Thursday, May 16, 2019

Northern California Fly Fishing Report May 16, 2019

Water water everywhere...Good fishing to be had despite higher than normal flows. It is going to be a great Summer and Fall as a result. Time to get out and take advantage of all the opportunities. 

Best bets; Lower Sac, Pit River or McCloud, Fall River - Trout,  American and Yuba River - Shad, Lake Berryessa, Oroville and Clear Lake - Bass. 

Lake Almanor - Trout and Smallmouth Bass - Good to Great
Rating:Good to great
Flows: Na
Water Temps: 55 to 60 Deg
Clarity: 8 to 20 ft

Fishing Report: It is finally warming up!! Smallmouth are on a tear!! there are lots of reds already but plenty of pre-spawn bass. Please stay away from those spawning fish. Clouser minnows and crawdad patterns have been best. The Chironomid hatch is also in full swing. Rainbows are taking them in open water. Lots of rising fish in areas where the hatch is heaviest. 

Best flies have been #14 to 16 Mercury Midge however just about any midge will do.

Guide Tip: Look for the Rising Bows when you're looking for Trout the Pre-Spawn Bass have been Hanging near the areas there planning on Spawning. If you see Spawning Bass just go to the nearest Drop off.

American River - Shad - Good, Striper - Fair to Good, Steelhead - Poor
Rating: Good
Flows: 9000 CFS
Visibility : Good

Fishing Report: Shad are in the system.  Not super strong numbers compared to the Yuba and Lower Feather, but there definitely around. The lower river and strangely the upper river are fishing well.  We imagine by next week the whole river will be full. American River shad will take swung flies but prefer dead drifted flies under and indicator. Best fishing is usually early and late however they can be caught throughout the day.

Striper are showing up as well and will be full force in a week or so. Steelhead are all but done for the year but there are plenty of other options to explore here in Northern California. 

Now is the time to reserve your American River Shad and Striper trips! Call (530)242-4122.

Shad Flies: Bloody Marias or any brightly colored shad patterns.

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, Clousers - chartreuse/white, gray/white

Guide Tip: Make sure to be in a boat at 9k cfs.  There isn’t a lot of on foot access right now.

Lake Berryessa: Largemouth, Smallmouth, Spotted bass, Crappie and occasionally a trout or two
Rating: Great
Flows: Not Applicable 
Water Temps: 65 - 70 degrees 
Water Clarity: clear to a bit off color depending on how much wind there is and how much rain there has been

Fishing Report: Lake Berryessa has been fishing incredibly well. The bite has been starting later around 10:00 when things begin to heat up. Look for sun and pockets of shade on sunny banks. Fish are being caught throughout the entire lake to be honest. There is allot of new structure and flooded vegetation with the higher water levels this year giving more bass reasons to hang in the shallows. These are absolutely prime bass conditions right now.Float n fly has been a top producer but streamers and some top water are procuring as well. Lots of very big fish landed and hooked, with incredible overall numbers of fish as well these last few weeks on FFS/OTH trips.

Bass Flies: Your favorite float and fly patterns in white, chartrouse, white/gray, black/purple. frog poppers and diving frog patterns, leaches, Woolly Buggers, dark rabbit bass flies.

For more on Berryessa click here...

Clear Lake - Largemouth Bass, Crappie
Rating: Good-Great
Temps: 56-70 degrees
Clarity: Varying by day. Up to 1'-4'

Crappie action has slowed a bit on Clear Lake recently however the bass fishing has taken off. We're getting a half dozen to 15 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.

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  
Rating: Fair to Good
Flows: NA 
Water Temps: 60-65 degrees 
Water Clarity: Clear to a bit off color depending on the area but good in much of the Delta.

Guests have been working to get the good fish but it has paid off.
Fishing Report: Striper fishing on the Delta has been up & down the last few days. Some days they are on a good bite, other days they just don’t seem to bite much. Winds had laid down last week & it felt like summer out there with nearly 90 degrees & some windy days. This week the temps dropped, the rain came in and the wind picked up. Water temperatures are 60-65 degrees in various parts of the Delta & Stripers are in spawn mode. Last few times out we have I been averaging 10-20 fish, most fish we have been finding are smaller “schoolies” but 3-5lb fish are mixed in & the occasional larger fish can be found as well! For sub-surface Stripers I am using 1/0-3/0 rattle style & classic Clouser style flies in various color combinations. Get out fishing or book your Spring Delta adventure soon before it’s all over!  We will be soon following them up into the rivers such as the American, Sacramento, Feather, and Yuba or shifting our attention to Delta Largemouth and smallmouth. 

For more on Delta Striper click here...

Fun Summer smallmouth fishing will begin mid June. If you have young aspiring fly fishers this is a great option to get them hooked. We fish topwater poppers and relatively short casts and surface action make this fun for the whole family. Summer dates already booking up! Call (530)242-4122 or (707)287-2939 to set something up.

Young anglers do really well on Delta Smallmouth.
For more on Delta Smallmouth fishing click here...

Striper flies:  Clouser style flies like Byng's Baitfish - 1/0, Angel's Chartreuse and White, Angels Delta Danger and Angel's Smolt. Surface wise it has been hard to beat a Crease fly  in 1/0 - 2/0 sizes.

Largemouth: Diving Frogs, Stay Hungry Streamers - 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 Poppers Brown, Black or Olive Woolly Buggers.

Guide Tip: Hire a guide or drive around & find clear water, find moving water based on tide in that area, fish areas 2-15’ deep with ambush points preferably.

Fall River  
Rating: Good
Flows: Not Applicable 
Water Temps: Cold

Fishing Report: Fishing on the Fall has been good and typical for early season. With two back to back high water years it should be really good fishing all this season. There aren't all that many insects hatching yet but warmer weather will soon remedy that. Sunlight and warmth will trigger the growth of prolific weed beds that Fall River insects love. This will help bring pmd's into action. A good bet is to start the day fishing nymphing with Baetis, PMD's and Midges to pods or holding fish. Once this begins to slow mid day switch to fishing leeches or wooly buggers through the deeper holes and runs.

Nymphs : PMD, BWO  16 to 18 and Midge patterns 18 to 22 exa; X Mays, Hogans S&M and Mercers Micro May in 16 - 18, Soft Hackle Peacock 16 to 18, PT's HBI's, Zebra Midges.

Dries : PMD, BWO dries and emergers exa; Parachute Adams - 12, EC Caddis, Missing Link, 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, 

Streamers : Your favorite Leach pattern, Hale Bopp,Damsel Leaches, Wolly Buggers,

For more on the Fall River click here...

Truckee River
Rating: Good
Flows: High
Clarity: Off color

Fishing Report:  Flows are still big on the Big T and Little T.  Both are still fishing really well regardless of the big water.  You’ll want to hone in on water type.  Soft edges without swirly water or back eddys fish best right now with current flows.  Bring your fly boxes and back up patterns. We are losing a ton of flies right now trying to fish the deep edges.  There are lots of rocks and snags due to high water.

The trout opener is a few weeks behind us.  Some of the smaller creeks are really good right now with the high water.  

Guide Tip: Do not be one minded.  Trout are great but there are some really nice bass options up there too.  Ask your guide.

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, Fox's Poopahs, Dirty Birds, GB Prince Nymphs and regular and GB Birds Nests 12 - 16.

Dries: Carpenter Ants,  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.

Foothill Bass Lakes, Lake Oroville Englebright etc. - Largemouth, Smallmouth, Spotted Bass etc.
Rating: Great!
Temps 63-67 degrees
Clarity: Clear

Fishing Report: Lake Oroville along with many other Sierra Foothill lakes is fishing exceptionally well right now. Fish are being caught throughout the entire lake. There is allot of new structure and flooded vegetation with the higher water levels giving more bass good reasons to hang shallow. These are absolutely prime bass conditions. Topwater and streamer fishing on a floating line is producing great in the early mornings, float n fly is producing great in the afternoons, and back to surface action in the evenings. 

Bass Flies: Your favorite float and fly patterns in white, chartrouse, white/gray, black/purple. frog poppers and diving frog patterns, leaches, Woolly Buggers, dark rabbit bass flies.

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: Great
Flows: High
Clarity: Clear
Flows: 3,500 cfs

Fishing Report: The river has dropped over the past few weeks and we found a boat load of spring steelhead in there. The fish are really grabby right now taken mainly floss worms, Hogan’s S&Ms, and the green bubble back caddis.  We have had to go down to 4x some days to get grabs but we got grabs where we had struggled prior to switching.  The majority of the fish are wild but smaller, in the 16-inch range.  These guys are really feisty and fun.  Don’t get complacent and set on anything, there are huge fish in there too right now. 

Guide Tip: 3500 is not a very good wadable flow, it is a great drift boat flow.

Hat Creek
Rating: Good
Clarity: Some color
Temps: Mid 50's

Fishing Report: High water in the North State is visible on the Hat Creek drainage as well. Despite these conditions, fishing is still good. The Salmon flies haven't started hatching in earnest, so fishing rubberlegs sub surface is the way to go. There are some BWO's around so fishing your favorite Blue Wing Olive nymphs is also picking off some fish. It won't be long before the PMD's kick into gear. At that point it will be time to mix in a Peaches and Cream or your favorite PMD imitation into your set up. As we get deeper into May, Salmonflies and golden stones will get strikes on large dry patterns. 

Guide tip: Chubby Cherynobyls and Rogue Foam Stones work really well in a dry dropper situation as summer flows drop down.  

For more on Hat Creek click here...

McCloud River Trout : Fair
Flows: 720 at Ah-Di-Na
Water temps: Mid 50's to low 60's. 
Clarity - Slight tinge of color.

McCloud River releases from Lake McCloud spiked from 520 to 700 CFS on Wednesday May 15th. This should slow fishing for a day or two. It should soon go back to eting Rubberlegs in brown and black, Dark Lords and Amberwing Princes. Streamers on I lines have fished well in the pools and deeper runs. As snow run off subsides access to the river will improve however the road is closed just past the cutoff down to McCloud Lake Dam rd. Anglers can hike down about 2/4 mile to Ash Camp from there.

Nymphs: Black and brown Rubbegs, Amberwing Prince, Dark Lords - 12-16, Hogans S&M and Mercers Micro May in 14 to 18 (black and olive producing best) Red Copper Johns 16 - 18, 

Dry Flies: Chubby Chernobyl, Stimulator - Orange, Fat Albert, Adams 14-18, Elk Hair Caddis  Tan 12-16, Mayfly Cripples 12-16 

Streamers: Woolly Buggers, Black or Olive Zonkers 6 to 10, Hale Bopp Leech - 8.

Napa River - Striper
Rating: Fair
Clarity: 2 to 3ft
Temps: 55-58

The Napa has been fishing so so of late.   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.

For more on the Napa River click here... 

Pit River - Trout
Rating: Fair to Great depending on flows and location
Clarity: 1 to 3 ft
Temps: Mid 50's

Our Guests have done really well despite high water and fluctuating releases from PG &E impoundments. Releases form Lake Britton at Pit #3 are at 500 CFS, 750 CFS at Pit #5 Big Bend. Some reaches have produced good numbers of fish despite high water for guests fishing with our guides while some folks have struggled on their own. Knowing where to go is key right now and definitely keep an eye on the flows.

Salmonflies have not started hatching yet however a black or brown Rubberlegs has been crushing it recently. Fishing a Dark Lord, Amber Prince or other small dark suggestive pattern beneath the big uglies' has been killin' it. PT.s and even dark balanced leaches and other streamers have caught fish this week as well believe it or not. Once these flows drop and the Salmon fly hatch starts consider fishing a dry dropper with a Rogue Stone, Chubby Chernobyl, or Stimulator up top and a smaller suggestive nymph fished below. This will be especially deadly once the flows drop and warmer water temps make fishing oxygenated pocket water or runs below riffles important.

If you are interested in good numbers of fish away from the crowds and in truly wild country, then consider hiring one of our guides to take you to out. Twenty to 30+ fish days have been happening recently. We still have great Spring and Summer dates available and the Pit will fish well all Summer and Fall. Call us to get in on the fun (530)242-4122 or (7070287-2939.

Putah Creek
Rating: Fair
Flows: 250 CFS
Clarity: Clear

Fishing Report:  The creek is in great shape but fishing is fair due to an insane amount of pressure.  Lot’s of anglers and guides out there right now making it tough to get into key runs.  The bugs are back. Really good BWO hatch at 10:00am and 3:00pm.  There is a strong caddis hatch on the upper river in the afternoon. It looks like flows dipped again and it is down to 250. They must be working on the diversion dam down below or doing some work on the turbines. 

Guide Tip: Avoid weekends as much as possible. Be polite with other anglers working the water. 

Pyramid Lake Nevada
Rating: Slowing
Flows: N/A
Clarity: Clear
Water Temps: Warm

Pyramid Lake continues to blow our minds!!! This has been a season to remember out there. Recent storms brought wind and over cast conditions however things are definitely winding 

Some of the common beaches have been very crowded but for the no other reason than people have been 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! 

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.

Lower Sacramento - Trout
Rating: Good to Great!
Flows: 9,000 CFS
Clarity: Prime

Fishing Report: Flows on Keswick are at 9,000 CFS and the river is looking prime. Water color is perfect with 2 to 3 feet of visibility. Fishing has been very good for our guests recently with not only good numbers but nice size fish caught from Redding to Red Bluff. Rubberleg Stones have been the top producers however smaller dark colored attractor nymphs are all working well. Some PMD's are coming off as are Gray Drakes and Yellow Sallies. Should start seeing more Caddis soon as weather warms. 

Now is the time to go!

Best flies have been Rubberlegs in brown and black. PMD's, BWO's and almost any small or large dark nymphs have been working. Yellow Sallie nymphs are also on the menu so have some in your box as well.

Guide Tip: good quality fluorocarbon tippet helps!

For more on the Lower Sac click here...

Upper Sacramento - Trout
Rating: Good 
Flows: 9,000 CFS
Clarity: Prime

Fishing Report: Fishing has been good on the Upper Sac despite high water conditions. Fish are chowing on Rubberlegs! Fish them tight line, under and indo or beneath a Chubby Chernobyl or Stimulator. Golden stones, PMD's and San Juan Worms are also good bets.

Best flies have been the black and brown Rubberlegs. Poxyback Golden Stone nymphs, Princes, Micro Mays, P.T's, Fox's Poopahs, Zebra Midges, San Juans and Squirmy Wormies are also worth mentioning.

Trinity River- Steelhead
Rating: Done until Fall
Flows: 300 (Lewiston)

Fishing Report:  Steelhead are gone and flows are way too high. Since some of our top guides book up a year in advance we recommend reserving your key dates now. We are already looking forward to chasing chrome again next year! Thank you to all of you who fished with us this season. 

Guide Tip: There are better places all over the state to be fishing right now ; )

Truckee River
Rating: Good
Flows: High

Fishing Report:  Flows on the Big and Little "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 fairly clear but run off should be starting soon.  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.  Soft edges without swirly water or back eddys. Bring full fly boxes and back up patterns.  Folks are losing a ton of flies right now trying to fish the deep edges. 

The trout opener is a few weeks behind us.  Some of the smaller creeks are really good right now with the high water. 

Guide Tip: Do not be close minded.  Trout are great but there are some really nice bass options up there too.  Ask your guide.

Yuba River - Trout - Good, Shad - Great!
Rating: Good
Flows: High 7k+
Clarity: Clear

Fishing Report: The Yuba is fishing fair right now for trout.  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 March Browns out and about but the main bug is the PMD.  Sprinkle a few small caddis out and about and you have yourself some good hatches.  Fish March Brown emergers or soft hackles and you’ll get some good grabs.  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.

Lower Yuba striper average 4 to 6 lbs although each year we catch them to double digits!

Yosemite National Park
Rating:  Poor
Flows:  High

Fishing Report:  Water is high and there are very few places to fish inside of the park.  We hope to be fishing by the end of June. Fingers crossed.

Guide Tip:  Hire a guide or spend a serious amount of time exploring. Patience is a virtue on this one folks.

Thanks for reading the report. If you enjoyed it please don't forget to like and share... If you have any photos or personal reports to share please email them to mike@offthehookflyfishing or call Mike at (707)287-2939.

Tight lines everyone!

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