra with wind advisories and small craft warnings. We’ve seen it before, and we’ll see it again.
In regards to the fish behavior, it’s so weird to see these trout are not in a dependable schedule as it normally is in June. You’ll find them in large pods feeding and an hour later they scatter to the wind and are gone. The other thing I’m not seeing a whole lot of is my favorite game of stalking trout in 1 to 3 feet of water eating damsels. There needs to be more damsels in the skinny water to lure those big rainbows in. I have seen a few days that is close to be being normal, and that’s comforting as is the warmer weather that is on the way. This is what you can expect once we get back into a long term high pressure pattern:
Day Break – Rising fish over deeper water eating left over aquatics and terrestrials from the night before (hex spinners, white winged sulphurs, and spent caddis) and emerging blood midges mixed in with smaller various chironomids. This will last until 9am or so.
Late Morning – Damsels on the move, with heavy long horn caddis in the air. Forget about the caddis and concentrate on the Damsels and putting yourself near a good weed line and structure for the damsels to hatch out on.
Mid Day – Damsels mixed in with sporadic Callibaetis from sparse to profuse depending on the day.
Afternoon to Late Afternoon – Fish will be in deeper water surrounded by weed beds grazing lightly, deep water indo rigs with chironomids is the best approach.
Late Evening – Hex hatch mixed with profuse caddis and blood midge hatches. Dry fly opportunities abound.
Despite the weather my guests and I are still having fun out there and I’ve finally made friends with the largemouth bass. They aren’t going anywhere so we might as well enjoy them. It’s really cool to see how these particular bass have adapted to Lake Davis in regards to habitat, and food items. Heavy weed beds mixed in with submerged willows seems to be their preferred areas to ambush prey, or suck down a red San Juan worm under an indicator. Leech patterns and even Jay Fair wiggle tails and stripping flies are receiving some love from them. They fight really well and most give one good jump or a tail walk on the surface before going down and dirty to the bottom.
Stripping flies like the ones I just mentioned along with damsels, pheasant tail flashbacks, sheep creek specials, and hare’s ear nymphs are all good choices. Productive colors have been fiery brown, olive, black, red (bass are really on this color right now), and burnt orange. For indo rigs, albino winos, zebra midges, and large black beauties with red wire have done well. I’m still seeing most fish in 5 to 8 feet of water, or in deeper water but still in the upper water column. Water temps are at 63 degrees in the morning. If you’re lucky enough to find a pod of active feeding fish, stay put – do not leave. You’ll want to fish the west shore from Camp 5 all the way up to Fairview point in the North end of the lake. Some days the fish are on the points, and some days they are tucked way back in the gut of certain coves. Keep searching until you find them.
As I mentioned earlier, Last Saturday morning was like an early November storm, there were Hex shucks and duns everywhere on the east shore frozen in time from the frigid wind chill effect. The Hex hatch is seeing a lot of duns emerge in evening (some in the morning too) and it’s a good year for them. Not seeing a whole lot of trout or bass keyed in on them yet, but the birds are way ahead of the game. I’m up at day break preparing for a day on the lake, rigging the boat, the rods, and all the other essentials. I then guide for all day for 8 to 10 hours, clean and organize the boat for the next day, and attend to fish business (email and phone inquiries, marketing, planning, etc) until I go to bed at around 9pm – Rinse, repeat. I really have no desire to fish the Hex hatch after a long day, I’ve done that plenty, especially when I guided Almanor in the late 90’s. So now I get off just watching how the ecosystem revolves around each other during the hatch, and that is watching the birds and the bats feast upon North America’s largest mayfly. Of all the critters that take advantage of the Hex Hatch my favorite is the common Night Hawk. It’s like watching an air show at Beale Air Force Base. I’m not talking about watching just a few of them, but like dozens upon dozens! Their flight patterns are so bad ass and the G forces they pull through their maneuvers would make a human black out and unconscious if they were trying to pilot this craft. What an amazing bird!
Today was just a pit stop at home here in Nevada City to blog and catch up on normal life things. I’ll be back up tonight at Lake Davis, the Middle Fork Feather, and the creeks for the next week. I’ve had SO many inquiries in the last month like “we’d like to book a trip next weekend”. That’s not going to work. It’s best to book two months with me at the latest, and if you’re serious 6 months before the intended date for the prime times of June, July, September, and October. You could say I’m in demand I guess…
When you visit Lake Davis be sure to stop by the J&J Grizzly Store and Campground and share your fishing experience good or bad, sharing your fishing reports really helps everybody out. They are open for business and their campground is usually full. I’m so thankful for their friendship and letting me store the LillyBob at their place – Thank you!
See you out there in the great outdoors of the Lost Sierra and good luck on the water!