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Lower Yuba Fly Fishing Report

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Jon Baiocchi Reports on 11.30.17

The Lower Yuba River has been fishing well since the flows dropped from 7,078 on the 17th to 1,250 on the 19th. As I reported in my last post the Lower Yuba River came down incredibly fast and cleared up quite nicely. It is important to note that I’m writing this on the morning of the 28th because conditions change so quickly. I want the fly fishing public to receive the most accurate information as possible. On the morning of the 26th a small quick moving storm rolled through the foothills with heavy rain. Flows came up quickly on the river, dropped a little and then shot up after a deluge of intense rain came down Monday morning. The river reached 2,512 cubes during the middle of the day on Monday and has slowly dropped as Deer Creek has receded. Currently Englebright dam is still releasing water at 2,088 and the pattern is stable, while the Parks Bar bridge gage is running at 2,328.

The best way to understand the flows on the river and from the gauges is to look at each of the four stations I will provide links for. First, the start of the LYR is at Englebright dam. The capacity in this reservoir is 70,000 acre feet, and when you look at the table for Englebright in the link that reads “% of capacity” you can identify if water is spilling over the dam if it exceeds 100%. Right now it is at 98%. You can also look at the inflow of water coming in relative to the water being released;

Here is the gauge for releases from the bottom of the dam;

Next is the great denominator, Deer Creek which can greatly affect the clarity of the water due to its long course through areas of the foothills that have been heavily mined in the 1800’s. When there is a sharp spike in the graph, you can expect silty and muddy water will be entering the Lower Yuba River;

The last gauge is located at the Parks Bar Bridge which combines both Englebright and Deer Creek. This station will give you the most accurate cfs number in the most heavily fished area down to Sycamore Ranch. What it does not tell you are the “spike flows” from Deer Creek, or the often fluctuating releases from Englebright dam; It is imperative to understand all four gauges to truly get a clear and concise picture of the river’s condition, an important tool for planning trips to the LYR when traveling from out of the area.  

Now onto the fishing. Perfect trout weather the past week with mild air temperatures and clouds. The LYR was fishing pretty darn well. My guests have had some killer dry fly fishing casting to selective risers in the calm flats both in the foam line and on the edges. One day the hatch may happen in the afternoon, and the next day it could happen in the late morning. An angler needs to be flexible, and having two rods set up for both surface and sub surface presentations will be an advantage. I saw a few more salmon in the river this week, and a few more redds. Still though, there should be way more in the system. Wild rainbows from 8 to 14” are keying in on Blue Wing Olives (baetis) #18, and tiny Blue Wing Olives (pseudocloeons) #20-22. It’s best to make a few casts to a specific rising trout, and if you don’t get a take, rest them a while or move to another target. 5X tippet is working just fine, but you may need to make a fly first downstream presentation to get a grab. Sparkle Duns, Hackle Stackers, and Loop Wing Parachutes have been getting the most attention. We have been getting a few rainbows on the swing as well using Alevins, and salmon fingerlings. Remember to strip your fly after your initial swing is done, most of the fish this past week came on the strip. There is a few female Stub Wing Stoneflies drifting among the currents ovipositing, we saw two bigger fish that were out of reach hammer the floating prime rib dinners. To learn more about the Stub Wing stone fly click here;

Partly cloudy to sunny skies and a little colder air temperatures in the upcoming week days. A chance of rain coming in this weekend, but details so far is sketchy. Hopefully the flows will drop and clear slightly by the time you read this, but if not that’s ok too because the river is very fishable. I’ve got some open dates for December. If you would like to learn more about the river, and increase your chances with technical dry fly presentations, or how to cover water effectively swinging, give me a call at 530.228.0487 and let’s get a date on the calendar. See you out there…

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