Before I go into my report I would like to share my perspective on the current heavy fishing pressure of the Lower Yuba River. First off, the Yuba is owned by the people of the United States as deemed by the Public Trust Doctrine, everyone has a right to enjoy it for all recreation activities so long as it does not harm the watershed, or violate any federal, state, or county laws. Is the Yuba River being loved to death by fly anglers? You bet it is, as is other sensitive rivers like the Little Truckee. Blasting other anglers on social media is not the answer. Education to others on being a good steward of the Yuba in a respectful manner is the answer. I’ve been asked to tone back my fishing reports because of the increased fishing pressure. Sorry, my family has been sharing and promoting healthy fly fishing, and detailed conservation efforts since 1970, and I’m not going to stop now.
I’m suggesting that every fly angler that fishes the Yuba, or guides that make a profit off the Yuba, get involved to preserve and protect the river. This goes beyond picking up trash, which is a feel good type of act, and makes one look very “well to do” on social media, but does little in the big picture for the wild salmon, steelhead and resident trout. Loss of habitat, flow regimes, water transfers, and ancient dam operations play a much bigger role in the health of the Yuba. You’re asking, “What can I do?”
File a formal complaint to federal, state, or county agencies. Here is an example above, just one of thousands that the Baiocchi family has submitted in the state of California for all watersheds and it’s ecosystem including fish, wildlife, habitat, and the bugs.
Donate your money to conservation NGOs that are involved with the Yuba River. Here are some of my favorite groups that I donate to: (click on each one for pertinent links)
Get involved with hands on volunteer work like the yearly willow count on Hammon Bar through SYRCL. If this message reaches 1 in 10 anglers that fish the Lower Yuba River, it can make a difference. I realize that the current heavy fishing pressure is a byproduct of the pandemic. Most folks are not going to the office, but rather working from home and creating their own schedules. Regardless, if you love the Yuba, get involved and make a real difference. Now, onto the fishing report…
Finally…some real weather. We’ll see just what transpires after the heavy rains and snow slam the region. Yes, the Yuba will come up, but it’s more of a “wait and see” scenario. Currently the flows are right around 740 cubes with gin clear water clarity. We definitely need a “stirring of the pot” if you will to flush the system, and get rid of the floating algae that is hampering dry fly presentations in the back eddies. Foam is good, algae is no good. I’m already rescheduling trips due to the weather and after 2017, and 2019, I’m used to it. Par for the Yuba River in winter time for the local guide.
Euro Tight Line High Stick nymphing (ETLHSN) has been the most productive in the morning for the walk and wade angler. Right around noon time the PMDs are hatching, followed by the BWOs about an hour later. I love this time of year because once the mayflies are done, it’s time to hunt the Skwala eaters. The fish know the stoners are in the foam lines and are seeking them out. We had about 5 grabs in the afternoon during yesterday’s trip. The Skwala game will only get better for weeks to come.
The Brown Dun has been out since late December, and the fish are keying in on them. This unique and beautiful mayfly is often misidentified as a March Brown on regular basis by anglers and expert guides. Since they are from the swimmer family, swinging pheasant tail soft hackles in a size 10 or 12 into the bank can be fruitful. For the adult, the time tested Adams parachute has done well for me and my guests in years past.
Most of the salmon eggs have hatched and alevins/fry are in the system and are being consumed by resident rainbows and steelhead. Pictured above is a great anchor fly for your Euro rig and super easy to tie. I bought the pre painted jig heads at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Reno, and then added a nub of a zonker strip and some pearlescent krystal flash. Basic and easy, plus it catches large trout.
Check out my buddy and fellow WildStream Fly Rods ambassador Shane Schuster’s Skwala nymph. Shane owns Dirty Rig Fly Co. and it one of the most gifted tiers I’ve ever seen. Once the shows start up again, make sure to check out his moves and the unique materials and techniques he uses on his patterns that crush!
That’s about it for the report for now, I’ve already got my days off planned from rescheduling with tying (I’m in need!), writing, administrative work, and a few special projects and educational blog posts I will be sharing in the very near future. There are zero dates left for guided trips on the Lower Yuba until the last week of March. I do have a cancellation list going, so contact me if you would like to be added. Thanks for your continued support!
See you on the water…