Anglers try to wait out spring rain
A glance at any of our local water courses will give you the lowdown on most of the fishing prospects in the local area. The valley rivers have come back up to unfishable levels as the water masters attempt to maintain flood control room in the reservoirs.
Most anglers are indoors wondering when this rain is going to let up enough for the fishing to perk up. But there are a few dedicated bass fishermen who paid entry fees for bass tournaments well before the weatherman forecast these storms. They have been out on the water regardless of the weather.
This past weekend there was an “Anglers Choice Tournament” at Lake Berryessa in the coast range. The winning weight for a five-fish limit was 19 pounds. This included a 12-pound largemouth that was also big fish for the event. Fish were caught on jigs, soft plastics and crank baits indicating that there was no clear pattern the bass were responding to, but they were on the bite.
The positive about the coast range lakes is that they do not drain high snow capped mountains like the Sierra foothill lakes. Berryessa is flirting with the 50-degree mark while Oroville has continued to get colder, now down to 45 degrees. We are currently only two weeks away from the spring equinox and Oroville temps are down three degrees from the high 40s of January and February. One would expect temps to be on the rise by now.
But all is not lost. There are a couple of fisheries that are doing well despite the foul weather.
March is the prime month of the year for bank angling on the west shore of Lake Tahoe. A number of conditions combine to produce this good fishing. March is the time of year when the large rainbows in the lake begin to stage along the west shore in a pre-spawn mode. These fish will come into the shallows to feed with the right weather. A wind out of the east is the key ingredient. This makes for the surf to be breaking on the west shore. It is this wave action that stirs up the crawdads and the minnows and brings the four- to six-pound rainbows within casting distance of shore. It is mostly locals only on the private property along the west shore but there are some public access areas worth a try.
Bait is by far the preferred technique. Fish in these cold temps will not chase down a lure as readily as they will pick up a worm floated just off the bottom. The impressive thing is that you will not catch any small fish. It will be a big one or nothing.
Pyramid Lake, located northeast of Reno, has been fishing well. The lake has been rising with all of this rain and snow. If you can get a day of good weather to get over the hill, the fishing can be good. A number of the Gold Country Fly Club members have been there in the last few weeks and done well.
The beach north of the nets has continued to produce well for those that put in the time. The bugger & beetle fly combination has been successful. My sources rate a brown beetle as the top producing fly.
But if this weather has got you down think of a positive. With the Feather River back up to 30,000 cfs, all of those steelhead I thought would be striper food, may be sneaking right by those hungry beasts and on the fast track toward salt water.
Denis Peirce writes a weekly column for The Union 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. He may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com
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New season. New co-head coaches. Same expectations.