I was just at dark Lake a couple weeks ago. A kayak would be pretty sweet there. You can drop off the kayak right next to the lake and park 50 feet down the road. It does get packed with cars, but you should be ok on a Thursday. Most people are there to hike, not fish.
If Wright's is full....there is primitive camping on Lyons creek. You can also camp off Ice House Road.
couple of thoughts
I don't know the rules of a floatation device on a kayak are different than a float tube. You may want to check out doing some pan fish or black bass fishing down in the valley before heading up in the mountains. Lake Natomas offers some good facilities and place to practice before your trip. Biggest issue with kayak fishing is the problem with "self-correcting" your rig to maximize your fishing position that a float tube with fins allows you that constant opportunity. Since you're fishing stillwater, position and structure is next most important subject after understanding the bug hatch. The water depth and structure affects the anticipated bug hatch. There's a product called Fishing Buddy that has a depth and "fish locator" option. The fish locator doesn't work for trout due to their anatomy (compared to a black bass) but you can use the depth finder to find the breaks and shelves. You can also use your anchor rope to attempt to know where the breaks are out there but itís tough to find a specific contour. Trout swim along these edges to cruise for food like a mouse running along your baseboard. Use the depth finder to determine these contours and you have to establish a marker system of point "A" to point "B". Back off 15-20 feet so you're not on top of the fish and work that area with sinking lines. You will need two anchors setup up at different spots to secure your kayak and on different spots on your kayak. Having some clips or carabineers can help out big time. Be ready when the fish start working on dry flies and emergers with your floating lines.
I know you asked where to fish but these are things you'll have to address before going out there...
If you have two rods, then you have to figure a way to secure the second rod or a way to change your lines/reels out without dropping overboard. Tip.... reels loaded with floating lines don't float...
I'd like to follow Terry's slight thread drift and elaborate on the fish finders.
The Fishin'Buddy is nice, and it's easy to read but can be cumbersome. I've gone to a system I feel is far superior--Humminbird Smart Cast, which consists of a small screen worn on your wrist and a floating sonar device that you can attach to your tube or small boat.
It's much more accurate, despite its size, than the FB, and most certainly does work on trout. A couple of years ago on Crowley when I first got it, I spotted a huge pod of what turned out to be Browns around a submerged stump. I must have popped 12-15 cast after cast until I got bored (indicator fishing). My friends' FBs did not pick them up at all.
Smart Cast can be used with any small craft, and it's only $100.
I also agree about the downside of kayaks for positioning. I started using them on Natoma about 25 years ago, and it was fun but I was spin fishing then. Fly fishing takes more body movement and more accuracy, and I never felt completely comfortable after I started with fly fishing in the late 80s, and that was in a 16' Chinook. A sit on top is probably better for stability. It's a challenge to attach rod holders and all the stuff we use, but lots of people seem to enjoy it.
Thanks for this, hadn't heard of it yet. I may have to check it out. I also have to agree with positioning in the kayak. I own two kayaks, and after fishign a few times out of them I switched to a tube which I find much easier to fish from with fly gear.
Originally Posted by LocalCenters
another hijack of this thread
When I took Phil Rowley's Stillwater seminar regarding the most important tackle components, he indicated that after your fly fishing tackle would be a "fish finder". He then spent a large time talking about finding the right structure/bottom material and then someone asked him about using "fish finding" part of it. He said the trout anatomy being different from a black bass does not show up on fish finder and if you're getting beeps but no trout, that's the reason.
I figure he's probably caught larger fish in one year than I have in my whole life, so I'm taking his advice.
There is an easy to position and stand to cast Kayak
The Freedom Hawk 12 is not intended for fast rivers, rivers with a lot of wind nor the Delta.
For some of our slow moving rivers and most of our lakes, the Freedom Hawk 12 is excellent for fishing while standing up after and sometimes before anchoring if the wind isn't really bad.
The outriggers can be put into a Y position for stability and paddling to get where you are going and to anchor if the wind isn't that hard. The Fish Hawk 12 with the outriggers fully extended and anchored from the bow into the wind is as stable as my 15' Jon Boat for standing and fly casting. The yak has a grab rail, which I put in the upright position before leaving the shore or dock. You use a rope that attaches to the front yak handle to help pull you up to stand, when you want to stand. Then you can stand/rotate/cast 360 degrees around the yak. I either wear the William Joseph Stripping basket or put the basket famous on this site on the cross bar. If you face the rear, you can strip the line in to your empty seat. A bathtub mat works for the deck if you are facing forward to keep the line out of snags.
The standard seat is terrible and your butt will be wet in minutes.
Their upgrade seat is very comfortable and seems to make the yak more stable. You are up out of the water that can collect on the bottom of the yak, and I can cast a switch rod with no problem while setting in the seat with the extra height. Spinning and casting rods work well, I hear..
I, also, bought the standup paddle to paddle standing up in calm water with the outriggers in the Y position. I used this paddle to get out in a local vineyard lake to sneak up on the wary LMBs and cast to the shore. Like most lakes after, May, the moss algae around the shore can be very thick and out 10-20', eliminating any fly casting from the shore. I would quietly paddle out and anchor the yak about 40'-60 out from the inner edge of the algae/moss and cast close to the edge on the clear side. The LMB never knew what happen as they attacked all types of flies attached to a floating line with my switch rods.
It is an excellent fly fishing yak, but I may have to part ways with it.
The people in control of Lake Hennessee now only allow the launching and landing of yaks at the main launch. Last year, I would drive out on the East Side where there is a wind protected arm that angles basically north for several hundred yards to a little park. I would cart the yak down about 50' to the lake and fish that arm. There are a lot of LMB and planted trout in that arm. This year my wife and I were told by the head ranger, that I couldn't do that anymore. I could only launch and return from the one site about 1.5 miles away. From about 11 am to ? there can be a really swift wind heading directly to the area I used to launch the Freedom Hawk from.
I have a rotator cuff that has been torn 3 times and a ripped bicep head on the same side. There is no way that I can get back against the wind with my crippled right wing.
On the Napa river, my local river, down stream puts you into strong tides and winds, which this yak is not intended. However, I could launch, after about a half mile of wheeling it to the Oxbow curve at Oxbow park. I would launch the yak and ride the tide up stream several miles with wind protection due to the high ground over this part of the river. Then, as the tide turned, I could float down in the Y position and fish and anchor in several spots. The hot rodder with boats destroy their boats if they try to fly up and down this section of the river.
There are smb, trout, steelhead/salmon and stripers in this area. However, formerly serene area has turned into a kayak bumper car site. The city, this summer, opened a new park with a Kayak Launch site a few miles north of the Oxbow. The young yakkers bring their yaks downstream like they are driving on the I5/80/50 interchange, and many like to play chicken as they barrel down stream into and over fly lines or smack the yak.
Last, but important re the Fish Hawk is the ease of lifting it to your truck, vehicle, securing it and getting it to and from the truck and the water. I have a Ridgeline which has one of the shortest truck beds around. I disconnect the outriggers, takes about 2 minutes per out rigger. The main part of the Fish Hawk is only 9' long, and I can toss it into the back of the Ridgeline with the tailgate down. Secure it with a net load extender, put the outriggers in the trunk beside the main yak body, and I'm off. I can also leave it with the outriggers on and use a truck bed extender to secure the yak with the outriggers. The Fish Hawk is sturdy and doesn't have to be pampered while loading/unloading and landing it after fishing
The video belows shows a type A yakker getting his Fish Hawk out of the river, pulling it back up to his truck and throwing it into the back of his truck. I would never treat a yak this way, but it is nice to know that it isn't one of the woosey yaks.
Unfortunately, I may be selling my all most new Freedom Hawk 12 with the upgrades if I can't find a place for a crippled old bird to launch it, fish and get back safely.
Last edited by Grampa Spey; 09-05-2011 at 11:33 AM.
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