‘Tis the season for late fall Salmon run on Sac | TheUnion.com

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‘Tis the season for late fall Salmon run on Sac

The Union photo/John Hart

This current series of storms is putting a pause to outdoor activities with the exception of duck hunting. Duck hunters are a different breed. Beyond this current pattern, there are some significant dates on the Department of Fish and Game (DF&G) calendar.

The Lower Yuba reopens to fishing above the Highway 20 Bridge tomorrow. The fishing will be dependent on water flows and clarity. The combined Deer Creek and Squirrel Creeks flow into the river immediately below the Englebright Dam. A look at either of these creeks in Nevada City or Penn Valley can give you an idea of how muddy the river might be below the dam. There is a possibility that the river will be fishable opening morning. Check the CDEC website before you go.

I have fished the opening day with rain and blowing wind and did well. Water clarity was fine and good rain gear kept me on the water. The fish tend to concentrate above the bridge, and they have not been pressured for three months. Eggs and nymphs are on the menu.

The salmon season on the Sacramento River closes Dec. 16. The bad news is this heavy rain raising the river flows and silting up the water. The good news is the full moon this week. Seven to nine days after the full moon there should be significant numbers of these fish between Sacramento and Red Bluff. This is the season for the late fall run on the Sacramento. These are some of the largest individual salmon that run in the central valley rivers. They will be bright "chromers." The numbers in this run are nowhere near the fall run and these fish are only found on the Sacramento River.

Normally the last river in the state to be "blown out" by heavy rain is the low flow section on the Feather River below Oroville. There is an unusual flow event currently in the low flow.

The good numbers of spawning salmon in the fall run were concentrated in the low flow section rather than spread out more evenly down river through the high flow zone below the After Bay Outlet. This left a considerable quantity of salmon carcasses along the river in Oroville. The water authorities have chosen to flush the low flow by putting all of the river flows through town. The normal flow puts 600 cublic feet per second through town and the balance of the river flow is added via the after bay gates. For the last week, there have been 2,400 cfs flowing through town. This translates into levy to levy flows through much of the low flow, with no shore access due to water up into the brush. Early in the flushing flows there was considerable staining to the water. These flows have "reshuffled the deck," and it will be interesting to find out how the fish react.

Lake fishing in the aftermath of the storms should resume with results depending on water clarity and temperature. Rollins typically gets a lot of mud with warm wet rains. Large impoundments, such as Oroville, should have plenty of clear water. The water temperature at Oroville declined a couple of degrees in the past week down to 57, which is very warm for December.

Eagle Lake fished well through the Thanksgiving weekend. Local guide Ed Fisk (fishtalesguideservice.net) teamed up with Rick Kennedy (fishtightlines.com) to guide a large party of anglers on Eagle Lake. They produced limits for all anglers. Orange continued to be the hot color for a variety of lures from trolling flies to grubs. The warm rain should keep the water temps moderate for this time of year. I am hoping that a substantial amount of this rain falls in the area to give us a down payment on reversing the extremely low lake level.

Another fishery to consider is Pyramid Lake. This season the quantity of trout weighing more than 10 pounds is very promising. In the past week, a cutthroat trout weighing more that 20 pounds was caught from shore near "The Nets." The water has cooled to 56 degrees and the shore based anglers are starting to get results. Boat anglers still have the edge as long as the waves are moderate. Pyramid Lake has claimed a number of lives due to the sudden wind and wave changes. You can get an accurate wind and wave forecast from the "noaa.gov" website by searching for Reno.

Denis Peirce writes a fishing column for The Union's Outdoors section and is host of "The KNCO Fishing & Outdoor Report," which airs 6-7 p.m. Fridays and 5-6 a.m. Saturdays on 830-AM radio. Contact him via his website at http://www.fineflies.com.