Rickards gives insight on trophy trout fishing | SierraSun.com
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Rickards gives insight on trophy trout fishing

BRUCE AJARI

This past Saturday evening, the Tahoe Truckee Flyfishers held their Annual Dinner program.

The speaker for the event was Denny Rickards, author of a great book, Fly-Fishing for Trophy Trout.

Rickards, a former resident of South Lake Tahoe, now lives in Klamath Falls, Ore., and has become a master of fishing for trophy trout. He learned much of “big fish” behavior on his home waters of Klamath Lake. He has applied what he has learned to many of the premiere lakes in the country during the writing of his book.

As Rickards points out, the interest in stillwater angling has risen due to the increasing numbers of fishermen and the additional pressure that this puts on popular streams.

Therefore, anglers seeking more water have expanded their searches to lakes.

There is also one other reason that lake fishing has become popular. That is because of the size of the fish that can be caught in lakes. As Rickards’ slide show indicated to all of those in attendance, fish in the 10-pound plus range can be common in some of the great trophy lakes in the west. The slides really got the audience pumped up.

His presentation really gave the beginning or experienced angler some great tips and techniques. Those paying attention should really improve their skills in lakes.

The main thing he stressed was the importance of the fly line in catching fish in lakes, and the ability to cast at least 50 feet. The two lines that Rickards fishes mainly in his trophy trout search are the intermediate line and the type two sinking line.

Of the two, the intermediate line is by far the most valuable. Why? Big fish feed in shallow water. Rickards pointed out that most big fish are caught in less than seven feet of water.

The reason for this is that the shallows provide the primary source of the food chain due to the existence of aquatic vegetation.

An intermediate line has the slowest sink rate of any sinking line at about two inches per second.

Rickards typically counts his fly down between 10 and 30 seconds. Fishing shallow is the real key.

He typically fishes large flies like seal buggers in his quest for trophy trout. He feels it is extremely important for the angler to know what his fly represents in order to fish it properly.

If you know what the trout feed on, where that food item is found and how it moves, you can be very successful in your pursuit of large fish. Knowing these factors will help you in your fly selection and, more importantly, on your presentation of that fly.

Rickards’ general observations based upon his many years of guiding is that most anglers try to fish their flies too fast when fishing lakes. He stresses several retrieves for big fish.

They are: 1. A long, slow strip and pause 2. shorter, slow six inch strips and a pause and, 3. a very slow hand-twist retrieve and pause. The pause is crucial because a large number of fish will actually hit the fly on the pause.

A leader of about 12 feet is what he typically uses. This is because he wants to fish shallow and when he uses a weighted fly, the longer leader allows the fly to stay in the shallow zone that he is seeking.

Finally, Rickards recommends a rod with a soft-tip and enough of a butt section to cast a long line. He feels that the soft tip is absolutely critical in catching and landing fish of trophy size.

While the program was long, the material that Rickards covered was invaluable. It has to be one of the best presentations that I have seen. Are his books and videos worthwhile? In this business that has become geared to the dollar, it is refreshing to see a person that truly loves the sport make an impact. Four angler authors that I truly respect in the business have given his book a ringing endorsement. They are Gary Borger, Hal Janssen, Trey Combs and Lani Waller. Nothing more needs to be said.

Fishing report

Just a reminder that streams and some lakes such as Martis lake will close this Sunday, November 15, as the general trout season in this region comes to a close.

Boca – (33,432 ac. ft.) Boca has been fishing fair to good. Anglers fishing from shore are having good success. Most anglers use nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Boaters are having fair success on Kokanee. Most are using a combination of flashers and a wedding ring or Kokanee Bug with a piece of white corn. Those trolling for trout are using a combination of flashers and a nightcrawler or minnow imitating lure. Flyfishermen near the inlet should have fair to good action using a variety of nymphs, streamers and emergers.

Donner – Fishing has been fair to good. Most anglers fishing for rainbows on the west end and near the launch ramp have had some success. Nightcrawlers and Powerbait seem to be the main bait. Trollers using minnow imitating lures have had fair to good success. Kokanee fishing has also been fair to good. Most are trolling Ted’s Bugs, Kokanee Bugs or wedding rings with a piece of white corn behind a flasher.

Lake Tahoe – Fishing has been good for mackinaw. Most fish are in the 5- to 7-pound range. A guide is highly recommended if you are fishing for mackinaw for the first time. Toplining and shore fishing is fair. Tributaries are now closed.

Martis Lake – (Martis is restricted to artificial lures with barbless hooks. Zero fish may bagged or possessed) Fishing is fair to good. Most use nymphs such as the Hares Ear, Pheasant Tail, Damselfly imitations or the A.P. Small midge patterns have also been good at times. Streamers that imitate smallfish, and woolly buggers are also good choices. For surface activity, patterns such as the Quiqley Cripple, Martis Midge, Parachute Adams, and Griffith’s gnat are good choices.

Little Truckee River – Fishing has been fair to good. Most anglers are using nightcrawlers, Powerbait or salmon eggs at the inlet of Boca Reservoir. Flyfishermen are taking fish on nymphs, emergers and streamers.

Prosser – (10,022 ac. if) Fishing here has been fair to good. Bank fishermen are using nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Most trollers are pulling a combination of flashers and nightcrawlers or a minnow imitating lure. Fishermen near the inlets have taken a few fish, mostly on nymphs and streamers.

Stampede – (204,663 ac. ft.) Stampede is fair to good. Most shore anglers are taking a few fish. Most use the typical baits: nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Those throwing lures are also having some success. Kokanee are beginning to school. Best bet is to troll some form of flasher and a Kokanee bug or wedding ring with a piece of white corn. Flyfishermen are doing well near the inlet streams on nymphs, streamers and midges.

Truckee River – The release from the dam at Tahoe City is at 201 cubic feet per second. Fishing has been fair to good. Bait, lures or flies have been successful in the river between Tahoe City and Truckee. In the wild trout section below Truckee, flyfishermen are using nymphs such as the caddis larva, prince, birds nest, hares ear, or pheasant tail with good success. For dries, a humpy, elk hair caddis, Quigley Cripple or a Parachute Adams are hard to beat. Streamers are always good during the fall especially now that the water has cooled off.

Other Waters – Frenchman fished good this past week. Still many smaller fish, but some bigger fish are starting to show. Davis Lake has also been very good with fly fishermen taking fish to 8 pounds in the Freeman creek area. Jackson Meadows is fishing fair to good. Milton Reservoir has been fishing fair to good for flyfishermen. The Middle Fork of the Feather River and many of the smaller streams in the area have been heavily stocked and are fishing fair to good. Pyramid Lake northeast of Reno is fishing well. The bigger fish are beginning to show, too.

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