In fly fishing, your cast is affected by a multitude of things, both major and minor. Although this blog post won’t fix your cast, it’ll offer two of the most common things that fly casters of all skill levels can be held back by. If you feel that your casts aren’t going as far as they should be, aren’t straightening out all the way, or are lacking power (or maybe all three), try again with these two tips in mind.
Tip #1: You might be getting overly cocky. What this means is that you are letting your wrist flex too much on the backcast, therefore letting the rod move too far back. Keep in mind the when you are casting you should have a stiff wrist. A relaxed wrist will lead to an overshoot in rod motion and a loss of power, because your arm will stop but your wrist will keep going, slower and with less purpose. If you’re relaxing your wrist too much, try keeping the rod butt pressed to your forearm by pinning it under your sleeve or a rubber band.
Tip #2: You may not be stopping hard enough. Each time you move the rod, whether on the back or forward cast, there is a crucial stop that must happen. Picture this scenario: I’m at the edge of the water, thirty feet of fly line out in front of me, and I’m ready to cast. My rod tip goes from being pointed down at the water to straight above my head pointed at the sky. Do I stop crisply when my rod tip reaches this position, or gently press the brakes like rolling a car up to a stop sign? Those of you who said I need to stop hard are correct: A hard stop will catapult the fly line with more power than if I used the previously mentioned stop sign approach. Try it for yourself! The stop sign approach will result in a loss of power, which also means a cast that isn’t straight. In sum, a harder stop equals a farther, straighter and more accurate cast. **Caution, although rare, it is possible to stop to hard!**
These two tips interlock with each other regarding when to stop: How far back should your cast go before I stop? The answer to this question will change as your casting distance changes (see our 10-and-2 casting blog here). Basically, your rod movement will increase with cast length. A twenty foot cast requires much less of a front-to-back or back-to-front motion than a fifty foot cast, and a fifty foot cast will require a harder stop than a twenty foot cast.
Forbthies if you that don’t know, Matt Heron is the director for the Tahoe/Reno region of an organization called Cast Hope. Cast Hope is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to getting youth into the world of fly fishing.
Our friend Kim has quite the artistic ability, and recently has been using it to raise money for Cast Hope! With the covid situation going on, most of our fundraisers have been cancelled and the fact that Kim is using her spare time to help Cast Hope continue making a positive effect on youth through fly fishing is incredible.
For those of you who have any interest in purchasing or promoting Kim’s artwork, you can find her Facebook here.
What a difference the past couple weeks have made! It seems that summer had its last stand over the Labor Day weekend and we are now being catapulted into fall! Nightly temps have been close to freezing which means that water temps are in the 50s and low 60s, staying in the safe zone for our scaly friends.
Flows: The Truckee’s water levels have been dropping steadily, especially between Tahoe City and Boca. Expect spookier fish. When in doubt, downsizing your tippet, can’t hurt!
Tahoe City to Truckee: 76
Truckee to Boca: 87
Boca to Farad: 450
Farad to Stateline: 497
As far as what to throw and how to throw it, indicator and tightline nymphing has been the main game, fishing midges, mayfly nymphs and ever-more baetis. Don’t let that keep you from trying a dry fly as we have been seeing small baetis hatches around 11am and have still been getting hopper eats! Also, the further we get into fall, the better streamer fishing is going to be. It’s time to dust off the six and seven weight rods because they’re going to be useful in finding aggressive brown trout!
Conservation Note: As you enjoy time spent on the water with family or friends (and hopefully fish), remember to keep our waterside venues clean. It takes no time to pick up the odd piece of trash on your way back to the car. By leaving it better than you found it, you’re allowing others to enjoy our rivers and lakes without the reminder of litter. Tight lines!
Robert Redford’s A River Runs Through it is a film that boosted fly fishing popularity after its release in 1992. The mental image of Paul Maclean(played by brad Pitt) standing in a Montana river false casting to rising trout is ingrained in the memory of thousands. Paul’s father described fly casting as “an art that is performed on a four-count rhythm between ten and two o’clock.”
Earlier this month, Hatch Magazine published an article arguing for the discontinuation of this analogy due to its inaccuracy. There is a different range of motion for different casts. For example, a twenty foot cast requires less rod movement than a fifty foot cast. Fly casting is not accurately described by this saying; it’s time to stop using it.
We are bracing for an unusual heat wave this Labor Day weekend with unprecedented temperatures in the low 90s through Monday.
What does this mean for us who are trying to get a line wet this weekend? Morning is prime time for fishing!
The hoot-owl closure is still in effect, meaning when water temps hit 68 degrees it’s time to give the fish a rest.
If you don’t already have one, our friends at Trout Creek Outfitters in downtown Truckee can hook you up with a river thermometer.
Flows: Measured in cubic feet per second(cfs).
Tahoe City to Truckee: 293
Truckee to Boca: 330
Boca to Farad: 455
Farad to Stateline: 494
Fishing has been really steady the past couple weeks even with water temps!
Our guides have been getting fish on a mix of indicator and tightline nymphing techniques, with some hopper dropper action in the riffles as well.
Fish have been fooled on caddis, baetis, crayfish, midges and mayfly nymphs. There are a few golden and nocturnal stoneflies in the system. Be out on the water early, check your water temps, and good luck anglers!
A few fish from this past week!
– Ryan Rintala | Social Media @mattheronflyfishing
Sage and I first met when I lived in Livingston, MT in 2006 through some mutual friends. Little did we know our paths would cross again 13 years later at Katmai Trophy Lodge this past fall on one of our hosted trips.
Sage was an excellent guide, and as you’ll see, she’s an even better photographer!
As I sit here writing this trip report, it’s mid March 2020 and the world is up in arms with the Corona Virus seemingly taking over the world. Being on lockdown in my own home and getting trip cancelations by the hour, things are looking pretty bleak. However, if I don’t start looking at the positives in this highly unusual situation, I’ll end up diving myself crazy.
It’s given me the time to write a much needed and very tardy
trip report on our amazing two weeks in Katmai National Park in Alaska last
fall. Our host was Katmai Trophy Loge on the banks of the famous Nakek River. It
just so happens the timing is perfect as we’re looking forward to filling our
next trip there in the fall of 2021.
Here’s the basic rundown of our Alaska trip that was one of
the best ever!
Logistics– As you might image the trip started
with arrival in Anchorage from the lower 48. Depending on everyone’s logistics,
some arrived the night prior and got a hotel, others arrived the morning of, before
the short, hour (ish) flight to King Salmon.
The lodge was a short 15 min shuttle ride from the airport.
But not before stopping at the local market to stock up on any necessities for
the week. But who are we kidding, with both groups it mostly involved stocking
up on local brews and whiskey. Bring your own too if you’d like.
The lodge– Katmai Trophy Lodge is a rustic, traditional log cabin on the banks of the Naknek River. This simple, no frills, experience was the perfect setting for both weeks of guests that went with us. Each room sleeps 2-3 anglers with their own bathroom.
The common area is a mix of the living room, dinning room and partial kitchen all in one. It’s sets a great atmosphere for exchanging fish stories in the evening and having a few cocktails as you wait on appetizers and your main course.
The huge front porch overlooking the river and fly-tying loft
add a nice touch.
Well it finally happened, winter is here in the Sierra. As I write this report I’m looking at two fresh feet in my backyard, with quite a bit more on the way.
The amount of snow we’re getting is a bit of double edge sword, obviously in a drought year the moisture is much needed and huge relief to our seasonal snow pack. This will of course snowball with more water and lower water temps through late summer and early fall. All in all a big win for Truckee trout and local tourism for this summer season.
If there was a negative, it’s going to be access to the river this week. Like years past when we get this much snow basically overnight, parking becomes an issue. Thakfully this will probobly be short lived and is a small price to pay for this amazing gift mother nature just dumped on us!
On to the fishing.
Fishing has been really good this week, especially once the snow started. Finally we saw adult skwalas the last few days and the fish started to key in on them. We’ve been waiting to throw big dries since the fall and the time is finally here. Might try a few March Browns too. Hint hint.
That said said if you’re going to go subsurface, baetis, midges, winter stones, eggs, march browns and even some caddis wouldn’t be the worst thing to nymph right now.
Good luck out there and stay safe in more ways than one.