|Column nr.3 2003|
| LAST QUIET MOMENTS AT THE
February 2003 unwinds the last gasp of a cold wet winter in California as the first wild flower shoots begin to poke through and baby birds begin hatching. A visit to several of my favorite trout streams and rivers during a three-day tour was enchanting. The same places where I have caught and released many fine Browns, Rainbows, Dolly Varden back into icy cold waters. The tour began up in my old neighborhood of South Lake Tahoe where I once lived for ten years and was Chairmen of the local arts commission. In those sweet days I could fly fish in less then 15 minutes in places few people ventured. Each winter morning I cross country skied with my dogs and lived the high country good life. The area near Lake Tahoe has many fly-fishing options, feeder streams into the lake and rivers, such as the American and the East Fork of the Carson River. I have thrown flies all over the area and was excited to see what it looked like just as spring began lurking near the snow-covered mountains.
I have to gear up with cross country skies to get near my old brook trout secret spots where a tiny mosquito at dawn or dusk is deadly and too much fun gently playing little brookies one after another. Lake Tahoe has repelled many assaults by careless greedy men. She still stands majestic and azure blue in the late afternoon sun glistening off her impressive vastness. I had the honor of writing the 25 year Silver Anniversary History of South Lake Tahoe in 1990. Tahoe, a gorgeous paradise, is much like Yosemite, close to my heart. The drive up to lake Tahoe from Sausalito brings me near the American River that winds up the mountains. I have spent many hours walking and catching plump trout along this stretch. The water now is way too fast and powerful as the snow pack begins to loosen just a bit. Birds are still everywhere and insect life is thriving. Water edges are home to new wild flowers and the usual grasses. I stop at one of my best spots and look for fish to throw my imaginary fly at "Oh yeah there is a great rise and perfect throw just beside the ring! Then BAM, he smacks it and "The wild old pulse begins to rise like the trout on the fly as I head back to the car and relive past fly fishy glories big and small Shelleys haunting poem echoes in my ear " I dreamed that I wondered by the way, bare winter suddenly was changed to spring, and gentle odors led my steps away".
EAST FORK OF THE CATHEDRAL
My home waters are my cathedral of trout and adventure, endless moments of my life chasing and sometimes fooling game fish in the sanctity of the cathedral. Alaska sits on top of my cathedral and under that has to be remote Yosemite Park in either early spring or very late fall. Then into the glorious Sierra Nevada Mountains where many rivers and streams still offer world-class game fish that will rise to the fly. The middle portion of my cathedral of trout must begin anywhere trout are rising in Fall River Mills California. The lower section has to be the mighty Sacramento River that winds all the way down from far north to the San Francisco Bay. As my car winds through the snowy quietness of early February next to the East Fork of the Carson River running all the way down into the town of Carson City Nevada. I have perfect memories of walking for miles down from cold snow covered peaks then driving a few miles and walking into the warm Nevada breezes.
The Carson is fun to throw flies on rather in, I love to wade it when possible or stay with the holes and ripples I know best. This place is home to numerous bird and wildflower displays. The water is perfectly clear and cold, real high mountain cold.
The Carson looks healthy and I have seen many good size fish raise and slide in and out of the long shadows. Local insect life is around and not quite ready for the warm days. Birds are everywhere and I know I have to be around here in a few weeks. My old hotspots are looking good as are several new places with good overhangs and deep edge cover begging for hot streamer black stoneflies and Black Wooly Buggers with 12 inches of tippet tied to a dropper Gold Bead prince Nymph or any of the fine beaded nymphs available. This coming year I will be using flies tied in Africa and will report on their appearance, effectiveness, and longevity. I tie a few patterns myself, but I love to acquire perfectly tied new variations on old standards. MY never fail Hopper and 12, 15 inch dropper tied to a beaded nymph always gets things moving quickly wherever I go early spring. Its a near perfect searching set up. You can easily make adjustments to either fly or size and nail the local citizens before they know whats up. Try this set up first wherever you go this spring in North America, I guarantee it.
FALL RIVER FLY BREAST CANCER CHARITY EVENT
The first annual Landbigfish Presents Dan Fallons Single Fly Invitational that will take place in June 2003 is rapidly shaping up as the major fly event of the coming season. Gary Drain, honcho at Landbigfish and Ira Stuzman CEO of Hells Canyon Custom Rods are putting in 12-hour days in preparation. We are excited and welcome both items for the auction and donations for this most worthy cause. Womans breast Cancer has become an epidemic here in Marin County California as it has all over America. Why not do something about this killer other then endless chatter? Join us and we will make a difference together.
This event will raise much needed money for both research and rehabilitation via the excellent work of CFR Casting For Recovery, www.castingforrecovery.com. This wonderful healing organization has been helping many recovering woman find solace and comfort learning how to fly fish. The stretching of sore muscles and Zen like atmosphere has worked minor miracles and helped pave the way to recovery. Those interested are urged to visit the CFR website.
Those fly fishers who have established reputations chasing game fish via fly rod are welcome to contact this column in regard to the Fall River event. The event will be a two-day affair with each team allowed only 3 examples of a single fly. Each team will consist of a well-known female or male fly fisher, an amateur and a guide who also acts as an official. Twenty teams consisting of three people to a boat will have two long days to see who can catch and release the most inches of trout. Cash prizes and an art Glass trout trophy will have names of each seasons winner inscribed. An auction will be one of the highlights, as will a gourmet wild game dinner and a host of on site fly oriented activities. Jazz and Blues bands will play throughout the event and a special VIP tent will host the gala dinner and an ongoing sports bar will be erected on sight for the duration. This fly charity event will be world class and one to remember! Those interested please contact this website or call me directly at (415) 332-3803 or www.danfallonflyfishing.com.
"ADVENTURES OF FLETCHER QUILL"
Early morning on Spent Peacewoods place, nestled in a remote section of Fall River Mills, California is all about the smell of sizzling bacon and high anticipation. Quill, Jive Boy and the lovely Cindy G. are huddled over pancakes discussing the chopper fly-out into a volcano near the California border where giant ten-pound Brook Trout are supposedly the resident big dogs. The boys at the Press Table are looking tired and groggy, as they have partied late into the night.
One of the old guard outdoor writers Tom Staratavista ambles over to join Quill and his mates "Fletcher, do you really think this fly diplomacy will actually go anywhere? I mean these guys have been through the wringer over and over, now you and a fly rod will help bring world peace?" "Love that eternal optimism that you working press boys seem to wallow in. Maybe we will fail and all this preparation is for nothing, I would rather fail at this then not have tried. If this does succeed in the smallest of ways, a new, calmer atmosphere may be incorporated in all future peace negotiations. These Mid East boys are hard nosed and suspicious of everyone, when the chopper sets down in this volcano we discovered with Slick Brainys military GPS.
The hall of mirrors that is the usual scene at most peace talks will be noticeably absent, my friend. The only thing that will matter is the ten pound brookie that has just slammed their fly!"
The twenty-minute chopper flight up country into an area rarely visited by man is quiet. The opposing diplomats are sitting as far apart as the crowded chopper will allow. The volcano looms ahead as Quill watches Cindy put on the last of her fish fighting eye makeup and Jive Boy begins to sort out his favorite hoppers with droppers. Slick Brainy motions to Fletcher as the chopper comes to rest on its pontoons in the middle of a sky blue lake alive with insects and rising rings. "Quill, you and Cindy take the inflatable Zodiac and try the area near shore. The Israelis and I will throw a few loops off the chopper pontoons to get things started. Here is your CIA cleared cell phone. Lets have some fun, remember the whole idea here is fun and adventure!"
The Zodiac slowly glides across the small lake toward a waterfall where the surface is exploding in rings left by big trout hitting anything that moves. Quill and Snarecat are tying on the "cant miss Hopper/Dropper fly set up"; Cindy is ready to throw and has the bow all to herself. "Look at that, that is a serious trout, my friend", "Fletch, did you see how he" Suddenly, Cindy has a good fish on and then Quill is hooked up as well. Snarecat has yet to get in the water and is all smiles as Cindy and Quill let the first double of the day on their merry way. "Mr. Quill, nice work sir, your combo set up is deadly on the first cast." "Oh, oh, its ash nice fish. Cindy can you take a quick photo?" "Smile, that is a beautiful trout. Look at the reticulated markings. These fish are all in the six-plus pound range. The biggest Brook Trout in the USA maybe?" "Oh man, this guy is all fight. Wow, he has me into the backing and now fire that engine we gotta roll." Quill is into at least 8 to 10 pounds of mutant brookie with big shoulders. "Hang in their Fletch, can you get anything back on that reel?" "I have about ten feet back on and man he is going for the border." This non-stop action continues till about 9:30 and the Zodiac returns to the Chopper. Long faces meet and greet the highly charged successful Quill. "I dont have to ask how the chopper crew scored this morning, hey mates?" "Ok Fletcher, we did learn a lot this morning." "Yeah, that translates into no fish caught right?"
A DEATH IN THE FAMILY?
The afternoon begins with a coin toss to decide who stays with chopper and straddles pontoons and who gets the hot Zodiac baby! Quill wins the toss and decides the little boat is hard to resist. In a few moments the party-is back even closer to the waterfalls. In a flash the little Zodiac is abuzz with fish on and smiles a yard wide. "Fletcher I have to hand it to you on this adventure and once again thank you so much for thinking of me and inviting me." "Cindy, please. You know how much your friendship means to me and how much I cherish your loyalty and integrity. I only wish " Then suddenly the unimaginable happens, freak winds cause the Zodiac to pitch and yaw and in an instance Cindy is over the side and rapidly being swept into the 100-foot waterfall dead ahead. "Cindy, hold on, sweetie. This damned engine has not failed all morning now when it really counts." "Quill, here let me try and start it." Both men now stop and stare in utter disbelief as Cindys gorgeous blond hair disappears over the waterfall. "Mayday, mayday, Slick we have lost Cindy over this giant waterfall! Get that chopper over here and maybe we can still help her, God, I cant believe it".
The days remaining light are spent with an all-out search and not a trace has been found. The President has just spoken with Slick Brainy and Quill as light welcomes the night
Stay tuned for next months episode "Has Cindy Vanished?"
Quill, part 1
Written by Dan
Fallon © 2003
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