This past weekend I flew down to San Francisco for my buddy's (www.reddheadflyfishing.com) birthday. We drove up to Reno Thursday night, got a crummy hotel room 'cause it was below freezing, and set out to fish the Truckee river the next morning. The Truckee is a beautiful tailwater for much of it's length. It flows out of the Sierra Nevada mountains, is joined by the little Truckee, and flow through a stunning river valley before entering the "town" of Reno. Of course we fished the beautiful section. And got skunked.
When you fly for two hours and drive for four, you really want to catch a fish. Plus it's the end of winter, and Pacific Northwest steelheading (I live in Seattle) is closed. In other words, I hadn't caught a fish in a while. I was understandably anxious to catch a fish, and so was Colin, it was his birthday after all. Finally we caught a couple fish closer to town, which made us feel a lot better, but sometimes you just want to catch fish, lots of fish. The next day we fished downstream of Reno. Here the river goes into a canyon before flowing into Pyramid Lake. The canyon has been urbanized in many sections, and as a result the river has been heavily channelized. In recent years though the Nature Conservancy has done extensive restorative work on the river. And the result? In the morning we managed to move a couple fish each. I was particularly pleased by two healthy 16 inch cutts, which are a good indicator of water quality. Then the beatis started coming off. Beatis hatches don't bring up every fish in the river, but they do bring up pods of fish. In the sections of the river that have been restored we found plenty of rising trout of all ages, another good sign of a healthy fishery. Though small, the beatis even brought up some nice browns, like this 24 inch bruiser.
The Truckee river downstream of Reno is a great example of what can happen when a river gets a little TLC. Because fish love a healthy ecosystem and sometimes you just wanna catch fish. Humans have wrecked a lot of fisheries, but with a little care and elbow grease, we can fix at least some of our mistakes, and improve fishing along the way.