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Northern California Fly Fishing Report

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Brian Clemens at Nor Cal Fly Guides Reports on 8.23.2017


American River:
Flows - 3600cfs
Clarity - Clear
Fishing - Fair to Good
The shad are finally gone, YYEEEEESSSSSS!!!!! This means that its time for striper fishing again, and it has been getting better over the past few weeks. We are seeing the typically shakers, but a few bigger fish from 3-7lbs have been hooked as well, this will continue though Sept and is a great half day trip. We are also getting into a good number of half pounders and if you are in the right place at the right time you will hook a few adults pushing 6lbs. Personally I love this time of year for a few reasons, during the week there are few rafters on the water and you can target both stripers, steelhead and even salmon (if they are in) in the same day with some good success. Great time of year to swing your light weight 2 handed rods and in the evening throwing dries can be epic. All in all, a great time of year to be on the American, crowds are gone and fishing is pretty good. As fall approaches its only going to get better.

Stripers: traditional clousers, pole dancers
Nymphs: caddis, mayflies, prince nymphs, copper johns, eggs
Swinging: soft hackles, silver hiltons, ho bo speys, olive streamers, Thalken’s tiny dancer, Anderson’s euphoria

Feather River:
Flows - 1200cfs low flow, 6500cfs high flow
Clarity - 8ft viz slight color
Fishing - Fair - good
Boy has this river been a saving grace for me this year. With most of the Nor Cal rivers blown out from January to May, it was tough to get out on the water to work, but when June came around that was a different story. The flows and clarity on the Feather became good enough to get out and fish it and boy were we surprised. Lots and lots of fish to be had and not a single angler in site. For almost a month we had this river to ourself, and it was fishing consistently everyday. Lots of half pounders from 14-18" and a handful of fish from 18-22" everyday and the occasional 22-26" fish was hooked as well. The fishing continued will into July as the flows decreased, and now that the flows are at a steady 1500cfs in the low flow, we are still hitting a good number of halfies with an adult mixed in every so often. We are starting to see the salmon in the low flow, finally, and in a few weeks they should be stacked. If you havent been on the feather yet this season, I would recommend checking it out, it has completely changed, a lot like the Yuba, a completely new river. With the showing of the salmon that means only one thing, the “EGG BITE” is soon to follow. Oct Nov is prime time for the egg bite on the Feather and if you are looking to book, booking in advance is highly recommended.

Nymphs: princes, caddis, mayflies, worms, eggs, pts,
Swinging: tan soft hackles, anderson’s euphories, ho bo speys, thalken’s tiny dancer, olive streamers


Yuba River:
Flows - 2600cfs
Clarity - Gin Clear
Fishing - Fair to good
The Newba has been fishing fair to good with plenty of fish to go around. We are seeing a good number of fish coming up and eating dries and hoppers, and the indicator rig has been super consistent for numbers, but not needed. The usual dries and nymphs have been working as well as the Pink Fat Albert, which is like candy for these trout and hopper droppers/dry droppers are producing as well. The salmon are very slow to show here, and we are hopping that we start seeing some in the next few weeks. If you are looking to get out and not travel, give the Newba a try, but wade carefully, at 2600cfs its extremely pushy, and wading across is not going to happen. If you know the access points and where the fish hold (they havent moved around to much), you will come out with some nice fish to hand. Oh if you like to swing, definitely give that a go, they have been hammering swung flies.

Dries: almost anything, fat alberts tan and pink
Nymphs: rubberlegs, stoneflies, caddis, mayflies, worms, eggs
Swinging: tan soft hackles, olive streamers

Lower Sac:
Flows - 10,500cfs
Clarity - good, 10ft, slightly off color
Fishing - Good
As always the Lower Sac continues to fish as it always does, and has been extremely consistent. The upper stretch opened back up on August 1st and we are seeing some nice fish in that stretch, but we are also seeing a good number of boat hatches. I was told that on the opener every parking lot from Posse to Anderson was full and over following and at one point a good friend counted 38 boats in the Posse Grounds fishing area, CRAZY!!!! Of course the Lower Sac will continue to fish well as fall approaches, and it doesn’t stop there. “Egg Bite” is just around the corner and if you arent thinking about it by now, you should be, its going to come and go before you can blink an eye.

Nymphs: rubberlegs, caddis, mays, red headed stepchild, amber princes,

Trinity River:
Flows - 2750 cfs, 450cfs come 8/24
Clarity -  Clear
Fishing - Good
With the recent spike in flows it will be about a week till she is ready for fishing. But prior to the spike, the fishing was good for steelhead and even jack salmon. Prior to the spike we did see some fresh fish, and pods lower in the river, and with this spike its going to bring up even more. Its definitely time to get up there. I cant stop talking about this river, its becoming one that I guide more and more each year, and it keeps producing while others are not, sometimes not so easily, but thats what makes the Trinity so cool and fun to fish, you have to “Earn It”. With that said its even fishing as I type. This is one of my favorite times of year on the Trinity, the lower flows make wading a breeze (8/24 flows hit 450), and there are not a ton of people on the river. Your typical half pounders can be found throughout the river system and the closer to the dam the more you will find. The halfies will put any 5wt rod to its test and while you can get a ton nymphing, these mini-chrome domes will eagerly take a dry or a swung fly, they are just a hoot. On the bigger note, strewn about in the river system are the early fall run fish that can range from 3-6lbs and some pushing 10lbs are caught this time of year as well. While nymphing once again will get you on a good number of fish, these early fish will talk swung flies likes its going out of style, they love skated flies too. If you are looking to swing from now till about mid Nov this is the river, and that is prime time to swing for chrome. If you are looking for something different, treat yourself to a guided trip down the Trinity River, you wont be disappointed with its beauty, solitude and over all fishing experience. Booking well in advance is highly recommended on the Trinity as my dates fill up fast, especially in the early season prior to December.

Dries: stones, caddis, hoppers, stimulators
Nymphs: rubberlegs, stones, mays, caddis, pshyco princes, rubberleg copper johns
Swinging: soft hackles, ho bo speys, Anderson’s euphoria, Thalken’s tiny dancer

My Available Dates:
Sept - 8,29
Oct - 2,3,5,9,22,23,24,25,27,28,29
Please contact me for more available dates in 2017/2018

My Available Trinity Dates:
August - 30,31
Sept - 1,2,3,4,5,6,11
Oct - 15,16,17,18,19,20
Please contact me for more available dates in 2017/2018

There you have it folks, despite what you may hear, I continue to say “Be The Report, Don’t Believe The Report”. Fishing is good right now, and fish to be had no matter what technique, style or species you would like to target. With few people on the water, having the river to yourself is a very good possibility, that will change once October comes. I’m really looking forward to the fall as the flows we have now should continue well into fall and late winter. The fall is looking better than ever and it will be here sooner than you think.

If you are thinking of a fall or winter trip, give me a call and lets go have some good times and tight lines.

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