Ring of the Rise Southern Sierra Fly Fishers Newsletter: April 2019

President's Message

VERY IMPORTANT!!! The CDFW is proposing changes to our current fishing regulations. The Kern River, its tributaries and the waters of the Golden Trout Wilderness are included as part of these changes. Every fly fisher needs to get involved and respond to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Read about these proposed changes and what needs to be done in the following section of this Newsletter.

On March 23rd the Club held casting and fly tying classes. They were well attended and everyone improved their fly fishing and tying skills. We also held our first meeting of the year with Game Warden Kaylynn Rummell as our guest speaker. The Kern River is part of her territory of responsibility. She did an excellent job fielding questions from our membership and was very informative on current regulations. We awarded the Fly Fisher of the Year to Carole Ontiveros.

Our good friends at the Pasadena Casting Club will be holding the ACA National Casting Championships on July 31 to August 4th. I am honored to build their Long Distance rod. It’s a 9 ft. 10 weight with many unusual features that are top secret. I’m consulting with Henry Mittel, casting champion, on this build and have never seen a fly rod quite like this. All the big names in casting will be there, including Steve Rajeff, Maxine McCormick and Justin Bubenik. Come out to Pasadena’s casting pond and witness their amazing skills.

We have many fun events on the horizons. Rendezvous, Kelsey Bass Ranch, Carpfest and Kids Academy. Read all about these events and if you want to have a fun time, sign up!

Please contact me at haramic@aol.com.



Trout Regulations Proposed Changes

by Jon Hart

If you haven't heard the news, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently proposed a series of updates to the trout fishing regulations with the primary goal being simplification. Yes, these new regulations are indeed simpler, but they are considerably different from current regulations and pose a potentially very serious threat to trout and the beautiful waters they inhabit throughout the State of California.

The new regulations are shockingly easy to read. It is important that we as anglers and stewards of these beautiful places understand the proposals and the implications.

The new regulations apply ONLY to specifically listed trout waters that comprise 21 of the 22 pages of the proposal. The new regulations are chosen from a menu that offers 6 possible seasons and 6 possible bag and possession limits as well as gear restrictions. Any trout waters NOT listed in the proposal fall back to the most open of regulations called the "7.0 statewide reg" -- Open year-round, 5 trout bag, 10 trout possession limit, no gear restrictions.

Here are some of the possible problems with the proposed regulations:

* There will be NO BARB RESTRICTIONS on any fork of the Kern River.

* NONE of the tributaries that feed the Kern River are specifically listed in the proposals, meaning that they will fall back to the "7.0 statewide reg" of open year round, 5 trout bag, 10 trout possession limit, no gear restrictions. These were previously protected by general regulations for the Sierra District and includes, beloved spots such as the South Fork Kern, Little Kern, Salmon Creek, Brush Creek, Alder Creek, Peppermint Creek, Fish Creek and more. And that is just for the Kern. Waters throughout California are similarly threatened.

* The Golden Trout Wilderness will now be open for fishing until the last day of February with no gear restrictions. Yes, that means worms and salmon eggs will be allowed.

* There are no regulations that include "fly only". There has never been and will not be a single hook regulation, meaning treble hooks will be perfectly legal so long as they meet the barb restrictions, if any, of a particular water. Alone these are bad enough, but in combination they are possibly highly detrimental to the health of our fish. This means that deep diving rattle trap lure with a gang of treble hooks will be allowed in sections that were previously fly only. Yes, even Hot Creek.

Before implementing these proposed changes, the CDFW is holding a series of 6 public meetings to answer questions and listen to stakeholder interests, needs and ideas, however by the time you read this, all but ONE will remain. News from at least one of these meetings that happened in the past week or two had nearly everyone from bait shop owners to outfitters, guides and both fly and conventional anglers alike aligned AGAINST the proposed regulations with concerns ranging from fish decimation to financial impacts that may force some businesses to close.

A contingent of members from SSFFC attended the recent meeting in Fresno and the CDFW was highly receptive to the concerns raised and spoke on a variety of points including:

* Seasons -- Currently, the “sierra” season runs from the last Saturday in April until November 15. The proposed season would be the Saturday preceding Memorial Day through September 30. Trout usually have spawning seasons in the spring and in the fall. Typically, March-May and then September-November. With the current season, the sierra season, there is pressure at the top end of the season and on the back end of the season; cuts into both spring and fall spawn. The thought of the Saturday preceding Memorial Day could potentially ensure a spring spawn without pressure. It was also noted that most rivers and creeks are possibly blown out May and possibly June, so that could also decrease pressure. The same could potential be said about the winter months with not much pressure due to snow.

* Barbless -- They explained that studies have shown that the difference in barbed vs barbless in released fish shows only a small percentage difference in fish mortality.

* Size limits -- The thought process behind removing the size limits is to harvest. In the 4 mile “wild trout” section of the Kern, there is a 2 fish limit with a minimum of 14.” The example CDFW used was if you are a catch and keep angler, catch your limit and you’ll be done. If there is a size limit, you may potentially have to go through some fish to obtain your fish or legal size or hold out for a larger fish. The proposed regulation eliminates the size requirement, calls for artificial lures, but would eliminate the barbless restriction (I will address in the next question), and be closed the last day in February to the Saturday preceding Memorial Day; spawn. They further elaborated that rivers and creeks with high size limits, 18” minimum, show a larger amount of small fish due to larger fish being kept. The same could be said about taking small fish, the larger fish will thrive.

* Extending the "wild trout" section of the Kern down to the fairview dam, adding 2+ more miles and providing more protected waters for the reintroduction of the Kern River Rainbow.

The CDFW has also provided an online comment form where you can comment on the new statewide regulations in general as well as comment on and provide alternative suggestions for specifically listed waters as well as those that are not specifically listed. We HIGHLY encourage all members to take the time to read and understand the proposal and comment on as many of the waters that you fish on and care for -- you can submit the form multiple times but can only comment on one specifically listed and one non-specifically listed water per form submission. It is CRITICAL that your comments are professional, constructive and propose counter regulations that are composed of selections from the aforementioned menu of 6 seasons and 6 bag and possession limits and gear restrictions. It is also important that your responses are timely, as we expect public comment to close by the end of this April, 2019.

Our plan of action is to inform our members with this newsletter, submit an official response in writing to CDFW and provide our recommendations for members to submit using the online comment form.

Our fish and our waters need your help!

Please be on the lookout for more information. Thank you!

Brad Woodward

Member Spotlight

1. Retired or working? If working, what do you do?

Working - Have been operating my own carpet cleaning business for 23 years.

2. How did you get started in fly fishing?

My brothers and I have been fishing all of our lives, like most when we were kids. We were chasing stockers in Bishop Creek, South Lake, Bridgeport Twin Lakes, Bridgeport Reservoir with salmon eggs, lures and trolling from a boat. Our parents moved to Missoula, MT in the early 90's and that is when the bug took hold.

3. Did you have a mentor?

I would say I've had many mentors - My Father, first and foremost.

Doug Persico (Rock Creek Merc owner) Sold me my 1st fly rod and taught me to cast. He wasn't too happy when I walked in his shop years ago toting a fly rod I had purchased at K-Mart. I did catch fish with that old K-Mart rod though!

Brian Adams (KRFF) Met Brian at an outdoors show 25yrs or so ago, joined the club and he and many past members taught me to tie flies and build fly rods.

John Perry (Montana Guide/Outfitter) Have been using him as my guide for the past 20yrs and has given me a boat load of coaching and knowledge.

These are just a few.

4. Describe your favorite style of fly fishing.

When I initially started fly fishing I had read in a book that 90% of a trout's diet was subsurface so I was an avid nymph fisherman. But my favorite to date is streamer fishing. I just love to chuck the meat and drag the bottom in search of the Big Boyz!

5. Why do you fly fish?

It's in my blood! The people I meet are a special breed. There seems to be an unspoken bond and camaraderie that I have never experienced in any other facet of my life. I love the challenge, excitement and scenery. It does something to my soul when I'm casting that line to what I know is the perfect seam or lie and shortly after the line hits the water and a fish is on the world seems to stop for just that short span of time and all is great. I wish I could bottle that emotion and sell it!

6. What was your most memorable fly-fishing experience?

Probably the first time I took my wife Lorraine to Montana. I took her on two float trips, the first being Rock Creek and that was a bit too fast for her. So the next day we floated the Clark Fork which is larger and slower. The guide and I were coaching her most the day and I think we were just getting on her nerves so when we pulled the boat over she decided to wander off by herself and she caught her first fish without our input. That was a great day!

Catching a large Bull Trout in Rock Creek just behind our place with a 4wt rod Chiaki had built. I actually thought it was going to break that rod. That was an adrenaline rush!

All my trips that involve my family and friends are truly the most memorable!

7. If you could fly fish anywhere in the world, where and why?

I think a Big Fat New Zealand Brown would be a thrill! But if all I had the rest of my days was Rock Creek, MT I'd say the dream has come true! That is a very special place for sure!

8. Music you've been listening to lately?

Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Creedence CR, Simon & Garfunkel of course throw in some AC/DC and Black Sabbath occasionally. I generally like most music just depends on the mood.

Fly fisher of the yeaR

by Carole Ontiveros

I was surprised and pleased to accept the 2019 Southern Sierra Fly Fisher of the Year Award. In the relatively few years that I have been participating in SSFFC, I have found that belonging to this club not only pushes me to grow in my own fly fishing skills, but to consider and act within the bigger venue of the fly fishing community. I am more than honored to be included with Chiaki Harami, Alan Bell, and Celine Bayla and others, whom I consider fly fisher’s with outstanding club dedication and ability to take action to further causes that are not just their own. I hope that I can hold this award up to the high standards of those previous winners. Thank you, SSFFC for this special distinction of Fly Fisher of the Year.

FFI Silver Fly Tying Award

Longtime member Amy Kileen recently earned FFI’s Silver Fly Tying Award by successfully tying 6 complex flies: Ginger Quill, HW Blue Charm, Lefty’s Deceiver, Parachute Adams, BH Prince Nymph and Troth EH Caddis. Her flies were judged by world renowned fly tyer and Buszek Award winner Al Beatty. Amy is the 3rd woman in the US to have earned both the FFI Bronze and Silver Fly Tying Awards. She is currently developing her fly tying skills to complete her Gold Award. Congratulations to Amy

Search and Rescue fundraiser

The Southern Sierra Clay Crushers were at it again this weekend, participating in a sporting clays tournament benefiting Kern Valley Search and Rescue. KVSAR is a 100% volunteer organization and is funded entirely by donations and events like this. Their year round training and on-call readiness are critical to providing rapid response to emergencies in the Kern River valley and beyond -- swift water rescue, lost hikers, ill-prepared adventurers, evacuations and more. Congratulations to Marisol on her first shoot and winning the Most Challenging Shooter on the range!

Pictured: Chiaki, Jason, Jon, Marisol, Justin



Back by popular demand is the Rendezvous. This is the Club’s largest fundraiser and membership drive for the year. It will be held on April 13th at Mountain River and Adventure. The format of the Vous will be the same as in prior years. We start with a partner Catch and Release Tournament. Check in starts at 7:30 am at the Kern River Fly Shop and the tournament begins at 8:00 am. Use regular fly fishing equipment with barbless flies. Score cards must be turned in by 2:30 pm at the fly shop. Trophies will be awarded for the largest fish and most fish (accumulated inches). There will also be a trophy for a Junior Division. The afternoon activities begin at Mountain River Adventures at 3:00 pm with games, raffles, entertainment and a BBQ dinner. The cost for the Partner C&R tourney is $25, which includes dinner. Dinners can be purchased separately for $15, which includes salad, tri tip, chicken, rolls, dessert and beverage. Kids dinner for 10 years and under are free. Reserve your camping spot at Mountain River Adventure: Mention you are with SSFFC for a discount.

Date: Saturday, April 13, 2019

Tournament Check In: 7:30 AM at Kern River Fly Shop

Score Card Return: 2:30 PM at Kern River Fly Shop

Dinner: 5:00 PM at Mountain and River Adventures Campground

Vous Festivities: 3:00 PM - 10:00 PM at Mountain and River Adventures Campground

Visit our Rendezvous page for more details and to sign up.

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.

Contact: haramic@aol.com before signing up with Wilderness Fly Fishers

Pay your rod fees at Wilderness Fly Fishers

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


Date: May 18, 2019

Tournament Check-In: 7:00 AM at Kern River Fly Shop

Start: 8:00 AM

Score Card Return: 4:00 PM at Kern River Fly Shop

Tournament Festivities: 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM at Kern River Fly Shop


On Saturday, May 18, 2019, SSFFC will be hosting the second annual Carpfest, a fly fishing tournament specifically for carp. The tournament will be held on Lake Isabella, CA and will be a catch and release only event with trophies for 1st in each of wade, float and a new youth division. Proceeds benefiting our close Friends both Keepers of the Kern and Kern River Conservancy who help protect the waters that make this area so wild and scenic. Check in 7am, at Kern River Fly Shop in beautiful Kernville, CA. Tournament starts at 8am and ends at 4pm. Awards, BBQ, music and good times, 5pm-10pm.

Carp are some of the best fish to pursue on the fly -- they are intelligent, prolific and and very strong fighters, outclassing most of the freshwater species in the US in several regards. The Lake Isabella fishery is an ideal location with nearly 36 miles of epic carp water. Last years event event was an amazing success and we encourage all interested to visit Carpfest for registration. We are also looking for additional vendors or supporters, with your continued support we can host our benefit raffle at this event, the competition for which at last year's event rivaled the fishing. Please see Carpfest Vendors for more information.

Kern River Fly Shop will be having a Carp Clinic on May 11, 2019 for those wanting to hone in on their carp skills before the tournament. The club will also be providing a Carp Crash Course for our club members out on the lake on April 14, 2019.

Kids academy

Date: Saturday, June 22, 2019

Location: TBD

Details: The future of our sport lies with the children of the world. We must teach our children the ways of our sport and lifestyle. Our Kids Academy will be held on June 22, location TBD. The kids will learn entomology, knots, etiquette, conservation and casting. Lunch will be provided, along with a complete fly fishing rod at the end of class. Parents please save this date and reserve your kid’s spot in our Kids Fly Fishing Academy by emailing haramic@aol.com. The Kids Academy is provided at no cost. SSFFC membership is required.

OUTING: Rock Creek, Montana

Date: July 11-16, 2019

Location: Sky Ranch, Clinton, Montana

Cost: $360

Deposit: $180

Details: The Club has an outing to Rock Creek Montana on July 11th to 16th. We will be staying at Sky Ranch Resort, which accommodates 20 people. Along with normal inside sleeping arrangements, they have “glamping” accommodations, including a fully furnished tee-pee. Rock Creek is one of Montana’s Blue Ribbon streams. It is a medium sized stream with 2,000 trout per mile. This will be a walk and wade trip as fishing from boats is not allowed after June. Visit Rock Creek Fly Fishing for more details.

The 20 spots are filling fast with only a few spots open. The cost is $360 per person for lodging with $180 securing your spot and the balance due by May 31st. Food and transportation is not included in the cost. We will have group meals with everyone helping with cooking and cleanup. Please email haramic@aol.com if you’re interested.


Casting CLASS

by Chiaki Harami

We held our Introduction to Casting Class on March 23rd at Riverside Park in Kernville. 6 eager students learned to roll cast, as well as the pickup and lay down, and false casting. For many of the students it was their first time casting a fly rod. Everyone learned quickly and will be casting their flies to hungry trout. Big thanks goes to the instructors: Randy Skidgel, Ants Uiga, and Chiaki Harami.

Tying Class

by Ryan Buhler

On march 23rd Rob and I were fortunate enough to teach a beginner fly tying class. We do these classes about 4 times a year and this one had 10 new tyers hopefully getting a good grasp of tools, materials and the basic fundamentals to get started into tying. Like all of our classes, we try to have a good time and strive to make it fun. Kern candys and woolly buggers were tyed by all students, two great patterns for beginners to tie. With the class located in Kernville, our students got to go fish their newly tyed flies on the Kern that afternoon. Other tyers are always welcome at our classes and a few regulars showed up and got some intermediate tips also. It was a great turnout for the class and a pleasure to meet new members of the club. If anyone is interested in more advanced tying classes let us know and the club big wigs will try and set some up. Thanks to all who came to the class.

The other top water season

by Rob Buhler

Who doesn't love "hopper-time"? Warm summer days with browns, bows and cutties alike rising up to greedily inhale your hairy or foamy offering. Everybody, right!? Well, this is the often overlooked spring equivalent that just might bring even more joy. Popper Time! Except this time we are targeting bass and bluegill.

It doesn't have to be a stacked deer hair work of art to get the fish's attention (although these are fun to fish too). A simple foam popper head with a few rubber legs and/or feathers attached and cast near some watery structure, early and late in the day, is likely to get inhaled from below or better yet, completely blown up with a 3lb largemouth bass getting airborne attempting to devour your offering!

An added benefit of popper time is location. Across the south, popper time has a large history and anglers look forward to it annually since they do not have trout populations nearby and have access to local bass fishing. Many of us have this same benefit with local city parks that have fantastic bass populations and habitat right in our own backyard!

Just like hopper time, things don't always come together and you may have to resort to adding a dropper to your popper. A leech, damsel or dragonfly nymph pattern hung 18-24 inches below the popper can be deadly. But, as often as not, you can get rewarded with spectacular visual, top water results!

Spring is here! Tye on a popper and go searching for those top water explosions! I bet you won't be disappointed.


by Carole Ontiveros

Super Raffle

Final details are being tidied up for the Super Raffle! It’s a special opportunity to get in on an amazing package of fly fishing gear and support Casting for Recovery, So Cal at the same time! A special thank you to participating vendors, Rhino Nets, Chiaki Harami, Abel Reels, Western Vision Lanyards, Kern River Fly Shop…stay tuned for more details!

May 3-5, 2019: 6th Annual Retreat at UCLA Bruinwood, Lake Arrowhead

Participants have been chosen including Alternates. 14 Women are filling out their paperwork and Participant Coordinator, Jenni, has made 2 of the 4 calls to prepare the participants for their fly fishing weekend. We are fishing at a new venue this year, Lake Gregory, in hopes of getting more women catching fish! Watch our FB and IG for photo follow up! FB CfR, SoCal IG CfR, SoCal More at #catchthepowerofnature

October 4-6, 2019: 1 st Annual Retreat at Wonder Valley Ranch Resort, Sanger

Applications are still OPEN for our Wonder Valley Ranch Resort retreat. Apply here https://castingforrecovery.org/sca/ by July 26, 2019 for a wonderful weekend of fly fishing, community and #catchthepowerofnature.

As we look forward to serving 2 retreats in Southern/Central California this year, our Lead Medical Facilitator, Jacqui, has 2 Trainees. Our volunteer staff continues to work hard to spread the word about our free fly fishing retreats for women with breast cancer and gather the donations that make our retreat free of cost to our participants.

AFISHONADO: Fly Fishing Book Review

by Ants Uiga

Fly Fishing: Simple to Sophisticated

by Al Kyte, Copyright 1982 and 1987 Printed by Leisure Press, Champaign, Illinois 1987, 198 pages

Al Kyte’s book is reviewed again following my first time as assistant casting instructor. Al Kyte is a great resource for casting and for fishing. If you search using his name, the result will show many of the FFI casting instruction lessons and materials came from Al Kyte.

Let me add a brief comment or two on my experience as a casting instructor. It seems casting is not so much taught as it is learned by the caster. Casting involves muscle memory and lots of subtle nuances. For example, false casting changes based on the amount of line being cast. As more line is cast, a longer time is needed at the end of each stroke. Those as the type of details that need to be felt – it is easy to describe, but the caster’s timing (and learning) is the key to success..

When it comes to moving from learning casting details to fishing with a fly rod, Al Kyte does the best job I have read in describing fishing technique. A wonderful detail with the book is if the book is used regularly, the same advice is offered on a consistent basis.

The book starts with fishing down and across a stream with a wet fly. It is the simplest technique in moving water. The casts are fairly short (20-30 feet), the wide riffle is a place where trout have a tendency to feed, and the current keeps the line tight so the fish takes are felt by the caster. The book gives instruction on types of flies to use, how to set up your fly line and leader, and how to approach the water.

The book continues with more techniques for streams, creeks, and lakes. As the fishing technique become more complicated, the additional details are presented.

I find this book to be a great reference to keep on my bookshelf. Sometimes, I read before I go out and see if I can find the type of water the author describes. More often, I try fishing a section of water a certain way, and afterward (usually) the next day, I finally come to realize I should have changed a few things to be more successful. There is always something to learn while fishing. That keeps me coming back to learn and learn some more. When I finally get the pieces together and the fish takes the fly, the fishy feedback is great. Enjoy!

Visit the club calendar for more upcoming events.

*Events may be cancelled or postponed due to weather, road and river conditions

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