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Thursday, June 11, 2020

Middle Fork Feather River Fly Fishing Report ~ 6/11/2020

Fishing still remains great on the Wild & Scenic Middle Fork Feather River, but there have been some major changes with diminishing runoff from feeder creeks that have influenced the flows. The upper watershed has dropped considerably from the Graeagle area down to where Jamison Creek enters at Two Rivers. Most of the bigger fish have moved downstream to find better conditions such as colder water temps, bigger flows, and shady lies that exist in the deeper canyons. 

You’ll still find plenty of juvenile trout in the upper section of the recreational zone, and the evening can be very productive and fun with dry flies using 0 to 3 weight rods. Water temps are ranging from 59-65 degrees.

Downstream of Two Rivers the water has dropped as well, and it’s amazing how much it has dropped from last week. You’ll find colder water here, especially just downstream of Jamison Creek. Water temps are 56 degrees in the morning rising to 61 in the late afternoon. By the end of June it is important to carry a thermometer to see if the water is too warm to fish. I won’t fish or guide on the MFFR once the water temps get above 68 degrees as to not harm the wild trout that reside there. 

I’m starting to see more anglers, mostly spinny types, but all it takes is a hike downstream or upstream of the many access points along the river to escape and find solitude. The last 3 trips my guests and I have been on the river for 6 hours a session, and have not seen another soul. That’s the Lost Sierra for you.

I’m still blown away at the size and girth of the native bows this season. Like my dad used to say, “Just add water, and you’ll have more and bigger trout in the system”. Those big water years we had from 2017 to 2019 are showing their worth right now. We’ve also been lucky this year that there has been many cooler weather fronts push through with the added clouds for better BWO hatches. Just last Sunday the low was 27 degrees at Lake Davis with 2 inches of snow.

The MFFR is still a fickle river, one day can be decent and the next on fire. It really revolves around the hatches for that day you’re on the water. We are still carrying two rods, a dry fly rod, and a tight line rod. With the lower water levels there are much more fishable areas with the dry fly rig. Your standard Elk Hair Caddis and the E/C caddis have been the best, and some of the best action has been in the middle of the day in both the tailouts of major runs, and at the head of them in the faster water – Just find the soft areas with some depth no matter how big or small. For American Tight Line Nymphing, PMD Pheasant Tail jig flies and tiny Pheasant Tail Flashbacks have been killing it along with smaller Mercer’s Z-Wing Caddis.

Available aquatics on the menu for the trout include Sulphur, PMD, BWO, and now a sparse hatch of Green Drake mayflies. The big black caddis is still out, and so many other species of caddis, especially in the evening. Little Green Stones, and Yellow Sallies are still abundant as well, though I’m still not seeing a whole lot of Golden stones and salmon flies out which worries me as they are the canary in the coal mine for water quality. More terrestrials are also available like hoppers, ants, beetles, and inchworms. There is so much trout food in the system right now!

If you want the goods on the Middle Fork Feather River, you better get it now, or you’ll have to wait for fall and the “Second Season”. Look for water temps to increase and the lime green goo known as “Rock Snot” to engulf the river by the end of the month. 

See you in the canyons…

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