Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Grass is always Greener

Napa Valley Fly Guides June Report

                                                    The Grass is always Greener

It seems like every summer mid-day fishing slows down; temps spike and the new underwater grass growth make doing any serous nymphing problematic as flows ramp up. On the good side, the days are so much longer and that means that much longer time to seek and catch beautiful rainbow torut. On the tougher side, you need more and more weight with longer leaders and then of course I start picking up tons of new growth grass. So, in these summer months I sometimes start my fishing sessions later in the day while fish are relatively active or and useing a balanced amount of weight to lessen dragging the bottom and getting all that grass. I see this every year. As a guide I am obligated to fish under conditions that aren't always optimum but by perservering I still usualy find a fish or two willing to play ball regardless of temps, flows and other adverse conditions including heavy fishing pressure but all these can and do affect the bite so I am starting to bring different rods and a good selection of heavier flys to get into sections of pocket water not easily fished with an indicator. Not that I don't bring my usual rod I do but it pays to have a few tactics and a willingness to fish in spite of the current heat and higher flows, 500 cfs as of today.

I've included a picture of one of the fish of my clients hooked and landed and was caught around 3 pm in the afternoon during the hottest time of the day so that just goes to show a great example of those surprises that I love about fly-fishing.

The grass is here to stay as long as we have spring and summer it actually helps the fish by providing cover for fish habitat for bugs and is just part of a healthy river and ecosystem; futhermore it forces me to explore sections of river I would otherwise pass over.

If you want to get out there, feel free to give me a call or email:

at napavalleyflyguides@gmail.com

or call 707-294-4738 and ask for Richard

#thingstodonapavalley #frputahcreek #flyfishinglife

Monday, May 27, 2019

Spring Putah Creek Report from Napa Valley Fly Guides

Spring Report with Napa Valley Fly Guides

Hey everyone, I want to report my latest intel over the last few months. Starting in March, Winter flood waters started to come down and flows fluctuated in the 600 cfs to 400 cfs range. The side channels did not disappoint me or clients; after a few attempts we found a few really nice 15 inch Rainbows willing to play two days in a row both days on a midge pattern but not under an indicator, instead utilizing high sticking techniques.  <*)()(>< On one of my days, we missed seeing an 18 before I could tempt it with a fly and it moved away, sensing our presence and became unwilling to play so it pays to really slow down and scan the shallow edges of any run.  I am continually reminded how elusive and on guard these wild Putah fish can be--remember they are a prey species and food for many other animals so they are really good at spotting threats sneaking up on them from the sides or from behind especially in shallow water riffles.

Being sneaky is the rule when working your way up to head of a run and having a second rod for high- sticking pocket water really helps by not adding an indicator to the mix but high-sticking has its limitations as well; covering distance being the biggest ones so don't get rid of your indicators yet. While I'm talking about indicators, they can spook fish and if not set properly create a delay fish can exploit and you may not ever see the take so I carry several different sizes and colors to match conditions like glare from the sun or them being pulled under by hydraulics, either way, they have a few pros and cons.

April and May brought much lower flows and the one of the nice side channels became a great spot to spend a few hours and I was pleased when a few clients landed some decent fish; also with the lower flows a lot more of the river opened up and fish became much easier to locate in one 4 to 5-hour session we hooked 12 or 13 fish  all but one were directly in the main stem on an indicator  and one just upstream high sticking All OF THOSE FISH WERE IN THE 16 TO 17 INCH RANGE .. so keep in mind you will get better results as you fish different spots.

 If you want to find a spot to fish you might need to get an early or very late start as the pressure is fairly heavy so be prepared to fish water you need to spend time finding a way into; after eleven years I am still seeing sections I have never fished but want to fish. Lastly, Late May brought much lower flows so the side channel just below the resort is almost dry now and the fish have moved on to another hole.

So if you've been waiting to book a trip for yourself or a family member, now is the time; give me a call/email and let's get you out on the water! Fish on! Richard Loft 707-294-4738; napavalleyflyguides@gmail.com; https://www.napavalleyflyguides.com #frputah #putahcreek #napavalleyflyguides #flyfishinglife

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Putah Creek Wildlife Report

Hey everyone Richard here I want to do something a little different this week- I want to offer a mixed report on some of the wildlife present on Putah Creek. We all get lots of fishing reports and we all look forward to them but thats just part of what ive come to love about fly fishing. For example, earlier this summer, I was on the creek with my client who is a state land manager in pennsylvania, and he hollered to me "Look a Mink!" Well, we have Mink I didnt know we had Mink! I wasnt able to get my camera out fast enough to get a pic but how awesome is that? So I watched it scrambeling along the opposite bank and got a great show-- it must live near there as I have seen it a few times since. I might get lucky and eventually get a picture but it will take a while because most of the time im fishing when these things happen. So dont miss out on the magic and keep your eyes open.

Another species is the Banna Slug; I see then a lot on the trail going down from the bridge along the creek. Sad thing is I often see them after someone has accidently stepped on them and killed them so I am very careful not to > Lets all keep our eyes open and be careful and tread lightly when ever possible if you know what to look for , I see them squashed all the time so I just thought i would mention it.  

Heres possibly my favorite : Mountain Lions. Well I always wanted to see a mountain Lion and never have; well this may be the closest I get. I did not take the picture, and I want to thank Wayne for letting me use it.

I did get to have a close incounter with a Bobcat last year when I was alone on a very quite section of river .  Ive noticed , Things are different when you're alone and you're just taking it all in on a quiet afternoon.....

Proof of the existance of River Otters

Thanks for reading and next time my regular fishing report will return. The flows will start to come down and fishing continues to be good; If you want to get out on the water, do some fly-fishing AND see amazing wildlife,  I do have some dates available so feel free to reach out to me Richard Loft, 707-294-4738; napavalleyflyguides@gmail.com or www.napavalleyflyguides.com

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Summer fishing report for July/August 2018

Napa Valley Fly Guides

Hey everyone I just wanted to check in and report my recent fishing adventures for the last few outings; Putah Creek flows are still holding fairly high and making it tough in the deeper water but with persistence you can find a few willing fish or two to play in the deeper water-- give the fish an advantage and they know just what to do! Recently I was fighting one in deeper water and next thing I knew it was in the air snapping my line. A couple points I want to make about this: to get to a fly near a fish in  6, 7, or 8 feet of water your leader needs to be at least that long and longer ! This longer leader creates an extra advantage so a fish can take a fly and you may not see it register at your indi due to this added distance compared to winter/lower flows. So make sure you set on little indicator ticks you might otherwise not set on. Believe me I was fishing Putah at the Bridge the other day and I saw what must of been the slightest tick of my indi and then 4 or 5 seconds later a really nice fish jumped right next to my drift; well I got to thinking and decided to check my flys and I found a single translucent scale on my hook! Oh no, I thought to myself, think about it all that extra leader makes it very easy for fish to take your fly, feel something's wrong and spit your perfectly selected fly long before you see any indication of any fish at your indicator.

 So welcome to summer fishing & my second point for today: fishing deeper water gives fish a second and third advantage; fish now have a lot more room to work their magic and get up to speed when doing the jump we all love so much; setting you up for a snapped leader so I give way just a bit and lighten the pressure ever so slightly at the rod tip. But keep in mind the hook might go one way and the fish the other if this done incorrectly. I don't claim to be the end-all know it all of fly fishing on Putah Creek but I have spent the last eleven years fishing Putah Creek all through summer and these are just a few of the things i have come to come to understand, most of the time when I just lost a really nice fish.

So with that remember to not overlook the riffles fish can and do hold in this faster moving water
watch the flows, and if it looks like a nibble: set! you just had a take. All in all, the heat makes midday fishing rather difficult; your best bet is AM or much later in the day, and a few, well chosen, personal favorite flies. In another month, the flows will be down and things will be much different. Give me a call if you want to try to hook in to these spunky Summer trout! Until next time....Richard Loft, Napa Valley Fly Guides; 707-294-4738; napavalleyflyguides@gmail.com; www.napavalleyflyguides.com.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Napa Valley Fly Guides Report for June and early July

Hey everyone I just wanted to give a brief Putah Creek report for the last few weeks. Flows have held pretty steady between mid 500cfs and mid to high 600cfs so I am getting a few fish most days with a few in the 14+ inch range. I have had a few bigger fish on but at these flows it tough to get a decent set and easier for fish to come unbuttoned shortly after hooking up. This Tuesday I tried using one of my seldomly used flys and immediately hooked up on a really nice 14 then 5 minutes later had a 19, or so go airborne on the same fly.

On another note due to the flooding of winter of 2016 and the recent fires over the last 4 years accesses five and four has had major changes to the riverbed causing a couple large trees to fall across two of my favorite riffles at access 5 and at 4. Great right? Not so fast--a few fish are still getting caught at both spots so lets just wait and see how this pans out at lower flows. Things will always bounce back after major environmental events like fires and floods so its our job to adjust to those changes or look at fishing other spots or other rivers.

For me I'm sticking to Putah and on occasions the Lower Yuba and more recently Lake Hennessy where I have started targeting Bass and Crappie on the fly with mixed results. Ill keep you all informed as I continue to press my skills at Hennessey; for those of you that dont know Lake Hennessy in just south of Calistoga &  North of Napa- a great option during the High flows of Summer. July is pretty full, but I have dates available in August. Come on out and let's fish! www.napavalleyflyguides.com, Richard Loft, 707-294-4738. #frputahcreek #flyfishnapa #fishingreport

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Putah Creek May 17

Napa Valley Fly Guides report for Putah Creek 5/1/2018 to 5/17/2018

Hey Everyone I want to give my Putah Creek report for the last two weeks. It's the most beautiful time of year on the Creek; whether you catch fish or not it's the best place in the world to be; standing in the middle of a river, casting to wild rainbow trout and listening to the sound of flowing water. I love it every minute of it!
So summer flows are definitely here; in the mid 300s and still climbing upwards of 460. Wading is still possible if you know where to cross so I am still taking clients across at some places and getting into some fish with a few in the 15 to 16 inch range, one of my recent clients best was a nice 16 incher on a #14 soft hackle pattern as soon as I changed out flys. With that said, things can be tough every time flows go up above 350 to 400 cfs and not only for my clients, but the word I am hearing from my fishing buddies is that fishing has been a little slow for everyone with a few reports of good numbers.  In my experience this is where the learning really happens; when my numbers go down i try new stratigies not used when fishing numbers are high and the usual techniques are working. So in these high summer flows and hotter days, I also fish water I would normaly overlook so its about staying on the water trying new things.  So remember to move around to different spots; streamers have produced a few fish as well as high sticking in water you might normally overlook. Try going to a yarn indicator and fish softer water or rigging a shorter leader with a very small indi and fish the edges. At the end of the day summer fishing fishing can be challenging so look around and fish water or rivers you might otherwise overlook and try new techniques....the list goes on and on. Whether or not we might not want to admit it, in the art and sport of fly-fishing, we are all continually learning or at least I think we should be. The creek is pretty crowded these days, so if you'd like to book a day with me, the weekdays are best since there will be less pressure and more available spots. The weather is good, you can still fish the high flows, and enjoy the best sport in the world! Please feel free to call/email for my available dates. See you on the water! -Richard Loft, 707-294-4738; napavalleyflyguides@gmail.com #frputahcreek #flyfishinglife #napavalleyflyguides