What a beautiful day for a float on the Lower Yuba River, not too hot, plenty of sunshine, and flowing water. Today did not disappoint, I have so much fun on these pontoon workshops! It's awesome to see our students learn so much, and also to see their progression rate by the time we pull out at the Sycamore Ranch boat ramp.
After some controlled mayham getting the boats put together, and loaded up for the shuttle up to Parks Bar Bridge, the class began. The first topic is safety including always wearing a PFD, what to do if you dump your craft, and looking downstream and line selections avoiding hazards. I then go over the basics of a personal watercraft, with inside secrets on how to properly carry your rod, frame placement, proper air inflation, repair kits, and DIY upgrades to oars, and accessories.
Next, I take to the water and describe the different moves needed to safely and effectively maneuver your PWC. Single oar pivots, scissor pivoting, back strokes, forward strokes, jogging forward strokes, and ferrying from one side of the river to another. There is a nice big back eddy for our students to practice in before we send them down the gauntlet of the Lower Yuba River.
About midway down we pull over before Miner's Corner as Lance provides a fresh wholesome lunch under the convenience of some shade. We then walk down to Miner's Corner which is one of the more technical rapids for novices to encounter. We make a game plan with two different lines to choose from. One is more demanding yet more fun, and the other on the inside corner is the safe way out. Then we board our crafts and pound the water through the rapids. Everybody passed with flying colors on this section!
We continued down the river, and then fished select spots along the way. A few fish were hooked, but the main emphasis on the day was learning how to pilot your PWC. Swinging large sculpin patterns, and dead drift nymphing was the most effective.
I must say that after floating the river it has changed in many big ways from the 13,000, 16,000, and 30,000 high water events we received during the winter. There is way more skinny water as finer material has moved in to certain areas and tail outs. Even today at 1,535 cubes it was very noticeable. When they drop the flows down to 500 to 700 cfs, there is going to be a lot of drift boats grinding through, and many guides will have to get out and walk their boats through. The other thing I noticed is there are many more deeper troughs, transition zones, and bank water since floating the river before the events. Aquatic life is still slim for both nymphs and adults. When the river comes back, there is much more productive habitat to support the wild fish that inhabit the Lower Yuba River.
What a day, so damn awesome! Special thanks to all our guests who participated in this very informative workshop. Lance and I have other workshops and clinics on the 2016 calendar, with some spots available. To reserve your spot, and more info, contact Lance directly to book at; Lance Gray and Company. The upcoming events include;
-The Lake Davis Tour, September 6th & 7th.
-High stick and standard nymphing workshop on the Truckee River, September 10th.
-Streamer School on the Truckee River September 11th.
-Yuba River Pontoon workshop September 18th.
Check with Lance to see the availability to participate if your interested. See you on the water...