Low Water Forces Big Fish to Seek Deep Pools Says Jack Bell, Reno Naturalist and Fisherman, De Luxe
By Jack Bell
Never within the memory of the oldest inhabitant has there been such a shortage of water in this section of Nevada and Caliofrnia.
Aged Indians will tell you that the present conditions have never before obtained.
There is little likelihood that the dryness will be dissipated before the first cutting of hay.
The fishing season in California, in the areas covering Mt. Rose, Donner Lake, Prosser and tributaries, the Little Truckee, and in the smaller creeks that feed into the Feather and Yuba branches will be open officially on May 30, Decoration Day.
Strange as it may seem the flowers and small flowering bush are as beautiful as in the years when there has been plenty of water and moisture.
The bird life is legion.
The animals are even more plentiful than for many years, the trappers in the high hills last winter having had but little success with the fur bearers.
There are many deer in the small parks and meadows.
The spring greens are now in full leaf along the mountain creeks and small brooks.
Everywhere the water is very low and clear.
Independence and Webber lakes are below normal, and crystal clear.
The Little Truckee is lower than it has ever been known at this season of the year.
It will take careful casting to take a basket on this nationally known stream at the opening.
Prosser Creek Low
Prosser creek is down to a small narrow ribbon.
The best bet that the anglers will have on these two creeks will be to take the run toward the lake feeder and try the pools throughout the great meadows.
By far the best chances for good sport will be in the ice ponds that are located at Boca, on the Little Truckee and at Prosser station on the Southern Pacific.
There was no run from the river this year into the miles of upper waters in these two streams, so one will have to take pot luck and just take a chance for good fish.
Sage Hen, and the many spring creeks that fed the Little Truckee, between the highway and Hobart Mills, are mere small shallow, trickling spring runs.
This same condition can be said of every small stream that empties into the main Truckee in the upper reaches.
It is a surety that the best fish and the best sport will be had on the main Truckee, from Calavada on up to and above the town of Truckee.
Take the waters in and about Boca.
This territory is lovely in a scenic way, and the waters are not contaminated by the residues from the paper mill,
some miles below, and the waters are rather low, but full of pot holes, swift riffles and many alluring pools, that really contain fish up to five pounds.
At Iceland the fishing is always fine on the opening day, and no doubt the regulars will take a chance through these wonderful pools and swift waters.
A train leaves the Southern Pacific for up river at 6:35 a. m., and this will get one to the grounds in fine
season for the morning's fishing.
The returning train arrives in Reno at 4 p. m.
Mystic will be another ground that will be pretty well peopled with men that know the river.
It is here that the deepest water on the river is found and it is not unusual to hook into a rainbow or Loch Leven that will require the best and strongest tackle.
Fumigation Is On
One disagreeable feature of trying to reach the smaller streams like the Little Truckee, Prosser, Independent and Weber creeks is the certainty that
one will have to undergo a fumigating by the Nevada state police on the line when they return and have their cars "shot."
No doubt this will keep many of the old-time regulars away from these streams until the quarantine is lifted - and I have no idea when that will be.
Over on Clover, up north, the fishing is fine.
A basket of little fellows can be taken in and along the canon in jig time - very seldom is a quarter pound fish taken - all small, but ceaucoup.
Last Chance is very low.
The best fishing is below the pine trees, or below the small dams and down through the meadows toward the "red barn."
Many of the small creeks over in California have dried up.
The extremely low water in others has driven the fish down into the fuller pools.
It would be very wise for the fisherman to take care, be extremely careful in making shadows and unnecessary noise along the small streams.
The trout are unduly wary when waters are in this condition.
Now as to the bait fishing.
In many places upo river the June bugs are out, and, of course, this being the favorite feed of the big fellows, many will take the limit from Calavada on up to Truckee.
Many have already been to the timber and secured the white grub that is found in logs where they still retain a bit of moisture.
To keep the grubs in good condition the rotted punk must be placed in the can and just a small amount of water added, enough so the rotter timber will remain moise.
Along the streams where there is a bit of moisture the willow grub can be secured.
Both of these grubs are top hole for good fish.
The staple bait used by old-time market fisherman is the manure worm - the red ringed, lively worm - it most always gives one a good basket.
Sometimes the ordinary "garden hackle" will take fish.
Crawfish tails shucked will be good.
Helgamites have been taking rainbow up to four pounds in the open season waters in and about Mogul.
Small minnows will invariably lure the largest trout of all species.
Fly Experts Out
Now for the fly fishermen.
Of course every man has his favorite fly and number.
It has been true that the white winged flies have not been used with very much success for the past few years in any of the streams contiguous to Reno.
The man that is a real bug in this game uses a very light rod, along about from 3 3-4 ounce to 5 1-4, a tapered line, 40 yards E size, and a 7 1-2 tapered leader.
The pattern of flies as shown this season are without argument the best that have ever been displayed in Reno.
There are a number of new makers that have come on the market, adn their best flies vie with the Gow flies, that famous family of makers in Scotland that have been tying feathers since 1640.
The new patterns, lifelike of the quill first float, before they take wing are wonderful.
The grey quill, blue upright, red upright, blow fly, cow dung, ginger quill, mosquito march brown, professor, red and brown ant, are a few of the patterns
that are mighty fine, and when the purchaser looks over this wonderful display at the store, and the old-time sportsman that owns the shabang tells you what he has already done with the new patterns this year - you buy - that's all.
The favorite cast, the cast that has been taking the fish this spring and summer, can be summed up in the above numbers as told in foregoing list of new ties.
Most of the luck can be had with this list and add beaver kill, flights fancy, gorse, cinnamon, Hoffman's fancy, and all of the duns, pale evening, etc.
Because the water is low and very clear one must not think that it is just casting to get the fish.
Extreme care must be taken, and it is only in the swiftest riffles where one can take the chance to wade carelessly and cast either up or down stream.
The dry fly will no doubt take the most fish, cast above a rock, or along the edge of swift water going into flat water one will probably take several good fish.
Every fly known to a naturalist is now to wing.
This is the first season ever known where every variety of water hatched fly can be seen, every known ant is flying, and every known miller, all colors and sizes up to the humming bird moth
can be seen around the lights at night.
The salmon fly is in full flight, as is the cinnamon, all the quills, uprights and goodness knows hundreds of other varieties.
Small Ones Best
The sizes of flies can only be determined by actual work.
It might be a good idea to start on 12s and go on down to 18c.
Perhaps in the river late in the evening they might take a 10, but last season the largest baskets were always taken with 14s down to 18s and that means the limit every trip to the streams mentioned above.
The game will be hard, on account of the low water, and the disciple will have a hard day in making a basket, but the careful old-timer will fill his basket right early.
The fishing should be A No. 1 everywhere if care is exercised.
Be careful that you take no weight or number over the limit, because California will have her game wardens along the streams.
But with prevailing weather the day should be long remembered as a premier day's sport.
The Pyramid lake season will open June 1, not on Decoration Day - that's what the law says.
This sport many hundreds will take advantage of.
There are boats and the fish are down there by the tons of all sizes up to 303.
The Indians are the ones to take the stranger out in his boat and take one right to the fishing grounds.
He charges a small fee.
A small fee is also charged for a license that will permit one to fish all season on the reservation.
The stores are full of lake tackle and all one has to do is to ask the old-time dealer what to use and how and then go to the lake and hire
an Indian guide and one is sure to come home with more lake trout than he can dispose of.