The weather has been unbelievable in the last few weeks, hard to believe it's December. Today was 72 degrees down in the gold fields with not a soul to be seen. Flows have been stable at around 1,300 cubes and it looks like this flow will continue for quite some time with no major storms on the horizon. Water clarity is very clear right now, it would be nice to get a little bit of color back into it. Fishing has been good, and it’s been a lot of fun playing the dry fly game in the early afternoons. I’ve been scouting and walking long distances when I’m not guiding and checking out different sections of the river. New riffles, slots, flats, back eddies, and side channels have been explored. Some areas have improved, while other favorite spots of the past are now gone.
The above photo of the Lower Yuba River was taken in April of 2015 in a section that is far below Sycamore Ranch. You'll notice after the dog leg right, the river makes a drawn out left hand sweeper into a series of rock formations. Notice how many willows are also present.
Two years and one month later in the same section, the river has completely changed course moving farther south, and has widened. Many willows have been ripped away from their locations. Seven big water events during the winter of 2017 from 20 to 80k have sculpted a new environment.
If you remember a large Digger pine that was precariously rooted on the east bank next to the river downstream of the washout on Hammonton road before the floods of this past winter, I found where it finally made its new home after the high water receded. This new woody material will provide exceptionally good habitat for salmon, steelhead, and trout fingerlings to hide from predators. The Lower Yuba River could use a lot more of this type of structure.