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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Northern Sierra Fishing Report 7/19/2017 ~ Small Water Matrix


When it rains it pours, after a long winter without a guide trip for four months, business is booming. The influx of emails, calls, and inquiries off the street has been overwhelming. Being a sole independent guide that does not rely on others to fill trips has been rewarding, and my hard work for the last 20 years guiding is not only paying off, but now has a high level of recognition throughout the state from my many years of experience. It’s all about pleasing my guest, giving it my all, and having a positive and enjoyable time. It’s about the total experience and exploring the great outdoors. I’ve been guiding in Eastern Plumas County mainly and here is the latest scoop. The Middle Fork Feather River is done in the upper watershed, and water temperatures are way up and poor to safely release resident trout. Carp and bass is the game there now, and the Portola area down to Gold Mountain has been producing. 




Below where Jamison Creek enters the MFFR has been good for smallish rainbows in the mornings and evenings, water temps are 63 to 68 degrees. There is a decent BWO spinner fall in the morning. A dry / dropper rig trailing a submerged spinner is an effective combo. Some yellow sallies are out, and a few caddis as well. The scouring from a heavy winter of precipitation and snow is evident as the bugs have been flushed to Lake Oroville resulting in light hatches. The occurring problem every Summer is the rock snot (didymo) that chokes the river out, as of now it’s getting a little thicker every day, it’s to the point that nymphing is too much work as one has to remove the slime after your fly bounces off the bottom. You can thank all the golf courses in the area for such conditions. 20 years ago the didymo was pretty much nonexistent. America’s first Wild & Scenic River does not get any respect at all.


I’ve been having the most fun guiding on Gray Eagle, Frazier, and Jamison creeks. My guests and I have yet to see another angler, but then again most won’t venture far off the path where the wild things are. Another reason is most anglers do not appreciate small wild trout, boulder hopping, and seeing the unique deep forests of Eastern Plumas County with its unique flora and Fauna. 


This is 2 to 3 weight action with bushy dry fly attractors, ants, and hoppers.  It’s just really fun fishing. My favorite set up is using a 7.5 foot leader and trialing a small flashy mayfly nymph, or a terrestrial 18 to 24 inches behind. The North Fork Yuba River is falling into shape nicely, though it could drop a little more as some runs are too swift. I fished it last week and anytime I found soft water I got some takes on both dries and nymphs.


I’ll be creekin, guiding, and fishing the small water for the next 6 weeks, see you on the water… if you can find me.

The Scarlet Lily blooming in a hidden location by Gray Eagle creek

South Yuba River Citizens League Volunteer Spotlight ~ Jon Baiocchi



I'm truly humbled and honored to be chosen as SYRCL's Volunteer Spotlight for the month of July. You can read more about my passion for all rivers by clicking the link here; 

http://yubariver.org/2017/07/volunteer-spotlight-jon-baiocchi/

Thank you to the entire staff, volunteers, and contributors of SYRCL for all that you do for the Yuba River and the surrounding watersheds!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Lake Davis ~ Frenchman's Lake ~ Middle Fork Feather ~ North Fork Yuba Fishing Report 7/4/2017


The surge of Africa hot weather a few weeks ago and continued warmer weather has water temps at both Lake Davis and Frenchman’s Lake excessively high with surface temps reaching 74 degrees. Its game over until fall, releasing trout when the water is that warm usually means it’s their last fight. One option at Lake Davis though is targeting bass for the next few months, with so many submerged willows in the lake it offers ideal habitat for large mouths. 



It was a great spring at Frenchman’s, big numbers of Eagle Lake Rainbows to the net, and plenty of action while stripping or bobicating. One thing I learned is that this lake is primarily a chironomid factory. While there is usually a good callibaetis hatch in spring, it just did not materialize into a profuse situation. I’m hoping this coming September will be different as there can be some incredible dry fly fishing using emergers and adults to cruisers in the skinny water. 




The spring season at Lake Davis was fair. Anglers who caught near double digits had serious game and worked all damn day long with precision presentations and awareness. Management on the lake by DF&W will be changing next year with more catchables planted and no more fingerlings for the bass to eat. The lake has plenty of water, and the aquatic insects are thriving providing more than enough food which bodes well for the future. The callibaetis hatch this spring was so amazing, and there were a good number of damsels too. DF&W did plant last week, so that will help conditions this fall. Once populations increase in the future, look for Lake Davis to return to its legendary status.


The Middle Fork Feather River is dropping into great shape, even below where Jamison creek dumps in at the Two Rivers access. Graeagle was a zoo this past weekend, I’ve never seen so many people before, and I lived there for 14 years. One tip is that you do not want to fish in town when you have higher than normal water conditions around the 4th. On Saturday we had 4 dozen people in rafts, kayaks, and inner tubes pass my guest and me, often floating 10 feet away and asking “Catch anything?” They put all the fish down for the day. 


It was better the next day down in the canyon with lots of takes on the dry / dropper rig. Water temps are 59 to 62 degrees. Hatches included golden stones, pmd’s, little green stones, yellow sallies, and a few caddis. All the fish in the past few weeks have been on the small side, but I’ve yet to huck a big heavy streamer into the depths of the bigger holes, and that will surely lure the big boys out from the darkness of the bottom. They are there.


Evenings are starting to fish well with a solo dry fly imitating caddis and yellow sallies. I’m excited to see the river produce quality evening hatches like it used to. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen that. You can fish a certain section of water during the day with fair results, and that same section will come to life during the last few hours of light. Bring a headlamp to safely get back to your vehicle and watch out for mountain lions.


I scouted the North Fork Yuba River again today and overall it has dropped a little. There are small sections within the bigger plunge pools of fishable water in select areas. Nymphing will be the way to go for the next 3 weeks, and hopefully by August 1st my guests and I will be hitting it on a daily basis with dry flies. It’s unbelievable how fast it is running, and there is still plenty of snow on the Sierra Buttes, and in the Lakes Basin area, as well as surrounding peaks. The 2017 season will be short for fishing this year, so make your plans now and fish it when it’s prime time.


Observations of the natural world have been astounding! There is an explosion of dragonflies with multiple species patrolling the shorelines of lakes and the banks of rivers. The red darner and the 12 spotted skimmer seem to be the most prolific. Songbirds are at their peak and today on the MFFR there was an orchestra of sweet melodies coming from the thickets of streamside foliage. I was also lucky enough to see a few falcons in the canyon of Little Last Chance creek flying at Mach speeds too. Wildflowers continue to bloom and I’m seeing many varieties I’ve never seen before, or simply do not remember. My guests are always so blown away at the sheer beauty that the northern Sierra has to offer. An abundance of water will do many things to an ecosystem, it may temporally strip away aquatic life from a streambed, but overall it’s a very good thing to have. See you where the wild things are…

Tiger Lillies huddle together by a small spring near Frazier creek

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