Fishing the Lower Yuba River with High Flows
During the spring of 2010 and after a week of high water and off color conditions, I made it our with a couple of my fishing buddies Blake Larsen, Frank Rinella and made it out to the Lower Yuba. This is a time of year when the Lower Yuba River is typically deserted. The flows are high and dangerous for wading and most of the guides go to other places to fish. If you’ve got access to a drift boat this is an opportunity.
The flows had dropped to 3400 cfs +/- and we were hoping that the water clarity had improved. It was a beautiful spring day with blue sky, a few billowy clouds and with no breeze to speak of, that is until about 11:30 or so. We set up our shuttle and got our first view of the river. It was high but out of the willows and a light greenish blue color. The visibility looked perfect for nymphing. It looked like using dry fly presentations would only be possible in some of the tailouts and runs where the current wouldn’t be too pushy.
We rigged up rods for indicator and straight line nymphing. I also rigged one rod up with a dry line just in case we got the opportunity. To start Blake rigged up with a rubber leg stone, sucker spawn and HBI nymph. Frank rigged up with a San Juan Worm a black copper john and a Hogan’s pattern mayfly nymph.
As soon as I rowed into the flow of the river, I could tell how pushy the current was. I felt that that the fish definitely would be looking for places outside of this big pushy current so we started targeting the areas where a trout could comfortable hang out.
I tried a little while casting dries in a tailout but didn’t have any takers. It really was an indicator with lots of shot kind of day. With good results I might add!
Water Types to Concentrate On
1. Areas of a run below riffles, but further down stream than usual, where the currents could spread out and the current speed would get to be about a moderate walking speed
2. In tailouts, but to the edges where the current was softer
3. Eddy pools below the riffles
4. In the flats below riffles
Suggested Flies for the High Water
Black Copper John
Red Copper John
Red San Juan Worn
Hogan’s Spring Fling