Northern California Fly Fishing Report December 2011

Feather River
Current Fishing – Fair to good
Flows - Low clear (<600 cfs)
Prognosis - Good

The Feather is wrapping up the best year of Steelhead fishing in recent memory, but as recently as two weeks ago it has been on fire. Our guides have had multiple Steelhead days of 5 to 7 fish going as big as 10 lbs!

Currently the flows are low and clear. There has been some moderate fishing pressure in the “Low Flow” area between the Thermalito outlet and the town of Oroville. The next good fishing will be once the section above the 70 bridge opens after January 1st. This could make for a good escape from the Holiday madness. Eggs were working in Late October and into November and will do so again up above in January. If you are looking to get out now and fish below the 70 bridge it wouldn’t hurt to have them as part of your two fly rig in the early morning. Focus on fishing the riffles and faster runs and behind any remaining salmon. Switch to caddis or bead head May Fly nymphs once the light gets up on the water and continue to fish the faster water.

We have some good dates available for the Feather with our guides in January. Call us at (707)287-2939 for specifics or for current reports, flows or hot fly tips.

Klamath River
Fishing – Good to Excellent
Flows – 1320 below Iron Gate
Prognosis – Good

The Klamath has been fishing very well recently with good numbers of half pounders and adult Steelhead around from to Iron Gate to Seidad Valley. Nymphing with a rubber let and a BWO dropper has been producing on the colder days in the slower water. On warmer days try swinging traditional Steelhead flies or streamers for some fierce grabs from adult fish. Articulated leaches and egg sucking leaches have been confirmed killers recently.

Fishing should continue to be good until the river blows out due to the winter rains that are coming most likely in Late December or early January.

Putah Creek
Fishing – Slow but good news!
Flows – Low and clear (90 CFS)
Prognosis - Good early spring fishing

Our guides have been on Putah Creek recently and have been encouraged to see some large spawning fish. For those of you who don’t know Putah Creek is now year round catch and release only single barbless hooks and artificial baits. This came about thanks to cooperation between Putah Creek Trout, Fish & Game, our guides and concerned anglers like you! In 2009 Putah was in dire need of help. Fish counts were at an all time low following several years of catch and keep fishing after planting had stopped. We are happy to say that Putah is in stage two of a three step process for designation as a California Wild Trout Fishery. This is very exciting news and will translate to vastly improved fishing over the next few years. We are seeing quite a few small fish which means that spawning is working.

But Putah still needs your help! The spawning fish need a rest. If you chose to fish the creek from now until the end of February please do not cast to fish that are on redds. The redds are being monitored by video surveillance and Fish and Game wardens so leave themalone. What do spawning fish on redds look like? If you can see the fish before you cast to it and it is in shallow water over hollowed out or clean gravel Do Not Cast to It!

Non spawning beautiful wild fish in the 10 to 16” range have been caught using a two fly rig in the deeper runs and in pocket water. We have had recent success at the guide hole, as well as access # 1 and #2. You will need light fluorocarbon tippets to 5 and 6 x. Try fishing an Egg pattern and a small BWO nymph or midge pattern in the deeper water below redds. Please do not wade across the reds either to cross the creek.

Look for fishing to really improve post spawn. February traditionally sees the water release come up to 150 cfs. From February to April is some of the best fishing of the year on Putah Creek. Fish come out of the spawn hungry and ready to eat! They are less picky because of this, and the fact that the water levels give more cover. By April flows usually hit 300cfs and gradually come up to the high summer flows of 500 to 600 plus in June. Great spring dates are going to fill up fast so give us a call today! (707)228-2477

Our guides know how to find fish consistently even with fluctuating water levels. Experienced Putah Creek anglers will benefit from spending a full or half day on Putah with us!

Trinity River
Current Fishing – Fair
Flows - Low clear ( cfs)
Prognosis – We need rain!

The Trinity has been fishing decently. Due to low water and fair amount of pressure hatchery fish are spread out above the canyon section. The area from Lewiston through Steel Bridge to Buck Tail has been producing some good fish. Try high sticking the pocket water in this area and focus where riffles create a shelf into deeper water. Most boats are hooking 5 fish and landing 2 to 3 per trip. Eggs are still part of our set ups, however Rubber legs, Solitude Stones, Copper Johns and Pheasant Tails have been top producers. Hint: Go light with your fluoro tippets(3x or even 4x) for more hookups.
Look for a fresh push of fish with higher water levels when the rain arrives sometime in Late December or January. This should thin the crowds out a bit as well.
By late January and early February we will have shifted our focus to fishing the coast for large wild Steelhead. Conditions change rapidly so give us a call for up to date info on the coastal Steelhead scene.

Lower Sacramento River
Current Fishing – Fair to Good
Flows – Green tint (5,600 cfs)
Prognosis – Fair to Good

The lower Sacramento has been decent one day and fair the next. We are generally getting 15 to 30 fish in the boat per day. Anglers fishing near the Posse Grounds have seen mid day Blue Wing Olive and Midge hatches. Focus on fishing the riffles using an indicator in 4 to 6 feet of water. The Salmon are all but done spawning. However, it may not hurt to prospect with a few casts below the redds with an egg pattern.
Down below Andersen we have found a few scattered adult Steelhead. Rubber leg Stones, Birds Nests and CDC Prince have been the top producers in this area.
Look for fishing to pick up around the beginning of February and fish well into the end of March.

Yuba River
Current Fishing – Good
Flows - Low clear (910 cfs)
Prognosis – Good

It has been another great year on the Yuba. This river is one of the few places we know of where every month of the year you can reliably fish dry flies exclusively if you chose and have success. Last week we had a boat of beginning clients hook 15 fish to 20” all on dries. Currently the flows are low and clear and Blue Wing Olive dries have been catching fish consistently. If nymphing is your thing, then expect to fish Rubber Legs, Hogan’s S&M, Zebra midges, WD 40’s and egg patterns. Along with fishing the upper river below Highway 20 we have access to the lower river. Access through locked gates brings a bit more solitude and better numbers for those wanting to get out and fish.
Fishing will be good for dries from now through the end of March or beginning of April. Blue wing olives will be around throughout. Skwala Stones will begin showing up in January, and March Browns show up traditionally around the first of March. Summer brings the Hoppers then we start it all over again. Over all there is great dry fly action going on all Winter and into the Spring and Summer! Take advantage of our full day at half day price good through January 31!

Delta Striper
Current Fishing – Good
Flows – Clear to slightly off color 50 Degrees
Prognosis – Good until 40 degree H20 temps arrive

The A fresh bunch of fish has worked its way into the Delta System near Franks Tract and Discovery Bay. Fish have been eating Chartreuse and White Clousers. Hint: Get ahold of a Stay Hungry Streamer in the same color for improved results. Focus on current seams, vegetation edges and rock walls during a moving tide. Bring your GPS to avoid getting lost in the valley fog. We’ve heard reports of top water action during low light or foggy conditions.

Fishing should continue to be good until the water temps reach 40 degrees.

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