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.
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…