Spring steelhead fishing on Alaska’s outer coastal rivers is a unique challenge. Cameo and Brooks will go through the geography and ecology of river systems in the region, a little steelhead biology, flies and fishing techniques. We will share what we’ve picked up on our local rivers and fishing tips from us and our local fly fishing community.
Want to prep for the presentation with some fly tying? Here are two great steelhead flies and tutorials from the SE Alaska Fly Fishing Company:
Cameo Padilla and Brooks Areson own and operate the Equinox, a 53-foot charter yacht based out of Sitka, Alaska in the heart of the Tongass National Forest. Each year, they host small groups on custom 5-day expeditions to explore the outer coast and Inside Passage of Southeast Alaska guiding fresh and saltwater fishing excursions, as well as other outdoor pursuits. The rest of the year you can find them out on the water or in the mountains fishing, hiking, hunting, diving, skiing and generally exploring the wilds of Southeast Alaska.
Cameo and Brooks of Equinox Alaska are not only are putting on a great Zoom presentation about Southeast Alaska, they have donated a great box of custom tied steelhead flies and a really cool Equinox hat for our monthly raffle. Two important things to remember; don’t miss their presentation and make sure you buy a bunch of raffle tickets.
Another great raffle prize this month is an Echo 9 foot 4 wt rod. It is their 4 section Carbon XL model which includes a fabric soft case inside a zipper top hard storage tube. A matching Echo Ion large arbor disc drag reel is also included. This is a sweet package for our smaller waters that sometimes require a lighter touch and a bit of delicate finesse.
It is one thing to get your gear ready for an adventure, it is another thing is to have something to stow said gear in. Adamsbuilt gear puts out their Klamath wet/dry bag that has room for just about everything. It has a rugged moulded waterproof bottom, velcro rod tube holder, waterproof interior compartment for waders and boots, five interior pockets, and a rugged padded shoulder strap. It has room for just about everything and feels right at home in the back of the float plane or your . wagon.
Tickets are a dollar each, 20 bucks get you 25. You will be able to allocate your tickets toward each specific prize. Club membership is not required to purchase tickets, need not be present at the Zoom meeting to win.
Remember the words of that famous Fly Fisherman, Albert Einstein, “the more tickets you buy, the more prizes you win”
Posted on February 18th, 2021
Date: March 13th (Sat.) AND. March 14th (Sun.)
Time: Noon to 3pm both days
Place: Zoom - To join in, tap Zoom in the bar at the top of the newsletter.
March’s fly tying class is going to be a two day event on March 13 and 14th from noon until 3 pm each day. In order to not miss out this year, a simplified method has been devised which will give everyone reasonable and useful poppers. The only thing you will need to complete your popper fly is clear nail polish and Supper Glue or equivalent. If you have 30 min epoxi, a variety of acrylic paints and rubbing alcohol, your finished fly will be more like the ones we usually craft. Some lead time for prepping and putting supplies together will be needed. So please sign up soon but no latter than Mar. 5th. It will still be a 2 day class, but fewer hours than usual. We’ll start at noon. Allow 2-3 hours each day. You beginners to fly tying should feel comfortable doing this class. As always, the class is free and materials provided. Very strong thread, any color, such as flat waxed nylon or monocord will be needed. If you need thread, or tools and vise if you are a beginner, the club can loan them to you. Materials , directions and tips for bass fishing will bagged for you to be picked up at my door. Call Elaine to sign up @ (831)688-1561
This last year, and, the start of this year, has led us all to contemplate, react and respond in ways we’d otherwise never considered, much less attempted, or even accomplished if it weren’t for the opportunities thrown at us like a Tom Brady bullet.
Most of us just put our hands out, closed our eyes and were just as surprised as anyone, that we caught the pass and made a touchdown. Agree?
In March of last year, we shut down, got scared and hid for a few days. But our resolve to thrive was greater than the fear of being carpet bombed. Every time the bombs missed, we cheered, came out of our cellars and shook our fists at the enemy. Just like the Brits did in WWII.
Fly-Fishing turned the corner quickly and began to get busy. Ask any guide and they will say they had a very busy 2020. Simms Fishing Products, went from shutdown, to making gowns, and right back to making products, because they couldn’t keep up with the spike in on-line sales. Every other vendor – similar reaction.
Staying “connected” or finding ways to connect, have been interesting. Many of you have heard me talk about “social media” like Facebook, Instagram, and our Google Groups Club Mail as ways of reaching each other. My own Facebook page and the club Facebook page have been ways for me to stay connected with my mom and dad, other family members, friends, who are thousands of miles away. And yes, at times it’s been a vehicle for me to raise awareness.
Getting connected has even let to having a blast on Zoom. I know – enough about Zoom already – but I look forward to our club meeting, the fly-tying class (even if I’m not tying a fly), and our board meetings. All of them you too can join from our web-site under the “Zoom” link on the page – easy!
Some of us have even been considering getting rid of their flip phones!
I have to say that as a few weeks ago, I didn’t much pay attention to Instagram. When Phil Kowal said last year that Instagram was where it’s at, I was on the hunt to see what we could do. Then, just like that, after reaching out to you, our membership, Jerry McKeon came on board, joined forces with Scott Kitayama, got our Instagram page up in 20 minutes and soon I was our second “follower”. Santacruzflyfishing.
Lord Have Mercy. Have you seen the fly-fishing pictures and videos on Instagram? AMAZING. I especially LOVE the fly-tying demonstrations. They are set in fast motion and make for a very cool summary. Stunning. The way I was ogling and staring at these photos and videos, Mona was getting a little nervous! Wow!
Now I know a lot of our members are beyond technology and may poo-poo the thought because you’re actually out there doing, what the rest of us wish we were doing. You may not be into all this techy stuff – but let me remind you that technology gave you your carbon/graphite rods, lightweight reels, “Goretex”(remember that word?!) breathable waders, and the GPS you might use in your car/truck… this is just an extension of that technology and one that reached a bit further, to help us quickly get out of the panic.
We are already excited about 2021. Your board is actively engaging our responsibility to the membership as things slowly improve. When we do actually get together this year, we are still planning to do Zoom video as a means of helping those who just can’t make it to the meeting.
The website, Facebook page and Instagram account are also helping us focus on what we are doing as a club to “Give Back” – to the community, the environment and the future of this club. Our high-school scholarship program will continue and hopefully grow. With that our outreach to the youth of the world, showing them how critically important wild fish are to the health of our planet, and the enjoyment we can experience in a healthy environment fly-fishing. Our conservation budget is our way of also contributing financially to important areas. We are going to do a little more outreach in this area for the good of the organization, raising awareness and because we simply need more “good” everywhere!
Fly-Fishing will be an active sport again this year. Even though we often fish for solitude, it’s good to be connected. If you need help “connecting”, please reach out to me, or anyone you know. Do not be afraid and don’t feel bad. We will help you make the best of technology when you need it, or have a little extra time to see what’s going on, when Covid might be keeping you a bit confined.
We are still looking for those of you who would like to contribute to the club in more or less of an official way as Board Members / Committee Chairs. If you have ideas and a desire to keep us going well into the 21st Century, let me know. We’d love to have you.
Fishmaster: Mike White – (831) 706-5556, firstname.lastname@example.org
We are planning on having a Pyramid Lake 2021 fish out. The dates are April 5th through the 11th. We have 4 mobile homes reserved so far, and currently they are all full. If you are interested in attending please contact Mike White immediately and he will help you find accommodations preferably at Pyramid Lake Lodge at (775) 476-0400. This has been an unusual time for all, and trying to arrange a fish out under these conditions has been challenging. However, at this point we have confirmation that everyone on the list of current attendees understand the risk, and are still committed to going on the trip. So, if you are in that camp contact Mike White.
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.
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.
Los Banos Creek Reservoir has Bass and Bluegill and the option of fishing Stripers and Bass in the O’Neill Forebay 20 miles away. As of early February, the campground ARE OPEN along with the choices to get a nearby motel or go for day trips. This Fishout is limited to the first 10 members who contact – Dan Eaton (831) 336-2933
Gear: Float tube and fins. Fly line include floating, intermediate, and fast sinking. For fly suggestions contact Dan.
Sign Up Now! Experience a new HIGH! Fish for Dorado, and many other salt-water fish, including Bonito, Roosters, Yellowtail and Sailfish on a fly! Join the group going to Loreto in Baja from Tuesday, July 13th through Saturday, July 17th. This trip includes:
Four nights at the beautiful Hotel La Mision, on the water-front next to Loreto Harbor.
Three days of fishing on 24-foot Super Pangas, with fly fish-ing guides.
Ground transfers and fishing licenses.
It does not include meals, because there are some nice restaurants (A lot of fresh seafood!) in town or if you prefer, eat at the hotel, where they will cook your catch.
The fishing day starts around 6:00 a.m. and we usually get back to the harbor between 1:30 and 2:00 p.m. Spend the rest of the afternoon fishing from the beach, having a cool drink in the pool, exploring Loreto, or just sitting around telling some tall fish stories. And, you will have many exciting moments on the Sea of Cortez to talk about.
The approximate cost for everything but meals and airfare is: $950.00 per person (double occupancy). Interested? Please contact Rich Hughett, 831-757-5709, for all the details. You will need to book airline flights* as soon as possible. No advance payment needed.
*Southwest Airlines from San Jose and Alaska Airlines from Los Angeles to Loreto. Rich will help with your airline reservations
Roy Gunter writes: I am offering to sponsor a fishout to the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska leaving on September 4, 2021 and returning on September 12, 2021. Limited to 4 participants including Roy. We will stay in the Riverside Cabin at the Eagle Landing Resort in Cooper Landing, AK (go to eaglelandingresort.com to check out Resort and Cabin). Trip will be fishing the Kenai River, Russian River and nearby creeks, targeting rainbows and dolly varden, but catching many salmon along the way. Trip includes 2 guided trips on the Kenai River, including at least one boat trip down the Kenai River Canyon to the delta of Skilak Lake. You will have to provide your own airfare to Anchorage and return, which can be arrange for virtually no charge if you obtain an Alaska Airlines Credit Card. Alaska Airlines now flies out of Monterey. However, a rental car is included in the trip. Food and beverages are included and obtained from Costco and Carrs Supermarket for preparation at the cabin. Since I am cooking for the most part, meals are gourmet including wine and/or other beverages. Since I am an Alaska Air card holder, over the last 20 years I have never exceeded $2,000 for the entire trip, including the cost of a motel before flying out, and once paid only $770. Couples are welcome, but there is only one queen bed in a separate bedroom. Other Club Members who have accompanied me include: Bob Monaco, Steve Rawson, Milana Rawson, Daneen Gunter, Don Foskett, Gary Hazelton, Harry Petrakis, Mark Traugott and Gil Santos. Requirements: $1,000 deposit subject to forfeit unless you find a substitute fisherman to accept your spot and you must have recieved all of your covid vaccinations at least 14 days prior to departure. Prior participants have priority. If interested please contact Roy Gunter at 831-809-0316 or email at email@example.com.
Sam Bishops adds some insight on the Alaska Airlines Credit Card opportunity: “Buy a new Alaska Airline card and get 50,000 miles if you spend $2,000 in 2 or 3 months. $75 for the card, but you get a free bag. Without it the first bag is $40. I just got a new card for about the fourth time. I let the old one expire and get a new one for the mileage. I paid the house insurance on the new one and bingo I am covered.”
In considering a relevant conservation topic close to our home waters, I decided to look into what is going on at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, more commonly known as MBARI. I found an article from June 2019 about a study that found microplastics throughout Monterey Bay. Most all of us have heard about the “Great Garbage Patch” in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii. You probably have seen television programs and photos of all sorts of plastic items floating in the ocean. I have heard some mention of microplastics, but was not aware of their widespread presence in Monterey Bay. According to the article, a microplastic is plastic debris less than 5 millimeters across.
The study found microplastics present in Monterey Bay from just below sea level all the way down to 1000 meters. The team carrying out the research used MBARI’s underwater robots to collect seawater samples. They found that the highest concentration of particles was at a depth of 200-600 meters. They also checked for the presence of the particles in two filter feed marine animals—pelagic red crabs and giant larvaceans. All of them tested were found to have microplastics in their system. The red crabs and giant larvaceans are consumed by other animals. For instance, the red crab is eaten by bluefin tuna, humpback whales, migratory birds like albatross. The most common types of plastics found were PET, polyamide and polycarbonate—all found in consumer products like plastic drink bottles and to-go containers. One of the researchers suggested that some of the plastic moved into the bay by way of ocean currents. Interesting—but perhaps not surprising—is that of the five top rivers that produce the most plastic trash, four are in Asia and one in Africa. I’ve just touched on the tip of the iceberg of a huge complex problem that covers the globe. What can we as individuals do? Find and use alternatives to single-use disposable plastics is the number one recommendation.
I have been asked to start a newsletter section on a great organization that SCFF has supported financially and physically for decades, the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project (MBSTP). Over the years many of us have volunteered to help in fin clipping, clean ups, repairs, releasing fish into the San Lorenzo River, Scott Creek, trapping Steelhead at the Felton Diversion Dam and so on. I am the volunteer Treasurer for this charitable organization.
There is no way I could do a short paragraph or two and bring everyone up to date on the MBSTP history and what it does today. For that I must ask you all to go to our website, www.mbstp.org.
The challenges we have faced have been daunting, yet there it is, our hatchery right here in Santa Cruz County, dedicated to (1) the preservation of the southern strain of endangered Coho Salmon and (2) ditto Steelhead, (3) coordination and facilitation of the release of millions of King Salmon smolt into Monterey Bay (they are raised in a different hatchery) and (4) STEP – an education program for youngsters that was started and flourished primarily due to the efforts and dedication of our long time SCFF member Barry Burt.
This complicated hatchery (burn damage severe this summer), with a half million dollar budget is run by only 3 paid employees, a Hatchery Manager (whose home burned to the ground this summer), a Fish Culturist (moving away, so we are recruiting) and an Executive Director.
Here is where we stand right now:
HATCHERY: Post fire cleanup is finished at Kingfisher Flat (the name of the hatchery), we’re starting to wrap our heads around the rebuild process/timeline. We are working on a procedural guide to get the facility back in operation, contacting agency funders and private donors re: the rebuild expense. There’s a ton of work to be done, and it’s not going to be cheap.
CHINOOK releases: We expect to be hearing back about CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) processing for Santa Cruz wharf very soon, then it goes through the 30-day public comment before being officially given the go-ahead. Monterey is all set to go for the release. We’re expecting that release in late May/early June.
STEELHEAD: Lack of rain has prevented our ability to trap and count Steelhead. The Felton diversion dam has to be inflated and the stream flushed before that can happen.
STEP (Salmon & Trout Education Program): An application to the NOAA BWET grants program for the funding of STEP has been filed which would come online next year. This grant would pay for the creation of videos and digital content to supplement STEP in a distance-learning format.
Stosh (Steve Rudzinski) has sponsored a monthly social casting practice at Jade Park in Capitola the first Saturday of the month. He will be up at Pyramid Lake on March 6, so he “volunteered” me to coordinate. I am most happy to do that. There is no agenda, just be at Jade Park at 2 pm and stay as long as you would like. There will be novice casters and experienced casters to assist as desired. I will personally be happy to assist with the double haul and shooting head relationship.
Jerry McKeon (Social Media Chairman) will bring a drone and making some promotional videos. If you are in a witness protection program, better wear a good disguise or let us know you prefer not to be included. Rumor has it that there will be an after-casting event at Beer 30 to continue the occasion and tell fish stories.
We will have plenty of Club 5 weight rods there for practice too.
The 2021 draft membership roster of 150 members will be sent out by SCFF googlegroups for members to review their information on the spreadsheet before we print the roster. If you do not see your name, or there are corrections please email me firstname.lastname@example.org. Members who did not pay their 2021 dues were deleted from the roster..We are hoping to print the roster by mid March. Any member who has experience converting xcell to word to a mail merge file please contact me
Me and my dad took a guided trip on the Yuba drifting near Timbuctoo. Caught a few trout and a few steelhead. On a size 8 yellowish stimulator, a few on smaller nymphs copper johns and my all time favorite nymph, Hogan’s S & M. We saw March browns hatch and pinkies I learned about I guess there are really salmon pink mayfly looking things. I enjoyed swinging as per always and caught some on a belly ache minnow fly which opposed to a bead head or dumbbell eyes the weight is a scud weight tied to belly. Our guide was Chuck Ragan who was awesome. Chuck turned out to be best friends with Hogan Brown who is the creator of my ‘go to’ fly, Hogan’s S & M.
On the SCFF annual O’Neil Forebay Striper fishout last October, Jeff Slaboden lost his fly rod and reel that fell off his float tube somewhere out in this body of water. He was bummed out.
While fishing the O’Neil Forebay on February 21at, Dan Eaton hooked and landed a fly rod near the towers. Being a good guy, he posted the news on Google Groups asking if anyone in the club had lost it.
As Jeff says “The odds of getting a lost rod back from the waters of San Luis reservoir are 1 in 100 million. What a great club we have with a very generous group of people.”
Using Poppers on the surface for bass is a kick and a half, but sometimes they won’t come up and you half to go down and dirty. Here is a great way to get their attention. This fly will automatically turn upside down when fishing, which is what the picture on the right demonstrates. Directions are for an orange fly. Other color options: white, purple, black, crawfish, green.
Hook: TFS 5444 or AREX TP650, size 2
Thread: white flat waxed nylon or Danvile 140 denier
Eyes: orange, Hairline, double purple lead eyes, size med.
Tail: black/orange over tan, tiger barred rabbit strip,
Body: orange Estas chenille, size med.
Legs: orange and black Crazy Legs, or similar
Glue: Zap-A-Gap, Super Glue, or similar
Sharpie Permanent Marker (optional) , orange
1. Crimp barb.
2. Attach thread slightly down nose. Touching wraps to 1/4 in. back on shank.
3. Attach eyes on top of shank just behind bend of nose. Use figure 8 wraps, then circular wraps pulled snugly. Repeat several times. Wrap thread to above barb. Apply glue to eye thread wraps.
4. Cut rabbit strip 1 and 1/4 inch long. Note: devide hair fibers before cutting. With nap of hairs to rear and hide upward, attach about 1/4 inch to top of shank.
5. Tie in chenille at rear of shank. Wrap forward with touching wraps while stroking fibers back with each wrap. Last wrap snugly up against rear of eyes. Tie off, but don’t cut. Make one half hitch. Turn hook upside down.
6. Using one 6 inch strand of rubber legs, cut in half. Stack. Tie in center of both with 2 wraps. Fold forward legs to rear. Snugly tie in place so that 2 legs extend outward on each side.
7. Advance thread to infront of eyes. Wrap chenille once over legs, then between eyes. Tie off, cut excess. Trim whiskers, then tie stubs down to hide. Whip finish. Cut thread. (Optional) using Sharpie, color thread to match body. Apply glue.
From Rich Hughett: All, I’m moving and have a Fish Cat 4 float tube. $75 firm.
Also furniture to sell (cheap!) A five piece bedroom set, two piece sectional couch, oak dining room table, a round office table with two chairs, two bookshelves and a tv/audio bookcase. Interested? Call Rich at 831-595-0288 for details.