Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Current Conditions for the Lower Yuba River
Happy New Year from the banks of the Lower Yuba River! The weather has been too nice lately; we really need some precipitation and a whole bunch of it as soon as possible. The river is very low from the lack of rain with the outflow from Englebright Dam at a meager 700cfs, and crystal clear water making fishing tougher than normal. Many salmon redds are very exposed now and the wading fly angler needs to be very careful where they step while fishing. Walking on redds can crush eggs that have been deposited and are waiting to hatch. In the last week I have seen numerous anglers walking right through these sensitive areas without a clue. When the opportunity presents itself a little education in a nice manner to those who do not know any better can be beneficial to the salmon and the health of the river.
The salmon are nearly all gone and the resident trout are coming off the “egg bite”, there is usually a lull in the action of a few weeks as the egg bite ends. Then the native trout’s attention will turn onto the many hatches of aquatic insects that are already showing great promise. If the Lower Yuba or any other river for that matter does not blow out due to high water, the bug life can be prolific as the river is not scoured by damaging flows.
The big news in the last week is the much anticipated Skwala Stonefly hatch has begun with confirmed first hand sightings from myself and other guides. It’s just the start, but this hatch will continue into the month of February and quite possibly the first few weeks of March. The fun of fishing this hatch is presenting the large dry fly adult patterns on the edge water of the river. It’s always a blast when you get to see your quarry take your fly off the surface! Other hatches right now included tiny midges, blue wing olives, and pale morning dun mayflies. The Lower Yuba is one of the best rivers for winter dry fly fishing and a must experience.
I had the pleasure of being invited on a float from Tom Page who owns Reel Anglers Fly Shop in Grass Valley last Saturday. We drifted from the Highway 20 Bridge to the Sycamore Ranch take out. Tom also guides the Lower Yuba from his drift boat and has many years of experience where any angler from rookie to experienced can learn the tricks to conquer this moody river; and he does have a few crafty tricks to say the least! That’s what my day with Tom was all about, taking in his knowledge like a sponge, and processing it for my future needs.
For those fly anglers who want big numbers of fish caught, drifting with a local knowledgeable guide is essential to your success. In a drift boat you cover more water than that of an angler off the bank with the right rig, in the most productive water. It can be fast and furious at times. On the flip side the bank angler can take their time with a single section of the river, observing the conditions, and deciphering the puzzle that lies before them. Both styles have their rewards.
I’m so excited thinking of the many weeks of challenging dry fly fishing that awaits me and my guests on the Lower Yuba for 2014! For current conditions on the Lower Yuba, or the hot flies that are producing, please do not hesitate to call Tom at Reel Anglers Fly Shop 530.477.5397.