Friday, January 10, 2014

New Years Reports, Low Water Swinging, and Fly News & Big Fly Boxes

News Year Update…

So we are in the middle of a crazy drought…no secret there. That said there are still fish to be caught. I have heard a few weather guys talking that this high pressure that has been sitting over Nor Cal Keeping all the storms north of us is going to be moving away soon and we should start to see some rain. Here is a post from our local weather guy Chris Kupyer with some good news…hopefully.

Long range GFS model is finally indicating a weather pattern change in about a week and a half in the Pacific, with the jet stream returning to California and bringing RAIN... starting around the 20th. Could be off & on the whole week.

While it's still a long ways out... This is a GREAT sign!

So hopefully Chris Kupyer is right. Other then that Rivers are low and clear making for some interesting fishing.  Check the reports below and what is coming up….

Open Dates coming up:

Feb: 1, 2, 10, 22, 23

March: 1, 2, 8, 9, 22, 23, 29, 30

April: 5, 6, 13, 18, 19, 22-27, 

Lower Yuba River - Flows are around 725cfs and fishing is poor to good…kinda all over the place day to day. I have had some decent days and some really tough days. Any overcast days have the chance of being good but low flows, clear water, and bright sun can be tough. Most of my fish over the last few weeks have come on small mayfly nymphs and egg patterns. There has been a good baetis hatch on most days and fish will pod up in various flats sipping emerges, cripples, and duns…all at the same time or on some days favoring only a very particular stage of the hatch. Typical Yuba picky dry fly eating trout. I have been fishing size16-20's on 6x to these fish and having some luck on most days. With the warmer then average weather the first skwala stoneflies have been starting to hatch. While i have not hooked many fish on stonefly nymphs I did rise a few fish to skwala dries last time I was out. 

Nice Lower Yuba River fish from the last week
Coming Up… much of what is to come on the Yuba will be rain dependent but the winter (skwala, March Brown) hatches will start early and the spring hatches will be early as well. Fishing should be challenging with low and clear water but as the days lengthen and warm the fish will start to eat more actively making fishing a bit more consistent. Pray for Rain!!!!

Lower Sacramento River - is down to 3360-3000cfs which is low but we have seen this flow the last few years. Fishing has been poor to good depending on the day but fishing seems to be getting a bit more consistent over the last week. There has been good numbers of steelhead reported being caught all the way up through Anderson which can make a mediocre trout day a lot better. Most fish are coming on small mayflies and eggs with a few being caught on rubber legs lower in the river. With the low flows there is plenty of wading opportunity for the walk in angler and most fish are in the riffles and runs which make them accessible. 

Coming Up… The Lower Sac should fish well through the spring but I would imagine the spring caddis, PMD's, and March Browns starting a bit earlier this year. I imagine flows will remain low no matter what happens from here on out with rain and fishing should get more consistent as days lengthen and warm…that said pray for rain. 

Feather River - The flow in the low flow is 1000cfs and the flow in the high flow is 1100cfs. The stretch of the Low Flow from the hwy 70 bridge up to the fish barrier dam opened on Jan 1. I have not fished it myself but I have heard it has been a zoo though people are catching fish. It is barbless, and catch and release so it is limited but still have heard the crowds are just ridiculous. I have not heard of any fresh winter fish moving into the system though I am sure they are there. 

Coming Up…Spring steelhead fishing on the Feather starts around early March and if the fall run was any indicator should be a good run. We nymph and swing flies on switch rods for these fish and even sometimes fish dries. They are a ton of a fun and offer a great opportunity to fish many different styles in a day on the water. 

Coming up: Shad, Striper, Large and Small mouth bass, and Carp…The fishing on the Sac outside of chico, mountain smallmouth lakes, and valley carp and largemouth lakes will be very dependent on how the rest of the winter and spring shake out with regards to rain. I imagine no matter what flows will be lower then normal and lake levels will be down. That said water temps warm faster moving bass on to the spawn sooner and making for a good shad year and a bit spookier stripers. It is not to early to start looking at summer and spring Shad, Striper, Large and Small mouth bass, and Carp dates if you are interested.

Coming up: Clearwater Lodge…I will be guiding this spring/summer again up at Clearwater Lodge. This is a great place for families or the hard core angler. The lodge sits on the Pit River and is in striking distance of Fall River, the Pit River, Baum Lake, Burney Creek, Lake Britton, and Hat Creek along with many other secret spots…This is a truly unique corner and one worth exploring. 

Sports Report: Talk and a great college football season. With the National Title game wrapping up and the final rankings coming out we can put a bow on the college football season and call it done. The bowl season in my humble opinion was pretty damn good. Many upsets and close games made for a great holiday season. I had a tough time with regards to who to root for in the title game…I wanted FL St. to win as Notre Dame plays them next year as part of their entrance into the ACC but lets be honest I can’t imagine there are many student athletes on that team and how a program like FL St operates is much of what is wrong and down right illegal about big time college athletics. With that said I had moments where I was hoping Auburn won but then I was drawn to the SEC logo on their jerseys and I couldn’t root for them.

Pretty pumped on how Notre Dame finished with the Pin Stripe Bowl but lets be honest Rutgers is not a top 25 opponent. Though beating them did push up up to no.20 in the final AP Top 25 rankings. I am bit concerned with the news of 4 underclassmen leaving for the NFL Draft this year…The 2 D-Linemen make sense as they are top 10 picks but George Atkins and Troy Niklas leaving are a bit weird, couple that with the Coach Kelly loosing both his offensive and defensive coordinators leaves a lot of things up in the air for the off season.

Winter Personal Fishing…over winter I traditionally have some time to get out and do some personal fishing. This last week with the low flows I got out on the L. Sac outside of chico to swing some flies for some winter steelhead. Bait anglers have been getting some nice fish drifting roe through the holes and with the low flows fish really hold up in the lower river so it is always worth a try. I didn’t hook anything but I did see a few unidentified salmonoid role through the run…could have been small winter salmon or nice steelhead, who knows but it is enough to get me back out there again.

Pretty Easy Walk out to the riffle
Choice Run to Swing some flies through
 Fly News
I signed my contract with Montana Fly Co. a few months ago, Mailed off some Samples of new bugs, and started the discussion about what new flies to do and what old patterns from Idylwilde to bring over. We finalized the line up this last week and I can say I am pretty excited about the line up of mine that Montana Fly Co. will be bringing out in 2015. I am sending my instructions, recipes, and samples off this week so wheels are turning…

One great thing about working with Montana Fly Co. is not only do they make flies they have a great line up of fly tying materials and accessories. Their new “boat boxes” are by far the best I have seen. I got the trout one in the mail and filled it up with a few of my striper flies for the coming spring/summer. These things are pricey at about $65 but they are well worth as they are incredibly durable and water proof. I go through about 1-2 of the cheaper ones each year and the “cheaper” ones are not cheap at around $35-50.  


  1. Fished the low flow Feather last weekend. Lots of people above hwy 70. Fished below Hwy 70, had the whole river to myself and hooked 2 chrome adult steelies.

  2. I have the SC ND game circled on the calender for next season already. MAybe I will win the bottle of whiskey, finally! :) An idea, you should come up and fish Pyramid with me if you get some free time. It is absolutely epic out there this season and will only get better!

  3. Sebastian- Good to hear you got away from the crowds and caught some fish. Many times on the feather that is the key.

    Jay - ya it is going to be interesting next year...lots of rebuilding on both teams, new coaches, coordinators, and many people leaving. I do need to get up and fish pyramid. Haven't fished it in easily over 10 years.