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Don’t overlook the fishing around here

Bruce Ajari

As a fisherman, you wait with great anticipation through the winter for the return of your favorite pastime.

Fishing is a sport that generates a tremendous amount of interest in our region and contributes big dollars to our local economy.

Flyfishing has blossomed into a big business locally. A full-service fly shop has even opened up in downtown Truckee last spring, Truckee River Outfitters, with flyfishing luminary Andy Burk managing the store.

What makes our area so appealing to flyfishing enthusiasts is that we have a fair number of special regulation waters.

California has been much more progressive in this respect compared to our neighbors in Nevada.

With these special regulation waters, flyfishermen have been blessed with some extremely good fishing opportunities.

Locally, we have Sagehen Creek, the Truckee River and Martis Creek Reservoir to provide the flyfishermen with some great fishing.

Add the mix of general regulation waters available such as the local creeks, streams and lakes and it is easy to see why our area holds such allure to visiting anglers.

There are also many opportunities within an easy drive from our area. Lakes such as Davis, Frenchman and Milton Reservoir are available. Additional streams such as the Yuba, and the Feather River also contribute to the area’s mix of waters.

Each year around this time, I try and watch for a couple of great fishing opportunities in these local waters. These are the occurrences of a couple of insect hatches. One is in stillwaters and the other in the Truckee River.

The stillwater opportunity is probably the most consistent. We see this in just about all waters, but locally Martis Lake provides the flyfishing angler with some great times. This hatch is the damselfly hatch. While Davis Lake near Portola probably the most renown hatch of these insects, Martis has a pretty decent damselfly hatch of its own.

These nymphal form of these insects will crawl out on just about anything that sticks out of the water to transform themselves into the slender, generally light blue damselflies that we see skittering along the surface of the water.

The nymphal stage of these insects is imitated by flies such as the woolly bugger, and various more specific damselfly patterns. Colors vary from various shades of olive, brown, tan and even gold.

These nymphs are present year round in the lakes, but emerge around this time of the year in great numbers. This is when the flyfishermen really begin to experience some good success.

It is very important for the flyfisherman to know that these insects travel from the deeper water into the shallows to emerge. To be successful, the flyfisher must be sure and fish his or her imitation from the shore or at the very least parallel to the shoreline.

Fishing your imitation in the middle of the lake or in deeper water will not bring you the same results, since the fish will be following these insects into the shallows.

The adult form of the insect is usually not as significant as the nymphal stage, but you should always have some of the adult flies available.

When they arc on the adult form, there is nothing more exciting than seeing a large trout take one of these.

Dry fly enthusiasts call a fish taking a fly from the surface the ultimate form of fishing excitement. Because it is such a visual experience it remains etched into one’s memory.

The second hatch that occurs this time of year that is notable, but much more difficult to time correctly is the hatch of the Green Drake Mayfly.

This hatch typically goes on near Father’s Day and is of relatively short duration. What makes this spectacular is the fact that these mayflies are huge. You fish dry imitations in size #8 and #10’s.

While the nymphal stage may be more consistent to fish, the dry fly activity is what lures anglers to this particular hatch.


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