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December 2022 Table of Contents

General Meeting……………………
  Devin Olsen – Tactical Fly fishing
  December Raffle
President’s Line…………………….
Fly Tying……………………
  Muddler Minnow – Fly Tying Class
  Fly Tying Tips
Conservation Concerns……………
  Klamath River Dam Removal Receives Federal Approval
  Delta Smelt….Where are you?
Membership Notes…………………
  Club Activities – December
  Annual Fundraising Event is back!
  In Memorial: John Steele
  107 members have renewed dues for 2023
  Leave something at Aptos Grange?
Fishout Schedule…………………

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Devin Olsen – Tactical Fly fishing

Devin Olsen started fly fishing in Yellowstone at age 9. Within a couple of years, it became an addiction he could not shake and he begged for rides to local streams until he could drive. He started competing at age 19 and made Fly Fishing Team USA in 2006 when he was 21 years old. He has competed in 12 consecutive World Fly Fishing Championships with Fly Fishing Team USA. He has earned a bronze individual medal and silver and bronze team medals from these championships and numerous medals from competitions in the United States.

Away from competitive fishing he holds a bachelor’s degree in ecology and a master’s degree in fisheries science. He worked as a fisheries biologist for several years before starting his company Tactical Fly Fisher. He has produced three instructional films Modern Nymphing: European Inspired Techniques, Modern Nymphing Elevated: Beyond the Basics, and Adaptive Fly Fishing. He is also the author of the book Tactical Fly Fishing: Lessons Learned from Competition for All Anglers.

Devin will be joining the club virtually to present Tactical Fly Fishing: Lessons Learned from Competition for All Anglers.

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December Raffle

Who out there has tried Euro Nymphing? Who out there has heard about it and wanted to learn more about it? Who out there has no idea what it is and wants find out what is so special about Euro Nymphing? Anybody in any of these situations had better do two things:

First. Be sure to attend the December Fly Club meeting to hear guest speaker Devin Olson’s presentation on Euro Nymphing. 

Second. Be sure to buy a bunch of raffle tickets to win your share of the Euro Nymphing prizes we have put up for grabs.

This month’s prizes include winner’s choice of either a Maxcatch Competition nymph rod (10′ 2 WT) or Adamsbuilt “Ready to Fish” rod (9.4′ 5 WT), 50 Euro Nymphing flies (tied by Barry Burt) with pocket box, or a DVD outlining everything you’ll need to know about successful Euro Nymphing.

The ticket sales are open and close at noon the day of the meeting (12/7). 

Click on this link to purchase tickets:

Tickets are a dollar each, $20 bucks get you 25. The drawing of tickets will take place at the monthly meeting. Club membership is not required to participate, need not be present to win.

Support your club, buy a raffle ticket!

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Happy Holidays – Time for Rain and Steelhead!

Happy Holidays!   Know what that means?

Excuses to buy your friends and family, fly-fishing stuff and accidently order a few extras- for yourself!    Hide them in your stocking, under the tree – address them from yer significant other, your 3-year-old son or daughter, or someone from work.   Act really surprised!!

While I’ve been fly-fishing for some 30 years now, I’m always impressed by the new things I see out in the market that I just must have.   In fact, I’ve seen examples so many times during the year, I realize now that I actually need them.   Yes, need.

While you’re all reading this flush with Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, deserts you’ve waited all year to have, and an overdose of football games, some of us are watching the weather reports every night, looking for that next rain, the rainy season, steelhead.

Some of us will be down in the estuary come the 1st of December, if for no other reason than an opportunity to practice casting our Spey rods and lines on an actual body of water we don’t have to drive 3 hours to.

Did you ever wonder why the San Lorenzo was once known as the most famous steelhead river in all of norther California?    I did.   And while it isn’t really documented, where else can you fish over 11 miles of river, with virtually easy access, and where every three miles along a stretch of Steelhead water, there is a bar, or several, and a place to eat!

True – It is noted that anglers used to come from far and wide, with their partners, mistresses, …, and ply the waters of the San Lorenzo all weekend, fishing, drinking, eating, shopping.   And, back in the day when there were A LOT of anglers, and a lot of fish with which to angle.

Opening day on the San Lorenzo used to be covered every year for decades, in the Sentinel, and in the Mercury News, a number of those years with write-ups from our very own Jeff Goyert, who wrote that column in the Sentinel.

Anglers of all kinds rushed- and I do mean rushed, to their spots along the estuary and well into the canyons of the mountains, to ply for their wary catch.   All the fly-anglers on the boardwalk side of the river, almost elbow to elbow – just wide enough apart to give way to the necessary double haul while waste deep in a changing tide.   Most of them there well before first light.     Ed Marcillac and a few others must smart enough to use their dinghy’s – even guys like the infamous Hal Jansen, all comfy out of the water, with coffee thermos, casting classic Steelhead wooly buggers, Comet, Boss, Green Butt Skunks.   Hardware and bait anglers clinging to their spots along the cliffs and high banks on the other side.    You’d be hard pressed to be there for fifteen minutes before someone was hooking up and others were politely reeling in to give way.    It was magical, and it was chaotic.

I suppose I kind of like that most of us can head out to the river these days and find it busy if we spot three other anglers within 200 yards along the estuary.    But almost no one is walking along the bridge, or the cliffs, siting schools for those of us already in the water.   Oh, the fish are there, on occasion, but not like the old days.    I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m told the movie, Rivers of the Lost Coast, contains footage from the early San Lorenzo days.    There is one clip also on YouTube, sometime in the late 60’s I’d guess, where the river was covered with anglers.   But today?  While there may not be as many fish, I do like the peace one can find when plying the waters with whatever might be of our liking that morning, almost completely unencumbered by another angler – unless you invited them along.

Yes, I wish those big numbers of Steelhead, and Coho, were returning to the San Lorenzo again, but I also recognize that this might also bring forth the throngs of anglers, of which I’m not so sure the river could handle anymore.   Why with what people are posting on social media these days, anglers are having to doctor up background images and speak in tongues to keep people from finding where they caught the fish, and thereby descend in droves on that hallowed water you thought you owned.

I’m looking forward to the chance to fish the San Lorenzo this year.   Many of you have heard from me, that it’s also about raising awareness – yes, there are fish in this river, big ones, and it’s the reason we need to take care of it now more than ever.

It’s a rare gift to be able to fish a river so close to one’s home, not to mention several of them, that were once great Steelhead, Coho, and even Chinook, fisheries.    The fish are few and far between anymore.   The river, deprived of it’s nutrients and wholesomeness by a city that is destined to destroy the river because of it’s insatiable want for growth.   Who knows, maybe a mayor who serves a term of 4 years now, can perhaps, help us make a difference, stop the growth, and give more water back to the San Lorenzo in the critical times of the year.

Hopeless romantic.  That’s what I’ve been called.   Someone has to fight the good fight, raise awareness, love the river for the health it deserves, and be the bad guy for saying stop the growth.

The City would love to see us river stewards go away, move on, die.    But if we keep sharing and pressing for what is good and right, for the fish – for the river, for the health of the entire eco-system along all our Pacific Coast waters, there will be more river stewards and hopefully change, for the fish and everything that surrounds, lives amongst and thrives, with the fish.

Happy Holidays – It’s Black Friday on Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.   Started on Saturday and Sunday!

Get out there – go shopping!!   I mean – fishing.

Date:  December 14

Time:  Doors open at 6:15 PM - class begins at 6:30 PM

Place:  Aptos Grange Hall 2555 Mar Vista Dr.

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Fly Tying Class – December 14, 6:15 pm

The technique of spinning deer hair has been requested by club members a number of times. The Muddler Minnow will give you the opportunity to learn just that. Beginners in the past have done well tying this type of fly so don’t hesitate to give it a try. Two types of thread will be used this time, 6/0 black and any color monocord. Some will be available to borrow. As usual bring your vice tools and light. We welcome beginners and equipment will be provided for you. Sign ups are important in order to have the right amount of material prepared which is provided. You can sign up at the club meeting or call Elaine with at least 24 hours notice at 831-688-1561. I encourage wearing a mask for we are close to one another while tying. If not vaccinated and boosted please wear one for sure. Thank you.

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Fly tying Tips

by Elaine Cook – fly tying chairman

Ever wonder what to do with that small plastic container you get when you buy flies? A piece of fuzzy fabric glued to the inside bottom works well when trying to contain beads and hold them in place while threading a bead onto a hook.

Having trouble keeping track of your hooks and flies at your fly tying desk? A magnet like those that come in hook packages can solve this problem. Just glue it to the base of

When applying glue to a hook that you are in the process of tying materials to, the last thing you want is for the glue to drop down into your bobbin which ruins the tool. Here are a couple of ways to suspend it off to the side.

Do you if you like Zap-A-Gap glue but get tired of it clogging up, here are a few suggestions:
1. When you first use the container, uncap and attach the narrow plastic funnel to the top. (Save the cap) amazingly no need to recap because for some reason it doesn’t solidify in the narrow opening between uses.

2. When the above fails, remove funnel and use in the normal way, recapping between uses. Do wipe end off with soft cloth before capping.

3. When the above starts clogging use a safety pin to open the hole.

4. Finally when the above fails, cut off the tip. (See diagram)

These techniques will probably get you through the whole bottle.

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Klamath River Dam Removal Receives Federal Approval

by Bob Garbarino

In what has been a decades long saga, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently approved the removal of four dams on the Klamath River by issuing a License Surrender Order for the Lower Klamath River Hydroelectric Project.  This will be the largest dam removal project in US history.  The primary expected benefit of removing the dams is restoring the Chinook and Coho Salmon runs by expanding spawning area upstream of the dams and allowing unobstructed passage downstream to the ocean.  Pre-construction begins in spring 2023 with Copco dam #2 scheduled to be removed in late summer 2023 and the remaining 3 dams removed by October 2024.  Hopefully this will bring a brighter future for future generations of Native Americans, anglers and all who benefit from a healthy river system!

Press Release:


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Delta Smelt….Where are you?

by Bob Garbarino

Over period of seven years, surveys in the Delta Estuary have found zero Delta smelt during the month of September. Data is recorded every year from September through December. The last month and Delta smelt (2 fish) were caught was October 2017. See
In order to ward off extinction of Delta smelt, UC Davis has raising them in a captive breeding program. Beginning late last year and continuing early 2022, the hatchery fish were released into the delta as part of an experiment.
Along with the Delta smelt, populations of longfin smelt, striped bass, American shad, threadfin shad and splittail have all declined catastrophically coinciding when the State Water Project went into operation in 1967. Other factors contributing to the decline are toxic chemicals, decreasing water quality and invasive species.
For more information, go to

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Club Activities – December

No upcoming events scheduled - check back soon!

Future tying classes. Dates and subject may change, please go to URL to see the current information.

Monthly Speaker Date Excerpt
Feb 18 2023 SCFF Annual Fundraiser, Awards, and Installation Day

After 3 long years, we are bringing back our annual fundraiser on February 18th from 12:30 pm to 6:00 pm at the Aptos Grange!   So many things have changed in the past three years and there was no way we could run the fundraiser “the way we used to”, so here we go.  New venue, new hours, new food, new ticket price, new faces and with your help, more comradery, laughter and fun.    We will be serving lunch, raffling wonderful prizes, spotlighting deserving members with annual awards, and introducing the 2023 Board of Directors.

Feb 24 Pleasanton Fly Fishing Show

There are lots of activities including casting demos/instruction, fly tying demos/instruction, seminars from well-know pros, vendors selling all-things fly fishy. It’s a great opportunity to learn and check out gear before you purchase. Many club members make it an annual event. If you are new to the sport, go and pick up a few tips. Visit the the website for details and how to get tickets.

Fly Tying Hang Out in MarchMar 08 Fly Tying Hang Out in March

Bring your vise, tools, materials and fish stories.  Great excuse to get out of the house and do some tying with others.

Apr 29 Fly Casting Meetup

Bring your lawn chair, lunch, and fly rod to practice casting with other SCFF club members.

Swap Meet at Aptos GrangeMay 20 Swap Meet at Aptos Grange

Swap meet at the Aptos Grange parking lot. 9am to 1 pm. All things fishing/outdoors!

May 27 Fly Casting Meetup

Bring your lawn chair, lunch, and fly rod to practice casting with other SCFF club members.

Jun 24 Fly Casting Meetup

Bring your lawn chair, lunch, and fly rod to practice casting with other SCFF club members.

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Annual Fundraising Event is back!

Santa Cruz Fly Fishing Club Logo =green trout biting a fly

After 3 long years, we are bringing back our annual fundraiser on February 18th from 12:30 pm to 6:00 pm at the Aptos Grange!   So many things have changed in the past three years and there was no way we could run the fundraiser “the way we used to”, so here we go.  New venue, new hours, new food, new ticket price, new faces and with your help, more comradery, laughter and fun.    We will be serving lunch, raffling wonderful prizes, spotlighting deserving members with annual awards, and introducing the 2023 Board of Directors.

Buy your tickets now:    Its such a bummer to plan a party when no one tells you they are coming.  We know you are thinking about it, so just do it!  Tickets are  $25/person and we only can sell 150 entrance/meal tickets due to space limitations of the Grange.    Tickets are  available online  here:

Volunteer:    Many long term club members say the best part of our Annual Fundraiser is the time volunteering and working with others to put the whole event together.     We still need people to step-up and take an assignment whether it is before, during or after the event.    Contact Elaine Cook ( to find out where you can best help.


Fresh, healthy, filling and fun.   What’s not to like about Mediterranean food?   We are bringing a winner from the Bay Area down to cater our lunch.   @Zagat dubbed SAJJ Mediterranean falafel as best in the Bay Area!   Guests will have the option to choose between the following three entrees.  (All entrees will be served with fries.)

SAJJ Bowl: Your choice of Chicken Shawarma, Steak shawarma or falafel; served over turmeric rice, wild arugula, tomato & cucumber mix, hummus, cabbage, diced pickles, and a drizzle of tahini sauce

SAJJ Wrap: Your choice of Chicken Shawarma, Steak shawarma or falafel; garlic spread, wild arugula, tomato & cucumber mix, sumac onions and diced pickles

SAJJ Pita: Your choice of Chicken Shawarma, Steak shawarma or falafel; with hummus, wild arugula, tomato & cucumber mix, diced pickles

Seating will be available indoor and outdoor all though inside will be cozy depending on the weather.     Lunch will be available between 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm.    Water, soda, and coffee will be available as well as a dessert table.   We will not be serving or selling alcohol so plan accordingly.

Parking:  Everyone needs to buddy-up and comes to the Fundraiser with a fellow member, so that we can fit everyone in the parking lot.  Otherwise, over flow will need to park on Mar Vista Drive.

Raffle Tickets:    Tickets can be purchased online and can also be purchased at the event.   If you purchased online, your tickets will be waiting for you along with your entrance/lunch receipt when you check-in.    Raffle boxes will be on the tables for you to decide what you want to win.   Keep a portion of your ticket so that you can claim your winnings.

Health Protocol:   We hope to have a lot of people attend this event and the Grange is not that big of a building.  Masking is encouraged as we want everyone healthy for the upcoming fishing season.


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In Memorial: John Steele

All of us have wonderful stories about John, the times we spent with him and the gifts he shared with us. I too have a rod that he built, Fly tying tools he crafted, works of art he created, flies that he tied. I will think of him warmly whenever I use or see something he’s created.

There is one gift, above all else, that I think John should be remembered by. John constantly exemplified, by thought, word, and deed what it truly means to be a gentleman. He was truly a gentle man.

There was no place in his world for the toxic masculinity that has become so pervasive in today’s world. John didn’t trade in gossip. He spoke ill of no one. He encouraged always. He offered advice when it was sought, not just to hear his own voice being brilliant.

John lived a life of service, from his younger days as a pharmacist, to his later years as a sportsman extraordinaire. John served on our board as a president. For years he and Pat opened up their home to us to use as a meeting place for our board of directors. He spent countless hours searching for deals on fishing tackle for our annual raffle. Day after day he worked to create works of art for our silent auction. How many of us are better anglers because he worked with us on our double haul or steeple cast. His flies, which we enthusiastically threw at fish, were themselves works of art. I know I have some of them framed, but I’m pretty sure John would say “fish em” if he could.

I mentioned that he was a gifted sportsman. He was skilled in all aspects of pursuing whatever game he was after, and yet I never heard him boast or exaggerate. If he said he caught a five pound trout, you were sure it was within ounces of 5 pounds. If he said he caught it on 7x tippet and a size 20 baetis, and cast 40 feet into a strong headwind, you could take that to the bank. He was self-deprecating, and preferred to let others laud his exploits.

In an age when many think it comical to commiserate about how unreasonable a spouse or significant other could be, John never disrespected his Pat. It was obvious she was his highest priority, and he always treated her thusly.

I can’t speak for our whole assembly, but for myself, I never saw John lose his temper. I don’t think I ever even saw him angry. Or intoxicated. Calm, composed, compassionate. That’s how I remember John.

What a balm, in this era of self-aggrandation, to spend time with someone to whom character meant so much. Not the kind of character that makes excuses to justify whatever selfish motives a person might have, but the kind of character that it takes to always be kind, to excuse others their faults, to stand up for those weaker, and always place others before themselves.

I count myself lucky, to be a member of this club, to have been able to associate myself with men and women like John & Pat. There is, after all, a reason we renamed the Dame Julianna award after John. He has impacted each and every one of us, in a positive way.

That was John’s greatest gift. To make us want to be more like him.

Kevin Murdock’s tribute to John Steel at John’s Celebration of Life.

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107 members have renewed dues for 2023

by 50% of members have already their dues

Thanking those members who have mailed in dues and donations renewals for next year. We have collected over  $5,500 to date exceeding last years November collections..Online renewals now exceed 75% of all renewals. Please call,text, or email me should you have any renewal questions, or concerns. Dues are due by 12/31…


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Fishout Schedule – Dec 2022

mobile scrollable table 

Pyramid Lake Fish-out April 1 – April 7, 2024 – New InfoApr 01 - Apr 07Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Mike White - (831) 706-5556

Apr 01 : Pyramid Lake Fish-out April 1 – April 7, 2024 – New Info

Pyramid Lake (Click for address and map)
Fishmaster: Mike White - (831) 706-5556

Pyramid trip starts the Monday after Easter in 2024.    SCFF will have 5 trailers which means lots of folks will be attending.  This is a bucket-list fishery.

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 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 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.

Mike White (831) 706-5556,

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.