Friday, November 20, 2015
It was a beautiful out yesterday on the Lower Yuba River, air temps reached the 70’s and fishing pressure was very light. My guest for the day wanted to concentrate on being better at dry fly fishing, and swinging flies. The blue wing olive hatch was very light yet still yielded a small pod of working fish. Perfect presentations and dropping down to 5x was needed. These fish were being extremely selective to say the least. Water temperatures ranged from 53 to 56 degrees and visibility was very clear.
Most of the spawning salmon are done dropping eggs, and so many of them looked really beat up. It won’t be long before they die and give back to the ecosystem with nutrients. The turkey vultures are having a field day eating the rotting salmon, they like to sit in the trees next to the river and when all is clear they fly down and feed. Some areas are pretty stinky. Pegged beads are still taking some nice rainbows that hover behind the salmon redds. Coating your eggs with pearl nail polish makes them look fresh and milky. Some anglers even put on a thin coat of Gorilla glue on them to make them appear freshly milked. As always stay clear of any redds whether they be from salmon or steelhead, and do not walk through them. The amount of salmon in the Lower Yuba River was light this year. I talked with an old timer from the rock quarry and he told me the amount of salmon in the 70’s was thick, and the numbers of them going up Daguerre dam was staggering. I can only imagine how prolific the run was before the white man appeared.
As the egg bite comes to a close there will be a transition time of the resident rainbows switching back to consuming aquatic insects as their main staple. Also consider having some salmon fry and fingerling patterns in your box for swinging purposes. I’ve caught my bigger fish during this time when the fingerlings are pushed down by the currents of the Lower Yuba. Remember the section of river upstream of the Parks Bar Bridge opens December 1st. Enjoy the current weather while you can, a very cold air mass will be dropping down into Northern California bringing snow to the foothills Tuesday through Thursday. See you out there, and good luck.
Saturday, November 14, 2015
What an awesome time at the Simms Pro Delta Day 2015! I first must thank John Sherman for inviting me down and allowing me to bring a special guest. The house was packed and larger than last year, with good food after a long morning and a sore arm. For myself the best thing about this event is seeing my buddies, giving some hugs and catching up. It's hard for the general public to understand, but all of us in the fly fishing industry are so wrapped up in our own little world that we hardly get to see each other, while we grind out our passion as time motors on. They're in Alaska, Montana, Oregon, or behind the counter of a real fly shop giving expert advice and confidence to those that seek it. We are all family here, and we support everyone through the good times and the not so good. The buddy system flies rampant between all of us. That's the connection, and the bond that will never be broken.
I also want to thank George Revel for delivering a couple Giants themed Lost Coast Outfitters hats to me. If only my dad was alive to see a San Francisco fly shop running the colors. I know for a fact he would wear that hat until it was no more - He would be SO proud!
So onto the fishing.....It was insane! My guide for the day was Mark Baldwin who is a very long time guest of mine, I've shared numerous waters with the man, and now it was his turn. Did he ever deliver! It was a very foggy morning and he got the scoop the fish were out further west. We prowled the weed lines and drop offs only a half mile from our launching point.
It was nonstop action after about an hour on the water, so good if we did not get a hit or a fish on the next cast we would look at each other like - Let's move. But you don't leave fish to find fish and so we stayed, and slayed.
Mark was the ultimate host today, I've never felt so pampered. He took great care of me, but at the same time it was just two buddies bouncing around the fog laden banks of the mighty Delta swapping stories, and catching up, with brief interruptions of - Hook up!
Good things happen to good dudes who do good things, Mark wih a nice 6 pound specimen.
Mark's fishing buddy Vaughn showed up late to the party but this savvy veteran of the Delta went right to work next to us and hooked a 13 pound animal on the first cast with the extra big fly. We helped him net it and his day was made. His exact words were "I guess I can go home now". Of course, he kept fishing like any true Delta warrior would. I was very impressed to say the least.
The vast Delta is such an awesome experience for us simple trout dudes. It's an aggressive game, with no soft takes, or dry fly kisses to the sky. It's all meat and potatoes, and just what I'm going to have for dinner. See you soon Delta, Mark, and Vaughn - I'm hooked, and hell bent for stripers!
Saturday, November 7, 2015
Yesterday marked my final trip at Lake Davis for the 2015 season, and it was a cold one. When I arrived the air temps were 15 degrees with freezing fog and snow on the ground - Talk about cold! Water levels continue to drop and the weeds are still thick in certain areas. Add to that, ice is forming around the edges and creeping further out on a daily basis. Water temps are currently at 41 to 45 degrees. Fishing was very slow for us. I talked with a few tubers at Jenkins Point who said they had caught a few fish for 6 hours of fishing.
The last two fall seasons at Lake Davis have been very uncharacteristic. September was actually good with some great dry fly fishing, but the banner month of October failed again. The last day I saw fish in the shallows was on October 15th, after that nothing. There are some important factors to consider for the lack of good fall fishing that we are so accustomed to seeing at the lake.
-Low water levels; with the extremely low water levels there is less available habitat for the fish to come into. Many flats are only inches deep and extend far away from the shoreline. The transition zones from deeper water to the fertile flats are not the same.
-The resident rainbows are feeding in deeper water, and have been consuming daphnia (zooplankton), and very small midge pupa. This happened last fall and the low catch rates were the result of such. Very strange behavior for autumn trout at Lake Davis.
-Trout populations could be very low, I have no accurate data on this but if we had a bigger population, the catch rates would show higher results.
-I hardly saw any snails this fall floating around, this food source has always been a fall staple in the past. I know they are in the system though.
I think the answer to all the above is that the lake receives rain and a good snowpack in the next 5 months, and brings water levels back up to at least 70%. We can only hope. On a side note the lack of anglers I saw this fall was staggering, it was like a ghost town up there, especially on the west shore.
I hooked my boat up after it's long stay at J&J Grizzly store (thanks Jim and Jeanne!) yesterday, and towed it down to its foothill home for the winter. I think the highlight for the 2015 season was the Damsel hatch, and the Hexagenia hatch of June - that was pretty awesome!
Until next year Lake Davis, take care sweetheart....
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Since I’m unable to launch my boat at Lake Davis, trip numbers have been down. Like any creature of the wild I adjust, and I have been putting in many trips on the Lower Yuba River. Flows have been hovering around 680 cubes which are ideal for the walk and wade angler. Angling pressure is very low, in fact last Saturday my guest and I were the only ones in the water at the Hammon Grove area. We’ve been so fortunate to have massive tiny blue wing olive hatches with big pods of rising fish, last Saturday the hatch lasted for four hours, it was absolutely incredible! We have not been getting any real big fish, but if you’re in tune with the Lower Yuba, you know how hard these trout fight for their size.
There are way more salmon in the system compared to weeks earlier. If you’re walking and wading make sure you stay clear of active salmon redds. Walk well around the upstream side of them, if you’re unsure what a redd looks like picture a very clean dug out pit of cobbles and gravel. Effective rigs while nymphing have been a Jimmy Legs stone with a pegged bead dropper. For dry flies during the Pseudocleon hatch, the loop wing parachute #18 - 20 is money. You may have to drop down to 5x if you are getting refusals. Fly first downstream presentations are a must to be effective.
We are about two months away from the legendary Skwala stone fly hatch to begin which provides the ultimate game for the dry fly enthusiast, I personally cannot wait until the magic begins. Good luck and see you on the water.