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Lower Yuba River Fly Fishing Report

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Jon Baiocchi Reports on 12.14.2017

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The weather has been unbelievable in the last few weeks, hard to believe its December. Today was 72 degrees down in the gold fields with not a soul to be seen. Flows have been stable at around 1,300 cubes and it looks like this flow will continue for quite some time with no major storms on the horizon. Water clarity is very clear right now, it would be nice to get a little bit of color back into it. Fishing has been good, and it’s been a lot of fun playing the dry fly game in the early afternoons. I’ve been scouting and walking long distances when I’m not guiding and checking out different sections of the river. New riffles, slots, flats, back eddies, and side channels have been explored. Some areas have improved, while other favorite spots of the past are now gone. The wild rainbows are still on the small side from 8 to 12”, they’re eager though and not too picky. I’ve noticed in the last month they are putting on some girth and are more proportional to their size than in the past summer. It is so amazing how hard they fight for their size. I’ve been using a 6 weight, a little over kill but those little chrome missiles put a pretty good bend into it when they run. It’s been a little busy on the weekends, but if you’re willing to walk, you can find your own water. Access areas like Hammon Grove can have multiple vehicles in the parking lot, and not all of them are there to fish. Many of those people are just taking hikes, playing disc golf, picnicking, and seeing the sights. Get out and scan the river, you never know until you take a good long visual.

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Nymphing in the early morning hours with eggs, stones, worms, and small flashy mayfly nymphs is working well. If you don’t want to stare at a bobber try swinging alevins, small minnow patterns, and sculpins. I’ve been using a RIO Versi Tip with a 3 ips drop rate and 4 feet of 4X. There is no rush to get to the river for the hatch, showing up late at around 11 am and walking to productive water while waiting for the hatch to come off is a good game plan when fishing dry flies. When you’ve been fly fishing for as long as I have, it’s not about numbers, but the experience, and making technical presentations to rising trout is where it’s at for me right now on the Yuba. Every day the hatch is different, and some days are better than others. Today the hatch was very light, but there have been some different mayflies active than in the previous weeks. Back when we had more cloud cover, or shade on the water, there was Pseudos, and a little larger BWO, in the last week Pinkies and PMD’s have been dominating. The Pink Alberts are the smaller mayfly coming off, and the PMD’s are much larger with a taller wing profile. There is also a difference if one fishes above the bridge or further downstream when it comes to the species of bugs coming off, there is much more shade on the water above the bridge. You just never know what’s going to transpire, and an angler should always be ready to adapt to the situation at hand with a good box of dry flies that cover it all. The dry dropper rig has also picked up a few trout in the past week. A larger dry fly with good floating characteristics and a 18" dropper down to a X-May or S&M nymph #18 in olive would be a sufficient set up. If you on the water and spot some rising fish, make a calculated game plan and go right at them. Those trout are telling you that they are actively feeding and the moment should not be wasted. Being stealthy like keeping a low profile and fishing the side water before stepping into it is a smart move. With a lower arc of the sun in the winter sky, an angler must watch their shadows as they are very long, especially in the late afternoon. As I walk upstream hunting heads I’ll stand way back while hiking along a high bank so my shadow stays off the water and does not spook those trout. Many trout have been caught just blind casting on the flats with no previous rise forms in the afternoon.

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I’m finding more aquatic insects under the rocks lately and the river is coming back quicker than I anticipated. A few fully mature Skwala stones have been identified in the slack water next to the bank and below major riffles. Lots of Baetis nymphs and other mayfly nymphs have been spotted too. It makes a difference where one looks when collecting specimens. Flip rocks in aerated water, or riffles to find the most diversity. I’ve also found Hydropsyche caddis larva in the mix. It’s been really cool seeing the river grow and come back to life. If you don’t mind small strong wild rainbows that can be caught on a variety of methods, pleasant weather, songbirds, and the occasional fighter jet or a U2 aircraft flying overhead, then the Lower Yuba River is for you. I’ve got open dates and a ton of knowledge to share with you, and good quality instruction that can advance you to the next level. 530.228.0487 ~ baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com See ya out there…

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