Northern California Fly Fishing Report June 21, 2018
Summer is here in Northern California and with it some warmer weather but also some great fishing opportunities. Time to take advantage of all the variety that the Golden State offers.
Best Bets: Upper Sacramento, McCloud River, Putah Creek - Trout, Lower Yuba River -Shad. American River - Shad and Striper, Sierra Foothill Lakes - Bass, Lake Almanor - Trout and Bass. Clear Lake Bass, Yosemite - Trout
American River Striper - Good. Steelhead - Poor. Shad - GREAT!. Flows - 3,500 cfs at Natomas. Water Temps - Mid 50's Clarity - 5 to 6 ft. visibility.
Not much has changed recently on the American. Flows are hovering around 3,500 and should remain around this level throughout the Summer. A few straggler Spring run steelhead and half pounders are around and are being taken on the swing as well as nymphing but our attention is now shifted to two perennial returnees to the American, Striper and Shad. Striper or Morone Saxatilis have moved up out of the San Joaquin River Delta and are here in the river to spawn. As opportunists and ambush predators they are more than happy to pounce on smaller baitfish that happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Subsequently they will also waylay a well positioned fly. Right now we are experiencing 8 to 15 fish per trip and all have been keeper size or better. Quite a few in the 5 to 6 lb range and a few to 8 lbs are being found but the best is still to come. Striper can be targeted on foot, however it is best done from a boat especially in the deeper sections of the lower river. If you are interested in giving this a try now is the time to book as we are all but full for the next two months!
Another yearly favorite which has developed a fervent following and is hot right now is the Alosa sapidisima or American Shad. Also referred to as the "poor mans Tarpon" because of their tendency to jump when hooked they along with the silver king are both members of the Herring family of fishes. An anadromous species, they spend a bit of time out in the salty Pacific before migrating back to propagate in fresh water. They tend to pod up into schools and at the height of the run can be seen as clouds in many areas in the river. Shad will readily take a myriad of gaudy colored small flies and are a lot of fun on a single or two handed rod. Swing a fly through a school of shad and you are going to get hit! Whats more during the height of the run 50 to 60 or even 100 shad are possible. Fish are already in the system and we caught our first shad of the year on the American this week. (they were probably here already but we were catching them elsewhere.
Shad have a pearlescent hue to their scales, but it is their sheer numbers, hard fighting and jumping ability that most endear them to anglers.
Shad can be caught just fine while wading or when accessed by a boat. Currently fish are gathered in large schools. They are visible to the trained and even untrained eye now and sometimes look like gray or blue clouds in the river. Guests are catching them throughout the day however as summer temps begin to soar, the best time to target them can be in the evening. We offer half day and even evening guided trip to take advantage of the prime time each day to target them and cooler temperatures.
Stop by the shop to pick up some flies and intel or book a guided trip to learn how to have success and then go back and fish on your own. For Shad fishing too IT IS GO TIME!
Steehead 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)
Striper Flies: Stay Hungry Streamers, Byng's Baitfish, Angel's Chartreuse and White, Angels Delta Danger and Angel's Smolt, Toby's Rainbow Clouser 4/0, Toby's A.R. Rainbow 4/0, American River Special 3/0
Shad Flies: Bloody Marias, Orange Thing and Bleeder (Stop by the shop to pick up the hot ones. Anything orange, pink, white or bright red or some combination there of will work)
Give us a ring at (707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055 to give the American a whirl.
Delta Striper - Fair. Largemouth- Fair Smallmouth - Fair to Good. Water temp 70 to 72 degrees. Clarity - clear to slightly off color (normal for this time of year)
Warm weather here in Northern California is bringing change to the Delta.
Recently the fishing has slowed for striper which is common this time of year. That being said we have had some surprisingly productive striper fishing with some unseasonably large fish meeting the Boca Grip. We have been using both a mix of rattle Clousers Minnows and traditional clousers in 4-6" lengths. If you want to target them be prepared to cast in the wind. Overall I would say that the majority of our striper fishing is behind us and will remain a side note until the weather changes again in the Fall. Our attention at least in the Delta has turned to Largemouth and Smallmouth.
Water temps are around 70 degrees on the Delta so topwater for largemouth and smallmouth has been going off and we have been focused on it. If you are interested in in these unique half day topwater bass trips please let us know. This is a great way to get beginners into fly fishing due to the numbers of fish hooked, the user friendly nature of the casting required and how visually stimulating it is to have a bass pounce on your fly 15 to 20 feet from the boat.
Small Poppers like this one are deadly when fished for Smallmouth on the Delta.
In addition we offer a very unique Kayak fishing program where guests paddle the slews, canals, weed lines, rock walls and larger open water in search of fly fishing targets.
Smallmouth fishing is one option that is fun for the whole family. Reserve your summer fun today. Dates with our guides are filling fast. (707)287-2939 (916)722-1055
Striper Streamers: Byng's Baitfish - 1/0, Angel's Chartreuse and White, Angels Delta Danger and Angel's Smolt.
Largemouth Streamers: Stay Hungry Streamer - Chartreuse, Perch or Shiner colors, #2 Byng's Baitfish, 1/0 Angel's Chartreuse and White, Angels Delta Danger and Angel's Smolt, Angel's Bluegill - 4/0.
Smallmouth Flies: Small poppers in a variety of colors such as green, white, yellow, brown etc. #2 - 4 Pultz PoppersBrown, black or Olive Wolly Buggers.
Guide Tip: "For smalleys find a rock wall in the northern portion of the Delta with 70 degree water and you will find smallmouth willing to pounce on a popper."
Feather River - Poor to Fair Flows - 1,310 cfs from Lake Oroville. Temperature - Mid to high 60's. Clarity - Clear.
Fishing on the Feather has slowed for steelhead significantly as of the last report. On our most recent trip out last week the fish were few and far between and fairly small given the amount of work we put out for them. The water is warmer than ideal. Most steelhead taken have been on Prince nymph style caddis or swinging a streamer like a sculpin.
There are striper and shad in the Feather as well but we simply haven't been targeting them much as fishing has been so good on the Yuba and American. It may be worth having a look though.
Salmon fishing will open up on the Feather in July 15. This river offers one of the best chances to hook and land a salmon on a fly rod in California. If you are interested give us a ring. (707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055.
Steelhead Nymphs: San Juan Worms, Prince Nymphs 8 to 10, Birds Nests and Copper Johns 10 -14. Black, Green, and Tan B.H. Caddis Poopahs 14-16, Red Headed Step Child, Tungsten Salvation 14-16 and Micro Mays 14-16, Brown or Black Rubber Legs 6-10, Cheese Micro Spawn and Sucker Spawn and eggs ( Peachy King, Roe and Tangerine )
Salmon and Steelhead Swinging Flies: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 in black/blue and Black/Chart, Intruders, Perpetrators, Beach Bums, Olive Sculpins, Cream Soft Hackles and Blood Sucking Leaches.
Striper Streamers: Byng's Baitfish - 1/0, Angel's Chartreuse and White, Angels Delta Danger and Angel's Smolt. Shad Flies: Bloody Marias, Orange Thing and Bleeder
Napa River - Good. Water Temps - 65 to 69 degrees. Water Clarity - Good in town, but stained down in the sloughs Fishing has been good of late on the Napa. Warmer weather has brought on the common summer conditions here. This includes warmer water and good numbers if fish. Most fish have been fairly small recently but fish to 25 or 26" are here as well. Although the fish are smaller now is the time for good numbers of fish. Anglers are seeing good clarity in town and murkier water to the south towards the sloughs and the Bay. Regardless of the off color water even the lower river has fished well. The Napa River and the rest of the San Francisco should fish well all summer as long as wind allows. Best bets will be fishing sinking lines (T - 11 to T - 14) with 1 to 2/0 clouser style flies with rattles.
Putah Creek- Good to Great. Flows - 440 cfs. Clarity - Good (6+ feet). Water temps - 50's
Putah continues to fish well again this week. Flows have climbed this week and then dropped back down to 560 as of today. Fishing takes a day or so to stabilize after a flow hike or drop.Wading is tougher now than earlier this Spring however guides and guests continue to find some really handsome fish on this local treasure. Fishing the small stuff continues to pay off. High sticking and euro nymphing has been the ticket. BWO's and midges are the go to's, but some solid fish have been after caddis recently as well. The tight line has produced better than indicators recently. If you see fish rising try fishing a caddis soft hackle or even a dry. You may be surprised at what comes knocking...
If you live in San Francisco, the Bay Area or Sacramento and if you like catching big wild fish then this is one fishery you need to learn. Fishing is prime and will continue to fish well prior to the big Summer flow hike sometime in May when flows will be over 800 cfs. Its time to go now.
Guide Tip: Allow your flies to swing up at the end of the drift. This has produced some grabs. Give streamers a go right now too. You may land the fish of a lifetime.
Redding Area trout - Fair (Upper Sac, McCloud, Pit, Hat Creek, Fall River) Water - high
The Redding area boasts some of the oldest and best catch an release rivers in the United states. The McCloud and Pit Rivers have fished well recently. If you have specific interest in one or more of these rivers give us a ring for current conditions. (707)287-2939 (916)722-1055
A scrappy McCloud River Red Band who fell for a Royal Wolf.
Russian River Steelhead - Poor. Smallmouth - Fair to good. Shad - Fair. Flows - 305- at Healdsburg, 425 cfs at Guernville. Temps - 60's. Water clarity - Fair.
The Russian River Winter Steelhead run is in the books. It was nice to get out a bit on this storied water and hook some fish and even see our guests have success. We will be looking forward to next year.
For now on the Russian it is time to turn your attention to smallmouth bass and Shad. We target smallies on a variety of lines using streamers and occasionally there can be some topwater action first thing in the morning as well. It is important to keep an eye on water temps as smalleys like 70 degree water. Once water temps approach their preferred level begin hunting for them along rocky ledges, or pools. Fish clousers and craw dad patterns on the bottom. Do this and wade and approach "fishy water" cautiously and you will likely be rewarded.
The shad have arrived! If you live in San Francisco or Sonoma county and you want to catch good numbers of fish that fight hard and are known for their aerial antics then grab a rod and get in our boats. The run is just getting started but this coming week it will get crazy good. Give us a ring to target theses Shad, Spring smalleys or get on the call list for steelhead for next year. (707)287-2939.
Smallmouth Flies: Small poppers in a variety of colors such as green, white, yellow, brown etc.such as #2 - 4 Pultz Poppers, Brown Wolly Buggers, Clouser Minnows #2-6.
Smallmouth Flies: Small poppers in a variety of colors such as green, white, yellow, brown etc. #2 - 4 Pultz PoppersBrown, black or Olive Wolly Buggers.
San Francisco Bay Striper - Fair to Good- Water temps - 60's
We continue find decent numbers of fish in the San Francisco Bay. Some days are better thatn others. Striper are the name of the game. The challenge is to find a day to get out there on them where the wind isn't howling. On calmer days we are getting some good fishing in, however one day recently we were blown off by 11:a.m. Good water flows and healthy bait population continue to provide a fantastic environment throughout this fishery. Anglers with a modicum of casting ability tend to do best however our guides are good at setting up even first time striper anglers for success. There are even some near shore opportunities for Kelp Bass depending on conditions. Despite the challenges of this fishery there is something inherently cool about fly fishing within sight of the Golden Gate Bridge!
We will say that having a competent captain is even more imperative here than some of the other fisheries in California. We happen to know one or two! If you will be in San Francisco Bay Area or live close and want to get out and give this a try give us a jungle at (530)242-4122(O) (707)287-2939 (C) For more on fly fishing the San Francisco Bay click here...
Lower Sacramento Trout - Fair to Good. Flows 9,500 cfs out of Keswick. Water Temps - Lower 50's. Clarity - Ultra Clear (10 ft vis)
Things are still pretty good on the Sac. Water is up to 9,500 cfs but super clear. Fishing has been good most days but only fair on others. Yellow Sallies, PMD's and Caddis all on the menu. Hot summer weather just around the corner. Clear conditions are requiring longer casts to not spook the fish you are targeting.
Nymphs: Best flies have been Birds Nests (beaded and non) 14-16. Little Yellow Stones 12 - 14. Peaches and Cream 14-16, X Mays, Hogans S&M and Mercers Micro May in 16 to 18 (black and olive producing best). Copper Johns 16-18 Black and Brown Rubber legs 6-10, Amber Wing Prince - 16,
Dries: Light Cahill 14 - 16, Parachute Light Cahill 14 to 16, Elk Hair Caddis, 14 to 16, Hackle Stacker PMD 14 - 16, Lawson's PMD 14 to 16
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 email@example.com
Upper Sacramento Trout - Great. Water Clarity - Clear. Water temps - 60's
The Upper Sac is fishing really great right now. Some stones and small caddis making for good fishing. Hitting the rivers many pockets is truly epic right over the last few days with tons of grabs. Dries: Stimulators 12 -14, March Brown - 18, Adams 12-20, Parachute Adams 14-18, Chubby Chernobyl Golden 8 -10, Mercer's Flush Floater Foam Stone - 8 Nymphs: G.B. Birds Nest 10 - 14, Rubber Leg Stone - Brown 6 - 8, Gordon's Amber Wing Prince 12 - 18, Mercer's Mirco May 14-16. Hogan's S&M Green, Brown or Black 16 to 20
Guide Tip: Tie on a bushy dry and a heavy bead head dropper and have a great time. The fish aren't huge, but very fun and it's not crowded at all.
Truckee River - Fair to Good. Flows 400 cfs in Town, Water Temps - 50s. Water Clarity - Clear. Little Truckee - Good to Great.
Truckee is fishing fairly good for some not so much for others. Some donkeys being hooked right now but success on the larger fish has been limited to competent anglers. Water is cold and has a nice steelhead green color. There has also been a killer baetis hatch.
Nymphs: Specific patterns include Golden Stones 10 to 14, San Juan worms, 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
Yosemite Area Trout - Good. Water temps 50's and 60's. Water Clarity - "Gin clear"
Things are finally fishing well in the Yosemite Area. With plenty of water it is looking to be a great season in and around the park. All the tributaries as well as main rivers are fishing well so there are plenty of options to choose from. The high-country is finally fishable so time for your altitude attitude back.
Dries: Carpenter Ants 12 -16 Adam's Parachute 14 to 16, Elk Hair Caddis, Green, Brown or Black - 14 to 16, Stimulators 12-14, Royal Wolf and Humpies 14 -16, Split Wing PMD 16-18, Rusty Spinner 16-18, Quigley's Sparkle Flag 16-18, Solitude PMD, 16-18, Missing Line 14-18
Nymphs: Specific patterns include Little and Golden Stones 10 to 14, Rubber Leg (brown and black 8 - 10. Hare's Ear 14 and Pheasant Tail and B.H. Pheasant Tail 14 - 16. Prince Nymph 12 -16.
Guide Tip : PMD's and Mahogany Duns have been showing up in the afternoons. Still a few stoneflies out there this week. Don't forget to hike the extra mile...It will usually pay off!
Yuba River Trout - Poor to Fair. Striper - Fair (but improving) Shad - Great Flows 2,170 cfs . Water Temps - Mid 50's. Water Clarity - clear.
The Yuba is back into shape although still a bit high for this time of year.
As far as trout goes recently it has fished better for some than for others. The Yuba has been through two horrendously high water years that have been hard on bug life and on the trout population. We have a feeling there is a direct correlation here with the scouring that the river got in late Spring this year and the low numbers of bugs we are seeing. By now we should have PMD's coming off and BWO's in the morning followed by Caddis all over the place in the afternoon and evening. Not only have we not see many recently in the air there haven't been many on the rocks in the river either. Despite this a soft hackle or wooly bugger swung through a likely run will usually produce a grab. If nymphing is your thing then running a brown rubber legs has also worked well. The fish we have hooked recently were good sized but just not that many are finding the net as we would like. It may take a while for it to get back to "normal" but even on an off year we still love the Yuba.
Many California visitors as well as local anglers are unaware of the Shad and striper fishing below Daguerre Dam on the Yuba. (See Delta and American for info on both of these species) We have exclusive access to drift this area as well as maneuver up to fish via jet boats. This can be some very productive fishing. We have days with up to 100 fish with shad, striper and trout all finding the net and guests leaving with big smiles and sore arms and backs. Fishing continues to be hot right now!!! We are getting fish sometimes on back to back casts so now is the time to go! Expect shad to continue to fish well through Mid August at least.
Call now as we have very limited calendar dates and the phone seems to be ringing off the hook right now. Do not delay...call (707)287-2939 direct or at the shop (916)722-1055 for more info or to reserve some red hot fishing.
Trout Nymphs: Rubber Legs in brown and yellow, 8 to 12, CDC Prince Nymph, Fox's Poopah, 14 to 16 Speroni's Baetis 16 - 20, Hogan's S&M, Military May, Mercer's Micro May Olive, Brown, Black 16 - 20, Hogan’s S&M nymph (olive, brown) -18, and Copper Johns (red, olive, copper) 14-18.
Trout Dries:Parachute Adams, Light Cahill, Parachute Light Cahill 14 to 16, Pink Alberts 14 to 16 Elk Hair Caddis, 14 to 16, Hackle Stacker PMD 14 - 16, Lawson's PMD 14 to 16, Quiggly's Hackle Stacker 14 - 16, CDC Thorax 14 - 18, BWO Parachutes -18. Trout Streamers: Parachute
Striper Flies:Stay Hungry Streamers Byng's Baitfish, Angel's Chartreuse and White, Angels Delta Danger and Angel's Smolt, Toby's Rainbow Clouser 4/0, Toby's A.R. Rainbow 4/0, American River Special 3/0
Shad Flies - Any small bright colored shad fly in orange, pink, white or red will work. Bloody Maria, Orange Thing, Bleeder. Swing by the shop to pick up some shad candy.
Almanor Trout - Good. Lake is full! Surface temps. 64 deg's. Water clarity - clear (15 ft visibility)
Fishing has been good on Almanor recently. The fabled Hex hatch has begun and will continue to improve over the next couple weeks. Some browns are already being caught near the dam, but the rainbows have not keyed in on them there quite yet. Bass and trout fishing mid day has been a bit hit or miss recently. There are a few rainbows being caught at 20 to 30 ft depth with hex nymphs mid day but not many. It is generally best to wait until the magic hour at around 7:45 to head out to fish.
Guide Tip : Have 2 rods ready to go one with a sinking line and one with a dry. Start fishing at 30 ft depth and move to 20 ft as the evening goes on. Finish the night on top with dries the last few minutes of the day. There are more places than just the dam to catch fish at this time.
Dries : Mercer's Foam Body Hex, Mercer's Poxyback Emerger and Milts X Cripple - 6. Popcorn Hex - 6, Hex Drake - 6, Sexy Hexican - 6 Streamers: Hale Bopp Leach - Olive - 10
If you would like to get out and give Almanor this a try call (707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055.
Clear Lake bass - Good. Water surface temps - Mid 60's Water clarity - Fair
Fishing is shifting from Crappie to largemouth for fly fishers on Clear Lake. Fishing is pretty good although the lake is starting to get busy with boaters. Still good fishing to be had. Some topwater action available first thing, but most success for us on the fly has been on streamers. Having a boat or getting a guided trip is critical as there is very little access on foot.
Poppers: Pulz Poppers, Umpqua Swimming Frog, Bubblicious, Tod Wiggleman
Streamers: Papi Chulo, Brown or black B H. Wolly Bugger 6 to 10, Slumb Buster - 8, Geeza Lizard - 1/0, Black Sculpzilla - 4.
Sierra Foothill Bass(Oroville, Englebright etc.) - Fair to Great!Water Temps - 65 - 72 degrees. Water clarity- Clear to slight color
There is something special in our opinion about summer bass fishing. Things are jumping off pretty good for bass fishing here in California. Our days on the water start with top water fishing and continue until every bit of shade has been tried and or gone away as the sun gets over head. After that it is on to streamers and crawdad patterns. Weather can be a bit warm this time of year so bringing the right clothing and a good shade hat is suggested. The good news is sizable fish can be found through out the day even once the top water bite ends and things switch to streamers. Good numbers of fish can be had now and will continue through out the summer.
Let us know if we can assist in setting up a memorable fly fishing trip for you this summer.
Guide Tip: Wear a wide brimmed hat for shade in conjunction with quick drying breathable clothing. Also having a Buff or bandanna to dip in the lake or even the ice water in the cooler can really keep things bearable during this hot part of the year.
Poppers: Pulz Poppers, Umpqua Swimming Frog, Bubblicious, Tod Wiggleman
Streamers: Papi chulo, Brown or black B H. Wolly Bugger 6 to 10, Slumb Buster - 8, Geeza Lizard - 1/0, Black Sculpzilla - 4.
Pyramid Lake NV* Cutthroat - Poor. Surface Temps - too warm
We sit here as of this writing over a month after our last Pyramid trip still basking in the afterglow of a pretty amazing season. It really was a great year. Yes there were ups and downs, but all things considered it was a great one. Lots of laughs, some sore arms, even some heartbreaking moments with fish lost right at the net to go with many great memories of success and personal bests. Even with all the curve balls that nature can throw our way, we are truly excited at the prospects going forward. With lake levels coming up several feet again this year and the sizes of fish seeming to be getting even bigger we are looking forward to the seasons ahead. If you haven't experienced Pyramid yourself. Give us a ring and put something on the calendar for next year. Based on these past two years you're not going to want to miss this...