Northern California Fly Fishing Report – December 2016
American River – Fair Flows –1,250 cfs out of Natomas. Water temps – Low to Mid 50’s to Water clarity – clear
The American is closed from Ancil Hoffman power line to Hazel Avenue bridge. Fish are moving in with each storm and swinging traditional flies below Hoffman for winter steelhead has produced some fish. Things will really kick in to gear in late December and fish well throught January and February.
Swung flies as well as nymphing are both producing. Perhaps it may be good to give the Trinity or Klamath a try or perhaps head over the hill to Pyramid or wait until the fish get in a little thicker.
Remember the middle/upper section open up Jan 1st and things will be a go! Call us at (707)287-2939 or the shop at (916)722-8594 to book a trip on the American or one of the other great options this time of year.
Delta Stiper- Good to Fair. Water Temp mid 50’s and dropping. Water Clarity – Clear to stained depending on location.
Fishing has been good to fair on recently with guests catching more fish recently in the 4-6# range. These fish are fresh in as water temps have dropped to 55 degrees & more quality fish seem to be arriving daily. If the trend continues, good fishing should continue throughout Dec! Go to patterns include Chartreuse/White Clousers around 1/0-2/0 this time of year. Water temps are cooling so getting the flies in their noses will be important.
Bryce Tedford says "Fishing will be weather dependent for the remainder of the year. We have been getting decent numbers, but haven’t been catching as many real toads, but it is nice to get out have the chance at hooking a big one”
Guide Tip: ”Try throwing a larger fly if you are only into chasing the larger fish. This will help target the bigger ones. Oh and be patient.”
Call now to reserve your day. We are also taking Spring reservations for March April and May. We can be reached at the shop at (916)722-1055 or (707)287-2939 to get out with Maury, Bryce and Toby for some memorable striper action.
Feather River – Fair to good. Flows – 800 cfs through low flow, 6,000 below Thermalito, water temps – Low to Mid 50’s to Water clarity – clear
Fishing on the Feather is decent but very crowded. There have been 5+ boats and lots of bank anglers on top of it on the river recently. Even mid week has been busy perhaps due to vacations. There are not a lot of fish but there are fish there. Swinging has not been nearly as productive as nymphing. Eggs are producing well along with mayfly patterns and San Juan Worms after a storm.
These storms have brought in a few fresh fish, and there are still some Salmon spawning so eggs are still being eaten. A few available dates remain between now and the end of December. So if you are looking to fish during the remainder of the egg bite, book now!
Guide tip: Any egg pattern will work, but also fish a Prince, Fox Poopahs, Micro Mays, Copper Johns, Red Headed Step Childs and Sucker Spawns. It is still a good idea to fish the San Juan Worm with all this rain.
Call the shop at (916)722-1055 or Off the Hook direct at (707)287-2939. Dates are going fast!
Klamath River – Fair Flows – 1,000 below Irongate Dam, 2,500 below Seiad Valley and dropping. Water temps – Mid 50’s to Water clarity – slight color
Steelhead fishing on the Klamath started slow this year, however things have imporved in the last two weeks. We are finally finding some adult fish on the swing. The flow bump from recent precip and high tides is probably the reason. We are hoping that more fish are on their way. Pray for more rain…and more fish! Swining traditional stealhead flies and leaches is our favorite way to get these anadromous beauties, however nymphing also works. We have been catching enough half pounders to keep things interesting while waiting for a tug from the biguns’. Steelhead fishing is not for the faint of heart and wearing the appropriate foul weather gear and having four wheel drive and carrying chains is a must. However for those willing to put in the time the rewards can be amazing.
We still have some available dates in December, so give us a call at (707)287-2939 to set something up.
Napa River – Fair to Good. Flows – average, Water temps - 60’s. Water clarity – Stained
Fishing has been good considering the the rain we have had and the fact that all the bait has been scattered. Most fish average 2-6lbs with adult fish scattered throughout the system. All delta baitfish patterns are effective; clousers, FT clousers and Stay Hungry minnows sizes 1/0-3/0 depending on water clarity. Primary color being white over chartreuse, white over pink&grey and white over red being second and third respectively. Full sink, t-11 or t-14 for depths ranging from 6-15 ft. Topwater: Crease flies and Poledancers size medium.
Incoming and outgoing tides have both been productive with the best water clarity being on the outgoing. Big tides and dropping water temps have begun to ball the bait up. Find clear, moving water and you will find the fish.
Guide Tip: We have been avoiding the upper river as there is a dredge that has been churning up the river making fishing tough. Best fishing has been from Cuttings Wharf out to the Vallejo.
Call us at (707)287-2939 or at the Shop at (916)722-1055 for current reports and conditions or to get out and fish.
Putah Creek – Open Flows - 80 CFS. Temps - high 50’s. Water clarity – Green
Flows on Putah Creek had dropped and fish have begun their spawning in earnest. Our guides have chosen to give the fish a break again during this time of year. Several great groups including Putah Creek Trout, TU and California Fish and Wildlife have worked to help protect and preserve this gem of a fishery. Since it is now a California Heritage Trout Fishery and will never again be planted it is critical that spawning fish be left alone to spawn or subsequent fish populations could be adversely affected. From December 1st to the end of February we stop guiding Putah and as unpopular as it may be and as much work as we turn away, we feel it is the right thing to do. Spring will be here soon and we will get back out to fish Putah.
If you do choose to fish Dec to February please leave the spawner’s alone and don’t walk on any gravel as 99% of visible gravel is spawning beds (even if fish are not visible when you are tromping through those areas) Perhaps consider going over to fish the Yuba, Feather or Truckee Rivers or go chase Steelhead!
If you are interested in conservation we have some up-coming opportunities to get out and help these fish. Call Steve Karr at (530)400-1171 for more information.
Spring is coming, so Reserve your Spring Putah trip today! Call us at (707)287-2939 or at the shop at (916)722-1055.
Guide tip: “Go fish the Trinity or Pyramid”.
Pyramid Lake- Good to Great Temps - high 50’s. Water clarity – 5 to 6 feet
Now is the time to begin thinking about heading over the hill to visit our friends at Pyramid Lake. Doug and the crew have been doing pretty well recently. The numbers of 15 pound plus Lahontan cutthroat trout this November of 2016 at Pyramid Lake Nevada has been the biggest numbers of big fish since their extrapolation in 1939. Several double digit fish have been recorded this month. These monster trout have been caught on a daily basis. Although the numbers of fish per angler hours are a bit low, the numbers of BIG fish are very good. These fish are the reintroduced native species known as the Lahontan Cutthroat (Black Spotted Trout) or as the Tribe called them “Hoopa Agi”. They now are referred to as the “Pilot Peak” strain which were discovered in 1978 and reintroduced on 2006. The other strain of cutthroat trout in Pyramid Lake are known as the “Pyramid” strain which were developed by the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and the Federal biologists. The “Pyramid” strain is a combination of Independence Lake, Summit Lake and Walker Lake cutthroat blood. They are often incorrectly called the “Summit” strain which is wrong, the Summit Lake fish are native to Summit Lake, Nevada and are a pure, clean strain in to themselves. Summit lake is a closed system (Endorheic Sysyem).
Retrieving Popcorn Beetles, Midnight Cowboy Buggers and Tui Chub patterns have been very productive. Fishing under indicators with 49ers, Chan’s Bomber, CBR midges and Jerry Mc Bride’s balanced leeches/minnows in black/red and Tui Chub colors have also been good.
Things are only getting better at Pyramid. Call today to reserve your guided day on Pyramid this Winter and Spring.
Russian River- Poor Flows – Too high CFS Temps - high 60’s. Water clarity – Chocolate
We are still about a month away from the best chances at steelhead on the Russian. Keep checking back. We generally fish nymphs for our guests, but like to swing em up on our days off on the Russian. Give us a call at (916)722-1055 or at (707)287-2939 for more info on getting on the call list for when it is firing. If we have another wet winter like last year tings could be looking up for the Russian. Give us a call at (707)287-2939 if you would like a phone call or email when and if things open up.
Lower Sacramento – Fair to Good Flows – 5,100 CFS Temps - Low 50’s. Water clarity – fairly clear (2 to 3 ft visibility)
Fishing has been fair to good most days and weather has been cool and wet. Clarity has remained good even with all the rain for those floating above Anderson. Below Anderson can get dirty with heavy rains. Unfortunately the salmon run wasn’t good this year, however Caddis flies and mayflies continue hatch sporadically, so small mayfly nymphs and caddis pupa patters are still working. Rubberleg stone’s are also doing damage. Crowds are an issue on bad weather days, as wind and dirty water keep boats from venturing downriver.
Upper Sacramento – Good. Flows – low (240 cfs at Delta) Temps - low 50’s. Water clarity – clear
Fishing on the Upper Sac has been good. Fall weather has fish on the chow and with most every other local river closed this is all you have. Water levels and clarity are fluctuating based on storms so timing is key. Hatches have slowed however mayfly and caddis continue to be on the menu. There has been some good midge activity as well so you will want to have some dark midge patterns like Zebra Midges under a Bird’s Nests, Prince Nymph or Superfloss Rubberlegs. Other good bets are Poopahs, Pseudo Mays, Poxyback PMD’s, Midges, Hogan’s, Mercer’s, Speroni’s, October Caddis nymphs and dries.
Guide Tip: “If the River is rising stay home, if it is dropping go fish.”
Northern California has some good winter fishing. Please give us a call (707)287-2939 for more info.
Trinity River – Fair to Good (True steelhead fishing) Flows – 320 cfs out of Lewiston, 460c cfs in Douglas City and 800 cfs above North Fork. Temps – Low 50’s. Clarity – Perfect
This year has been about quality over quantity. Don’t believe all the bad reports our guest are hooking some nice fish and almost everyone is getting at least a fish or two in the net each day. The next couple weeks will be decent swinging temps, beyond that it will be mostly nymphing. Up through thanksgiving guest were averaging hooking up to 5 fish per day. Brian Clemens says “Don’t believe everything you hear. There are fish to be caught by those in the know”. Being on the right float has been key to our success. We have some tricks up our sleeves that have been putting some nice fish in the net!
Traditional stonefly rubber legs, golden stones, psycho prices, and Copper Johns have been best. Look to fish eggs only if there is a major flow spike. From now to March should continue to fish well. In Feb to mid march will be good swing/ dry fly
To give Trinity Steelheading a go call at (916)722-1055 or at (707)287-2939.
Truckee River – Great Flows – 215 cfs below Boca, 30 cfs in Truckee. Water Temps. – High to mid 50’s. Clarity – a little color.
Winter has arrived on the Truckee River however fishing has been good. Fishing has been good despite the weather, especially around the Hirschdale area. Fall is the time to catch a "trophy" brown trout of a lifetime. We have been finding fish in the deep pockets and the fast water. With the flow being a bit off color, take more time to cover the water effectively and thoroughly. The dry fly action has slowed however nymphing continues to produce. Try Baetis, dark heavy stones and zebra midges. Don't be afraid to fish shallow either, tight line nymphing with tungsten bead-headed nymphs is a nice change of pace from an indicator. Hope for cloud cover to get Baetis poppin and fish keying on dries. “Ham and eggs also works says” Dan Lecount.
With the arrival of Winter comes some good streamer fishing as browns become aggressive and the rainbows will respond well trying to fatten up. Nymphing still continues to produce best although streamers have picked up some quality fish. Jordan Romney says “the fishing has been the best in the last three weeks that it has been all year.” And although it is cold it is “worth getting out.”
Guide Tip: Fish are in slower water now so don’t rush past the frog water to get to the riffles because you may be missing the best fishing.
Call the shop at (916)722-8594 or OTH direct at (707)287-2939 for current conditions or to book some R&R on the Truckee over the upcoming holidays.
Little Truckee River – Fair. Flows – 28 cfs. Water temp - Low 60’s. Clarity – good
The Little Truckee is way low, but there are some fish to be had. With the cloudy cold weather the baetis and midges have been popping. There has been pretty good dry fly fishing as long as the wind stays down. The best set up with the conditions and flows is a dry dropper. Sight fishing is a possibility if you know where to look. With some snow on the ground and roads be careful driving. If you see snow on the ground while driving back there you could be in for a long day if you get stuck. Hopefully the snow comes and that road gets packed with snow to give those fish a break for a while. If you have the determination to snow shoe, cross country ski, or hike in on the LT the rewards could be epic. The other option is to head down to fish the main river instead.
Yuba River Trout – Good Flows – 1,200 cfs at Highway 20 bridge Water Temps – Mid 50’s. Clarity – Clear
The Yuba is fishing decent most days right now with 4 to 8 fish in the net on average. Small winter stones are in the mix. Try swing dark soft hackles for some fun grabs. There are still a few salmon still around, so nymphing and eggs is still productive. In addition fish legs, Mayflies and Caddis will do as well. Good patterns include Dark Lords and CDC Princes. As long as water levels stay where they are it will continue to fish well. Cream pmd's we're hatching today along with Baetis. Jordan Romney says that our guest got fish Swinging flesh flies today.
The Skwala stonefly hatch will begin most likely in mid January and by February should be in full swing. January and February can be fun swinging with soft hackle Skwalas. On the other be able to throw dry flies in January and February in California is really amazing. You need to get out and give this a try. Call (707)287-2939 or stop by the shop to reserve your Skwala trip.
Guide tip: “The river is open above the highway 20 bridge as of December 1st and don’t forget to bring a San Juan worm if there has been any recent rain!”
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