I was invited to join my club’s novice class on the Stanislaus River at Two-Mile Bar on Saturday as a student (I helped instruct part of the class the previous week). The weather couldn’t have been better! With eight fishers and three coaches we hit the water about 9:30 a.m. with a small mayfly hatch in progress. Flows were very good and the fish very cooperative as everyone in the group landed a fish.
This section of the Stanislaus River is limited to barbless flies and catch and release only and is inhabited only by wild trout. I started fishing a near seam in the “Oak Tree Pool” and was rewarded about a dozen casts later with a small but beautiful guy who tried to go deep. He had the dubious honor of being my first trout caught on a fly (an olive WD40, #20) in this section of the Stanislaus River.
A bit later, on the far seam (created by two currents of differing speeds coming alongside each other) and the same WD40 fly, I was able to pick up another small rainbow. Much of the time we practiced – with guidance from our club coaches – various casts, with roll and reach casts being put into use quite a bit.
Upstream a bit, in some shallow riffles near the confluence of the three channels, I was shocked by a 13 inch trout that slammed an AP nymph (#18, a fly that at the same time looks like nothing and everything) and took off downstream, with me following. Unfortunately, my coach who had volunteered to grab the fish, let him go on an accidental quick-release. But I guess that fish’s buddies took pity on me as in short order I was into the small guy below, who also headed downstream and had be led to a pool before landing.
Later in the day we headed to the far downstream riffles, where I fished above the riffles, targeting some bigger fish in a pool just underneath a huge boulder. Didn’t catch any big ones there, but being able to get longer drifts (a new accomplishment for me) picked up a strike at the tail of the pool (behind me in the pictures below), just as the water became a bit more shallow. The result was the little guy in my hands below. (Also on an AP nymph.)
Throughout the day we also mingled with llamas that are found in the area, found a huge crawdad head, observed an osprey dive and claim a decent-sized trout from the river, and watched a few big salmon head upstream. It may be obvious, but it was a great day with good weather, friends and fish.