Gordon Tharrett started fly fishing at 8 years old at his childhood home in the Adirondacks. At age 18 he started guiding, and over the years his resume includes guiding fishing, hunting, and climbing. Fishing has taken Gordon all over the world including New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, Canada, and Alaska.
In 1993 after a long season of guiding in Alaska and fishing his way down the west coast, Gordon ended up in Utah fishing the Green River. In his words,
“That one float down the Green was all it took to make me not go anywhere else. I thought to myself this is the best Dry Fly River I have ever seen!”
and he’s been there ever since. Gordon spent 15 years guiding with Trout Creek Flies acquiring the fly shop in 2012. In 2015 Gordon went back to guiding starting On The Fly Utah, and the fish keep coming to the net.
Gordon Tharrett On The Fly Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: ontheflyutah.com 801-541-4113 http//www.wildlife.utah.gov/ for licensing
Future Speakers. Dates and speakers may change, please go to URL to see the current information.
Jan 05 7:00 PM
In January, we’re going to be back at the Sherriff’s Posse Hall for another BBQ and our annual Club Members Photo Slide Show. Submit your photos today to Tommy Polito Thomaspolito12@gmail.com then come join us the first week of January – in person!!!
Fisheries of the Central Coast & Iceland with Dagur Guðmundsson
Mar 02 6:30 PM
Dagur will be presenting on the Central Coast fisheries as well as touching on fishing in Iceland as he guides both.
Everyone who attends the December Fly Club zoom meeting get a free ticket to the monthly door prize drawing.
We have some neat stuff, keep it yourself or use it for fly buddy stocking stuffers.
The FirstAid kit is not intended for major surgery but will come in handy for cuts, bruises, and other minor medical mishaps that might be encountered during a fly fishing adventure.
The four function Coghlan’s has a compass, magnifier, thermometer, and whistle. Great on the the back trails or on your float tube on the water.
How about a National Geographic trail topographic map for the Merced and the Tuolumne river? Great for planning and executing a fly fishing back pack trip.
These prizes are all from the new REI store that has opened up in Santa Cruz across from Dominican Hospital. Great place, check it out . Gift receipts are included if you would like to swap out the prize for some other treat.
Happy Holidays everyone. I hope you are all doing well looking forward to time with family and friends this year.
For those of you who made it to April Vokey’s presentation and tutorial on two-handed rods and gear for big rivers, you might be asking Santa for a Skagit head, some Rio MOW tips, and a variety of Hobo-Spey flies in yer stockings!
As April mentioned in her presentation, “spey” casting techniques are not only effective for two-handed rods, but also very effective for single hand fly rods. Most of you know the “roll cast”. Spey casting is associated with the roll-cast, or is in fact a roll-cast (I dare say), but with certain movements with the rod, that put your line and leader in different places on the water in front of you or to the side of you.
I encourage all of you to explore “spey” casting techniques by searching the inter-web, YouTube… You’ll come across some new casting names and begin to understand what they are; single-spey, double-spey, snap-T, Circle-C, and more. All very effective when there is no room to cast behind you, or just another set of great casting techniques to add to your repertoire.
A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to travel home to Ohio to see my mom and family. I’m always timing these trips as a means to kick off the holiday season, and have a chance to fish for Lake run Steelhead on the Chagrin River, where I grew up fishing as a child. This year I took my 13’ 6”, 8 weight two-handed rod, a box of steelhead flies and my waders. Not much else you need.
When I arrived in Ohio it was a beautiful 70 degrees, but the water was low. But weather changes quickly in these parts of the country and it’s common to get rain that will move the river from 150cfs to 400 or more, overnight. Thursday was that day. It has rained just enough to bring the river up. Puffy clouds brought cover and contrast to the stunning fall colors still hanging on the maple, pin oak, buckeye and more.
It’s not always possible to time trips perfectly, but each time is an opportunity to get on the water with my brother Pat. The river was beautiful and the flows made this place look about as close to a big British Columbia watershed as I could imagine. We were on the water at 7:30 and immediately rolled two fish across the river, getting our hopes up quickly. We fished hard till 10:00 then headed off to the Chagrin River dinner for a couple egg sandwiches and a hot cup of coffee before traveling about 30 seconds to the next place on the river. Almost like it was here on the San Lorenzo in the old days. If you don’t know this already, the San Lorenzo River was once noted as “The Most Famous” steelhead river on the Central Coast. Mostly because guys brought their friends, and wives spent the weekend, went shopping, found easy access along the 11+ miles of fishable water, and found they could pull off the river and grab coffee, food, beer and whiskey in just minutes, no matter where they were on the river. It was fun to do just that with my brother on the Chagrin, still in our waders and no one looking at us as differently.
The flow of the river enabled me to get a very good grasp on my spey casting techniques, delivery and swing. It was soooooooo much fun. When you can throw 80 feet of line almost effortlessly clear across the water and feel the line tug on your reel because it still wants to go farther – you’ll know what I mean. As the wind picked up in the afternoon, I got to try a few other of the methods necessary- like the Perry Poke (coined after a fella named Carl Perry kept “blowing his anchor” – wait, what?…! – recovering his cast effectively. Something that’s been done for 100 years, but never really called anything until spey casting anglers began naming it after Carl – at least that’s what I researched thus far), and casting with my right hand. Yes – spey casting also teaches you to be ambidextrous.
Part of my timing in the coming years will be that time when the steelhead are in but the leaves have either not fallen off the trees yet, or are already completely fallen off. As the day wore on, the wind gusts befuddled our success choking the water with leaves, and despite nice off-color water, I imagined hundreds of leaves bouncing off the noses of fish, causing them to hunker down no matter how colorful my flies tried to compete with the leaves.
Despite not landing any fish, it was the best day on the water with my brother on a river I never really appreciated as much as a kid. Except, perhaps, on those warm summer days when Mike and I would quit fishing and go swimming!
The Great Lakes rivers are abundant with fish these days. Not just lake run steelhead, but also Chinook, Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye (mostly in the lake), Perch, Catfish, Carp, Pike, and some Brown Trout. None of the fish are small. The Grand, Chagrin, Rocky and even the Cuyahoga, that river that once caught fire in the 60’s when it was so polluted with industrial waste, are all now healthy fisheries year-round. There is a Facebook page for the area called Ohio Steelhead. Look it up.
Well – a lot of fun in store for us in the coming months. December is Gordon Tharrett who is going to present to us on the Green River in Utah – and fly-fishing Utah/Idaho areas. He’s been a guide for a few of our members for years. Don’t miss this one.
January 5th will be a time for us to extend the holidays with a BBQ, Big Raffle, installation of Board and Directors AND our annual Club slide show which will be a collection of all the member photos from all the fishing you did this past year. We will be meeting at the Sherriff’s Posse Hall on Ocean Street Extension. Mark your calendars.
It’s been a great year and its fun seeing all the new members participate in fishing, fly-tying, and jumping on the Board to be a driving force for the future of the club. Super happy to see how this is coming together. If you’re interested, let us know. We still have a couple of positions we would love help with.
Happy Holidays. Jump in – we’ll land a few together. Tom Hogye – 831-214-7578
As caddis emerge from their nymphal stage, and just before they are ready to take flight, they are on the surface with wings up and ready, but are still attached to their nymphal shuck. Consequent they aren’t able to fly away yet and makes them very vulnerable to the trout. This fly mimics this stage. The “Fly of the Month” article this month will be directions for how to use a Matarelli tool. Knowing how to use it will help you tie off this fly. For our free Zoom class, call Elaine Cook at (831)688-1561 at least a couple days ahead to allow time for packets of material to be assembled and you to pick up at my door. Thread will be 8/0 tan or olive or both. Let me know if you need to borrow some. Beginners can also borrow vise and tools. If you have never tied before, call me soon. To join the class go to bar at top of newsletter and tap Zoom, then tap fly tying class.
Future tying classes. Dates and subject may change, please go to URL to see the current information.
Instead of featuring a specific fly this month, using the “whip finish” method to tie your favorite fly will be discussed. Having the skill of tying the knot to complete your fly using a “whip finish” is very important for certain flies. Some folks use the method more often, for they just find it easier when they get the hang of it. There are 3 methods to accomplish this:
Whip finish tool that’s referred to as a Matarelli (there are other similar brands but this is the most commonly used)
Standard whipper (a very old style tool and trickier to use)
Hand method (the only method available before there were tools and uses 2 fingers)
Specific flies that require this method are any that must be tied off behind the material on the hook, ie: beaded flies, poppers. You can use this method on the fly being tied at the fly tying class this month but won’t be required. This is a great time to learn how, refresh your skill, or learn a new technique. There are numerous demonstrations on YouTube for all 3 methods. Just ask for “whip finish demonstration for tying flies”.
I found the one done by Copper Landing Fly Fishing was well done for a Matarelli. Check them out and do some practicing on a bare hook.
The Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County, the City of Santa Cruz, the San Lorenzo Valley Water District and the County of Santa Cruz have partnered to complete an instream improvement project on Zayante Creek. The work took place on a one mile stretch of the upper creek. Large trees were anchored in the creek to improve the natural habitat for steelhead and coho salmon. Historically, some of the higher juvenile steelhead population densities in the San Lorenzo River watershed been found in Zayante Creek. Check out the web link below: https://carcd.org/2021/10/rcd-san-cruz-completes-an-instream-habitat-improvement-project-on-zayante-creek/
Make sure you view this brief Youtube video that describes the project.
About 24 volunteers showed up at the Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge this morning to clean up garbage and illegal camps. The Salinas Valley Fly Fishers, Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen, Trout Unlimited and the Carmel River Steelhead Association were represented. This year, about half of a 30-yard dumpster was collected…down from the full 30-yard dumpsters of previous years. Thanks to all who showed up and, to those who fish the refuge but couldn’t help this time, see you next November. A special thanks to Benny and Jay Jefferson, of Jefferson Ag Management, for their continued stewardship of the refuge and use of their heavy equipment! Also, thanks are due to the Monterey Regional Waste Management District for the use of their 30-yard dumpster!
90 members have renewed 2021 dues for a total of $4,500 including $1,200 in donations averaging $50/member.
100 membership renewal letters have been mailed out to those members who have not yet responded. Deadline to be included in the 2022 roster is Dec 31st. Member names who have not responded will be deleted from the roster and Googlegroups.
We are on schedule to meet our membership dues budget and are hoping for additional donations in order to offset the $4,500 loss from our annual fundraiser dinner not being held for 2 years. With additional member contributions we could double our High School scholarships from $200 to $400/student, maintain our conservation project funding, and pay to restore the County Steelhead plaque on the San Lorenzo River damaged by vandalism with matching funds.
For those that have already renewed and donated online, THANK YOU
In January, we’re going to be back at the Sherriff’s Posse Hall for another BBQ and our annual Club Members Photo Slide Show! Just a reminder for anyone that wants to include a photo(s) in the club’s annual slide show, please send the photos directly to me Thomaspolito12@gmail.com. Thanks!
Just in time for Christmas, we are discounting some SCFF logo wear. This offer is only good if you are willing to pick up the items in the Aptos area. Take a look int the Santa Cruz Fly Fishing Store.. After you purchase, you will coordinate a pick up place and time with Kevin Murdock.
November 8, 1927– October 26,2021
Doug joined our club clear back in 1998. He had been a real outdoor person, but all his companions were no longer able to participate with him. So his wife Diane encouraged him to check out the SCFF club. As he put it , after doing just that, “ I’ve found a new home”. He jumped right in joining the fly tying classes and was soon helping beginners , as he was extremely skilled at tying. His specialty was small dry flies which over the years served him well at the Mammoth and Green River fishouts as well as throughout Montana and Wyoming. He was not a fan of flying so trips to the Green River were on Amtrak and to other Rocky Mountain destinations he would accomplish by driving almost non-stop to his destination. He loved the back country in the Sierra and a couple of his favorites were McGee and Convict Canyons. His participation and help with club functions were remarkable. In his quiet gentlemanly manner, you’d find him demonstrating fly tying to the public, donating and preparing, along with Diane, salads for the Club Fund Raiser, and then showing up at functions ahead of time to help set up then stay to pick up at the end. So now we say goodbye to our dear friend Doug. His company will be missed but the fond memories will live on.
John Cook fishmaster– (831)688-1561 or (831)234-6515
Apr 03 12:00 AM : Pyramid Lake Fish-out April 3rd-9th 2022
Pyramid Lake (Click for address and map) Fishmaster: Mike White – (831) 706-5556
The Pyramid Lake trip is one of the best-attended fishouts the club has, and for a good reason. Lahontan Cutthroat Trout cruise parallel to the shore in easy casting distance from shore. Cost for the week including meals and lodging and is around $300+ per person depending on the number in attendance. You need not fish all six days as there may be openings (usually later in the week.) Contact Mike for more details (831) 706-5556, to check on openings, or be put on a waiting list. First come first served.
You can also make your own arrangements either by bringing your own RV (Pyramid Lake Lodge has hook-ups and sells permits to park on the any of the beaches along the lake) or staying in Reno. Reno is 45 minutes away. Call Pyramid Lake Lodge to inquire about last minute cancellations in their cabins as well (775) 476-0400 and check out their website to see what the cabins look like at www.pyramidlakelodge.com. The General Store in Sutcliff offers meals on selected nights only to those who call in before 2:00 PM. Check at the General Store for details.
Equipment: 6-9 weight rods with hi-speed, hi-D shooting heads or fast sink integrated lines to fish the bottom in 6 to 9 feet of water, and a floating line for indicator fishing. You should bring a stripping basket and a ladder that will accommodate it. A ladder helps to get you up out of the cold water and enable you to cast out to where the fish are. You can still catch fish without one but not with near as much consistency.
Flies: Woolly buggers in black, white, purple, olive, midge, caddis and mayfly nymphs to name a few. If as in years past the Confab in February is offering the opportunity to see how some of the best Pyramid patterns are made plan to attend and bring a vise and tie some yourself. Flies may also available from club member Jim Hall who ties some very good flies specific to Pyramid cutthroat as well as other species at reasonable cost. His number is (831) 713-6835. There is a general store with provisions as well as tackle and an assortment of flies.
How to get there: Take US 80 to Reno-Sparks, take the Pyramid Blvd. off ramp and go north about 35 miles. Crosby Lodge is at Sutcliff, near the Ranger Station.
If you have any questions about equipment or how to get there, check the “Gearing up” columns in the March 2007-2009 archives on our great club website, or call Mike White at (831) 706-5556.
If you are considering going to Pyramid again this year with the club and you have not already done so, please contact the person who is booking the trailer you stayed in last year. Trailer-masters, if your trailer has gaps or cancellations, you can call Mike so he can pass the names of members who don’t have lodging to fill the empty spots.
Fishing, Camping, and New Ladder Regulation:
Fishing and camping permits can be purchased online prior to the fish-out. We would highly recommend doing this. Go to www.plpt.nsn.us to obtain your licenses. There is also an RV Park available at (775) 476-1155.
As with any great fishery there are always a long list of rules and regulations. We would recommend you review them on the website above. Suffice to say those of us who have been going to Pyramid Lake for many years are a good source of information as well. We will help inform and guide all newcomers. 15.6 USE OF LADDERS, ETC. Any ladders, milk crates, boxes or other objects used in the water as a fishing aid must be occupied or closely attended (i.e. remain in the area) by fishermen at all times. Any person who leaves such objects unoccupied in the water for more than one hour will be deemed guilty of littering. 15.6.1 Fishing aids described above must have a permanent tag affixed that has the name, address, and phone number of the owner of the fishing aid. If the permitted angler using the fishing aid is not the owner, the owner will be the responsible party for any infractions by the permitted angler.
This year we have five trailers reserved. (6,7,8,9, and 10) As of September 1st 2021 we have 5 openings available. These openings will fill up quickly, so contact Mike immediately at (831) 706-5556. Last year was an incredible experience with many fish over 15 lbs brought to the net. If you cannot commit early and make it into one of our reserved trailers you can always make your own arrangements by contacting the Pyramid Lake Lodge at (775) 476-0400.
NOTE: Due to insurance regulations, all attendees must be paid up members of Santa Cruz Fly fishermen, so get your membership paid up if you haven’t done so yet.
Sep 24 12:00 AM : Mammoth Fishout – 2022
Mammoth Lakes (Click for address and map) Fishmaster: John Cook fishmaster– (831)688-1561 or (831)234-6515
Dates: This fishout will take place over two consecutive one-week periods. You may sign up for one or both weeks. Week 1: Sept 24 – Oct 1. Week 2: Oct 1 – Oct 8.
Location: The town of Mammoth Lakes is located on the eastern side of the Sierra, 6 or 7 hours drive from Santa Cruz. There are many lakes and streams in the area to fish.
General: We will be staying in condominiums in the town of Mammoth Lakes. Condo has a lovely hot tub, so bring your suit. Two people per bedroom. Most people bring a sleeping bag to share king size bed or a pad and sleeping bag to sleep on floor. A private room option is possible at an increased fee.
Food Preparation: Breakfast and lunch items will be purchased by the fishmaster ahead of time. Each person will be assigned a Kitchen Day. On that day, tasks will include setting out breakfast and lunch items, store unused food, and preparing the evening meal and clean up afterwards.
SignUps: Call John Cook letting him know which week or both or private room up to May 1st. We will be leaving town mid May, so need to put things together and confirm reservation by then. Receiving your $ will reserve your spot. I will maintain a waiting list and, if space becomes available you will be notified by phone, even while we are on summer vacation.
Notes of Fish Master, Kevin Murdock (Dock), from mysterious site #29 (O’Neill Forebay):
Fish Master Log Date Nov 3: Our beloved Stosh, bowing to the frailties of mortal life, was unable to host our November fish out to San Lois Reservoir. I agreed to stand in for him, as long as no organizing was to be involved.
When I arrived Wednesday afternoon, Elaine & John Cook had already been camping since Tuesday. They’d had some success amongst the weed patches around the islands. They also had thoughtfully placed a tablecloth and wood box at site 29, assuring it would be available for my arrival. I sat up camp (1) and returned to Aptos to pick up the mighty pokey-mon. (My 12ft. tin boat). (2)
FM Log Date Nov 4: Early Thursday morning Cooper and I launched the boat. Thank goodness I’d had the boat tagged the last time I’d fished on the lake. It had rained Wednesday evening, and my boat was full of water. No way would they have allowed me to launch.
We fished for naught for a couple of hours. That’s when I determined to find Elaine, for she is quite frequently in the close company of fish. I was right. I found her between the first and second Islands, firmly stuck to a Striper. With her in my sight, I quickly hooked and landed a couple of schoolies. I would offer this to all of our newbies on fish outs: keep Elaine in sight and you’ll probably find fish. It’s worked for John for ages. Indeed, he’d caught a couple that morning.
I moored the Pokey-man near our camp and had lunch with Pete, a new returning club member. He towed a gorgeous Air Stream in (3) and asked where to park so as not to impinge on any view-shed. I opined that the air-stream enhanced any view I might have.
After lunch, I motored to the north-west side of the fore bay where I found a dozen tubers and Kayakers from a neighboring fishing club. The name escapes me for the moment. (Don’t be alarmed, that happens on a regular basis). They were scratching out a fish here and there when Cooper decided he could catch a pelican. (4) That was the first of his three jumps into the drink.
The laughter of the other club’s members were still ringing in my ears when I decided to explore the great wall area. Near the south east corner, I finally located some fish on my 30 year old garage sale hummingbird. They were in 25’ water depth, holding at nearly 20’. There was a current pushing my boat from east to west, so I posted up current, about 40’from the wall and cast directly towards the wall. I counted down quite a while as I drifted over the fish, & then began a slow strip. I got a strong grab and had the fish on long enough to try to get it on the reel, with devastating consequences. Over the next hour I repeated this process several times. Eventually, after omitting the part where I tried to put the fish on the reel. I landed two smaller fish. (5)
Thursday evening the wind died enough to have a lovely campfire, and the four of us enjoyed a lively conversation as we took turns fussing over Cooper. Elaine shared her vast San Lois Intel with us. (Greatly appreciated!)
FM Log Date Nov 5: Friday Morning I woke early to find Yogi launching his u-boat. Still dark-thirty. A couple of cups of coffee later I launched and hustled to meet Jerry at the Rock Wall (6) by the old boat launch. I arrived in the vicinity just as the sun rose, and promptly caught a small striper. I found Jerry shortly after he had released one of his own. Jerry caught a couple more over the next hour. Ospreys and bald eagles were my entertainment.
I returned to camp for brunch and was helped to shore by another new club member, Jeff. Pete treated us to a spread of bacon & eggs, whilst I whipped up a batch of Bloody Mary’s. Tim Loomis and a friend I haven’t met yet launched at about that time. Good Luck to ya!
Yogi returned after having caught a few. Probably just getting warmed up for his upcoming tuna trip.
Thought I’d take a quick nap. Two hours later, Elaine & John pulled out of the water. Elaine had landed 8 or 10 fish that morning, & John a few more, including one he described as a nice 20 plus inches, with a huge head. I envisioned Bruce Bocce’s head on a striped bass.
Tim Loomis returned with tales of the biggest striper he had ever landed in this body of water. He estimated 6+ lbs., or about twice the size of the biggest fish I had caught that day. Tim caught his on the Delta smelt pattern. In fact, that’s the only fly I used on the trip, and others echoed that sentiment.
Jeff and Pete had also each caught fish that day.
FM Log Date Nov 6: Saturday found Pete and myself on our own. We fished separately, scratching up a fish here and there. The wind chased me off the water early. Too windy for a fire, Pete and I retired to our respective campers to stay warm. A book for me, a movie for Pete. Early to sleep.
That pretty well sums it up. Fair fishing for many, great for a few. A pretty good fish out.
Enjoy the resource while you can, future dam construction will make this place much more difficult to get to, for quite some time.