Northern California Fly Fishing Report – Dec 30, 2016

Our last report of 2016!

Best bets - American River(after the 1st) Truckee River, Trinity River or Pyramid Lake

American River – Poor. Flows – 5,000 cfs out of Natomas and dropping. Water temps – Low to Mid 50’s to Water clarity – clearing.

The American is closed from Ancil Hoffman power line to Hazel Avenue bridge. Fish are moving in with each storm and swinging traditional flies below Hoffman for winter steelhead had produced some scattered adult fish before the last rains. We have had reputable reports that the plan is to have the river down below 5,000 cfs by the opener on January 1st. Fishing should start with a bang although it will probably be quite busy on the water. Start early in the morning if at all possible. Swinging traditional steelhead flies and dark leaches should produce well again. Nymphig with egg patterns and nymphs should also work if one can find good water.

Will all the water we have had this should be a good year on the American. Call (707)287-2939 or the shop at (916)722-8594 to book a trip on the American or one of the other great options this time of year.

Delta Stiper - Poor Water Temp mid 60’s degrees. Water Clarity – Muddy.

Striper fishing continues to be tough on the Delta which is common this time of year. Lots of rain and cold water have flooded in bringing brown water and very difficult conditions. Only the very hardiest of anglers are even going out right now. If you go use patterns with Chartreuse/White around 1/0-2/0 with a rattle and fish down low and slow.

Call now to reserve your day. We are also taking Spring reservations for March, April and May and the calendar is filling up. We can be reached at the shop at (916)722-1055 or (707)287-2939 to get out with Maury, Bryce and Toby for some memorable striper action.

Feather River – Fair to good Flows – 800 cfs through low flow, 6,000 below Thermalito, water temps – Low to Mid 50’s to Water clarity – clear.

Fishing on the Feather has been slow since heavy rain came in two weeks ago. Fish seem to have pushed through with all this water and are most likely in the upper portion of the low flow which is currently closed. Swinging has not been nearly as productive as nymphing. Eggs are producing well along with mayfly patterns and San Juan Worms after a storm.

These storms have brought in a few fresh fish but the Salmon are done spawning but they should still work once the water subsides. The good news is that the upper portion above the highway 70 bridge opens Jan 1st and we still have a few dates available. Give us a call to reserve your trip now!

Guide tip: Any egg pattern will work, but also fish a Prince, Fox Poopahs, Micro Mays, Copper Johns, Red Headed Step Childs and Sucker Spawns. It is still a good idea to fish the San Juan Worm with all this rain.

Call the shop at (916)722-1055 or Off the Hook direct at (707)287-2939. Dates are going fast!

Klamath River – Fair Flows – 4,000 below Irongate Dam, 2,500 below Seiad Valley and dropping. Water temps – Mid 50’s to Water clarity – slight color.

Steelhead fishing on the Klamath started slow this year, however things have slowly improved. Weather has been cold recently and the river is high yet dropping. We have been out in the last couple days and had success on adult fish both days. All the tributaries are flowing strong so by this weekend the river should be fishing well with fresh fish on the move.

Fly fishing for steelhead is not for the faint of heart and wearing the appropriate foul weather gear and having four wheel drive and carrying chains is a must. However for those willing to put in the time the rewards can be amazing. If you like to swing like we do try swinging 5 inch per/sec versa tips with big dark winter flies like Intruders.

We still have some available dates in January so give us a call at (707)287-2939 to set something up.

Napa River – Poor. Flows – average, Water temps - 60’s. Water clarity – muddy.

We are thankful for all the rain we have been getting, but it is definitely having an effect on the fishing. There are opportunities for fishing in between the storms however it takes at least a week without heavy rain before things improve.

We are looking forward to Spring and Summer fishing in the Valley. Stay tuned to the reports or give us a call at (707)287-2939 for updated information.

Putah Creek – Open Flows – 100 CFS. Temps - high 50’s. Water clarity – Green.

Flows on Putah Creek are holding at 100 cfs and fish are in the middle of the spawning. Our guides have chosen to give the fish a break again during this time of year. Several great groups including Putah Creek Trout, TU and California Fish and Wildlife have worked to help protect and preserve this gem of a fishery. Since it is now a California Heritage Trout Fishery and will never again be planted it is critical that spawning fish be left alone to spawn or subsequent fish populations could be adversely affected. From December 1st to the end of February we stop guiding Putah. Spring will be here soon and we will get back out to fish.

If you do choose to fish December to February please leave the spawner’s alone and don’t walk on any gravel as 99% of visible gravel is in fact potentiall spawning beds (even if fish are not visible when you go tromping through those areas) Perhaps consider going over to fish the Yuba, Feather or Truckee Rivers or give Steelhead a try!

If you are interested in conservation we have some up-coming opportunities to get out and help these fish. Call Steve Karr at (530)400-1171 for more information.

Spring is coming, so reserve your Spring Putah trip today! Call us at (707)287-2939 or at the shop at (916)722-1055.

Guide tip: “Go fish the Trinity or Pyramid”.

Pyramid Lake- Good to Great Temps - high 50’s. Water clarity – 6 to 8 feet.

It’s time to head over the hill and tangle with some giants. But don' forget to grab the stocking cap, put the gloves and anything with Goretex in the name. This time of year is when it really pays off for the dedicated and hardcore trophy hunters. The ones who fish through the colder temps and storms have been paid off with some great trophies. Mixed in are the really good days that aren’t so uncommon as of recent where anglers are getting multiple fish over the ten pound mark. With the recent abundance of rain and snow the Truckee River is blowing out the south end of the lake making the visibility low. This past week, the indicator bite has produce a good number of big fish. It is the most effective type of fishing in the nastier weather for staying in the strike zone longer when grabs are harder to get. Wine, red and black midges along with balanced leeches in black, olive and brown are the most effective colors. Captain Rob and Casey Anderson were fishing with Animal Planet's “Fish or Die” and GEOBASS's, Jay Johnson. They had a good day landing fish up to 12 lbs. The white balanced leech stood out as the fly to fish on that cloudy day. Don’t limit yourself to colors based upon cloudy/sunny situations. You just never know. Think outside the box sometimes.

Things are only getting better at Pyramid. Call today to reserve your guided day.

Russian River - Poor Flows – Too high but dropping CFS Temps - high 60’s. Water clarity – 1 foot of visibility but clearing.

The Russian is coming into shape, but for now there is only about a foot of visibility. This will change soon. Water is dropping quickly and we should be fishing next week and well into the New Year! We have availability starting next week so let’s fish! We will be swinging ideally but nymphing will also work. Bait guys have been hooking up and some nice fish were even caught this morning. It looks to be a good year on the Russian!!

Flies - All Intruders, Pick yer pockets, Noah Leaches, Squidros, Prom Dresses, Marabou Volcanoes, General Practitioners, Egg Sucking leeches... etc.

Guide tip - in higher, early season flows, swing weighted Intruders on ten feet of T-14 to get your flies down to the fish. Also use black blue and purple flies with large silhouettes in the often colored water...

Give us a call at (707)287-2939 for more info on getting on the call list for when it is firing. If we have another wet winter like last year tings could be looking up for the Russian. Also give us a call if you would like a phone call or email when and if things open up.

Lower Sacramento – Fair Flows – 10,000 CFS but dropping. Temps - Low 50’s. Water clarity – fairly

Fishing has been fair most days and weather has been cold. Clarity has remained good even with all the rain for those floating above Anderson. Below Anderson can get dirty with heavy rains. Flows are above 10,000 cfs however they are dropping. It should be down to 6,000cfs soon. Some small mayflies will hatch sporadically through mid February. By late February small dark Caddis will get going and it will be game on. Fish small bwo mayfly patters or dark stonefly nymphs.

Find out more about fishing the L. Sac here...

Book your Spring days on the Lower Sac now by calling (707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055.

Upper Sacramento – Poor. Flows – very high (1,800 cfs at Delta) Temps - low 50’s. Water clarity – cloudy.

Recent rains blew out the Upper Sac with over 3,200 cfs. Water is dropping into shape. For the rest of the winter when flows are manageable there will be some good midge activity as well as some BWO’s on overcast or rainy days. You will want to have some dark midge patterns like Zebra Midges under a Bird’s Nests, Prince Nymph or Superfloss Rubberlegs. Other good bets are Poopahs, Pseudo Mays, Poxyback PMD’s, Midges, Hogan’s, Mercer’s, Speroni’s Baetis. Try fishing up near Cantara Loop for easier wading conditions.

Guide Tip: “If the River is rising stay home, if it is dropping go fish.Try fishing up near Lake Siskyou for easier wading conditions”

Northern California has some good winter fishing. Please give us a call (707)287-2939 for more info.

Trinity River – Fair (True steelhead fishing) Flows – 305 cfs out of Lewiston, 380c cfs in Douglas City and c00 cfs at Junction City. Temps – Low 50’s. Clarity – Good

This year has been about quality over quantity. Don’t believe all the bad reports our guest are hooking some nice fish and almost everyone is getting at least a fish or two in the net each day. The next couple weeks will be decent s, beyond that it will be mostly nymphing.

Traditional stonefly rubber legs, golden stones, psycho prices, and Copper Johns have been best. Look to fish eggs only if there is a major flow spike. From now to March should continue to fish well. In Feb to mid march will be good swing/ dry fly fishing.

Find out more on the Trinity...

To give Trinity Steelheading a go call at (916)722-1055 or at (707)287-2939.

Truckee River – Great!!! Flows – 250 cfs in Town, 450 cfs in the Canyon. Water Temps. – Mid 50’s. Clarity – clear to murky.

The Truckee weather has been cold, but fishing on the river is red hot. This has to be without a doubt one of the best weeks of fishing on the Truckee in years. Recent rains have recharged the river and things are firing on all cylinders.

Flows are absolutely perfect and the river fluctuating between 250 and 420cfs between town and the canyon. The river has been clear in the morning then with warm temps water has been getting darker in the afternoons. This has made for great fishing. Water temps are cold and make sure you're concentrating on winter holding water. Go with "slow and low". Find slow water, and fish it near the bottom.

Fish have been eating a little bit of everything but baetis have been the main stay. Most of our fish have been on 18s in black, olive or brown. Other flies working are zebra midges, PTs, winter stones and worms.

Slow stripping streamers has also produced a few nice fish though not as many as nymphing.

After this week we'll be back to having the river to ourselves until the next winter break. If you're looking for solitude and big fish the next two months will be hard to beat.

Guide tip: Chris Mahre says "If your rod guides are freezing up put a little Pam (cooking spray) on them and it will help reduce them icing up.

Call the shop at (916)722-8594 or OTH direct at (707)287-2939 for current conditions or to book some R&R on the Truckee over the upcoming holidays.

Yosemite Area – Poor to Fair

The 2017 Steelhead and Trout Season opening next Sunday. Here is the scoop.


Flows - the Mokelumne has sustained flows of over 1,400cfs for the past couple of weeks and should remain high on the opener. It will be real pushy and 1,400 is unfishable for the fly guys and very tough for the bait anglers.

We have done some preliminary scouting and as expected, there are several large trees down along the reach between Comanche Dam and Stillman Magee Park. Be careful! Unless you have a metal drift boat and a big saw, I would avoid floating the Moke for a while.

Stanislaus - Upper Stan has been producing but high country lakes have been best. Beardsley, Pine Crest are good options.

Lower Stanislaus - Fish counts coming in with water at 200cfs. It is a bit low for a drift boat so expect to get out and slog the boat through shallow water if you chose to float. Be extra careful walking so as to not walk on the Redds!

Tuolumne River - Counts are low. Water is 170cfs which is also low. Be extra careful walking and avoid the Redds!!!!

Merced River- Fishing below El Portal fishing is open and flows are 650cfs which is a bit high. Fishing is best below 300. Keep an eye on things and once they drop it will be go time.

Crocker Huffman Dam - notice new parking restrictions all along the river to discourage illegal fishing practices. Fish and game is writing tickets so pay attention to the regs and fish ethically.

Yuba River Trout – Poor to Fair Flows – 1,700 cfs at Englebright Dam above Highway 20 bridge.Water Temps – Mid 50’s. Clarity – Clear.

The Yuba is high yet clearing. Small winter stones had been working prior to the rain. It will be back in shape by tomorrow or Saturday. Try swing dark soft hackles for some fun grabs. In addition fish stonefly rubber legs, Mayflies.

The Skwala stonefly hatch will begin most likely in mid January and by February should be in full swing. January and February can be fun swinging with soft hackle Skwalas. On the other be able to throw dry flies in January and February in California is really amazing. You need to get out and give this a try. Call (707)287-2939 or stop by the shop to reserve your Skwala trip.

Guide tip: “The river is open above the highway 20 bridge as of December 1st and don’t forget to bring a San Juan worm if there has been any recent rain!”

Learn more about the Yuba here...

Thanks for checking out the report. Don't forget to pick up your 2017 licenses and send in your 2016 Steelhead Cards.

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