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Fall bite is on at Lake Davis

By Frank Galusha
10/06/13 -- Despite a late start (10:30 a.m.) trolling for trout at Lake Davis today was very good. My guide, Jon Baiocchi of Baiocchi’s Troutfitters of Nevada City, and I hooked 21 fish and landed 19, mostly 14-18 inchers, and we had many other strikes where hook sets just didn’t turn into hookups.

Jon Baiocchi, Lake Davis Rainbow

Other parties including fly-anglers in float tubes and pontoon boats and several other parties in larger and smaller boats than Jon’s Tracker and a number of anglers who were fishing off the northeastern shoreline were also taking a good number of fish. Mayflies were still hatching but for the most part the trout were full of chironomids or midges, the biggest food source in Lake Davis.

Jon Baiocchi, Lake Davis Rainbow

I left the house at 5:15 a.m. but arrived at the Camp 5 launch ramp later than I expected. On the way up I passed up a shot at a cup of coffee in Red Bluff. Nothing was open thereafter so once passed Canyon Dam I had two choices: Stop for a cat nap or find some caffeine. I stopped unknowingly within a mile and a half of that hot cup of java, which I found in Greenville a half-hour later. That threw me off my scheduled arrival by 20 minutes but missing a signpost marked clearly for Camp 5 on my left just before arriving at JJ Grizzly’s really got me turned around. I ended up taking a sight-seeing trip around the eastern shore and then back to Highway 70 before I found some helpful gals from the U.S. Forest Service who directed me back to JJ’s, where the clerk gave me a map showing me how I had overshot the road leading to Camp 5.

I have never been to a meeting so late in my life but Jon was very understanding and within minutes were we catching trout. Well, to be absolutely truthful, Jon had the hot rod for an hour or so. Although we were fishing with identical rigs he had the touch it takes to feel every strike and react quickly. It took a while for me to master the technique he uses. 1. Keep the rod tip low to the rear to allow plenty of room for a fast, hard hook set. 2) Jig the fly back and forth constantly, making it jump and twitch. 3. Troll with the wind and/or in figure eights. 4. Speed up after each missed strike to induce the trout to give it another go, and 5. Set the hook like you really mean it when you get hit.

Jon Baiocchi, Lake Davis brown and orange trout fly

Jon had picked some brown and orange flies he had tied himself and after watching him catch the first six to eight nice trout I really began to bear down. My persistence paid off and for a time I held the hot rod but in the end I’m sure he out-fished me by a factor of four or more. That was all right as I was loving absolutely every minute.

The nicest part of our day turned out to be the weather, which was perfect. “This is a typical early fall day with a light breeze, just enough to put a little ripple on the water and turn on the bite,” Jon had said early on.

Jon Baiocchi, Lake Davis, Tracker boat

I’ll agree with the proviso it took lots of knowledge of the lake bottom, the coves, the water temperature, the thermocline and where the fish are usually located under various conditions that made the difference for us today. Time after time, Jon would say “reel ‘em up” and put the Tracker quickly on the sweet spot at 20 mph. Within minutes he’d have us in another part of the lake or in a cove he’d fished before. The bite seemed to get better with every stop.

When it was all over I’m proud to say I had learned a lot about trolling for trout on Lake Davis and a couple of my fish were almost as big as the largest he caught. We released all but one, which was kept for scientific analysis and dinner plate studies.

I learned two other tricks while fishing with Jon. It’s easy to strip the gills and guts out of a trout with a single motion (I’ll illustrate the technique another time) and if you want your landing net to float if accidentally dropped over the side, wrap it with PVC pipe insulation. Not bad for my day fishing with Jon and my first-ever day on Lake Davis.

If you would like to fish with Jon (and you’ll be every bit as glad as I was) give him a call at 530-228-0487 or drop him an email at Baiocchistroutfitters.

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