Spoiled Fortunate (COW-LA-4-Ni-A Fishing Rocks)

Landing Fish
Looking for Waldo—Darren doing all the right moves on a 4Wt.

I had one of those days in the shop that put a smile on my face, hop in my stride and an eager stoke to stretch a line. No, the till didn’t spill from raging retail sales, selling tackle, feathers and irons(?), but rather a day filled with warmth, spring beauty and a contagious, happy-go-lucky vibe from anglers checking in and eager to go fishing. Cool to witness so many feel’n it.

The first anglers I encountered were already waiting for the doors to open. The early arrivals were jazzed and on a mission, hiking and float tubing nearby Grass Valley lake. Giddy, from success the day before, they hustled and already knew what they needed; our Mr. Pimps and aquatic wasps. They reported the forty-five minute hike was well worth the effort as they experienced pure solitude and remote beauty, quality leeching and mid-day dry fly activity; I wanna go-I wanna go!!!

River Fly Fishing
“Fly Water” last good-byes-
Mark Brown

The tubers were off and running so I checked our e-mails, in-between hyped phone inquiries and reviewed some great photos of recent success from friends and clients targeting the Trinity’s “Fly only waters” (Opened April 1). Spring fever was in the air, guides, customers, phone contacts and e-mails all revealed an early season itch to fish and their feed-back indicated most all fisheries were delivering and pumping. The last rains inspired a fresh run of spring Blue-backs (jumbo half-pounders) into the lower Trinity River. A recent warming trend heated the Trinity Lake large-smallmouth bass grab. The first generation of aquatic wasp took advantage of the heat-up and popped on the lower flats of Lewiston Lake. A solid crunch on Grass Valley Lake; Ouch, Trinity waters are firing off and delivering a complete smorgasbord, late winter steelhead, rainbow/brown trout, landlocked salmon (Chinook/Kokanee) and large-smallmouth bass and more to come; the north state general trout season opener (Sat. – April 27) is just around the corner.

The day was full throttle and never a dull moment. Everyone was upbeat, hyped and struck by the infectious desire to get into some action. I felt like an air traffic controller, multi- tasking answering phone calls, e-mails, re-stocked inventories and catered to a flow of walk-ins until the clock wound down to closing time. I headed straight to the “dingy,” for a well-deserved cold one and returned to my office for some time out. Wow, what a pre- season roar; so many local options, where to go and what to do, a great problem to encounter this early in the year.

Landed Fish
Mike Irvine and Lewiston Lake
max capacity

Fun doesn’t stop in Trinity. After another rendezvous to the “dingy”, I kicked back and gazed at my Cal stream map, reflecting upon yesteryear, waters fished and just how remarkably diverse northern California is. Within a 5-6 hr. radius, north of SF, there is a much bigger picture of northern Cal that reveals a spectrum of hundreds of miles of trout rivers, the entire coastal watersheds (Trinity-Klamath-Eel, Russian) north East (Upper Sac., Pit, McCloud, Fall, Hat), Central Valley (lower Sac., American, Feather, Yuba, Mokelumne,Stanislaus) northern Sierras (Truckee, Carson, Merced) southern Sierras (Hot,Kings,Owens) and numerious others all representing primo freestone, springcreek, tailwater compositions and promise. Whew! If rivers aren’t your bag there are countless stillwaters that can literally swallow you up with a diversity of challenging trout filled waters. Desire something else to get your ya-ya’s and fuel the addiction? There are the reputable beaches, wineries and bleached blonds. Don’t hold back, Cal supports a world, both fresh and salt water, of options, salmon (Chinook-Coho-Kokanee) steelhead, striper, shad and large-smallmouth bass waters all within an easy day’s striking distance.

Steelhead Trout
Meet Eddie Hipol’s – “Resident Evil”

Northern California’s fisheries, highlighted with dramatically varied and scenic landscape beauty, screams with appeal and desire. Yet, surprisingly, many California anglers don’t realize just how good they have it. Whether lack of exposure and or simply unaware of the quality of the fisheries, I’ve always been amazed at the number of anglers that bank their time/coin and fish out of state. Early on, I was one of them and believed grass was greener elsewhere. I learned firsthand, after investing a lifetime of fishing and adding plenty of exotic goose eggs to the nest, you can go a lot further and experience a lot less.

California dream’n, you got it; more like spoiled and that ain’t no pipe dream; our roots are firmly planted. If all this may sound like a chamber of commerce pitch, can I get a break? It is after hrs. and it just punched out this way. Besides, the economy has reflected some very challenging times for many anglers and households. If anglers are able to score good times and tight lines, fishing locally and on a minimal investment, all the better to preach for nor-Cal and its quality fisheries. Now get out there and welcome the 2013 Trout season!!! (*2013 TR Flow Schedule is posted info@trrp.net).

Rainbow Trout
Tom Weseloh doing what he does best-.smil’n/catch’n