“6Clothingforall Company Launch.”

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Hey everyone,

I’m happy to announce the first phase of this project launch. Essentially, I’m going to be selling decals, shirts, hats, and other items in the next few months that are cop-related. Proceeds will be donated to the families of fallen officers. Please check this out.


6 - Thin Blue Line

Watch your six decal with thin blue line. Size 2.75″ X 6″ Cost $5.00

*Always remember to watch your six. Watch your partner’s six. Watch your family’s six. This is the decal to remind you every day to be vigilant and make it home each shift. NEVER LET YOURSELF BECOME COMPLACENT.



“Not Today” broom decal. Size 3″ X 7″ Cost $5.00

“Not Today.” This is for sheepdog to remind them that they need to believe that they will not die today. We SWEEP the streets of evil, law breakers, criminals, and of the stuff no one else wants to deal with. In the process, we risk our lives for complete strangers. Rest assured, there will be no ambush, not today, not any day. NEVER LET YOURSELF BECOME COMPLACENT.


Roman Numeral Six decal. Size 5″ X 5.5″ Cost $5.00

Always remember to watch your six. Watch your partner’s six. Watch your family’s six. Do not become complacent. Recall that Gladiators did not give up until their death. We must do the same when we gear up for duty as well as off duty. NEVER LET YOURSELF BECOME COMPLACENT.


Shirts and hats to follow.



Help SSFPD Officer Chon & His Family

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**EDIT** Robby has been moved from the ICU! I cannot thank all of you enough for the support and positive vibes. I’ll keep you all updated as the updates come in.-Chris

If you’re reading this, you already know who I am and what I’m about. But, if you don’t know me, my name is Chris Swinney. I’m a deputy sheriff with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office with a soft spot for the men and women in blue. These gofundme accounts are happening far too much across our great country, but this one hit me right in the gut and knocked the wind out of me. I’ve been  compelled, along with others,to take immediate action.

My academy mate and friend, SSFPD Officer Robby Chon, was attacked in South San Francisco yesterday. Robbie was struck in the head with a skateboard and as a result, he’s in intensive care. It’s too early to know what the outcome of this tragic event will be, but I know we can help him and his family through this terrible ordeal if we work together and show our support. Obviously, as I receive updates of his condition, I will share them with all of you.

Whatever money raised will go directly, in it’s entirety, to Robbie and his wonderful family. The money will be used to help off-set any medical costs or unexpected bills that will pop up during this difficult time. Robbie is the kind of man who’d give you the shirt off his back, it’s time we return the favor.

Robbie doesn’t know this because I never shared it with him, but he was one of the few guys who inspired me at the police academy.  Without him, I might not have finished. He would run our PT (physical training) and often did his famous, “Chon Kickers.” That exercise kicked my butt, but it was well worth it. His view and take on life, with friends, family, and complete strangers, has always been top-notch and pleasant. His career has been example of what it means to be a “go to” officer, leader, and teammate. Raising any amount of money for Robbie and his family won’t make things entirely right again in the short-term, but it would help.

I feel a great sense of pain and sadness knowing he’s fighting for his life in a hospital right now, but I will not quit on him now, or ever. Robbie would not be happy that I started this gofundme thing, it’s not the type of thing he would like because he’s the most unselfish person you’d ever meet. But, he’s the kind of guy you can’t help but want to help, and he needs our help now.

This effort is not me alone. SSFPD Officer Chris Devan and the entire SSFPD Administration is pulling for one of it’s finest officers to make a full recovery and survive this malicious attack. I can tell you that the entire San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, Daly City Police Department, Colma Police Department, Broadmoor Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Burlingame Police Department, San Mateo Police Department, San Bruno Police Department,  BART PD, and the remaining law enforcement agencies along the Peninsula and throughout the state are pulling for him to make it through this. With your help, we might be able to turn this tragedy into something a little better.  I’m not asking that you break your bank, and I know the Holiday Season is among us, but any amount would be greatly appreciated.

Please consider donating to this cause for SSFPD Officer Robbie Chon and his family. The entire law enforcement community would be grateful for any support you can show his way.

**IF you would like to donate a check or offline, you can do so by sending a check made out to “South San Francisco Police Association” with “Injured Officer Chon Fund” on the memo line to:

Sgt. Sean Curmi
SSF Police Association
33 Arroyo Drive
South San Francisco, CA  94080


Chris Swinney (SMCSO Deputy Sheriff)
Chris Devan (SSFPD Officer)


Hey everyone. Folks have been asking me about where the money that is being donated to this cause will go or what the money will be used for. I applaud these questions.

It’s important to understand that I started this cause to help my friend and his family while he fights for his life. This is not the first gofundme account for an officer and sadly, it won’t be the last. I’m praying, as are many of you, that Robbie survives this senseless attack. None of us know what will happen as of right now.

I don’t want to consider this option, but there is a chance Robbie won’t survive. If he recovers, he might not be able to return to duty. He might also return to duty, but on a limited basis. The road to recovery for him is long and arduous. All we can do is hope and pray.

All the donated money will be used for various things such as: medical bills and expenses that are not covered by his medical overage (not everything is always covered), his wife obviously cannot work right now and neither can Robbie, they have bills like a mortgage, utilities, food, costs for their kids, car payments, etc that this money can help off-set, if Robbie can’t return to work, any money donated will help the family transition to a much different lifestyle and way of life, insurance policies and life insurance plans take months to sort through and to get money to the beneficiary, this money will be used for any unexpected bills that might come up while this chaotic time unfolds, some of the money could be used for college funds for his two children, and lastly, for stuff I cannot think about right now. I assure you, no one is being forced to donate and this cause is valid.

As it stands, the money will be moved from the gofundme account to the SSFPD POA and delivered to Robbie or his beneficiary. I hope this answers some of your questions.








Losing Bella and Light-Ale Bottling.

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Hey folks. Been tied up at work and family stuff so I slipped on posting the latest blog.

Sadly, we had to put Bella, the greatest dog we’ve ever had, down. She had terminal lung cancer and it seemed like she was telling us with her face that she was ready. But we weren’t. It was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make. We miss her dearly. If I ever get any good at making beer, the first one will be named after her.


img_4516“Bella-dog.” aka, “Bellisimo.”



Alas, it was time to take baby steps forward. The following is my recent home bottling of a super light ale with a slight hop aroma. Enjoy. I’ll post back on how it tasted. Out of the fermenter, it was superb.


CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN. If you are home bottling and brewing and you don’t get into the habit of cleaning and sanitizing your process, from start to finish, you are killing the opportunity to create superior beer. DON’T BE LAZY. PBW is the best cleaner I’ve used. Once you clean the bottles, tubing, caps, bottling wand, and everything that is involved in this process, it’s time to bottle.



A shot of the pre-bottling CHAOS:




I like to set my bottles aside. If I’ve made some adjustments with carbonation tablets, i’ll keep the bottles separated. For example, the bottles with four tabs on the left and the bottles with three tabs on the right. Hook up your tubing, remove the air lock and lid, and insert the bottling wand into the tubing leading from your bottling/fermentation bucket.

If you aren’t giddy at the sight of the tubing charged with beer, well, I don’t know what to tell you!

Most bottling wands have a built-in mechanism that will release beer once depressed (or pushed down on the bottom of the bottle). Once the bottle begins to fill, it will (obviously) rise. As the beer makes it to the top, you stop. Once you remove the wand, it leaves some room in the neck for the carbonation process. THIS IS A GOOD THING. If you spill some beer while bottling, I STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU DO NOT LICK IT OFF THE FLOOR>>Don’t ask….

You’ll get to the bottom of your bucket and the entrance point of the spigot. There is usually a good amount of beer left lying above the trub. Gently pull the bucket toward you and allow the clean beer to fall into the opening of the spigot. This beer will fill the tubing and wand and you can normally get 2-3 more bottles before the yucky stuff. The picture below shows nearing the bottom, pulling the bucket toward you to get more of the beer, and then the layer of trub, aka “yucky stuff.” DOING ALL OF THIS WITH TWO HANDS IS SILLY, BUT WHAT OPTIONS DO YOU HAVE? I’ve spilled some beer trying to manage all of this, but it’s kind of funny and a challenge, so no worries.



*NOTE* Make sure your caps are clean before capping the bottles.

There’s plenty of different options on the market, but I use a very basic bottle cap press that features a magnet to hold the cap in place. Pressing a cap on a bottle sometimes feels like the bottle or capping device are going to break. They likely won’t. Just use some elbow grease and get the darn caps on. Once that’s over, place them in the cardboard bottle box or on the counter and keep them out at room temperature for at least a week, maybe two. After that process is over, called “bottle conditioning,” throw those bad boys into the refrigerator. In two weeks, start “sampling” bottles. Pour and enjoy.


I hope this was informative and helps with your journey into home brewing. Shoot me an email or comment if you have any questions.

Remember to listen to people who care about you enough to speak to you.



free form poetry

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Policing a Community

A salty policeman struggles to hold a

stranger’s hand. Spirited skateboard park

meetings force him from the comfort

of a cruiser along an uneven path through

downtown streets- wearing muddy boots

that crush his aspirations. They can

manage the stress, but where trust once

existed media stripped completely away. Recall

when police risked their lives for “strangers,” yet

you knew them and they knew you, back when the

word “neighborhood” held meaning. You’d call us

during an emergency and wouldn’t dare to ask

me to raise your kids or scare them straight for you.

Civil disputes between childish adults tear

at the very foundation of our society.

Yes, we’re wired for scary things: to

hunt active shooters, protect the innocent,

and enforce the law- no matter how antique.

But, integration hoping to crush robots lies

in another galaxy. Handle your human problems

and we’ll chase then confront evil, head-on,

so you can pretend it does not exist.

The Pitfalls of Workman’s Comp.

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The suspect, after robbing a bank and holding an elderly female hostage, sprang to my left almost daring me to chase. I could hear the sirens of my partners coming quickly but a voice inside told me to pursue. We leaped over fences like Gazelle and I caught up with him with ease. We began to wrestle on the ground, it’s then that I realized he was a mountain of a man. He clearly had MMA training, as did I, and we took turns trying to pass each other’s guard- looking for an opportunity to end this. He made a move for my sidearm and that’s when the bell in my head said, “Do something now!” When it was over, I pulled myself up from the ground and instantly felt shooting pain in my back, shoulder, and arm. Uh oh.

Okay, okay. It didn’t quite go that way…

I’d like to say I was doing something great when I injured myself at work, but alas, I was not- in fact, it was as ordinary of a Thursday as one might imagine. The Ford Taurus (at least the law enforcement version) is notoriously narrow in the driver’s seat. For a fella like myself with many tools on my belt and perhaps a few extra pounds, it’s EXTREMELY narrow. In fact, most guys I know have to twist and contort their body to get out without hanging up on  the steering wheel with their gun or radio or some other piece of equipment. And that is what I did. I contorted and twisted and got out of the car near the end of my twelve hour shift and grimaced after something popped in the upper right part of my back. Fearing the fellas would “clown” me, I continued my shift and went home to pop Motrin and chase it with Makers.

Later that evening, I woke up with tremendous pain, but not just in my back, but my shoulder and elbow felt like a jackhammer was repeatedly hitting my bones and muscle. Oddly, my index finger and thumb on my right hand were also tingly and numb. Like most men, I called myself plenty of unspeakable names and sloughed off to the couch “to sleep it off.” I had hoped whatever it was would go away soon as my mom was coming to town for a visit.

I managed to make it to Saturday morning. The pain made my eyes water and took my breath away at times. I went to urgent care, and although I know the doctor meant well, he managed to make the pain almost unbearable. He shewed me out of his office and like the pill junkies I used to chase, I drove as fast as possible to Walgreens to “get my fix.” Unfortunately, the pharmacist reminded me I couldn’t drive if I took two of the medications. I drove a bit too fast and rather rudely home, ripped open the pill bottles, and took them hoping for a miracle. NOTHING HAPPENED.

Fast forward through six weeks, three doctor visits, three physical therapy sessions, two changes in medications, a pending acupuncture session, and STILL, the same pain in the same spots (and no x-ray or MRI). The only change being that instead of sleeping like a posed murder scene on the couch each night, after four weeks, I finally managed to sleep one night in my own bed. I’ve been going through Kaiser because the injury is work-related and being handled through workman’s comp. I originally bad-mouthed some of the staff to my wife, but honestly, it was the pain, lack of sleep, and my own lack of understanding my injury that was talking. Overall, the people there seem knowledgeable and friendly.

However, the pitfalls of workman’s comp is that THERE IS NO ONE TO TELL YOU WHAT IT WILL BE LIKE. Sure you can ask around and put bits and pieces of the puzzle together, but that’s not enough.

I’ve worked most of my life, beginning in high school. I’m known for being a hard worker and helping others- it’s what I do. So sitting at home has taught me a valuable life lesson: You must be about you, and not about your job. Your job cannot define you completely. You must realize that family and friends, coupled with other interests, must remain your focal point, not the job. I’m not saying my job isn’t important and I’m not saying you shouldn’t do your very best every single shift. But, if I don’t ever go back, no one will miss me. The machine will continue to run…and prosper. My employer will actually save money if I’m forced to medically retire. I’ve left no legacy at the office. I’ve built a strong and admirable reputation sure, but some kid coming up through the ranks will meet and eclipse what I’ve already done in a shorter amount of time- making most of what I’ve done obsolete. And, THAT’S OK.

I’m making dinner, even recipes off Pinterest (don’t judge), more these days. I’m reading more, helping more around the house, helping more with the kids, and I actually feel better. Having said that, there’s been moments where I’ve walked the block looking for mischief and my eyes have burned from watching too many shows on television (many of which I had no idea would EVER be on television. I’ve even cracked a few brewskies, helped my buddy with his startup company, and sketched out the outlines of a few more books. This has been an eye-opening event, one that I started out wishing like hell never happened. But now, I’m enjoying the change and looking forward to the future with an open mind.

Terrorism Response

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We cannot live scared…that’s what they want. We must live prepared. Learn to defend yourself and your family (I don’t care what your position is on guns, it’s life or death). If the time comes, and it’s time to die, take as many of them with you as you can. Americans will not standby…losing your life will not be in vain. Americans do one thing well- PROTECT OTHER AMERICANS FROM COWARDS.

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At 30000 Feet

The air is clear up there, they said.

Big becomes small, drama left behind, they said.

But what of the terrified child,

the one who’s never done this before?

But what of the foreigner,

the one who needs deodorant, like right now?

But what of the business man,

the one who’s talking over the safety spiel?

But what of the obese man,

the one who’s rattling my brain with his walrus tongue?

But what of the distracted stewardess,

the one who’s hips slam my not-so-funny bone?

And closer to home, what of the two boys, the ones arguing

for technology with rolling eyes like Vegas slot machines?

Charlie Brown’s teacher mumbles something, then we descend.

Wheels search, then grab, pavement. I crave coffee. Its embrace

obliterates the lousy flight, and instantly I’m grounded once again.

C. L. Swinney (c) 2015

That Look.

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That Look.

It happened again last night. A little boy, well behaved and brave, shed only a single tear as he kissed his father in handcuffs good bye…it’ll be years before he gets out. I had to turn away because my eyes were misty. I’d be devastated if I was in his shoes. The pain I feel for the child is crushing. I’m supposed to serve and protect. But I can’t, not this time. I can’t scoop up the little guy and take him home. He’s not a puppy, he’s an innocent child, born into the wrong situation, and now, after it’s all said and done, he’s ushered off with his backpack and very few belongings to a relative’s house. He won’t have a father figure in his life, and it’s gonna take a miracle for him not to end up like the man in handcuffs. His formidable years will be wasted. You can’t raise a child through jail visits and letters. When the little boy turned and looked at me, asking me with his eyes why I was doing what I was doing, I had to turn away again. It’s that look that makes me question why I continue. I let down a three year old child tonight, and it hurts. Try dealing with this guilt. Try putting on a badge and see what it’s really all about. It will haunt you.

When Murder Became Acceptable.

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When Murder Became Acceptable:

While driving in to work today I heard a radio host talk about how Beyonce “murdered” a song while performing at the Grammy’s. I almost missed the term completely, but I caught myself shaking my head and frankly shocked. The host, who happened to be an African American female, proceeded to explain how well Beyonce performed, and instead of using any number of perfectly acceptable terms to describe a musical performance, the host chose “murdered.” Right after that a vehicle with black paint, black rims, tinted windows, black emblems, and zero chrome passed me and I recalled people calling this style, “Murdered Out.” Again, I was shocked. Then I wondered how we’ve gone so far away from traditional values and family that we feel it’s okay to use a word like “murder” to represent good things or material objects? And I wondered if we’ve gone so far off the deep end that the color or ethnic group (African American) has been associated to such a negative word?  Would it be acceptable for me, a white person, to say Beyonce “murdered” something without causing an outcry?  It just doesn’t feel right, regardless of my ethnicity.

I can’t help but think the media, video games, and the lack of strong families has allowed people to think it’s perfectly okay to use such a powerful term inappropriately. I think most people would agree that media reports mostly violence, video games are all about violence, and families with single parents, or abusive parents, tend to become fractured and provide little moral support for our growing children.  Likewise, these same families expect the schools to raise THEIR children, which obviously is a complete disconnect from true family values.

You guys know what I do. I see dead bodies and investigate homicides. The overwhelming number of my cases are murders. That means someone willingly took another person’s life.  The families and friends of the victim would be crushed to hear someone using the same term used to describe their world falling apart when discussing something positive or material. When I have to talk to the family or friends of the deceased, I try everything I can to make the reality of losing a loved one less painful…it rarely works.  I can’t bring their loved one back. I take their sadness and use it to inspire me to work long hours, miss family events, and do whatever I have to to find the murderer. It helps with closure, but time must pass.

So my point is this, let’s get away from using the term “Murder” inappropriately.  In a perfect world, I wish we could get away from even having to use the word at all. It’s unacceptable, disturbing, and hurtful for the people who’ve experienced such grief and tragedy.  I’d be interested in seeing what some of my African American friends think about this.  If the term is somehow associated to the color black or African Americans, is it okay to associate a vehicle that’s all black to the words “murdered out?” Or use it to describe African American artists-performers-singers-actors? If so, why? Educate me on what you think. It bothers me, and I’m white. But for now, my hope is people will think before they speak and choose better words to articulate themselves.


Freshwater Tarpon??

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Freshwater Tarpon??

Brief History:

            In 1871, Seth Green, known as the pioneer of fish farming and credited with inventing the fishing reel, planted shad fry in the Sacramento River, California.  Anglers began to steadily fish for shad on the West Coast well after that, closer to the 1900’s, and mostly to put food on the table.  About thirty years later, the first shad caught on a fly rod was reported on the East Coast.  In the late 1980’s, when fly fishing really began to soar, California became a hot-spot for catching shad on a fly because shad numbers had dramatically decreased on the East Coast.  Shad enter rivers between May and June to spawn, and are easily caught in the American River, Feather River, and lower Sacramento River.  As far as eating shad goes, you either love them or hate them.  Those who hate the taste of shad dubbed them, “Trash Fish.”  However, the chaos they create when hooked remind fly fishers of the silver beasts in saltwater, Tarpon.  I’ve been calling Shad “Freshwater Tarpon” since the late 90’s.

Shad travel is large schools, usually moving near dusk and at night.  It is not uncommon to catch 50 fish or more from a single school.  Male shad average from one to two pounds, while females average from four to five pounds (they are older and are full of roe).  The current world record for an American Shad is eleven pounds, four ounces.  It was caught in 1986 on the Connecticut River.  Shad spend the majority of their lives in the saltwater before returning to rivers to spawn.  While the East Coast spends millions of dollars trying to revive and fix their struggling and once dominant Shad populations, the West Coast sees millions of shad returning annually.  Shad are quick to smash a swinging “shad dart,” and often go air born when hooked.  It’s a spectacular sight!  Once you get dialed in to this amazing fishery, between May and June, you’ll be hooked.


You can go several ways here.  If you choose to cover a lot of water, but want to stay in one area, I’d use a Spey Rod.  Most guys use a single-handed 6 or 7-weight rod.  If you choose to cover a lot of water on foot or by boat, go with a standard fast-action rod.  I use a 9 ½ feet, six weight rod.  It works well with shad darts or dry flies, and the extra six inches helps with casting the sink-tip lines all day.

When it comes to a reel, I always use a large arbor reel capable of holding a minimum of 200 yards of backing with a disc drag.  Shad tend to smoke line from the reel similar to Bonefish.  I’m always happy to look down and see extra backing after the initial run after hooking a fish.  When the Shad go air born and come at you with speed, it’s nice to retrieve line quickly with the large arbor.

The traditional fly line I use is a Teeny 200 grain.  Sometimes, I like using a multi-tip line, one I can change from 200 grain up to 500 grain in a matter of seconds.  If you consistently get the fly in the right part of the water column, the Shad will eat it every time.  In fact, if you stop catching Shad, it’s probably not you, the fish have just moved on.  When that happens, move upstream until you find similar fishy water.

As with the rest of fly fishing when it comes to fly selection, there are a million combinations of shad darts-mostly intended to hook you, not Shad.  Spin fishermen also primarily use shad darts to catch Shad, which has contributed to the overwhelming variance in the fly/lure.  I primarily use two types of shad darts, those with buck tail and those without.  Lately, or should I say, this Shad season, “Bug Eye” shad darts are the “Gotta Have” flies.  I use two colors every season and do very well.  I use Chartreuse or pink.  Shad fly sizes vary, and are called by different names (not #14 for example, but 1/32).  The easiest way to explain the size I use is to grab a penny and grab shad darts the same size as the penny.  Some fly shops size the flies as #6 or #8.  Most shad darts are made of chenille bodies and have bead eyes.  Other colors I use are white, orange, and red.  There are a few times when you can get Shad to rise to a large dry fly, such as a #12 Goddard Caddis.  If you skate the fly in the shallows around dusk, when the fish are mating, occasionally a Shad will take the fly on the surface.  The eruption will take you by surprise every time.

Shad dart:

Shad dart:

(Gear continued)

Leader selection is also different from using traditional tapered leaders.  Shad are not bashful.  I typically use a six to eight-foot section of six to eight-pound monofilament.  When the season rolls around I tend to lose a lot of Shad in the beginning because I rip the fly out of their soft mouth.  With the heavier monofilament, I tend to pull the fly right out.  Once you get the fish hooked be careful not to horse it, otherwise the fly will come out.

How To:

If you have some familiarity with swinging soft-hackles or streamers, you can step into Shad fishing fairly nicely.  The concept is among the most simple in fly fishing.  Shad tend to congregate just below or just above long riffles.  This is because spawning usually occurs over gently sloping areas with fine gravel or sandy bottoms. The water tends to be a few feet deep and moves at a medium pace.

To get started, I’ll work the water closest to the bank I’m standing on.  I don’t enter the water to do this.  I’ll aim a cast upstream a bit, do a few mends of the slack line, then get situated for a tug, smack, or fish taking to the air with my shad dart in its mouth.  As the current takes the fly down stream, the fly line drags along the surface of the river.  When this occurs, the fly begins to swing through the riffle.  Normally, drag is a no-no in fly fishing; however, for shad, it’s a good thing.  As the fly buzzes through the riffle, Shad cannot resist it.  As with streamers and soft hackles, when the shad dart gets to the end of the drift, directly below me, I’ll do several short strips, and then let the fly drift downstream again.  Often times Shad will smack the fly as you start to strip it.  Shad tend to hook themselves, but a slight strip-set usually secures the fly in their mouth.

Male Shad, called “Bucks,” are smaller, younger, and more agile; thus, they tend to go air born once hooked.  It is important to remember when they go air born you must bow your rod to the fish because they have very soft mouths.   To bow your rod to the fish, point the rod tip at the Shad where it exited the water and try to follow the fish in the direction it is traveling with your rod tip.  This simple step will often keep the fish hooked, allowing you to land it.

I continue to work the riffle, carefully moving farther and farther out into the river, until I consistently reach the far bank.  As I move out, I’m working the water.  The key to Shad fishing is getting the fly down to the fish.  When you hook a fish, try to remember exactly what you did to get the strike.  I find myself getting in to a “zone” sometimes, meaning I do the same things over and over and continue to catch fish.  When it gets later in the day, especially toward dusk, Shad will continue to migrate upstream searching for a suitable place for mating.  I tend to catch the majority of fish during dusk and in to the evening.  I still fish the early morning and mid-afternoon part of the day, but I go in to it knowing I might not see as many fish. 


Northern California Overview:

There are several great shad spots on the Feather River between the Sacramento River and the Oroville Dam.  A consistent hot-spot, known as Shanghai Bend, is downstream of Marysville.  A few overlooked Shad rivers include the Yuba, a tributary to the Feather, which moves southwest along Route 20, and the American River.  The Nimbus Dam area on the American River provides great access.  Depending on the water levels, little islands pop up and split the Shad runs.  You have to cover more water here, but when you find the main run of Shad, you can catch fish all day long.  The Klamath River, north of the Bay Area, is big Shad water, better fished with spinners.  However, the Trinity River, a tributary of the Klamath, meanders northwest along Route 299.  It is more accessible, smaller water, and more appropriate for fly fishing.

Feather River:

Over the years, I have consistently found the most productive fly fishing for Shad to be in an area I alluded to earlier, Shanghai Bend on the Feather River.  It is not uncommon to catch 50 fish in a day.  Some anglers boast of triple digit days, which is believable because millions of Shad migrate through the river system.  Shanghai Bend is located just below the town of Marysville, California, and provides great access for wading fly fishermen.  The water here is gently sloping, with gravel and sandy bottoms, making it ideal for Shad spawning habitat.  Shad are similar to Salmon in that they return to spawn in the same water they were born in.  Shad can also return to the ocean after spawning, but some expire after mating.

Tight lines friends!

C. L. Swinney