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Messages - eastcoastlurker

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Trip Reports from Elsewhere / Re: Upper Sacramento River, July 7-8
« on: July 16, 2014, 07:35:08 PM »
Now for the good news:  I caught one of those fish, a rainbow in the 14-16” range.  The offending lure was a Mepps Thunderbug with gold blade and dark body.  Unfortunately as I was carefully getting my phone out for a picture the fish took advantage of my inattention by flopping out of the net, leaving the barbless hook behind.  However, it decided to sulk under the rock on which I was sitting, so I do have a picture although you will have to take my word that I caught it. 

So not the best trip I've ever had but at least there's a fish pic!

Pictured:  P-O’ed trout.

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Trip Reports from Elsewhere / Upper Sacramento River, July 7-8
« on: July 16, 2014, 07:31:29 PM »
Greetings from your occasional East Coast correspondent!  My CA trip this summer did not take me to the Eastern Sierra, but I did get a couple of days on C&R section of the Upper Sacramento River upstream from Dunsmuir.  First, the probably not unexpected bad news…it’s dry.  Shasta Lake appears to be half empty, Mount Shasta has only a few streaks of snow left, and the Upper Sac was low and clear.  Wading was easy, but fish were very scarce.  In fact, in about 5 hours of serious fishing (sadly, my time on the water was curtailed by extreme heat, a touch of illness, and equipment trouble) I saw only three fish.

Pictured:  Start of the Upper Sac at Siskiyou Dam. 

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Trip Reports from Elsewhere / Re: Snoqualmie River forks, WA
« on: August 01, 2013, 08:53:01 PM »
The trail returns to river a couple of miles above the bridge in a low-gradient area dominated by riffle-and-run with few deep pools.  Rainbows seem to be prevalent here, but the fishing was pretty poor.  The river was gin-clear and the wading was very easy as there was little algae on the rocks—it appeared infertile, frankly.  I did hook a fairly large one that I lost because barbless hooks Shut Up.  The views along the trail and river are spectacular, to me anyway although maybe not as much compared to what you guys are used to in the Eastern Sierra.

That’s all, folks!

Pictured:  1.  River view
2.  Middle Fork rainbow
3.  This is where I had lunch

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Trip Reports from Elsewhere / Re: Snoqualmie River forks, WA
« on: August 01, 2013, 08:41:25 PM »
The Middle Fork was an entirely different experience, 12 miles up a gravel logging road (a good wide one, passenger cars would have no trouble) in a deep valley to a well-developed parking area at the trailhead for the Middle Fork Trail (there are fees, check the USFS website).  The Middle Fork has benefitted recently from concentrated attention from the USFS and a fanatical group of volunteers, and the trail itself is in great shape, with many improvements including graded trailbeds over wet areas.  The funniest one, of which I failed to take a picture, was a stretch over a rockslide area in which the trail was tiled scree mortared with sand, like a DIY patio.  You know THAT was a large trail crew with a lot of spare time.  If you do this trail and prefer to fish upstream, be advised that the trail near the trailhead is on the steep side of the riverbed and then angles far away from the river for over an hour.  If you do not want to that hike like I unintentionally did, I would suggest not crossing the bridge and just go straight to the river on the trailhead side.

Pictured:  1.  Brought to you by the USFS Department of Tautology
2.  Bridge at Middle Fork Trail trailhead
3.  Bridge from the trail
4.  Middle Fork Trail

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Trip Reports from Elsewhere / Re: Snoqualmie River forks, WA
« on: August 01, 2013, 08:35:00 PM »
I fished the South Fork close to town, along the Snoqualmie Valley Trail.  This is a somewhat urban experience as there is private property on both sides, so once you get down to the river you have to stay there.  It is dominated by boulders and large rocks; wading conditions were OK, but I’m told snowmelt does not usually clear until late July and this has been an unusually dry summer in this area.  The South Fork is a special-regulation water (which Washington defines as barbless single-hook artificial lures only) with a two-fish limit.  The river was jammed full of feisty cutthroat and cuttbow hybrids 6-11 inches, of which I have few pictures because with my terrible barbless hook-fu they did not hang around long enough for me to get the cellphone out.  However, I had never before caught a cutthroat, so I got to cross one off the list.

Pictured:  1. Snoqualmie Valley Trail bridge a couple of miles east of North Bend
2.  South Fork Snoqualmie River
3.  My second cutthroat.

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Trip Reports from Elsewhere / Snoqualmie River forks, WA
« on: August 01, 2013, 08:32:09 PM »
Hello again.

My travels this summer did not take me to California but this past week I had some business in Seattle so had a chance to do some fishing in the Cascades.  The state of Washington has done something interesting—many years ago they almost completely halted planting of trout in rivers.  In coastal waters this was obviously to reduce interference with salmon and steelhead, but in the mountains the idea was to let rivers return to natural carrying capacity, assisted in many cases by special regulations and low limits.  If you want dinner, you go to a lake. 

An interesting side effect is that despite its wussy reputation in the face of hatchery rainbows and introduced brookies, the native coastal cutthroat has regained its former dominance in many areas.  This is attributed to the fact that unlike cutthroat subspecies in the Rockies, the coastal cutthroat co-evolved with native rainbows and has a better defined ecological niche.

I fished the south and middle forks of the Snoqualmie River upriver from the city of North Bend, WA.  North Bend is most famous as the exterior setting for the briefly popular 90s cult TV series “Twin Peaks.”  Sadly, the town still trades quite a bit on this.

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Trip Reports from Elsewhere / Re: Rapidan River, Virginia
« on: May 19, 2013, 08:30:23 PM »
The Rapidan in the mile below Camp Hoover would be no more than a small stream in the West, but this is what we have to work with in the Mid-Atlantic.  Sadly, the river on this day did not live up to its reputation, with numerous small fish maxing out at 6”, most of which could do no more than short-strike my spinner.  The water was still very cold, which generally means the trout focus more on insects than minnows; however when I switched to nymph-and-shot I caught some truly tiny fish.  Fish in the park run up to about 10-11.”

Shenandoah National Park has a lot of wildlife that has adapted to human exposure, and my drive home was delayed for several minutes by a tom turkey displaying and strutting in the middle of the road, oblivious to traffic backing up.

I am probably not making it to CA this year, but I may have another Trip Report from Elsewhere this summer.  Tight lines.

Pictured: 
Rapidan “River”
Really inadequate fish pr0n
Shenandoah National Park brookie from 2011
Skyline Drive roadblock

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Trip Reports from Elsewhere / Rapidan River, Virginia
« on: May 19, 2013, 08:24:23 PM »
Hello from your friendly East Coast correspondent.  A couple of weeks ago, I took a short trip to Virginia’s most famous trout stream, the Rapidan River.  The Rapidan is managed for catch-and-release native brook trout.  I fished the headwaters in Shenandoah National Park near Camp Hoover.  Just a warning—this report will be a little short on excitement.

Camp Hoover is a gentle two-mile hike down from Skyline Drive, which runs along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park.  It was built as a fishing getaway for President Hoover but was used as a Presidential Retreat for only a few years as the location was not easily accessible for the wheelchair of Hoover’s successor, President F.D. Roosevelt.  It is still maintained by the Park Service.  If you have a chance to stay there, it appears you should try to avoid being assigned Cabin 4-92.

Pictured: 
Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park, with the trail to Hoover Camp on the left
Building at Camp Hoover
Cabin 4-92 (left)

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Eastern Sierra Trip Reports / Re: Great fishing on first trip..
« on: March 21, 2013, 06:45:07 PM »
As a child in Washington state many years ago, I saw yellow flesh in a large brookie.  The grownups seemed to pay it no mind and deliciousness was not affected.  This was a wild fish in a clean mountain river.  Hatcheries can manipulate flesh color with food additives if they want but never heard of yellow in a hatchery fish.

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Trip Reports from Elsewhere / Re: Truckee area, August 29-30, 2012
« on: September 04, 2012, 08:58:28 PM »
Now for a product review.  Most of the largest fish in my Virginia and Truckee reports were taken on a new-to-me spinner from Mepps called Thunderbug.  The marketing is kind of hokey--the spinner is supposed to imitate an insect, and the blade is shaped like a wing and painted with veins.  Furthermore, the body features "turns" like a fly, and the color schemes are named for insects (White Miller, Dragonfly, Grasshopper, etc).  However, it is difficult to see how a spinner suddenly imitates a bug.  As a spinner, the broad bolo-style blade turns very well at low speeds making it effective for downstream retrieves in streams, which is how I do most of my fishing. It has replaced the Mepps Black Fury as my go-to lure and I highly recommend it.

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Trip Reports from Elsewhere / Re: Truckee area, August 29-30, 2012
« on: September 04, 2012, 08:40:48 PM »
I fished the canyon section of Prosser Creek between the reservoir and the confluence with the Truckee River.   This is a special reg water, no bait and barbless hooks only.  It is about a one-mile stretch and is accessible from a pullout on I-80 (where I parked) and also by 4-wheel drive from the dam.  This is a medium-sized creek, about 10 yards across.  The gradient is almost ideal, with riffles and rapids providing pocket water, and deep slicks with good bottom structure.  Even better, the water from the reservoir was slightly turbid, so the fish had great cover and could hold about everywhere.   I raised a bunch of small to medium sized browns, all of which I lost because of my terrible barbless-hook fu.  Then I tied into a 16-inch wild rainbow (pictured), the largest I have ever caught. 

The canyon section ends at what appears to be an old dam (pictured), and I pulled a 12-inch brown from the deep pool there.  The last half-mile to the current reservoir dam (pictured) is a meadow stream, which I did not have time to fish (the flat horizon in the photo is the dam).  So, only two fish in a hard and mostly dispiriting day and a half that nonetheless ended well.  I can certainly recommend the canyon section of lower Prosser Creek for C&R enthusiasts who prefer medium-sized or smaller creeks.

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Trip Reports from Elsewhere / Truckee area, August 29-30, 2012
« on: September 04, 2012, 08:26:36 PM »
Hello again.  My annual California trip did not take me as far as the Eastern Sierra this year, but here is a report about special regulation waters near Truckee.  This will be in three parts: the bad, the good, and a product review.

I started out at the Little Truckee River, the meadow section between Boca and Stampede Reservoirs.  This is barbless hook water, with special size limits (which I didn’t bother to memorize as I was C&R).  Fishing reports warned that flows were very low and fishing was tough, and boy they weren’t kidding.  The water was clear and cold, but the riffles were obviously not fishable, and what should have been nice-looking slicks were shallow glassy pools.  I spent most of a morning blind-casting unenthusiastically to the far bank and the center of current hoping for unseen deeper water.  Turns out the fish were holding under midstream boulders, which are rare in this stretch.  Raised a huge rainbow but didn’t hook it, and that was all the excitement there.

Next was Martis Lake, an impoundment just outside Truckee.  It has an interesting history as a planned refuge for Lanhontan cutthroats, but attempts to eradicate previously planted brown trout were unsuccessful.  It remains a C&R special reg water, with browns, bows and allegedly some Lahontans.  Unfortunately, there has been significant residential and golf course development upstream, so the fertilizer load means heavy weed growth in the summer.  It may be possible to fish from canoes or float tubes, but shore casting was impossible.  Martis Creek downstream from the dam is also special reg water but was a weedy trickle and not even worth the hike down.

I drove around looking for reasonable water--there is always the Truckee River but I prefer smaller streams.  Prosser Creek above Prosser Creek Reservoir (not special reg, but a productive area for me in the past) was barely flowing and the reservoir was down significantly.  But the flow from the dam was ample, which validated a plan for the next morning.

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On the return home I stopped at a native brook trout stream, Stewarts Creek, which is located about 50 miles east of Whitetop Laurel, on the southeast slope of the Blue Ridge near the North Carolina border.  It is managed by the Commonwealth of Virginia for catch-and-release.  The environment is much different—the stream is 10-15 feet across and the deepest pools will not overtop hip waders.  This is typical of the small-stream habitat of brook trout in the mountains of Mid-Atlantic and Southern states.  Basically the only approach viable approach is straight upstream—you can’t cast overhead for the trees, or avoid scaring the fish, any other way.  I caught a 10-inch native from a pretty little pool (pictures attached). 

Again, thank you for your help with my trip to Mammoth last summer.  My fishing experience on the East Coast does not extend beyond Virginia (trout and smallmouth bass), but I'll be happy answer any questions I can.

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Hello again!

Last year with your unwitting assistance (hence my screen name) I had an enjoyable and productive trip to the Eastern Sierra.  In the trip report--apparently I missed something…are these archived anywhere?--it was suggested that East Coast trip reports might be appreciated.

Last week I made a long-overdue first trip to one of the largest and best wild trout streams in Virginia, Whitetop Laurel (yes, just like that, it doesn’t have a River/Creek/Run/Branch/etc).  It is located in the far southwest of Virginia, near the Tennessee border and is part of the Tennessee River System.  This region is known as the Virginia Highlands, and is unusual in Virginia in that the dominant wild trout in the area is the introduced rainbow rather than the native Eastern Brook.  Whitetop Laurel has two special regulation sections that are accessed easily from the Virginia Creeper Trail, an old logging railbed that is now a popular biking trail. 

It’s about 30 yards across at most points.  The area gets a fair amount of rain and the banks are dense with rhododendron and mountain laurel--an equivalent western environment might be a Pacific Northwest coastal stream.   (pictures attached)

The special reg sections have a large population of 10-12 inch rainbows.  The browns are fewer and larger.  Most of the fish I caught were rainbows, with a few browns, and a lone brookie.  This matched the three-species day I had last summer on Upper Rock Creek.  Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately depending on how you look at it, there are no more introduced species to constitute a Slam.  First fish was a 14-inch brown, the first of two on the day.  Last cast of the day was a 14-inch bow.  (pictures attached)

The special regs for this section are single-hook artificial lures only, 12-inch minimum for creeling.  Angler surveys suggest that almost all fishermen are catch-and-release and indeed the larger fish show signs of previous capture (lip damage, line marks on flanks).  Also, they don’t waste time running, they leap two feet in the air and shake the lure back at you—you get the sense they know what they are doing.  Most fly-fish here;  I don’t, and caught all fish on dark-colored spinners.

I hope the attachments work.  Let me know if they don't.

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