I’ve been guiding on Putah Creek since August of 2013.
It’s basically a wild trout fishery– because they stopped stocking it many years ago, so the trout are strong and healthy fighters and just beautiful fish! Also, Putah’s close proximity to the Bay Area and Napa Valley allows locals and tourists to access fly-fishing more easily; finally, it’s a very technical and challenging river that helped me become a better fly-fisherman over the last decade and will help any fly-fisher get better at their angling skills.
Siltation of the river due to the recent fires and erosion, which seriously impairs the ability of fish to spawn and the the eggs to survive; anglers targeting spawning fish and actively fishing Redds; invasive species such as New Zealand Mud Snails, which hurt the river’s overall ecosystem and health; and also Illegal harvesting is a problem– people not checking the regulations and using inappropriate gear and/or keeping fish; finally, the results of climate change and the drought as well.
How can people best help the fishery stay healthy?
People can follow the regulations and catch-and-release fish; they can get involved with Putah Creek Trout and volunteer during the clean-ups and river restoration days to keep the river healthy; and clean up after themselves and others–every day that I am there I pick up trash that I find and pack it out.
Wow– it’s so hard to choose one–I have fished Putah 2-4 times per week for the past nine years— there have been so many……I have caught so many beautiful trout there and had amazing experiences seeing wildlife–deer, canadian geese, river otters have come right up to me as I’m fishing–I just love being up there and having the healing effect of water and the art of fly-fishing soothe my soul– and I love giving that to others and that is why I guide. One day I can think of is when I went up there and all the other fly-fishers were posted up at the bridge so I went down to my favorite spot where, after just a few casts, I hooked a 19-inch fish, released it, and then a few casts later a hooked a 22-inch fish and released it– that was a good day.
I do use different flies in different seasons and flows, but I tie a soft-hackle emerger pattern which works extremely well in most cases.
For me, the optimum flows are 400cfs because very few people fish at the high flows and it has forced me to find other spots that are out of the way and challenge myself to catch fish at those flows.
What would you say your “specialty” is for fishing the PC (technique) – how may you be different than other guides?
I love taking clients out who have never fly-fished before– and I would say my extreme enthusiasm and passion for the art of Fly-Fishing– I have heard over and over again from my clients that they love my energy and are “infected” by it when they go out with me; and my determination to give people the best day on the river they have ever had. Also, I don’t work out of a fly-shop, we are a Mom-and-Pop small business who started from the ground up. Finally, Putah Creek is my home water and the main one that I guide throughout the year, except during the main spawning months.