Northern California Fly Fishing Report, Dec 3, 2018

Winter arrived this last week and with it some much needed rain fall and snow in the high country. This new moisture is sure to get our anadromous friends moving in our Northern California rivers. After reading the report if anything hits your hot button, give us a call at (530)242-4122 or (707)287-2939. We will be happy to help set up some productive winter fishing.

Our gift certificates for guided trips make great Christmas presents. Perhaps a not so subtle hint is in order? For more info on giving and receiving the gift of fly fishing click here...

We want to say thank you to those of you who fished with us this year. We are already looking forward to 2019. There is still some good fishing to be had between now and then. Wishing you all the best.

Merry Christmas from our Family to yours!

Best Bets: Trinity, Klamath, Upper and Lower Sac, Yuba, Feather and Pyramid Lake NV

American River Steelhead - Poor to Fair. Striper - Poor. Shad - Poor Water Temps - mid 50's. Flows 1,900 at Fair Oaks. Clarity - Fair

Still not much to report here. Some half pounders and adult fish pushed up into the hatchery with this rain but not many. It is still a little early as Late December January and February are usually best on the American. It is nice to have this fishery in our back yards during upcoming holiday season.

Steehead Nymphs: Birds Nests 10 -14, Copper Johns, Black or Olive Poopahs and Princes 14 -16. Micro Mays 14 to 18, Brown or Black Rubber Legs 6 - 10 and eggs ( Peachy King, Roe and Tangerine)

Striper Flies: Stay Hungry Streamers, Byng's Baitfish, Angel's Chartreuse and White, Angels Delta Danger and Angel's Smolt, Toby's Rainbow Clouser 4/0, Toby's A.R. Rainbow 4/0, American River Special 3/0, Clousers - chartreuse/white, gray/white

Delta Striper - Good. Largemouth - Fair Smallmouth - Poor. Water temp 50 to 55 degrees. Clarity - Good.

Captain Bryce with a young anglers personal best!Captain Bryce with a young anglers personal best!

Striper fishing in the Delta has been pretty good. Some rain & wind can create challenges but for the most part the weather has been manageable. The season will likely wind down over the next month or so but for the time being it’s holding strong. Most fish we have been finding are smaller “schoolies” but 3-5lb fish are mixed in & the occasional larger fish can be found as well! Water temperatures are 50-55 degrees in different spots within the Delta depending on where you fish. For Stripers sub surface I continue to use 1/0-3/0 Clouser style flies in various color combinations.

Striper flies: Clouser style flies like Byng's Baitfish - 1/0, Angel's Chartreuse and White, Angels Delta Danger and Angel's Smolt. Surface wise it has been hard to beat a Crease fly in 1/0 - 2/0 sizes.

Largemouth: Diving Frogs, Stay Hungry Streamers - Chartreuse, Perch or Shiner colors, #2 Byng's Baitfish, 1/0 Angel's Chartreuse and White, Angels Delta Danger and Angel's Smolt, Angel's Bluegill - 4/0.

Smallmouth Flies: Small poppers in a variety of colors such as green, white, yellow, brown etc. #2 - 4 Pultz Poppers Brown, black or Olive Wolly Buggers.

Guide Tip: Prime striper fishing is here and going fast. We only have a few remaining dates so call today!

Fall River Trout - Closed

The Fall River is currently closed and will reopen April 28, 2019. We had a great season up here and look forward to a great season in the new year. Spring will be here before we know it so call for availability and to reserve your dates today. (530)242-4122 O (707)287-2939 C

River Steelhead - Poor to Fair. Striper- Poor. Flows - 4,000 cfs from Oroville Dam. Temperature - Mid 50's. Clarity - Clearing.

Fishing on the Feather for half-pounder steelhead and a few adults has been so-so of late. Recent rains spiked flows but they are now back down to 4,000 cfs. Salmon are pretty much done spawning but fishing eggs can still be a factor. Nymphing of course is the best option for the most fish but swinging still possible. The area above Highway 70 bridge is closed through January 1st. When it re-opens expect good fishing to resume. Fishing will peak in February, March and April and is the best time to swing flies.

Steelhead Nymphs: San Juan Worms, Prince Nymphs 8 to 10, Birds Nests and Copper Johns 10 -14. Black, Green, and Tan B.H. Caddis Poopahs 14-16, Red Headed Step Child, Tungsten Salvation 14-16 and Micro Mays 14-16, Brown or Black Rubber Legs 6-10

Eggs: Micro Spawn and Sucker Spawn and eggs ( Peachy King, Roe and Tangerine )

Salmon and Steelhead Swinging Flies: Silver Hiltons, Anderson's Classic, Fly Fishing Specialties Alevin, Anderson Euphoria, Heisenberg, Green Butt Skunk, Falken's Tiny Dancer, Hartwick's Purple Hilton, Hobo Spey in black/blue and Black/Chart, Intruders, Perpetrators, Beach Bums, Olive Sculpins, Cream Soft Hackles and Blood Sucking Leaches. Olive buggers, U name its, olive sculpin.

Striper Streamers: Byng's Baitfish - 1/0, Angel's Chartreuse and White, Angels Delta Danger and Angel's Smolt.

Hat Creek trout- Closed

With the General Closure of trout season in California, fishing on Hat Creek has come to an end for 2018. We had a great season. Thank you to all who fished with us up here. We are already looking forward to 2019. We are currently taking reservations for Hat Creek and other Northern California waters. Give us a ring to check and reserve your 2019 dates.

Klamath Steelhead - Fair to Good. Flows fluctuating 1,000 to 1,100 cfs daily at Iron Gate. Clarity - Good

Fishing has been decent on the Klamath of late. Iron Gate releases have hovered been between 1,000 and 1,100 CFS. The numbers of steelhead are beginning to taper off, but some larger fish have been showing up recently. Winter storms are taking their toll on travel at higher elevations so plan for winter conditions and prepare accordingly. Tire chains, a full tank of gas, a shovel, some blankets and food are a good idea to have along.

Nymphing and swinging have both produced again this week. It will be interesting to see what recent rains do to the fishing. We are hoping that it will bring in some more fresh fish. Stay tuned or better yet go fish and find out for yourself.

Steelhead Swinging Flies: Silver Hiltons, Anderson's Classic, Fly Fishing Specialties Alevin, Anderson Euphoria, Heisenberg, Green Butt Skunk, Falken's Tiny Dancer, Hartwick's Purple Hilton, artwicks Hoser, Hobo Spey in black/blue and Black/Chart, Intruders, Perpetrators, Beach Bums, Olive Sculpins, Cream Soft Hackles and Blood Sucking Leaches. Olive buggers, U name its, Olive Sculpin, Articulated Marabou Leech.

Eggs: Clown Egg, Micro Spawn - Shrimp Pink or Salmon egg, Redd Reaper - Champagne

Nymphs: Pat's Rubber Legs in Brown or Black 4 - 8, Psycho Princes 14 - 16, 3-D Nymphs 8- 10, Red Copper Johns 14 - 18.

McCloud River Trout - Closed

Sean with a personal best and a fish of a lifetime on the McCloud.Sean with a personal best and a fish of a lifetime on the McCloud.

The McCloud River is currently closed but what a season it was. Thank you to all of you who fished it with us this year. It will reopen April 28, 2019. We are look forward to a great season in the new year. Spring will be here before we know it so call for availability and to reserve your dates today. (530)242-4122

Napa River Striper - Fair. Temps high 50's. Clarity- murky

Fishing has been quite good this season on the Napa River, San Francisco Bay and Delta. Recent rains have slowed fishing slightly due to off color conditions. right now along with the greater Good numbers of fish in the system with some hefty ones finding the Boca Grip recently. Fish are in from town all the way out to the sloughs. Throwing sinking lines with clouser variants is the business. Keep moving until you find fish but this week we haven't had to move too far. If you are interested in a Napa Visit and want to include some fishing let us know.

As far as gear goes, you will want a 7 to 8 wt rod with sinking lines (T - 11 to T - 14) with 1/0 to 3/0 clouser style flies. Fishing the current seams, drop offs, structure should produce. We move a lot to find fish, but once you do...it's fish on!

Streamers: Black/gray/white Flash Tail Whistler - 1/0 to 3/0, Chart/white and gray/white Stay Hungry Streamers - 1/0, Angel's Sexy Shad and Angel's chart/white - 1/0, Gray/white Flash Tail Whistler - 1/0.

Top water: Crease Flies, Pole Dancers

Pit River Trout Pit River Trout - Fair to Good. Flows - 2,100 Pit #3, 480 at Big Bend. Clarity - Clear

There is good fishing to be had on the Pit for those willing to put in some time. Flows have fluctuated a bit at Pit 3 due to maintenance going on this month. Most fish do not seem to be all that picky so suggestive nymphs like Prince Nymph or Birds Nest should do the trick. A micro May would also work. It is always best to see what the flows have been doing and avoid fishing a day or two after a major drop or spike in flows.

For current Pit#3 flow releases click here...

For current Pit#5 to Big Bend flow releases click here...

Nymphs: Best flies have been Prince Nymphs 14-18 Birds Nests (beaded and non) 14-16. P.T's 14-16 Zebra midges 18 to 20, Mewrcers Tungsten October Caddis, Morrish October caddis - 12, X Mays, Hogans S&M and Mercers Micro May in 14 to 18 (black and olive producing best). Copper Johns 16-18 Black and Brown Rubber legs 6-10, Amber Wing Prince - 16, Brown Rubberleg - 6-8, GB Birds Nest - 10-16

Dries: Stimulators, Mercers Skating October Caddis, Foam October Caddis Chyronobyl Ant, Fat Albert, Adams - 14-18, Elk Hair Caddis - Tan 12-16 Emerging or crippled Mayflies-12-16

Putah Creek - Voluntary closure

The voluntary closure for fish spawning is now in effect. It will continue through March 1st. There are plenty of other places to fish. Thank you for leaving the creek alone so these very special wild trout can reproduce un-molested. Subsequent generations of fish and anglers thank you!

We are taking bookings for Spring fishing on the creek. If you are interested give us a ring at (350)242-4122

Russian River Steelhead - Poor. Smallmouth - Poor Shad - Poor. Flows - 1,000 cfs Guernville. Temps - 60's to 70's. Water clarity - Good.

We are excited for Steelhead season! Misty rivers, chilly air and opportunities for rare encounters with truly spectacular sea going creatures. The Russian river watershed is home to many of our guides and clients and we are hopeful for a good return of steelhead to our back yards. Flows on the Russian spiked last week at 1,500 cfs+ at Guernville. Things are on the way down and are currently down to 1,000 cfs. What we are looking for is a good amount of rain over several days followed by several days if not weeks of fairly dry conditions. This sends down sweet water which lures steelhead up out of the pacific and into the system. To be able to fish however just having lots of rain is not enough. For fly fishers especially it is critical to have clearer conditions so fish can see our flies. We are hopeful and keeping an eye on the weather. If you are interested in fishing the Russian River with us this year. Please give us a call to get on the call list. This will be based on first come first call. Once conditions are ideal we will give folks a call on our list and give them right of first refusal for available guide days.

To get on the call list for steelhead for this coming season please call (530)242-4122 or (707)287-2939.

Steelhead Swinging Flies: Silver Hiltons, Anderson's Classic, Fly Fishing Specialties Alevin, Anderson Euphoria, Heisenberg, Green Butt Skunk, Falken's Tiny Dancer, Hartwick's Purple Hilton, Hobo Spey in black/blue and Black/Chart, Intruders, Perpetrators, Beach Bums, Olive Sculpins, Cream Soft Hackles and Blood Sucking Leaches. Olive buggers, U name its, Olive Sculpin, Articulated Marabou Leech.

Eggs: Clown Egg, Micro Spawn - Shrimp Pink or Salmon egg, Redd Reaper - Champagne

Nymphs: Pat's Rubber Legs - 4 - 8, 3-D Nymphs 8- 10, Red Copper Johns 14 - 18.

For more on the Russian River click here... or call (530)242-4122

San Francisco Bay Striper - Good - Water temps - 54-56, Clarity - Stained to clear depending on tide/location

Fishing continues to be good on the San Francisco Bay. The run seems to be a later one this year. There are still quite a few fish in the system. Fish vary in size from 12" to 6 lbs. Some days are better than others but most are quite productive. Anglers with a modicum of casting and stripping ability tend to do best however our guides are good at setting up even first time striper anglers for success. Despite the challenges of this fishery there is something inherently cool about fly fishing within sight of the Golden Gate Bridge!

Having a competent captain is even more imperative in the San Francisco Bay and on the Delta than some of the other fisheries in California. Fortunately we have the best in the biz!

If you will be in San Francisco Bay Area or live close and want to get out and give this a try give us a ring at (530)242-4122(O) (707)287-2939 (C)

Streamers: Black/gray/white Flash Tail Whistler - 1/0 to 3/0, Chart/white and gray/white Stay Hungry Streamers - 1/0, Angel's Sexy Shad and Angel's chart/white - 1/0, Gray/white Flash Tail Whistler - 1/0.

Guide Tip: "Having a rapid strip and varying the retrieve is important when striper fishing the Bay. Long erratic strips are key. An 8 to 10" trout streamer strip just won't cut it. You want to keep it powerful and energetic. A couple fast 20" strips followed by some 6 to 8" bumps with a deliberate pause thrown in, then back to the hard fast ones. This will out fish the "trout strip" any day out there."

For more on fly fishing the San Francisco Bay click here... or call (530)242-4122 O (707)287-2939 C

Lower Sacramento Trout - Poor Flows 4,000 cfs out of Keswick. Water Temps - Lower 50's. Clarity - Clearing ( 2-3 ft visibility)

Fishing had been good up until this last storm hit last week. Flows are at 4,000 cfs which is low for this time of year however recent rain brought in run off water that turned the Sac brown. Visibility is up to 2 to 3 ft and clearing. By tomorrow we should see enough clarity to get back at it in earnest. The mornings recently have been all about midges, and as the day progresses you will find more baetis and caddis. Good flies to throw are Black Zebras, small Cinnamon Poopahs, Bird's Nests and Black Micro Mays.

Nymphs: Best flies have been Birds Nests (beaded and non) 14-16. Zebra midges 18 to 20, X Mays, Hogans S&M and Mercers Micro May in 14 to 18 (black and olive producing best). Copper Johns 16-18 Black and Brown Rubber legs 6-10, Amber Wing Prince - 16, Zebra Midge 18 - 20, Bubble Back Caddis - Olive - 16

Dries: Elk Hair Caddis, 14 to 16, Missing Link - 18, Norman's Loopwing BWO - 18

Eggs: Micro Spawn - Peachy King, Shrimp Pink

Guide tip: "Lower Sac fish are notorious for the lightest of takes. Fish will mouth small flies and spit them out without any visible hints transferred up the line to the indicator. Often guests will turn and look at the guide and ask "was that a fish?" after a slight pause or just the lightest of "tick" visible on the indicator. Set on everything! We recommend you set first ask questions later."

Give us a ring to get out for a memorable trip by calling (707)287-2939 or emailing us at info@offthehookflyfishing.com

For more on the Lower Sac click here... or dial (530)242-4122 O (707)287-2939 C

Upper Sacramento Trout - Good. Flows - 1,000 cfs at Delta. Water Clarity - Clear. Water temps - 50's

The Upper Sac is looking and fishing good right now. Flows spiked back on November 29 at 1,400 cfs but are now down to 1,000 cfs at Delta. The upper river is now open following summer fires in the area. Be careful fishing during heavy rains as there is some potential for mud slides or debris flow in fire damaged areas.

Despite this the river truly is looking and fishing well. Nymphing is working best, however there are opportunities for some October Caddis surface action towards evening and streamer chucking as well.

Dries: Stimulators 12 -14, March Brown - 18, Adams 12-20, Parachute Adams 12-20, Chubby Chernobyl Golden 8 -10, Mercer's Flush Floater Foam Stone - 8

Nymphs: Rubber Leg Stone - Brown 6 - 8, Two Bit Hookers 16 -18, Mercer's Poxyback Stone and Solitude Stone - 8 to 14, Dark Lords, G.B. Birds Nest 10 - 14, Amber Wing Prince 12 - 18, Mercer's Micro May 14-16. Hogan's S&M Green, Brown or Black 16 to 20.

Streamers: Black or Olive Zonkers 6 to 10, Back Brown or Olive Wooly Bugger 6 -10, Hale Bopp Leech - 8.

Trinity River Steelhead - Good. Flows 290 from Lewiston Dam. Temps - 45 deg's. Clarity - Good.

It is go time on the Trinity! Recent rains have the river looking and fishing good from the dam all the way to Pigeon Point. There is more precip' in the forecast however some of it will be snow which will not hurt fishing one bit. Now is the time to find a boat and get in it!

Steelhead are moving in behind spawning salmon so eggs should be in your setup. Rubberlegs and small attractor nymphs are also a good bet. Swinging has also produced fish recently.

Be careful on the drive over from Redding if you go. There is potential for mud and debris slides as this is the area that was affected by the Carr fire back in the Summer. It is always good to carry extra fuel, a shovel, some blankets and even some extra food just in case when venturing out despite our relative mild winters. Always better to have and not need than to need and not have.

We have prime dates available Dec 9, 10, 11, 12, and 21 that we would like to book. Call for details. (530)242-4122, (707)287-2939

Steehead Nymphs: Birds Nests 10 -14, Copper Johns, Black or Olive Poopahs and Princes 14 -16. Micro Mays 14 to 18, Brown or Black Rubber Legs 6 - 10 and eggs ( Peachy King, Roe and Tangerine)

Steelhead Swinging Flies: Silver Hiltons, Anderson's Classic, Fly Fishing Specialties Alevin, Anderson Euphoria, Heisenberg, Green Butt Skunk, Falken's Tiny Dancer, Hartwick's Purple Hilton, Hobo Spey in black/blue and Black/Chart, Intruders, Perpetrators, Beach Bums, Olive Sculpins, Cream Soft Hackles and Blood Sucking Leaches. Olive buggers, U name its, Olive Sculpin.

Truckee River Trout- Fair to Good. Water Temps-40's. Clarity - Clear

Winter has definitely set in the Tahoe area. With snow on the ground it has made access a little tough for some spots however there is good fishing to be had for those willing to bundle up and get out. Insect activity includes Midges, Blue Wing Olives, small Stoneflies, and a few October Caddis. There has also been a little bit of an egg bite. Fish are moving into the slower moving water for the winter so nymphing these areas will produce best. Don't forget the streamer thing as well.

If you will be in the Tahoe or Truckee area for Christmas give us a ring. We'd be happy to get you out.

Nymphs - Prince 12-16, Copper Johns 12-20, Micro May 16-20, Hogan's Red Headed Step Child and S&M 16-18, Mercer's Poxyback Stone - 8 and 16, Solitude Stone 16.

Streamers - Articulated Leaches, Buggers 6 to 10.

Yuba River Trout- Good. Striper - Poor. Shad - Poor. Flows 1,000 cfs at Englebright. below Water Temps - Mid 50's. Water Clarity - clearing.


Winter is here, and has started out with a bang. Regardless we’ve been rather pleased with the fishing on the Yuba the last few weeks and we've had the river to ourselves for the most part. The fish are healthy as can be and the numbers of fish is back to normal. Their size is still a bit smaller than we had pre-2017 flood. However, we have seen some really nice fish caught recently. Anglers on recent trips have been quite happy with the fishing action. We’ve seen at least one big fish hooked every trip (although not always landed). There are even a few half pound steelhead around.

We are happy to say that the salmon run on the Yuba this year is very strong, it might be the best or equal to the best numbers we’ve seen in 10 years on this river. This has resulted in a good egg bite. There are still fish moving in and I foresee the egg bite lasting a few more weeks.

The nymph game is strong as well and it has been pretty straight forward. We’ve managed to get really grabby fish on flashy nymphs. Red copper Johns have produced well for us. We also have been picking fish up on Sloan’s Micro Mighty May. Don’t be surprised, that fly was invented for the Yuba. The really impressive thing right now is how good the dry fly fishing is. By good we didn't mean easy. In the slow tail outs and pools we’ve been working fish all throughout the day. With a lot of patience and proper techniques we are managing some really good numbers. I think this is the best dry fly action I have seen during winter in years.
The moral of the story is there is a lot to do out there right now. We can get fish eggs, or nymphs from the boat in the fast water and throw dries in the tail outs and slower water. You won’t find better winter dry fly fishing anywhere in the State. Pretty soon the Alevins will start to hatch which will add another option. Streamer fishing the Yuba or swinging two handed options will start to develop in the weeks to come.

The weather forecast is for on and off wet days through the month of December. Don’t fret the fish are already wet and don't seem to mind at all. That is what our Simms jackets and waders are for so get out there and fish!

Great Striper and Shad fishing on the Yuba is just around the corner. We are already getting calls and bookings for this fantastic fishery for 2019. We have virtually exclusive access to the Lower River below Daguerre Dam to do float and jet boat trips. Late March to early April is the time table for Striper and we begin targeting Shad around May 1st. Give us a ring at (530)242-4122 for more info or to reserve your trip.

Trout Nymphs: Copper Johns (red, olive, copper) Sloan's Mighty Micro May 14-18, Golden Stones, Rubber Legs in brown and yellow, 8 to 12, CDC Prince Nymph, Fox's Poopah, Bird's Nests 14 to 16, Speroni's Baetis 16 - 20, Hogan's S&M, Military May, Mercer's Micro May Olive, Brown, Black 16 - 20, Hogan’s S&M nymph (olive, brown) -18, and .

Trout Dries: Parachute Adams, Light Cahill, Parachute Light Cahill 14 to 16, Pink Alberts 14 to 16 Elk Hair Caddis, 14 to 16, Hackle Stacker PMD 14 - 16, Lawson's PMD 14 to 16, Quiggly's Hackle Stacker 14 - 16, CDC Thorax 14 - 18, BWO Parachutes -18.

Trout Streamers: Olive and Brown wolly buggers 8 -12, Alevin/Fry patterns.

Yosemite Trout - Closed.

The waters of Yosemite along with the General Trout Season are closed. They will open April 28, 2019. Time to go chase Steelhead or fish somewhere else.

Pyramid Lake NV* - Trout - Good. Water temps - COLD. Clarity - Good

Casey showin' everyone how guides do it on their day off!Casey showin' everyone how guides do it on their day off!

Finally the 2018/19 winter storms have arrived. These blustery conditions have really brought plenty of hungry fish to the shore. If you are into chasing large trout then this is the time to do it! Surprisingly our friends on Pyramid have had some very good days on blue bird or partly cloudy days with minimal wind. It’s just a matter of putting in time on the water.

Schools of big fish have been coming at random times through out the day. With the water being cold sometimes it takes most of the day to warm up shallow water enough for the real pigs to come in and comfortably feed. The best times seems early morning and between 10:30 am - 3 pm. But again, that is weather dependent. Another thing to remember is don’t leave fish to find fish. If you are getting fish to eat but haven’t found a big one, keep working it until the right fish comes by.

Casey showing how guides spend a rare day off this time of year.
As the water continues to cool down the fish will begin to get slightly more lethargic. Slowing down how you fish could produce a few more fish as we get into winter. Fishing a floating line with or without an indicator with midges, balanced leaches or both have been effective of the ledges. Stripping has brought in more of our large fish this year. Vary retrieves depending on water and light conditions. Also, don’t be afraid to slow the speed of strip down either mixed in with of speeds and lengths per strip.

Top colors for the midges are still red, black and wine. And as always the best colors for balanced leeches/baitfish and any other meat you might want to throw behind a sink line would be black, white, olive, and chartreuse.

Nymphs - Marabou Midge - 12, Chronomid Bomber 12, Maholo Nymph - back and red 12, Patriot Midge 10, Pyramid Pollywog - Olive, Pink 10, Pyramid Beetles - 10, Sextons Boobies - Chart 8, Midnight Cowboy, Wooly Worm- chart, black - 4,

Streamers - Pyramid Beach Leech - black, brown, olive, 8, Balanced Moo Minnow 8, Pyramid Streamer - black 2

Time to go find some monsters! Give us a ring for more info or to book your trip. (530)242-4122 O, or (707)287-2939 C

* Yes were aware that Pyramid Lake is in Nevada not California, but it is close and such a great fishery that we included it in our report for your benefit.

Thanks for checking out the report. Don't forget to like and share. If you have personal reports or photos that you would like and possibly see in the next report please email them to mike@offthehookflyfishing.com.

Hope your Christmas is a merry one and you are able to bend a rod this festive season.

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11427 Angler Ave. Whitmore Ca California 96096 | 1.707.287.2939 - Cell 1.530.242.4122 - Office | info@offthehookflyfishing.com