I head up the Highway 108 corridor three to four times a year. Most trips, I try to do a little fishing between trading stories with friends and family around the campfire. When I'm in the Sierras with my brother and uncles, fishing is usually secondary to the shenanigans they all try to pull with one another. We all get together two times a year for a "fishing" trip. The first is in early June and the other is at the end of September or early October. Both trips are great and have their unique feel. The Spring trip is filled with high off color water and the excitement of a new fishing season while the Fall brings low clear water, cold nights, and yellow leaves. I have to admit, the Fall trip is always my favorite. There's something magical about the Sierra in the Fall.
On this trip I made it a point to get on the water a few times. The first stop was a lake I had never fished that had some good numbers of brook trout. The lake was probably more suited to float tube fishing but I was able to land a nice brookie on a leech pattern and sinking line. The next day I dipped away while everyone headed to the bar to watch the Giants game and had a great time landing wild rainbows on dry flies. This part of the Stanislaus has a LOT of stocked trout and I find that using dry flies ups the percentage of wild trout to the net!
On the final morning, we usually pack up camp and head back to the Bay Area by 8:00 or 9:00. This time, my brother and I decided to extend the trip for a few hours to look for some cutthroats. We were both glad we did. The Sierras this time of year is amazing. The fall colors are coming out and the air is cool and crisp, yet sunny. It was a perfect morning filled with solitude, challenging (super spooky) trout, and amazing scenery. After we landed a good number of fish, we left them to their own devices. Driving down the dirt road back to the highway, we both felt the calming effect that Fall in the Sierras can bring. I can already feel the pull of the next trip!
Alright, so I feel like I need to start this with a disclaimer. My first real camera purchase (one that you can interchange lenses) was only a few months ago and I've never taken a photography class. So I'm no expert when it comes to taking high quality photos. Although I'm a novice, I've learned a lot through trial and error. For every decent photo I get, there are about a dozen that would make you cringe.
Now that, that's been said, let's talk about responsible fish photography. More and more evidence is coming out that the good old "Grip 'n Grin" can actually have a significant impact on fish survival rates. I won't go on and on about that here, we all care about the wonderful resource we spend hours pursuing. So let's all agree that catch and release fishing along with responsible photography will help maintain healthy populations of trout in your local watershed. Below, are my five tips for keeping fish wet (#Keep'emWet) when taking photos.
1) Use a Net:
This one is simple. Using a net can help keep the fish fully submerged, water pulsing over their gills, while you quickly grab your camera from you bag. The net can also provide for an interesting context or backdrop for the photo. Without a net, the fish usually remains in your hand (and out of the water) or struggling on the end of your line while your prepare your camera.
2) Have a Plan:
I always go to the river, with a general idea of what kind of shot I want to get that day. Honestly, there are only so many variations you can get so I usually think about the backdrop or other items (rod, reel, line, net) that I want to have near the fish.
Having a plan with a friend is also a great way to keep fish healthy. While one person is getting the camera ready, the other can have the fish fully submerged underwater. Whoever has the camera, can then do a little creative directing, snap a few photos and then the fish can be released. Capturing photos of the landing or releasing of fish can also provide for some interesting photos.
3) Different Angles:
Don't just square the fish up and snap a photo. We've all seen that photo, so try to get a new or different angle. Get low to the water, or high above the fish. Get creative here! You'll certainly have some bad photos, but then again, sometimes the new ideas pay off big.
You don't need to get the entire fish and angler in the photo. In all honesty, unless you're Maddie Brenneman or April Vokey, most people are more interested in the fish than your toothy grin and beard. Again, get creative here. Capture the spotting patterns, parr marks, tail, fins, or a streamer tangled in a brown's teeth. Change it up!
5) 30 Seconds:
No matter what you do, keep the fish in the water for as long as possible. If you decide the fish needs to come out of the water for the photo, keep it less than 30 seconds. This is where having a plan can really help. For every second a fish is out of water, they aren't breathing. After a struggle on the end of our lines, they need all the O2 they can get, so keep water moving over their gills as much as possible.
So, those are my novice tips for responsible fish photography. If you're interested in seeing some really great fishing (and lifestyle) photography check out the following feeds on Instagram. These folks are the real deal!
All grand plans tend to run into a nice plot twist at some point. At least that's my experience! Last weekend was certainly one of those cases. From the City to the Sierras, my friend Aaron and I brainstormed possibilities for the weekend. Like most of my fishing friends, Aaron isn't afraid (he actually tends to enjoy) fishing ALL day long. You know, the kind of fishing where you don't eat or drink for 8-12 hours, when all of a sudden you realize you have a splitting headache and you should get back to the truck for some food and water? Yep, Aaron is always game for a day on the water like that. With a common base to work from, we started dreaming about hitting a little secret gem of a creek I know of in the Eastern Sierras. From there, we'd explore a new watershed and maybe a lake or two in the same area.
After a late night of setting up the tents under a wonderfully dark night sky scattered with stars, we woke up the next morning on a mission. Our first stop was a little creek that rarely gets fished but holds wild, native Lahontan Cutthroat trout. The stream is no wider than a sidewalk in most areas and rarely gets deeper than two feet. After a long drive through some pretty beat up dirt roads, we found ourselves stream side and even saw some fish skirting under the rocks.
We grabbed our gear and walked up stream a bit. Aaron got to a good hole I had fished on my last trip and promptly landed a nice 10-12 inch cuttie. Not only his first cutthroat, the best one I had seen come out of this particular creek.
Over the next few hours we traded holes, landing dozens of scrappy fish on small dry flies. One of us would hide behind a tree and guide the other into actively feeding fish in the next pocket of water. The slow rise of the cutthroat was an absolute blast to watch. When brought to hand, the coloring, parr marks, and spots were something to behold.
Just as we were contemplating getting back into the truck to drive to another creek, we agreed to catch one more fish each. Aaron promptly hooked into another nice trout. Unfortunately, the excitement had him slipping off a log and into the shallow river. It was one of those slow falls that you just can stop. I quickly ran over to see if he was alright and he called out, "I'm fine, I'm fine." That's when he stood up, took his hat off and blood started to run down his face and drip into the creek. Over the course of the fall he had managed to hit just about every rock in sight with about 5 different body parts, each one bruised and battered.
Neither of us wanted to mess with a head injury like this one, so we called the trip. Headed back to the campsite, broke down the tents, and drove back to San Francisco.
The good news is, Aaron has a clean bill of health. Just a few bumps and bruises that have him moving slower than he's accustomed to. Needless to say, the two of us have plans to explore new waters we have yet to fish. For the next few weeks however, we'll be relegated to planning and research. Any good ideas?
Although my first fish was a stalked rainbow trout, the bulk of my childhood fishing involved bass. It all started when I lived across from a handful of percolation ponds in San Jose. For about six years through elementary and middle school I'd spend my Sunday mornings watching Bill Dance, Roland Martin, and Bass Masters shows on TV. After I was sufficiently fired up and a few bowls of cereal deep, I'd throw together my little spinning outfit, tie on a rubber jig, and drag my brother out for a few hours of fishing. With every fish, I'd mimic my idol (Bill Dance) and say, "Ohhh, Son!" or "See yaa" with my best southern drawl.
A few years later, I moved to the south and my drawl only got thicker. I spent my high school years jumping fences to fish the farm ponds of northern Texas. These were the ponds dreams are made of. Bass, bluegill, and green sunfish abound. Although most of my fishing was done with a rubber worm, Zara Spook, or some other large piece of plastic clad in treble hooks, Texas is where I began fly fishing in earnest. I'd stand on hay bales casting to feisty nesting pan fish all afternoon instead of doing my biology homework. Or I'd spend the weekend with a buddy hiding between bulrushes throwing poppers up against downed trees. Of course one of us always had an eye peeled for a rancher with a shot gun!
In college, it was more of the same. My buddy and I would sneak onto one of those ponds they put in the middle of new housing complexes and catch bass until the sun set. Since moving away from college (that was over a decade ago) I've done very little fishing for bass. During this season of my life, the trout of Northern California and the Sierra are the object of my affection.
So...when my friend Aaron asked if I wanted to sneak away from city life for a 1/2 day to take a stab at some bass fishing, I didn't think twice. We were out the door and over the Golden Gate bridge by 6:00 a.m.! I have to admit, my expectations were low. I don't know if it was because the coffee hadn't kicked in, or that my experiences fishing for bass on the fly in California have yielded uninspiring results over the years. We drove up a dusty road to the main lake, opened a gate that we probably shouldn't have and there it was. It looked fishy enough but I was still hesitant. I was happy enough to be out of the house and on the water. Fish were only going to be a bonus.
About fifteen minutes into casting poppers off the grassy shoreline, I had a tiny little bass sip my popper from the surface. The 6/7wt rod barely bent, but the skunk was off my back! Soon after that, we came around a point into the main lake. There was a nice little grassy shallow section followed by a deeper drop off. Low and behold, that's exactly where Aaron had a nice one crash his popper. As the morning went on, I switched to a brown wooly bugger (you can't go wrong with a bugger, right?) and let it sink deep before slowly retrieving back up the drop offs. Sure enough, the tecnique worked wonders!
The rest of the morning Aaron and I kept our streamers deep and slow. The bass fought hard, looked healthy, and were plentiful. To make things even better, we had the lake to ourselves. A perfect morning of solitude just minutes from our homes in the middle of San Francisco. As we walked back to the car, I couldn't help reminisce about the bass ponds of my youth. There's no doubt I'll be back here for more!
My buddy and I have been fishing for trout in wilderness areas for about a decade now. We love the solitude of getting into the wilderness, away from the crowds. An added bonus is that the fishing is usually amazing! Whether it's Golden Trout in the Eastern Sierra or Brook Trout in the Trinity Alps, the fish are always eager to eat. Last year we even did a day trip into the Lolo National Forest (Bear spray and all) while in Montana and wanted to give it another go this year.
After about a week of fighting the crowds of the Madison River, Courtney and I decided to head north in search of some lonely waters. The Westslope Cutthroat in this area are nothing but fun. To watch them slowly rise from behind boulders to take size 12 stimulators, is truly a practice in patience.
With a plan in place, we threw on our packs and started up the dusty trial. After a few hours of hiking, we got to a nice deep hole we'd fished with success before. Stripping line off the reel, we had high hopes of bringing our first cutty to the surface. Sure enough, a few decent drifts and Courtney had one on the end of the line. Almost immediately, he started freaking out. To be honest, he over reacts a lot when he sees a good fish. It's something I really enjoy about him (his unbridled enthusiasm and positivity) and have become accustomed to at this point. "Dude, come here....come here!" He was nearly screaming. As I peered into the water, at the end of his line was a pretty average cutthroat. Only a few inches behind it, however, was a massive bull trout! We quickly got the cutthroat out of the water and Courtney sat down on a rock to gather himself.
The bull trout had moved back into the depths and we were already game planning on how to get the fish to come back out for more. The plan was for me to hook another cutthroat, play it in the deep hole, and then Courtney would swing a streamer right behind it. Sounded simple enough.
Two casts later, I had another cutthroat on and Courtney was muscling a six inch streamer through the air. Once it hit the water, strip...strip...strip...BOOM! The bull trout smacked Courtney's streamer and had him frozen in his tracks. You know that feeling when you're talking to a really beautiful woman for the first time and you can't get the single syllable "Hi" from off your tongue? That's exactly what I had just watched him go through. Needless to say, he was both excited that the fish swiped at his streamer and disappointed that he had locked up under pressure.
We tried the same technique again but the struggling cutthroat didn't bring the beast out to play this time. For the remainder of the trip, we had a blast catching cutthroat, hand over fist. Each time we hooked one in a deeper run, we collectively held our breath. Waiting for a shadow to follow our catch to shore.
So we didn't end up fooling the big bull trout, but it's nice to know they're in the river. A healthy population of bull trout usually indicates a healthy watershed. Hopefully next year we'll be able to lure another one up from the depths!
Packing for a road trip can be a nightmare. If you're anything like me, you always back out of the drive way feeling as though you've left something behind. Usually, I'll forget something small like toothpaste or an extra set of contacts (who needs to see anyways), but I always manage to get the essentials in the back of the truck.
Below are 10 pieces of gear that I can't live without on a fly fishing road trip. I'm a bit of a gear junkie, so you can always substitute the items I've listed for ones that fit your taste more appropriately.
Fly Fishing Road Trip
1. Sage One Fly Rod (9'6", 5wt) and Orvis Hydros Reel:
This is my go-to, all-around rod. However, it works best for throwing indicator rigs and streamers. It's a stiff mother. When pressed, I can present dry flies on small tippets too. Personally, I bring a back up 5wt and a 4wt on most trips too. This gives me maximum versatility on a wide range of rivers.
2. Yeti Cooler: (Tundra 50)
You don't have to believe all the hype around these coolers, but they really do provide next-level performance for a cooler. My Yeti is always stalked with a good variety of cold beverages to keep me hydrated, caffeinated, and ready to celebrate an epic day on the river. If you take time to cook dinner (I usually just fish instead), there's plenty of room for keeping all your perishables ice cold too.
3: Brodin Landing Net:
Having a net is essential when you're catching good sized fish. Montana gave me plenty of reason to use my Brodin. Unfortunately, I lost my net a few days into the Ennis leg of the trip. Just before leaving for the Missoula area, I ran into a guy from Pennsylvania who had found my net and he graciously handed it back to me. Serious River Karma for that guy!
4. Causwell T-shirts:
I picked up a few Causwell T-shirts before leaving for my trip and was stoked that I did. They're a great fit, fantastic high-performance fabric, and they're stylin' too boot. It's nice to feel comfortable on the river and Causwell is doing it right. Their hats a beanies are great too! Next up, I'm going to get some of their long sleeve shirts. Check them out at causwell.com.
5. Tacky Fly Boxes:
I'm sure you have a few of these boxes by now. They're amazing! On my trip I had seven of these boxes filled with just about any fly you could think of. I really like the silicone insert and magnetic seal on these boxes. They're durable and hold enough flies for quite a few days on the river.
6. Toyota Tacoma:
I've had this truck for 15 years and it has a quarter of a million miles on it now. It's been all over the Western United States and it's been my number one way to get to the small streams of the Sierra Nevada and the big rivers of Montana. You obviously don't need to have this truck for a fishing trip, but it's been a huge asset to me over the years, definitely one of my essentials. You need a car for a road trip anyways, right?
7. Sony A6000 Camera:
None of my trips are complete without a camera these days. It's a fun way to capture and document the beautiful places trout live and the A6000 is relatively affordable for a high end camera. It's fun taking photos of my friends while their catching great fish and photography is growing interest of mine.
8. Orvis Sling Pack:
As I'm sure many of you know by now, I usually cary way too much when I'm on the river. The Orvis sling pack provides a good comfortable fit with plenty of room for water, a rain jacket, snacks, and a camera. Oh yeah...and about 500 flies.
9. Simms G3 Waders and Vapor Wading Boots:
Over the last 5 years I've been wearing a different brand of waders (to go unnamed) and I'd been disappointed with them since they arrived in the mail. I could go on and on about them but nobody wants to hear about that. These Simms waders are amazing though. They fit really well (like a fishermen designed them) and they're bomb proof. My fishing takes me to a lot of places where I'm jumping fences, bush-whacking, and climbing/sliding all over rocks. This Simms gear will stand up to the abuse I put it through!
10. Kick-ass Fishing Buddy:
Although my last blog post featured the benefits of fishing alone, it's essential to have a good buddy on a long road trip. Countless hours in the car, smack talking, laughs, and trading flies all necessitate a good fishing buddy. I've had mine for as long as I've had my truck. We started fishing together while in college (Bass with spinning gear and rubber worms) and haven't stopped fishing together since. Currently, he's living in Wisconsin and I'm in San Francisco, but we've made it a priority to do one of these fly fishing road trips for the past four years. He's got a great wife who gives him a long leash, so that helps too!
Polarized Ray Bay Wayfarers - Polarized glasses make sight fishing significantly easier.
ARC Leaders and Fluorocarbon Tippet - Arguably the most important part of your fishing set up. It's closest to the fish!
The Drake - Good reading material is essential on any road trip.
...and when it all comes together, hopefully you get into some of these guys!
Personally, I prefer heading to the river with a good buddy to share the experience of fishing the beautiful places that trout tend to live. It's always a good time when you can share some key tips or patterns with a friend or cheer the other guy on with high-fives when they stick a good one. On occasion though, I step foot into the watery world of trout on my own.
On a recent road trip, I decided to spend an evening fishing one of my favorite (yet challenging) rivers in Northern California. I'd fished the river a few times and hadn't come tight to a good fish, a humbling river for sure. As I laced up my wader boots and headed to a section of the river my friend had encouraged me to explore, I couldn't help thinking about the prospects that this river holds. I'd seen, and heard of, some great fish coming out of this small river. Lumbering down the trail and through the grass, I wondered how it would be to catch a truly big fish, without anyone there to share the experience with. Would it be as gratifying? If you catch a great fish in the wilderness and nobody else sees it, did it really happen?
At water's edge, I strung a rod with a streamer and the other with a size 18 caddis pattern (Dry Fly). The sound of water moving over rocks and trout sipping at the rivers edge, had me ready to finally get a good one on this river! Knowing I was still a solid 1/2 mile from the section I wanted to fish, I kept my eyes keenly focused on the riffles, runs, and likely spots that brown trout ply while sipping caddis.
Around the first bend, I saw a line of fish taking Caddis just on the far side of a little run. Being pretty amped up, I made a few clean casts and got two fish to rise to my fly but promptly pulled the fly out of their mouth. My next few reach casts had my fly dragging through multiple current lines and the fish stopped feeding. On to the next hole!
Although I didn't land a fish in the first run, the sight of actively feeding fish had me hopeful and eager to find more of the same. As is usual on a river, you'll find patterns. Sure enough the next time I saw a similar run, there were brown trout noses peaking through the surface. This time, I made my first few casts count and came tight on a solid (16-18 inch) brown trout. The skunk was off, I had the right fly, and knew where the fish were feeding. Game time!
The sun dipped behind the pines and I made my way to the next likely holding spot and found, what looked like a dozen trout, consistently feeding. Starting at the bottom of the run, I landed a few more fish. A couple small ones and another good sized brown. The biggest nose was yet to come and was still feeding at the head of the run. I put my fly in his lane, just a few feet in front of where he was taking bugs and sure enough, he came up to grab it.
Once he knew he was stuck, he screamed to the end of the pool, then towards the biggest rock he could find. I was barely able to keep him from getting me into trouble on my 4wt and he took to the air in hopes of shaking the hook. After a few minutes of anxious fighting, I dipped my net into the water and landed the 21 inch brown. Without anyone to hoot and holler with, I silently pumped my fist in the air and snapped a few photos (I need a wide angle lens if I'm going to keep catching big fish like this on my own) and let the fish go back to his home.
Although it would have been nice to have had help in landing the fish and even better to share in the moment with a good friend, the quiet contentment of landing and releasing the fish with only nature as my audience was exactly as it should have been. I'm looking forward to the solitude of hunting big fish on my own in the future. There's something satisfyingly intimate about sitting on the bank of a river with a huge grin on your face after landing a great fish.
Every once in a while, you land a truly memorable fish. I've begun to name them, just for fun. Meet Hemingway, I hope you have a chance to meet him some day!
My name's Tyler and I'm a fly tying addict.
They say the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, right? Well...I do, it's really bad. Living in the city doesn't afford me the opportunity to fish nearly as often as I'd like. As a way to get my fishing fix, I tend to spend a little time behind the vice each week. This tying routine has led to a massive collection of flies. To make matters worse, with all the tying practice I've had in the past few years, I can crank out a dozen flies pretty quickly. Ultimately, I cary almost every one of these flies to the river.
Knowing full well that I'll never need 600-800 flies on any given trip, I need to start carrying fewer flies. In the end, it's more about presentation than it is about exact imitation, right? So...I've reorganized my flies to make the process of fly selection quick and easy. I started by getting a handful of Tacky fly boxes. They're durable, slim, and hold a boat load of flies. They're my absolute go-to fly box. I've also rounded out my selection with a few of those round fly pucks that you get at fly shops and some of the super slim Orvis boxes as well.
Below is my new box breakdown.
1. A "Main" Box: To make things simple, I've narrowed my most productive fly patterns down to fit in my "main" box. This Tacky box holds well over 100 flies and I've stuffed it with caddis, pheasant tails, attractors, midges, PMD's, and stone flies. If I were pressed, I could probably take this box to any watershed in the Western United States and imitate what's in the water.
2. Tacky Day Pack Boxes for Specific Rivers: I have two Tacky day pack boxes (probably more to come), one for each of my favorite rivers. In each of these boxes is a specific collection of flies that I've found productive on those rivers, in addition to a few that I want to try out on my next trip. Each of these boxes holds about 80 nymphs, more than enough for a weekend trip to either of these rivers.
3. Original Tacky Boxes for General Classes of Flies: I also use the original Tacky fly box to organize my patterns that have a wide range of variation. Pheasant tails, stone flies, prince nymphs, caddis, and copper johns each have their own box in my arsenal. In theory, most of these boxes should stay in the truck and be used to refill my main box or the boxes I've put together for specific rivers. In all likelihood a few of these will probably find their way into my pack.
4. Fly Shop Pucks: I also use fly shop containers or pucks to hold flies. One container is specifically designated for Pat's Rubberlegs. This is one of my go-to flies and I carry 2-3 dozen of them because I loose a LOT of these to the bottom of the river. These little containers also work well for small bushy dry flies. When I'm on a small creek, or backpacking in the sierras, I typically take a puck with a small selection of bushy dry flies and a few nymphs. This is usually all you need on smaller creeks and rivers.
5. Super Slim Fly Boxes: My midges usually find themselves in a handful of super slim fly boxes. You know those ones you can put in your shirt pocket? These are great inexpensive boxes to hold nymphs, but they're not nearly as nice or durable as the Tacky boxes.
6. Bigger Boxes: In addition to the nymph and dry fly boxes, I also have a few bigger boxes that hold my streamers, leeches, and wooly bugger variations. These are boxes that I take out on the water with a purpose, knowing that I'm hunting for bigger fish. In all honesty, I need to use these flies more often!
With this new system, I'm hoping that my giant sling pack will now have room for a jacket, my camera, or maybe even a water bottle. There's really no need to have 1,000 flies for a few hours on the water. I'll keep you updated on how this all works out, I'm really hoping to kick this habit!
If you have any other suggestion on how to contain my addiction, I'm happy to hear your suggestions!
Last year was my first trip to Montana and the vision of big brown trout sipping caddis on the side of the Madison River hasn't left me. With only a few weeks until my next trip (I'm kind of addicted), I've been tying as many different caddis variations as I can find. Kelly Galloup's Butch Caddis was particularly attractive to me because it floats like a cork. With a large over wing of deer or elk hair, the fly performs exceptionally well in rough water. If you fish in the west, like I do, you'll be fishing rough water quite a bit, so this pattern should hold a prominent place in your arsenal.
I've only fished this it once, but it worked really well. I'm looking forward to stalking some big browns on the side of the Madison in a few weeks. After that, I'll give it a go with some high sierra trout too. This little caddis may just take center stage in my dry fly box before you know it.
5 Tying Tips
1. Zelon (or antron) is slippery stuff. Lay down a good thread base on the bare hook to help keep the materials from sliding around.
2. Keep the body of the fly slim. Caddis have really narrow bodies, there's no need to build up a big profile on this fly with your dubbing.
3. Try to position the rubber legs right between elk hair and the dubbing on each side of the fly. This makes for a nice little joint to seat them in.
4. Take your time when trimming the elk hair. Trim the sides to keep the profile slim, and trim the top of the wing flat, just like those flat top haircuts from the 1950's.
5. Tie a dozen of these little guys in a variety of colors and sizes. I have a few in bright colors that I'll be using as an attractor dry fly in the late summer.
If you want to learn from the man himself, check out the video below.
On the precipice of Memorial Day Weekend I texted one of my best friends about the possibility of a camping trip in the Sierras. It wasn't going to be one of those backpacking trips deep into the Golden Trout Wilderness or logging long miles on the John Muir Trail. Nope. The plan was to head up Highway 108 for some good old fashioned car camping next to giant trailers while fishing for both wild and stocked trout.
Our destination is a place that brings back a lot of nostalgic feelings for me. The men in my extended family have been heading to this area for 35+ years. Traditionally, we plan for a "fishing" trip there twice a summer. Ultimately, it turns out to be more of an excuse to get into the mountains and have some fun than it is about actual fishing. (Look for a blog post about that trip coming soon!)
With such little planning, Morgan and I knew our chances of finding a spot to set up our tents were slim, especially since I wanted to stop by my cousin's graduation party Saturday afternoon. After some celebratory food and drink along with some well wishes for Braden on his way to college, we jumped in my truck and began our journey from the Bay to the Sierras. With each mile the air grew cleaner and thinner, all the hustle of life in San Francisco, quickly loosing focus in the rear view mirror.
Once deep into the Sierras, we circled through a few sites full of RV's and 10 man tents, ultimately settling on the lone walk-in campground near the river. After dragging our tents, gear, and Yeti Cooler to our spot, it was time to relax! Over the next 48 hours we spent time tying flies near the fire, fishing, trail running, and even enjoying a drink and the Giants game at The Last Chance, a true cowboy bar and a favorite stomping grounds for my uncles.
With runoff in full effect, the river was flowing high. To make matters worse, it rained both Saturday and Sunday night making the waters dark and off colored. The fishing wasn't as good as it usually is but we sill had a great time. The river was full of people drifting worms and Power Bait on conventional gear but it's a great place to enjoy some fishing and take in the beauty of California. Even entry level camping, where most people bring all the creature comforts of home can be fun. Personally, it's the wild places of the American West that get me most excited though.