The Fish Sniffer - Fly Fishing For Bass At Mather Lake
Fly Fishing For Bass At Mather Lake

Written By: Headwaters Fishing Team, July 10, 2014
Species: Bass
Location: N/A,

Fly Fishing For Bass At Mather Lake
Fly Fishing For Bass At Mather Lake Fly Fishing For Bass At Mather Lake

After a skunk at Black Butte, I decided I needed to further educate myself in the ways of bass fishing. Since I am admittedly not the world's best bass fisherman, I figured I would be equally effective either fly fishing or using conventional tackle, so of course I chose to further my fly fishing skills.

My first stop was tKiene's Fly Shop, my favorite toy store. I happened to luck out on the day that I went, because Jim Christensen was working the shop that day and he happens to do a lot of bass fishing using flies. I explained to him that I fish a lot with folks who like to use conventional tackle and ultimately I would like to keep up with them with my fly rod and that I had tried unsuccessfully last season to land even a legal (12") bass.

Jim outfitted me with some recommended flies and also some places to try my luck. Up until now I had been targeting places like the Delta (too much water for a beginner to cover), and Rancho Seco Lake (too clear) that evidently aren't that great for the beginning fly fisherman. Jim's answer was to try fishing ponds. "Of Course," I thought.

When people ask me about getting into trout fishing, my recommendation is always to hit a small stream. The fish might be smaller, but it is easier for a beginner because only short casts are required, likely lies are clearly evident, and the fish aren't very selective in what they eat.

Well, the same is true of ponds. Unfortunately I don't have any private land access. Lucky for me there are 2 very small lakes (or large ponds depending on your viewpoint) in the Sacramento area that have bass: Mather Lake and William B. Pond.

A third recommendation from Jim was Cameron Park Lake, the largest of the three. I decided to hit Mather Lake, since it is the closest to my house.

Last week was a long week at work, so I was granted a little R&R by my wife on Saturday evening, so off I went to Mather Lake. When I arrived, I could see why Jim recommended it.

It was bass heaven. I estimated the maximum depth to be about 20 feet, there is underwater weed growth and overhead cover everywhere, This was a perfect haunt for largemouth, who like to wait in the shadows for unsuspecting prey to swim by at which point they dart out and engulf it with their huge mouth.

I came armed that day with a surface fly and a crawdad imitation on a sinking fly line. I tried both. I had a grab by a small fish on the crawdad, but there was so much vegetation in the water, it was really hard to fish. I was a little disappointed by this, because I am more familiar with how to fish with a floating line and surface flies for bass than with a sinking line, but that is for another post.

After about an hour I changed from a white popper to a small floating frog. I paddled over to another arm of the lake where there was a lot of shade and dense weeds growing all the way to the surface.

After about fifteen minutes, I got my first rise from a small fish, the ones I am used to catching, but I couldn't fool this one so I moved on. I noticed that there were some holes in the surface vegetation, that looked like a good ambush point to me. I started targeting these areas with my frog.

On about the third hole, as I was stripping the frog in, I noticde a small v-shaped wake moving towards my fly. I slowed down my retrieve so that I was just twitching the fly slightly. Then came the swirl that I had been reading about in books, but had yet to experience first hand.

Fish on! My rod doubled over and I started grinning. Finally a nice bass! I picked through the weeds until I could see the fish and lipped it. I estimated its weight at about 2 pounds, by far the biggest bass I had ever caught. I took a few photos, released the fish, laughed, and did a happy dance.

I ended the evening with only one more fish that was about 12 inches long. I was extremely pleased with myself. I was on the way to becoming a bass fisherman. Stay tuned to more bass posts. A big thanks to Jim Christensen at Kiene's Fly Shop for the recommendations. 

Back To Reports

Be the first to post a comment

or create an account to add a comment to this article


Fish Sniffer

The contents of this site are for the general information, convenience and entertainment of the public. Neither Fish Sniffer nor any of its principals, staff or representatives shall be liable for any consequential or incidental damages, or inconvenience incurred or experienced, related to these contents, and do not warrant their accuracy or reliability.