Denis Peirce: Bite is catching on early
The striper bite is coming on strong on the Sacramento River from Knight’s Landing to Colusa. The majority of the fish are in the 22- to 24-inch range with the largest fish going up to 10 pounds.
The top techniques are upstream trolling and drifting minnows with the current.
Bob Boucke of Johnson’s Bait and Tackle in Yuba City reports that he fished Sunday, launching at Knight’s Landing and going upriver a half-hour. Everyone on his boat took limits of “line sides.”
Bob said they started drifting minnows and doing well. When the sturgeon started rolling on the surface, they switched to fishing at anchor with anchovies and pile worms, hoping for a mixed bag of fish.
They failed to entice a sturgeon to bite but the striper action was good.
There were anglers just off the Knight’s Landing launch ramp doing well trolling until the water skiers showed up to enjoy the 58-degree water.
Boat traffic is a definite turn off for the striper bite.
Farther upriver, the good fishing extends up to Colusa with the best areas below the Meridian Bridge.
Guide Mark Clarke recommends trolling upriver using large Bombers or Rapalas with curly tail rubber worms hung off the rear treble hook. These plugs will run 8- to 10-feet deep when long lined more than 100 feet behind the boat. He tries to work the contour line of water, 9- to 12-feet deep close to shore. Once he has located a school of stripers by trolling, he drifts back through them with live minnows.
Mark then repeats the process. His practice is not to leave a school of stripers trying to find another school.
The bass fishing continues to do well. The recent cooling kept the temps from soaring up through the preferred range and we remain on the cool side of perfect.
I fished last Wednesday with Bob Lambertus on Lake Wildwood. The bass were close to shoreline structure and responded well to “Wacky Rigged” Senkos.
We caught a number of largemouth in the 14 to 16 inch range. I tried some top water lures with out any interest from the fish.
On March 24, a pair of Grass Valley anglers finished first in the “Angler’s Choice Bass Tournament” on Lake Oroville. Winning a tournament is a noteworthy event but the weight of their catch is a possible record for Oroville. According to Fil Torres of Oroville Outdoors, it takes a total of 13 to 15 pounds for a five-fish limit to win most tournaments on the lake.
Cody Meyers and JR Wright came in with more than 26 pounds. Their big fish went 9.57 pounds. The second-place team weighed in 13 pounds. Cody and JR could have weighed in their four smallest fish and won by three pounds. The current water temp is 57 degrees.
Ed Everhart fished Upper Scott’s Flat on Sunday. The water is a chilly 51 to 53 degrees. He tried a variety of bottom-oriented methods with poor results. What finally got him onto the bass was a suspending rip bait, the Stacey Ghost Minnow by Lucky Craft.
Both smallmouth and largemouth came up to take the lure on the pause. Ed also observed that quite a few trout were following the lure as he fished it out from the shore. Ed also noted that there was a lot of trout surface activity late in the day under lowering light conditions.
Up in the north end of the Sacramento Valley, Lake Shasta has a wide open bass bite. The water temp of 54 to 56 degrees means that the major bass spawn will coincide with the next full moon a month from now. The trout in the lake have begun moving out of the main body of the lake heading back the tributary arms.
Many of the rainbows will make spring spawning runs up the rivers. The trout are being caught trolling from the surface down to 30 feet depending on the water and light conditions.
Last Thursday, the Lake Wildwood Hunting & Fishing Club held its monthly fishing competition on Collins Lake. Bob Lambertus came in first with a 6.5 pound rainbow trout. His fish was taken long line trolling a Rapala in 20 feet of water up the west shore, north out of the boat launch.
Most of the boats in the event took 5 to 10 trout by trolling.
Last week, I mentioned the mackinaw bite at Stampede. Keith Kerrigan of the Sierra Guide Service says that the mackinaw are continuing to bite but the browns are also biting. Keith has been picking up the browns before sun up in shallow water. He has been targeting the 8- to 12-foot depths using large plugs run off a side planer. Keith says it is too cold for the kokanee to start biting. The water is currently in the mid 40s and it needs to break into the 50s for the kokanee to get their appetites active.
Last weekend was the opener of the spring turkey season. The season will go through April into early May. I went down to the Spenceville Wildlife Area on the Nevada/Yuba county line and spoke with Tim Caldwell, the DF&G manager of the area.
Most years, the turkeys winter at higher elevations. The first birds return to the Wildlife Area in late March just before the season opens and the rest continue to come back throughout April.
This year with the unseasonably warm and dry conditions the first birds arrived by March 15.
Caldwell says “there are more birds here for this opener than in recent years.” The females have yet to get on the nests but the bird behavior is about two weeks ahead of normal years and much further advanced than last year with all of the rain and cold weather that hung on through the spring.
Spenceville Wildlife Area is funded through upland game bird tag funds and is closed to all other uses for the first two weekends of the spring turkey season and the week in between. During this time frame access to hunt turkeys is by drawing only. Open hunting begins after this.
I met warden Mike Otto, who is working in the area. Be sure to have your license and proper tag because he will probably ask to see it.
As you can tell by the length of this column and the number of good reports, we are into some of the best fishing of the year. Do not put off getting out until July.
The best fishing conditions of the year are starting now.
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 email@example.com.
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 April 2
Lake County – Upper Blue Lake, Lake Pillsbury
Week of April 16
Lake County – Upper Blue Lake
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