Summer Edition

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Lower Yuba River Update & Nor Cal Fly Fishing Outlook


The Lower Yuba River crested on the 10th at 83,173 cubes, and retreated down to 8k on the 13th. In the last 24 hours the water level has increased around 19k and stabilizing. The river continues to be big, dirty, and unfishable. There is another parade of storms lined up to slam us this week with an atmospheric river of moisture starting this Thursday. The waiting game continues. We may not see the river come down to 2k or below until next September, which has happened before during years of excessive precipitation and a large snowpack. The Truckee river was fishable for a little while until the last deluge hit. Currently it's still pretty big with flows on the Glenshire stretch at 1,140 cubes and in the Canyon the flows are running at about 3k. Like I have said before, the Truckee can be fishable sooner than most because it sits at the top of the watershed, and colder conditions allow for less melt of the snowpack...unless we have high snow levels, which are forecasted at the start of the series of storms.


Photo by Gonzalo Peewee Curiel


Because of all the water the north state has received so far for this season, conditions have changed dramatically for our reservoirs and roadways. Lake Oroville water level increased to the point where large releases had to be made though the main spillway or the dam was going to breach. I'm sure you are well aware of what happened in the last week with the spillway failing, and after the Department of Water Resources turned it off for inspection of the newly formed hole, the lake continued to rise.

Photo by Gonzalo Peewee Curiel

The decision was made to run the main spillway which would further damage the release chute, they had no choice as the lake reached its maximum capacity of 900 feet with all forks of the Feather producing a huge volume of inflow. An emergency spillway which was never used before was the only option as the elevation increased to 902 feet. Excessive erosion occurred at the base of the Emergency spillway and there was a possibility that a section of the 30 foot tall wall could be compromised. Evacuations of the Oroville area commenced and nearly 200 thousand people had to be relocated. The evacuation order has been lifted and residents couldn't be happier to return to their homes.

 Photo by Gonzalo Peewee Curiel

There has been way too much finger pointing and misinformation spread on the internet by self proclaimed experts who think they could do a better job than DWR. These are people who jump on the bandwagon claiming they have known all along. The Baiocchi family certainly knows about DWR as they have filed hundreds of formal complaints and motions of intervention the last 47 years on a number of projects including Oroville dam through the FERC relicensing process. I really do not have an opinion at this time other than large amounts of water should have been released from the dam a month ago after the amount of snow and precipitation the northern Sierra received. When you have been in a drought, I guess it's easy to be greedy with storage capacity. I really hope everything is ok, I would hate see a bunch of people, livestock, and family pets lose their lives. We're not out of the woods yet.


Not much fishing happening right now, and I'm thankful for a half dozen article request from magazines, and presentations to fly clubs to help pay the bills. One thing is certain, my fly boxes sure look good right now. Stay positive, Summer is sure looking good right now...



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