Nine days in Truckee
I just returned from spending nine days in Truckee. I fished the Truckee River every day except one when I gave myself an ego boost on the North Fork of the Yuba. The highlight of my trip was a morning guide trip with Jim Landis, AKA Big Fly. I’ve fly fished for years and have fished the Truckee about ten days a year for the past few years, nonetheless, hiring Jim was a big help to me.
The biggest thing he taught me was that there’s a big difference between a “drag free drift” and a “good drift” when it comes to indicator fishing. When dry fly fishing, the goal is usually a true drag free drift where your fly moves at the same speed as the surface water. However, when indicator fishing, your flies are near the bottom where the current is normally slower than on the surface. Therefore during a “good drift” your indicator should be moving somewhat slower than the surface water. That’s why successful indicator fisherman frequently change the amount of weight they use and the position of the indicator searching for the combination that provides a “good drift”. Jim was able to explain and demonstrate this concept clearly enough that I finally gained a reasonable understanding. Jim has a ton of patience and a gentle manner that really helps during this process.
This summer I resolved to add short line nymphing to my arsenal of techniques. I credit Bill Carnazzo’s articles in California Fly Fisher and my discussions with him at Kiene’s with motivating me to give the technique a good try. With Bill’s help, I’ve managed to catch fish every day using the technique. In pocket water, it’s much more effective than indicator fishing. While on the Truckee, I now find myself switching between short line nymphing and indicator fishing depending on the situation.
I landed between 3 and 12 fish each day (plenty of LDR's too), mostly smallish, with 1-3 each day in the 14” to 16” range. I fished from Squaw Valley all the way to Floriston and managed to explore lots of new water I’d never fished. I had three “conversations” with big fish. One Jim estimated at 22 inches after the brown jumped. I did a poor job of line control when I stumbled and left some slack in the system and Mr. Brown was gone. The next one took off downstream, then across the river and broke me off around a big boulder. The last one peeled off line then sulked on the bottom before the hook simply pulled out. I’ll be back!
As I’ve read many times on this message board, the Truckee is a challenging river. I’m glad I learned to fly fish on more forgiving waters, but it is a great “home water” – plenty of challenges and lessons. Next time I promise - more photos and less verbiage.
There are a lot of self-proclaimed "experts" who don't understand that concept. I've never fished with Jim, but your comment (and others) lead me to believe he is a pretty savvy angler.
Originally Posted by craigfalk
Good point - and a couple questions, namely, other than broiling heat:
What brought you up to fish the Truckee for 9 straight days?
Did you notice any variation in the amount of evening hatch? I was up there yesterday, noticed there was virtually nothing in the air all day until about 15 minutes after sunset; caught 4 fish tho. The time before that -(3 wks prior) the air was abuzz for at least 90 minutes before sunset. Yours is probably a better sample.
My wife and I just purchased a little studio condo in the Tahoe Donner neighborhood in Truckee. We've been heading up there almost every weekend this summer. Last week was our first opportunity to spend a week. My wife is an avid hiker and cyclist so she finds plenty to do while I'm fishing. We're both loving the area.
I do almost all of my fishing in the morning and early afternoon. I fished only one evening and the hatch was modest. Late afternoon and evening is family time on most days.
Did you camp? If so where did you camp at? If you dont mind me asking
I am starting to really think I'm the best thread killer around!
My wife and I have camped for years in the Truckee area with a small trailer. More often than not, we camped at the State Park at Donner Lake. The camp sites are nice, but you can often hear the hum of the freeway. We pretended it was a waterfall.
We also camped many times at the Gold Ranch RV park in Verdi, NV. It's very well run and gives you good access to the lower sections of the Truckee. It would be especially handy for fishing the NV side of the Truckee, something I've yet done.
Finally we camped a couple of times at the RV park at the Hirschdale exit. You can walk to the river, but it's right next to the freeway and the RV park has fallen somewhat into disrepair.
I'd recommend you check out the Alder Creek campground that's run by Tahoe Donner, www.tahoedonner.com/campground/
We have not camped there, but we took a look at it and the sites are very nice. It's about a ten minute drive to the Truckee River.
Noticed the same thing Saturday night. Almost no evening activity until about 9pm and even then it was very light.
Originally Posted by amoeba
Thanks Craig, I had fun as well.
Not all clients pick up some of the subtleties of the drift.
Made my day easier.....
Give a call next time you're up.
Evening rise is barely there, better if you fish subsurface.
Big dry Caddis, and a little PMD dropper works well.
About a thirty minute window.
A C&F threader box is a good idea.
Bring a flash light.