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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Northern Sierra Fishing Report 7/19/2017 ~ Small Water Matrix

When it rains it pours, after a long winter without a guide trip for four months, business is booming. The influx of emails, calls, and inquiries off the street has been overwhelming. Being a sole independent guide that does not rely on others to fill trips has been rewarding, and my hard work for the last 20 years guiding is not only paying off, but now has a high level of recognition throughout the state from my many years of experience. It’s all about pleasing my guest, giving it my all, and having a positive and enjoyable time. It’s about the total experience and exploring the great outdoors. I’ve been guiding in Eastern Plumas County mainly and here is the latest scoop. The Middle Fork Feather River is done in the upper watershed, and water temperatures are way up and poor to safely release resident trout. Carp and bass is the game there now, and the Portola area down to Gold Mountain has been producing. 

Below where Jamison Creek enters the MFFR has been good for smallish rainbows in the mornings and evenings, water temps are 63 to 68 degrees. There is a decent BWO spinner fall in the morning. A dry / dropper rig trailing a submerged spinner is an effective combo. Some yellow sallies are out, and a few caddis as well. The scouring from a heavy winter of precipitation and snow is evident as the bugs have been flushed to Lake Oroville resulting in light hatches. The occurring problem every Summer is the rock snot (didymo) that chokes the river out, as of now it’s getting a little thicker every day, it’s to the point that nymphing is too much work as one has to remove the slime after your fly bounces off the bottom. You can thank all the golf courses in the area for such conditions. 20 years ago the didymo was pretty much nonexistent. America’s first Wild & Scenic River does not get any respect at all.

I’ve been having the most fun guiding on Gray Eagle, Frazier, and Jamison creeks. My guests and I have yet to see another angler, but then again most won’t venture far off the path where the wild things are. Another reason is most anglers do not appreciate small wild trout, boulder hopping, and seeing the unique deep forests of Eastern Plumas County with its unique flora and Fauna. 

This is 2 to 3 weight action with bushy dry fly attractors, ants, and hoppers.  It’s just really fun fishing. My favorite set up is using a 7.5 foot leader and trialing a small flashy mayfly nymph, or a terrestrial 18 to 24 inches behind. The North Fork Yuba River is falling into shape nicely, though it could drop a little more as some runs are too swift. I fished it last week and anytime I found soft water I got some takes on both dries and nymphs.

I’ll be creekin, guiding, and fishing the small water for the next 6 weeks, see you on the water… if you can find me.

The Scarlet Lily blooming in a hidden location by Gray Eagle creek

South Yuba River Citizens League Volunteer Spotlight ~ Jon Baiocchi

I'm truly humbled and honored to be chosen as SYRCL's Volunteer Spotlight for the month of July. You can read more about my passion for all rivers by clicking the link here;

Thank you to the entire staff, volunteers, and contributors of SYRCL for all that you do for the Yuba River and the surrounding watersheds!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Lake Davis ~ Frenchman's Lake ~ Middle Fork Feather ~ North Fork Yuba Fishing Report 7/4/2017

The surge of Africa hot weather a few weeks ago and continued warmer weather has water temps at both Lake Davis and Frenchman’s Lake excessively high with surface temps reaching 74 degrees. Its game over until fall, releasing trout when the water is that warm usually means it’s their last fight. One option at Lake Davis though is targeting bass for the next few months, with so many submerged willows in the lake it offers ideal habitat for large mouths. 

It was a great spring at Frenchman’s, big numbers of Eagle Lake Rainbows to the net, and plenty of action while stripping or bobicating. One thing I learned is that this lake is primarily a chironomid factory. While there is usually a good callibaetis hatch in spring, it just did not materialize into a profuse situation. I’m hoping this coming September will be different as there can be some incredible dry fly fishing using emergers and adults to cruisers in the skinny water. 

The spring season at Lake Davis was fair. Anglers who caught near double digits had serious game and worked all damn day long with precision presentations and awareness. Management on the lake by DF&W will be changing next year with more catchables planted and no more fingerlings for the bass to eat. The lake has plenty of water, and the aquatic insects are thriving providing more than enough food which bodes well for the future. The callibaetis hatch this spring was so amazing, and there were a good number of damsels too. DF&W did plant last week, so that will help conditions this fall. Once populations increase in the future, look for Lake Davis to return to its legendary status.

The Middle Fork Feather River is dropping into great shape, even below where Jamison creek dumps in at the Two Rivers access. Graeagle was a zoo this past weekend, I’ve never seen so many people before, and I lived there for 14 years. One tip is that you do not want to fish in town when you have higher than normal water conditions around the 4th. On Saturday we had 4 dozen people in rafts, kayaks, and inner tubes pass my guest and me, often floating 10 feet away and asking “Catch anything?” They put all the fish down for the day. 

It was better the next day down in the canyon with lots of takes on the dry / dropper rig. Water temps are 59 to 62 degrees. Hatches included golden stones, pmd’s, little green stones, yellow sallies, and a few caddis. All the fish in the past few weeks have been on the small side, but I’ve yet to huck a big heavy streamer into the depths of the bigger holes, and that will surely lure the big boys out from the darkness of the bottom. They are there.

Evenings are starting to fish well with a solo dry fly imitating caddis and yellow sallies. I’m excited to see the river produce quality evening hatches like it used to. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen that. You can fish a certain section of water during the day with fair results, and that same section will come to life during the last few hours of light. Bring a headlamp to safely get back to your vehicle and watch out for mountain lions.

I scouted the North Fork Yuba River again today and overall it has dropped a little. There are small sections within the bigger plunge pools of fishable water in select areas. Nymphing will be the way to go for the next 3 weeks, and hopefully by August 1st my guests and I will be hitting it on a daily basis with dry flies. It’s unbelievable how fast it is running, and there is still plenty of snow on the Sierra Buttes, and in the Lakes Basin area, as well as surrounding peaks. The 2017 season will be short for fishing this year, so make your plans now and fish it when it’s prime time.

Observations of the natural world have been astounding! There is an explosion of dragonflies with multiple species patrolling the shorelines of lakes and the banks of rivers. The red darner and the 12 spotted skimmer seem to be the most prolific. Songbirds are at their peak and today on the MFFR there was an orchestra of sweet melodies coming from the thickets of streamside foliage. I was also lucky enough to see a few falcons in the canyon of Little Last Chance creek flying at Mach speeds too. Wildflowers continue to bloom and I’m seeing many varieties I’ve never seen before, or simply do not remember. My guests are always so blown away at the sheer beauty that the northern Sierra has to offer. An abundance of water will do many things to an ecosystem, it may temporally strip away aquatic life from a streambed, but overall it’s a very good thing to have. See you where the wild things are…

Tiger Lillies huddle together by a small spring near Frazier creek

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Native Sons Truckee Tour 2017 Review

The original concept of fly fishing tours was the brainchild of Lance Gray of Lance Gray & Company. After teaming up with Lance with our popular Lower Yuba River Tours I asked him if I could  do my own on different waters. When I got the go ahead, I wanted to share my love of the Truckee area, and it only made sense to include "The Dean of Guides" Frank Pisciotta. I've been fly fly fishing the Truckee river since 1973, and Frank began plying the banks of the river since 1979. Back then seeing another fly angler was rare, and the crowds we see today were nonexistent. Even when I lived in Truckee from 1986 to 1991 the town was very quiet, as was the river. Both of us are native Northern Californians and are proud of such, the region offers so much diversity that it is utterly amazing.

With so much experience in the area, Frank and I are passionate about sharing the knowledge and giving back to the general public, we simply want to see others to excel in their pursuit of fly fishing. The Truckee Tour itinerary starts on Friday evening at Frank's house in Tahoe Donner, we do a meet and greet with a light dinner of fresh fruit, salami, capicola, prosciutto, brie and manchego cheeses, truckee river sourdough, prawns, kalamata olives, and bitscottie for desert. Yeah, we're also proud to be Italian. After eating all that delicious food, Frank presents his latest powerpoint on the Truckee area while answering in depth questions on the topic.

The following day we start the official tour. After filling out our log books, we then give our guests the most informative handout with tips, tricks, articles, gear list, and a custom made map. By caravan we tour the Truckee river access areas, and also the Little Truckee River explaining local inside knowledge. After lunch Frank and I go through fly selection, and rigging for dry fly, nymphing, high sticking, and streamer presentations. Then it's off to the banks of the Little Truckee River where we guide them and instruct on the proper techniques needed to be successful. One of our guests hooked 7 and landed 5 fish, it was his best day ever in the Truckee area.

If you are interested in participating in the Truckee Tour we have an open date of September 29th & 30th. Our highly popular and successful Truckee Tours fill up fast, in fact the August 25th & 26th tour is already filled. We book on a first come basis with a deposit required. Frank and I look forward to sharing the Truckee area fly fishing venues with you in the near future, give me a call and sign up and make sure to click on the highlighted links for more info! 530.228.0487 Baiocchi's Troutfitters

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Northern Sierra Fishing Report - 6/21/2017

On Monday the 12th we had extremely cold weather and snow, in fact at Frenchman’s Lake there was 2 inches on the ground. A week later and it’s been Africa hot, thank goodness it cools down at night. I’m seeing the effects from a wet winter all around in the mountains. There are so many wildflowers blooming right now that are providing a beautiful color spot everywhere you look. Also there has been an explosion of many different species of beetles flying about. Birdlife is also off the charts, and with all this high water and free standing water in Sierra Valley the ducks are loving it. It seems Mother Nature is about 3 weeks late when it comes to a normal rhythm of seasonal life.

Lake Davis – Hot weather has ignited the damselfly hatch at the lake and the fish are keyed in on them. With low populations of fish, it is important to find the points that have working fish around them. With hotter weather the hatch will start earlier and being on the water at 7am ready to stalk is the smart thing to do. The resident rainbows are being very selective so change your damsel pattern often and slow down that retrieve until you find a combination that works. 

After the hatch winds down, indicator rigs are working in 8 to 12 feet of water using callibaetis patterns and chironomids. Surface water temperatures are 60 in the early morning and by late afternoon are topping out at near 70 degrees. I saw my fist hex the other morning while buzzing across the south end of the lake, you can expect the hatch to increase in the weeks to come.

All the fish I’ve seen landed are huge! There are some really big toads out there to catch, and there is some opportunity to catch them on Callibaetis adults when the timing is right. Cast less, observe more, and carefully plan your attack.

Frenchman’s Lake – It’s been really fun at Frenchman’s the last week, lots of grabs and big numbers to the boat. Coves north of Lunker Point have been very productive either stripping flies or using the indicator. There have been some brief moments stalking fish off the bank eating a black size 16 midge adult. 

Chironomid hatches have been thick and throat sampling reveals just that. There are a few callibaetis in the mix but that’s about it. Fishing pressure has been heavy but everybody is catching fish. Water temps are about the same as Lake Davis, and getting on the water early is very beneficial. Using a personal watercraft or boat is best to fish deeper water, especially during mid to late in the day. 

Middle Fork Feather River – The river is dropping into shape nicely but the flows are still big, but manageable. Water temps are in the mid 50’s. Snow melt has increased with this hot weather and feeder creeks have risen a bit with colder inflows to the river. Hatches of PMD’s, BWO’s, and the little green stone are out. Golden stones are staging on the side water waiting for emergence. It’s been a nymphing game and a good rig will consist of a Flesh Juan Worm with an olive X-May trailer. We should see some great evening dry fly fishing during the month of July. The best area to focus on is above the Two Rivers Access upstream to Clio, Jamison creek is adding much more volume and the water levels downstream are a little high. Fishing pressure is extremely light, and the greenery lining the banks is amazing. They don’t call this a “Wild & Scenic” river for nothing.

North Fork Yuba River – Currently the NFYR is extremely high and fast, especially in the tighter section of the upper watershed. You’ll have more fishable water lower downstream of Downieville. Water temps are in the high 40’s, and not much bug activity at all. On today’s scouting mission I did not see one angler out fishing, it’s like a ghost town up there right now. One observation I had was at Union Flat campground, the big flows of our past winter has moved the river channel back towards the campground side. I’m sure there are many more changes to see but we’ll have to wait for the flows to recede. I think the river will fall into shape near the end of July, with August, September, and October being the best months. The roar of the white water is impressive right now, as is Love's Falls. Get out there and enjoy the beauty of the Northern Sierra, it’s free and for the taking.

Lupinus Albifrons Silver Lupine at Lake Davis

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Lake Davis ~ Frenchman's Lake Fishing Report 6/15/2017

Just like last June, extreme and unusual weather slammed the region with big wind, rain, and snow in eastern Plumas County. An unfortunate angler capsized his boat last Friday at Lake Davis and lost everything, luckily he was wearing a PFD and made it to shore safely. The cooler weather dropped water temperatures briefly but they will be rising in the week to come, currently at both lakes the water temps are 60 to 64 degrees. 

The straight scoop at Lake Davis is the damsel hatch began around the first of the month, and warmer days provided a better hatch. There is more fish than you think keyed in on the damsels, and to play the game off the bank you need superior skills in stalking, casting, and presentations. So many anglers are ill equipped for such a challenge. Slapping the water while false casting, charging the water while wading, and repetitive casting to a certain area will put fish down, and spook them away.

If you spend a day with me, I can teach you how to hunt shallow water trout and be successful like my workshop I provided for members of the Tahoe Truckee Fly Fishers on just that. Callibaetis hatches have been thick and a few fish have been caught using the adult imitation. Same story at Lake Davis for 2017, fewer fish in the lake, but they are huge, some real toads have been picked up ranging from 20 to 26”, and up to 6 pounds. With this approaching heat wave, all hatches will intensify and the Hexagenia will finally make an appearance. Fishing pressure has been light due to fly anglers getting a big goose egg for the day.

Frenchman’s Lake has been fishing incredibly well with big numbers to the boat. Last Saturday during the Stillwater Outings hosted by Rob Anderson and myself, our guests boated 62 fish to the “Lilly Bob” in six hours using indicator rigs, and stripping buggers and wiggle tails in olive. Big midge hatches at the lake, and not really anything else, just a few callibaetis mayflies, and sparse populations of emerging damsels. 

Lots more fly anglers have been fishing here then at Lake Davis, and most of those anglers coming in from the Reno area. There have been some brief periods of skinny water sight fishing to rising fish. Last Monday at Frenchman’s was one of the coldest days guiding I can remember, 2 inches of snow and a stiff north wind has us shaking all day long, but we were catching lots of fish and that will keep an angler warm on a frigid day.

It’s go time at both lakes, just remember to bring your “A” game at Lake Davis, and finding the right depth at any given time at Frenchman’s will reward you in big numbers. See you on the water… 

Mule's Ear flowers provide a color spot on the Little Truckee River

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Lake Davis & Frenchman's Lake Fishing Report 5/31/2017

With Lake Davis being 13 feet higher than last fall it has been very tough locating fish in the usual spots. The behavior of the resident rainbows has been very odd. A large population of them is in deeper water, 20 to 30 feet down in the main channel of Grizzly creek by the big island. Out of reach for fly anglers, but the trolling meat hunters are being successful, and unfortunately keeping everything they catch. 

Water temperatures are between 60 and 63 degrees. There is a ton of food available for the trout. Last week the carpenter ants littered the water’s surface yet not one single rising fish, again very odd behavior. Damsels have started to hatch but not in big numbers yet, the migration will be late this year as with other hatches. Other aquatics in the mix are blood midges, callibaetis mayflies, snails, and smaller chironomids. 

Fishing is very slow at this time but conditions should change once the damsel hatch kicks into high gear. All the boat ramps are open, and there is good access all over the lake. There are very little spots from the shoreline to fish from so make sure you bring a personal floating device, you’ll have more opportunities to choose from. I will say that the future looks bright with the amount of water that is in the lake and the change in management policy from DFW putting in more catchable trout, and less fingerlings.

Frenchman’s Lake has been fishing a bit better, like Lake Davis, it too is full to brim and still spilling over. Fish are scattered and in all levels of the water column. Water temperatures here are 61 to 63 degrees. Not very many hatches at all right now, just lots of small chironomids, and the occasional callibaetis mayfly. 

Stripping buggers and wiggle tails with a sink tip or an intermediate line has been effective, and the bobber rig is equally successful. Keep in mind that water skiing and jet skis are allowed at Frenchman’s, it can be noisy and crowded. You’ll do better if you can find secluded coves, and softer water. There is no dock at the main boat ramp, but Lunker point does have a dock in the water. Look for conditions to improve in the weeks to come at both lakes. See you on the water...

Tent Caterpillars among the sagebrush of Lake Davis 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Lake Davis Stillwater Outings 2017 w/ Baiocchi's Troutfitters & Reno Fly Fishing Outfitters

We have a few more spots to fill before our popular Lake Davis Outings are full! 

The outings will be a 2 and a half day event that will cover advanced stillwater techniques, proper rigging, shoreline wading, as well as float tube, pontoon boat, and small pram techniques. There will be plenty of free time to practice and catch some of those big beautiful rainbows at Lake Davis. More than a clinic, these outings provide a great social atmosphere where you’ll meet other fly anglers who share the same enthusiasm as you do when it comes to fly fishing.

We will be spending the weekend sharing some of our proven techniques on how to fish Lake Davis and also teaching anglers the techniques to use on all western stillwaters. We will cover everything from early morning sight fishing the shoreline, to deep water nymphing in the middle of the day, and how to best approach the evening Hexagenia hatch. Also covered will be leader set ups for all stillwater applications, entomology (damsels, midges, callibaetis, backswimmers, scuds), equipment requirements, flies, locations, and watercraft. Lake Davis is the perfect venue to sharpen your stillwater skills and practice some of our advanced techniques.

Stillwater Outing Schedule:

Friday afternoon – check-in and rod set up and rigging, dinner at the camp, our detailed PowerPoint presentation on how to approach Lake Davis in the spring and summer months, and an intro to the weekend’s events.

Saturday & Sunday – Two full days of fishing and learning new techniques on the lake with Jon and Rob, including lunch both days and dinner Saturday night.

Dates: June 9-11 & 16-18
Fee: $325
Limited to 14 anglers.

For more detailed information, click HERE

To secure your spot contact me at 530.228.0487, or email at

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Giving Back to the Lower Yuba River - SYRCL Hammon Bar Restoration Project

Volunteering my time is important to me on local rivers and fisheries that I guide on. Today I worked with staff from the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) on the Hammon Grove Willow Restoration Project, as I did last year, but the task at hand today was different. With the six major high water events this past winter, including two at over 80,000 cubes, gravel, cobblestones, and finer material was moved throughout the system. Today was all about relocating and tagging the plots of different species of willows and cottonwoods.

Team leader Courtney Hudson, Restoration Coordinator, used advanced GPS and a detailed map to find the remaining plots to be tagged, while Anna Schwyter, River Monitoring Coordinator, matched each plot with the correct id number tag. My job was the installation technician.

We worked great together as a team and affixed the proper tag to each plot. You would be blown away with the amount of material that was spread over Hammon Bar, some of the willows and cottonwoods that we measured last year were half the size due to being submerged by the new added material. 

So why are willows and cottonwoods so important to the Lower Yuba River? They capture woody debris which in turn controls silt, plus provides salmon, steelhead, and trout fingerlings with cover to hide from predators during higher flows. In some cases, they also provide adult fish with the same type of helpful habitat. Birds, adult aquatic insects, beavers, and rattlesnakes also benefit from the foliage.  

Courtney will be on site for the next three weeks collecting data at Hammon Bar, volunteers are needed and she sure would appreciate any help. You can contact her at 530.265.5961 ext. 216. If you have the time and want to give back to the river you love, give her a call and lend a hand.
I had a great time being next to the Yuba River and can't thank Courtney and Anna enough for the awesome company and good times. We saw deer, turkey, a bald eagle, snowy egrets, a blue heron, mergansers, songbirds, rabbits, and of course the turkey vulture posse riding the thermals. Absolutely beautiful. As far as the river conditions go, the water clarity is a nice steelhead green with about 2 to 3 feet of visibility, flows were at 9,500 cfs, and not one aquatic insect to be found, I surely thought we would see a golden stone, or some caddis fluttering about. Oh well, maybe next time...

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