Monday, October 25, 2010

California Trout and Pigskin

I recently returned from a week long speaking and seminar jaunt through Washington and California.  My journey started as Spokane’s Inland Empire Fly Fishing club welcomed me where I presented my Favorite Western Canada Stillwaters program.  This is the second time I have spoken to the Inland Empire club originators of the best selling book Flies of the Northwest.  Bob Harley and the rest of the club members provided an excellent dinner and in addition to my presentation I tied a few of my favorite flies for them as well.  The Inland Empire club is home to Jerry McBride, originator of the balanced fly concept that has changed the way I tie and present many of my patterns.  It was great to see him and thank him personally for his innovative approach to pattern design.
After my evening in Spokane I flew out early the next morning carrying on down to Santa Rosa California where I put on my Going Deep-Sinking Line Strategies for Stillwaters presentation to the Russian River Fly Fishers.  Prior to my presentation club member Joe Banovich took me out to a local smorgasbord restaurant for dinner.  What a spread! I gorged myself silly, totally blowing my diet.  I am a sucker for Sushi in particular and they had lots on hand! 

Lake Davis is a beautiful place to drown flies!
After my presentation was complete I immediately headed north to Clio California where I would be putting on a two day stillwater seminar with Bill Forward.  Bill is the Senior Editor with Sierra Fisherman magazine and owner of Forward Bound Guiding and Fly Fishing Instruction.  

Bills beautiful 16' boat, perfect for a day's fishing!
Over the Friday night and Saturday Bill and I provided two days of instruction to 19 enthusiastic students eager to improve their stillwater fly fishing skills.  Students were provided a number of seminars including how to read lakes, equipment requirements for stillwaters, stillwater entomology, presentation skills, and the intricacies of using indicators on lakes.  In addition to the lectures students were given a chance to get on the water and hone their skills.  At the end of the on the water segment of the seminar Bill and I provided a de-briefing as students discussed their successes, setbacks and observations.  This format provides great interaction and arguably provides the greatest learning opportunity.  Feedback has been extremely positive. This was our first seminar and based upon this positive feedback we are already working on plans for additional seminars for 2011.  Stay tuned to my blog, Facebook page and website for additional details once they are figured out.

Pug nosed Lake Davis rainbow
During my stay I had the opportunity to fish Lake Davis, one of northern California’s most well known stillwaters and one of my ‘bucket list’ lakes.  Fishing was steady and despite the slowly deteriorating weather both Bill and I did well.  Trout were cruising high in the water column and small chironomid pupa and flashback gold bead Pheasant Tail Nymphs suspended 3-5 feet down proved deadly.  On the last day in particular I did well presenting my flies within the foam of the wind lanes that began to form in the afternoon.  As with most days the fishing hit a crescendo just as it was time to pull anchors and wrap up our stillwater seminar.   

Hanging flies in and around weed pockets proved productive
Lake Davis is unique as it provides the opportunity to stalk fish from shore.  Fish were in the shoreline shallows, often in barely enough water to cover their backs, rummaging for food.  If your presentation was correct they took dry flies readily.  This phenomenon is rare.  Most lakes don’t allow much wading or stalking opportunities due to back cast issues, shoreline weed growth or soft muddy bottoms that make wading and stalking nasty or in some cases outright dangerous.

The line up to get in the parking lot 2.5 hours before game time!
After winding up the seminar Bill, his wife Carol and I headed south to San Francisco to attend the San Fransico 49rs vs. Oakland Raiders football game.  For those of your familiar with the bay area this game offers an intense rivalry.  This was my first NFL game and as a die hard Niners fan it was the icing on my trip.  We were on our way by 6:00am for the roughly four hour drive arriving at Candlestick Park just after 10:00 for the experience that is tailgating.   

Me in my 'colors'
Bill provided me with a Niners golf shirt and jacket to ensure I had my colors straight.  He toured me around the parking lot as I took in the entire experience, from an inflatable Darth Vader to a big screen TV complete with satellite to watch the early games.   

The tailgating experience

Raider Nation was well represented.
All manner of food was cooked and consumed in the parking lot along with sufficient quality of suitable beverages.  Our tailgate group dinned on a full turkey dinner complete with brussel sprouts (which I actually like), stuffing and potatoes.  A few glasses of red wine washed the meal down perfectly.  

Nothing beats a full course turkey dinner before a football game!
The game itself was great as the Niners finally won their first game of the season 17-9.  It rained through most of the tailgate party and first half so the ponchos we picked up on our drive proved wise to say the least.

We finally won!
I flew home the next morning after a tour of Bill’s home town San Francisco and a wonderful dinner on world famous Fisherman’s Wharf.  It was a whirlwind trip but well worth the investment.  I can’t wait to return in 2011!

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