Finatical Flyfishing was created for women by women who have traveled and fished in Chile, Alaska, the Bahamas, Mexico, Cuba, the Seychelles, Belize, Christmas Island, Hawaii and throughout the continental United States. Our trips are built around knowledgeable, skilled, high quality guide operations and amazing locations; giving you the best trip for your precious days on the water
Most of us would probably agree that flyfishing adds a great deal to our lives. Travel and the communities flyfishing brings to us, strengthen our flyfishing skills and often other parts of our lives as well. Join us as we talk about the Henry’s Fork, international destinations and the trips offered by Finatical Flyfishing.
Stephanie Albano spent the bulk of her career at CARQUEST Auto Parts She held positions in national marketing, as Director of Distribution Center Operations and as a Financial Analyst. A mentor in Denver encouraged her to start Hatched Concepts which offers consulting and small business services. She launched Finatical Flyfishing in May of 2021.
Just when we thought things would be back to normal, the Covid crud creeps back into our lives. Kind of like when you spend an inordinate time painstakingly tying up the perfect indicator drift rig with multiple flies, split shot, and tippit only to have the whole mess tangled hopelessly fifteen feet off the ground on your first cast in the only tree within a quarter of you.
Anyway, we have the good news that we will have some great door prizes at the September Zoom meeting, everybody attending will get a free ticket!
We are in the process of revamping our regular monthly raffle to make it bigger and better when we start up our in person meetings. Stay tuned.
Instagram is going well and many thanks to those who have provided photos/videos. It’s been fun connecting in new ways and we have helped sign up 30 new members so far this year. Many of our new members listed “social media” as the way they found us. As you know, healthy membership sign ups bodes well for the club’s success so on behalf of SCFF, THANK YOU!
If you’re new to the club, welcome! You can find us on Instagram at SantaCruzFlyFishing or you can view that same content on our website SantaCruzFlyFishing.org.
With another season coming to an end, I’m asking for your help by sending me some of your favorite fishing photos/videos. For our next meeting on September 1st I’m going to raffle off a waterproof fly-box with a dozen trout flies.
How to get a raffle ticket:
Each fishing photo you e-mail or text me earns you a raffle ticket
Mona and I have been going to Kennedy Meadow’s fishing the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus for 30 years now. How I remember the old days! The Stan is where I saw my very first fly fishermen. Yep a couple of ole timers who were fishing the pocket water (I didn’t’ know it was called that back then) with some really tiny PT and Zug Bug nymphs. Mona and I were just kids, 27 and 25! We marveled at the peace these two fly anglers carried, casual, fulfilled. We wanted that.
As Mona and I started our annual trips there, it wasn’t just for the fishing. We met family there. We slowed down, and stopped all together. There was no such thing as a cell phone and we didn’t know words like – Wi-Fi, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, or what an App was.
This last trip was our best fly-fishing experience in those thirty years. I suppose it’s because our 23- and 25-year-old children, who were practically born at Kennedy Meadows, are healthy, and because for the first time, Tommy hooked and landed at least 15 fish on dry flies and another 15 or more on nymph’s. And we were practically the only people on the water. Laughing. Taking it all in. Slowing down, stopping. Enjoying.
It isn’t and wasn’t always that way.
I remember the fires that nearly choked us out of our five days stay and the fire we missed altogether – thank God. I remember the thunderstorm that rolled in, flooded our tent and campsite in a matter of minutes, all while we ducked for cover from lighting that had shattered trees next to us. Or the seemingly perfect week, except for an ice dam break and filled the river with chalky white silt for that entire week. No fishing, no fish, not a one.
While we distinctly remember these days, we lose site of the many years where the fishing was good, or okay, but the trip itself with family and friends, the hiking and the beauty of the Sierra, left us with something far more beautiful to remember.
I’m remembering these days because I need to realize that even the worst days fishing, aren’t really that bad when we put things into perspective. When Covid disrupts our plans for a year, or maybe another 6 months, again, compared to thirty, ten or even five, it’s not that bad.
I was so looking forward to kicking off our September return to meeting together – like we’ve done for the last 43 plus years, without any consideration, except perhaps when the ’89 earth quake occurred. But Covid has dealt us another setback; so we won’t be meeting in person in September. At this point, I’m not even sure of October, but we will keep moving that direction and keep you informed.
We are going to have a super Zoom presentation, and I have some awesome speakers lined up for October, November and December– Spey Casting for Steelhead and a review of the Green River – for those of you planning 2022 outings. September is “fanatical fly-fishing” who is an adventure outdoors team specializing in some pretty fun fly-fishing destinations, techniques, tackle, and flies.
Thank you for all your help this year. Thank you for persevering with us throughout so much. Our mission and goals have remained – To Promote, Educate and Enjoy the Sport of Fly Fishing. And, as hard as it is to believe at this juncture, I’m optimistic about a good wet year ahead, the disappearance of Covid and a lot of fun to be had together, as we work hard return to normal!
It’s Striper time! This clouser pattern was supper productive at the O’Niel Forbay last fall. The club fishouts to the Forbay will start next month but don’t wait till then to give this one a try. This is a large fly so will be easy via Zoom as well as for beginners. Sign up by calling me at (831)688-1561 at least a couple days ahead to allow time for packets of materials to be assembled and you to pick up at my door. Thread will be flat wax nylon white, Monocord, or other very strong equivalent. You can borrow some. Beginners can also borrow vise and tools. To join in, go to the bar at the top of our newsletter and tap Zoom, then fly tying class.
This pattern can be used for stripers, pike, salmon, steelhead or ocean fish depending on size. These directions are approite for stripers. Use a fast sinking line and rapid long strips. The overall length of this fly should be about 3 1/2 “. This fly will turn upside down when fished.
Hook: Mustad 34007 size 1 1.Crimp Barb.
Thread: White very strong, ie: flat waxed nylon or monocord 1.Attach behind eye. 2.Touching wraps to mid shank then forward to one and half eye lengths behind eye.
Eyes: Lg. bead chain, cut in sets of 2 1.Attach to top of shank with many figure eight and circular wraps. 2.Apply Zap-A-Gap or similar glue. 3.Thread wraps to mid shank.
Upper Body: Red Bucktail 1.Cut clump from hide about size of wooden matchstick. 2.Pull out long fibers from tips and line up with others. 3. Cut butt ends at an angle 3 1/8 ” from tips. 4.Attach to top of shank behind barbells wrapping back to mid shank. 5.Repeat with a second clump. 6.Apply glue.
Mid Body: Mega Baitfish Emulator-pearl 1.Cut about 1/8″ of binding. 2.Attach strands behind barbells to top of shank tips at rear of fly.
Lateral Line: Neck grizzly hackle 1.Select 2 feathers, barbs equal to hook gap. 2.Cut stem 3″ from tip. 3.Cut about 10 barbs short on each side of butt end of stem forming a “crew cut”. Tie one “crew cut” in on each side of shank behind barbells.
Lower Body: white Bucktail 1.Repeat like upper body but only use 1 clump.
Thorax: red chenille-lg. 1.Strip fuzz off exposing threads. 2.Tie in threads. 3.Advance thread to barbells. 4.Wrap chenille forward. 5.Tie off, cut excess.
Hackle: Very webby Grizzly hackle with very playable barbs. 1.Select feather, barbs equal to 1 1/2 hook gap. 2.Cut off fuzzy end and prepare “crew cut”. 3.With dark side up, tip to rear, tie in “crew cut between barbells on top of chenille. 4.Stroke barbs to rear while wrapping hackle 3 times behind barbells. 5.Tie off, cut excess. 6.Moisten fingers, hold barbs back, make a couple thread wraps to hold them toward rear.
Head: Tying Thread 1.Make a number figure 8 wraps around barbells. 2. Form a small tapered nose infront of eyes. 3. Whip finish, cut thread. 4.Apply glue to nose and thread between barbells.
This link is the best one I have read to date and brings me up to date on this ancient and historic ‘fish channel’. The present dilemma is the timing of dam removal and the amount of mud and sediment that will fill and choke the lower river where the tribal fishermen can take an X number of pounds yearly, what they got this year is 1/3 and the fish are trapped in low warming water. The water behind Iron Gate dam is shallow and warm and the surface is covered in green algae, all to be flushed downstream. A careful dismantling and timing with the winter rains to flush out the sediment as quickly as possible and then wait for the river to heal itself again. We carefully un-do what was a bad idea in the first place.
Last year was the first time I ever caught a Striper on a fly and the first time I ever fished the O’Neill Forebay. I didn’t know many people in the club, tried fishing the Forebay on my own and wasn’t very successful. One reason I joined the club’s board was to selfishly meet people who would teach me how to fish the Forebay and other places. It worked. Now I would like to help other club members who would like to Striper fish this fall.
Over 30 new members have joined in the past year and if a new member (or old member) wants to try and fish the O’Neill Forebay during October 7-10 or November 4-7 fishout, send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For those busy with family and work, a half-day will still be a good experience. Send me a note even if you don’t have a float tube or heavy rod and I’ll try and help you find equipment and someone experienced to fish with you.
Oh and by the way, you can always learn to fish by calling Tom to join the board, that works too. 😉
Fishing in Montana, after over a year and a half’s absence from any fly fishing, was restorative. We came home exhausted, yet refreshed.
We began our five day trip in Bozeman, and fished the Yellowstone River, which, because of summertime low water and high water temperatures, was observing so-called “Hoot Owl” hours, restricting fishing to between 6 AM and 2 PM, in order to not over-stress the fish. We enjoyed catching many healthy, robust rainbows and browns, taking care to snap photos quickly and return the fish to the water as fast as possible.
The second day we were in Bozeman, the guide took us to the Madison River. We were a bit reluctant to fish there, as it has been historically very crowded with other boats, and the water at this time of year is pretty darn skimpy. We were pleasantly surprised to find it not too terribly crowded, and the water higher than we expected. The fishing was likewise much better than it has been in the past few years we’ve been there.
The third day we picked up a car and drove to Helena, and fished the following two days on the Missouri River. The first day there, we fished in a drift boat. We passed by the railroad tracks where the thieving eagle had stolen John’s hooked fish two years ago. I guess he/she wasn’t on duty this time. The population of nice, robust rainbows seems to be as good if not better than it has been in the past years.
The last day was the cherry on the sundae, as we fished from a power boat on the “Land of the Giants” part of the river, right above Holter Dam. The fish here are phenomenal, you have to resist the temptation to clamp down on your reel, or tighten your drag, you must be patient and let them take out line, jump, try to get tangled on the boat, and be strategic about how you go about landing them. They don’t get big by being stupid or meek.
The terminal tackle used in both places was sub-surface stuff, crawdad/shrimp imitations, with a dropper called a “Friskett”. In deeper water, a split shot was added to get the flies down. Chucking this rig isn’t very visual and doesn’t require a whole lot of finesse, but it does get results.
Kudos go to our outfitter, Ed Lawrence, who has done several presentations to our club, and his able guides, Tim Schwartze and Captain John Hall. We also need to cite several handy apps for land transportation, Uber and Turo. Turo is a peer-to-peer car rental app, and we were very happy with it, the pick up place was within walking distance of the hotel, the car was immaculately clean, and the cost was a third of what a commercial rental car place would have been.
This having been our first fishing foray since the pandemic shutdown in March of 2020, we weren’t sure about how it would go, but we were reassured that there still is a world out there, and the fish still like us. Go forth and fish, stay safe, stay well!
Rio Del Mar had a low tide, low waves and a flat beach for the seven club members on the August 7 surf fish-out. Flat beaches with little “structure” are common later in the summer. That all changes when the winter storms come in.
Jeff Gose, Kirk Mathew, Justin Ice, Scott Councilman, Tommy Polito, John Davis joined me at 6 am. Some fish were caught, but it seemed like all the surf perch were born only a few weeks earlier! Then there were a couple of Sculpin in the mix too.
In the pictures, note Tommy and his hand made basket. Notice the close-up of the “Sharpie” pens he used to minimize tangling! Other pictures include Justin, Jeff, Kirk. I think I missed John and Scott.
When last I wrote we had been fishing the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park in mid June. Many road miles and tested waters since then. Low warm waters, heat, “Hoot Owl” restrictions, and smoke have dominated. All of which has lead to poor fishing. There have been a handful of special days that we reflect back on as great memorable fishing. There was adult damsel fishing that produced many, many 16″ to 19″ Rainbows and Cutthroats in a lake east of Yellowstone. A small county park pond, full of small large mouth bass that readily responded to a popper. If we caught one we caught a 100. That was just outside the town of Sheridan Wy. A little further south, another bass water in a local reservoir. Numbers were not the result, but searching them out in a forest of reeds and getting explosive takes that produced really large big mouths was truly exciting. Went back a couple weeks later and we couldn’t produce the same results. To escape the heat we took a gravel/dirt road into the mountains. There had been rain a couple days before and the night we arrived. That made the river look like chocolate milk. Waiting patiently for 2 days payed off. So many large Cutthroats brought to net in the wilderness. Of course all on dry flies. And lastly, we forked up the bucks and hired guides to take us onto a beautiful priviate stream in ranch land at the base of the Big Horn mountains. Grass hoppers were everywhere and guess what the large, plentiful Cutthroats did with an artificial fly that resembled the insect! We are now road weary and will thankfully be home by the time you read this. Elaine and John and part of the time Kathy
As I write this I am listening to the State Water Resources Control Board August meeting. They are discussing the extreme drought we’re in, as well as planning for another year of dry conditions in 2022. The discussion is serious and covers many streams were emergency drought stream flows are either in place or are about to start.
Two of the most impacted streams are the Scott & Shasta Rivers, tributaries to the Klamath River. These streams are main spawning & rearing habitat for Chinook, Coho & steelhead. We have sent 2 letters to the State Board supporting emergency flow recommendations supported by CDFW. The letters can be read here: https://www.nccffi.org/conservation-efforts/. See Item #12 on the list.
Joining us on our advocacy for the Scott & Shasta is the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA). They have been very active and made technical recommendations with the State Water Board and support the implementation of emergency curtailment of diversions of water.
Over many years CSPA and NCCFFI have worked on many issues that negatively impact our fisheries and work together on FERC power dam relicensing to improve flows and habitat, as well as to work for improved flows in the S.F. Bay-Delta and its tributaries. It takes a team effort to be successful in keeping our fisheries healthy and available for sport fishers. https://calsport.org/news/
CSPA and NCCFFI have decided to join together more closely in the future, and to work together and share information with members. Bill Jennings of CSAP and Mark Rockwell of NCCFFI have discussed the relationship and agreed to due several actions: 1) Share information each organization is working on, and report to members; 2) Do monthly reports for our members and place these reports on our websites; 3) work together to create a conservation presentation to use of fly club visits to inform our members about conservation needs and work being done.
Current Joint Efforts – Yuba River: Both CSPA and NCCFFI are working on relicensing on the Yuba system, and focused on Water Quality Certification. Both organizations are working with the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), and focused on funding by Yuba County Water Agency forhabitat improvement on the Lower Yuba & a pilot program to re-introduce salmon to the Upper Yuba. Stanislaus River – CSPA is working to block a proposed water transfer of up to 100,000 acre-feet to Westlands Water District. This transfer would greatly reduce water carry-over in New Melones Reservoir which is needed to protect Delta fish if the 2022 water year is dry.
Santa Clara Valley Watershed – NCCFFI is working with Cal Trout, TU, PCFFA and Flycasters of San Jose to improve salmon & steelhead streams in the Valley. Coyote Creek, Guadalupe River & Stevens Creek are the streams of focus. We are now working on a MOU with Valley Water to ensure future cooperative efforts to complete the Fish & Aquatic Habitat Cooperative Effort (FAHCE) for these streams, signed in 2003. We are also now reviewing the draft EIR for the Guadalupe & Stevens Creek. Work to be done includes: barrier removal, stream enhancements for rearing, improved spawning habitat & improved water flows. This will be a 10 year effort to recover and stabilize salmon & steelhead populations.
Smith River Fishery Monitoring Plan – We have been notified that monitoring will start for both Steelhead and Chinook Salmon in California’s last great anadromous river in the Fall of 2021. The Tribal partner – Tolowa Dee-Ni Nation – will be doing the monitoring and running DIDSON sonar monitoring equipment. This will be the first time we will have an annual monitoring program on this river, and it is hoped that it will take place over at least 3 generations of Chinook (9-12years) and Steelhead. This information will be useful for managing the river fishing regulations to ensure they are consistent with run size and population health.
Summary on Conservation & Fly Fishing
After several discussions with various club Presidents and members, it is clear that fishery conservation is an important benefit NCCFFI brings to clubs & members. It is also noted that conservation is not always a primary focus for some club members. The sport of fly fishing is focused on casting, tying and getting together to fish, and is focused on the social process that clubs provide. However, if we don’t have healthy fisheries and watersheds we have no real way to put our casting and tying skills into action. I think we all recognize that no fish means no sport.
So, my plea to everyone is to continue to support our Council’s conservation efforts, and our ability to join with other partners, like CSPA, Cal Trout & TU to keep our state’s valuable natural resources healthy and available. That takes work, effort and time. In our Council the conservation work never ends because the demands made on our natural resources is great, and all natural resources are in limited supply.
Fishery Conservation is important to all fly fishers. NCCFFI needs our clubs & members to recognize that conservation is one of our primary purposes and we do it to keep our sport alive and fly fishers able to catch fish.
Your support can come by: 1) joining us on our conservation network, 2) financial contributions by clubs to NCCFFI to allow us to do this work, 3) Taking an active part in local watershed conservation efforts and working to include NCCFFI in that effort. Grants are available through this Council.
Contacts for questions or to contribute:
Mark Rockwell, 530-559-5759, email@example.com
Send contributions to: NCCFFI c/o Tom Smith, Treasurer, P.O. Box 7231, Reno, NV 89510-7231 (all contributions are tax deductible)
The Redding Flyshop is hosting a Labor Day Luncheon 10am to 2pm Friday 9/3
celebrating 43 years in Redding. Product manufacturer reps will be present.
The Flyshop will donate a $50 Gift Certificate to our monthly Raffle and we hope you can make it.