Friday, April 12, 2019

Northern California Fly Fishing Report - April 12, 2019

Spring seems to have finally arrived here in Northern California. With it some much needed fishing time for us and our guests. Several waters are still closed however the general trout season opener is right around the corner! For now there are a few good year round trout options to go with good striper and red hot bass fishing!

Best bets; Delta - Striper, Lake Berryessa, Clear Lake - Bass, Truckee - Trout, Trinity -Steelhead, Pyramid - Cutthroats

American River- Steelhead
Rating: Fair
Flows: 10k
Clarity: Gin on the rocks

Anglers are surprisingly catching a fair number of steelhead.  Fresh chrome fish are still entering the system.  This is abnormal but no one is complaining about steelhead fishing in April. The fish are reacted well to swung flies.  Classic flies have been producing.  Try a Anderson’s Euphoria or a Thalken's Tiny Dancer. 

Shad season is just around the corner.  The end of the month the river should be full of fish.  High water years make really good shad runs.  On their tails are the stripers.  This is going to one heck of a shad/striper year in the Sacramento valley.

Guide Tip: Make sure to be in a boat at 10k. There isn’t a lot of on foot access right now.

Lake Berryessa: Largemouth, Smallmoth, Spotted bass, Crappie and occasionally a trout or two
Rating: Good to Great
Flows: Not Applicable 
Water Temps: 55-60 degrees 
Water Clarity: clear to a bit off color depending on how much wind there is and how much rain there has been
We've been having a blast catching bass recently here in Nor Cal since many waters have been tough going.

Action has really switched on on Berryessa and many of our Northern California Lakes. We're seeing great numbers of spotted bass, smallmouth, largemouth, Crappie and even trout hooked recently. This has so far been one of the best years for bass we have had. Getting both quality and quantity right now. 

Phillip with a Berryessa rainbow!

Action remains great from morning throughout the day and into the evenings. The float and fly has produced best along sunny shoreline tight to the banks on the rock drop offs. Cover water to find fish and then it has been one after another. Streamer fishing also producing although not as good on numbers. Olive and black streamers fished parallel to shore or in to the bank from a boat worked the last few days. 

John G. with a Lake Berryessa Bass.

There are opportunities to put awesome numbers of fish in the boat right now. It is great to have such fun fishing so close to the Napa Valley, San Francisco and Sacramento. If you are interested in giving this a go let us know. Call (530)242-4122 for more info and to book your adventure.

Guide Tip: Cover water to find fish look for drop offs and rocky shore line in the sun. 

Clear Lake - Largemouth Bass, Crappie
Rating: Good-Great
Temps: 54-59 degrees
Clarity: Varying by day. Up to 1'-4'

Crappie action has also been good on Clear Lake recently. The size of these fish has been really impressive this year. We aren't seeing those hundred fish days yet, but the average size makes up for this. Still getting into 20-30 crappie each day. Aside from the crappie fishing, the bass spawn is on the cusp of going off and has actually started in certain areas of the lake. We're getting a half dozen to 12 or more bass per day.  We still target crappie throughout the spring, however once the bass begin spawning, we will get those big 5lb+ on the crappie rods and plenty of bucket mouths to go around. Come find out what all the hype is all about from our conventional friends. Clear Lake truly is a special place and one that we fly anglers can have some banner fishing too.

Crappie will hammer a fly just like Bass this time of year.
Guide Tip: Always look for structure. Great crappie structure includes docks, tules, windbreaks, and flooded timber. Always exercise maximum caution if in Clear Lake in a small watercraft, pontoon, etc. Stay out of the wind.

California Delta - Striper
Rating: Fair to Good
Flows: Not Applicable 
Water Temps: 55-60 degrees 
Water Clarity: clear to a bit off color depending on the area but good in much of the Delta.

Guides and guests have been battling with wind and rain...but being rewarded! TBT We're ready for sunshine!
Striper fishing on the Delta is going strong! The waters have warmed & cleared through much of the Delta, water temperatures are 55-60 degrees in various parts. Stripers will likely spawn in next few weeks so fishing should be great for next 2 months. The last few times we have I been averaging 10-20 fish. Most of the fish we have been finding are smaller “schoolies” but 3-5lb fish are mixed in & the occasional larger fish can be found as well! Spring season is rolling & prime fishing is here. For sub-surface Stripers our guides are using 1/0-3/0 rattle style Clouser flies in various color combinations. Get out fishing or book your Spring Delta adventure now. Our guides are booking up fast. (530)242-4122.

Fly Fishing Specialties regular Randy R  with a fist full of striper.
Guide Tip: Keep moving until you find willing fish that bite, generally chasing the tide or moving water is a good bet to put fish on the feed. Then when you find them keep working and try and catch their friends! 

Foothill Bass Lakes Lake Oroville - Largemouth, Smallmouth, Spotted Bass etc.
Rating: Great
Temps 54-59 degrees
Clarity: Varying by day. Up to 2'-5'+ 

Action has really switched on on Oroville. We're seeing great numbers of spotted bass being landed. It's been one of the best years for bass we have had. Getting both quality and quantity right now. Action remains great from morning throughout the day into the evenings. 

Guide Tip: Cover water to find fish schooling up. Float n fly is a great method right now, before we see the bigger hot spells.

Feather River - Steelhead
Rating: Poor
Flows: High
Clarity: Hot cocoa with marshmallows

The river is flooded, they are dumping water out of Oroville and it is unfishable. 

Guide Tip: Don’t Go

Napa River - Striper
Rating: Fair and improving
Clarity: 2ft
Temps: 55-58

The Napa has been fishing pretty poorly until recently.  The river is muddy and it is hard for fish to find food.  The river is clearing and should be in prime shape by the end of the week.  Best fishing is in the upper section of the river.

Guide Tip: Try 1/0-3/0 baitfish imitations in grey/white or chartreuse/white.  T-11 or T-14 lines to get your bugs down.

Putah Creek
Rating: Poor
Flows: High
Clarity: Clear
Temps: Fine

The glory hole at Lake Berryessa above Putah Creek is quite a sight. Fishing will improve once it stops spilling over.

The little creek is still at 1200 cfs.  It looks like it is on the mend but it still isn’t where we would like it.  A few fish are being caught but there isn’t a lot of places to fish.  With limit runs to fish right now and the pressure you might wait in line to fish.  Keep an eye on the flows.  When they drop down to the 500 mark it will be game on. If you would like to get on the wait list call us at (530)242-4122.

Guide Tip: Hire a guide this time of year.  This frustrating fishery is hard enough on it’s own and increasingly hard with high flows.

It wont be long before we will be chasing the rainbow on Putah!

Pyramid Lake Nevada
Rating: Good to Great
Flows: N/A
Clarity: Clear
Water Temps: Cold (48 Deg.)

Pyramid Lake continues to blow our minds!!! Recent storms brought wind and over cast conditions and the fishing has been good but will only get better. Fish are in the shallows and on the prowl. It is amazing to see 10 to 15+ pound fish in two foot of water of less. Prime water temps are 52-55 degrees so we are still few degrees away from liftoff.

Some of the common beaches have been very crowded but for the no other reason reason than people are catching a bunch of fish.  Since we have had over a decade of the Pilot strain being reintroduced there is now such an outstanding number of fish in the lake and plenty of beaches to catch them at.  Finding new water can be very rewarding and add some new excitement to old regiments. If you do choose to join the crowded beaches we all ask that you please use proper etiquette when fishing near other people. There’s plenty of room for everyone to have a great time and catch plenty of fish. Thank you! 

John R. and his son Jay taking a break for some winter fun!

On the actual fishing side we have been doing very well using various midges and nymphs in red, wine, and black.  With or without an indicator.  We always get asked “what depth should we be fishing?” The answer to this all depends on what beach you are fishing. It could be 4ft it could be 18ft. Determining the depth of the beach quicker will help you decide the depth that’s needed to fish that particular spot. Play around with depths and you might be pleasantly surprised. Sinking lines are great way to determine depths on a sandy beach or to find an ledge farther out. Stripping sinking line has been tried and true and is never a bad go-to way of fishing any beach that won’t snag you up. 

Popcorn beetles and boobies accompanied by a wooly bugger or streamer on or close to the bottom is great universally around the lake. Many of our big fish this year have come from stripping sinking line and/or shooting heads.

IT IS GO TIME! Call (530)242-4122(O) or (707)287-2939 (C) for more details or to schedule your trip. The fish of a lifetime is moving into the shallows within range. Don't miss your chance.

Lower Sacramento - Trout
Rating: Poor!
Flows: Big
Clarity: Latte'

The Lower Suck is big and brown.  A few fish were being found by the guides who are routinely on the river.  The flows however just jumped to over 40,000 cfs. Shasta county Sheriff's office is not allowing people on the river when it is over 30,000 cfs.  It may be a while before were back on the SacWe are hoping the water drops sooner than later as it is a traditional Spring bonanza up here. 

Stay tuned....

Guide Tip: Once the water drops it will be back to Rubber legs, egg imitations, and other attractors.

Trinity River- Steelhead
Rating: Good to Poor
Flows: 300 (Lewiston)

Steelhead are still in the system up high in the river.  The bite is still on whether you want to swing or nymph.  There have been reports of good march brown hatches.  The season is almost done out there though as they plan to raise the flows on Monday. What a great season it has been though. We are already looking forward to chasing chrome again next year. 

A big thank you to all who fished steelhead with us this season. Thanks for the memories!

Guide Tip: Our guide Brian says we only have about a week and half for good fishing on the Trinity. The flows are scheduled to go up on April 18th

Truckee River - Trout
Rating: Good
Flows: High
Water Temps: 46 deg
Clarity: Good for now.

Flows on the T this year are big similar... to 2017.  There is still a lot of good water to focus in on.  Look for areas on the river that have big sweeping bends.  The inside cut of these will have fish stacked up in the.  Having fish podded up is a really good thing and can create some really fun fishing.  The river is still really clear but run off should be starting soon.  Right now is a combination of bugs, on light line.  There isn’t as much of the river to fish right now so fish your spots thoroughly.  Change bugs often if you are not getting grabs.  The fish are eating small San Juan worms, baetis, and midges.  The march browns and skwalas should be around shortly too.  Try a rubber legs with a standard pheasant tail as your set up.

Guide Tip: Make sure you are bumping bottom and coming up with dirty flies every once in a while.  The water temps are cold so make the meals easy for them.

Yuba River - Trout
Rating: Good
Flows: High 5k+
Clarity: Clear

The Yuba is fishing great right now.  The flows are big  but the clarity is suitable and the fish are eating.  Fish the edges, that is your only hope at these flows on foot.  Nymphing is the go-to method right now with a little bit of dry fly fishing.  There is good bug life right now too.  There are still skwalas out and about but the main bug is the march browns.  Fish march brown emergers or soft hackles and you’ll get some good grabs.  There are a few sprinkled pmds out too.  Watch the flows and if they start to come down then there will be more places to fish.

Guide Tip:  Guide Jordan says a sz 10 rubber legs in any color with a sz 14 pheasant tail below it is the best One Two punch right now.  He has switched all his indicators to Jaydacators and the results are great.  He says, they are the best casting indicator on the planet and they are a lot more sensitive to takes then Thingamabobbers or Airlocks. 

Now is the time to begin booking your Spring Shad/striper trips on the Lower Yuba. We have some of the very best private access to the Lower Yuba. Once the Shad come in at the beginning of next month the fishing will be insane. High water years like this the run begins later but seems to run longer. We had 100 fish days last year on the Yuba. Some days we catch Shad, Striper and trout all on the same day. Availability is small and our guides are booking up cast. Call (530)242-4122 to get in on the soon to be action.

Shop Regular Bob with a typical Yuba River Striper. The smile says it all these trips are a blast.

Yosemite - Trout
Rating:  Poor
Flows:  High

Go rafting or skiing.  
Guide Tip:  Patience is a virtue

Thanks for reading the report. If you enjoyed it please dont forget to like and share.. If you have any photos or personal reports to share please email them to mike@offthehookflyfishing.

Tight lines everyone!


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