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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Lower Yuba River Fishing Report 1/27/2016 ~ Skwala Stoneflies!


I’ve been on the river the last two days with my guests and have a very clear picture of the current conditions through observations. First off the river has really come down into shape, currently Englebright Dam is releasing 667 cubes, and Deer Creek is way down at 65 cfs. The water clarity is the issue that has put a bit of a damper on successful fishing. Yesterday it was about a foot and a half, and today it went from 2 to 3 feet. The side water away from the main flow is much clearer. I had heard that after the big spike of water that came down last week that the river had changed with a lot of cobble moving. I guided both the lower river and above the Hwy. 20 bridge and found neither to be true. There is still grass imbedded on the banks and in the river, and the aquatic insects barely were affected. I found numerous bugs while flipping rocks below the water’s surface including many baetis nymphs, golden stones, skwala stones, and free living caddis (Rhyachophila). What did get dislodged during the big flows was finer gravel, stones smaller than a baseball, and finally the algae that chokes the aquatic insects was scraped away. This is very good news that contributes to a healthier river. 


Due to the off clarity the fishing has been slow, but then again my guests and I were focused on the dry fly because the skwala stones are out! In fact today I saw at least 4 dozen that I counted. They were in the willows, amongst the cobble stones on shore, in the air flying, and on the water placidly drifting down with the currents. That’s the advantage of the walk and wade angler as they can observe conditions better than anglers and guides in drift boats. We had very few grabs today and no rainbows in the net, mostly due to the very off color water. We did see a few fish take some skwala adults on the side water, those explosive rise forms are hard to miss. Another cool surprise was seeing some fresh Gray Drake shucks on the cobbles near the water’s edge, and a few flyers in the air. Other aquatics witnessed today included a few blue wing olives, pinkie mayflies, and a couple yellow sallies. The fishing may have been slow but the weather today was to die for, warm and sunny. I’ve been waiting a long time for a pleasant day like today. It was awesome!




Another round of heavy rain is forecasted from Friday into Saturday with very high snow levels at 8,000 to 9,000 feet. The second phase of the storm will be much colder with a chance of snow in the foothills. Another weak system moves in Monday into Tuesday with a chance of a 10 day dry period after such. With heavy rain and high snow levels (think melting snow) there’s a good chance to see high flows again on the Lower Yuba River, and be blown out again. We’ll have to wait and see how the conditions pan out. If so, the last half of the forecasted dry spell could allow us to once again to ply the shores with a skwala dry. Good luck out there, and see you on the river.

1/30 UPDATE: The Yuba is blown! Currently at around 14,000 cubes with Deer Creek at 1,100 cfs. 


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Lower Yuba River Fishing Report 1/17/16


The parade of storms just keeps on marching through and we are in for it this week. Currently we have heavy rain in Nevada City which is supposed to last through tomorrow. For a complete forecast for the Lower Yuba River in the next week, click here. I've been out very little but was able to scout around a few days ago when we had a little break in the rain. I was surprised at how little the fishing pressure was at the area I was lurking in. Currently Englebright dam is releasing 576 cubes, and Deer Creek has been yoyoing up and down from 125 to 443 cfs. Conditions will be very different at the end of the week in all aspects of levels, color, and flow. *My how things can change quickly, currently at 8am this morning on the 18th Englebright is at 7,058 cfs, and Deer Creek is running at 3,130 cfs. That's a combined flow of 10,188 cubes - Blown!

I have two reliable reports from my crew that there is a small population of Skwala stoneflies out and seeking shelter under the cobble, staying out of the weather. There must be some females on the water already ovipositing because they have been catching rainbows on skwala dries. For the two days they were on the water they got into 4 to 6 fish each. It's early for the hatch with these colder conditions, but as soon as that sun pops out for a few days it will get those stoners on the move. There has also been some sporadic blue wing olive hatches, and Tom Page of Reel Anglers fly shop stated on the Denis Peirce radio show that there are some pinkie mayflies in the mix too.



Overall fishing has improved but still one day is good and the next just fair, typical of the moody Lower Yuba River. Effective flies have been Jimmy Legs stones, Hogan's S&M, Copper Johns, Flashback Pheasant Tails, San Juan worms, and 8 to 10mm eggs. For dries the Sparkle Comparadun has been consistently producing. This week is a good time to tie some flies and stock the boxes with a hope of a break to cure the shack nasties. I've updated my website with current news and some new content. Click the logo text below to check it out. 


Baiocchi's Troutfitters




Friday, January 15, 2016

Streamer Candy For Big Trout / Steelhead


It's a known fact that big flies catch big fish, but don't be surprised if a smaller fish attacks your 4 inch streamer. Not many fly anglers choose the path of swinging, and stripping meat flies, but in my opinion, it's a technique all anglers should have in their tool belt. Articulated streamer flies have been all the rage in the last few years, I tied my first one (the rainbow trout as shown above) in 2004 for the aggressive brown trout on the Madison River in Montana. This pattern is a true Double Bunny, the more water soaked it gets, the more it flows and becomes alive. The top three flies were tied by Tayler Wells of Tailwalker Guide Service and could be used for both trout and steelhead. I need to take some tying lessons from him as these streamers are truly a work of art.


The Green Zonker has been a long time favorite of mine. It's the fly that allowed me to hook into numerous 20 to 24" fish on the Madison River. Even more impressive is when my buddies and I fished it at night there, it was responsible for a 28 and 33" brown trout. Rabbit hair is amazing as it breathes and pulsates in the currents.


Fishing streamers on the Truckee River in winter time can be very productive with an array of different swings and stripping techniques. These different presentations can be learned in Lance Gray's Streamer Workshop that I'll be teaching at. The date is March 5th and there are only a few spots open at this time. Contact Lance to get enrolled. By the way, yellow/brown streamers with copper flash are deadly on the Truckee River. Adding the streamer game to your arsenal can pay off with possibly the fish of a lifetime. 

See ya on the water.....

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Openings For Tours & Workshops With Lance Gray & Company


For 2016 Lance and I have a number of Tours and Workshops available for the fly fishing community to participate in. February and the early part of March are two big months for us and I just wanted to make everyone aware of the status of these dates. Our 2/6/16 Lower Yuba Tour is booked, and the 2/20/16 tour is now booked as well. The Tour consists of 6 anglers with Lance and me instructing and guiding on the water. We'll show you the different access areas, fishing techniques including nymphing, dry flies, and swinging, reading water, casting, and how to stalk wary rainbows during the skwala hatch when they're on the side water. The Tour includes informative handouts, the best map of the Lower Yuba River out there, and a streamside lunch. Besides learning a great deal, you'll be in a social setting meeting other anglers just like you whose life revolves around fly fishing. Expansive knowledge is shared during these tours, and something we all yearn for while deciphering the currents. Our fly fishing symposium is booked for 2/21/16, as is our Lower Yuba River Tour on the 26th.




A 30" brown taken on a streamer by Chris Maher of Maher's Guide Service photo by Justin Andereson

March 5th Lance and I are offering a streamer clinic on the Lower Yuba River. This is your chance to learn how to huck the meat and potato fly patterns that allure Mr. Big into grabbing your offering. Techniques, patterns, lines, leader construction, areas to target, and inside clues will be covered. Handouts and a streamside lunch are included. Like steelheading, you may have to make hundreds of casts, but when you get a grab with fishing big streamers, it could be a fish of a lifetime. 4 spots are open at this time. 





March 6th brings another one of our Pontoon Workshops on the Lower Yuba River. You'll learn how to safely navigate and operate a pontoon boat on moving water, and the best way to set up your boat including carrying your rod, dry bag storage, proper inflation of bladders, oar specifications, and anchor systems. Also included in the pontoon workshop is basic paddling strokes, pivots, and how to move from one side of the river to the other. You'll also learn techniques like feathering your oars, back strokes, forward strokes, jogging, scissor pivots, one oar pivots, slowing down your speed, tackling rapids, avoiding obstacles, and setting up your boat.




All these vacant spots can be filled by contacting Lance Gray at Lance Gray & Company, or myself at Baiocchi's Troutfitters. Here is your opportunity to expand your horizon on the many different disciplines of fly fishing. I hope you can join us in these fantastic future programs!







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