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Jon Baiocchi - Lower Yuba River Fly Fishing Update

Jon Baiocchi Fly Fishing News


Jan 2, 2017

Happy New Year! A new start, to a new year, while stalking the banks of the Newba River. It’s been Newbalicious. The Lower Yuba River has been on auto pilot for that past 3 weeks or more with bright and warm sunny weather, and the occasional hazy day. The winter solstice has come and gone, and the days grow longer from this point forward. Flows have been on auto pilot as well running right around 1060 cubes, though today they dropped it to 977 cfs for a short time, and then jacked it up again. Typical Yuba County Water Agency. Speaking of the YCWA, their official statement for the long term forecast of releases from Englebright dam states “With the current dry forecast and below normal snow pack, the long-term forecast is that the flows from Englebright Reservoir will continue at 1050 cfs until January 15. After January 15, releases from Englebright Reservoir may be further reduced if the dry weather pattern continues.” Increasing clouds and a light rain is on the horizon from Wednesday through Saturday, then another possible shot the following Tuesday and Wednesday. We shall see what transpires with the weather, if anything it will boost the mayfly hatches which is always a good thing. 


Sycamore Ranch will be closed until March 2nd due to construction. The county will be replacing the electrical system that was damaged by the flood of 2017. Unless you have private access to take out your drift boat, you will not be floating the river anytime soon. Hammond Grove was closed as well today, and I’m not sure if this is tied in with the Sycamore Ranch closure at this time. Fishing pressure remains moderate, and to be honest it’s been nice meeting some quality people on the river that truly enjoy the experience of just being out there. I also want to say thanks to those who shared their appreciation for my blog and the fishing reports, like I’ve told you, I do this for you folks, and also to share my passion and knowledge of fly fishing, and the great outdoors.

I’ve been a bit under the weather with a mild cold, but I’ll be damned if that’s going to stop me from getting out. Last Friday’s trip was rewarding as I got to share a little insight on presenting tiny dry flies in rougher water with my guest. I think many anglers would be surprised that you can raise a trout in big riffles, or see the rise forms within them. It takes many years and experience on the water to notice the subtle splashy rises in rougher water, or to see the tip of a nose break from the water’s surface. Most anglers are focused on the flats when it comes to making presentations with dry flies, if you can read other types of water, the door opens a little bit more. Overall the fishing remains pretty decent. No legitimate fish in the net this week, but spunky wild bows from 8 to 12”. I have not been nymphing at all, but some of my other buddies have and its also been the same patterns as my last report; Jimmy Leg Stones #8 & 10, Skwala stonefly nymphs #10, Hogan’s S&M nymphs in olive #18, Lance’s X-Mays in olive #18, eggs, and Squirmy Wormies in red and natural. 

The pinnacle of the day is all about waiting for, or when, the hatch will come off. Again, it’s been consistent but there are so many variables to the equation that it can be rather confusing to those that are new. Every day is different with the hatch, and if can vary if you are upstream of the bridge, or downstream. Even from run to riffle it can vary with the amount of bugs hatching and the species. So for an angler to be proficient, observation, and a good stocked fly box with many different sizes and colors of mayfly patterns will be more successful than others who are not prepared. Last Friday was very inactive and the hatch was light. With more bugs on the water’s surface, more fish take notice and set up an observation post to receive the food that is drifting downstream in the foam line. 


Today started out with a few bugs, but as soon as the cloud cover came in, more mayflies appeared. In the last few weeks I have not seen the Pinkies or the Pseudos out, but the typical winter BWO in a size 18, and every now and then a PMD in the mix. There are a few winter stones out too. The big surprise today was seeing the first Skwala shuck from a recent emergence. Most likely, there will not be many of them this year, but it only takes a few to get those trout interested. We’ll no more when we are deep into February.


Clay Hash and Peter Burnes from Gold Country Fly Fishers installed Salmon redd awareness signs at Sycamore Ranch and Hammon Grove last week. The signs (as pictured above) are intended to educate and make anglers and river walkers aware of the sensitivity of the nests that hold the future of the wild Chinook salmon run of the Lower Yuba River. Two more signs will be added on the Marysville side and the Grass valley side of the river in the weeks to come. Thanks Clay, Peter, and the rest of the conservation team from GCFF for taking the lead on this.

I’ve got plenty of days open in January for guide trips, personal Yuba Tours, and instructional private workshops. February is really booked up with presentations, and club workshops, so dates are limited. Remember to click on the highlighted words here to follow the links. You can always find out what’s on my calendar and the opportunities that are available on the “NEWS” page featured on my website, and of course stay tuned to my blog for any upcoming special events. Bring it on 2018! See you out there… 



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