bamboo fly rods,    Fishing Report,    Underground's Best

We fish for the places it takes us

By Tom Chandler 5/15/2006

The casual observer might assume that catching fish was pretty much the point of fly fishing, but they'd be several degrees off true North. Getting skunked isn't fun – and more bigger fish is usually better than fewer smaller fish – but I love fly fishing for the places it takes me. Need a reminder about what those places look like?

Wayne Eng Fly Fishing
Wayne Eng hooks up in paradise...

With the Upper Sac nudging the 5,000 cfs mark, I was starting to look longingly at some of the local lakes. That's when Wayne called about a private pond he sometimes guided – it was time to see how it was fishing and since I was home and picked up the phone, I got to ride in on his coattails.

This is a small pond in a beautiful little valley near Mt. Shasta that's populated with a lot of 10"-13" rainbows - and a few bigger fish. (No, don't even ask. Call Wayne and maybe he'll guide you there.)

The fishing isn't what you'd call challenging, though the weeds and algae made landing fish a much tougher proposition than hooking them. I was fishing a fairly strong 8.5' 5wt Thramer hollowbuilt that handled the wind (and the weeds) with aplomb.

Not bothering to match the flying ant hatch, I tied on a #12 Beetle Bug parachute, which rarely sat on on the water for long before it became the object of a taste test. Wayne did just as well with a foam "Happy Hopper" so I'm guessing the precise pattern wasn't important.

Beetle Bug fly fishing
This Beetle Bug Parachute gave its life so that I could live...

Honestly, the biggest problem was keeping the fly de-slimed. The fishing was easy and I suppose this is what it used to be like a couple centuries ago – before people got too numerous and the fish got smaller and smarter.

Towards dark, I finally stumbled into one of the bigger fish in the pond; a 17" rainbow so fat it looked like a largemouth bass. It's hard to image a trout ever going hungry in this soup, and judging by the beer guts on even the smaller fish, none did.

Tom Chandler big trout
Look at all that fat (and I mean the fish). [Wayne Eng photo]

Big fun? Hell yes. And the surroundings weren't hard on the eyes either.

Tuesday is the slaw dog cookout; expect pictures and full report – assuming Wally the Wonderdog doesn't find the hot dogs first. See you someplace beautiful, Tom Chandler.

fly fishing, fishing, beetle bug


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.

See the latest report. Interestingly, the Western Slaw Dog looks remarkably like the Eastern species (bigger body with an olive cast to the slaw), but I ran another picture anyway.
More Slawdog Pics!

Discover Your Own Fishing and Hunting Adventures

With top destinations, guided trips, outfitters and guides, and river reports, you have everything you need.