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Monday, July 20, 2020

North Fork Yuba River Fly Fishing Report ~ 7/20/2020

Good to be back on the North Fork Yuba River and guiding my guests with the finer points of short line dry fly fishing. It’s really cool to see an appreciation for the total experience of remote canyon water, small wild rainbows, 0 to 3wt. rods, and dry flies – Not to mention wet wading and keeping cool. There are lots of visitors in the canyon, and everywhere else in the Northern Sierra it seems. Population evading covid overload. We’ve been working the watershed from Downieville upstream to Bassetts Station where most of the cooler water is. Water temps in the upper most part of the watershed are 58 in the mornings at 8am, rising to 64 by the afternoon. The water levels are about average for this time of year and it’s amazing how the pockets, slots, riffles, and tail outs change after every winter.

Fishing has been great, especially if you get away from the more popular access areas. The further one hikes to the remote areas, the better the fishing is. Sometimes you get to present your fly to trout that have not seen an artificial all season long. There is a lot of young of the year fry in the side water, and overall many smaller fish from 3 to 6 inches. This bodes well for the future.

Many of my guests who have never been to the North Fork Yuba River before are kind of in shock when they realize how tough it is to navigate the boulders and wade. A wading staff, good wading boots, and being in sound physical shape definitely helps, plus it’s a whole lot safer. Another thing – Go slow and make every step count.

Good early morning hatch of Little Yellow Sallies (alloperla) are out in a size 18, also caddis, big meaty yellowish/tan crane flies, lots of ants, and hoppers are on the menu for the trout. Successful dry fly patterns have been Yellow Stimis, Elk Hair Sallies, RP’s Ant, Purple Haze, Elk Hair Caddis, and Adams Parachutes. Must have dropper nymphs include Jonny B's Ant Bombs, Hogan’s Red Headed Step Child, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Psycho Prince nymphs, and Red Copper Johns. The ant grab is really good right now! 

Spent Ichneumonid Long Tail Wasp

Many wildflowers have already expired like Western Azaleas while Scarlet Monkey flowers are just starting to come on. Not much wildlife on the river and we’ve seen only one rattlesnake – It was dead on the side of Hwy. 49 from a car strike.

I get numerous emails all the time asking for specific places to fish or access points and it’s so hard to answer that question when there is dozens of miles of river next to Hwy 49. What was good last year may not be that way this year. It’s best to just pick a section and fish it for an hour or so. If it sucks, get back in your vehicle and find another spot. Take note there is major road construction downstream of Jim Crow road (where Shangri-La Resort is at), and also just upstream of the Ladies Canyon Creek confluence. 

I've got some open dates for August, why not join me and get the Sierra Pines Resort package deal ( that includes lodging, meals, and a discounted half day trip with me. Give Glen and Cindy a call or an email, and click the link above.

Good luck out there and see you on the water!

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