Northern California Fly Fishing Report - January 18, 2018


Best Bets: Lower Sac, Truckee or Yuba - Trout, Trinity, Klamath or Coastal - Steelhead, Sierra Foothill Lakes

American River Steelhead - Poor. Flows - 2,000 cfs at Natomas. Water Temps - Mid 50's Clarity - Clear.

The good news for Northern California is that rain is on the way! The American is one of many steelhead rivers that need water to bring on some new chrome. Back on January 1st the upper river above Ancil Hoffman Park opened, but fishing has been hit or miss due to not many fish being in the system.

We are definitely working hard for the fish were getting we even got skunked on one recent trip. Most fish have been half pounders in the 14 to 17" range however on each trip we have hooked fish into larger specimens in the 20" to 28" range (5 to 8 lbs). With intermittent rain over the next two weeks things should only improve. Steelhead love fresh water that comes from rain run off and the predicted precip should bring even more fish up out of the Sac and into target range.

Nymphing has been most productive but swinging is what we love most. For better numbers try dropping a nymph and split shot 4 to 6 feed below and indicator. If swinging is your deal, focus on shallower runs and fish the water well before moving on. The upper river will see some pressure now that it is open. Expect it to be productive however a bit busier. The middle and Lower River have been productive too and will continue to do so. The shallow gravel and channels in the clay around William Pond Rec. Area are a good place to explore. Plan to loose a few flies but fish are being caught by walk in anglers.

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 )

Swinging: 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, Intruders, Perpetrators, Beach Bums, and Blood Sucking Leaches.

Give us a ring at (707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055 to give the American a whirl.

Coastal Steelhead - Fair to Great depending on the river.

The Rivers of a Lost Coast have silver in them.The Rivers of a Lost Coast have silver in them.

We had some productive trips this weekend for Coastal Steelhead. Some of our Coastal tribs are producing better than others. Both swinging and nymphing are producing where water flows and color are good. Coastal steelheading is not for the faint of heart and one must realize that hooking one fish is a good day.

Swinging: 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, Intruders, Perpetrators, Beach Bums, and Blood Sucking Leaches.

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

Give us a ring at (707)287-2939 for your potential date with destiny.

Delta Striper - Fair. Water temp 46 deg., Clarity - Clear

Fishing on the Delta had been SLOW, but we had a report from one of our guys who went out Monday and stuck 10 fish in the 4 to 8 lb range. This piqued our interest so we will be checking things out a bit more in the coming days... Stay tuned.

Striper streamers: Byng's Baitfish, Angel's Chartreuse and White, Angels Delta Danger, Angel's Smolt

Bill has been having some good fishing out of the Kayaks for Crappie and Bluegill in Lost Slough on the Delta. Best action has been in the middle of the day as water temps warm in the shallows. Feeding window has been only a couple hours but during that period it has been non-stop hookups with fish aggressively attacking small streamers on intermediate lines in 1 to 4 feet of water.

Panfish Streamers: Wolly buggers, Micro Clousers

For more on the Delta click here...

Feather River - Fair Flows - 1,000 cfs through low flow 1,700 below Thermolito. Temperature - low 50's. Clarity - Clear.

Fishing on the Feather has been fair. The upper River (Table Mountain Bicycle Bridge to Highway 70 Bridge) opened Jan 1st however there are a fish throughout the system. This is Winter Steelhead fishing folks. It is all about a few fish per day. That being said we have had 3 to 5 fish in the boat per trip on the swing recently! Swinging leaches, alevins and traditional patterns has worked well this week. Baetis and San Juan worms, eggs are producing as well under an indicator.

It has been a fairly even mix between wild and hatchery fish recently. Upcoming rain should help get some fresh fish up river, but fishing should really improve in February.

Nymphs: Prince Nymphs 14 -16, Birds Nests and Copper Johns 10 -14. Black, Green, and Tan BH Caddis Poopahs 14-16, Red Headed Step Childs, Tungsten Salvation 14-16 and Micro Mays 14-18, Brown or Black Rubber Legs 6-10, Cheese Micro Spawn and eggs ( Peachy King, Roe and Tangerine )

Traditional 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, Intruders, Perpetrators, Beach Bums and Blood Sucking Leaches.

For more on Feather steelhead click here...

Klamath River - GreatFlows 975 cfs. Water temps - 48 to 50. Water clarity - Klamath tea.

The Klamath had fished well recently but this week things turned on even more. Both half pounders and adult fish are being found in almost every run on the swing! The Klamath has been one of the more reliable Nor Cal steelhead fisheries this Fall and Winter and with things picking up, now is the time to go!

Nymphing with dark stoneflies, attractor nymphs and eggs under an indicator is a gimme' however swinging is our favorite way to fish it and is racking up fish too.

Nymphs: Black or Brown Rubber Legs 6 - 10, Red or Black Copper John 12-14, Psycho Prince, 14, Solitude Stone 6, Epoxy Back Stone 6-8, Black or Brown Micro May 14.

Swinging: Perpetrator, Green Butt Skunk, Assassin, Orange or Purple Hobo Spey, Silver Hiltons, Purple Hilton, Morgans tiny Dancer, Rick's Euphoria

For more on the Klamath click here...

Napa River - Fair. Water Temps - 44 to 46 deg. Water Clarity - clear

Fishing has been slow probably due to cold night temps. Heavy sinking lines T-11 to T-14. Smaller 1/0 patters have worked best recently. Some reports of nice fish being caught in the upper river for those in the know. This is traditionally the slow season so low numbers are to be expected.

For more info on the Napa River click here...

Streamers: 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.

Putah Creek - Poor. Flows - Very low - 50 cfs. Clarity - Clear

Time to give Putah a rest!Time to give Putah a rest!

Fish are in full blown spawning mode so we're done guiding and fishing Putah for the season. But what a season it was! It has been so good to see so many quality wild trout being caught by our guests. Putah is such a special fishery being this close to San Francisco, the Napa Valley and Sacramento and having such large wild fish. It is a California Heritage Trout Fishery which means it has much larger than average fish in it. It also means it will never ever be stocked again, so if fish aren't left alone to spawn, it will adversely affect subsequent generations of fish. There really is no way to catch fish now without fishing to spawning fish. In addition, with the flows so low it is very difficult to maneuver without walking on redds. So give em a rest! Go fish the Trinity or Truckee or catch up on your tying. Spring will be here soon enough and future generations of trout and those who love to catch them will thank you.

We will begin to fish and guide the creek on March 1st and dates are starting to fill up. Give us a ring at (707)287-2939 to reserve yours.

For more info on Putah Creek click here...

Russian River Steelhead - Poor. Flows - 400 at Healdsburg, 550 cfs at Guernville. Temps - high 50's. Water clarity - Clear.

So the Russian is open and a few half pounders are being caught but there aren't too many adults in the system as of this report, however we are excited to say we touched Russian River chrome this week. The river mouth is still open however we need more rain to keep it that way and bring in some fresh fish. The weather man says that rain is coming in the next few days so we are hoping for some more fresh fish to come in with the projected increase in water flows. Only time will tell.

To get on our wait list for a guided steelhead trip on the Russian please call (707)287-2939. We will add you to the list and guests will be called in the order that they are added to it once fishing commences.

Note: The Russian and other coastal rivers open and close from time to time throughout a season. The Dept. of Fish and Wildlife number is (707) 944 5533 and is a good resource to call before you go.

Lower Sacramento Trout - Good. Flows 4,000 cfs out of Keswick. Water Temps - Lower 50's. Clarity - Clear (7 to 8 feet visibility)

Rain...who cares!Rain...who cares!

Fishing has been pretty good depending on the day and the skill level of each group. Small flies continue to be the ticket. Blue wing olives are hatching on overcast days and there are even some fish looking up at times seeking dries. These fish tend to be smaller and require anglers bring their A game. Plenty of fish around eating nymphs as well. Midges and even some caddis are also around due to warmer daytime temps. Action has been best from noon to 3 p.m.

Nymphs: Best flies have been green and brown Mercer's Micro May and green and brown Hogan's S& M 16-18. Bird's Nests 14-16, Copper Johns 16-18 Black and Brown Rubber legs 6-10, Amber Wing Prince - 16, Birds Nests 14-16, Black or Red Zebra Midges 18-20 also producing at times.

Dries: Parachute Adams 18-20, Hackle Stacker BWO 18-20, Lawson's Comparadun BWO 18-20 Griffiths Gnat 18-22.

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...

Trinity River Steelhead - Good. Flows - 310+ cfs out of Lewiston, 400 cfs at Douglas City. Clarity - clear.

Steelhead fishing is fun...seriously!Steelhead fishing is fun...seriously!

Fishing is still good on the Trinity despite low clear water. It sure would be nice to get some more water here in Nor Cal rivers and the Trinity is no exception.

On top of that the river has been a little busy lately. Despite current conditions however decent numbers of smaller wild fish and larger hatchery fish are finding the net. Swinging is still producing a few fish but not nearly as well as nymphing with eggs and bugs. We're getting one to two grabs per day swinging and 3 to 5 times that on nymphs. Right now you have to take advantage of every grab you get though and make every set count. Payoffs can be big however.

Swinging: Tiny Dancers, Hobo Spey, Silver Hilton, October Hilton, Slump Buster, Copper Assassin and Anderson's Euphoria in Chartreuse or Brown.

Nymphs: Hare's Ears 6-8, Epoxy Golden Stone 6-8, Solitude Stone 6-8, Black or Red Copper John 12-14, Black or Brown Rubber Legs 6 to 10, Copper John 12-14, Psycho Princes 14-16, Black or Green Micro Mays 14, Eggs (Peachy King, Roe, Tangerine).

For more on Trinity steelheading click here...

Truckee River - Great. Flows 100 cfs in Town, Water Temps - Mid 40's. Water Clarity - Clear

Fishing has been great on the Truckee again this week for those willing to brave the cold. Our guides have been finding fish pooled up in some of the deeper holes. Focus on fishing the "walking speed" water. Doing so is helping guests catch good numbers of smaller fish and some hogs mixed in.

You definitely want to plan for cold and dress appropriately, however for those of us die-hards, a chance to tangle with a nice brown or two is worth the price of admission. In light of the cooler temps best fishing has been during the warmest part of the day say 11 a.m. to 3 or 4 p.m.

Best fly patterns have been eggs, worms, Baetis and Midges fished under an indicator on the bottom. Specific patterns include size 16 or 18 Ju Ju Baetis, Hogan's Military May and S&M in 16 to 18 and size 10 Rubber Legs.

Give us a ring at (707)287-2939 or at the shop (916)722-1055 to get out and make it happen.

For more on the Truckee River click here...

Yuba River Trout - Good. Flows 1,050 cfs below Englebright. Water Temps - Mid 50's. Water Clarity - Clear with slight tinge of color.

Prior to high water last week fishing was pretty good. Mid day hatches of BWO's PMD's and Pinkie mayflies had trout looking up mid day. The flows quickly escalated from that last storm reaching 4,048 cubic feet per second with Deer and Squirrel creeks adding lots of muddy water. Deer Creek is now back to shape and consequently current Yuba flows are down to 1050 cfs and good fishing is resuming. We are slated to get a bit of rain over the next week or so although the exact precipitation amount if unknown. This may adversely effect fishing until things drop back down again following the storm.

We have been pleasantly surprised to see Skwala stoneflies are staging along the side of the river preparing for emergence. We have seen a few shucks already too which is pretty amazing given the scouring that the river got in 2017. This is a promising thing.

One minor problem for drift boat fishing is that Sycamore Ranch is closed due to construction from Jan 2 to March 8. Evidently they are doing some repairs on the facilities. Keep that in mind that if you put in a drift boat at Highway 20 bridge and float down stream there is no way to get your boat out before Daguerre dam. We highly discourage taking your boat over the dam for obvious reasons, however walk and wade fishing has produced quite well anyways.

Right now wild rainbows from 8 to 14” are keying in on Blue Wing Olives (baetis) #18, and tiny Blue Wing Olives (pseudocloeons) #20-22 as well as # 18 Pink Alberts and #16 PMD's with recent warm weather. Don't overlook throwing an olive streamer like a Hale Bopp leach. Some nice fish caught on them recently. Look for Skwalas to become more important going in to February.

We have also had some good days recently down below Daguerre Dam with 15 to 30 fish in the net depending on the day. We have exclusive access to drift this section of the river. Give us a call to get out and connect with some really good winter fly fishing.(707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055

Guide Tip : When fishing during periods of high and off colored water try swinging a black or white leech on a fast sinking sink tip line. This will get you bent when nothing else will. Single color dark patterns seem to be more productive than multi colored ones.

For more on the Yuba click here...

Almanor Trout - Fair to Good. Surface temps. 39 degrees. Water clarity - 10' visibility

Fishing continues to be pretty decent on Almanor. Water temps have stabilized a bit and lake levels are stable. Both browns and rainbows are being caught for those who know where to locate them. Fishing pressure has picked up a bit though mostly bank anglers.

Some nice fish were caught this week on Calibaetis dries and leech patterns. The fishing should putz along for a while but things generally really pick up in March and April. However, for those of you wanting to avoid the crowds and fish now keep this gem in mind.

If you would like to get out and give this a try call (707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055

Guide tip: Look for moving water and weeds. Long leaders are a must. Olive and rust colored streamers have fished best.

Nymphs: Black Zebra Midges 16 - 20

Streamers: Olive Hale Bopp Leaches 12-14, Small Bunny Leeches 8 - 12.

Lake Englebright bass - Fair. Surface Temps - 50 Deg. Water Clarity - 1 - 2 ft visibility

Sierra Lakes have some toads in them for those who take the time.Sierra Lakes have some toads in them for those who take the time.

Englebright is fishing fair but should turn on very soon. With our Sierra Foothill lakes Winter fishing can be very productive. Thirty to 40 fish days are possible. It all depends on the amount of water coming in through the tributaries from surrounding mountains. Bass are susceptible to temperature changes. When there is a temp drop it takes a bit of time for their systems to adjust. The slower their metabolisms generally the lower they go and the slower one needs to fish to get them. Flies must be in their faces as they will not chase streamer like they will in the Spring, Summer and Fall. Usually 3 to 4 days are usually needed for things to stabilize and fishing to take off again.

The float and fly method is the way to go this time of year. We use 9 to 15 ft leaders and suspend small balanced shad patterns beneath small float to entice subtle strikes. Once hooked these fish will put a bend in you rod that can make a believer out of most anglers. On Englebright it is the South Yuba which tends to be the culprit when things blow out. If flows stay below 600 things are usually good to go. Again just allow 3 to 4 four days to clear up it is blown out.

If you are a numbers type of person when it comes to your fishing then there isn't a better option than the Sierra Foothill lakes for winter fishing. Many anglers don't realize how beautiful and productive it is out here this time of year. Waterfalls abound and lakes are usually free of most boat traffic. If you are a hardcore steelhead guy or gal and only want to catch fish on the swing then perhaps this fishery may not be for you. However, if you enjoy seeing beautiful new scenery and want to find productive fishing then this may be one you will want to try.

Streamers: Float and Fly shad patterns and balanced minnows.

Lake Oroville bass - Fair. Surface Temps - 50 deg. Water Clarity - 2 to 4'

Tournament season is dying down on Oroville which will only help the fishing in the coming weeks. right now about a dozen fish are being caught per half day trip. Expect fish size and numbers to increase as we go into February. Action should turn on any day now.

Over 170 boats descended on the lake this weekend for the Wild West Bass Trials and the results are in. The winners were Terry DeVincenzi and Scott Crawford with a bag of 16.79 lbs with 7 fish.

To be honest some of the best days of the year can come in January and February where anglers will see both quality and quantity on our float and fly technique and have the lake virtually to themselves. We have the cure for cabin fever so give us a call (707)287-2939.

Guide Tip: This can be one of the best times of the year to fish the Lake. Float & Fly is the way to go in the winter. Very slow presentations are needed and the takes can be ever so subtle. The tiniest of twitches can mean the fly is in a bass' mouth.

Streamers: Float and Fly shad patterns

For more on fly fishing Lake Oroville click here...

Pyramid Lake NV* Cutthroat - Fair to Good. Surface Temps - COLD

Nothing much has changed on Pyramid. Per usual for this time of year we really had to put in some effort and hours in to get grabs again this week. The numbers game wasn't the main focus, it was the larger winter ledge lurkers that we have come to expect. The bite was slow again this week but we did manage to pull some real quality fish again. The good news is the whole lake at this time is seeing noticeably larger fish being caught throughout the day. Like we said earlier, the fishing requires a little more effort this time of year but a more and more common occurrence is days where your fish range from 5-10 pounds and not much anything on the smaller size. The time starts now for shore fisherman to start seeing some large fish being caught and from now into the winter. Still, we have not found one beach to out preform another the fish seem to be spread out so find your favorite beach or two and fish it out. We also want to make sure we are fishing the ledges. Now is the time of year when O'l Red likes to come cruise in the shallower ledges using them as excellent ambush points.

From our time on the water and other reports the fly selection and techniques have not changed much in the last couple weeks. Your baitfish patterns will still be the go to, either stripping or under an indicator with and occasional midge bite on the calmer and warm days. The boobies and popcorn beetles of all colors have brought some larger fish, when paired with your favorite wooly bugger or your favorite baitfish patterns. Blacks, whites, olives and chartreuse are great starting points for color. Changing the cadence in your retrieve will be beneficial on finding how active fish are and what speed will get them going. As water begins to really cool down try fairly slow pace then pick up speed as time goes on (say 10-20 minutes) and then repeat until we find the bite. When the wind comes in it doesn't hurt to try an indicator rig with a balanced leech or baitfish. Fly colors for both techniques should also be interchanged through the day. Good starting points will be black olive and white and mixtures of all. Don't be afraid to throw some flash into your patterns. We hate to repeat but in case you missed last weeks report, holiday seasons have been bringing in a larger number of anglers so trying new or hard to get to areas (within the legal boundaries) can turn out to be very productive and it will get you away from the beaches with larger crowds. The big are fish are coming into play and we would love to see you out on the water holding one of the leviathans that cruise the lake. Dress in layers and prepare for some chilly weather.

To read more on Pyramid Lake click here...

* 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.

If you enjoyed this report please like and share it. If you have comments or to share your own personal fishing report email me at mike@offthehookflyfishing.com. (707)287-2939 C (530)242-4122 O.

Thanks and have a great weekend!

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