I spent this weekend out on the Lower Yuba guiding. I have not been out in a few weeks as I got the flu that turned into bronchitus and a double ear infection...I was a mess. Fever like an acid trip and snot production that would rival a day care. Finally got my feet back under me this last week and after rescheduling a bunch of trips I got back out.
Lower Yuba is hanging just over a 1000cfs. This is a good and bad thing, but I think the good out way the bad. Usually by now the flows have been dropped to around 700-800cfs. This seems like a trivial difference, but it makes a huge deal. Good things are there is plenty of water for the fish to spread out in the runs, flats, riffles, and banks. This is a huge deal as it provides plenty of options for wade fishermen and boat guys and even with boats and waders on the water one can always find fresh spots if you know where to look. Once the water drops to 700-800cfs it turns into a riffles/runs game and the fish get pounded by wade and boat guys. Making it tough if you are not getting first licks on a run. Tough part about the flows being what they are is the salmon are slow to get going and seem to be few in number. I think the higher flows have pushed more fish up above the bridge then in previous years and fish are holding in the deeper water both above and below Daguerre, moving up river at a much more leisurely pace. Most years when the water drops from summer flows to 700-800cfs it forces the salmon up river in a big push and out of the holes into the riffles to spawn all at once. This results in the trout packing into the riffles and gorging on eggs for about 2weeks. Resulting in an epic egg bite of about 14 days and then fishing gets pretty tough.
Based on what I have seen over the last two days I love this flow and program the river seems to be on. There a few, and I mean a few – like 2-3 spots, salmon up on redds and where they are on redds there is fish behind them chowing eggs but in other spots fish are holding in bug water eating bugs. Really what it boils down to is there is a lot of options for how someone can fish the river and I think good fall fishing is going to last longer and be more consistent then previous years. Add some of the best caddis hatches of the year during the evening and you have some great fishing.
Also word on the street is the low flow and high flow on the feather are packed with salmon which has the makings of a great steelhead season over on the Feather.