Updated 990511
Swedish version

Dan Fallon's World of Fly fishing

Column nr.2 1999


Winters Icy Claw
My fingers numb from hours of mending five-weight line upon many of the most productive streams and lakes in upper California. My face overly , but pleasantly tanned... I return still shaking from mother nature's chilly grip. The California Trout Opener was exciting, challenging and as usual full of surprises. This last week was spent fishing the fabled waters flowing downstream from Mt. Shasta. The "Little Tuly" and it's many natural springs packed with good size wild trout. The average surface temperature was around 47/48 degrees, a little too cold to get trout moving. No real hatches were encountered during early scouting or during three days of solid rod bending. I did hook and release several good fish. I head hunted every rising ring possible. My fly patterns were all special hand tied and time tested by the genius of my friend Walton Powell. His advise is only tie good sized flies and keep those 16s in your pocket. I worked his famous" Clyde Fly" a pretty effective attractor.
If this wasn't ideal enough , had the chance to sit and watch Walt tie his many favorite patterns including " The Pit Peacock " "Clyde " and many other patterns. Each of these flies has killed them at many sacred little fished streams known by the privileged only. Mature Brookie from Lake Marie Camp, Alaska
In my travels scouting favorite haunts this year, several interesting sportsmen of both sexes have surfaced showing all the signs of preseason angst.
Noted Air Ballerinas

One of San Francisco's most attractive and respected television news anchors Kate Kelly and avid fly fisher and her husband have fished the world together. In upcoming columns a special section will be dedicated to this fly fishing dual. Its no secret many woman have become hooked on the sport. My article on Karen Graham ( See Butterfly & the Trout in this webzine ) has garnered many wonderful comments. I hope to have an update on Karens latest adventures in upstate New York. Karen Martin another world class avid fly fisher person and her husband Senior California Department Of Fish & Game Biologist Dr. Mike Martin are featured later in this column. I will be doing an in depth profile of this outstanding lady fly fisher in the coming months. Those who wish to know more about the legendary bamboo rod maker and sportsmen Walton Powell, please read my article in this webzine titled "Lord Of The Flies" at the end of this months column address and phone numbers for Walt Powell will be furnished. As mentioned in my first column, I will spotlight several outstanding rod makers of Bamboo and graphite, along with noted sportsmen and woman addicted to the air ballet.

Bamboo Dreams

The day before opening day was very interesting, Walt Powell introduced me to James L. Reams of Fall River Mills California. Jim is an accomplished Bamboo Rod Maker and life long fly fishermen. I have been introduced to many sportsmen who have attempted to fashion raw cane into functional works of art. Unfortunately many of these well intentioned individuals fall short of producing well designed, hand planed, tempered, tapered rods worth buying. I was quite surprised to find this level of workmanship and attention to detail. Its no secret to those who know me, I have a soft spot for fine bamboo. I will feature James L. Reams in a future article. His address and phone number will be attached to the end of this column for those wishing to investigate quality bamboo. Each month one or two rod makers will be mentioned or featured in this column. If you consider yourself in this expert category, please contact me through this monthly column. As is the case in all sports, fly fisher persons usually fall into two distinct camps.

Maniac Fringe

Fly fishermen seem to come in two main flavors: The fellow who loves the sport and if possible spends a week or two on the water. Then we have the lunatic fringe who live breath and often mimic the life cycle of German Browns and fat Rainbows. These over the top types (me included) are known to go through wives, girlfriends, and family quickly. Because they never seem to be ANYWHERE AROUND! One can spot these overly focused souls spending a little too much time at the local magazine rack devouring every tiny obscure published word on the sport. If you were to spend any time at their homes, (not that they would notice) you would find them glued to the chair next to their fly tying table, bits and pieces of every sort of feather and hackle known to man scattered as if a hungry hawk had just completed his evening meal.

Bored Huddled Hordes

How often have you been subjected to the pathetic whining of a loved one uttering a phrase like this "Why do I have to constantly hear about nothing but opening day or how perfect your latest tied fly is? Why are you always either coming or going to some trout stream?"

Well, lets have a moment of silence for the huddled hordes who thank god will not be taking up space on my favorite two dozen streams this season.

Blood Oath

It took me about 30 seconds as a five year old standing near a stream full of healthy trout to decide this addiction was for me. I raised my right hand and then and there swore a blood oath to any and all gods listening.

I solemnly swear to spend ridiculous amounts of money and time in the quest to one day learn how to consistently tie flies, perfectly present, catch & release as many trout as I possibly can. "Its been a few years, and I still have a way to go. There have been exquisite moments when everything felt just right, and after two or three mends of fresh thrown line hits the water, SLAM

Of course god bless the sportsmen who aren't completely possessed. We have to rely on someone to run this country while were up to our butts in cold water. Oh well, the advent of better then normal winter rain has once again left Upper California looking like a watercolor painting in 3-D. Rivers and streams I fished were running high and chilly, most areas were not crowded and the winds were tolerable at best. The "Little Tuly"is a wild trout zone, as are many areas circling majestic Mt. Shasta. I fished this year with a five weight graphite nine footer. I only threw hand tied flies which were tied by the legendary Walton Powell. I brought along my good friend Mike Garragus television producer. We have been scouting trout and scenic areas to begin my series of videos featuring many of the worlds most famous fly fishers of both sexes. Mike and I practised sneak and stealth techniques for creeping up on still sleepy rainbows holding in the few shallows of the "Little Tuly". Many critters were out and about including Garter Snakes, many ducks, geese, deer and other stream dwelling creatures. it was chilly and pretty, a wonderful opening day in California.

Fantasy Fly Trips
Who said school teachers lead predictable lives? In Redwood City California Math Teacher Loren Dakin dedicated fly fisher went on one of the ultimate Alaska guided floatplane and helicopter fly fishing adventures. His destination Lake Marie Lodge located 90 miles Northwest of Anchorage Alaska. This lodge sits on 120 acres in the Upper Yenna River Drainage system. Were talking real fast action here folks, an average of 100 or more caught and released each day is common.
John & James Wilson are looking for serious fly fisher persons who have done a little weight training and can withstand the power and strength of wrestling King Salmon and Silvers in the 25 to fifty pound class. The lodge is well appointed and the staff seasoned pros. Jet Boats, floatplanes and helicopters are used to ferry guests to waters seldom if ever fished. "Quiet Thrills" Loren Dakin playing Riffle
Those seeking an adventure in America's last wild frontier might want to contact these guys. I spent much time with both John & James on computer E-Mail, they sound like the real deal for outstanding fishing. (See photo). Lake Marie Lodge can be reached by flying into Anchorage, then a short hop to the lake. Contact John & James Wilson Lake Marie Lodge, P.O.B. 210429, Anchorage, Alaska, 99521-0429 - Telephone ( 907) 258-0802 or ( 907) 333--3477 - Website: www.lakemarie.com
New Zealand
My good friends Dr. Mike Martin and his equally astute fly fishing wife & partner Karen have Fly fished many of the worlds premier waters. Last year it was off or rather down to New Zealand for a tour of the areas best trout haunts. Dr. Mike is Senior Biologist for California Fish & Game Department. This chap has more talents then Madonna, he and his beloved Karen are quite serious addicts when it comes to trout. They arrived at the
Sportsmen lodge on the Tongariro River, owners Ivan & Judy Nobilo can be reached at 0-7-386-8150. The accommodations are reasonable, less then fifty a night and well maintained. The in the know fly shop there is "The Sporting Shop" Phone # 07-386-8996 for the latest water reports. Dr. Mike is more Hemingwayish then he owns up to as evidenced in his following recollections. "Good as it gets" Dr. Mike Martin on The Turangi-Taupo River New Zealand
There are two gorgeous streams which tributary to Lake Taupo near turangi (By California standards) The mighty Tongoriro and the smaller, delicate Tauranga- Taupo. One is fished blind with large river steel head tactics. The other smaller stream has holding water, clear waters, where fish are spotted. On the first day we went to the Tauranga- Taupo... nobody was fishing the bar riffle into the lake. Drove downstream about two kms, walked about 600 yards of river and spotted two nice fish 8-10 pound class - so the juices ( and the wine ) were flowing. There was a real stiff wind blowing, so that was a worry. Off to bed with visions of silvery "Bows" in our heads! " Early that day they got this advise from locals.

There are fish in the rivers in some numbers, but the rivers down because of El Nino "But a good guy can catch a nice fish". On the next day fishing Lonely and the Groin tributaries was like fishing the dam Trinity River in Mid - Winter! - Got the casting down, with a five weight Sage and fast sink tip, using florescent egg fly (others were using PTs and Hares Ear patterns). Flogged the water for about five hours without a bump. Home for afternoon tea

The next afternoon all hell broke loose, we went back to where we spotted the two good fish at Taurangi-Taupo. No dice for first two hours, wind was ferocious. We had to cast down wind, down stream or sail it near river banks, a real challenge. We spooked about 7 nice trout, no one else fishing but us. Twenty minutes before Sunset working the run near where our car was parked and thinking this is about where we spotted the good fish. Well since it was light and so flat (had my clear lenses on). Said to myself - I'll just float this baby over to where that fish was the day before and see what happens? Strike indicator on surface (Have to use special Lake Taupo indicators which are bushy and very strange) Strike indicator stops! Hook up. FISH ON! I'm yelling and hooting - Karen is 200 yards down stream and making tracks toward me like I'm on fire. This is a seriously nice trout - I'm stoked. This is nirvana- and well worth the swim across the Pacific. This genetic cousin of mine from California is wilder and feistier then I remember my last Owens River Rainbow. He reels off 30 yards and starts on the backing. Then does a 180 and decides upstream is better. I get him calmed down and he comes to me with little further fight in about ten minutes. I then gently remove hook and ease him back into the ice cold waters. Back to the lodge for venison and a delightful New Zealand Pinot Blanc." The area fished is unspoiled and too pretty (see photo ) Another quality fly fishing experience can be had on Mohaka River - cabins are rustic, but well kept - contact Riverland Outback Adventure, RD2 Napier, NZ: Phone (06)834-9756 or Lake Waikaremoana in the Urewaera National Park (64) 6837-3803. By the size of these fish and the many varied waters, this sounds like a grand adventure. The good news is its not very expensive, check it out.

"Urewera National Park", New Zealand
Fishy Memories

How can I resist rummaging through my mental tackle box and discovering little gems of distant fly fishing adventures worth mentioning? During a ten year period living near Yosemite National Park in California. I had countless special days throwing tiny 16s at over fed Brookies, Rainbows. and Golden Trout. At one of the parks main gates near the Merced River (full of German Browns ) I got the bright idea to climb about forty five feet off the water onto a huge boulder. I could see many good trout moving all around from this vantage point. I threw my hand tied Mosquito's with ease at passing fish, until hooking up a solid three pound Rainbow. I had forgotten one important aspect of this type of fishing, how in the hell could I get that fish up the face of the rock without him snapping loose?

The park entrance is full of tourists and bus loads of sight seekers. I had a large gallery of Japanese camera toting fans watching me play this trout for some twenty minutes Only a moron would have attempted to catch and land a big fish on that steep sided rock. I played him until he tired. One of the tourists yelled out to me, "Can't wait to see you bring him in!" As I slowly brought him up the rock I thought man will I be lucky, then the tippet snapped and off he went. That was the day a trout caught me and made me look like the fool I was. Until next month, here are phone numbers and address's of Walton Powell and Bamboo rod maker James L. Reams.

Walton Powell is selling his special series of 30 of his signature double helix multiple modulus graphite rods at a special price under 300 dollars. He only has these 30 to sell. Phone # (530) 336-5179.

James L. Reams lives in Fall River Mills California, P.O.B. 685,' 96028, Phone # (530) 336-6773. His Quality Bamboo Rods start at less then a 1000 dollars and go up from there.

Excellent fly fishing shop on the way to Mt. Shasta area is " Fly fishing Unlimited "Toby Uppinghouse proprietor knows the area very well. Phone# (707) 446-0760 446-1206.



© Dan Fallon 1999         Read his biography

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