Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Evacuee Here

Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

I haven't touched my fly gear in about two months. My fly tying station continues to sit empty with tools hidden away, feathers in bags, and hooks neatly organized until the news comes when I can start pursing my game again.

I recently evacuated from my home in Yuba City after news got out about the Oroville Dam's emergency spillway possible failure. Tallest dam in the nation + possible failure = the 100 year flood. It sounds like a pretty cool premise for a movie but living it would definitely be something else. Thankfully the dam itself is fine it's the emergency spillway that is damaged. A broken emergency spillway would mean any water over the dam's height would flow uncontrollably out of Lake Oroville. This would lead to disastrous levels of flooding in Butte, Sutter, and Yuba County. The perfect storm.

This could have been prevented if... Is the buzz around the situation right now. Apparently there are a lot of captain hindsights playing the blame game on social media. Fueled by the media's question of "What could you have done to prevent this?" these heroes make the world a little better through their powers of hindsight. Frankly I'm just happy to be home.

Am I stress about the situation? Not really. I am more upset that I can't go fishing. Just as the Yuba was coming down this happens. The release of the Yuba is currently below 20,000 CFS but in Marysville it looks like 90,000 CFS due to increased flows from the Feather. Hopefully the levees hold up and we can end this saga without a repeat of 1997s levee break.
It seems like the local stream fishing will be out of the question until the summer. We've still got a few more weeks until the bass wake up but at least I've got that to look forward to.

I have everything packed in case the worst happens but as of right now it's just the same old same old.

Times like these make me wonder what the Feather River and it's forks looked like before the Oroville dam was constructed. All I know is that the fishing must have been amazing. Imagine fishing for wild salmon and steelhead on the North Fork and Middle Fork. Those must have been the days.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Flood Of 2017

Not much fishing going on right now as Northern California continues to recover from the flood of 2017. It's been quite a while since I've seen so much water but growing up in Marysville and seeing the soccer fields below the bridges between Marysville and Yuba City flooded isn't anything new. Although the event wasn't 1997 flood levels, we did get a heck of a lot of water.

There aren't a whole lot of options for fishing right now but I'm thinking the low-flow of the Feather River, a few lakes and ponds, and the surf are probably your best bets to wet some line.

Rejoice as the storm provides us with destructive natural disaster entertainment!

Flood of 1997. Over ten years ago.

Storm of the 20th Century in Yuba & Sutter County

Sunday, January 1, 2017

How Do I Fish This: Lower Yuba River

The Lower Yuba River a tributary of the Feather River that flows below Englebright Lake downstream through Marysville where it meets the Feather. The Lower Yuba is a tailwater fishery that is notorious for its elusive rainbow trout that fight like steelhead. All of the fish in the Lower Yuba are wild with the exception of a few Feather River hatchery steelhead that will occasionally make their way up the river.

This river is often considered to be a very technical and challenging fishery. Unlike many other rivers, the Lower Yuba contains very few "tells" of where the fish are holding. The river is mostly made up of gravel and cobblestone due to decades of mining therefore there aren't very many key structures to look for such as overhanging trees or big boulders. Knowing how to read water well is critical. In addition to water that is hard to read, the fish in the Yuba also like to vary their diet and will key in on specific insects and their stages. Knowledge of the diverse insect population living underneath the water's surface is necessary in order to be successful on the Lower Yuba.
The Yuba is my home river and this is how I fish it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Visit To The Lower Kings River

Lower Kings River Riffle

The Lower Kings River is a tailwater that flows below Pine Flat Reservoir. The river is divided into two sections, a put-and-take fishery that is open during trout season (Last Saturday in April to November 15th) from the Pine Flat Dam to Pine Flat Road Bridge and a catch-and-release fishery from Alta Weir to HWY 180 that is open all year.

Water is a important resource in the Central Valley that is primarily managed for agricultural purposes. In the winter the Lower Kings is lowered to a minimal 100 CFS in order to save water. The flows are gradually raised during the spring and summer and can reach over 5,000+ CFS. 

The trout that occupy the catch-and-release section are hatchery "brooders" that are planted by the CDFW. With the help of the Lower Kings Fisheries Management Program this planting program continues to provide an opportunity for anglers to catch and release trophy size trout. These fish are hefty Kamloops that often exceed 18''. During my visit with relatives in Fresno, I managed to sneak out and explore the Lower Kings.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Fly Tying: Unreal Egg

The Unreal Egg is a fly pattern that is a popular go-to when salmonoids are spawning. This egg pattern does an excellent job at imitating the eggs of different species of salmon and trout. Although the use of egg yarn to hide a bead on a hook is nothing new, this egg pattern simplifies the illusion with very few materials.