In what I’ll suggest is proof of my Mad Interviewing Skillz, the Art Teter/Pit River interview I mentioned in yesterday’s post is already up at CalTrout.

Art doesn’t pull a lot of punches about the Pit’s fishability, though he does think it’s a shame so many people are staying away — and that things could be a lot better this year if PG&E can get the flows down where they’re supposed to be (they were way too high last year).

In any case, the Pit River hydro relicensing remains a hot topic with California’s fly fishermen. Here are a couple excerpts from the interview (note his thoughts about the specific reaches):

Interview Excerpts

Q: As a guide, have you found new spots? How have you adapted?

No, I’ve mostly found different ways to fish the same areas.

Really, you’re only looking at a difference in depth of 6″-12″, which doesn’t sound like much, but you need to be three times as careful.

We’re seeing a lot of fish moving out of the middle of the channel to the margins. These days, the fish can be anywhere from one bank to the other. I carry a staff in one hand and a shortline rod in the other and fish the water in the margins.

You’d be amazed when you throw into a spot that looks like it has 6″ of water — boom! Out comes a big fish. Too many people just charge right out to that good-looking seam, missing all the secondary lies.

Also what I’ll do is get down there early and see who is there, who’s parked where. So I’m trying to see where people are wading — often you’ll see them wading where the fish have moved to, and your odds of catching them are pretty low.

Once again, you’re looking at that secondary water.

Basically, it is what is, and we just need to go down there and have fun. Last year we caught a lot of fish and we still caught the bigger fish the Pit is famous for. You just have to approach it with a bit more caution.

It’s a shame that so many people are staying away.

Q: How are you handling potential client inquiries about the Pit?

Before, I had a little fear about some of the different age groups I took down there. The Pit has never been a good river for someone who had trouble walking. Now I have to be a little more careful.

Interestingly, the guys that are getting in trouble aren’t really the first-timers; the people that are having problems with it are the people who have fished it a lot, and rely on those memories to tell us where we can wade or not.

A while back, I went across the river at a spot I’d fished a hundred times; it took me almost 1.5 hours to get back. You can’t make those old assumptions about a new Pit.

Q: How did the individual reaches fare?

The river in Pit #3 was able to spread out — it had room. But Pit #4 became really difficult — all of the biologists hired to do the bug and fish surveys said they couldn’t get to the middle of the river to gather data.

That’s because Pit #4 is more canyon-like — it doesn’t have the room to spread out like Pit #3, so it’s become challenging.

The worst was Pit #5 — there really were no spots I could cross at all.

It’s hard to say how bad it will be when flows are lower like they’re supposed to be.

To read the interview in its entirety, click here.

Special Bonus Video

I didn’t know Teter was also a movie star; he appeared in one of those California Tourism commercials, and you can’t miss him.

He’s the only person holding a fly rod (about 10 seconds in), and pretty much everyone else in the commercial is a hot babe. Teter’s a lot of things, but ‘hot babe’ isn’t one of them.