Middle Fork Feather River Fly Fishing Report 5-26-20
Jon Baiocchi Reports on 5.26.2020
The Middle Fork Feather River is still fishing quite well, and pretty much on cruise control with a few slight variances. There was a significant amount of rain that fell last week with extremely high snow levels. So being that Eureka Peak and other neighboring peaks like Mt. Washington are at 7,400 feet, there was rain on snow causing more of the snowpack to melt. Water levels came up a tad and the clarity remained about the same - clearish. Fishing is a little better in the upper river from Clio to Two Rivers mainly due to slightly warmer water temperatures (52-56), then downstream of where Jamison Creek comes in (48-53) on the lower part of the Recreational Zone of the MFFR. Fishing pressure is still light, but there were an influx of visitors to the Northern Sierra over the holiday weekend, with your typical spin anglers at the more popular bridges. Tight Line Nymphing has been the most effective for catching numbers of fish, but there are plenty of dry fly opportunities to be had. With the upper river dropping, there seems to be more fish on the move heading downstream, and many runs, pools, and large slots have many fish holding together. If you catch one, keep fishing, there’s more in there. A guest of mine last Saturday pulled out 5 rainbows in a spot that was 10 feet long by 7 feet wide. Yep, they’re stacked up in certain favorable spots that have a steady conveyor belt of food, protection from the heavy currents, and structure that offers security to predators. Overall I’ve been impressed with the size and girth of the trout, but we are starting to see much smaller trout in the system with water levels dropping and the bigger fish on the move. There are so many different types of water to fish right now that the fly angler must carefully dissect that piece of water they are fishing, namely depth, and the intensity of the current. Using heavier flies or adding more weight to the leader while TL Nymphing can make a huge difference.
The aquatic insects are going off in the upper river! 2 different PMDs, a size 12, and a 14. Pink Alberts (epeorus) in a size 16 that looks just like a PMD except it only has 2 tails, and is a little brighter in color. BWOs were out thick last Friday with the cooler drizzly weather. It’s all about those clouds when it comes to BWO hatches. The Black Dancer caddis is out, it is an early season caddis that is quite large (#12-14), has a metallic sheen to it and is most active during the day. Other bugs on the menu include a few different other caddis like the ginger caddis, creamy crane fly, a few Golden Stones, and still seeing a few Gray Drakes. Evidence of Salmon Fly shucks has been observed. Best dry flies to present are Adams Parachute, Quigley’s Cripple PMD, and Cutter’s E/C Caddis. Best Nymphs have been Flashback Pheasant Tails, Mercer’s Z-Wing, and Hogan’s S&M in olive. Smaller flies seem to have been more productive in the last week, with mayfly nymphs being the best.
Conditions will only get better with the incoming hot weather as the water temps will increase. Better get it now, once the water really heats up in the upper river, those trout will move downstream to find a more suitable habitat to summer over in. As we go into June and the latter half, be sure to carry a thermometer to check water temps and quit fishing when it gets to be 67 degrees and above. Brown trout do much better with warmer water temps than rainbows. If you will be visiting Plumas County and fishing the MFFR, here are some guidelines from the Plumas County Public Health Agency: “Wherever you are, it is important to use good personal protective measures. Avoid recreating in groups. Maintain social distancing of 6 feet at all times. Avoid crowded areas like trail heads and parking lots. Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer often. In short, enjoy the outdoors but do it in a safe, isolated, and individual manner. In regards to boating and fishing, follow all state regulations for safe and legal activities. Avoid crowded boat ramps or fishing areas. Find another place to recreate if you don’t have several yards between you and your neighbor”. Busy is the word with me and all at once. In the last 3 weeks I’ve never been so consumed with trip inquiries than my previous 24 years of guiding and booking trips. Being a totally independent guide is challenging, but I truly do love my work and sharing all things fly fishing. June is booked up, with 4 days open in July. 15 days available right now in August. I’ll be back up to the Northern Sierra in a few days and finally getting on Lake Davis, reports to follow. See you on the water where the wild things are…
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