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12 February 2016
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Fishery
H2O Conditions
Fishing conditions, Techniques, and Hatches
Flies
Comments

American River (below Nimbus Dam)

Off color (2’ visibility), low 50’s to low 50’s. 3,000 cfs.

Fishing is fair. Flows have increased substantially to 3,000 cfs bringing more steelhead into the system and thinning out the crowds. Swinging popcicles, egg sucking leaches and rabbit leaches have been the most productive patterns with a spey rod. A Skagit line to match the rod will turn over heavy wet flies and a 10’ sink tip. Big bright egg patterns with heavy split shot under an indicator is popular in riffles and tailouts. Best fishing is early and late in the day when fish are more active. These steelies are Eel River strain and some fish over 10 lbs are showing.

Steelhead wet flies/streamers Mossback, assassin (natural, copper), Herniator (silver, copper), cone sucking bunny, egg sucking crystal leach, general practitioner (black, orange), comet, green butted skunk, coal car, skykomish sunrise, prism, purple peril, silver hilton, winters hope, Trailer Trash, Hartwick’s Hoser, Spot on Prawn, marabou spey 2/0. Egg patterns (listed elsewhere).

Heavy fishing pressure at Sunset. Please do not target spawning fish and please stay off the redds. Barbless hooks only. Report snaggers to DFG. NCDAG pg 86, 87.

Baum Lake

Clear, high 40s, lake level is normal.

Fishing is good. Start the morning fishing a midge under an indicator. Trout are actively feeding on the surface midday during the BWO hatch. When the midge and BWO hatches start switch to a BWO dry with a small midge pupa dropper. Trout tend to pod up in the main current from the boat ramp to the hatchery. Anchoring a pram or pontoon boat will give good access to rising fish without spooking the school. Stripping streamers on a sink tip along the edges of the main current will get good results. Reports of some big planter rainbows and browns released from the hatchery. Baum is a great option when everything else is blown out.

Attractor dries irresistible adams, parachute light cahill, Rio Grande trude, parachute adams, paralyzer, royal coachman, crystal stimulator, renegade, royal wulff, para wulff, (#10-18). BWO/Baetis nymphs Hogan’s S&M nymph, Hogan’s better baetis, Burk’s crystal hunchback, Hogan’s olive military may, tailwater tiny, flashy pheasant tail, Sloan’s mighty may, Burk’s olive hunchback two-tone, Mercer’s micro mayfly, tung split case BWO (#16-22). BWO/Baetis emerger/dries. Lake woolly buggers/streamers J Fair wiggle tail (olive, brown, burnt orange) BH woolly bugger (black, olive, brown), crystal bugger, mini bugger black/olive, seal bugger (rust, olive, black), hale bopp leach (brown, olive). Midge pupa (Listed elsewhere in report).

Light fishing pressure. A float tube or pram is best. NCDAG pg 48

SF Eel River (Leggett to Miranda)

Green tint, mid 50’s, 558 cfs at Leggett.

Fishing is good. Flows are receding and visibility is improving. The South Fork is fishing all the way down to Miranda. Six weight or seven weight spey rod with Skagit line to turn over 10’ of T-8. Be sure to use 1X tippet or heavier for these big, strong coastal steelhead. Go between bright and dark flies fishing the runs and tailouts. Best fishing is early and late. Cover water to find steelhead. Nymphing under an indicator with a large, bright egg pattern and heavy shot to get it down is also productive.

Steelhead wet flies/streamers Mossback, assassin (natural, copper), Herniator (silver, copper), cone sucking bunny, egg sucking crystal leach, general practitioner (black, orange), comet, green butted skunk, coal car, skykomish sunrise, prism, purple peril, silver hilton, winters hope, Trailor Trash, Hartwick’s Hoser, Spot on Prawn, marabou spey 2/0. Attractor beadhead nymphs (listed elsewhere). Egg patterns (listed elsewhere).

Moderate fishing pressure. Check flows at WWW.Dreamflows.com. Mud slide at Leggett pulsing mud at higher flows.

Feather River, N.F. (Cresta powerhouse to Lake Oroville)

Slight tint, low 50s F, 259 below Grizzly Creek and 2362 below Poe.  Check flows at WWW.Dreamflows.com.

Fishing is fair. Start the day nymphing a big rubberleg stone with an attractor beadhead nymph fished in deep pocket water and runs. No need to get out early as fishing picks up after 11am. Best fishing is midday when trout are feeding on midges and BWO’s in riffles and tailouts. Best success is with small BWO nymphs under an indicator in tailouts. Reports of midges fished without indicator in pools with long leader producing.  Be sure to use at least 5X tippet for dries and 4X for nymph to land these big, trout. Streamers fished on a sink tip line in pools have a chance to get some big fish around Pulga. Flows are high around Poe Powerhouse.

Attractor beadhead nymphs royal flush, Hogan’s Steelie Caddis, hare’s ear, twenty incher, Hart’s dark lord, copper john (red, copper) bird’s nest, black AP, prince of darkness, king prince, dirty bird (tan, olive), Hogan’s drifter, biotic nymph, Hogan’s Red Headed Step Child (#10-18). BWO nymphs Hogan’s S&M nymph, Hogan’s better baetis, Burk’s crystal hunchback, Hogan’s olive military may, Mercer's BWO trigger nymph, Kyle's beerhead baetis, tailwater tiny, flashy pheasant tail, Sloan’s mighty may. Midge pupa and Golden stonefly nymphs and BWO/Baetis emerger/dries and River woolly buggers/streamers (listed elsewhere).

Expect light fishing pressure. Access along Hwy 70. Open to fishing from Cresta powerhouse to Lake Oroville. NCDAG pg 59. CDAG pg 51.

Feather River (Hwy 70 bridge to Gridley)

Slight tint, mid 50s F, high flow in low flow 825 cfs (usually 600 cfs), normal to low flow in high flow below the Afterbay 964 cfs at Gridley, (usually 2400 cfs).

Fishing is fair to good. There are reports of some fresh spring run steelhead moving into the low flow already. Best action is from Table Mountain Bridge to Hwy 70. Swinging a Alevin on a sink tip with a switch rod is a great technique to cover lots of water. Be sure to cover the edges where salmon fry are plentiful. Fish midges, BWO’s, and green caddis pupa under indicator with enough split shot above the top fly to get it down through riffles and tailouts. As temps rise look for steelhead slashing caddis dries in the runs above 70. Drift a #12 EC caddis over slashing steelhead. Be sure to cover water and change flies often. Mixed bag of spring run, fall run, and winter run steelhead in the system. Expect crowds above Hwy 70 on weekends.

Egg patterns for salmon Sucker spawn oregon cheese, Fox's fertilizer (shell pink, fire orange, flo red), glow-bug (peach, pink, champagne, light yellow, cheese, chartreuse), micro egg (flo fire orange, flo orange, flo red, shell pink), Pettis’ Unreal egg clusters (gold nugget, burnt orange, dark roe, light row), clown egg, Pettis’ unreal single egg, unreal egg cluster (dk roe, burnt orange) (#8-16). Caddis pupa/emergers Fox's poopah (olive, tan), Hot wire caddis, Anderson's peeking green, green machine, Fox’s springtime poopah, Amber wing prince, M’s Dirty Bird, Hogan’s steelie caddis, Silvey’s submerger caddis (olive, tan), Silvey’s edible emerger (#12-18). Salmon sac-fry (Alevin) patterns Gummy fry, Hogan’s central valley alevin, Simmons’ salmon fry, Sloan’s American Alevin (#10-12)BWO/Baetis nymphs and Attractor beadhead nymphs (listed elsewhere).

Moderate fishing pressure. Access from Oroville State Wildlife Area. The stretch above Hwy 70 opens Jan 1. Be sure to have your steelhead card signed and dated before fishing. NCDAG pg 68, 78.

Frank’s Tract & San Joaquin Delta (including Mildred, San Joaquin River, and nearby sloughs)

Slightly off color to muddy (1-5 ft visibility, mid to low 50s F.

Fishing is spotty but improving. Some reports of decent action on fish to 5 lbs, but they are very spread out. Fish small to medium clousers and blue gill patterns. Rattles in the fly are also a good idea. The strip and drop technique is working with most fish eating on the drop. Key is it keep moving and look for cleaner water in the east and south. West delta is tough. Water temps are creeping up and with them the stripers appetite will increase.

Striper patterns Flashtail clousers and whistlers in chartreuse/white, pink/white, all white, and black (2/0-3/0), pearly poppers (red/yellow, green/yellow), gurglers, crease fly.

Boat needed - rentals are available at Sugar Barge Marina on Bethel Island. Moderate to heavy fishing and boating pressure on weekends. NCDAG pg 96 and 106. New CDAG pg. 72, 73.

Klamath River

(Iron Gate to Seiad Valley)

Clear, high 40s, good flow (1290 cfs below Iron Gate).

Fishing is fair to good. Constant water temps are keeping steelhead and trout active in runs and tailouts from Iron Gate to Hwy 5. Rubberleg stones, egg patterns, and attractor beadhead nymphs are producing good numbers in runs below riffles. There is a BWO hatch on cloudy and rainy days midday. Swing herniators, skunks and assassins with a beadhead trailer on warm days when steelhead are aggressive. Dress warm as it is very cold until midday. Wade access above the I5 bridge on the south side, but be sure to cover water to find the fish. Best access is with a pontoon or drift boat.

Egg patterns (listed elsewhere). Golden stonefly nymphs (listed elsewhere in report). Attractor beadhead nymphs (listed elsewhere in report). BWO/Baetis nymphs (listed elsewhere).

Expect drift boat and pontoon boat traffic on the weekends. Access above and below Interstate 5 and along hwy 96. New CDAG pg. 25.

Mad River (Arcata, Blue Lake)

Off color to muddy, low 50’s, fishable flow (1,270 cfs)

Fishing is good. There are very good numbers of steelhead in the system. Anglers are catching them on the swing and on an egg patterns. Conventional fishermen are lined up below the hatchery. Anglers decrease the further downstream you go. Also consider walking up above the hatchery for the most solitude. Egg sucking leeches, popcicles and intruders on a Skagit with a T8 sink tip. Cover water with a downstream swing. Large egg patterns under an indicator are also producing.

Steelhead wet flies/streamers Mossback, assassin (natural, copper), Herniator (silver, copper), cone sucking bunny, egg sucking crystal leach, general practitioner (black, orange), comet, green butted skunk, coal car, skykomish sunrise, prism, purple peril, silver hilton, winters hope, Trailor Trash, Hartwick’s Hoser, Spot on Prawn, marabou spey 2/0. Egg patterns (listed elsewhere).

Expect lots of fishing pressure below the hatchery. Access through Blue Lake Rd. CDAG pg. 30.

Putah Creek (below Lake Berryessa)

Slightly off color, low 50s F, low flow (111 cfs below lake Berryessa).

Fishing is fair to good. Putah is fishing better than it has in a few years. Tandem midges under an indicator are hooking fish mid-morning. Use 6-7x tippet and small indicators with #20 and smaller flies. A midge as a dropper under a BWO parachute is productive during the warmest part of the day when trout are actively feeding. Look for marked off spawning areas. Do not wade these areas as eggs will get squashed. If you see trout in shallow water they are spawning, do not target or disturb spawning trout!

Midge pupa glass bead midge (red, black), disco midge, brassie, desert storm, zebra midge (rust, black), WD40 (olive, chocolate), skinny nelson, biot midge, crystal HBI (#18-22). BWO/Baetis emerger/dries (listed elsewhere in report).

Moderate fishing pressure.  NOTE: Take precautions not to transport New Zealand mud snail. Zero limit. NCDAG pg 85, 95.

Pyramid Lake (outside of Reno)

Clear, good lake level.

Fishing is good. Best fishing is morning and evening around Wino, Separator, and Blockhouse. Wind and chop on the water puts fish on the bite. A 7wt rod with a 250 grain shooting head is best to get a tui chub or bugger down. Add a tadpole 2ft behind a bugger to get a good yo-yo action on the pause. Fishing balanced leeches under an indicator in the chop is good for cruising Lohanton Cutthroat. The takes can be very soft. These cutts run from 2-10lbs, and some reports of some real brutes.

Pyramid Flies woolly worms, pyramid buggers (black/purple, chartreuse/white, olive, black), Pyramid snail (black/purple, chartreuse/white, olive, black) (#8-12)

Expect light to moderate fishing pressure. Fishing from a float tube or pontoon boat is an option. Note: Day permit required.

Sacramento River, Lower (below Keswick Reservoir)

Green tint, low to mid 50s, normal flow 3,250 cfs.

Fishing is fair to good. Best fishing is from Posse Grounds to Anderson with midges, BWO’s midday and caddis in the afternoon on sunny days. Look for trout rising to March browns also. High stick nymphing tandem BWO nymphs will get action midday in riffles and tailouts. Good reports of big trout around Posse Grounds chasing Alevins. Hatches of March browns will continue to improve. Rainy days are best for BWO. Indicator nymphing in 4 to 6 ft of water is hooking nice rainbows.

Egg patterns for salmon Sucker spawn oregon cheese, Fox's fertilizer (shell pink, fire orange, flo red), glow-bug (peach, pink, champagne, light yellow, cheese, chartreuse), Pettis’ Unreal egg clusters (gold nugget, burnt orange, dark roe, light row), clown egg, Pettis’ unreal single egg, unreal egg cluster (dk roe, burnt orange) (#8-16).Midge pupa and Golden stonefly nymphs, Attractor beadhead nymphs and BWO/Baetis nymphs (listed elsewhere).

Drift boat fishing is provides best access. Market St, Convention Center, Barge Hole and below Cypress Bridge are all good spots to wade. NCDAG pg 46, 57. New CDAG pg. 41

Trinity River (near Lewiston)

Clear, mid 40s F, low flow (312 cfs).

Fishing is fair to good. Best numbers of steelhead are from Lewiston to Douglas City. Golden stones, psycho prince, and #16 BWO nymphs are good producers of big steelhead. Look for steelhead and brown trout rising to march browns in the afternoon. Good access at Lewiston, Bucktail, Steel Bridge, and Douglas City. Tip: flows are low. Approach drop-off’s, tailouts, and runs with stealth before floating over their heads.

Steelhead wet flies/streamers Mossback, assassin (natural, copper), Herniator (silver, copper), cone sucking bunny, egg sucking crystal leach, general practitioner (black, orange), comet, green butted skunk, coal car, skykomish sunrise, prism, purple peril, silver hilton, winters hope, Gareth’s fire fly, red ant (#4-8). Golden stonefly nymphs jumbo john, Morrish cone stone, Morrish WMD, Poxyback golden stone nymph, Mercer's poxyquill golden stone, Pat’s Rubberleg. Attractor beadhead nymphs and Egg patterns (listed elsewhere).

Moderate to heavy fishing pressure in the Lewiston to Douglas City area. Fly only section below Lewiston Lake is closed. NCDAG pg 45. New CDAG pg. 31, 32, 40.

Yuba River, Lower (from Englebright dam to Marysville)

Clear, low 50s F, moderate flow, 1,071 cfs below Englebright.

Fishing is fair. Best fishing is from 10am to 4pm with primetime skwala dry fly fishing from 1pm to 3pm. Not a lot of skwalas around but just enough to keep trout looking up. In the morning, nymph a skwala nymph with a #18 Copper John dropper through riffles and tailouts. Be sure to prospect with a skwala dry in nooks and crannies along the bank. Rainy days are bringing hatches of BWO’s midday and midges. Good wade access above Hwy 20 bridge. Expect the skwala hatch to another 2 weeks. Warmer weather will bring out March browns soon.

Skwala Stonefly Adults/Nymphs Hogan’s split wing skwala, Hogan’s skwala, Bullethead Skwala, poxy-back Skwala nymph, Mercer’s tungsten skwala nymph, tungsten bead skwala, flush floater skwala (#8-12). PMD emergers/cripples/dries Lawson's PMD emerger, fluttering mayfly cripple PMD, last chance PMD cripple, Quigley’s Hat Creek PMD emerger, Brook's KD dun PMD, loopwing paradun PMD, Brook's sprout PMD, PMD biot comparadun, hackle stacker PMD, PMD hair wing dun, PMD sparkle dun, PMD parachute (#14-18) Attractor beadhead nymphs (listed elsewhere). BWO/Baetis nymphs and Midge pupa and BWO/Baetis emerger/dries (listed elsewhere).

Water above Hwy 20 bridge is open from December 1st until August 31st. Access at the Hwy 20 bridge and Sycamore Ranch campground. NCDAG pg 78,79.

Other Reports

North Coast Steelhead - (Fishing conditions change daily, to check on coastal river low flow closures call the following numbers: North Coast River Closures 707.822.3164. Central Coast River Closures 707.944.5533). With a big flush of water bringing fish into the system, flows have finally receded to fishable levels. Looks like coastal rivers will fish this week until the next storm pushes more water down bringing more steelhead up. Russian River- Recent rain spiked the flows enough to get steelhead moving last weekend but flows are coming down again and fish are holding in deep holes. We need another flush to bring more fish in and get existing fish out of deep holes. Swinging traditional steelhead patterns with a sink tip or Skagit line will hook fish. Smith River- Flows are dropping but will increase with upcoming weather. This should bring more steelhead into the system and put the remaining fish back on the bite. Swinging traditional steelhead patterns on a Skagit line will hook fish in tailouts and drop-offs. Best action for swinging flies is below Jedediah state park where the river spreads out. If water is off color, use big bright flies. Hartwick’s Hoser, Morejohn’s spot on prawn (pink/orange) are good flies when water is high and off color. Keep an eye on river flows. This river will blow out quick but will also recover fast. Gualala and Garcia Rivers are low but steelhead are in the system. Swing small summer run flies in the low water. More steelhead will enter the system with incoming weather.

Other Reports East Walker River Temps are cold and flows are low @ 17cfs. Best fishing is during the warmest part of the day with trout rising to midges and BWO’s. Nymph the backwater edges and along the main current. As the hatch improves, target trout rising in riffles and pocket water. At these flows, trout will be concentrated in pools and runs. Truckee River is fishing fair with hatches of BWO’s midday and afternoon. Look for trout rising on flats and in tailouts sipping BWO dries.  Best fishing is below Boca with some good dry fly fishing in Reno. Stanislaus River, Lower (below Tulloch Reservoir) is currently low (186 cfs). Look for the best action midday with trout feeding on midges and BWO’s. Best access is below Tullock Reservoir and at 2 Mile Bar.

Credits
WH&WN™ FREE flyfishing report would not be possible without the help of: Craig Nielsen/Shasta Trout Guide Service, Jordan Romney (Putah Fly Fishing Guide), Victor Babbit/Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters/Tahoe, Jerry/The Troutfitter/Mammoth Lakes, Ted Fay Flyshop/Dunsmuir, Greg/Sweeny’s sport shop, Andy/Kiene's Fly Shop/Sacramento, Richard Hardy-Davis report, Ken’s Sporting Goods/Scott Freeman-EW report. Special thanks to all the WH&WN™ subscribers who have submitted their fishing reports for the fisheries listed in WH&WN, you help keep us honest, accurate, and up-to-date.


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