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Yuba River Fly Fishing Report

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Jon Baiocchi reports on 1.17.2018

Current conditions on the Lower Yuba River have the flows back down to 1,070 cubes, and the water has some color to it with about 3 feet of visibility to it. Deer and Squirrel creeks are running fairly clear for the most part so the source of stained water derives from the upper forks of the Yuba River entering Englebright reservoir. 3 feet of visibility is all that is needed for those Yuba rainbows, if the food is drifting overhead, they will eat.  The fishing pressure has been moderate above the Parks Bar bridge, yet so many anglers are lost in their approach. You don’t huck a bobber when fish are rising for five different bugs drifting among the currents.The Skwala stonefly hatch has started, I saw a half dozen in the foam line today but with so many hatches of different aquatic insects, they rode the currents unmolested. It won’t take much time for those fish to figure it out. The Yuba River is a freak show when it comes to hatches, and it does not follow the annual seasonal appearances like a classis Sierra freestoner. PMD’s, BWO’s, Pseudos, and the grand finally – Gray Drakes have all been present. There were a lot of Drakes out and the fish noticed their presence. It’s awesome to see the bugs rejuvenate after the floods of 2017, they are so hardy and resilient. The weather had much to do with the outstanding conditions my guests and I have witnessed in the last few days. Clouds with bands of fog, and low light levels. Mayflies love damp conditions too. When the sun peeks out, the hatches often would taper off, but when the clouds come back overhead, the bugs flourished once again.

My best advice for hooking into a few wild trout is to place yourself in a productive section of the river from 11 am to 3pm, dry fly in hand. If you spend enough time on the river you’ll figure out areas that have fish rising day in and day out. When approaching a pod of rising fish, make calculated presentations, and if the results are sub-par, quit casting and rest them. You may need to switch flies. What worked today may not work tomorrow. Effective dry flies have been Andre Puyon’s Loop Wings with accurate tails of micro fibbets, both in PMD and BWO versions, and for the Gray Drakes, a size 10 Adams parachute. For the Skwalas, the proven pattern of the Unit Skwala is my choice. So many commercial patterns for the Skwala stone are way too big. The female is much bigger than the male and often has a black iridescent egg sack hanging off its ass. For the color of the skwala stone, think of different tones of spicy brown mustard with a little olive mixed in. That’s the color. The same flies I’ve listed for nymphing in the past month are still solid. For swinging, Black leeches, minnow patterns, and Pheasant tail softies would be my first choices.We’ve got some much needed precipitation coming in this week, light rain at first with a couple of stronger systems coming in on the horizon. Snow levels will be lowering as well. Check the gauges, calculate your plan of attack, and be smart about your approach to active rising tout. Winter time on the Lower Yuba is truly about the experience. See you on the water… 

Jon Baiocchi

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