Two Marathon Tenkara High Lake Fishing Trips

What made these two Tenkara Stillwater adventures marathons was not the lengths of the distances traveled but the amount of time they took to complete.

PART I, HAMBONE LAKE:

Elev. 9,100; 3 acres; 30 feet deep; alpine; glacial; near timberline; bordered by wet turf and willows; good food and spawning. Contains nice self-sustaining population of eastern brook trout. No planting required. The above was published by the California Department of Fish and Game in 1957 but, in the case of this particular lake, it is as true today as it was in 1957.

June 25th, 2020, Fishing Conditions: I over slept and awoke at 3:49 AM. By 4:05 I was on the road. It was Smokey driving up due to some low elevation fires. And we have had about two weeks of 100 degree plus temperatures in the Valley, where I live. But it was in the low 40s when I parked at 6:05 in the morning, and I got into the lake about 9:45. I fished from 10 to 3:30 In the afternoon. It was clear, warm, still at first but cloudy and windy later on in the day. It thundered directly overhead but never rained on me hiking out.

H2O Temp/Color: The water was 52 degrees and a Dark Olive in shade but very clear with great visibility.

Tackle Notes: Rod - I fished a Diana Sagiri 39 MC Rod at the 3.9 meter length the whole day. Line - A Floating PVC Tenkara Line, a little longer than the rod is long, with an 8-9 foot long, tapered Nylon/Fluorocarbon (Butt/Midsection) Leader, with a 3 foot long 5X FC. Tippet to start.

Flies Fished and Results: There were midge feeding fish working the lake when I started. The water was in full sunlight, so I started with a #12 Orange Midge Pupa, which I kept on for 24 fish until the midge action shut down with the rising air and water temps.

Damselfly Nymphs were the next most likely food form for the fish to target, so I put on a #12 Olive Herl Thing, tied with FL-Orange thread and wire rib, which caught 2 fish right away, but then lost the fly to a bottom snag. The Black Nickel Bead Head had taken the fly deep enough to hang up in the very shallow water. The FL-Orange materials were an experiment to see if they would increase the catch rate in green colored waters. To compare, I put on my normal tie of Mini-Barred Ostrich Herl with FL-yellow thread and a brass rib, which caught 14 brook trout more than quickly enough. Then I tied on another FL-Orange model and fished it until I had caught 12 more brook trout with that pattern, for 14 each on both patterns. On this day, the FL-yellow thread Herl Thing got its 14 fish a little quicker than the FL-orange thread model did.

By this time the wind was coming up but I had not seen any terrestrials dropping into the lake yet, so I put on an Orange Sheep’s Creek Pattern. I caught 5 brook trout on it but the fish would charge the fly, stop, inspect it, then turn away. Bugs started falling on the water about then and the trout were quick to jump on them, so I went to a Terrestrial pattern.

The # 12 Attractor Ant was up next, and it was good for 50 fish by the time I had fished around the lake to where I started fishing. By far, the Ant was the most productive pattern of the day I tried, but
I believe a spider, a beetle, and/or a hopper pattern would have done equally well at that time. The reason I chose to use the Attractor Ant was because the two body segments of UTC Mirage Tinsel wrapped over the foam under-bodies on this pattern have great pulling power that the fish just really seem to like. The two foam shellbacks are made up of one sheet of 0.5 mm and one sheet of 1.0 mm Razor Foam, glued together with 3M Super 77 Spray Adhesive - Black foam on the bottom for the fish to see against the sky, and Tan foam on The top for the angler to be able to easily see while looking down on the darker appearing water. All Black Ants are very difficult to see on the water. In a package of Razor Foam, You get 2 sheets of 0.5 and 2 sheets of 1.0 mm foam of what ever color you are buying, so you need to buy a package of each Black and Tan. The fly is tied with Black 70 D Ultra Thread, and the Madam-X style legs are tied in with .5 mm Stretch Magic Bead & Jewelry Cord, which comes on 10 m spools. An ant pattern is just two beetle bodies tied on the same hook, working from each end of the hook toward the middle. Make a loop of the rubber cord and slide it up on top of the hook under the tying thread of the hanging bobbin, and make 3 light tension turns of thread. Cut the loop of leg material in the middle, then get a hold of both ends of the rubber leg on one side of the hook and pull the leg down onto the side of the hook. Do the same with the second leg. Take a firm wrap and whip finish. Cut the thread and put head cement on both sides of the thread and coat the Mirage Tinsel with the ant up-side-down to make the tinsel much more durable. Trim the legs for length and evenness. I like the back legs to be a little longer than the front legs.

Conclusions and Impressions: I got back to my car at 6:05 in the evening - 12 hours after I left it. Was spending all that time and effort worth it? The parking is at 9,800 feet, the high point is at 10,100 feet. The lake is at 9,100 feet but, the distance between those two points is only 1 mile as the crow flies. On the ground, of course, it is much farther. I quit fishing at 3:30 and started hiking out at 4:00 and got back a little after 6:00, so I did better hiking out than going in. The reason for that Disparity is that I have Peripheral Neuropathy, a nerve condition that affects people from the knees and elbows down to the hands and feet. So far my hands are OK - I can still tie flies, knots, and cast. But the condition destroys your balance and the brain messages to the tendons and muscles in your feet do not get through. And the sensors in your feet, tendons and muscles can not get the information to your brain. If it wasn’t for using a set of ski poles, I do not think I could make it in there. I caught 107 trout on that trip, which made it worth it for me. And I am going to keep on doing these things as long as I can and still enjoy doing them. But at 77, I do not know how much longer that is going to be…Karl.

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Part II, July 9TH, 2020, Col Lake and Caf Lake Tenkara Fly Fishing Adventures

Col Lake. Elev. 9,500; 1 acre; 15 feet deep; alpine, glacial, near timberline; shoreline bordered with aquatic plants; good productivity and spawning. Self-sustaining eastern brook trout population up to 10 inches long. No need to plant.

Conditions: I was driving on Highway 168 by 2:45 AM. The drive up took about 2 hours, with my first (and probably only) buck of the year spotted. The hike in took 3 hours and 45 minuets, going by UT Lake (at 8,630 feet) and G Lake (at 9,100 feet), neither of which I bothered to fish. The trail proper ends at G Lake. But there is an in distinct Fisherman’s path leading up to Col Lake and above. All the lakes still had water running down their exit streams, with just a few patches of last winter’s snow pack left evident on the summit ridge leading up to the peak. Both lakes had already been fished this year, and the fish showed it, being very spooky and wild. The mosquitoes were the worst that I have seen in many years, and 100% DEET would not keep them away. The 10:00 AM. Fishing start was too late in the day for any midge activity, and it was windy from the get go.

H2oTemp/Color: Col Lake was at 52 degrees, with a clear green tinge to the water. This lake has a mud bottom covered with short green aquatic plants. On one side of the lake, the Lodge Pole Pines crowd the water. The other side has huge set of stone blocks breaking down into talus that hinder your getting around considerably. Beyond there there is open, soggy tundra and if you walk too close to the water and stand to fish, you will slowly sink down into the water over the tops of your boots if you do not pay enough attention. Extricating your feet can be a real challenge. Much of the lake was vacant of fish but, where there were fish they were available in good numbers.

Tackle Notes: Again, I fished the Diana Sagiri MC 39 Seriyu Rod - at 3.9 meters the whole day. It is a Bi-Zoom rod, that can also be fished at 3.4 meters. Line - a Floating PVC Tenkara Line, a little longer than the rod is long, with an 8 to 9 foot long tapered leader, and 3 feet of 5X FC. Tippet.

Fly Patterns Fished: On this day I only fished two patterns - the # 12 Attractor Ant for 70 brook trout, which was coming apart from the fish’s teeth tearing it up. At that point I had about 1/4 more of the lake shore to go to get back to my starting point, so I put on the Well-Hung Foam Spider for a final 14 fish at Lake Col, for 84 fish total, with most taking both patterns dry, on the surface.

Lake Caf: Elev. 9,800; 1.3 acres; 17 feet deep; alpine near timberline; occupies deep rocky, glacial basin; abrupt shoreline; good food production but fair spawning; has eastern brook to 10 inches. Receives occasional small air plant of fingerling eastern brook.

When I left the lower lake, I took my rod down but left the line and fly on the rod, so I continued fishing with the same Well-Hung Foam Spider Pattern that I had fished at Col Lake, for another 50 brook trout at Caf Lake. Here there were actively feeding fish to terrestrial insects where I first came upon the water, so I just went a head and fished with out taking the lakes’ temperature. This lake was also very clear, with the same shade of green water as the lower lake. In all the times I have taken this lake’s temperature, it has always been the same as the lower lake. This lake has few trees, steep rock side walls, a buttress that prevents fishing around the lake on its West side, with a saddle between the point of the buttress and the summit ridge, so you have to climb up to the saddle and then find your way down the other side to get to the upper end of the lake, which sports a lush meadow of fairly high grass - in the past I have done really well with hopper patterns here.

Heading Out and Down: By this time it was 4:00 in the after noon and time for me to head down. It took 20 minuets for me to hike up here and only 10 to hike back down to the lower lake. From there it was 50 minuets back to Lowest Lake, and an hour and 50 minuets to hike back to the car at 10 minuets to 7 in the evening, with another 2 hour drive a head of me to get home. Or 10 minuets shy of 18 hours of driving, hiking and fishing for the whole day.

Conclusions and Findings: It was a beautiful, but exhausting trip. On this trip I caught and released 134 brook trout - all on dry flies. I took the opportunity to finely hone my fish landing techniques with a line considerably longer than my rod was long. It is really useful in fishing places where you do not have the room to lay your rod back far enough to be able to grab your line to hand-over-hand in the fish, such as where there is a wall of trees growing right down to the water. Instead of fighting the fish in the usual vertical rod position, you use side pressure. The rod is positioned parallel to the water between your waist and your shoulder in height, pointing to the left if you are right-handed, which will cause the fish to run to your right and into the shore once it reaches as far as it can go on your line length. At that point you can reach right out in front of you with your left arm, grab the line and pull it down to grasp it with the first finger and thumb of your casting hand. Once you have control of the line in your right hand, strip out your line to your left and release it, while controlling and pinching the line with your right hand until the fish is hanging from your right hand right under the rod grip. Then unhook the fish and release it, with both hands if necessary.

Where there are sedges growing in the water between the shore and the open water of a lake or stream, trout are usually streamlined in body form enough that they will just slide through the grass as you strip them in. Brush is more troublesome for sure but, even there you can often work a fish in. If you do the alternating side-to-side hand-over-hand rod motion, the line has a tendency to tangle in any obstruction because of its Zig-Zag-Path. A straight, fast retrieve path is best. Often, the fish can be skidded right over the top of foliage with out actually sinking down into it. Give this a try and see if it isn’t faster and easier than doing it hand-over-hand…Karl.

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Karl,

Sounds like an epic adventure! I too have peripheral neuropathy (that means we’re brothers!) and if it wasn’t for trekking poles (when hiking) or my wading staff (when fishing), I don’t think I would be able to enjoy fishing like I do.

Anyway, as you know I’m not a lake fisherman, but your trip sure sounds like fun!

-Tom

Hi Tom, I am so sorry to hear that you are similarly affected. At one time l was worse than I am now - my feet would not bend at all. As I am sure you know, it is very hard to walk up hill when your toes will not bend.

I was an avid cross-country skier (500 plus miles a ski season), so I already had several sets of poles. I also use two while hiking and one, always, while fishing. I had to give up rod and reel fishing as I pretty much always need to have a pole in one hand to fish. But since I discovered fixed line fishing, I feel I gained more than I have lost.

I do not know how things work in Idaho, but around here the trout average bigger in the lakes than they grow to in the streams. For sure, lake fishing is a different challenge compared to stream fishing but, it is every bit just as rewarding in many different ways. Stay healthy…Karl.

Nice story, those Sagiri’s are really nice rods, it was my first fixed line rod and I still have it.

Hi Roger, thank you for the positive comment. I only wish I had been able to get a Sagiri Rod sooner - every time I tried to order one, they were all sold out. If I had gotten one early on, I would not own as many rods as I presently do, and however many others that have gone by the wayside in one way or another, which I do not even remember now. I am very happy that I finally got mine…Karl.

I have two of the 39’s, one was a backup but the original has never had a problem.

Notes On Terrestrial Pattern Fishing In High Lakes: Here are some things that may be helpful for you if you decide to give high lake Tenkara fly fishing a try. One of the things I really enjoy about this kind of fishing is how visually stimulating it is. It is Spot-And-Stalk-Fishing at its best, with breezes to wind being the key ingredient to your fly fishing success because wind provides most of the food for the fish to eat in these high lakes. And the most productive fishing is through the middle of the day rather than being in the early mornings and late evenings, which are reserved for hiking in to the lakes and back out to your vehicle.

The winds are generated by thermal up-drafts, which is a result of the rising sun heating up the rock slopes, which heats up the air around the rock. Hot air rises, and cooler air rushes in to fill the void, carrying land based insects a long with it, sometimes from thousands of feet in lower in elevation. The lake water is considerably cooler than the air is and acts as a Heat-Sink, where the breeze slows down a little and the heavier bugs fall out, with some landing in and on the water from time to time, providing the major bulk of high altitude trout food for the year, on a nearly daily basis quite consistently. And the windward shores of these lakes is where the bugs accumulate against the shore, and where the fish cruise looking for them to eat, so fish the windward side of your lake first.

The most productive area to fish is a narrow band of water right next to the bank to 20 or so feet out. Most anglers confronted with the expanse of a lake, cast out toward the middle of the lake as far as they can, which is just mostly deep, empty water fish wise. All the fish in a lake will be looking for the bugs next to shore. So the most productive tactic is to stay low, use any available cover you can to hide behind or blend in with, move slowly, looking for foraging fish. The trout do not swim around the whole lake looking for meals, but set up overlapping feeding circuits, feeding into the wind, then swimming back down wind before turning to feed up into the wind again, and again, and again. So if you get passed by a fish and you have not spooked it, just wait and it will come by again eventually.

So when you spot a foraging fish coming, lead it with a cast by about 8 to 10 or so feet in front of the fish in its feeding lane. That’s close enough that the fish can feel the fly hit the water but not so close as to spook it. The Splat Cast often arouses the fish’s curiosity and it may hurry over to investigate what has just dropped in because they are in constant competition with all the other feeding trout for these bugs. Often, when the fly comes into the trout’s view, it will accelerate and take the fly by coming over the top of it in a rush and heading down with the fly in its mouth, and you get to see the whole thing play out just like that but you have to also remember to set the hook, because the trout will not hold on to your fly for ever - Foam Terrestrial Patterns are more forgiving in this respect because they are soft and feel alive to the fish. Then you play the fish, release it and start looking for your next prospective fish to cast to.

The thermal winds carry all kinds of bugs, big and small and of every species available, so the fish have to take Pot-Luck in their meal choices and will not be that particular as to any specific kind of insect food form. Of all the bugs out there, Ants make up the largest populations by numbers, with Beetles coming in not too far behind, but Hoppers, being the big chunk of meat that they are, can also do very well with their big size calorie appeal. And terrestrial Spider Patterns are also helpful when gentle presentations are called for. So get some terrestrial patterns, head for the high lakes and see how much fun you can have with this new kind of Stillwater Tenkara Terrestrial Fly Fishing…Karl.

This section will relate to Trip Planning Considerations. I competed in cross country ski races over a period of more than ten years. My best performances came at the ages of 41 and 42. Shortly there after there was a downturn in the economy and I was unemployed for more than two years, which meant that I could no longer afford to do the traveling the racing required. The shortest race I skied in was 10 kilometers (a little more than 6 miles and considered a sprint) and the longest one was 85 K, which is a little longer than 31 miles. Those racing and training experiences completely changed how I went about my backpacking and fishing activities from that point on.

For the ski racing I trained year around, and the fishing and backpacking were included as part of my training program. Places we used to backpack in to fish I now covered in only a single day, which meant that I no longer had to deal with the US Forest Service and getting a Wilderness Permit, which gave me back the lost freedom to come and go any time I wanted like it used to be before the Wilderness Permit System was established. But that also meant that I had to go solo on my trips as I could not reasonably ask normal people to do what I was willing to put myself through. Not staying out over night meant that I could reduce my pack weight by a tent, a sleeping pad, a sleeping bag, the weight of several meals, pots and pans, and eating utensils, a stove and fuel, which is a considerable savings in weight that allows you to travel farther, faster with a lot less fatigue.

With 40,000,000 people living in California, plus the tourists, I have been putting off all of my high lake backpacking trips until after Labor Day to avoid the summer backpacking crowds. But this year I have taken to alternating each stream fishing trip with a high lake fishing trip the next week, which should also get me in good enough shape for my backpacking deer hunt in late October.

To save weight and provide more fishing time, I once did week long backpacking trips with food that required no cooking at all, which saved the weight of a stove, fuel and cooking pots. But under the cold conditions of my late Fall deer hunts, that proved to be a little too extreme. That’s when I got into building the most efficient alcohol stoves I could make to have hot food and drink on those cold fall trips, but still keep things as light in weight as I could, making my life in the backcountry much more pleasant from then on.

If you fish the lakes through the Summer Doldrums (the summer high water temperature slow fishing period), you pretty much have to camp at the lake you want to fish to get in the late evening and early morning most productive fishing parts of the day, so that was when I concentrated on stream fishing as the streams were usually in their prime condition at that time of the year. But as the days become shorter and cooler, the prime fishing time on the lakes again will advance to the warmest part of the angling day with the midges, so single day trips work out well again in the fall, and you do not have to get up nearly as early in the morning to do it as you had to do when the days were longer.

The terrestrial fishing is dependent on the thermal winds, which means it will continue to produce well through the summer slow down period, and as long as into ice-up, which means you can just skip the midge fishing in the summer slowdown period and still do reasonably well fishing ants, beetles and hoppers in the warmest part of the day. Of course, things do not always work out to our hopes and expectations. Some times the wind does not blow. Sometimes it blows but there are no bugs. Sometimes it blows and bugs are all over the place but no fish are feeding on them. Sometimes you hit it just right and end up catching a many, many fish day. The most important thing is to go, and go often. If you get out there and fish consistently, long enough, sooner or later you will have a many fish day. I promise…Karl.

Safety First always, Trekking Poles, The Pack, and what it carries.

Since I developed neuropathy, ski poles have become an essential safety item for me to have a long when I hike and fish. I prefer one-piece aluminum poles. Collapsible poles can slip down when you need support the most. Graphite and fiber glass poles are too prone to breakage on rock, the flared rubber Ferule Feet pole tips are much quieter and grip much better on rock than the carbide tips do. It is a good idea to carry a spare rubber foot and some Super glue along in case you blow out or off a rubber pole tip, which I have done a few times now. The first time it happened, I did Not have a replacement and it was more than just an inconvenience; it was down right dangerous. The super glue is brittle and not a permanent fix, but it sets up fast and will usually hold until you can do a longer lasting repair with E6000 silicone adhesive. The 6000 stands for 6,000 pounds bursting strength per square inch, in a transparent glue that is water proof and remains flexible and unaffected by temperature swings. To replace old feet, you just whittle them off the shaft with a sharp knife, Scrape all the glue residue off of the pole end, squeeze some glue in the foot cup, shove the pole in, smooth out the excess that oozes out, and let it dry for a day to two.

For stream fishing, I go as light as I can, carrying just a BW Sports Tippet Pouch for my lines and one C & F Designs Ultra Light Fly Box for my flies. I carry 2 rods in a Guide Model Ebira rod quiver, which has an magnetic, double Zinger at the top of the shoulder strap. One zinger carries a Plunger Hackle Plier Clip, a Paste Floatant Puck and Nippers; the other side supports a set of Loon 5” long Scissor\Hemostats, all of which goes in the long zipper pouch mounted on the shoulder strap. The pouch carries my Fishing License, rod joint gripper patch, a lens cloth, an absorbent cloth, a stream thermometer, + 1.00 mini glasses magnifiers in a sturdy metal case, insect repellent in a small squeeze bottle, and a spool of 6X FC. Tippet Material. The shoulder strap has a 1/8” Dia. cord that runs from the strap connector buckl down to the cord adjuster/lock at the bottom of the pouch, and then down to the mitten hook that snaps to the mounting fitting at the bottom of the rod quiver. The purpose of which is to keep the shoulder strap from sliding off of your shoulder in use. On the other side bottom Mounting bracket is 1/8” red cord, half-hitched on, that acts as a waist strap with a Mitten Hook at its other end, which snaps onto the black cord’s Mitten Hook Ring to secure the waist strap. And whether I am stream fishing or lake fishing, the Ebira is always worn. On the back side of the rod quiver, is a flat cross-zip pouch, containing a small lighter, a cord attached small knife, a foam spool carrying a 3M long Titanium T-line, with a 6’ 6” tapered FC. Leader, finished off with 3 feet of 5X FC. Tippet material. Also, a fold out Matador waterproof sit and wading boot changing cloth goes in that pouch.

The second rod is seldom called upon for use and mainly acts as ballast weight to off set the weight of the items in the front pouch.

For Lake fishing, I carry, inside of the Backpack, a Fish Pond Tumbleweed Chest Pack, carried as a Sling pack With the shoulder strap going on the opposite shoulder fron the rod quiver. The Cher’s pack is about 9.5” long x 6.0” wide x 4” thick all loaded up. The pouch has a 4.5” x 6” long zippered compartment on its front, which carries a C&F Design 3 W x 4.25” L x I” High fly box, containing 10 rows of foam, slotted fly racks. There is a Zinger that screw on mounts to the right outside of the pack, it carries a line nipper and a Plunger Style Hackle Plier. The main compartment opens and closes with twin zippers. It also has a zippered back pocket that holds a 5 Page Zip-Lock Leader Book, which holds 11 different T-lines at present - 3 Floating and the rest sinking. A small Head Lamp fits in the bottom of the main pouch, along with a small Swiss Knife on a string. The small inside front pocket carries a spool of 5X FC. Tippet Material, with the C&F Design UL 4 7/8” L x 3 1/2” W x 1 3/8” High, with a one sided middle leaf. The top, leaf, and bottom each have 6 slotted foam fly supports. The Lake Fly Box lives in the chest pack all the time, while the Dry fly Box goes back and forth between the Leader Pouch for stream fishing and the Chest Pack for lake fishing.

The Dry Fly Box Holds the following Patterns: The Lid -

#17 Hook, The Halloween - Thread, Black, FL-orange butt, orange peacock herl died body, a black Polly down wing.

#11 Hook, Green Butt - Thread, Cream, FL- chartreuse butt, golden stone died peacock herl body, a light pink Poly down wing.

11 Hook, Orange Down Wing - Thread, Black, FL-orange butt, black peacock herl body, Poly orange down wing.

12 Hook, High Country Hopper - Thread, Black, a FL-orange butt, a black wool under body, a Light Cahill Foam shell back, 1/8” black parachute foam post for the eye, a Dark Coastal Deer Hair Down Wing, a Light Cahill Foam Head.

15 Hook, The Red Butt - A FL-red Butt, a died red peacock herl body, a FL-white Poly down wing.

The Bottom Compartment -

18 Hook, Two -Tone Foam Beetle - Thread, Black, body, black wool, legs, chevron starling, shell back, black/tan foam.

12 Two-Tone Knotted Pheasant Tail Leg Foam Beetle - Thread, Black, body, black wool yarn, legs, black knotted pheasant tail, shell back, black/tan foam.

13 Well-Hung Foam Spider - Thread, Black, under body, black wool yarn, hackle, gray partridge, over body, Light Cahill Foam.

12 Attractor Ant - Thread, Black, Shell Backs, Two-Tone black/tan foam, under bodies, Mirage Tinsel, Legs, Stretch Magic .5mm bead & jewelry cord.

#16 Two-Tone X-Rated Ant - Thread, Black, Shell Backs, Two-Tone Foam, black/tan, under bodies, black wool, legs, Stretch Magic .5 mm bead & jewelry cord.

And for just in case I might not be able to catch fish on one of the above dry flies: The PPC - Body, Purple Hase Wool Yarn, Rib - FL-yellow wire; Thorax - died purple peacock herl; Hackle - Light blue pheasant rump feather.

The bigger Lake fly box holds the following patterns in the Lid:

14 Jig Hook, Black Brass Bead, The Olive Herl Thing Green - Thread FL-yellow, Rib, gold wire, Tail, body palmer, and collar hackle, Olive Mini-bared Ostrich Herl.

14 Jig Hook, Black Brass Bead, The Olive Herl Thing Orange - Thread FL-orange, Rib FL-orange wire, Tail, body palmer, and collar hackle, Olive Mini-bared Ostrich Herl.

14 Jig Hook, Black Brass Bead, The Blue Herl Thing - Thread, FL-yellow, Rib, Gold wire, Tail, body palmer, and collar hackle, Blue Mini-bared Ostrich herl.

14 Jig Hook, Black Brass bead, The Grizzly Herl Thing - Thread FL-fire orange, Rib, Gold Wire, Tail, body palmer, and collar hackle, White Mini-barred Ostrich Herl.

12 Hook, The Black Sheep’s Creek - Thread, Black, Rib, Silver wire, Tag, Uni White Glo-yarn, Hackle. Natural Guinea feather, Butt, FL-white Ostrich herl, Body, Black wool yarn, Wing, Teal Flank.

#14 Hook, The Orange Sheep’s Creek - Thread, Burnt orange, Rib, Gold wire, Tag, Fl-Orange Glo-Brite Floss, Butt, FL-pink Ostrich Herl, Hackle Orange Partridge, Body, Paprica wool yarn, Wing, Orange died Teal Flank.

14 Hook, The Gray Sheep’s Creek - Thread, Rusty gray, Rib, Gold wire, Tag, Fl-Red Glo-Brite Floss, Butt, Fl-Pink Ostrich Herl, Hackle, Gray Partridge, Body, Mist colored Wool yarn, Wing, Claret died Teal.

#16 Hook, Blue Tag Sheep’s Creek - Thread, Black, Rib, FL-orange Wire,Tag, FL-blue Glo-Brite Floss, Butt, Chartreuse Ostrich Herl, Hackle, Starling, Body, Black Wool yarn, Wing, Lemon Wood Duck.

16 Hook, Orange Tag Sheep’s Creek - Thread, Black, Rib, FL-orange Wire, Tag FL-orange Glo-Brite Floss, Butt, FL-pink Ostrich Herl, Hackle, Starling. Body, Black Wool Yarn, Wing, Lemon Wood Duck.

16 Hook, Green Tag Sheep’s Creek - Thread, Black, Rib Gold wire, Tag, Chartreuse Glo-Brite Floss, Butt, Chartreuse Ostrich Herl, Hackle, Starling, Body, Black Wool yarn, Wing Lemon Wood Duck.

The Middle Leaf - Midge Pupa, Midge Emergers, and Killer Scuds.

The Blond Midge Pupa - # 16 Hook, FL-White Thread, Brown Copper Rib, Body, Scotch Broom Wool Yarn, Gills, FL-White Sparkle Yarn, Thorax, Dark Tan Peacock Herl.

The Red-Butt, Zibera Midge Pupa - # 14 Hook, Thread, Black, Rib, Silver wire, Butt, Red-Holo-Tinsel, Body, Black Wool Yarn, Gills, FL-White Sparkle Yarn, Thorax, Black Peacock Herl.

The Orange Midge Pupa - # 12 Hook, Thread, Burnt Orange, Rib, Natural Copper Wire, Body, Pumpkin Color Wool Yarn, Gills, FL-White Sparkle Yarn, Thorax, Orange Peacock Herl.

The White Midge Pupa, # 12 Hook, Thread, FL-White, Rib, Black Wire, Body, Rye Colored Wool Yarn, Gils, White Uni-Glo Yarn, Thorax, Black Peacock Herl.

My Tablet ran low on power so things came to an abrupt halt. Thursdays are my fishing days, so I went fishing yesterday. You have to keep your priorities straight, and it is more important to fish than it is to write and read about fishing.

Back to the Lake Fly Box, which carries two midge emerges patterns - one for daylight conditions and one for low light conditions. But both of those are tied with new, experimental materials I have not been able to test on fish, so they will have to wait for further developments.

Which brings us to the Killer Scud Patterns - or scud patterns tied with wool yarns. Sierra lakes and streams, generally, have acidic water. So we do not have much in the way of scud and sowbug populations because the water does not contain enough calcium for them to make their shells. We do, however, have a small number of lakes that do produce big golden trout, and all of those lakes support prolific scud populations. Pregnant scuds have a thorax pouch (imitated by the orange ostrich herl on these patterns) that carries their unborn young, which are orange in color, and scuds also have a parasite that also gives their bodies an orange coloration, explaining the use orange ribs on some, but not all, of these scud patterns.

The # 12, FL- Blue Glo-Brite Floss Tag / Gray Pregnant Scud - Thread, Rust Gray; Rib, FL-Orange wire; Body, Mist color wool yarn; Pregnant Pouch, orange ostrich herl, palmer x 4.

The # 14, FL- CromeYellow Glo-Brite Floss Tag / Green Pregnant Scud - Thread; Rust Gray; Rib, FL-Yellow wire; Body, Oyster color wool yarn; Pregnant Pouch, FL-Chartreuse ostrich herl, palmer x 4, these are to be fished in ice tea colored waters.

The # 16, FL-Orange Glo-Brite Floss Tag / Olive Pregnant Scud - Thread, olive; Rib, FL-Orange wire; Body Autumn colored wool yarn; Pregnant Pouch, Orange ostrich herl, palmer x 4.

The Box’s bottom compartment carries all my Tenkara Streamer Patterns, which are from 1 to 1 - 3/16 of an inch long and weighted with 1/8” Black, Slotted Tungsten Beads, tied on # 14 and # 12 Streamer Length Jig Hooks, mostly fished where the fish lay near the bottom in shallow to pretty deep waters.

The Slinky’s are a variation on the good old Wooly Bugger. But instead of using Maribou for the tailing and feather hackle for the palmer, ostrich herl is used with the tails being forked ahead of the first wrap of the chenille on the body for max tail wiggle. The bodies are all made with Micro Chenille. Two strands of Kristal Flash are tied in before the tailing, and 3-strands Of KF make up the pectoral fins on these patterns. You just make a loop of the KF perpendicular to the hook shank behind the bead, which gives you 4-strands on one side of the hook and 2- strands on the other side. Cut the loop and tie 1 strand over on the 2-strand side, and we have 3 x 3 strands that are then tied back and trimmed to pectoral fin length. Then wrap on the collar hackle with a continuation of the ostrich herl tail and palmer hackle material in front of the fins and behind the bead. Mini-barred Ostrich Herl is used where appropriate to give a Grizzly black barring effect to these patterns.

The # 14, Bloody / Black Slinky - Thread, Black; Flash, Red Krystal Flash; Body, Micro Black Chenille. Tail, Palmer and Collar Hackles are made with 2, Black Ostrich Herls.

The # 14 Orange Slinky - Thread, Burnt Orange; Flash, FL-Orange Krystal Flash; Tail, palmer and Collar Hackle, 2 Orange Mini-barred Ostrich herls.

The # 14 Black / Green Slinky - When I first tied this pattern, both the Chenille and Ostrich Herl were FL-materials, which tended to put the fish off in gin clear waters. The Black Chenille solved that problem. Thread, Black; Flash, Accent Mirage KF; Tails, Palmer and Collar, 2 Chartreuse/black Mini-barred ostrich Herls.

The #14 Blue / Green Slinky - Thread, Black; Flash, Accent Mirage KF. Tails, Palmer and Collar hackle, 2 Blue Mini-barred Ostrich Herls. The Accent Mirage KF has a Brassy, white and green under tones colors to it but tends to also reflect the other colors that the fly is tied with, and also the colors found in the fishing environment the fly is cast into.

The Shakey Beeley Pattern, there is a tying video available for this pattern on the Kebari And Flies board, the primary difference with this one is that I am tying it on the # 12 Streamer length Jig Hooks with 1/8” Black Slotted Tungsten Beads.

The Intruder Patterns are for fishing to Pre-spawn and Spawning fish. These are tied on the same # 12 Streamer length Jig Hooks mentioned above. The tying steps are the same for both the green and orange variations, just the Tag and Body Wrap colors are changed. Again, both of these are tied with 1/8” Black, Slotted, Tungsten Beads.

The #12 Green Tenkara Intruder - Thread, Black; Tag, FL-Chrome Yellow Glo-Brite Floss; Back Hump, black ostrich herl; Back Hackle, Natural Guinea; Body Wrap, UTC FL-Yellow Sparkle Braid; Front Hump, black ostrich herl; Front Hackle, Natural Guinea.

The # 12 Orange Tenkara Intruder - Thread, Black; Tag, FL-Orange Glo-Brite Floss; Back Hump, Black ostrich herl; Back Hackle, Natural Guinea; Body Wrap, FL-Orange/Pearl Sparkle Braid; Front Hump, black ostrich herl; Front Hackle, Natural Guinea, which completes the fly patterns the lake fly box carries.

Looking over the patterns and the materials they are tied with, you should notice some frequently reoccurring themes: A generous use of black materials for both surface and subsurface patterns. And a judicious use of FL- colored decorations to make Hot Spot Attractors that show up best in the 3 different water colors (Blue, Green and Red/Brown) that our lakes and streams have, but not so much as too over load the fish’s color sensing retinal cone cells. Also, the use of Black / Glo-White and Silver materials when the fish are running on their Rod cell night vision, in dark and low light conditions. As well as the use of highly mobile fly tying materials that trigger excitement in trout that is automatically hard wired to excite their brains when they see any motion, no matter how slight that motion might be. The materials that move in the water, mostly collars, hackles and palmers but also body materials create pressure waves the fish can feel through their Lateral Lines to find prey.

All aquatic insects have natural camouflage they have evolved to protect them from being eaten by their predators. When a fly is tied to realistically imitate a life form, the life form’s camouflage pattern is also included in the final product. We do not need to camouflage our flies from the fish that we are trying to catch. Light on Dark, Dark on Light Contrast with the fishing background the fish views the fly against is a primary trigger to get successful strikes.

Finally, we come to the pack and what it should carry. The Pack I have been using for the last 10 years is the Atmos model, made by the OSPREY Company, with a 65 L. capacity, which may sound bigger than necessary for doing day long fishing trips. For stream fishing, I carry as little as possible as I usually do not get all that far back in from where I parked my vehicle. But for hiking into the high lakes, I carry all the clothing and survival gear I would normally take on an overnight to week long backpacking fishing trip. The reason I go so well prepared is because I have been rained, hailed, sleeted and snowed on every month in the year in California’s High Sierra Mountains. And if I should not be able to make it back due to injury or illness and have to spent an unplanned night out in the mountains under adverse conditions, while it might not be the most comfortable night I have ever spent, at least I would probably be able to live through it, so here is what I carry in the pack I have been very happy with for the last 10 years:

Pack - 65 L Osprey Atmos, which has a very light weight wire alloy frame, with a 3-D tensioned mesh back panel that allows air to freely circulate between your back and the pack bag. The fixed harness shoulder straps and built in hip belt are made out of BioStrech, a perforated breathable light weight padding foam material that also is incased in a breathable mesh material for strength, light weight and superior breathability and quick drying abilities.

Starting with the Zippered Top Compartment, items are carried in super light weight, color coded, over sized stuff sacks, which have the ability to expand and fill the void as you use your food supplies up:

Sack #1 - a wind proof Ear Beaney, a pair of Poly Glove Liners, and a thin microfiber neck gator. Sack # 2 - a removable old Down Hood from an old down jacket.
Sack # 3 - First Aid / Survival Goods, consisting of tape, bandaids, gauze pads, an Emergency Heat Sheet Bivy Sack, a whistle, Lighter, cord and string, a Signal Mirror, a small Compass, a 10 Sanitary Wipe Pack, A Head Lamp, Note Pad & Pencil. On Multi-day-Trips, a separate Toiletries Kit is added.
Sack #4 - A water proof rain cover for the whole pack.

The outside back of my pack has two very shallow, long zippered compartments that meet in the center of the pack. The right one carries my Sil-Nylon Rain Suit in a long blue stuff sack, while the Left carries my water repellent Wind, Hooded, Jacket and Wind Pants in a long green stuff sack.

Moving on to loading the main compartment of the pack, starting at the bottom and working your way up to the top. # 1, Half of a Z-Rest Sit Pad - for sitting comfort and an additional pack bottom water proof shied. # 2. Olive Sack, Puff Ball Jacket.
# 3. Brown Sack, Puff Ball Vest.
#4. Black Sack, a zip Turtle Neck Caperline Shirt.
# 5. Yellow Sack, Wool socks, Fleece socks, Liner socks, Wicking Briefs.
Also a Ursis Bear Bag, food, stove, fuel, cooking and eating utensils, Collapsing H2o Tank, with the Angling Chest Pack going in last so it can be first out when you get to the lake you wish to fish.

The out side of the pack has elasticized side pockets and securing straps for long objects on the left side, for carrying things like Rods, cased or not, tent poles, and spreader bars for Bridge Hammocks. I put my Rod Quiver, carrying two rods and all the fishing items listed above, in the Left-Side, Side pocket. The above is offered as an example of one way of doing these things. Each angler / backpacker has to develop his or her own system that works out the best for them…KARL.

Hey, Karl, how do you like the Bridge Hammock? Does it really sleep flat? I have a Hennessy Hammock with an underquilt made by Paul at Arrowhead Equipment but my back will no longer allow me to sleep in it.

I’m looking for an alternative hammock.

-Tom

Hi Tom. I also started out with a Hennessy hammock, the UL Backpacker A-sym, which I used for a couple of seasons but found to be so uncomfortable that I went back to tent camping as it involves carrying less weight.

With my neuropathy condition, I found it increasingly difficult to get in and out my One-Man backpacking tent, put boots on and off while sitting on the ground at the tent’s door and such. At times I also get foot edema, so I need to sleep with my feet higher than my hart. The bridge hammock I bought is the Warbonnet Ridgerunner, which has solved all of the afore mentioned problems and then some, and I find it more comfortable to sleep in the Ridgerunner hammock than in my own bed at home, and well worth the additional weight you need to carry for the comfort you get.

I got the Double rather than the Single Layer Bottom Model, as I wanted to try it with a Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Pad first that I already had, which worked out OK but raises your center of gravity enough that things get kind of tippy. Knowing what I know now, if I had it to do over again, I would get the single layer bottom model.

Eventually I got a O Degree full-length Under-Quilt that is made specifically to fit the Ridgerunner hammock, which I found to be much more comfortable and warmer, with a lot less condensation than using a pad produces. The zero degree under quilt was gotten because I use the hammock as late in the year as the early part of November, and I have used it in the snow quite comfortably as well as in the summer months at altitude. I believe the thin summer, thicker 3-season, and thickest winter under quilts are largely a marketing ploy. Do you change your mattress thickness at home? Of course not, we just add and subtract the covers above us as needed. I also believe your Arrowhead Equipment under quilt will also work on the Ridgerunner Hammock, just fine.

For the Top Cover, I had a Marmot Component Bag System at one time, which worked like the Big Agnes bag systems do, with no down on the bottom where it looses all of its insulating abilities by being pressed flat by your body weight. This is a Quilt with a foot section. A detachable down or synthetic jacket hood keeps you comfy around camp in the evenings and through the night while sleeping, if it is cold enough to need a head covering, and even on nature calls in the middle of night.

For a Tarp, I eventually settled on a Custom Warbonnet SuperFly made long enough to in close the Ridgerunner’s suspension triangles, with the 3-Pole Modification Kit included as well, but only Purchased with Two Poles, Plus the Poncho/Under Cover for added warmth and to protect the under quilt from getting splash/back wet in inclement weather and high winds. The SuperFly comes with doors you can close at each end and they work really well, and closing the doors makes things much, much warmer.

And if all the above does not answer your question about bridge hammocks giving a flat lay, although the lay is not a 180 degrees, airport runway flat, it is the most flat, most comfortable lay with the least shoulder squeeze I have experienced in a hammock, with no calf ridge at all, and I have no desire to ever go back to sleeping on the ground. Those are all the positives. The negative is that you have to find two live trees what are strong enough to support your body and gear weight that are 16 to 18 paces a part. And although not absolutely necessary, flat ground in between the two trees makes hammock camping oh so much more pleasurable…Karl.

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Gathered end hammocks require some (ongoing?) practice to set up for a flat lay. Are you able to lie diagonally across the Hennessy hammock (“asymmetric” design) for a flat lay?

Dutchwear, Dream Hammock, and Warbonnet have some excellent modern asymmetric and symmetric designs that IMHO have eclipsed the Hennessy, will rival the bridge design style for comfort, and don’t need special underquilts. The “symmetric” gathered end hammocks allow you to lie with your head on either side of the hammock diagonally with your feet on the other side.

In the bridge hammocks, there is no need or room to lay diagonally. It’s just like sleeping in a bed in that respect. Also, you can sleep on your side and on your stomach as well in abridge hammocks, something that’s not very doable in gathered end hammocks.

The bridges suspend at about a 20 degree angle or less, compared to the gather end hammock’s required 30 degree angle hang. And the Sweet Spot is much easier to find in a bridge hammock than it is in a gathered end hammock.

Also, a lot less cloth is required to construct a bridge hammock, both in length and width. But the weight savings in cloth is more than offset by the weight of the spreader bars. For a hefty price increase, aftermarket Graphite spreader bars are available. And adjustable trekking poles can double as your spreader bars with aftermarket pole adaptor kits to serve that purpose, but you loose the ability to have both poles and spreader bars at the same time for pitching a tarp in porch mode.

Generally speaking, the bridge hammocks require larger tarps to clear the width of the spreader bars than gathered end hammocks do. The Pole Kits give a lot of head room for walking around under your tarp and help hold the tarp off of the spreader bar ends. Taping a piece of closed cell foam over the outside of the suspension brackets that holds the spreader bars in place also helps prevent tarp wear, where the bars could rub the tarp when getting into and out of the hammock, and on interning and leaving a tarp pitched in storm mode. Everything has pluses and minuses, you just have to decide which pluses are worth the minuses and what is most important to you.

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This has kind of wondered off topic. However, when someone asks a question, answers should be offered. The following is a new development that does an excellent job of answering The Flat Lay in a Bridge Hammock and related questions.