Well, I wish I could say I’ve been on the water, but I’ve been on the DL since the 17th due to some medical issues. That morning I woke up with a kinked neck and moderate pain. Its happened in the past many times as a result from my professional snowboard days, basically hitting the ground with so much g-force that it loosens teeth. This time it was different. Through the day the pain intensified to point that my body temperature was elevated, sweating, and I was pacing around the house trying to keep busy and to keep my mind off it. Late in the evening my chest began to tighten up, and my left arm began to tingle and go numb. I thought I may be going into cardiac arrest so I drove myself to the ER at 11pm. After many scans, muscle relaxers and hard core pain meds my diagnosis was compressed nerves in my neck, and because of inflammation and swelling of the muscles around the area, the pressure of such was the culprit of the most intense pain I’ve ever experienced.
I got through it, and currently I’m healing pretty well, but also taking it easy. Doctor’s orders were simple – No guiding. That hurts as my whole reason for being on this planet is to be on the water and teaching my guests the finer points of fly fishing, and sharing our incredible natural world. So this will be a report that utilizes my guide buddies, friends, and fans experiences for the last week. I’ll start with my last day that I guided on the 15th and it’s a mirror of the past few months, except I had some older guests so we couldn’t cover water like I normally do. These guys were all about dry fly eats, and I put them on many fish. Skwalas and Pinkies were the most effective patterns. I’ll say one thing… you don’t have to see risers in order to play the game. Only 1 out of 7 fish was a rhythm riser, the rest were out of the blue while fan casting blind to productive water. Observe more…cast less.
On that day, I was amazed seeing several Skwala nymphs emerging from the water and crawling up on the cobbles to hatch. The Skwala hatch on the Lower Yuba is one the greatest spectacles I’ve ever seen in my 49 years of fly fishing. It’s the longest, most prolific, and dynamic Skwala hatch on the entire west coast. Saying it is legendary is an understatement. Joe Garza of JAG Fly Fishing shared with me the first confirmed report of March Brown mayflies hatching mid stream. He also said that there were fish eating not the duns, but emergers just under the surface. Joe also shared with me that the fishing has been difficult with lower than expected numbers, and for a drift boat guide who covers miles of river, that says a lot. He thinks it is the months of angler pressure that has impacted the behavior of the fish. Currently the flows are at 747 cubes, and fishing pressure has been hit or miss.
Follower Casey Brunt also shared this cool photo of a salmon fly – Ptaranarcys. Though the population of these bugs is small on the Lower Yuba River, they are available to the trout and steelhead. Match the hatch.
This is going to be my last report for the Lower Yuba River until fall. Without a doubt this past winter guiding season has been the most enjoyable ever. I’ve never been so busy and in demand before, but like I’ve always said when it comes to my business – Put in the hard work and you’ll see results. I’m going to take a few more weeks off to heal up, and do some scouting in the Northern Sierra before taking on an already nearly full guide schedule for April through June. I’m really looking forward to it as my heart is dear to the old growth coniferous forest of the Lost Sierra. I can’t thank you all enough for your continued support, it means so much to me.
See you on the water…