Tuesday, May 15, 2012

With June 3 weeks away summer is nearly officially and un-officially here. Many rivers are coming into shape as run off subsides but with reservoirs feet from being filled I imagine there maybe a second wave of run off when we get some consistent HOT weather and the night time temps stay hot as well. Here is what is happening and what is coming up.

Lower Yuba has dropped into shape and is stable at 2337 cfs with good clarity. Fishing has been good. Hatches should pick up over the next few weeks as the river settles into the new flow. We are entering prime time on the Lower Yuba for spring/early summer hatches. The weeks following run off see PMD, caddis, stoneflies, and all sorts of mixed hatches kicking into gear. Fish will be on the grab coming off high and off color flows and fishing will only get better as we move through June and July.

Lower Sacramento River is still fishing consistent for trout up through redding but I have began to turn my attention to the lower river looking for shad, stripers, bass, and carp. Shad fishing is picking up as people are starting to catch a few here and a few there down around Princeton up through chico. Flows have been  hovering around 10,000cfs coming out of Keswick but drop down to around 7000cfs around Ord Bend as we are in the middle of Rice Irrigation season. Once that is over here shortly the river down by Chico/Ord Bend should jump up moving fish up the river. This will also help move the migratory stripers up river and give the resident fish a bit more water making them a bit more comfortable. Smallies and Big mouth bass are waking up in the sloughs and I have seen a few fish up on beds and cruising the shallows. It is going to be getting really good really soon out there.

North Fork Feather River is still a bit high on various stretches but fishing should be turning on with in the next few weeks as the flows began to drop. I am going to make a trip up there this week to scope out some new Raft Drop ins. Soon this will have some of the best trout fishing around…also smallies.

Coming Up…
Small and Big Mouth Bass Fishing on the Lower Sac and various waters around Chico
Carp Fishing on the Lower Sac and various waters around Chico
raft trips down the North Fork Feather for trout and small mouth
Shad/Striper fishing on the Lower Sac
Almanor/Butt Lake Hex hatch
Davis Lake Damsels
Small Stream Fishing East of Chico
Top water bass fishing outside of chico

If any of this sounds interesting feel free to shoot me an email or phone call for more info. June is almost booked so hurry to get one of the last remaining dates or look towards July and mid summer striper, bass, or trout fishing.

June: 3, 6, 12, 17, 26, 30
July: 1-3, 9, 17-22, 25-27, 30, 31
Aug: 1-3, 6-9

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Nor Cal Report – General Trout season opener…the myth, the legend
Just because the California Department of fish game marks every year the last Saturday in april as the “opener of general trout season” making most non-tailwater trout rivers of the sierras and foothills open to fishing does not mean they “open”  to fishing. Like most things in nature you can’t just put a day on the calendar and declare something happens. It is like the first day of summer being around the end of June every year. Most things in nature gradually take place…Summer begins slowly and by all means has usually arrived by late june. Slowly pants are replaced by shorts, my flip flop tan turns from a burn to a legitimate discoloration of my feet, and heavy beers and brown water are replaced with light beer and lime juice and tequila, oh and I stop wearing shirts around the house cause it is dam hot. So goes the beginning of trout season.  

Opening day means a few things in my world none of which are drive to a trout river…here is how my opening day goes.

I start looking at the flows on various rivers. The North Fork of the Yuba River, North Fork of the Feather River, Deer Creek, Upper Sacramento River, and various other creeks. Checking flows means I get an idea of how long it is going to be before I might go fish these rivers/creeks…and when I say fish, I mean chuck lead and big stoneflies or pull streamers for the occasional fish. Usually I am looking at like 2-5 weeks.

It also means I need to get my shad rods set up and ready, a new batch of shad flies tied, and make sure everything in my boat is working as shad season is about 3 weeks away. Also make sure to tie a good batch of clousers for the stripers and make sure my 9wts and lead core are all set up and ready to go.

On the Lower Yuba it means that run off is usually in full effect and if I get lucky a day that I have a guide date the river will come into shape, atleast for a day or two until the next wave of snow melt or rain shows up, and my clients and I can pillage the river with stoneflies, san juan worms, and big attractor bugs. I can also start to think about PMD, PED, Golden Stonefly, and caddis hatches…yes while tying shad flies, striper flies, and big run off bugs I gotta get working on some small mayflies and caddis cause it will be dry fly time on the Lower Yuba soon.

The Opener also signals a farewell. The Lower Feather River is a big part of our guiding here in Nor Cal. By the trout opener the fall season is long gone, winter has come and gone, and the spring run of steelhead is thinning out usually by the end of April/early May. This means I can finally after 8months pull my bead box out of my boat bag and just drive through Oroville, not stop.

Inevitably I have to start planning to set up my raft…uhhh…Pull the frame out from the side of the house, tighten the bolts, pull the raft itself out of the rafters of the garage while dodging black widows and various other creatures of the dark, pump it up- which is an athletic event, put the raft on my ghetto Harbor Freight Trailer that I am sure will break this year…I was sure it would break last year, so definitely this year.

Lower Sac trout fishing tends to slow a bit as the March/April caddis hatches slow and the PMD hatches start to get going strong. The fish in various stretches are spawning or in post spawn and kinda can get in a funk at times. That said the Lower Sac is still a pretty consistent trout fishery even with its up and downs.
If I do get all the above mentioned work done at this time of year I usually will head to a local bass pond, lake, or river, cause lets be real bass fishing is going OFF at the end of April.

Bottom line…the last thing I do is go fish for trout on the opener.