Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Recommended Guide: Andras Outfitters (NorCal / So. Oregon)

A robust Upper Klamath half-pounder!

This season, I had the wonderful opportunity to fish the Upper Klamath River with Jim and Rachel Andras of Andras Outfitters. Based out of Ashland, OR, Jim Andras offers guided fly fishing trips on the Upper Rogue, Upper Klamath, Lower Sacramento, and Trinity Rivers.

I have fished with many guides during my travels and can truly say that Jim is top shelf, as he is a consummate professional that knows his craft well. In addition, I appreciate guides like Jim that work hard to get his anglers into fish... often, he would jump overboard and hold the drift boat in position for me to effectively present my flies. While, in other runs he would make multiple passes (by back rowing upriver!) to cover the water systematically. This extra effort DOES make a difference in the outcome of a day of fishing. Needless to say, I lost count of the number of fish that I hooked that day with Rachel and Jim.

Finally, Jim Andras is just plain "good people"... in addition to guiding well (knowledge, skill, "mojo", etc.), he is a pleasant and enjoyable person to spend a day of fishing with. He has guided around the globe and has numerous interesting stories to share about his life of guiding.

So, if you are looking for a variety of northern California or southern Oregon winter/spring fishing options, I highly recommend Andras Outfitters for guide trip services. For Jim's contact info, CLICK HERE.

Rachel and Jim Andras

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Photography: Lake Mateos / El Salto (by Brian O'Keefe of Catch Magazine)

I am excited to announce that Angling On The Fly and Billy Chapman, Jr's Anglers Inn will be featured in the next issue of Catch Magazine (release date Jan. 1, 2010). I just returned from Lake Mateos and Lake El Salto where I had the honor of traveling and fishing with Ken Hanley (Pacific Extremes) and Brian O'Keefe (Catch Magazine). Throughout the trip, Brian's photography captured the true essence and vitality of these incredible Largemouth Bass fisheries. His best images from the trip will be featured as a slideshow in the next issue. We encourage you to subscribe to this free online publication. (CLICK HERE to subscribe)

To give you a preview of what is to come in Catch Magazine, please see the photo collages below (click on each photo collage to enlarge).

Monday, December 14, 2009

On-Location: Anglers Inn - Lake El Salto (Dec. 12-14, 2009)

Brian admires a nice Bass landed on a dry line and an AirHead fly...

I am finally getting the chance to blog after a busy 3 days here at Anglers Inn - Lake El Salto. After completing my hosted trip at Lake Mateos this past weekend, I transferred to Lake El Salto with "mi amigos" Ken Hanley (Pacific Extremes) and Brian O'Keefe (Catch Magazine). Ken and Brian were part of our Lake Mateos trip last week and are working on a photo essay for the next issue of Catch Magazine, which will be released on Jan. 1st. Throughout the trip, I have been fortunate to look over Brian's shoulder and see the incredible photographs that he is capturing at both lakes. So, if you haven't already done so, check out his online magazine and subscribe to it. Subscription is FREE and it has the most amazing photography and video clips about our wonderful sport of fly fishing.

Also, this past weekend my other client group of 14 fly anglers arrived here at El Salto. It is such a joy to have a fun group of passionate fly anglers here at the lake. It is always interesting to hear the fishing reports and what the daily "hot flies" are. This week's trip has been proving some old standby flies and also revealing a few newer flies that are fooling the bass.

Overall, our group has been having some very good fishing on topwater and even better fishing with subsurface techniques. The lake level is slight lower than normal for this time of the season since this region had a lighter than normal rainy season. Although the lake conditions are lower, there is one fact that still holds true about this fishery. It continues to be supercharged by an incredible abundance of baitfish - Tilapia and Shad. It is quite a scene to motor into an arroyo and see the bass busting these baitfish along the shoreline. Tilapia or shad fleeing from marauding bass by trying to launch themselves up onto the shoreline. Today, Bob and Greg told a story of a giant bass that busted a school of tilapia so hard that it splashed water 6 feet up onto a vertical rock face. Yes, this is a brutal reality for baitfish at El Salto...

So far, a few of the highlights on this trip include Paula and Phil's topwater 8 pounders,... an 80 fish day (for ONE BOAT!),... and the many stories of giant bass that have crushed our flies and escaped. One common remark from everyone is how strong these El Salto bass are... even 2 pounders will bend an 8 weight rod into the cork. These fish are in top physical form due to the abundance of forage fish... bass on steroids is often the way we coin these fish at El Salto.

On this trip, we have been utilizing the entire gamut of fly fishing, tackle, techniques and strategies... from topwater to 350 grain fast sink tips. Each part of the lake seems to fish differently and, therefore, adapting to the conditions is the way to stay in the action. The hot flies have been the Floating Clouser (white), Big-Game Gummy Minnow, Bisharat's Airhead, (brown/white or grey/white), Pultz's or Gutterres' Poppers (black, yellow), and Leo's El Salto Special (slider/darter).

Well, I am signing off for now... we have a another "grande" day of bass fishing tomorrow. Hmmm, maybe tomorrow will be 10 pounder day! Fish On!

Paula and Antonio with a "grande" 8 pound Bass!

Topwater El Salto Bass at dusk...

Brian and Ken giving the welcome cheers!

Seventeen of us fly anglers at El Salto this week...

Tough bass that eat... fishing doesn't get more grande than this!

Bass food... shad.

Topwater 8 pounder... way to go Phil!!!

Brian calling long distance for bass...

Jim goes big again at El Salto... he has landed the most 10+ pounders on a fly at El Salto

Gorgeous Lake El Salto

Sam with a nice topwater bass...

Beer and bass flies... all that is needed to have fun fishing for El Salto bass!

First light at El Salto...

Admiring a green-side... (photo by Brian O'Keefe)

Friday, December 11, 2009

On-Location: Anglers Inn - Lake Mateos (Dec. 10/11, 2009)

Alan with a girthy Largemouth taken on a green popper...

We just completed our final day of fishing here at Lake Mateos. I was not able to blog last evening because... honestly, I am waaaay too tired! Yes, this topwater bass fishing is fun, but also can beat you down after a few days of pulling on these green-sided brutes! OK, enough excuses...

Yesterday, we all had slower fishing success during the AM hours... not sure why, but I guess it is a reminder that fishing is sometimes just that... fishing. We still caught fish in the morning, but we did have to work for them. A front was moving in and I guess one could surmise that it was that factor that stiffened the bass bite. Well, lucky for us the evening session proved to be downright crazy with many fish fooled on poppers, divers, and sliders. Some of the group members reported their best topwater trophies that evening.

Today proved to be a grand finale... some of the best fishing of the week occurred today. I witnessed Jim blow-up more than 20 fish on one single pass down this rocky shoreline. He was fishing his favorite "Blackie" popper and the bass ate it like candy. It resulted in a few nice sized bass that measured in the 5 to 6 pound class. Other comments from the group were that these Mateos bass are not "normal" Largemouth (like those in the north). They fight much harder like Smallmouth and can fold an 8 weight rod in half! The bass here have an astonishing growth rate, and this adds up to young bass that are BIG and strong!

Well, I am beat and can not stay awake now... zzzz... here are some pics that better tell the story of the past two days of fishing. I will prepare a final report and post it in the next few days while I am at Lake El Salto. Yes, I have the good fortune of heading to El Salto to complete my "work" ;-)... Fish On and Happy Holidays to everyone.

Owner Billy Chapman, Jr. (far left) showed up to greet the fly gang...

Mike looks surprised to be able to catch a Tilapia on a popper!

Mike fished big flies for big bass!

Bill fools a nice twilight bass!

6 + 3 equals 9 pounds of bass!
Bill lands a nice bass on an El Salto Special popper

Jim ruled the afternoon topwater session with "Blackie" (black popper)

Mike going big again...

Beautiful Lake Mateos

Morning double for Shiz and I...

Going eye-to-eye with bass at dawn...

Cloud cover building over Lake Mateos

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

On-Location: Anglers Inn - Lake Mateos (Dec. 9, 2009)

The smile says it all for Mike McKenzie...

Well, we just completed a wonderful day two here at Anglers Inn at Lake Mateos. With our first light start on the water, we were greeted with the most gorgeous sunrise and morning mist on the lake... what an amazing place! To add, we all rang in the new day of fishing with incredible topwater blow-ups from brutish Mateos Largemouth Bass!

One highlight for the day is the "dos dobles" (two doubles) that Shiz and I had in the afternoon. These were not "dink" doubles, but powerful green-sides that pounded Shiz's red-white pencil popper and my Leo Gutterres "El Salto Special" (silver slider pattern). It was most comical... Shiz would get a hammered by a big bass - Fish ON!... and almost immediately, my fly, behind his, would get pounded too. It was awesome!

Other highlights for the day were the many "grande" (HUGE) topwater blow-ups that left each of us wondering (with rattled nerves),... "Hmmmm, how big was it?" Bob and Jim recounted a topwater grab that moved "half of the lake". Also, I witnessed Shiz getting "power-flushed" by some mystery bass too. You know that a bass was big when, after missing the hookset, you look back at your guide he looks at you with wide eyes and says "grande" or "papa". In this topwater game, you don't always close the deal when fishing on top,... HOWEVER, the visual and audible footprint that a monster bass leaves when eating topwater flies goes straight into an angler's mental story book for the rest of his life.

The final highlight for the day is from Mike and Alan. They landed a remarkable 67 Largemouth today!!!,... and all but a few were landed on topwater flies! Mike's top fly was the Umpqua Chewy Popper in white, while Alan's top fly was a green popper.

Well, thanks again for following our on-location post here at Anlgers Inn - Lake Mateos. We have two more days of battling the brutish Largemouth... more highlights and pics to come. Until the next report, Fish On!

Happy faces and even happier bellies... the meals are an absolute delight!
(Anglers [left to right] - Bob, Jim, Alan, Keith, Mike, Shiz, and Bill)

One of two doubles for Shiz and I...

A dawn greeting by Mr. Largemouth...

Mike with 1 of 67 landed on his boat today...

Shiz and I with our second "doble"...

BigMouth, BucketMouth, or Largemouth...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

On-Location: Anglers Inn - Lake Mateos (Dec. 7/8, 2009)

Jim with a nice topwater Lake Mateos Bass!

The group flew to Mazatlan yesterday and made our way northward 3 1/2 hours drive to Anglers Inn at Lake Mateos. Upon arrival, we were greeted with a tray of margaritas and a big smile from the staff members at Anglers Inn. After a hearty steak dinner, we prepared our tackle and tried to get a good nights sleep before our first day of fishing... most of us slept with one eye open in sheer excitement of the fishing to come.

Well, today we just completed day 1 of fishing on the trip and our group landed some really nice topwater bass. With each day of fishing on a trip, there always seems to be a "hot fly"... well, today it was Umpqua's Chewy Popper in white (size 2). A number of topwater bass were fooled on this fly today. Also, during the low light periods of the day (dawn and dusk), black poppers proved to fool some very large bass too. The subsurface game was tops with jig-hook F/T Clousers (brn/yellow/white or chart/white).

We have wonderful weather and lake conditions so far this week... it sure is nice to be away from the "cold-snap" freezing temperatures at home (Sacramento, CA). YES! Warm weather, delicious food, great company, and topwater fishing... life does not get much better than this! Fish On!

We arrived the lodge with a margarita welcome!

The smiles say it all... delicious fajitas!

Morning topwater on a black popper...

Mike showing some topwater results!

Last light topwater for Shiz!

Jim with a beautiful largie...

Alan and a trophy topwater Mateos bass!