Yuba River

Yuba Winter Report

Yuba Fish 1.JPG

I think anglers have been sleeping under the rocks lately because we have had the river to ourselves.  Winter is here, and it is starting out with a bang.  I’ve been rather pleased with the fishing on the Yuba the last few weeks.  The fish are healthy as can be and the numbers of fish is back to normal.  The size of the fish is still a bit smaller the we had pre-2017 flood.  However, I have seen some true Yubacorns caught.  Each trip I’ve had anglers are really happy with the action.  Plus, I’ve seen at least one big fish hooked every time (not always landed).  There are even a few half pound steelhead around.

There is still an egg bite going on.  The salmon run this year is very strong, it might be the best or equal to the best numbers I’ve seen in 10 years of guiding.  There are still fish moving in and I foresee the egg bite lasting a few more weeks. 

The nymph game is strong, it has been pretty straight foreward.  We’ve managed to get really grabby fish on flashy nymphs.  I am shocked how well the red Copper John has been fishing.  I have a real love hate relationship with that fly.  We also have been picking fish up on Sloan’s Micro Mighty May.  Don’t be surprised, that fly was invented for the Yuba.


The real impressive feature is how good the dry fly fishing is right now.  I said good, not easy.  In the slow tail outs and pools we’ve been working fish all through out the day on the dry.  With a lot of patience and technique we are managing some really good numbers.  I think this is the best dry fly action I have seen in a winter in years. 

The moral of the story is there is a lot to do out there right now.  We can get fish on the egg, we can nymph fish from the boat in the fast water and throw dries in the tail out.  I guarantee you won’t find better winter dry fly fishing anywhere in the State.   Pretty soon the Alevins will start to hatch which will add another option.  Streamer fishing the Yuba or swinging two handed options will start to develop in the weeks to come. 


It looks like off and on wet days through the month of December.  Don’t fret the fish are already wet and can handle it.  Can you?  I find it funny that anglers who have $400 Simms Jackets are afraid to fish in the rain.  Those are the best days out there.   

Yuba "Newba" Update


The Yuba seemed to be everyone’s favorite valley trout stream.  With the devastation of the flood this past spring it has been somewhat forgotten.  The word on the street has really put a bad taste in the mouth for anglers.

Reports have told the story that the fishery is ruined.


I have a different opinion for what the you may have heard.  Rather I have a different outlook on it.  First of all, let’s be thankful there are still fish in the river.  We are fortunate that somehow the resilient fish found a way to make it through armageddon.  Second, the bug life is back.  The floods may have washed a bunch of the food down to the delta.  Life found a way to return to the upper trout waters.  This fall we saw a mix of good caddis hatches, mayflies, and plenty of midges.  The good news is that the fish have something to eat.


The next rumor out there is that all the fish are small.  For a while that has definitely been the case.  It was unusual, we have been finding good numbers of fish.  No one can complain about the numbers and the action.  However, the sizable 16” average turned to about 10”.  Lately, we have been seeing and hearing about some bigger fish being caught.  Still the average size fish is a bit smaller but signs of life has proven there are still some better fish in there.  


The real saving grace to the fishing has been the dry fly action.  The bwos have been out in big numbers and the fish are responding to them.  I went out for about two hours yesterday and saw fish chowing on the surface.  In total I raised 6 fish to a Film Critic.  When the hatch petered out I nymphed through a run and hooked two.  I missed the first, but hooked the second.  The second was an 18” fish that I lost at my feet.  


This is a good time to get out and work on your dry fly game.  A soft 4wt like a Scott G2 is such a beautiful way to spend a day dry fly fishing.  I spent so much time on rivers with limited dry fly action that when I get a chance I get giddy.  Think about it, when you test or buy a new rod from a shop you think about it in terms of how it will cast a dry fly.  You test it with false casts.  Rarely do you pick out a rod and imagine how well it will throw a bobber.  



To conclude my report.  I think we should be thankful we still have fish to catch.  I think the Yuba is a great option right now.  I’ll be pushing trips that way and personally fishing there myself.



If your planning a trip up to the Yuba over the next few months leave the boat at home.  Sycamore Ranch will be closed for maintenance.  This includes access for walk and wade anglers. 

Recaping Summer and Looking Ahead

In one word to describe my summer...NUTS.  I do not think I could have done anymore guide trips and classes.  Throw in a wedding, mini honey moon and random camping trips I haven't had much time to update the blog.  I gave myself a much needed day off today to get back to normal.  

So how was the fishing?  I would sum it up with average.  I spent almost everyday in the Truckee area.  The "Big T" fished well early on and became tough after the 4th of July.  The water predictions were way off.  The river dropped tremendously and the weather got hot.  We had some good days and bad days.  Most mornings were good and evening fishing was inconsistent.  Afternoons were a bust.  

I met a bunch of really good anglers from all over the country this year.  Summer time we get a lot of new anglers or part time anglers.  I enjoyed teaching and getting anglers up to speed on ability this summer.  Watching a newbie or kid land their first fish is entertaining to say the least.  

As of late, the weather has cooled off, especially over night.  The river has cooled down a bit and fishing for a full day is getting a lot better.  Look for this trend to continue to get better, unless we get a warm spell.  Put it this way, if fishing requires a sweatshirt or light jacket at any point of the day things are going to be pretty good.

We are on the brink of fall.  The leaves are about to change color.  Fall is a great time to fish for several reasons.  The first is fishing pressure.  Anglers spread out more during autumn.  The Trinity will start fishing, the lower sac and yuba egg bite takes off, Putah Creek flows drop, the Feather will fill up with steelhead, and the Truckee streamer fishing will get insane.  With many options for fishing anglers will spread out.

Let's talk Yuba or "Newba".  Big changes to the river from the floods last spring will peak your interest.  Fishing runs that you used know by heart that have now rerouted different paths is like learning a whole new river.  I have heard rumors that the flows will be down to 1000 by the end of August.  With the changes to the river I would expect to see a good run of salmon this year.  From the reports I have been hearing lately there are a lot of small fish thriving right now.  The bigger fish have been hard to find.  This is either a result in the big flows all summer making them harder to find.  It also could mean that the floods harmed those fish.  We really wont know until the egg bite.

The Feather was another river with major changes.  If you have been living under a rock you may not have known about the Oroville Dam Spillway malfunction.  When the spillway failed a giant torrent of water came screaming down the Feather.  This has made a huge impact on the river bed.  From what I have seen there is a lot less water to fish in the low flow sections.  Especially for walk and wade anglers.  It may be even more important to be in a drift boat now on the Feather.  However, I was impressed with the amount of fish that were in the river all summer.  Not a lot of big fish but lots of numbers of 14-16" scrappy fish.  The big fish will be here soon.

Putah Creek.  Not a lot of new things to consider here.  The biggy is that the flows have already dropped.  I've heard fishing has been really good as of late.  Generally the fishing gets really good after labor day.  When the flows are between 100-400 it is game on for being able to fish the creek entirely.  

Truckee.  I am most excited about fishing the Truckee this fall.  It has been years since we have had enough water in the river come fall due to the drought.  Typically fall fishing is awesome out there.  The water temps are perfect for fishing all day.  The fish are getting desperate for some protein before the cold winter.  They need to pack on some extra pounds.  I absolutely love streamer fishing out there during this time.  Another thing to look for is a good October Caddis hatch.  From the bug samples we have been doing all summer have shown and great number of them.