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Lower Yuba

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Jon Baiocchi Reports on 10.20.2016

Lower Yuba Update

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I worked the Lower Yuba River on Tuesday for a special guest who wanted a private one on one pontoon workshop. It was a glorious day with sunshine and beautiful cumulous clouds lining the north eastern skyline, and highs in the lower 60’s. The flows were running at 1530 cubes, and the water clarity was surprisingly good after the onslaught of our last big storm. It had a nice green tint to it with about 4 feet of visibility. Fishing pressure was very light, I saw a total of 4 other anglers, and one drift boat. Conditions have changed dramatically in the last two weeks on the Lower Yuba River, there is way more salmon in the system, and many redds in the tail outs. I realize that I and others keep preaching this, but it is important for walk and wade anglers to be able to identify the spawning beds of salmon and steelhead, and not to wade through them. It’s best to completely avoid them at all costs as the offspring is the future of the river’s ecosystem. If I had my way the river would be completely closed to all fishing and boat traffic from Duguerre dam up to Englebright dam from August 31st to January 1st. The health of the river and the completely wild fishery is far more important than our needs for fishing, guiding, and running a business. That’s just my opinion. The resident rainbows are definitely locked in on the “egg bite”, we had a huge BWO spinner fall for a half hour today and only one rising fish in a known productive part of the river that always holds big numbers of trout, and rhythm risers. Indo rigs and short line high sticking techniques with a combination of bacon and eggs is ideal right now. Don’t forget about the flesh Juan worm, red is not always the best color to present.

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It was busy on the river today, and I’m glad the goal for my guest was learning all the parameters of safely drifting down a big valley river in a personal watercraft, and not numbers of fish. SRYCL (South Yuba Citizens League) had one of their “Salmon Tours” today after cancelling their original October 15th date due to weather. I like the idea of the tours as it raises awareness on how important the salmon are to the Lower Yuba River, explaining the complete life cycle from egg, fingerling, juvenile, to adults returning after a period in the salt. To make things even busier, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife had a research vessel out with both biologist, and aids counting salmon, and marking redds with GPS equipment. I realize the importance of their job, but they do disrupt and push resident trout away from prime feeding areas when they buzz by and zig zag all over the river. Once again I got to see Outcast’s Pro Stealth frameless boat in action, and it’s time to retire my 19 year old Camo Cat 9 and buy this craft. The ease of inflation, and setting up the boat for the river is remarkably quick and easy. It has less contact on the water’s surface making it a faster and a more maneuverable machine. It’s got plenty of room for cargo as well. For those inclined to float still waters, or rivers, you really need to check out the Stealth Pro. I’m impressed.

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After 7 months of grinding it day in and day out, I finally get a small vacation starting this Friday as I head up north for a guided trip with Jason Cockrum on the Trinity River. Reports before the storm revealed very little steelhead in the system, I sure hope the big storm opened up the sandbar and drew some good numbers of them upstream. When you book a trip a year in advance you get what you get, I know I’ll be enjoying myself and making the most of it. Tight lines and I’ll see you on the water…

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