Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Snuck Out Of Quarantine

Adjusting to dad life has been quite the adventure. Both baby boy and wife are healthy and happy and things have finally calm down enough to allow me to sneak out of the house once a week to wet my line.

I've been spending most of my time on the Yuba River since it's the closest place to home and luckily it's been one of the best places to fish in California this year. The spring flows on the Yuba for the past three years have been high in the +2000 CFS range however this year's flows have been in the perfect ~1000 CFS range. With optimal flows the dry fly fishing on the Yuba has been phenomenal. A plethora of skwalas, march browns, PMDs, pinkies, and caddis have kept fish looking up since January making it one of the best spring dry fly fishing years in a long time.

Fly fishing to me is all about adventure and experiencing new places while tricking fish with feathers that I've tied onto hooks. Fishing the same place again and again can be fun but it can get a bit boring after awhile. Finding time for adventuring nowadays can be tough due to having a needy baby boy but if I get the chance to pawn off the little stinker and his mom with my in-laws in Quincy and fish the Middle Fork of the Feather River I'm all for it.

Gold Mountain Trestle

The upper Middle Fork of the Feather is the only stream in California that opens early the first Saturday of April. Although in my opinion not the best fishing section of the Middle Fork the upper section allows anglers eager enough to make the trip the opportunity to experience Fishmas a few weeks early. I've explored almost every foot of this early opener section with exception of the canyon between Clio and below Portola. This trip the canyon would be my final conquest.

Boulder Hopping Bush Whacking Adventure

The canyon has always been intimidating to me due to little to no access. I contacted guide Jon Baiocchi who is well-known for guiding on the Middle Fork for some intel on how to get into the canyon and with that information I was set.

Forest service roads allow parking access on the top of the canyon however getting down to the river on foot is a whole different story. The canyon is steep no matter where you park and there are no man-made trails that would ease the trek down. After finding a suitable parking spot and gearing up I started my journey down into the canyon. With the help of several game trails I made it down a lot easier than I had expected.

Streamer Eating Fish Of The Trip

According to the Sloat gauge the flows were in the ~500 CFS range which is very fishable. I didn't have a high expectation about how the fishing would be in this section however the fishing turned out to be very good. I explored about a mile and a half of this section and caught fish in every fishy spot. There is some history of large brown trout being caught in this part of the Middle Fork however most of the fish I hooked were on the smaller side about 8'' - 10''. I fished streamers to try to hook up with a fish of a lifetime but caught the most fish using dark nymphs. Overall a great outing and I finally know what this section looks and fishes like.

Getting down into the canyon was easy, getting back up was hell.

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