Lake Davis Observations ~ 10/27/2019

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Baiocchi's Troutfitters

by Jon Baiocchi

Beautiful Autumn weather blanketing Lake Davis in the last week, another Indian summer with flashes of small weather systems in the last month and a half. It’s just how our climate is these days and surly not the same world I remember growing up in Paradise. Back then we’d get rain and snow from late September through May, and a whole lot of it. We had t-shirt weather on Friday in the afternoon. It’s been too nice to be honest.

We need a good storm to let these fish know that winter will take hold soon and they will be living under an icy tomb for 5 months. They tend to feed more during such desperate times. Catch rates have slowed down from the previous week. The big mega pods I found in the extreme north end and took advantage of have dispersed – Fish are scattered once again. We saw this in early October as well. You’ll find them in all types of water too, shallow shoreline, mid depth with heavy weeds, and in 25 feet with a featureless bottom structure. No matter the depth the trout are hugging the top water column.

50 degrees is the current water temp and it’s been dropping really slow with the warm afternoons we’ve had. Fishing conditions are rarely perfect, the angler that makes the most of what they have been dealt will always succeed the most. At least there are more fish in the lake. When we have a day with 13 fish to the net and I’m thinking it’s on the slow side, that tells me things are getting back to the normal rhythms that Lake Davis is known for.

Glassy conditions with a high sun can be frustrating, the trout are spooky and hard to catch. Fishing from a boat requires my guests to cast at least 40 feet when the lake is like a giant mirror. That boat puts out a pretty large foot print on the water’s surface, so you need to place your fly as far away as possible. That’s the beauty of choppy water, it masks your mistakes, and gives you an advantage. Do yourself a favor and practice your casting for 20 minutes three times a week for months before a trip to the lake. As a guide, it allows me to make your day much more productive, I have more to work with.  Pray for the ripple, it really helps.

Same story…cover water, find them, bang them…move on. With the warm weather there has actually been some hatches of size 34 midges in the afternoon, enough to see a few risers. When you see rising fish, it gives you hope. If you’re catching smaller fish in a certain area and you want bigger fish – Move to a different location. Big fish are bullies, and they’ll push out those smaller fish where there is abundant food and prime feeding areas. Quality or quantity, a choice you have to make at times.

Big flies with moving parts, Jay Fair stuff. Rust in the morning with a little red, burnt orange in the afternoons. Keep it moving, vary the strip cause these fish do not like a fly stripped with perfect rhythm, mix it up, make that fly look alive like a real creature swimming underneath the surface. I love a fly like Jay’s trolling fly (a stripping fly for those that are sensitive to the word trolling) that can do it all, and is easy to tie. When the fishing is on the slow side, it’s the intricate details that often make the difference. Don’t just fish, strategically think as you fish and decipher the ever changing daily conditions.

Big wind today, up to 30 mph. That’s a good thing, it will stir the pot and disperse food for the trout all over the place. Power is still on here thanks to Plumas Sierra Rural Co-Op. I had planned to go back to Nevada City last night, but with no power I’d rather stay here and get some work done on the computer before banging out my last three trips. October is so beautiful, yet lately in our ever changing world, can be so cruel. Poof, gone, up in smoke, with only ashes and memories remaining. A tough reality. It’s really easy to forget about how vulnerable we are when your floating on the water stripping bugs in t-shirt weather. Keep praying for my home town where I sowed the seeds to be where I’m at today, keep praying for Paradise, and the next towns that are on the hit list.

My plate is full for the next two months. I’ll finish up the best fall season in 8 years here at Lake Davis, a 3 day trip to the Trinity River for my own fishing with my buddies @shogun_of_denver and Brian Clemens as our guide, then prepping for my 2nd So Cal Presentation tour to 7 clubs in 10 days (I’ll post the details soon), come back home and bang out a bunch of Lower Yuba River trips… next would be my full day of “Insights to Nor Cal Eastern Stillwaters” with Delta Fly Fishers on December 7th, then a 3 week-long trip to Colorado to go fishing with my best friend Cat, while ending it with some Christmas cheer and the last Star Wars movie (that’s some serious Rebel Alliance closure for me since it all began in 1977). When the gate drops, you got to pin it, to win it. Boom! Hole shot! I’m gone!

See you on the water…

Jon Baiocchi has been fly fishing and tying flies since 1972 and has been a California licensed fly fishing guide for 22 years, is a 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 the northern Sierra during the warmer months, and on the Lower Yuba River during the winter. He has a reputation as a hard working guide who has been trained by some of fly fishing's best known master anglers, and is passionate about teaching all things fly fishing.