Saturday, September 22, 2012

Heading out west, where hoppers rule and rattlesnakes scare the sh*t out of you

I was invited to be in my friend's wedding so last week, I traveled solo to Sacramento California, fly rods in tow (or... at least in baggage claim).

 I arrived Thursday just in time for the rehearsal dinner, and had the wedding on Friday. The wedding was very close to Napa Valley and as you can imagine, the wine was incredible, as was my hangover on two hours of sleep on Saturday morning.

 My flight was leaving at 6am on Sunday so I fought through the jet lag and alcohol poisoning, and headed almost two hours northeast to fish the Yuba River. I was pretty amazed when I got there. The river bed itself was probably half a mile wide, but the actual water was only about 40-50 yards wide at the most. As I walked over the ankle breaking dried river rock, I heard someone playing the maracas. Turns it that sound was a rattlesnake. And then another one. Much different than the scariest thing you'd encounter when fishing around here, which would probably be a wasp.

 It was cool to do some traditional western hopper dropper fishing. What was really amazing to me was the fact that I'm in desert high country, with sweltering heating approaching 100 degrees, but I'm seeing Salmon jumping and starting their reds. It was an amazing site. I didn't last long. It was too hot and I was too hungover, but I did put in a good 2-3 hours. I hit a few spots, but the fear of snakes and my chosen attire of shorts, ankle socks, and sneakers didn't make a hike through the high brush sound too safe. I fished hoppers, and various droppers. I lost a nice fat slab on a hopper juan, and another on a psycho prince. The fish fight much harder out west than they do out here, that's for damn sure.

 I walked away empty handed, but I didn't mind. It was a great experience and I'd love to go back and spend more time there when I'm not dry heaving and dehydrated. Here's some pics of the journey. I only had my iPhone with me so they aren't that great, but it will give you an idea.

There were lots of huge stonefly shucks on the dried rocks. I can imagine that certain times of the year would be great fishing with them.

Downstream from the Route 20 bridge

These small lizards were all over in the rocks.

A couple shots from Sycamore Ranch. I saw quite a few salmon trekking up this way.

The sun rising over the Sierras the next morning from the airport at 6pm. You win this time Yuba, but I'll be back.


  1. Mike, I like to call it adventure fishing. It does make for some interesting stories though.