Friday, July 12, 2019

Northern California Fly Fishing Report July 12, 2019

Happy Summer everyone. From fireworks and Bar-B-Q to High Sierra trout fishing and topwater Bass fishing...this time of year sure is a blast. Lots of water is making for a great season. Get out and play everyone!

Best bets; Lower Sacramento, Fall River, Pit River, McCloud River or Truckee - Trout,  Feather River - Steelehead, American River - Shad, Lake Almanor - Trout and Bass. 

Lake Almanor - Trout and Smallmouth Bass 

Flows: Na
Water Temps: 61-67 Deg
Clarity: 8 to 12 ft

Fishing Report: Fishing has been good on most days as long as wind cooperates. Now is the time to catch both trout and bass in good numbers on Almanor. The hex hatch will start to taper off soon so now is the time to go. This sought after hatch is something you don't want to miss. 

Best flies: Hex nymphs, Tan or gray Leaches(simulate hex nymphs emerging) Hex dries a last light.

Guide Tip: Start at 25ft and work to 10ft over muddy Bottom. Channels and drops can be very productive. Throwing a seductive looking leach can elicit some hard strikes from Smallmouth as well as browns and bows. 

American River - Shad - Fair, Striper - Fair to Good, Steelhead - Poor
Rating: Good
Flows: 4,000 CFS
Visibility : Good

Fishing Report:  Shad are still lurking around in the AR.  It’s getting late but some decent numbers are still being reported.  With the decrease of the shad around the striper bite should start to get better.  Once there are less fish around the stripers will start to get hungry and start searching for more meals.  They become more eager when their bellies are less full.

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: Best striper fishing has been in the very early morning. Fishing from a boat is by far the best way to go.

Lake Berryessa: Largemouth, Smallmouth, Spotted Bass, 
Rating: Fair
Flows: Not Applicable 
Water Temps: 75 - 77 degrees 
Water Clarity: 8 to 9 ft

Fishing Report: Fishing has slowed down on Lake Berryessa. All bass species are post spawn at this point but there are great topwater opportunities early and late. Fish are schooled up on secondary points in 10 - 20ft. Fishing full sink baitfish/leech patterns. 

Bass Flies: Your favorite popper fly patterns in white, chartreuse, white/gray, black/purple. Frog poppers and diving frog patterns, leaches, Woolly Buggers, dark rabbit strip flies.

For more on Berryessa click here...

Clear Lake - Largemouth Bass Fair - Good, Crappie - Poor
Temps: 68 to 72 degrees
Clarity: Varying by day. Up to 1'-4'

This year was one of the best Crappie/Spring Bass years that we have ever had on Clear Lake. That has long since passed and we are getting into the Summer Bass conditions on this amazing fishery. The bite has been good recently. We're getting a half dozen to 15 or more bass per day.  During the heat of the day some quality fish have come from under docks. Fishing will be good from now through mid September 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.

Flies: Small lightly weighted clousers with lots of white like the gray over white Stay Hungry Streamer or any shad imitations will work well. 

Guide Tip: Always look for structure. Fish a shad pattern around it and good things will happen. try having 3 streamer rods ready with I line, Type 4 and Type 6 to cover the depths. Find shade when ever possible right now and twitch a fly through it.

Foothill Bass Lakes, Lake Oroville Englebright etc. - Largemouth, Smallmouth, Spotted Bass etc.
Rating: Good
Temps: 66 - 76 degrees
Clarity: Clear

Fishing Report: Lake Oroville along with many other Sierra Foothill lakes is going pretty well right now. Topwater and streamer fishing on a floating line is producing great in the early mornings, Streamers on I lines or sinking lines in the afternoons, and back to surface action in the evenings. 

Focus on cover such as downed trees in the water and shaded areas like coves or along tules. Topwater blow ups are a blast and if they simply wont hit a popper then try stripping a black rabbit strip pattern. 

Bass fishing with topwater offering is one of our favorite things about Summer fly fishing! If you haven't tried it or maybe not done it in a while let us set it up for you. Call us at (707)287-2939 and well set it up.

Bass Flies: Frog poppers and diving frog patterns, leaches, Woolly Buggers, dark rabbit bass flies.

Guide Tip: Search for cover and shade to find the best fish. 

California Delta Striper - Poor, Largemouth - Good, Smallmouth - 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.

Fishing Report: Striper fishing on the Delta has slowed which is typical for this time of year. There are some schooley pods around that can be fun on light tackle when the wind cooperates. Some days they are on a good bite, other days they just don’t seem to bite much. Winds up to 15 miles an hour this last week and it has been hot. We have been following the migration 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 started late this year with all the cold water. It is going down now for sure.  If you have young aspiring fly fishers this is a great option to get them hooked. We fish topwater poppers and employ short casts and the surface action makes this fun for the whole family. Summer dates are going fast! Call (707)287-2939 to set something up.

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: Smalleys like the rocks, Largmouth like the trees, tules and weed lines.

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

Fishing Report: Fishing on the Fall has been good as good as ever. Plenteous hatches of PMD's, Baetis and Caddis have been keeping things poppin' in the morning and evening. With two back to back high water years it is shaping up to be really good fishing season. Sunlight and warm days have trigger the growth of prolific weed beds that Fall River insects love. A good bet is to start the day fishing nymphing with Baetis, PMD's and Midges to pods or holding fish. Or try the trout spey with a soft hacles. Once hatches begin keep swinging or switch to dries. Once the hatches ebb mid dday switch to fishing leeches or wooly buggers through the deeper holes and runs. Go back to dries once evening hatches come back into play.

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,

Guide tip: If you don't see hatches swing a leach or bugger or even a caddis pupae or damsel.

For more on the Fall River click here...

Feather River - Steelhead
Rating: Good
Flows: High
Clarity: Clear
Flows: 3,500 cfs

Fishing Report: The river has fished pretty respectable recently and some quality summer steelhead have shown up. The fish are pretty grabby right now taken mainly floss worms, Hogan’s S&Ms, and the green bubble back caddis. The majority of the fish are wild but smaller, in the 16- 18 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 wade-able flow, it is a great drift boat flow.

Hat Creek - Trout
Rating: Good
Flows: 190 CFS 

Clarity: Clear
Flows: 3,500 cfs

Hat Creek is another great option in the Redding Area that is a storied fishery for those of us who like catching and releasing wild trout. Fishing has been busy up there however so don't expect solitude the whole time when fishing it right now. Yellow Sallies, PMD's and Stones are the main hatches currently however there are some trapped/drowning Tricos being slurped up in the back eddys. Dry droppers with a Chubby Chernobyl are a good bet however even indo nymphing with black or brown rubber legs can do the trick. Later in the day try swinging a soft hackle or birds nest or better yet skitter a Goddards Caddis and see what happens.

Best flies: Stonefly and Salmonfly dries and nymphns, Green Drakes, Yellow Sallies, Caddis Pupae and dries and trico spinners.

McCloud River Trout : Good
Flows: 255 at McCloud Res., 260 at Ah-Di-Na
Water temps: Mid 50's to low 60's. 
Clarity - Slight tinge of color.

The McCloud River is a perennial Summer and Fall favorite. Current releases from the reservoir are at 255 CFS. Lots of flow and oxygen in the McCloud River make this a favorite Summer fishery. The Green Drakes are winding down however PMD's and Caddis are picking up the slack along with clouds of small midges. Larger Salmonflies and Golden Stones can be a factor as well but there are some baetis as well. 

Try throwing a large dry such as a Chubby Chernobyl with a nymph like and Amber Wing Prince or Dark Lord suspended underneath. FYI Access to Ash Camp has been a little more work as the road is closed just a little ways down stream beyond Mccloud Dam. It is a 3/4 mile hike down to Ash Camp from there. Bring plenty of water and a good shade hat if you plan to hike down. 

Nymphs: Black and brown Rubberlgs, GB Poxyback Green Drake, Red X May, 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 

Napa River - Striper
Rating: Fair
Clarity: 2 to 3ft
Temps: 68 - 71

The Napa has been fishing fair but improving of late. The river is clearing and should be in prime shape by the end of the week.  There are some good schools of Summer striper in the system though not many large fish. Although these fish aren't big they definitely can be a blast on light fly tackle. It is definitely worth doing right now and will only get better as we come into August, September and October.

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: Great
Clarity: 1 to 3 ft
Temps: High 50's to low 60's

Recent trips have been pretty good on the Pit. Flows dropped again recently to 340 cfs at Pit #3. and are 500 CFS at Pit #5( Big Bend). Caddis should be hatching soon so this will add to the array of flies that already include Dark Lords, Amer Princes and even an occasional eat on a Black or Brown Rubber Legs. 

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. We still have great Summer and Fall dates available and the Pit will fish well all year long. Call us to get in on the fun(707)287-2939.

Putah Creek
Rating: Fair
Flows: 580 CFS
Clarity: Clear
Water Temp: 56 Degrees

Fishing Report:  The creek is in shape and kicking out decent fishing. The higher summer flows limit access to a lot of runs so you’ll need to work the water you can find slowly.  Midges, mayflies, and caddis are the ticket.  Best bet are flashy patterns in the faster water with a lot of weight. Remember to have good stream etiquette. Basically treat other the way you would want to be treated on the water.

Guide Tip: Be careful of poison oak and rattlesnakes out right now.  Throw a streamer once in a while get lucky and if at all possible avoid weekends on the Creek.

Lower Sacramento - Trout
Rating: Good to Great!
Flows: 11,500 CFS from Keswick
Clarity: Prime

Flows from Keswick are steady and as long as you can stand the hot weather now is the time to go! Fishing is good from 299 bridge all the way to Red Bluff. Hot flies continue to be black and brown Rubber Legs, however PMD's and caddis should be in your set up right now too. Evenings have seen some risers in the tailouts and slick water. This will continue through August. 

Guide Tip: good quality fluorocarbon tippet helps!

For more on the Lower Sac click here...

Upper Sacramento - Trout
Rating: Good 
Flows: NA
Clarity: Prime

Fishing Report: Fishing has finally started to click on the Upper Sac and falling water levels have certainly helped. Fish are chowing on Rubberlegs! Fish them tight line, under and indo or beneath a Chubby Chernobyl or Stimulator. Best time for this is in the evening however fish will eat a well presented fly throughout the day. Large stones, Prince Nymphs and Midges are the best producing nymphs right now.

Best flies have been the black and brown Rubberlegs, Poxyback Golden Stones, Princes, Micro Mays, P.T.'s, Fox's Poopahs and Zebra Midges.

Lake Sonoma/ Lake Mendocino 
Rating: Fair
Flows: Na
Clarity: Good
Water temp: 68 to 71

Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino offer some decent fishing for folks in the Guernville, Mendocino, Santa Rosa or San Francisco Area. These lakes produce some decent medium sized Summer bass on both topwater and streamers. 

If you happen to be in this part of California getting out for a few hours can complement the good food and wine that this area provides. 

Truckee River 
Rating: Good
Flows: 200 cfs
Clarity: Good

Fishing Report:  Flows in the area dropped tremendously right before 4th of July and the river is firing pretty well right now.  Water temps are still cold which is abnormal for this time of year.  Midges and BWO’s are the name of the game in the morning. Green drakes, PMD's, and yellow sallies are going by lunch time.  In the afternoon you can expect small caddis hatches.

Guide Tip: Nymphing is the ticket right now.  Poor dry fly fishing in the day time but good evening bite.  Fish are starting to move into pocket water making high sticking techniques really effective.

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.

Trinity River Steelhead, Fair. Salmon - Poor to Fair
Flows: 1,100 (Lewiston)

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

There are a few half pounders that can be fun on dries and Chinook Salmon will be in the middle river in the next weeks. For folks wanting to tackle Salmon on a fly, the Trinity is one fairly reliable option.

Yuba River - Trout - Fair Good, Shad - Good to Fair
Flows: Average 2,700 cfs
Temps: 56 - 63

Fishing Report: The Yuba is a sneaky summer fishery that no one really thinks about.  The air temps in valley there can get pretty hot in the Summer time but the Yuba is a tailwater creating cold water year around.  Summer fishing can be really good for both the dry fly and nymph game.  Fish will be up in the rifles early in the morning and later in the evening.  Once the big bright sun is one the water they will move to deeper slower water.  Blind casting the terrestrials like Fat Alberts and hoppers through out the day will get you some grabs. There are also a good amount of Stub Winged Stoneflies out there right now too.  We have seen an evening eruption of caddis too. Try Speroni’s bubbleback caddis under and EC caddis. On the Yuba it always makes sense to at least try fishing dries, but nymphing outproduced dries this week. (what do ya do?)

We had a fantastic Spring for Shad/striper on the Lower Yuba this year. Things are still going fairly strong but should taper off soon. We have some of the very best private access to the best part of the Lower Yuba and fishing there has been insane. High water years like this the run begins later but seems to run longer. We had 100 fish days again this year. Some days we've caught Shad, Striper and trout all on the same day. We are all booked for Shad on the Yuba for the rest of the season. Perhaps do like many of our guests have done and reserve your 2020 dates so you don't miss out.

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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