Northern California Fly Fishing Report August 20, 2017

Dog days of Summer are here... Best bets - Clearlake - Largemouth, Delta or Oroville - Smallmouth/Largemouth, Lower Sac, Fall River or Hat Creek - Trout, Swinging on the Trinity - Steelhead

American River Striper - Fair. Steelhead - Poor. Shad - Poor Flows – 3,500 CFS at Fair Oaks Temp. – high 50's to low 60. Water clarity – Good.

The American continues to fish fairly well for Striper. We are getting some decent numbers but most fish are on the smaller size. Fishing for Striper is definitely on the decline as a result of the Shad returning to the ocean. There is still the opportunity for much larger fish, but most have been in the 1 lb to 5 lb range. Time to go before they're gone.

Best flies continue to be Byng’s Bait fish in white/chartreuse, Toby’s American River Rainbow Clouser, Angel's Smolt, Angels Chartreuse and White on sinking lines.

In addition to striper there are some half-pounder steelhead in the system and we have had a few more adult steelhead sightings. We are looking forward to steelhead season!

Call the shop at (916)722-1055 or Off the Hook fly fishing directly at (707)287-2939 to set up a striper or Fall Steelhead trip on the American.

Clear Lake Largemouth - Great. Water Temps - 80-88 Degrees. Clarity 6" - 1 ft

Fishing is red hot on Clear Lake. One of our guides had around 30+ hookups. Most fish are 1-2.5lbs right now however there is potential for much larger fish. Shad are in big schools and getting drilled by bass on top. Seeing fish slashing shad and chasing them right on the surface is a sight to see. August is the prime month for fly fishing here. Fish are really aggressive and boat traffic is lighter than July. This is the month where 50-60+ hookup days become a possibility stripping streamers. Look for fish boiling on the surface. The bass are really keying in on shad right now which is perfect for the fly rod. Small clousers with more realistic colors and allot of white are best. Anything from full intermediate lines to Type 6 shooting heads do the trick depending on the depth where fish are feeding.

Guide Tip: Don't worry about getting out early and fish hard all day long. Once fish are located, strip flies as fast as you can with good pauses.

Give us a ring at (707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055 to get in on some red hot fishing!!!

Delta Striper - Poor Water Temp 70's. Water Clarity – Good
North Delta Smallmouth - Good Water Clarity – Good to cloudy. Temps 72 degrees on North Delta.

Fishing is slow for on the Delta for striper as this is not prime time however prime Fall dates are beginning to book up. For now smallmouth and largemouth have fished better. Water clarity can vary dependent on how many boats are on the water on the Northern Delta. On busy weekend days the shorelines that we like to fish for SMB can be quite murky. However an average day is producing 20 to 30 fish or more. "We are getting 25-50 topwater blowups per rod per 5.5 hour trip and if you are willing to go subsurface the bite is even better." says Captain Maury Hatch. The size of fish is down slightly from last season but numbers are is great. Targeting smalleys on topwater is our favorite. They have been pretty responsive on various sz 6 poppers in light & dark colors depending on the day. Some days it’s on fire some days it has merely been good. Regardless it is so much fun using 4-5 wt rods & seeing fish after fish come up to attack poppers on the surface! Also, to get bigger fish don't be afraid to use small clousers or Crawdad patterns such as "Papi Chulos" on sinking tip or full sinking lines! Bill Becket suggests fishing smaller poppers on the clearer sloughs and larger ones on the larger murkier water.

Guide Tip: Captain Bryce says ” If the fishing gets tough (for smallmouth) we add a dropper to the popper 12-16 inches below it such as a Carey Special, small Wooly Bugger, Crawdad pattern or other weighted nymph for good results."

For largemouth try topwater first thing and then again in the evening. Focus on areas where Tules end and there are some weeds and you will probably find largemouth. When topwater slows mid-day for largemouth we have been going subsurface with Clousers & Crawdad patterns or focusing on fishing early or late to beat the heat.

We will be fishing smallmouth through the end of September. This is ideal for introducing young anglers to fly fishing and those wanting to whack a bunch of fish. Give us a call at the shop at (916)722-1055 or (707)287-2939 to get out with Maury, Bryce, Toby, Chuck and Bill for some memorable Summer SMB action. Book now or miss out. Also, striper dates are filling fast. Reserve yours today.

Fall River – Good. Flows – slightly above average. Flows - high. Water temps – high 50’s. Visibility - Clear

The Fall River is fishing pretty well again this week. Water is still a bit high but it is producing some handsome fish. Some sporadic hatches coming off but most consistent are PMD’s and Calibaetis. Anglers are starting the day nymphing but when adults begin to emerge we have been switching to dries. Don't rule out fishing a streamer as well.

Call us direct at (707)287-2939 or at the shop at (916)722-1055 to get tie in to some beautiful wild California rainbows.

Good flies nymphs include the Anatomay, Poxy back PMD, Mercer’s Swing Nymph. Good dries include any Calibaetis dries as well as Lawsons Thorax PMD.

Feather River – Fair Flows – 1,500 through low flow. Water temps - low 60’s. Water clarity – clear

The Feather is fishing fair. We have been finding mostly half pounders (fish have been in the 12" range) to some larger adult steelhead. One of our guides landed 7 steelhead yesterday to 22 inches. The yearly salmon is coming on and more and more fish are moving into the low flow section so fishing should improve.

Best flies continue to be big Prince Nymphs, Fox Poopahs, Micro Mays, Copper Johns, Red Headed Step Childs, and Tungsten Salvations, but eggs should start to work once the Salmon start laying eggs.

Give us a call at the (707)287-2939 or at the shop to reserve what should be a great Summer steelhead action on the Feather.

Hat Creek – Good. Flows – above average, Water clarity – Clear

Hat Creek continues to fish so so. Hat 2 powerhouse continues to be busy but once you get away from that you can still find some solitude. Anglers have been seeing some bug activity during the day including, PMD’s, a few caddis and tricos, but evening in the Carbon Flat area has been the best dry fly action. The river is looking great.

Best flies include; Stones, Sin Citys, Micro Mays, Flatulators, Squirmy Wormies and Streamers. Also for dries try Stimulators and Adams or Parachute PMD’s, Comparadun PMD, Para Extended Body PMD and trico duns and spinners.

McCloud River – Good. Flows – 240 CFS at Ah-Di-Na , 270 cfs from McCloud Reservoir, Water temps - High 60’s. Water clarity – Good

The McCloud has fished well again this week despite warmer water temps. The dry dropper with a stimulator or other large attractor and smaller nymph below has produced best in pocket water and riffles through mid day. Trout in warmer water seek out well oxygenated areas below riffles or agitated water. Deeper pools have some nice fish but it is usually the first angler through that get them. Fishing early and late will be most productive going forward but there have been some hatches going on mid day.

Good flies include Birds Nests, Anatomays, Micro Mays, Red Copper Johns, Rubberlegs, and Stimulators. Caddis flies in the evening.

Napa River – Good. Flows – average, Water temps - 60’s. Water clarity – Clear to Poor as you head down river.

Fishing continues to be good recently in the Napa Valley. The upper river in town has fished well for good numbers of schoolies. Most fish are in the 12 to 16 inch range with is common for this time of year but some nice fish in the 5 to 7 lb range landed down lower again this week. Still, a shaker striper on a 6 wt will put up a really good fight. The lower river has been dirty but some larger fish have been caught down there. Clouser style flies with some dark contrasted with white/olive, gray/white etc. in size 1/0 or 2/0 will work well. Fishing the sloughs looking for cleaner water can help. If the water is dark go darker with your flies.

Call Off the Hook Fly Fishing at (707)287-2939 or at the Shop at (916)722-1055 for current reports and conditions.

Lake Oroville - Great Surface temps 80 deg. Clarity - 4+ ft.

Fishing on Oroville continues to be really good for topwater. Lots of blow ups and takes have been ferocious and fish are pulling hard. Chuck Ragan and Ryan Williams fish are having 20 to 50 fish days right now. Most of our fish are smallmouth however largemouth, and spotted bass are also in the mix. Topwater tends to be early and late, however it can be really fun to fish streamers in the hotter part of the day and leads to more non stop action than just fishing poppers. In addition by catches included resident and planted rainbows and even a briefly vicious Sacramento Pike Minnow or two.

"First light to 10 a.m. can produce the best opportunities" according to Ragan. Cast into every hole or pocket you see against rocks and points, keeping casts long and well ahead of the boat and you'll produce more fish. If you have a strong follow or chaser behind a hooked fish, mark that location and return to fish to that specific fish. Pultz Poppers, deer hair frogs, mice patterns and sliders have produced well. Fish first light and then every shadow up top until they're gone and then go down. Craw patterns like Papi Chulos, wakasagi, bluegill, baby SPM, etc. either stripped or suspended will find numbers. Tuck casts against steep structure or submerged trees. Chuck says "You gotta risk it to get the biscuit."

Putah Creek – Good. Flows - 390 CFS. Temps - high 50’s. Water clarity – clear.


Fishing on Putah has been very good this year. Flows on Putah Creek are under 400 cfs. Summer flows are generally higher and flows have correlated with improved fishing this year over last year at this time. Clients have been having opportunities to hook up to a dozen or so fish a day with chances to catch a truly giant fish almost daily.

Putah's wild Rainbows are currently grabbing small, dark nymphs under an indicator. Fishing has been consistent with small nymphs under an indicator. Flies to try are all small sized caddis, mayfly, and midge nymphs 16-22. Dead drifted flies get the most attention.

Small midges and baetis patterns including Tungsten Zebra Midge(black), Mighty Mite Baetis, Hogan’s S & M Nymph (olive), Craves Juju Baetis and Mercer’s Micro May are good aloing with small caddis. Rob Russell says darker flies are working better than lighter colors. Hiring a guide on Putah is more important than many of our other waters as they will be indispensable in helping to break the code and catch fish during the summer season.

Call Off the Hook at (707)287-2939 or at the shop at (916)722-1055 for current conditions or to reserve a guided day.

Guide tip: “make sure you have enough weight on this time of year to get to the bottom. If you’re not hanging up occasionally you’re not going to be catching fish.”

Russian River - Fair. Steelhead - Poor. Flows - 140 CFS at Healdsburg. Temps - high 60’s. Water clarity – 5 to 6 feet.

Fishing continues to be decent on the Russian for smallies although water level recently dropped to 140 cfs. Clousers and crayfish patters are producing best although top water continues to elicit some strikes fish first thing in the morning or late in the evening soon. This Russian tends to be less of a numbers fishery but more about quality fish and proximity to wine country for those wanting to stay close to home. Being on the water early continues to be important (especially weekends) not to beat the fishermen as there aren’t really any. It is more about beating the “splash and giggle crowd” of rafters and swimmers. This is not as much a topwater fishery like the Delta, however if you are in the Santa Rosa or San Francisco area it is a good close option. Give us a call at (916)722-1055 or at (707)287-2939 for more info or to book a trip.

Lower Sacramento Trout – Good. Striper - Good. Flows – 10,000+ CFS at Keswick. Temps - low 50’s. Water clarity – clear (4 ft visibility)

The Lower Sac continues to fish well. That being said it is not fishing quite as good as we hoped it would this year. High flows which scoured the river have had an impact for sure. Fish are getting smart so quick sets on even the smallest quiver of ones indicator is best. The old adage "set first then ask questions" applies here. Few kings on fly before it closed. Things were surprisingly slow for the opener on the area above highway 299 bridge on August 1st. Some caddis coming off and fishing the fast oxygenated water continues to work. Weather is hot so come prepared to cover up and stay hydrated.

The PMD hatch is over however Hydro psyche caddis are going strong. Having PMD nymphs in your set up is still a good idea. Fishing has been fairly consistent throughout the day with a little bit of dry fly activity the last 30 minutes of daylight. If you spot rises throw on a caddis. Some days the hatch will start sooner, some days it is the last half an hour of daylight.

Guide tip: “Wear lots of sun block and long sleeve breathable clothing. Also bring a bandanna and dip it in the ice water in the cooler. Then wrap it around your neck and go hook another football!

The Sacramento continues fishing fairly well for striper as well. "It has fished fair to great depending on ones casting ability and persistence" says Chuck Ragan. We have had good numbers of schoolies with opportunities for some larger fish as well. Come prepared to lift and shoot a 20 to 30' head. Plan on making lots of casts using the ole' double haul and guests should be able to shoot 40 to 70 feet to increase chances of success. "Keep casting, keep focused and you will be rewarded.

Guide Tip: Utilize quick and long sharp strips mixed with long slow ones with pauses will increase your chances.

Upper Sacramento – Good. Flows – low (450 – cfs at Delta) Temps - low 50’s. Water clarity – clear

Fishing on the Upper Sac continues to be good despite warm temps. Water is high so best fishing has been above Delta near Dunsmuir. Things will get even better once the snow run off stops and flows drop a bit. Try fishing a Chubby Chernobyl dry with a small stone beneath it. As temps go up during the day consider heading up river to fish Dunsmuir to Cantara Loop. There has been reports of some decent dry fly action in the evening so that may be worth sticking around for.

Good flies include Chubby Chernobyl, Mercers Poxyback Stone, Solitude Stone, Amber Prince, CDC Prince, Hotwire Prince or Birds Nest.

Guide Tip: “A jig prince is a good fly right now. It has a tungsten head to get down in the riffles and rides point up so it doesn’t hang us as much as some bugs.”

Trinity River – Fair. (True steelhead fishing) Flows – 305 cfs out of Lewiston, 380c cfs in Douglas City and 600 cfs at Junction City. Temps – Low 50’s. Clarity – Good

The Trinity has started to produce some steelhead the last couple weeks. There was a good push of fish in the system including jack salmon and steelhead. They are "both taking swung flies like candy" says Brian Clemens. There were big pods of fish roaming around Sky Ranch to Bagdad. Yesterday they began the releases for the boat races. This will undoubtedly bring even more fish into the system. This is not the numbers that one can expect in October or November but now is the time to swing for aggressive chrome bright fish on skated flies. This will be the place to be this Fall for sure but anglers heading up now are being rewarded with some good fishing already.

To give Trinity Steelheading a go call at (916)722-1055 or at (707)287-2939.

Truckee River – Fair Flows – 260 at Truckee, 675 at Boca. Water Temps. – low 60’s. Clarity – a little color.

The Truckee has been fishing fair but not red hot. Temps are cooling at night which should cool water temps and bring about a more consistent bite. We have been making up for warm temps by fishing trout early and then shifting our focus to smallmouth on the area reservoirs including Boca, Stampede and Prosser. Guests have enjoyed this change and it has kept us fishing through the slow bite for trout happening in the hottest parts of the day.

Best flies include stone like Mercers poxyback Stone, Solitude Stone, larger dark mayfly nymphs and Caddis patterns for trout and brown, black or olive buggers or other streamers for smallmouth bass.

Guide Tip: Jordan says " For smalleys focus on the areas where wind blows across the lake and target windy shores blowing into or along rocks."

Little Truckee River – Fair to Good. Flows –225 CFS Water temp. 60’s Clarity – good

The Little Truckee has been fishing pretty well too. Water has climbed from just over 100 cfs on the 18th to over 200 cfs today. As far as insects it has been mostly PMD’s, Midges, and some Caddis in the evenings.

For flies try Poxyback PMD’s under a Adams parachute, Stimulator or Drake. Also try Midges or caddis pupae or Drake emerger under a dry.

Give us a call to escape the Sacramento heat and catch some nice wild fish! (707)287-2939

Yuba River Trout – Fair. Flows – 2,450 at Highway 20 bridge Water Temps - 60’s. Clarity – Clear

The Yuba is fishing ok for those with a boat. Fish are small and skinny but eating pretty well and range from 8 to 14 inches. Fish over 15" are pretty scarce right now. Wading is still a bit dangerous and so wade with care. Anglers could catch half a dozen fish or more if they know what they are doing but a good drift boat is recommended over wading. There are not a ton of bugs in the Yuba right now following the scouring that the river received this last wet season. Some PMD’s hatching and some Caddis activity in the evening but it may take a while before they come back. Fishing Mayfly Caddia dn Stonelfy nymphs will produce best. A few fish even reported eating dries. Try an XCaddis, pinkies, stimmys or hopper patterns with bead head droppers or non weighted PT on your dry fly set up. A 4 or 5 weight is ideal for this. Bump cuts and drop offs with stones and your choice of #18 or #16 beadhead nymphs. S&M's, Mercer's, CJ's, PT's, etc... Small swung streamers in olive, rust or black have produced some fish on seams at the bottom of islands or edges.

We have heard reports of the river dropping to 1,000 cfs by September. This should help the fishing as long as there are a few more bugs showing up.

Guide Tip - Chuck Ragan says Many fish are being found in the tailouts or along willow banks so do not ignore these areas."

We're still having some good days below the diversion dam for Shad and Striper. Not the 100+ fish days we were having a month ago but still good. There is limited access to this part of the river but we have the key so to speak. Give us a ring at (707)287-2939 before they're gone!

Call (707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055 for more info or to schedule a trip.

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