I fished the Lower Yuba today with an old acquaintance and friend, Greg DeYoung. We both had commitments in the afternoon so we hit the river at day break and fished until about 1:00. We had planned on fishing from Parks Bar to Sycamore RV park but when we did our shuttle the gate at Sycamore Grove was locked.
The Sycamore RV Park is now owned and run by the Yuba County Park Department along with Hammon Grove. Well, all I can say is don't try this too early. We decided, rather than wait around and twiddle our thumbs, to go down to the Marysville Gun club instead, which is about another 2 miles plus or minus.
We ran into a local guide Dave Barbieri back at Parks Bar and he said they showed up and opened the gate a little after 7:00. So I guess that's the story. Don't try it before 7:00.
We rigged with a Pettis Egg, and BWO nymph to start and through the day used, Troutbeads, various Caddis nymphs, Hogans Military Mays, HBI nymphs, Hogans S&M nymph, Rubber Legs, Lafontaine Pupa. You get the picture.
We noticed right away that there were salmon in the pool at the put in and in the riffles around the Parks Bar Bridge. A fair number of them, which seemed to be headed up stream. There is a small redd area in the willows above the bridge but no salmon were staged on them. We had a couple of quick hits as we started downstream below the bridge and hooked a smaller rainbow but lost it right at the boat. So I considered we got the stink off the boat. Maybe not!
We saw a nice pod of salmon at a dropoff at the big rock face with the eddy pool river left about a mile down from the bridge. We got a solid take and a head shake right away at that droppoff behind the salmon, but that was it for that run. I couple of quick hits but no hookups.
One technique comment about fishing eggs at the droppoffs or behind salmon, it does seem like the set has to be pretty quick or they spit the egg out. You've got to stay pretty tight to your indicator and ready to set or keep in tight contact with the flies if tight lining.
The large run above the old island which we have heard referred to as "The Aquarium" had a few salmon in it but not many. The riffle below "The Aquarium" had a few salmon on redds.
One of the biggest spawning areas is to the north of the big island. At the head of the riffle there were probably 8-10 pairs of salmon on the redds and as we floated down the long riffle there were more but not in full swing as of yet. The rainbows seemed to be starting to stage behind the salmon but in my opinion not in big numbers as of yet. By the time we got to the big island the sun was up it was probably mid 80's and bright as can be. Fishing this riffle is definitely much better in low light conditions, early in the morning or on a overcast or drizzly day. I think the whole fishing situation will change as soon as we get some overcast weather and the fish feel a little more comfortable and less exposed. Sounds like pretty good reasoning anyway. Isn't that what fishermen do?
I guess I'm feeling that the best fishing right now, with this hot spell, is probably early in the morning and then later in the evening. I've heard that lower down the river the caddis have been coming off in the evenings and swinging soft hackles or dead drifting in the film has been pretty good. I haven't been able to get out and give that a go, dang it!
In summary, we had one of those days where we had numbers of downs with the indicator in the runs, hits when tight lining, fish on behind salmon at the head of the runs before heading up the riffles, fish on and lost getting them to the boat, activity but not many concrete results. Like I said maybe we didn't get the stink off.
Have some fun out there. We make sure we do!