The fourth fly fishing-themed Hipcampout went down in epic fashion at the remote and pristine Clear Creek Ranch, just outside of French Gulch, CA, two weeks ago. This land is particularly special and close to our hearts because it was the very first private land posted on Hipcamp! We had a wonderful time exploring the land and learning how to fish from an incredibly savvy and dynamic duo: naturalist Charles Post and Eddie Bauer Guide, Michael Pepi.
After copious amounts of cornbread and chile that Friday night, followed by Stumptown’s Saturday morning brews, our resident ecologist and fisherman, Charles Post, kicked-off the day’s events by speaking to us about stream ecology and the important role that the study plays in fly fishing.
Charles explained that for any aspiring fisherperson to get to the level where you’re catching fish regularly, there’s quite a bit of studying and a pinch of luck that goes into it. With our feet at the water’s edge, we spent the early morning learning about the ecological fabric that comprises most western trout-bearing streams. (Streams that hover around 54-degrees are hugged by alder, ash, willow, and big leaf maple, and support a community of may, stone, and caddisflies.) These are the streams where, with a keen eye for aquatic insects and steadied, seasoned cast, you may, infact, catch such worthy fish.
But in order to transcend the fishing stage and temp the catching phase, it’s essential to take a close look at the world around you; consider the life of a fish—what makes for good habitat and how a fish might in turn forage in that particular pool, riffle, seam, pocket or run.
Armed with knowledge and a string of observations, we are then left to rely on the art of a tactful cast, which, lucky for us, was made easier with the professional guidance of Eddie Bauer outfitter, Michael Pepi. In the afternoon, Michael taught the group how to tie flies and the secret to the perfect cast before everyone hit the stream for their first attempts in catching fish. Many fish were caught!
1) To be a good fisherman, you must first be a student of the river and ecosystem in which your fishing.
2) It’s called fishing not catching; so don’t be surprised if you see fish but don’t catch any!
3) If you do catch a fish, keep in mind this fish is fighting for it’s life. Though we promote catch and release in many cases, there is a toll on the fish, so do the best you can to keep the fish’s well-being in mind: keep the fish in the water, keep your hands wet and use barbless hooks.
4) Ask questions! There’s always a fisherman on the river who knows more than you. And if you hope to catch a fish, I’m sure you’ll benefit from a little local and seasoned wisdom.
5) Be a steward. These rivers and the flora and fauna that call them home have no voice—be their Lorax!
Thanks a million to our incredible sponsor Eddie Bauer for making these weekend campouts possible. (Remember to follow @eddiebauer and #liveyouradventure for inspiration for your next outdoor adventure.) In addition to their ongoing support through funding and resources, they were generous enough to provide the fishing rods and fly tying kits for the weekend—not to mention the sweet tents and goodie bags filled with camping essentials. Thank you!
Our sustainability partner, Klean Kanteen, gave every guest a bottle and cup so that we could easily stay hydrated and have vessels to drink out of. Thank you!
Gillian Grogan blew us away once again with her gorgeous songs and ballads. She gave everyone the chills on multiple occasions. Do yourself a favor and check out her music!
Thanks to Lodge Cast Iron for the dutch ovens to cook with and to Coleman for providing the coolers to keep all of our drinks cold! Social Print Studio printed out good lookin’ schedules for everyone.
All photos taken by Hipcamp photographers Monica Semergiu. Here are a few more highlights:
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