Backcountry,    Fishing Report

Fly fishing way up 'thar

By Tom Chandler 7/2/2006

It's a good thing I don't type with my feet; otherwise you might not have read this report for a couple weeks. Yesterday, the L&T Nancy, Wally the Wonderdog, and your humble reporter put in a 13+ mile hike (at altitude) to reconnoiter a couple of alpine lakes.

It was one of those hikes where you realize - about 2/3 of the way in - that you've been spending, way, way too much time sitting on your ass at your desk.
Porcupine Lake
Words fail me. Fortunately, my feet didn't...

I love to fish these lakes, but they open late and close early due to snow, so If I don't focus on them when they start to open, I find myself moping around in the Fall, wondering what the hell I was doing all season that I never got around to fishing the backcountry.

Yesterday - with Nancy willing to come along - I managed to look at three nice lakes, and fish one for about 90 minutes. I landed a single 9" brookie (who wriggled away before I could get a picture), and after I did the complex calculus involved, I don't feel cheated at all.

All three lakes had sporadically rising fish, and there's little doubt the fish were eating midges. They're beautiful, but the local alpine lakes are typically difficult to fish without a float tube. The tree-lined, steep-sided nature of them means they fall off too quickly to wade, and offer so little backcast room that it's an exercise in frustration.

The alpine lakes are *very* belly boat friendly (assuming your definition of "friendly" includes humping a belly boat up a trail at 7,000 feet), and in fact, I might be headed back to a lake near this one very, very soon (belly boat in tow).

Another option is a light spinning rod with a clear casting bubble, something I might leverage next time I try to check a couple lakes in one day.

Porcupine Lake snow
Still snow up there. And plenty of it...

Alpine WildflowersThe hike itself was beautiful; the wildflowers are still very much in evidence (it's spring up there after all) while humanity's very much absent. On the drive home, I realized I hadn't fished a couple of smaller streams in over a year, and that I needed to fix that too -- and why not do so over the Fourth?

Yesterday saw me fishing a new rod - an 8.5' 4-pc fiberglass rod by Mark Steffen. I wanted something that traveled a bit better than bamboo (lash a long rod tube to your pack and see how much fun that brush becomes), and was generally happy with the rod, though it might turn out to be a better 6wt than a 5. More as it's fished...

Then again, the Upper Sac's fishing well, though Wayne Eng guided it last night and said there wasn't any shortage of two-leggers on the Upper Sac, especially through Dunsmuir. He said they stumbled onto a nice Golden Stone hatch, and at least the bugs outnumbered the other fly fishers.

You can bet I'll be fishing again over the long weekend (assuming the pain subsides), and I'll let you know. Don't forget to post any fishing reports (as comments) you've got, no matter where you are.

Mt Shasta
Yup. Mt Shasta from across the valley. (L&T Nancy photo)


Tom Chandler

As the author of the decade leading fly fishing blog Trout Underground, Tom believes that fishing is not about measuring the experience but instead of about having fun. As a staunch environmentalist, he brings to the Yobi Community thought leadership on environmental and access issues facing us today.

The Upper Sac is fishing pretty well right now too. Did ok last night. Hooked about a dozen and landed three including one 14"-15" nice healthy bow. Ok I was nymphing when I got that fish but it still counts. Some thoughts on the hatches going on right now. Golden stones are starting their egg laying phase now so that hatch should continue to fish well for another week or so before it starts to fade. ... more Caddis are making their daily evening appearances now. Same with PED's. Haven't seen very many PMD's for some reason? Where ARE the Pink Alberts?????? This hatch usually happens right when the Golden stones are hatching but I haven't seen any so far. Maybe they are just delayed with the cold spring and prolonged high flows recently? Any ideas?? Brian
I use Firefox and never have any problems. Some seem to have problems logging in with Internet Explorer. (A Microsoft product experiencing problems with an open source application?? Shocking.) Let me know how the swinging goes. It's something I might get around to trying someday. Right now the McCrowd's fishing very well, but the downside is a lot of people seem to know it. Still, if you can find ... more some water, it can be great...
ugh... safari browser blows for working with wordpress... Anyway! glad to be a registered member of this blog I read every day.. Swung flies for early summers this morning in the upper rogue. Couple cutts wanted to play but no big boys. Going to try and make a habit of getting out early over the next couple months. My first season swinging flies. Will be fishing nor cal tuesday the 4th. McCloud or ... more Sac? choices choices... :) Looks like a nice spot up there Tom. worth the burn.. -will

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