Monday, February 5, 2018

Northern California Fly Fishing Report February 4, 2018

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

American River Steelhead - Fair. Flows - 3,000 cfs at Natomas. Water Temps - Mid 50's Clarity - 3 feet vis.

Fishing has been slow on the American recently. Back on January 1st the upper river above Ancil Hoffman Park opened and although not a lot of fish are in the system we are getting a fair amount of half pounders and chances each day at larger fish.  
Flows are steady at about 3,000 cfs however we are definitely working hard for the fish we're getting. Most fish have been half pounders in the 14 to 17" range however on each trip we have hooked fish into larger specimens in the 20" to 28" range (5 to 8 lbs). With intermittent rain over the next two weeks things should only improve. Steelhead love fresh water that comes from rain run off and the predicted precip should bring even more fish up out of the Sac and into target range. 

Nymphing has been most productive but swinging is what we love most. For better numbers try dropping a nymph and split shot 4 to 6 feed below and indicator. If swinging is your deal, focus on shallower runs and fish the water well before moving on. The upper river will see some pressure now that it is open. Expect it to be productive however a bit busier. The middle and Lower River have been productive too and will continue to do so. The shallow gravel and channels in the clay around William Pond Rec. Area are a good place to explore. Plan to loose a few flies but fish are being caught by walk in anglers.

Nymphs: Birds Nests 10 -14, Copper Johns, Black or Olive Poopahs and Princes 14 -16. Micro Mays 14 to 18, Brown or Black Rubber Legs 6 - 10 and eggs ( Peachy King, Roe and Tangerine )

Swinging: Silver Hiltons, Anderson's Classic, Fly Fishing Specialties Alevin, Anderson Euphoria, Heisenberg, Green Butt Skunk, Falken's Tiny Dancer, Hartwick's Purple Hilton, Hobo Spey, Intruders, Perpetrators, Beach Bums, and Blood Sucking Leaches. 
Give us a ring at (707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055 to give the American a whirl.

Calaveras River - Good. Flows 30 cfs Water Clarity - Clear



Fishing has been quite good on the Calaveras recently for nice trout to 15 inches. Medium sized attractor nymphs under an indicator or high sticked has produced best. This is a sleeper stream that is quite accessible from the San Francisco Bay Area and now is a good time to give it a try.
Nymphs: Prince Nymphs 14 -16, Birds Nests and Orange or Red Copper Johns 14 -16. Black, Green, and Tan BH Caddis Poopahs 14-16,
Guide tip: On overcast days try tight line nymphing an orange Copper John # 14-16
Coastal Steelhead - Good
Our coastal rivers all blew out a couple weeks back and the snow level even dropped down quite low. Everything was chocolate colored, but that has changed. Water from the Golden Gate North to the Oregon Border and beyond has dropped into shape one after another over the last week and a half. It is go time if there ever was one. 
Coastal Steelhead fishing is definitely the big leagues where the margin for error is not very big. Even experienced anglers only get a few grabs per day and sometimes none. If you are all about numbers then this is probably not for you. If you have loads of patience and are a love the journey as much as the destination kind of person and would trade lots of small fish for the chance to go toe to toe with one of the most powerful fish in North America then perhaps this may be for you. Tall coniferous forests with whimsical rivers and wispy morning fog to go with electric grabs, blistering reels and fish that often take their fight to the air. Coastal steelheading is a thing of obsession for those who get it. 
If that is you or you think it might be, call (707)287-2939 to have a shot at chasing phantoms.

Delta Striper - Fair to Poor. Water temp 46 deg., Clarity - Latte

Fishing on the Delta has been slow for the most part again this week. Still a bit cold and off color for all but the hardiest of diehards. Things should pick up in the Spring. Call not to reserve your Spring and fall dates. 

Streamers:  Byng's Baitfish, Angel's Chartreuse and White, Angels Delta Danger, Angel's Smolt




Feather River - Fair  Flows -  1,000 cfs through low flow 1,700 below Thermolito. Temperature - low  50's. Clarity - Clear.
Fishing on the Feather has been fair again this week. This is Winter Steelhead fishing folks. It is all about a few fish per day.  The upper River (Table Mountain Bicycle Bridge to Highway 70 Bridge) opened Jan 1st. Fishing pressure had loosened up due to fishing being slow. We are still getting 1 to 3 hookups per day on the swing and more nymphing but this is typical for the time of year. 

Although it is not red hot, there are some fish to be caught and our guides are getting it done so give us a ring if you would like to get out. The best area has been up above highway 70 or down in the high flow.

Nymphs: Prince Nymphs 14 -16, Birds Nests and Copper Johns 10 -14. Black, Green, and Tan BH Caddis Poopahs 14-16, Red Headed Step Childs, Tungsten Salvation 14-16 and Micro Mays 14-18, Brown or Black Rubber Legs 6-10, Cheese Micro Spawn and eggs ( Peachy King, Roe and Tangerine )

Swinging Flies: Silver Hiltons, Anderson's Classic, Fly Fishing Specialties Alevin, Anderson Euphoria, Heisenberg, Green Butt Skunk, Falken's Tiny Dancer, Harwick's Purple Hilton, Hobo Spey, Intruders, Perpetrators, Beach Bums, and Blood Sucking Leaches. 


Klamath River - Good. Flows 1040 cfs at Irongate and 2070 at Seiad . Water clarity - Good(Klamath tea)




The Klamath has fished well and has been one of the more reliable Nor Cal steelhead fisheries this Fall and Winter. Things continue to fish very well. Last week we found some great conditions and found fish on the swing in virtually every run we targeted.
Lots of chrome bright half pounders have been around and a few larger fish mixed in. Swinging has produced so well that we haven't bothered to nymph at all. We still have dates available and now is the time to go! Call today (707)287-2939.

Nymphs: Black or Brown Rubber Legs 6 - 10, Red or Black Copper John 12-14, Psycho Prince, 14, Solitude Stone 6, Epoxy Back Stone 6-8, Black or Brown Micro May 14.

Swinging: Perpetrator, Green Butt Skunk, Assassin, Orange or Purple Hobo Spey, Silver Hiltons, Purple Hilton, Morgans tiny Dancer, Rick's Euphoria


Napa River - Fair. Water Temps - 44 to 47 deg. Water Clarity - clear

Fishing has continued to be slow here just like on the rest of the San Francisco Bay Delta due to cold night temps which are common this time of year. Heavy sinking lines T - 11 to T - 14. Smaller 1/0 patters have worked best recently. Some reports of nice fish being caught in the upper river for those in the know. This is traditionally the slow season so low numbers are to be expected.

Streamers: Chart/white and gray/white Stay Hungry Streamers - 1/0, Angel's Sexy Shad and  Angel's chart/white - 1/0, Gray/white Flash Tail Whistler - 1/0.


Putah Creek - Poor. Flows - Fluctuating 110 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 now 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 Trinity or Truckee or catch up on your tying. Spring will be here soon enough and future generations of trout and those who love to catch them will 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.




Russian River Steelhead - Fair Flows - 2,500 at Healdsburg, 3,000 cfs at Guernville. Temps - high 50's. Water clarity - chocolate milk

The Russian is finally fishable! We have reports of fish landed both above and below the hatchery. All were caught nymphing so far with egg patterns but we are hoping to get out and swing on our days off this week. Now is the time to go!

To get out on a guided trip on the Russian please call (707)287-2939.

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 4,000 cfs out of Keswick. Water Temps - Lower 50's. Clarity - Clear (7 to 8 feet visibility)




Things are are a changin' on the Sac. Unseasonably warm weather has brought the bugs out in force. We have been having some fun days recently with the "nocater" setup. Water is low and very wade-able and the crowds are gone. Warm days have produced lots of caddis activity. That along with PMD and BWO's especially on overcast days has made for some enjoyable fishing. Best action has been from noon to 3 p.m. Now is a great time to get out and take advantage of great conditions on this wonderful fishery.

Nymphs: Best flies have been green and brown Mercer's Micro May and green and brown Hogan's S& M 16-18. Bird's Nests 14-16, Copper Johns 16-18 Black and Brown Rubber legs 6-10, Amber Wing Prince - 16, Birds Nests 14-16, Black or Red Zebra Midges 18-20 also producing at times.

Dries: Parachute Adams 18-20, Hackle Stacker BWO 18-20, Lawson's Comparadun BWO 18-20 Griffiths Gnat 18-22.

Guide tip: Lower Sac fish are notorious for the lightest of takes. Fish will mouth small flies and spit them out without any visible hints transferred up the line to the indicator. Often guests will turn and look at the guide and ask "was that a fish?" after a slight pause or just the lightest of "tick" visible on the indicator. Set on everything! We recommend you set first ask questions later.

Give us a ring to get out for a memorable trip by calling (707)287-2939 or emailing us at info@offthehookflyfishing.com


Trinity River Steelhead - Fair. Flows - 325 cfs out of Lewiston, 400 cfs at Douglas City, 530 and Junction City, and 930 cfs at Del Loma. Clarity - clear



Typical winter steelhead fishing here. Were working for em but are getting some decent results on virtually every trip. We're seeing a few more wild fish showing up over the last couple weeks which is a good sign and sight for sore eyes. Fishing has been about average for this time of year with 2 to 5 hookups per boat. We have still been getting a few smaller half pounders and some larger ones on dries which can really break up the monotony of the day when things are slow.

We still have some availability coming up in February and March if you want to chase some big guys and gals. Call (707)287-2939 or the shop at (916)722-1055 to get on our schedule.

Swinging: Tiny Dancers, Hobo Spey, Pimps, Rocks, Breadcrumbs, Silver Hiltons, October Hiltons, Slump Busters, Copper Assassins and Anderson's Euphoria in Chartreuse or Brown. 

Nymphs: Hare's Ears 6-8, Epoxy Golden Stone 6-8, Solitude Stone 6-8, Black or Red Copper John 12-14, Black or Brown Rubber Legs 6 to 10, Copper John 12-14, Psycho Princes 14-16, Black or Green Micro Mays 14, Eggs (Peachy King, Roe, Tangerine).


Truckee River - Great. Flows 100 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. 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 guests catch some smaller fish and some larger ones as well.

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 Ju Ju Baetis, Hogan's Military May and S&M in 16 to 18 and size 10 Rubber Legs.

Give us a ring at (707)287-2939 or at the shop (916)722-1055 to get out and make it happen. 

Yuba River Trout - Good to Great. Flows 9,000 cfs below Englebright. Water Temps - Mid 50's. Water Clarity - Clear with slight tinge of color.




Now is the time to be on the Yuba as things are really jumping off. This is the first time in years since we have had suitable conditions to fish this time of year. The drought several years back brought bleak hatches and picky fish and the floods of the last two years brought muddy unfishable water. This year conditions are "back to normal".

It's Skwala time! For those who may be unfamiliar, Skwalas are part of the stonefly family. This means they are tantamount to a big double double cheeseburger floating down the river for a hungry trout. Most of the trout are keyed in on the Skwalas at this time and you can expect these important insects to be active for the next 6 weeks.

Normally winter dry fly fishing in California (if there is any) will generally consist of fishing tiny midges or Blue Wing Olives which can be difficult to see on the water. If you spot them and tie on a similar imitation, it can be difficult to distinguish yours from the real thing or even tell if it is still floating. Skwalas on the other hand are almost an inch long making them much easier to see. Right now the tell-tale shucks are around on the edge of the river. Skwalas don't hatch in the middle of the river like many insects. Instead the swim slowly to shore and literally crawl out on the stream side gravel or debris and hatch on land. Check out the foliage or rocks around the Yuba right now and you will see their casings all over the place.




In a short time they return to the river to lay their eggs. After ovipostiting they will float listlessly down the river making big juicy morsels for the fish. One thing we've learned is that during this time of year you don't have to see them floating or even see rising fish to warrant tying one on. A Skwala dry or large attractor pattern can bring fish to the surface even while blind casting. The last few trips Jordan, Jon and Dave have been targeting fish on dries almost exclusively. So find a boat and get in it. Remember Sycamore Ranch is closed for repairs through Match 8th, but we still have access to drift down from highway 20 bridge and get after it. We prefer to fish the Yuba out of a boat as it allows you to fish more runs and further out in them, however for the Skwala hatch we will work the bank water and bubble lines thoroughly and even get out of the boat at times.

y We have also had some good days recently down below Daguerre Dam depending on the day. We have exclusive access to drift this section of the river. Give us a call to get out and connect with some really good late Winter and early Spring fly fishing.(707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055.

Nymphs: Rubber Legs, Skwala Stone, Speroni's Skwala nymphs, 8 - 10 , Black and Brown 8 - 14, Brown, Speroni's Baetis 16 - 20, Hogan's S&M and Micro May Olive, Brown, Black 16 - 20.

Dries: Bullet Head Skwala, 8-10 Foam Dead Stone, Speronis Skwala Dry, and Skwala Stone Seducer - 8-10. Extended body BWO 18-22, Adam's Parachute 16 to 20, Christian's GT Adult 18-20, Missing Link 14 - 18, Quiggly's Hackle Stacker 14 - 16, CDC Thorax 14 - 18, 

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. 


Almanor Trout - Fair to very good. Surface temps. 38 deg. Water clarity - 10' visibility.

Fishing continues to be pretty decent on Almanor although there has been an uptick in fishing pressure though mostly from shore anglers. Lots of rainbows and browns being caught on leach patterns.

Fishing will really start picking up again in March and April. However for those of you wanting to experience great winter fishing keep this gem in mind.

If you would like to get out and give this a try call (707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055.

Guide tip:  Look for moving water and weeds. Start with a small orange stimulator and then switch to leach patterns. Olive has been the best color. Take a Halebopp and trim it up or try an Olive Assassin.

Dries: Orange Stimulator 

Streamers: Olive Hale Bopp Leaches 12-14, Olive Assassin 12-14

Lake Oroville bass - Fair. Surface Temps -  50 deg. Water Clarity - 2 to 4'

Tournament season is dying down on Oroville which will only help the fishing in the coming weeks. right now about a dozen fish are being caught per half day trip. Expect fish size and numbers to increase as we go into February. Action should turn on any day now. 
Over 170 boats descended on the lake this weekend for the Wild West Bass Trials and the results are in. The winners were Terry DeVincenzi and Scott Crawford with a bag of 16.79 lbs with 7 fish.

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

Guide Tip: This can be one of the best times of the year to fish the Lake. Float & Fly is the way to go in the winter. Very slow presentations are needed and the takes can be ever so subtle. The tiniest of twitches can mean the fly is in a bass' mouth.

Streamers: Float and Fly shad patterns 


Pyramid Lake NV* Cutthroat - Fair. Surface Temps - 45 at noon




Still the same old Pyramid again this week. Things are starting to warm slightly but temps water temps are still cold. Best action has been first and last light. Fishing has been slow but some quality animals finding the net. One recent angler caught 3 10 pounders and one 12 pound fish on a Popcorn Beetle, but that is the best day we have hear of in a while. Hard working anglers can expect one to two fish per trip or maybe none. 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 again this week but we did manage to pull some real quality fish again. 


* 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 enjoy the rest of your weekend!



















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