Spring Edition

Spring Edition
Spring Edition

Monday, August 17, 2015

North Fork Yuba River Report ~ Tussock Caterpillars Invade


The North Fork Yuba continues to fish well as we head down the home stretch for the upper watershed. It’s been chilly in the morning, but the day quickly warms once the sun starts to bake the region. Water temps today registered 56 at 8am rising to 61 by 12:30pm. Fishing pressure has been extremely light during the week days, on the weekends there are anglers out there, but mostly just upstream of Downieville. The NFYR is very low in the upper reaches, so it is important to concentrate on areas with good depth; even small pockets are producing as long as they are on the deep side. My guests today were some young bucks from New Jersey, they have never seen mountainous regions like the North Fork Yuba before. They were absolutely blown away. As with all my trips on the NFYR, it’s the remote experience that my guests thrive on; in the last 29 trips there, we have never run into another angler on the water. No snakes in the last 4 trips but after my encounter of last week, I’m walking even slower from spot to spot, and looking at every foot and hand placement before I commit. I’m still a bit rattled.


There is a really good spinner fall in the morning of Pseudocloeon (tiny BWO’s), and the fish are already keyed in on them. As a general rule, spinner falls happen when air temperatures are between 58 and 68 degrees, something I learned from Dale Dennis on the Fall River years ago. Running a big dry fly with a size 20 to 22 spent wing spinner in dark brown has been money. Once the spinner fall wanes switching the trailer fly to a black ant is still crushing it. Another active terrestrial besides hoppers has been the spotted Tussock caterpillar in good numbers. They display a unique behavior of crawling out on the water and drifting down the currents to a new destination. They are definitely available to the wild resident rainbows. A Buzzball fly pattern with a black front and back, with a smoky yellow section in the middle is a great choice to simulate the Tussock caterpillar. Observation is everything.


Effective fly patterns have been Club Sandwich hoppers (make sure there is some yellow to it) #10-12, Yellow Stimis #10-14, Buzzballs #10 3xl, and black RS ant patterns. For nymphs, it’s been all about the purple prince in a size 16. Remember when fishing a fresh section of water, the first 5 casts will provoke a strike, after that the rainbows know your there, and it’s time to move upstream to new water. Also cover every bit of water in a single run, I’ve been spooking some of the larger fish in total frog water with zero current, that is very shallow. It is my belief that these guys are looking for caterpillars or hoppers. Wherever you go to fish, good luck, and I’ll see you where the wild things are.


The rare Lewis Monkeyflowers show their last bloom on the banks of the North Fork Yuba River

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