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Yuba River Fly Fishing Report

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Jon Baiocchi reports on 11.16.18

Poor air quality conditions exist on the Lower Yuba River but fishing still remains decent for those that put in the work. Flows are stable at 993 cubes, just a tad up from my last report. Water is clear but not for long. 

Finally, a storm system will impact the area beginning on Wednesday, it’s been 6 months since we’ve seen the skies open up. The foothills are forecasted to receive 4 inches of rain. Fishing pressure is moderate to light, and not too many boats drifting down either. Lots of bird activity including many Bald Eagles looking for salmon carcasses to Bluebirds feasting on caddis in the evenings. Great observations abound right now.

The last few weeks has seen an abundance of “joey’s”, 10 to 13 inch wild rainbows, with the occasional bigger fish. As you know the Yuba rainbow pulls like no other resident trout. Strong steelhead genes combined with being on a treadmill (the current) 24 hours a day makes for a very conditioned athlete. All types of presentations are effective right now. 

Dry fly fishing remains good from 10am to 2pm, and sometimes even later into the evening. Mahogany duns are waning but still present. There is a thick Psuedocloeon spinner fall starting at around 11am. Day in and day out the BWO has been the most consistent hatch, duns are a size 18. A few pinkie mayflies here and there are also in the mix. The trout have been very selective especially on the flat calm water. We did better yesterday in water that was broken up, yet had a little depth to it. Dry/Dropper rigs continue to perform well, I’ve been quite surprised how many fish have blown up on the orange Stimi. Nymphing is all about eggs and legs. Jimmy Legs in mottled yellow/brown, brown, black, and egg patterns in peachy king, natural roe, and tangerine dream have been killing it. Other good nymphs include red copper johns, free living caddis, San Juan worms in flesh and red, Hogan’s S&M in olive, and Juju baetis. Trout are taking both small and big flies at this time. Swinging the minnow has picked up a few trout and will become more important in the months ahead, make sure your box has some. There continues to be more and more new salmon redds throughout the system, and I’m sure after this rain it will push even more salmon up river. I’ve been educating anglers on the proper etiquette when encountering a salmon redd while wading. Believe it or not, many have no idea what a redd is (by definition), or what they look like. One young couple I educated had no idea either, but once they were able to identify a redd they just sat and watched the salmon do their thing.

A slamon redd is a depression in the bottom structure of the river, usually at the tailouts of runs, or side channels. The gravel in the Redd


is very clean and bright. Do not wade through these areas as you will crush the eggs, go around them and give them plenty of room. Remember the eggs are in the gravel for approximately 50 days so you will still want to avoid walking through older redds. With such low counts of salmon in the last 20 years, it is imperative that we do all that we can to help the species survive. November Lupines blooming? Mother Nature continues to amaze me, even after 53 years. Plan on fishing the Lower Yuba River after the rains have passed, a little flushing and color in the water will rejuvenate the system. See you on the water…

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