Conditions on the Lower Yuba River remain the same as the previous weeks except the trout are fully engaged on the Skwala stonefly, and actively looking for them in the drift. Fishing pressure remains to be moderate, and as expected, heavier on the weekends, but there is always plenty of room to find your own section of water too.
The flows came up a tad during the last storm reaching 1,650 cfs. Nothing major at all and just a good little micro flush to disperse food items for the trout. Currently the flows at the Parks Bar Bridge are running at 1,236 cubes, and the water is clear.
It's all about the afternoons right now, when the bugs are most active and you can ditch the nymph rig. First you'll see the BWOs and PMDs hatch around 12 to 1pm. Some days the actual hatch will last longer than others. I typically go out rigged with a BWO loop wing parachute to 5x before making adjustments as to what the real time conditions dictate. Every day is a bit different. On a few occasions in the last week, I have seen two different PMDs out. The fist is a more yellowish verity of PMD in a size 16, we’ve been seeing these little guys in the drift for the past few months. The second is a bit larger with highlights of orange on the thorax, and the abdomen has those same orange highlights on the top, with a pinkish hue underneath, in a size 14. Both have 3 tails which is a true indicator for a PMD.
There has been much confusion lately on the difference between the Yuba River March Brown (Rhithrogena morrisoni), and the Yuba River Brown Dun (Ameletus). The March Brown’s mottling on the wing is a bit different than the Brown Dun, but the biggest difference is the segmentation of the abdomen between the two. The Brown dun’s segmentation is very unusual, and more like a drake. The second factor is the overall size of the March Brown is a bit smaller that the Brown Dun. Lesser factors like the color of the tails and legs are different as well. Does it matter? For your everyday fly angler, no. Observe what the fish are eating, and match the hatch based on size, profile, and lastly color. For us professional guides, bug nerds, and those that write and share information with the intent of providing accurate journalism, it is important. Reports of early March Browns on the river are false.
Checkout my YouTube channel link here for the "Yuba River Scuba Skwala" behavior:
As mentioned before, the trout are totally dialed in on the Skwalas. My guests and I were surprised yesterday as many of the grabs and blow ups came from swifter water in the riffles. Not much time for a trout to observe your pattern in those conditions, and for the fly angler this is a big bonus. 2 to 4 pm has been the best time for fishing the Skwala adult. Use stealth for an advantage, and don’t beat the water! Cast less and observe more.
Sunny skies and warmer weather are here, perfect conditions for my favorite time of year on the Lower Yuba River. Explore your world...Know your bugs...Know your water...See you out there.