MLK day on the lake. I have a Dream….

On this Martin Luther King holiday,  I think of how there is no racism in flyfishing — at least none that I’ve noticed.   Having finished the home chores early on Sunday,  I decided at the last minute to check out the Main Lake — San Luis Reservoir. I haven’t fished it in months and with the forebay cloudy and full of dinks.  I couldn’t help thinking that the main lake might also be good with bigger fish and clear water.

Like Saturday,  the lake was foggy and cold all day long.  Water temp 54 degrees at the dam, The water was incredibly clear compared to the forebay.   There were  twenty boats on the water with no flyfishermen.   I headed over to Portuguese Cove  and worked my favorite spots back to Basalt.  The lake is about 50% full and all the old coves and rock piles were back in play.   I saw lots of fish on the meter but no eating fish which was the same last year in January.   After casting with no hits for 6 hours,  I decided to join the fleet of boats parked at the trash racks.     I positioned myself just outside the  north corner of the racks in 60 feet of water with fish all over the meter and started casting, counting, and watching the bait fishermen, and trollers.   There were three boats inside the trash racks and one of the boats with three jiggers,  was so close to the pillar wall that  it looked like the three of them were peeing on the concrete pillar.  The other boats were casting minnows and trolling between the piers. It looked like “do anything you want around the trash racks” day.   I fished outside waiting for the dam police to show,  but none showed for over an hour.   I wasn’t getting any hits fishing deep so I waited till most of the boats left and zipped inside and fished the round pillars     In an hour,  I caught 4 fish from 24-26 inches on a size 1 yellow clouser on a pulse disc fishing in 35 feet of water.   Eventually a white truck pulled up and stopped at the racks but no bullhorn or siren.    I got nervous and left anyways but I was the only one that moved.   As it turns out,  more white trucks came and they started working on the  pumps and they didn’t care about the boats being too close.    The Dam Police didn’t show today.   Maybe it was because of the fog which was thick enough that you couldn’t see the Basalt Ranger Station from the Racks.  I have a dream that they changed the rules about fishing close to the dam and trash racks,  a dream where reason  triumphs over  fear of Dam terrorism,   like the old pre 911  days…    Oh well.


A recent post by renown Delta Guide Mike Costello indicates that this month’s fishing in the delta is not that bad!  You just got to know where to find them!  One hundred twelve keepers in 11 days of fishing  this year!  That’s is 10  fish over 18 inches each fishing day this year in the MUD!!   He implies that you have to be in the right spot at the right tide though which I think is also key.  His boat average is 16 keepers a day last year. Figure two anglers at 8 a piece.

Posted by Mike Costello on 2015-01-19 23:38:28

With the lack of rain and good water conditions in 2014, the Delta striper fishing really rebounded from just a few years ago when my clients and I experienced all-time low numbers in 2011. This past year in 219 days guiding for stripers, we landed roughly 3450 fish over 18 inches, but the most impressive stat was to see the return of double digit fish. Our all-time high year in 2008 brought us 200 linesiders over ten pounds and by 2011 that numbered had dwindled to only 41. This past year we landed 120 fish over ten pounds, and hopefully we will continue to see this number rise. We have to work harder and cover more water, and spots that use to produce are now void of fish, but this fishery continues to provide some of the best fly fishing in the world.
For 2015, the water is much colder and dirtier than this time last year, but in 11 days of guiding my clients and I have landed 225 linesiders with around 50% being legal fish, and we have already tallied several double digit fish. It’s not easy, and feeding times are limited, but there are fish to be caught in these conditions!




2 thoughts on “MLK day on the lake. I have a Dream….

  1. Gary, I talked to my friends at the Santa Clara Water District and they told me the goal is to fill San Luis every year. The level it may reach this year will be dependent on the rainfall and runoff we get in the next months. They are pumping like mad right now and I don’t see it stopping till the flows in the Sac and San Joaquine drop and the pumping has a significant effect on diverting flows into the bay for fish.

  2. Meng, I met you a couple of years ago at the Orvis shop in Santana Row. You overheard me asking about conditions at San Luis Res and introduced yourself. You gave me your blog address and I enjoy checking it out time to time and seeing how you are doing and how conditions are. Thanks for your postings. I’m glad to hear that there is more water in the main lake. Do you expect they will keep pumping it to a 3/4 or higher level ?? Take care and good fishing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * logo