Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Winter Report ; December 2017

Hey Everyone- Theres not a lot to report on Putah at this time of year-- the flows are really low and the trout are spawnning so we try to leave them mostly alone until the beginning of March-- but I still like to check in periodically. I drove up to the creek Saturday and checked out a few access points ; first stopping at the bridge where I ran into one of the Putah Creek Trout volunteers doing a few drifts and not having much luck after doing his volunteer survey work with PCT. We chatted a minute then moved on walkng and taking a few pictures; some underwater-- hopfully catching some of fish--and then moved on to our next stop. I like to visit the creek whether or not i'm guiding or fishing as it helps me understand her moods and what the river channel bottom looks like and keeps me current with whats happening with PCT as they are still doing their monthly river surveys with 10 more still pending . I am seeing some active Redds(Trout Egg Nests) here and there but unfortunately I don't see large numbers of them yet hopfully we will see more soon. Please keep your eyes open and don't walk through or accross Redds because it kills hundreds of trout eggs or fry. And if your not sure what to look for please feel free to reach out to me and I will make a date to walk the creek with you in the next few weeks early to mid January. Please keep in mind this is to help our fishery so newcomers learn how to identify Redds, not walk through an active Redd, and not to come back later and target fish on or near Redds; theres already enough guys doing that. So to sum up, this season is a mostly watch and enjoy Putah Creek; try to fish other rivers until March so the trout have a less stressful place to spawn. Feel free to call/email me to fish the Yuba outside Marysville or to do the walking tour of Putah without fishing. Richard Loft, 707-294-4738, napavalleyflyguides@gmail.com.
You can also book me through George or Art at Lost Coast Outfitters if you are interested. Fish on!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Early Fall Report on Putah Creek

Hey everyone I just want to check in and report conditions post-fire and prior to our current drop of flows to 50cfs:

First of all, we are safe and well following the firestorms on the North Bay, thanks to the amazing and tireless work of the first responders from all over California and the country! The town of Napa proper was untouched by the fires, and Putah Creek thankfully, did not see any fire damage at all this time around. I fished my way through the weeks of the fire with no problems and had great luck landing fish.  September and October have been great in terms of numbers of fish landed and outstanding bug life for some reason-- BWO hatches have been stellar in the am and later in the day at near all the riffles and  even though the creek flows fluctuated between 200cfs and 400cfs; also I have seen huge hatches of midges like never before so all the usual flys are getting the attention from fish: really small midge patterns and also try any emerger patterns.  Now that the flows have dropped due to annual SID irrigation canal cleaning, you'll have to check out areas of deeper water until the flows come up again. They are likely to come up again in the next 30 days. In addition, I encourage you to consider fishing other rivers during the winter trout-spawnning season. The Yuba outside Marysville and Lake Hennessy are good options to try.  In order to continue having a nice and prolific fishery on Putah, the mature fish need to spawn and new eggs and fry have to be able to survive until the following Spring and Summer seasons. When people crowd in to the creek during the active spawn, it's too easy to accidentally walk right through the trout nests, called Redds, and squish the entire next generation of eggs under your boots. Or when fishermen target spawners, the trout guarding their nests will be tired out as you fight them on your line and may not be able to properly guard their eggs. So to sum it up, nice hatches and if the flows go back up, Putah is fishing well. As we get into Winter, consider other rivers to avoid negative effects on the trout spawnning season. Call me if you are ready to talk fishing on Putah, Lake Hennessey, or the Yuba. Fish on! Richard Loft, 707-294-4738; www.napavalleyflyguides.com

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Fly-Fishing Film Festival Event!

Hey Everyone! Here's an upcoming event with Putah Creek Trout & The Davis Fly-Fishers that will be a lot of fun and all things fishing. Napa Valley Fly Guides will be there--come by and say hi. Please come out and support the creek that provides us with a beautiful fishery year after year.
Re-posted from Dan Brugger, of Putah Creek Trout:

"Join Fly Fishers of Davis and Putah Creek Trout Saturday September 9, 2017 3 - 9pm for an afternoon of fun, food, casting competition, raffles, gear reps and the only showing of the 2017 Orvis "Down the Hatch" film.  The location will be at the Davis Veterans Memorial Auditorium.  The movie will be presented ~ 6pm.
Here is more information on the Putah Creek Website including the link to purchase tickets:

Friday, August 4, 2017

Morning Report for Friday August 4th: Slow Your Roll

Hi everyone I just wanted to do a short report for this Friday morning. When I got on the water today I really took my time making sure to wade in quietly not bumping any rocks with my boots and just very quietly making a few short drifts with just a minimal amount of weight . I want to emphasize being quiet. Also I have begun to notice that my balance while wading is really vital and because of that I am better able to wade in quietly as I lift my foot I am able to keep my balance and step forward without kicking rocks. Also remember its slippery out there so just "slow your roll " and really take your time when wading into a section you think may hold a fish  <@)()()>< . Every once in a while you get rewarded with a fish you were not expecting and today was one of those days. After about 5 or 10 minutes of fishing I hooked up and just really took my time landing a 17in bow making sure to really keep serious pressure on her but just slightly bowing to the short runs.

I spent the next couple hours fishing other spots not wanting to beat up this section for me or other fishermen. I try not to get greedy. I want to point out a few things I have noticed while fishing:

  • The more time I spend wading the better my balance is and that drastically improves my ability to wade quietly 

  • A few short preliminary casts will just help me by really slowing down my approach and giving me a chance to introduce the fly in a subtle and with out spooking a fish before it even sees my fly 

Part Two: Lets talk a little about casting.

First of all, I am a good caster but I don't claim to be a casting expert; although my fishing buddy, Sarah thinks I am possibly one of the better casters in the state--LOL.  Much of good casting is about building several skills and how these skills are connected while preforming a good cast.

Keep in mind that making a good drift starts with a good cast  

  • I think it helps to start your cast from what I call the pocket; Down stream and about 180 deg opposite of where you want your drift to start or cast to end same thing.
  • where you stand is also part of making a great drift. If you're standing in the wrong spot your working against yourself so adjust your stance by how your cast is coming off.
  • Being able to cast well is also conected to what is known as hauling, a good haul will enhance you cast and accuracy
  • Lastly !  Good control of the line in your hands will greatly enhance your ability to set the hook in a timely manner when you do get a strike from a fish . so work on line control in your hands 
That's it for now. If you are interested in a trip, give me a ring at 707-294-4738; or email at napavalleyflyguides@gmail.com. Richard Loft; www.napavalleyflyguides.com

Friday, July 21, 2017

June & July Report

June / July :  Putah Creek Fishing Report

Hi Everyone Richard here-- I'm just checking in to keep you informed on what happening and whats not. I stay on the water regardless of the flows mainly because I don't have many other interests and at pays to fish a lot regardless of the flows. Case in point, I was fishing the Creek recently and hooked what was approximately a 18 to 20 in' Bow on a flashback--she broke me off when she took air and I got a really good look at her and then she snapped my 4x to my top fly because the bottom fly is almost always on 5x  that was at around 600cfs. That was the second big bow of the day and this was just this last week so there it is there. It kind of comes down to how hard do you want to work for the fish and persistence can pay off if you stay the course. Obviously, most fish have been in the 10 to 13" range with a few a bit larger in the deeper water with suprising results one in a while

But remember we are in July and flows have been between 500 and 700 cfs and I fish a lot matbe 20 to 15 days a month and still have days with no fish or maybe just one. Remember this is not the Truckee or the Little Truckee and it has its own personality and traits that have a lot to do with flows and I am still learning so don't beat yourself up; its a process so check the flows every time you head out the door to fish the creek and you will be well on your way to understanding what makes it fish well or not.  For example, this last April when I landed well over 20 fish in 3 hours--its a secret what the flows were at,  the flys I  was useing, and where I was fishing. That's because I always check the flows before I leave the house.

Also today 7/21/17 me and a client fished a 1/2 day and hooked 4 fish; one in the 18 to 20 in range on   just to hot to land.  Another 16 or 17 was on and off before my client was able to see he was getting a grab, another 2 grabbed with one 13 incher netted; it pays to keep as much of the fly line as you can off the water you get a better drift and you can set much faster if you manage you line well. All in all, you can still catch fish in the summer at the high flows, it just takes more work and patience. The beauty of the Creek is at its peak in the summer and it's just awesome to be on the water. If you'd like to go on a Half-Day or a Full-Day, drop me a line. Fish on! Richard Loft, 707-294-4738, www.napavalleyflyguides.com

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Putah Creek Report May 2017

Hey Everyone- The flows at Putah Creek are currently 325cfs and water clarity is fair this week. This is super exciting because this is my first real "catching" report since the floodwaters hit Putah. Just when I was beginning to worry that there'd be no good fishing this year, the rain stopped, the creek finally dropped to fishable levels, and is fishing well again. Also because of the rain and flooding, it's really a beautiful scene out there right now. Wildflowers galore, plants growing like crazy, and hungry fish ready to hit on that fly. I am always trying to narrow my tips  down to one or two things, but thats just not possible on Putah Creek or any other river for that matter. One thing became clear; after months of no one really fishing the creek, I have had a couple of great weeks getting fish to net. That said, the floodwaters have changed the river drastically. Some places I used to catch fish are empty; and some that used to be empty now have fish. I've been spending even more time on the creek than usual, re-learning some of my favorite areas. I keep saying to myself, 'If you're fishing more than three times a week, you might have a problem!' Hahaha.  The usual flies are still a good idea but leader length and a trying a few other flies can really help you out. I took out a father and his two adult sons last week and they had an awesome time. After hooking into a 15-inch bow, he lit up a cigar and just sat down on a rock and watched his brother and dad fish, with a contented look on his face. I'm always happy to see that happen on a trip. If you'd like to book a trip, please call Richard at 707-294-4738. www.napavalleyflyguides.com Fish on!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Putah Creek Report for 4/06/17

Putah Creek Report for 4/06/17
Call Richard for available dates ; 

  • Hey everyone its really good to be back on the water again and now the flows are at a level I can wade at last! The flows were at about ( 751cfs ) today so overall a great day to be on the water. I had 2 clients for almost 8 hours so I was excited to have these guys for a full day as that it gives me an opertunity to help them work on their casting accuracy and drifting the fly right in that slot where I suspect a fish might be holding. We started at the bridge just working on casting and not casting in the overhanging trees. The water is still very high at 751 and that puts most of us on the edges ie under a tree so it takes a few to get your groove on and not in a bush every cast.  We stayed for an hour and moved down a few spots, and started getting a few grabs here and there- some grabs bigger than others.  I want to talk about leaders and really paying attention to leader length. I want to emphasize this: too short and not long enough to drag bottom, you're going to drift right over the heads fish you for sure dont want to miss. We ended up fishing some newer spots and fished water I normally would have walked by and my client had a 15" fish on for a few seconds, but it got away as well. Thats how it goes some days-hookin em but no big fish to net. The good news is there are nice size fish in the system and they are hungry but you need to find a place thats not too deep to wade or too deep to nymph. 
  • Here are a few pointers  
  1. In my opinion correct leader length is vital , Too short and your fly goes right over the fishes feeding zone; and too long you might not see a take because your too long ! 

     2. keep a good selection of split shot ; as you fish more you will see how important this is.

     3. Flys keep a good selection of flys. Theres nothing worse than not having a fly you find out      
         the fish are hitting on    ,   <*)()()><
     4. Check the flows every time you hit the creek; Over time it will help you understand Putah
         Creeks Eb and flows , and as of this morning  1110cfs and riseing

Friday, March 10, 2017

March 2017 report for Putah Creek

Hey everyone so it seems the rain has stopped for now and flows are on the decline. Current flows are at 1450 cfs(cubic feet per second). Last week I spoke with Chris from Solano Irrigation and he told me that at the height of the storms he estimated between 7 and 8 thousand cfs overall moving down the creek. We talked for a while and from what I understand the nozzel at the base of the dam can discharge between 700 and 1000cfs and another 700 to 1000 running the hydro turbines discharging below the water level and the rest comming down the glory hole. My guess is he is right; at the height of these last few storms we where looking at around 8000 per second  Wow! I am looking forward to seeing whats changed and whats not but we're still a few weeks to a month from anything resembling a fishable creek.  Me and a friend hiked up to the glory hole a few weeks ago and here is one of the videos I shot:

I know it'll be at least a couple more weeks before the creek is really fishable again. Once you get back out there, remember proper leader length, flies, and trial and error are essential to finding fish in the new re-designed Putah Creek. Depending on what happens, we may need to use big-water techniques and possibly bigger flies as well. As a safety side-note: dont forget that rafting on the creek is extremely dangerous at ALL times and especially at this time! Last weekend, I came upon three young people and their dog, blowing up a small rubber raft at Access #3, wearing jeans and t-shirts, about to make a huge mistake. I talked with them and was able to talk them out of getting into the river, which was flowing at 2400cfs. I've been on the creek a couple times a week throughout the season and I'm starting to see areas that I'm sure are holding fish; but getting to them is still a problem. I will continue to do exploratory fishing and keep you guys posted as the flows come down and as soon as I know anything big, you'll know it too. Until then, make a visit to Loast Coast Outfitters, Sweeney's Sports, or your local fly shop; tie your flys, watch your favorite fly-fishing videos, and get ready for Spring. For more information about Richard Loft and booking a day on the creek, check out www.napavalleyflyguides.com or call 707-294-4738.