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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Lower Yuba Flies and Fishing 04-15-13

The Lower Yuba finally is coming into shape after weeks of high and off color water. I was able to float the river with Blake Larsen on April 15th. The flows were just under 4000 cfs. We had found last spring that when the flows are at about 4,000 cfs with about 3 feet of clarity the river starts fishing. You need too watch the CDEC flows and when the river's flows are right, get down there.

With that said, wade fishing will be tough. You'll have to pick your spots and wade carefully.
You'll need to look for areas where the water is running at a medium paced walking speed or less, there are areas along the willow lines that provide this speed as well as in the inside of runs. Eddy pools and back channels are also good bets. Just don't wade too deep or into the faster currents unless you want to go for a swim.

With a boat you can float the river and cherry pick the good holding water. You're looking for the same types as mentioned above. In addition, run a nymph setup through the softer side of riffles where the water isn't raging. You may be surprised, we were.

As far as flies and rigging goes, when these spring flows are happening, I always go for a rubberlegs pattern set up with a deep nymphing rigg. If you've been fishing the river in January and February, the Skwala Stones where happening and the Lower Yuba trout will jump on a big ticket item like a big stonefly, thus the selection of a rubberlegs. I'm a believer that this time a year you want to use a big attractor fly as your point fly and a rubberlegs does the job.

Let's talk about this for a bit. I have been fishing a "Natural Roe", "Troutbead", since September. When I rigg up a indicator nymphing rigg, I've got one on somewhere. It has produced in every month since September, that's almost 6 months in a row. With that in mind I created a pattern I'm calling the "Hot Head Spring Thing". It's an attractor. The triggers are (1) a Hot Orange metal bead, (2) Jay Fair Peacock Chenille, (3) Montana Fly Company's Speckled Centipede Legs. Three proven attractor ingredients. I'm wanted a fly that would come tumbling down the river saying, "Eat Me". I think that this does the trick. I tie this on at the point with a non-slip mono loop.

We've heard reports of march brown's coming off so I thought we would trail a nymph of the day, like a March Brown nymph (photo at left) or a Bird's Nest. You can also use a pheasant tail. We primarily used the Pheasant Tail and it worked.

As a third fly, we tried a few different nymphs like a HBI nymph which represents a PMD. This is one of my proven patterns for the PMD's on the Yuba. Some people say it doesn't work for them, but I'll tell you it does for me! One thing that I do consistently is use more shot than most people and I really believe that makes a difference. It keeps the bugs down in the zone.

As an example, we used a deep indicator rigg with a large thing-a-ma-bobber, about 6 to seven feet of 1x to the shot (lots of it), 18" of 2x to the rubberlegs, 3x to the Pheasant Tail nymph and 18" of 4x to the HBI nymph. This is a spring high water limited visibility rigg. You can go heavier than latter in the spring as the clarity improves. This rigg worked!

We also used a brown rubberlegs with a chenille that had a little sparkle in it with success. Does the color of the rubberlegs matter? Maybe, maybe not, we used these two and they both produced. The thing that is important no matter what color you use, is to use enough weight to keep them down in the zone with the high flows. You want to have the thing-a-ma-bobber sucked down into the water column. No matter what fly you use, none will be effective if they are being buoyed up in the water column because your rigg is under weighted.

All and all we had a very productive day, caught fish where we thought they would be, didn't catch some where we thought the might be, and caught a few in areas that surprised us.

That's fishing, Lower Yuba fishing.

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