Swedish version

Dan Fallon's World of Fly fishing

Column nr. 10  2005  


Truckee River Big River Long On Tolerence and Grace

  Many decades of constant impact from human encroachment have made life difficult, yet in no way diminished the spirit of the Truckee River that runs from lake Tahoe through the town of Truckee.. After spending three days fly fishing from the edge of town onward past Glenshire Road and down toward Reno Nevada, I was pleasantly surprised at the diversity of hatches and the clarity of the river that runs often very close to towns and major hiways. Many splendid moments watching otters, beavers, deer, on two occasions Mountain Lion tracks were observered and a variety of birds. I waded the river early mornings until rafters arrived before ten. I wanted to witness first hand the impact on fly fishers attempting to share a river that belongs to all of us. I think it can be done, if one is possessed with the natural spiritual grounding of a 150 year old monk perhaps!

  I failed miserably when just as a brace of rafters came bounding around the bend a nice trout had hit my grass hopper as the bright colored splashing boats came within five feet of the area. I quickly realized the ancient spirit of this grand old river has been under constant siege from encroaching development, freeways packed with never ending pollution and noise, homes and farms often built too close to the rivers edge for safe waste management. Man made diversion dam's, towns that expel and manage a great deal of waste, endless months of boaters, rafters, fly fishers, swimmers and various industries such as farmers, ranchers who possess unlimited water rights as is the case all over California.

  Truckee River is not much different then many other California rivers like the Sacramento and Merced rivers that exist near large populations and attempt to coexist with the demands of all who have vested interests be they animal, fish, bird, people, atmosphere. In my mind the Truckee seems to be holding up quite well thanks to the help of an active community who welcome fly fishers, nature lovers. Local fly shops, hardware stores and people like Jenny Franklin account manager at Switchback Public relations (530) 550-2252 and the local Chamber Of Commerce offered much kind assistance in understanding Truckee California. Truckee is best represented by the average smiling citizen taking time to explain where native trout might be hiding! Fine restaurants, slow easy pace and scenic Truckee River fly fishing only three hours from San Francisco and not far from Lake Tahoe. Exciting fly action and a little town of ten thousand souls who welcome sportsmen and take pretty good care of their river. I did amateur water tests near town, one mile downstream and about ten miles out. PH balance, evidence of untreated run off and evidence of insecticide was not as prevalent as I suspected. My amateur observations along with on sight river time gave me an over view of this grand ribbon of cold water. Of course local farmers, ranchers, sportsmen can all do more in protecting this river by being ever vigilant! I saw no refuge or litter of any kind and many animals came and went happily even though deer season will open before long....

  My usual set up for the Truckee is 12 feet of leader, ten foot or more #6 tippet. Up top a Grasshopper with three feet of tippet tied to either a Prince Nymph or an emerger pattern on the dropper tied to the turn of the hopper hook. Other flies that worked are stimulater caddis type patterns, sparkle winged spinner tricos, and of course the little yellow stones that everyone seems to be packing. If you have ugly black ants or spiders life can get interesting on the Truckee, after tying on my own grasshopper and a dropper with a Copper John, it was go time baby....

  It was fun dodging very healthy barking dogs near town looking for places to get a fly wet? They do take good care of their canines as I failed to get away from a tail wagging Black Lab and a little terrier who followed me around. Working out past Glenshire Road near Hiway # 267 near an overpass I found several good runs and ripples to play in. Wading is easy and many parking places exist all over this popular area not far from town. The weather was perfect, river clear and pretty. On the first morning while working my red tailed black midge along a slick under some brush, a nice trout hit and yanked my whole setup into a low hanging branch and he was just a memory... By noon I had mixed it up with several healthy trout and had a wonderful morning even with rafters in my face by 9:45am each morning. Dry fly action occurred either very early before seven or late in the last hour or so before dark as is the usual situation in most trout habitats. I did notice my assembly of mostly size 18 flies were just a tad small in the fast water sections. The old tried and true mosquito (mutant red tailed devil!) was hit early and late. (Creative bench tiers can work a bit of magic!)

  Access to this river is its most cherished attribute, though sections are set aside for private clubs, the majority of the river can be fly fished. A twelve mile section deemed a wild trout sanctuary is great step in keeping the river fly fisher friendly! Truckee River runs from lake Tahoe to Pyramid lake completing an 88 mile journey of piscatorial good will... The area known as the upper Truckee bordering Hiway 89 is planted by fish and game. The area near Squaw Creek has many good runs with resident wild browns in the 18-20 inch class. Those who like to camp out can find three camp grounds including Donner Memorial State Park. If one drives to the end of the valley and makes a right turn off Hiway 89, look for the Donner Creek/culvert bridge where a nice pool exists and many wonderful hatches can be observed. Make no mistake, this fly fishing is not easy, one has to keep moving and changing flies as hatches occur and if your not too shy ask smiling locals where to drown your bugs. Mid week early or late depending on time of year can be peaceful and productive, those fly fishers who can overcome the onslaught of happy rafters will fair much better! Of course prime fly working time is usually early or late so our friends the rafters will not go home with bright colored flies stuck to their expensive floating toys...

  Six golden rules when working Truckee River

  1. Keep moving and never take your eye of continues hatches.
  2. Bring along many flies including caddis and attractors, ants, spiders, golden stones, green drakes, creative bench work applys on this river.
  3. As happens on most trout waters early and late action usually best.
  4. Learn how to work little stone flies, mosquitos in thin surface film type slicks and under brush and vegatation near shoreline.
  5. Be prepared to deal with our rafter brothers from around 10am till 3pm during their season!
  6. Stop by or call Mountain Hardware Sports Store. Buds Hardware can also point you in the right direction ( 530)-587-3177. PS. Bring along a good supply of quality dog biscuits for your new four footed fly friends.....

  The town of Truckee is one of my favorite places to visit any time of year. This trip I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on 10527 Coldstream Rd. Jon Borden was a perfect host and the hotel is very nice and close to much fly action. Many other quality hotels exist like Richardson House, Lock Loven Lodge and others. Those who relish tents and brisk morning coffee can find camp grounds at Donner State Park  800) 444-7275, Silver Creek, or Goose Meadows

  Truckee restaurants will keep you well fed and cozy there Pilgrims, check out The Passage Truckee Hotel (530)-587-7619, Ponderosa Deli (530)-567-3555, and Truckee Bagel Company (530)-582-1852. If you really want the current low down my brother sister bug throwers contact the Truckee Chamber (530)-587-2757 as mentioned because they have the answers and exceptional good will.

  One last thought avid water waders and bug chasers, stop and spend a few moments with any Truckee resident of any age and experience what kindness still exists in this crazy world and feel what it means to be treated well by strangers and their trusty canines. In my mind it is the people of Truckee that make the trip well worth it, a wonderful place to visit..... Thanks again Jenny and Jon.


© Phil Frank 2002

Illustrated By Phil Frank,
San Francisco Chronicle Cartoonist, creator of "Farley "

  After Slick Brainy expertly moves his new super quiet stealth chopper just over the surf near the Cliff House and finally the crew actually lands and releases a fine King Salmon estimated at 68 pounds, the crew including Quill, Jive Boy, Jason Aki head for the infamous Castro district. Quill has made a pit stop at his new mansion in Sea Cliff and fired up his bad to the bone Red Ferrari F1, Marine Corps universal sniper Duke Parker is riding shotgun as the rocket ship flies through the Presidio complex and down past the Haight Ashbury hood as the 700 horse Italian pony growls like Jessica Simpson when that butt gets tooo big.... Duke's cell phone goes off and he reaches down to lower the decibels of the Ferrari's 2000 watt stereo,

"Yes sir, we are in route and have been alerted the Dali Lama and his band of Saffron robed monks will be waiting for us. Far as I know the Chief and Slick Brainy are in route as well. Thank you sir I'll relay the message."

"That was your new shiny Mayor his honor who has pulled strings so we can go into the new De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park and peruse the rare feather collection my good man!"

"Outstanding Marine, I been bribing every cat in town to get me into that safe room dude. They got feathers from at least 500 extinct raptores and sea eagles, man can't wait..."

  As the hot breathing red beast glides into Castro early afternoon traffic and pulls into Ruby's Ceramic Studio parking lot a small orderly crowd gathers to respectfully drool... Duke can smell the incense wafting and vaguely hear the muffled laughter of his Holiness holding court amongst the clay shaping artists. His Holiness the Dali Lama stands and with both of his palms outstretched to signify nothing to hide grabs and hugs Fletcher Quill. Just as this greeting begins two adult Peregrine Falcons descend upon both Quill and the Dali Lama's right shoulders...( See Falcon's at http://www.pge.com/peregrinenestcam/

"Ahhh, Mr. Fletcher Quill sir, your hair has turned white since I last saw you at Allan Watts wonderful houseboat in Sausalito so many years ago! Now like those who are enlightened ones you arrive with much fanfare on the wings of Falcon's, I'm truly humbled."

"My sublime pleasure to meet with you twice in my mundane life your Holiness. Today I have come with an extraordinary plan that has been carefully investigated and approved by a host of ancient spirits I have been in constant communication with. Before Tommy, Terry and Shelly explain this simple but divine idea that will restore you sir to your people and quickly bring peace and much needed bounty to your sacred Kingdom. With me at this moment are the ghosts of the grand astrologer John Dee who communicated with Michael The Arch Angel, The King of the Irish Fairies's, her grand highness Queen of all immortal Fairies's wife of Oberon, once a Kelpie and a Brownie, Queen Prosperina enchanter who casts many Fairy struck and rules all mushroom circles. We also have among us those spirits who wrote and lived by ancient texts used to draw this plan, books like ; John Dee's Monas Hieroglyphica, and the highly sought after 1624 Study, Crytomenytices et Cryptographiae By Duke Of Brunswick-Luneburg."

  The spirit of Isaac Newton and his ground breaking work, Principia Mathematica and the German abbot Johannes Trithemius distinguished treatise Stenganographia were all consulted and closely followed in this plan's preparation. It can be said without this otherworldly science, this plan would never exist your holiness. Shelly would you please begin."

"Thank you Fletcher, greetings your Highness, welcome to Ruby's Mud Studio, the organic center of San Francisco. My associates Tommy and Terry and I have been in consultation with the noted spirits Fletcher spoke of. We all agreed Tibet and it's endless winds and high attitude called for a simple organic plan that will allow the natural Tibetan spirit forces to rule once again in peace. The rulers of the underground our Faerie brothers and sisters have created a unique material that is more weightless then any butterfly wing and stronger then cold steel. We here with their help have constructed kites that are exquisite and truly beautiful to fly. Tommy maybe you better take it from here."

"Thanks Shelly, this material stronger then spider webs and as weightless as hummingbird wings makes incredible kites your Highness. Tibet can become the permanent sight of an International Kite Flying Olympics. Tibet will never loose the event because no other country will ever be able to duplicate this amazing material. Oh yeah your Highness please accept a free admission to my BEST Of CITY Haunted Haight Tour before you leave town sir, Terry its your turn."

  The two wild Falcon's watch carefully as Terry Kennedy local radical gay activist and tireless world peace advocate stands and begins his soliloquy...

"Your Highness, this idea may be perfect because of it's peaceful nature to all concerned, our friends in the mother country will be filled with joy knowing a peaceful reunification is possible without any more bloodshed or force. The money's made each year from the Kite Olympics will easily help rebuild and maintain your old way of life. Everyone wins in this formula and only you your Highness will have the answer to how the special material is made. The international press will quickly inform the world and the first meeting can be as early as next year."

"I'm absolutely stunned and surprised by this blessing from the left Coast. Yes, my people can begin preparing for Tibet's first annual International Kite Olympics with great joy as this is truly the peaceful solution I have prayed for. Now Fletcher I think I must hang with you and your boys for a month or two and absorb the otherworldly vibage that so often cloaks Raven's Haven."

"That sounds perfect to me your Highness, except although Jive Boy and Jason Aki possess splendid social interaction skills. My boy the Dukemeister has been working a whole other side of the human street if you get my drift sir?"

"No sweat on my behalf, so tell me your Dukeness can you really hit a flies ass at 1500 yards in a light wind standing up?"

"Well, suppose I can take the ear lobe off any desperado on out to about one mile your Highness. Lets adjourn to Quills new Ferrari and head for that De Young Museum so the boss can rummage through all those ancient feathers.."

  Before the crew now hanging with his Holiness can fire up the new red beast, Tommy, Terry and Shelly all hug and bow to his Holiness as Shelly hands him one of her award winning ceramic fountains. The two wild Peregrine Falcon's take flight back to their home on the edge of the PGE building in downtown San Francisco. The Dali Lama now riding shotgun while Duke crams into the tiny space behind the driver seat, before Quill can insert his new Velvet Revolver CD, his Holiness whips out Eric Clapton's new Cream reunion CD and the boy's and man/god are off to the cool new museum toots sweet baby..... A cell call comes in on Quill's security phone,

"Mr. Secretary of our Inferior Interior, son I love the Dali Lama and your plan is well thought out. Now lean over and with a smile on your mug ask his Holiness if we can drill one or two exploratory holes on his mountains for your President?"

"Sorry sir another call and it must be La Sharon, you know I gotta go!"

"Sweet cakes, are we missing our Quill and Timba dear?"

"One question fly boy, in detail what is your first chapter title for "Care & Feeding of Your Blond""

"That's easy, Evaluating and nurturing your blonds full potential. I mean many super uber blonds never reach their full blond potential because they aren't made aware of their options or they simply don't care. My book will change all this hit and miss bad blond nurturing. Oh yeah Pumpkin the Dali Lama and Duke Parker my old Marine buddy will be coming home with me. I gave Jive Boy and Jason Aki time to spend back home, my posse and I will be castle bound in a few days."




Read about Fletcher Quill in earlier chapters:

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12 
13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21 
22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  
  32  33  34  35  36  37  38


Written by Dan Fallon © 2005
Illustrations by Phil Frank © 2003
Photos by Dan Fallon © 2005

For Dan Fallon's earlier and later columns; visit the table of contents


Read Dan Fallons biography and contact info



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