To my mind Shaver Lake is an unlikely place for me to practice Tenkara fly fishing. The lake is located at an elevation of 5,370 feet, with 2,184 surface acres of water at the lake's maximum height. Shaver Lake is 170 feet deep in the deepest part, with over 100 feet of water fluctuation possible in a year. The lake was completely drained last fall so that the face of the dam could be resurfaced, and Shaver received its first of the four Trophy Trout Plants it is to receive this last Monday (04/09/2012, which consisted of 350 rainbows going up to 7 pounds. The other 3 stockings of Trophy Trout are to take place over the next 3 weeks. By Memorial Day weekend, about 60,000 trout will have been stocked into the lake, including 4,500 trophy sized fish. 80,000 catchable sized fish will have been planted by the end of this summer, in addition to thousands of fingerling rainbow and brown trout, along with thousands of fingerling sized Kokanee salmon to re-establish that fishery after the dry up of the lake. The lake was at 61 percent of its capacity or about 30 vertical feet down from its high water mark when we fished it for about an hour yesterday.
Ordinarily I do not even consider fishing Shaver Lake, I just drive by it on my way up to the higher alpine lakes that I enjoy hiking into and fishing. John, a friend of mine, called me just a little before 4:00 in the afternoon yesterday, saying that Shaver had gotten some fish and he was going to go up and take a look. He said a friend of his had seen some anglers leaving the lake the day before with a nice stringer of fish, in the 14 to 16 inch size range. Did I want to take a look with him? Sure, what the heck and why not!
So I grabbed my new Amago Tenkara rod that had not caught a trout yet, added the Tumbleweed chest pack with my 3 boxes of lake flies in it, and my Ebira rod quiver to carry the rod in, and my always ready to go fishing backpack, with rain gear, wind gear, insulating layers of clothing and survival supplies in it, then I jumped in my car and drove on out to John's place. From there it took a little over an hour for us to get up to the lake. John was interested in catching some fish on his new 11 foot long, 7 Wt. Switch rod, set up with a bright orange indicator, with one small lead split shot on the leader to help sink the fly deep in the water, with the fly being placed 6 feet below the indicator. He started out with the Peacock Sheeps Creek pattern and he was into a fish so fast that I couldn't believe it.
We were fishing in a narrow cove where a small stream enters the lake, just on the other side of the boat launch ramp and the marina. There were a lot of other people fishing on the other side of the cove from us. It was overcast and windy, with the temperature falling rapidly that late in the day. A storm was moving in, with rain and snow forecast for later on that evening. People started leaving right after we got there, and a lot of them had very nice stringers of fish. Every now and then a fish would break the surface of the water and, now and then you would see silver flashes of good sized trout moving swiftly to take something subsurface out in front of us. I put an 11.5 foot, weight forward fluorocarbon line on my rod, with a 3 foot 5X tippet, and a #14 orange and black small bead head Wooly Bugger tied to the tippet to start. I cast as far as I could and let the fly and line sink for a while, then I gave the fly a pulsing, slow retrieve with the rod, and before long I had a nice trout on my line also.
We each fished a number of different flies and we caught fish on everything that we tried. John fished the Peacock Sheeps Creek pattern, a Red Brassie pattern and a variation on a Prince Nymph. I fished a to be discontinued variation on the Peacock Sheeps Creek pattern, the Orange Sheeps Creek, the Black Sheeps Creek, in addition to fishing the with the orange/black WB pattern. Then we traded rods for a while so John could cast with the Amago Tenkara rod and I could try out his Switch rod. I hooked a fish and lost John's Prince Nymph and the split shot. John had already kept two fish for dinner for he and his wife to eat that night. Everyone else who had been fishing the lake had already left the water by that time, and John said that loosing the fly made it the right time for us to heading for home. I was cold enough by then that I didn't mind leaving. There seemed to be more fish in the water in front of John but we both ended up landed about the same number of fish - 5 or 6 a piece. We both had fish on that got off and we each lost 2 flies to fish, so it wasn't all that bad for only fishing a little over an hour on a whim.
This was the second time that I have fished with the 13.5 foot Amago rod and I didn't notice the weight difference between it and my 12 foot Iwana rod nearly as much this time as I did last time. My Amago grip has a longer contour to the rear bulge and a slightly thicker fore end on the grip than the pictures I have seen of the earlier model Amago rods, and the grip worked out just fine for me yesterday. I really like this rod and its action. The extra backbone it has over the Iwana's action really helps when you have to set the hook on a fish lying deep in the water. The Amago is going to be my favorite lake rod from here on out....Tight lines, Karl.