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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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