Denis Peirce: Fishing in the fall |

Denis Peirce: Fishing in the fall

Denis Peirce
The house boat fleet at the Skippers' Cove Marina at Englebright Lake. Denis Peirce chose this spot recently for how close it was to him and a recent positive fishing report.
Photo by Denis Peirce |

The last full week of October we had days in the 80s. Summer seemed like it was not going to let go. As much as I enjoy warm days and mild nights there is a time for the dry season to end.

Last weekend the season changed. We had drenching rains and in the evenings, the smell of wood smoke is in the air on a nightly basis. Fall has arrived. The change was what I have been waiting for to get into some good local fishing.

Late Saturday the rain stopped. Sunday had clearing skies, a north breeze and a rising barometer, theoretically a poor day for fishing.

That evening a call came from Justin Leonard. He had been on Lake Englebright and done well catching rainbow trout near the surface. Throughout the day when the water was calm there were fish to be seen feeding at the surface.

The trout bite had moved down to the lower third of the lake. During the warm weather the best trout fishing is at the upper end of the lake where to cold water comes in.

The change of seasons either brought the fish down lake or up from the colder depths. Whatever the story, there was a surface bite at Englebright. It was time to go.

Tuesday the schedules aligned for Colin and I to be joined by Wilfried Wietstock and Shawn Rainsbarger for an afternoon at the lake. At the launch ramp I met some fellow members of the Gold Country Fly Fishers who were leaving.

They had not done well fishing the morning. Undeterred we took off.

I had just finished building a new set of planer boards that take your tackle out to the side of the boat. I wanted to test them and I had tied up some gold colored streamer flies.

Justin had fished a gold colored dodger with a night crawler on Sunday to get most of his trout. He said the fish had a decided preference for gold.

We were trying to run the flies close to the bank behind the planer boards, keeping the boat out in deep water. I was hoping to get a mix of bass and trout in the shallows but the bass did not cooperate on this outing.

We did well on the rainbows with Wilfried taking three home with him. The pattern for finding trout on that sunny afternoon was to concentrate on the west side of the lake that was in the shade in the afternoon.

We worked both sides and the middle of the lake but the bite was on the west side. The colors that worked for us were gold and orange.

The reasons we chose to fish Englebright was a good report and it was close to home. I worked the morning and finished by noon.

With the end of daylight savings time there is a narrow window to be on the water. We were only out for a couple of hours.

Close to home we have a few choices, Englebright, Scott’s Flat and Rollins for boat angling.

Englebright has a consistent water level that only goes up and down a few feet. Scott’s Flat is a consistent cold weather fishery and it is only down a dozen feet or so currently. I heard that Rollins had some dredging in the Bear River arm a few weeks ago that stained the water.

The Greenhorn Creek side was a better bet. I am not sure of current conditions, but I have done well there in the winter.

Farther afield the recent storms have the waters cooling at Almanor and Eagle Lakes as well a Pyramid Lake Nevada. Colin and I are off to the Delta for a few days next week for striper fishing.

We currently have good fall fishing conditions. The air temps can be cool to cold and we might be putting on some rain gear from time to time. But if catching is what you want to do, this is a good time.

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

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.