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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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