Spring Edition

Spring Edition
Spring Edition

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Product Review ~ Togens 60 Degree Jig Hooks and Slotted Tungsten Beads


If you remember my blog entry on September 16th, I announced that I would be using Togens Fly Shop’s hooks and beads exclusively for my guide service and personal fishing sessions. So far, I’m extremely pleased with the quality and the many different bends Togens offers, and I must again give props to Togens Pro Team Member Cat Toy (https://flyfishingwithcattoy.blogspot.com/) for introducing them to me. I would have never known about these fabulous hooks, and super custom beads without her sage advice on the matter.

The hook I have used the most so far out of the Togens line has been the 60 degree jig hook, namely in sizes 8, 16, and 18, using both the gold and the black nickel slotted tungsten beads. The Togens jig hook can be used in fresh or salt water. What I like about a jig hook is that it rides hook point up and resists snagging on the bottom, and allows the nymph to bounce along the bottom of the river efficiently during a drift. 

Most fish that are caught on a jig hook are either on the bottom substrate or just above it in the slower and deeper water column. Here, large trout take advantage of the hydraulics near the floor, where they can expend less energy, and constantly feed.  This is the advantage of using the 60 degree jig hook with a heavy front end for a better sink rate, and more of a vertical angle for the fly. 

All Togens hooks are made of premium high-carbon steel, which is hardened and tempered, providing a long point life with extreme sharpness, making it a very hardy and strong hook. Togens hooks use a constant taper. This provides consistency in shape, assuring no weak spots, and gives amazing speed of penetration. Honestly, I’m so stoked I made the change over to their hooks, it has vastly improved my clients, and my own catch rates to the net.

The key features of the 60 degree jig hook are a black nickel finish, heavy wire, and as mentioned above that have a constant taper with a razor sharp point. They come in packs of 50 or 1000. 

With the growing popularity of Euro Nymphing, and American Tight Line Nymphing, more and more anglers are tying with slotted tungsten beads. These beads are built with a slot in the bottom to accommodate proper placing on jig-shaped fly hooks. Tungsten is about 50% heavier than brass, which is what most beads are normally made from. Therefore, these beads ensure your flies get down into the strike zone, and stay there longer. The consistency in manufacturing is really good with Togens slotted beads, and they are exceptionally durable with a corrosion-proof design. Many popular patterns like the Frenchie and Perdigon use the jig hook/slotted bead combo, but I’ve been converting my go to patterns like Yellow Halo, TJ Hooker, and Hogan’s S&M from a regular nymph hook to the jig hook, and the results have been stellar. Check out Togens exclusive Brown Magic finish, it’s super fishy! The slotted Tungsten beads come in 25 count packs.

Togens Pro Team Member Cat Toy on the Yampa River, Co.

Being that Togens Fly Shop is based in BC Canada, the exchange rate favors buyers from the US where you’ll save a little money. Enter the code TOGEN10, and mentions “Baiocchi’s Troutfitters” and receive an additional 10% off on your order! See you on the water…

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Lower Yuba River Fly Fishing Report ~ 11/7/2020

I’ve been on the Lower Yuba River quite a bit in the past month and staying below the radar in regards to details and posting. It’s been really good if you know how to play the “Egg Bite” game, and more on that further down later in this post. So, we’ve finally got a change in the weather with much colder temperatures and what looks like some very light precipitation. Wimpy storms are such a tease though. I’m not going to make any predictions, but we could see a few inches of fresh on the crest of the Northern Sierra according to Brian Allegretto of https://opensnow.com/dailysnow/tahoe - bookmark his site, it’s one of my “go to” tools for weather, which translates into flow forecasting on the Yuba River. Another link to bookmark is California Data Exchange Center’s flow forecast here - https://cdec.water.ca.gov/guidance_plots/MRY_gp.html. Fishing pressure has dramatically increased as of late with more boats, and wading anglers. Still plenty of room though, were we can all spread out and enjoy ourselves on the river. Flows have been stable at from 970 to 1,118 cubes.

The egg bite has been on and my guests and I have seen some incredible fishing. As far as numbers go, the egg bite has provided the most abundant of them than any other time of year. I receive so many emails and messages on the details of the egg bite so let’s get into that. There are many different flies, styles, and ways to present eggs. Old school glow bugs, pegged beads, and nymph/bead combos. I use the pegged bead method. Keeping your bead about half an inch to a full inch away from your bare hook is a good move and will almost always see the hook inside the mouth of an egg eater. Any further away and you’re hooking eye balls, gills, and throats. 

Pre rigging different colored beads on a set length of tippet is wise for a quick change out. I use a short length of pipe insulation with a produce rubber band to hold the tag ends of the tippet in place.

“What size eggs are you using”? Egg sizes should be 8mm with clear water, 10mm for dirty water. If you’re presenting eggs on a river that only has trout, 6mm in clear water, and 8mm in dirty water. “What’s the best color”? That varies so much from day to day, the actual age of the egg itself, and the location on the river that I can’t even answer that. Fresh roe has a red hue to them, and as they age they become more orange and lighter in color. On my last 4 guide trips, shades of red did well in the morning, then lighter creamy orange in the afternoons. The angle and lower arc of the sun has much to do with this during the fall season. Many different colors are offered from https://troutbeads.com/ - Check them out.

I’ve been teaching my guests how to effectively long line tight line nymph this fall on the Yuba River, yep, no indicator needed. It’s a much simpler and cleaner rig with less hinge points in the system, which really helps those with beginner skill sets. I will say though, the key to success with this style is you must keep your slack to an absolute minimum, stay 100% focused on your drift, and set the hook when in doubt – Hook sets are free, so do it often. You’ll be surprised. 

The cool bonus to LLTLN is that you can let the rig swing at the end of the drift and let it hang in the current for the grab. If you want to learn this valuable nymphing technique that was taught to me by my good fishing buddy Roger who puts in 150 days plus on the Yuba River, get on my calendar.

Feather River hatchery steelhead

I’ve been using eggs, worms, stones, and small baetis nymphs for flies. When in doubt, add more split shot or use heavier flies to get down, especially with heavy current. I’m amazed how fast of water the resident trout and steelhead can hold in. All they need is a small deflection on the bottom substrate to shelter from the current, like a large cobblestone, and they’ll be there. It’s so cool! These trout are superior athletes that are basically finning on a treadmill 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Pound for pound, they’re the strongest trout in moving water I’ve ever fought. 

Hatches are sporadic and light, you’ll find some localized PMDs duns on the surface in the bigger flats, a few caddis, or a few BWOs, but really, it’s all about the high protein content of salmon eggs for the trout right now. 

I’ve been talking with the fisheries biologists on the river doing spent salmon counts, and they have said the salmon return this year is much better than in the past 5 years. You can see the past counts from the graph above. It wasn’t that long ago when the salmon population was 5 times as much.

Your best bet for success is to find the salmon redds that are active with spawning salmon, even better if they are in the process of “cutting” a new or existing redd with their tail fins. When the salmon do this, they are stirring up other food items such as free living caddis, mayfly nymphs, midge pupa, and aquatic worms. These trout will move on from one area of salmon redds to another. Every day is different, and observing more and casting less holds true. 

Photo courtesy of Bill Burden

FYI, and this has been repeatedly said over the years, is for walk and wade anglers to be aware and do not walk across the salmon redds, whether they are new or old. Mother Nature has an effective way of protecting the eggs within the smaller cobble stones from harm. It’s during the alevin stage is where they are most susceptible to being crushed. So, do not walk through salmon redds, and if you must wade around them, do so upstream of the redd that has a dark color and mossy character to the bottom of the stream bed. Many of my guests have no idea what a salmon redd looks like, and this is why I love to educate those fly anglers during my walk and wade trips, where one can truly get up close and study them. Bright clean, to slightly clean depressions is the telltale sign of a salmon redd, whether salmon are present or not. The eggs are in within the redds for 57 to 60 days depending on water temperatures.

A change in the weather is going to do some good, I’m anxious to get back out there myself, it’s been fun! I have some open days through the rest of 2020, if you want to learn more about the Yuba River, and the best way to approach it from a walk and wade perspective, email me at baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com  

Busman’s Holiday – Trinity River & the Lower Sacramento River

What a trip! My buddy Trevor Fagerskog and I hit it perfect! The first part of the trip was a float on the Trinity River with Brian Clemens of Nor Cal Fly Guides. Despite no new rain, we found many steelhead. Location, flies, and techniques will not be disclosed as advised by our guide. If you know…you know.

Day two was on the Lower Sac, again with Brian. It my first time floating it and to be honest I haven’t fished it in over two decades! That’s a long time, but hey, business has been booming for that long. It was a totally different experience than the day before which I would describe as a wilderness adventure. The Lower Sac is quite the scene complete with pirates, a flotilla of drift boats, and really nice houses right on the river. The fishing? We hammered them as you can see below! Eggs, stones, tiny mayfly nymphs, and caddis pupa all were effective. Typical Lower Sac treats for the resident trout and steelhead. I’m looking forward to my spring trip with Tahoe Truckee Fly Fishers, it’s going to be awesome!

See you on the banks of the Lower Yuba River…

Total Pageviews