Conejo Valley Fly Fishers

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This report is the first of the Y2K Season, and New Millennium from Randy VanVliet:

It's not every day that I get to end a century fishing and start a century fishing, let alone a millennium, but it did happen to me. Following Steve Anderson and Bill Becher's lead, I made the schlep up to the Owens Gorge at the Pleasant Valley Camp ground late Tuesday afternoon , reaching the MINNIEWINNIE with the reflective tape at 9:15pm. I left the motor running on my diesel for a short period of time. It appeared that the lights were on but nobody was home, as the drapes were drawn. Knowing how exhausting it is to cast over 2000 times with a new unfamiliar rod for several days straight, I gave Bill the benefit of the doubt, and finished the drive up to Mammoth.  (Should have knocked, we (Larry Garfinkel, Steve Anderson and I) were up watching Fargo... Bill)

Wednesday, Joyce and I took a drive up to The E Walker to look around. Flows were down around 22cfs, being bumped up at 2pm for the alfalfa farmers down stream, and slowing up the fishing. We didn't check out Rosachi after hearing 'bout the alleged Millis  gillnet operation. DFG had no comment on this. 

The following three days were spent fishing the Lower O and below the Gorge, where guides abounded with patrons dressed out of the Orvis catalogue. As for the lower O, I don't have much to say. Maybe they should name it the Lower 0, as in zero, cause that's what I managed to catch down there. I was finally beginning to think that my ying and yang was in balance there. Oh well, maybe next year, heh, heh! Friday was pretty good for fishing, really. With the cold temperatures, it was possible to fish bankers hours, with a good strong midge hatch coming off after a late lunch, providing the wind stayed down. 22 & 24 brassies in the riffles at the inlet of PVR, and 18 black thread midges nymphed Dan Millis style (read deeeeep) in the slower glassed off sections worked well. 

I worked up stream after words, past the throngs of bottled bait fishermen until I came across a local fishing crickets for browns. He was bragging about the size of the fish he'd caught, How he'd gone through 200 the day before, along with countless hooks. Also a limit of 15 the day before ( for himself and his 2 boys) His stringer was already pretty full with browns this day. It was difficult to see where I was walking after that encounter, and it wasn't because of the wind in my eyes. I continued up stream, thinking about the loss, about something I had no control over, not really paying attention to the stream I was in, when the cut bank I was walking on gave way. 

Like that, I was in 42 degree water over my waders, looking like the Michelin man when I got out. I had a very hard time popping the releases of my shoulder straps, due to the added weight of the water they were holding. I normally cussed at the warmth of those 5mm waders, but right about now, with a 15 minute walk back to the truck with the wind picking up, I was glad to be wearing them. I fired up the heater to full on the drive back up Sherwin grade to Mammoth, to dry out a bit and when I pulled my waders out of the bed of my truck at the condo, they stood up by themselves! Bill wanted me out at 12:01am that night for a picture of the1st y2k trout, along with my camera to document it. I think I watched someone drop the ball instead somewhere in the big apple. Saturday was busy at the inlet. On the way in, after a late brunch, I came across Steve Ostergard, a guide out of Mammoth. He was hooked up with a big 5 # rainbow which he brought to net. It was a DFG brood stock fish, with a tag on its gillplate and a 26 brassie in its upper lip. He spent close to 5 minutes reviving it, before it swam off. He seems to be a really nice guy, gave me a 26 brassie out of his fly box, and even showed me where the holds were on that section of the river. He didn't have any business cards on him, it was his day off, but he hooked into another bruiser, apologizing profusely as the fish took him down stream past where I was fishing. He definitely knew what he was doing. Me? I kept plugging away, catching 9 fish this New Year's Day, mostly 12 to 14" rainbows. I would say if you are going to go , think small and simple with your ties, with 6 or 7x tippet.


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