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News / Articles

May 2016 Flyline

Dick Gander  | Published on 5/1/2016

May 2016

Larry Sveland - Lower Sac 2016 -2 .jpg


Larry Sveland on the Lower Sac

Jan - Fly Tying Class

Jan 21- General Meeting

Feb 18 - General Meeting

Feb 20 - Pyramid Lake

Mar 19 - Pyramid Lake

Mar 24 - General Meeting

Mar 26 - Yuba River

Apr 21 - General Meeting

Apr 25 to 26 -Lower Sacramento

Apr 29 - Fishmas eve

May 19 - General Meeting

May 21 - Davis Lake

Jun 9 to 11 -Manzanita Lake Camping

June 20-22 Cliff Frazier Memorial Youth Program

Jul 9 - Milton Lake

July 23 - Day on the River!

Aug 13 - Annual BBQ!

Aug 25-28 -Virginia Lake Camping

Sep TBD - Kirman Lake

Sep 22 - Webber Lake

Oct - 7-9 Pyramid Lake Camping

Oct 16 - Truckee River Day

Oct 20 - General Meeting

Nov 19 -Pyramid Lake


President’s Message

Hint of the month!

April General Meeting - Thursday, April 21

April GroupFish – Lower Sacramento River

May General Meeting – Thursday, May 19

Davis or Frenchman’s Lake Groupfish – May 21

Manzanita Lake Groupfish – Weekend of June 10

TTFF Youth Fly Fishing Program - Registration Open -

TTFF Moving Water Workshop – Thursday, June 30

Virginia Lakes Groupfish – Weekend of August 26?

President’s Message

President’s Message – Reflections

The club trip to fish the Lower Sacramento River in Redding was a great success.We had 10 members in 5 drift boats for two days.Everyone caught hot rainbows in the 16 to 20 inch range.Lance Gray put together five guides for us that clearly knew the river and how to hook fish.Contact Lance at to arrange your own trip.

At dinner on the trip, a group of us got into a discussion of how the club can be more helpful to our beginning and intermediate members.This caused me to reflect back on how I got into fly fishing and the amazing journey of learning that has come with it.

Like many of us, I started fishing at an early age with worms for bluegill.  Back in Wisconsin, it was all about sunfish, walleye and northern pike.  My dad was an accomplished spin fisherman which was great but my grandfather that I barely knew was a fly fisherman – something that I always wondered about.  After moving to California in the late 1980s, it became clear that the fish of choice was going to be trout so I figured that meant I needed to learn to fly fish.  I bought my first rod in 1988 and the adventure began.

I started with an Orvis rod and took their introductory class to get the basics of knots, rudimentary casting and fly choice.  This type of class is available to our TTFF members at Orvis in Reno, The Reno Fly Shop, Cabela’s and other places.  I highly recommend that beginners start out with one of these – some are free and some charge a small fee.  I followed the class with several ‘how to’ books and videos.  Now much of this information is available online.

Perhaps most important, I had the good fortune to have 3 fishing partners that were in similar places on the learning curve.  Looking back now, I realize that we concentrated on four main venues – the lower Sac, with and without guides, the Lower Yuba, the Trinity and mostly, the McCloud at the Nature Conservancy property.  By visiting the same locations, we were able to share experiences and see improvements rapidly.

On one early trip to the Trinity, we had a profound experience.  Two of us were fishing one side of the river in Lewiston for a couple of hours with no success.  A fellow walked in the other side of the river and promptly caught 6 or 7 fish.  We shouted across – “what are you using”?  He looked us over and simply said, “I’m fishing where the fish are” while pointing at his feet.  We made our way across and sure enough, there was a ledge under water holding several fish.  Studying the water and understanding trout behavior became an important part of our fishing from that moment on.

I mentioned hiring a guide.  Over the years, I have had many guide experiences and in most cases (there were some clinkers) they helped to advance my skills – whether in seeing the subtleties of indicator movement, casting techniques, reading the water or setting on a fish.  If you can afford a day or two, I recommend hiring a good guide – we have many on our various waters.

As things progressed I also branched out to Stillwater fishing and fishing for other species, especially striped bass and saltwater fish.  Once again, new skills are needed like learning to double haul to cast a shooting head, finding fish in new water or tying completely different flies.

Finally, I think the biggest jump in skills took place by learning to tie flies.  I had the great opportunity to learn to tie at the great Andre Puyan’s shop in Pleasant Hill.  When you tie your flies, you develop a deeper understanding of the various foods available to the fish, the behavior of the food and the fish and how to present the fly.  Once again, there are local opportunities for you to learn too.  John Marcacci has been hosting a class in January for club members and the local shops sponsor classes too.

Of course, the club events and meetings should be a part of your learning plan.  Take opportunities to fish with more experienced anglers but also find someone at about your level and learn together!  The rewards are huge and the journey is a blast!

Tight Lines, Dick Gander, President

Hint of the month!

Casting & Setting the Hook---The more line you have out of your rod-tip the less control you have on the hook-set; conversely the less line out of your rod-tip the more control you have.

Knot-sense - click here to learn to tie all sorts of knots.  Which ones are most critical to know?  The Blood knot, Duncan knot, Improved Clinch knot, Non Slip Mono knot, Perfection Loop and Surgeon’s knot are all knots you should be able to tie proficiently.

April General Meeting - Thursday, April 21

"Chironomid Life Cycles and Deep Water Nymphing " by Master Guide Ernie Gulley

Chironomids (Midges) are the name of the game:At the April General Meeting, Guide Ernie Gulley from Crowley Lake gave us an exemplary discussion of tactics that catch fish throughout the day on Stillwater.And, the secret is “Midging”.Midges are likely the most under-fished fly pattern, but in truth they are 40% of a trout’s diet.And that number skyrockets to 85% in the spring.As the life cycle of the Midges progress, they rise through the water column and the fish rise with them feeding on each phase of development.

It all begins on a nice muddy bottom from which the protective larva tubes gently protrude.In this stage, the trout will have their noses down in the mud, searching for those tubes.So we anglers want to fish the fly from 2” to 6” off the bottom.Early morning/low light is best.

Ernie with a Crowley Rainbow

When you land the first fish, take a “throat sample” (not stomach) and see what organism/color/size they are eating.  Have multiple fly choices on hand such as dark red, blood red, maroon, black, and dark purple, tied very thinly onto a 2X Tiemco 2457 wire scud hook.  Also, add a coat of “Sally Hansen – Hard as Nails” to make your Midges very tough (20+ fish) and give it a nice sheen to simulate acquired oxygen.  (Do this with your purchased flies, as well.)

Next, when larva on the bottom transform into the pupa stage with a larger head and thin body, they remain a dark red so stick with the darker colors.  Again, numerous color variations are valuable when the usual doesn’t work.  The pupa stage will be the highest concentration of food in a small area.  Find that area/depth and stick with it.   

Once the pupa builds up oxygen underneath the skin, they begin to rise like a hot air balloon.  They have a very large head with white breathing filaments.  An extra-large tungsten bead and thin-bodied fly simulate this well.

At this point, the angler should target the water that is 6” to 12” off the bottom.     

Then, when the catch diminishes, it’s time to follow the fish and their food to the next level which can be 2’- 4’, even 5’-7’ off the bottom.  Switch to the shiny flies with holographic tinsel or even just clear plastic.  Also, using two midges tied together (Brokeback Midge) can give an illusion of a swimming pupa.  Note that some trout may not even completely surface to avoid predators.  So, target the fish feeding on the ones that have not ascended.  Move from dark to light colors as you fish higher in the water column.

Other food:  Ernie likes to fish a Midge on the point and other imitation on the top.

When Callibaetis mayfly nymphs are hatching, use a flashback Pheasant Tail as the upper fly.

Damsels are prolific in June & July and are windblown toward the shore. Drift your flies!

Leeches and Balance Leeches can also be good top flies.

Perch is a good top fly, too.  Begin with light colors, then move to dark as they grow older.  (Tan Hares Ear 16 or 18, Hornberg.)

Targeting the correct depth:  Attach a weighted alligator clip (glue egg sinker into clip), old forceps, or a half-ounce drop shot weight to your point fly and drop it to the bottom.  Now, adjust the indicator until it sinks to the depth from the surface that you want to fish from the bottom.  Remove clip or weight and fish that depth.

Also works for wading, as fish cruise the shoreline in a consistent pattern.  When you find the correct depth and distance, you can stick with it.

Tactics & Tips:  Maintain a tight line to the indicator when deep-nymphing.  Control your excess line, too.  .

Use verrrry slow retrieves.  Then, vary your retrieve if unsuccessful.

Anchor so that you’re casting into the wind and let it drift toward you, or feed line out if wind is at your back.

You can also use different lines - Floating, Hover, Clear Camo Intermediate, Types down to 7.  Sinking lines are more difficult though, as you must remember and repeat the distance, sink time, and retrieve speed on each cast after you find success.

Fish a leader that’s 5’ longer than the water you are fishing.

Fish the edges of weed beds (but do not park directly over them).

To cast long leaders, hold the fly assembly in your hand, out of the water, and release it when the line is cast.

Observe successful anglers and experiment.  Be willing to change frequently when your method is not working – he often changes flies every 10 minutes!

Ernie’s preferred equipment:  10 foot rod to help your casting and enhance your mending ability.  Start with a 5 weight rod, then step up to a 6 or 7 as you fish deeper and deeper.

A large arbor reel with a good drag system.  A nymph taper line or indicator floating line.

Large enough indicator to see.  Ernie uses the ‘Under-Cator’.

Split shot 2’ above the top fly.

3X Flourocarbon (Seaguar Invis .007”) to the top fly (dropper), 4X to the point fly 2’ to 3’ apart on loop knots).

Fish Finder to determine depth, water temperature and bottom contour.

Berkley Marker Buoy to mark drop-offs and channels when located.

Accessing the Fish:  At Crowley, you can rent a boat for $100/day, hire a guide (Ernie!), or bring your own boat (excellent launch facility).  Also, equally effective are pontoons, kayaks and float tubes.  Note:  you must be able to anchor your boat.  This is critical, as the wind and current will work against you.  So, don’t drift off of your hard-earned spot.  Note: 100’ of anchor rope is advised at Crowley or any lake with sizable waves.

April GroupFish – Lower Sacramento River

Two day float trip on the Lower Sac in Redding

The club GroupFish to the Lower Sacramento River was a great success.  We contracted with Guide Lance Gray ( for 5 guides and drift boats for Monday and Tuesday April 25 & 26.  The ten of us met for dinner at a brewpub in Redding on Sunday night.  We divided up on Monday morning and floated the 8 miles from Bonneyview to Anderson, fishing out of the boats the whole way.  Given the river was moving at over 5,000 cfs and the upper river is closed to support the salmon spawn, we drifted the same stretch on Tuesday.  Lance and crew provided great shore lunches.  Everyone got beautiful rainbows from 16 to 20 inches.  This is a trip we will do again!

Larry Svelund on his first drift boat trip

Greg McDougall landed a nice ‘bow

Venna and Michael Ramicone had the hot rods!

Mike Brugh looking dapper!

Lew Webb with a nice ‘bow

Dean McKay with a heavy ‘bow

Burt Garavaglia lands a nice one

Jim Brockman landed several like this

Dick Gander with a bright ‘bow

Break for lunch on an island

May General Meeting – Thursday, May 19

The Other Lower Sacramento River by Hogan Brown

Most Fly Anglers have fished the “Lower Sac” at some point in their fishing career between the towns of Redding, CA and Red Bluff, Ca. Taking advantage of the 81 miles of trophy trout, steelhead, and salmon water that flows out of Shasta Lake. What most anglers don’t realize is that there is another nearly 300 miles of river down to San Francisco Bay where resident stripers, migratory stripers, American Shad, Largemouth Bass, Spotted Bass, Smallmouth Bass, bluegill, catfish, and carp call home. In this presentation Hogan is going to talk about the fishing on the Lower Sac from Red Bluff to South of Butte City and targeting the species that live there with a fly rod.

Growing up on the Lower Yuba River as an only child who had a bug collection and really liked catching fish with imitations of those bugs didn’t make Hogan the coolest kid growing up. Good thing he got over it and persevered. Deciding to start rowing a drift boat and guiding the lower Yuba instead of living in the woods bitter and resentful. Living in Chico, CA now Hogan guides for anything that swims, from trout to striped bass and carp to steelhead, he is at home in a drift boat or poling a mud flat for carp. Guiding the Lower Yuba River, Feather River, and Lower Sacramento River for stripers, trout, steelhead, shad, carp, and bass has made him one of the most versatile and experienced guides in Northern California. His trout, bass, carp, and striper flies have become staples in his home state of Northern California and throughout the West. Hogan is a Scott Fly Rods, Hatch Reels, Costa Del Mar Sunglasses, Stealth Craft Boats, Air Flo Fly Lines, and Echo Rods Pro along with being a Simms Ambassador and Montana Fly Co. Contract Tier. Hogan is also a connoisseur of fine ales and fermented grains, a home gardener, die-hard San Francisco Giants baseball and Notre Dame Football fan, along with being a husband and father to two young boys. To learn more about Hogan, his take on fermented grains, hear his rants on his favorite teams, reviews of underappreciated and not really commercial indie rock bands, look at fish pictures taken on cheap cameras or I phones, OR book a trip check out or the blog

As usual, the meeting will be at the Truckee Donner Rec & Park building at 6 pm.

Davis or Frenchman’s Lake Groupfish – May 21

The club is going to have a GroupFish to either Davis or Frenchman’s Lake on Saturday, May 21.  We will decide which lake to visit based on conditions.  These lakes are located about 1 hour north of Truckee, Davis just north of Portola and Frenchman’s to the east of Sierra Valley.  They are similar with Davis typically having a bit larger fish but Frenchman’s having a bit higher catch rate.  Wading is possible at both but a float tube or pontoon is recommended.  Click HERE to sign up or HERE to see who else is going.  More details will be provided to those signed up.

Manzanita Lake Groupfish – Weekend of June 10

We have a new venue to visit this summer – Manzanita Lake in Lassen National Park thanks to Dean McKay.We have group campsites reserved for June 9, 10 and 11 in the campground adjacent to the lake.The lake is known for its large brown trout and prolific midge hatches.A float tube or pontoon is highly recommended.It is a beautiful setting as you can see from the picture to the right.As is our custom, we will plan a group dinner on Saturday evening.

Check your calendars and sign up HERE.See who else is going HERE.

TTFF Youth Fly Fishing Program - Registration Open -

There are a few spots left for youth ages 9-14 to participate in the 11th Annual Cliff Frazier Youth Fly Fishing Program. It is a great opportunity for youth of any skill level to receive one-on-one instruction from experienced fly fishers.  

This three day class will occur on June 20-22 in Truckee.  On Monday, youth will have a half day of in-class instruction followed by two full days of individual instruction on the Truckee River.  For more information and registration ($50 per youth) contact Mike Brugh at or 530-304-8954.

TTFF Moving Water Workshop – Thursday, June 30

This is a TTFF Sponsored event for anglers wanting to hone their skills on streams and rivers.  We have arranged for veteran fly fishing guide and Tahoe Truckee Fly Fishers member Jon Baiocchi to lead an all-inclusive introduction on how to approach fly fishing on Freestone Rivers. The location for the workshop will be located on the North Fork Yuba River, a magnificent watershed that is very beautiful, and has a high population of wild rainbow trout, with the occasional brown trout.  Click HERE to learn more about Jon.

Topics covered will include equipment requirements, rigging for surface and sub surface presentations, knots, casting mechanics, entomology, fly selection, reading water, and proper handling and safely releasing trout. Handouts on entomology, flies, and a map included.

Frank Pisciotta on that rock in the North Fork Yuba

Fish on!

The North Fork Yuba is the best classroom for the aspiring fly angler. You’ll have a very good chance of hooking into a wild trout, and gain the confidence to fish and explore the Sierra and other waters on your own!

Space is limited to 2 people minimum at $400 ($200 each), up to 4 anglers for $600 ($150 each).  Reservations and deposit required by May 15.  Click HERE to sign up and HERE to see who else has signed up.  If more than 4 sign up, we will work to get another session scheduled.

Virginia Lakes Groupfish – Weekend of August 26

The club is returning to Virginia Lakes near Bridgeport, CA on the weekend of August 26.We had a large group last year and had a great time.There is camping in tents or RV/trailers as well as cabins for rent at Virginia Lakes Resort (cabin rentals are up to you to reserve).

Details and directions can be found HERE. Check your calendars and sign up HERE.See who else is going HERE.

Please frequent our sponsors and let them know you appreciate the support!  For more information about TTFF click HERE to visit our website.

  A Big Thank You to our Sponsors!

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   Gold Sponsors

   Silver Sponsors
   Bronze Sponsors


The Fly Shop Redding, Brodin Nets, Patagonia Squaw Valley, Dick Gander, Truckee River Winery, Village Pizzeria, River Ranch Lodge, REI Reno