Captain Mark Pinto
An Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide in Northern California
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Spring: Prime striper time, largemouth bass, and native rainbow trout
Summer: Native rainbow trout and top-water lLargemouth bass
Fall: Striped bass, largemouth bass, native rainbow trout
Winter: Trophy native rainbow trout, steelhead, and stripers
The Stanislaus, Mokelumne, and Calaveras Rivers, along with Putah Creek, are all tail waters, emerging below large and deep lakes. The water remains at optimal temperatures even in the dead of winter or the middle of summer. All of these fisheries remain colder than most streams up in the Sierras. As a matter of fact, during the hottest months, allowing for consistent action all day. When I fish on my days off, I'll fish from about 11:00 AM until about 3:00 or 4:00 PM, great for those not wanting to get up before sunrise! You simply don't have to.
The magnificent California Delta is about 200 yards from my house. It fishes well for striped bass and largemouth bass except for the dead of winter from the middle of December until February, depending on water temperature. Fall and spring are prime striper times, with even mid-summer great for top-water largemouth. There are, of course, exceptions depending on how cold the winter is. Bait fisherman continue to do well during that time, but it can be really tough on the fly. I have had years where the water remained pretty clear and above 45 degrees and the stripers and a few largemouth were still willing to take a slowly-presented fly. That was a bonus, but unusual.
Striped Bass, steelhead, native rainbow trout, largemouth bass.
The vast California Delta is about an hour east of the Bay Area. With over 1300 miles of water and some of the best striped and largemouth fishing in the world, it is a "must do" for residents and travelers alike. Open all year, there's almost always great fly fishing to be experienced. We'll cruise around in my smooth riding deep-v skiff, exploring the many sloughs and channels, maybe even have lunch at a restaurant on the water (a tradition of mine). Endless tules, islands, and coves are really something to see! Many days, it feels like we've got the water all to ourselves!
The Calaveras, Stanislaus and Mokelumne Rivers are all tailwaters, located in the Gold Country foothills, east of the San Joaquin Valley, just an easy day trip from the Bay Area. The Calaveras flows below New Hogan Reservoir, the Stanislaus below Lake Tulloch, and the Mokelumne below Lake Commanche.
The Calaveras and Stanislaus both have canyon sections with both very easy and more strenuous access points. The Mokelumne is a gentle valley river with long shallow riffles and runs with easy wading and more open casting, great for anglers with limited mobiity or those looking for more wide open fishing. All 3 of these rivers are about 2 1/2 hours from San Francisco, maybe a bit closer.
The Gold Rush and Gold Country played a major role in the developement of the state. Towns like Sonora, Columbia, Jamestown, Angels Camp, Mokelumne Hill, Sutter Creek and Jackson are all within a very short drive. Of course, the vast Sierra Nevada Mountains are just a bit farther up hill, with all they have to offer.
Putah Creek flows from Lake Berryessa, just over the hill from the world famous Napa Valley and Sonoma wine country. Open all year Putah in renowned for some of the largest rainbows anywhere, with 30" fish a possibility and 20" common, especially in the winter. About 1 hour and 15 minutes from San Francisco, a great day trip.
A great thing about our weather is very low humidity when it's hot and very few if any biting insects. I can't remember the last time I or a client was bitten by a mosquito or anything else. Annoying bugs can ruin an otherwise nice day out on the water, at least for me!
Temperatures below are typical highs, mornings are, of course, cooler.
Spring: 60s to 80s F
Summer: 80s to 100s F
Fall: 70s to 90s F
Winter: 40s to 60s F
You can find all pricing information at: pintoshomewaters.com/Services
What is Provided:
I will always have all of the appropriate gear for our outing, if you have equipment that you feel comfortable with, that's always best. I will have water and lunch when on a river or stream trip. On the Delta, most prefer the option of going to a nice restaurant, a tradition of mine and a chance to get out of the boat, stretch our legs, and attend to other matters.
Trout: 1-6 wt. rods and floating lines, nice to have both a nymphing and dry fly set-up available.
Steelhead: 6-8 wt. rods and floating lines predominantly, sink tips if swinging the fly is your preference.
Striped bass and largemouth bass: 6-9 wt. rods with both floating lines and shooting-head type sinking lines.
Waders for stream and river fishing with either felt or a good-gripping rubber sole. Wading wet in the summer feels great with quick-drying shorts or pants.
Wading staffs can be useful, although I'm always there to escort you across fast sections.
What to Bring:
California fishing license with steelhead report card when necessary. Most have phones now for pics, but lots of great photo opportunities for those wishing to bring cameras. Other gear to bring varies with species, location and time of year, we'll always discuss what's needed, of course.
I can accommodate those with limited mobility, primarily on Delta boat trips, just a short walk on even pavement to the dock. I also have stream access on the Calaveras and Mokelumne over very even ground, just let me know your physical limitations and we'll discuss the best options. As you can imagine, over the last 35 years of guiding, I have had clients with all types of needs and preferences. I will do my best to make the experience you want as successful and pleasurable as possible.
What else is there to do on your trip? Being a native of this area, I can help you plan just about any activities you would like. From San Francisco with its many sights and great restaurants, wine tasting in the world renowned Napa-/Sonoma area and increasingly famous Lodi and Foothill wineries, hiking the Sierras, golf, Monterey, Yosemite, the list goes on forever. Probably no where else you will fish has more opportunities and such a wide spectrum of activities available and it's ALL YEAR LONG! I would, again, be happy to help you plan your trip so there's something in it for the whole family!
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