Current Fly Fishing Conditions

 7-30-17: Took a trip Sunday with Jim D. to a spot located in a forest with less waterfall than the higher elevation forests, especially the San Bernardinos. While water is still high and really flowing elsewhere (e.g. Santa Ana River), the river here was low and barely fishable. Most fish were caught sight fishing with dry flies. Advice is head to the traditional bigger higher elevation waters as conditions will be EPIC soon as soon as water levels subside and water warms. I will scout in the next few weeks and will have reports from the bigger spots. Fall will be amazing too, potentially the best period in years with those heavy winter rains.

6-21-17: Sorry for late reports. With the unprecedented amount of rain this winter, the more known spots in the San Bernardino forest are still running high with very cold, snow melt. Fish were inactive on a recent trip with Brandon and John on 6-17-17. Freezing water. I predict a few months before spots really take off. Good news, there are creeks at lower elevation in which fishing is really good in the San Gabriels, Angelus National Forest,  and further south. Got a good report from the San Gabriel watershed today. Bring bug spray as there are multiple fly species, besides mosquitos, that are drawing blood!

6-16-17: Trip with Jim D to SJ…….add

6-9-17: Trip with Drew K to SJ…….. add

5-30-17: Trip with Jim D., Brian to SJ ….add

5-11-17: Scouted a spot with Jim in the Angeles National Forest. Water levels were terrific and trout populations were strong. Fish were found primarily fishing smaller dry flies such as #18 parachute adams and elk hair caddis on 6x tippet. Very nice to see these very healthy fish in areas that were void of fish during the long drought. My forecast is that fishing will really turn on in all Southern California forests as water levels go down. This has been a very unique year in this regard, and one which will pay dividends in the upcoming years. Get out soon. I still think the last one to come around, as water levels need to drop, is the San Bernardino National Forest. Snow melt could be a problem for May, with late season conditions. Plenty of other spots to visit first.

5-1-17:  Water levels slowly dropping, fish starting to show throughout the region. Got reports of Southern California wild trout being caught the last few weeks in four mountain ranges!; Los Angeles, Cleveland, San Gabriels and San Jacintos. No idea as to what is happening in the San Bernardinos? Have not been in weeks due to the high water levels. Get out there and explore, as fishing will really take of with warmer weather and water levels dropping! Dry flies!!

4-3-17: Did a scout trip on 4-1-17 to a real remote section of the Santa Ana River in search of fishable water. Wow, water still very high, fast and not fishable yet. I believe it will be a while before waters in the San Bernardino Forest and elsewhere will be fishable. Short term bummer yet terrific news for the long term! I am eager to fish as I know everyone else is.

3-30-17: Wow, water levels still high just about everywhere in our region from the unprecedented amounts of rainfall we got in December, January and February. Have not been out for a few weeks. I cant wait for water levels to drop as fishing will be fantastic throughout the Southern California watersheds. Many spots that were asleep due to the 3 + year drought we had will wake up. Many Southern California fly fishing options soon for wild trout.  I will be scouting on Friday 3-31 at a spot in the San Bernardino Mountains at lower elevation that I believe can handle the higher flows. I will provide a report on the fishing conditions. I know everyone is itching to get out…soon conditions will be amazing!!  The bonus is how late the sun is going down now…more time to fish, and warmer conditions, especially water temps.

2-25-17 Scout trip today with Jim to the San Bernardino Mountains 4 days after more rains. Wow, all spots visited, including the Santa Ana River were way up and basically blown out from the heavy rains and swollen aquifers (which were feeding onto the dirt access roads at spots). No fishing opportunities, 4 x 4 access doable if area dry for a number of days, some muddy spots with slippery clay deposits. A few days after our visit we got an intense amount of rain in a very short time. Access is likely worse to the more remote spots in the SBM. Fishing will be terrific once the water levels drop, in concert with warming and longer days. March 12th is daylight savings time so we will get another hour of daylight to fish!

2-16-17: Sorry I have not given a more recent report. The rains have really been terrific for the long run in keeping aquifers full resulting in often heavy surface flow! However, the rains we got in January and now February have resulted in many spots having too much water to fish, a rare occurrence with the previous 3-4 year drought. I have been out to a few spots throughout Southern California and flows were too high to fish (one spot in the San Jacinto Mtns. and the other in / below waterfalls south of Orange County (gvf). Conditions will be terrific once things settle down. When will this be? I am confident there is enough water dispersed throughout the key regional watersheds to keep conditions solid throughout the entire year, including the typical dry months. Expecting more rain from a big storm to arrive Friday 2-17 in Southern California. Got a report from Iris that Piru Creek was fishing real well, from Frenchman’s Flat down a few miles, before the rains came and the dam released water to 3000 c.f.s. from a normal flow of 3 to 5 c.f.s.! Thus, Piru is now blown out. more current reports to come once things calm down.

1-11-17: Got report from Jonathan M. of catching some wild fish dispersed from heavy rains in / below waterfalls south of Orange County (gvf) . Look around after all these rains in spots that were on hold due to our 3 year drought. These deluges are really getting things stirring. Going to be a terrific 2017 fly fishing in Southern California backcountry streams and creeks!! With heavy rains now, its going to be tough to 4 x 4 access the more remote spots, such as those in the San Bernardino Mountains with nasty mud and clay slippery roads. Let things dry out and pass on taking risks! I suggest visiting the many other spots likely coming out of their long hibernation with this consistent heavy winter rain such as Piru, W. and East Forks of the SGR, Santa Ana River below Middle Control Road, San Antonio Creek, and more.

1-3-17: Got some good reports of trout eating nymphs below strike indicators at Piru Creek below the catch and release section.  I suggest getting in the water and fishing upstream with a multi-fly nymph rig with small #16, #18 flash back pheasant tails, zebra midges and prince nymphs. Also can drop a heavy nymph dropper below a dry fly. Not sure if fish ready to eat dries, thus your best bet would be a nymph rig with a strike indicator.

12-27-16: Guide trip with Dale . and Scott F. from Tustin and Thousand Oaks to a remote spot south of Orange County. Very steep 1000′ descent down into gorge. Great water levels. Guys caught at least 50 plus wild fish (rainbows) to 12″ on dries (#16 elk hair caddis, #14 bug pattern, #16 stimulators), and on a nymph strike indicator rig with small bead head hares ears, copper johns in red and blue and other small nymphs. A few on dropper nymphs below nymph rigs. No bigger fish this trip. Amazing day.

11-18-16:  AMAZING GUIDE TRIP WITH JAMIE AND HIS 2 SONS YESTERDAY IN THE SAN BERNARDINO MOUNTAINS!!! WEATHER WARM AND PERFECT AND THE AQUIFERS WERE REALLY FEEDING WATER INTO THE WATERSHEDS FROM LAST RAIN EVENT. WE FISHED #16 ELK HAIR CADDIS TIED WITH LONGER WINGS, BLEACHED ELK HAIR AND HEAVY HACKLE. THESE GUYS FLOATED BEAUTIFULLY AND EASY TO TRACK. RISES TO THE DRY FLIES IN JUST EVERY POOL, SEEM, RUN. PROBABLY OVER 40 RISES, WITH 14 IN THE NET, UP TO 12 INCHES. NOTHING BIG BUT STEADY ACTION, MOSTLY BROWN TROUT. NICE RAIN EVENT IN MY OPINION WILL REALLY SOLIDIFY THINGS AND OPEN UP MORE SPOTS TO THE WEST AND SOUTH. FISH LOWER ELEVATIONS WITH WARMER TEMPERATURES WITH THESE SHORT DAYS, ESPECIALLY THE CREEK/RIVER TEMPERATURES. FISH BEAD HEAD DROPPERS BELOW DRY FLIES THAT CAN HOLD UP A HEAVIER NYMPH SUCH AS STIMULATORS, ROYAL WULFFS OR HOPPERS. FISH THE DROPPERS IN DEEPER HOLES. i HAVE BEEN USING THESE…#16, 18 TUNGSTEN BEAD HEAD PRINCES, PHEASANT TAILS, HARES EARS AND BLUE & BLACK COPPER JOHNS.

11-10-16:  Got a report from a fisherman who visited a San Jacinto Mountains watershed for the first time on 11-7.  Water was very low according to him, yet he saw fish and got a rise on a dry fly. I do not believe the recent rains hit this region. My suggestion is focus on the watersheds that have the most water, and right now those will be in the San Bernardinos. Soon with more rain the San Gabriels, Angelus, San Jacintos and others will open up. Cant wait!

9-24-16: Guide trip with Roman A. from San Diego in the San Bernardino. Roman was an lower-intermediate level angler and was fishing dry flies the whole day (#16 elk hair caddis, stimulators) on 6x tippet. His first trip to a Southern California creek and was able to get about 10 or more rises to the dry fly with 4 fish in the net. Conditions were good, weather was perfect around 80 degrees, water levels lower and very, very clear. The fish were much more aggressive with cooler water. An experienced angler could have a day with a dozen in the net and many more rises with missed fish. Largest fish caught was at 12 inches long.

9-9-16: Fishing was great on Friday 9-9 in the San Bernardinos when I went to scout waters for upcoming guide trips!! Water was much cooler at a variety of watersheds we visited due to dropping evening temperatures and shorter days with less light, heat on the water. Water levels lower but fine. I really enjoyed wet wading. Fish were aggressive and jumping on our dry flies (stimulators, elk hair caddis, royal humpies) all over. Jim caught one fish around 15 inches. Did not get photo. We caught a bunch of fish!! Good time to book a guide trip with Southern California Fly Fishing Expeditions. Cant wait for rain to come hopefully in October. Fishing is just amazing then going into the holiday season.

7-19-16: Guide trip on 7-16-16 with John, Victor, Ty and Matt…actually a laid back bachelor party for John getting married next week. First time beginners we fished the mid section of the Santa Ana. Got a few small ones to rise for small Stimulators. Water low with tough fishing. Headed to a different section and were able to sight fish to large planter rainbows with bead head prince nymphs. Hooked and landed two, one was huge and around 17 inches. Only have picture of smaller fish around 13 inches caught by John. ADVICE, FISH THE LOWER SECTION OF SANTA ANA RIVER BELOW WHITE BRIDGE WHERE IT STEPS DOWN WITH GRADIENT AND MORE BOULDERS/POCKET WATER, SHADE & DEPTH. Meadow water was real low and not productive.

7-4-16: Trip with Jim G. to my favorite SoCal backcountry spot. Had not been in over 8 months due to serious sedimentation from heavy short period of rain. 4 x 4 in and then a serious hike in for a few miles to upper waters I have never been to. Found great flows and a stretch with trophy sized fish. Fished #14 parachute hoppers and got wild bows and Browns to rise big time. Jim after twenty casts in a pool got a perfect heavy 16 inch rainbow in the net. He also had a brown trout that size rise and miss the hopper. Soon after he almost stepped on a trout at least 2 inches longer! I hooked a fish I could not move that got off and could not get a bunch of other fish securely hooked. Just one of those days when they all get off. Key to success was finding the most water available in region from aquifers and other water sources, cumulative effect. Wow, big fish!

6-25-16: Guide trip yesterday at lower elevation in San Bernardinos. Water dropped quite a bit since last guide trip there a few weeks ago. Skinnier yet we started doing better in afternoon. Took Will from Colorado who has never creek fished. Challenging for him yet fishing hoppers he managed to get 12 rises casting in the most oxygenated moving, cooler water. Late on hook sets due to being new at this type of fishing thus most did not get hooked. Fishing small tungsten bead hares ears and pheasant tails under the hopper in deeper holes and managed 6 grabs with 3 in the net. Key is to find fish in cooler, deeper, comfortable water in lower water levels at lower elevations during summer. Gorgeous day. Saw a butterfly fluttering on the surface and all of a sudden a real nice sized trout at / over 13″ porpoises out of the water and ate him on its way down. Just an amazing thing to see.

6-19-16: Great Fathers Day SoCal fly fishing report from my best buddy Drew fishing an undisclosed section of the Santa Ana River. In an hour and a half he stuck 12 wild Browns on #16 stimulators with 6x tippet. He got a legitimate brown trout over 13 inches which is great for this section! and the others from 9 inches up. Nice few hours on the river with great fish! Water levels good and a little off color.

6-18-16: Guide trip with Jeff Spangler and two friends in the San Bernardinos…….add report.

5-24-16: Got a report from PCC member on the West Fork San Gabriel River.  Fish found far up toward Cogswell Reservoir  around 4 miles in with a serious bike ride in. Not many fish seen or hooked.  Expect just a handful of rainbows 6 to 8 inches on a good day.  A 12 inch fish here is a real monster. Sediment, drought have been real problems.  Let’s hope it makes a great comeback to 40 / 50 fish days of the past.  One of my favorite spots while attending UC Irvine. Last time I saw it great was my first ever guide trip early summer 2012 with Paul and his son. Rises then in every hole.  Will likely scout the East Fork over Memorial Day and have a report soon.

5-14-16: Guide trip with Kevin and Frank from Fallbrook. Warmup on the SA, water up and really moving. No rises in 40 minutes. Headed west to new watershed. Fished #16 crystal flash stimulators in the crystal clear water and had trouble getting rises. Got a few hookups. Saw tons of golden stonefly shucks on rocks from previous evening hatch. Switched to #12, 14 hoppers and got immediate rises consistently. Saw grasshoppers around. Weather warm and perfect. Suggest fishing hoppers now!  Fish wanted bigger buggy stuff.

4-6-16: Afternoon presentation to Streamborn Fly Fishers at Bass Pro Shops. Able to zip over to a very small wild trout stream  a new friend told me about. Yes, wild rainbow trout in there and enough water. Spent 45 minutes at creek. spooked fish, hooked fish. One of the closet spots with wild trout to a urban population that I have been too. This one is very obscure and will remain that way. This and other small creeks at foothills will benefit from these Spring rains.

3-26-16 Easter:  Trip with Jim G to a watershed in the San Jacinto Mountains. Water levels on low side. After 10 minute hike up river we were into nice sized wild brown trout fishing exclusively with #16 crystal body stimulators with bleached elk hair with dyed orange calf hair layered on top for visibility.  Over 20 Browns to 13 inches netted with quite a few other rises to the dry fly.  Solid action in every decent sized pool. Conditions will be terrific once more rain comes. Close to breaking open! Jim got to sight cast to a half dozen fish with stimulators.

3-12-16: Guide trip with Kevin and Frank from Fallbrook. Very, very heavy rains and snow evening before trip. Thus, the result was muddy unpassable roads in the San Bernardino Mountains. Have to head home and reschedule trip once off road conditions improve, likely in a week.

2-18-16: Second day guide trip with Per and headed to creek along fault line near Lake Arrowhead. Wow, water way up, super deep holes. Unfortunately, wind was over 40 miles an hour and prevented us from really fishing the watershed. Per had 6 rises and hookups to dry flies (elk hair caddis) in one pool and a few others in pools up stream. Small rainbow trout.  Wind really hampered our ability to fish the spot. Most water I have seen in this watershed. Expect terrific fishing later this year here. Other alternative spots to explore now throughout Southern California with the increasing water levels. Get out there!

2-17-16:  Guide trip with Per from Denmark on Tuesday in the San Bernardinos at lower elevation. Per has fished some great waters in Colorado and the San Juan River in New Mexico, and caught some giant trout. However, he has not dry fly fished, yet he caught on and caught pretty wild fish (all browns) on #16 stimulators with white calf over elk hair for visibility. Also caught a few on small tungsten bead head blue copper johns dropped below the dry fly in deepest pools. Absolutely best weather, no one around, no wind, water levels perfect. Per had quite a few rises to the dry fly for a first timer. An experienced fly fisher (who has fished dries) could likely get 15 to 20 fish in the net. Just a wonderful day. Conditions should get better with more aggressive fish and higher catch rates. Do not need any more water for this watershed….good news! Fish lower elevations with warmer water and air temps throughout February.

2-4-16: Guide trip with Dale and Phil from San Fernando Valley to the San Bernardino Mountains. Weather was clear, warm and wonderful. However, the last week was very rainy, windy and cold. The night before the trip with temperature in Big Bear was the coldest in the state of California. While our day was very nice the previous cold weather put the fish down. They were not looking up nor eating nymphs. Dale got a smaller rainbow trout right away on a #16 stimulator dry fly. Throughout the day Dale hooked or got rises from a handful of other fish. Phil did not. Weather predicted to warm. Fishing for these wild trout should get good again. Of note, visited the mid section of the Santa Ana River at 7 Oaks. Tons of trees and branches and debris feel into the river from that storm with tremendous winds. River water temps real cold likely high 30s low 40s. This one will come alive in the Spring, though needs to be cleaned of debris and branches.

2-13-16: Hit a very secret spot in the southern portion of Southern California with Jim G. a friend from Solana Beach. The spot requires at times holding ropes to get down a 2000 foot drop to the bottom of the canyon. The spot is fished likely a few times a year. These fish have been tested and have very strong genes of the Southern Coastal Band Steelhead. They have a purple hue to them. Water in the creek was up and fishing wide open as usual on a variety of dry flies (#16 stimulator, bright pink post parachute hopper, elk hair caddis) and on nymphs – tungsten bead head pheasant tails, hares ears. Fly choice not important here as fish are not picky pouncing on anything. No pressure from fisherman. Saw a 14″ fish but nothing larger. Jim and I caught over 50 fish fishing 3/4 a day. up to 12 inches.

12-14-15: What a day yesterday (12-13) guiding in the lower mountains, no one around, clear blue skies and just me, Ty and his girlfriend Shannon. After quite a bit of planning Ty was now ready to prop along the river! We set it up so she would be surprised walking up to a special pool with Ty surprising her by having a full spread set up…champagne, cheese, crackers, proscuitto, chocolate dipped strawberries to name a few. I, being the odd man out went up river to fish to give them the privacy for the special moment. Super special for both of them! Shannon, now engaged wanted to catch a trout immediately. With her experience, just 30 minutes after now having a ring on her finger, she began hooking some nice ones on dries, and nymphs as the dropper! She lost a real pig of a rainbow on a break off. Ty caught 4 in one pool. They actually caught fish on the exact same fly (#18 tungsten bead head rainbow warrior). I gave them the fly to keep. Ty and Shannon could not of had a better day, no one around for the engagement, good fishing (20 fish), and, we saw a bobcat on the way home on the road. Ok, fishing conditions….water was clear, cold, yet fish both rainbows and browns (nice sized ones!) were rising to #16 royal stimulators. However, the fish, multiple hookups in each pool would really jump on nymphs as a dropper below the dry fly. They really liked a #18 tungsten bead head rainbow warrior. 20 fish for the day. I would focus on the dry dropper rig with droppers being small tungsten bead head hares ears, pheasant tails, princes and rainbow warriors. Weather in the San Bernardinos was real cold at 6000 plus feet with back to back 3 inch snow days. Focus on lowest of elevation waters.

11-7-15: Guide trip yesterday with real nice clear, sunny, warm weather. First stop, water was way up and real clear (finally after weeks!) Thought we were going to get many fish to rise for the dry flies. Water super cold likely from snow melt. Could not get fish to rise as I believe they were in a state of shock (due to cold water) and nestled near the bottom. Second stop at much lower elevation was good with warmer water, great high flows. Fish rising for #16 stimulators and eating droppers including small tungsten bead head pheasant tails, zebra midges, hares ears. Nancy caught her fish fish ever!! Cool to be a part of it. Nice that her first fish happens to be a fat, wild brown trout which ate a pheasant tail nymph. Focus on lower elevation waters for now (those that are warmer), or those with man made, controlled flows and consistent water temperatures. Spots with warmer water now should be priority.

10-27: On 10-24 and 10-25 did a multi-day land rover safari overnight guide trip throughout the San Bernardino Mtns. from Crestline east. Took Clyde and Drew, two young men attending a prep academy for entrance into Annapolis Military Academy in Maryland. Clyde, a fly fishing guide and Drew a beginner. Hit three different watersheds in two days. The Santa Ana River was still off color and really moving after a week (when heavy thundershowers caused it to look chocolatly),  and thus fish not rising to dry flies. Needs another week to clear up. Some fish caught on small heavier bead head nymphs as a dropper. Go elsewhere. Other spot while running high, had clear water and nice sized fish moving for dries (#14, #16 royal stimulators, #14 cinnamon ants) and nymphs (as the dropper) – #16 tungsten bead head pheasant tail and prince nymphs. First spot visited for 3 hours near Lake Arrowhead water level was low. Fish eager to eat small dry flies (#16 brown hairwing duns with pink in wing for visibility) and small bead head nymphs (#18). 20 fish caught here, yet small. Overall, good problem when some spots have too much water at this time.

10-18: Yesterday, had a guide trip with beginners Nancy and Ian to start her birthday weekend. Visited the mid section of the Santa Ana River. I was anticipating another amazing day on this watershed. When we arrived the river was basically blown out with water which looked like chocolate milk. It appears that very intense thundershowers caused this. I quickly had to adapt and took them deep into a watershed further west. When we arrived, water was real high, yet much clearer. Under supervision, as Nancy and Ian were beginners, they did great and caught around 14 wild rainbows and browns up to 12 inches on #16 stimulators and on the dropper nymph, a tungsten bead head red copper john. They hooked around 25 fish which was great considering the level of water and their skill set. Ian made me proud and caught one after learning the bow and arrow cast and applying it in a very tight location. Got video of it!

10-14-15: Did a scout trip Wednesday with my buddy Jim to check on one of our favorite spots and the real damaging sediment flow from intense February rains covering primary holes in the river, almost wiping it out. Good news is the more recent rains are moving sediment down stream big time. This section of river was just about blown out with real high water. Did hook a nice rainbow on a dropper nymph. Spot will likely recover nicely with El Nino. Next, visited the mid section of the Santa Ana River from Hwy 38 to the white bridge, six miles or so. Water levels perfect, on the higher side, water semi-clear yet the fishing was the best I have seen ever for that segment of watershed. Fish jumping on dries….#16 brown hairwing duns with pink parachute post, #16 royal stimulators, and also on the dropper nymph (small tungsten bead head pheasant tails, tungsten bead head princes). On 10-11 the CDF&G planted quite a few rainbows along the river, some big. Wild brown and rainbow trout are not happily when they arrive, as they often crowd them out. These introduced fish were eating flies, and I caught five to 16 inches on dry flies and others on dropper nymphs. In total, Jim and I caught 50 fish, (half a dozen were planters) and some quality wild browns!

10-9-15: Finally fly fished with my dad for the first time last Saturday! He has fished one day on the San Juan River, yet was a complete beginner. Weather in the San Bernardinos was perfect, water levels on the Santa Ana River were UP for miles. Still off color, a little clearer than tea. Dad did good, caught fish on dries – pink post #16 hairwing duns and stimulators, dry dropper rig, and on dual fly nymph rig with small tungsten bead head hares ear and copper jonhs. I highly recommend fishing a short dual nymph or dropper rig (with heavy bead head flies) until water is clearer. Still can get rises on the dries though. Smaller stocked rainbows were planted around the campgrounds on Friday 10-2, and dad caught 3. Others with conventional gear filling their stringers. While I promote and pursue catching wild trout in almost all cases, these stockers (some large at times) are mixed in with the wild trout on this watershed and can be fun to hook. Subsequently, got decent amount of rain on Monday and Tuesday. I will be scouting spots in and out of this forest so check in periodically for more updates.

9-18-15: Scouted the San Bernardino National Forest with Alexandra four days after 2 inches of unusual rain in September. Santa Ana River watershed water levels off color and high!…a blessing for these wild fish.  Still can catch fish on nymph rigs in deeper, slower pools with the off color water. Fish heavy flashy bead head flies (to get down on bottom) and smaller san juan worms. Some on #16, 18 dry flies in clearer sections. Conditions should be real good for dry fly fishing at other spots throughout the forest after water lowers and clears.

8-29-15: Great guide trip yesterday 8-29 with Vyki, first time fly fisher, from LA in the San Bernardino Mountains. Fished multiple watersheds with water which still felt cool. She had some amazing rises from quality fish in the large beautiful crystal clear pools fishing dry flies – #16 chocolate hair wing duns with split tails. Caught both rainbows and browns. These two spots are in good shape (fish were healthy), and El Nino water will hopefully show up next month or so. Fun fishing out there just have to be in the know.

8-17-15: Guide trip today with Neil and his wife from La Jolla, wow water really looks like it is coming up along the Santa Ana River from Hwy 38 to the white bridge. how?  Water still off color yet may be helping us by allowing us to get closer to the fish, they are less spooky. Terrific, non-stop action today!!! on #16 royal stimulator dry flies and #16 bright pink post brown hairwing duns. fished 6x tippet. Multiple rises in every pool. No one around and 76 degrees out, blue skies! Nothing large today, all wild brown trout. Very compatible water for beginners to learn to cast, and fish dry flies. I am betting miles of the Santa Ana River shed from the 38 bridge to the confluence is fishing real well. Upper Santa Ana (at higher altitude) however was right in/near the fire epicenter and is likely in bad shape.

8-5-15: Guide trip on 8-2-15 with Marc and girlfriend from Marina del Rey. First looked at the upper Santa Ana River to start and it was still too off color due to runoff from Lake Fire. Getting clearer though. Got a report of good fishing in this off color water with nymph droppers on an upper portion of the Santa Ana. Good to know fish are fine and hungry. Moved on and fished pristine spot near Big Bear Lake. No one around, great water levels, crystal clear cold water. Wet wade. Very good dry fly action on #16 royal stimulators and on tungsten rainbow bead head rainbow warrior #18 nymphs. All fish caught were brown trout. Focus on the highest elevation spots with coldest water. Many other spots need water as soon as possible to be really fishable. There are a handful of spots that are still very good with this continued drought and our guide service is focusing on them. We need El Nino to lite up all the spots!

7-29-15: Guide trip today with Pam Porter and husband from Huntington Beach. Again, fished near Lake Arrowhead. An experienced angler would likely of been able to catch 10 to 15 fish really covering water and focusing on special spots (colder moving water!), assuming swimmers not interfering. Weekdays have very few visitors (swimmers) and are best for fly fishing here in the San Bernardino National Forest. River did not seem any higher after the intense two days of thundershowers from the Baja hurricane. Fish caught were small rainbow trout on dry flies. Had some periods of intense thundershowers.

7-15-15: Guide trip today with Guanawan and nephew from Indonesia who are experienced fly fishers from Indonesia, yet have not seen a trout. Water levels around Big Bear region just about perfect with cold water and aggressive fish. Some real nice rises on dry flies (#16 royal stimulators) and a few on nymph droppers and their first brown trout caught. Focus on fishing higher elevation spots which have colder water from aquifers. Looked at the upper Santa Ana River to start and it was still too off color due to runoff from Lake Fire.

7-14-15: Guide trip on 7-11 this last Saturday with Patrick and Isaak. Neither had ever caught a wild trout on a dry fly. Isaak is 9 years old and was so excited to catch his first fish on dry flies (#16 stimulators on 6x tippet). Fish aggressive in the colder, shady, faster water. Both father and son caught wild rainbow trout and really bonded. Fished near Lake Arrowhead. An experienced angler would likely of been able to catch 10 to 20 fish really covering water and focusing on special spots (colder moving water!), assuming swimmers not interfering. Weekdays have very few visitors (swimmers) and are best for fly fishing here in the San Bernardino National Forest.

7-9-15: Guide trip yesterday with Bill’s family from Hancock Park. They were all beginners. Headed to upper Santa Ana watershed. Unfortunately ash/sediment from Lake Fire finally entered river and clouded it making it unfishable. Headed away from watershed and fished another spot with more water.  Good flows, cool water temps, some deep holes and real aggressive fish in each hole. Fished dry flies (#16 royal stimulators) and a few smaller dropper nymphs. Group had about 20 rises to the dry total and a few takes on the dropper fly. Beautiful sunny day, temps in the high 70’s, low 80’s. In the next few weeks fish spots with coolest water, deepest pools found now around Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear. Lake fire effects likely shut down Santa Ana watershed for a while. I will report on status as soon as I hear from Forest Service.

7-1-15: This last Monday fished a special section of river along the Pacific Coast Trail with my friend Drew that I had not been too. Absolutely amazing setting, we caught over 50 rainbow trout on dry flies, nothing large. Fish so aggressive. Super deep crystal clear swimming holes (some over 13 feet deep), water cool and so nice to wade in and swim. Saw a real nice sized brown trout right in front of me. Only my 4th time here in over 25 years. Always pass it up for other spots as it is isolated. Scouted it for clients on this day. Just perfect as you can put a ton of line out to cast in many locations. Wish I had not passed up this section over the years. This spot will hold real well through summer as will a handful of others at high altitude with cool enough water from aquifers.

Update on Lake Fire: Forest is still completely closed, likely until July 9th at a minimum. Highway 38 is open. Gate to trails down to Bear is locked, may open next week. This fire which started near Jenks Lake I do not believe will affect any watersheds. Mark

6-30-15: Sunday found a few cool water spots and guided Michael L. from Los Angeles. He had a great day as he has never caught a wild trout in Southern California,nor one on a dry fly. He caught both rainbows and browns (25) and had a blast at multiple locations. Nothing large. Had to work around closures due to active Lake Fire. Found cool wild blackberries! Took later quick visit on way home to Cucamonga Wilderness and SA creek (water too low).

6-2-15: Scout trip with Jim G. at secret river section. Sedimentation all the way up yet still fish around in tight holes left. Got story from superintendent. half a dozen here on stimulators #16 royal. Much more water above diversion, really burning through. half dozen up there. hooked and missed 14 to 15 inch fish on a tungsten head lead wrapped streamer in first large pool/run.

5-31-15: Guide trip yesterday with David S. from miracle mile. Fished 3 separate watersheds (including secret spot) in one day and caught them in all three!…a first!  Biggest was a 13″ brown trout on a dry fly. No big ones this time. Fishing conditions AS GOOD AS IT GETS, best trip of the year!! Every good drift seemed to get an explosive rise. June will be great as water levels will be good. Fished #16 royal stimulators with bleached elk hair and #16 olive parachute caddis on 6x tippet.

5-28-15: Guide trip on 5-19-15 with James E. M.D., a beginner, from Pacific Palisades in the Santa Ana drainage. He had over 20 rises on #16 dry flies as wild browns were aggressive! Got a report from past client Rob from Fletcher Hills that he did well in this section on 5-26-15 fishing dries. Said water seemed warmer and fish aggressive. Saw lots of stoneflies active.

5-18-15: Guide trip with Rob and brother Randy from Alta Dena. Weather was cold in the low 50’s and overcast, water levels perfect around Big Bear and good in the Santa Ana drainage. Some snow still in the mountains above Jenks Lake. Guys did well on #16 stimulators and #16 bright yellow post caddis parachutes.  Guys caught 15 fish (14 browns and 1 rainbow trout). No large fish. Randy had a 5 pm call to make a live court proceeding. Had to leave at 3:30 to drop him off. Was able to hit the upper Santa Ana watershed with Rob for an hour from 5 to 6. He did well catching a dozen smaller brown trout on dries. 5-21-15 update. Brown trout active in Santa Ana watershed from 38 on down. Caught 20 in a few hours on #16 royal stimulator.

5-10-15: Guide trip yesterday (5-9-15) with Lindsey from Arkansas to the San Bernardino Mountains. First time fishing backcountry as she is used to the White and Buffalo rivers. She got some nice ones, both wild rainbows and browns. Weather was super cold, some snow on ground, and decent amount on hills. kinda foggy. Lindsey unfortunately slipped and fell into a deep pool and got completely drenched toward end of trip. She still wanted to fish until she was too cold, and caught her biggest brown trout (12″long) minutes after the fall. a trooper!

5-4-15: Guide trip with Lauren and husband Patrick on 5-3-15. Patrick was a experienced angler. Weather around 70 degrees in San Bernardinos and amazing. Lots of rises on dry flies (#16, 18 royal stimulators) around 7 oaks from the smaller resident browns. Hooked a few of the large DF&G rainbows, one on a dry fly and one on dropper nymph. Second part of day headed down into gorge near Big Bear Lake. Water down a little, yet solid fishing. One nice rainbow around 13 (+) inches, other largest around 10 inches on #16 stimulator. Got quite a few rises in the deeper holes.

4-21-15: DF&G scheduled plant for SAR on 4-26-15. Saw them in river on 5-3-15.

4-14-15: Headed on 4-13 with Jim G. to my favorite spot in the San Jacinto Mountains. Weather ideal in upper 60s at this elevation. Water darn low, yet river loaded with fish!  I caught a beautiful 13″ wild brown on a #16 royal stimulator just feet from where we parked. Skinny water had many fish yet we spooked a ton we did not see. Had to be stealth and really sneak up on these fish that were in small pools, runs, below waterfalls, and flat sections and hidden everywhere. We hooked 40 fish all browns. They were hungry yet looked very healthy!! Water real cold. No rainbows around for some reason? No one around. Only saw a dune buggy on dirt road all day. Fished 6x tippet but probably should of fished 7x. Great day! Got a fish report from Bob N. in which on 4-12-15 he caught 25 to 30 browns and one rainbow to 11″on purple parachute adams and elk hair caddis around Big Bear.

4-3-15: Guide trip on 4-4-15 with Rudi and his 3 friends from Seattle, Vancouver and NYC. All four guys were first timers. Fished higher elevation San Bernardino Mountain spot with dry flies. A few fish hooked and came off. Hard to tell how aggressive trout were here as I had to teach and rotate with 4 guys. My assumption is that fish were aggressive here and an experienced angler would do well on dries. Moved to much lower elevation spot after lunch. Water low, yet fish everywhere and very aggressive. All guys caught rainbows on #16 crystal flash stimulators. 25 fish plus for an experienced angler. Hooked a 13″ fish on a #18 parachute adams with pink post which broke off.

3-29-15: Two guide trips this last week to primarily higher elevation spots in the San Bernardino National Forest. First trip on 3-21 with Pat and Bobby from Maryland, perfect weather in upper 60’s and good dry fly fishing on #16, #18 stimulators and a few on small  #18 tungsten bead head droppers. They had about 20 rises to the dry fly and hooked largest at 12 inches, nothing big on this day (they fished lower and upper elevation spots). Second trip with first timers Lori and son Logan from Ohio got even better weather in 70s and fished exclusively higher elevations. 25 rises to the dry and one nice one on a small #18 tungsten bead head pheasant tail dropper. Missed quite a few with late hook sets, common with first timers. lol. Water levels solid. Fish aggressive. Get up there!

3-11-15: Today, Gary P. fished dry flies he hand tied at a secret little creek (back from the dead) south of Orange County. He caught 4 or 5 wild trout including this real nice size beautiful rainbow trout, and missed a handful of others. Creek and others in the area need more water asap! Gary also saw the same bobcat I saw last year which hangs out in the meadow, and many turkeys! Glad he had a good day!

3-9-15: Fished with Jim G. in the San Bernardinos especially to check out whether increased siltation damage. Water clear and more siltation yet fish were there and aggressive. We flushed many out of their hiding spots. We caught 25 to 30 wild rainbows and browns (equal distribution) on #16 stimulators, elk hair caddis and #14 parachute hopper. One on an emerger and another dropping a small brassie. Lost one around 13″ to 14″ inches. Sight fished to a handful of fish. While walking up stream we found a real TROPHY trout which had just died of natural causes. This fish was 18 inches and super fat!!! likely 3 1/2  or more pounds. Wow! Bigger fish are in there. Local told us about a 22″ brown hooked. Largest I ever saw here I estimated at 20 inches. Once we get snowmelt and some Spring rain the rivers and creeks in SBF will go off!

2-23-15:  Guide trip on creek near Lake Arrowhead, water temps in 50s, air temps in upper  5os. Three other fisherman on water. We got 10 rises on #16, #18 elk hair caddis, stimulators yet could not get them in the net. Fish were real small. Saw a bunch of Tai chubs. Recommendation is to focus on other spots in the SBNF at lower elevation until weather warms, or other forests once rain comes.

2-17-15: Got two great fishing reports from Bob G. and another from Gary P. who fished the watershed near Big Bear Lake. Bob yesterday caught 15 browns and lost 7 more fishing dries and dropping a zebra midge. Gary this last weekend caught many fish on small (14-18) stimulators, PMX’s, Elk Hair Caddis and a Black Caddis pattern. He caught a few rainbows and far more brown trout. He lost a fish estimated at 14″.

2-7-15: Yesterday I had a guide trip with Gordon from Redlands. Our first morning stop at the upper Santa Ana watershed was unsuccessful as we measured the water temperature which was 43 degrees! We then made the decision to spend from noon until dark fishing the waters near Big Bear Lake. No one around for miles and absolutely crystal clear water with many fish seen as we progressed up river. Water temp was 56 degrees, big difference than Santa Ana watershed. Gordon stuck over 25 wild browns and 1 rainbow on #16 stimulators and a handful on #16 tungsten bead olive pheasant tails (dropper style) including some nice fish. He lost one hooked around 15 inches unfortunately. Amazing, wide open dry fly fishing!  The spot is fishing perfectly. One hole we netted 6 fish. I give it a perfect 10 for overall conditions….water levels, water clarity, water temps, fish aggressiveness, air temps and no one around!  Time to get out there and book a trip with one of our staff guides for this adventure!!

1-25-15: Had a guide trip yesterday near Big Bear Lake. 4 x 4’d in. Super windy, santa ana winds which were so strong that branches broke and acorns were being blown into the river. Water levels were terrific, actually perfect!! Even with the wind the fishing was great!!! In one hole, Reid a beginner, first time creek fisher, hooked 12 and got 7 to the net including a 12 inch brown trout, and lost a bigger one. Fish were eating #16 bead head tungsten pheasant tails below a #16 stimulator. Once weather warmed they were on the dries too, including #16 hi viz parachute adams/baetis and stimulators. Guys caught 20 or so fish, including 6 rainbows. Without those crazy winds the fish count I believe would have doubled!

1-19-15: On January 18th Jim and I ventured down to the Devils Hole near Lake Arrowhead from noon to 4 pm. Weather amazing and such a pristine spot. Pretty routine 4 x 4 in except for final descent. So much water down there with huge holes!! Great looking pocket water and some deep perfect runs. No doubt this spot could make you think you are in the Sierras. There was no snow on the ground driving in from Lake Arrowhead. Caught a nice 12 inch wild rainbow on a tungsten bead head prince nymph and other smaller fish (primarily dry dropper rig). We had half a dozen rises to the dry flies (#16 stimulators and #14 Madam Xs). Did not have time to really fish the river’s holes and try a variety of techniques. Need to get back soon and fish the whole day, big fish in there!

1-15-15: A friend of mine revisited a spot in the Angeles National Forest hoping additional heavy rains would now make it fishable. It was in much better shape and he did catch 3 rainbows on a beadhead dropper below a dry fly. Angeles National Forest still needs more water to turn the spot on.

1-7-15: Hello friends, had a guide trip on 1-4 Saturday in the San Bernardinos. Unfortunately a prime river section was silted from likely the recent heavy rains at lower elevation. Also we could not find fish in the upper portions of river. Likely fish moved up due to very cold weather and silt. First trip in which no fish caught. Weather has been bitter cold and I am guessing that had to do with it. My advice is to wait a few weeks (let things get back to normal) before venturing up to fly fish local mountains. Fishing will get great again real soon! Venturing out on 1-11 to check out conditions. Will get back to everyone with a report. Mark

12-22-14: Yesterday (12-21) Jim D. and I ventured out to check on a couple secret spots south of Orange County hoping they received enough rain to comfortably disperse the wild trout. Both were unfortunately not in fishable shape except for a pool below where two waterfalls so beautifully dump in. Jim hooked this pristine fish around 12 inches on a #16 stimulator, and we caught a few more. Rain is so very needed for these southern spots to show. Up north in the mountains above LA and San Bernardino/Riverside many spots are ON!! Get out there.

12-9-14: A friend of mine visited a spot in the Angeles National Forest on 12-6 hoping the heavy rains would make it fishable. It was still low yet he did catch a great 11 to 12″ brown trout on a stimulator. Nothing else. I would hold off on most areas west/northwest of Bass Pro Shops (in Rancho Cucamonga) until more rain and focus on the San Bernardino National Forest. I have not been to the San Jacintos since last year thus I do not have a report. My bet is that the Bernardinos have much more water.

11-30-14: Rained all day in Lake Arrowhead area on the 30th, Angeles National Forest and through LA. Expect a ton of heavy rain Tuesday all they way south into San Diego!! Conditions pretty much everywhere will be phenomenal when rains stop.

11-22-14: Report based on my guide trip with Cheryl and Nick from Perris last Saturday on the Santa Ana watershed. Conditions were improving by the minute (with the water rising) as the area, especially Big Bear got a lot of snow dumped on them on Thursday evening (11-20). The snowmelt in the watershed will continue to really improve conditions on all segments of the Santa Ana watershed, below big bear and pretty much the San Bernardino National Forest. Now would be an excellent time to schedule a trip with me. Dry fly fishing big time! Cheryl and Nick were first timers and got many rises primarily to #18 elk hair caddis dry flies. Nick, Cheryl’s only son as an early Christmas present bought his mom this guide trip as it was her dream to try it and learn. Such a good son! They had a wonderful time. Biggest fish was Nick’s rainbow trout around 12 inches.

11-12-14: Ok, here is your fish and water level report as I had a guide trip today Wednesday with Scott and Dale from Tustin and Thousand Oaks. Did the rain a few days ago and snow at higher elevations help the San Bernardino mountain watersheds?? YES!! The clients wanted to 4 x 4 and get deep into backcountry near Big Bear. They had a great day catching 40 total fish, 80% brown trout on #16 stimulators, pink post parachute adams #18 and some on tungsten beadhead dropper nymphs (princes). Dale cast a hopper I tied on in a great hole, really slapped it down. A real large fish came up violently and crushed it yet never got hooked. This fish was 16″ minimum, I saw the fish from a rock above could of been bigger. Really great water levels.

11-9-14: Fished the Santa Ana watershed near Angelus Oaks with fiancé. Water levels were a little up from big rains in forest around 10 days ago. Water cold and clear. Caught 25 to 30 fish all wild browns and smaller. Great weather and leaves falling. No one around on river, super fun dry fly fishing with #18 crystal flash stimulators on 6x tippet.

11-1-14: Finally the San Bernardinos, Angeles National Forest and Cucamonga Wilderness got good rains Friday and Saturday. It was hailing at Lake Arrowhead Friday afternoon and snowing on Mt. Baldy that night. I will get up to the mountains this week to check on conditions and thus have an accurate report for everyone. more rain would be ideal!

10-1-14: Guide trip yesterday with Nick from Orlando and step-brother Kevin from Vista, who is getting married Saturday. Visited the Santa Ana watershed (L). Perfect day! More water here than elsewhere but super clear in which one fish would shoot into pool and spook other fish. Had to really fish basically on their knees to not scare fish. Some real nice fish lost on dries including #18 parachute adams with magenta parachute post, and especially parachute hoppers in a size #14 as it was guys first time fly fishing for trout. They were more focused on casting and technique that what to do once a fish races up and eats the dry fly. They learned a ton of techniques and tricks. Nick caught his first ever trout!!!! I would say they missed 7 fish each. A very experienced angler in these lower water conditions would likely be able to catch 20 (+) fish. We need rain!

9-3-14: Took a trip Labor Day with Jim G. back to the spot near Big Bear Lake. Conditions the same as 8-19 trip below yet still unable to catch more than one trout in a hole. Fish very spooky due to clear, low water levels. Caught fish to 12 inches, nothing big, on dries..#16 stimulators, parachute adams, paraduns and some on #16, 18 bead head hares ear droppers. Left at above 5 pm and headed to around Angelus Oaks to check water levels. Campsite empty/closed. Creek real low, yet loaded with small browns AND to my surprise stocker rainbows. Found a stringer with five nice size rainbow trout left in the creek. DG&G must have stocked fish for Labor Day campers/fisherman. Fished about 35 minutes with a small #18 stimulator and caught a handful of wild smaller brown trout. Water surprisingly cold. Rain could really help this place! Fishable.

8-19-14:  Finally got out fishing after over a month near Big Bear. Plenty of water, super, super clear, nobody within 10 miles of us. Trout everywhere, so spooky, scared one 25 feet away. Saw some pools with 15 trout in them! If you did not scare them and made a nice cast every time you got a rise on the dry or a fish on the dropper. Had one nice 14 incher that got off, others not too big. Perfect weather (80ish degrees), swam in a big pool which was nice and refreshing, and got three videos of fishing and hookups (click on my You tube page icon on my homepage  for these and my 20 other videos) . Fished from noon to 5:30 and caught 25 fish…only 4 rainbows, on #16 stimulators, yellow/crystal, and green, as well as the dropper, a #16 bead head hares ear nymph. Fish very hungry and a touch skinny. The colors of the fish here rival anywhere else in southern California.  I think this is the best spot right now with this drought. Rain needed.

7-25-14:  Had three guide trip cancellations in July thus I have not been out.

6-12-14:  Visited for a few hours a section of river (semi-secret) in the San Gabriel watershed in the Angeles National Forest to see if fish around with real low water, drought year. This section that normally holds a ton of fish with normal water did not today. Saw 5 fish to 8 inches, of which two I hooked on small #18 parachute adams. Likely most fish in the faster, highly oxygenated water.  Much better creeks with low water and still tons of fish further east (off the 210). Pass on this spot until we get considerable rain.

6-5-14: Worked at City of LA City Hall for most of the day Thursday and then had a few hours to explore with my fly rod. Found a new stretch of water closer to Mt. Baldy which was full of fish with low water. Each pool had many fish. One pool had over 20 fish in it. Caught 30 or more rainbows, missed a nice brown trout on a #18 crystal flash wing/body stimulator with white calf wing.  A few on small dropper nymphs. Water levels low yet fishable, bet the spot is amazing on a normal water year! Saw some cool things. One, a red dragonfly apparently trying to drop its eggs on the water with its tip and two trout jumping up trying to knock it down. The other was stumbling onto the absolute largest garter snake I have ever seen hugging the bottom of the creek a few feet in front of me. See pics in Gallery. He was waiting for the next little trout to come by. Nice few hours to fish, quit at 7 pm.

5-21-14: Had 4 hours after work in LA to hit a local spot close to downtown (35 to 40 minutes). Decided to go over to the Cucamonga Wilderness area well below Mt. Baldy to see how water levels were. Conditions were great, plenty of water, very active rainbow trout jumping on my #18 stimulators immediately as they hit each pool. Caught a decent amount on a small bead head gold ribbed hares ear and bead head tiger midges, brassies below the Stimulator. Saw 15 fish in one hole. Every pool had multiple fish. Caught about 30 fish, nothing large. A real blast.  Fell and broke Sage Clicker reel and really damaged both legs, huge swelling ball on one leg.

5-13-14: Guide Trip Tuesday 5-13 in the San Bernardinos with Charles and Ron in the Santa Ana watershed (L). Actually weather quite comfortable (during this heat wave) and not too windy in the afternoon. Great fishing, equal number of fish on dries (stimulators) and nymphs, dry / dropper combo. Charles (2nd time fly fisher) over 25 fish, nothing large, equal number of brown trout. Did a little indicator nymphing (w/ dual droppers) below a sandbar and had a double – a rainbow on each one of the two flies. Great action. Charles caught a small one too! Smallest fish so far on my guide trips. see pic of it in gallery “Client Catches”.

5-7-14: Found 2 hours after work to run up to the Angeles National Forest above LA to fly fish. Water levels SUPER LOW and trickling!!…as compared to the waters to the east/northeast. Still able to catch a real fat “football” brown trout around 8 inches and a small rainbow on a #16 beadhead flash back hares ear below a Stimulator. Very tough conditions!! Head to the San Bernardinos or elsewhere with enough water.

4-27-14: Guide trip with LJ Sports Club Staff Chris, Mark and Mark Jr. (12 yrs. old). First time fly fishing trip to Santa Ana watershed (L) day after heavy rains in San Bernardino mountains. River WAY up. Almost blowout and not fishable in some sections. Cold, windy day. Forced to start fishing nymph rigs with high, off-color water. Guys hooking nice browns and few rainbows on junk flies for this type of water (san juan worms, bright green bead head rock worm larvae). Fish very active and aggressive. Mark Jr. caught 10 trout, including one on a stimulator his first time fly fishing. A real natural!  As we moved up river water cleared and good dry fly water. Nymph fish with bright worms, larvae and larger than normal nymphs in this fast off color water so fish can find your flies. With the Santa Ana conditions snow melt could blow out the rivers. I suggest waiting a week to let things calm down in the San Bernardinos. Then lights out, hot action!

4-19-14: Guide trip (Wilson Family) to Los Angeles National Forest. Water super low and clear. Yet, Lily (13 years old) from Jersey caught a great 12 inch wild brown trout on a #16 bead head caddis pupae hung below a stimulator. One other small fish hooked and lost by Emmitt (9 yrs old) on small bead head nymph. Water way too skinny, focus on San Bernardinos with more water, with this drought.

4-8-14: Great Guide Trip with Dale and Phil from LA to Santa Ana watershed (L). Amazing weather, empty river, very good water levels and tons of fish…for some reason way more brown trout. Caught and released 75 fish to 14 inches. Saw some larger, though spotted nothing huge this time. Great dry fly fishing as the water was super clear. We sight fished to many fish. On way back we crossed paths with two very tough looking horny toads. Have not seen one in 20 years. What a treat!! One became my Land Rover front hood ornament (pics in Gallery “wildlife seen”). They are so cool. Get out there as conditions are good in the San B’s. Mark

3-30-14: Took Michael M. and his two sons (Chris and Dave) from Connecticut to the Santa Ana watershed (L). Great water levels. All three did well (25 fish) including 8 smaller brown trout. Fish caught on dries (#16 stimulator, #16 royal wulff and on small tungsten bead head prince nymphs #18). Big highlight was when I spotted a 17 to 18 inch rainbow in 12 inches of water. I was doubtful that Dave (a first time fly fisherman) could get close enough and cast in the right spot to not spook this trophy fish. He makes a great cast with a #18 bright post parachute adams, fly drifts to trout’s nose, fish rises up and sips it in. I yell set the hook, and was into this fish. Back and forth, I never got close enough to net it. Then the hook pulls out after what seemed like a long fight. Michael the father was so proud of his son, so was I. One of my favorite guide moments so far. Saw a fish bigger than this one (looked like a carp as it was a torpedo), another around this size 17″ to 18″, and a fish 15 inches (+). Water super clear.

3-25/26 2014: 2 day Guide trips near Big Bear Lake and in Santa Ana River watershed (L) with Chris from Vancouver. Water levels up and just great! Very clear before the rains on Tuesday. Hooked browns to 13 inches below lake on stimulators and on the tungsten bead hares ear, pheasant tail droppers (nymphs) big time. Caught about 20 to 25 fish with most being browns. Photographed a 15 inch brown hanging above a boulder. Water levels almost ideal on Santa Ana watershed and touch off color due to rain. Chris slayed them, close to 50 fish on stimulators, some on elk hair caddis, many on tungsten bead head prince nymphs (#16, #18) below dries, few on fox poopah emergers )(#18). Chris hooked a 17 inch fish (which got off), caught 14, 13 and 13 inchers. 5 Browns and the rest rainbows here. Chris said he saw a fish close to or at 20 inches in a pool! Saw a bear in the middle of road near the Santa Ana River which stood its ground staring at us!!

3-9-14: Water in southern portion way low even with the 9 inches of rain, surprised! Focus on San Bernardino Mountains around and near Big Bear which creeks contain much more water than further south.

3-4-14: 9 inches of rain from last storm. Heading out Saturday. Will have a report shortly afterward.

1-29-14: Great guide trip last Sunday to the San Bernardino Mountains (Santa Ana watershed -L) with again amazing weather. Guys first fly fishing trip and they caught both rainbows and browns on attractor dry flies. Some real ferocious strikes in the clear water. Bill caught a 14 incher on a bead head tungsten pheasant tail below a dry fly. These two did great their first time catching a dozen plus fish. We also had a great professional photographer Dan shoot pics all day. Focus on areas with most water during low water years! Sneak up on fish. Once we get rain Southern California fly fishing steams and creeks will take off!!

12-20-13: Guide trip on 12-9 to the Santa Ana watershed with Charles (first timer). Weather was nice in 60’s and clear skies. Water real cold from snow runoff, not too low for winter. Fish were not rising for dries like normal I believe due to cold water. Charles hooked 10 small wild brown trout and got 4 to the net. I believe an experienced angler still could of caught 15 or so fish. Did not see any rainbow trout. Fish caught on parachute adams #18 bright post, and #18 white calf wing stimulators.

11-24-13: Did some exploring of a creek that was ravaged by the 2003 worst California Fire which burned 2500 homes  south of Orange County. I had not been there in 15 or more years. Wasn’t sure if fish survived and replenished creek? While water levels were low here, I found some holes above and below waterfalls. Hooked a true trophy 15 inch wild rainbow on a #20 elk hair caddis, and 12 small ones. Yes, the fish made it, or replenished. My advice is there are plenty of spots now, especially with last week’s rains, that can be fished. Get out there! More rain on Thanksgiving!

11-9-13: Had a terrific guide trip Thursday, 11-9, with Dan in the San Bernardino Mountains above Yucaipa (Santa Ana watershed L-). Plenty of water!, wide open, tons and tons of eager fish, water clear.  We fished #16 stimulators, parachute adams and caddis, elk hair caddis for dries and took a fair amount on small #18 tungsten bead head nymph droppers (hares ear, princes). Did terrific with a small midge emerger 14 to 16 inches behind the dry fly. Had multiple occasions when two fish at once attacked both flies! Greased just a small section of tippet 3 inches above emerger and 3 inches below dry to keep emerger in the film. Mostly rainbows but did get 6 browns, with one to 12 inches. Best fish was a 14 incher on a fox poopah caddis emerger #18. Saw bigger fish. Dan likely caught over 40 fish. Quit at 4:30 p.m.

10-15-13: Took Hughes family on guide trip to Santa Ana drainage 3 days after rain in LA mountains. The mountains had snow!, River was up a foot and much more room to fish. Conditions decent, water cold. Large put and take rainbows in river. Clients caught two large ones. Small wild browns not as active as normal, likely due to the introduction/stress from the rainbows. Fishing still decent. Dries used parachute adams with pink post #18, parachute caddis #18…flies clients could see and track. Fished nymphs and caught largest fish 16″ on a small tungsten bead hares ear #18. Fish seams and around boulders.

10-3-13: On 9-25 had a car issue and unfortunately could not take my client deep off road to one of my better spots…with bigger Sierra size fish. Thus, we hit a small secret creek along the 38 Freeway. Water was very low yet the smaller trout in remaining pools were VERY aggressive pouncing on our #16,#18 stimulators and bright post parachute adams. Client caught 25 fish in 5 hours to 8 inches. Had a bigger trout hooked, which got off. We need water soon! Always good to have backup spots, and lucky I have many all around SoCal. I will soon have good reports as I will soon be venturing deep into the backcountry in October, once we get rain. M –

9-1-13: Fished the Santa Ana watershed on 9-1-13. Water appeared to be up due to thundershowers in area. Water levels looked the same as they did months ago. A good thing. Water was clear for most of day, at times dirty due to a sporadic thunderstorm in region. Water cold too. In a half day, caught over 30 fish (most smaller) on a #16 Elk Hair Caddis with green body and 6x tippet. Fish upstream. Will need to sneak up to the fish, especially in the calmer pools. Fish were very aggressive. Very fun half day!

8-13-13: On Saturday 8-10, four wheel’d Guide Trip near Big Bear Lake with the REISA guys. Plenty of water, and VERY clear. Plenty of deep pools even with this drought and it being late summer. Trout were responding to #16 yellow stimulators and #16 tungsten hares ear nymphs (dry – dropper rig). Had to really sneak up on them from below. Good action! A big fish was lost. On the way out we visited the 7 Oaks area. While water level was low, the smaller fish were very aggressive on small dries #18 Hi viz parachute adams, #18 elk hair caddis.

Yesterdays gorgeous wild rainbow trout

 

8-4-13: Had the opportunity to visit the Mt. Baldy region and check out whether the creeks in the vicinity had enough water worth fishing. The answer was yes!, some of the creeks still had deep enough pools with cold water and many eager, aggressive wild trout. Most rather small. Saw a few fish around 10 inches. I was very stealthy and approached from below. Many rises and hookups with light gear, fishing my 000 Sage and 6x tippet with small elk hair caddis. Action real fast, no need to drop a nymph. Definitely worth the trip. Here is a small one yet so colorful on the Elk Hair Caddis.

7-16-13: While water levels are VERY low (with this low water year) and thus fish real spooky as you approach, there are still very fishable spots in the Southern California mountains. You need to find the handful of spots left that have high enough and cool enough water to disperse the fish and keep them comfortable and active. A great tip is to fish upstream and concentrate on pocket water, broken up pools, or shaded areas. By fishing upstream in ideally pocket/broken up water the fish can not see you. The trout have to react fast to intercept flies amongst boulders and current, and have to be opportunistic with the competition. At this time, trout will flee in the low, warmer, flat water and scare other fish. Thus, your ability to catch them will be much more difficult in this scenario. Book a trip with Southern California Fly Fishing Expeditions and we will take you to our consistent summer spots full of aggressive trout.

5-29-13: Fished the Santa Ana watershed on 5-27. There is still a good amount of water around Angelus Oaks area. Good dry fly fishing on #16 parachute adams, #16 royal humpys & wulffs, #16 stimulator for resident browns, plus quite a few stocker rainbows put in river over the holiday. If you want to fish nymphs do so as a dropper under dries that can hold them up (humpys, wulffs, stimulators). Keep dropper length short at around 16 inches or less. For droppers go with bead head zebra midges, bead head hares ear, pheasant tails, prince nymphs. No need to fish tungsten bead heads in the lower water conditions. Sneak up on the fish from below as water is super clear.

4-8-13: While Southern California has not received measurable rain in weeks, the higher elevation creeks fished well Saturday even though there was not a lot of water. Snow melt from Big Bear / Lake Arrowhead and springs feeding really helping. Fished Saturday below Big Bear around Angeles Oaks. Nice sized browns caught and many other small ones fishing a #16 stimulator on top dropping a tungsten bead head pheasant tail or tungsten bead head caddis larvae. Fished 6x tippet.

3-9-13: Rain has arrived sporadically, yet we still need more to get creeks to a fishable level. Most spots I have visited in the last 3 weeks have been real low, with fish moving in a survival mode. Once the creeks and streams receive more water from underground aquifers, rain and snowmelt the fish will leave their tight hidding spots and find comofort spreading out in the pools and runs.