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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

Tours:
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

Outings:
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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