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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Lower Yuba River Fly Fishing Report ~ 12/31/20

Happy New Year! We are almost through the holidays, we’ve eaten well, and hopefully a brighter and better world looms on the horizon. I’ve been juggling many things here in the office including an all new Skwala power point (you can check my presentation schedule HERE), guiding, fishing on my own, and other fish business related items that are never ending. Fishing is decent on the Lower Yuba River, though in the last few weeks we’ve had to work a little bit harder for them with some days being better than others. 

Currently the river is running low at 758 cubes and clear. Even though we have had some weak systems push through, they have had little effect on the Yuba River rising, or even producing off colored water. We have wet weather ahead, but still too early to really tell just how much. Fishing pressure has been heavy near the easier access areas, after all it is Christmas break, and it seems there were lots of new fly rods under the tree this year. Two things will get you away from the crowds, hiking far, and fishing areas that are remote and hard to navigate.


On 12/26 I found the first Skwala adult sunning on the cobbles next to the river, so the hatch has begun! In 2019 I found my first one last year on the 12/27, so I beat that by one day. There are many nymphs active with a behavioral drift in the early mornings trying to relocate to the shallow calm side water where they can hatch. It will take the resident rainbows and steelhead a little while before they figure out what’s going on, and key in on this major food source. It’s only a matter of time.

If you haven’t read my latest article, “Skwala Primer for 2021 ~ Lessons Learned” in the December issue of California Fly Fisher, now would be a good time to do so. There is a ton of good usable info in the article. Check it out. 

Other food items in the mix right now are a sparse BWO hatch in the afternoons. They are small too, size 18-20. I’ve heard of some good PMD hatches upstream of the bridge near the UC Davis property too, though really inconsistent. Alevins and salmon fry are now present in the system and the fish are starting to key in on this major food source as well. Last Monday while fishing solo, I was Tight Lining an alevin jig and hooked into a beast with wakes coming off the surface as it headed for Marysville, it was gone in a matter of seconds. Not much you can do with an animal like that and 5x. Still, it was really cool to experience.

So while there are some dry fly opportunities right now with sparse hatches, we’ll see increasingly better trout behavior when there are more Skwalas and mayflies in the foam lines. Nymphing for now remains to be the best. The one tip I can give is to move often and cover water. Standing in the same place for an hour or more just limits you. Another key is to nymph the transition zones of shallow riffles into deeper water. Long line Euro nymphing, indo nymphing, and swinging are all good choices right now for sub surface. Pick your style and get after it!

Really looking forward to 2021, I have many workshops that will happen, hosted trips, regular guide trips (get on the calendar now for Skwala trips, dates are going fast!), a few more articles coming out, zoom presentations, and more time at the vice. Give me a follow on Facebook at JonBaiocchi, or Instagram @baiocchistroutfitters. As always, shoot me an email if you have any questions, need info, or if you want to book a trip at baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com

See you on the water…

Epeorus ~ Pink Albert clinger mayfly nymph 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Lower Yuba River Fly Fishing Report ~ Truckee WildStream Session ~ Christmas Gift Certificates ~ 12/19/2020


Brandon Hardy with a 23" lost Feather River fish 

It was nice to see a little weather push through last Wednesday into Thursday. I had a few hours of good rainfall here at the house in Nevada City, still a pretty wimpy series of weak systems though. The Lower Yuba barely came up in flows during it all. Yuba Water Agency did drop the flows down from my last report which is currently running at 839 cubes. Deer creek went from a whopping 6 cfs to 18 cubes during the storm. The ground is still pretty dry and it will take some heaver storms in succession to really saturate it. When that happens, we'll see more run off. It looks like we go into another dry spell with a chance of moisture near the end of the month.

Pressure has been heavy upstream of the bridge, my guest and I counted 18 anglers on my last trip up there, a mix of Yuba Drifters club members, and the general public. Because of all that continued pressure, the trout have wised up a little. A unique observation since I’ve been guiding the river the last 2 months is the increased number of Feather River fish in the Yuba system. You can tell these fish from the wild Yuba bows and steelhead by the adipose fin being clipped off. Personally I've caught 3 Feather River fish so far this fall. From 2008 up to this fall, I’ve caught 2 Feather River fish. I have no idea why there are so many of them in the Yuba right now, except the water must taste better.

Fishing remains to be decent, some days we have to work a little harder than others. We are getting most of our fish nymphing, long line Euro style. Stones, worms, baetis nymphs, S&Ms, Military Mays, and Copper Johns. I’ve been seeing some light bwo and pmd emergences, hopefully that will increase soon. We had much better mayfly activity last December. 

I’m also starting to see more salmon fry in the side water, so swinging alevin patterns will be a good way to go here for the next few months. Skwala nymphs are starting to pre stage in the idle side water downstream of major riffles. I saw my first adult skwala on December 26th last year, so any day now. My best advice for getting more numbers of fish is to stick and move, and cover water. Unless you have a pod of fish rising in front of you, then ya stay put and figure out the riddle.

Truckee session

Last Monday I finally got out to fish with WildStream Ambassadors Jamie Jorgensen, and Shane Schuster on the Truckee river. I didn’t get to fish very long as I had some business I needed to attend to in Reno, but it was a pretty good session. #20 zebra midges were best for me, and as soon as the water temps came up a little, the fish were on the feed. Another thing, fish were stacked up in certain areas, mostly transition zones of riffles into a run/tail out. Thanks for a great time Jamie and Shane, and thanks for the custom flies too!

Looking for a great gift for your favorite fly angler? How about a Baiocchi’sTroutfitters Gift Certificate! They are good for trips, clinics, workshops, and tours – Use it any way you want! 

It’s super easy too, first, go here and print the certificate: http://www.baiocchistroutfitters.com/.../BT-Gift... Then contact me for the special authorization code. Next, pay for your trip here: http://www.baiocchistroutfitters.com/baiocchis.../ Fill out the gift certificate, and place under the tree. - You're done! 

Baiocchi's Troutfitters thanks you for all of your support for the last 24 years. Happy holidays!

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Lower Yuba River Fly Fishing Report 12/5/2020

Got rain? We sure don’t. The weather patterns for precipitation are looking really bleak. According to Bryan Allegretto of Tahoe Daily Snow we will see much of the same nice weather with a few weak systems moving through in the weeks to come, and the first real chance of a storm maybe at the end of the month. Hard to say what will happen when you forecast into the fantasy range. The Lower Yuba River has been extremely busy with anglers, and now that upstream of the bridge is open, it will hopefully spread people out a little bit. 

I’ve been fishing and guiding in the upper section and you can really tell a difference with the aggressive eating behavior of the trout not seeing anglers or flies for months. They are very receptive to your offerings right now. The flows out of Englebright dam have been stable at 930 cubes. Storm flows may dictate additional releases, but it’s going to take quite a bit of rain to do such as the ground is parched. Many runs and areas on the Lower Yuba River do not fish well with these flows. It’s easier to cross the river at the current levels now, but a good flushing to mix the pot up would do wonders. Fall colors are blazing right now too, absolutely beautiful!

Yuba Master and long time guide, Frank Rinella hit the jackpot on the opener above the bridge on December 1st. Look at that athlete! Frank is heavily involved with fisheries conservation for the Yuba River and volunteers his time on the board of Directors for Gold Country Fly Fishers and Fly Fishers International. He is a wealth of knowledge on the Yuba River, and a good dude. Photo by John Simms.

Fishing remains to be good. It helps to be the first angler in a known fish pot where they have not seen flies since the day before. Make sure to be on your game when you do such as you’ll receive takes right away. The fish downstream of the bridge have seen plenty of beads drifting by them so they are not as receptive as the fish way above the bridge. Mottled natural roe and shades of orange are still the top producers for my guests and me, along with some custom paint shop beads. Still some salmon in the system and some newer redds as well. 

Check out this blog post on the current situation of “The State of Yuba River Salmon” from my buddy Tom Cannon of California Sportsfishing Protection Alliance here: https://calsport.org/fisheriesblog/?p=3409 My dad who was one of the founders of California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, and the executive director for over two decades, saw this coming in the late 80's. He had incredible insight on the problem from studying huge volumes of historical data including hatchery programs, releases from central valley dams, and how our state and federal agencies interact with each other (if at all). He called it way back then. We are just using band aids for the problem, and it's never going to heal, it’s also now infected (hatchery fish and wild fish producing offspring). More people in the state equals more water for human consumption and less water for the fish. Still though, we should never give up on good water regimes, improving a degraded habitat, and more funds for enforcement of the current fish and game laws (poaching). Enjoy what we have left, and appreciate it. Fish as often as possible and take the time to look around at the natural beauty all of our rivers, streams, creeks, and stillwaters provide. I just don't see it getting any better. I hope I'm wrong.

Long line Euro nymphing remains to be the best way to get fish in the net for my guests and I. The river is in a transitional state right now with fish the resident trout seeing fewer eggs in the drift and more aquatic bugs. Baetis and pmd hatches are getting stronger, but they have been inconsistent with a daily rhythm, and numbers of them. Still though, I’ve seen plenty of dry fly eats in the past two weeks and a good reason to bring along a dry fly rod already rigged up and ready to go at a moment’s notice. For sub surface flies, rubber leg stones in coffee/brown #8-10, Hogan’s S&M (baetis, pmd) #14-18 and his Red Headed Stepchild #14-18, San Juan worms is flesh and red, beads, and Red Copper Johns. On top you’ll want baetis patterns in both emergers and duns #18-20, and pmds #16. Go smaller if you get a refusal. 

More than anything, a perfect drift is essential. Fly first, drag free, and in the correct feeding lane, or foam line makes a big difference. The rainbows are fat right now and extra strong with all that salmon egg protein in them. Red hot runs too. Check your knots and rigging often, you’ll want a clean and reliable system when that big athlete finally eats your fly. 

All Rounder Skwala Jiggy Rubber Legs 

If you want to really understand how to fish the Yuba on your own, including the stealth factor, rigging, flies, presentations, long line Euro nymphing, specialized dry fly techniques, and entomology, shoot me an email at baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com, or you can try me at 530.228.0487. I’m all in on sharing the knowledge to increase your skill set for a more productive time on the Lower Yuba River!

See you on the water...



Sunday, November 22, 2020

Lower Yuba River Fly Fishing Report ~ 11/22/2020


Well, that was a nice little storm that blew through last Tuesday and Wednesday. Wind, a couple inches of rain, and dark skies – pretty cool. Flows barely bumped up on the Lower Yuba River, 30 cubes at the most and the current reading from this morning on the the CDEC Parks Bar gauge is 994 cubes. Fishing remains to be good, not silly good like it was the last couple weeks of October, but still better than normal, and that’s all due to the salmon dropping eggs, and the greed of the resident wild trout. 

The Yuba rainbows are super hot right now! Long runs into your backing and broken tippets from common rod/reel handling mistakes are common right now. With all that protein that the salmon eggs provide, these fish are in prime fighting shape, with plenty of girth and big shoulders. 

I’m starting to see more baetis hatches with duns on the water, particularly in the mid-morning on select flats throughout the river downstream of the Highway 20 bridge. They are a size 18, but the wise angler will drop a size for selective feeders, or fish that have seen too many casts over them. A size 20 cdc RS2 dun has been having some great success for my guests and I. Fishing dry flies is a much needed and appreciated break from chucking eggs and legs too. Trailing smaller baetis and pmd nymphs on the nymph rig (Euro or indo) has been receiving more attention as well in the past week.

I've been tying and testing some different jig hook stonefly patterns, namely these are renditions of Pat's Rubber Legs pattern. The extended body ones take a little more time but they sure look alive in the water while drifting. In fact it's been kicking ass. I really love the slower guiding season of winter as I have time to create new patterns, and think of new innovative ideas. 

Again, a Public Service Announcement – Do not step on, wade through, or endanger the salmon redds. If you are in doubt of what a salmon redd looks like, below is a picture of a small singular one in a side channel

If you see other anglers, or gold prospectors walking through redds, and the opportunity arises to have a calm educational conversation about their actions, you may want to speak up. There are some drift boat guides who yell excessively at uneducated anglers and others to “GET OFF THE REDDS!” This is a Neanderthal approach to solving the problem and always ends up being ugly. 80% of folks do not even know the definition of "redds". It’s hard to hear what others are yelling from afar as well. I would advise those guides to simply ask their clients if it is ok to approach folks closer and to calmly talk to them, if not, move along. I have done it in the past with my own guests when the right opportunity presents itself, and it has been a great experience for all, with many of these uneducated anglers actually thanking me after the conversation is over.  

Here is a really cool drone shot of Hammon Bar and the willow plots that are monitored every spring by the South Yuba River Citizens League. I have participated in 4 willow counts over the years and it's a great volunteer project for those that want to give back to the Yuba River.

SYRCL does so much for the entire Yuba River watershed including all of the forks and its tributaries. They also work with county, state, and federal agencies, along with other non government organizations (NGO's) that are namely fishery minded. Our local Gold Country Fly Fishers comes to mind as one of those partnerships. If you would like to be a part of SRYCL by donating your time, becoming a member, or simply making a monetary donation go here:

Other than spending time on the river, I’ve been keeping busy writing a number of really cool articles for future California Fly Fisher issues, putting together upcoming workshops for fly clubs and the general public, lining up future zoom presentations, combing over the logistics of my Colorado hosted trips, and most importantly, and my true therapy for this time of year, is quality time at the tying bench. Life is good! Be safe out there, wear your mask, and wash your hands too. See you on the water…

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Celebrating Women in Fly Fishing Online Event ~ 11/21/2020


I received an email from Delta Fly Fisher's president Amy Terra about this really unique event for woman who are passionate about all things fly fishing. I know so many girls who are my fishing buddies and best friends that could really benefit from "Celebrating Woman in Fly Fishing", whether it's on the professional side of fish business, or just to learn more and make connections for the future. I think this is a great idea and really cool. In my opinion, and from what I've witnessed, woman in fly fishing for the last 10 years has given the industry a spark which has ignited more interests and stoke from everyone who fishes with a fly rod. Especially in the last 5 years with their special social media presence. With Covid becoming rampant again, zoom presentations and interaction is the norm, but let's hope we can all get together soon, in person, and share all things fly fishing.

Celebrating Women in Fly Fishing is an online event spotlighting women fly fishing professionals, being held December 4th & 5th. These professionals are artists, business owners, instructors, guides, social media celebrities, and fly fishing product designers. CWiFF's goal is to shine a spotlight & celebrate the many talents of women who make a difference in the fly fishing industry.  CWiFF will provide an opportunity for ticket holders to participate in fly fishing education, social networking, fly tying, and to see what's new in fly fishing gear, plus art & clothing designed specifically for women.

The CWiFF Virtual Expo is designed to allow ease of navigation for our participants to navigate from Zoom Room to Zoom Room seamlessly. CWiFF's Virtual Expo is a "live" event built on a custom web platform integrating a collection of Zoom Meetings. The CWiFF Expo's 21 Zoom Rooms are all virtually connected under one roof! It will be helpful if you are familiar with Zoom, and your device of choice is updated to the latest version.

Experience new fly fishing gear, art, adventure trips, women's clothing, gifts, talk to reps, business owners & see what's new in fly fishing for 2020! This is an exciting event and a first of its kind spotlighting women fly fishing professionals.

To register, check the schedule, and more info go here: 


Monday, November 16, 2020

WildStream Horizon 9 foot 8 weight Rod Review


Big water and big fish call for a big gun. Having fished the WildStream Horizon 905 (my dedicated dry fly and all rounder rod) I was excited to test drive the Horizon 908. The rod is extremely light when held in hand thanks to the IM 10 graphite construction. The action would be described as very fast, crisp, yet when fully loaded heavy for an angler like myself who is used to lighter weight rods. 

Top of the line components like over sized snake guides and two Fuji ceramic lined stripping guides on the #3 section. The butt section features a hook keeper, full Wells grip with grade “A” cork, premium reel seat, and a rubber tipped fighting butt to ensure a good grip while buried in your tummy, and torquing on the big catch.

The glossy finish is a black color infused with pearl metal flake and gold wraps – serious eye candy for the fly rod aficionado. It’s a four piece rod that comes with a lush rod sock and a cordura wrapped pvc case. As with all WildStream Fly Rods, an extra tip section is included.

I used a Redington Behemoth 7/8 reel lined with a #8 weight forward floating line. It took about 30 feet of line for the Horizon 908 to feel loaded, and the sweet spot was with 40 to 55 feet of line out. It was able to shoot line out effortlessly at great distances, and I was also able to pick up large amounts of line off the water for the next cast. It threw big and heavy flies well too. 

The backbone is very strong with good fighting abilities and incredible lifting power. The only changes I would make is increasing the length to 10 feet to keep your casting platform high above you while wading deep, or while in a boat.

The Horizon 908 is overkill for normal trout fishing, and light steelhead, but would shine magnificently at Pyramid Lake for big cutthroats, or on the Delta for stripers. I’m looking forward to fishing it more at both venues. 

My client Fred Barkis who fishes both salt and freshwater, had this to say about testing the WildStream Horizon 908 that I loaned him.

“I was casting a #2 Clouser with a short 12lb. level leader on the Rio Integrated Shooting head line, 300 grain sink tip, on intermediate running line. The rod actually loads very smooth and I can get an extra 10 to 15 feet of distance compared to the Echo Boost that I’ve been using. On the Boost I'm consistent to 70 to 75 feet. With the same double haul casting stroke I was easily clearing 80 to 85 feet on the Horizon. I also got some 90 foot shots with a decent turnover of the fly. I prefer how it casts compared to the Boost. The test went well. I caught three sand bass, all about this size last evening on the Horizon 908.”

Price for the Horizon 908 is $290, and they are manufactured in a limited run. To order your big gun go here: http://wildstreamfishing.com/

    WildStream Fly Rods

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