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Denis Peirce: Dog days of summer just around the corner

The Fourth of July is upon us and a heat wave is predicted for the remainder of the week. We are getting into the summer fishing mode earlier than usual. The best fishing prospects into the near future will revolve around the search for cold water.

For kokanee anglers, Bullard’s Bar is a good bet. I spoke with guide Gary Gordon who fishes the lake regularly.

“The fish are continuing to move deeper as the water warms,” Gordon said. “Currently the most productive depth is 56 to 67 feet.”



As the fish go down to find cool water, Gordon increases the size of the dodger he uses. He increased the length of dodger from 4.5 to 5.5 inches as the fishing depth moved through the 40-foot range down into the 50-plus-foot depths in mid June.

The larger dodger gives off more vibrations to attract kokanee. As the light diminishes the fish are more dependent on vibration than color. At these depths Gordon recommends discontinuing pink as the dominant lure color.




He will use black for contrast, bright fluorescent colors like chartreuse and glow-in-the-dark for deep presentations. All of these choices offer the most visibility in low light conditions.

Another recommendation is to be on the water at first light. The bite is better early on and there is little high-speed boat traffic. The prime location is near the dam. Many, but by no means all, of the kokanee are congregating there.

Gordon also recommends “you set your release mechanism heavy to prevent it from going off if the fish hit the dodger instead of the lure”.

Early morning, the kokanee show a propensity to head for the surface when hooked. This will put a lot of slack in the line unless you are expecting it and take appropriate action. This is the cause of many of the “long distance releases.”

For a detailed treatise on kokanee fishing go to: http://www.fishwithgary.com.

At Lake Oroville there has been a major change. The amount of water discharged down the river has risen from 1,760 cubic feet per second on June 14, to 4,510 cfs on June 26, to 8,737 cfs on Friday.

This has dramatically increased the currents within the lake. The currents near the outlet have concentrated a good number of cohos near the buoy line and anglers mooching with cut bait have the best action. The lake is falling more than a foot per day.

An interesting side note: The official Division of Wildlife Resources water surface temps are in the mid-70 degree range. But anglers have been seeing temps as low as 62 degrees. I am speculating that the increased currents are causing upwelling in selected locations, bringing up cool water and fish from the depths. If you go be sure to bring a thermometer.

Down on the river below town, the increased flows have brought better numbers of salmon and steelhead up river. I have had good reports on both species from the low flow/cool water section of the river.

Up in the high country cool water is also the key. Frank Rinella, Sierra Guide Service, fished the North Yuba late last week. He reported poor results on the lower river below Downieville. Farther up river, the fishing was very good on an assortment of dry flies. You should try Stimulators, Parachute Adams, PMD’s or the local favorite Buzz Hackle. The farther up river you go, the cooler the water temps will be.

I checked in with the Mother Lode Fly shop in Sonora. Marv Mitchum noted “The dry fly season in the Stanislaus River drainage above 4,000 feet is at its peak. Last week the hoppers came out at the 7,000-foot elevation and the trout are serious about hitting hopper patterns.”

Mitchum recommends Elk Hair Caddis, Ants, Royal Wulffs and Humpies as the top producing flies along the Highway 108 corridor over the Sierra.

As we head into the “Dog Days of Summer,” cool water will be the key to locating good fishing.

Salmon count

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

July 1, 2007 = 7

June 30, 2007 = 24

June 29, 2007 = 11

Year to date 2007 = 1823 salmon

Year to date 2006 = 1105 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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