Sunday, January 10, 2010

End Of The Otts

The end of 2009 marks the end of the 'ott' years and brings with it some new and exciting changes. As the old adage goes, the only certainties in life are death, taxes, and change.

As many of you may already know my wife and I are excited about the upcomming expansion of our family. Soon we will have another partner in our fly fishing adventures but this has also brought about shift in thought about what the future holds. I have had to think through and make some tough decisions. At the top of this list has been Anchor Point Fly Fishing.

Considering the security of my family and my wife's request to take the next few years off from full time work, I have made the decision to step back from full time operation of Anchor Point. I have accepted a full time position as a service manager for a bio-tech company. Although my office will no longer be on the river day in and day out, I am still excited for the programs that will be continuing through the balance of winter, into spring and on into summer. I will be focused on group and individual schools for casting/fishing of both single and two hand rods, a series of classes on tying steelhead flies, and continuing my pursuit of two handed casting certification. We will also be taking on a bigger role in Down Stream and are excited for the 2K10 event in the spring. Along with these programs I still intend to apply as much of my free time as possible to chasing fish.

I will continue to put updates for the upcomming programs here and on my site. I will also continue to share some stories, reports, and other technical information here on the blog, so check back often.

For those of you who still have interest in the American Steelhead Special, I have started a standby list in case I have cancellations for my existing bookings. Please drop me a message if you would like to be added to the list.

A monster by no means but each of these wild fish is special in its own way. A magical feeling to hold one and let it swim free to fulfill its destiny.

I would also like to send out a special thanks to those who have spent days with us over the past few years. We greatly appreciate you business and will continue to provide the highest quality service through all of our programs.

The tug is the drug

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Time To Tie

When the wife goes away, out come the materials.

The winter fish are on their way!

The tug is the drug

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Detailed Spey and Switch Class on the Yuba

Spey and Switch Rods on the Yuba
With Ryan Miller, Kieth Kaneko, and Adrian Psuty

This class will be held on the Yuba River and will be dedicated to exploring the world of spey casting and utilizing spey techniques. Learn everything from how to hold the rod to properly working a run. We will show you how to select rods, reels, lines, tips, flies, spey casts and water. We will dive into Skagit, Scandinavian and long belly line applications. This is the most complete spey class out there. If you have a qestion, we will have an answer.

If you do not own a two-handed rod, no problem, we will have multiple outfits available for you to use.

These techniques will also add another dimension to your single handed casting so feel free to bring along a single handed rod.

The class will feature local guide, travel agent and my good friend Keith Kaneko of Angling On The Fly and local guide and casting instructor Adrian Psuty of Anchor Point Fly Fishing. We will spill the beans about one of our passions and put all the pieces together about the spey game.

November 22: 10 anglers max, cost is $75 per person

Students will be taken on a first come, first serve basis and ability does not matter.

The class will start at 10am and end at 5pm.

Contact Ryan Miller at, Phone: 530-913-8312 with questions or to sign up.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


A new fly for the fall season in the valley.
This one was born from the original intruders with an eggy twist.

This, like most other intruders I tie, is tied on a straightened 2/0 salmon hook. I rig a stinger hook using my tippet and a small piece of junction tubing with a non-slip loop. Rigging in this way has three major advantages over using just the long shank hook; the short shank of the stinger decreases the amount of leverage that the fish can apply, the stinger is free to move once a fish is hooked additionally decreasing the fish's leverage, and the hook can easily be replaced if it becomes dull or damaged.

I will be putting together some step by step picture instructions for tying and rigging intruder style flies (good motivation for getting a new tying area set up).

The tug is the drug

Monday, October 19, 2009

Flies For The Season

This past week's rain brought some much needed water, the first feeling of Fall temperatures, and even gave my boat a good free bath.

As my wife and I make plans for the addition to our family, close to the top of the list was the location of the nursery. I will soon be giving up my fly addict room to make way for the crib, changing table, and other required items. I began the process of moving out but had to spend one final evening at my tying bench before it was relocated (to where I am not yet sure but it is not staying where it is).

Fitting of the change in season I tied a few holiday flies. I am sure that both will go for a swim very soon.

Halloween (Orange Back Zombie)

Christmas (Green Tailed Bow)
Yes it is still a quite a ways off but it will be here before we know it.

One little piece of advice that has served me well for the past few years. Get your holiday shopping done before November 15th. It will win you huge points with your wife (if you have one), you will not have to listen to all that crappy holiday music while shopping, and you will free up some time down the road to spend on the river when the big boys are around.

The tug is the drug

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Week With The Folks

Even before they arrived my folks had requested a fly fishing lesson. So it was no surprise that when they touched down it was still high on their list of things to do.

We headed up to Big M Fishery in Lincoln. The guys at Big M took excellent care of us by providing shuttle service to and from the fishing area and even unloading our gear from the golf cart.

We spent the first hour or so going over casting instruction, as neither had ever fly fished. They both picked it up very rapidly and were soon out at the 30-40 ft range. Time for fishing with flies! A quick lesson on retrieving the fly and line control and they were off. Armed with their new casting skills and some buggers we started to probe the depths in search of some hungry fish.

Within minutes my Mom's line began to swim away and her voice cracked with excitement when she she yelled "Adrian, Adrian, what do I do?" Unfortunately not enough pressure was applied and the pull on the end of the line ceased. Another small explanation about fighting fish with barbless hooks and we were back to it. The first strip of the second cast resulted in another fish pulling on the end of the line. This time, determined to keep good tension during the fight, the fish arrived at the bank. This was my mother's first fish ever! Although not a monster by most measurements it was definitely huge for for the two of us and will be one that will not be forgotten. The look in her eyes as she touched its fins and then said 'thanks' as it swam away will stick with me forever.
As fatherhood aproaches me, I have spent even more time reflecting upon my past and things I would like to change for the future. I have a great appreciation for the sacrafices my parrents made, which have allowed me many great opportunities. Thanks for everthing Mom and Dad and for a great day out on the water. Looking forward to our next outing.

Also a special thanks to Shawn Pittard for his help throughout the day and for capturing some great pix.

The tug is the drug

Friday, September 18, 2009

Yuba Going Strong

We have had a few days on the Yuba over the past week and she is putting up good numbers of quality fish including a few chrome dandies. The mornings have been a little slow but by mid afternoon things have been in full swing with good evening hatches. We have been averaging a few fish per day on the swing but most have come on nymphs and drys. A fair number of Salmon are also in the system with 20-30 spotted each day (hopefully lots more to come). Egg hatch soon?

Fish and Game has been out starting their Redd surveys. If you see bright orange rocks on the banks an in the stream bed please avoid walking in these areas. Additionally if you see areas where the rocks look bright white, these are also redds and should be avoided. I have yet to see any fish staging but it should begin soon.

The tug is the drug.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Salt For Steelhead?

The muggy air caused every pore in my body to open and spit as we stepped outside. It was also a soothing break for my bone-dry eyes which had just endured 8 hours of recycled, fart filled airplane air. Yea baby, we are no longer in Kansas and there probably isn't a steelhead within 2000 miles. But we were in Mexico and on a quest for another chrome fish, Tarpon and the possibility of a slam.

We were hurried into a shuttle to head off to the place we would call home for the next few days. Before we even departed from the airport we were questioned by one of our shuttle-mates repeatedly about our plans. You know the type, the ones who can't stop talking. This guy had a very close vocal resemblance to Zed (Bobcat Goldthwait) from Police Academy. His voice almost cracking as he released his excited words in an not quite yelling but not quite talking voice. He even pulled out a bank wrapped wad of 100 one dollar bills, explaining that " this is the only way to go in Mexico....tip with lots of singles and you can get anything you want here!" I would have paid at least and extra $20 to be the next ones off the shuttle but our fate was sealed. We got to spend the following half-hour hearing about all his previous travels and his plans while in Cancun.

Once we arrived at our abode (The Blue Bay Club), checked in, cranked the AC, and got our first cervasa we were finally at ease. Now only a single res less night lay between us and some stalking on the flats (a few more cervasa and a good Cuban cigar made quick work of the evening).

The first morning started off with a short boat ride from the marina. The channel inlet into the lagoon area was like something out of a movie. Apocalypse Now flashed through my mind as we turned the first corner and got a view of the thick green vegetation surrounding the channel and lagoon. I was even so in ah that I didn't even reach for the camera.

We began by casting into the numerous holes along the edges of the mangroves. Because the water in this lagoon was quite deep we were pretty much blind casting to areas that looked good or to the rings left by a fish that had rolled. The entire time that we were back in this area fish were rolling back up in the mangroves and along their edges. The casting was somewhat tight and the gaps we were aiming for were sometimes only a foot or two wide with overhanging branches! We jumped a number of fish but most made one jump and then headed straight for the mangroves which caused one of two outcomes; a break-off or the fish coming unbuttoned. We did land one nice Snook.

The balance of the first day we spent outside of the mangroves on the flats. We had a few shots at some Bones and Permit but no fish to hand. A front also moved in and brought with it a good dose of wind and some heavy chop.

Day 2 was a complete bust as the winds were very high. In addition to the heavy chop it also caused very significant changes to the tides. The areas we attempted to fish for tarpon were quite high and it was our guides thought that most of the fish were back up in the groves instead of cruising on the edges.

The third day began with a beautiful sunrise and very light winds. 'Time to make up for yesterday' was running through my head as we tootled out through the marina. And it just so happened that was exactly what lay ahead of us.

We covered a few flats searching for the Bones and Permit. We did see three or four schools of bones but they were all on the move. We also came across a few Permit but just like the bones they were completely on the move. The next few hours we spend back up in a series of lagoons and channels sight casting to Tarpon and the action was unbelievable and almost non stop. This is what we had come for and we got our fair share. There is something sweet about spotting, casting to, and leading a fish until your fly disappears into the mouth of a crazy, pissed off Tarpon. A millisecond later the fish 5 feet out of the water thrashing. I have yet to experience anything else like it.

This trip was put together by Keith Kaneko of Angling On The Fly. Kieth has numerous destinations around the world that are all top notch. If you are considering a destination please give Keith a call as I am sure he will have something that will far exceed your expectations.

Trinity River Full Day Spey Schools

Once you hook a summer steelhead on the Trinity River, you’ll be coming back every year to view the beauty of the river and the possibility of hooking another feisty sea-run rainbow. The Trinity is one of the top steelhead fisheries on the west coast and continues to produce some of the largest runs in North America. During this informative spey casting and fishing class, you’ll be exposed to everything needed to make your time on the river more productive. We will float and stop at designated locations, both river left and river right, to work on spey casting and fishing methods. Learn how to become a better spey caster while increasing your knowledge about equipment and fishing a spey rod. Topics will include, but are n
ot limited to, equipment , casting styles , spey casting techniques from both sides of the river, casting and fishing sinktips, distance casting, and fishing methods. This school includes a river-side lunch, scenic float and casting and fishing instruction. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover one of California’s finest “steelhead-spey” rivers. Class size is limited to 6 people. October 10th-11th from 8am to 4pm. Recommended lodging near the Willow Creek area : The Bigfoot Motel (530) 629-2142, Gambi Hill Motel/Cottages (530) 629-2701, Coho Cottages 800 722-2223, Campgrounds: Camp Kimtu

Cost per person: $350.00

Date: October 10th and 11th 2009

Equipment List:

-Spey Rod Oufit (Rod, Reel and Line, if you do not have an outfit we can provide one)


-Wading Boots

-Valid California Fishing License with Steelhead Report Card

-Leaders: 9’ – 15’ Tapered Leaders 3x-0x, Tippet-0X-3X

-Summer Steelhead Flies: #8-#6- Green Butt Silver Hilton, October Caddis, Muddler Minnow, Sculpin,

Green Butt Skunk


-Polarized Glasses


-Camera w/ Batteries and Memory Card

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

American River Fall and Winter Steelhead Spey Special

American River Fall and Winter

Steelhead Spey Special: $250

8-10 Hours for 1 or 2 Anglers

Expert instruction coupled with a full day on the water at a special rate-

who could ask for more?

This program is designed provide you with the skills and information you need to chase fall and winter steelhead with two handed rods. If you've already got the skills, no problem, we will skip the instruction and get right to chasing steelies on the swing for the entire day.

Walk and wade or float depending upon river flows and season. All gear (rods, lines, leaders, flies, tippet...) will be provided. If you have your own outfit, bring it and we will provide the flies, leaders, and tippet.

Instructional topics to be covered as needed and personalized to your needs:

· Gear (rods, lines, flies)

· Casting tune-up (river right and river left)

· Presentation techniques for floating and sink tip lines

· Reading water

We will show you where the great swinging water can be found right here on the American!

What's the catch?

-This program is only availble for two handed rods (spey or switch) - swing only.

-We will not be providing a full lunch for these days (we will have a cooler with ice, drinks, and snacks). Please bring your own lunch if you like.

The tug is the drug


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Swinging On The American

The American has begun to pick up her pace over the past few weeks. We have been out all but a few days over the past week and with good numbers of grabs, even a few fish to hand.

It's a little early for numbers of fish we have been seeing/hooking. The higher flows are probably playing a part in keeping the American temps slightly below those of the Sac (lets just hope that they have enough water to keep us going thorough the winter). Most of the fish we have been getting are in the 18-22' range and a mixture of wild and hatchery.

We will soon be launching a Fall and Winter Swing Special for the American River. Details in the next post.

The tug is the drug

Monday, August 10, 2009

Even Smoky Clouds Have A Silver Lining

The fire burning just north of Rt 138 caused my buddy Mike and I to question our plans to head to the North Umpqua. Would it jump the containment areas? Would the crews working the fire close additional stretches of the road? Just how smokey would it be up there? These and may other questions bounced back and forth over the phone and through the digital networks in the days leading up to our planned departure.

The final consensus, lets just go but keep a backup plan. The backup plan entailed hauling the drift boat up to Medford and dropping it off so we could, if needed, float a few days on the Rogue. As it turned out there would be no drifts on the Rogue during this trip.

We hit the road at O-dark-thirty, dropped the boat boat before noon, and after a quick stop at the grocery arrived at Island campground by 4pm. We scurried to set up knowing full well that it would be dark by the time we got off the water.

The road closure began just down river from Mott Bridge, allowing access to the camp water stretch. As we pulled into the parking area, to our great surprise, we had it all to ourselves. Half-way through the first run I knew that it was going to be an epic trip. I rose two fish to a dry and was able to follow up and hook one on a wet! The first fish of the trip came unbuttoned but the story had just begun.

A few nips of Scotch and a beer with dinner were all we could handle before our heads hit the pillows and it seemed only minutes later the alarm going off at 4:30. A pot of coffee into the mugs and back to the river we went to sip our coffee and wait for day to break. A front had moved in over night bringing with in much cooler temperatures and a thick cloud layer. The steam rising from my mug of hot 'Joe' told me that it should be a fall morning but a steelhead morning it was none the less. Before even stepping foot in the water fish were rolling everywhere! Standing on shore sipping our coffee we looked on in amazement that we still had the place to ourselves.

We rose a few fish in our first runs and set off to explore some upstream water. A quick break for lunch and back to the water. The smoke mixed with the clouds kept the sun at bay for the entire day and aided in bringing numerous fish to the surface after our dry flies with two fish to hand by late afternoon. By all accounts this was already a completely successful trip and anything more would be 'gravy.' I remember thinking "I want to get as much as I can, cuz this just doesn't happen very often!"

The above would be the plan for the following two days and it paid huge dividends. We had a second full day of cloud and smoke to keep the sun off the water entirely. The third day was split by 3 hours of sun in the afternoon but the shady spots still produced. After three and a half days on the river we were 7 for 17 with 10 to the dry fly. All seven fish were wild and totally full of fight. All were pretty typical summer fish in the 5-8lb range except for one lunker that was well over 10lb. It came unbuttoned at the bank during the landing process so no physical evidence but it will not soon be forgotten by either Mike nor I.

They opened the road on Friday afternoon but all of the parking for the first 10 miles down from Steamboat was still closed for fire-crew access. A few more folks showed up on Saturday but for a typical August weekend on the North it was deserted.

Next time you are on the fence about making a trip just go for it, as it may turn out to be a trip of a lifetime.

The tug is the drug

Friday, July 24, 2009

Week In Review

I had the chance to get out and chase some fish over the past few weeks. I spent a few evenings out on the American chasing some stripers around. We managed a few schoolies here and there but nothing note worthy. I did get a few good reports of better numbers of fish in the lower river so this week will warrant some exploration.

As for Steelhead, there are some fish scattered throughout the American system. I got ripped one morning this week and I saw a pod of fish move through Grissmill on Wednesday that were as bright as could be and in the 5-7lb range. I am hopeful that this is a sign of good things to come.

I also had the opportunity to spend a day over in Truckee with Brian Slusser. Brian is a local guide to the Truckee area. He owns and operates Four Seasons Fly Fishing.

We spent half of the day out on Stampede Reservoir and the evening on the Truckee. We got into lots bass throughout the morning. No monsters but plenty of action to keep up occupied. After a few hours we ventured back into one of the inlets only to find a huge swarm of hoppers throughout the tree lined shores and when the wind would blow they ended up on the water. I have never seen such a thing on still water. Even the Geese were excited and chasing the water trapped hoppers so it would only make sense that the trout would also be keyed in. We made a dozen or so drifts with fish on every one, even a few doubles and a few multiple fish drifts. Again no monsters but still pretty cool to catch fish on the surface, in high sun, with large dry flies. The evening ended on the moving water of the Truckee with lots of fish chasing bugs to the surface.

If you are planning a trip to the Truckee area please don't hesitate to look Brian up. He is a great guide, knows the area well, and can customize a trip that will far exceed your expectations.

I will be launching a some special programs for the fall and winter, details coming soon.

The tug is the drug

Monday, July 6, 2009

Long Time, No Post

It has been quite awhile since my last post and lots has been going on.

I had the opportunity to attend Sandy River Spey Clave. It was awesome to be around so many talented casters and have the option to cast just about any rod out there. Even got to fish a few days on the Sandy and Clack.

Back up to memorial day (I know 4th of July has just past but I want to recap). Teresa and I spent the weekend on the North Fork of the Feather with some friends. It was our first time up there and what a gem we had been ignoring. Tough to wade, lots of scrambling up and down the rocky banks, and no other fishermen in sight. I could not believe that for a holiday weekend we did not seen another fly fisherman and only two or three gear guys. Bonus for us!!! The highlight of the weekend was spotting a riser from a high rocky bank and stocking my way down into position and putting a caddis right into his zone while the rest of the group cheered from above.

I am finally into my new place in Rancho and the projects around here have been taking a good portion of my time.

I am happy to announce that we (Teresa and I) have a new addition to the family. We have a house why not get a dog?? Riley is a 5 year old retriever mix but he is not your ordinary retriever. He is about 85 pounds of red fur and a face that has the innocence of a 2 month old puppy. His former owners were moving back to England and did not want to put him through the 6 month quarantine process. So Teresa went over to look at a couch they were selling and came back with Riley (well not exactly but you get the general idea).

I guided a few days the following week on the Yuba with the flows rippin. We managed a few fish each day with the bonus of three nice steelies out of the lower river (below Sycamore). The high flows did move some of the structure around and opened up a new piece of water down low that I am excited to swing when the flows come down.

I guided three days on the American for shad and strippers. Only a few small schoolie strippers but we did have a blast with some shad and the two handed rods. This is a great way to get repeated hookups on the swing which doesn't happen too often with steelhead.

The guys from Outdoor Specialty Products put together a vendor spey day on the American River which featured the complete line of Sage, Redington, and Rio spey products. Simon Gawesworth gave a few demos and presentations. I was fortunate to spend multiple hours with Simon one on one working on and discussing two handed instruction. I gleamed a few nuggets that will help me out when working with clients and with the two handed instructor certification exam.

I passed my single hand casting certification exam. This was the culmination of two months of focused work and many times of going through the demonstration questions with Teresa (secretly she is happier than I am as she does not have to listen to them anymore).

I have begun working more with Jeff Putnam on his fly fishing schools. I will have another post outlining what we are working on for the balance of the summer and the fall.

I took a client over to the Truckee for a day two weeks ago. I was hoping to catch the tail end of the Green Drakes but I think we were a few days too late in the sections we fished. But that did not mean we were out of luck with the surface action. There were Yellow Sallies and Caddis everywhere and we had a nice mayfly hatch in the evening. No monsters but lots eager fish.

I got out with my buddy Shawn last week on the Yuba. We only had about 5 hours to spend but we made the best of it. We swung through a few runs with no grabs. We did find a pod of risers in the lower river and were able to raise a half dozen or so. This was also Riley's maiden trip in the boat and he did very well. I think he is gonna make for a great fishing dog.

I have a list of at least 6 topics for posts that I have been working on so there will not be as much of a lapse between posts from now on.

The tug is the drug