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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. 

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.

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.

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

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.

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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