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Yuba River Fly Fishing Report

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Jon Baiocchi reports on 1.4.19

Happy New Year! After a couple of rough months, I’m back in the saddle doing what I love, instructing anglers on the finer points of fly fishing and sharing my passion. What a turn of events, but thanks to the Lower Yuba River, sunshine, and good company I’m super stoked right now and in a better place mentally. 

The river has been fishing pretty decent depending on the day (typical Yuba) and I’ve seen numerous anglers hooked into a few in the last week. For whatever reason, there have been reports of some very large steelhead being caught with some landed. I know of 5 reliable reports of fish between 25 to 30". Serious athletes are in the system. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen nice big steelhead in the river, and it’s so awesome to see. The flows have been stable since the 27th of December running at 860 cubes, but on New Year’s Eve they were ramped up slowly to 1,050 cfs, just a slight bump with nothing to worry about. 

Yuba Water Agency plans to run these flows for the next fifteen days or so unless we receive some major precipitation and the outlook looks wet into next week. Fishing pressure has been heavy above the bridge, yet my guests and I have had no trouble finding multiple spots to fish. With the clear low water the fish are playing small ball so use smaller mayfly and midge patterns. Eggs are still being consumed and most of the steelhead caught have been egg eaters.

Skwala nymphs are pre-staging in the idle side waters below riffles to prepare for an emergency. With that said they will be in the drift so a smaller rubber leg stone will become more effective in the weeks to come. In the last few days I have found a few shucks so there are a few adult skwalas out. I’m thinking by the 3rd week of January the trout will be keyed in on the adults ovipositing in the side water from noon until early evening. I’m really looking forward to it. The skwala hatch is often over hyped, but don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome and why I moved from Graeagle down to Nevada City - To play the best game in winter for wild trout! Day in and day out in the last week PMDs and BWOs have been hatching from 12:30 to well that depends on the day. The 27th saw light north winds and there were bugs and rising fish for a few hours. On the 30th the PMDs started off strong with a few fish working the surface and 20 minutes later the switch was turned off. On the 31st the north wind was much stronger and only a few bugs popped with very few fish rising. One key to watch for is a small black and white bird known as the Black Phoebe (pronounced pheebee). They will sit riverside on a willow branch and fly out to capture a mayfly, then return to sit on its perch. If they are really active they’re telling you there is an ample amount of adult mayflies flying about. Also when playing the dry fly game from the bank, do not beat the water over and over. Find an active feeding fish and make good presentations to it, if you don’t get a grab rest the fish and possibly change your fly pattern, or try a fly first presentation. Remember with a lower sun in the sky your shadow is much longer and may spook your quarry if you’re not careful.

Moisture will be arriving this weekend though the Canadian model and the European model are in vast disagreement with just how much precipitation will fall. We may see up to 2 feet of fresh pow by Sunday evening. I’ve got some open dates through the end of January, so if you’re looking to improve your skill set, and learn more about the Lower Yuba River, give me a ring at 530.228.0487 or email me at Let’s hope 2019 is a good one! See you on the water…

Jon Baiocchi578 Sutton Way #255Grass Valley, CA 95945(530) 228-0487

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