Lower Elevation Still Waters
VALLEY TAIL WATERS
About the Lower Yuba River
The lower Yuba is home to three fish species that are important to the fly fisherman. First of all it is mostly famous for its resident Coastal Rainbow Trout who possess an impressive fighting ability. The trout don’t get really get big but there are large numbers in the plus or minus 15” range. The fight of a 15” fish in the Yuba is equal to that of a 20” fish on any other river.
The second most important fish from a fly fisherman’s perspective on the lower Yuba is the American Shad, that is indigenous to the east coast of the US, but was introduced on the Yuba early in the 20th century. The Shad are only found below the Daguerre diversion dam, which is somewhat downstream from the popular trout section, as they are not able to climb the fish ladder. You will also find Stripers below Daguerre Dam. There is a great Chinook Salmon run, but it is not generally targeted by fly fishermen.
Chinook Salmon and Steelhead enter the lower Yuba in the early fall. Chinook are there to spawn in the gravel just downstream from Englebright Dam. The Steelhead (up to 8 lbs) follow the Salmon to feast on their spent eggs and some hold over until spring to spawn and others go back to saltwater and come back into the system later in the year. The Yuba is most famous for its strain of local Rainbows.
Wading access is only available at a few spots, though from those spots you can reach quite a bit of good holding water. Many fishermen opt to launch a watercraft at the Hwy 20 bridge (a 4WD vehicle with a high center is need to traverse the cobblestone shoreline) and float the 4 miles to Sycamore Ranch where there is an unimproved boat launch site where you can pull out your boat. Floating is by far the best way to cover the most water on the Yuba and the river is tame enough for personal watercraft such as pontoon boats though most people float it in drift boats.
For those who will not be floating the river there is a parking area at the north end of the bridge which is where the trailhead exists for fishing the water upstream, and there is also parking and access at the south end of the bridge along Hammond Rd. which follows the south shore of the river from the bridge for about three miles downstream until turning inland.
As soon as the Red Bud begins to appear, they know that it is time to check out the lower Yuba and see if the first hatch of the year has begun. The lower Yuba’s Skawala hatch is legendary in northern California and may arguably be the most anticipated hatch in the state. These are the Yuba’s famous hatch that brings fly fishermen from afar each year. When the fish get on to these bugs fishing can get silly, for lack of a better word. The Skawala hatch can last from February all the way until early April depending on the air and water temperature.
In March and April the March Browns begin to show Blue Wing Olives are active all through the spring. As we get into May the Caddis get active and so do the Pale Morning Duns and other mayflies. June brings Golden Stones and Little Yellow Sallies.
Lower - Yuba River
Updated - 2/1/24
Scroll down for links to information about Lodging,
Maps and up to the minute Stream Flows.
Current River Conditions: 800 CFS and off color with 1 ft visibility Make sure you check the up to the minute flows by clicking the lnk down below, before you go.
Fishing - Poor: Yuba Guide Tom Page reports that the water is very off color and aparantly the water upstream in Englebright Reservoir is pretty muddy too which means that it probably won't clear up soon. It's unfortunate because Tom said that the Skwala hatch was going strong considering the time of the year. Keep checking back and we will let you know as soon as things get back into shape.
Swinging a #18 soft hackle BWO through rises can be productive. Otherwise indicator nymphing with a Caddis Pupah pattern or either a #18 rusty or olive Mayfly pattern (ie. flashback Pheasant Tail or an olive Mercer's Micro Mayfly) will get fish. There are still plenty of salmon spawning so If you are unsure of how to identify redds click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5M9-dDV0Wk8
Due to probems associated with off roaders and increase in crime, Hampton Rd that runs alongside the south side of the river has been closed by Yuba County from the Hwy 20 bridge down to the Teichert property near the gravel pits. The section upstream from the bridge on the north side still has access as does Harmon Park and Sycamore Park. There is also access and boat launching upstream from the bridge from the private fishing club property on the south side
Recommended General All Around Patterns
for the Lower Yuba
Bead Head Pheasant Tail #12, #14 & #16, San Juan Worm, Copper John/red or copper #14, #16 & #18, Bead Head Prince Nymph (various sizes), Wooly Bugger/rusty, black, Glow Bug/red. tungsten bead Zebra Midge/black, brown, red, Fox's Poopah #14 & #16. Scud/pink #14. Z Wing Caddis #14, March Brown Soft Hackle, Vinci's "Depth Charge Bird's Nest/olive, natural or black, #18 Mercer's Micro Mayfly
Adams Parachute #14, #16, & #18, Elk Hair Caddis #14 & #16, Stimulator #8, Fat Albert/tan #10, Hippy Stomper #10, Kiene's Hopper Yellow #10, Squala #10, Chernobal Ant #12, Quigly Cripple (PMD) #16 or #18