1. Retired or working? If working, what do you do?
Working. I am a principal security researcher for a global company that sells a variety of (computer/network) security products and services. Hackers and stuff...
2. How did you get started in fly fishing?
Fishing is one of my earliest memories and I was definitely "fishy" as a kid. When I was 6 or 7 I caught (likely with my Dad's assistance), killed, cleaned, cooked and ate a small rainbow trout while staying at Dolly Copp Camground in the White Mountain National Forrest in New Hampshire. At maybe 10 I won a local fishing derby in a tiny local pond with a catfish I caught under a bobber. Except for a void bounded by my college years, for most of my life I was exclusively a traditional/spin fisherman focusing more on warm(er) water species in a handful of ponds, rivers and creeks behind my childhood home in Massachusetts.
I don't recall how I had heard about fly fishing -- almost nobody in my family except for my brother fished, then or now. As a young teenager I scrounged up enough money from my odd jobs to buy a fly vest because I was convinced that the first step in becoming a fly fisher was getting a fly fishing vest, some wacky idea I had picked up from an outdoor magazine. I didn't have the rod, reel or flies to go with it, but I still tried. The vest got almost no use and was sold at a yard sale.
My first concrete fly fishing memory was about 5 years ago when Celine and I went on a guided trip in Boulder, Colorado. I don't think I caught anything and recall the guide constantly saying "SET!!!!" I returned home and started researching fly fishing, but fairly quickly discovered the growing Tenkara movement in the US and was intrigued by the simplicity.
Fast forward a bit and we took one of our first trips to the Kern and not surprisingly we ended up the Kern River Fly Shop where I bought my first Tenkara rod (which I still have). Rod, line, tippet and some flies (almost certainly a kern candy and some kern emergers; thanks Guy!) we headed upriver for the maiden voyage only to find that I had walked out of the shop with just the rod tube but not the (display model) Tenkara rod. I returned to the shop, picked up my rod and shortly thereafter caught (and again, ate) my first trout from the Kern river. I distinctly remember the spot, the fish and how he rocketed up from his hidey hole beside a rock and gulped my fly.
3. Did you have a mentor?
No, at least not in the traditional sense. Almost all of what I know today from a fly fishing perspective has come from SSFFC and the various people I've met and fished with along the way.
4. Describe your favorite style of fly fishing.
Tenkara/fixed-line is absolutely my favorite style of fly fishing because of the challenges imposed by its simplicity. While I will fish more traditional/western style flies on my Tenkara rods from time to time, my favorite is the humble kebari, nothing more than a hook, thread and hackle, generally fished "dry" with perfect drifts, or plunged to simulate emergers.
There was a time where I would confidently say that creek fishing was my favorite, but then I discovered carp. Tenkara/fixed-line for carp takes angler and gear to the limit nearly every time, rod creaking, arm cramping, brow covered in sweat, all up close and personal. No fancy drags to save you.
5. Why do you fly fish?
For me, fly fishing is a secondary activity performed while adventuring and exploring what nature has to offer. I've always found mother nature to be very calming, a necessity in today's society.
6. What was your most memorable fly-fishing experience?
Tough question. Winning Carpfest and Carp Throwndown last year was pretty awesome.
7. If you could fly fish anywhere in the world, where and why?
Someday I hope to visit Japan to fish the very waters where Tenkara originated. Or New Zealand to rope some wicked browns.
8. Music you've been listening to lately?
I listen to basically everything except for Country and Classical music. Rap, hardcore/heavy/metal, techno/electronic, rock, etc. Lately I've been on a Pandora tour of George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic and am currently listening to Zapp & Roger.
Beginners Casting and Fly Tying Classes
Date: Saturday, March 23, 2019
Time: 8:30 am to 1:00pm Chamber of Commerce, Kernville. 11447 Kernville Rd, Kernville
Class Limit: 16 –SSFFC membership required.
Beginners' Casting Class
Instructors: Chiaki Harami, Celine Bayla and Ants Uiga
Learn the roll casts, pick up - laydown and false casting. Approximately 2 hours.
Fly Tying Class
Instructors: The Famous Buhler Bros - Ryan and Rob.
You’ve seen all their fabulous flies all over Social Media. They recently tied at the SWC Flybuy and are on the Pro Staff Team at the Kern River Fly Shop. They are great teachers and you’ll learn their tips and tricks. This class is for Beginners and Intermediates. For the beginner, we’ll have all the fly tying stuff: vises, tools, hooks and materials, just show up. For the Intermediates, please bring your fly tying stuff.
If you’re having problems tying a fly or with a certain technique, bring those materials and the Buhler Bros will teach you how it’s done. Approximately 2 hours. You can take one class or make the most of this great opportunity and take both classes back to back.
Contact: Chiaki to sign up: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Saturday, March 23, 2019
Time: 6pm, Chamber of Commerce, Kernville. 11447 Kernville Rd, Kernville
Guest Speaker: DFW Game Warden Kaylynn Rammell
Details: The club's first meeting of the year starts at 6:00 pm with a club provided dinner of pizza, salad and dessert at the Chamber of Commerce. Our guest speaker will be DFW Game Warden Kaylynn Rummell. Please bring any questions you have about regulations and enforcement. These meetings are always are and very interesting. We will also award the 2019 Fly Fisher Of The Year at this meeting. Come and celebrate with the FFOTY.
OUTING: Kelsey bass ranch
Date: April 27-28, 2019*
Details: We will be fishing with Wilderness Fly Fishers and Guy Jeans will be available for guiding. Kelsey is a 125 acre isolated, private catch and release fishing lake filled with trophy size Florida Largemouth Bass. The lake is perfect for float tubing, wading or shore fishing. Kelsey ranch is near Snelling, CA, about 20 miles north of Merced. Set your GPS for 7400 Merced Falls Road, Snelling, CA 95369. It will take you to the ranch entrance.
We have permission to camp next to the lake on a lovely park-like peninsula surrounded by prime angling. The nearest hotel accommodations are approximately 35 minutes away. We highly encourage camping.
Note: There is no potable water. It can be hot, so bring more water than you think you need.
KELSEY BASS Fly Recommendations
by The Buhler Bros
- Foam or Deer Hair Poppers: White, Olive, Green, Chartreuse, Yellow, Orange Sizes # 2-10
- Foam or Deer Hair Frogs: # 2-10
- Dahlberg Divers: #2-6
- Damsel Dries and Nymphs-#10
- Mice: #2-6
- Clouser Minnow: Olive, White, Black, Chartreuse #2-10
- Wooly Bugger Conehead and Standard: Black, Olive, White- #6-10
- Leeches Balanced and Standard: Olive, White, Chartreuse, Wine, Purple, Black0
Lower OWENS Outing
El Pollo Loco Pro Staff
by Justin Bubenik
Club members converged in the town of Bishop for Southern Sierra’s annual winter Eastern Sierra trip the weekend of February 23rd for a couple fish-filled days on the Owens River and surrounding fisheries.
For those who rolled into town on Friday, the troops gathered for a cocktail or two to warm the bones, some spousal fly tying competition between Leslie and Dave Smith, and a meal of El Pollo Loco (“The Crazy Chicken”) subsidized by the Coupon Queen himself (yours truly). Dave left attendees with a feeling of inferiority that will remain for many sessions at the tying bench as as he whipped up nymph after nymph in seconds flat.
Saturday morning, after a rousing breakfast and caffeine boost at Looney Bean, members gathered at the Pleasant Valley Campground for a lesson on European nymphing techniques from Dave Smith. Participants were rigged up with the classic Euro nymph leader and some of those nymphs Dave was pumping out the night before, given an on-the-water tutorial, and sent out to fend for themselves as Dave made the rounds and gave each student individualized instruction and some hands-on training, concluding around lunchtime.
From the get-go, members were having success with the “new” technique and the crowd spread out after lunch amongst the fishable waters in the area to do some line flogging for the remainder of the day. Saturday concluded much the same way it started (sub coffee for beer and Mer-lot) with food, libations and plenty of fish stories as members gathered at the Pizza Factory in town to strategize for the next days’ fishing.
While some hit the road early on Sunday, others lingered for another morning on the water. Most stuck to the Owens with success subsurface, despite an increase in water volume, but a few ventured north to play with some active (albeit finicky) browns rising in the snow fields. Though snowshoes weren’t necessary, those members stayed light on their feet and utilized an elegant waddle to prevent breaking through the ice crust and disappearing beneath the seemingly bottomless snowdrifts. The extra effort was worth it, as those members all managed a few wild browns on dries, nymphs and even streamers.
All in all, though there was mixed success in terms of getting fish in the net, there is little doubt that everyone came away with a few more tricks up their sleeve, some great conversations and maybe a bit of a “snow-burn” (PSA: always wear your sunscreen)! A big thanks goes out to Dave and Leslie Smith for making the trip up from San Diego and imparting their knowledge upon the club members, and our fearless leader Chiaki for always having another pitcher of beer and pizza on hand.
Fly Tying in kernville
by Rob and Ryan Buhler
We are holding a beginner casting and fly tying clinic in Kernville on March 23, 2019. The fly tying clinic will be handled by the Buhler brothers. Rob and I will be teaching a beginner and intermediate class. If you have never tyed a fly before or have just started tying, the beginner part of the class is perfect for you. We will cover some of the basic materials and tools that are used often. Also basic techniques and tips will be covered with hands on instruction at the vise to start your tying adventure. If you are already experienced and need or want some more advanced lessons, feel free to come by and Rob and I would love to help you out. For new tyers we have all the tools and materials you will need. For intermediate tyers bring your vise and materials for what you would like to work on. We like to have a fun class and have only two rules. Rule #1: Have fun!! Rule #2: See rule #1!!! Hope to see you there!!
Tying My Own Flies: Where Do I Start
by Rob Buhler
Have you ever wanted to tye your own flies, but you look at some salmon flies and think, "I can't do that!", or you are intimidated with the massive amount of choices out there and just don't know where to start with vises, tools and flies to start tying. Don't worry! The people that tyed those salmon flies started without any experience, just like you! We will take a look at some of the vises and tools that can help you get started without breaking the bank.
Let's start by looking into vises, the main component used for tying your own little works of fish catching art. There are a myriad of choices from small inexpensive clamp on beginner vises to the multi hundred and even thousand dollar choices of the high end vise makers like Nor-Vise. We are going to focus on something in the middle. A vise that will not frustrate you by not holding hooks properly or that will break with minimum abuse (maybe you have one of these already) and also a vise that will not crush your pocket book.
At the lower end of quality vises, we have the Anvil Atlas Vise, coming in at about $100. It is a bit bulky and heavy but is made of stainless steel. It will hold hooks from 2/0 to 22 without any issues and has an adjustable neck allowing you to tye both Clouser style and traditional flies without purchasing an extra jaw assembly. The Atlas also has a rotary feature that I'm told is functional. It comes with a clamp and pedestal base. This vise will last decades at a reasonable price.
The next level up would be the Renzetti Traveler, coming in at about $180. The Traveler is not as bulky and heavy as the Atlas, but is every bit as durable and Renzetti offers replacement parts and packages if your screws, bands, or jaws ever fail. This is a full rotary vise with an option for a Clouser style attachment. It will easily handle hooks from 4/0 to 28. This is the vise that I have used for nearly 20 years and would do it all over again if I had the chance.
The next thing you will need is a small set of tools. A thread bobbin and scissors are all that is actually needed to start, but many packages will come with a bodkin and hackle pliers too.
And now, what flies do I start tying? It's a good idea to start with one of your favorite flies that you already purchase a lot of. If you nymph for trout, that might be a size 20 Peasant Tail Nymph. If you're a dry type of fisher, then maybe it's that 18 Parachute Adams. For you surf junkies, a Clouser and Krabby Patty are typical standards. Purchase materials for just those flies that you fish most and tye them. If you like to fish a size 20 PT, that can be challenging as a first fly, so start with a size 12 or 14 and become comfortable with the larger sizes before you drop down to the tiny stuff. These first flies may not be works of art, but they will catch fish and give you confidence the next time you sit down at the vise.
Try to find an experienced tyer to provide some feedback on your first flies to help increase that learning curve. Too many thread wraps and materials are the two most common mistakes by beginner tyers.
The final mention will be on threads. Can I use the sewing thread that's already in the cabinet? Yep, that will work to get you started. But specific threads created for fly tying have been fine tuned over the years and can make the experience more enjoyable if you match the proper thread to your type of fly. Spools are only about $3.00, and you can literally tye hundreds of flies from one spool, making this one of the least expensive components of your fly. For most fly applications my favorite thread is 6/0 Uni Thread. The 6/0 refers to the denier( thickness) and a selection of black, white and red will cover almost every tying situation. If purchasing just one color, start with black. My only other recommendation would be if you tye mostly thread midges, my favorite thread for that application is UTC 70 Denier. It twists to flatten out and make very thin bodied flies and has a wonderful sheen that nicely mimics natural midges.
Randall Kaufmann has several books on the market with detailed info on materials, history and fly tutorials. I highly recommend these. Charlie Craven also has a website with wonderful step by step tutorials.
Don't be scared!!! Jump in and join the exciting, rewarding and creative world of Fly Tying!!!
Tying Tip Of The Month
by Ryan Buhler
One of the drawbacks to tying with deer hair and elk hair are all the underfur that needs to be removed. Some hairs have very little of that underfur and can easily be removed by hand. On other hair the underfur is thick and it's nice to have a little help. You can find different hair combs at all the fly tying supply stores to help with that job. They work pretty well, but not as well as a standard flea comb from any store that has pet supplies. It will remove that underfur faster with less effort and its half the price for a better product which is hard to find now days.
About Bristol Bay
by Gary Applebee
Let me preface this. I told Chiaki when he asked me to do conservation that I hate politics! He laughed and said, “You can do it.” So, I have something that my grandkids will probably be saying, “Granddad was talking about this.” How long have we been hearing about Pebble Mine? If you’re like me it feels like forever. And yet the fight continues. The US Army Corps of Engineers have, yet again, opened a public comment period until May 30, 2018.
Here is an article from the Orvis News website. Another article to check is “What’s in the Pebble Mine Plan That’s So Troubling?”
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Releases Draft Environmental Impact Study on Pebble Mine
by Phil Monahan
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement concerning the current Bristol Bay mining plan proposed by Pebble Limited Partnership. Along with 3,000-plus pages of documents, the Corps of Engineers announced that it will open a 90-day public comment period, beginning March 1, to collect input.
A tool for decision making, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement describes positive and negative environmental effects of Pebble’s current proposal, lists four alternative actions that may be chosen, but does not consider impacts of mining the full Pebble deposit. “Though already massive, Pebble’s current permit application under review by the Corps of Engineers considers only a small fraction of the overall impact the Pebble mine would ultimately have in Bristol Bay. Because of this, the review process for the proposed Pebble mine underway is woefully inadequate and should be halted,” said Nelli Williams, Alaska director of Trout Unlimited. “A giant mine proposal slated for the heart of salmon country should never have advanced this far at all and is overwhelmingly opposed by Alaskans. It demands a far more rigorous review than the rushed, inadequate effort we’ve seen from the Corps of Engineers.”
The current permit application is limited to the Pebble Partnership’s plan to develop the first 1.5 billion tons of the nearly 11-billion-ton deposit, despite the fact that the Partnership has clearly signaled to potential funders its intention to build a much larger mine. Additionally, the Corps of Engineers has set the shortest timeline of any active permitting process requiring an Environmental Impact Statement overseen by the Corps of Engineers in Alaska, despite the massive size and projected impact of the phase-one proposal. Pebble has not released an economic viability study for the proposed phase- one project, an unusual omission for a project at this stage of the NEPA review.
“Though we know if permitted, Pebble will mine the full deposit, even this initial mine plan makes clear that the Pebble Partnership cannot protect clean water and salmon in Bristol Bay, or the landscape conditions that attract anglers from around the globe. Because of this, Alaskans and Bristol Bay businesses have said NO to this mine for years,” said Brian Kraft owner of Alaska Sportsman’s Lodge in Bristol Bay. “Pebble Mine would fundamentally alter a world-class fishery upon which family businesses and 37,000 recreational fishermen rely, and rivers that are slated to bring 40 million wild salmon to the region this year.”
Public participation is an important part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement is one of the most important aspects, and among the last opportunities for public involvement, of that process.
“The 90-day comment period is outrageous for a project of this magnitude and complexity, and we strongly encourage the Corps to extend the comment period to at least 270 days to allow for adequate review of this devastating project,” said Williams.
The current application, with incomplete fisheries and water data and without proof of financial viability, contains plans to dredge and fill more than 4,000 acres of wetlands in the Bristol Bay region during initial development of the proposed Pebble mine. The mine and supporting facilities will run continuously for 24 years, according to the current plan. More than 26,000 Alaskans commented with concerns over the current mine proposal curing the scoping period held last spring by the Army Corps of Engineers.
AFISHONADO: Fly Fishing Book Review
by Ants Uiga
I Caught a Fisherman: Pioneers of Virginia Lakes Resort 1923
by J. Anita Foster; John and Carolynn Webb; Copyright 2002 (pending); Printed by Community and Printing and Publishing; Bishop, CA 93514; 293 pages
Let me provide a few comments on book availability. I purchased the book at the Virginia Lakes Resort – a highly recommended method. The website for the resort also has a pdf form that can be used to order the book for $15.95. A quick Amazon check showed book copies were available, but a highly marked up prices. The book listed two sets of authors, the original couple that started the resort in 1923 and the current owners.
My greatest enjoyment was reading about the Virginia Lakes area and Mono County back in the 1920’s, a mere 100 years ago. The town names that appear on road signs on a current trip to the area, seems disconnected to the current 4-5 hour trip time along Highway 395. In the 1920’s, every one of those towns was an integral part of the trip northward. Depending on weather and vehicle breakdowns, the same trip could easily take several days. The sign for Little Lake could be needed stop for water for the radiator, gas, food, or a rest stop for the night.
On a current trip to the area, the drive from Conway Summit (above Mono Lake) to the Virginia Lakes takes 10-15 minutes on a paved road. As pioneers for the Virginia Lakes Resort, Walt and Anita built the first road to the area, before that the travel was by horseback or pack mules. Road building and resort building was an effort for few people with an area of few supplies. The tales are delightfully told in the book and I won’t try to repeat them in this review.
The period photographs are delightful. I think my favorite is the one of the mule carrying one of the first rowboats delivered to the resort. The tales of events and struggles and fun times are sure to be an enjoyable read.
The history of the resort appeals to me, as well as the history of any location. However, since the resort is still active, let me tell about some of my fishing fun at the Virginia Lakes. The resort has cabins but I have not stayed there since the cabins usually get booked for a week at a time. There is a nearby USFS campground (Trumbull Lake) that has been a pleasure many times. The resort has a restaurant serving meals with staffing from around the world. The resort pays for stocking of trophy fish and the resort posts pictures of the catches (not a catch and release format), but that should not deter any fly fisherman from the area. The trophy fish are stocked in Little Virginia Lake, closest to the resort buildings. I was amused by being at one of the stocking times when the resort owner was scooting the new planters away from the wheels of the stocking truck to avoid tire mortality. The stocking truck was at the same location as my canoe in August 2013.
Floating Little Virginia or the other nearby larger (and deeper) lakes is the preferred fishing method. The fisherman with trophy fish on their minds will concentrate on getting down near the bottom where the larger fish reside. A sculpin-head streamer or any of the Buhler brother’s game changers should be effective. However, other fish are usually rising in many parts of the lake, so fishing a mosquito or gnat will give some nice dry fly action. The lake is popular with float tubers. The resort has rowboat available for rental also.
There are about 10 lakes in the area that are accessible for hiking (9,000 feet and upwards). The resort store has a rudimentary map available for those who prefer hiking and fishing, or fishing away from the crowds. The website has a copy of the map for downloading.
Finally, at 9,000-foot elevation, snow accumulation can be significant, especially in a year like 2019. Here is a photo from May 2017 when the snowplows were providing the first access to the area. The surrounding area was covered with snow to the depth of the road edge. There is little doubt that higher elevations would have more snow. So, even though the eastern sierra season may be open, it is wise to check road access before you go.