Denis Peirce: As good as it gets in streams |

Denis Peirce: As good as it gets in streams

The low snow pack of the past winter has resulted in an early peak for stream trout fishing in the Sierra.

Water flows are well below normal for the first week of June. Currently the North Yuba river, at 400 cubic feet per second, is one-third of its normal 1,500 cfs flows for early June. The current flows are more representative of late June or early July conditions.

I spoke yesterday with Ralph Wood, owner of the Catch & Release Guide Service (477-0780). Ralph lives in Grass Valley and specializes in guiding the North Yuba River. In response to my question “Is this as good as it gets?” he said, “Yes, the variety and quantity of the insect life on the river is at its annual peak. Currently there are golden stones, flying ants, gray drakes, beetles and caddis for the fish to feed on. The trout are actively feeding at the surface.”

Ralph has been taking his clients above Downieville to find the most favorable water conditions for fly fishing. A variety of flies have been working. He has been using No. 8 Stimulators to imitate the golden stone adults or a No. 12 Parachute Adams for the gray drakes. In addition, he hangs a dropper off the main dry fly. Typically he uses a Turkey Bead Head or a Biot Bead Head hung a foot or so below the dry fly.

Last weekend he guided a father and a 13-year-old son on the North Yuba. Between the two anglers they caught and released more than 50 fish. Ralph commented that will be a hard guide trip to top, especially since the son outfished his dad.

As the river continues to drop fishing will become more difficult. If you want to get in on the best action the time is now.

I checked in with Chad at the Carson River Resort near Markleeville, on the bank of the East Carson River. A lot of the same insects are present on the East Carson. The golden stone flies, flying ants and a few caddis have been present for about one week. This puts the East Carson slightly behind the North Yuba for timing. The East Carson is more heavily planted and the recently planted fish tend to feed below the surface. Power bait, spinners and subsurface flies are currently the best producers. But look for good dry fly fishing on the Carson River drainage in the near future.

Another report of adult golden stone flies on the water came from the inlet at Rollins Lake. The water temp is a chilly low 50s and trout were occasionally rising to large yellow/tan insects that fit the description of a golden stone. The golden stones are such a mouthful for a trout that they will continue looking for them on the surface days after the hatch has ended.

Other good trout fishing opportunities include Fuller Lake. Fuller was planted prior to Memorial Day and has fished well ever since. The fly anglers getting out on the water with float tubes have been doing well with Sheep Creek Specials in No. 10 or No. 12. Shore anglers have been picking up fish around the day use area with power bait or with lures.

Donner Lake has been fishing well since the holiday. The trout that are planted at the boat launch ramp spread eastward along the north shore. Good fishing can be had from the public access docks along Old Highway 40.

For the kokanee angler, Gary Gordon ( reports the best fishing at Bullard’s Bar is currently at the 48 to 50 foot depth. You will pick up the majority of your fish during low-light conditions in the early morning. But Gary has been able to pick up fish into the afternoon if necessary to get limits for his customers. Most of the fish are in the 13 to 14 inch range. Gary expects the first 15 incher of the year to come in the next couple weeks.

On Wednesday, the Gold Country Fly Fishers will hold their monthly meeting. The speaker will be Ralph Wood of the C&R Guide Service presenting a slide show and comments on fly fishing the North Yuba River. All interested persons are welcome to attend. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.


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. He may be reached via e-mail at

Fish Planting Schedule

If conditions permit, the following lakes, reservoirs and ponds, listed by county, will be restocked with catchable-size trout from Department of Fish and Game hatcheries.

Week of June 4

Alpine County ” Burnside Lake, Alpine Lake, Caples Lake, Carson River East Fork, Carson River West Fork, Mosquito Lake Lower, Mosquito Lake Upper

Amador County ” Bear River Reservoir Lower

Butte County ” Butte Creek Big

Calaveras County ” Angels Creek, White Pines Lake

El Dorado County ” American River Silver Fork, Jenkinson Lake

Glenn County ” Plasket Meadows Pond

Nevada County ” Boca Reservoir, Fuller Lake, Prosser Reservoir

Plumas County ” Antelope Reservoir, Bucks Lake, Echo Lake, Feather River Middle Fork, Feather River North Fork Almanor, Warner Creek

Sacramento County ” Folsom Lake Browns Ravine, Rancho Seco Lake

Sierra County ” Gold Lake, Little Truckee 89, Stampede Reservoir

Solano County ” Putah Creek

Tehama County ” Deer Creek

Salmon Count

Red Bluff Diversion Dam salmon count for the last three days:

June 3 ” 42

June 2 ” 34

June 1 ” 31

Year to date 2007 ” 803 salmon

Year to date 2006 ” 386 salmon

* We are printing the salmon counts at Red Bluff as a indicator of the valley salmon run in general. Salmon fishing on the Sacramento River is closed until mid-July.

Check the regulations for open areas on the Feather River.

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