Matt "Gilligan" Koles Reports on 3.10.2020
Coming into Spring on the Truckee River. It’s already about mid-March, and from now into Summer is the time to be on this river. Spring is my favorite time for big fish.
Finally, a change on the river. Flows have been bumped up out of Boca. The river is about 480 cfs here in the Hirsch. Near the same down the length of the river as well into Reno. Almost 600 out East. That’s a signifiant change, flows have nearly doubled. Good change.
I haven’t been that exited about fishing the river on the CA side, but now, yes, she’ll be good. I’ll probably start doing some trips around home here soon. I’ve still been down on the lower Truckee River in Nevada. We’ve had our good days, we’ve had our bad days, we’ve had our wind days. When it’s good, man, ain’t too much better. When the trouts have lockjaw, it’s a long day.
Excited about Spring, and the higher flows, and the skwalas, and streamer fishing and the longer days. We still need more snow, and I don’t think winter is over just yet.Continue reading
Jon Baiocchi Reports on 3.10.2020
Fishing still remains to be good on the Lower Yuba River, and spring has sprung with more wildflowers out, and new birds returning to the region. The cliff swallows are back, and I saw my first Osprey yesterday circling above the river looking for a vulnerable rainbow to snatch up. Songbirds and warblers are making an appearance as well. I love watching the birds and how they interact with the current conditions for food sources, like the hermit thrush patiently waiting on the cobblestones next to the bank anticipating a Skwala snack. They’re not dumb.
It was nice to see some light and steady rain grace the land this past weekend, just enough to keep the dust down and recharge the green colors of the foothills. We had nearly a half inch of precipitation fall in Nevada City for the last 48 hours. Not nearly enough, but we’ll take. The flows out of Englebright dam remain stable, and Deer creek barely bumped up during the storm so no new color was added to the system. Currently the combined flows are running between 970 and 980 cubes. From Yuba Water Agency’s website “Current snow survey data and long-range forecasts indicate dry conditions. For water conservation purposes, releases from Englebright Reservoir have been decreased to maintain Lower Yuba flows above the required minimum flow of 788 cfs. If weather conditions change, adjustments to flows will be re-evaluated.” Fishing pressure has diminished a little and there were very few anglers out this past weekend compared to the weekends of the past month, yet last Tuesday there were 10 vehicles on the north side of the Hwy 20 Bridge. Go figure, it must be the weather.
As for the aquatics, there is still a ton of Skwalas out, and as I’ve said before I’m seeing more spent adults. When it comes to Skwala activity, it all depends on the warmth of that particular day. Yesterday it was cooler and there were not as many adults running around the cobbles like last Tuesday and Wednesday. I flipped rocks along the shoreline and sure enough I found a little over a dozen in a few minutes as they were seeking shelter and waiting for some solar radiation to heat things up. I’m seeing more March Brown mayflies (Rhithrogena morrisoni) during the middle of the day, the same PMDs (Emphemerella infrequens) too with the pinkish abdomen and the orange thorax. Many factors such as diet or natural selection may influence the coloration of mayfly species. The Yuba river streambed having a slight reddishpink coloration due to the type of algae coating the cobblestones, impart to the nymphs, and in turn the duns a pale pink staining. There are some Pink Alberts (epeoris) in the mix as well and also some BWOs (Baetis) which were more prolific over the weekend with the rain and cloudy conditions. On our float yesterday I saw those rusty PMD spinners near the Aquarium section again around 10am, yet this time nobody was eating them. I’ve also noticed an increase of multiple species of caddis out and have definitely witnessed fish eating them here and there while the females are returning to oviposit on the water’s surface. I have not seen any Brown Duns (Amelitus) in the last week and no new shucks on the rocks, but I’m sure there is still a few around. Yeah, lots of aquatics in the mix for sure with a daily and constant dose of midges that is so prolific within a tailwater system. It’s fascinating when drifting on the river for miles how each riffle and run has different hatches, especially when it comes to the mayflies. It has made me realize that a basic fishing report is kind of obsolete. You got to be there in “real time” to see just what is happening as every hour is different, as well as the day.
There are many new trout/steelhead redds that have been constructed in the last week with visible fish on them. Please do not interfere with them by fishing, and be extra careful while wading around the redds. Though flow regimes and loss of habitat is the main culprit for low populations of trout and steelhead in the river, wading through the redds and crushing eggs and alevins doesn’t help either. Please be aware, and help educate those who are new to fly fishing about spawning beds.
My guests and I are still not nymphing so I will have to recommend those indo rigs from the last report when I drifted with Brian Clemens. Big and little rubber leg stones, baetis nymphs, zebra midges, red copper johns, Hogan’s flies (S&M’s, Red Headed Step Child, Military Mays), and JuJubees. As for dry flies, just carry different emergers and adult mayfly patterns for the species listed above. The Unit Skwala tied in my own personal way is still crushing fish, especially those that see less pressure, or are in the rougher crap water most anglers just walk on by. 11am to 4pm on most days are the magic hours to be head hunting with fly first presentations. Oh, and btw – 5X makes a big difference when it comes to receiving eats on the Skwala dry, but you got to be careful on the hook set or you’ll pop the fly off.
Looks like it will warm up again and dry out heading into Friday where there is a chance of another small storm which will move down from the north this coming weekend. Colder air is the easier part of the forecast, though the exact track of the system and snowfall amounts are harder to evaluate this far out. We should see this system move in Saturday into Sunday. For the fantasy range forecast, the models keep the trough over the West with negative height anomalies over CA through the 3rd week of March. That would keep the door open to more systems dropping into CA from the north/northwest. That could bring us another weather system for early the week of the 16th, and possibly another system later that week into the 24th. No Bid Daddy storms looking ominous on the horizon, but we’ll take any kind of precipitation at this point. So many fisheries and watersheds all over the state are producing right now. Get some while the getting is good! See you among the cobblestones of the Lower Yuba River…Continue reading
Jon Baiocchi Reports on 3.4.20
Wow, what a busy couple of months it has been. Business has been out of control, and I’m still not caught up in the office! First off, let’s talk about our weather and the dry spell of the extremely warm temperatures we’ve been experiencing. It has been Spring in February on the Yuba River, and there are lupine and poppies blooming, and the Pipevine swallowtail butterfly has been out. All signs that Spring is truly here. Now that we are into the month of March it seems things may be changing. We have a chance of good precipitation through the weekend, and the models suggest a pattern change starting early in the month of March where a trough will set up off the California coast. That could change as well. You just never know with our weather these days, it’s kind of like a watch and wait scenario.
The Lower Yuba River flows have been stable running right around 970 cubes, stable is a key word as the homes of the trout do not change much. Fishing pressure has been high, especially on the weekends. Overall, fishing remains to be good but you got to be smart about your presentations and put in the work. Last week, Cat Toy and I floated the river with Brian Clemens on a guided trip and did really well. As always, if you want bigger numbers of fish, floating with a good knowledgeable guide will do just that as you are covering miles of the river. We got most of our fish on indo rigs with multiple rubber leg stones, Hogan’s Red Headed Step Child, and PMD nymphs (Military Mays in rusty brown). Drag free drifts are everything when it comes to being successful on the Yuba River, wet or dry. The rainbows right now are so chunky and fat from gorging themselves on the Skwala stones. These fish are so pristine, hard fighting, and absolutely beautiful. The Yuba River is a very special place.
So the Skwalas are still going, but I’m starting to see more spent adults in the side water. Because of the nice weather we’ve been experiencing, I’ve been seeing fish eating the Skwalas off the surface as early as 11am. Last week I finally saw a couple dozen true March Brown mayflies (not the larger Brown Dun, Amelitus, that everybody is getting confused with) coming off around 1pm. They are a size 14 and are hatching downstream of fast riffles. Being that they are from the clinger family of mayflies, there habitat as a nymph is in the very fast riffles, seek those areas of the river out. The mayfly hatches overall have been pretty slim in the past few weeks. I see more of them upstream of the bridge, especially around the UC Davis property and upstream, then down below the bridge towards Sycamore Ranch. A bigger PMD in a size 14 is out, BWOs in a size 18, and still a few of the larger brown duns in a size 10. I did see some rusty PMD spinners on the float last week near the Aquarium section with a few fish eating the spent females after ovipositing. The fish have been pretty wise when it comes to artificial imitations, and some of them are uncatchable. Just a few important tips when it comes to fishing the skwala adult or other aquatic adults (dry flies):
Jim Stimson Reports on 3.4.2020
The driest February on record! Ugh… and January wasn’t too much better. The 1st of March did bring a little snow to the high country but we’ve got a long ways to go before we get back to “normal." We can only hope that we get a Miracle March. That said, the Upper Owens is still kicking out some nice fish but the “bite” does not happen until close to lunch time. So relax, enjoy that extra cup of coffee, doughnut, NY Times, and wait until the water warms up a little. You can get some nice rainbows or browns throwing streamers or nymphing with PT’s or balanced leeches. If the cold temps are something you don’t care for, drive down the hill and fish the Lower Owens. It is a “banana belt” down there and the fishing for brown trout is fabulous.
The flows on the East Walker have been raised to about 70 cfs! Game On! The river at this level is still low but now the trout can move around and spread out throughout the system. They are not just sitting ducks in the deeper pools.
The creek is flowing through the canyon at roughly 42 cfs. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the weeds and rocks, plus the overhanging grasses along the margins. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a caddis above and a midge or small mayfly below. Hot Creek is always a fun place to fish especially now that the crowds have gone home.
The flows are dropping and sit at about 94 cfs high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to 130 cfs. More and more trout are pushing up into the river system from the reservoir. There are some really nice fish to be had with SJ worms, small baetis, and balanced leeches. Work the deeper buckets relentlessly…. they are in there. Currently, the driving approaches to the river are no problem but beware of any new snow or precipitation.
The river is cruising steady at roughly 127 cfs and is fishing well with all of the traditional patterns; PT’s, Hare’s Ears, midges, Frenchies…. Thank God for Bishop. It is a nice break from winter when you need to see some dirt again and feel some warmth. If you enjoy hucking dry flies, this is the place. Around lunchtime, watch for BWO’s to start coming off the water and be ready. The first thing you will notice is the bird activity along the river. They know! The hatch doesn’t last long. Look for rises along the foam lines as snouts start poking up through the surface film.
Get out there! You cannot catch fish if your line isn’t in the water.Continue reading
Sarah Landstrom Reports on 3.3.2020
After weeks of unseasonably warm temperatures, the weather we’ve been looking for finally showed up late Saturday night 2/29! Fish were hitting both midges, and streamers in the cold snowy weather. Skinny red and wine colored midges are ideal, as well as balanced leeches and popcorn beetles. We were primarily fishing two handed rods, roll-casting out indicator rigs.-- Don’t be afraid to fish close to shore! With the wind blowing towards us on Sunday, the fish were coming in close and eating. When you see fish rolling, make sure to give your flies a little action, or even strip them in slowly. The Lahontans are very active right now.
In the years I have fished Pyramid Lake, I have never seen so many sizable fish come in at once. Many of the fish the Ladies of LCO brought in were over 10lbs, thanks to Pyramid Fly Co. Make sure to check out beaches north of Pelican, such as Windless. These areas were producing well and aren’t as crowded. Keep those flies in the water!