Spring Edition

Spring Edition
Spring Edition

Saturday, June 27, 2015

North Fork Yuba River Fishing Report 6/27/2015

The North Fork Yuba River is fishing extremely well right now, and if you’re a dry fly freak like me you’ll be in heaven. Water levels are low, about what you would see at the end of July. This only concentrates the wild trout in the larger runs and plunge pools.

Water temps in the areas that I am guiding on with my guests are starting out at 55 in the early morning, rising to 61 by 1pm. There have been reports of higher water temperatures on a popular Northern California fly fishing forum, but these are reports from lower down on the watershed from nonprofessionals. When you hire a knowledgeable quality guide like me who has put in hundreds of days on the North Fork Yuba river, you’ll reap the rewards of being guided to where the important springs and spring fed feeder creeks come in. I’ve got it dialed.

Aquatic hatches are waning for the most part; Green Drakes, Gray Drakes, and Salmon flies are done. Currently the most profuse hatches are the little Yellow Sally (alloperla), and many different Caddis flies. There are still a few Golden stone flies buzzing around as well. The Dobsonflies are starting to be active, look for these giant bugs to be present at dusk. The nymph of the Dobson fly is commonly known as the hellgrammite, a food source that is a prime dinner for at least a table of four trout. A large burnt yellow crane fly is out in force lately, with hundreds of adults flying above the watershed and ovipositing on the water’s surface. A good clue why a large yellow stimulator works well right now.

The monkey flowers are just starting to bloom; the Lewis’s variety is the first that is starting to show right now. Seep Spring and the Scarlet Monkey flower will be coming on in the weeks to come, as will the Tiger lilies. Robins and water Ouzels have been feasting on the hatches as well.  I have yet to see a buzz worm this season, but the wise angler will carry a wading staff and actively bang away the terra firma to alert the rattlers of their presence. Walk slowly and watch where you step.

Effective dry flies have been Yellow Stimulators #10-14, little Yellow Sally patterns #16-18, E/C Caddis #14-18 in gray and olive, and Parachute Adams #16-18. For nymphs, Psycho Prince #16-18, Copper Johns in green, copper, and red #14-18, and flash back Pheasant Tails #16-18 are getting the grabs.

Now is the time to experience the most beautiful watershed in California where wild trout thrive in the cool well oxygenated waters. I have a few dates left in July, if you’re so inclined to learn about the North Fork Yuba, and the techniques of fly fishing, allow me to guide you.

Lewis's Monkeyflowers Mimulus lewisii take refuge next to a cold spring on the banks of the North Fork Yuba River

Friday, June 26, 2015

Giving My Time To The Cliff Frazier Memorial / Tahoe Truckee Fly Fishers Youth Trout Camp

As a Tahoe Truckee Fly Fisher member I was honored to be a part of the Cliff Frazier Memorial that was held June 22nd through the 24th. The Memorial is an opportunity for local youth to gain experience, and learn the art of fly fishing. Getting our youth involved is critical for the future of our sport, and understanding the dynamics of protecting wild trout.

Day one of the three day course was conducted at the Tahoe Donner club house with an introduction to the parameters of fly fishing, followed by casting instruction with proper technique. Day two of the event was held at the San Francisco Fly Casting Club, they rolled out the red carpet by allowing us to use their facilities, and access to their private stretch of water along the Glenshire reach. Because of warming water temps and extremely low water levels we switched gears and did the guided fishing in the morning. Our kids were so ready to get their feet wet you could feel the passion in their eyes!

Day two was successful for all of our participants, more than catching, the theme was learning effective drifts with dry / dropper rigs, and solid nymphing presentations.

Also on day two, I was the lead instructor with the entomology program in explaining to our little guests on the finer points of what trout eat, both aquatic, and terrestrial. Kids go crazy for bugs, and why I get so excited watching them learn the real science of fly fishing in regards to the flora and fauna.

On day three, all of us guides figured out that the resident rainbows wanted something stripped through the water column. I put my dude Cameron on a 12 pound tippet with a black bugger with copper flash, and all hell broke loose! It was insane.

It was nonstop action while stripping the big ugly black stuff, our two dudes who ended up fishless on day two walked away with being the champs the last day with catch rates of 10 & 13 each, with rainbows ranging from 15 to 18 inches. Learning fly tying followed the afternoon session, making the course go full circle. Thanks to all for having me as a guest guide, I hope I can be there next year. Special thanks to the Tahoe Truckee Fly Fishers for organizing this special event, There are too many names to list, but you know who you are  - Everyone involved did an awesome job! This was by far my highlight of the summer so far as I love to pass down my knowledge of fly fishing to the youth of our world!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Lake Davis Fishing Report 6/22/2015 ~ Technical & Challenging

Lake Davis has been very technical and challenging in the last week during the Damsel grab. Fishing pressure has increased even more, and those rainbows now have a very clear idea between an artificial fly, and the natural. For more success in the catching department it’s wise to fish areas that have not been getting pounded. Dark damsel patterns have been best including my chocolate damsel. Many of my guest’s damsel patterns in their boxes are way too big; the nymph is about 1 to 1.25 inches long. 

Water temps are starting at 62 in the early morning and rising to 73 in the afternoons, the wind continues to help keep the water cooler, and man has the wind been blowing up there. Last Sunday saw a steady wind of 20 mph and whitecaps right out of the chute around 7am. When such conditions exist, it’s best to pack it up and go back to camp and tie some flies. Soaking chironomids under an indicator just before the hatch ends is working pretty well, especially if the water has some chop to it. By 1pm the lake is dead as the rainbows are stuffed full of damsels. My guests have been hooking into some large specimens in the 4 to 5 pound range, so fat you can hardly get your hand around their behemoth girth. Very impressive!

The Hex hatch remains strong but is a very short lived show, starting at about 8:45 and lasting until dark. The emerger continues to dominate the best catch rates by far. Remember you can use heavier tippet during low light conditions, this helps immensely with less break offs. The middle and southern part of the lake has seen the most fish keyed in on the Hex. Just the like the Damsel hatch, the Hex hatch will vary in numbers from night to night, and every day is different.

For the last two weekends Rob Anderson and I have once again held our extremely popular Lake Davis Outings. These 3 day events are way more than a clinic, we teach how to best approach the lake for this time of year including equipment selection, rigging, leader construction, technical presentations, shore tactics, float tube techniques, and detailed informative handouts for later review. I also presented my Lake Davis Power Point right in the campground with the lake as a back drop for first timers; this really speeds up the learning process for fly fishing still waters. 

All of our guests enjoy these outings so much that we have many repeats, much of it has to do with the fun social setting, killer lunches and dinners, and lots of on the water time. We will be conducting these outings again for 2016 during the second and third weekend of June. Don’t miss out on the fun and sign up early, the outings usually fill up during the Pleasanton Fly Fishing show in February.

Lake Davis provides unbound beauty, sight fishing to large rainbows, and plenty of leisure time around the campfire. Life just doesn't get any better in the Northern Sierra.

Tiger Lilies lilium parvum in full bloom near a small spring in the Eastern Plumas County region

Monday, June 15, 2015

Lake Davis Fishing Report 6/15/15 ~ The Haunting Of The Hatches!

Finally a consistent weather pattern of the norm has fallen upon the Lake Davis region with sunny skies and cool nights. Water temps have bumped up quite a bit, 62 in the morning reaching 70 in the late afternoon. Windy days will help keep the water temperatures lower, as will cooler nights. The rainbows will still feed on the damsel hatch during such conditions for a few hours, and then return to water depths of 12 to 18 feet of water. Fishing has been technical and challenging which is a common theme during the damsel hatch at Lake Davis. If you want to be more successful, choose areas that receive little or no fishing pressure, or try another method of presentation; like a grasshopper pattern with a small mayfly nymph dropper. Afternoons have been very slow due to the fact they are full of food and resting comfortably while digesting their damsel nymphs.

The life cycle of the damselfly is quite amazing, to actually witness the nymph swimming to shore, hatching into a teneral, and reaching the adult stage really shows you just how unimportant our modern world is. 

The Hex hatch has been insane with so many bugs hatching the last hour of light! I knew this was coming. The population is exploding because the make up of Lake Davis is ideal for the nymph, mud and clay banks are the required habitat for them. Emerger patterns have been the most effective by far. It is so important to seek out individual fish and put the fly right in front of them to get the grab. The most satisfying angle for me is watching the hatch and how this food source supports the entire ecosystem, Canadian Honkers, California gulls, Western grebes, bats, dragonflies, and of course the resident rainbows have been feeding on the Hex like crazy. It’s so awesome to watch that I could really care less about the fishing. 50 years into this and Mother Nature still blows me away, I’m so grateful to be a part of her.

Lake Davis is a complex fishery during this time of year. Observe more, cast less, and make an educated approach to your presentations. For those that follow me and my adventures know straight up I love to share, to see others gain knowledge, and to be more successful with fly fishing. A day on the water with me is eye opening experience with the flora and fauna, techniques, presentations, fly selection, rigs, and more. This is my life and I’m not going anywhere. Expand your mind and the love for Northern California with me; I’ll put a smile on your face that will never go away. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Lake Davis Fishing Report 6/10/2015 ~ The Damsel Nation Awakens

The last week at Lake Davis has had mixed results in both strength in the hatches and the catching, with one day being red hot and the next fair. Water temperatures are now at 60 in the morning rising to 65 in the early afternoon within the main body of the lake. The word is out amongst fly anglers and fishing pressure has increased dramatically. Large rainbows are feeling it too, and an angler will be much more successful in searching out quiet coves, and intimate flats. Best areas to focus on now are between Camp 5 and Mosquito Slough.

The Damsels are dominating and the fish are keyed in on them, though there are Blood midges in the mix as well. Afternoons have been slow and I can only speculate that the trout’s stomachs are full of food while they lay in deeper water while digesting their intake. Besides they have to take a break as they anticipate the Hex hatch in the evening. The Hex hatch, like the Damsel hatch is very inconsistent from day to day. You never know how it’s going to be, but one must factor in weather, like wind, air temps, and cloud cover. On cloudy days I have been seeing a few Hexagenia mayflies hatch during the middle of the day, this indicates a strong population that is ready to pop and emerge at any time.

Today my guests had the treat of casting to some large toads in a foot of water on the muddy flats of the west shore. The water temperatures in these areas registered 71 degrees, but the food source is so great that these large rainbows will sacrifice being comfortable, for them, it’s all about being greedy. Targeting skinny water feeders is the most awesome fishing a fly angler can do at the lake, it’s like bone fishing in the south pacific, where sight and technical spot on presentations are a must. When trout are in a foot of water, their cone of vision is extremely small, and you must put you fly right in front of them to get a grab. Not some of the time, but all of the time. Addicting and challenging is the theme here. Now is the time to fish Lake Davis, June is the banner month and the consummate fly angler should drop everything and get involved. It’s that good!

Lupine and Alpine Buttercup wildflowers thriving on the banks of Lake Davis

North Fork Yuba River Fishing Report 6/10/2015

The North Fork Yuba River is firing on all cylinders right now. Fishing is extremely good, and the evenings have been magical. Water temps are ranging from 57-63 degrees depending on your location within the watershed. The best area to concentrate on now is from the Downieville area to Sierra City. The lower river around Rocky Rest is heating up, though mornings and late evenings have been decent. Expect good numbers of smallish wild trout 6 to 12 inches, with the occasional larger rainbow. There are some brown trout in the mix as well, and such a hoot to hook into.

Best rig going is a dry / dropper combo. These fish love purple, copper, and red flies when it comes to nymphs, and for dries, colors of yellow, olive, red, and black are producing very well. Effective dry flies have been Stimulators #10-14, yellow and red Humpies #12-16, Flying ant patterns #10-12, E/C caddis in olive, black, and amber, Yellow Sallies #14-18, Dave‘s hoppers #10-12, and parachute Adams #12-16. For nymphs; Psycho Prince nymphs #14-18, Red Headed Step Childs #14-16, Copper Johns and red Copper Johns #12-16, olive Caddis emergers #12-16, and Pheasant Tail flash backs#14-18. Aquatics are going off right now! Golden Stone adults, caddis, ants, and the big and little yellow sally are the main menu of late. There is a huge population of October Caddis in the system and this coming fall should be insane if the water level stays intact.

For greater success cover vast amounts of water, and fish every little nook and cranny. These beautiful little rainbows can be found most anywhere in the system including pocket water, pools, gliding runs, and frog water. It’s all wet wading now, and it’s so refreshing to mingle with the wild trout while letting the cool bubbly water infect you on those hot days. Dry flies, gorgeous settings, and fun fishing – That’s the North Fork Yuba.

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