The last few weeks at Lake Davis we saw above normal temperatures with some days of light wind. During this time there were fish in the shallows until about 1pm, then returning to the first ledge in deeper water from 8 to 15 feet. Water temperatures went from 60 to 64, then 58 to 62 degrees. Currently after this last storm rolled through, the water temps dropped down to 55 to 58 degrees. The lake received 2 inches of snow last night, and it was in the low twenties this morning. Conditions will be warming up and by this coming Friday, it will 70 during the day and 32 at night.
Fishing pressure has increased as well, there are more trailers in the lot at Honker Cove, and popular access areas like Jenkins and Cow Creek are seeing a few vehicles parked there. Honker Cove is still operational, but the Forest Service refuses to move the dock out further into the lake. If you tie your boat up at the dock you may not be able to back your trailer into the correct depth, in other words, you are going to hit your boat. Camp 5 is still operational as well, but there is no dock in the water, it’s on the concrete ramp as the Forest Service never put in this year. Your tax dollars, hard at work.
The lake is fishing better than expected and with the water levela at 56%, it’s fishing like a typical fall. The last two fall seasons were absolutely dismal with the lower water levels. During those two seasons there was a bunch of fish in front of Long Point, and Lightning Tree Cove, this year I’m seeing many anglers who caught fish back then returning, and not finding the fish. Different levels of the lake will have an effect on where the fish will be. I have seen the most populations from Eagle Point all the way up to Cow Creek. There is some fish up in the northern lake, but I think we’ll see them gang up there in the weeks to come as they normally do in late October. Overall fish are scattered and some areas have a higher percentage of rainbows than others, pods are coming into the same shallows to feed day in and day out. This may change after this last storm, and lower water temperatures, I‘ve seen it happen many times before.
A week and a half ago we had warmer temperatures and some glassy days with a Callibaetis hatch from 10:30 to just after noon. The mayflies were very small in a size 18, and the last brood of the season. We had some incredible sight fishing with both nymphs and adults on the surface, with fish in 1 to 3 feet of water. It’s always more fun when you have targets to cast to. There have been a few blood midges out, but the hatch has been sparse. I’m seeing snail shells on some banks in the north end of the lake, which is cool to see again. Some of these shells are extremely large and offer a good meal for a trout with one bite. If it is flat calm out in the morning don’t forget about scum lines in deeper water, sometimes this phenomenon can happen on the east shore near the island. The fish are taking leftovers from the day before, and these “dumpster divers” are actively rising and finning on the surface. Pro tip; don’t anchor, and just free float, be prepared to make 60 foot casts or further with a high amount of accuracy. Buggers Leeches, and wiggle tails are becoming more effective during the autumn season, and the classic colors for this time of year include burnt orange, fiery brown, cinnamon, rust, and black.
Big wind and big water punished the lake last Friday through Sunday. It was ugly, and along with the low pressure the fishing was off. Friday’s winds gusted to 40 mph, Saturday was a little less violent but the bite did not come on until 2pm. You never know when the switch is going to be turned on, and sometimes it pays to wait the day out instead of leaving. With Sunday’s wind it was near impossible to anchor, so my guest and I used a technique I have not practiced in a long time, using a wind sock and drifting with the wind. The sock slows the boat down as it’s pushed through the currents and parallel to the wind. The angler will cast either to the bow or the stern of boat and let the line swing until it’s straightened out. Then pulling more line off the reel until the flies are about 50 feet away from the boat. For your presentation, strip the flies in for a few feet, and then allow the line to be sucked back out. Repeat. I’m going to use the wind drift much more in the future as it allows you to cover plenty of water, and not have to hassle with weed choked anchors. Look for fishing conditions to improve during this week as warmer weather fills the day, and if you’re not getting takes, move to a different location. See you on the banks and the fertile flats of Lake Davis.
North Fork Yuba River
Before the last storm rolled through, the weather was extremely warm and the fishing was on fire, even above Sierra City. Dry dropper rigs were very effective with the usual flies as last reported. One dropper fly that outshined every other nymph tied on was your basic Copper John, size 16. Water temps in the upper water shed were 55 to 61 degrees. The flows were good too. There was zero fishing pressure, and even the campgrounds have thinned out. This will all change with the last storm, and with snow on the higher peaks you can expect some melting on south and west faces for the next few days. Water temps will drop with a slight increase with the flows. The savvy angler will work the river in the lower in the watershed. The October caddis has been out for the last two weeks, I’m seeing a lot of shucks and a few flyers in the air. The fish are not keyed in on them as they are taking anything they can get. Pseudocleons, little Blue Wing Olive mayflies, are dancing above the water with a spinner fall when air temperatures are between 58 and 68 degrees. Hoppers are still out during the warmest time of the day, and if the wind blows you can have some great action. Now is a great time to fish the North Fork Yuba River, no crowds, and enticing up the larger rainbows and browns with the big bug is too much fun!