Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Northern California Fly Fishing Report Dec 18, 2017

Best Bets: Trinity or Feather Rivers - Steelhead, Yuba, Lower Sac or Truckee - Trout

You still have time to purchase a gift certificate for guided fly fishing or great gear for the fisher on your list! Call today (707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055
American River Steelhead - Poor to Fair. Flows - 3,500 cfs at Natomas. Water Temps - Mid 50's Clarity - Clear


Not much new news to report. Fishing has been pretty slow but flows jumped to over 3,500 cfs so that should bring in some fresh fish. It has been just few half pounders and an adult fish here or there but not very exciting thus far this season. Rain and or a bump in flows should help. Fingers crossed.

Stay tuned...or call the shop for updates.(916)722-1055

Delta Striper - Poor. Water temp 50-53 deg., Clarity - Clearing


Things improved a bit on the Delta this week. Howling winds from last week have subsided and so water clarity has improved, yet water temps are still quite cold.

Were finding 5 to 15 fish per day most of which are in the 18 to 22" range. A few rare larger fish landed last week but not as many this week. When conditions area a bit murky combine dark colors in your offerings and perhaps even a rattle to help fish find them fishing low and slow also helped at least get a few touches.

In addition to striper fishing Bill continues to find some bass fishing in the back bays and sloughs in the warmer water given the mild winter we have had to this point. With temps dipping below freezing this week we will have to see how long it lasts. He guides out of a kayak allowing him to slip into very shallow water and deep into areas the rest of us can't go. If you haven't tried fishing from a Kayak you may want to give it a try. We have and it and its a blast!

For more on the Delta click here...

Feather River - Fair  Flows -  1,000 cfs through low flow 1,800 below Thermolito. Temperature  Mid  50's Clarity - Clear.

The Feather had fished well recently for steelhead but things are slowed slightly here too recently. The bottom line is that we really need rain. Some half pounders and a few adult fish to 6 or 7 lbs being the largest were caught again this week. Swinging flies as well as nymphing with bugs and eggs has produced but nymphing by far is the most productive. Water is a bit low and very clear. This combined with fishing pressure a while back and not a lot of new fish into the system has led to picky fish and slightly more challenging fishing. As soon as we get rain it will be back going strong. We're kind of in a holding pattern waiting for more storms.

This river does offer some decent steelhead fishing close to home this time of year so its definitely worth checking and even without the rain is probably the best valley river option right now.

For more on Feather steelhead click here...

Napa River - Fair. Water Temps - High 40's and Low 50's. Water Clarity - iced late

Fishing has slowed here just like on the rest of the San Francisco Bay Delta due to heavy wind and freezing temps at night last week. Things should pick up with the warmer temps and calmer weather. Fish are going down deep and started to go into their winter feeding cycle. Fishing deeper holes and slowing down the retrieve will get them to eat. Larger patterns in 2/0 and 3/0 have worked best in natural colors.  

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

Putah Creek - Poor. Flows - Just over 80 cfs. Clarity - Clear

Fish are in full blown spawning mode so we're done guiding and fishing Putah for the season. But what a season it was! It has been so good to see so many quality wild trout being caught by our guests. Putah is such a special fishery being this close to San Francisco, the Napa Valley and Sacramento and having such large wild fish. It is a California Heritage Trout Fishery which means it has much larger than average fish in it. It also means it will never ever be stocked again, so if fish aren't left alone to spawn, it will adversely affect subsequent generations of fish. There really is no way to catch fish from now on without fishing to spawning fish. In addition, with the flows so low it is very difficult to maneuver without walking on redds. So give em a rest! Go fish the Feather or Trinity or catch up on your tying. Spring will be here soon enough and future generations of trout and those who love to catch them thank you.



We will begin to fish and guide the creek on March 1st. We have quite a few Spring dates available. Give us a ring at (707)287-2939 or at the shop at (916)722-1055 to reserve yours.

For more info on Putah Creek click here...

Russian River Steelhead - Poor. Flows - 340 cfs and stable at Guernville. Temps - high 50's. Water clarity - Clear.




So the Russian is open( as opposed to our most recent report) and some half pounders are being caught. Fish are a bit spooky due to low/clear conditions. The mouth is still open however we need some more rain to keep it that way and bring in some fresh fish. We already have our "two front teeth" and so for Christmas we really want some rain! 

To get on our wait list for a guided steelhead trip on the Russian please call (707)287-2939. We will add you to the list and guests will be called in the order that they are added to it once fishing commences.

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 5,000 cfs out of Keswick. Water Temps - Lower 50's. Clarity - Clear (7 to 8 feet visibility)





Fishing has been pretty good again this week for trout. Small flies have been the ticket. Blue wing olives are hatching on overcast days and there are even some fish are looking up at times seeking dries. These fish tend to be smaller and require anglers bring their A game. Plenty of fish around eating nymphs as well. Midges and even some caddis are also around due to warmer daytime temps. 

Best flies have been Mercer's Micro May and Hogan's S& M in green and brown, Bird's Nests, midges and egg patterns.

For more on the Lower Sac click here...

Trinity River Steelhead - Good. Flows - 310+ cfs at Lewiston, 350 cfs at Douglas City. Clarity - clear



Fishing is still good on the Trinity despite low clear water. It sure would be nice to get some more water here in Nor Cal rivers and the Trinity is no exception. 

Despite current conditions decent numbers of half pounders along with 1 to 5 adult fish can be expected on most days. Swinging is still producing a few fish but not as many as nymphing with eggs and bugs. We're getting one to two grabs per day swinging and 2 or 3 times that on nymphs. Right now you have to take advantage of every grab you get and make every set count. You "gotta work a little bit harder for em given the conditions." 

Best swinging flies have been Tiny Dancers, Hobo Speys, Silver Hiltons, Copper Assassins and Anderson's Euphoria in Chartreuse or Brown. As far as nymphing goes, Hare's Ears, Rubber Legs, Copper Johns, Psycho Princes, or other stoneflies and egg patterns have been working well.

For more on Trinity steelheading click here...

Truckee River - Great. Flows 1,000 cfs in Town Water Temps - Mid 40's. Water Clarity - Clear



Fishing has been great on the Truckee again this week for those willing to brave the cold snap that came in recently. Despite this our guides have been finding fish pooled up in some of the deeper holes. Focus on fishing the "walking speed" water.  Doing so is helping us catch good numbers of smaller fish and some hogs mixed in.

You definitely want to plan for cold and dress appropriately, however for those of us die-hards, a chance to tangle with a nice brown or two is worth the price of admission. In light of the cooler temps best fishing has been during the warmest part of the day say 11 a.m. to 3 or 4 p.m.

Best fly patterns have been eggs, worms, Baetis and Midges fished under an indicator on the bottom. Specific patterns include size 16 or 18 JuJu Baetis, Hogan's Military May and size 10 Pats Rubber Legs.


This coming weekend and next week should be epic winter fishing. Captain Chris, Jordan and the guys have spots where they're getting 10 to 15 fish out of one run and with mild temps and no rain in the forecast fishing should continue to be awesome. 

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 - Good. Flows 1,123 cfs and stable. Water Temps - Mid 50's. Water Clarity - Clear with slight tinge of color.



We had perfect trout weather again this past week with mild cool nights and fairly warm days. This along with recent stable flows, guests have had some killer dry fly fishing casting to selective risers in the calm flats both in the foam line and on the edges. One day the hatch may happen in the afternoon, and the next day it could happen in the late morning. An angler needs to be flexible, and having two rods set up for both surface and sub surface presentations will be an advantage.

Please stay off shallow gravel and redds as little eggs are hiding in the gravel and are easily crushed. With such a small return of salmon this year every smolt counts. 

Wild rainbows from 8 to 14” are keying in on Blue Wing Olives (baetis) #18, and tiny Blue Wing Olives (pseudocloeons) #20-22 as well as # 18 Pink Alberts and #16 PMD's with recent warm weather.

We have also had some good days recently down below Daguerre Dam with 20 to 30 fish in the net. We have exclusive access to drift this section of the river. This next week looks like nice weather again so good fishing should continue on the Yuba. Give us a call to get out and connect with some really good winter fly fishing.(707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055

Guide Tip : If your on the water and spot some rising fish, make a calculated game plan and go right at them. Those trout are telling you that they are actively feeding and the moment should not be wasted. Being stealthy like keeping a low profile and fishing the side water before stepping into it is a smart move. With a lower arc of the sun in the winter sky, an angler must watch their shadows as they are very long, especially in the late afternoon.
For more on the Yuba click here...

Almanor Trout - Fair. Surface temps. 40's. Water clarity - slight green tinge but 6' visibility






Fishing continues to be pretty decent on  Almanor. Water temps continue to drop however lake levels are stable so both bank fishing and sight casting have improved this week.

Most fish caught right now are rainbows however there are still some browns around as well. 

Mark says from now until mid January the fishing will be a little slower and then things start picking up again in March and April. For those of you wanting to avoid the crowds and experience great winter fishing keep this gem in mind.

Midges have been most effective on the bows while browns seem to much prefer, and cloouser style streamers on sinking lines. If you would like to get out and give this a try call (707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055

Guide tip: Look for muddy bottoms with weeds or old stream channels. Try a Red Headed Step Child in a size 16 or a midge.

Lake Oroville bass - Poor. Surface Temps - 55 Deg. Water Clarity - 4 to 6'

The Lake turned on like a light switch in November and has absolutely on fire! With great weather and 60 to 70 fish days we have been having the lake to ourselves and what a blast it has been. 
Well...apparently someone forgot to pay the electric bill and fishing has switched off big time. We are now getting 5 to 10 fish per day. This is common this time of year and normally by late December and early January, when fish get acclimated to the new colder water temps, fishing takes off again. 

To be honest some of the best days of the year will be coming in mid to late January where anglers will see both quality and quantity on our float and fly technique. We have the cure for cabin fever so give us a call (707)287-2939.

Guide tip: Keep in mind when all the rivers are blow out in Jan, February and March it will be prime time on Oroville.

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

Pyramid Lake NV* Cutthroat - Fair to Good. Surface Temps - COLD



Nothing much has changed since last week.  Per usual for this time of year we really had to put in some effort and hours in to get grabs. The numbers game wasn't the main focus, it was the larger winter ledge lurkers that we have come to expect. The bite was slow this week but we did manage to pull some real quality fish again. The good news is the whole lake at this time is seeing noticeably larger fish being caught throughout the day. Like we said earlier, the fishing requires a little more effort this time of year but a more and more common occurrence is days where your fish range from 5-10 pounds and not much anything on the smaller size. The time starts now for shore fisherman to start seeing some large fish being caught and from now into the winter. Still, we have not found one beach to out preform another the fish seem to be spread out so find your favorite beach or two and fish it out. We also want to make sure we are fishing the ledges. Now is the time of year when O'l Red likes to come cruise in the shallower ledges using them as excellent ambush points.

From our time on the water and other reports the fly selection and techniques have not changed much in the last couple weeks. Your baitfish patterns will still be the go to, either stripping or under an indicator with and occasional midge bite on the calmer and warm days. The boobies and popcorn beetles of all colors have brought some larger fish, when paired with your favorite wooly bugger or your favorite baitfish patterns. Blacks, whites, olives and chartreuse are great starting points for color.  Changing the cadence in your retrieve will be beneficial on finding how active fish are and what speed will get them going. As water begins to really cool down try fairly slow pace then pick up speed as time goes on (say 10-20 minutes) and then repeat until we find the bite. When the wind comes in it doesn't hurt to try an indicator rig with a balanced leech or baitfish. Fly colors for both techniques should also be interchanged through the day. Good starting points will be black olive and white and mixtures of all. Don't be afraid to throw some flash into your baitfish patterns. We hate to repeat but incase you missed last weeks report, holiday seasons have been bringing in a larger number of anglers so trying new or hard to get to areas (within the legal boundaries) can turn out to be very productive and it will get you away from the beaches with larger crowds.  The big are fish are coming into play and we would love to see you out on the water holding one of the leviathans that cruise the lake. Dress in layers and prepare for some chilly weather. 

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.

If you enjoyed this report please like and share it. if you have comments or to share your own personal fishing report email me at mike@offthehookflyfishing.com. (707)287-2939 C (530)242-4122 O. 

Thanks and have a great weekend!

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