By Boots Johnson
My son Ted and I ventured up to Hammon Grove and left the Pickup at the last parking area. We dropped down to the Yuba River, along a marked trail, to investigate the condition of the Yuba River in regards to steelhead fishing. The water was up bit and was running on the murky side. This area would be a good bet for trout or steelhead. Both swim in this river. The rainbow trout is considered to be a steelhead when it reached 16 inches. In addition, both wild and planted fish are here. The wild fish are protected and cannot be taken at any time, but must be released immediately. You can tell a wild fish from a hatchery fish by the small fin on the fishes back near the tail. If the small membrane is clipped and therefore does not exist it is a hatchery fish. By the same token fish with the fin intact are wild and must be released. At the end of the last parking lot are signs explaining the rules and regulations, including barbless hooks and no bait allowed along with sections of the Yuba River which have different regulations.
Driving into Hammond Grove past the neat barbeque area and seeing Dry Creek and what was left of the concrete swimming pool wall brought back many memories at the park long before Yuba County decided to clean it up and make it a day use park. I can recall the swimming parties, the picnics and the beer busts which took place back in the 40-s and 50s. It was not unusual to see large crowds of people, most of them party goers, but a few were fishing.
I have fished Dry Creek over the years past and have had success catching a variety of fish, including catfish, smallmouth bass, northern pike, and all varieties of pan fish such as crappie, bluegill, and sun perch and so on. In fact, back in the 40’s the stream had so many catfish which ran in schools you could see them in the clear water swimming in the current, traveling from one deep hole to another. It was a beautiful sight to see.
Upstream from Hammon Grove there were several pools which ran up to ten feet deep. This was always the place to go to catch catfish for supper. However, over the years, including the floods in 1950, 1955, 1986 and 2005 the deep pools in Dry Creek gradually filled in and changed the natural flow of the stream.
Closing thought: “Sometimes it is best to just be quiet and listen.”