Spring Edition

Spring Edition
Spring Edition

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 baiocchstroutfitters@yahoo.com


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.


http://yubariver.org/
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...

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Truckee River Fishing Report 5/3/2017


Gigantic flows are still the norm on the Truckee River and with this brief heat wave they will increase even more. The flows at Glenshire are at 2,900 cubes, and down in the canyon they are at 5,500 cfs. You’ll see minor spikes with water levels in the late afternoon into the evening from the melting snowpack. Water temps are 46 to 48 degrees. Fishing pressure has been moderate, rafters and kayakers are floating down in big numbers on the weekends. Some days have been very productive while others have been slow with no rhyme or reason. 




Finding the slow and deep zones next to the bank is still the only option. There is really no need to wade off the bank, besides it’s a safety issue now. A guide friend lost his footing yesterday and went into the drink, he could not touch bottom, and the cold water took his breath away. He managed to save his rod and more importantly, his life. Wearing an inflatable PFD is not a bad idea, especially for those who are less mobile.


We are losing lots of flies due to all the new woody debris that is in the system. The regular high water flies are still producing with an emphasis on worms and stones. We’ve been picking up a few fish on flashback pheasant tails as there are a few March browns hatching. The girth on the resident wild trout is amazing, even the smaller fish have full protruding bellies. They are eating quite well. Whether you are tight lining or using an indo, setting the hook quickly will help you avoid getting snagged up. I recommend you set the hook often when you feel any resistance while tight lining, and for those indicator rigs, set on every little movement the bobber makes. Don’t just wait for it to go totally under the surface of the water. 


A weak storm system will roll into this weekend with a 60% chance of showers on Saturday, and rain/snow likely into the night, with a chance of rain/snow on Sunday. Air temperatures will be much cooler. I will be guiding exclusively at Lake Davis and Frenchman’s reservoir in the weeks to come. We are still waiting for the Forest Service to plow the Honker Cove boat ramp and parking lot. Fishing the stillwaters will be important in the northern Sierra until the runoff tapers off, which could be in a month or so, lots of snow to still melt at the higher elevations. If you’re interested in a stillwater trip, I’m only a phone call or an email away. 530.228.0487 / baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com. Be safe out there!  

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Product Review ~ Shwood Eyewear


Eyewear is an important piece of equipment for a fly angler, we rely on the polarized optics to help us see into the water and be able to spot our quarry, and to protect our eyes from UV rays, debris, and the hook point of the flies we cast. I've worn some pretty sweet shades in my lifetime, Vuarnet, Revo, and Oakley all had their special qualities to them. I wore the brand Smith for decades since they first sponsored me while professionally snowboarding in 1989. My Smith rep, and friend, moved out of northern California and into the hunting industry last year. With no more support from the company and him, I have been bobbing in the sea of eyewear searching for something better. You would think Costa would be the next step, but every guide and "20 something year old bearded fly fishing know it all" is wearing them. I've always been one to do things a little differently, and follow the least beaten path. 

Quality is very important to me, and upon learning about the Shwood brand from the West coast reps, I was very interested. These high quality sunglasses are made in Portland Oregon, that's right, American made - Not China. I was sent a pair of the "Canby" model with brown polarized lenses to test. My first reaction while trying them on was the crystal clear optics and superior clarity they provided. The lenses heightened my visual senses. The frames fit nicely, which has been a challenge for my small framed skull in the past when dealing with eyewear. The lens allowed the right amount of light in for me to see trout in the steelhead green waters of the Truckee River a few weeks ago. I feel I can see into the water better than I have before. 



These are not wrap around style sunglasses, but more conventional. I personally have a hard time wearing wrap around frame designs for long periods of time, I feel claustrophobic in them. If I'm going to wear goggles, I'd rather be charging fresh lines in knee deep powder than fly fishing.

Overall I'm really pleased with the overall performance of the Shwood brand, they have a style all their own, and the precision craftsmanship speaks volumes. The key features include; 

  • The original wood framed sunglasses using Birch and Walnut
  • Optional frame materials of Italian Acetate and Titanium
  • Carl Zeiss lenses
  • 5-Barrel industrial hinges
  • Bombproof case
  • Rx options
  • Dozens of colors and frame styles
  • Gray, Brown, plus Rose and Blue flash lens colors
Check out this sweet video of those who choose to wear Shwood;

Shwood sunglasses are hard to find, not just any retailer has them for sale, and you will only find them at quality stores. To see the entire collection, and to learn more, check out their Shwoodshop here; https://www.shwoodshop.com/us/shop/sun-eyewear


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Truckee River Fishing Report 4/22/2017


The Truckee River has a unusual characteristic in that despite high cold flows, it produces some quality athletes of the trout world who must endure the strength and stamina to be able to survive the strong hydraulics of the river. It's been an eye opening experience for my guests who first look at the river as we approach it for the day, and simply cannot believe it can be done until the rod is bent, with a large trout on the end of their line. Every watershed is different, some produce good fishing during high flows, while others do not. It all depends on each unique trout populations of those rivers. The Truckee River trout are just plain badass, and all business. It's been beautiful on the river, warblers are singing in the swaying willows, sporadic hatches of bwo's, March browns, and a few skwalas late to the party. As a naturalist, I find great joy in educating my guests about the local flora and fauna, and to truly understand Mother Nature and "The Gift".



It's still about finding the slower deeper side water, and more importantly the areas of the current that must have a "lazy walking" speed to it. Northern California American tight lining has been the go to technique. Keep in mind some of these slower zones extend out quite a ways from the bank and a bobber rig will help in these types of situations. The fish are hanging onto the flies a little longer than normal which is of an advantage to anglers, especially those with less experience. The same big water flies have been the standard; worms, stoneflies, crayfish, and eggs. Many fish have been eating a pegged bead in mottled natural roe, and peachy king colors. A bit of advice, use 10mm eggs in high off color water. Speaking of which, the color of the water is of a emerald green, and I swear it seems we have been fishing on a steelhead river inland of the coast of northern California. 12 and 10 pound floro has been key while fighting these toads in the heavy current, we have yet to break any off. Oh, bring lots of flies, losing them on new subsurface woody debris is the norm.



I really like the telemetry gauge that is located downstream of the Martis creek inflow, adjacent to a run we call "Shipwreck". It's a great source of info for the lower section of the Glenshire stretch, the link is HERE. Releases were increased yesterday from Lake Tahoe and are now at 1,600 cubes, Glenshire has increased to 2,670, and the canyon is pounding at 4,700. As flows increase it will be harder to find the right water that is productive, walking and searching for these areas will be of the most importance as the flows continue to increase. A good tip is to mentally record the conditions where you have caught fish, then duplicating them while covering different areas of the river.



It's been very rewarding to teach fly anglers about the productive techniques when it comes to the big water of late. If you're truly interested, give me a call at 530.228.0487 to arrange your date.

On another note, Frank Pisciotta and I have one spot available for our Native Sons Truckee Tour on June 23rd & 24th, You'll learn all about the Truckee River, Little Truckee River, flies, rigs, techniques, and entomology. Streamside lunch, drinks, handouts, and maps included. To sign up, or for more information click HERE

Spring is upon us, don't delay, and enjoy the great outdoors...



Thursday, April 20, 2017

South Yuba River Citizens League ~ Lower Yuba River Restoration Projects

I could not attend SYRCL's "State of the Yuba" address last night but would like to share a map of their upcoming projects on the Lower Yuba River. With Spring-run Chinook salmon hovering on the brink of extinction and fall-run salmon fairing no better, the time to act is now. Last year, critically low numbers of migrating salmon were recorded. As few as 148 Spring-run salmon were counted as of August 2016. SYRCL is working on an action plan to restore critical habitat on the lower Yuba this year which will be revealed at the State of the Yuba. 

River Science Director Rachel Hutchinson says, “SYRCL is excited to be working collaboratively with agencies and local non-profits to produce a plan that will allow us to take action and improve conditions for fish now. We are working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and groups like the Gold Country Fly Fishers to help save these key species and their habitat.” SYRCL and partners are focused on salmon and steelhead restoration because they are indicators of river health, from the headwaters to the ocean. When a watershed is able to support strong salmon and steelhead populations, the entire river ecosystem can thrive.



As you can see with the map and the key symbols above, there is going to be some very beneficial work to completed that include proper measures to improve riparian habitat, lowering of the floodplain, side channel formation, large woody debris (lots of that around after our two 80k events!), interpretive signage, and additional spawning gravel.

I'm excited to see the changes the projects will make. There is plenty that you can do by volunteering for SYRCL and making a difference for the Lower Yuba River, and being a part of our community.



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Truckee River Update 4/13/2017


The Truckee River continues to run with big flows, and those flows have increased in the past couple of days. Lake Tahoe is now releasing 1,210 cubes, Glenshire is now at 2,310, and down in the canyon it’s even bigger at around 4k. Weak storm systems have been passing through with intermittent breaks. We’ll see another break into this weekend, with another storm coming in Sunday night. Snow totals from last night on the crest came in at 10”. Even more impressive, there is a slightly larger storm forested for later next week. The faucet may turn off at the end of April with the typical high ridge of pressure that dominates through late spring, summer, and early fall. 




Well, the record of 1982/83 has been broken! 89.7 inches have fallen so far this season, and our snowpack is at 207% of normal for the northern Sierra. Keep in mind there is more precipitation to come, and the bulk of the runoff has yet to commence. This summer into fall is going to be unbelievable for all waters of the Sierra. Will there be the "Dog Days" of summer this year? Hard to say, but at this time it is hard to imagine. 



Fishing continues to be productive nymphing the slower deeper side water, and the quality of fish being caught is impressive to say the least. With the increase in flows, an angler will have to work a little harder to find the right water. The color of the water has been amazing, a dark steelhead green, with decent clarity, which could change from the fresh new layer of melting snow. Same flies, same tactics apply as in my previous reports. I have some open dates on my guide calendar, here is your chance to learn about fishing high water instead of sitting on the couch. Call me 530.228.0487 or email at baiocchi'stroutfitters@yahoo.com 

Get out there and enjoy the great outdoors, it’s awesome, and it’s free.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Truckee River Fishing Report 4/4/2017


The Truckee River seems to be the best game in town for moving water in the north state, and it just keeps getting better despite the high flows. As you are well aware, the spring runoff is under way, but the bulk is yet to come. We may see it peak at the end of May if the region does not experience a huge jump in air temperatures, big wind, and continued sunshine. If that happens, watch out. There is still a huge snowpack at the upper elevations, even on south facing slopes. Water temps are still in the mid 40’s, colder in the afternoons from snow melt, or below feeder creeks. I have noticed a slight increase in water clarity in the last week, enough to be able to see fish holding in the soft side water. It’s been busy on the river in the more popular access areas, and an angler will do better fishing water that has not been pounded on.


I had a special day yesterday with a long time guest of mine where he got into a great session with double digit numbers of fish, a feat not often accomplished on the Truckee River. The key for success was location, and we fished 6 different areas and kept moving. The bulk of the trout are podded up, and if you catch one in a certain slot, keep hammering the water, there will be more. Try different flies and stance positions within the same slot. We also had three different rods, a tight line rig, an indo rig with a three fly set up, and a streamer rod with a heavy sculpin pattern. I really like the RIO Versi-Tip for streamer applications, both the clear 1.5 ips, and the green 3.0 ips are really all you need. I tie on a #12 swivel at the end of the tip, and then run 3 feet of 12lb. floro. You still have complete control to your fly with more sensitivity due to a direct line down to your fly. As always there are nine different ways to achieve the same principal in fly fishing, if a guide tells you there is only one way to do such – doubt them. 


Once common mistake novice anglers make when tight lining is they try to probe the bottom right away. A “sighter” section on your leader also becomes a depth indicator, and when I approach a slot during high water I will focus on the middle water column, then slowly drift deeper with each successive presentation. Effective flies have been worms in flesh, red, and sparkle tan, Golden stones, black rubber legs, larger Hare’s Ears, and #10 eggs in natural roe, and peachy roe. No matter what rig you choose, set the hook often as the takes are light.


More weather ahead with a downgraded atmospheric river of moisture that will slam northern California starting Friday through Sunday, with lingering precipitation heading into next week. Current models are in conflict with rain and snow totals, as with mountain weather, we’ll just have to wait and see. Either way this next system is impressive for the month of April. If you want to learn more about how to fish big water, don’t mind hiking and dropping down steep banks, while visiting multiple locations, give me a ring at 530.228.0487, or email me at baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com to book a trip with me. I do have a few days available in both April and May. See you out there…


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Trout Unlimited Truckee Chapter #103's Fishmas Eve



Mark your calendars! Trout Unlimited's 12th Annual Fishmas Eve Fundraiser is coming up in one month. Join us at the Blue Coyote Bar and Grill on April 28th at 7 pm as we celebrate past, present, and future trout conservation in the Truckee Watershed. Tickets are $30 dollars at the door which gets you unlimited pizza and beer, two tickets to an AMAZING raffle, and all the fish stories you can handle. Proceeds go to support the Truckee TU #103 chapter and their projects. See you there!


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

New Truckee River Article


Check out the March issue of California Sportsman Magazine and indulge in a great article I wrote on the legendary Truckee River. I walk the reader from the top of the watershed of Lake Tahoe, through the town of Truckee and downstream to the "Grand Canyon" ending at the California - Nevada border. Also featured are the highlights throughout the season and their hatches, go to fly patterns, rigging, and an amenities sidebar for first time visitors. Pick up a copy at your local news stand today. 





Thursday, March 23, 2017

2017 Fly Fishing Workshops, Tours, Outings, and Clinics


For 2017, the schedule is nearly full for some exciting educational events that center on learning about specific techniques for being more successful on the water. Many of these events are a collaboration with Baiocchi's Troutfitters, and Reno Fly Fishing Outfitters, along with Lance Gray & Company. Besides learning a great deal of information, you'll receive different opinions on the same subject from the different guides involved. Though many of these workshops, tours, outings, and clinics are months away, it is imperative to book your spot early, as they fill up quickly.


The Yuba Tour

Tours:
For each unique individual tour, you will be showed access points, techniques, tactics, effective flies, rigging, and a streamside lunch. Includes handouts and group guiding on the water. To secure your spot contact Lance Gray at: lancegrayandcompany@yahoo.com

-Yuba Tour 3/29, Booked.
-Yuba Tour 3/30, Booked.
-Graeagle Creek Tour 7/17, 2 spots open.

The Lake Davis Outing

Outings:
Our highly popular outings are more than just a clinic, you'll gain a great deal of knowledge on a particular curriculum like stillwaters or rivers, in a social setting with other enthusiastic fly anglers. Lunch and dinner is included, a limited amount of terminal tackle and flies, handouts, and guiding while on the water. For more information click HERE To reserve your spot, email me at baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com

Lake Davis Outing Session 1 6/9-11, 4 spots open.
Lake Davis Outing Session 2 6/16-18, 3 spots open.



Entomology Workshop:
This summer I’m offering basic “on site” entomology classes that will shorten the learning curve for students and help them make accurate identifications while on the water. Understanding trout food will bring more success to any angler, and broaden their horizon to the fascinating world under the currents. For details on the entomology workshop, click HERE To reserve your spot, please email me at baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com

Entomology Workshop 1 7/22, 3 spots open.
Entomology Workshop 2 8/5, 6 spots open.



Pontoon Workshop:
The Pontoon Workshop is much more than a guided fishing trip. As always we go above and beyond with the workshop curriculum. The workshop covers water safety, reading water, recognizing water hazards, ferrying across the river, back and front rowing, and pivoting with a combination of oar strokes to maximum learning time, and to give the students the confidence for a great drift down the river. Pontoon boats allow fly anglers to navigate to different access areas that are unreachable by wading, especially during higher flows. Handouts and a streamside lunch included. To reserve your spot, contact Lance at lancegrayandcompany@yahoo.com 

Pontoon Workshop 4/28, Booked.
Pontoon Workshop 5/21, 4 open, 4 Booked.



Streamer & Nymphing Workshop:
Streamer fishing is a collective technique incorporating all others; the technique uses dead drift, swing and stripping tactics that are intermingled to anger big fish into striking. It’s a true art that once mastered – provides another effective tool for any intermediate angler. The Truckee River will be our classroom for this one day hands on school. Handouts and a streamside lunch included. For more information click HERE

Streamer Workshop 9/16, 8 spots open.

This course is set around nymphing rods, lines and leaders. We instruct the student on set ups and how to pick the proper setup for the fishing situation. We also focus on reading water and wading into proper casting position. We concentrate on two different types of nymphing, tight line and dead drift. Both are equally effective – but both have their place in your fly fishing tactic tool bag. The school is kept small with 6-8 students and two instructors. This workshop is for the intermediate angler. The Truckee River will be our classroom for this one day hands on school. Handouts and a streamside lunch included. For the details, click HERE

Nymphing Workshop 9/15, 8 spots open.

To book your spot for the streamer or nymphing workshop, contact Lance at lancegrayandcompany@yahoo.com

Join us for a great day on the water and increase your skill set while having fun!


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Lower Yuba River Drift Report ~ Major Changes!


Brian Clemens from Nor Cal Fly Guides invited me to float the Lower Yuba River today with him to see the changes from the past high water events, and to wet a line. We put in at the usual spot below the Hwy. 20 bridge, and it seems to be easier, just needs more traffic to pack down the cobblestones. Water was big today flowing at 4,265 cubes. The rapids below the bridge are pretty big right now, and really fun.



We anchored the boat in the first straight away below the rapids, and the first characteristic change we noticed is how much wider the river was. Areas that had a flat, or gradual slope to the river, are now a vertical face that often was over head high. Also there is so much new sand everywhere, especially among the cobblestones on dry land. We swung it up with no grabs, and promptly drifted on.



As we approached what I call "Hogan's Hole", the bend is not as sharp, and has been stretched out, In fact it seems many of the sharper corners in the river have been stretched out. On the left bank upstream of Hogan's, the bank has exposed bedrock with new boulders that I've never seen before. Big changes, all over the place.

As Brian piloted the boat into the entry of the Aquarium, there is now a major island with the main current to river right, and the left channel has a good steady flow with some depth, this new channel should keep flowing as the water levels drop.



Wherever we put the boat ashore that was inaccessible by foot we had the first human made tracks, there was only prints from wildlife scattered about. We were surprised to see coyote tracks because that meant somebody had to take a swim to get to these areas. We opted to take the main channel past Long Island, and again stopped the boat to really get a clear understanding of the changes. The right hand bank has significantly changed with missing trees and the tailing piles from the gravel/gold plant has diminished in size with openings into the settling ponds. 

So far the changes we saw were significant, and seemed to appear to be better habitat for the future. We hooked into a few fish in slower bank water using indo rigs, but did not get them into the net. Brian got his fish close to the boat and we got a very good look, it was a fat and healthy 14" bow. An Osprey was chirping in a nearby tree, and as it took flight, in its talons was a fat 15" rainbow. The fish seem to be eating, and they appear to be in good shape.



There is a new gravel bar that is quite long that splits the main flow from the side channel downstream of Long Island. We noticed increased depth in this area as well, and so much more willows and woody debris in the river.



Here is the same gravel bar as in the previous picture, but looking upstream of the side channel. Vehicle access is now limited in this area as lower Rattlesnake is now gone! The river now meets with the steep tailings to the south side.



The little willow island that gave us drifters fits below Rattlesnake, and the large outcropping of willows and trees on the right bank are now gone, and much safer. You'll notice the property upstream of Clay Banks has been damaged beyond belief, the owners lost quite a bit of land to the high water. Amazing.



From Clay Banks down through Hammon Grove is a straight shot and seemed featureless at the current flows. The river still splits above Sycamore Ranch, and does not look the same at all. Quite desolate, and the large willows that provided shade on a hot day are now gone. The main flow on river right is moving extremely fast as it enters Dry Creek, and the "Corner Pocket". The picture above is of the small passageway to get into Dry Creek, and to the take out ramp. I would advise only expert oarsman to attempt the maneuver to drift into here. For those with less skill I would carefully walk your craft down the gravel bar, move it into Dry Creek, then board your boat.



Before we brought the boat into Sycamore, we anchored on river left to survey the landscape downstream. The picture above is where the two branches of the current meet below, and join hands to become one. You cannot see it in the picture but it appears the river has a new course over to river left in the distance and possibly another island.

Overall, Brian and I were impressed with the changes, instead of thinking the river was nuked, in reality it has been rejuvenated. Deeper slots, islands, braided areas, holding water, and other noted unique areas. When the river comes back into its own, and the flows clear, there will be more habitat, for the salmon, steelhead, and native rainbows. It's an entirely new river, and we all get to start on page one for another chapter of history for the Lower Yuba River. Welcome to the "Newba River".

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