When Steve Kyle, Jim Powers, Les Vadasz and I returned from our annual winter steelhead fly-fishing trip to the Rogue River in Southern Oregon last week, none of us asked the obvious question, “What were we doing there?”
Here is the answer Les gave to a friend last week.
“We drive five-and-a-half hours, mostly in the rain, just to get there. Then we get up at 5:30 a.m. to go fishing. We may catch two or three fish a day. But once we catch them, we congratulate each other. ‘What a nice fish!’ Then we throw it back in the river. We do that for three days, then we drive home.”
The better question our friends should ask is “Why?”
Is it some kind of insanity that compels us to go great distances to fish and then throw back the few we catch?
I have no idea what compels us to do it. Perhaps it is the same thing that pushes people to spend hours hitting little white balls into high grass, water hazards and sand traps, piling up hours of frustration, only to do it again the next day or next week? A precious few do it for money. The rest are just as crazy as us fly-fishers.
The annual Fly Fishing Show starts today at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.
If you love fly-fishing, or are thinking about trying fly-fishing, this is the show you should see. There are more than 100 exhibitor booths displaying the latest tackle, clothing and fly-fishing accessories. But the most interesting parts for me are all of the lodges and outfitters who offer fishing destinations from Alaska to Argentina. It is a great way to start a fishing trip bucket list.
The fly-fishing film festival also starts today at the show. You could easily spend a full day or two there. Pleasanton is an easy hour-and-15-minute drive from Sonoma.
Show hours are today, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday (Feb. 22), 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Sunday (Feb. 23), 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $15 for one day, $25 for two days and $35 for three days, with children ages 5-years-old-and-under and scouts ages 16-and-under free of charge, and military with ID $10.
Casting demonstrations and instruction is scheduled by Hal Janssen, Gary Borger, Wendy Gunn, Craig Neilson, Simon Gawesworth and Prescott Smith – featured fly-tiers include Borger, Janssen, Dan Blanton, Ben Furimsky, Nate Brumley and Ed Engle.
Destination Theater presentations include Stillwater Presentations; Fishing Utah; Extreme Tarpon an a Fly; Fly-fishing North Carolina’s Cape Lookout; Washington Steelhead; Fly Fishing Patagonia; Fly Fishing the Best of the Caribbean; Spey Casting Techniques for Single Handed Rods; Fishing Lee’s Ferry; and Christmas Island Adventures.
There are about 50 theater presentations, talks and demonstrations each day.
Fishing this week has been fair to good in the Napa River and in the North Bay near the Pump House. Anglers are catching and releasing lots of undersized sturgeon, some oversized, and a few legal-sized, plus some striped bass, said Kevin Wolf, of Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael. Kevin added that the tides next week will be excellent for sturgeon. Also, look for halibut to start biting in the Bay any day now.
Capt. Rick Powers, of Bodega Bay Sportfishing, continues to find dungeness crab limits, plus lots of sand dabs, off the Sonoma Coast for his clients.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife this week planted rainbow trout in Santa Rosa’s Lake Ralphine and in Marin’s Bon Tempe Lake.