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Fishing Report

Northern California Fly Fishing Report

Dave Neal Reports on 3.11.2020

There are a lot of solid fly fishing options in Northern CA right now and through the months of March and April. My short list includes: the Lower Sacramento River, Trinity River, Upper Sac, Pit 3, Shasta Lake for bass.

Steelhead season is winding down. There are fish in the upper Trinity River and believe it when I say that February & March have been some of the best fishing we have seen all season long. The reason? The wild fish arrived and with the tribs too low they’ve been hanging out in the river with no place to go. That all may change this weekend when/if we see a return of rain. If the tribs bump… those fish will too! I wish them the best…it’s been a tough few months to be a steelhead in northern CA and they have places they should be.

Lower Sac is a solid option right now. Fishing has been what you’d expect in March with great weather… it’s ON. Water conditions are good, flows are good and many of the springtime bugs are active. PMD’s, BWO’s, spring caddis, along with stoneflies, large drake nymphs, midges and egg patterns rounding out the menu.

The Lower Sac should remain a top choice for anglers over the next few months…

For those walk n wade fly fishers who just wanna… the Upper Sac and Pit 3 can offer up some amazing potential right now. Flows are prime time perfect… just keep an eye on the precip headed this way this weekend. Heavy rain might affect the Upper Sac more than the tailwater of the Pit River below Lake Britton. Similar bugs to the Lower Sac with maybe more of a focus on general attractor patterns like Pheasant Tails, Price Nymphs (hard to beat the Gordon’s Prince), black midges, rubber legs, etc… along with any of your favorite tung. Czech nymphs you’ve been tying up all winter. 

Finally, Shasta bass fishing is really heating up. Yesterday, on the eastside of the lake I saw some of the warmest surface temps yet 55-58 degrees. I got into a mess of spots and some nice hard pulling smallies, too. A lot of fish still clinging deep in 30-40’ of water but plenty are willing on the float n fly as temps warm up in the shallow areas later afternoon. When I’m not trout fishing on the Lower Sac or running late season trips to the Trinity… I am out on Shasta Lake in the bass boat every chance I get right now. 

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Central Valley Fly Fishing Report

Central Valley Fly Fishing Report
Captain Hogan Brown Reports on 3.10.2020
Lake Oroville - Fishing has been good with stable weather. When the barometer changes like last weekend and the forecast this weekend fishing can turn off for a day or two. Fish are gorging on Wakasagi Minnows in the 1-2" size and fishing a float'n fly rig during the morning and switching a stripped fly set up ounce the water temps get up over 53 midday day. Best success is over graphed fish in 10-20' of water suspended under dead bait on the surface. 
Valley River Striper fishing - Has been fair. Rivers are LOW and CLEAR making our resident stripers pretty skittish but there are feeding fish and water temps are warming but still in the "winter" range as day time temps are in the 70s but night time temps are still in the high 30s-low 40s. No reports of migratory fish showing up in the lower sections of our rivers but March/April is usually prime time. With low water though the spawn will take place MUCH lower then previous years. June -October is prime time for our resident valley stripers. 
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Central Valley Fly Fishing Report

Captain Hogan Brown Reports on 2.27.20

Lower Sacramento River - Striper fishing has been tough as the flows are as low as they get - 5000cfs coming out of Keswick and 5891cfs at Chico - With low and clear water stripers get pretty darn spooky but those with the game can still get bit. Like most places we need some rain and water to mix things up and make fishing a bit easier. We should start to see the migratory push of fish show up soon over the next month which will also mix things up. 

Lake Oroville and Lake Shasta - are turning on with this early spring! Good numbers of pre spawn spotted bass are being caught on both lakes and with consistent weather fishing should be good on most days. Rain would help these fisheries as well to - getting some of the creeks and inflows moving would help congregate fish and move the bait around. 

Lower Yuba River is fishing well with stable flows around 1000 - 900cfs. Flows are gin clear and while nymphing has been good dry fly fishing requires purposeful good presentations. Spring hatches are getting going with the warm weather and should continue to  be good throughout the spring. We most likely will see little flow fluctuation due to run off and actually have a good fishable spring on the Lower Yuba. 

Feather River Spring Steelhead Season is right around the corner as prime time is March through early May and with the light winter and early spring we are having we should actually have a good spring season out on the Feather. My prefered method for fishing the spring on the feather is swinging flies but nymphing catches plenty of fish as well. 

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Trinity and Lower Sacramento River Fly Fishing Report

Trinity and Lower Sacramento River Fly Fishing Report

Dave Neal Reports on 2.20.20

I’m not really quite sure what to make of the weather lately… I’m conflicted. On one hand it has been wonderful soaking up spring like sunny weather every day. It’s been beautiful for weeks!!!

But deep down inside I know that we should be dealing with ice in the snake guides, frozen anchor ropes and numb fingers at this time of year. It’s winter steelhead season for F&%$# sake! We should be swinging flies with dredging tips and dumbbell eyes. All the while questioning our sanity for being out there - in horrid conditions - understanding that all the rain and snow we are enduring is exactly what our wild trout and wild steelhead need at this time of year and for the long hot summer ahead.  

So, as nice as it’s been fishing and working in these wonderful sunny conditions lately… winter should be wintering right now. It shouldn’t feel like spring, yet. 

Trinity River:

Fishing the Trinity River for steelhead has been very good these past few weeks. We have had some of our best days of the season in early to mid February. The wild fish have slowly trickled in and I suspect we’ll see more arrive when we get some rain and another good flow bump. It seems that a lot of anglers gave up on the Trinity this winter (as the Coast turned on). So, it has been real quiet lately. Many days we were the only boat on an entire stretch of river along with maybe one bank angler. The fish are around and they have all been wild. Swinging flies can be a good time right now…

The water conditions are back to very low and clear. It’s been on a slow drop for a while. I imagine things will be much tougher from here on out until we get rain. The fish in the river system will hunker down in the holes and deeper water, waiting for rain and flows to rise in the tribs.  

Keep an eye on the forecast and I would say Game On when we finally get some rain.

Lower Sacramento River

The Lower Sacramento trout fishery is decent right now. The window is short… more like a half day 4-5 hours when the fish are most active. 11-4pm is solid and you can look for the small caddis, midges, along with midday PMD action.

Who knows what’s in the forecast? Will we have a Miracle March? Odds are good that rain at some point this spring will return. Don’t put away the Gore-Tex yet. For now, I suggest getting out and fishing! 

March-May is a great time on the Lower Sac (probably my favorite time of year on this river). We will soon see developing PMD emergence & the Pink Alberts, March Brown mayflies, and random drakes along with little yellow stones, GS stones, and ubiquitous caddis. If you haven’t experienced a trip on this river, ever, or it has been a while, you should do so this season.



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California Steelhead Report

California Steelhead Report

Aaron Grabiel Reports on 2.17.20

Trinity

The trinity is low and clear but the warm weather has got the fish eating,  lots of 17-22” half-pounders around as well as some very respectable adults in the 23-28” range.  Black rubber legs and size 12-14 pts are working well.  Bring a dry fly rod with some 14-12 Parachute Adams for the afternoon hatch. 

Lower Sacramento

Fishing is steady with fish eating drys and swung soft hackles.   This is a great time of year to explore the “lower Sac” as with the low water wading is effective in many areas.  Get out and fish this place it’s a trout factory.  Size 12-16 tan poopahs, peaches and cream, size 16-18 black micro mays, various May flies.   On top the Mercer’s missing link in black size 16 has been great. 

Coast

Been very good but the rivers are getting a little low.  If you know a low flow spot this is the time.  Swinging 2-3” black and blue or black and purple stuff in the 3-5’ deep runs has been good.  As for nymphing eggs and polar shrimp have been the top producers. 
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Central Valley Fly Fishing Report

Captain Hogan Brown Reports on 2.12.2020
Valley Striper fishing has slowed down - clear, cold, and low water has the fish a bit spooky and feeding in very short bursts. Fishing should improve with some warmer weather but rain and flows are needed to really get fish moving and feeding. Migratory fish should start showing up in the Lower section of our rivers by the first week of March. These fish will usually start to show themselves around Verona, Yuba City, and up to Colusa in March. On high water years they will move up farther but I don't think this year will be a high water year. 
Valley and Foothill Lakes and reservoirs spotted bass fishing...fishing is getting good with some warmer weather and higher sun angles. Fish are starting to really eat in preparation for the spawn. I am not sure it is true pre spawn yet but the dead of winter vibe has gone and fish seem to be more active. Main food source for most lake and reservoirs spotted, large, and smallmouth bass this time of year is minnows...wakasagi minnows, shad (small), and on occasion goby minnow. Fish on certain lakes will start eating smaller crawfish as well. Fishing the float n fly is catching the most fish but moving the fly/float a bit is starting to pay off which means dragging or stripping flies is not far off. 
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Central Valley Fly Fishing Report

Central Valley Fly Fishing Report
Captain Hogan Brown Reports on 1.22.20 

Valley Bass Lakes - Lake Oroville has been fishing fair to good. Depends on the day and how the fish are feeding on a given day. Most spots are giving up a few or two but some days when the fish really decide to chow we have been putting up some numbers. That said the fishes behavior is very weather dependent and some warmer weather in the form of storms is a good thing as it should get some water moving and warm up the water temps a bit. Most fish are eating pond smelt (Japanese pond smelt). Fishing a float'n fly rig is best during this time of year or slow crawling small minnow patterns on a sink tip can get some grabs as well.  
Valley Rivers Striper Fishing - Winter striper fishing is in full affect with low, clear, and cold water...Fish are active during very small windows with water temps in the high 40's. Being on the water when they decide to eat is key so fishing hard all day is a must. That said when they do eat anglers are rewarded with some true trophy fish as fish in the 30-40lb class have been caught over the last two weeks by fly anglers. Putting in your time in the winter is key but those that do are rewarded usually. 
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California Steelhead Report

California Steelhead Report
Anthony Carruesco Reports on 1.7.2019
We're smack dab in the middle of our Winter Fishing season. It's been cold in Northern CA and fairly wet - all great things for the coming Spring season. The breakdown:
 
The Lower Sac has been "fair" at best the past month or so. Don't expect huge numbers up in town this time of year. You can expect solitude, though and the chance to throw the dry fly during unpredictable afternoon Baetis hatches. The Lower reaches have been fishing best for quantity of fish but you will expect those big shouldered winter trout to be closer to town. There are still a few Steelhead around in the Lower River (Anderson down) as well. Some of the year's best fishing can start to happen in Late February when we get some of those warmer days. Spring time "Brachycentrus" Caddis hatches can create some insanely good trout fishing.
 
Most of our Attention right now is on Winter Steelhead fishing. From the Klamath and Trinity, to the coastal rivers of the Lost Coast, we've had some highs and lows chasing these fish the past few months. Overall the Klamath has been a STELLAR option since late October. There are a lot of fish around in the upper reaches and not many folks around fishing. The perfect combination. The Trinity has been a different story, unfortunately. Not a lot of fish in the system this year due to aggressive harvest practices from the tribes on the lower end of the river. Not many fish were able to bypass the nets and weirs set out in the Fall so that has put a damper on the fishing on the Trinity for us quite a bit. There have been some very nice winter run fish caught here recently though so things are looking up on the Trinity. The Winter Steelhead rivers of the North Coast have been fishing since Mid-December. There have been some very good days mixed in over the past few weeks but plenty of days where you're working hard for 1 or 2 opportunities a day. As we continue to get rain and the rivers swell, we will expect more fish to move in. This is some of the most rewarding and challenging fishing we have in California. We will be chasing these fish into Mid-March.
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Central Valley Fly Fishing Report

Central Valley Fly Fishing Report

Captain Hogan Brown Reports on 1.9.2020

Lake Oroville Spotted Bass Fishing has been hit and miss .... which really means the bite has been compressed in small windows. My experience is the fish eat during small windows and when they are eating they jump on the fly but when they are not they are hard to get to eat. So fishing can be good for an 30-40 minutes and then shut off for a few hours then turn back on, just depends on the given day. This rain that is moving in should mix things up and get many of the creeks flowing attracting bait and bass to the running water. The Float'n Fly method has been catching the most fish with water in the 50-53 degree range but slow crawling bait fish patterns ounce you locate feeding fish has produced. Fishing on the Lake will continue to improve through late winter and spring. 
Lake Shasta Bass Fishing - Took a trip up north to Lake Shasta to fish with my dear friend and guide John Fochetti out of his new boat this last week as well. First off Lake Shasta is an incredibly diverse bass fishery. ALL sorts of different structure and species of fish...we caught spots and small mouth but there are largemouth and mean mouth (smallie/spot hybrid) in the lake as well and some BIG fish as recent tournament bags have had double digit bass in them. John has the lake pretty figured out with the fly rod and once we dialed in what the fish were eating we were catching fish most places. Most fish came on small cray fish patterns dragged/jigged down slopping banks. Like Oroville this Shasta will continue to fish better and better over the next 4-6 months. 
Valley Striper Fishing has been hit or miss...fishing can be really good for trophy fish when they are eating but the rivers have been crowded with gear fishermen and the fish don't eat every day. It is truly a game of putting in your time and being in the right place at the right time. 
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