Denis Peirce: Weather, moon — thumbs up for fishing
The good news is tomorrow we start October, which is one of my favorite months to fish. The second bit of good news is the weather arriving on Sunday. There will be a storm front coming in from the north Pacific, bringing lower temperatures, with rain in the Foothills and a possibility of snow in the high elevations. This is exactly what we need to counter the recent warm spell and drive the water temps lower. The third positive development is the dark of the moon tomorrow which hopefully will bring another group of salmon heading up our river systems.
The fishery of the most interest this time of year is salmon in the valley rivers. Although we are in a down year for numbers, it is still possible to get a two fish limit of salmon. The Feather River has been providing better results than the Sacramento for the fall run salmon so far this year. Water flows have a lot to do with river fishing. The Feather has been slowly falling for the month of September. At the end of August, it was flowing at 6,780 cfs near Oroville. In three weeks time it dropped 45 percent to 3,750. It has remained at this level for the last week.
Bob Bouke, Johnson’s Bait & Tackle, reports that the salmon continue to come up the river in groups. If you are on the water to intercept these fish, the salmon fishing can be good. If you are fishing between these schools, the catching will be terrible. The best hours have been from dawn until late morning and again from late afternoon until dark.
The biggest concentrations of salmon are at the Afterbay Hole near Oroville. The Afterbay attracts a lot of anglers as well fish and it can be crowded. Brett Brady, http://www.fishbarebones.com, took his clients to fish the Afterbay Hole last week and his boat was one of ten jockeying for position in that location. The following day he moved back to the Woodson Bridge area, on the Sacramento River. Brett is one of the most experienced guides on the Feather and Sacramento Rivers and even he has had a tough time this season putting salmon in the boat on a regular basis.
A glimmer of hope rests on the dark of the moon this weekend. It will produce big tide changes and maybe another good surge of salmon. Bob Bouke fished out of Bodega Bay on Monday concentrating on rock fish. He did well on the bottom fish but the salmon fishing was slow.
The steelhead/rainbow fishing is OK on the Feather and the Yuba Rivers. The Feather is producing from Gridley up through Oroville. I would start with egg imitations. On the Yuba the fish are still focused on the caddis hatch. Size #16 caddis in beige or tan has been the best dry fly.
Despite the warm air temperatures this week the high elevation lakes are continuing to cool. The approaching storm front this weekend should drop the temps into the prime mid to high 50s zone. Lake Davis has been starting the morning at 58 degrees and rising to 63 degrees by mid afternoon. Jon Baiocchi has been regularly fishing the lake and has been fishing the shallows early in the day and connecting with feeding fish. He has been more successful pulling flies through the water, rather than still fishing with flies hung below indicators.
October is the beginning of prime time at Eagle Lake. Val Aubrey, http://www.eaglelakefishing.net, says that things are getting better. Just like Lake Davis where the quantity of fish is sub par, the quality is up. There have been fish as large as 4.5 pounds landed recently. The average fish is closer to 2.5 pounds but that is still a nice rainbow. Val has been most successful trolling in the 4’ to 6’ below the surface zone. She starts the day out over 25 feet of water to get her lines out and then works into the shallows early in the day. As the sun gets on the water she moves out over deeper water but continues to pick up fish near the top of the water column. The deepest she has had to go is 12’ down in the last week or so. Eagle Lake is actually a slightly above last year’s water level for this date. The best colors for trolling flies have been cinnamon, tui chub and hot orange. This is typical for Eagle Lake at this time of year.
The North Yuba is cooling off. My most recent report is water from 56 to 61 degrees in the river above Sierra City. There are lots of small rainbows willing to hit dry flies. I received reports of October Caddis husks along the river. The conclusion is that this hatch has started on the Yuba and probably on other rivers.
Pyramid Lake Nevada opens tomorrow, Oct. 1!
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.trollingflies.com.
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