12/6/2016 - It’s the calm before the storm as a series of weather systems and an atmospheric river prepare to invade northern California. We hardly noticed the shifting downward spiral of the air temperatures on the Lower Yuba River today, though the Pseudocloeons (tiny BWO’s) did not come off until an hour later than normal.
It was a glorious morning with Ruby Crowned Kinglets gleaning the branches of the willows, and bufflehead ducks flying in formation, strafing the river’s surface. The number of anglers out has dropped off considerably, mainly due to the absence of the salmon now that the hype of the egg bite is nearly over. My guest and I did see a few salmon hovering near redds as we walked the banks, so the show is not totally over. Keep in mind there are still eggs that have not hatched yet, so steer clear of any redds that are still active or unoccupied. The flows on the river have stabilized somewhat in the last week bouncing around from 1,057 to 1,045 cubes. Deer Creek is currently at 15 cfs but not for long, come Friday we’ll see the watershed dramatically spike up in flows.
The current state of the rainbows behavior is a transitional phase switching from eggs back to aquatic insects. I’ve seen more risers in the past 5 days than I have for the past 2 months. Tiny BWO’s (#20) is on the menu with duns on the water from 10am to noon.
A few sporadic PMD’s have been making an appearance with the occasional caddis as well. There are some very educated fish working the surface and holding in some very technical areas, like “where the spiders weave their webs” under the streamside willows. Still, it’s so fun and challenging trying to get those rainbows to eat your fly, a perfect fly first presentation with the right fly is somewhat of a requirement. (Update 12/7/) Today was insane on the flats, my guest and I had an enormous hatch that lasted nearly 4 hours with the overcast weather, and multiple targets within reach. We had pods of rising fish eating four different mayflies on the water, PMD’s, Pinkies, a dark BWO in a size 18, and a tiny BWO (pseudos) with a lime colored body. The Sparkle Dun was dominating in getting the takes. If today was my last day on earth I’d be content with the natural wonders I witnessed, it was beautiful.