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Monday, January 28, 2019

Lower Yuba River Fly Fishing Report 1/28/2019


Fishing is not nearly as good on the Lower Yuba River after the last series of big storms rolled on through, but fish are still being caught though. Flows are running at 1,228 cubes as recorded at the Parks Bar Bridge gauge. Deer creek has not fallen all the way down and I assume it's because of the releases from Scott's Flat reservoir, currently the creek is at 106 cfs with a slight ramping down. Water visibility is about 3.5 feet and turning slightly green. Fishing pressure has been heavy in the more popular areas, but still plenty of spots to fish if an angler is willing to walk for it. Just because an angler has fished a run doesn't mean it won't produce again, especially if you use different tactics and flies.


I read a lot of fishing reports for the Lower Yuba River, some are spot on, while others provide false information. I always report accurate information whether it is good or bad. Skwala stoneflies are a hot topic right now since they are out and available for the trout drifting downstream in the foam lines. My article above "The Skwala Hatch" which was featured in the December 2014 issue of California Fly Fisher is a great source of information. Behavior from nymphs to adults, fly patterns, and strategies are covered in depth. The info is from decades of being on the water studying this special stoner by my colleagues and I. If you've already read it, it's worth going back and refreshing your memory. Skwalas do not hatch in the afternoon, they hatch (metamorphosis from nymph to an adult) in the middle of the night. Skwalas become active around 12pm or when the air temperatures warm up, they are most active during the warmest time of the day and continue for a few hours more. They can live over a month or more because they can eat (pollen), and drink water. The female can also mate multiple times. There are some fish already taking the adult off the surface, and you can expect more action in the weeks to come. Look for the hatch to peak around the third week of February, and wane during the middle of March.




I have not seen very many mayflies since the last high water event. Before we had BWOs, PMDs, Pinkies, and a few Gray Drakes. I'm sure they will be back very soon. There is a tremendous population explosion of Glossosoma caddis (Little Brown Short-Horned Sedge) in the river right now. You can expect many evenings in spring into summer being thick with possible blanket hatches. I feel sorry for these little caddis. Once they make their home of fine pebbles, they are permanently fixed to that rock until pupation is completed. When water levels drop naturally, or man made they die.



Unsettled weather will be moving in starting late Tuesday through Thursday with a good size storm Friday through Saturday with heavy rain in the forecast. Sunday we could see a much colder pattern drop down the coast with falling temperatures leading into a possible dry spell. The models have been inconstant looking into the long range forecast.

My Skwala Workshop for the 9th of February is booked up. The Dry Fly Workshop on March 2nd has 4 openings left, and the Skwala Workshop on the ninth also has 4 openings available. If you want in, give me a ring at 530.228.0487, or email me at baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com. See you on the water...



Monday, January 21, 2019

Lower Yuba River Update 1/21/2019

7 day flow graph from 1/13 to 1/21 at 6:00 PM

The past week has seen some gnarly weather here in Northern California. Big wind, heavy rain, and as of Monday morning low elevation snowfall like here in Nevada City. Before our last round of storms, the Lower Yuba River was fishing well with consistent mayfly hatches from noon until 3pm, and the start of seeing Skwala stoneflies drifting downstream in the foam lines. Nymphing with small dark flashy nymphs, and swinging soft hackles and salmon fingerling patterns was productive as well. Currently we are waiting for the flows to come back down and the river to clear, which the Yuba does quickly when Englebright dam is not spilling over the top, and Deer Creek is not pumping in sediment. At this time, Englebright dam is at 93% of capacity and not spilling, but Yuba Water Agency is dumping water. Deer Creek kept rising this morning into the afternoon from all of the low elevation snow melting into micro watersheds that eventually add up to larger flows. Deer Creek is dropping as of this evening. I’m thinking by this coming weekend the river should be fishable, and even if it is a little stained it will be better fishing as the trout and steelhead aren’t so shy and spooky. I’ll know more when I scout the river later in the week. 

As I've done in the past, I'm listing the important gauges for the Lower Yuba River for you to keep tabs on. You'll want to look for spikes on Deer Creek that will affect the conditions on the river. Many anglers and guides overlook what the South Fork is pumping into Englebright Reservoir, and also releases from Lake Spaulding. The SF Yuba is a very long watershed that receives a lot of water that heads downhill on the west slope to the greater central valley. It's not all about how much the percentage of capacity is in Bullard's Bar Reservoir, or the outflow. There is much more to the picture. 

Deer Creek: 


This is for the gauge at Parks Bar Bridge, a combination of Deer Creek and the outflow of Englebright Reservoir:

This gauge will let you know if Englebright is spilling over the top or not. Scroll down and look at the "% of Capacity" column, also check out the inflow, a combination of both the North Fork, and the Middle Fork of the Yuba River:

Yuba River Flow Forecast:
http://cdec.water.ca.gov/guidance_plots/MRY_gp.html

Gauges for both the South and Middle Forks of the Yuba River, scroll down towards the bottom of the page:
http://www.dreamflows.com/alphaReaches.php?st=ca

Best winter forecasting ever:
https://opensnow.com/dailysnow/tahoe

Like Crack for weather nerds like myself. Totally interactive:
https://www.windy.com/?39.058,-121.616,5

If you’re looking to improve your skill set, or learn more about the Yuba River, give me a call at 530.228.0487 or shoot me an email at baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com to set up a date on the water. See you out there…



Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Squirmy Worm Hack Trick


While tying flies at the International Sportsman's Expo last Friday I learned a really cool and innovative trick from one of the tiers. In the past I first tied the squirmy worms at the vice with thread. It was difficult at times and the material would rot off the hook when exposed to UV rays while fishing, and even sitting in my nymph box.  Then I just tied an overhand knot on the back a bare hook, wrapped the body, then another knot at the eye of the hook - and only a small number of them for a few trips.

If you check out the above picture, this pattern requires zero thread, not even a vice. The secret is a small piece of clear tubing from a hobby store, it holds the squirmy worm material, and a hook. You can carry all of the materials with you and create them on sight. Here is how you rig it.

1. Take a foot long piece of 25 pound mono, double it in half and put the two ends through the tubing, pull it down until you have a small loop at the opposite end. 

2. Insert the squirmy worm material and hold it with you right hand, while the left hand pulls the mono tag ends. Stretch the material as it enters the tubing and keep pulling the mono until the Squirmy worm comes out the other end.

3. Stretch the worm material so it is thin and move the tubing to your desired location.

4. Insert a #14 TMC 2457 hook by the point and slide it into place. That's it!


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Lower Yuba River Fly Fishing Report 1/13/2019 - Skwala Alert!



The Lower Yuba River is in great shape (for now) after days of valley rain and melting foothill snow. Releases from Scott’s Flat reservoir and Lake Wildwood were ramped up last week and the flows in Deer creek quickly rose to a high of 4,797 cubes. For a small yet very long watershed, that’s a lot of big water. When you see large spikes on the graphs it's a sure bet the Lower Yuba River will blow out. Currently the Lower Yuba River is flowing at 1,087 cfs, and Deer creek is at 55 cubes. Fishing pressure has been thick around the Hwy. 20 Bridge both on the north and south sides. I would rate the fishing as good, you’ll do much better if you move around and try different techniques throughout the day instead of parking yourself in one spot for 6 hours.



After a number of trips with my guests, I would say the two most critical mistakes are not making the correct mends for a dead drift while nymphing, and inaccurate casting to rising fish, or over casting and lining them. The dry fly game is much tougher on the flats and you can put down a rhythm riser with bad presentations. It’s much easier in choppy water or riffles as it masks your mistakes.


There are good numbers of salmon fry and fingerlings in the system and the trout seem to be keyed in on them. I’ve been using the single bunny fly above with a gray top and white bottom of rabbit strips with pearl krystal flash down the lateral line. This is a great pattern as it has life like movement and is super durable compared to marabou. The fly is about 2 inches long. Today I swung up two Joey’s, those 10 to 12” sliver bullets that put a good bend even on a 6 weight. My rig for swinging these minnows is a RIO 1.5 clear Versi-Tip with about 4 feet of 4X floro.



Today I saw 3 times more Skwala stonefly shucks than I did last week, so they are definitely out and about. I even saw a few in the drift along bubble and foam lines yet they went unmolested as far as the eye could see. The fish will start to key in on them and head for the side water where the largest percentage of Skwalas are found from noon to 4pm. I picked up one decent rainbow on the Unit Skwala around 2 pm. Look for the hatch to peak near the third week of February, and don’t forget the Skwala stone lives for a about a month or longer unlike a 24 hour mayfly life cycle.


Not as many trout rising as a few weeks ago and it seems the mayfly hatches are waning, or maybe in between broods for now. The more bugs, the more a rhythm riser will be at station and feed consistently. Today there was a light hatch of Pinkie, Pale Morning Duns, and Blue Wing Olive mayflies drifting downstream in the foam lines.


We have precipitation moving in for the next week starting Monday evening, we’ll have to wait and see just how much falls and if it will impact the Lower Yuba River. If the rain is not catastrophic the Yuba clears pretty quickly so that’s a plus. In other news I will be speaking Thursday and Friday evening at the International Sportsman’s Expo in Sacramento at the Cal Expo facility. The topic will be my PowerPoint presentation “The Legendary Lower Yuba River”. For more information go HERE.

If you’re looking to improve your skills set or learn more about the Lower Yuba River and the Skwala hatch,  I have some open days available in the next month. Give me a call at 530.228.0487, or shoot me an email at baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com.


See you on the water…

Monday, January 7, 2019

Lower Yuba River Update 1/7/2019



We are currently in a wet cycle of precipitation which may last until the 17th. Snow fell yesterday in Nevada City into the evening, and during the night temperatures in the region climbed 10 degrees bringing back rain. There is a lot of new snow in the Sierra foothills, mountains, and the crest. With last night’s warm up there is already a large amount of runoff and NID is releasing excessive amounts of water from Scotts Flat Reservoir into Deer Creek. The creek got up to 4,797 cubes a few hours ago. This is the highest the Deer Creek has flowed for quite some time so it will add a lot of silt and off color water to the Yuba River. This week will be a yo-yo effect of clouds, heavy to light rain, and flow fluctuations both natural and from dam releases. I will be out later in the week for trips and will let you know the current conditions then.

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