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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fishing Report - Lower Yuba 09/13/11

I was able to fish the Lower Yuba today with Frank Rinella, one of my regular fishing buddies. It was sort of a last minute plan that came together last night while Frank was watching Monday night football and I was busy at my vise. I'd tied up some new hopper patterns and was ready to give them a go.

We've been fishing the river for the last 5 or 6 weeks throwing big dries, mainly hoppers and caddis, looking for fish that happen to be looking up. Are there many hoppers or caddis floating down the river. No. Are there really any bugs floating down the river. Not really. It's just that floating a big juicy morsel down the river and hoping that some of the fish feel like its worth coming up for seems like the thing to do. Its an attractor thing. Its a throwing dries instead of lead thing.

By this time of the year I'm usually rigged up with indicator shot, bugs and eggs fishing behind the salmon, but this year there just aren't many salmon. Where the heck are they? I'll get to that in a bit. It's pretty darn refreshing to throw dries. Would going down deep be more effective? I don't know, could be, I haven't tried it in a while. There really aren't many salmon in the river and so the egg bite definitely isn't happening. There isn't any hatches going on so will they go for nymphs and rubberlegs? Not Sure. Our thought has been, why not throw some big dries, especially when the river is so low and crystal clear.

With dries you can keep some distance and fish are less spooky when fishing away from the boat, but probably the biggest factor is that its just darn fun. Just make sure you keep some distance, fish downstream and to the bank and throw a nice reach cast to keep you leader and line upstream as much as possible and see what happens. You can fish the middle of the river the same way. Just look for deeper seams and boulders and such. Like I said its causal and a fun way to fish.

So what about the salmon? We ran into a team of workers doing the salmon and trout surveys for the DFG and they had some interesting comments. One that stuck out was they said that the Feather and the Yuba salmon are a pretty mixed up bunch most years and in some ways they're just about interchangeable. When we have had larger numbers of salmon in the Yuba in past years, a large number of them are Feather Salmon. The salmon will tend to go where the bigger flows are once they head up the main stem of the Feather river. If the Feather flows are down and the Yuba flows are up, the salmon will take a right turn up the Yuba and we'll have a big mixture of Feather and Yuba salmon. The same thing happens with the Feather hatchery steelhead. Some of the Feather Steelhead will head up the Yuba too.

We have sort of known this, but this year the Feather is running high and the Yuba is low, so almost all of the salmon are headed up the Feather towards Oroville and ignoring the Yuba. They also said that there are about three gravel bars in the Yuba above the mouth, that even a pontoon boat has to be walked through. They can't run their jet sled upstream to do sampling from the Daguerre Dam to the mouth of the Yuba. This is what the salmon and steelhead are facing and they tend to just continue up the Feather. Really starting to make sense to me now. Mac from Fish First in Chico had a similar comment the other day.

In general the river is running low at about 800 cfs, its a beautifully greenish blue color, crystal clear and just downright the prettiest I've seen it in a long time. The fish are scattered around and like I said, perfect for throwing big dries. I landed one fish today that both Frank and I thought was a steelhead. It had different coloration and almost a kyped jaw. I also hooked another big fish that as soon as it was hooked, took off downstream and went aerial two times and unfortunately came unbuttoned on the second jump. It was what we thought another steelhead, but we'll never know. Nice to reflect upon it though. Frank landed a really nice true 18" fish. So, all in all, we had a ball.

Is throwing dries the most productive method right now? Don't know and right now don't feel like trying to find out. Maybe next time.

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