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Yuba River Fly Fishing Report

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Jon Baiocchi reports on 8.11.2016

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I just completed a 5 day run up on the North Fork Yuba River and my guests and I had such an awesome time as the fishing has been great. Water temperatures are still cool ranging from 55 to 57 degrees in the morning, and topping out at 62 to 64 degrees in the late afternoon in the upper most part of the watershed. Location is everything, and locating where the deep subterranean springs flow into the river increases your chances as it provides ideal conditions for the resident wild trout. Flows have really dropped in the last week, but there is even more fishable water to be had. Deeper pockets, runs, and pools should be targeted now. The water will continue to drop ever so slowly and the trout will filter into the deeper areas of holding water. As the fall season approaches it’s best to fish the middle and lower sections of the river, where water temperatures will be a bit warmer. The optimum water temps on the NFYR are 57 to 63 degrees. Another reason to fish lower down in fall is there are higher populations of the October caddis.

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The wild rainbows are smaller in the upper watershed, yet so gorgeous. Olive tops, and golden sides with a crimson stripe, purple par marks, and those beautiful orange white tipped fins. They’re like jewels that glimmer in the Northern Sierra sunshine. You must be quick on the take but keep in the mind the bigger fish will approach your fly more slowly before sucking it down. You’ll want a lighter weight rod with a medium action in a 3wt. I’m really stoked on Redington’s “Classic Trout” model. Rods like these are inexpensive, have good performance, and what I call “No tears tackle”. If you break it from scrambling over the rugged terrain, you’re not going to cry. What I like best about fishing and guiding on the North Fork Yuba River is that it is an active style of fishing; stick and move, picking pockets, boulder hopping, non-stop dry fly action, and wet wading in the cool water on a hot summer day. It’s absolutely the best.

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Terrestrials are more important now and a main menu item for the trout. Hoppers and ants are getting most of the attention. The one dropper fly that has been doing very well is Lance Gray’s X-May in red and purple. There are some aquatics out like a few crane flies, a random BWO mayfly here and there, and a few summer stones. There are good numbers of small yellow sally stones still out, and the latest observation I saw is the meat bees are targeting the little yellow stones and consuming them for lunch. 

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It was very busy last weekend in the canyon as the “Downieville Classic” mountain bike race was in full effect. I’ve never seen so many bikes. People were everywhere except where the wild things are, my guests and I have yet to see another angler this summer while working the different beats. Again it comes down to location, the gnarlier the terrain, the less people you will encounter. Summer is winding down and I encourage you to seek out one of the most beautiful watersheds in the west. I have a few prime dates that are still open, so make a plan, and inquire within – baiocchistroutfitters@yahoo.com. See you on the water…

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