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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. 

I have a few open days so take a look at my calendar online at or hit my contact info at the Continue reading

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


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. 


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 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 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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Northern California Fly Fishing Report

Brian Clemens Reports on Happy New Years Everyone,

I am hoping that everyone had a great and safe New Year and a very Merry Christmas. Where did the 2019 season go? Cant believe 2020 is already here.
I have always loved the new year, it brings openers on rivers in Nor Cal, new license purchases, the start of the NFL Playoffs and new years resolutions. But it also means planning for 2020 fishing adventures and there is no better time than now. With the late 2019 season rains, that were much needed, they brought new life to many of our Nor Cal rivers and Im really looking forward to late winter and early spring.
Here is you 2020 Nor Cal New Years Fishing Report


Flows: 300 Lewiston, 350 DC, 470 JC, 660 Del Loma
Clarity: Clear
Fishing: Good to Great

The December rains really woke up the Trinity from working hard for a few fish to hooking consistent numbers under an indicator as well as swinging. The fish are not as big as usual, but what they lack in size they sure make up in pure spunk. On average, we are hooking 4-8lb fish and each one has been a firecracker. The Trinity will have steady fishing throughout the rest of winter and into early spring. Whether you want to swing, throw dries (Feb/March) or nymph for winter steelhead, the trinity is one of the better choices right now in Northern California. Very limited dates in Jan, more dates available Feb and March.
Swinging: Hobo Speys, GT40s, Heisenbergs, Thalken's Tiny Dancer Green Butt Skunk, Golden stones, Brown/Chartuse/Black Anderson Euphoria's, 
Dries: March Browns
Nymphs: Stones, Psycho Princes, Copper Johns, March Browns


Flows: 800 Low Flow, 1900 High Flow
Clarity: Perfect 8-10ft viz hint of green
Fishing: Good to Great
The section above hwy70 is now open

As always the Feather never disappoints. The fall season was plan stupid with the egg bite and now that the spawn is over, its time to start thinking alevin/fry hatch and fishing more traditional trout patterns. Once again the recent rains have brought in some new winter fish and they are staging in the high flow waiting for some more rain to keep moving up. Fish are definitely spread out. The fishing has been pretty consistent, quality over quantity. Both swinging and nymphing are producing fish and its only going to get better. With more rain in the forecast it will continue to bring in more fish for the remaining winter season and as always spring time on the Feather is something to look forward to. Some of the best days on the Feather, especially swinging starts around New Years and continues on through till April/May. With that being said, from Jan 1st to mid June is some of the busiest times for me so booking well in advance is highly recommended. You wont see the big steelhead like the Trinity or the American, but again their lack of size is made up with their sheer pissed off attitude. Plus the pressure on the Feather is a lot less than the Trinity and American, its also an easy day trip from the Bay Area. 
Swinging: Olive leeches/sculpins, alevins/fry patters, Brown/Chartreuse Anderson Euphoria's, Tan soft hackles, hobo speys 
Nymphs: Caddis, Prince Nymphs, Montana Nymph, San Juan Worms, Copper Johns, Mayflies, Alevins/fry patterns


Flows: 1350 Hwy20 Bridge, 1150 Below Daguerre (perfect flows for the jet boat)
Clarity: Clear
Fishing: Good to Great
This report goes for both the Hwy 20 and below Daguerre
The Yuba has been fishing really good as of late and is always a fun river to fish and mix it up from steelhead fishing. What is super cool is we are already starting to see the infamous Skwala Stone as well as some very early brown drakes, yup March Browns. You know what that means, fish are gonna start looking up and eating dries like candy. You definitely dont want to miss out on this aweome dry fly action. When they start looking up, swinging brown soft hackles drives them nuts and even swinging olive woolly buggers get those grabs we look for. The salmon spawn is also over and fishing an alevin pattern is also a good bet. As long as the river doesnt blow out like last year, this years late winter to early spring is going to be lights out. Book now and watch these feisty rainbows fly out of the water to eat your dry or slam your swung fly like a steelhead. We can also run the lower lower section of the Yuba in my jet boat and be the only anglers on the water all day. We would be getting out of the boat and fishing, swinging, throwing drys and nymphing. Its pretty cool fishing below Daguerre Dam.
Swinging: olive streamers, Brown Anderson Euphoria's, brown/tan soft hackles, alevin/fry patterns
Dries: Skwala stones, March Browns
Nymphing: Stones, March Browns, San Juans, Caddis, Mayflies, Copper Johns


Flows: 2500cfs
Clarity: Perfect 8-10ft hint of green
Fishing: Fair-Good
The upper section is now open.
I have done a few trips on the AR over the past 2 months and each time out we had an opportunity at an adult fish or 2 and several half pounders, trips were combo trips, a bit of swinging and some nymphing. The bigger fish seemed a bit more responsive to the swung flies. From what I have heard, the opener was successful, with boats hooking decent numbers of fish, and bankies finding a fish or 2 where there was open water. There are still salmon spawning, so that means you better be fishing an egg pattern. This will continue for a few more weeks and then you will have to fish more traditional trout patterns. Personally Id wait about a week or so before heading out or hit it during the week to miss the crowds. The fishing will only get better on the AR as we get more rain and as the season moves into spring. The AR is known for its big Eel river strain steelhead, some pushing 15lbs. Your average fish is 6-8lb but 8-12lb fish are not uncommon. If you are looking to stay local and hook into some big hot steelhead, the American would be a good idea. 
Swinging: Hobo Spey, Anderson Euphoria's, GT40s, Heisenbergs, Thalkens Tiny Dancer Green Butt Skunk
Nymphing: Eggs, Princes, Trinity Johns, Hares Ear, Birds Nests, San Juan Worms, Copper Johns

Lower Sac

Flows: 5300cfs
Clearity: Steelhead Green 6-8ft
Fishing: GOOD
The Sac is still fishing well, even after the recent downpours that mother nature gave us. The Sac did muddy up for a few days and was only out of commission for a few days, but now its in good shape and it turned right back on after it cleared up. Flows have been steady at 5k since Dec 29th, and there are no scheduled releases in the near future. At 5k if you know where to wade, you can have some epic fishing, but please wade carefully. Nymphing has been the name of the game as of late, but that doesnt mean you cant see some fish sipping on BWOs late afternoon, so always have a dry fly rod ready. This time of year its not always about the big bugs, Ill always have a rubberlegs on for weight, but the smaller the flies the better, think spring creek style. The Lower Sac will only continue to fish better as the season progresses into the spring, and this is the time of year were we see some big fish on the end of the line and sometimes even into the net. If you are looking to book a trip on the Lower Sac, start booking dates now.
Swinging: Birds nests, soft hackles, small woolly buggers, alevins/fry patters
Dries: BWOs
Nymphing: Xmays, BWOs, S&Ms, Midges, Rubberlegs, Cadds, Alevin/Fry patterns


The 2019 shad/striper season on the Yuba was beyond epic, with most anglers landing 20-40 fish each day, with the best day on the water with 2 anglers they landed 148 shad. The boat ride alone is worth the price of admission, the fishing is just a bonus. If you want to experience some of the best shad fishing in California, join me on the Lower Yuba with my jet boat where we get out on gravel bars and swing for these "poormans tarpon." Dont know how to swing, no worries, Ill have you casting a 2 handed rod in no time, and there is no better time to learn how to cast and swing than during shad season, its a numbers game. Also, the striper fishing on the Yuba can be lights out, fishing gin clear water and watching the fish follow your fly all the way to the boat, then eating it, what more could you ask for. Whether its a shad trip, striper trip or a combo trip, I have the Lower Yuba dialed and as long as we have about 900cfs we can make it all the way up to the dam. Dates are extremely limited, booking well in advance is extremely recommend. I am typically fully booked up from May 1st to July 1st for shad, striper and spring run steelhead, SO BOOK YOUR DATES NOW. Shad season starts around May 1st to July 1st
Prime time May 15th to June 15th

My Available Dates for Feather, Yuba, Lower Sac, American

Jan 10, 25,26,27,29,30
Feb 2,6-17,19, 24-29
March 14,16,19-25, 28,29,30,31
More dates available upon request

My Trinity Lower Sac Dates

Jan 5,6,20,21,22,23,
Feb 6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13
Feb 25,26,27,28,29
March 1,2,24,25,28,29
More dates available upon request
There you have it folks, I know its been a few months since my last report, but between the extremely over booked and busy fall season, selling our old house in Antelope and purchasing a new house in Marysville in early Sept, its been a non stop busy roller coaster since Sept 1st. I just now feel like we have slowed down. But that doesnt mean the fishing has slowed down, its has only begun and will only get better as the season progresses into spring. 
Over the past few seasons, my available dates during peak season is becoming harder to reserve due to the high demand of my services. If you enjoy your time on the water with me and know when you'd like to book your trip/s, I would highly recommend booking your trip/s well in advance. At this point I would recommend at least 6 months to even a year in advance for peak seasons for steelhead, trout and shad. I want to be able to guide everyone, however, there are only so many days that I have available, and during peak season those dates become very limited. 
I am also happy to announce that I will be attending the Pleasanton Fly Fishing Expo Feb 21st, 22nd, 23rd at my own booth. My booth is located at A27 which is the first isle to the right as you come through the main entrance. Please come by and say hi, lets talk fishing, enter to win a free guided fishing trip, and book your next fly fishing adventure.
Lastly, cheers to another amazing year season in Northern California. Whether we were chasing steelhead, striper, shad, salmon, trout or anything else that swims, it was an awesome and busy year. I want to thank you all who fished with in 2019 and those who have supported me over the years. I am in disbelief that this is my 12th season guiding after starting Nor Cal Fly Guides in Febuary 2009. Im really looking forward to the start of this guiding season, and adding a few new waters to the mix for those looking for something different. I am very blessed for all the friendships in and out of the industry that have been created through the years and I wouldn't be here with out you. Here is to another great season, stay safe and see you on the water.
Solid Grabs
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