Happy New Year!  I hope everyone was able to spend time with their loved ones and maybe even get some fly fishing in.  I was able to visit my 93 year old mother along with my sister’s and bother’s families.  My mother lives with my bother in Henderson, Nevada, just outside of Vegas.  If you met my mother, you would never know she was involved in the space race back in the 60’s.  She worked at JPL as a rocket scientist, heavily involved in the first un-man lunar landings.  My niece will be graduating her residency in St. Luis, Mo. this June and will be spending the next 4 years in the Navy as a Lieutenant – M.D.  The Navy paid for her four years of medical school, so she’ll be servicing our country for the next 4 years.   I, along with Sandra Bullock (Miss Congeniality), wish for nothing but World Peace for the coming years.              
I am looking forward to 2019 and remain positive and very optimistic for the new opportunities coming our way.  The Club has an outstanding list of outings for 2019 and has finally scheduled the SSFFC Rendezvous for April 13 th .  Due to various reasons, such as weather or venue issues, the Rendezvous did not happen over the past few years.  It’s schedule for April 13 th  at Mountain and River Adventures (MRA).  This is the same place where it’s been held for many many years.  Our California Fly Fishing Tournament as fashioned after the Rendezvous, but the Vous is solely a SSFFC event, just for its members and their families.  The morning starts off with a Partner C & R and trash collection Tournament.   Meet back early afternoon for music, raffle, BBQ dinner and entertainment. Freddie and the boys will be handing the BBQ.  This will be our largest membership drive and largest fund raiser for the year.  We will have activities just for the kids and Randy.  You can reserve your camping/RV spot at MRA by calling them (800) 8610-6553.  They are holding spots for us at discounted prices.  I hope everyone comes out to support our club and have a fun time.
Our 1 st  outing of 2019 will be on the Lower Kings River.  We’ve decided to hold special raffles at all our outings as an encouragement to participate.  For the Lower Kings outing, we will be raffling a custom built 9’ 5wt Winston Air.  Also on this outing, we will be holding a White Fish (Elephant) gift exchange.  Gift should be approx. $20 and remind the recipients of SSFFC outings.    
Past and current board members have donated their craftsmanship to a “Super Raffle” which has been held for the past 4 years.  Net funds raised from this Super Raffle benefit Casting For Recovery and Project Healing Waters. New this year, there will be two prize packages.  I’m building a Winston Air, Pete Emmel (Renaissance Rods) is building an Epic glass fly rod and Gary Silveria (Western Visions Lanyards) is custom building 2 lanyards.  Pete’s glass rod, 1 of Gary’s lanyards, Abel donated reel and a custom built net by Greg Madrigal – Sierra Nets will comprise one package .  The other package will be the Winston Air, NuCast reel donated by Lee Fortune, another Western Vision Lanyard and a net donated by Rhino Nets.  The raffle will be run by the Casting For Recovery National office and raffle tickets will be sold during the month of February.  Exact details will be forthcoming.  I hope everyone buys raffle tickets to support these two outstanding organizations. 
We will be updating the attached outing schedule throughout the year.  If you have any suggestions or would like to see something presented by the club, please feel free to email me  haramic@aol.com

Come fish with us on one of our outing!

Randy Skidgel

1.     Retired or working. If working, what do you do? 
Way too young to retire, Citrus farmer is what takes up most of my time.
2.     How did you get started in fly fishing?
Bumped into an old gray-haired man on the Crooked River in Oregon when I was 14. He was kind enough to allow me to cast and started the whole addiction.
3.     Did you have a mentor?
Just time spent with the old gray-haired man one summer. Other than that, self-taught.
4.     Describe your favorite style of fly fishing.
I mostly sight fish these days, I love the challenge of spotting and stocking. Getting into position to make the best presentation. Dry fly for sippers, dropping a bug on a feeding Carps nose, poppers to bait busting Roosterfish or casting to a Marlin chasing a teaser. Needs to be visual for me, not much blind-casting these days.
5.     What was your most memorable fly-fishing experience?
Great question! I certainly have been blessed over the years to have traveled all over chasing fish on the fly rod. 30-inch Trout in Alaska, Marlin, 50-pound Roosters in Mexico. Steelhead in the PNW, BC, big Bass in Florida. Australia and it’s Murray Cod from The Murray river. But, standing in knee-deep crystal-clear water. Surrounded by post spawn Carp that were on the eat. Standing shoulder to shoulder with a good friend, selectively casting to feeding fish that were very aggressive. The banter and friendly competition as fish after fish were caught and released. Epic day and the conclusion to lots of time spent scouting and casting. Hungry fish, amazing company, just doesn’t get much better than that. Does it?
6.     Why do I fly fish?
To quote Van Morrison: “It’s the water, it stones me” Standing in the water as it pushes against. your legs, the waters ability to strip all your worries downstream with the current. Soul cleansing.
7.     Music you've been listening to lately?
AC/DC, Traveling Wilburys, Boston, Chris Cornell, Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Kip Moore, Pearl Jam, Journey.
FlyVan Breakfast
Kings River Outing

Date: January 26-27, 2019
Location: Fresno, CA
Details:  We will be staying in Fresno and meeting at Avocado Lake Park at 8:00 am on the 26th with breakfast served out of The Fly Van down by the river. We will also be meeting at The Wakehouse in Reedley on Saturday night for a club dinner and optional White Fish Gift Exchange ($10-$20).
Lodging: For the “civilized” SSFFclub member, suggested lodging is at the Piccadilly Inn Airport.  https://piccadillyairport.com/
For the “less civilized” ​SSFFclub member, suggested camping is at Riverbend Park just off the 180, east of Fresno. The campground which has RV hookups and tent camping is within walking distance from the Kings River and has bathrooms, showers and laundry. You can reserve online or call Connie. If you are a tent camper ($20 per night) let Connie know you are part of Southern Sierra Fly Fishers and she will try to put us all in the same area.  

Contact Chiaki Harami to sign up.
Lower Owens Outing

Date: February 23-24, 2019
Location: Bishop, CA
Details:   We will be meeting for breakfast at 7:00 am at Village Cafe on Saturday and then heading over to Pleasant Valley Campground 8:30 am by the Lower Owens Bridge. We will then meet for dinner at Pizza Factory, time to be determined. Discussions will be held at dinner to see if there's any interest in seeing the Petroglyphs on Sunday. 

Contact Chiaki Harami to sign up.
ESN Class with Dave Smith

Date: February 23, 2019
Location: Bishop, CA
Time: 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Class Size:  10
Details:   We will go over setup, flies, techniques and reading water. This is an on the water class, and we hope students catch fish but can’t guarantee it.
Students need waders, tippet (7x-5x), tungsten flies, fly rods (9'-11'), reels, fishing license, water, food, polaroid sunglasses, hats and whatever else they care to bring. We will meet at the bridge at PVR Campground. Tungsten flies will be available for purchase.

Contact Chiaki Harami to sign up.
Kelsey Bass Ranch

Date: April 27-28, 2019
Location: Kelsey Bass Ranch, Snelling, CA
Cost:  TBA
Details:   We will be fishing with Wilderness Fly Fishers and Guy Jeans will be available for guiding.

Kelsey is a 125 acre isolated, private catch and release fishing lake filled with trophy size Florida Largemouth Bass. The lake is perfect for float tubing, wading or shore fishing.

Kelsey ranch is near Snelling, CA, about 20 miles north of Merced. Set your GPS for 7400 Merced Falls Road, Snelling, CA 95369. It will take you to the ranch entrance.
(Kelsey is about a five hour drive from LA.)

We have permission to camp next to the lake on a lovely park-like peninsula surrounded by prime angling. (Nearest motel = 35 minutes.)

Note: There is no potable water. It can be hot, so bring more water than you think you need. 

Contact Chiaki Harami for more details or to sign up.
Rock Creek, Montana

Date: July 11-16, 2019
Location: Sky Ranch, Clinton, Montana
Cost:  TBA
Details:   Group Lodging at Sky Ranch. Group Meals. Walk and wade fishing.

RSVP by April 1 to Chiaki Harami
Date: May 18, 2019
Details: TBA

Grouse Valley
Date: June 1-2, 2019
Details: TBA

Mammoth Outing
Date: August 10-11, 2019
Details: TBA
Kid's Acad Poker Fundraiser
Date: September 20, 2019
Details: TBA
Date: September 21, 2019
Details: TBA
Fly Gals Weekend
Date: October 12-13, 2019
Details: TBA
Roll on Columbia
by Randy Skidgel

I had to attend a wedding up North over the 4 th . Being one who does NOT fly, I figured if I had to get on a plane I should at least try and find some place to chase Carp. The plan was for me to get a half day on the water as Donna hung out in the hotel, that all changed when she found out that it was going to be 112 degrees in the valley upon our return. A quick change of flights and she would stay up North for a week enjoying the rain and cooler weather. That left me to myself for the flight home and a full day on some new water. Very cool, I love exploring new water. I had gotten a tip from a legend Carper from the area, THANKS J.M. The plan was to fish a slough that runs off the main river. I
hit the slough at 6:00 a.m., only to find the water very cloudy. Visibility was very limited, maybe 6-8 inches at best. I spent most of the morning hiking up and down the many trails along the slough. Every turn held the promise of finding clear Carpin’ water, I never did find that glory hole. Very cool section of water, complete with some small flats and several small ponds that bordered the slough. No Carp were seen, but an abundance of wildlife was enjoyed. My next visit will include time set aside to explore some of the ponds that I came across. The plan for the afternoon was to spend some time searching for fishable flats on the main river. Tough task considering how big this water is, big might be an understatement if ever there was one. After dropping over the edge to the first Carpy looking spot, I found a gentleman perched on a log. Feet kicked up, hat down over his eyes, living the dream. Some idle chit chat and a cold one from his cooler, (how could I refuse a Henry Weinhards Private Reserve) and I was feeling pretty lucky to spend some time on this amazing piece of water. He filled me in on the many varieties of fish swimming in this
river. Very enjoyable 30 minutes, you gotta love the local characters; they always add a little color to your outings. Don’t you think? After a couple hours of driving down dirt roads, many that were dead ends and stopping at MANY pullouts. I finally found a small section of water that looked very Carpy. A small, flat, calm area just off the main flow of the river. It was lined with trees and some tall grass, I could see some channels with muddy bottoms that weaved their way through the grassy flat. There were a couple of bait guys wetting a line at the far end of the “flat”, they waved as I stood on the bank. I waved
back, the universal code for…Yes, I see you. I found a log high up on the bank that gave me a great vantage point and started scanning every foot of the “flat” After 45 minutes of dissecting each section of the water, I finally spot what looks like a couple of tailers. 60 feet or so to my right and another 60 feet out from the bank. “Easy enough” I say out loud and start to work my way up and out to them. The bottom is a mix of sand and mud, the water is a lot cooler then I am used too. Wet wading, my waders were left at home, victims of trying to cram everything in one bag in order to avoid that second bag charge on the flight. My legs tired and beat up from the mornings exploring, welcome the cool
soothing water. The fish are now straight out from me, all I need is 10 more feet and I should be able to gently cast my Carp worm in front of them. I’m standing on the edge of some submerged grass; the water looks to be about four feet deep. I can see one of the sandy channels just a couple of feet out from the grass. A perfect casting platform, as it looked to be only a couple feet in depth. The grass is gently waving in the current, birds are singing, white fluffy clouds drift slowly by. All is right in the world. I’m watching the tailers as I take the first step onto the grass, not sure what happened next. But now I’m
treading water, franticly trying to feel for the bottom. The gentle grass is now grabbing at my feet, birds are screaming as huge flocks now rush off, gray clouds rush in to fill the sky. I wish I could tell you that my mind was flooded with thoughts like………. Just great, how am I going to get in the rental car without getting everything wet? How am I going to walk through the lobby of the hotel covered in mud and totally soaked? Will a wet key fob still unlock the car door? What about my camera? Those thoughts never crossed my mind. The only thing I could think of was…. Da@#, I bet I put the tailers down. I crawled up on the bank, still holding the rod and started the search for the tailers. 10 minutes later they reappeared, 30 feet off the bank. Right between the two bait guys, you have to be kidding. I watched the fish stir up a good mud slick for another 15 minutes, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I walked over to the two guys and pointed out the fish. I explained to them that I had been stalking those fish earlier when I decided to take a break and go for a swim. They both busted out laughing, I’m sure I was their source of entertainment for a few minutes. It had to be funny to watch. I ask them if they would mind if I made a few casts at the Carp. “Sure, why not” one of them answers, “you earned it” I wade out about 10 feet from the bank, I can now see the fish clearly. WOW,
up to that point I had no idea how big these two were. Easily the biggest Carp I have ever had a shot at. My hands were shaking as I stripped of line, I made a cast straight along the bank to get the correct amount of line out. I knew I would have, at best, maybe two cast at the pigs. I made three false casts as I changed the direction to line up with the tailers. Say what you want about karma, but I must have had some good stuff owed me. The cast landed six inches in front of the lead pig. Tail went down, hook set. A huge vacuum of
water as the fish turned and headed to Washington. In a matter of seconds, the 8wt is in full bendo, line is pealing slowly of the reel. One of the guys behind me is now clapping, the other is repeating….” I don’t believe it…. I don’t believe it” I’m snapped back into reality by the click click click of the backing knot being pulled through the guides. I make two adjustments of a couple clicks on the Galvin OB 6, the rod bends even further. Now I can see the arbor on the reel, few more clicks of the drag. The rod is now making some pretty serious creaking sounds. Then it happens, no more line. Nothing left, that’s
it. Spooled by the pig. Nothing left to do, not wanting to destroy the rod, I bow in honor of the winner of the battle. The line stretches and the 10-pound tippet gives way. I wind in my line, climb back up the bank and stare across the huge river. Half way across the water I see a huge fish swirl and shake its head. Salmon? Trout? Sturgeon? Steelhead? No, Carp, I’m sure. I swear I saw the little red Carp worm in its mouth. I’ll be back.
* Events may be cancelled or postponed due to weather, road and river conditions