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Submitted by Doug Smith
Nov. 23, 2010
Arrived morning of 11/23 to 7-degree weather and started fishing the north ponds. My son, James, hooks first 6-pound trout an hour later. Fish were rising all over, top water fishing though was slow.
My son's first big trout came on a olive streamer with full sink line, his second fish came around 2 p.m. on same streamer. At this point my son was on fire and continued to show dad how its done. I on the other hand stuck to the traditional top water and midge patterns and caught many healthy trout to 18". It seems funny that we consider 18" small when fishing Sugar Creek Ranch.
All the large fish were dark in color indicating a spawn is coming soon. Again, Mike was a great host -- coming down and starting camp fires to keep us warm. This was my fourth trip to Sugar Creek Ranch, and I will have to say my most challenging, with the cold and short days. Dress warm, guys!
Fishing at Sugar Creek Ranch is HOT in the winter months! We left early due to an impending storm, but caught many small trout to 18" and five over FIVE POUNDS. Where else in California can you do this with your son?
Submitted by Doug Smith
July 3-6, 2010
What a great trip – our third year was a lot of fun being there over the 4th.
Fishing was great as always. Fish stayed deep most of the time, and streamers and sculpins did the job. Two fish over 5 lbs and lots of smaller ones 12-20 inches.
Ponds are very healthy,and fishing should only get better in the coming weeks.
Last day we did get some fish to hit dry flies – good old Parachute Adams worked.
Mike is a great host and knows how to have fun. Had my two sons and grandson with me, did some gold mining with Mike and his dad, what a great time that was.
Submitted by Larry Garrison
June 23, 2010
I was one of the lucky guys who won a free fishing day Mike was offering at the ranch this year and took advantage of it with a fishing buddy.
The lakes on the ranch are in great shape and fished well. Most of our success came from various terrestrials on the surface. We also fished with strike indicators and caught some fish.
This was my tenth year fishing Sugar Creek and it is more fun everytime. I had more break offs then any previous visit. The fish were hitting very hard and I was using 6x tippet. The fish were separating me from my fly on a regular basis this trip.
We caught lots of fish though and some in the 20" - 24" range. On light tippet and a five weight rod it takes a little while to get them in. The fish were very hot and made many acrobatic jumps much to our pleasure.
I saw the biggest trout of my life this trip. I was walking the bank on the newest north pond when I saw a trout at least 30 plus inches cruising the shore line. He was in a place I couldn't cast to, but what a beautiful fish. The fish had to be easily over 12 pounds. What a monster.
As I said in my original report 10 years ago. If you want the stillwater trip of a lifetime give Sugar Creek Ranch a try. I know I'll be back with a fresh supply of terrestrials.
Submitted by Frank Hatanaka and Jim Commons
May 16-17, 2010
Jim Commons and I enjoyed our recent stay at Sugar Creek Ranch. As usual the fishing was fantastic!
Sunday fishing in the morning and afternoon was steady. I landed over 20 fish of which 6 were between 17 to 20 inch. Jim landed about 8 fish, of which 3 were in the 4-6 pound range.
Flies that were effective included in order of success:
black leaches in size 10-12
black wooley buggers in crystal chenille bodies - size 10 12
swallow flies (olive with a peacock body) in size 12
glo bugs in pink, charteuse, and champagne colors
Sunday evening the big fish started to feed for Jim. He landed 3 fish between 4 and 6 pounds on black leaches, using wet cell type 2 full sinking lines.
Other flies tried with limited success included sculpin, kiwi muddlers, minnow patterns, and crawdad imitations, charteuse bunny leeches, charteuse october caddis puppa, black stone fly nymphs,
Monday with overcast skies, fishing turned out to be a great day. Jim and I each landed over 10 fish with many in the 4-6 pound range. Many fish (approximately 8 between us) were lost because of bad leaders or unbuttoned fish. Being an experienced flyfisher I am embarrased of how many fish were lost. Jim had similar problems of broken tippets and unbuttoned fish. He lost a fish that would have easily gone 10 pounds. He was using a brindle bug under an indicator.
Flies most effective Monday in order of success include:
Glo bugs in pink, champagne, and charteuse colors
Black Leaches again in size 10-12
Blood Midges in size 12
Assorted black ap nymphs in size 12
Fly lines used included floating, intermediate clear lines, full sink wet cell 2, and 200 grain full sink lies.
I hope this shall help your guests catch more fish!
Submitted by Michael Christian and Rick Bend January 8-10, 2010
Thanks for Sugar Creek Ranch and graduate school level trout fishing. We've been coming there pretty much every winter for what, 7 years? Nice because nobody has fished the ponds in a while and fish are easy to please for the first couple casts. Then they wise up fast.
We caught a couple at the New Pond but Lone Bear was mo bettah. Fish were lined up at the inlet, taking egg patterns and zebra midges. The big guys wised up fast, the teenagers were frisky. Then the bottom north pond, Twin Deer, at the inlet, they're again lined up. Rick caught quite a few decent size rainbows there. They were going nuts and midges that seemed to be hatching right in the fast water... never seen anything like it.
In the middle ponds Alder was hot... fish went ape over green leeches with burnt orange tails... Rick had to make some more up as I lost most of them on the grab. He must have caught 12 or so in one spot... teenagers.
Then back at Lone Bear in the north ponds - after the fish wised up to midges, eggs and leeches, I started hucking crawdads... BANG. The grab on a crawdad is unnerving, we like that kind of stress. So Rick ended up catching 4-5 bruisers and I lost every one... came unpinned after just ripping it up.
Sugar Creek rocks in the winter. Just don't go there around the week of Jan 11th. ;)
Submitted by Wes Wada March 7-8, 2009
I was at the ranch for a handful of days, including some where I was fishing in the 50s, while the same day back home in Oregon, there was a record low of 13F. That made for a trip highlight by itself.
In the first four casts in Lone Bear, using a midge pupa below an indicator, I hooked a 3- and 4-1/2 pounder. These fish are in prime condition, and can put up a strong fight in the cool water. I was exhausted by the time the second rainbow was brought to hand. It was a nice way to feel winded!
A day later, same fly, battled a 26" eight-pound trophy rainbow for almost 20 minutes in the new pond. Again, a strong fighter, made a half dozen runs up to 40'. Was elated to catch and release that one as well. The fish was a hen Eagle River strain, and was in perfect condition, not a mark on her.
Also caught a good number of smaller rainbows using a favorite bugger.
In general, the big fish are more available to anglers early in the season, before they have seen a lot of flies.
After a cold front or minor storm, the fishing gets going when you get a couple of days with highs in the 50s. If you can couple that with some nights above freezing, the spring fishing can be fast action. Potentially, there are extensive midge hatches in the evening, with fish surface feeding everywhere. Bring some chironomid pupa patterns, and some adult midges. A simple but effective dry readily available is a small Griffith's Gnat.
As the weather warms, good dry fly choices are ants, black caddis, and beetles. There is even a bug available that a #14 Royal Wulff matches well! When mayflies start appearing, they are usually small, dark Baetis and a #16 Mahogany Dun.
Hope you get a chance to shake out the cobwebs.
Submitted by Larry Garrison May 27-29, 2008
This is my 7th year fishing Sugar Creek and it has become an annual event for me. This year I was able to spend two and a half days at the ranch thanks to my brother-in-laws generosity.
Even though the weather was not cooperating the fish did. I caught lots of fish, but got to try some new methods. Not sure how many I caught or the group caught, but there were no complaints. We stayed in the lodge and Mike was a great host as always and he is a very good cook. Steak the first night and lobster the second only added to the total experience.
The middle ponds have come back nicely and the fish are full of power and make nice runs and jumps. The new north pond is awesome. The fish there have the space to make several long runs and after about ten minutes they will either break you off or finally give up. I tried the strike indicator method there and had great success. That is my first stop the next time down. Of course I donated several flies and now have to restock my fly box, but it was well worth it.
Every trip to Sugar Creek is a new experience. The fish still impress me and the opportunity to catch big fish is exciting. As always Mike was a great host and could not do enough for us.
My brother-in-law is new to fly fishing and this was his first trip to Sugar Creek. He caught some very nice fish. I think he is hooked now.
If you are looking for a great place to fly fish for the beginner or the expert Sugar Creek offers an adventure that fits the bill for all fishermen. Don't pass it up.
Submitted by Steve Clements May 13, 2008
Arrived @ SCR @ 10am - clear sky, warm temp & glassy Middle ponds. First cast with a #18 BWO...BAM! 4 pound Rainbow hits hard & starts an amazingly fast run, my reel explodes: spool in the water & nut, washer & drag assembly land in the grass. Pretty much left with a rod in my right hand & a line in my left. The fish, with no tension on him, jumped, turned & ran straight back to me. After some frantic stripping & back-peddling the fish did come to net, thank you. Then an hour break, finding reel pieces & pondside assembly.
Thought this might be a great day after a Keystone Cops first fish. It was. Fished the 4 middle ponds, rotating north to south with dries on the surface, then buggers down low, then big drys @ dusk. 16 fish...all 3, 4, 5 pounders. Drove home with a sore wrist, a mis-aligned reel & a large smile. Mike, thanks for the great day & a great fishery !