Fly Fishing,    bamboo fly rods,    Fishing Report,    Road Trip,    Upper Sacramento

The fish rise, the thunder rolls, the angler soils himself

By Tom Chandler 6/29/2006

I was driving home on I-5 after a great night on the river and watching the big electrical storm off to the north. Seen from a distance, it looked like a spectacular - and harmless - light show. Harmless, at least, until a bolt went off right over the truck followed immediately by the thunder. Really, really loud thunder. Obviously, if I'd actually believed the lightning was all that harmless, I wouldn't have damn near soiled myself. Just a little reminder from our friends at

Fly fishing the Upper Sac is always beautiful
Tommy likes. Tommy likes a lot.

We've had thunderstorms and grey skies the last three days, but Wednesday looked like it was the most "fishable" of all of them. Amid cloudy skies and intermittent light rain, I ran to one of my mid-river dry fly runs. Nothing was hatching when I suited up and half-ran/half-stumbled my way to the river, but I managed to stir up a little trout trouble by fishing a modified Beetle Bug pattern sent to me by Sully (given the source and modifications, I'm tempted to name it the "Bastard Bug").

Despite the lack of working fish, I scared up six grabs on the Bastard Bug, including one in the 15/16" range that I got as far as my feet before he got off. He wasn't a huge fish, but he had ambition; my old Hardy-replica Heddon reel got a real workout and I was glad I'd performed some basic (and overdue) maintenance last week.

All Afternoon
I get the impression that I could have caught fish on dries all aftenroon long if I'd simply escaped the office earlier. The weather was unsettled; one minute it was cloudy. warm and still; five minutes later a strong downriver wind would blow up; and a few minutes after that I'd be fishing in dead calm, only with a smattering of big, warm raindrops falling.

In short, it was beautiful.

Later, a sparse PED hatch came off and I caught (and missed) a fair number of 9"-12" rainbows on a #16 parachute. It wasn't a heavy hatch and the fish weren't exactly jumping in the net, but I'd enjoyed steady dry fly action almost since I locked the truck four hours before, and I'd have to be a lot grumpier than I am to diss that.

Upper Sacramento rainbow trout
Not big, but I caught a lot of "chunks" last night. These puppies are eating well...

Clouds going, going...
Non fly fishers don't understand our fascination with cloudy days; the rest of the civilized world finds them dreary, while for fly fishers it's the signal to grab your gear, call in sick, and get out the door. Sadly, for the local Fourth of July fly fishers, no clouds are forecast. I'm heading to the backcountry and hoping it doesn't matter.

That's assuming that my ongoing wrist problem doesn't worsen. Last night had its windy moments, and while pushing the rod harder isn't a solution, I do often try to 'snap' the cast a bit more at the finish. The wrist has been a problem ever since the stonefly hatch on the Rogue, and while typing isn't a killer, I've been doing a lot of site development work and.. ouch [insert favorite whine here]. I'm digging out some of my slower, softer rods until I'm whole again. Let the sympathy begin...

Funniest reaction to my "fear and loathing in the parking lot" post: the Fishing Jones blog. Once again, modern civilization looks to Seinfeld for the right response.

The Raine Road Trip; the final photographs...
It's definitely winding down out there in Colorado - today's the day Jack Raine enters the Blue Zoo. Good luck, and we leave you with this photograph taken from the summit of Pikes Peak. See you on the river (hopefully), Tom Chandler.

Pikes Peak


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.

No sooner did you ask then... I just posted Good News Friday. Short, but there's one more post coming later today...
Hello? Where is my exciting Friday Underground update? I'm in a bad mood. I got skunked last night. Almost muddy river, nothing rising, even the "mega dun" skated had no power. I didn't even get a take, let alone a fish. Where is my fix?
Let me make ths clear right now; Truth has no place in a fishing blog. None.... The Bastard Bug isn't mine to reveal. Sully has made some interesting modifications, but it's still basically a Beetle Bug. Thanks for the picture kudos. Figure the pictures should offer a perspective as warped as the posts... 8-)
TC, "including one in the 15/16″ range ..." Finally! Truth in advertising hits the fishing world!! I knew you couldn't catch one bigger than 1" long. After all, I've played chess with you; you can't fool me! And what's an aftenroon, exactly? TR
Ok I cant resist. What does the bastard bug look like?
Tom, you have such a good eye for framing photographs. I learn a lot just by seeing how you take your pictures. That is a great photograph, which is why this site looks good.

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