Monday, April 30, 2018
Volunteering my time is important to me on local rivers and fisheries that I guide on. For the third year in a row I’ve been a volunteer on the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) Hammon Bar Willow Restoration Project, working with staff and other volunteers.
It was a beautiful day with big puffy cumulus clouds, a nice cooling breeze, and great company. The wildflowers are going nuts in the Yuba Gold Fields right now. I’ve never seen so many Lupine and California poppies down there in my life. If you appreciate nature, do yourself a favor and go check them out as soon as you can. They won’t last long.
Restoration Coordinator and Team Leader Karli Foreman used advanced GPS and a detailed map to find the remaining pods of willows to be recorded. My job was a little different this year, I wrote down pod identification numbers, and how many different species of willows (Arroyo, Red, and Gooding’s) including cottonwoods that were alive or dead, and taking detailed notes. A few observations we noted was a very high activity of beaver chomping away branches. This poses a problem as many of the branches they take away have a metal ID tag on them. That’s what the GPS is for in case the ID tag is missing. Also we came to the conclusion that many tags were buried by several feet of cobblestones and gravel from the floods of 2017.
We worked great together as a team and put in some serious work, 56 pods were recorded in about 4 hours of actual time on Hammon Bar. Jim, our other volunteer measured the height of the willows and cottonwoods, as well as the diameter of the base of selected specimens. Jim has been volunteering since the very beginning on this willow project and had some great knowledge. His insight was refreshing, and I learned even more about the ecology of the Yuba River.
So why are willows and cottonwoods so important to the Lower Yuba River? They capture woody debris which in turn controls silt, plus provides salmon, steelhead, and trout fingerlings with cover to hide from predators during higher flows. In some cases, they also provide adult fish with the same type of helpful habitat. Birds, adult aquatic insects, beavers, and rattlesnakes also benefit from the foliage.
Karli will be on site for the next few weeks collecting data at Hammon Bar, volunteers are needed and she sure would appreciate any help. You can contact her at 530.265.5961 ext. 216. If you have the time and want to give back to the river you love, give her a call and lend a hand.
Though the picture above looks like we are way too serious, it’s a great time filled with science, data, and lots of laughs. I had a great time being next to the Yuba River and can't thank Karli and Jim enough for the awesome company and good times. Though we did not see as much wildlife as last year, it was still cool to see a few rising wild trout, a snowy egret, and a few Pale Morning Dun Mayflies riding the currents of the Yuba River. It was absolutely beautiful. For you fly anglers, the river conditions are looking really good, the water clarity is clear, and the flows are at 2,335 cubes. If you can’t donate your time, think of joining SYRCL or making a donation. Every penny helps with one of the most important and wild watersheds on the west coast. See you on the water…
Saturday, April 28, 2018
The flows have been slowly dropping on the Truckee River the last few weeks, we’ve had some warmer days where there is more of a melt of the snowpack, and coolers days where there is not as much. Flows in the upper watershed are running at 490 cubes, east of town they are at 1,030 cfs, and down in the canyon the flows are 1,200 cfs. Water is clear for the most part, a little more color near the top end of the river. Water temperatures are 49 in the morning, and 52 in the afternoon. Fishing pressure is thick on the Glenshire stretch with anglers running down from parking access areas to the select buckets only to beat others. Etiquette is thrown right out the window with no regard to other fellow fly fishers. Fly fishing is such a scene nowadays. Hiking into remote sections further downstream will deter such actions. Overall fishing has been pretty good, some days are better than others. You’ll do better if you can present your flies early in the morning before others race down to do such.
High stick nymphing, and stripping streamers remains to be the most productive techniques. For nymphs, black rubber legs, crays, eggs, worms, and blue Czech nymphs. The Stanley Streamer remains the top streamer for our crew, with baby rainbows a close second. The grabs can be quite aggressive. My guest a few days ago nearly had his rod ripped out of his hands – That definitely got his blood pumping.
I’d like to thank the members of the Tahoe Truckee FlyFishers, and Diablo Valley Fly Fishers for attending my workshops last week. They were fun, and very successful for all. Special thanks to RIO for donating Versi Tips and leaders to the students. Learning new techniques, rigging, reading water, and fly selection are just a few of the key ingredients I cover. Combine that with my informative professional handouts, and a wholesome lunch makes for happy fly anglers. I have another streamer workshop on the 5/19, the cost is $150 and includes all of the above, plus top shelf materials used for proper rigging. The workshop is full. Call or email me if you like to book your spot. 530.228.0487 ~ email@example.com
Monday, April 16, 2018
Truckee Trout Unlimited presents the 13th annual “Fishmas Eve” fundraiser on April 27th at the Blue Coyote Bar & Grill located in Truckee, Ca from 7 to 9pm. There will be lots of great raffle items including guided trips, and more! $30 gets you all the beer and pizza you can handle, plus raffle tickets. This is the premier event for trout bums all over Northern California. All proceeds go straight back to the Truckee River watershed for enhancement projects like our restoration project coming this fall upstream of "Horner's Corner". Looking forward to seeing all of you Tahoe Trout Bums - Be there!
Sunday, April 15, 2018
For 2018 the Lake Davis / Frenchman Lake Outings have been cancelled due to the fact that my partner Rob Anderson needs to have shoulder surgery in the middle of May. These outings simply do not work unless Rob is there, it takes a team effort, and for those that have participated in the past we apologize for the inconvenience. We know how much you love the outings, and the great social atmosphere they provide.
We will be back in 2019, tentatively the dates will be June 7-9, and 14-16. For next year's program we are going to give the outings an upgrade and a new format. We hope you can join us.
With that being said, I now have some open dates for regular guide trips, June 16, 17, 22-24 are available at this time. To book your trip please call 530.228.0487, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, April 13, 2018
Flows on the Truckee River increased from the last soaking of a warm storm over the Northern Sierra, and still remain high. After the atmospheric river plowed through Glenshire reached 4,500 cfs, in Hirschdale the flows were at tad bit over 6,000 cubes, While Farad came in at close to 7,000 cfs. After the deluge a quick moving series of storms left the crest with about 8 inches of new snow, and the Town of Truckee received 2 inches. Flows are still high, but the readings above have been cut in half. Flows out of Lake Tahoe were increased on the 9th, and the outflow is right around 2,000 cfs. I've said this many times before, and I'll say it again. California is the land of extremes, from drought to flooding in under a month.
Fishing remains the same, and it can be good if you're experienced with fishing high flows and knowing which type of water will produce. You can check my last blog post HERE for the technical details.
For those anglers who would like to learn more on High Water Tactics, I will be giving a presentation to the Tahoe Truckee Fly Fishers on the 19th at the Truckee Rec Center. Doors open at 6:00 pm. I hope you can make it, there is a lots of great info in my program.
Another storm comes in Sunday through Monday evening with predictions of 12-17" of snow on the crest. This storm will be much colder with highs on Monday a little over 20 degrees, and gusty winds. Looks like more blower pow and only a few resorts open. Your best bet is to get out there before and after the storm. See you on the banks of the Truckee River.
The first flower of Spring in the Northern Sierra, Alpine Buttercups
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
It’s great to be back working the Truckee River again, and with the high flows and another atmospheric river approaching, it’s amazing how productive the fishing can be there with big water. Currently the flows along Glenshire drive are at 1,940 cubes, Boca Bridge is at 3,420, and near the bottom of the canyon, Farad is running at 3,610 cfs. Water temps on Wednesday started at 45 degrees and reached 48 by the afternoon. Water clarity was not muddy, and actually had some nice color to it with about 2 feet of visibility. With big flows there are certain types of water structure to look for, deeper side slack water that has a seam of faster water on the outside is prime habitat. Water that appears to be soft yet has a churning effect with heavy up lifting hydraulics is not the best, but can also produce results. Slower current speed is the key to everything. My guest had a pretty good day today hooking a dozen and putting six in the net, not bad for a dude that only gets to fish a few times a year due to family and work. We moved around and covered lots of ground which is beneficial for higher flows.
High stick/short line nymphing was really productive, lots of weight and heavy flies were money. Effective nymphs were black rubber leg stones, squirmy worms in red, Skwala rubber leg stones, and 10mm beads in peachy roe. There is a bunch of woody debris on the bottom, so if you get hung up take the time to try different angles to pop the sticks out of the sand and gravel.
Streamer fishing was also really good, quite a few grabs with Stanley Streamers and a fly I tie called “Darth Sidious” which is basically a black Zonker with red eyes and red Krystal flash. Standard swing and strip presentations with longer and slower strips is what the fish wanted. We ran a 10 foot Versi Tip with 3 feet of 1x, and a sink rate of 5 inches per second. Flies were weighted as well. Big tippets are no problem and encouraged. Batten down the hatches, things are going to get gnarly. That’s ok though, big Truckeer River trout thrive in these conditions, and they’re built for it. See you out there…
Sunday, April 1, 2018
I did a scouting trip today on the Lower Yuba River, and the water is still very high and currently flowing at 4,800 cubes. Water clarity is better than I anticipated with about 2 feet of visibility, but a good color to it. Englebright dam is still spilling at 101% of capacity. At these flows you are very limited as a walk and wade angler. Hammon Grove offers very little, you will have more accessible water on Hammonton road. Above the bridge you are very limited too, especially as the canyon tightens up. I ran into a past guest of mine and he caught and released two small rainbows while indicator fishing today. Until these flows come down, you're better off doing the boat and bobber routine, if that's your thing.
I'm switching gears and will be focusing my fishing and guiding on the Truckee River, the Middle Fork Feather River (opens this coming Saturday on the 7th), Lake Davis and Frenchman Lake. I've got some open dates in April and May, but June is all booked up. Weather is cherry, and the wildflowers are going bonkers down here in the foothills. See ya out there!