Denis Peirce: Angling for larger spring bass numbers |

Denis Peirce: Angling for larger spring bass numbers

Spring bass angling revolves around the spawning cycle which is affected by water temps, hours of daylight and the full moon. Bass tend to spawn on the full moon with water temps in the range of 57 to 64 degrees depending on the species.

Recently, the smaller foothill bass lakes have had water temps between 55 and almost 60 degrees. The larger snow fed impoundments are colder. Oroville for instance was near fifty. We have the next full moon coming up on April 28th. If we return to warm weather we will have a major spawning event on this full moon.

The storm that came through this past weekend moved the fishing calendar back temporarily. The cold rain dropped water temps a few degrees. Oroville dropped back to 48 degrees. The weather this week is predicted to warm up and the water temps should regain their temps rapidly. The next cloudy day with the possibility of rain is Saturday. The warming water and overcast skies should be a good fishing combination.

Mike Pumphery and Keith Crabtree fished Lake of the Pines a week ago. The water was 58 to 60 and the bass bite was good. At the start of their day the water was glassy and the fish were reluctant. As the day moved on, an intermittent breeze came that changed the fishing. When the surface was smooth the fish could be caught on soft plastics crawled slowly along the bottom in 8 to 15 feet of water. Whenever the breeze rippled the surface of the water the fish would aggressively come up and hit rip baits and flukes fished in the top 5 feet of the water column. When the breeze became a wind the best lures were spinner baits.

Mike noted that with all of the wind chimes on lakeside houses you could hear the good bite coming. They did well on the day with fish as large as 4 pounds and the smallest at a respectable 13 inches.

Collins Lake has been fishing well. Ed Everhart was on it last week. He found a lot of small bass were up shallow. His supposition is that the cold rain this weekend put them off the bite, but that by this coming weekend the fish will be very active in the shallows. The bass are on a pre-spawn bite and this weekend could be excellent for quantities of small fish. He has yet to find the bigger fish moved up shallow. They are still in the 10 to 15 foot depths.

Scott Bartosh has been trolling for trout at Collins and doing well with “Vampire” Rapalas trolled at 2mph. He is fishing the top of the water column in low light conditions and down as deep as 30 feet in bright sunshine. When he trolls flies or spoons he will decrease his speed to 1.5 mph. Prior to the storm he was finding surface temps of 55 – 56 degrees.

My source mentioned a decent trout bite at Scott’s Flat Lake. Most of the trout are rainbows 10 to 13 inches. There have been reports of a few browns up to 3 pounds being taken along the south shore but these are few and far between.

Frank Rinella reports good trout fishing on the Lower Yuba on cloudy days. The March Browns continue to hatch. April is one of the best months on this stretch of the Yuba.

Striper action in the valley was good on the Sacramento River from Verona as far up as Ward’s Landing. Last week there were many limits taken. The rain this weekend added color to the water and raised the levels. As the water rises the fish tend to move up river. As the river gets dirtier the bite goes more to bait fishing with anchovies, sardines and pile worms. Clearing water will bring back the minnow and artificial lure bite. The stripers on the Sacramento are mostly schoolie size at this time.

The stripers on the Feather are much fewer in number but the big fish are there. Angling last week produced few if any limits but Johnson’s Bait & Tackle reported two 40 pound stripers as well as a 35 and a 25 last week.

Flows coming from Oroville are only 780 cfs currently which will keep the fish below Shanghai Bend.

In the high country, Davis Lake is still iced over. Morning air temps were in the low 20s which has refrozen the open water at some of the creek inlets. Davis goes from iced over to ice free rapidly. It could come in a week to 10 days with the proper weather conditions.

In the Truckee area, Stampede Reservoir was accessible for a brief window about ten days ago. Locals had pushed through the snow with their 4X4s and made it to the launch area. Some had even brought their own snow blowers and cleared parking for boat trailers. The results were fair with modest sized rainbows and mackinaw landed. Then the snow returned last week and again this weekend. As soon as warm days return look for the locals to get back into the ramp at Stampede.

The Grass Valley Sportsmen are holding their 38th annual “Kids Fishing Derby” on Saturday April 24. The location will be Lions Lake on the west side. More details in future columns. If you have a youngster between three and 12 this is a fun event.

The Gold Country Fly Fishers monthly meeting is this evening at the Fairgrounds. The meeting location has been moved to the main exhibit building at gate 1. The meeting starts at 7:00. All interested anglers are welcome.

Denis Peirce writes a weekly fishing 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. Contact him via e-mail at

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