August Lahontans

by j leal
(novato, Calif.)

After recently reading about a newly restored Sierra Nevada stream on the Calif. DFG website, I made plans to be there Aug 1st, 2016, the season opener for this new stream. I LOVE EXPLORING A NEW STREAM WITH A TENKARA ROD AND FLY. A thin blue line.

The stream had restoration efforts in the 90's & 2000's to remove all the fish and plant with lahontan cutthroat trout, the historic, native species. Close the stream for 5-6 yrs. to let the population take hold. A few population surveys during that time and DFG decides to open to angling in 2013, from Aug 1st-Nov 15th, artificial only, zero limit. PERFECT.

The stream descends gradually thru a high mountain meadow from 9,000'-7,000' thru its 2 mile length. It averaged 5'-6' wide, 6" of water depth to deeper runs and pockets up to 14" deep. Most creek banks were a foot or two above waterline, so scrambling/walking to the next likely looking pocket/run was the order of the day. Hit and move.

I decided to use my Nissin Pro-Spec 2way 320, used at 320 cm(10'-4"), with a 6'-6" #3.5 hi-vis flouro line w/3' of 5x tippet and an unweighted kebari. For small stream angling, I much prefer to have my fly just a bit shorter than the rod butt to provide good control and fly placement. I only give up a little on distance, that's OK. The rod and line were poetry in motion.

A majority of the cutthroats were 6"-8" long. A few smaller. ONE VERY BEAUTIFUL 9" LONG BEHEMOTH RESTING AT THE BOTTOM OF AN INSTREAM BOULDER WITH A SCOURED POCKET AT ITS BASE. My largest of 3 days fishing.

Beautiful green, brown, and olive body colors/hues with the very distinct orange jaw slashes and orange belly colors. Parr marks with their own spotting patterns. Simply beautiful. These Lahontan cutthroats are now my 5th Calif. native species caught in their historic watersheds. Several species of redbands and rainbows comprise the others. ALL ON A TENKARA ROD. One more qualifies me for a nice DFG certificate, hopefully next year.

I'm going to wait till next year to return here. The flows were perfect, but starting to get skinny, isolating the pools more. No sense stressing the fish in small isolated pockets. I can wait. An enjoyable angling experience in every way.

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