Denis Peirce: Wild weather wakes up fishing scene |

Denis Peirce: Wild weather wakes up fishing scene

The most significant recent event in the outdoor world is the weather of last week.

A series of storms came down the coast . The farther north you were, the heavier the precipitation. The final storm of the week drenched the north end of the state.

The most notable rivers for flows were the Smith and Klamath rivers. The Smith drainage received 3.5 inches of rain Thursday night and the river rose 15 vertical feet. The Klamath River rose 7 feet near the mouth.

For both of these rivers it is the first big flush of the season that cleans out the silt and debris that builds up during the summer.

The fishing through the mid week was good. The rivers “blew out” Thursday and are now back into shape. The Smith River has fished well for salmon since the high flows. Many boats floated the river Sunday with all boats catching at least one salmon. The steelhead will not be in this river in any numbers until December. Now is prime salmon time on the Smith. The Klamath is a much longer river than the Smith and it will be in shape in the next few days.

The Trinity is having a banner year for returning steelhead. Bill McCrea of Grass Valley fished the Trinity last week and reported good fishing prior to the major flow increase. The water was muddy from the confluence of Canyon Creek, near Junction City, down river. From there up to the dam at Lewiston the water stayed fishable.

He also noted that egg imitations out fished nymphs by a considerable margin.

Another fishery that has been positively impacted by the recent weather is Eagle Lake. For the last month the lake has been plagued with windy and stormy conditions. It has been hard to get a good full day on the water. The storms dropped the water temps into the high 40s which is prime for the Eagle Lake trout.

Since the storms passed the weather at the lake has been perfect. The winds are calm, air temps Monday topped out at 60 degrees and the fish are on the bite. It is unusual the have such warm calm days when the water is cold. This pattern is expected to last for a few more days.

If you have the ability to get there now, you will be glad you did.

Bob Aguilar, a guide on Eagle Lake, says that “it does not get any better than this. Most fish are a solid 3 pounds with trout up to 5 pounds being caught daily.”

Bob reports that most anglers are getting limits trolling parallel to shore in 8 feet of water.

Bob has been fishing along the shore near the airport at Spaulding using his “Sure Catch Lures” and red is a color common to the most successful lures. Other lures that are working well are grubs in brown or brown with an orange tail. Trolling flies in shades of cinnamon, brown, rust and orange also have their adherents.

Eagle Lake, on the high desert of north east California, has a reputation for foul weather when the fishing is good. This week is an exception to this rule.

Another desert lake that fishes well in the cold months is Pyramid Lake outside of Sparks, Nev.

George Molino of the Pyramid Store guides on the lake. He reports that the trout fishing which reopened this month has gotten off to a slow start. He has had to cover a lot of water to get fish for his clients. The same poor weather conditions at Eagle have been prevalent at Pyramid also this month.

Trout/steelhead fishing on both the Yuba and Feather rivers has been fair. More fish have moved in recently. The salmon counts are way below par for this time of year and the lack of spawning salmon has made finding feeding steelhead much more difficult. Some fish are being taken but we have seen much better in years past.

I have been asked to remind anglers that the Lower Yuba River below Englebright Lake is a catch and release fishery requiring the use of barbless hooks with no bait allowed.

There are a few exceptions to these rules regarding salmon in the river closer to Marysville. Some locals have noticed night crawler cartons along the river and want to get the word out that you need to know the rules before fishing. This is especially true for rivers that have salmon and steelhead runs.


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

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