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Fishing Report

Lower Yuba Fly Fishing Report

Lower Yuba Fly Fishing Report

Jon Baiocchi Reports on 3.10.2020

Fishing still remains to be good on the Lower Yuba River, and spring has sprung with more wildflowers out, and new birds returning to the region. The cliff swallows are back, and I saw my first Osprey yesterday circling above the river looking for a vulnerable rainbow to snatch up. Songbirds and warblers are making an appearance as well. I love watching the birds and how they interact with the current conditions for food sources, like the hermit thrush patiently waiting on the cobblestones next to the bank anticipating a Skwala snack. They’re not dumb.

It was nice to see some light and steady rain grace the land this past weekend, just enough to keep the dust down and recharge the green colors of the foothills. We had nearly a half inch of precipitation fall in Nevada City for the last 48 hours. Not nearly enough, but we’ll take. The flows out of Englebright dam remain stable, and Deer creek barely bumped up during the storm so no new color was added to the system. Currently the combined flows are running between 970 and 980 cubes. From Yuba Water Agency’s website “Current snow survey data and long-range forecasts indicate dry conditions. For water conservation purposes, releases from Englebright Reservoir have been decreased to maintain Lower Yuba flows above the required minimum flow of 788 cfs. If weather conditions change, adjustments to flows will be re-evaluated.” Fishing pressure has diminished a little and there were very few anglers out this past weekend compared to the weekends of the past month, yet last Tuesday there were 10 vehicles on the north side of the Hwy 20 Bridge. Go figure, it must be the weather. 

As for the aquatics, there is still a ton of Skwalas out, and as I’ve said before I’m seeing more spent adults. When it comes to Skwala activity, it all depends on the warmth of that particular day. Yesterday it was cooler and there were not as many adults running around the cobbles like last Tuesday and Wednesday. I flipped rocks along the shoreline and sure enough I found a little over a dozen in a few minutes as they were seeking shelter and waiting for some solar radiation to heat things up. I’m seeing more March Brown mayflies (Rhithrogena morrisoni) during the middle of the day, the same PMDs (Emphemerella infrequens) too with the pinkish abdomen and the orange thorax. Many factors such as diet or natural selection may influence the coloration of mayfly species. The Yuba river streambed having a slight reddishpink coloration due to the type of algae coating the cobblestones, impart to the nymphs, and in turn the duns a pale pink staining.  There are some Pink Alberts (epeoris) in the mix as well and also some BWOs (Baetis) which were more prolific over the weekend with the rain and cloudy conditions. On our float yesterday I saw those rusty PMD spinners near the Aquarium section again around 10am, yet this time nobody was eating them. I’ve also noticed an increase of multiple species of caddis out and have definitely witnessed fish eating them here and there while the females are returning to oviposit on the water’s surface. I have not seen any Brown Duns (Amelitus) in the last week and no new shucks on the rocks, but I’m sure there is still a few around. Yeah, lots of aquatics in the mix for sure with a daily and constant dose of midges that is so prolific within a tailwater system. It’s fascinating when drifting on the river for miles how each riffle and run has different hatches, especially when it comes to the mayflies. It has made me realize that a basic fishing report is kind of obsolete. You got to be there in “real time” to see just what is happening as every hour is different, as well as the day.

There are many new trout/steelhead redds that have been constructed in the last week with visible fish on them. Please do not interfere with them by fishing, and be extra careful while wading around the redds. Though flow regimes and loss of habitat is the main culprit for low populations of trout and steelhead in the river, wading through the redds and crushing eggs and alevins doesn’t help either. Please be aware, and help educate those who are new to fly fishing about spawning beds. 

My guests and I are still not nymphing so I will have to recommend those indo rigs from the last report when I drifted with Brian Clemens. Big and little rubber leg stones, baetis nymphs, zebra midges, red copper johns, Hogan’s flies (S&M’s, Red Headed Step Child, Military Mays), and JuJubees. As for dry flies, just carry different emergers and adult mayfly patterns for the species listed above. The Unit Skwala tied in my own personal way is still crushing fish, especially those that see less pressure, or are in the rougher crap water most anglers just walk on by. 11am to 4pm on most days are the magic hours to be head hunting with fly first presentations. Oh, and btw – 5X makes a big difference when it comes to receiving eats on the Skwala dry, but you got to be careful on the hook set or you’ll pop the fly off.

Looks like it will warm up again and dry out heading into Friday where there is a chance of another small storm which will move down from the north this coming weekend. Colder air is the easier part of the forecast, though the exact track of the system and snowfall amounts are harder to evaluate this far out. We should see this system move in Saturday into Sunday. For the fantasy range forecast, the models keep the trough over the West with negative height anomalies over CA through the 3rd week of March. That would keep the door open to more systems dropping into CA from the north/northwest. That could bring us another weather system for early the week of the 16th, and possibly another system later that week into the 24th. No Bid Daddy storms looking ominous on the horizon, but we’ll take any kind of precipitation at this point. So many fisheries and watersheds all over the state are producing right now. Get some while the getting is good! See you among the cobblestones of the Lower Yuba River…  

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Lower Yuba Fly Fishing Report

Lower Yuba Fly Fishing Report

Jon Baiocchi Reports on 2.6.2020

It’s been pretty good on the Lower Yuba River, but the air temperatures will greatly affect Skwala activity, and also the mayfly hatches. The last two days with the extremely cold north wind really hampered the dry fly fishing. In fact last Monday was the coldest day I can remember on the Yuba River. That north wind cuts right through you and it’s enough to give one an ear ache for days. Here is an example of how the air temperature and wind chill affect Skwala activity. On Saturday, the first of February, I was hosting group #2 from Tri Valley Fly Fishers at Hammon Grove. That day we saw dozens of stoneflies in the willows, on the rocks, and in the drift. We saw many blow ups from the trout eating them as well. This past Monday, I saw one Skwala out, with only a few rise forms. Where do they go? They simply hide out under the cobbles and wait for another day that is warmer. For the mayflies, it’s a different story. They have a 24 hour life cycle, where as a stonefly can live for a month or longer. Cold wind can affect the water temps from coming up a few degrees which is part of the trigger mechanism that mayflies use to hatch. The other aspect is that with a strong wind, the duns are not on the water as long and are simply blown off the surface, much to the trout’s dismay.

The flows have come down and Yuba Water Agency has cut the flows back a little from the lack of precipitation and is currently running at 1,093 cubes – Love it! There’s more to come too, from their website this morning: “Current snow survey data and long-range forecasts indicate dry conditions. For water conservation purposes we will decrease releases from Englebright Reservoir on Tuesday 2/4, Wednesday 2/5 and Thursday 2/6 by 50 cfs per day, from 1,000 cfs to 850 cfs. If weather conditions change we will reevaluate and look at adjustments to flows. Releases from Englebright Reservoir are managed to comply with license flow requirements.” Fishing pressure has been busy especially on the weekends. The lack of fishing etiquette has been disturbing, especially from new guide boats, and new pilots of public boats. We had three boats drift right through a foam line with rising trout that my clients were fishing last Saturday, and they didn’t even acknowledge that we were there. I’ve been in the same situation before where veteran drift boat guides would drift behind us as to not disturb the feeding lane we were fishing in front of us. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – Communication from those behind the oars goes a long way.

So I’ve been working closely with Brian Clemens on trips where our clients do a day with him in the boat, and then a more instructional day with me on how to best approach the Yuba River on their own as a walk and wade angler. Brian has been doing really well nymphing from the boat. He’s covering the most productive water, with the right flies, and at the right depth – for miles. The best bugs for the indo rig have been Clemens’s Skwala Stone, Clemens’s Bad Ass Baetis, Jimmy Leg Stones, and the worm. The upper river has a little more color to it than down below, so switching to 5X has its advantages when the water is clearer. I’ve been on the upper part of the river a lot, and there is a ton of fish stacked up there right now. According to Brian the top and bottom sections of the Yuba down to Daguerre dam have the biggest amounts of fish in the system, while the middle section is just ok. You know how the Yuba works, the trout can be here today, and somewhere else tomorrow. If you’re not catching – Move!

For me and my trips, it’s all about the afternoons. Hunting selective trout from the bank is so much fun! It’s very challenging and technical, but when you do have some success it’s simply so rewarding. That type of situation is what I live for whether it is me fishing, or my guests. Mayflies start appearing round 1 pm or so, look for the songbirds being active to help guide you. Two PMDs are out, a size 14, and a size 16 that is a little more yellow, and the BWOs in a size 18 as well. Once the fish are keyed in on the mayflies and are looking up, it then becomes Skwala time with the best fishing from 3 to 5pm. You’ll have better results with broken water than the flat calm water. The trout have more time to inspect your fly on the flat calm water. With more fishing pressure on the river you’ll often see the fish take a natural Skwala and refuse your artificial. Try changing patterns and see if they take it, if not, move on and find another fish. I’m totally booked up for February with regular guide trips, workshops, and the Pleasanton Fly Fishing show, but have a few dates open for March as of now. If you really want to learn about the Yuba, I can teach you the ways through Jedi training and mind tricks. See you on the water…

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Lower Yuba Fly Fishing Report

Lower Yuba Fly Fishing Report
Jon Baiocchi Reports on 1.30.2020 Conditions on the Lower Yuba River remain the same as the previous weeks except the trout are fully engaged on the Skwala stonefly, and actively looking for them in the drift. Fishing pressure remains to be moderate, and as expected, heavier on the weekends, but there is always plenty of room to find your own section of water too. The flows came up a tad during the last storm reaching 1,650 cfs. Nothing major at all and just a good little micro flush to disperse food items for the trout. Continue reading

Lower Yuba Fly Fishing Report

Lower Yuba Fly Fishing Report

Jon Baiocchi Reports on 1.11.2020

It’s been fun fishing on the Lower Yuba River the past couple of weeks. I really enjoy sharing the rhythms of the river with my guests and improving their skill set. My approach to guiding the Lower Yuba River is so much different as it is from a walk and wade perspective, where deciphering hatches and the clues that Mother Nature provides to usable information for the common fly angler. Reading water, proper presentations, casting, the best access, river history, local flora and fauna, flies, fish handling, the best flows, hook sets, fighting fish, and special leader formulas for every application known. I take pride in my trips, and not once in the last 23 years of guiding have I woke up at 4am and said “I don’t want to go to work today”. I really do love it.

Flows have been stable, right around 1,370 cubes, which is good as the trout can set up some long term homes and feeding lanes. Fishing pressure has increased, and some days are downright silly. I see way too many anglers racing upstream to try and beat the next guy, when they are passing up some really good water. All types of rigs are working right now but if want to play the dry fly game, you can take your time getting to the river ‘cause those heads and rise forms don’t even appear until after 12pm. Effective pattersn for nymph rigs include brown/gold rubber leg stones, red copper johns, Hogan’s S&M and Military May in BWO and PMD colors, and with this week’s weather and rising flows – worms in flesh, pink, and flesh colors. Swing salmon fingerlings and black egg sucking leeches near the head of runs.

So, what’s on the surface menu? BWOs, PMDs, Brown Duns, and Skwala stones. In the last week I’ve been observing more with my guests and helping them identify when a hatch is about to go off (it’s all about the song birds), the different species of mayflies, and trout behavior. The mayfly hatches have been really short, about 20 to 30 minutes, a little longer on cooler moist days as it takes longer for the mayflies to dry their wings from emergence and be able to fly off – Trout like that, they can take their time eating. One key to being more successful is to actually watch what specie of mayfly an individual trout is eating.  With 4 different aquatic insects to choose from, it varies. Here is an example; last Sunday my guest and I were fishing multiple foam line/feeding lanes in an area, and there were about eight different fish rising consistently. We were close, like 10 feet away so you could see every detail – To be honest it was incredible! Most of the fish were eating BWOs, but a few ignored them and would only take PMDs. There were Skwalas and a few Brown Duns circulating in a Merry-Go-Round foam patch, and the fish ignored both of them. Just plain weird. Trout behavior never ceases to amaze me. A classic “Masking Hatch” was happening, where other aquatic insects mask what most of the trout are really eating. To complicate matters even more, they can switch to a different preferred food item at any given moment. This is what trout fishing is all about – Solving the ever changing riddle.

Not many Skwalas out yesterday as it was too cold and not a lot of abundant sunshine. They chose to hide out under the cobblestones until a better day. They sure do like it warm. I’m amazed at how many anglers do not see them crawling around or in the drift. But then again you need to be on the water often to pick up the subtle clues and train your eyes to be able to pick up on those particular variances.

When it comes to that, I might as well be an Osprey. I just see the surrounding conditions of such so clearly – it’s all about putting in time on the water, and I’m very fortunate to be able to have those skills, and the time/job to hone them. I want to help other anglers though, and why I created affordable workshops to help increase a fly angler’s skill set. On February 12th I will have a Skwala Workshop on the Lower Yuba River. You’ll learn identification from male to female, habitat for the nymph and the adult, where and when they hatch, plus other rivers that hold good populations of them, emergence behavior, egg laying behavior, trout response to the hatch, recommended equipment, leader formulas, flies, presentations, and a highly informative handout that covers everything within the workshop. $150 per angler, limited to 4.  You’ll walk away after the workshop with a clearer understanding of the Skwala hatch, and how to be more successful when plying the water. Shoot me an email if you want in: baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com I have other upcoming workshops in the mix, so keep tabs on my blog:  https://jonbaiocchiflyfishingnews.blogspot.com/ or on my website’s news page: http://www.baiocchistroutfitters.com/fly-fishing-news/

It looks like we are getting some real precipitation this week, with rain, snow, and below average temperatures. We’ll see what transpires with the flows, and just have to wait and see how much falls from the sky. Feel free to contact me with questions, it’s that time of year when I have a little more time to answer emails (ha ha! up at 3am this morning to do so and get caught up!). Put the resource first, give back, help a newbie, and I’ll see you on the water…

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Lower Yuba Fly Fishing Report

Lower Yuba Fly Fishing Report

Jon Baiocchi Reports on 1.2.2020

It sure is nice to be guiding in temperatures that are a little more warmer than that of the Yampa River in Co. The Yampa report from flyfishingwithcattoy.blogspot.com and yesterday’s session was brutal, low of -1, and a high of 15. It’s been chilly during the morning hours here in Nevada City, and unlike Colorado, the air is much moister which you tend to feel in your bones more. I’ll take it for now. Fishing on the Lower Yuba has been good if you can find the areas that are holding heavier concentrations of fish, which in turn will result in higher catch rates – If the planets are aligned. I have an acquaintance that works for CA DFW, and in his early years working for the department, he snorkeled the Lower Yuba River studying macroinvertibrates and fish behavior. During these studies he told me that there would be sections of the river that were devoid of trout, while other areas were bountiful. Turns out it’s all about the most abundant food source for that given time, plus the resident trout on this river move around a lot depending on where those significant food sources are. Flows have been stable at 1,360 cubes, a good flow that compliments both drifters, and walk and wade anglers. According to the YubaWater Agency’s website “With no significant storm activity in the current forecast, we expect to maintain 1,200 cfs until storm activity and snow pack dictate higher releases. From Jan. 1 to Jan. 15, the minimum flow at Smartsville will increase to 1,000 cfs, and will decrease to 700 cfs on Jan. 16. The minimum flow at the Marysville gage for January is 500 cfs. Currently, Englebright releases are being held at 1,200 cfs. Flows from Englebright are managed to ensure that they don't drop below the minimum required flow”. Fishing pressure is moderate overall. It’s that time of year when you can sleep in a bit more as the best fishing is from just before noon to late afternoon.

The Skwala stoners are out, a little early but not by much. I was surprised to see as many shucks as I did over the past two days. They’ve been pre staging in the idle slack water downstream of riffles over the last month. Many of my clients are put back by how small the Skwala stonefly is compared to Goldens, and Pteranarcys. Your flies should be close to the same size for both the nymph and the adult. You can see here a stillborn that started to emerge, than failed. I’m surprised the birds didn’t get this one. It’s good to see the songbirds once again, my old friends are back on their favorite perches waiting to intercept passing aquatics in the breeze. Black Phoebes, Ruby Crowned Kinglets, Yellow Throated Warblers, and Townsend’s Solitaire in the mix. If you see birds starting to dart back and forth from their perch, you can anticipate that a hatch is about to go down, while putting yourself in a good run and waiting for the trout to respond. Mother Nature will provide the clues if you stop casting, and observe more. Skwalas are most active during warmer air temps and are in the foam and bubble lines in the afternoon. The majority of the fish are not keyed in on them yet, but they will be. I’m hoping the river does not blow out like this year and continued for months. We had serious game last January on the surface until February came along, and you know the rest of the story – Whooosh! Mating has already started. Stoneflies live a long time for an aquatic bug and can mate several times, unlike a mayfly. I also like to point out how much bigger the female is compared to the males, having two sizes of both nymphs and adults can up your odds. #12 2xl for the male, #10 2xl for the female. Check out my article in the December 2014 issue of California Fly Fisher magazine for the complete details on the Skwala hatch. I really dug deep with the information shared on this one. There have been decent hatches out, nothing profuse but that should change here in the next month. Many different mayflies including the big Brown Dun (Ameletus) #10, BWOs #18, PMDs #14, and Pinkies (Epeorus) #16. Yesterday after noticing the birds eating rapidly from their perches, we put ourselves on a good flat and sure enough we had BWOs coming off and multiple rising fish. Unfortunately, the show was over in 20 minutes. There is also a sprinkling of micro caddis out as well, but mayflies taste better to the wild rainbows. The weather looks to be perfect in the next week with a mix of sun and clouds, plus a chance of light rain on Saturday. It’s all systems go for the Lower Yuba River, and the fishing will only get better once the fish figure out the Skwalas are in the drift during the afternoons – Looking forward to that! See you on the water…

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Northern California Fly Fishing Report

Brian Clemens Reports on Happy New Years Everyone,

I am hoping that everyone had a great and safe New Year and a very Merry Christmas. Where did the 2019 season go? Cant believe 2020 is already here.
I have always loved the new year, it brings openers on rivers in Nor Cal, new license purchases, the start of the NFL Playoffs and new years resolutions. But it also means planning for 2020 fishing adventures and there is no better time than now. With the late 2019 season rains, that were much needed, they brought new life to many of our Nor Cal rivers and Im really looking forward to late winter and early spring.
Here is you 2020 Nor Cal New Years Fishing Report

TRINITY

Flows: 300 Lewiston, 350 DC, 470 JC, 660 Del Loma
Clarity: Clear
Fishing: Good to Great

The December rains really woke up the Trinity from working hard for a few fish to hooking consistent numbers under an indicator as well as swinging. The fish are not as big as usual, but what they lack in size they sure make up in pure spunk. On average, we are hooking 4-8lb fish and each one has been a firecracker. The Trinity will have steady fishing throughout the rest of winter and into early spring. Whether you want to swing, throw dries (Feb/March) or nymph for winter steelhead, the trinity is one of the better choices right now in Northern California. Very limited dates in Jan, more dates available Feb and March.
Swinging: Hobo Speys, GT40s, Heisenbergs, Thalken's Tiny Dancer Green Butt Skunk, Golden stones, Brown/Chartuse/Black Anderson Euphoria's, 
Dries: March Browns
Nymphs: Stones, Psycho Princes, Copper Johns, March Browns

FEATHER

Flows: 800 Low Flow, 1900 High Flow
Clarity: Perfect 8-10ft viz hint of green
Fishing: Good to Great
The section above hwy70 is now open

As always the Feather never disappoints. The fall season was plan stupid with the egg bite and now that the spawn is over, its time to start thinking alevin/fry hatch and fishing more traditional trout patterns. Once again the recent rains have brought in some new winter fish and they are staging in the high flow waiting for some more rain to keep moving up. Fish are definitely spread out. The fishing has been pretty consistent, quality over quantity. Both swinging and nymphing are producing fish and its only going to get better. With more rain in the forecast it will continue to bring in more fish for the remaining winter season and as always spring time on the Feather is something to look forward to. Some of the best days on the Feather, especially swinging starts around New Years and continues on through till April/May. With that being said, from Jan 1st to mid June is some of the busiest times for me so booking well in advance is highly recommended. You wont see the big steelhead like the Trinity or the American, but again their lack of size is made up with their sheer pissed off attitude. Plus the pressure on the Feather is a lot less than the Trinity and American, its also an easy day trip from the Bay Area. 
Swinging: Olive leeches/sculpins, alevins/fry patters, Brown/Chartreuse Anderson Euphoria's, Tan soft hackles, hobo speys 
Nymphs: Caddis, Prince Nymphs, Montana Nymph, San Juan Worms, Copper Johns, Mayflies, Alevins/fry patterns

YUBA

Flows: 1350 Hwy20 Bridge, 1150 Below Daguerre (perfect flows for the jet boat)
Clarity: Clear
Fishing: Good to Great
This report goes for both the Hwy 20 and below Daguerre
The Yuba has been fishing really good as of late and is always a fun river to fish and mix it up from steelhead fishing. What is super cool is we are already starting to see the infamous Skwala Stone as well as some very early brown drakes, yup March Browns. You know what that means, fish are gonna start looking up and eating dries like candy. You definitely dont want to miss out on this aweome dry fly action. When they start looking up, swinging brown soft hackles drives them nuts and even swinging olive woolly buggers get those grabs we look for. The salmon spawn is also over and fishing an alevin pattern is also a good bet. As long as the river doesnt blow out like last year, this years late winter to early spring is going to be lights out. Book now and watch these feisty rainbows fly out of the water to eat your dry or slam your swung fly like a steelhead. We can also run the lower lower section of the Yuba in my jet boat and be the only anglers on the water all day. We would be getting out of the boat and fishing, swinging, throwing drys and nymphing. Its pretty cool fishing below Daguerre Dam.
Swinging: olive streamers, Brown Anderson Euphoria's, brown/tan soft hackles, alevin/fry patterns
Dries: Skwala stones, March Browns
Nymphing: Stones, March Browns, San Juans, Caddis, Mayflies, Copper Johns

AMERICAN 

Flows: 2500cfs
Clarity: Perfect 8-10ft hint of green
Fishing: Fair-Good
The upper section is now open.
I have done a few trips on the AR over the past 2 months and each time out we had an opportunity at an adult fish or 2 and several half pounders, trips were combo trips, a bit of swinging and some nymphing. The bigger fish seemed a bit more responsive to the swung flies. From what I have heard, the opener was successful, with boats hooking decent numbers of fish, and bankies finding a fish or 2 where there was open water. There are still salmon spawning, so that means you better be fishing an egg pattern. This will continue for a few more weeks and then you will have to fish more traditional trout patterns. Personally Id wait about a week or so before heading out or hit it during the week to miss the crowds. The fishing will only get better on the AR as we get more rain and as the season moves into spring. The AR is known for its big Eel river strain steelhead, some pushing 15lbs. Your average fish is 6-8lb but 8-12lb fish are not uncommon. If you are looking to stay local and hook into some big hot steelhead, the American would be a good idea. 
Swinging: Hobo Spey, Anderson Euphoria's, GT40s, Heisenbergs, Thalkens Tiny Dancer Green Butt Skunk
Nymphing: Eggs, Princes, Trinity Johns, Hares Ear, Birds Nests, San Juan Worms, Copper Johns

Lower Sac

Flows: 5300cfs
Clearity: Steelhead Green 6-8ft
Fishing: GOOD
The Sac is still fishing well, even after the recent downpours that mother nature gave us. The Sac did muddy up for a few days and was only out of commission for a few days, but now its in good shape and it turned right back on after it cleared up. Flows have been steady at 5k since Dec 29th, and there are no scheduled releases in the near future. At 5k if you know where to wade, you can have some epic fishing, but please wade carefully. Nymphing has been the name of the game as of late, but that doesnt mean you cant see some fish sipping on BWOs late afternoon, so always have a dry fly rod ready. This time of year its not always about the big bugs, Ill always have a rubberlegs on for weight, but the smaller the flies the better, think spring creek style. The Lower Sac will only continue to fish better as the season progresses into the spring, and this is the time of year were we see some big fish on the end of the line and sometimes even into the net. If you are looking to book a trip on the Lower Sac, start booking dates now.
Swinging: Birds nests, soft hackles, small woolly buggers, alevins/fry patters
Dries: BWOs
Nymphing: Xmays, BWOs, S&Ms, Midges, Rubberlegs, Cadds, Alevin/Fry patterns

YUBA RIVER SHAD and STRIPER trips:

The 2019 shad/striper season on the Yuba was beyond epic, with most anglers landing 20-40 fish each day, with the best day on the water with 2 anglers they landed 148 shad. The boat ride alone is worth the price of admission, the fishing is just a bonus. If you want to experience some of the best shad fishing in California, join me on the Lower Yuba with my jet boat where we get out on gravel bars and swing for these "poormans tarpon." Dont know how to swing, no worries, Ill have you casting a 2 handed rod in no time, and there is no better time to learn how to cast and swing than during shad season, its a numbers game. Also, the striper fishing on the Yuba can be lights out, fishing gin clear water and watching the fish follow your fly all the way to the boat, then eating it, what more could you ask for. Whether its a shad trip, striper trip or a combo trip, I have the Lower Yuba dialed and as long as we have about 900cfs we can make it all the way up to the dam. Dates are extremely limited, booking well in advance is extremely recommend. I am typically fully booked up from May 1st to July 1st for shad, striper and spring run steelhead, SO BOOK YOUR DATES NOW. Shad season starts around May 1st to July 1st
Prime time May 15th to June 15th

My Available Dates for Feather, Yuba, Lower Sac, American

Jan 10, 25,26,27,29,30
Feb 2,6-17,19, 24-29
March 14,16,19-25, 28,29,30,31
More dates available upon request

My Trinity Lower Sac Dates

Jan 5,6,20,21,22,23,
Feb 6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13
Feb 25,26,27,28,29
March 1,2,24,25,28,29
More dates available upon request
There you have it folks, I know its been a few months since my last report, but between the extremely over booked and busy fall season, selling our old house in Antelope and purchasing a new house in Marysville in early Sept, its been a non stop busy roller coaster since Sept 1st. I just now feel like we have slowed down. But that doesnt mean the fishing has slowed down, its has only begun and will only get better as the season progresses into spring. 
Over the past few seasons, my available dates during peak season is becoming harder to reserve due to the high demand of my services. If you enjoy your time on the water with me and know when you'd like to book your trip/s, I would highly recommend booking your trip/s well in advance. At this point I would recommend at least 6 months to even a year in advance for peak seasons for steelhead, trout and shad. I want to be able to guide everyone, however, there are only so many days that I have available, and during peak season those dates become very limited. 
I am also happy to announce that I will be attending the Pleasanton Fly Fishing Expo Feb 21st, 22nd, 23rd at my own booth. My booth is located at A27 which is the first isle to the right as you come through the main entrance. Please come by and say hi, lets talk fishing, enter to win a free guided fishing trip, and book your next fly fishing adventure.
Lastly, cheers to another amazing year season in Northern California. Whether we were chasing steelhead, striper, shad, salmon, trout or anything else that swims, it was an awesome and busy year. I want to thank you all who fished with in 2019 and those who have supported me over the years. I am in disbelief that this is my 12th season guiding after starting Nor Cal Fly Guides in Febuary 2009. Im really looking forward to the start of this guiding season, and adding a few new waters to the mix for those looking for something different. I am very blessed for all the friendships in and out of the industry that have been created through the years and I wouldn't be here with out you. Here is to another great season, stay safe and see you on the water.
Solid Grabs
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Lower Yuba River Fly Fishing Report

Lower Yuba River Fly Fishing Report

Jon Baiocchi Reports on 12.11.2019

Finally, the whirlwind of being extremely busy since last early spring has died down and settled into the winter rhythms. The last month has been mostly touring around to fly clubs and speaking, and I must say the Delta Fly Fishers Northern Sierra Stillwater Seminar was SO much fun! I’m hoping more clubs go with that program because of the overload of knowledge shared, and the value to those attending. It’s a win/win for everyone involved!

It’s nice to be back on the water, and during the winter season is when I really get to fish on my own time. Love it. The Lower Yuba River has been fishing well, but the same old story, you got to find where the fish are holding, and put in the work – which at times is not easy unless you have some Intel on specific locations. Boats are getting more numbers than walk and wade anglers due to the simple fact that they can cover more water. Walk and wade anglers have an advantage too, as they can study the runs and riffles longer, and dissect their surroundings for the clues being offered to them by Mother Nature – Bug and trout activity. Fishing pressure has been light. On the trips I made in the last week above the bridge I only saw one other angler, and nobody upstream of Separator Rock. I like that.

The flows…Good for both boats and walk and wade anglers, and currently back down to 1,380 cubes. A few spikes from Deer creek after the recent storms, but nothing alarming, just a good little flushing to add some color to the system. I’ve recorded some unusual flows over the past month on the Lower Yuba River, a few times the flows were totally shut off for a few hours? I don’t get it, even if it was for maintenance, wouldn’t that require input or a special permit from CDF&W without having a F&G code 5937 violation? Who knows…Trout still gotta eat though, that I know.

All types of techniques and rigs are working right now. Bobbers, swinging softies and streamers, tight line nymphing, dry/dropper rigs, and dry flies to rising fish. In the last week I have seen mostly inconsistent hatches, and hopefully we will get into the daily winter “Clockwork” appearances from the PMDs, BWOs, Brown Duns, and soon the Skwala Stonefly. Right now the Skwala nymphs are starting to stage next to the idle water downstream of major riffles. Not many now, but those numbers will be increasing in the next few months. For flies… stones, small dark flashy mayfly nymphs, worms, eggs (texture makes a difference), alevins (Al-uh-vins), even caddis pupa patterns too. Cover water and go somewhere else if you are not catching, but also don’t leave fish to find fish – just figure the riddle out. I’ve hooked into a few toads out there but mostly smaller fish that might as well be F-18’s with the afterburners on – Red hot!

Just a reminder that my first of many workshops will be on 1/11/2020 – The Dry Fly Workshop will cover equipment, flies, rigging, leader construction, techniques, tactics, and informative handouts, plus one on one guiding. Cost is $175. I’ve restructured my workshops to allow for more fishing, and one on one guiding interaction. Limiting the maximum amount of anglers to 4 also immensely helps students receive more in depth instruction. Email me at baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com to sign up, or give me a call at 530.228.0487. Book it, and learn to be more productive on the water!

I’m currently packing my fishing gear, snowboarding stuff, and all my tying equipment for an extended stay at Advanced CBC (Cat’s Base Camp) in Colorado. It’s going to be cold, but I’m looking forward to some serious fun and happy times from bent rods, to carving the groomers, and hopefully floating on some freshies. It’s been a great year with lots of good surprises. I can’t thank you all enough for the support you’ve shown to me. Dad would really be proud of me sharing the knowledge… I’m sure he knows. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

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Lower Yuba River Fly Fishing Report

Lower Yuba River Fly Fishing Report

Jon Baiocchi Reports on 10.22.2019

I traveled back down to the Lower Yuba River from the Northern Sierra for a few trips, and just as expected, the river is fishing really well. Saturday’s weather was cold in the morning with a stiff east wind, but there was an ample amount of cloud cover, and with it, all sorts of adult aquatics out. Sunday was super nice and warm with bright conditions, not the best trout weather but that didn’t matter at all – Those silver bullets were chowing down all day long. Fishing pressure has been heavy at times, and you may have to go off the beaten path or wait an angler out if you care to fish a particular spot at the more easy access areas. There have been no new redds where I’ve been guiding on the river, yet I still see salmon migrating upstream through the riffles at various times during the day. The water is very clear and the flows from Englebright reservoir have been right around 1,350 cubes. The rainbows are podded up and where you find one, you’ll find five of them. From "Da Dean" of guides Frank Pisciotta, "When the fishing is slow, move fast, and when the fishing is fast, move slow". Sage advice. Many of the wild resident rainbows are in the 10 to 14 inch class and super-hot. A real handful for those new at this game, and my best advice is to not horse them in and let them take plenty of line out when they want to run, while still keeping tension. It’s tough for a rookie to take everything in at once, and there are so many steps involved until the fish is in the net. Everyday fishing techniques that are second nature to many of us, are serious summits for beginners to conquer. Think about it. A new fly angler needs the right rig with the right fly, the proper presentation to get the grab, a solid hook set, then fighting the fish effectively, and lastly sliding it softly into the receiving end of a net. I'm always so proud of my guests that put all the pieces in place to get the job done.

As for the bugs I saw a few different size caddis, BWOs, some really small PMDs, and larger Mahogany duns. I have heard of a few reports of Gray Drakes but I have yet to see one myself and cannot confirm it firsthand. The boys from GuideBox Fly Fishing also told me there is some decent dry fly fishing just before the sun sets, so keep that in mind. All types of rigs are working right know, and sub surface indo set ups are consistently producing the best. With more spawning salmon in the system, EGGS are a must right now and the best bead colors have been mottled natural roe, tangerine dream, and dark peach blood spot. I’ve also got some new innovative coatings with various shades of nail polish that really seem to do well and all I can say is “think outside the box” – Try different coatings the trout have never seen before. So with the indo rig, I’ll start with an egg about 9 inches down from my split shot, then I will trail a #16-18 Hogan’s S&M or Military May in dark olive, brown, or black, 14 to 18 inches below. Rubber legged stones have been picking up a few fish too. Try a dry dropper rig with something bushy on top in yellow or orange trailing a small baetis pattern in the shallower water below major riffles and the side water, you will be surprised. Lastly, solo dry fly, and depending on where you are fishing on the river will dictate what fly you will use for that. Observe more, and look at what type of bug the trout are actually eating and at what stage before making a selection from your box. Every section and riffle from the highway 20 Bridge downstream to Daguerre dam can have totally different hatches, and quantities of them, from prolific to sparse. I want to thank John G. from Diablo Valley Fly Fisherman for organizing another great outing, the Lower Yuba River Dry Fly Workshop. We are planning many more events for the club in 2020. If your club would like to do the same, just contact me at baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com / 530 228 0487 and we can set up a totally custom event to cater to the club's needs. My full 2020 schedule for special events like the Native Sons Fly Fishing Tours which include the Truckee, Lower Yuba, North Fork Yuba, the Lost Sierra, and the Middle Fork Feather, and other specialized workshops, outings, and clinics (many in collaboration with Lost Coast Outfitters) will be up just before the first of the new year so you can plan ahead and get on my calendar. Well, a few days off to prepare for a week long battle, and then back up the hill to the Northern Sierra in search of large stillwater trout. I’m really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of my boat the “Lilly Bob”. See you on the water…

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Lower Yuba River Fly Fishing Report

Lower Yuba River Fly Fishing Report

Jon Baiocchi Reports on 9.30.2019

Lower Yuba River Report

It’s been since the first week of February since I’ve guided/fished on the Lower Yuba River. Remember how it started pouring rain back then and never let up until late May. There were some pretty big flows during that deluge as well, enough to move around the cobblestones and gravel, and once again change the runs and riffles ever so slightly. That’s the Yuba River, always changing. The flows are bouncing around between 1,165 and 1,130 cubes which are very good for both walk and wade anglers, and drifters. Fishing pressure overall is light between the Highway 20 bridge and Sycamore Ranch. Remember the water upstream of the bridge is closed until December 1st to protect spawning salmon and give them a “no pressure” environment. Speaking of the salmon, I saw very few redds, and the ones I did see had no occupants around. I’ve seen this before where salmon begin to build a redd only to abandon it and keep moving upstream to construct another. We’ll see new redds on daily basis, but I think we will see a major drop in salmon returns this year, and the next upcoming four years. Why? First off, we’ll see low returns from the effects of the drought and the low flows out of Englebright dam during that time. Secondly, the high water of 2017 occurred during a time when there were still eggs in the gravel that had not hatched yet. With large amounts of the bottom substrate moving downstream you can bet those eggs were lost. You can say the same thing to a lesser extent for 2019. We shall see in the years to come what transpires, and I’m no fisheries biologist with a truck full of data, but common sense tells me there will be an impact to an already sad “State of the Salmon”.

The fishing for resident wild rainbows has been pretty good though, better than expected to be honest. The two rigs that worked best was a dry/dropper set up with a large yellow or orange Stimulator with a small flashy mayfly dropper about 24” below. My guests and I were surprised to see the Stimi get some attention with explosive top water eats, the trout most likely were taking it for a grasshopper. Your standard Valley River indo rig was really the best way to go, larger bug on top, with a smaller fly as a dropper. Adjusting the depth of the indicator and adding or subtracting weight will allow you to fine tune a run or riffle and be more successful. Effective flies were Red Copper Johns, Hogan’s S&M and Military May (dark colors), eggs, and legs (rubber legged stones). Hatches? I saw very few adult aquatics out, maybe a random caddis, or a BWO flying by – That’s it. Risers? A few “One and I’m done” here and there, nothing to make one fully commit to a dry fly rig while casting to targets (wishing for that though). Sine samples revealed lots of immature mayfly nymphs, midge larva, some Stub Wing stonefly nymphs, and the most prolific bug (as always) the free living caddis (Rhyacophila). I also saw quite a few fresh shucks of the Stub Wings on shoreline cobbles downstream of major riffles.

Now is the time I will be guiding on the Lower Yuba River, the stillwaters of Eastern Plumas County, and a the Truckee area – Yeah, I’m all over the place, but in a few months will be on the Yuba full time. There will be lots of Tours and Workshops scheduled for 2020 with fly clubs, Lost Coast Outfitters, and Baiocchi’s Troutfitters so keep an eye on my Blog, or my News page on the website for upcoming dates and rates. My trips are all about education, sharing the knowledge, and teaching my guests the skills to be successful on their own. All incoming inquiries for drift trips will be referred to my buddy and fellow guide Brian Clemens. Brian is a really good dude to spend the day with and fishy as all get out. I hire him for my yearly Trinity River trip and he never disappoints. Which reminds me, only about a month before I’m floating with him – Can’t wait!

There you have it, a real time and honest on the water report with firsthand information. Conditions will improve on a weekly basis once the river has more salmon in the system, and as we get deeper into the fall season. Don’t forget about Yuba Fest 2019 October 12th, an event that revolves around conservation, education, and an appreciation for the Lower Yuba River. See you on the water among the cobblestones…

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Lower Sacramento, Lower Yuba, and Lake Oroville Fly Fishing Report

Lower Sacramento, Lower Yuba, and Lake Oroville Fly Fishing Report
Open Guide Dates: 
Nov: 9, 23, 25-27
Dec: 7, 23, 27, 30, 31
Jan: 2, 3, 8-11, 18, 20, 
Feb: 1, 10, 15, 17, 29

Lower Sacramento River Striper fishing has been good. Water temps all over the river have come down and fish are happy and eating throughout the day down to Colusa. Salmon are in the river in good numbers and so are the salmon anglers and guides so knowing how to get away from boat traffic is very important to finding fish that will eat. Flows have not come down from their summer levels so shallow water fishing is still not an option on a regular basis but ounce we get that flow drop fall fishing should really get going and the I Lines and Type 3's will be the ticket. September and October are some of the BEST months to be on the river to chase the trophy fish and this year should be no different. Winter fishing should be good as well as long as flows hold and the river does not blow out. 

Lower Yuba River is fishing good and while I have not been on the river a bunch of my buddies have and they have talked about some good fishing, but mostly from the drift boat. Wade anglers are struggling from what I have heard. That said picking and choosing your spots will help and I am sure there are plenty of fish to be caught. 

Lake Oroville should start fishing here in the next few months and really hit its stride come November - April. Spotted bass fishing is best usually in Dec-March and is at its peak when NOTHING else is fishing! 
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