Northern California Fly Fishing Report - January 4, 2018

Best Bets: Lower Sac or Truckee - Trout, Trinity or Klamath - Steelhead

American River Steelhead - Fair. Flows - 2,000 cfs at Natomas. Water Temps - Mid 50's Clarity - Clear.

The upper river above Ancil Hoffman Park is open as of January 1 and fishing has been pretty good. Water spiked towards the end of 2017 and was up at 3,500 before dropping back into shape at 2,000 cfs on Jan 4th. The river is looking good and the pulse of water has undoubtedly brought some fresh fish into the system. Fishing has been decent but not red hot recently throughout the whole river. Our guides have been getting 3 to 6 fish on most trips. Some a few more and some less but we are definitely working hard for them. Most fish have been half pounders in the 14 to 17" range however on each trip we have hooked fish into larger specimens in the 20" to 28" range (5 to 8 lbs). With some intermittent rain today and in the coming week things should only improve. Steelhead love fresh water that comes from rain run off and the precip should bring even more fish up out of the Sac and into target range.

Nymphing has been most productive but swinging is what we love most. For better numbers try dropping a nymph and split shot 4 to 6 feed below and indicator. If swinging is your deal, focus on shallower runs and fish the water well before moving on. The upper river will see some pressure now that it is open. Expect it to be productive however a bit busier. The middle and Lower River have been productive too and will continue to do so. The shallow gravel and channels in the clay around William Pond Rec. Area are a good place to explore. Plan to loose a few flies but fish are being caught by walk in anglers.

Nymphs: Birds Nests 10 -14, Copper Johns, Black or Olive Poopahs and Princes 14 -16. Micro Mays 14 to 18, Brown or Black Rubber Legs 6 - 10 and eggs ( Peachy King, Roe and Tangerine )

Swinging: Silver Hiltons, Anderson's Classic, Fly Fishing Specialties Alevin, Anderson Euphoria, Heisenberg, Green Butt Skunk, Falken's Tiny Dancer, Hartwick's Purple Hilton, Hobo Spey, Intruders, Perpetrators, Beach Bums, and Blood Sucking Leaches.

Give us a ring at (707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055 to give the American a whirl.

Delta Striper - Poor. Water temp 46 deg., Clarity - Clear

Fishing on the Delta is SLOW. Water is very cold and reports are that hardy souls are working hard for just a few grabs right now. The San Joaquin has lots of Hyacinth breaking up and floating around making casting challenging as well. It may be best to tie some flies or perhaps target steelhead and hold off fishing the Delta.

Guide Tip: "If you go we would suggest fishing low and slow."

Streamers: Byng's Baitfish, Angel's Chartreuse and White, Angels Delta Danger, Angel's Smolt

Feather River - Fair Flows - 1,000 cfs through low flow 1,700 below Thermolito. Temperature - low 50's. Clarity - Clear.

The Feather has been slow recently. The upper River (Table Mountain Bicycle Bridge to Highway 70 Bridge) opened Jan 1st however we have been engaged elsewhere and haven't fished the upper section yet this year. The bottom line is that we really need rain. Some half pounders and a few adult fish to 6 or 7 lbs being the largest were caught last week prior to the opener. Swinging flies as well as nymphing with bugs and eggs has produced but nymphing by far is the most productive. Water is definitely low and very clear. Fishing pressure had loosened up however there will be renewed interest on the Feather (especially the upper section) due to the opener. There have not a lot of new fish into the system so this has led to picky fish and slightly more challenging fishing. There have been a fairly even mix of wild to hatchery fish. Upcoming rain should help but fishing should really improve in February. Stay tuned!

Nymphs: Prince Nymphs 14 -16, Birds Nests and Copper Johns 10 -14. Black, Green, and Tan BH Caddis Poopahs 14-16, Red Headed Step Childs, Tungsten Salvation 14-16 and Micro Mays 14-18, Brown or Black Rubber Legs 6-10, Cheese Micro Spawn and eggs (Peachy King, Roe and Tangerine)

Swinging Flies: Silver Hiltons, Anderson's Classic, Fly Fishing Specialties Alevin, Anderson Euphoria, Heisenberg, Green Butt Skunk, Falken's Tiny Dancer, Harwick's Purple Hilton, Hobo Spey, Intruders, Perpetrators, Beach Bums, and Blood Sucking Leaches.

Klamath River - Good. Flows 950 to 1,000 cfs and fluctuating. Water clarity - Klamath tea

The first of three adult steelhead Tracy F. caught on a two hander. The first of three adult steelhead Tracy F. caught on a two hander.

The Klamath has fished well and has been one of the more reliable Nor Cal steelhead fisheries this Fall and Winter.

Nymphing with dark stoneflies, attractor nymphs and eggs under an indicator has produced best however swinging is our favorite way to fish it.

Lots of chrome bright half pounders have been around and a few larger fish mixed in.

Nymphs: Black or Brown Rubber Legs 6 - 10, Red or Black Copper John 12-14, Psycho Prince, 14, Solitude Stone 6, Epoxy Back Stone 6-8, Black or Brown Micro May 14.

Swinging: Perpetrator, Green Butt Skunk, Assassin, Orange or Purple Hobo Spey, Silver Hiltons, Purple Hilton, Morgans tiny Dancer, Rick's Euphoria

Napa River - Fair. Water Temps - 44 to 47 deg. Water Clarity - clear

Fishing has slowed here just like on the rest of the San Francisco Bay Delta due to cold night temps. Heavy sinking lines T - 11 to T - 14. Smaller 1/0 patters have worked best recently. Some reports of nice fish being caught in the upper river for those in the know. This is traditionally the slow season so low numbers are to be expected.

Streamers: Chart/white and gray/white Stay Hungry Streamers - 1/0, Angel's Sexy Shad and Angel's chart/white - 1/0, Gray/white Flash Tail Whistler - 1/0.

Putah Creek - Poor. Flows - Very low - 50 cfs. Clarity - Clear

Fish are in full blown spawning mode so we're done guiding and fishing Putah for the season. But what a season it was! It has been so good to see so many quality wild trout being caught by our guests. Putah is such a special fishery being this close to San Francisco, the Napa Valley and Sacramento and having such large wild fish. It is a California Heritage Trout Fishery which means it has much larger than average fish in it. It also means it will never ever be stocked again, so if fish aren't left alone to spawn, it will adversely affect subsequent generations of fish. There really is no way to catch fish now without fishing to spawning fish. In addition, with the flows so low it is very difficult to maneuver without walking on redds. So give em a rest! Go fish the Trinity or Truckee or catch up on your tying. Spring will be here soon enough and future generations of trout and those who love to catch them will thank you.

We will begin to fish and guide the creek on March 1st. We have quite a few Spring dates available. Give us a ring at (707)287-2939 or at the shop at (916)722-1055 to reserve yours.

Russian River Steelhead - Poor. Flows - 200 at Healdsburg, 350 cfs at Guernville. Temps - high 50's. Water clarity - Clear.

So the Russian is open and a few half pounders are being caught but there aren't many adults in the system as of this report. Those that are have been a bit spooky due to low/clear conditions. The river mouth is still open however we need more rain to keep it that way and bring in some fresh fish. The weather man says that rain is coming this evening so we are hoping for some more fresh fish to come in with an up tick in water flows.

To get on our wait list for a guided steelhead trip on the Russian please call (707)287-2939. We will add you to the list and guests will be called in the order that they are added to it once fishing commences.

Note: The Russian and other coastal rivers open and close from time to time throughout a season. The Dept. of Fish and Wildlife number is (707) 944 5533 and is a good resource to call before you go.

Lower Sacramento Trout - Good. Flows 4,200 cfs out of Keswick. Water Temps - Lower 50's. Clarity - Clear (7 to 8 feet visibility)

Fishing has been pretty good depending on the day and the skill level of each group. Small flies have been the ticket. Blue wing olives are hatching on overcast days and there are even some fish looking up at times seeking dries. These fish tend to be smaller and require anglers bring their A game. Plenty of fish around eating nymphs as well. Midges and even some caddis are also around due to warmer daytime temps. Action has been best from noon to 3 p.m.

Nymphs: Best flies have been green and brown Mercer's Micro May and green and brown Hogan's S& M 16-18. Bird's Nests 14-16, Copper Johns 16-18 Black and Brown Rubber legs 6-10, Amber Wing Prince - 16, Birds Nests 14-16, Black or Red Zebra Midges 18-20 also producing at times.
Dries: Parachute Adams 18-20, Hackle Stacker BWO 18-20, Lawson's Comparadun BWO 18-20 Griffiths Gnat 18-22.

Guide tip: Lower Sac fish are notorious for the lightest of takes. Fish will mouth small flies and spit them out without any visible hints transferred up the line to the indicator. Often guests will turn and look at the guide and ask "was that a fish?" after a slight pause or just the lightest of "tick" visible on the indicator. Set on everything! We recommend you set first ask questions later.

Give us a ring to get out for a memorable trip by calling (707)287-2939 or emailing us at info@offthehookflyfishing.com

Trinity River Steelhead - Good. Flows - 320+ cfs out of Lewiston, 350 cfs at Douglas City. Clarity - clear

Fishing is still good on the Trinity despite low clear water. It sure would be nice to get some more water here in Nor Cal rivers and the Trinity is no exception.

On top of that the river has been a little busy lately. Despite current conditions however decent numbers of smaller wild fish and larger hatchery fish are finding the net. Swinging is still producing a few fish but not nearly as well as nymphing with eggs and bugs. We're getting one to two grabs per day swinging and 3 to 5 times that on nymphs. Right now you have to take advantage of every grab you get though and make every set count. Payoffs can be big however.

Swinging: Tiny Dancers, Hobo Spey, Silver Hilton, October Hilton, Slump Buster, Copper Assassin and Anderson's Euphoria in Chartreuse or Brown.

Nymphs: Hare's Ears 6-8, Epoxy Golden Stone 6-8, Solitude Stone 6-8, Black or Red Copper John 12-14, Black or Brown Rubber Legs 6 to 10, Copper John 12-14, Psycho Princes 14-16, Black or Green Micro Mays 14, Eggs (Peachy King, Roe, Tangerine).

Truckee River - Great. Flows 100 cfs in Town, Water Temps - Mid 40's. Water Clarity - Clear

Fishing has been great on the Truckee again this week for those willing to brave the cold. Our guides have been finding fish pooled up in some of the deeper holes. Focus on fishing the "walking speed" water. Doing so is helping guests catch good numbers of smaller fish and some hogs mixed in.

You definitely want to plan for cold and dress appropriately, however for those of us die-hards, a chance to tangle with a nice brown or two is worth the price of admission. In light of the cooler temps best fishing has been during the warmest part of the day say 11 a.m. to 3 or 4 p.m.

Best fly patterns have been eggs, worms, Baetis and Midges fished under an indicator on the bottom. Specific patterns include size 16 or 18 Ju Ju Baetis, Hogan's Military May and S&M in 16 to 18 and size 10 Rubber Legs.

Give us a ring at (707)287-2939 or at the shop (916)722-1055 to get out and make it happen.

Yuba River Trout - Good. Flows 1,050 cfs below Englebright. Water Temps - Mid 50's. Water Clarity - Clear with slight tinge of color.

We had perfect trout weather again this past week with mild cool nights and fairly warm days. This along with recent stable flows, guests have had some dry fly action casting to selective risers in the calm flats both in the foam line and on the edges. Some reports of some streamer action too. One problem for drift boat fishing is that Sycamore Ranch is closed due to construction from Jan 2 to March 8. Evidently they are doing some repairs on the facilities. Keep that in mind that if you put in a drift boat at Highway 20 bridge and float down stream there is no way to get your boat out before Daguerre dam. We highly discourage taking your boat over the dam for obvious reasons, however walk and wade fishing has produced quite well anyways.

Please stay off shallow gravel and redds as little eggs are hiding in the gravel and are easily crushed. With such a small return of salmon this year every smolt counts.

Wild rainbows from 8 to 14” are keying in on Blue Wing Olives (baetis) #18, and tiny Blue Wing Olives (pseudocloeons) #20-22 as well as # 18 Pink Alberts and #16 PMD's with recent warm weather. Don't overlook throwing an olive streamer like a Hale Bopp leach. Some nice fish caught on them this week.

We have also had some good days recently down below Daguerre Dam with 15 to 30 fish in the net depending on the day. We have exclusive access to drift this section of the river. Give us a call to get out and connect with some really good winter fly fishing.(707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055

Guide Tip : If your on the water and spot some rising fish, make a calculated game plan and go right at them. Those trout are telling you that they are actively feeding and the moment should not be wasted. Being stealthy like keeping a low profile and fishing the side water before stepping into it is a smart move. With a lower arc of the sun in the winter sky, an angler must watch their shadows as they are very long, especially in the late afternoon.

Almanor Trout - Fair to Good. Surface temps. 40's. Water clarity - 10' visibility

Fishing continues to be pretty decent on Almanor. Water temps have stabilized a bit and lake levels are stable. Both browns and rainbows are being caught for those who know where to locate them.

Midges and streamers are the name of the game. Recent high pressure over Northern California coupled with mild temperatures and little wind have lead to some good sight fishing in the backs of bays over rocks or weeds. We have been having 15 to 20 fish days sight casting on days without much wind. Upcoming rain may adversely effect fishing, but we will have to see.

Mark says from now until mid January the fishing can be a little slower and then things start picking up again in March and April. However for those of you wanting to avoid the crowds and experience great winter fishing keep this gem in mind.

If you would like to get out and give this a try call (707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055

Guide tip: Look for rocky bottoms with weeds in old stream channels or near moving water.

Nymphs: Black Zebra Midges 16 - 20

Streamers: Olive Hale Bopp Leaches 12-14,

Lake Oroville bass - Poor. Surface Temps - 55 Deg. Water Clarity - 4 to 6'

Oroville had been slow recently. Cooler weather has the lake turned over. Add to that four tournaments in three weeks and you get some tight lipped bass. Slow fishing is common this time of year but normally by late January fish get acclimated to the new colder water temps and fishing takes off again.

To be honest some of the best days of the year can come in January and February where anglers will see both quality and quantity on our float and fly technique and have the lake virtually to themselves. We have the cure for cabin fever so give us a call (707)287-2939.

Guide tip: Keep in mind when all the rivers are blow out in Jan, February and March it will be prime time on Oroville.

Streamers: Float and Fly shad patterns

For more on fly fishing Lake Oroville click here...

Pyramid Lake NV* Cutthroat - Fair to Good. Surface Temps - COLD

Nothing much has changed on Pyramid over the last couple weeks. Per usual for this time of year we really had to put in some effort and hours in to get grabs. The numbers game wasn't the main focus, it was the larger winter ledge lurkers that we have come to expect. The bite was slow again this week but we did manage to pull some real quality fish again. The good news is the whole lake at this time is seeing noticeably larger fish being caught throughout the day. Like we said earlier, the fishing requires a little more effort this time of year but a more and more common occurrence is days where your fish range from 5-10 pounds and not much anything on the smaller size. The time starts now for shore fisherman to start seeing some large fish being caught and from now into the winter. Still, we have not found one beach to out preform another the fish seem to be spread out so find your favorite beach or two and fish it out. We also want to make sure we are fishing the ledges. Now is the time of year when O'l Red likes to come cruise in the shallower ledges using them as excellent ambush points.

From our time on the water and other reports the fly selection and techniques have not changed much in the last couple weeks. Your baitfish patterns will still be the go to, either stripping or under an indicator with and occasional midge bite on the calmer and warm days. The boobies and popcorn beetles of all colors have brought some larger fish, when paired with your favorite wooly bugger or your favorite baitfish patterns. Blacks, whites, olives and chartreuse are great starting points for color. Changing the cadence in your retrieve will be beneficial on finding how active fish are and what speed will get them going. As water begins to really cool down try fairly slow pace then pick up speed as time goes on (say 10-20 minutes) and then repeat until we find the bite. When the wind comes in it doesn't hurt to try an indicator rig with a balanced leech or baitfish. Fly colors for both techniques should also be interchanged through the day. Good starting points will be black olive and white and mixtures of all. Don't be afraid to throw some flash into your baitfish patterns. We hate to repeat but incase you missed last weeks report, holiday seasons have been bringing in a larger number of anglers so trying new or hard to get to areas (within the legal boundaries) can turn out to be very productive and it will get you away from the beaches with larger crowds. The big are fish are coming into play and we would love to see you out on the water holding one of the leviathans that cruise the lake. Dress in layers and prepare for some chilly weather.

* Yes were aware that Pyramid Lake is in Nevada not California, but it is close and such a great fishery that we included it in our report for your benefit.

If you enjoyed this report please like and share it. If you have comments or to share your own personal fishing report email me at mike@offthehookflyfishing.com. (707)287-2939 C (530)242-4122 O.

Thanks and have a great weekend!

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