August 9th, 1999
A Beginners View of Fly Fishing

by Brad Bone (aka WebFisher)

Hi everyone, my name is Brad Bone and I live in Pleasanton, California. Some of you probably know me from the FAOL chat room as 'Webfisher.' Well anyway, I am going to tell you about California and how to fish pressured lakes, and my view on the sport of fly fishing.

I grew up in California and have been fly fishing for about six months now, so I am fairly new at this. Most people see California as big cities and lots of people, when actually this is only partially correct.

Actually California in most places is very scenic, and it also has a killer trout stream here and there. Hat Creek in Northern California is listed as one of the top ten trout streams in the world. Even though California has many above 'average' trout streams, I concentrate my efforts on the more overlooked lakes of California.

Yes, California has lakes that extend many thousands of acres. Once again though I focus my efforts on the more "overlooked" urban lakes. There are three lakes I fish most often, the one I am going to talk about in this article is Shadow Cliffs, a 60 acre gravel quarry that has been dammed up and stocked with rainbows, bluegills, and bass. Shadow Cliffs is a very high pressured lake, so naturally the fish are very wary.

When fishing a pressured lake the number one thing to remember is not to add anymore pressure to the lake then there already is. When walking, wading, boating or whatever you're doing to fish, you want to do what I call 'sneaking' up on the fish. Be very quiet and present your fly as always with a very soft touch, if fishing dries.

When you are fishing wet flies you want to think of slowing your fly down, so the fish have time to observe it since they could be 'spooked.' Once you have snuck up on the fish, you can present your fly to them without them even knowing you're there in most cases. The last thing you can do to increase your success fishing for wary fish is to down-size your leader one or two sizes. This way you can give a more natural presentation to the fish and decrease the chance of them seeing your leader.

Fishing for wary fish can be extremely fun at times and not so fun at others. One day (this is a fun one) I was fishing Shadow Cliffs and had a little white streamer on my line. I walked up to one of the docks and the 'regulars' were fishing with spinning gear and power-bait, for trout. I walked up with my fly rod and gracefully cast out straight into the lake with my white streamer, and as soon as I started the retrieve my line tightened and one of the fisherman fishing power-bait laughed and said, "You're snagged already with that confounded contraption you have there," to which I replied, "Not really" and reeled in a two pound rainbow. I think I got every person on that dock to try to flyfish that day.

I hope these insights help you fish the next time you're on a pressured lake and for me getting people to at least try fly fishing is what this sport is all about.

p.s. Thanks for making one of my many dreams come true, ~ Brad Bone

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