Sunday, November 18, 2018
Lower Yuba River Fly Fishing Report 11/18/2018
Obviously smokey air quality conditions exist on the Lower Yuba River but fishing still remains decent for those that put in the work. Flows are stable at 993 cubes, just a tad up from my last report. Water is clear but not for long. Finally a storm system will impact the area beginning on Wednesday, it's been 6 months since we've seen the skies open up. The foothills are forcasted to receive 4 inches of rain. Fishing pressure is moderate to light, and not too many boats drifting down either. Lots of bird activity including many bald Eagles looking for salmon carcasses to Bluebirds feasting on caddis in the evenings. Great observations abound right now.
The last few weeks has seen an abundance of "joey's", 10 to 13 inch wild rainbows. As you know the Yuba rainbow pulls like no other resident trout. Strong steelhead genes combined with being on a treadmill (the current) 24 hours a day makes for a very conditioned athlete. All types of presentations are effective right now. Dry fly fishing remains good from 10am to 2pm, and sometimes even later into the evening. Mahogany duns are waning but still present. There is a thick Psuedocloeon spinner fall starting at around 11am. Day in and day out the BWO has been the most consistent hatch, duns are a size 18. A few pinkie mayflies here and there are also in the mix. The trout have been very selective especially on the flat calm water. We did better yesterday in water that was broken up, yet had a little depth to it. Dry/Dropper rigs continue to perform well, I've been quite surprised how many fish have blown up on the orange Stimi. Nymphing is all about eggs and legs. Jimmy Legs in mottled yellow/brown, brown, black, and egg patterns in peachy king, natural roe, and tangerine dream have been killing it. Other good nymphs include red copper johns, free living caddis, San Juan worms in flesh and red, Hogan's S&M in olive, and Juju baetis. Trout are taking both small and big flies at this time. Swinging the minnow will become more important in the next few months, make sure your box has some.
There continues to be more and more new salmon redds through out the system, and I'm sure after this rain it will push even more salmon up river. I've been educating anglers on the proper etiquette when encountering a salmon redd while wading. Believe it or not, many have no idea what a redd is (by definition), or what they look like. One young couple I educated had no idea either, but once they were able to identify a redd they just sat and watched the salmon do their thing. Look at the picture above, this is a slamon redd, note the very clean gravel and cobble. Do not wade through these areas as you will crush the eggs, go around them and give them plenty of room. Remember the eggs are in the gravel for approximately 50 days so you will still want to avoid walking through older redds. With such low counts of salmon in the last 20 years, it is imperative that we do all that we can to help the species survive.
The Camp Fire has really been tough for me to deal with, emotionally I'm a bit shook up and in disbelief. We moved to Paradise in 1967, my father wanted to be closer to the great fly fishing the Feather River system provided, and to raise his young family among the conifers and the natural world. In 1971 we moved to a brand new house off of lower Pentz road (see above). I lived there until 1986 when I left to chase my professional snowboarding career, mom stayed on until 91 before moving into her mother's home on the other side of town. Lots of fantastic memories have resurfaced since the fire broke out on November 8th, I was so lucky as a kid to experience everything that Paradise had to offer, it was awesome! So many of my high school classmates, friends, and family have lost everything. The destruction is unbelievable, my little town is gone with the wind. It will take decades to rebuild Paradise, in the meantime I will continue to pray for everyone affected, and a true hope for all.
November Lupines blooming? Mother Nature continues to amaze me, even after 53 years. Plan on fishing the Lower Yuba River after the rains have passed, a little flushing and color in the water will rejuvenate the system. See you on the water...