Denis Peirce: Make trip to Lake Davis’ north shore for trout |

Denis Peirce: Make trip to Lake Davis’ north shore for trout

October is the month for fall colors in the high country. The aspens in many areas on the east slope of the Sierra have started to turn. The most spectacular scenery can be seen from Highway 395 on the way to Mammoth Lakes.

The snow from last week’s storms is still on the ground above 9,500 feet and from there, down to 8,000 feet, the fall colors are close to their peak. October is a great month to get out into the Sierra for scenery, as well as fishing.

It has been quite some time since I have been able to report that Lake Davis is fishing well. The storms last week cooled the lake water from 62 degrees down to the high 50s. The best catching has been at the north end of the lake in the Mosquito Slough area. There have been some fly anglers up there fishing from float tubes and pontoon boats.

The two best flies have been Jay Fair’s Wiggle Tail in a variety of colors retrieved along the edges of the weed beds. The second pattern that has been effective has been a chironomid imitation such as a Zebra Midge in black and red, size No. 14. The Zebra Midge has been most effective hung below an indicator at varying depths.

The trout locations have changed since the most recent treatment of the lake to eradicate the pike. In years past there were a number of coves and points along the west shore that were sure to hold fish. In the last couple of seasons many of the most productive west side spots have not consistently held fish. This season I have repeatedly been told that the main channel over the original creek bed held the most predictable trout populations.

The other comment I hear often is that the fish have yet to achieve the size that Davis Lake is noted for.

With the change of season and the recent wet weather, the fall migration of trout to the north end is on. The concentrations of fish there make it worth the drive. In addition, the fall colors are beginning to turn in the Portola area.

Reports from Eagle Lake are similar to the recent past. The north basins are shallow and relatively warm for mid-October. The majority of the fish are still in the deeper south end. Spaulding is the only reasonable launch site for most boats.

Pyramid Lake in Nevada reopened to trout fishing Oct. 1. Water temps are still near 60 degrees. One second-hand report from a shore angler, who has fished multiple days, mentions mixed results fishing wooly buggers with a trailing beetle. He has been catching some fish with the best locations having a steep drop off, or deep water close to shore. A hard cold snap will improve the results.

The next river salmon season opened last Saturday on the Sacramento River. The newest zone to open extends from the Highway 113 bridge at Knight’s Landing up through Red Bluff to the Deschutes Road Bridge.

This season runs through October 31. There is a closed zone immediately above and below the Red Bluff diversion Dam, see the Department of Fish & Game regulations.

Reports from Johnson’s Bait & Tackle in Yuba City have the best results coming from above Butte City. The majority of the salmon taken over the weekend were darkening which indicates the fish have been in fresh water for some time. The new moon occurred on Oct. 7 which gives hope that a new push of salmon could be arriving sometime this week. The best lure was the Kwik Fish with a sardine wrap.

The high flows on the Feather River have been cut back in the last few weeks. The flows which had been as high as 6,000 cfs in September have been reduced to 2,600. Today will be the fourth day at this level.

When the Feather has significant flow changes it takes about three days for the fish to adjust to the new conditions. The new flows mean wading access to the high flow area for the first time this fall. It may be worth a try.

The Trinity River has a fair salmon bite below Weaverville. The best area has been from Junction City to Del Loma. The river is currently experiencing the annual juvenile fish downstream migration. The consequence of this is bad for the bait angler. The young fish will pester a baited hook. The most effective salmon method has been large Blue Fox Spinners or Panther Martins. The steelhead are few and far between at this time.

Traditionally, November is the best steelhead month on the Trinity River.

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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