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Yuba River Fly Fishing

Lower Yuba Gives Fly Fishers a Shot at Trout, Bass and Shad


Yuba River Fly Fishing

Photo by Brian Milne

Andy Guibord doesn't even bother fly fishing on the Upper Yuba River any more.

"There’s no point," the Sacramento guide from Kiene's Fly Shop said.

Limited access. Gobs of fly fishing guides. Dozens of drift boats. And oodles of outsiders. It can take away from the experience, Guibord noted. So he suggests sticking to fly fishing the Lower Yuba River, which has everything a fly fishermen needs, including rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, striped bass and spirited shad.

"Plus, if you fish the lower river," Guibord adds, "you don't have to make the hike all the way up there and you get to get away from all the people."

There's public access to the lower river outside of Marysville in Northern California. Some of the known hotspots include stretches by Hallwood Ave, Hammond Grove, Simpson Lane Bridge, E Street Bridge, Shad Pad and Parks Bar.

Yuba River's Resident Rainbows

While the river plays host to a number of species, including steelhead and salmon at times, resident rainbows are the most sought after species throughout the year. They can be picky, but once you get in tune with their feeding habits you're bound to have a blast on the lower stretch.

Guibord suggests the best bites coincide with hatches at sunrise, late morning and early evening. Early on, Guibord flings Pale Morning Duns and tan or green flies that match the caddis hatch. Later in the day, he’ll go to Golden Stones, 'hoppers and Little Yellow Stones. My favorite two flies for the lower river are the Tan Hemingway and the Elk Hair Caddis. Favorite patterns for nymphing include Glo-bug variations and flies that imitate mayflies and caddis pupae.

Spirited Yuba River Shad

Looking for a feisty shad? The summer is an ideal month for locating chains of these great fighting fish as they migrate upriver. If you’re lucky, you could catch a fish weighing 3 to 6 pounds.

When fishing for shad, it’s wise to use a sinking fly line, a 5-foot leader, a 6-pound tippet and bright and weighted shad flies that are available in any Sacramento fly shop. They seem to prefer sparsely dressed flies in chartreuse, red, orange and yellow. The shad typically remain in the river through July.

Some smallmouth bass and stripers can be caught below Daguerre Dam. Your best shot is to try stripping a white and chartreuse Clouser or a dark flashtail whistler for bass.

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