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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Lower Yuba River Fishing Report 12/31/14

Fishing has been very good on the Lower Yuba River, and all reports have been excellent through my Yuba Guide Network. Water temps are running 49-52 degrees, water clarity is very clear with a slight tinge to it. Flows are currently running at 576 cubes, with a meager inflow from Deer creek. The Skwala stones are still staging on the calm side water below the riffles. I spent 2 hours last Monday flipping rocks, and combing the riparian  habitat. No evidence of adults were to be found. It's only a matter of time though, a wee bit late as I usually see them in the last few weeks of December. Remember it's been cold, and they are not fond of that. For a better understanding on the Skwala hatch, please refer to my outstanding article on this legendary hatch in the December 2014 issue of California Fly Fisher. There is so much good useful information that will definitely help those unfamiliar with the Skwala hatch, and the tactics needed to be successful.

Cloudy days have revealed a strong bwo hatch, not a lot of heads showing though, but my guests and I have had some great sessions with pods of active feeders rising with a rhythm for up to two hours in the middle of the day. Nymphing and swinging is getting the big numbers, especially if you are drifting with a superior guide and covering water. Bobber rigs with a Jimmy Legs stone in a #10, followed with Hogan's Military May, caddis pupa, or a San Juan Worm has been the go to rig. For swinging, alevin and minnow patterns are dominating, along with black buggers. There is not as many salmon fry in the system as last year, and I believe the onslaught of rain in early December pushed many of them downstream, just as nature is intended to do.

I have plenty of open dates for trips on the Lower Yuba for the month of January, and I expect them to fill up quickly once the Skwalas get going. Only a few days in February are available as many of them are booked already, March is fairly open though so do not hesitate in contacting me. Teaching dry fly presentations to selective feeders is my specialty, remember, I'm a walk and wade guide who takes it to the next level in sharing the secrets of the Lower Yuba with my guests, so they can approach it, and fish it with confidence on their own. Sharing the knowledge is of the up most importance to me at this stage of the game.

Finally I have met the girl of my dreams, Shelly Ehmer who will be joining me soon after her gig is done at Big Horn Anglers in Montana. Shelly will be guiding on the Lower Yuba with her custom Adipose drift boat, and also working with me on Tahoe, Plumas, and Lassen National Forests. We are so excited to see what the future brings for us, and I have to pinch myself at times to feel if this is really happening. On a deeper level, I get to close a very dark chapter in my life, while I get the opportunity to start another one full of joy, and fresh adventure. The future looks bright! Happy New Year, make the most of it!

Verbascum thapsus, commenly known as Mullien
on the banks of the mighty Lower Yuba.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Pyramid Lake w/ Renegades On The Fly

The day after Christmas had me behind the wheel of the F-250 traveling from Calistoga, CA to Pyramid Lake, NV after being invited for a special fish out. After a 5 hour drive I finally got to meet one of the most bad ass women guides around, Shelly Ehmer, who has been working the legendary Big Horn River for the past few seasons. Shelly is also the founder of "Renegades On The Fly", a Facebook group that is dedicated to fly fishing for large trout, and having the most fun with life you can have. In my opinion, it's one of the most entertaining pages on FB ever.

I also got hang out and fish with some of the official army of "Renegades", raising havoc, and shootin the bull. It was such a great time! Fishing wise the lake is still slow, even with perfect conditions such as we had. But when you have a chance to catch a serious 15 to 25 pound animal of a trout, you just keep casting. I want to thank the crew from "Renegades On The Fly" for having me, It was awesome, and I plan on hanging out with them in the very near future.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Emerald Mile

I just finished one of the best books I have ever read in my life, "The Emerald Mile" written my Kevin Fedarko. It's a true story about the history of the Colorado river, Hoover Dam, and the golden age of guiding. Kevin's work is amazing, and has now influenced me in my own future articles of literature.

This book will appeal do those fly anglers and guides who use drift boats in their quest to tame the big rivers in search of wild trout. What's really fascinating is the vision by long time environmentalist Martin Litton, who organized a fleet of the original McKenzie drift boats to conquer, and share the gnarly rapids of the Colorado River in the early 70's. Martin just passed away last November 30th, 2014 at the age of 97, and will forever be an icon when it comes to the majestic and beautiful Grand Canyon, and the lore of the wooden dories.

The main character, and the most detailed and strict guide, was Kenton Grua. He earned the nickname "The Factor" because Kenton never did anything half ass, and was the most gifted pilot who operated at the next level. Kenton did some amazing things in his life, like walking the entire length of the Grand Canyon solo, totally unsupported in 1977.

This book is a must read, and I highly recommend it. It will captivate you, move you, and give you inspiration to follow your own adventurous dreams.

The Emerald Mile Teaser

Kenton "The Factor" Grua
1950 to 2002
Never Forget.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Lower Yuba Fishing Report 12/15/14

With a break in the weather, and the flows coming down from the now famous Stormageddon, it was an opportune time to make a few casts on Sunday, and get the real scoop on the river conditions. I spent my time below the Hwy 20 bridge and I was amazed that I only saw two anglers out. It was eerily quiet, except for the 2 strokes and 4 strokes getting their roost on, and letting out some braps, as they flew by every now and then.

There is still some Salmon in the river, with carcasses lining the high water mark, they give it their all to keep the species going, while their lifeless bodies give back to the ecosystem. I noticed some fry in the side water, but not a whole bunch. This means there is still eggs in the redds, and some alevins hiding in the gravel. Walk and wade anglers, please look before you step, and stay clear of the redds! I can't stress this enough. In reality there is no reason to wade out, as you can fish effectively right off the bank in many different areas.

The rainbows are still pretty much locked in on eggs. Swinging alevins, and small minnow patterns in a gray and white scheme with a little pearl flash is starting to produce as well. Seine samples today produced many micro midge larva and pupa, and many small mayfly nymphs which I deemed to be BWO's.

The big news of the day was the many Skwala nymphs I found staging in the slow quiet water next to the bank, below the riffles. I saw quite a few while rolling rocks no more than a foot off the bank. No adults yet that I saw, but it's only going to be a matter of time.

The flows on Saturday were running at 2,548 cfs, and through Sunday they were dropped down to 816 cfs. Today the river is flowing at 812 cfs. Deer Creek got up to 2,700 cfs during Stormageddon, but now has dropped down to 50 cfs and rising from recent rainfall. Moderate storms are predicted through the week with a possible 3 inches, but after the last storm, I'll believe the numbers after the rain has fallen. Stay tuned, I'll let you know the progress of the Skwala Nation as we move forward into the New Year.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Middle Fork Feather River Presentation ~ CFFU

On January 6th, 2015, I will be presenting one of my most popular programs for California Fly Fishers Unlimited of Sacramento.

The Middle Fork Feather River, located in Plums County is one of the first rivers to be designated as "Wild & Scenic", and is considered by many outdoor authors to be the most beautiful river in the state of California. From its start in the Sierra Valley, though the rich upper sections of coniferous forests with native green grasses, to the expansive polished granite lined walls of the lower canyons, the audience will gain insight and knowledge from my spectacular Power Point to better their approach when fly fishing this magnificent, yet quiet river.

I'll explain the three different zones managed by the US Forest Service, access points, techniques, tactics, entomology, fly patterns, and the fish that inhabit the MFFR. The program features 130 slides of colorful and inspiring images, plus detailed maps of the area. Attendees will gain valuable information from the hundreds of days I've fished on the MFFR, shortening the learning curve on their next visit to the Feather River country. This river offers wild trout, exceptional hatches, and solitude for those that don’t mind a short hike off the beaten path. This is a fantastic presentation you don't want to miss!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tying The Pepperoni Yuk Bug

The Pepperoni Yuk Bug was one of my Dad's favorite patterns when we used to visit the Madison River in Montana. Of course being Italian he was biased on the name of the fly, and that's just how it is with us Paisanos. This fly falls into the stone fly nymph / attractor category, and big brown trout love this thing!

The origins of "the Pep" come from Robbie Garret who modified the original Yuk Bug of the late 70's to his specs. Robbie was a fine boatman and guide, and anybody that has ever fished with Robbie knows how serious and intense he is. This fly takes those traits and exploits them, like the rubber legs that pulsate and move. The best way to fish this fly is high sticking with a dead drift, and occasionally pumping the rod tip ever so slightly to moves those legs. I'm thinking this fly would be killer on the Truckee River as you know darn well those fish have not seen it before. 

Hook - TMC 5262, sizes 4-8
Thread - 3/0, black
Bead - black nickel, size to hook
Tail - Large brown rubber
Legs - Large white rubber
Abdomen - Med or large black chenille depending on hook size 
Thorax - Med or large orange chenille depending on hook size
Hackle - Fiery brown Jay Fair schlappen 

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