Fly Fishing Traditions

Fly Fishing Traditions Blog and Website
"It's about Life & Fly Fishing"

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spring Time on the Yuba

Another pretty big storm is heading our way this week. I've been tied up with work for the last month. It seems like I haven't been fishing since December although that's not the case. It's a good day to go fishin'. The suns out, its warm and the river beckons. The Lower Yuba River is up with releases for irrigation in the valley. I believe that it's running over 22oo cfs. That's not great, but I really don't care, I just want to get out and get behind the oars with friends and enjoy the day.

Blake Larsen is coming along. As you may recall, Blake is the Project Manager for my construction business and we've both been burning the candle. We're both ready to get out and have a day on the river.

After setting up our shuttle we hit the river. It was definitely big, with a color that I would describe as bluish green, more blue than green with a visibility of 3 to 4 feet. Really perfect for stealth and still enough for the fish to see our bugs. The volume is the only thing that concerned me. The fishing can turn off and the fish sometimes get tight mouthed when there is a flow regime change. Blake rigged up his switch rod with shot and indicator, and we gave it a go. We first fished a big eddy pool and had a few downs, but no hookups. The takes were quick and we're thinking they may have been small smolts nipping at the bugs.

We decided we had spent enough time in the eddy hole so we started side drifting our indicators and nymphs as we traveled down stream. We ran into Dennis Carlson and his frequent fishing partner, Barbara, a little ways downstream. They had hooked a couple of nice fish in a deep pool, off a rock ledge, but the fish got the best of them and they weren't able to get them to hand. We wished them the best of luck. We passed them and Blake cast down and across, ahead of the boat towards the tailout. I no sooner mentioned to Blake that this portion of the tailout is where fish were holding earlier in the fall, when sure enough Blake hooked up. We drifted down through the riffle below the tailout and I eddied out and we were able to land a nice 16" bow and better yet, got the "skunk" off the boat.

We headed on down stream and picked up a few more fish under indicator. We picked up fish on a number of flies while dead drifting. Rubber leg stone, San Juan Worm, Prince of Darkness, HBI, Yuba Pupa, Caddis nymphs. They all seemed to work, so I'm thinking the fish were really just being opportunistic. Just gobbling up whatever came in front of their noses. There really wasn't anything hatching. That was until about 2:00.

We parked at a nice riffle, drop-off area, at about 2:00 when we saw some caddis starting to come off. They were larger caddis, about a size 14. Frank Rinella had told us to keep a look-out for this hatch. Blake waded into position at the head of the riffle and kept fishing there under indicator. I headed downstream to where I spotted an area that sort of tails out mid stream and then has a nice drop off. I saw a few fish starting to rise sporadically.

I rigged up with a sort of wet-fly or soft hackle method that I've used off and on for years on the Lower Yuba River. It's a 3 fly rigg with a dry or emerger with 2 flies trailing off it. I had a Quigley's Cripple on top, only because its a fishy fly and floats well when hanging a couple of flies behind it. I attached a caddis emerger 18 inches behind the cripple and a beadhead caddis nymph 18 inches behind it. This proved to be effective and I had fun chasing a number of quality bows downstream to land them.

Blake reported that he had good luck nymphing upstream also. The caddis action lasted for about an hour and a half before Blake and I hopped back in the boat and headed downstream. We laughed and joked around on our way to the takeout and coaxed a few more fish to hand on the way to the takeout.

All and all we had a better day than I could have expected, where the Lower Yuba proved to be the jewel that it is. We saw lots of purple and white lupine, poppies and many other spring flowers and of course fish to hand.


Rigging for the Dead Drift/Soft Hackle Swing

This is how I rigged up for the dead drift, soft hackle swing method:
(1) Start with a standard 9 foot, 4x tapered leader.
(2) Add about 24 inches of 4x to the leader using a surgeons knot. (1st Section)
(3) Add another piece of 4x tippet 24" long (2nd Section) with a surgeons knot leaving about 6 inches of the downstream portion of the 1st tippet section long to enable you to attach a dry fly or emerger.
(4) Tie on a caddis dry or emerger of choice at the 6" tippet section extended from the knot.
(5) Tie on a piece of 5x tippet (3rd section) from the 2nd tippet section also leaving about 6 inches of the downstream portion of the tippet section. Tie your favorite caddis emerger or soft hackle to match the hatching caddis to the 6" tippet section extended from this knot.
(5) Tie your favorite caddis beadhead nymph to the end of the 3rd tippet section.

You are good to go.


(1) Extend your line so that you are delivering your flies from about 3 to 4 rod lenghts.
(2) Cast straight across (90 degrees) or slightly down angle
(3) Make a big upstream mend as soon as your cast lands.
(4) Dead drift the flies downstream and then let the flies swing back to the position directly below you.
(5) Make smaller upstream mends as the flies swingto adjust the speed of the swing.
(6) Keep a small loop of line pinched in your fingers ( 8 to 10 inches).
(7) If a trout takes let the loop of line slip through your fingers and raise the rod tip.
(8) Hopefully, land said trout.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Have any Questions or Comments? Let me know, Clay.