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Posts Tagged ‘Bridgeport California Fly Fishing’

After reviewing all the photos I have, and I haven’t seen the ones Aimee has taken, it be came apparent that I would need at least three posts to fit the information in – to cover our recent trip up to Bridgeport, CA and some other spots in the Eastern Sierra area. So I will try to lay it out with a beginning, middle and end…just a tad of fish porn in this post. I will concentrate on showing the area and how Michael and I approach nymph fishing on the East Walker River. My purpose for this trip was to spend time with my boy Michael , who now lives and goes to school in San Francisco, try out some new SMALL patterns I have been working on, provide visual content for a project Aimee is working on for a San Francisco based Website…and, EXHALE

A special thanks to one of the BLOG’s followers. Travis…who came up to Michael and I, on the second day of our trip, with his lady, and identified himself to us…I gave him a “PINKIE”, which was working well for me that morning…so, if you see me on the water, give a shout out…there will always be a fly or two in it for ‘ya !!!

Bridgeport reservoir, looking West towards the Sierra Nevada Mountains…

This is the view that Michael and I experienced each evening as we came off the East Walker river, a tail water fed by this impoundment. I first started Fly Fishing the East Walker back in 1975, with my Dad…who just watched. In those days, the river was mostly fished by hardware slingers and worm dunkers…there were a number of now long gone, innovative, Fly Fisherman who once frequented this place…like Frank Arcularius and Ned Grey…this river was a fantastic fishery, pumping out huge Browns and even some Brookies up until 1987 when the reservoir was drained, killing the residents of the river – both insects and fish. Although it has slowly come back, in the last 24 years, it is still nothing like it was – prior to its mid-eighties demise…This River continues to draw large numbers of Fly Fishermen…

KEN’S SPORTING GOODS, BRIDGEPORT, CA…

I have mentioned this location in a number of previous posts. Ken’s is the spot for Fly Fishing equipment and information in this area. It is owned and operated by my friend Jim Reid and he is assisted by another friend – Billy, who is most often seen behind the counter here or the Market next door. I have known Jim and Billy for about a quarter century and both guys know their stuff. If one does not tie, I highly suggest a visit to this establishment, their fly selection is outstanding. They also have some of the best and knowledgeable guides in the locale…I watched ’em work on the river and ALL their clients seemed to be catching fish and having fun. One guide, Scott, introduced himself to me and commented that ” he was impressed” with Michael’s wading skills and aggressiveness in getting into good casting positions in heavy water. My kid puts his skateboarding balance skills and leg strength to good use when he is deep in the ” rushing white stuff”…This “OLD DOG” is a bit more circumspect…

GATEWAY TO EAST WALKER RIVER in the “Miracle Mile” section…

There are two places to park just below the dam on the east Walker River. This is generally the spot( the lower one) I pull into when we fly fish here. It is just a  slip through the wire cables and a short walk through the meadow to the river. Michael and I usually put our rods together and attach our reels at the rig, then stroll to the water. I try to be on the water by 6:30-7:00 AM…

STREAM SIDE ON THE EAST WALKER AT 7;00 AM…”WHAT’s GOIN” ON ???”…

Good question…BEFORE I string my rod, I can be found sniffin’ around in the bushes, turning over rocks in the water and observing while rigging up…I have learned, through the years, to apply the “POPP PRINCIPLE” to FF – PATIENCE, OBSERVANCE, PERSEVERANCE and PRACTICE ( in moving water)...I taught this to Michael and Ally, it was taught to me…the Trout aren’t going anywhere while I do these things…

In heavily pressured waters like the East Walker…that first P really pays off…it also saves a lot of $$$$ on gas so I ain’t riding the asphalt looking for a location where other Fly Fishermen aren’t…

A PERFECT NYMPHING ROD…for the East Walker…

Loomis STREAMDANCE, 10′, 5wt., overlined with a SA, GPX, 6wt. WF line and a Tibor Freestone Reel. To this is attached, a Roman Moser Shock Gum Loop, 7 1/2 ft. , 4x leader (cut back 18″), CLIMAX  tippett ring (saves tippet), 12″-18″ 4x to lead fly and 12″-18″ 5x tippet to dropper (off bend of lead fly)…ALL knots in the leader system are UNI KNOTS…then… a white or black MEDIUM, Thingamabobber and twist-ons ( they don’t hang up like split shot) for weight applied according to flow, speed and water depth…I happen to totally agree with Dave Whitlock, that for most applications, the Uni Knot ( and non-slip Mono Loop) are the ONLY two knots one needs to know…both have served me well over a very long period of time…

Michael and I switched off using a 10′, 5wt., Scott G Series that I just love, a Winston 9′, 5wt., BIIX, and a Sage 9’6″, 4wt., Zed…all worked well for this river and the set-ups we used…

MICHAEL AND PT riggin’ up…ON THE WATER…

And, munching on slab, peppered beef jerky from MAHOGANY SMOKED MEATS… (naturally)…

A BOX OF THE “TRADITIONAL TIE” GLF SPARKLE PUPA…

The deep, Amber/Cinnamon took some nice fish for me and Michael…here are some others that effectively produced for us during this period:

SIMPLY RED…(And, PURPLE)…

HOOK: Gamakatsu C12-B, #18
THREAD: Tiemco 16/0, Black
BEAD: 5/64 Black Nickel, (4 wraps 0.10 lead)…or Tung
ABDOMEN: Red Krystal Flash
RIB: Wapsi, Silver, xsm
THORAX: Spirit River Iridsescent dyed peacock eye, Purple

This is a variation of Craig Matthew’s ” Bloody Midge”, out of his BRF Shop, using a new product for the thorax from Spirit River…This fly, used as a dropper, accounted for a majority of the fish (and most of the largest) that we caught on this trip. It was just plain deadly when it was overcast or when shadows hit the water…

PALINISTA – (apologies to EVA PERON)

HOOK: Mustad C49S, #18 -#20

THREAD: Gordon Griffith’s 14/0, Red, White

TAIL: 1 Strand Pearl Krystal Flash

ABDOMEN:White Thread

OVERABDOMEN: Hareline Stalcup’s Micro Tubing, Blue

RIB: Wapsi Silver Wire, X-SM

WING: Grizzly Krystal Flash Back and White

THORAX: Arizona Diamond Hair Pearl Green or Blue

BEAD: Silver, 5/64 or 1/16

So it was Michael who pulled this pattern out of my Midge box and attached it to his tippett…this is what he got on his first cast…

MICHAEL IN THE MEADOW SECTION OF THE EW…

With a Brown that hopped onto a “Plainista” Midge pattern…this proved to be our second most productive fly of the trip. Browns and Rainbows at it up bright day, overcast day, warm, windy, cold and snowy…at dawn…at dusk…and I tied this as a joke

“PINKIE”…

HOOK: TMC 2487 #16-#18, Daiichi #16-#18, Mustad cs49 #16-#18

THREAD: Gordon Griffith 14/0 Sheer, Black

TAIL: Fluro-Fiber Brown, a few strands

RIB: Largutan Lilac, x-fine

ABDOMEN: Pink Holographic tinsel…coat thread abdomen with head cement and wrap over

BEAD: Silver

WING CASE / LEGS: Pearl Krystal Flash

Pink works…watch it appearing in many more midge, nymph, pupae and adult fly patterns…now, try here for some options on holographic wrapping material…This little guy was killin’ ’em’ during the Baetis hatch which was mostly sporadic but good on those bad weather days…

PT WORKING A “PINKIE” ON THE FAR BANK ON A CRAPPY WEATHER MID-DAY…

OLIVE TAILWATER TINY…

HOOK: TMC 2488, TMC 2487, Daiichi 1130, Mustad c49s, #18-#22

THREAD: Tiemco 16/0, Olive or Gordon Griffith 14/0, Olive

TAIL: Lemon Wood Duck Fibers

RIB: Wapsi wire, Chartreuse, x-sm

WING LOOP: Olive Krystal Flash…(the original pattern uses just one strand of KF on each side of the thorax) I like the loop

THORAX: Olive/Brown Ice Dub

WING CASE: Scud Back, 1/8″, Black

BEAD: Copper…or your call. 1/16 brass or tungsten

Another BWO/BAETIS imitation that produced in the AM for both of us on days like this…

BLUE BIRD WEATHER ON THE EW…A good day for a TT…

SILVER STREAK VARIANT…

HOOK: TMC 2487, Daiiachi 1130, Mustad c49S, TMC 2488, #16-#22

THREAD: Tiemco 16/0, Gray

TAIL: Dun Hen Neck Fibers

RIB: Lagartun Blue Wire, Fine

ABDOMEN: Silver Holographic Tinsel, 2 strands

THORAX: Ice Dub, Silver Holographic

WING CASE/LEGS: Midge Flash, Black ( the standard pattern uses the abdomen material for the wing case and notched, dun hen neck for legs)

This pattern, along with the “PALINISTA” took some very nice Browns for Michael in this water:

MICHAEL, GETTING READY TO WORK THE BEND…

…where he hooked some major size fish, one of which was very large and took him 25yds. down stream before breaking him off in the tangles. It took a SILVER STREAK VARIANT…

RED/ ORANGE PT (BUFFALO JUMP)

HOOK: Daiichi 1560, TMC 3761 , #12-#18

THREAD: Uni 8/0 Brown, to secure tail, rib and abdomen

TAIL: Lemon Wooduck

RIB: Wapsi, Copper/Brown wire SM

ABDOMEN: Red Pheasant Tail fibers...then

THREAD: Wapsi 6/0 Fl. Orange

THORAX: Orange Ice Dub 50%., Nat. Squirrel Belly 50%

WING CASE/ LEGS: Rusty Brown Krystal Flash

BEAD: Silver Tungsten, sized to hook

This and the two following patterns were used as lead flies that really worked well…

This is one of a number of Brown Trout that came to a RED/ ORANGE PT (BUFFALO JUMP)

OLIVE/PINK PT (BIG REEDY)

HOOK: Mustad CO68, #14-#18, Daiichii1120, #14-#18, TMC 2457 #14-#18

THREAD: UNI 8/0 Olive

TAIL: Olive Pheasant tail fibers, 3-6

ABDOMEN: Olive Pheasant tail Fibers

RIB: Wapsi Pink wire, SM...then

THREAD: Wapsi Fl Pink, 6/0

WING CASE/LEGS: Pearl Krystal Flash

THORAX: UV Pink, Ice Dub

BEAD: Gold Tung, sized to hook

This pattern was actually designed for the Owens River…It worked real good on the East Walker too !!!

This is a Brown that took a “BIG REEDY” just above the GAUGE on the East Walker …

The GAUGE…

This measures water flows in height cfs. which varied from over 4ft. to 3.2 ft….next to it, in the water is a flow Gauge that measures CFS. which spread between 400cfs. to 320cfs. during our stay …real time reports are here:

EAST WALKER FLOWS

DEEP PURPLE CADDIS LARVA…

HOOK: TMC 2457, Daiichi 1120, Mustad CO68, #10-#14

THREAD: Uni, 6/0, Black

UNDER BODY: Purple Holographic Tinsel

OVER BODY: Clear, Glitter D-Rib, Medium

THORAX: Black Ice Dub

BEAD: Black Tung.

This pattern took some very nice Trout when it looked like this…

MICHAEL, OUT IN THE HEAVY STUFF …

…at the “bewitchin’ hour”, when the sunlight is off the H2O and most other anglers have left…this is when Michael works his magic in the “scary” water where most other people would not think of going…

AMBER KF SERENDIPITY…

HOOK: TMC 5262, #14-#18

THREAD: Gordon Griffith 14/0 Sheer, Brown

ABDOMEN: Portion of a strand of Amber Zelon (to hook size), 1 strand Pearl KF, 1 strand Rusty Brown KF – twisted

WING: White Zelon

Specifically for a small Amber Caddis that appears on the East Walker in late May and early June…This color works on some other rivers I and my guys fish in Montana…

This little fella’ certainly did not disappoint …it worked well through the Baetis/ BWO hatch and throughout the afternoon…I caught a number of good Browns on this fly in here:

PT WITH SOMETHING…

…attached to the end of his leader. Some of the other patterns we fished with success included: Tan Graphic Caddis #16, Cream Midge #18, Rusty/Copper Serendipity BH #20, Rainbow Warrior, Black, #20…I have, since this trip come up with a whole load of new ideas for attractor patterns for this river. I would be remiss if I did not mention some tiers who have influenced those thoughts: Aaron Jasper, Craig Matthews, Walter Wiese, Stefan Flores, Sasa Stosic, Loren Williams, Lance Egan, Dean “The Deano” Endress, Marc Fauvet, Scorpio and Davy Wotton and, of course, Aileen Nishimura – just to name a few…

A LITTLE VIEW OF THE SCENERY IN THE MEADOW…

…While Michael and I munch on a lunch of salami, sharp cheddar cheese, Chileno peppers and (of course) cocktail onions…

A rare view on the East Walker on the “Miracle Mile’…anglers not lined up like fence posts…

Michael’s favorite spot…”THE BEND”…between the upper river to the dam and the meadow…

One of Michal’s friends from “The BEND”…

“MICHAEL !!! Inside water first, then to the far side !!!”…there are some big ones in here…

HAPPY DAD…

HAPPY SON…

MAIN ST. (Hwy. 395), BRIDGEPORT, CA…at TWILIGHT…about the time we get in from FLY FISHING…

PIZZA TONIGHT !!!…Virginia Creek Settlement, Bridgeport, CA…

NEXT: 8 Days on the EASTSIDE (Sierras) PT and SON… Part II

PT/TB 

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