Sunday, May 29, 2016
Last week's unsettled weather brought a mixture of rain, wind, sunshine, thunder, and hail. If you didn’t like the weather, all you had to do was wait ten minutes. The cooling trend brought down water temps to 53 to 56, but as of today they are on the rise again ranging from 57 to 60 degrees. It also put a slight halt to the hatches. All this will change once we get an extended period of warmer weather. Fishing pressure has been on the light side until this holiday weekend, the lake was busy. Overall Lake Davis is fishing good one day, fair the next, and days like today were really tough. Moving around to various coves and points is necessary, but once you have found the fish it’s all about putting in your time with good presentations.
Blood midges have waned for the time being, as have Callibaetis mayflies. There are more active spinners right now, and the spinner fall commences in the late afternoon. Damsels were really affected by the cooler weather, I have not seen as many as I did a week and a half ago. I’m also seeing many juvenile damsel nymphs which I’m not usually accustomed to seeing. There are many smaller types of chironomids in the mix too. Lots of food for the resident rainbows.
There have been more rising fish than the previous weeks, and the size of the fish are large, many with big shoulders. For rigs, a floating line with a long leader stripping damsel nymphs has been effective. Indo set ups have been successful targeting both the upper water column, and just off the bottom. A indicator you can move quickly is beneficial when targeting different depths. Flies – Albino Winos, Flashback PT’s, red copper Johns, and brown wiggle tails are getting the grabs. The best is yet to come in the next 4 weeks, make a plan to fish Lake Davis, and get in on the damsel game.
The Middle Fork Feather River is just coming into shape, water temperatures need to come up a little more, then its game on. I have not had a chance to fish it, but I’ve gotten some good reports from fellow anglers. The North Fork Yuba River is high and cold. Today I poked around and was surprised to see many Golden Stone adults ovipositing on the water’s surface. Green Drake mayflies were out with both duns and spinners. It’s frustrating to see good hatches, but the conditions for fishing are just not quite there yet. The river should be fishable in 3 weeks or so. Get out there, and enjoy the great outdoors.
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Big changes were observed today at Lake Davis, namely the food source for resident trout was in abundance. Water temps have come up quickly and are ranging from 56 to 59 degrees; you’ll see slightly higher water temps in shallow flats/points with a dark mud bottom. Fishing pressure is moderate at the more popular areas, but solitude was found today by my guests and I in the more hard to reach coves. I’ve been expressing the fact that the populations of fish have been in decline for the past three years, much to the dismay of other guides and business owners. The simple fact remains; when you have anglers taking double limits, while the Department of Fish & Wildlife has not adequately stocked the lake, you have a reduced population. Lake Davis has a 5 fish limit, with 10 in possession. When in reality it should be a limit of 2 with 4 in possession. Voice your opinion such as I have by writing a formal complaint to the California Department of Fish & Wildlife commission requesting changes to be made to the management of Lake Davis. The bottom line is do not expect big numbers of fish right now, but do expect bigger fish, and the ultimate stillwater experience.
There are many choices on the menu in the way of aquatic insects. There are blood midges out from mid-morning to early afternoon in a size 12. Callibaetis duns begin hatching around lunchtime, and you’ll have spinners hovering overhead from the previous day’s hatch during the middle of the day. The spinner fall is in the late afternoon, but the fish are keyed in on the duns right now. Size 14, and dark. The carpenter ants are out and on the water in the late afternoon. The fish have already clued in on the ants and are taking them on the surface. They love that taste of formicidae. There are also smaller flying ants in red and black, and a few different beetles as well. Even more exciting is the fact that the damselflies have started to hatch. I saw swimming nymphs today and adults on the west shore. It will take a while for the fish to key in on them, and the bulk of the main migration is still weeks off.
Stripping is effective with a floating line as most of the fish are in the upper water column. Indicator rigs are getting it done though with your flies suspended 2 to 6 feet down. Fish are still scattered so cover water, and if you’re not catching – Move. Go to flies include the Albino Wino, Callibaetis flashback nymphs, Adams parachutes, Loco ants, and dark damsel patterns in hues of brown and olive. Look for resident rainbows to be more active in the weeks to come. The warmer the weather, the better for the damsel migration, and other bugs in the mix. Though I’m completely booked up until July 2nd, I’m taking reservations for the North Fork Yuba for July and August trips. I have some days available at this time but that will change very quickly once we settle into the summer mode. Contact me through my website at baiocchistroutfitters.com if you want in.
Middle Fork Feather River; Water temps at 54, and the flows are near perfect. Gray Drakes, Carpenter ants, and a few BWO's are out. June into July is going to be great here, and the surrounding creeks will be perfect for most of the summer.
Monday, May 16, 2016
Last week I got an email from my local fly fishing club Gold Country Fly Fishers on a opportunity to give back to Yuba river by volunteering my time with SYRCL - South Yuba River Citizens League. SYRCL planted pods of cottonwoods, red willows, goodding's willows, and arroyo willows in 2011 on the Hammon Bar for salmonids on the Lower Yuba river. The native plants that were planted deeply in the Yuba goldfields help native fish by trapping woody debris, and collecting silt for a better environment.
I have seen SYRCL's work in past while guiding the river, and have always wondered what the color coded stumps of these plants was all about. I learned much today. Arroyo willows were the most prolific, with red willows, and Goodding's Willows coming in at a very close tie. Cottonwoods seemed to be the most affected by the lack of water of our last 4 years of drought. It was such an awesome day to give back, and meet new people who have a passion for the great outdoors like I have.
Volunteers are still needed for the remaining days of the project collecting data, if your interested please contact Cordi Craig at the SYRCL office at 530.265.5961. Thanks to all those that have and will be donating their time on this very important project, and a big special thanks to Cordi for being a fearless team leader and educating us all!
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Check out the new June Issue of California Fly Fisher magazine featuring an excellent article I wrote about Lake Davis; A Sierra Classic. I cover everything from the history of the lake to the current state. Stillwater fly anglers will learn everything from the damselfly hatch, how to approach the seasons, rigging, to fly selection. This is a great piece to tune you up for the upcoming season, and it may answer many of the questions you have sought out in the past.
I love to write, but even more I love to share my passion about fly fishing, and to see others be successful in their quest! Seek out, explore, and become one with many of the splendors that the Northern Sierra offers.
Friday, May 6, 2016
The Truckee River has been fishing very well from the Glenshire area down through the canyon. Flows were down last week, and currently they have come up. 700 cubes in the Glenshire stretch, and 900 - 1,000 cfs in the lower canyon. Fish are scattered and can be found in pocket water, pools, tail outs, and skinny side water. Aquatics in the mix include baetis and march brown mayflies, golden stones are starting to get active and are pre staging in the side water awaiting emergence. The go to flies stay the same with worms and small flashy baetis nymphs. The water is still cold at 48 to 52 degrees, the fish of the Truckee River respond to flies better at these temps than other fish in different watersheds. Stick and move, cover water, and get some.
Lake Davis was pretty damn good this week, in fact for my guests and I it turned on practically overnight. The big news is that there were really good hatches of blood midges, and Callibaetis mayflies. Blood midges are big right now in sizes #10-12, and the Callibaetis are a size 14, the duns are very dark in color too. Water temps are 50-53 degrees, water clarity is way off but typical for spring with run off. Indo rigs and stripping are working well. Gold ribbed hare's ear nymph, and the Albino Wino has had the best results. The highlight of our trip on Tuesday was Mike"s 23" 4 pound bow that made several lighting fast runs with aerial displays. He kept his cool and got the fish in the net. It was so exciting for everyone on board. Look for conditions to improve on a weekly basis as we head into June.
The Middle Fork Feather is absolutely beautiful right now with rich greenery lining its banks. Water temps are still too cold for good fishing and are currently running at 48 to 50 degrees. Bait anglers are picking up a few fish but until the water temps rise, fishing with flies is not good. I expect the river to turn on at the end of the month, and after the bulk off run off has deceased.
The current weather is cold and wet, but I heard we are supposed to have a hot summer. No matter the conditions, get out there and experience Northern California's excellent trout waters. Be that native...