Thanks to the Fishing Guys up in Canada for a video review of our Leland British Columbia Drift Outfit. A 10′ 7-Weight designed for steelhead fishing up and down the Pacific Northwest and equally at home on the Great Lakes Tributaries and beyond.
“It’s a mistake to believe that steelhead only return to larger, broader rivers. In fact, many large steelhead return to spawn in smaller streams and rivers each season. In these waters, it’s common that casting space is limited and to be successful, accurate casts are a requirement. For this reason, we designed our British Columbia Drift Outfit. Primarily designed to be the ultimate steelhead nymphing solution, we’ve found that this same outfit works great for single hand swinging, if the conditions allow. Regardless, with the British Columbia Drift Outfit, you can efficiently and accurately get your fly on the mark with overhead and underhand casting techniques. To compliment the stable and efficient rod taper, we use the Leland BC Nymph fly line. This unique fly line offers a shorter weight-forward belly, which serves up effortless casts that deliver the fly exactly where you want it. For physical and aesthetic balance, we’ve loaded this great casting line on our Leland Reel Co. Classic Drift fly reel. Of course this reel is fully machined and anodized for a long life on the water, but more to the core, this reel looks like it was passed down from your angling mentor and soon to become a family heirloom. Its simple, functional and adjustable click and pawl drag mechanism will surely slow any hard-running steelhead, while it’s classic sound announces “Fish On!”
What does fly rod length and fly rod weight have to do with each other? Is there a perfect fly rod out there? These are just some questions we get and we’ve set out to answer some of them for you. Before we go any further lets all agree with three things.
Fly rods are extensions of the arms movement.
Fly rods are amplifiers of movement due to their length and energy storage (they flex and store energy like a spring and then they release that energy when the rod is stopped.
Fly rods help deliver fly to fish along with assisting in retrieving that fish once hooked.
Good, we agree on three things. Now, we could go into the history of fly fishing dating back hundreds of years, rod design, materials used but we’ll let you read about that on your own. Not all of us are history buffs here…
Back to All Purpose, think Lysol All Purpose Cleaner pictured above, photo cred Walmart. Maybe you’re go to is 409 or Simple Green. Yucky stuff, but hey it gets dirty things clean. That’s your All Purpose Fly Rod… the 9 Foot 5-Weight. The worlds most popular length and weight fly rod regardless of brand or model. It’s the rod that does it all. It really is a versatile fishing tool. Matched with the appropriate fly line and reel to hold the line it will cast a wide range of fly sizes, in various conditions, using various techniques and it will equally help you handle all sorts of fish.
At 9 feet the rod will flex to handle varying line loads. Little line out the tip and the tip flexes… Lots of line out the tip and the rod will flex deeper and deeper. Storing energy soon to be released. The length and weight combination of a 9 foot 5-weight is generally just fast or stiff enough to adapt to the varying loads one will apply whilel casting. Plus, it will allow a wide range of flies from tiny little size 22 flies all the way up to size big 2. How great!
At 9 feet in length plus the average arm length of about 2 feet you have 11 feet of movement. This will help you manipulate the fly line every which way to make casting easier. You can move line once it hits the water to get a better drift of the fly and once hooked the 11 feet will make for a nice arc to help absorb shock as the fish runs and the rod flexes so you don’t break your line.
Finally, the 9 foot 5-weight all purpose fly rod will be able to land the tiniest fish all the way up to fish of say 15 pounds give or take. So, if you’re not sure what to buy or you’ve been questioning if you need a new rod or not remember the ol’ 9 footer for a 5-weight line will do it all, it will do it pretty well. It won’t be the best at anything but it’s a proven versatile fly rod and who doesn’t want versatility. After all, most of us have Lysol All Purpose Cleaner under the sink.
Now, why did we just say that? Well, we want you to know that fly fishing is silly. It’s fun, we make a living at it, but it’s silly. So if you’re out to buy a fly rod or you needed validation of your current fly rod you’ve got it. Go with a balanced 9 foot 5-weight and you can’t go wrong.
The Lower Yuba is a 21 mile long tailwater fishery flowing out of Englebright Lake characterized by long runs, crater-like pools, and wide riffles. Known for the feisty native rainbow trout that call this river home who thrive is consistent icy cold water. This makes a great river to float in a raft or drift boat but fly fishing from the bank can be rewarding and makes for a great workout with refreshing water to dunk your head in when temps reach the low 100’s mid summer.
Fishing tips for the Lower Yuba River:
Stalk the shallow soft water & edges with a well presented dry fly.
Add more weight to you nymph or indicator rig if you choose to nymph as the water below the surface is very powerful.
Swing a soft hackle fly if casting an indicator and split shot is not your thing.
Brown woolly buggers swung down and across with a soft hackle trailer. Use 3x tippet. The grabs can be jolting!
Species in the Lower Yuba River:
Shad (late spring)
Chinook/King Salmon (Fall and Winter)
Steelhead (Fall and Winter)
Wild Rainbow Trout (10-22 inches) Those 12 inchers feel like 16’s… This is what you should visit the Yuba for!
Fishable flows on the Lower Yuba River:
Most productive time of year on the Lower Yuba River:
Fall & Winter
Hatches on the Lower Yuba River:
Skwala Stone (January and February) – Our Personal Favorite!
Blue Winged Olives (October and February)
Western March Browns (March and April)
Caddis (April through August)
Little Yellow Stones (April through July)
Golden Stones (May and June)
Licenses for the Lower Yuba River:
To fish the Lower Yuba River, you need a California Fishing License and a Steelhead Report Card.
Access on the Lower Yuba:
Highway 20 Bridge or Park’s Bar Bridge 18.5 miles east of Marysville on Highway 20. This is the only way to access the eight miles of river below the dam. If you have a high ground clearance 4WD vehicle cross the bridge, take your first right and explore the gravel bar downstream. Caution! Big rocks, ATVS, & sand may get you in trouble so drive slow and carefully. If you’re not sure… turn around and walk to the river. Trust us.
Sycamore Ranch Resort which is four miles before Park’s Bar Bridge. This is the best access for below the bridge and offers a great easily accessible dry fly riffle. This is also the drift boat take-out.
Turn right off highway 20 to Hallwood Boulevard where there are a few access points as well.
If you fish, you’ll likely here the word tailwater or tailwater fishery. We get asked this question sometimes but fear many new anglers don’t ask and may go years wondering what those other fisherman are talking about…
What is a tailwater? Answer: Are rivers or streams located immediately downstream from a hydraulic structure, usually as a dam. If you view one on a map you’ll often see a wide reservoir and then right where the river begins it’s much thinner and looks like a tail. Think of a mouse’s body as the reservoir and the tail is the river, hey at least that’s what I think. Tailwater can refer to a type of fishery as well which creates a steep temperature gradient between the topwater of the reservoir and the river below because colder water is stored at the bottom of the reservoir near the outlet. The constant cold-water flow provided by the reservoir’s outflow, coupled with the generally silt-free nature of the outflow, creates ideal water conditions for cold-water fish such as trout in environments that ordinarily might not support a robust trout population. An example of this is the Lower Yuba River below Engelbright Dam or nearest to us is Putah Creek which is made from Lake Berryessa at Monticello Dam.
If you hear the word freestone or spring creek. Thee are likely rivers or streams that are free flowing, not created by man made dams but flow naturally from runoff created by multiple creeks and streams or come up through the ground in the form of a spring creek. Get it, spring fed… Free flowing, freestone. All three types of moving water have their pros and cons and the unique aspect of fly fishing is that it takes you to these beautiful places. Many anglers have a favorite for one reason or another.
Side Note: Tailwaters can have both good and bad effects on the environment depending on their location and proximity to the ocean, who’s in control of the water and the flows along with it’s affects above and below the dam.
So you’ve booked your Alaskan Adventure. Maybe it’s a remote fly out, a family RV trip, or a do-it-yourself float. However, you do it (and believe us, there is no wrong way) you’re going to need some gear! Yes, the essentials are pretty easy; clothes, toiletry kit, flask, and maybe some cigars. But what about fishing gear, oh and flies, and what boots or waders, or will my 6 weight or 10 weight be too little or too much.
First, take a breath, and maybe a drink. The good news is that most lodges, fly shops, or general stores will have the essential odds and ends. At Leland we have come to just carry the “meat and potato” sort of fly selection. Your basic patterns that you can pretty much catch anything with: Wooly Buggers, Egg Sucking Leeches, Humpies, Eggs etc. But visit the local shops and give them your business, or if time is of the essence just call the lodge or place you’ll be staying and ask. Odds are they will have the right flies and you won’t be losing any sleep about having the right bug to swing in the next run.
Rod, Reel, and Line can be another major headache, and most people settle for what they might already have thinking “ya, my 4 weight will handle throwing those flies” or “my 10 weight won’t be too much, it will still be fun”. Trust us, after 30 years in business you want the right tool for the job. That’s why we came up with the Sonoma Coast Outfit. At 9 feet 3 inches in length and only available in a 7 weight it can handle just about anything Alaska throws at you. From swinging beefy leech patterns on a sink tip, to skating Polywogs for Silvers, to indicator nymphing egg patterns. The Leland Drift Reel we’ve paired with the rod is old school and simple, and trust us, you won’t lose a hyper-techie ball bearing clutchie thing. It’s the type of reel our grandfathers used, and hey, it worked for them, and it works for us. Always set with just enough tension so you won’t need to worry if your drag is too loose or too tight. The line balances out the outfit and puts the final touch on making delivering your flies a breeze. This combination is what you need an will keep you smiling your entire trip. Sure, bring a lighter set up, maybe a heavier one as well, but we bet you’ll be holding on to the Coast for most your trip.