South Fork Yuba River-Sierra Tahoe

Middle Fork and South Fork Yuba

Online Store


Fly Box


Tackle Box


Fly Swaps
Middle Fork Yuba and South Fork Yuba

Suggested Flies for the Upper Yuba River area:
Sierra Tahoe Hatch Selection


Stillwater Flies:
Woolly Bugger #4-10
Crystal Buggers #4-10
Clouser Minnow #4-10
Marabou Muddler #4-10

Gold Ribbed Hares Ear
Birds Nest
A.P. Nymph #10-16
Caddis Emerger
Burk's HBI #14-16
Pheasant Tail Nymph #14-16
Little Yellow Stone Nymph

Callibaetis Cripple
Parachute Adams
Buzz Hackle #10-16
Elk Hair Caddis #12-16
Yellow Humpy #14-16
Comparadun #18-22
Golden Stimulator # 6-10



MF and SF Yuba Directions

There are basically three ways to access the South Fork Yuba in this area. From Nevada City, take Granitesville Road, Road 522, north to Edwards Crossing in 7 miles. Or take Hwy 20 east to Junction House and head north on Washington Road. The third way is on to access the river from Lang Crossing of Bowman Road from Hwy 20. The Middle Fork Yuba can also be accessed by three ways. Take the Tyle Foote Crossing Road from Hwy 49 about 14 miles to the bridge. Plumbago Crossing is the second access point. Continue on the Tyler Foote Crossing Road to the mining community of Aleghany. A 4wd dirt road, Road 200, will reach the crossing bridge in 5 miles. The third access point is from Graniteville taking the Graniteville Road out of Nevada City using the Bedbug Smith trail to the river.

Notes: MF Yuba River
The Middle Fork and the South Fork of the Yuba are both remote and difficult to access. Both forks have sections with high canyon walls which limit passage unless you desire to float on some kind of inflatable. They also have a strong snow run off period in the Spring controlled by releases from the diversion dams upstream during April through June. Kayakers and rafters will use a few accessible sections once the flows are between 2000 and 3000 cfs. July can be a good time to fish the MF and SF Yuba until water temperatures become a problem. Water temp measurements in August and Sept have been 53 to 75 degrees on the Middle Fork and 63 to 78 degrees on the South Fork. The Fall can also be a good time to fish the Yuba once the water temps have cooled once more. Both forks are also hostage to the diversion dams with the diversion of cooler water to lower elevation impoundment reservoirs and the waters of both forks tend to get too warm to fish by August and September. Rainbows and Browns are found within these forks of the Yuba but they tend to remain small in size and the larger trout seek refuge within the deeper pools.

Middle Yuba below Milton Lake: The Middle Fork of the Yuba from Milton Reservoir (elevation 5700') to the confluence of the NF Yuba (elevation 1200') is 45 miles long. The Middle Yuba is drained at Milton Reservoir by an aquaduct moving the water to Bowman Lake and Spaudling Reservoir. The average discharge below Milton is about 4 cfs in July and August. It regains water from springs and streams, at the lower reaches of the Middle Yuba, the flow is about 34 cfs in July and August. The fishing picks up below the Box Canyons at East Fork Creek.There are large browns that inhabit this stretch of the Yuba in the 18" size range. Most fishing this area will access the box canyons from either the Gates of the Antipodes upriver or from the trails out at Graniteville or Plumbago. The box canyons have multiple pools, small cascades and plenty of boulders with wild rainbows 10-14 inches in size. Some large Browns are also supposed to reside within these pools. The water is usually totally clear and the trout are easily spooked. Downstream near Graniteville, there are mostly rainbows in the 9-12 inch class. Trout density studies in 2004 showed that there were about 204 rainbows per mile at the confluence of Kanaka and MF Yuba and all rainbows over 14" were found downstream of Graniteville. The lower access point is Foote's Crossing, this section also demands considerable wading due to the steep canyon walls. Like the box canyon water, this section can also have some large browns and rainbows residing within the pools once the flows decrease but this section is usually less productive. Golden Stone nymphs are great within the early season and Mayflies and Caddis hatches follow during the season. BWO's will show up in the Fall.

East Creek: Can be accessed from Pinoli Ridge Road. Contains Brookies below Weaver Lake through Poorman Valley and Rainbows near the confluence of the MF Yuba.

Wolf Creek: Can be access from Plumbago Road, Road 200. Contains Rainbows near the confluence of the MF Yuba and Brookies within the higher reaches.

Kanaka Creek: Can be access from Plumbago Road, Road 200. Fish within this creek should not be eaten since high levels of Arsenic exist from the mining activity that has occurred here. Contains Rainbows near the confluence of the MF Yuba and Brookies within the higher reaches.

South Fork Yuba: From Lake Spaudling (elevation 5,000 feet) to Engelbright Lake (elevation 600 feet), the South Fork of the Yuba is almost 40 miles long. The average discharge below Lang Crossing is about 6-7 cfs and that flow increases to 30 to 34 cfs in the lower reaches from springs and tributary streams. To access the lower reaches near Washington, get there by taking the Washington Road turnoff from Highway 20 between Nevada City and the Interstate 80 junction. Wild rainbows and browns can be found in the pools of the deep canyons between Lang Crossing and the town of Washington. Below Washington, studies in 2004 found that rainbows were about 245 fish per mile at the confluence of SF Yuba and Humbug Creek. Rainbows over 14 inches were found only below Washington. Rainbows were almost non-existent below the Hwy 49 bridge due to high water temperatures in August.

Poorman Creek: Has good spawning gravels and contains Rainbow Trout.


Fishing Regulations

Middle Fork and South Fork Yuba River:

Last Saturday in Apr. through Nov. 15. No restrictions. 5 trout per day. 10 trout in possession.

All other creeks and tributaries:

Last Saturday in Apr. through Nov. 15. No restrictions. 5 trout per day. 10 trout in possession.


© 2021 Steve Schalla
This page is not to be copied without my explicit permission.
Plumbago Crossing Foote Crossing SF Yuba at Missouri Bar North Fork American Upper SF Yuba North Yuba SF Yuba at Poorman Confluence SF Yuba at Washington Bridge SF Yuba at Quartz CG SF Yuba below bridge SF Yuba at Quartz Falls