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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

North Fork Yuba River Fishing Report ~ Formicidae

Conditions remain the same as last week’s report. The weather in the past week among the high country has been cool in the mornings, and very warm in the afternoons, and because of such, I’m still guiding trips in the upper watershed. Fishing has been great with dry flies and the wild rainbows are still crushing the sunken ant dropper with reckless abandon.  

Fishing pressure is extremely low during the week days; yesterday my guests and I were the only ones out making presentations on the entire river, pretty rare for Northern California. Water temperatures were 55 degrees at 9am, climbing to 60 degrees by 2pm. The water levels are still very low and it’s important to concentrate on the deeper pockets and plunge pools. 

As we creep into fall remember that the trout’s window of feeding time changes. During their summer rhythms they tend to feed in the mornings and evenings, they are now adjusting to the middle of the day during the warmest time. Creature comforts pertain to all animals.

Some springs from the subterranean world have greatly diminished, while others keep pumping out crystal clear cold flows into the North Fork Yuba River. We keep wishing for rain and snow, and hopefully we'll see it soon. Trees are dying, and the aquifers need to be replenished. We are at a critical condition. Mother Earth has her own way of doing things, especially when it comes to weather, nothing is the same and set in stone, rather she is constantly revolving with climate change. Man has left his carbon footprint in the last 100 years, one that has ultimately changed life forever. 

Aquatic insect hatches have remained the same, Pseudocloeon mayflies are still performing a massive spinner fall in the late mornings. Caddis are becoming more active with several species lofting about including the false October caddis. I have yet to see any evidence of the true October caddis, but it’s only a matter of time. During the middle of the day terrestrials still dominate the menu, it’s all about those black ants. For those of you who are new to fly fishing, the North Fork Yuba is the best river to learn the craft, if you can’t make a trip this season, make a plan to fish it next summer. You will not be disappointed, and will learn so much.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Lake Davis Fly Fishing Update 9/18/2015

After weeks of the same weather pattern across much of Northern California, a low pressure and moisture eased on in from hurricane related storms on Wednesday evening. There was also a sharp decline in air temps reaching the lower 30's at the lake. Water temperatures dropped 5 degrees overnight ranging from 57 to 63 degrees. Thursday's fishing was off, and I have seen this type of scenario happen many times before, it's just a matter of the resident rainbows acclimating to the new water temps, and fishing will pick up again. A little more fishing pressure than last Sunday but still plenty of water and shoreline to find your own spot. I also heard a few good reports from the north end of the lake.

There was also a bite in the cold wind on Thursday as well, and the hatches of blood midge and callibaetis did not really happen, just a few bugs here and there. The wind would blow, then there would be a break, and at that time there were a few risers to target. The go to flies for dry fly trout stalking have been Jonny's UV blood midge emerger #14, and Spirit River's UV2 Adams Parachute #16. Catching a rainbow on the dry fly is worth 5 on the nymph, it's really special. A few tips to help you hook those dry fly eaters; Set the hook late after the take. Cast left or right of the last rise form and anticipate the take, if you have the right fly on, it will happen. These fish move slowly when taking helpless emergers, duns, and adults. It also helps to give your fly a twitch every now and then to make it appear it is a living aquatic insect.

Conditions will only improve as the weeks march on. Keep in mind that the hatches tend to disappear after water temperatures go below 55 degrees. The time for good quality dry fly fishing is now. Get after it....

Monday, September 14, 2015

Lake Davis Fishing Report 9/14/15 ~ Dry Flies & Technical Presentations

Lake levels continue to drop exposing some very interesting terrain for the trout stalker making presentations off the bank. Water temperatures this past weekend were 63 in a foot of water at 9am, rising to 68 by 3pm. Keep in mind there are cooler water temps at 10 to 18 feet down during the middle of the day. Rainbows are coming into the shallows to feed on Blood midge, followed by a good Callibaetis hatch from 10am to 2pm, or until the wind blows things out. On my last trip, we never tied on a nymph, the trout were sucking down my blood midge emerger with zero refusals. Yeah, it was all dry flies, and many fish were hooked in a foot of water, right off the bank with very short casts. It was so awesome! Fishing pressure was very light with nobody around for miles. There is a problem with thick mud on certain shorelines, so thick, you sink up to your knees. Look for the harder clay bank areas if you intend to wade. With air temperatures cooling back down, and a small system with rain in the forecast, conditions should only get better. See ya out there.

Wooly mullein Verbascum thapsus standing guard over the legendary Fugawi grove

North Fork Yuba River Report 9/14/2015 ~ Dry Flies, Grabs, & Special Fun

After last week’s heat wave, my guests and I switched gears and concentrated on the upper watershed again. Last weekend the bite was on fire, the best I have seen it since the second week of July. To put it plainly, one guest said he had never caught and released so many trout in his lifetime. Flows are still low but have stabilized, and those springs just keep pumping cold water into the system. Water temps at 8am were 54 degrees, rising to 61 by 2pm. Fishing pressure has been heavy on the weekends between Downieville and Sierra City. On my beats, we have yet to run into another angler, and that says much after 36 trips since July 7th. The further one hikes into the abyss, the least likely you’ll encounter company.

The tiny BWO spinner fall is short lived with the warmer air temperatures, it’s over before you know it. Terrestrials still dominate the menu, ants and hoppers are plentiful. I did find a large burnt yellow mayfly which I have yet to identify. The occasional Golden stone fly has been seen as well. There has been a few false October caddis (aka The Cinnamon caddis) ovipositing on the water, but no trout have been keying in on them for now. The False October caddis is much smaller than Dicosmoecus, and hatches out before the real big bug of fall does. Conditions will be changing quickly in the weeks to come, so if you want in on this fun fishery, get it now.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Lake Davis Update & Fishing Report

Though we are in a warming trend, cooler nights have prevailed at Lake Davis, at 7am water temperatures have been at 60, rising to 67 in the afternoons. The lake levels continue to drop at a very fast rate. Currently the Honker Cove boat ramp is unusable for boats like my Tracker Pro Deep V 16. Small boats and prams are ok at the moment. There have been two incidences of boats receiving damage while trying to launch as they backed off the concrete and into the rocks. Speaking for myself I will only be doing walk and wade trips for the rest of the year. Not really a bad thing, as I use to fish the lake in the mid-nineties before I had any boats, and I did quite well once the fish were in the shallows.

The drought is not only affecting water levels at the lake, but cottonwoods, and aspens are dropping their leaves already. The trees have not even began to the show the blazing fall colors they are known for, that usually happens the second week of October. It’s my belief the trees are shutting themselves down as a last resort to save any energy, and prevent from dying until the much needed precipitation comes. Things are pretty bleak for Mother Earth in Northern California right now.

Weed growth is still a little thick, but starting to recede. The rainbows are coming out of the deeper water and into the shallows for a brief time in the morning and evening. This will continue to be the pattern as we go deeper into autumn. I will say this, the fish are really on the move, one day they are at point X, the next day point Z. Effective flies have been backswimmers, wiggle tails in burnt orange and fiery brown, dark damsels, and Sheep Creek Specials presented on either a floating line, or an intermediate. Indicator rigs in 8 to 15 feet of water have been effective using Blood midge pupa, Albino Winos, and Flashback Pheasant Tails. I hope this fall is not like last year when the fish keyed in on Daphnia, that was a tough game, and catch rates showed just that. If you’re up for a walk and wade trip, and want to learn the finer points of still water, give me a call at 530.228.0487, or shoot me an email at baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com

Thursday, September 3, 2015

North Fork Yuba River Report ~ Lily has so much game!

Not too many changes from my last report, but the lower river is turning on. The spinner fall is beyond belief, so many mayflies, it’s absolutely unbelievable. I had a trip last week that really puts things into perspective. Meet Lily, a nine year old little girl that rock climbs, rides moto, and pretty much dominates any of the above. She picked up so quickly on the finer aspects of fly fishing in no time. So cool to witness!

For all your needs for the North Fork Yuba, including flies and everything else, see Reel Anglers Fly Shop in Grass Valley, Tom Page is the leading authority on the river, and a great source of info!

Ken Hanley and I have indulged in another project, the toughest one to master; carp. It’s beyond words, and the Middle Fork Feather species is so hard to concur. They are so smart and elusive. Puts the Truckee River species to shame. Back at it in the am, so addictive! Take care, and see you on the water.

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