Fly Fishing Traditions

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dec 1st Opening Day Above the Parks Bar Bridge

I met Frank Rinella and Blake Larsen yesterday at 7:00 and headed down to the Lower Yuba River for opening day above the Parks Bar Bridge. That stretch above the bridge has been closed since September 1st, which means it hasn't been fished in three months. I've been fishing the river below the bridge about once a week since the upper river closed. The bite has gotten tougher in the last couple of weeks. The salmon are pretty much gone and lately, it seems, so have the fish. We've speculated that the fishing pressure has chased the fish up stream. Good logic when you're not catching as many fish as you'd like or think you should.

With this in mind we anxiously had been waiting for the day to arrive to test our theories. We also were expecting the day to be a zoo with people everywhere. As it turned out this didn't pan out. We arrived at our put-in spot and we where the only and first boat. There was a couple of pontoon boats being blown up but their owners were using them to cross the river and then they were headed upstream to walk and wade. We also didn't see any anglers that had hiked up from the Bridge which was sort of unusual too. All good omens in our minds.

The water was a little off color with visibility of above 4 to 5 feet, also very good. Clear enough for the fish to see our bugs but still murky enough too give us some stealth while in my drift boat. This was also just what I was hoping for. I have an Orvis Dropper Rig Box which I filled up the night before with different combinations of Eggs and flies tied up and ready to go. Each rigg had a Troutbead, either Light Roe, or something in that color range a little darker. and 2 additional flies. I tied some up with the egg first and trailing two nymphs for the runs when we would be deep dead drifting under indicator and then some with a large nymph, like a "Superfloss Rubber Legs" or a "Rubber Leg Skwala" then a trail a nymph and end with a Troutbead. I like to use this combination when fishing rollers or buckets. Anyway I had about 10 of these 3 fly riggs tied up and ready to go. Just so you know when tying these riggs up you just have to take your best guess as to what combination of flies will work. That doesn't mean that it's a sure thing. You may need to tie some riggs up from scratch on the river if you have an intuition to change things up.

We started hooking fish right of the bat, we landed a nicely colored rainbow of about 17 inches which was the first fish landed. We then started hooking smaller fish at a drop off into a deep run. Every fish up too that point had taken a troutbead. We started getting the feeling it was going to be an egg bite day or for the most part more of an attractor day with the off colored water.

We moved downstream into a tailout that had always been pretty productive and had a couple of tentative takes, landed one smaller fish, but most of the other takes were not hooked solidly. Frank had one solid take, a couple of head shakes and when he checked out his flies, his San Juan Worm had scales on it. We chased a big fish out of a bucket and the fishing in that section was over.

We headed down a riffle and turned an inside corner to a much changed corner eddy with some soft water to the inside. It was my turn at bat and I landed a few smaller 10 - 12 inch fish in the softer water to the inside. To this point in the day we had netted a couple of nice sized fish and all the rest were smaller.

We headed down the riffle until the water returned to that quick walking speed tempo. This is typically the water that I like to target, slow to moderate to quick walking speed water in the runs. It was about 11:30 when we started fishing this run and all I can say is that we found out where the fish were hanging out. Lets just say that when we left that run Blake commented that his arm was sore and it wasn't from casting. It was good to see good numbers of fish in the 16 to 19 inches range.

One thing that was curious when fishing that run, was that the fish were predominately taking eggs with a few on Rubberleg Stones and mayfly nymphs but they were keyed on one color. Frank had tied on a Dark Roe Troutbead and Blake and I were fishing Light Roe. We could not keep the fish off the Light Roe Egg and Frank was fishing without a hint of a strike in the same lane, the same depth and the same amount of weight. When he switched and changed to Light Roe Eggs, bingo, fish on and I'm talking immediately. Sort of an eye opener for sure.

We stopped for a shore lunch and heard a shout from some friends, Wayne, Norm and Trent. We parked the boat and stumbled into a shore side wine tasting event, some good tales and quite a few laughs. After lunch we headed on down stream and the bug bite turned on. We started getting as many fish on bugs as we were on eggs. We continued to hook, play and land fish all the way down stream until dark.

How would I classify the fishing for the opening day. In the true sense of the word it was pretty "epic".


1 comment:

  1. I need to come down and take some notes with you folks. The Lower always gives me fits. I am a pretty good dry fly caster, but the indicator nymphing gives me fits. Sounds like a great opener.

    Tight Lines,



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