I have previously posted about fishing the South Fork of the Yuba River outside Downieville, CA. I like going there for a number of reasons. Part of the allure is that the area is located in the old gold rush area of California and there is a lot of history and many stories to be found as you drive through Tahoe National Forest and the dozens of small mountain communities and towns that have ties to mining and prospecting.
The river is beautiful as well. Its nearly crystal clear and blanketed by lush green forest and ferns and mossy rocks.
At roughly three thousand feet in elevation, the area is high enough and cold enough for trout, but make no mistake it can get plenty warm in the summer with temps reaching into the 90s - in which case you will find certain stretches of the river hosting swimmers looking for a cool dip in fresh mountain water.
There are many days I want to shed the waders and fishing vest and dunk myself in one of the many deep pools. In fact, this last trip I saw a group of teen boys fly fishing, and they did just that, jumping in for a refreshing dip.
There are a lot of bugs in the area. A lot. You'll see mayflies, and stoneflies and giant salmon flies. The riverbed is teaming with nymphs and larva. The water is so clear you can see the little cocoons on the rocks and larva crawling on the riverbed.
Remember my little pocket guide I mentioned in Match The Hatch 1.0 - let's put it to use again this time.
I plucked this little cluster off a rock in about shin deep water.
You can see there is a little larva inside, and that's what trout want to eat.
I "matched the hatch" - and in a couple of casts I had a fish on. (Sadly I couldn't get a picture. You'll have to trust me).
This is the cool thing about fly fishing. You could just walk up to a river and not think much is going on. Just a bunch of rushing water. But there are little trout hidding everywhere. The river is a whole other world of life and creatures and things happening and evolving. You just have to take a moment and look and observe. And when you do that, you not only have a better chance of catching fish, but you forget all about whatever troubles and pressures you face in life, and that's worth the drive, even if you never catch a thing.