Due to size of this Novice class, there are two separate 2-day LTFF Novice - Stanislaus fish-outs being held back-to-back. Group 1 will fish Friday-Saturday, Sept. 20-21; and Group 2 will fish Sunday-Monday, Sept. 22-23. Students may sign up for either one, but not for both, unless advised later that this is permissible if there are still spots not filled.
Unless announced otherwise, this mentored Stanislaus fish-out is again only being offered to a limited number of this year's enrolled Novice students in the club's "Learn to Fly Fish" (LTFF) Program on a first-to-register basis. Do not register for this event if you are NOT in this class, or risk losing your registration fee.
There will be only two days of mentored fishing for each Group, but a few of the more experienced students may be allowed to tag along with the mentors on Thursday evening or choose to fish on their own on Monday evening -- should they wisely choose to drive home the following morning after a long day of fishing.
In addition to several other experienced mentors, we expect to have a mentor along on this fish-out who is very experienced with fishing this North Fork of the Stanislaus River: Lost Coast Outfitter pro-staffer and independent guide Steve Slater.
The "Stan" River is an excellent rainbow and brown trout fishery. We will be fishing the North Fork of the Stanislaus River in the NF Sourgrass Rec Area just above the Big Tree State Park. This Rec Area is located off State Hwy. 4 way down below the little town of Dorrington (north of Arnold, CA) in a very picturesque canyon.
Other logistics and recommended gear will be covered in a brief Pre-fishout Meeting to be held in the clubhouse at 3:00pm on Saturday, Sept. 14th. (Note that this is the 2nd Saturday of the month, so it's the same day as Free Casting Lessons as well as the club's Program information Day and Member BBQ that day-- so be sure to show up for those events as well.) This will be an opportunity to ask questions, meet others in your group, arrange carpooling, decide on whether to tackle group dinners, etc.
Limited Registration: This fish-out will be limited to 12 students in each Group in order not to over-crowd the river. The class will be notified by email exactly when the online registration will open. You may register for either Group, but not for both --unless otherwise notified.
Campground: Most of us will be trying to camp at the Stanislaus National Forest Service's Wakalu Hep Yo (Wild River) Campground. This campground is super convenient, but not reservable in advance (available on a first-come basis only). As we successfully did last year, we hope that by scheduling this fish-out after Labor Day again that this allows us to find enough campsites there upon our arrival. There is no known group camp site in this campground, but the hope is that by possibly doubling up in campsites as needed, this arrangement should work to allow most of the students (for each Group in turn) to camp together in adjacent campsites as much as possible rather than being spread out throughout the campground. This campground does have some showers and flush toilets!
There may still be a camp host on site then to collect the campground fee of $20.00 per night. If not, there will be a drop box for this daily camp fee. Students shall be responsible for paying their own campground fees, or sharing in the cost with another student if doubled up.
Unless you are staying over that last night of each fish-out, each group will need to break camp right after breakfast on the morning of the second day in order to make room for the next group (or the next party coming in) to arrive anytime that afternoon. If you are not using your vehicle to follow your mentor around, you can park it in the Sourgrass Day Use parking lot (just over the bridge from the campground) on that second day.
Motels/Hotels: There is the old Dorrington Hotel in Dorrington, CA about 4 miles above the campground, and a few motel or hotel options farther back down Highway 4 in Arnold and Murphys for those not into either tent camping or possibly sleeping in their vehicle. There is also the Bear Valley Lodge and the even more rustic Tamarack Lodge about 20 miles farther up Highway 4. Finding alternate lodging is your responsibility, but be sure to book it early!
Meeting Place: Everyone will need to meet at the Sourgrass Rec Area / Day Use (just over the bridge from the campground) at 7:00AM each fishing morning to figure out who is going with which mentor, to make up your lunches, to get your flies, instructions, etc. This early start is intended to get everyone on the water as soon as possible each morning — so please don’t be late.
Driving Directions: Use Google Maps for "Wakaluu Hepyoo Campground Amphitheater", or enter GPS coordinates Lat. 38.322063, Long. -120.218558 (Elev. 3900'). The shortest route from the Bay Area is to follow I-580 E to I-205 E, to I-5 N to connect to CA-99 S at Stockton, and exit onto CA-4 E. Follow CA-4 (about 75 miles of winding 2-lane hwy.) to Boards Crossing Road in Dorrington, CA. (This road, marked with a street sign, is on your right directly across from the Dorrington Hotel.) Follow Boards Crossing Road taking only left forks to reach NF Road 05N02 (Beardsley Rd.) and follow that road down the canyon to the campground on the river (it's just before you cross the new concrete bridge on NF-05N02, and not the old Boards Crossing steel trestle bridge). The drive to this campground is at least a 3 hour total drive time without counting stops or traffic getting out of the Bay Area (plan for perhaps 4 hours).
Camping Equipment: Unless you have a vehicle that you plan to sleep in, it is suggested that you have your own tent (with tent stakes, footprint/plastic tarp, and rainfly) or have an agreement to share a tent with someone. Also be sure to bring: sleeping bag; sleeping pad (or air mattress and/or cot); a headlamp or flashlight with good batteries (wise to bring spares too); cooking stove; water container; cooking pots / cooking utensils; camp dishes / eating utensils; wash basin; biodegradable soap; butane lighter or matches; paper or cloth towels; garbage bags; and a cooler with ice for perishables. All food and dry goods should be stored in the campground-supplied camp boxes to keep away from rodents and jays, and the potential bear. Optional equipment might also include: lantern; camp chair; firewood; hand axe; coffee pot; small folding table; table cloth for picnic table; etc.
Meals: There will be NO "hosted" group dinners for anyone on this fish-out. You can cook dinners in camp (either together as a group if those in the group choose to organize this themselves, or individually), or there are other possible options such as a small burger joint in Dorrington (next to the hotel) or a few casual restaurants back in Arnold that smaller groups may decide to try.
We will be providing groceries for making your own sandwiches for sack lunches on each of the groups' two fishing days only.
NOTE: Other than the two sack lunches provided by your fish-out leader on your Group's fishing days, you are on your own to bring (and prepare) your own food for all breakfasts. other lunches, and all dinners (or for group dinners), or buy your own meals out.
Fishing Gear: We recommend bringing a 3-5wt fly rod with floating line. For dry flies, bring 9’ tapered leaders to 4X or 5X, with mono tippet spools in 4X-6X. Also be sure that you bring both a liquid (or gel) dry fly floatant and a dry shake floatant (dessicant-type) for treating your dry flies. For indicator nymphing, bring indicators, split shot, one spool of say 0X to 3X mono tippet material (to use 5'-8’ of this for the indicator's depth adjustment), and spools of both 4X & 5X fluoro tippet for connections to nymphs. Bring foam hoppers or Chubby Chernobyl pattern flies for hopper (dry) / dropper rigging if you prefer this rather than indicator nymphing), or you might try tight-line nymphing instead (although the Stan has more pools than actual pocket water where tight-lining works best).
Flies: We will be providing a dozen flies to each student -- 2 each of some dry fly and nymph patterns, as recommended by Steve Slater. These flies will be supplied and packaged by LCO and distributed to you at the meeting place, so you will need to put them in your own fly box along with your other flies -- and be sure to pinch the barbs! We will not be doing this for you. Also, bring your own flies, especially any that you have picked up for (or tied for) this particular trip on a fly shop's or someone else's recommendation.
If you still need more of your own flies, or forgot some other gear after you leave town, there is a small fly shop (if open) as well as the Ebbet's Pass Sporting Goods in Arnold as you pass through that town (both are on the south side of the hwy.), or you can divert your trip up on I-205 for a few miles to reach the Bass Pro store in Manteca.
Other Stuff: In addition to forceps, nippers, vest or pack for fly boxes and other gear, sunhat, sunscreen, bug repellent, waders, boots, belts, water bottle (or other means to carry, or filter, drinking water), don’t forget your wading staff! A small net is always optional for trout, but it really helps in landing them with minimal stress and keeping them in the water while unhooking—both of which are extremely important for the fish’s survival. Camping gear should include headlamps or flashlights —the former is especially good for tying on flies during late evening fishing or cooking / setting up camp in the dark. Bring spare batteries too.
Wading: As a tailwater, the Stan can still be pretty cold this high up, but you may decide when you get there and test the water that you might prefer to wet-wade (not me!) instead of wearing waders. If so, just be sure that you have sturdy closed-toe wading sandals or, better yet, use neoprene guard socks (or other neoprene socks) plus wool or polypo liner socks to fill-out your wading boots. Lightweight (i.e., nylon) long pants are recommended for wet-wading over wearing shorts to better protect your shins from scrapes on rocks, scratchy brush, poison oak, etc.
Registration Fee: The registration fee is $150 per student (which includes paying Steve's super discounted fee and the purchase of the flies and groceries for lunches. Not included in the registration fee is the cost of travel, camp fees or lodging, and meals other than the provided lunches.
For more info: John Murphy, firstname.lastname@example.org, cp 650-799-1695; Steve Slater (LCO ph. 415-483-2278)
Note: There is only very spotty to non-existent cell phone service anywhere in this area -- try texting up there instead, but this is also extremely hit-or-miss.