Thursday, February 22, 2018

Northern California Fly Fishing Report Feb 23, 2018

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



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

Fishing continues to be fairly slow on the American. Last month 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. The low water conditions here in the North State are part of the problem. Some adult fish being found in the middle to lower river and thus the fishing is fair although it has been slow up top.

Flows jumped up from 2,400 to 3,000 back on the 20th but seem to be holding steady for now. People 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 7 lbs). Oh and did we mention we sure could use some rain!

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 26 cfs below New Hogan Dam. Water Clarity - Clear



Fishing has been quite good recently on the Calaveras again this week for nice trout to 15 inches. Medium sized attractor nymphs under an indicator or high sticking 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 - Fair to Good

Some coastal rivers have fished better than others, but all are dropping and getting very clear. This is making for increasingly tougher fishing. There are still a few rivers producing and this last week but if we don't get more rain things will be shutting off soon.


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 Good. Water temp 53 degrees. Clarity - Good (a bit of color but good overall)


Fishing on the Delta had been slowly improving and the unseasonably warm weather had us already finding good numbers of fish for this time of year. On a recent trip one of our guides found 20 willing striper to 7 lbs. Of course we also had a day with hard North winds where only two made the net. The recent cold front last week slowed things down a bit. remember March to May is prime time so this early success has us looking forward to a good Delta season. Now is a great time to book your Delta striper trips.

We're currently having success chucking 3 to 5" rattle equipped offerings in various combinations which often include chartreuse and white. Most of the bites have been the "spongy type" where fish are taking it on the drop not so much on the strip. Were using smaller flies in the clear water and larger rattled one in the stained water. While the striper bite has been a little inconsistent the largemouth have been podded up in spots and eager to take the fly. Spring striper migration is right around the corner!




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

Guide Tip: "Vary your retrieve allowing the fly to really drop every couple strips. In cooler water striper tend to take flies on the drop as opposed to a constant retrieve."



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 for some and good for others again this week. This is Winter Steelhead fishing folks. It is all about a few fish per day but looking for some quality fish. The upper River (Table Mountain Bicycle Bridge to Highway 70 Bridge) opened Jan 1st. Fishing pressure has loosened up a little due to fishing being slow, but our guides are finding fish throughout the river and the lower river has produced some dandies this week. 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 right now, 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 areas have 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 Child, 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 fluctuating from 950 cfs to 1,000 at Irongate and 2,000 at Seiad. Water clarity - Good (Klamath tea- 4 ft vis)



The Klamath slowed slightly this week but continues to produce lots of fish. Swinging is the name of the game on the Klamath and what fun it is!

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 - 55 degrees. Water Clarity - Unseasonably clear.

Fishing has begun to pick up a bit in conjunction with warmer weather however things have been inconsistent so far due to fluctuating cold wearher. Adult fish will begin to spawn in the upper river. If the current weather patterns hold things will be good here soon. March, April and May are all great months on the Napa and the rest of the San Francisco Bay Delta. Heavy sinking lines T - 11 to T - 14 with 1 to 2/0 patters have worked best recently. Both dark and light patterns will work with the current good water color.

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 - 78 cfs. Clarity - Clear



Great fishing is just around the corner on Putah Creek! We are very excited to get back at it. Fish are wrapping up their spawning and we will begin to target them on March 1st. Putah is a very technical nymph fishery where big wild trout eat small bugs but Jordan, Rob and the crew have the techniques and flies to help you crack the code on this amazing tailwater fishery. If you live in San Francisco, the Bay Area or Sacramento and if you like catching big wild fish then this is one you need to learn.

Expect to start the season with small stuff. BWO's and midges are the go to's. We noticed last season that the Caddis are making a real come back on the creek so a green or tan pupae will also be in order in March and April and May. Tight line or indicator nymphing are the two main ways to fish here. Takes can be very subtle and if you aren't hanging up occasionally then you aren't fishing deep enough. 


The season usually starts off pretty well and there is great fishing to be had from March 1st to May when the flows bump to summer high flows. Give us a ring at (7070287-2939 for more information or to book your dates.

Russian River Steelhead - Poor Flows - 230 at Healdsburg, 400 cfs at Guernville. Temps - high 50's. Water clarity - Gin clear.

Things on the Russian are definitely slowing. Currently flows are low and clear making for tough fishing. We are in a holding pattern right now for the Russian. Keep an eye on the weather as we need rain to bring in fish and add a little color to the river so they aren't so darn spooky.

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 3,200 cfs out of Keswick. Water Temps - Lower 50's. Clarity - Clear (7 to 8 feet visibility)


Things are still good on the Sac although the 70 degree days are gone for now. We have been having some fun days recently with the "nocater" setup. Water is low and very wade-able and the crowds are gone. Colder temps have reduced the Caddis activity however PMD's continue to hatch with gusto. That along BWO's especially on overcast days has made for some truly enjoyable fishing of late. Best action has been from noon to 3 p.m. 

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, Elk Hair Caddis, 14 to 16, Hackle Stacker BWO 18-20, Lawson's Comparadun BWO 18-20, PMD

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 to Good. Flows - 320 cfs out of Lewiston, 350 cfs at Douglas City, 430 and Junction City, and 850 cfs at Del Loma. Clarity - clear



Typical winter steelhead fishing here. Fresh fish are slowly working in hoping to find a tributary with enough water to spawn. We are hoping for more rain to help them out. Fishing wise, some days are easier and more productive than others. We're working for em but are getting some decent results on virtually every trip. Fishing has been about average for this time of year with 2 to 5 fish in the boat per trip. If you want to catch steelhead this season, the next two weeks will be about it. We are also getting a few smaller half pounders and some larger ones showing interest in dries which can really break up the monotony of the day when things are slower. 

We still have some availability coming up. If you want to chase some big guys and gals. Call (707)287-2939 or the shop at (916)722-1055 to reserve one of our top pro guides.

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 - Fair. Flows 80 cfs in Town and fluctuating,  Water Temps - Mid 40's. Water Clarity - Clear

Fishing has been decent 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 and pocked water even with current colder temps.

You definitely want to plan for cold and dress appropriately. 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 Baetis and Midges fished under an indicator on the bottom and on warmer days some small dark Skwalas have begun to stir. 

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, Skwala Stone - 16, Speroni's Skwala - 16

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 875 cfs below Englebright, 950 at Parks Bar Bridge. Water Temps - Mid 50's. Water Clarity - Clear with slight tinge of color.



Winter has returned to Northern California, and with it colder temperatures and weak cold fronts. Some bigger storms may be upon the region in the next few weeks, and a there is still hope for a March miracle. The Lower Yuba River is still fishing well. Dry flies and fishing during the warmest time of day is your best bet. Flows continue at an average of 950 cubes at the Parks Bar gauging station, and the Yuba County Water Agency currently has no plans to increase the flows. The colder air temps and cloudy conditions are not the best for the Skwala stonefly, their activity has slowed down but they are still there, hiding under the cobblestones waiting for our friend the sun to come out. There has been a bit of resurgence with BWOs, PMDs, and a few more March browns in the mix. Bigger fish have been caught in the last week including a Feather River steelhead that ate a Skwala dry.

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 in brown and yellow, 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, Squirmy Worms in red and natural -12, Hogan’s S&M nymph (olive, brown) -18, and Copper Johns (red, olive, copper) 14-18.  

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,BWO Parachutes -18, PMD Hackle Stacker -16, March Brown Sparkle Dun -14, Double Dutch Bug and the Unit Skwala -10.




Almanor Trout - Fair. Surface temps. 41 to 45 deg. Water clarity - 4 to 6 ft visibility.





Things got a bit colder this last week. Given that we never got the hard freeze which is normally to be expected this time of year. With that said so far the bite never really slowed down like we have come to expect either. It has honestly feet like early Spring even in December and January. Fishing pressure has picked up a bit mostly shore anglers. Lots of Rainbows and Brown's are being caught on leach patterns. Most of the Rainbows are caught in the first 6 feet. Be careful not to run them like we have seen people do. Some Gulpper action on glassy days. Catching has been fairly consistent with 3 to 4 days a week that are great. There are still a lot of 16-18" Bows at Canyon Dam. We have been focused on the big Brown's and Rainbows around the Lake though.

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. Long leaders are a must. Start with a small olive simulator and then switch to an olive leach. Take a Hale Bopp and trim it down. An olive Assassin would also be a good choice. A clear intermediate and a floating line are all that are needed right now. Be ready to throw a clouser any day now. 

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

Lake Oroville bass - Fair to Good.  Surface Temps -  49 deg. Water Clarity - 6 to 8' vis.

Right when things were picking up we got a cold front and things have slowed slightly. Best fishing continues from around 7:00 -10:00 a.m. So the window is pretty small. But still some good action to be had during these prime hours. Float & Fly is still producing best. Although we've had some erratic, cold weather lately so water temperatures have dipped. With that in mind keep the presentations real slow is critical. Not too much moving the indicator around. Later in the day, plan to let the flies sit for allot longer for better results. Patience can be key right now. 

To be honest some of the best days of the year can come in late Winter / early Spring 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


It has been a dry winter for the sierras and the valley with mild to no storms which has made for a tough fishing in January at pyramid lake. Now as we transition into slightly warmer days and the shallows warm up, the fish are starting to come in for longer periods to feed. More big fish have been caught in the last few weeks than the whole month prior (from shore). What's more we are really starting to see them being caught in at all periods of the day especially on cloudy or choppy days. 
Expect a steady climb as fishing will improve going forward into Spring and we are already seeing decent fishing from North to South. On the sunny calm days stripping the deeper drop off beaches will be your best chance at success during mid day when it is hard fishing. Morning and Evening bites have been fairly consistent every where. The flies you will want to have in your arsenal include: popcorn beetles and boobies in white, black, chartreuse, red/pink and combos of those colors. The trailing fly has been less specific as all bait fish streamers, clousers, wooly buggers and wooly worms etc. all have been doing very well. Again in the same colors as the beetles and boobies but use opposite colors when using the pair for higher contrast between flies.  Floating line with or with out an indicator has been hit or miss because of fish being a little deeper this time of year. They do much better in the morning and in the evenings on some of the close drops. Midges and nymphs have been working just as well as balanced leeches for us, especially as the water starts to warm and we aren't getting much for wind or weather. Successful colors for anything hanging is black, olive, grey and red/wine. Don't be afraid to vary depths or retrieve speed as well. There are big fish lurking and fishing hard through next month will be one of your best times to catch your personal best cutthroat.





* 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. 

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