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Sacramento Valley Fly Fishing Report

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Hogan Brown reports on 3.23.17

Lower Sacramento Trout Fishing
– Flows coming out of Keswick are 8410cfs and steady. This is a GREAT flow and more than fishable. If anything a bit on the lower side. That said, the clarity is the issue. Lake Shasta is muddy and therefore the river is muddy coming out of the dam. I know there are people getting out and catching a few fish but nothing that I have heard resembling good or even fair fishing. I have heard ambitious thoughts that the river may become fishable by the end of March and more conservative ideas of the end of April… Either way it is a ways off. There is clearer water coming into the lake via the branches but it is going to take a while for the sediment to settle and/or the clean water to push out the dirty. Either way I think the fishing will slowly improve as the clarity slowly improves. I also think some of the middle floats will be the first to fish as clean water coming in from tributaries will “dilute” the flow and have a positive affect on the clarity.

Lower Sacramento River Striper/Shad/Bass/Carp Fishing…

River Conditions: River is muddy period though flows at Ord Ferry are 18,329 cfs and steady. As the tributaries clean up so should the clarity. That said there is cleaner water in various sloughs and back waters, just have to search it out. The river itself, surprisingly, hasn’t changed very much. It just got cleaned out BIG TIME, snags and weed beds that had clogged up sloughs and coves for years are GONE. There will be access to flats, coves, and back waters like we haven’t seen in YEARS!

Stripers – Clarity is just bit off for confidence fishing for stripers, though I am sure there will be a steady clearing over the next month or so. I have confidence fishing for stripers on the river is pretty dirty water so in the next few weeks I am sure we should start being able to catch some resident and migratory stripers. There are a few reports of migratory fish down by Colusa and Boyds Pump, but most guys that would be bait fishing for stripers are fishing for sturgeon so reports are hard to come by.

Shad – I wouldn’t count on a good shad year. I don’t have a lot of confidence catching shad in off color water and high water years are traditionally not great shad years. That said, May is the month and there is plenty of time between now and then for things to shape up.

Bass/Carp – The back water bass fishing should start sooner than anything as I found clean water in the back sloughs and flats. Flats that have been weeded up for years are now open and I noticed this last week while out one my FAVORITE flats is open and clear for the first time in nearly ten years! There should be some great flats fishing this summer for carp and stripers like we haven’t seen in years. May have to kill the spider colony that has taken up residence on my poling platform in the back of my storage shed.

Lower Yuba River – Flows are down to around 4000cfs, clarity is decent, and the boat ramp at Sycamore is open! So, that means the river is “fishable”. I personally am not a fan of floating the river until it gets around 3000-3500cfs but with the changes who knows how 4k fishes. I plan on getting out on the Yuba here in the next week to check it out and see what things are looking like. With these flows to get a full day it would be a double float as the “Club Water” at Daguerre as many know has closed. That said I did secure a private put in up river from the bridge a bit so I gained a bit of water there. The Yuba should be an option here as long as flows stay stable and clarity remains good. I am sure with the run off flows will fluctuate but right now and option is an option.

Stillwater Bass – I have been spending most of my personal fishing time exploring various lakes for spotted and largemouth bass. Fishing has been good at times and tough at others. Learning and exploring lakes I have not been on in years has proved a bit of a re-learning curve as I am competing for fish with seasoned conventional bass anglers. That said, it is fun and has proved pretty rewarding as there is some really unique and cool fisheries around that don’t fished with flies very much or at all.


March 25
April 1
June 3, 13, 14, 27, 28, 30,
July 6, 8, 11, 13-15, 17-19, 22, 24, 27-29,
Aug 2, 19, 26
Sept 2, 4, 16, 23

Capt. Hogan Brown

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