THE TUOLUMNE

by Jon Novoselac

Great place, great guide, great fishing and a great friend. I’ll never forget it.

Amanda and I arrived at Evergreen Lodge the afternoon before this trip, and had lots of fun playing ping-pong and eating delicious food in the tavern. Amanda beat me convincingly on the ping-pong table, but I thrashed her at Yahtzee. Her wins were attributed to skill; mine, luck.

Here’s our cabin – Evergreen Lodge is quintessentially American. We loved it.

Evergreen Lodge

I met Tom Knoth, my guide, early the next morning. On the way to the river, we made small talk.

“Do you have a rod?” he asked.

“Yep.

“A Pflueger eight foot, five/six-weight. But I’d like to get a four-weight, as I think it’ll handle the smaller water I fish better than a heavier one.”

“Well…” Tom continued, “…see the brand new TFO rod and Ross reel next to you?”

“Yep.”

“It’s yours.”

“Huh?”

“It’s yours. Your friend, Paul, got in touch with me. He said he wanted to buy you a gift, because he was disappointed he couldn’t join us today. So, he transferred some money to me and asked if I’d put together a new outfit for you.”

That’s what Paul’s like. I’ve known him for a long time now, and he’s a great friend. There was a time, though, when we debated whether or not we should renew our contract for friendship. We got past that. He will, in fact, be the Best Man in my wedding, which will take place on the 1st of December this year. He’s an even bigger fan of fishing than I am. He keeps angling to get me to Darwin to fish for tarpon and saratoga. One day I’ll take him up on his offer.

When we got to the river, I was thrilled. I finally made it to the Sierra Nevada. There was plenty of good habitat, as shown below.

It didn’t take us long to spot more than a couple of good sized rainbows. As they cruised the low, slow-moving pools, they were relatively easy to see, stalk and observe when taking the fly.

Which brings me to the first learning of this trip: it helps to have a buddy spotting fish with you.

I pulled in three healthy fish in a couple of hours and missed more, using different combinations of Stimulators and Royal Wulffs with Copper Johns and Hare’s Ear droppers. All of the fish in my creel took the nymphs, but I missed quite a few takes, as mentioned earlier. And that brings me to the second learning of the trip: you’re gonna miss more fish than you catch, unless you’re ultra “tuned” into the take.

The fish weren’t huge, but were lots of fun to catch.

The last fish of the day came from a cast that I bounced off a boulder. A scenario much like the diagram below which shows a few nice lies. The diagram comes from Tom Rosenbauer’s “The Orvis Guide to Reading Trout Streams”.

Look at the image above. If you mentally replace the ledgerock on the left bank with boulders, you’ll have a good idea of where the fish I caught was lying.

Note to self: it helps to have a buddy spotting fish with you and you’re gonna miss more fish than you catch, unless you’re ultra “tuned” into the take.

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