Ryan is a full time guide & fly tier, centered in Oroville. With 9 years of guiding experience, he now focuses on the Feather and Sac rivers for trout, steelhead, and stripers. Lake Oroville and Berryessa for Bass, and Clear Lake for both bass and crappie. Ryan is best known for his re-discovering of the Float n’ Fly with the fly rod, and it’s application for stillwater bass during the Winter. Ryan is also the first fly fishing guide to figure out Clear Lake. He’s also been a major proponent of top-water fly fishing on CA’s public reservoirs. Ryan is also the current Costa Bass n’ Fly Champion along with Brian Pultz.
Ryan now resides right next to Lake Oroville, allowing him to fish as much as he can possibly stand. He is about as passionate about fly fishing as they come, and truly enjoys sharing his information.
Covid strikes again. We had an instructor line up to do the Aug. class, but he unfortunately doesn’t have a computer to do a Zoom class and I will be out of state, fishing of course. A great Zoom class is planned for Sept. I will be instructing a San Luis Smelt. This has been THE fly for the past few years at the Forbay. Lee Haskins, a guru with this fly and fishing that area, has move away, but his fly lives on. Getting the materials is a bit of a challenge. The long fiber craft fur, Foxxfur, is no longer made. The Portland Fly Shop bought up all the remaining supply and sells it cheap. Not all the colors remain available. I’ll be showing, in the class, how to compensate for that. To acquire the Foxxfur yourself: web site: shop.theportlandflyshop.com/craft-fur-sale.html. To place an order: (503)265-8060.
If you are new to fly tying and don’t want to invest a lot of money to get started, there are a lot of inexpensive substitutes for tools. I’ll list a few below but, having a vise that has a pedestal instead of a clamp , and a good pair of scissors made by Dr. Slick, are important. Twizzers for pick ups, Straight pin, sewing pin or hat pin for bodkin, straw or ball point pen for half hitch tool, are just a few substitutions.
There are a lot of fly shops and web sites for materials and equipment. A couple suggestions: The Caddis Fly Shop in Eugene Oregon (good service, no tax and free shipping if over $25 I believe), The Fly Shop in Redding Ca. (Good service, cheaper excellent quality hooks under brand TFS and same numbers as TMC hooks, right off I-5), J. Stockard (877)359-8946 (inexpensive).
Books I recommend: “Fly Patterns of Umpqua Feather Merchants” by Randall Kaufmann for extensive list of fly patterns and materials to tie each. “The complete Book of Western Hatches” by Dave Hughes for detailed information about aquatic insects and flies to immatate them. “The Hook Book” by Dick Stewart for hooks drawn by actual size, description, equivalents in other brands.
Email or call to sign up for the September Fly tying class. Leave your number please.
Even during this unusual time the membership has maintained at 150+including 10 new online members who we able to join on the new website online direct payment with Visa/square to our account.
Nametags have been ordered for these new members and will be mailed. Should you need a name tag, please email me email@example.com and I will mail one.
Have twice recently had the need for some work to be done on my float tube cover. I used the Santa Cruz Outdoor Gear Repair business. Good service, good work, reasonable, very Covid safe with no need to enter his building. He works on all kinds of stuff. Does not however repair waders or leaks. Located in downtown Santa Cruz in Old Sash Mill . 303 Potrero St. Bldg. 45 Suite 101 (831)824-4176. Open Wed.-Sat. His name is Peter and is a fly fisherman.
Well – so much for the “restart”. I think I’ll go fishing.
Wow. Didn’t really see this coming, but now planning for more essential long-term opportunities. Isn’t it nice to know that fishing is a good way to get out these days? RV sales, Campers, hiking and cycling related sales are at record highs. So are the hardware stores and pizza shops!
Just a 2-3-4 or 5 hours drive from Santa Cruz – are some great trout fishing opportunities. The very best in the west. I am headed to the Merced in a couple days for an overnight camping trip and some summer wet wading and dry-fly fishing. If you’re into it – you can go to www.recreation.gov – put in the name of a National Forest near you, the camping area you want to go to, and your’e in.
Last month, we talked about the surf, which for some of us is between 10 and 20 minutes away. And that fishing is still very good- surf perch, striper, halibut…
Many of you missed George Revel’s Zoom presentation on fly-fishing the surf in the Bay Area. I know this because Zoom is a really cool way to see all of you. If you haven’t loaded this onto your computer – do. It’s super awesome. We had a very engaging 2 hours and it was really fun hanging out with George and our members till 8:30 chatting away about everything surf and fly-fishing related.
August was going to be our annual BBQ/Slop n Swap meet, but due to the Covid conundrum, we are instead going to be having a nice raffle -with online ticket sales, and a fantastic presentation on fly-fishing for bass and bluegill – which you can also do in a 1-2-3 hour drive from Santa Cruz. The club meeting will start via Zoom at 6:30. See the club meeting section for the link – click on it, and zoom – you’re in! Easier than a campsite!
If you are a new member, we’re going to be doing fly-tying again – via Zoom, a Happy Hour, knot tying and Steve Rudzinski and a few other board members are going to be hosting some beginning fly casting tutoring. The first at Jade Street Park in Capitola and maybe some additional work at another park – TBD- maybe at DeLaveaga. Keep up with the newsletter and the SCFF email list. If you’re not getting either of them – reach out to me – and we’ll make certain you are informed.
With the Covid crisis in an uncertain state, more than ever, we are going to continue to do more to keep you engaged. We are also collaborating with other clubs such as the Delta Fly Fishers -who are enabling us to join in some of their fish-outs where there is room. I’d encourage you to participate and join in some of these activities where possible. They are a super enthusiastic group. We’re all in this together.
I do miss all of you, but I am grateful we are doing well as a club and as a membership. I am happy no one has been sick. You have been fishing. You have been helping, encouraging and being responsible to each other and your families and friends. We are going to come out of this better and all of the really awesome fun, on-line things we are doing because of this, are only going to make us stronger and more engaging, fun,…
All for now – trying to keep this short. If you want to participate on the board, help the club, have some ideas to share -write to me or call. I’d love to hear from you.
I attached a letter from the Wild Salmon Center thanking me (Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen members) for our donation to help save the fishery at Bristol Bay AK and to stop the Pebble Mine plan to create the worlds largest open pit copper and gold mine, destroying the last source of the only truly wild river producing 2/3 of the world wild salmon to market.
We had scheduled John Squires to speak again at the club in October 2018 and while guiding clients on the American Creek in Alaska in August, his pontoon boat struck a fallen tree and all were in the water, the clients lived a harrowing day and night on the opposite banks before getting help but John was never found. We donated his speaking stipend to the TU Alaska fund to saving Bristol Bay as he told me to do prior to booking him for our meeting.
Two nights ago on June 25th, while float tubing and fishing the famous ‘Hex Hatch’ at lake Almanor with an armada of other fly fishermen, there were 2 guys in a boat, the only boat in our area and I was chatting a little with them every time I kicked by. The last time the older of the two asked me if I knew the Santa Cruz fly fishermen and Steve Rudzinski? I never saw them before and said that I was he and had no idea that it was about. Apparently their mother was the widow of John Squires and she said they should try to find me and thank me for honoring their father.
Now sometimes things happen in very mysterious ways as they had no idea what week we would be there and I almost fished another spot and changed my mind at the last minute, almost like being directed by an unknown source. Dan and Joe offered me a beer which I accepted and we toasted their father who must have been present in some way as we told a few stories out there bobbing in the waves.
As far as conservation issues, I am finding that most agencies and programs and even the courts are on hold from making any decisions while the Covis-19 shutdown is still in force. I did not see many masks in northern CA and in Chester and the surrounding area, only 2 cases reported up in the county according to the management at North Shore Camping where I camped for five nights with 2 other club members. The fishermen I met all thought this was a poor week to fish for the majority and me included by landing only one very nice brown trout and a few big bass. The Mayfly hatch was much less than in previous years I recall and the surface temp was 73/74 degrees all week and getting warmer. We did not see much surface action although the bats showed up after dark, the ospreys got a few fish and the western grebes were mating and in large flocks following schools of pond smelt. One lone loon calling in the darkness it’s lonely shrill sound.
Till next month, be safe and be kind to each other, it’s tough for us all living in fear and uncertainty or at least confusion as to ‘what’s next’?
Back to Rio Del Mar State Beach for the August Surf Fish-Out where we started this year. Meet up at 6 am at “the Platform” (I have no idea why it is called that), but it is at the end of Beach Drive. Parking is outside due to the early hour before the paid parking gate opens. We have an ebb tide with a +0.9 low at 08:08 am.
Take Rio Del Mar Blvd all the way to the flats, do the round-about to the left and go ½ mile down Beach drive.
This section has produced for me: Barred Perch, Walleye Perch, California Rays, Leopard Shark, Bat Ray, Sculpin, sand worms, mole crabs, almost legal Dungeness crabs, Stripers, Jack Smelt. And right next to me I have seen Guitar fish and Halibut taken on the fly rod.
Everyone is welcome, but I highly encourage you to learn to cast before you come to the beach. Check in with our Castmaster Mark Traugott, or his assistant (me) and work on the haul and the double haul. For surf equipment, clothing and general information, go to our website under EDUCATION and read the section on surf fishing.
I will have spare flies for anyone who would like and stripping baskets for free loan or purchase $20 to the Club. If you need a stripping basket, please be there early, before we hit the beach to fish. Best to have your rod strung up already and your waders on already doesn’t hurt!
If you wish to attend, call right away. Due to Covid, all those who have signed up, will be contacted to discuss the situation. All money’s will be returned if the person wishes to cancel or if the Fishout is canceled.
This fishout will take place over two consecutive week periods. You may sign up for either one or both.
LOCATION: Mammoth Lakes is on the eastern side of the Sierras, 6 to 7 hours drive from Santa Cruz. There are many lakes and streams in the area to fish. We will be staying in condominiums in the town of Mammoth Lakes. There are two people per bedroom. A private room is also possible , but at increase cost.
COST: The cost includes: (room — 3 meals a day — linen — hot tub ) $310/week $660 for 2 weeks $590/ week for private room. Money is not refundable UNLESS the fishout is canceled (Covid-19). If there are any funds received and not used, they will be used for prizes for our annual fund raiser.
MEAL PREPARATION: Each person will be assigned to a group kitchen day. The group will set out breakfast and lunch foods, store unused food, prepare evening meal and clean up, on the assigned day.
SIGN UP: Call to sign up. Sign ups are available until all spaces filled. Your spot will be reserved when I receive your check. Mail check made out to John Cook, P.O. Box 2822, Aptos, Ca., 95001-2822. I will maintain a waiting list.
We are going to do a little online raffle this month for a great Echo rod and reel package. Click here to purchase your tickets in blocks of $5, $10, $15, or $20. NOTE: purchase of a $20 block gets you 5 extra free bonus tickets!!!
The prize package this month is a beautiful Echo Carbon XL 9 foot 4 piece rod with a carbon fiber reel seat. This is matched up with an Echo Ion lightweight cast machined aluminum reel. The large arbor design makes for faster retrieves, consistent drag performance, and minimal line memory. The drag system is a smooth Rulon/stainless steel disk, the reel can be easily changed from left to right hand retrieve.
The best news is that the the lucky winner get to choose between a 4wt. or 5wt. Rod!
This is my number one “go to” dry fly for trout in either still or moving water. Very important to follow these directions carefully when it comes to proportions, thread wraps and handling and positioning materials. Some helpful hints (tips) will be included that can be applied for tying other flys.
Hook: TMC or TFS 100, or equivalent standard dry fly hook. Sizes 12-16
Thread: black 8/0, 12/0 for size 16 hooks if you wish.
Tail: golden phesant tippet (5-6 barbs) (Tip: Names of the parts of a feather: stem- projection from skin, Barb- projection from stem, barbule- projection from Barb which are difficult to see in most feathers.)
Body: peacock herl with long, easy to see barbules (2-3) (Tip: Herl is fragile , test by gently pulling on tip. If it breaks further than one inch down, discard. Whole feathers are usually better than packaged. Have found whole feathers at the farmers market in Aptos.).
Wing: white calf tail (crinkly, not straight hairs)
Hackle: brown saddle. Tip: Saddle hackle feathers are long, have soft stems, and barb lengths are the same. Best used for dry flies, popper necks, and some buggers. Neck hackle feathers are short, have stiff stems, barbs become shorter near tip. Best used for streamers, popper legs and tails, some buggers, barbs of side feathers for tails on dry flies.
Glue: Zap-A-Gap, Supper Glue, or similar
1. Crimp barb.
2. Attach thread mid shank, leave hanging NO further forward.
3. Tie tail to top of shank, extending shank length beyond shank. Cut any butt ends at MID shank.Position thread at rear of shank.
4. Attach herl tips. Using dubbing hook, form loop with herl, advance thread to MID shank, twist tomake chenille, wrap forward to MID shank. Tie off, cut excess.
5. Wing will be made with 2 small clumps of hairs. Holding tips, cut one clump from tail. (Tip: always cut hair VERY close to hide.) Clean out all under fur. Using large stacker, stack TIPS. Remove any more underfur or short hairs. Position on top of shank, tips above mid tail, make one thread wrap around hair only. Then one around both hair and shank, 2 more snug wraps- each one BEHIND the last. Cut butt ends at an angle, tie down butts. Apply sm. amt. glue, using tip of bodkin, to thread wraps and tied down hair. ( Tip: A moderate amount of glue placed in a plastic lid will not set up for quite awhile. This makes application of sm. amts. glue with bodkin easy.) Position thread right in front of wing. Repeat above with 2nd clump of hair. Position thread right infront of wing.
6. Splay barbs at butt end of hackle. Cut 4-5 short on both sides of stem forming a crew cut. Tie in crew cut. Position thread right in front of wing. Make 3-5 close hackle wraps forward forcing thread forward. Tie off, cut excess. Trim any whiskers. Wrap thread head if not already formed while tying in materials. Tie off. Sm. amt. glue to head.
Nine intrepid surf casters, tired of home confinement, dragged themselves out of bed early to meet at Palm Beach in Watsonville. The roster included Adam Althoff, Ralph Berman, Sam Bishop, Elaine Cook, Gary Cramton, Jeff Gose, Scott Kitayama, Jeff Slaboden, and Mark Traugott. We started under a solid bank of fog and even a few drops of precipitation, but soon we were fanning out along the beach. The surf was moderate, and the fish were not overly cooperative. Of the folks I heard from, Adam, who drove all the way from Castro Valley, was rewarded with a couple of perch, while Scott landed a personal-best 13-incher (see photo). My only fish was a jack smelt (at least I think that’s what Elaine is holding in the attached photo – let me know if I am wrong.) By the time we quit, around 9 AM, the sun was out, and we were happy enough to return to our social isolation after a pleasant morning of playing in the surf.
Desperate to go on a summer trip, which we have done for decades , we decided we could possibly make it happen safely. Our plan included stocking our camper van with enough food, water, clothing, supplies and fishing gear for both trout and bass fishing to sustain us for 14 days. We would only go to forest service campgrounds that widely space campsites, where outhouses are only one use at a time, enter no buildings, no gas station bath rooms, no grocery stores, no fly shops, all to keep us in the out of doors. We packed a pot-a-pottie (never needed to use), had a pee jar, stayed in one private campground where you had to be self contained, which meant people didn’t use the bathroom, went to gas stations that had outside ice available and paid the person pumping our gas for the ice and had them place it by the car. Note: Oregon always pumps your gas. We open the window 2 inches to pay them. Also there is no potable water available in Oregon campgrounds this year. We packed lots of alcohol disinfectant in a pump jar which we used liberally. And of course lots of masks. Reservations were made ahead of time so no contact with camp hosts and the one private RV place tapes paper work to their door if you arrive after 5pm. All in all, things worked well. As it turns out, we had enough for 3 weeks. The fishing was not great but we learned a lot about the area. Davis Lake and Hosmer Lake have BIG fish and we challenged ourselves by only using dry flies to catch them. It was a great deal of fun and John is really getting into this float tube thing. A storm came in and dropped the high daily temp 30 degrees. See photo. The wind howled and affected the fishing for about 3 days. If you are interested in more information, don’t hesitate to call us.
The annual visit to Lake Almanor is always memorable when you are finally out on the water after a long hot day waiting for the sun to set and believing the fish is there and you are fully ready to rock and roll when you get that Grab.
Grab’s were few and far in between hours of nothing or that stray Bump or tail slap of the line or the nymph. I noticed not only fewer trout but fewer bass and other species like brown bullhead and pike minnow. I saw fish landed at Geritol cove and at least 20 tubes were vying for the hot spot back in the inside pocket of the cove. Other guides were bringing clients out deep in 50′ of water looking for the trophy size brown.
I got my only trout within the first half hour on my first evening and the largest one I ever landed there (no camera) at Almanor it filled up my stripping basket around 23″, when released flipped enough water in my face and down my wader to get me well splashed. (German Brown colors). I remember the lost fish and the last night a super fish bent open the hook on a rush towards the tube and diving under me, tight line was too tight and may have started the bend earlier on a hook up with a log I recalled later. Sometimes we get lazy or forget to check the hook, esp for sharpness on the fingernail test.
I was fortunate to find the last space in the only campground on the lake at North Shore Camping where we got rash and bug bites from the brackish water and goose bacteria. We did not wear our waders one hot day and got bit up pretty good. The camping was decent but the lake was too shallow to wade or fish and they pack the campers in tightly there. Others from the club either stayed at Quail Lodge near the dam or camped off a back road somewhere. We did a little trip to the fly shop in Hamilton Branch where we met the young worm mongers counting night crawlers and putting them into individual tubs to sell. Brought me back to my youth of catching them at night with a flashlight and a big coffee can to fill.
The days got hotter, 92 at Chester is hot and the fishing was ice cold, I had fun in the shallows looking for smallmouth bass and landed a good one but the monster got away again. Camping with Don and Dan this time was our first one together and we did okay, it was my turn to buy a bear claw ice cream and I forgot..sorry boys, next trip. I hope Rocky Point campground is open next year and the world comes to its senses by then. Peace.