Denis Peirce: Weather affects us all
Everything in nature reacts to the weather. Whether it is plants blooming, insects hatching or the fish biting, they are reacting to the weather.
Each year the same flock of about 45 geese winter over at the Moreno’s pond in Penn Valley. For many years they have headed north in the first week of March. This year, with the onset of the series of storms coming off the Pacific, they stayed an extra three weeks.
They don’t give notice to the landlord, they just fly off one morning and are not to be seen until next fall. They did not wait for sunny flying weather, they left on the last day of heavy rain. They knew that the change was coming.
Patience is key
The turn of season means good spring fishing is coming on. It is not sudden. The effects of the heavy rains of March are still with us on many waters.
The last week of March is the traditional start of the striper spawning run in the Sacramento Valley. So far they are not in evidence. It is not that they have yet to arrive, the river is still running so muddy that fishing for them is on pause as we wait for the water to clear up.
The hope is that this weekend the conditions will be good enough to get on them. The good news is that the sturgeon run on the Sacramento has been the best in many years. The sturgeon will bite despite the muddy water.
There has been a decent sturgeon bite on the Feather River below Star Bend down the mouth of the Bear River. The high water from the Yuba River allows boats to navigate the lower Feather and the sturgeon come upriver on the rising flows.
Now that the flows are receding navigation is getting tougher and the fish might be headed down river.
Lake Oroville, which had been very low, has come up over 60 feet in the past month and is still rising at 2 feet per day. The best fishing on Oroville is in the spring with rising water levels. Currently the lake is at over 780 foot elevation and will be considered full at 900 feet.
Lakes are getting crowded
Ed Fisk (http://fishtalesguideservice.net/) spent three days on Lake Almanor this past weekend. He was on the water for two cloudy days and the sun came out on Monday.
The best fishing was on Saturday and Sunday with overcast skies. The water was still a cold 36 to 42 degrees. The trout were in shallow water along the east shore. After trying a number of lures, the standard Rapala plugs were the ticket, trolling at 2.5 mph.
All of the fish hit from the surface down to the 10 foot depth. The largest fish of the trip was a brown trout over four pounds with many others in the three pound range. The rainbows tended to be a bit smaller in the two to three pound range.
The trout had been feeding on pond smelt about 1.5 inches long. There were a few trout that had eaten crawdads. This is a good indication that the crawdads are out of hibernation and the smallmouth bass should be active as the water warms into the mid 40s.
The best report comes from Pyramid Lake Nevada. With the sunshine this week the water temperature has risen from 44 degrees to 48 in the early mornings. By afternoon the temps are as high as 51 degrees.
The spawning season at Pyramid has arrived and this week anglers are reporting numerous schools of trout are cruising the shoreline. Some of the schools have up to 50 fish in them. The water is clear enough to see these fish swimming by.
The shore anglers on the beaches are casting lures and stripping streamer flies. At the steep rocky shorelines the fly anglers are catching fish with midges under indicators.
There are big fish in the schools but the largest this week are in the mid-teens for weight. My source, Mickey Baron, has been fishing out of a float tube. The lake is getting more crowded and getting out on the water is the best way to get a good spot. Mickey noted that the campground is totally booked for this weekend. We are at the lead edge of the prime season for Pyramid Lake.
Closer to home, the Lower Yuba River fished well prior to the high flows of March. The flows were about 900 cubic feet per second in the early days of the month. With the storms it spiked at over 25,000 cubic feet per second.
Currently it is well below 5,000 and falling. April is traditionally a good month on the river with increasing insect hatches as the water warms.
We are in the early stages of the transition from winter to summer. This is an excellent time to get out on the water and do some catching as opposed to just fishing.
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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