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Fishing Report

Central Valley Fly Fishing Report

Central Valley Fly Fishing Report

Jon Baiocchi Reports on 6.20.20

Well…It took nearly 4 weeks to finally see prime conditions for the damsel game and this year it’s going to be short lived. In the last week water temperatures have spiked upwards from 60 in the morning to 65, and in the afternoon I have recorded 70 degrees at 2pm – Just like that. Damsels will keep on hatching, and some fish will come into the skinny water to feed in the next few weeks but with the warmer water temps your catch and release will most likely not live. So you’ll be looking at a catch and keep scenario. Lake Davis is a “put and take“ fishery – you make the call on what is the right thing to do.

The lake levels are just about perfect with the slow drop of minimal releases from the Grizzly creek dam, where the shoreline has more character including flats, peninsulas, and natural fish traps. Currently Lake Davis is at 75% of capacity. Though the fluctuating weather and high and low pressure systems were challenging in the last month for consistent fishing, it sure has been fun being on the water in the last week. When you’re on a body of water nearly every day you can really clue in on the slight variances in fish behavior, including holding patterns, and food selection. Observations and understanding what each unique day brings is the key to your success.

Last Monday was the best day for tracking targets and presenting damsels to selective and wary feeders in 2 to 5 feet of water. It’s more than just trolling around in a float tube, or fishing from a boat while casting. From the bank, time slows down and you’re honed in on the hunting aspect of the damsel hatch. I’m stoked for my guests who have never experienced this and get to live it, it is indeed one of the greatest things you can do with a fly rod in your hand. 

Now that the region of the Northern Sierra is in a typical pattern of high pressure, and hot weather, Lake Davis will see a lot of glass in the morning hours. When it’s flat calm those trout are on edge and super wary. As Jay Fair use to say “they’re scared…They really are!” You’ll get a slight East wind in the morning too and most often it’s perfect with just a ripple to give the trout some cover to feel more secure, and hours later the wind will shift to the South West or a Westerly flow.

Just a few reminders for the damsel game – Your patterns should be brown, dark olive, olive, and light olive in color. They should also be sparse and about an inch long. Commercial ties are way too long and bulky. 4X tippet at a minimum, and always check your knots for strength, and your leader for casting knots frequently. When you finally get the chance to make a hook up you’ll want your operating system the best it can be. The takes can be subtle (your line just stops), or on the aggressive side. You just never know if it is the bottom, a weed, or what not - so always strip set on anything you feel different.

The Aquatic hatching cycle is such at these times – in the early pre sunrise look for scum lines in deep open water where trout will resort to being dumpster divers eating the garbage from the previous night. Then the blood midge and other chironomids will begin hatching soon after. By 9am the damsel nymphs begin swimming to the shoreline or anywhere they can crawl out and hatch into an adult. The hatch may last to 1pm, but every day is different with the amount of nymphs hatching, and even the amount of active feeding fish to a particular flat or shoal. Callibaetis spinners will appear mid-day, look up into the sky and you’ll see dozens upon dozens aloft in the breeze. As the water temperatures peak out in the afternoon, the fish go down to 10 to 18 feet of water, or the first good ledge that has weeds and food where they can dine in their air conditioned restaurant. 

The last hour of light and the Hexagenia mayfly appears. The population is all over the lake now, but I see more near the east side of the lake where there is more clay – This is nymph’s preferred habitat due to the simple fact that the tubes they create to live in will not collapse like soft mud will. With lower light levels you can use much heavier tippet, and in my opinion the best pattern while fishing the surface is using a cripple or a stillborn pattern. It’s been so cool just observing all the critters feasting on the Hex. The bass and the trout are really putting on the feed bags with this substantial food supply, and come fall we are going to see those fish with huge shoulders and girth.

I’m done guiding on Lake Davis for trout, but open for poking around in the early mornings and late evenings for bass while I’m in the area doing creek trips of the Lost Sierra. It’s been really awesome to see the largemouth bass eat the same patterns we use for the trout – they have adapted to the natural food source well from tiny midges to damsels. As of right now, these are my only available fall dates for the lake: 9/19, 20, 24-28. 10/4-6, 28-31. All other dates are booked up. If you want a spot, let me know ASAP! Thanks to Lake Davis for an incredible fly fishing experience over the past 3 decades, and also a big thank you to J&J’s Grizzly Store and Campground for supporting me. I leave you with this, and it happens all the time, and why I have been writing and sharing my experiences and knowledge on this blog for so long. I’m walking back from the Honker Cove boat ramp after a day on the water to fetch the truck and yank the LillyBob. I met an elderly man whom I’ve never met before and he stares at me and says “you’re the guy the blog right?” I say yes, that’s me, I’m Jon (LOL). He then says “Thanks for sharing, I really look forward to your reports!” We smile, wish each other well and go about our business. Here’s the cool thing…The man doesn’t’ even fly fish, he’s a troller.  

Middle Fork Feather River 

The water levels have come way down, and it is imperative to fish downstream of the Jamison creek confluence. I’m only allowed to guide in the Recreational zone per my 1997 issued Special Use Permit from the US Forest Service, which is between  the A-23 bridge 4 miles east of Portola downstream to Nelson creek. During this time I like the confluence down to Sloat, colder water and some really cool runs, riffles, and pools. Water temperatures last Friday were 63 rising to 67 in the afternoon. It’s a morning to mid-day game, and of course the last couple hours of light for the evening hatch.

Most of the big fish are have left, but you’ll find a few if you can decipher the type of habitat they hold in – deeper slots, shady lies, undercut banks, the bottom of a big hole, and under the streamside native grasses of a high bank. We are still using two rods. The tight line rig, and a dry fly set up. With the tight line rig, many fish have come on the swing at the end of the drift. Those Middle Fork Feather rainbows do not have to be rising in order to take a dry fly. Many times just blind casting a dry will surprise you more than once, like a dozen of times! 

Caddis are the most profuse aquatic insect out, and a heavy spinner fall of BWO’s in the morning when air temperatures are between 57 and 67 degrees. The cool find last week were a few Green Drake spinners. There is not a big population of them on the Middle Fork Feather, but enough to get a bigger fish looking up for them. As the water temps rise  during the day there is less oxygen and the trout will move into faster water looking for the white water and bubbles, don’t be shy about casting a bushy elk hair caddis in that type of water – they’ll find it too. 

I’m done guiding the Middle Fork Feather too with increasing water temps and rock snot. Unlike Lake Davis, the MFFR is not a put and take fishery and the resident wild trout are extremely special. These trout are some of the most pristine specimens I’ve ever laid eyes on, and too valuable to accidently kill while fishing for them. The available dates I listed above for Lake Davis are the same for the MFFR in the fall. Again, get a hold of me now to secure your date. It was such a rad spring season for the river, chunkier fish, good numbers, and profuse hatches. The Middle Fork Feather River is truly the “Jewell of the Lost Sierra.”

See you on the water…

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Lake Davis Fly Fishing Report

Lake Davis Fly Fishing Report

Jon Baiocchi Reports on 6.16.20

Conditions for the Lake of the Lost Sierra have been as widespread as the weather in the last week. With so many high and low pressure systems moving through combined with big wind events, and fluctuating air temperatures from hot to very cold has really effected the behavior of the resident trout. Simply put, we are not seeing the typical June rhythms of the lake where every day is nearly like clockwork. For example last Saturday I hosted a small group from Santa Lucia Fly Fishers and it was very cold combined with winds from 20 to 35 mph, needless to say we did not do that much fishing but concentrated more on learning about the specifics on Lake Davis. It was brutal. We were all shivering, and longing for a place to escape the wind after we were done with the workshop. Fishing is on the tough side for Lake Davis though some nice quality fish are being caught and released. 2020 just keeps making rogue waves including the new Juneuary in the Northern Sierra with wind advisories and small craft warnings. We’ve seen it before, and we’ll see it again. 

In regards to the fish behavior, it’s so weird to see these trout are not in a dependable schedule as it normally is in June. You’ll find them in large pods feeding and an hour later they scatter to the wind and are gone. The other thing I’m not seeing a whole lot of is my favorite game of stalking trout in 1 to 3 feet of water eating damsels. There needs to be more damsels in the skinny water to lure those big rainbows in. I have seen a few days that is close to be being normal, and that’s comforting as is the warmer weather that is on the way. This is what you can expect once we get back into a long term high pressure pattern:

Day Break – Rising fish over deeper water eating left over aquatics and terrestrials from the night before (hex spinners, white winged sulphurs, and spent caddis) and emerging blood midges mixed in with smaller various chironomids. This will last until 9am or so.

Late Morning – Damsels on the move, with heavy long horn caddis in the air. Forget about the caddis and concentrate on the Damsels and putting yourself near a good weed line and structure for the damsels to hatch out on.

Mid Day – Damsels mixed in with sporadic Callibaetis from sparse to profuse depending on the day.

Afternoon to Late Afternoon – Fish will be in deeper water surrounded by weed beds grazing lightly, deep water indo rigs with chironomids is the best approach.

Late Evening – Hex hatch mixed with profuse caddis and blood midge hatches. Dry fly opportunities abound.

Despite the weather my guests and I are still having fun out there and I’ve finally made friends with the largemouth bass. They aren’t going anywhere so we might as well enjoy them. It’s really cool to see how these particular bass have adapted to Lake Davis in regards to habitat, and food items. Heavy weed beds mixed in with submerged willows seems to be their preferred areas to ambush prey, or suck down a red San Juan worm under an indicator. Leech patterns and even Jay Fair wiggle tails and stripping flies are receiving some love from them. They fight really well and most give one good jump or a tail walk on the surface before going down and dirty to the bottom. 

Stripping flies like the ones I just mentioned along with damsels, pheasant tail flashbacks, sheep creek specials, and hare’s ear nymphs are all good choices. Productive colors have been fiery brown, olive, black, red (bass are really on this color right now), and burnt orange. For indo rigs, albino winos, zebra midges, and large black beauties with red wire have done well. I’m still seeing most fish in 5 to 8 feet of water, or in deeper water but still in the upper water column. Water temps are at 63 degrees in the morning. If you’re lucky enough to find a pod of active feeding fish, stay put – do not leave. You’ll want to fish the west shore from Camp 5 all the way up to Fairview point in the North end of the lake. Some days the fish are on the points, and some days they are tucked way back in the gut of certain coves. Keep searching until you find them.

As I mentioned earlier, Last Saturday morning was like an early November storm, there were Hex shucks and duns everywhere on the east shore frozen in time from the frigid wind chill effect. The Hex hatch is seeing a lot of duns emerge in evening (some in the morning too) and it’s a good year for them. Not seeing a whole lot of trout or bass keyed in on them yet, but the birds are way ahead of the game. I’m up at day break preparing for a day on the lake, rigging the boat, the rods, and all the other essentials. I then guide for all day for 8 to 10 hours, clean and organize the boat for the next day, and attend to fish business (email and phone inquiries, marketing, planning, etc) until I go to bed at around 9pm – Rinse, repeat. I really have no desire to fish the Hex hatch after a long day, I’ve done that plenty, especially when I guided Almanor in the late 90’s. So now I get off just watching how the ecosystem revolves around each other during the hatch, and that is watching the birds and the bats feast upon North America’s largest mayfly. Of all the critters that take advantage of the Hex Hatch my favorite is the common Night Hawk. It’s like watching an air show at Beale Air Force Base. I’m not talking about watching just a few of them, but like dozens upon dozens! Their flight patterns are so bad ass and the G forces they pull through their maneuvers would make a human black out and unconscious if they were trying to pilot this craft. What an amazing bird!

Today was just a pit stop at home here in Nevada City to blog and catch up on normal life things. I’ll be back up tonight at Lake Davis, the Middle Fork Feather, and the creeks for the next week. I’ve had SO many inquiries in the last month like “we’d like to book a trip next weekend”. That’s not going to work. It’s best to book two months with me at the latest, and if you’re serious 6 months before the intended date for the prime times of June, July, September, and October. You could say I’m in demand I guess…
When you visit Lake Davis be sure to stop by the J&J Grizzly Store and Campground and share your fishing experience good or bad, sharing your fishing reports really helps everybody out. They are open for business and their campground is usually full. I’m so thankful for their friendship and letting me store the LillyBob at their place – Thank you!

See you out there in the great outdoors of the Lost Sierra and good luck on the water!

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Lake Davis Fly Fishing Report

Lake Davis Fly Fishing Report

Jon Baiocchi Reports on 6.8.20

Finally back with my other sweetheart. When you’ve been away from one of the most beautiful lakes found in the West for 7 months, it hits you deeply. What an awesome place. The most striking characteristic of this area to me is the bird life. Around the lake you’ll find Bald Eagles, Red Tailed hawks, Western Grebes, White Pelicans, Pie Billed Grebes, and Sandhill cranes. Among the conifers and deep forest, songbirds and warblers are thick like the Fox sparrow, Yellow-rumped warbler, and Western Wood-Pewees just to name a few. Super green native grasses, willows, and flowering Mule’s Ear encompass the lake’s basin. What a sight to behold. The weather was a bit extreme for June in the Northern Sierra, an encroaching low pressure system brought fierce strong winds that howled up to 35+ mph the entire time I was up there. Big water and waves ran from the South West shore up to the North Eastern shore of the lake. I’m always on edge when I have guests in my boat during such conditions because it’s SO gnarly, like an episode of Deadliest Catch. I’m really glad I have a safe boat that was designed for such conditions, the Lilly Bob, a Tracker Pro Deep V 16 that knows Lake Davis well. This morning at Lake Davis the low was 27 degrees with a few inches of snow. It looks like we’ll warm up again only to see a slight chance of showers and cooler weather for this coming weekend. With all that wind, it pushed many anglers off the water, and only the hardy toughed it out. Campgrounds are open and full, though the big shocker for me and many others was the increase in fees for day use areas and launching ramps. Daily use fees have gone from $6 to $10. Launching fees? Are you ready for this? One ramp access - $50, 2 ramp access - $70, unlimited ramps at Davis, Frenchman, Gold, and Bucks Lakes - $100. Oh, by the way…leave the checkbook at home as they are only taking cash.

The lake is at 76% of capacity, I like it from 60 to 70% as it offers more peninsulas, flats, and coves that offer better habitat and transition zones for the trout to thrive in. The good thing about the water level though is that Lightning Tree boat ramp is still usable. Water temperatures were 62 on Saturday morning. I expect it to drop a degree or two by this coming Monday. The current fishing condtions? Let’s start with the catching. Pretty good action on Thursday and Friday for my guests. Highlights included one rainbow at 24”, and two browns in the 16” range – That means those brownies have grown about 5 inches since last June when they were planted. With Lake Davis having one of the biggest bio masses for a western stillwater, it does not surprise me at all. Water clarity is a little off, mostly from the absurd amount of wind that has been hammering the lake. Weed growth is slow and most weed beds are dark in color, but very abundant. Many of the trout were hooked in 4 to 8 feet of water, and in deeper water they seem to favor the mid to upper water column, even late in the day. Stripping was the only game we played and did not bust out the indo rigs – For my guests, the tug is the drug. They’ll take that over watching the neon ball that owns you. Floating lines for the shallower water, and clear camo intermediates in the deeper water. Best tactic while in your tube or pontoon boat is using an intermediate line and covering water. Now for the bugs. The morning starts out with a good blood midge hatch with adults in a size 12. There is also many other smaller chironomids in the mix, most notably a size 14 in a pale olive color. The damsels have just started and with this cooler weather it will delay the peak of the hatch, I’m guessing the 3rd week of June or so. Damsel nymphs are dark in color right now in cocoa brown and dark olive. They have chameleon like traits and change colors to match the surrounding weed beds they live in. Camouflaging themselves within the surrounding environment is their only defense against predators like Dragon fly nymphs, Kirby’s backswimmers, sunfish, bass, and trout. Callibaetis spinners are also on the water’s surface, but the few days I was out there, the hatch was sparse at best, and not very many duns on the water. That will change.

Lastly, I found my first Hexagenia mayfly of the season which is always a treat to show my guests that has never seen one before. If you’re really serious about fishing this novelty hatch, go to Lake Alamnor, Butt Lake, or the Fall River. It’s just a better game at those areas. I use to guide this hatch heavily at Lake Almanor when I started my guide service in 1997, and I learned so much back then being on the water learning both the insect’s behavior, as well as the trout. The nymph is your best bet if you want numbers of trout, and you can start fishing it in the late afternoon when the bugs slowly wiggle their way up towards the upper water column from their homes in the clay. I’m currently at the lake with an 11 day run of trips and will post a fresh report in a week or so. Spring and early summer Lake Davis trips are filled up. I have 9 days available in Late September, and 14 days in October. If we get good weather into November I’ll be there, and my calendar at this time is wide open. Shoot me an email if you want in - See ya out there…

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Northern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Northern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jon Baiocchi Reports on 10.13.19

If you’re a fly angler, October is the best month of the year for good fishing in the Northern Sierra, as well as across Nor Cal. Fall colors, and the seasons changing guard are a stark reminder that another year has flown past. It’s been a great one while fishing/guiding on the water, and there are still plenty more good trips to be had. Nights have been cold, enough for me to make adjustments on where I’m camping out like up on a hill instead of down by the river or the lake. Cold air sinks to the bottom of any basin, so keep that in mind as well as if your camp will get early morning sunlight. The low air temps will increase a little bit in the upcoming days and during the daytime will be mild with near 70 degree autumn weather, with a noticeable shorter length of day light from sunrise to sunset. October is just plain special, I just wish it were stretched out over a three month period.

Lake Davis

Fishing has been great, the best it’s been in a long time but still you got to put some work in and locate the fish. Water temps have dropped a tad to 52 degrees, and during the sunny days the shallows will be a little warmer so look for trout to be there as there is abundant food and comfortable conditions. Colder water can spread fish out and that’s exactly what we are finding at Lake Davis. A higher lake level will do that too. I find that the lake is still a little too full for my liking which is currently at 80% of capacity. 65 to 70% is best for fly anglers who like to fish off the shoreline and prowl the peninsulas, points, and shoals. Fishing pressure has increased, but far from being crowded though. More conventional gear guys and gals then fly anglers.

I’ve been guiding the lake more this year than in the past 5 years and it’s been a lot of fun. Because of such I’ve noticed some variables that really effect the fishing. Glassy conditions make for tougher fishing as the trout feel more vulnerable from threats above water – They’re scared, they really are. Once there is a ripple on the water the bite will turn on. On last Wednesday’s trip we had big wind with white caps and rollers and the catching was on fire. During such conditions there is plenty of cover for the fish just under the surface, with lots of food being dispersed in the drift. The lake turned over last week meaning that there is no thermocline of cold water on the bottom with warmer water in the top column. It’s all mixed together with an up welling of nutrients from the bottom giving the water a green color with visible bio matter. The more water you cover, the better your catch rate will be, and when you do find a few stay put and fish that area hard.

Stripping flies has been way more effective than the bobber whether it’s out in open water, or on the bank. Jay Fair stripping flies, wiggle tails, and wooley nymphs just keep producing in the typical fall colors we love. Burnt orange, rust, fiery brown, black, and especially red are serious money. Some days a faster strip is better than a slow one and it’s best to experiment until you find the speed and action preferred by the fish for that day. The rainbows are showing more girth and bigger shoulders in the past few weeks which are proof they are eating well and bulking up for winter. A day off for me today, then I’m back up the hill for more trips. It’s been cool meeting new people at the dock who have given me praise about my website, blog, and reports. I really do care about sharing all things fly fishing and making sure my fellow anglers and guests are having a good time at Lake Davis, and all over the region.

Middle Fork Feather River

Conditions have changed rapidly in the last month that has affected the bite and hatches, namely colder water and air temps. I’ve been doing a lot of trips here as well and my guests and I have only seen one other angler, and it turns out he was a friend of a friend. The Chico connection is and always will be a big part of my youth while growing up and fly fishing in the town of Paradise. Water temps in the morning are at 50 degrees and the fishing is slow. Sleep in, eat a good wholesome breakfast, and get on the water around 11am when the water has warmed up. There are good hatches occurring in the afternoon with rising fish. BWOs and Mahogany duns (and spinners too) are the most prolific, and the BWO spinner fall occurs much later now and it is not as significant as the weeks prior. Caddis are still out including the false October Caddis and a few small species, I didn’t see one true October Caddis though in the last few trips even though I’m finding fresh shucks on the rocks. Northern California Tight Line Nymphing is the way to go, and with lower water levels you can effectively cover all the pools, pockets, and runs. I’ve really perfected my teaching skills over the decades of guiding and I can teach anyone how to tight line and be effective in a very short time. The rainbows are healthy and very colorful right now, yet mostly small, and 100% wild. Two things stand out this time of year on the Middle Fork Feather River. Solitude and blazing fall colors. Leave the crowds behind, and take a hike down the tracks, it’ll make your day that much better. See you out there…

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Lake Davis Fly Fishing Report

Lake Davis Fly Fishing Report

Jon Baiocchi Reports on 9.25.2019

It seems the fishing at Lake Davis is getting back to near what it once was in the past. It’s been at least 5 years or more since fly anglers have had catch rates this good. It all comes down to the California Department of Fish & Wildlife planting more fish of catchable size. There were 3 plants of trout in late May and June including Eagle Lake Rainbows, and Brown trout, both sterile and fertile. Last Monday another plant of 4,000 trout, one pound per fish, Louisiana strain rainbows entered the lake. More fish in the lake makes a big difference not just for the fishing, but for the local economy and businesses that rely on such. Current water temperatures are at 58 degrees and holding, we will see another good drop on the thermometer as a cold snap will take hold over the weekend with a chance for snow. Fishing pressure is extremely light and Lake Davis is pretty much a ghost town. 10 years ago, the Honker Cove boat ramp parking lot would be full, this past week there were only 2 to 6 vehicles with trailers parked there. The willows, cottonwoods, and aspens are showing signs of fall colors to come, look for the peak about the 3rd week of October. It’s so gorgeous at the lake when the autumn glow is going off!

You’ll find most of the trout near the top water column (2 to 10 feet down) in deeper water with a depth of 12 to 24 feet, and as of late they are starting to come into the shallows. With so many plants of various sized trout you will find rainbows from 9 to 26”. We did finally manage to catch a brown and it was right round 11” and clean. The middle of the lake to the northern end on the west side seems to be the best right now. The fish are scattered and in small pods that move continuously day to day, and during the day, where you found them an hour ago may change so move around until you either see rise forms, or are getting hook ups. A size #14 blood midge is hatching from about 9am to noon, mixed with sparse Callibaetis mayflies, and the occasional Hex. Your standard Lake Davis patterns are all working like Sheep Creek Specials, Flashback Pheasant Tails, smaller Damsel nymphs, Hare’s Ears, and Albino Winos. Color does make a difference with wiggle tails, buggers, and leeches, and the colors of the Fall season include burnt orange, rust, fiery brown, and bad ass black. Also use strong hooks as a few of the bigger athletes have bent the points outward, 3x heavy if you can find them. Stripping presentations seem to be working better than indicators and the retrieve will vary day to day. This past week a faster strip with the leech patterns seem to work the best. Keep in mind your favorite cove may be choked out with weeds, which is good in the way of a profuse bio mass of aquatic insects, but poor for keeping your fly clean during an honest presentation. I can’t recall the last time I saw weeds growing up to the surface in 20 feet of water. The fishing will only get better from here on out, and improving on a weekly basis. I only have two days left that are available for October, and a few in November (I’m hoping for an Indian summer well into November). If you have an inclination to get out on the lake with me, you know where you can find me: / 530 228 0487. See you on the fertile waters of the Lost Sierra.
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Lake Davis Fly Fishing Report

Lake Davis Fly Fishing Report

Jon Baiocchi Reports on 6.28.19

I finally got up to Lake Davis to host the Gold Country Fly Fishers for their 3 day fish out last week, and just as I suspected the usual culprits of a high and cold water year were not favorable for good fishing. The lake is 97% of capacity. The fuller Lake Davis is, the less coves, peninsulas, and fertile shallows there are. Weed beds are also extremely deep as the water levels rose during late winter into spring. Surface water temps are already at 67 degrees rising to 70 during the heat of the day. Not very many hatches with good numbers at all. Just a few blood midges and Callibaetis, but there were many smaller midges in the morning and evening. On our second day I started to notice freshly hatched damsel adults on the top branches of submerged willows that are lining the shoreline. I did not see any damsels swimming, and I’m thinking they were emerging undetected in the willows crawling up the branches underwater. A few Hexes emerged in the evening near Honker Cove on the east side of lake but the rainbows, birds, and bats were nowhere to be seen. I have seen this type of scenario before both at Lake Davis and Lake Almanor in the last 3 decades. Late hatches of Damsels or the Hex, yet the surface temps are so warm that the trout prefer to stay in their deeper air conditioned restaurants down below off the first major ledge and feed on the nymphs. All of the fish that were being caught were down 20 to 25 feet. Full sinking express lines and slip bobbers were the tools to get the grabs. Sheep Creek Specials, Zebra Midges, and Albino Winos were the effective flies.

Ca DFW has made 3 plants of 18,000 pounds of Eagle Lake Rainbows since May, both catchable and sub catchable. This fall should fish well once the water cools down, and by that time the shallows will be full of aquatic insect life and much more fertile. If DFW keeps up on the planting schedule we could see Lake Davis near her former glory like in years past. I’m looking forward to seeing the most beautiful lake in Northern California rebound and provide my fellow fly anglers some positive stillwater experiences. See you out there in the future and the autumn sunshine.  

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Northern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Northern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jon Baiocchi reports on 6.14.19

The phone has been ringing of the hook the last couple of weeks and folks are itching to get out and fish, unfortunately, prime time is still a ways off for great trout fishing. I will can tell you this, we will experience really good fishing from July until late fall, and the dog days of summer might not even happen. For people who do not live in or near the Northern Sierra it is difficult for them to understand just how much snow is still up high and that it all still has to melt. Water agencies, law enforcement, and counties have been issuing warnings on recreation in or near rivers, and even closing some off totally to the public. Here is the scoop on waters I have been scouting, fishing, and guiding on:

North Fork Yuba River -  Flows are ripping especially near the top of the watershed where the river channel is narrower. Water temps are in the high 40’s. I won’t even begin to get serious about fishing/guiding here until the 2nd week of July. The upside is we will have a great mid summer and fall season here.

Middle Fork Feather River – out of all the rivers, the Middle Feather is the lowest, and with more fishable water. Graeagle area has been best, just remember the flows increase as you move downstream of Jamison creek. Fishing has been good with both indicator rigs, and limited dry fly sessions. Gray Drakes, BWOs, and caddis are active. Now is the time to fish the MFFR, once flows drop in the upper watershed, the bigger fish move downstream into the canyon.

Lake Davis – The lake is at full pool which I dislike, there are minimal peninsulas and coves, and lots of willows in the water (great habitat for the bass though, if you’re into that sort of thing). Established weed beds are deep, and the shallows will take a while to become fertile with bug populations and weeds. Damsels are not out yet, but there are Calibaetis and blood midges out. Water temps are right around 63 degrees. I will know more next week as I’m hosting a 3 day fish out for Gold Country Fly Fishers.

Frenchman Lake – I do like Frenchman at a fuller pool unlike Lake Davis. Conditions were good a month ago, but now are poor. I would focus on the north end of the lake early in the morning, then mid-day switch to a break away indicator 20 to 25 feet down with blood midge pupa or (hint) Zebra Midge. Frenchman’s biggest bug populations are chironomids and Calibaetis mayflies. Look for much better conditions this coming fall on both stillwaters as more trout will be planted and lower lake levels.

Truckee Area – The flows have come down on the Big Truckee a little bit, but still big. It will continue to be a yo yo effect with flow levels due to so many contributing factors like air temps that effect the melt, releases from dams, and inflows from tributaries. Yeah, there are some hatches out, but those fish are not looking up. One tactic you can implement is to fish accurate size and profiles of those nymphs active under the water’s surface. Bob Quigley’s Green Drake nymph would be a prime example.

Your best bet right now is fishing Prosser, Stampede, and Boca reservoirs. Fish where the inflows coming in and beyond the last riffle by about 200 yards. There are dry fly opportunities as well. Indicators rigs, slow stripping intermediate lines, and dry/droppers rigs are all productive. Be patient, conditions will change for the better in a month or so. See you out there!

Jon Baiocchi
578 Sutton Way #255
Grass Valley, CA 95945
(530) 228-0487 


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Foothill Bass Fly Fishing Report

Capt. Chuck Ragan reports on 4.11.19

The Foothill lakes continue to produce some awesome days for bass on the fly.  Temps have changed and some waters are warming and clearing and fish are beginning to show up on streamers and the strip. 

Good to great numbers and every now and again a sizable fish as well as by-catches of rainbow trout. If you haven’t experienced bass fishing in the foothills,...

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Lake Davis & Frenchman Lake Fly Fishing Report

Jon Baiocchi reports on 3.24.19

Lake Davis & Frenchman Lake: 

Currently, Lake Davis is at 83% of capacity, and Frenchman Lake is at 84% of capacity. I don’t like when Lake Davis is really full, there are fewer coves and the fish are scattered and harder to find. Also, the weed beds from the season before are much deeper. I do like Frenchman when it is high as the north end of the lake is more...

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