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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lower Yuba Fishing Report 01/11/11

I headed down to the Lower Yuba today with Frank Rinella with the intention of following our normal routine and floating about 2 1/2 miles of the river. I dropped Zack off at school, my daily routine, and we met in town at the coffee shop, showed Frank an updated slide show I'm working on about the Lower Yuba, drank a cup of coffee and waited for the temperatures to warm up a bit.

That's sort of what I like about this time of year, there's really no hurry to get down to the river, you can take your time, meet your buddies, sit around for a bit, drink some coffee, have a bagel, and shoot the bull about whatever comes to mind. Oh yeah, time to head out.

We got down to the river at about 10:00, dumped the boat in the river, took care of the shuttle, rigged up our rods and we were ready to go. I should say Frank rigged his up. I'm always a little hesitant to tie on the flies I'm going to start with until I get a feel for the days conditions, bugs, clarity etc. Superstitious or smart?

The river was running at about 3,000 cfs and was still a predominant green color. The clarity had improved from last weeks trip and the visibility was about 3 to 4 feet. Now we're talking. It seems that for the Lower Yuba to really start to fish, this is what you need, a minimum of that 3' to 4' visibility. When fishing in the spring after the run-off in Montana, this is what the guides all are waiting for. That doesn't mean they don't fish with less visibility, it's just they get more optimistic at 3' to 4'. So that's what was going through my mind, optimism.

Once I pushed off, got on the oars and got into the main flow, it looked like I had 6 inches, that's how deceptive the color is when it's running that glacier green color. Not only is the main current big and pushy, the clarity is at the edges and at the soft water. I thought to myself, "No problem, it's going to be an edge water day again, focus on the edges and soft water, wherever you have that 3' to 4' of clarity. Choose where you want to speed your time wisely". And so we did.

At Frank's suggestion we crossed the river, parked the boat and decided to hike upstream and walk/wade fish the the edges, pools, and tailouts up stream. I thought, "Now that's a great idea, less time at the oars, take a nice hike, fish some good looking edge water, let's go".

It was pretty clear once we walked upstream and had a good look at the river, where to fish. The clarity was 3 to 4 feet as long as the water moved at about fast walking pace or less. This is the water that we focused on as we hiked and fished up stream. We stayed in ankle deep to 1 foot deep water and methodically fished the water from about 8 feet off the bank out to about maybe 20 feet at the most. We found willing, healthy fish in these areas. Most were smaller fish in the range of 10" to 14" but we managed to hook a couple big brothers and sisters and Frank got one to hand.

When it came to fly selection, I started off with a rigg I was fishing last week. That is, I went right to the spot where I lost my 1st rigg last week, and pulled up the branch that I thought snagged it and there it was, all three flies. This was possible because the flows have dropped about 2,000 cfs from last week. We got a good laugh about that. So I started with a Rubber Legs that was brownish green, a San Juan Worm and a Skwala Stone fly nymph. The San Juan and the Rubberlegs caught fish. A big meal and a bright red worm, get the picture.

I believe Frank rigged with a Troutbead, a stonefly and Red Copper John size 14. What he switched up to I'm not sure as we were fishing most of the time about 100 feet apart or more. I can tell you that when we discussed it later, the majority of the fish he caught were on the troutbead (natural roe), the San Juan Worm (red) or the Red Copper John. Hmmm, that's red, red, and more red for Frank.

My luck was with a Red Copper John, a troutbead and the Rubberlegs. So in my humble opinion, as we saw one Skwala all day which was about 5o feet from the water and two rising trout all day, I'd say all the fish we caught, hooked and didn't land or long distance released, were sitting in the soft edge water were they could see, out of the heavy currents so they didn't have to expend a lot of energy and were eating opportunistically at what they recognized as food, Eggs, Worms, and Stoneflies. In addition these were flies that they actually could see. Makes sense to me, anyway.

So my thoughts are, in the next month or so, I believe that this will be a successful strategy. That is if you, head down to the river, if the river is running at 3,000 cfs and if the visibility is about 3 to 4 feet. Thing is, it could all change next week. As the water clarity improves, other bug patterns will come into play, and so will the Skwalas, I hope. So, as you can see, it's an ever changing game. Look, watch and observe.

A couple of other notes. Remember the Skwala we found about 50 feet from the water? It was a female with eggs, the abdomen was more of a brownish/yellow olive and the thorax was way more yellow with just a hint of green. This backs up our friend, Norm's theory, keep the thorax and head yellow. I'm headed back to the vise so when the Skwalas really come out, I can test this theory out.

The other note is that we ran into a DFG team, doing the trout study of the radio tagged fish, (I believe they said that they have radio tagged about 250 fish to date). The one worker we met said they were picking up a lot of signals from tagged fish on the river and he was clearly up beat. He indicated that this was all good data and good news. In what way, I'm not really clear, except that they he said there are fish in different spots up and down the river from below Daguerre Point Dam all the way up to the narrows, scattered and in different spots in the system. When I asked where, he just smiled!

Get out there and give it a go. It's better than sitting around home and definitely better than working!

1 comment:

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