Spring Edition

Spring Edition
Spring Edition

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Upcoming Workshops, Tours, and Outings For 2016

My partners and I have some exciting and very informative workshops, tours, and outings coming up where the main emphasis is having fun, and learning the knowledge to be better and more confident while fishing on your own. On March 30th Lance Gray and I will be having another Pontoon Workshop on the Lower Yuba River where our guests will be taught all the parameters of drifting a personal watercraft. The Pontoon Workshop is taught by three instructors per every eight enrolled students. Cost is $175 per student for the one day workshop. For more information and to book your trip click HERE

On March 31st Lance Gray and I will be leading a Lower Yuba River Tour where participants will learn access areas, rigging, entomology, and the secrets that unlock the mystery of the river. The tour also includes handouts, a list of hatches with a fly list and of course our streamside lunch. Cost is $145 and limited to 6 anglers. For more information and to book your trip click HERE

The Native Sons Truckee Fly Fishing Tour is lead by none other "Da Dean of Guides" Frank R Pisciotta and myself with two dates commencing on May 20th & 21st, and also on June 24th & 25th. The Truckee Tour operates much the same way as the Yuba Tour. New this year will be an evening meet and greet, followed by the most comprehensive Truckee River Powerpoint. To unlock the puzzle of the Truckee River, and gain valuable information click HERE to book your date.

On June 10th-12th, and the 17th-19th Rob Anderson and I will be hosting the Lake Davis Fly Fishing Outings at Lake Davis. Enrolled guests will learn all the techniques and tactics to approach any western still water with great success. More than just a clinic, the outings are also a great social event with gourmet backcountry food, and Powerpoint presentations. I look forward to these outings every year because they are so much fun for everyone involved. Cost is $325 for the entire weekend starting Friday afternoon, and limited to 12 anglers. To book your spot, and for more information click HERE

I hope you can join us for these awesome upcoming events!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Lower Yuba River Fishing Report 2/23/2016

Fishing reports from fellow guides and anglers has been like a yo-yo, up and down, which describes the moods of the Lower Yuba River quite well. One guide I talked to on Saturday had two anglers in the boat and only 2 fish were hooked from the Highway 20 Bridge to Sycamore Ranch. That’s a slow day for a lot of water covered. It’s back to being sunny and warm with a chance of light showers this weekend into Monday with two weak systems flowing through. Fishing pressure has been heavy in the more popular spots, but you can always find your own piece of water if you know where to go. The flows out of Englebright dam have been steady bouncing between 1,060 and 1,080 cubes, while Deer Creek has settled down to 38 cfs. The clarity of the water is so much better now at around 3 feet with a dark green tinge to it, and improving. Water temperatures ranged from 52 to 54.2 degrees bumping up slightly from the weeks prior.

Aquatic insects have been very light with the occasional BWO mayfly, and a fluttering caddis here and there, unless we are talking about the Skwala stonefly. In the last three trips my guests and I saw many adults under the shoreline rocks in the morning (full on orgies), in the willows, and in the afternoons sunning themselves on the cobblestones preparing to either mate again, or lay some more eggs. The walk and wade angler/guide can see the skwalas much more easily than those that are just drifting. 

We also found fresh shucks since the 16k event so not all of them got washed down the river. With the improved clarity the rainbows can see the adults on the surface much more easily, though most of the fish have not keyed in on them. I have not seen many rising fish, only a handful, but that does not mean those rainbows aren’t looking up. All the fish raised and hooked with the skwala dry during the last week did not rise previously; all were fooled by systematic blind casting with a plan. Recent samplings still show Ryacafilia caddis, baetis nymphs, and worms being the most prolific. Unfortunately I have found many New Zealand mud snails as well, scrub your gear clean with a stiff brush, and freeze your wading gear as long as possible to ensure they are safe for another body of water that is not infested (yet). Finally, I found a Golden stone nymph, a victory of sorts since the last surge. A few tips when fishing the skwala dry; cover water quickly and make presentations to every nook and cranny including the skinny side water. You’re looking for the most eager fish. Two, keep your neck on a swivel. If you see a fish rise and it’s within reach, go right at ‘em as quickly as possible with a proper drift, that’s the sign of an active feeder worth pursuing.

Bigger fish have all been caught while nymphing according to my sources until today. My guest missed a very large rainbow that showed itself with a slow half out of the water arcing take in the 22-23 inch range, which damn near gave me a heart attack! He did manage to stick a 19 inch bow that spooled him quite well, and had his reel sounding like a chainsaw wide open. For your nymph rigs, a Jimmy Legs or a worm on top, with a dark baetis or free living caddis for a trailer will work well. Again, cover water, make the proper adjustments with the amount of weight and indicator distance for the depth of water fished, then pray to the fish gods for a take. I’m curious how this week will pan out with the improved clarity and warmer weather. With all the food flushed downstream, you would think those rainbows would be hungry for an easy meal. See you out there…

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Lower Yuba River ~ Truckee River Fishing Reports

Finally our false spring is coming to an end today with a forecast of up to 3 inches of precipitation for the foothills. We’ll have to watch the Englebright and Deer Creek gauges closely to see what transpires in the next few days. Regardless of how much of a flow is coming down the river and being blown out, the clarity is still not good; Englebright Reservoir keeps pumping out fresh brewed coffee in various degrees of visibility from 1.5 to 3 feet. I’m finding the water is a little cleaner in the lower Yuba River below Dry Creek (which is running clear). Flows at this time are 1,093 cubes out of Englebright dam, and 33 cfs from Deer Creek. Since the river has changed in spots from the high flows, be cautious crossing areas that you are familiar with, you can’t see very well through the dirty water, so probe with your staff before you take a step. The latest aquatic insect sampling continues to show small baetis nymphs, ryacafilia free living caddis, worms, and a few March Brown clinger mayflies in the riffles. No big stoneflies, or other larger bugs have been recorded since the 16k pulse release, it’s all small ball. I have found at least a half dozen dead sculpins 2 to 3” long in the shallow back eddies, most likely victims of the movement of gravel and cobble from the last surge.

The skwalas have also been on the light side since the big flows, but they are out there. I really have to spend a lot of time investigating the side water, willows, and dry cobble to be able to find them. I did well last week in a 2 hour window fishing the dry with 6 fish, and just happen to be at the right place at the right time (think 1 to 4pm). Even with dirty water, a dark colored skwala adult floating against a bright sky does stick out and creates quite the silhouette for a trout looking up. Another fact is not all skwala rises are explosive. If you have ever just sat on the bank and observed a productive run, you’ll see rises of trout that are just a nose popping out briefly while slurping down a skwala adult. The bigger fish can suck down an adult in the soft side water without even breaking the surface, something I observed and learned on the Madison River fishing hoppers a long time ago. Keep in mind the adult skwala stoner can drink water and eat as well, and they live about a month as long as a bird or a trout does not eat them. There are still other quality hatches coming up in the near future for those of us that like fishing dry flies no matter how many or little we hook.

Nymphing is going to get it done right now, and swinging some meat and potatoes flies are another fruitful prospect. I have a little over a dozen trips coming up until March 6th so I will be even more in tune with the river. There are 13 days that I have open in March at this time if you’re interested in learning the river, techniques, tactics, and a thorough understanding of the entomology, and the hatches. Shoot me an email at baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com to get the ball rolling.

Truckee River Report/Vacation

I spent another couple of days wading in the Truckee River free fishing on my own the past few days which does not happen very often of late, and I’m so appreciative of being able to. The weather was too nice, so good that just sitting on the bank listening to the river was good enough for me. I did not do as well as last week mostly because I did not put in that many casts, and instead relished the good company I was with. Water temps ranged from 45 to 48 degrees, the trout seem to be spread out, but some areas of the river with slow deep water with a little current and foam lines are holding big numbers of fish. There were tons of midges out, no clusters on the surface that I saw, and no heads showing as well. Bummer.

Photo by Frank R Pisciotta ~ cyberfly.com

Nymphing is the most productive way to get into them right now whether you’re high sticking, using a bobber, or swinging soft hackles. When in doubt, add more weight and lengthen the distance from your bobber to your weight placement. That small adjustment can make a world of difference on the Truckee River. Top flies right now are dark baetis patterns in olive, brown, and black, red and flesh Juan worms, and tiny Zebra Midges. 18 to 24” of snow is forecasted for the upper elevations with this current storm, and the region will be back into winter for a few days. Word from the Italian forecaster on Donner Summit is the long range model will change with a wetter pattern near March 1st after a period of dry weather. Typically March and April are strong months during an El Nino event, but just what is typical weather in our modern world these days? See ya on the water…

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Lower Yuba River Fishing Report 2/10/2016 ~ Truckee Too!

I was on the river a few days this week, and last Saturday saw unfavorable conditions for most anglers. Today was a whole different experience. The water clarity has gained up to 3.5 feet, but still off in a poor looking color. 

The flows have been great right around a 1,000 cubes, though today they dropped it down to 760 after 12pm, then up to 909 cfs. Deer creek has tamed down to 36 cfs. The dirty water is coming from all forks of the Yuba and brewing in Bullard’s Bar Reservoir, and Englebright Reservoir. With the increase in clarity I was able to hook 6 fish from 1 to 4pm all on the skwala dry. What it’s all about. 

The smallest fish I have ever seen on the Lower Yuba River took a skwala today and put on the biggest fight, these rainbows are so powerful for their size. Remarkable. Nymphing has been spotty; I’ve received both good and bad reports. Those with success have been using San Juan worms in red, flesh, and golden brown, and small dark mayfly patterns with some flash to them. If you’re going to swing, go with a salmon fry or fingerling pattern, they are still in the system and available.

With this intensely warm weather I thought I would see more adult aquatic insects about. I have seen the skwala stoneflies around, but in small numbers. I’ve also seen some fish rising for skwalas on the water’s surface. Today in the early afternoon there was a very light bwo hatch #18 for about 45 minutes, enough to get a few fish up on the surface. Covering water no matter your rig will be more successful in numbers. In my ventures today I studied the lower river and there have been big changes with the streambed there as well. Huge loads of freshly moved sand, gravel, and cobble are noticeably evident. There is some new habit for the local wildlife from the high flows receding leaving sloughs and ponds far from the river in the cobble fields. The plus side to these drastic changes is I have noticed way more holding water off the bank, with depth, and a current flow of about 3 mph. I’m excited to fish the new side water as the winter season carries on. There you have it, get out there - see you on the water. 

Since the weather was so warm and sunny I decided to pay the “Dean of Guides” Frank Pisciotta a visit on Monday in the greater Truckee area. We fished a little in the afternoon, and then checked up on some spots, doing a little scouting and a general analysis of the current conditions. It was beautiful out with decent fishing to make it extra special.

I went solo on Tuesday and had another good session fishing both crap water and popular water. Lots of split shot and perfect drifts with and without the indo nymphing did well for me. I waited for some heads to show, praying actually, but nothing coming up to the top.

Browns and rainbows ran 15-18 inches, with a few putting on some aerial displays. Top flies were Lance’s X-May #18 in olive, and worms. I had a great time and it reminded me of my youth fishing 
the Truckee area with my dad, and when I fished the river on my own as resident in the mid 80’s. Best trip in a long time. Stoked. Flows are good, water is clear, and the fish are cooperating – Get 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Lower Yuba River Fishing Report 2/3/2016

If you’ve been hiding under a rock like a skwala stonefly in the last week, you’ve missed out on another major event when the surge of water from Englebright Dam and Deer Creek topped 16,000 cubes early Saturday morning on the 30th. High snow levels with heavy rain on a decent sized snowpack equaled in heavy runoff for all forks of the Yuba. The North Fork Yuba flowed above 10,000 cubes as well at Goodyears Bar. I was down at the river on Saturday and it was pumping, and of course it was the color of chocolate milk.

Today on Wednesday the 3rd I went to the bottom most access and worked my way upstream taking samples of aquatic insects, clarity, movement of river material, and any noticeable damage at several stations. I did not find many bugs while rolling rocks like I did last week near the shore. I did find a few small baetis nymphs and March Brown nymphs (clingers). No stoneflies at all, and no fresh shucks either. I did see two skwala fliers and a few caddis, but that’s it. Clarity today was about a foot and a half, and the side water was a tad clearer than the main flow. Current flows this Wednesday evening is a combined 1,285 cfs. I fished very little today, even chucked the bobber around for about 30 minutes but no grabs. I would highly recommend fishing darker patterns for sub surface presentations like a brown Jimmy Legs with a red San Juan trailer, and plenty of weight. Dark day, dark water, dark fly.

The past high flows finally moved some of the log piles that were placed by US Army Corps in conjunction with US Fish & Wildlife, and other federal, state, local agencies and NGO’s at the Lower Gilt Edge location. Each log is tagged with a metal plate with a number stamped in so information can be recorded such as distance traveled, and location. These logs will enhance the critical habitat needed for Chinook salmon and steelhead throughout the Lower Yuba River watershed in the years to come. I noticed some of the logs did not travel too far and got hung up in the willows, but it’s only a matter of time before big flows move them again. To learn more about the woody debris and gravel project click here.

Idle pools of water were left behind once the 16k flows dropped, and I noticed that there were dozens of salmon fry trapped within them. I have seen this before on the Middle Fork Feather River after big water events, and after the 2 day artificial whitewater flows on the North Fork Feather River came down. A lot of material was moved in certain areas during this last surge of water, especially steep high banks on the outside of corners in the river. One area in particular really filled in above the Hwy. 20 bridge, last week it was thigh deep on me, today it was only ankle deep. The plus side of this is that it did create a nice transition zone that the fish will benefit from in the future.

Warmer temps and sunny weather will start to engulf the Lower Yuba River starting Friday and getting progressively warmer into next week with highs from 70 to 75 in the central valley. Good for getting the skwalas going again, but it could also melt more snow adding more of a flow, and muddy silt laden water to the system. The fish still have to eat and as long as they can see your fly there is no reason not to wet line. See ya out there…

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