Yuba Winter Report:
We are in the midst of another very good water year. The snow reports in the Sierras are reaching 150% mark. Looks like we will have plenty of water for the year to come. So what is happening right now? We are getting opportunities to fish in between the storms. Mother Nature is being kind enough to allow us a breath of fishing until the next set. The nice thing with the last few storms is that they have come in very cold. This gave us some good days to fish. The bad, is that this current storm came in wet. The river is blown out but should shape up soon, Now with that amount of water the valley rivers are running higher then what we normally see out there. There are several things to look for when fishing high rivers. Luckily the Yuba is a wide-open flood plain with long gravel bars. When the river swells, you’ll always have soft edges to look for on the
gradually sloped banks. Look for walking pace speed water and you’ll find fish. Also avoid areas that has swirly water and big back eddys. Fish will hold there but the drifts are too tough to mend around. Fish will hold in slow deep water and shallow edges. There is not a reason for them to be laid up in the
middle fast water so fish the stuff only a few rod lengths out.
You’ll want to throw attracter patterns and things that get attention in off color water. Remember black colored flies stick out in brown water then any other color. Flash helps too. There have been a few skwalas out and about. We’ve been getting fish on black rubber legs. I like this fly the best because it is
light. Most stoneflies are tied really heavy and get stuck often in the shallow water we like to fish them in. You can make up weight by carrying different sized split shot. The dry fly thing is so so right now, it is getting better later in the day when the temps come up a bit. If you see a big splashy rise its most likely a skwala take. If you see a fish sipping gently its most likely a may fly. There has been a good hatch of PMDs and baetis from about noon on. Watch for the birds to start working as an indication the bugs are popping. They will tell you there is stuff going on under the water before the fish do, don’t be late be observant. I’ve been using Jaydecator indicators lately and love them. Jay Cockrum has been making these things for years but now you can pick them up at most fly shops. Most of the guides fishing for steelhead and valley trout are using them because they are great strike detectors and they support a good amount of weight. They also overhead cast better then airlocks and thingamabobbers. Jay hand makes them ou to balsa wood. They are light and airy and easy to adjust. We’ve managed a few steelhead this year on the Yuba. It’s the most I can remember seeing out there.
While rare, they could be on your next cast so come prepared. Be ready not surprised. There is good fishing to have right now and it will get even better with the weather settling. The march browns nymphs are starting to get darker wing cases. That hatch is one not to miss. That bug must be high in protein or taste really good. I’ve seen fish turn around and eat them as they float by. Let’s get
out there. Give me a call or shoot me an email to get on the short list when the river clears. The fish will be hungry when things start to settle down.