Northern California Fly Fishing Report - March 2018

Best Bets: Lower Sac or Putah Creek - Trout, Trinity and Klamath- Steelhead, Lake Almanor - Trout. Pyramid - Cutthroat.

American River Steelhead - Fair. Flows - 2,000 cfs at Natomas. Water Temps - Mid 50's Clarity - 3 feet visibility.

Fishing continues to be fair on the American. Well, we were hoping for rain...and rain is what we got! Recent precipitation has some late winter and early Spring run fish in the river at the same time. Flows are fairly stable at 2,000 cfs at Natomas although there have been periodic spikes but then flows have been stabilizing back to 2,000. We are hoping for some more rain to bring in some more Spring fish.

In all honesty right now we are staying away from the American as fish are almost exclusively on reds in shallow water where targeting them is not a good idea.

If you simply have no other option please stay off the reds and don't fish them. Nymphing under an indicator will work best 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 section from Sailor to Rossmoor has been most productive and the middle and lower sections of the river have some tasty sections and spots where deftly placed drifts will pull fish from along clay banks or submerged cover however expect to donate a few more flies when fishing these areas.

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 Good

Some coastal rivers have fished better than others. Recent rains have muddied things a bit but have undoubtedly prolonged the steelhead season on some waters. Overall the season is on the down slope especially given the minimal rain we have had. We're still finding some success right now following the rain from the last few days on the rivers that didn't totally blow out.

Coastal Steelhead fishing is definitely the big leagues where the margin for error is not very big. Even experienced anglers only get a few grabs per day and sometimes none. If you are all about numbers then this is probably not for you. If you have loads of patience and are a "love the journey as much as the destination" kind of person and would trade lots of small fish for the chance to go toe to toe with one of the most powerful fish in North America then perhaps this may be for you. Tall coniferous forests with whimsical rivers and wispy morning fog to go with electric grabs, blistering reels and fish that often take their fight to the air. Coastal steelheading is a thing of obsession for those who get it.

If that is you or you think it might be, call (707)287-2939 to have a shot at chasing phantoms.

Delta Striper - Fair to Good. Water temp 53 degrees. Clarity - Good (a bit of color but good overall)

Fishing on the Delta had been slowly improving but is still slightly up and down On a recent trip one of our guides found 25 willing striper to 7 lbs. That said we have also had some slower days too. The recent cold front last couple weeks may have something to do with that. Expect things to kick off at any time. March to May is prime Spring time fishing so we are looking forward to a good Delta season. Now is a great time to book your Delta striper trips.

We're currently having success chucking 3 to 5" rattle equipped offerings in various combinations which often include chartreuse and white. Most of the bites have been the "spongy type" where fish are taking it on the drop not so much on the strip. Were using smaller flies in the clear water and larger rattled one in the stained water. While the striper bite has been a little inconsistent the largemouth have been podded up in spots and eager to take the fly. Spring striper migration is right around the corner!

Give us a ring at (707)287-2939 or at the shop (916)722-1055 to reserve your Spring striper fishing.

Streamers: Byng's Baitfish, Angel's Chartreuse and White, Angels Delta Danger and Angel's Smolt.

Guide Tip: "Vary your retrieve allowing the fly to really drop every couple strips. In cooler water striper tend to take flies on the drop as opposed to a constant retrieve."

For more on the Delta click here...

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

Fishing on the Feather has been fair for some and good for others again this week. This is Winter Steelhead fishing folks. It is all about a few fish per day but looking for some quality fish. Some nice late Winter/early Spring fish have shown up this week. Even though it is not red hot, we are still getting 1 to 3 hookups per day on the swing and more nymphing but this is typical for the time of year. Some better results on the low flow.

Nymphs: Prince Nymphs 14 -16, Birds Nests and Copper Johns 10 -14. Black, Green, and Tan BH Caddis Poopahs 14-16, Red Headed Step Child, 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 )

Swinging Flies: Silver Hiltons, Anderson's Classic, Fly Fishing Specialties Alevin, Anderson Euphoria, Heisenberg, Green Butt Skunk, Falken's Tiny Dancer, Harwick's Purple Hilton, Hobo Spey, Intruders, Perpetrators, Beach Bums, and Blood Sucking Leaches.

For more on Feather steelhead click here...

Klamath River - Good. Flows fluctuating from 950 cfs to 1,000 at Irongate and 2,000 at Seiad. Water clarity - Good (Klamath tea- 4 ft vis)

The Klamath slowed slightly this week but continues to produce lots of fish. Swinging is the name of the game on the Klamath and what fun it is!

Lots of chrome bright half pounders have been around and a few larger fish mixed in. Swinging has produced so well that we haven't bothered to nymph at all. We still have dates available and now is the time to go! Call today (707)287-2939.

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 - 49 - 51 degrees. Water Clarity - stained.

Fishing has begun to pick up a bit in conjunction with warmer weather however things have been inconsistent so far due to fluctuating cold weather. Adult fish will begin to spawn in the upper river. If the current weather patterns hold things will be good here soon. March, April and May are all great months on the Napa and the rest of the San Francisco Bay Delta. Best bets right now are heavy sinking lines T - 11 to T - 14 with 1 to 2/0 dark patterns with rattles retrieved low and slow in the upper river.

Streamers: Black/gray/white Flash Tail Whistler - 1/0 to 2/0, 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.

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

Putah Creek - Good. Flows - 80 cfs. Clarity - Clear

Putah is fishing has started off well so far this season. Flows fluctuated to 120 this week but dropped back down to 80 pretty quickly. We are very excited to be back at it and have some nice healthy fatty's in the net already for our guests. Putah is a very technical nymph fishery where big wild trout eat small bugs but Jordan, Rob and the crew have the techniques and flies to help you crack the code on this amazing tailwater fishery. If you live in San Francisco, the Bay Area or Sacramento and if you like catching big wild fish then this is one you need to learn. Fishing is prime and will continue to fish well prior to the Summer flow hike sometime in May

Fishing the small stuff has paid off. BWO's and midges are the go to's. We noticed last season that the Caddis are making a real come back on the creek so a green or tan pupae will also be in order in March and April and May(fingers crossed). Tight line or indicator nymphing are the two main ways to fish here. Takes can be very subtle and if you aren't hanging up occasionally then you aren't fishing deep enough.

The season usually starts off pretty well and there is great fishing to be had from March 1st to May when the flows bump to summer high flows. Give us a ring at (7070287-2939 for more information or to book your dates.
For more info on Putah Creek click here...

Russian River Steelhead - Poor Flows - 500 at Healdsburg, 750 cfs at Guernville. Temps - high 50's. Water clarity - clearing

Water spiked back on March 3rd at 1,500 at Healdsburg and 2,050 at Guernville. Flows are dropping into shape but the color is still off. We were hoping to be fishing this weekend but perhaps Sunday.

To get on our call list for the Russian please call (707)287-2939.

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 3,200 cfs out of Keswick. Water Temps - Lower 50's. Clarity - Clear (7 to 8 feet visibility)

Things are still good again this week on the Sac. Water is low and very wade-able. Caddis and PMD's continue to hatch sporadically one day vs. the next. Some days hatching in great numbers some days a little more sparingly. Regardless this is a great time to be on the river. Best action has been from noon to 3 p.m. We have been having some fun days recently with the "nocater" setup (dry or dry/dropper) as well.

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

Dries: Light Cahill 14 - 16, Parachute Light Cahill 14 to 16, Elk Hair Caddis, 14 to 16, Hackle Stacker PMD 14 - 16, Lawson's PMD 14 to 16

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

For more on the Lower Sac click here...

Trinity River Steelhead - Fair to Good. Flows - 300 cfs out of Lewiston, 350 cfs at Douglas City, 430 and Junction City, and 850 cfs at Del Loma. Clarity - clear

Fishing is fair to good right now on the Trinity due to low clear water from top to bottom. We are working for our fish but have had some fun days. We had 2 adult fish on dries and one on swinging today on one of our boats. On any given day we are tangling with 3 to 6 adults nymphing 1 to 3 swinging. By the end of March the run will be history so it is now or never. There are still some fish trying to find a tributary with enough water to spawn. We are hoping for more rain to help them out.

Call (707)287-2939 or the shop at (916)722-1055 to reserve one of our top pro guides.

Swinging: Tiny Dancers, Hobo Spey, Pimps, Rocks, Breadcrumbs, Silver Hiltons, October Hiltons, Slump Busters, Copper Assassins 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 - Fair. Flows 80 cfs in Town and fluctuating, Water Temps - Mid 40's. Water Clarity - Clear

Fishing has been decent again this week on the Truckee this week for those willing to brave the cold. Flows are low and cold however our guides have been finding fish pooled up in some of the deeper holes and pocked water even with current colder temps. It is mostly a nymphing thing right now but there is some streamer action to be had too. As far as streamers go white and olive have been best and although it hasn't been a big numbers thing, the quality of fish that that are being produced are good.

You definitely want to plan for cold and dress appropriately. In light of the cooler temps best fishing has been during the warmest part of the day say 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Best fly patterns have been Baetis and Midges fished under an indicator on the bottom and on warmer days some small dark Skwalas have begun to stir. Soon March Browns will begin to stir and this along with some warmer temps will really kick things off.

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, Skwala Stone - 16, Speroni's Skwala - 16

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 - Fair to Good. Flows 875 cfs below Englebright, 950 at Parks Bar Bridge. Water Temps - Mid 50's. Water Clarity - Clearing but with slight tinge of color.

Winter has returned to Northern California, and with it colder temperatures and rain. There is more rain slated for next week. The Lower Yuba River is still fishing well. Dry flies and fishing during the warmest time of day is are a recipe for fun and success. Flows continue at an average of 850 out of Englebright and 950 cubes at the Parks Bar gauging station, and the Yuba County Water Agency currently has no plans to increase the flows. The colder air temps and cloudy conditions are not the best for the Skwala stonefly, their activity has slowed down but they are still there, hiding under the cobblestones waiting for our friend the sun to come out. There has been a bit of resurgence with BWOs, PMDs, and a few more March browns in the mix. Bigger fish have been caught in recent weeks including a Feather River steelhead taht got lost, came up the Yuba and ate a Skwala dry.

We have also had some good days recently down below Daguerre Dam 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 late Winter and early Spring fly fishing.(707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055.

Nymphs: Rubber Legs in brown and yellow, Skwala Stone, Speroni's Skwala nymphs, 8 - 10 , Black and Brown 8 - 14, Brown, Speroni's Baetis 16 - 20, Hogan's S&M and Micro May Olive, Brown, Black 16 - 20, Squirmy Worms in red and natural -12, Hogan’s S&M nymph (olive, brown) -18, and Copper Johns (red, olive, copper) 14-18.

Dries: Bullet Head Skwala, 8 -10 Foam Dead Stone, Speronis Skwala Dry, and Skwala Stone Seducer - 8-10. Extended body BWO 18-22, Adam's Parachute 16 to 20, Christian's GT Adult 18-20, Missing Link 14 - 18, Quiggly's Hackle Stacker 14 - 16, CDC Thorax 14 - 18,BWO Parachutes -18, PMD Hackle Stacker -16, March Brown Sparkle Dun -14, Double Dutch Bug and the Unit Skwala -10.

For more on the Yuba click here...

Almanor Trout - Very good! Surface temps. 38 to 40 deg. Water clarity - 4 to 8 ft visibility

Lots of Rainbows and are still being caught on leach patterns. Most of the Rainbows are caught in the first 6 feet of water depth. Be careful not to run them over. Some gulpper' action on glassy days. Catch rates have been fairly consistent with 3 to 4 days out of a week that are great! There are still a few of 16-18" Bows at Canyon Damn but we have been focused on the big Rainbows around the Lake. The bigger fish are feeding but they are just a little difficult to find. Be prepared to fish 2 days so you can find them.

Midge and Callibaetis are starting to hatch. When you get on this it will be the the time of you're life.

Guide Tip : Look for Moving water and weeds. Long Leaders are a Must. Start with small Orange Stimulator then move to Olive or Black Midge patterns. Olive has been best color. Take a Hail Bop and trim it up. Olive Assassin would be good also. Intermediate line and floating line are the only line needed. Be ready to throw a Cloudser on at any time.

Dries : Orange Stimulators - 14, Purple Haze, and Grey parachute - 16

Nymphs : Mercers Callibaetis, Olive Buzzer - 16

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. Start with a small olive simulator and then switch to an olive leach. Take a Hale Bopp and trim it down. An olive Assassin would also be a good choice. A clear intermediate and a floating line are all that are needed right now. Be ready to throw a clouser any day now.
Dries: Orange Stimulator

Streamers: Olive Hale Bopp Leaches 12-14, Olive Assassin 12-14.

Camp Far West bass - Fair. Water temp 50 - 54, Water Clarity 9 to 12 ft

Fishing pressure has been high due to the yearly tournaments. The water clarity is the best we've seen for this time of year in quite a while. Bass are shallow at first light and by 8 a.m. they are down to 20+ feet. We have been using #8 Clouser Minnows and the Rio Deep 3 line. Conventional tackle has been extremely difficult to catch on and flies are killing it. Float tubing works well this time of year in front of the camp grounds. Hopefully these storms get water flowing this will help a lot.

Guide Tip: Use you're fish finder to locate the Bass from 20 to 35 feet. Fish slow and use 9 ft fluorocarbon leaders. 9' 2x tapered leader and 3x Tippet.

Lake Oroville bass - Poor Surface Temps - 49 deg. Water Clarity - 6 to 8' vis.

Fishing continues to be unseasonably slow on Oroville. Action is very slow right now. Fish are too deep to reach with a float & fly. It's been this way this way too much this winter for some reason. Reaching them with streamers could be done, but winter takes are always so subtle, they're nearly impossible to detect with a fly line. This is why the indicators work so well when the fish are sitting at the right depths. Things should drastically pick up towards the end of the month. Last year March was one of the best months for quality of fish and April was the best month for quantity. Very different this year so far. Could turn on any week at this point though. Trying the float & fly on other lakes might be a good idea. Perhaps Berryessa, Folsom, Comanche, or any other foothill lake wouldn't be a bad idea.

Streamers: Float and Fly shad patterns

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

Pyramid Lake NV* Cutthroat - Fair. Surface Temps - 45 at noon
Rain and snow have been a welcome change in March as opposed to February which was scary dry. What's more we are really starting to see some large fish being caught with greater regularity and in all periods of the day especially on cloudy or choppy days.
Expect a steady climb as fishing will improve going forward into Spring and we are already seeing decent fishing from North to South. On the sunny calm days stripping the deeper drop off beaches will be your best chance at success during mid day when it is hard fishing. Morning and Evening bites have been fairly consistent every where. The flies you will want to have in your arsenal include: popcorn beetles and boobies in white, black, chartreuse, red/pink and combos of those colors. The trailing fly has been less specific as all bait fish streamers, clousers, wooly buggers and wooly worms etc. all have been doing very well. Again in the same colors as the beetles and boobies but use opposite colors when using the pair for higher contrast between flies. Floating line with or with out an indicator has been hit or miss because of fish being a little deeper this time of year. They do much better in the morning and in the evenings on some of the close drops. Midges and nymphs have been working just as well as balanced leeches for us, especially as the water starts to warm and we aren't getting much for wind or weather. Successful colors for anything hanging is black, olive, grey and red/wine. Don't be afraid to vary depths or retrieve speed as well. There are big fish lurking and fishing hard through next month will be one of your best times to catch your personal best cutthroat.

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.

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