The March newsletter has information about fish outs, and the new acoustic panels added to the STFF club house. Numerous activities are planned, including fly tying, a course in fly fishing, and an entomology class. Meet another of your board members. Events for youths are in need of volunteer assistance. Finally some information about Pyramid Lake and a look back at the history of the club. Hope the newsletter helps you plan your calendar! ALLAN CRAIG – EDITOR
President’s Message: March 2020 – Mary Nishioki March is the Club’s Award Month where we recognize the Fly Fisher, Fly Tyer, and Volunteer of the prior year. It was gratifying to have so many excellent nominees and to also note that several were nominated in all three categories ! !
Our Club cannot exist without a great group of volunteers and we are very lucky to have so many. For those of you who aren’t stepping forward, we can all testify that the best way to get to know the other club members and get invited on fishing trips is to volunteer with them. The other best way is to sign up for the fish outs so keep doing that, too.
Our March Awards Ceremony will take place after the General Meeting on March 11th but we also have something special planned to celebrate the event; we are hosting an ice cream social. We are serving Banana Boat Brownie Ice Cream Sundaes – made to order so come and enjoy the fun.
This year we are also starting a new Award that we are borrowing (with permission) from the San Jose Fly Casters Club. This is the Big Fish Award Certificate. From April 1 this year through December 31st, for every fish you land that looks like a winner; you submit a picture and fill out the form (will be available on website) and email it in for consideration. You are on your honor as to accuracy but if the picture is mostly of your fingers, the fish wasn’t that big. We are going to recognize almost all species of fish so there will be lots of Awards Certificates at the 2021 ceremony.
For example; you catch a big permit, send in the picture and the form and you could win for permit that year. You catch a 6” grayling, no one else submits a picture and form for grayling and your 6” is the winner for grayling. Obviously, all of the trout species are going to be in hot contention but don’t let that stop you. And yes, you can win multiple Certificates for multiple species of fish if your submissions are the winners in those categories. More information to follow.
Lower Sacramento River Fish Out: Feb 14 We met at 9:00, there were probably 10-12 people there. Some came just to listen and take notes, while others rigged up and prepared to fish. I shared maps of the various walk-and-wade accesses along the Sacramento River in Redding, with a very brief description of those sites. Then an in depth demonstration of the specialized rigging system I use when fishing the Sacramento, including discussion of terminal tackle and flies. From there we headed down to the river, where I discussed the methodology of “reading the water” on a large river such as the Sacramento, effectively breaking it down and looking for certain elements that will concentrate fish: changes in depth and changes in current speed, primarily. Then a quick demonstration on techniques for getting a good drift and covering the water effectively, including single-hand spey casting basics.
By then it was 11:00, and with the sun up I’d hoped to start seeing some caddis and PMDs starting to move around. About half the group left, the other half started fishing. A couple of fish were hooked, and I know Creighton Smith landed a huge 5 lb rainbow. By 1:00, the bugs were finally just starting to pop out, and I’m guessing those few anglers who stayed and fishing into the afternoon likely had some better success in the afternoon. Michael Caranci
Our next fish out will be on March 21 once again at Baum Lake. It will be difficult to improve on the results of the January fish out at Baum Lake but it’s a great venue this time of year, so plan on attending. You can sign up at our next meeting which will be our Awards Meeting or contact Jim Tornillo at 530 246 1669 or email me at email@example.com. More info regarding where we will meet, equipment and other relevant information will be available at the sign up table and on line.
The two fish outs in April are scheduled for 1 April, and 7 and 8 April. The 1 April fish out will be on the Trinity River for Steelhead and the 7 and 8 April fish out will be at Pyramid Lake. This will be an overnight event so plan on logging for the night. Phil Ryan will be our fishmaster so if your interested in attending, contact him at 530 275 4111.
Finally, our Klamath Lake fish out in June on the 24th – 26th will also require lodging. I’m thinking we might rent a Lodge or a few cabins on the lake if we have enough interest. If your planning on attending this fishout please sign up and if your interested in lodging, contact Jim Tornillo.
Entomology Class Offered
A Fly Fishing Entomology Class is being offered Saturday March 21 at the STFF Clubhouse. Core information will be aimed at those who are relatively new to fly fishing and those who would like to refresh their knowledge of aquatic insects and how to present their imitations.
Instructor – Don Owen – 35-year career as an Entomologist; 50 years of fly fishing
Agenda – Doors open at 10:30 – arrive early to socialize, have coffee and view specimens.
11:00 am – noon Aquatic Insect Groups Important to the Fly Fisher – presentation on morphology, recognition, life cycles, and availability
12:00 – 12:30 Lunch Break – BYO – Bring Your Own for a quick lunch at the clubhouse
12:30 – 1:15 pm The Art of Fly Fishing – directed, interactive discussion on insect imitations (flies) and their presentation
1:15 – 1:30 References and Methods of Sampling / Collecting Aquatic Insects
1:30 – ?? Optional field exercise for anyone interested – see what aquatic insects we might find in Clover Creek
RSVP – please email Don at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend. All STFF members and guests are welcome.
Kids Fish Day May 9th In conjunction with California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Shingletown Lions Club, Shasta Trinity Fly Fishers and Lassen Pine Christian Camp “Kids Fish Day” will be conducted at Lassen Pine Christian Camp at Viola. Fishing from 9:00 AM till 3.00 PM on May 9, 2020.
Great fishing for kids 15 years and younger and able to hold a rod and reel. There is a three fish limit. No artificial lures may be used. Kids may bring their own tackle, worms and power bait. Worms and some power bait will be available at the lake with no charge to the kids. Also, there will be loaner tackle. Adults must provide ID and sign for the tackle to insure that it is returned. Registration is required of all kids.
For details on the event log on to Shingletown.com or call Monty Currier, Department of Fish and Wildlife (530) 225-2368 or R. L. “Stew” Stewart, Shingletown Lions Club (530) 474-5748 If members would like to volunteer please e-mail email@example.com for details Stew
There will also be two Kid’s Fishing Days at the Mt. Shasta Hatchery: June 13 and July 11. Mark your calendar and either help out or better yet take a youngster fishing!!
Request for Volunteers -Trout in the Classroom Club member’s assistance is needed for fly tying and fly rod casting when schools release their trout. All events are 8:30 to 12:00 rain or shine, Dates and locations are:
March 23: STFF club house, fly tying and casting: 42 students
March 24: Anderson River Park: fly rod casting: 135 students
March 25: Whiskeytown Lake Brandy Creek launch: casting: 200 students
March 26: Whiskeytown Lake Brandy Creek launch: casting: 300 students
March 27: STFF club house: fly tying and casting: 65 students
If you are willing to help out, email Allan at firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks!!
ACOUSTIC PANELS GO UP IN THE CLUBHOUSE
To address the problem of the poor acoustics existing in our clubhouse, it took asking some questions, getting some answers and planning the panel layout, plus a group of panel hanging, volunteer members who had to learn as they went and produce a very professional job. Couldn’t have been done better. In all, 40 4’ x 4’ panels, 6 4’ x 2’ panels and 1 2’ x 2’ panel were installed either on the ceiling or on the front and back walls of our clubhouse.
The order for the acoustic panels was placed on December 5, 2019. Delivery was requested for January 15th or 16th, 2020. Installation by our members was to be done sometime during the last two weeks of January 2020. Other than hand tools and workers, we needed a scissor lift and some plywood or particle board to run the scissor lift on to protect the carpet. Dick Recchia made sure that there was no scheduled use of the clubhouse the last two weeks of January. Tom Taylor delivered the protective floor covering. All seemed ready, but we had a few wrinkles: 1. Delivery of the panels came one day short of a week.
2. The panels were to be on two regular sized pallets, but came on one 4’ x 8’ pallet.
3. FedEx Redding was not equipped to handle such a large pallet and could not make the delivery.
4. We had to offload the panels by hand, one at a time, from the truck.
5. The offloading crew was told to be at the clubhouse at 1:30, but the FedEx truck had a flat tire and didn’t arrive until about two hours later.
6. Installation instructions and a template showing the proper bracket placements should have been included with the shipment, but were not.
7. One of the panels was damaged and had to be replaced and shipped from Florida.
8. Not enough hanging brackets were sent with the original shipment and more had to be overnighted to stay on schedule.
As the wrinkles came they were soon resolved. The FedEx truck offloading was completed in about 45 minutes. The scissor lift and a remarkable construction laser arrived the day before work started. A workable template had to be created to handle the ceiling mounted panels. A replacement for the damaged panel was received. More hanging bracket were air freighted overnight.
Admittedly the first day saw only two ceiling panels in place, but that was the learning day. The panel placement plan on flat paper had to be realized on the sloping ceiling. Jim Tornillo created the missing template so that the brackets mounted on the ceiling matched the brackets mounted to the backside of the panels. Eric Steele maneuvered the laser. Mel Mikita and Bill Villamor performed their sky walking act attaching one panel after another to the ceiling. With Dick Recchia bring in whatever was needed from outside, and Tom Taylor and Ken Martinez moving floor coverings and passing up the next panel, ceiling panels were soon going up at the rate of 1 every 10 to 12 minutes. Job finished in one week.
Our thanks needs to go to the following volunteers who showed up daily for a full week to install the panels and cleanup: Great job guys!! Jim Tornillo, Eric Steele, Tom Taylor, Ken Martinez, Dick Recchia and the sky walkers Mel Mikita and Bill Villamor.
In addition our thanks to the following truck offloading volunteers: Jim tornillo, Eric Steele, Tom Taylor, Sue Horkey, John Chernoh, Bob Armstong, Dick Recchia, Mel Mikita and Bill Villamor.
Our thanks also to United Rentals for helping us out with a special price on the scissor lift and to Mike Shufelberger for the loan of a truly amazing laser used to keep the panels in straight rows. Gerry Martin
Beginning Fly Tying
Tom Taylor has provided a complete description of the program on the STFF web site. The sessions begin on March 3rd and continue for six weeks. See the web site for sign up details.
Intermediate Fly Tying
The Intermediate Fly Tying Class is on the first Wednesday night of each month at 6:30 pm, doors are open at 6:00 at the Clubhouse. In March we will tie the Micro May. All those member who have their own fly tying tools and thread are welcome to come and tie. Cost of class is $5.00 for the materials packet to tie the fly.
Anyone who is reluctant to attend because of your skill level is welcome to attend and observe at no cost ( check-in with the instructor). We have a wide range of attendees with students just out of the beginning class to tiers that have been coming to the class for years. Usually if someone is struggling in the class you can ask someone else in the class, or myself, for help, I also sometime have another instructor in the class that can help students. We have an atmosphere in class of having fun tying flies, good conversations, and there’s nothing like tying your own fly and catching fish with what you’ve tied. Any Questions email, include your phone number and I’ll give you a call. Jim Gunderson – email@example.com
FLY FISHING CLASS APRIL 25, 2020
This is an all day class for the beginning fly fishing angler, or anyone just wanting to brush up on some forgotten ways and means. Students must be at least 13 years of age. The class size is limited to only 14 students.
The class is held at the clubhouse, is free to STFF members, and lasts all day, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. If a student does not already have a rod and reel, we have club equipment he or she can use for the casting portion of the class. If the student does not already have gear, we suggest that they not go out and buy any until after they have attend the class.
Class subjects include understand the gear, knots used in fly fishing, basic casting, entomology and related patterns, understanding the trout (how it sees, how is senses sounds and vibrations, and it sense of taste and smell), reading water and fishing techniques; plus, hopefully a lot of questions from the close attending.
Non-STFF members can attend the class for a $45 fee, which essentially is their membership fee. For questions or to sign up, please e-mail Gerry Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 530-242-1026.
Meet your STFF Officers – Tom Taylor – STFF Board Secretary
I’ve been an STFF member for over 15 years – since we were meeting in the basement of the old Redding library on West St. I’m retired from 26 years with Shasta County Children and Family Services as well as from being a private practice marriage and family therapist. I grew up in southern Cal and moved to Shasta County in 1978. I grew up using spinning gear and doing almost all my fishing in the eastern Sierra – from the Owens River all the way up to the alpine lakes over 10,000 feet. I’ve been fly fishing for about 15 years and still have tons to learn. My favorite fishing is in streams and rivers with nymphs, streamers and dries. Locally that translates mostly to the Trinity, Upper Sac, and McCloud rivers. I feel close to a beginner at still- water fly fishing, but also enjoy learning about it. As a club member, I’ve helped teach beginning fly tying and net building, helped get the clubhouse built, lead fishouts, and volunteered in several other club endeavors.
Other ways I like to spend my time include vegetable gardening, wood working, reading, bicycle riding, camping, helping build sets for Riverfront Playhouse, and hanging out with my wife, Karen and big dog, Shadow.
Fish “Tails” Nevada and the Almost Lost Cutthroat
When driving through “The Silver State” , anglers might well wonder why anyone would want to live here, let alone try to go fishing! It appears to be a very dry desert only fit for sage brush and coyotes. Well, interstate freeways don’t necessarily go through the most scenic routes. Roadways often follow old wagon wheel trails- so it is the easiest, or flattest, or quickest way to get where they are taking you. There aren’t very many appealing streams along the Interstate highways in Nevada.
There are a lot of mountain ranges in Nevada, more than any other state! The name, Nevada, means “snow-capped”. Some ranges are especially impressive like the Ruby Mountains near Elko and those of Great Basin National Park near Ely. Taking the time to explore some of those mountains will result in a very different impression of the state. There is a surprising amount of water. Small spring fed streams begin in those hills, and there are numerous natural and man made lakes. High desert lakes are often rich in nutrients feeding aquatic life and food chains, and in them swim quarry for the fly rod.
The best known fishing destination in Nevada is undoubtably Pyramid Lake. Located on the reservation of the Paiute tribe, this lake is high in salt, minerals and pH, and is home to a couple of unique species. One is the Tui Chub, the dominant species in numbers and biomass and can weigh up to seven pounds. The other is the Nevada State fish, the Lahontan Cutthroat, which feed in large part on the chubs and can grow to very impressive size. The lake is also known for anglers using specially designed ladders – so they can stand up out of the water to fish drops offs with out being swamped by the waves when the wind becomes fierce and the fish bite the best.
Historically the trout reached 40 pounds and were harvested commercially. When Derby Dam was completed in 1905, water literally went south and the Lahontan Cutthroat populations plummeted. The dam was on the Truckee River- the source of water for Pyramid Lake and the spawning stream for those fish as well. River water was diverted through canals to supply irrigation to croplands near Fallon and Fernley. The construction of the dam was authorized under the Reclamation Act of 1902, and called the Newlands Project, after Nevada Congressman Francis Newlands, who had sponsored the Reclamation Act. The dam was built in Newlands Nevada. Due to the dam and other projects, drought and evaporation, the lake level dropped 87 feet over the next 6 decades. Water and Politics- a reminder to re-read Marc Reisner’s “Cadilac Desert” , “The American West and it’s Disappearing Water”, a 1986 classic.
The native cutthroats died out completely in the early 1940’s. Fish restoration projects began later that decade when the lake was restocked with a similar Lahontan and a hatchery operation began. These fish did not grow to the large size found in the native species. In 1963 the Tui Chub was declared endangered, and in 1970 the Paiute tribe sued the Department of interior for more water.
Every once in a while, a species thought to be gone forever, can be brought back from extinction. Like a real life Jurassic Park- this time instead of dinosaur blood in a mosquito preserved in amber, a few small fish were found in a stream hundreds of miles from Pyramid Lake. After hearing about these fish, in 1975 a BLM fisheries biologist hiked the 11,000 foot mountain near the Utah border know as Pilot Peak to capture some specimens. Testing revealed the long lost genetics of the giant Lahontan Cutthroats. Evidently someone had planted these fish in the early 1900’s when eggs were being transported east. In 1995 eggs were taken to the hatchery at Gardnerville, just weeks before a wildfire swept through the valley and evidently scorched the creek and its trout. The large Lahontans were that close to being lost forever! Over the next couple of decades this strain was raised and eventually re-introduced into Pyramid Lake. Now each year fish over 20 pounds are being caught, and recently natural spawning has been observed. When will a fish over 40 pound be caught once again- and who will be that lucky angler?
An oddity about fishing for the state fish in Pyramid is the use of ladders. These “ladders” have had quite an evolution. Anglers use to stand on sunken milk crates, tethered with a rope attached to something that floated so the sunken box could be located. The floats used were sometimes rubber duckies! Later house-hold ladders of various sizes were used, then creative welders began to design models with four legs for stability including seats, and even wheels to make it easier to lug the apparatus from a vehicle to the water and back. The reason for such tools for the angler becomes quite obvious as soon as the wind comes up. The lake has shallow flats that drop abruptly into deeper water. The fish tend to travel along the edge of the drop off so anglers wade across the shallows to cast along the prime fish area. Standing in waist deep water to fish is not too difficult… until the wind picks up! The fishing actually improves, but the lake can look like an ocean and the waves like ocean breakers! Standing up out of the surf is not only warmer but a lot safer.
My first attempt was back in the day of the milk crate and rubber duckie. We used large woolly worm patterns and fast sinking shooting heads. We didn’t have a clue what we were doing, and at the end of the day we were still clueless. Having caught nothing it was many years before my next Pyramid Lake trip.
I have since caught a few. Indicator fishing can be very productive, but my choice of tackle has been an 8 weight rod and integrated 300 grain line with a 6-7 ips sink rate. I use a two fly system, with a white pop corn beetle in front and a Midnight Cowboy leech trailer- or the other way around. It is successful just often enough that I stick with it, though some set ups are better. On my last day last year I caught zero, while watching an angler 50 yards away catch over a dozen! For good advice, we need to find that guy and ask him!
Oh – be prepared for cold and windy, including sleet. Then again also be prepared with a buff and sunscreen. On one trip I ended the day beet red with sun burn. Pinch the barbs – that is enforced! Bring a substantial net, as beaching a fish to land it is frowned upon. It is a unique fishery and one of a kind fishing, so something that an angler should try at least once. Allan
Reminder: Club Fish Out to Pyramid: April 7 and 8
Shasta Trinity Fly Fishers: Looking Back The 80’s – Part 1
The downside to recollecting people and events from the past is that all too frequently this happens: You are talking to a co-worker or fellow club member about something that seems to you happened just a few years ago, so you ask, “Do you remember this or that”? And their response is “I was not even born then”! Oh.. I hate that!
Nonetheless, STFF has a history spanning over four decades, and there are names and events that deserve to be remembered. Occasionally some will be mentioned in the newsletter and hopefully be of interest, even to those who were yet not born when it happened.
Dr. Fred David shared with me a binder of old newsletters from the 80’s and 90’s. Phil Ryan had a binder of newsletters from 2001 -2008, thanks to the Caranci’s. If you have any past issues you would be willing to share- I’ll borrow them. The club was founded in 1974. Dick Johnson sent a list of club officers from 1978 to 2017. There were two club presidents before 1978.
The original club name was “Superior California Fly Fishers”. That name was soon changed to Shasta Fly Fishers. There are a few names that appear in early publications that are still active members today, including Bill Shehan, Dr. Fred David, “Stew” Stewart, and Jim Murphy. Jim was club president from 1984-1986. The entire list of officers will be in a future newsletter.
Meetings very often were centered around the next club outing. The format was to begin with a fly tying demonstration of flies for the outing, then a speaker (such as Mike Mercer) would give a presentation about the outing. Fish outs were nicknamed “Skunk Outs”!! Meeting locations were usually Tiger Hall, Best Western, Pizza Parlors, etc. The membership goal in 1983 was 100, and there were 106 in 1986. Dues were $12.00. The 1986 Treasurers report showed a balance of $1022.60. It cost 21 cents to mail the newsletters named the “Shasta Caster”. Printing was donated by a local print shop (Crocker Copy Company) as a community service.
Occasionally there were guest speakers, and one caught my eye. In case you had the impression that fly fishing for stripers in the Sacramento River was a relatively new found discovery, In 1983 Chuck DeJournette from Red Bluff gave a presentation on “Fly Fishing the Sacramento River for Salmon, Shad and Stripers”. Those that knew- were’t telling!
Also of note were the annual banquets in the 80’s. Guest speakers included Jack Dennis, Gary Borger, Doug Swisher, Ralph Cutter, and Lani Waller.
Two other tidbits for this first history lesson. In 1986 Brad Jackson (co-founder of The Fly Shop along with Mike Michalak in 1978) taught a class on fly fishing at Shasta college. As a fly fishing novice the class helped me a lot!
Second: every newsletter had the stream fishing reports from the Fly Shop, along with angler reports. Of note, in February 1985 Mike Mercer caught three steelhead in…… Battle Creek!! What? Actually, not all that unusual because Battle Creek was open to fishing at the time and a number of club members, including myself, caught steelhead there.
When the closure was put in place due to collapsing runs of anadromous fish, the regulations stated “at least 1200 steelhead must pass the Red Bluff counting station by September 30 before Battle Creek is open to the public”. The creek has never reopened, and now that the diversion dam is no longer blocking the river flow, there is no need for a fish ladder thus no fish counts? I don’t know if that wording is still in place.
More history in future newsletters- and the club’s focus on “Conservation” Allan
“If people don’t occasionally walk away from you shaking their heads, you’re doing something wrong.”
― John Gierach
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