Spring Edition

Spring Edition
Spring Edition

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Truckee River Fishing Report 4/22/2017

The Truckee River has an usual characteristic in that despite high cold flows, it produces some quality athletes of the trout world who must endure the strength and stamina to be able to feed and survive the strong hydraulics of the river. It's been an eye opening experience for my guests who first look at the river as we approach it for the day, and simply cannot believe it can be done until the rod is bent, with a large trout on the end of their line. Every watershed is different, some produce during high flows, while others do not. It all depends on each unique different residents of those rivers. The Truckee River trout are just plain badass, and all business. It's been beautiful on the river, warblers are singing in the swaying willows, sporadic hatches of bwo's, March browns, and a few skwalas late to the party. As a naturalist, I find great joy in teaching my guests about such, and to truly understand Mother Nature and "The Gift".

It's still about finding the slower deeper water side water, and more importantly the areas of the current that must have a "lazy walking" speed to it. Northern California American tight lining has been the go to technique. keep in mind some of these slower zones extend out quite a ways from the bank and a bobber rig will help in these types situations. The fish are hanging onto the flies a little longer than normal which is of an advantage to anglers, especially those with less experience. The same big water flies have been the standard; worms, stoneflies, crayfish, and eggs. Many fish have been eating a pegged bead in mottled natural roe, and peachy king colors. A bit of advice, use 10mm eggs in high off color water. Speaking of which, the color of the water is of a emerald green, and I swear it seems we have been fishing on a steelhead river inland of the coast of northern California. 12 and 10 pound floro has been key while fighting these toads in the heavy current, we have yet to break any off. Oh, bring lots of flies, losing them on new subsurface woody debris is the norm.

I really like the telemetry gauge that is located downstream of the Martis creek inflow, adjacent to a run we call "Shipwreck". It's a great source of info for the lower section of the Glenshire stretch, the link is HERE. Releases were increased yesterday from Lake Tahoe and are now at 1,600 cubes, Glenshire has increased to 2,670, and the canyon is pounding at 4,700. As flows increase it will be harder to find the right water that is productive, walking and searching for these areas will be of the most importance as the flows continue to increase. A good tip is to mentally record the conditions where you have caught fish, then duplicating them while covering different areas of the river.

It's been very rewarding to teach fly anglers about the productive techniques when it comes to the big water of late. If you're truly interested, give me a call at 530.228.0487 to arrange your date.

On another note, Frank Pisciotta and I have one spot available for our Native Sons Truckee Tour on June 23rd & 24th, You'll learn all about the Truckee River, Little Truckee River, flies, rigs, techniques, and entomology. Streamside lunch, drinks, handouts, and maps included. To sign up, or for more information click HERE

Spring is upon us, don't delay, and enjoy the great outdoors...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

South Yuba River Citizens League ~ Lower Yuba River Restoration Projects

I could not attend SYRCL's "State of the Yuba" address last night but would like to share a map of their upcoming projects on the Lower Yuba River. With Spring-run Chinook salmon hovering on the brink of extinction and fall-run salmon fairing no better, the time to act is now. Last year, critically low numbers of migrating salmon were recorded. As few as 148 Spring-run salmon were counted as of August 2016. SYRCL is working on an action plan to restore critical habitat on the lower Yuba this year which will be revealed at the State of the Yuba. 

River Science Director Rachel Hutchinson says, “SYRCL is excited to be working collaboratively with agencies and local non-profits to produce a plan that will allow us to take action and improve conditions for fish now. We are working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and groups like the Gold Country Fly Fishers to help save these key species and their habitat.” SYRCL and partners are focused on salmon and steelhead restoration because they are indicators of river health, from the headwaters to the ocean. When a watershed is able to support strong salmon and steelhead populations, the entire river ecosystem can thrive.

As you can see with the map and the key symbols above, there is going to be some very beneficial work to completed that include proper measures to improve riparian habitat, lowering of the floodplain, side channel formation, large woody debris (lots of that around after our two 80k events!), interpretive signage, and additional spawning gravel.

I'm excited to see the changes the projects will make. There is plenty that you can do by volunteering for SYRCL and making a difference for the Lower Yuba River, and being a part of our community.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Truckee River Update 4/13/2017

The Truckee River continues to run with big flows, and those flows have increased in the past couple of days. Lake Tahoe is now releasing 1,210 cubes, Glenshire is now at 2,310, and down in the canyon it’s even bigger at around 4k. Weak storm systems have been passing through with intermittent breaks. We’ll see another break into this weekend, with another storm coming in Sunday night. Snow totals from last night on the crest came in at 10”. Even more impressive, there is a slightly larger storm forested for later next week. The faucet may turn off at the end of April with the typical high ridge of pressure that dominates through late spring, summer, and early fall. 

Well, the record of 1982/83 has been broken! 89.7 inches have fallen so far this season, and our snowpack is at 207% of normal for the northern Sierra. Keep in mind there is more precipitation to come, and the bulk of the runoff has yet to commence. This summer into fall is going to be unbelievable for all waters of the Sierra. Will there be the "Dog Days" of summer this year? Hard to say, but at this time it is hard to imagine. 

Fishing continues to be productive nymphing the slower deeper side water, and the quality of fish being caught is impressive to say the least. With the increase in flows, an angler will have to work a little harder to find the right water. The color of the water has been amazing, a dark steelhead green, with decent clarity, which could change from the fresh new layer of melting snow. Same flies, same tactics apply as in my previous reports. I have some open dates on my guide calendar, here is your chance to learn about fishing high water instead of sitting on the couch. Call me 530.228.0487 or email at baiocchi'stroutfitters@yahoo.com 

Get out there and enjoy the great outdoors, it’s awesome, and it’s free.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Truckee River Fishing Report 4/4/2017

The Truckee River seems to be the best game in town for moving water in the north state, and it just keeps getting better despite the high flows. As you are well aware, the spring runoff is under way, but the bulk is yet to come. We may see it peak at the end of May if the region does not experience a huge jump in air temperatures, big wind, and continued sunshine. If that happens, watch out. There is still a huge snowpack at the upper elevations, even on south facing slopes. Water temps are still in the mid 40’s, colder in the afternoons from snow melt, or below feeder creeks. I have noticed a slight increase in water clarity in the last week, enough to be able to see fish holding in the soft side water. It’s been busy on the river in the more popular access areas, and an angler will do better fishing water that has not been pounded on.

I had a special day yesterday with a long time guest of mine where he got into a great session with double digit numbers of fish, a feat not often accomplished on the Truckee River. The key for success was location, and we fished 6 different areas and kept moving. The bulk of the trout are podded up, and if you catch one in a certain slot, keep hammering the water, there will be more. Try different flies and stance positions within the same slot. We also had three different rods, a tight line rig, an indo rig with a three fly set up, and a streamer rod with a heavy sculpin pattern. I really like the RIO Versi-Tip for streamer applications, both the clear 1.5 ips, and the green 3.0 ips are really all you need. I tie on a #12 swivel at the end of the tip, and then run 3 feet of 12lb. floro. You still have complete control to your fly with more sensitivity due to a direct line down to your fly. As always there are nine different ways to achieve the same principal in fly fishing, if a guide tells you there is only one way to do such – doubt them. 

Once common mistake novice anglers make when tight lining is they try to probe the bottom right away. A “sighter” section on your leader also becomes a depth indicator, and when I approach a slot during high water I will focus on the middle water column, then slowly drift deeper with each successive presentation. Effective flies have been worms in flesh, red, and sparkle tan, Golden stones, black rubber legs, larger Hare’s Ears, and #10 eggs in natural roe, and peachy roe. No matter what rig you choose, set the hook often as the takes are light.

More weather ahead with a downgraded atmospheric river of moisture that will slam northern California starting Friday through Sunday, with lingering precipitation heading into next week. Current models are in conflict with rain and snow totals, as with mountain weather, we’ll just have to wait and see. Either way this next system is impressive for the month of April. If you want to learn more about how to fish big water, don’t mind hiking and dropping down steep banks, while visiting multiple locations, give me a ring at 530.228.0487, or email me at baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com to book a trip with me. I do have a few days available in both April and May. See you out there…

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Trout Unlimited Truckee Chapter #103's Fishmas Eve

Mark your calendars! Trout Unlimited's 12th Annual Fishmas Eve Fundraiser is coming up in one month. Join us at the Blue Coyote Bar and Grill on April 28th at 7 pm as we celebrate past, present, and future trout conservation in the Truckee Watershed. Tickets are $30 dollars at the door which gets you unlimited pizza and beer, two tickets to an AMAZING raffle, and all the fish stories you can handle. Proceeds go to support the Truckee TU #103 chapter and their projects. See you there!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

New Truckee River Article

Check out the March issue of California Sportsman Magazine and indulge in a great article I wrote on the legendary Truckee River. I walk the reader from the top of the watershed of Lake Tahoe, through the town of Truckee and downstream to the "Grand Canyon" ending at the California - Nevada border. Also featured are the highlights throughout the season and their hatches, go to fly patterns, rigging, and an amenities sidebar for first time visitors. Pick up a copy at your local news stand today. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

2017 Fly Fishing Workshops, Tours, Outings, and Clinics

For 2017, the schedule is nearly full for some exciting educational events that center on learning about specific techniques for being more successful on the water. Many of these events are a collaboration with Baiocchi's Troutfitters, and Reno Fly Fishing Outfitters, along with Lance Gray & Company. Besides learning a great deal of information, you'll receive different opinions on the same subject from the different guides involved. Though many of these workshops, tours, outings, and clinics are months away, it is imperative to book your spot early, as they fill up quickly.

The Yuba Tour

For each unique individual tour, you will be showed access points, techniques, tactics, effective flies, rigging, and a streamside lunch. Includes handouts and group guiding on the water. To secure your spot contact Lance Gray at: lancegrayandcompany@yahoo.com

-Yuba Tour 3/29, Booked.
-Yuba Tour 3/30, Booked.
-Graeagle Creek Tour 7/17, 2 spots open.

The Lake Davis Outing

Our highly popular outings are more than just a clinic, you'll gain a great deal of knowledge on a particular curriculum like stillwaters or rivers, in a social setting with other enthusiastic fly anglers. Lunch and dinner is included, a limited amount of terminal tackle and flies, handouts, and guiding while on the water. For more information click HERE To reserve your spot, email me at baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com

Lake Davis Outing Session 1 6/9-11, 4 spots open.
Lake Davis Outing Session 2 6/16-18, 3 spots open.

Entomology Workshop:
This summer I’m offering basic “on site” entomology classes that will shorten the learning curve for students and help them make accurate identifications while on the water. Understanding trout food will bring more success to any angler, and broaden their horizon to the fascinating world under the currents. For details on the entomology workshop, click HERE To reserve your spot, please email me at baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com

Entomology Workshop 1 7/22, 3 spots open.
Entomology Workshop 2 8/5, 6 spots open.

Pontoon Workshop:
The Pontoon Workshop is much more than a guided fishing trip. As always we go above and beyond with the workshop curriculum. The workshop covers water safety, reading water, recognizing water hazards, ferrying across the river, back and front rowing, and pivoting with a combination of oar strokes to maximum learning time, and to give the students the confidence for a great drift down the river. Pontoon boats allow fly anglers to navigate to different access areas that are unreachable by wading, especially during higher flows. Handouts and a streamside lunch included. To reserve your spot, contact Lance at lancegrayandcompany@yahoo.com 

Pontoon Workshop 4/28, Booked.
Pontoon Workshop 5/21, 4 open, 4 Booked.

Streamer & Nymphing Workshop:
Streamer fishing is a collective technique incorporating all others; the technique uses dead drift, swing and stripping tactics that are intermingled to anger big fish into striking. It’s a true art that once mastered – provides another effective tool for any intermediate angler. The Truckee River will be our classroom for this one day hands on school. Handouts and a streamside lunch included. For more information click HERE

Streamer Workshop 9/16, 8 spots open.

This course is set around nymphing rods, lines and leaders. We instruct the student on set ups and how to pick the proper setup for the fishing situation. We also focus on reading water and wading into proper casting position. We concentrate on two different types of nymphing, tight line and dead drift. Both are equally effective – but both have their place in your fly fishing tactic tool bag. The school is kept small with 6-8 students and two instructors. This workshop is for the intermediate angler. The Truckee River will be our classroom for this one day hands on school. Handouts and a streamside lunch included. For the details, click HERE

Nymphing Workshop 9/15, 8 spots open.

To book your spot for the streamer or nymphing workshop, contact Lance at lancegrayandcompany@yahoo.com

Join us for a great day on the water and increase your skill set while having fun!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Lower Yuba River Drift Report ~ Major Changes!

Brian Clemens from Nor Cal Fly Guides invited me to float the Lower Yuba River today with him to see the changes from the past high water events, and to wet a line. We put in at the usual spot below the Hwy. 20 bridge, and it seems to be easier, just needs more traffic to pack down the cobblestones. Water was big today flowing at 4,265 cubes. The rapids below the bridge are pretty big right now, and really fun.

We anchored the boat in the first straight away below the rapids, and the first characteristic change we noticed is how much wider the river was. Areas that had a flat, or gradual slope to the river, are now a vertical face that often was over head high. Also there is so much new sand everywhere, especially among the cobblestones on dry land. We swung it up with no grabs, and promptly drifted on.

As we approached what I call "Hogan's Hole", the bend is not as sharp, and has been stretched out, In fact it seems many of the sharper corners in the river have been stretched out. On the left bank upstream of Hogan's, the bank has exposed bedrock with new boulders that I've never seen before. Big changes, all over the place.

As Brian piloted the boat into the entry of the Aquarium, there is now a major island with the main current to river right, and the left channel has a good steady flow with some depth, this new channel should keep flowing as the water levels drop.

Wherever we put the boat ashore that was inaccessible by foot we had the first human made tracks, there was only prints from wildlife scattered about. We were surprised to see coyote tracks because that meant somebody had to take a swim to get to these areas. We opted to take the main channel past Long Island, and again stopped the boat to really get a clear understanding of the changes. The right hand bank has significantly changed with missing trees and the tailing piles from the gravel/gold plant has diminished in size with openings into the settling ponds. 

So far the changes we saw were significant, and seemed to appear to be better habitat for the future. We hooked into a few fish in slower bank water using indo rigs, but did not get them into the net. Brian got his fish close to the boat and we got a very good look, it was a fat and healthy 14" bow. An Osprey was chirping in a nearby tree, and as it took flight, in its talons was a fat 15" rainbow. The fish seem to be eating, and they appear to be in good shape.

There is a new gravel bar that is quite long that splits the main flow from the side channel downstream of Long Island. We noticed increased depth in this area as well, and so much more willows and woody debris in the river.

Here is the same gravel bar as in the previous picture, but looking upstream of the side channel. Vehicle access is now limited in this area as lower Rattlesnake is now gone! The river now meets with the steep tailings to the south side.

The little willow island that gave us drifters fits below Rattlesnake, and the large outcropping of willows and trees on the right bank are now gone, and much safer. You'll notice the property upstream of Clay Banks has been damaged beyond belief, the owners lost quite a bit of land to the high water. Amazing.

From Clay Banks down through Hammon Grove is a straight shot and seemed featureless at the current flows. The river still splits above Sycamore Ranch, and does not look the same at all. Quite desolate, and the large willows that provided shade on a hot day are now gone. The main flow on river right is moving extremely fast as it enters Dry Creek, and the "Corner Pocket". The picture above is of the small passageway to get into Dry Creek, and to the take out ramp. I would advise only expert oarsman to attempt the maneuver to drift into here. For those with less skill I would carefully walk your craft down the gravel bar, move it into Dry Creek, then board your boat.

Before we brought the boat into Sycamore, we anchored on river left to survey the landscape downstream. The picture above is where the two branches of the current meet below, and join hands to become one. You cannot see it in the picture but it appears the river has a new course over to river left in the distance and possibly another island.

Overall, Brian and I were impressed with the changes, instead of thinking the river was nuked, in reality it has been rejuvenated. Deeper slots, islands, braided areas, holding water, and other noted unique areas. When the river comes back into its own, and the flows clear, there will be more habitat, for the salmon, steelhead, and native rainbows. It's an entirely new river, and we all get to start on page one for another chapter of history for the Lower Yuba River. Welcome to the "Newba River".

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

California Boater Card

The California Boater Card will show that its holder has successfully taken and passed a NASBLA/state-approved boater safety education examination. The new requirement will begin on Jan. 1, 2018 for all persons 20 years of age and younger who operate a motorized vessel on state waterways. On that date, these boaters will be required to carry a boater card issued by DBW, unless they meet certain exemptions.

Each year after January 2018, a new age group will be added to those who are required to possess a valid card. By 2025, all persons who operate a motorized vessel on California waters will be required to have one. Once issued, the card remains valid for a boat operator’s lifetime. California Harbors and Navigation Code Section 678.11(b) contains the following phase-in schedule based on operator age:

January 1, 2018 – Persons 20 years of age or younger
January 1, 2019 – Persons 25 years of age or younger
January 1, 2020 – Persons 35 years of age or younger
January 1, 2021 – Persons 40 years of age or younger
January 1, 2022 – Persons 45 years of age or younger
January 1, 2023 – Persons 50 years of age or younger
January 1, 2024 – Persons 60 years of age or younger
January 1, 2025 – All persons regardless of age

You will need to pass a boating safety course that is approved by the State of California and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. Successfully completing an exam from one of these courses meets the qualifications to apply for a California Boater Card. There are several private companies that offer online courses that include studying for the test, completion of the test, and a printable PDF file of your certificate. An example for the cost of such from BoaterExam.com is a one time price of $29.95

Hopefully they will include a boat ramp loading and unloading etiquette section to the test. The lack of knowledge I witness at the Honker Cove boat ramp at Lake Davis is unbearable to watch, it effects a smooth flow and results in the ramp getting clogged up during busy periods. If want some entertainment, bring a lawn chair at Honker Cove during the 4th of July and watch the show!

The card will be issued by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW). DBW plans to begin issuing the California Boater Cards prior to Jan. 1, 2018, implementation date. The Boater Card Technical Advisory Group anticipates that the cost of the card will be no more than $10. The lost card replacement fee will be no more than $5.

Baiocchi's Troutfitters, alway keeping you up to date, and in the loop since 1997.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Mr. Eagle Lake ~ A Tribute To Jay Fair

Check out the April issue of California Fly Fisher and read about a fly fishing icon, Jay Fair. It was a trip back in time when I wrote this special article and reliving my times with Jay at Eagle Lake and Lake Davis. He gave so much back to the fly fishing industry and was always willing to share his knowledge. There will never be another guide like Jay Fair. Get your hands on a copy from your local fly shop, or better yet, subscribe to CFF. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Lower Yuba River Update 3/3/2017

Beautiful mild weather today and high clouds from another approaching weather system, yes, another situation where the Lower Yuba River is just coming into shape only to be blown out again. With the flow coming down to around 3800 cubes, I jumped at the opportunity to wet a line, and see some more evidence of the destruction from the high water events. The river looks like a warzone. The color of the water has a slight green tint to with about a foot and a half of visibility, better than the past color of coffee. I swung a big black nasty leech pattern in a few runs and did not get one grab, that's ok, it was just nice to be on the water and making observations.

The west side of the washout is gone and now part of the river channel. It's possible to pass through, but now one has to take a sharp left at the exit because the small paved section of Hammonton road is gone! Miner's Corner took a beating and even more bedrock is exposed on the outside bend.

There are some interesting side sloughs that are connected to the river with very clear water, I thought for sure there would be some fish in them because there was good depth in the middle. There are also quite a few areas of standing water where in years past I've noticed trapped salmon smolts. Today I could find no evidence of such. I'm trying to be as optimistic as possible, but it seems pretty bleak out there. I did see some adult midges aloft in the light breeze, but no mayflies, or Skwala stones. I thought for sure I would see some Skwalas high up in the willows resting in the branches. 

I filled two bags with garbage today and not all of it was from the high water events from this winter. Cigs and Taco Bell was on the menu for these losers. If you plan on going to the river in the future, take a trash bag and do a good deed for Mother Nature and the Fish Gods, your karma will be all time when you're on the water fishing next. The abandoned trailer by the washout is gone, but now replaced with a cab of an old truck. This area needs to be addressed and enforced. Full size 4x4 trucks have done even more damage to the private property of WildToo LLC, especially in the last two years. Removal of native grasses leads to more silt in the river after heavy precipitation. The whole off road scene down on the river is lame. I get it though, and that's because I was the GM for Nevada Motocross Development where we held races and practice events on CLOSED COURSES. Not on a sensitive floodplain of a wild watershed. A special kind of stupidity out there.

Observing the local flora and fauna was the most satisfying part of today. Spring has sprung. Fruit trees are blossoming, and early season wildflowers like foothill Buttercups are popping up. Lots of birds today and more signs of spring. Small flocks of Sandhill Cranes, and white Pelicans flew overhead towards the northeast. Also seen in the rolling lush green foothills were Audubon Warblers, many American Robins, and white breasted Nuthatches gleaning the branches. I've never seen Nuthatches this low in elevation before, and one good reason why you never put rules on Mother Nature. Red Shouldered Hawks were busy building nests, and TV's (Turkey Vultures) mimicked the occasional U2 spy plane that flew overhead. Yeah, the birds made it special today.

Hammon Grove Park is still closed, as is Sycamore Ranch. I really wanted to see what's left of the boat ramp take out area today, but the caretaker was not keen on me going down there. We'll all know in a matter of time. 

So our next series of storms will start on Saturday during mid-morning with heavy rain and wind continuing into Sunday. The latter part of the first storm may dump a little snow in the foothills, but in the northern Sierra there could be as much as two feet. A weaker storm moves through quickly on Monday before clearing out for the week. 

Here we go again...One of these days I'll see you on the water...

Claytonia perfoliata Miner's Lettuce

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