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Top Ten flies for stillwater

Stillwater fishing, anglers,, Jon Baiocchi, fly fishing

By Jon Baiocchi
05/24/13 -- Stillwater fishing has progressed at a rapid pace in the last decade. Techniques, rods, lines, and even the players on the field have gone in different directions to hone their craft. It has almost become personal now, the way we want to present our offering to the fish in our own special style.

Stillwater anglers should have many individual skills in their approach to the fertile waters at hand. Think of these skills like tools in a carpenter’s belt, each tool with a specific purpose in mind. Indicators, sinking lines, floaters, drop lining, and the dry game all rely on one key element; flies.

I’ve compiled an essential list of flies that every Stillwater technician should not be without. These flies are for trout, some are old, and others are standards. Then there are the ones that cross the line and take it too far like my “Baiocchi” ties with a special twist. Welcome to the staircase of progression in stillwater fly tying.

1) The Sheep Creek Special

Stillwater fishing, anglers,, Jon Baiocchi, fly fishing,Sheep Creek Special

George Biggs of Jerome, Idaho developed this fly for Sheep Creek Reservoir in northern Nevada. It’s an all-rounder type of pattern that suggests it could be many different things. For Lake Davis and Frenchman’s Reservoir, it’s a must have. I tie my version on a heavy scud hook instead of the long shank; it has better hooking power with a more defined silhouette of a snail.

2) The Jay Fair Wiggle Tail

Stillwater fishing, anglers,, Jon Baiocchi, fly fishing, Jay Fair Wiggle Tail

I love Jay’s simple approach to creating this fly, the marabou tail tied sparse with the right length makes this pattern come alive! This fly would not be complete unless it is tied with Jay’s proven materials; his colors glow and give the wiggle tail a three dimensional look. This fly has given me great success on many different lakes across the west.

3) The Swimming Rabbit Hair Leech

Stillwater fishing, anglers,, Jon Baiocchi, fly fishing, Swimming Rabbit Hair Leech

This fly does exactly what the name suggests; it moves and provides the perfect silhouette of a natural leech. Klamath Lake and Eagle Lake have abundant populations of leeches and this pattern has shined with flying colors in these waters. It offers more bang for your buck than a Wooly Bugger, and its durability is bombproof. Rust is my first choice of color, followed by black.

4) The Callibaetis nymph

Stillwater fishing, anglers,, Jon Baiocchi, fly fishing, Callibaetis nymph

This is a top producer when the mayflies of a lake are brewing up a hatch under partly cloudy skies. The old standard has been the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear, a great fly on its own but I’ve been doing extremely well with my Z-Lon Callibaetis. Add a copper flashback and you’ll have even more fish attracting qualities. When it comes to this pattern, size, shape, and movement is more important than color.

5) The Damsel Nymph

Stillwater fishing, anglers,, Jon Baiocchi, fly fishing, Damsel Nymph

The damselfly hatch in spring is one that many fly anglers have a special passion for. It offers them a chance to hook large trout just under the surface or stalk them off the bank. When tying these patterns keep them sparse with lots of moving parts. I like to fish two types; one leaded for deeper water before the hatch, and the other tied for shallow water that will “hover” in the strike zone. Keep in mind that damsels change color to match their surroundings. As the weeds change in color, so do the nymphs.

6) The Blood Midge

Stillwater fishing, anglers,, Jon Baiocchi, fly fishing, The Blood Midge

Much has been written about this famous chironomid. Its abundant hemoglobin lends it the red coloration that suggests its common name and enables it to live in the oxygen poor muddy substrate called the ‘death zone’. I can remember hatches at Lake Davis back in the day when your boat would be spotted red with the blood of these midges from the ride back at dusk. This simple blood midge tied on a heavy pupa hook with red thread, gold wire, a white bead, and coated in nail polish is all you need. It shines in both Indicator fishing and the traditional strip.

7) The Blood Midge Emerger

Stillwater fishing, anglers,, Jon Baiocchi, fly fishing, Blood Midge Emerger

Many innovative tiers have their own special blood midge emerger, including myself. The key elements that make a winning model is one that keeps the butt of the fly in the water, and the head and wings above the surface where it is visible to the angler’s eye. My pattern incorporates a mohair shuck, a foam body, followed by a white foam post with a burnt orange hackle wrapped parachute style. Refusals are rare with this fly.

8) The Floating Snail

Stillwater fishing, anglers,, Jon Baiocchi, fly fishing, Floating Snail

When snails are out dancing on the surface like buoys in the wind, trout line up for an easy high calorie meal. The use of foam in our flies has brought our fishing to a whole new level as they float like a cork, and wobble about. What’s killer about this fly is that it also doubles as a camouflage indicator for spooky trout.

9) The Parachute Midge Emerger

Stillwater fishing, anglers,, Jon Baiocchi, fly fishing, Parachute Midge Emerger

Scott Sanchez of Jackson Hole, WY developed this fly for fussy trout on the Snake River. Though it was never intended to be used as a specifically stillwater fly, its performance is unmatched. The way it sits in the film is identical to a real midge emerging into its new world of the wild blue yonder. The key ingredient is the ribbing of pearl crystal flash that shimmers and shines, attracting many trout from just below the surface.

10) The Scud

Stillwater fishing, anglers,, Jon Baiocchi, fly fishing, Scud

The freshwater shrimp populates most of our lakes in high desert areas stretching well up into Oregon. Scuds supply trout with a super high protein meal that makes them grow large and fast. Picking out the dubbing from under the body gives it a translucency that trout key in on. Effective colors are brown, olive, and gray. Trout will have no trouble seeing pregnant females; they’re bright orange!

Jon Baiocchi has been fly fishing and tying flies since 1972 and is a California licensed fly fishing guide, published author, educator, innovative tier, and public speaker giving fly fishing presentations to clubs and expos around the state. Jon operates Baiocchi’s Troutfitters guide service in Northeastern California where he has a reputation as a hard working guide who has been trained by some of fly fishing’s best known master anglers.

Fishing Reports

Microplastics Found in Marine Life
Specimen bottle of small pieces of plastic found in Marine life and fish, Photo by 5 Gyres, FISHBIO
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
10/05/15 -- Tiny bits of plastic, known as microplastics, are becoming a massive aquatic problem. It may be easy to think plastic poses no problem if it's so tiny you can barely even see it. However, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine... Full Story
Walker Lake drained by PG&E
Some of the thousands of dead fish litter the waterless Walker Lake, photo courtesy of Huff Post
By Mike Mogler 
10/03/15 -- I recently had conversation with a local angler in Shingletown and our conversation turned to the drought. We talked about kokanee fishing at Whiskeytown and what a weird year it has been... Full Story
Recreational Spiny Lobster season opens
Spiny lobster, photo courtesy of CDFW
10/02/15 -- Thousands of lobster fishermen are eagerly awaiting the start of the sport season for California’s spiny lobster, which opens Saturday, Oct. 3 and continues through March 16, 2016.There is currently a strong El Niño event occurring... Full Story
Salmon season opens to bubble aficionados
On Oregon Waters by Larry Ellis
10/02/15 -- The 2015 Chetco River Fall Chinook Ocean Terminal Area Season (aka the Bubble Season) officially opened its doors last Thursday to throngs of anglers trolling anything and everything from anchovies spun... Full Story
Sacramento River salmon fishing improves
Eli Horton of San Francisco with Sacramento River fall-run Chinook salmon, photo by Jeff Goodwin
Article and photo by Jeff Goodwin
10/02/15 -- The 2015 Sacramento River salmon season finally appears to be on step with what everyone expected a month ago. This years salmon run has kept river guides and anglers guessing ever since the river opened...Full Story
Early fall fishing outlook outstanding
Sacrament River Salmon, photo courtesy of Kirk Portocarreo's Professional Guide Service
By Gary Heffley
10/01/15 -- The beginning of fall, cooler mornings, shorter days and biting fish. Angling success is picking up in many areas throughout the North State. Once again anglers will be faced with choosing the best options, basic... Full Story
Fins, Fur and Feather summary
3 boys holding fresh bass for dinner. Photo by Chuck Giles
By Chuck Giles
10/01/15 -- It just isn’t funny anymore, is it? This drought has reaped havoc with almost every facet of our lives, particularly the outdoors people. Fishing, when you can find a credible source, has been fair to middlin’ at best from a boat... Full Story
Memoires of the World Series Troll
Bug eye lure, Photo courtesy of Google Images
By Gary Heffley
10/01/15 -- For those sports fans like me who grew up fishing in the Bay Area early October meant two things, the World Series which during my young years excluded my beloved Giants and Striper fishing. More specifically living... Full Story
Tough fishing continues on the Klamath
Sebastopol resident David Prudhomme landed this nice Chinook,  Photo courtesy of Alan’s Guide Service
Fishing the North Coast by Kenny Priest
09/30/15 -- Last week, the ocean finally laid down enough to allow the Eureka sport fleet to set their sights on the oh-so-elusive Albacore tuna. A bunch of boats made the 25 or so mile trek out of the Humboldt entrance on Thursday...Full Story
Bass bite best bet as fall season begins
Orobille Waters by Craig Bentley, author badge,
Oroville Waters by Craig Bentley
09/29/15 -- Fall pattern begins in Oroville area waters as bass bite picks up at Oroville Lake and Afterbay, while kings continue moving through the lower Feather River up into the cooler waters of the low flow. Hunting season opens for... Full Story
Curing eggs for salmon fishing
A fresh pair of salmon skeins, photo by Jeff Goodwin
Article and photos by Jeff Goodwin
09/27/15 -- Salmon fishing on the Sacramento River is going strong and anglers are catching salmon just about everywhere in the Sacramento River system. We really got off to a late start this year, but the tough fishing... Full Story
Collins Lake to get huge trout plants By Kathy Hess, Lake Reporter
09/27/15 -- There is some exciting news for anglers who like fish here. Collins Lake’s Fall Trout Planting Program will begin in mid- October! Between then and the end of November the lake will gain over 7,000 lbs. of trout... Full Story
MWD/WWD eye land in path of tunnels Posted on behalf of Restore the Delta (RTD)
09/22/15 -- On Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at 8:30 a.m., behind closed doors, MWD's executive committee has scheduled what appears to be the purchase of parcels for the proposed massive Delta Tunnels project.... Full Story
Trout plants continue at Hat Creek
lady with brook trout from Hat Creek, Photo courtesy of Mike Mogler
By Mike Mogler
09/22/15 -- I had the opportunity to fish Hat Creek Thursday and was pleasantly surprised with a few late morning brook trout. I had planned to fish this week with the crowds of campers and anglers back to work... Full Story
Extra 2M smolts raised by Stamp Funds
Enhancement King caught off Pillar Point.  Photo courtesy of GGSA
09/22/15 -- Salmon fishermen should enjoy better fishing in a few years due to an extra two million salmon smolts that will be raised and released in 2016. The extra two million hatchery fish will be bred at the Mokelumne and Feather... Full Story
GGSA Red Bluff Salmon Derby is Oct. 10
Golden Gate Salmon Association annual salmon derby poster
09/22/15 -- You can support California’s top salmon conservation organization while having fun and a shot at $1,000 in the annual Golden Gate Salmon Association Red Bluff Salmon Derby Saturday, October 10. The derby is open... Full Story
Salmon on California's Climate Seesaw
Juvenile salmon, photo couresy of FISHBIO
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
09/21/15 -- California has a reputation as a balmy "bubble" of unchanging weather-however, such consistency couldn't be further from the truth when it comes to the amount of rainfall the state receives from year to year. The wide swings...Full Story
Sacramento River plug fishing
Jaynie Goodwin with her Sacramento River rainbow trout. Poto submitted by Jeff Goodwin's guide Service
By Jeff Goodwin
09/17/15 -- Each and every year there comes a time for me when it becomes necessary to gather up or purchase the bulk of the items I will need to keep me fishing for salmon, trout, and steelhead all year long. This includes hooks... Full Story
NMFS explains overfishing determinations 09/14/15 -- NOAA Fisheries National Marine Fisheries Services' most recent quarterly stock status update included a determination of overfishing for four stocks of Pacific salmon. Notice of this determination was published...Full Story
Fat Fishes in Food-Limited Locations?
Mexican Cave Dwelling fish photo by H. Zell, FISHBIO
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
09/14/15 -- Food can be hard to come by for fish in harsh environments, such as the dark isolation of freshwater caves. Because caves are typically devoid of light, plants of any kind are limited or absent. Furthermore, the aquatic...Full Story
Golden Gate rockfish hot-hot -hot
vermillion rockfish caught at the South Farallon Island. Photo courtesy of Dennis Heffley
By Gary Heffley
09/11/15-- The only thing hotter than the weather this week in the San Francisco Bay Area was the excellent rock fish and ling Cod fishing found off the coast. I joined my brother Dennis on Wednesday and ventured...Full Story
Let’s check out the Upper Sac
Lake Siskiyou with Mt. Shasta standing sentinel. photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
09/06/15 -- The Upper Sacramento River – The Upper Sac – begins at Lake Siskiyou’s Box Canyon Dam and continues ~37 miles downstream to Lake Shasta. It is a classic freestone river born from the Mt. Shasta and Mt. Eddy... Full Story
Sacramento River trout love Dick-Nite spoons
Sacramento River rainbow trout, photo by Jeff Goodwin
By Jeff Goodwin
08/16/15 -- Trout fishing continues to be very good in the Redding area. All summer long, trout fishing has provided plenty of action for anglers who enjoy fishing for them. Early on, our lakes and reservoirs were producing very well, but as the... Full Story
Crystal Lake fish planting going well
Elizondo explaining to Linda Colvin about fry at the Crystal lake fish hatchery, by Lace Photography
Article by Alex Colvin photos by LACE Photography
08/16/15 -- This year The Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery will stock 1.8 million trout. In addition to the 16 counties in California which they normally supply, they are also supplying fish to the Darrah Springs Trout Hatchery east of Redding and the Mount... Full Story
Upper Sac River: Elbow room & lots of fish
boy holding up trout with a stick, photo courtesy of the Dunsmuir Chamber of Commerce
08/15/15 -- No traffic on 1-5 and no fishing traffic on the water! Now that the kids are back in school and the crowds are elsewhere, the river is full of fish and not fishermen. It’s wade-able, crystal clear and cold as the days shorten... Full Story
The Importance of Fish Physiology
Phtoto courtesy of FISHBIO
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
08/10/15 -- When salmon and trout are exposed to very high temperatures, they often die. Thanks to the study of physiology, we now know that one cause of death in fish living at high temperatures can be a heart attack...Full Story
Dunsmuir: Headquarters for the Upper Sac
Woman smiling ear to ear holding her trout she caught on the Upper Sacramento River. Photo courtesy of the City of Dunsmuir
By Gary Heffley
07/14/15 -- For a fly angler looking to ply the trout rich waters of the Upper Sac a stop into Dunsmuir and a visit to the Ted Fay Fly Shop is a must. The shop in downtown Dunsmuir at 5732 Dunsmuir Ave is the place for my current... Full Story
Finding Fish from Discarded DNA
Bluegill, photo by FISHBIO
By Erin Loury
06/22/15 -- To round out our series on environmental DNA (eDNA), in which we've described the basic concepts of this technique* in aquatic research, as well as its challenges and limitations**, here we highlight... Full Story
How to make Tuscan Tuna Salad with Fennel By Frank Galusha
05/04/15 -- OK, you went ocean fishing. If your fish is fresh or if you have processed, vacuum packed and frozen your catch properly, there are many ways to enhance your meals. Almost everything taken from the ocean is not... Full Story
Pacific halibut 2015 regulations in effect
Angler with Pacific halibut, photo courtesy of CDFW
05/01/15 -- The recreational Pacific halibut fishery will open May 1 for the 2015 season. This year the fishery will be held to a federally established quota of 25,220 pounds. The season dates will be May 1-15, June 1-15, July 1-15, Aug. 1-15... Full Story
Agencies halt commercial sardine fishing
Commercial fishing boats dragging their fishing nets, CADFW
04/30/15 -- All large-volume commercial sardine fishing in state and federal waters off California has been prohibited as of Tuesday, April 28, 2015. The closing will remain in effect until at least July 2016. “This may be an end of... Full Story
F&GC adopts in-river sport fishing regs 04/23/15 -- The California Fish and Game Commission adopted changes to the Central Valley and Klamath River basin salmon sport fishing regulations for the 2015 season on Friday, April 17. The changes include fall-run...Full Story
Fishing the Klamath below JC Boyle Dam
 Brian Buckingham with one of the larger fish from this section. This trout, estimated at 2 lbs., was caught near the BLM campground on the west shore six miles down the JC Boyle Dam on the Klamath River in Southern Oregon. Photo by author
By Trouteagle
03/02/15 -- Year round trout action can be found on the Klamath River within the 20 or so miles of free flow within Oregon and California. While fishing below the flumes at the JC Boyle powerhouse, it can be difficult to know just when...Full Story
The Mystery of the Middle Fork, Part IV
Jim Broshears, author badge,
By Jim Broshears
11/10/14 -- This trip was to be the final chapter in the saga that began three years ago but is actually over 20 years in the making. As Bruce, Tuck and I journeyed back to the Middle Fork of the Feather River we made...Full Story
Climbing Terms for the Fisherman
Trailhead Tales by Jim Broshears
10/14/14 -- For those of us who prefer to fish the rugged and remote streams and rivers for the elusive wild trout, rock climbing is a skill that is required to reach the special places where catching the big one is a “sure thing.” The skills...Full Story
German brown trout afternoon in Modoc
german brown trout in Modoc creek.
By Lea Huetteman
09/04/14 -- Catching a German Brown Trout from the creeks in Modoc County is a fine way to spend an afternoon. There are many creeks in this part of California that drain the Warner Mountains. Stream trout fishing in this region opens...Full Story
Throw the kitchen sink at them
Indian Paintbrush is a favorite wildflower that carpets wilderness landscapes. Phil Flip Akers,
Article and photos by Phil Akers
08/20/14 -- Our wilderness areas are special, where Mother Nature is landlord and natural forces operate freely. Within the wilderness you will find no roads, shelters, picnic tables, toilets, or other conveniences. You enter at...Full Story
Humboldt Bay: Busy port, excellent fishery
Woodley Island Marina, Humboldt Bay, Eureka, California
03/06/04 -- Humboldt Bay, a busy commercial harbor and home port to many charter and private offshore fishing boats, is also popular with shore-based anglers and small boaters seeking bottomfish, sharks, crabs and clams...Full Story
Pulled into the pipes: Green Sturgeon
green sturgeon
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
03/04/14 -- [Posted with permission of FISHBIO] Living in the Sacramento River can be a risky business for juvenile green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). The young fish must swim through a gauntlet of water... Full Story
Not Just Any Fish
California Golden Trout, California Heritage Trout Challenge, Not Just Any Fish, Phil
By Phil "Flip" Akers
02/14/13 -- Trout have inhabited California waters from the Sierra Nevada and Warner Mountains to the Pacific Ocean since prehistoric times. However, most of the trout caught by anglers are either hatchery raised fish...Full Story
Fishing with Phideaux
By Phil “Flip” Akers
01/26/14 -- Meet Phideaux, a 110-pound neurotic chocolate Lab. His name is pronounced “Fido” but it is spelled “Phideaux” because he is a Cajun dog. Anyway, last summer Phideaux took his human (that’s me) on a trout hunt up into...Full Story
A primer on fishing Lake Shasta By Gary Heffley
01/01/12 -- Shasta Lake draws more visitors to Shasta County than any other single attraction. While it is often a challenge to fish, it is more likely to produce stringers of fat trout or spotted bass. Trout to four and five pounds are caught here routinely...Full Story
Lake Oroville; 'tis the season By Chuck Giles
01/11/12 – Lake Oroville is probably one of the best lakes for sheer numbers of Spotted Bass in Northern California. This is not just on a seasonal basis, but year round. To start, I have a list of baits that produce decent results... Full Story


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