Fall Edition

Fall Edition
Fall Edition

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Lower Yuba River Fly Fishing Report - 12/12/2018

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.

The wild rainbows are still on the small side from 8 to 12”, they’re eager though and not too picky. I’ve noticed in the last month they are putting on some girth and are more proportional to their size than in the past summer. It is so amazing how hard they fight for their size. I’ve been using a 6 weight, a little over kill but those little chrome missiles put a pretty good bend into it when they run. Its been a little busy on the weekends, but if you’re willing to walk, you can find your own water. Access areas like Hammon Grove can have multiple vehicles in the parking lot, and not all of them are there to fish. Many of those people are just taking hikes, playing disc golf, picnicking, and seeing the sights. Get out and scan the river, you never know until you take a good long visual. 

Nymphing in the early morning hours with eggs, stones, worms, and small flashy mayfly nymphs is working well. If you don’t want to stare at a bobber try swinging alevins, small minnow patterns, and sculpins. I’ve been using a RIO Versi Tip with a 3 ips drop rate and 4 feet of 4X. There is no rush to get to the river for the hatch, showing up late at around 11 am and walking to productive water while waiting for the hatch to come off is a good game plan when fishing dry flies. When you’ve been fly fishing for as long as I have, it’s not about numbers, but the experience, and making technical presentations to rising trout is where it’s at for me right now on the Yuba. Every day the hatch is different, and some days are better than others. Today the hatch was very light, but there have been some different mayflies active than in the previous weeks. Back when we had more cloud cover, or shade on the water, there was Pseudos, and a little larger BWO, in the last week Pinkies and PMD’s have been dominating. The Pink Alberts are the smaller mayfly coming off, and the PMD’s are much larger with a taller wing profile. There is also a difference if one fishes above the bridge or further downstream when it comes to the species of bugs coming off, there is much more shade on the water above the bridge. You just never know what's going to transpire, and an angler should always be ready to adapt to the situation at hand with a good box of dry flies that cover it all. The dry dropper rig has also picked up a few trout in the past week. A larger dry fly with good floating characteristics and a 18" dropper down to a X-May or S&M nymph #18 in olive would be a sufficient set up.

If your on the water and spot some rising fish, make a calculated game plan and go right at them. Those trout are telling you that they are actively feeding and the moment should not be wasted. Being stealthy like keeping a low profile and fishing the side water before stepping into it is a smart move. With a lower arc of the sun in the winter sky, an angler must watch their shadows as they are very long, especially in the late afternoon. As I walk upstream hunting heads I’ll stand way back while hiking along a high bank so my shadow stays off the water and does not spook those trout. Many trout have been caught just blind casting on the flats with no previous rise forms in the afternoon.

I’m finding more aquatic insects under the rocks lately and the river is coming back quicker than I anticipated. A few fully mature Skwala stones have been identified in the slack water next to the bank and below major riffles. Lots of Baetis nymphs and other mayfly nymphs have been spotted too. It makes a difference where one looks when collecting specimens. Flip rocks in aerated water, or riffles to find the most diversity. I’ve also found Hydropsyche caddis larva in the mix. It’s been really cool seeing the river grow and come back to life.

If you don’t mind small strong wild rainbows that can be caught on a variety of methods, pleasant weather, songbirds, and the occasional fighter jet or a U2 aircraft flying overhead, then the Lower Yuba River is for you. I’ve got open dates and a ton of knowledge to share with you, and good quality instruction that can advance you to the next level. 530.228.0487 ~ baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com See ya out there…

Friday, December 8, 2017

Echo Shadow II Rod Review

It’s amazing how specialized fly fishing has become in our current modern world. Back when I started in the 70’s I had two rods, 5 and 7 weights, both Fenwick fiberglass models matched with Pflueger reels and Cortland lines. That’s all that my Dad and I used, and we caught plenty of steelhead and trout with them. Today’s world is different, and I own more specialized rods than ever. I still like to simplify my quiver though, and have become a man of basic needs over time. A longer rod has its advantages though, and two scenarios would be high stick nymphing, or short line dry fly fishing in classic Northern California pocket water.

My current high sticking rod is the last generation of Powell rods designed by Press Powell and manufactured in Chico, Ca. It’s the 10 foot IM6 triple scrim, a beautiful rod that is medium to fast action with a soft tip and perfect for nymphing and mending long line. Because it is so rare and cherished, I hate to use in fear of beating it up or breaking it. It can’t be replaced. In searching for a day in and day out workhorse of a rod I stumbled on the Echo Shadow II, and so far I’m extremely pleased with the results. I chose the 10.6 foot model in a 4 weight, and purchased the competition kit that allows the user to increase the length of the rod to an additional 6 to 12 inches. The kit also comes with a fighting butt and slip on counter weights to balance the rod for a perfect feel, and comfort while using it all day long.

The first attention to detail that lured me to purchasing the Shadow 2 was the matte finish. I’ve always been big on being stealth, in fact I own the original Stealth Rod created by Gary LaFontaine, a damn fine fly rod in its own. Secondly I was sold on the length and the additional slip on feature for even greater length. Tim Rajeff and Pete Anderson really thought outside the box on this project. Black thin single foot guides keeps the weight down for better all around performance, keeping the rod balanced and true. The grip is a standard reverse cigar style and somewhat comfortable, I prefer a half or full wells, but the old school fly angler in me tells me to adjust and adapt, which is pretty much my method of operation. The aesthetics of the rod is classy yet not over commanding with a little flair, like the signature graphic of a stone fly nymph on the reel seat. 

I matched the rod with a Galvan Rush Light reel, I could have used a heavier reel to match the Shadow II since it is a bit tip heavy with the longer length, but the additional slip on weights offered in the competition kit fixed that. I added 3 of the washers from the kit to get a true balance of the rod while being held in my hand. The line I chose to match with the Shadow II was the weight forward In Touch RIO Perception 4, with this line I can high stick, and also switch to dry fly fishing with a quick change in leader selection.

With high stick nymphing, the casts are short and none of the fly line is outside the tip with my own personal leader construction. The Shadow II loads a heavy nymph rig quite well and is accurate in its delivery. The greatest feature on this rod for nymphing is the super sensitive tip, and I could feel my flies tick along the bottom of the river while making a drift. This is important and can save an angler a lot of flies from being lost on snags because you’re in better contact with your rig. The softer tip also allows for extra protection when using lighter tippets, and more efficient hook sets. The butt section on the Shadow II is beefy, and for a 4 weight it can handle big fish easily and tires them out for a quicker net job. With my same high stick leader during testing, I put on an Air Lock indicator and made long nymphing presentations. I was surprised at how well the rod mended large amounts of fly line throughout the drift. It also delivered line effectively from the tip of the rod using a downstream bump feed presentation without much bounce or recoil. I also tested the Shadow II with a dry fly set up and made false casts amazingly well with a nice controlled loop that allowed my leader to fully lay out. I will definitely be fishing it on the North Fork Yuba River this coming summer. The rod was equally good at swinging small streamers with a RIO Versi Tip at a drop rate of 3 inches per second.  

This rod does it all, and does it well. At $250 it’s well worth the money, and for $75 more you can purchase the competition kit and customize your rod for any situation you encounter on the river. I have yet to use this rod on a stillwater, but I imagine it would shine just as well as the other tests I made with it. The Shadow II is a fast action rod with great power and accurate tracking. Though I bought this rod for just high stick nymphing, it’s nice to know it can be used for many different applications. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Lower Yuba River Fly Fishing Report 12/6/2018

Dominating high pressure lately with plenty of sunshine and the air temperatures are much warmer after the north wind has gone away. The flows have leveled off on the Lower Yuba River and are currently running at 1,309 cubes at the Parks Bar Bridge gauging station. Yuba County Water Agency will keep these flows for the next few weeks, subject to change if we get any precipitation which does not look good. Maybe the middle of December, or clear into January is the word on the streets before we see any rain. I hope they are wrong. Water clarity is clear. Fishing pressure is moderate to light depending on whether it is a weekday or the weekend. 

Conditions are nearly the same as my last report with a little variance in regards to the hatches. More salmon have entered the system, and in the last few days I’ve noticed new redds appearing, some have are active with players, while others are quiet. A new small side channel I fished today had several salmon doing their thing, and they were not that beat up so I assume they are on the fresh side.

I’ve heard people complain about how ugly the Lower Yuba River is and I don’t get it. If you look past the mountains of gravel and look at the intricate details of the land with songbirds, aquatic insects, vibrant moss on really cool rock structures, and the water itself – It’s a beautiful place.

With plenty of sunshine and a little breeze, it really affects the mayfly hatches. Anytime there are cloudy or drizzly conditions with mild air temperatures is a green flag for good mayfly hatching weather. During such situations, a mayfly cannot dry its wings off very effectively and remains on the water for a longer period of time, giving the trout ample time to make a thorough inspection before consuming the food item. With warmer days, plenty of sunshine, and a little wind, mayflies are able to dry their wings rather quickly and fly off before a willing trout can eat them. That’s been the case lately but still there are a few rising trout willing to play the game.

Seine samples in the riffles today were very surprising, lots of March brown nymphs that are mature and should be hatching in late winter. Baetis nymphs came in second, followed by Ryacophilla free living caddis. It’s been really cool to see the river come back since the floods, growing a little here and a little there, and rebuilding.

All styles have been effective. Nymphing with steak and eggs (stone fly patterns and beads) has been really good, another option is to switch your trailer fly to an S&M nymph #18 in olive about an hour before the afternoon hatch. Swinging minnows continues to be good. You need to work a run quickly and present to the most aggressive fish, again stripping at the end of the swing has been the key to success. 

For dry flies I’m rigged with a #18 BWO Loop Wing or Sparkle Dun with a 12 foot leader to 5X, I’ll drop to 6X and a smaller fly if I get refusals. Don’t just blind cast, sit on the bank with your neck on a swivel and look for active feeding fish on the surface. Once you find a player, engage with the hunt. The trout are still on the small side from 8-12”, the largest I’ve seen so far is 14”. I know there are larger fish out there but they just have not been in my net. That’s all I got for now, see you among the cobblestones…

Ursus americanus ~ American Black Bear
Roaming down from the foothills in search of spent salmon

Monday, December 4, 2017

Christmas Fly Fishing Gift Certificates Available Now!

A gift certificate from Baiocchi's Troutfitters is the perfect gift for your favorite fly angler, and can be used for half and full day guided trips, workshops, tours, and instruction. It's super easy to purchase the gift certificates, just follow the links provided below.

  • Download and print HERE.
  • Fill out the front, and list the recipient of the gift.
  • Pay for the trip, workshop, tour, or leave just a deposit HERE.
  • Contact me for your special authorization code, and write it on the back.
That's it! Place under the tree, or use as a stocking stuffer and watch that special fly angler's eyes light up on Christmas morning! After they calm down from the excitement of the gift certificate (which may take days) have them contact me to arrange a date on my features waters; Lower Yuba River, Frenchman Lake, Truckee River, Lake Davis, North Fork Yuba River, and the Little Truckee River.

If you have any questions please contact me at baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com or call me at 530.228.0487

Baiocchi's Troutfitters wishes you and your family the very best for the upcoming holiday season!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Lower Yuba River Fly Fishing Update 11/30/2017

Called to duty, I was on the Lower Yuba River today and it did not disappoint at all. The flows have been humming along at a little over 2,000 cubes for the past 3 days until the percent of capacity in Englebright Reservoir reached 94%. Just before noon today they cut the flows drastically which will fall to around 1,200cfs when the YCWA scheduled flows have stopped coming down. Before the flows were cut the river was extremely fishable, but the fish were more spread out. Water clarity is perfect, mostly clear with a slight tinge of color. With the flows down it will be much easier to cross in the preferred spots and will bunch the fish up tighter in select areas of the river.

With bright sunny skies today, there were just a few spent wing BWO spinners on the water with the occasional “one and I’m done” risers. Then the clouds began rolling in and lower light levels ignited a decent hatch of size 20-22 Pseudos at round 1pm. The hatch intensified in the next hour and then suddenly a larger BWO was coming off in a size 16. The trout quickly switched over to the bigger mayfly and it was game on for my guest. It was short and quick and lasted another hour before the switch was turned off. It’s so much fun to be able to witness and experience nature when she wants to put on a show, it truly is the best. 

The trout were not that selective with patterns, but they did mind if your presentation was not up to par. We also had to drop down to 6X. While on a guide trip at Frenchman Lake this past fall with legendary pro tyer Bud Heintz, he introduced me to Enrico Puglisi’s Trigger point fibers. Leave it up to an Italian to come up with a great material for dry fly bodies and wings. I’ve replaced the standard deer hair on my Sparkle Duns and Comparaduns with the EP Trigger fibers. They kick ass. Treated with Watershed waterproofing agent right out of the package, the material floats extremely well, and best off all is the durability aspect. The fibers stand true and tall and are easily manipulated and will not crush and fall apart like deer hair. I’m totally sold on them. Try the EP Trigger fibers on your own patterns and see for yourself.

30% chance of showers on Saturday with 70% of precipitation into the evening, and just a chance on Sunday. Sounds like perfect mayfly weather to me. See you on the water… 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Lower Yuba River Fly Fishing Report 11/25/2017

Perfect trout weather the past few days with mild air temperatures and clouds. The Lower Yuba River is fishing pretty darn well. Flows have stabilized and are running at 1,123 cubes, water clarity is mostly clear with a slight tinge to it. My guests have had some killer dry fly fishing casting to selective risers on the calm flats both in the foam line and on the edges. 

One day the hatch may happen in the afternoon, and the next day it could happen in the late morning. An angler needs to be flexible, and having two rods set up for both surface and sub surface presentations will be an advantage. I saw a few more salmon in the river this week, and a few more redds. Still though, there should be more in the system.

Wild rainbows from 8 to 14” are keying in on Blue Wing Olives (baetis) #18, and tiny Blue Wing Olives (pseudocloeons) #20-22. It’s best to make a few casts to a specific target, and if you don’t get a take, rest them a while or move to another target. 5X tippet is working just fine, but you may need to make a fly first downstream presentation to get a grab. Sparkle Duns, Hackle Stackers, and Loop Wing Parachutes have been getting the most attention. We have been getting a few rainbows on the swing as well using Alevins, and salmon fingerlings. Remember to strip your fly after your initial swing is done, most of the fish came on the strip. There is a few female Stub Wing stone flies drifting among the currents ovipositing, we saw two bigger fish that were out of reach hammer the floating prime rib dinners. To learn more about the Stub Wing stone fly click here; http://jonbaiocchiflyfishingnews.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-stub-wing-stonefly.html 

More rain coming in tomorrow morning through Monday morning, an inch is expected to fall. We’ll see what that does to the river, if anything adding a little color from Deer Creek would be an advantage to the fly angler as those rising trout were extremely skitterish today. Partly sunny weather through the week with cooler temperatures. I’ve got some dates open for December, if you would like to learn more about the river, and increase your chances with technical dry fly presentations, or how to cover water effectively swinging, give me a call at 530.228.0487 and let’s get a date on the calendar. See you out there…

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Last Word on High Stick Nymphing

Over the past few months I've come to the realization that there are too many ways to rig a leader for high stick nymphing, let alone the origins of such. It's really confusing for those new fly anglers that would like to participate in the craft. No matter the rig, the basic drift is the same employing depth, angle, and the drop. The link below is the last word on the history of high stick nymphing. Eric Palmer of Granite Bay Fly Casters (http://gbflycasters.org/) wrote an article on the history and the colorful characters involved from the beginning with HSN, and it's absolutely fascinating. The amount of research alone is mind blowing. Northern California's roots lie deep with HSN, and as a Nor Cal native, I'm extremely proud of that. Give it a read... 

Ted Towendolly and the Origin of Short-Line Nymphing on the Upper Sac

Frenchman Lake Fly Fishing Update 11/21/2017

Mild weather at Frenchman Lake yesterday, cloudy, sunny, misty, showers, windy, calm, and a mid day rainbow. We saw it all. Because of the warmer conditions, there is no shore ice to speak of, and muddy conditions exist for the walk and wade angler. The good news is that there are still plenty of fish in the shallows, we found they are scattered for the most part, but some coves have more hanging out in the neighborhood than others. There were a fair number of very small black flying beetles that were active and the trout were keying in on them. Rising fish and targets in the early afternoon, and many were very selective. Another observation was that the trout were not staying in one particular spot within a cove, they were roaming quite fast from spot to spot, searching for those beetles.

Effective patterns were pheasant tails, Jay Fair stripping flies in fiery brown, and dandelion emergers in black (closest fly I had that matched the beetle). All flies were unweighted due to shallow water we were focusing on, many of the trout were in 6 inches to 3 feet of water. Fishing pressure was non existent, just a few bait guys at Salmon Egg shoal. Be careful on the drive up the canyon when freezing temperatures are present, some of those tight curves do not have guard rails. Time is running out on the little desert lake, get some before it's gone...

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Trinity River Fly Fishing Report 11/16/2017

My annual Trinity River vacation/trip was pretty damn good this year for many different reasons. First off, it was some quality "Jonny B" time, and even more special my 52nd birthday. After grinding out a full season of guiding, living out of a truck, and being away from home, this trip was all about enjoying myself and having fun. Secondly, the river was in pretty good shape with some decent reports coming from both the upper and lower parts of the river. The stage was set, and the best part was my buddy Jimmie Marchio coming along for the trip who had never been to the Trinity River, or hooked into a steelhead. We stayed at the Red Hill Motel and Cabins, a step back in time with perfect accommodations for the no frills steelhead bum.

Heavy rain was in the forecast for our trip on the 15th, and the flows were right around 400 cubes. We dressed for conditions with our best rain gear and met up with our guide Brian Clemens of Nor Cal Fly Guides, who I would highly recommend. We floated the lower river under a steady rain all day, basically fishing for 8 hours straight. We did not eat, we did not drink, and only focused on strict drifts with the Jaydicator rig. Jimmy Leg stones, Golden Stones, Psycho Prince nymphs, and Red Copper Johns were all effective. Though we were soaked to the bone and a bit cold, it was a fantastic day.

The most satisfying part of the day for Brian and I was watching Jimmie fight and land his first steelhead of his life, he was stoked! He hooked into another beast of a fish that was estimated at 15 pounds, it cartwheeled and flipped out of the water providing a stunning aerial display, and then just as fast, it broke off, and headed for the pacific ocean at full speed. It was unreal. We hooked a few more adults, half pounders, and a few dinks during the rest of the day.

We were surprised that the river did not blow out, and that Canyon Creek remained clear. There was a ton of boat traffic, and we had many inexperienced oarsman drift right over our fish, or in our lanes. All the experienced guides were extremely polite and showed good etiquette towards us. We worked slow and methodically down the river and let most of the boats chase each other downstream to the take out, which gave us the opportunity to clean up their mess and reap the rewards. 

That evening I was treated to a birthday dinner and was joined by Mike Brugh and Trevor Fagerskog of the Tahoe Truckee Fly Fishers, Jimmie, while Brian and another top Trinity guide, Peter Santley sat adjacent to us. It was quite the celebration from the Indian Creek Lodge Cafe filled with fishing stories, smiles, and lots of laughs. Plans are already made to be there again next year for November 15th. Special thanks to Brian for giving me a few dozen of his deadly patterns! See you next time Trinity River. What a beautiful place to be.

Lower Yuba River Update 11/16/2017

In the past 24 hours, areas surrounding Grass Valley and Nevada City have received 5.2 inches of precipitation resulting in the Lower Yuba River to more than triple than the previous flow. Currently at 4:30 pm the flow at Parks Bar Bridge is at 3,232 cubes. Deer Creek jumped up significantly as well rising from 17.5 to 1,221 cfs. Water is very off color with about a foot and a half of visibility, just enough to get a few grabs if you put it on their nose. The forecast is calling for continued rain until tomorrow morning, then clearing through Sunday. Monday brings more rain. The upcoming weekend looks to be your best shot at a chance of the river somewhat clearing.

UPDATE: The river crested at 7,078 at 1 am on the 17th, it is falling rather quickly and now at 5,600 at 9 am. 

Steak & Eggs would be a good place to start; dark rubber leg stones, and mottled yolk colored eggs proved effective in the last week. Look for soft side waters and BWO hatches to occur. 

The concrete boat ramp at Sycamore is back to being usable, with higher river levels, and the fact Dry Creek has come up, you won't have to poach your boat over the lawn. I'll be out there working and getting into my winter time mode of reporting on the Lower Yuba River for the greater public. See ya out there...

UPDATE #2: The Lower Yuba has fallen down to 1300 cubes as of 6 am on the 19th.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Upcoming Fly Fishing Presentations for 2017 & 2018

In the upcoming months I will be speaking at the fly clubs listed below on a variety of different topics to be announced. In the works right now is an all new presentation for 2018 on "Fishing High Water/Spring Runoff Conditions" as requested by the Tahoe Truckee Fly Fishers. Meetings are free to the public, and you're encouraged to join your local club, which I highly recommend as they have a lot to offer, especially to those that are new to fly fishing. I will also be making an appearance at the International Sportsman's Expo in Sacramento with presentations and casting demos. Make sure to click on the orange highlighted links for more information on locations and meeting times. More presentations may be added down the road, you can always check my schedule on Baiocchi's Troutfitters News Page HERE. I look forward to seeing you at one of these distingiushed fly clubs!

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