Thursday, May 26, 2011

I've Moved!

As of today, I have a new blog. If you're a follower of this blog, I hope you'll come over to the new site. It will be the same old stuff, me hearing myself talk, but hopefully you can get something out of it pertaining to the Truckee River. Please just copy and paste this new address.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wait Five Minutes

You know the saying about the weather in the mountains, wait five minutes. It can snow every month of the year in the Tahoe area and after six months of snow, this time of year, it's a bummer when it does. Though it messes up the singletrack around town, the fish don't mind. If you have some Skipper Stones and fish the right kind of water they're there, and they are willing. The water's high, that ain't changing, but the clarity's good, and if you can hit the spots like Gordon did today you should catch fish. Gordon did well and ended up with some nice browns and rainbows. If you don't want to fish, come up and ride some pow, I'm sure they're getting a foot up top again.

Monday, May 23, 2011

High Water Rigging

The Truckee River has been and will be high for sometime. There are still fish to be caught if you adjust your tactics. Go get yourself some Rio indicator leaders in 2, or 3x. The Rio indo leaders are all level fluorocarbon tippet and sink to where the fish are. You can make your own, leaders that is, but this is much easier. Then go into Mountain Hardware in Truckee and get my Skipper Stone Golden, tie it on about 9 feet down, or wherever you want it to sink in the water column. Go about 14 inches and tie on a wire worm if the water's dirty, or something like a prince nymph if the water's clear. Remember, you sould go down a tippet size on your dropper fly. Put a few BB shot about 8 inches above your top fly. Loop some trapped air technology about a foot from your fly line. Fish inside slots and softer winter type water. My guide tip of the week, use Dinsmore tin shot, they won't slide up and down your leader, and you won't have to tie a knot to hold it in place. Sometimes, I'll bust out the old Water Gremlin lead shot and stack them behind the tin for the real deep slots. Dry dropper rigs will be next.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Not To Shabby

The fishing ain't to shabby now on the Truckee River, that is if you stay above Boca. Water clarity's pretty good, and though the water's high, the fish are there. On the plus side, there's pretty much nobody out fishing except for a few locals. I fished the dry dropper set-up today as it forces you to fish the inside, inside, if you no what I'm saying. I did quite well. The water down here in the Hirsch is right about 1700 cubes, still to high, but it will come down once they stop pouring so much water out of the reservoirs. There's still a lot of river to fish above Boca though, and if you don't like crowds, now would be a good time to get your fishing on. I'll post some high water rigs and flies to use this week. A nice hardy "esqe" sound came from the reel of my Red Truck Diesel today. The 5wt has enough backbone to toss a large chunk of change around. These are from today on the middle stretch of river.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Over The Crest?

I think we've got past the heavy crest of water and we won't see the Truckee over 2800 cubes anymore, which it was most of last week. Of course that's barring any uncontrollable circumstances such as rain, or an extended heat wave. We've had a nice slow melt, hell, the Truckee's been blown since mid-March. Though the river's high, the "Dean" and I are guessing three weeks out for good fishing on both the LT and the main stem of the Truckee above Boca. It could be another month for any real fishing to happen down here in the Hirsch, and even then the water will be high. Get your boxes full of stones, green drakes, and all your favorite attractors. Big and ugly dries should be in there also, PMX's, etc. Remember, most of these fish haven't seen a fly in months, and they are going to be willing. Right now, the fishing's not the best, that is unless you got an inside scoop on some runs to fish in high water. The bottom photo is from up along 89 the other evening, and the top rainbow came from above my house the other day. Both came on my Skipper Stone Golden which has been crushing it around here lately.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Managed a few hours with a neighbor and some friends yesterday on the LT. I say managed only because it felt like Antarctica again up here yesterday. I really don't like posting reports on the LT as the place gets pretty hammered and me posting about it doesn't help. The fishing was decent if you put enough weight on and got your flies down and dirty. Lots of blue wings, but no fish on top, not even in the 610. Flows are back in the 600 range, still very high for out there, but I think we've seen the height of the crest coming out of Stampede this last week. Go 3-4x on your nymphing rig, anything less than that is pointless. We got fish on rubberlegs, worms, and baetis nymphs. This brown ate my baetis nymph in a sz #16.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

It Takes Me Back

I put the boat in up along the 89 stretch the other day with some old friends. Dudes I've known for a long time, but lost touch with over the years. We had some PBR's, and talked about old times while they pounded streamers on the banks. Things are different now, marriage, families, careers, but the more things change the more they stay the same. The fishing part wasn't the best, water came up a bunch, but who cares, that's really not what it's about. Life's a full circle, it's weird how people and things come back in your life. I did manage to get this pretty little brown with his mouth stuffed full of my Skipper Stone where the wife and I got married a few years ago.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Yep, we're in the midst of it, run-off. The LT is up over 600 cubes and the Truckee is up over 2000 near my house. Funny thing though, it does have pretty descent clarity and there are places to fish above the inflow of the Little Truckee (Boca), but the best bet on the Truckee is anywhere above Trout Creek all the way up towards Tahoe City. You could get creative and get off the grid, Stampede, Prosser, and Boca all fish well this time of year in certain arms of those lakes. I think we will have sustained high flows for awhile. For me this is a good time of year to cut wood, get the chores done, and fish a run or two in the afternoon before the real guiding season begins. Once the water comes down it will go off on every river and stream in the Tahoe area. Got this guy today, of course, after getting the garage cleaned up first.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Finally, some spring weather here in Truckee. Seems like once you make it through winter nature slaps you in the face and the wind then pummels you all spring. Today a slight breeze and highs in the 60's, a good day to run the boat through the miracle mile. Though the rivers pumping over 1600 cubes through the Hirsch it has good clarity. I've actually been hooking fish in the high flows and today was no exception. Don't get me wrong it ain't for everyone, but if you can find a good spot where fish can get out of the current there's usually a fish there. My rig of choice lately is my Professor Stone Golden #4 followed by a big red wire worm. I have been getting some good whacks on streamers, but not much love in that department. Use a lot of lead and get your flies down and dirty. Not every fish has been big, there's a lot of youngsters, browns in about the 13-16 inch range that I've been catching lately. A sign of a healthy river is having fish in all age classes. The fish are eating and getting big and it's going to be a great summer. These are some photo's from the last few days.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Truckee would actually be pretty good, flows wise, if all the creeks weren't pumping. I should say the Truckee is good up along Glenshire, a bit high, but not bad. The rest of the river is pumping due to the two major inflows. You have Prosser Creek coming in at nearly 400 cubes, and the inflow from the Little Truckee below Boca which is nearly another 400 cubes. The clarity is good though even down towards the stateline. I have been out a bit here and there and have been hooking some big fish, but it's been hard turning 'em in the heavy current, most of them have popped off. Careful though along the river, one bad move and that's all she wrote. If you fall in at these flows you ain't getting out. I think the big run-off will happen about the third week of May, there's still a lot of snow up top, but all of the low lying snow is gone and melted. The whole river will open up this weekend, as it's the traditional opener of trout season in CA. That will open up some more water to fish around the Truckee area and also open the rest of the Truckee River up top. The top photo is the inflow of Prosser, a bit of a mud line, but not bad. The bottom photo is the river at Hirschdale.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Blue Diamond Phillips

I might as well do the fly of the week again as the Truckee's still pumping and there ain't a lot of fishing around here except for the LT. I guess I could get creative, but I'd rather go shred some dirt on my niner. This fly has wrecked 'em the last few years, looks like a beatis to trout, but hell, I'm not a trout so..I even tie these guys up to a size #6 and fish them deep in the big holes up from my house, works well. I gave it a nice 70's look in the photo. Put a little hard as nails or epoxy over the sili-skin, so them toothy critters don't chew it all up.

Hook: Scud, Heavy sz#16-18 (for baetis)
Bead: Tung, Silver
Thread: Uni 8/0, Black
Body: Blue Mylar
Rib: Blue Ultra Wire, Small
Tail-Wing: Hen, Brown
Wingcase: Metz, Sili-Skin, Opal
Thorax: Simi Seal Dub, Purple

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Meanwhile over on the Little Truckee, being that you can usually find me on the Truckee. The Little Truckee is a great place and could be one of the finest tailwaters in the state. Problem is everyone else feels the same. Seems like you can't even find a spot to park in the upper lot anymore. Big hatches of Honda Prii on the weekends up there. Since I made a vow to never fish the upper lot below Stampede anymore, I have a renewed interest in the lower stretches again. I have had a lot of great days out there and I've honed a lot of flies on the LT over the years, like my cripple series, and green drakes. I guess the reason so many people fish it is the size of the fish, which on average are pretty big. You'll find me over there a little more the next few months as the Truckee's pumping and time will tell when it will become fishable. These are some photos of today and Keith's best impression of running down the man. Keith lost some really hard charging fish, but did land his first brown on a fly rod.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Leland Expo

Hung out with the FFO crew down in Sonoma this past weekend for the inaugural Leland Expo at their Sonoma Valley Ranch. After awile, you don't get too stoked on these kind of things, but this was different. There seemed to be a younger crowd, people that actually fly fish, not a bunch of crusty old dudes cruising around looking for the bathroom. When Leland does things, they go big and this was no different. If you've never been to the FFO ranch, it's pretty awesome. The weather was nice and the beer was cold. I gave a few casting tips to Tim Rajeff, told George Revel that distance casting is a thing of the past and drank some Trout Slayer Ale on tap, I mean if the shoe fits. I got to hang and watch Val Atkinson's slide show, the dude is an amazing photographer and even nicer fellow. If I can get Keith Westra out of parking patrol, Val's going to come up and shoot some photos with us on the Truckee this summer, stoked. Jim and Rachel Andras, guides from Oregon, are real nice and it was great to get to know them. The film tour was fun to watch, though after a few films they seem to get a little redundant. Elliot drank a lot of spilt beer too and got herself some leftover chukar which didn't settle so well. I'm already looking forward to next year which I'm sure will be even a bigger blow out than this years. Also stay tuned for some new Red Truck gear that is in the works.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Like Advertised

I like to give an honest assessment. When folks call, I tell it like it is. You might, or might not hook fish this time of year when the Truckee's running high and cold, but when you do they will be big. If your a novice fly angler and you've never landed a big fish usually the death grip ensues and you lose them. I see it happen time and time again. You can be like Matt today who just kept yanking on his trophy rainbow and ripped the fly right out of his mouth, we got a good laugh out of it. Let the fish run a bit then chase him down and regain your line. We've been hooking big fish each time out, just not landing. It can be tough bringing them back through all the heavy current. If you're wondering about fishing the Truckee, I know this river pretty well and we can find spots even in the heavy water below Boca. Is it as good as summer, no, but it beats sitting on the couch all day. Matt hung in there today and did end up with a nice wild bow for the camera, good job brother. These are some shots from the last few days.

Monday, April 11, 2011

New Logo

New Logo on some new tee's that you can pick up at Leland's Expo in Sonoma this weekend. I'll have them available for sale off my blog shortly.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Despite The Conditions

Despite the conditions, we're still putting fish in the net. Like I say, if you want to fish the Truckee you're just going to have to deal with the high water. It's not always easy finding a good spot to fish in the high flows, but if you do you can usually find a few willing fish. I like to go big to small, hell, I always do. Big stones, or wire worms, or copper johns, to something a bit smaller on the bottom. The flows have ceased a bit with this recent cold blast, but they will return. The good news is shortly the river will be open up along 89 and that will open a lot more fishable water. A few years back I got one of the biggest browns for that year along that section. Had a few younger guys out yesterday and the Truckee ended up giving us some nice fish. The brown ate my baetis nymph #16. Always amazes me that those fish can see such small flies in off colored water.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Old Man Winter

Untitled from Gilligans Guide Service on Vimeo.

We have another shot of winter coming through the Truckee area again. This sucks, and it always does this time of year. You know, when it goes from the 60's, back into the 30's. We ain't out of the woods yet, I've seen it snow well into June. Last year was a good example. Nothings changed on the Truckee, it's still charging, and for most folks the river below Glenshire is damn near unfishable. The Shire is a good bet if you do come up and fish the Truckee, there is always some fishable water even when it's this high. The Shire is really not my cup of tea though. I will fish it, but you usually can find me down river somewhere even in high water. It's a gamble below Boca this time of year and sometimes my schemes pan out and sometimes they don't. After a morning down a long game trail that didn't pan out, Charlie got this nice gal all colored up in some high water in what had to be my coldest guide day of the year. The bottom photo is of Matt the other day nymphing a nice slot along the shire.

Monday, April 4, 2011

You're Gonna Have To Get Used To It

Yeah, we got some water this year, and with these warm days, the Truckee's pumping. It does have some clarity though, and if you stay above the major creeks, Juniper, Grey's and Bronco, it's fishable. You're going to have to get used to these high flows, they will be here all spring and well into early summer. The trick is to fish places where you think fish can get out of the current. Your normal spots might not be fishable, explore some different water. The fish will get used to it, the high flows that is, and settle in. The good news is when you do hook fish they will be big. The fish are big and healthy this spring and they are getting bigger. High flows means a lot of food is getting pushed through the system. Work the edges and don't give up. Got this nice male brown today on the last cast off a dry dropper rig, right tight to the bank.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dry Droppers

Untitled from Gilligans Guide Service on Vimeo.

I love fishing the dry dropper rigs. Actually, I'll fish two droppers off a big dry such as my skwalacator dry, which floats like a cork and has a big poly yarn post you can see. The big fish that I catch are usually all caught in five feet or less of water. Big fish like to hang in shallow water, riffles, banks, etc. That old story about Walter living at the bottom of some big hole just ain't true, big fish are always on the move. Of course big fish winter in holes, but that's another topic. I fish my dry dropper rigs upstream along banks and things, long hard casts with a 6 weight rod. You're able to cover water with a dry dropper rig that you would have otherwise thrashed around if you were using a conventional nymph rig. Learn how to cast far in the wind, big fish require stealth, like bow hunting. Don't go using a 9 foot 5x leader, cut a 7.5 4x leader down to about 6ft so you can throw some junk around in the wind. You have to be able to turn over a big dry and nymphs especially if they're heavy ones. I'll be down at the Leland Expo in Sonoma on the weekend of the 16th and 17th of April doing a presentation on dry dropper rigs and how to fish them. This brown, one of my neighbors, ate my sz #18 baetis nymph in about two feet of water today.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Going Back To Cali

Year after year, fishing the same runs, the same river, it never gets old. It's different year to year and when you walk up on a run you haven't fished in six months, but have fished hundreds of times, it's a feeling you can't explain. We had a long hard winter here in Truckee, biggest in twenty five years, shack nasties type of winter, but today with temps in the 60's it was a day only someone that's been through a hard winter can appreciate. Winter ain't easy in the mountains. I got friends in the city that complain because they can't find a place to park, please. When you do get a taste of spring it's worth all the shoveling and power outages and frankly I wouldn't trade it for nothing. It's all about Cali now on the Truckee River. Sure, it's gonna blow out at some point, but for now, it's good. This brown welcomed me back home today somewhere on the Cali section of the river.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Flows Are Good Folks

The flows are good in Cali. We will have to wait and see what happens this week in Nevada. It was near 70 today in Reno and I wish I'd worn my summer straw hat. Today might just have been the last fishable day in Nevada for awhile. Lot's of snow melting. If it gets above 600 cubes in Reno then it gets hard to fish. If it stays below 600, it's on, I'll keep you posted. On the California side things are good though, a bit off color, but good. The river in Cali looks like what the steelheaders like, a bit green and real fishy. Bugs everywhere though down on the NV side and fish rising despite some high flows. Couldn't keep the skwalas from crawling down my neck, kinda good. They'll be marching their way up the river towards California with this warm weather. This is Dave from today.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hopper Droppers

A few years back, my friend Colin and I took a trip to the East Walker in his old Winnebago. While on the trip, Colin came up with a drink he called the Hopper Dropper. Freeze some ice in a glass, fill with your favorite whiskey, and eventually the ice rises and the whiskey drops, hence the Hopper Dropper. If Colin's not waxing his Mercedes, or on Facebook, we do manage to get a little fishing time in when he comes down from Portlandia. I watched in awe today reminiscent of the old days as Colin handed it to some Truckee River fish. Though I'm sure he'd much rather been watching a Gwyneth Paltrow movie, we had fun, the sun was out, first time in weeks, and the Truckee River is in great shape. The flows are actually perfect right now, both states, and they look to stay good for awhile. Skwalas and blue wings are on the menu. I'll be out a lot this week and I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Kids Are Alright

Finally we had a break in the weather and I managed to sneak a guide day in today. If it hasn't been the river being blown out, it's been driving snow and winds for the last two weeks. The Truckee is in great shape though, flows wise, in both states except East of Reno. With continued snow in the forecast it should stay good for awhile. If you fish the CA side there is very limited to no parking and snow shoes are a good idea. We have three more days of strong pacific storms coming, but after that fishing will be good. They say it's the biggest winter in the sierra in twenty five years. The top photo is of Frank with his first fish on a fly rod, not bad. The next is of his dad with a nice Truckee River Rainbow. It's great to see the kids fly fishing and not on those damn video games. Fishing was pretty good and fish were where they were supposed to be, eating my dubbed out prince.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

They're Here

My signature flies arrived at Mountain Hardware in Truckee, not all of my patterns, but some. Flies that I've cut my teeth with over the years on the Truckee River. Blue Collar flies so to speak. Everything from March Browns, to October Caddis, to PMD nymphs. Over the years, I've only used my own flies when I fish and guide. It made me a very proficient fly tyer, but it also gave me the ability to test and tweak my patterns. All my nymphs are tied on heavy wire scud hooks with tungsten beads, so they drop in the big deep buckets of the Truckee. Drys, well, I still like deer and elk hair on my drys. If you're a wade fisherman we all know that the all-foam-flies really don't work, they sink, and if you can't see your fly, then you can't set the hook. Nothing beats the natural hollowness and buoyancy of deer, or elk hair on your dry flies. All the patterns have been refined over the years, streamlined so to speak and now they're ready for you to fish. Of course every fly is just a copy of someone else's. I didn't invent the wheel, but I tried to reinvent it a bit. They will also be available at California Fly Shop in the Bay Area and Fly Fishing Specialties in Citrus Heights shortly.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Could Be a Tough Run

Yeah, could be a tough run of it this spring on the Truckee, flows wise that is. With all this snow melting and continued storms in the forecast you're going to have to choose your days wisely. Always check the flows before you come up and fish. Snow is good, rain is bad. Along Glenshire the river is best under 300cfs, Hirschdale below 600, and in Reno below 500. We're looking at 1,200 cubes here in Hirschdale, but it looks like we got past the hump and it is lowering. It doesn't get bad until you see Noah floating down in his Ark, which I've seen a few times here. Of course you can fish the river when it's high, not this high though. We'll get some clarity back in a few days, but it will probably take five to seven days to come down to fishable levels. The river will start slowly coming down when it freezes hard for a few nights. A lot of big fish do get caught in high off colored water. Leave the sz #20 zebra midges at home along with the 5wt and throw the big and uglys at them, fish streamers, stones, and big copper johns. The fishing will be good when you can time it right, I think a lot of big fish are going to be caught this spring. They're putting on their feed bags now on all the food getting flushed through the system. The wife took a photo of this guy cruising through the yard the other evening. Apparently he likes taking naps under our Ponderosa out back.