Denis Peirce: Gearing up for some good fall fishing |

Denis Peirce: Gearing up for some good fall fishing

I hope the weather system that passed through our area over the weekend is a harbinger of a wet fall.  We received only sprinkles here in Penn Valley. 

Not far to our north there was as much as 12 hours of steady rain on the Trinity River drainage, Lake Almanor and Eagle Lake. The daily high air temps at Lake Almanor dropped 25 degrees from before the storm. 

This is just what we need to bring on the good fall fishing.

Last week’s full moon and high tides brought a wave of salmon and steelhead into the Klamath River. I checked in with Tommy at Little Ray’s Tackle Box on Friday. The Indian salmon netting in the river commenced the previous Sunday and by Friday one netter had 60 percent of his annual quota taken. 

“The river water temps were in the low 70s and the bite for sport anglers was poor despite the numbers of fish in the river,” he said.

On Thursday at Blake’s Riffle, he caught four half-pounder steelhead at dawn. At the same hour on Friday they were gone with not a fish to be seen in the riffle.

When the river water is warm in late summer the salmon and steelhead move out of the salt and acclimate for a day or two. Then they move up river pausing at mouth of each cool water tributary. An angler stopping at Trinity Outdoors in Weaverville fished Pecwan Riffle at the mouth of Pecwan Creek on Saturday in the rain. He had a great day catching half-pounders on fly tackle. Pecwan Riffle is half way between the mouth of the Klamath and the mouth of the Trinity River.

These Klamath reports are seasonally correct for the last week in August. These runs of fish are present most years for Labor Day weekend. The annual variable for the sport angler is water temp. If the temps are cool enough the bite is on. The second consideration is the ability to move along the river to locate migratory fish.

The Lower Yuba has a regulation change this week. The river above the Highway 20 Bridge closes to all fishing for the salmon spawning season. Frank Rinella fished this area last week and reported the fishing to be “fair.” The hopper and dropper combination continued to be his best producing combination.

The water flow on the Lower Yuba is being reduced at a rate of 200 cubic feet per second, per day. This started last Thursday and will bring the flow down to 900 cfs this week. This flow will be maintained until mid-October. Frank gave me another interesting observation. Dramatic flow changes on the river will put the fish “off the bite” until the flows have stabilized for a couple days. In Frank’s experience, flow changes of 200 cfs do not affect the bite.  It is when the flow changes 250 cfs or more in 24 hours that the fish react with lock jaw.

Lake Almanor fishing picked up considerably last week prior to the storm. At that time the lake surface temp was 71 degrees. The best bite was at the mouth of the “Hamilton Branch.” This creek was putting 51 degree water into the lake and attracted quite a few good sized fish into the area. Catching has been good with a variety of methods ranging from fly tackle to bait. Tom from the Lake Almanor Fly Co. mentioned that the fishing was also good in the Hamilton Branch of the Feather above the lake.  The North Fork of the Feather just above Chester has been planted with rainbows and is also fishing well.

The controversy regarding the planting of trout in the Sierra above us has been resolved for a number of lakes and rivers. The following lakes have been planted in the recent past: Fuller, Prosser, Gold, Lower Sardine, Packer and Upper Salmon. On this week’s schedule is Donner Lake, the Little Truckee River (along Highway 89) and the North Yuba. This will be the second time for the North Yuba this month. I would recommend any of these waters for a Labor Day weekend fishing trip.

The best bass fishing report comes from the After Bay below Lake Oroville. The water levels have been high, flooding into the grassy flats and tules. The best bite has been on the shady side of the tules in relatively shallow water. Craig Bentley form Huntington’s Sports has heard of a number of bass between 3 to 6 pounds being taken. The biggest recent fish was a 10-pound bass caught two weeks ago.

Congratulations to the team of Mark Porter, Kevin Porter and Robbie Porter for winning the California Coho Championship at Lake Oroville Aug. 21-22 with 25.31 pounds. 

Close behind them was the only other entry from our area which consisted of Ed Fisk (Fish Tales Guide Service 559-7175), Danny Granholm and Jim Ford. The second place was one third of a pound behind with 24.95 pounds. The consolation was that Ed Fisk’s boat brought in the largest coho of the event weighing 2.33 pounds.

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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