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Family fishing

Denis Peirce

I wanted to take my son trout fishing this past weekend, so I chose to go to Fuller Lake because of the alpine setting and the elevation.

Fuller is a Department of Fish and Game target lake and usually is heavily stocked with trout, though I am not aware if Fuller has been planted yet this season.

I had expected warmer water than the 52 degrees I measured and timed our arrival for 5 p.m. I have had good luck fishing at Fuller in the afternoon when the shadow line moves out onto the water. We started out trolling with Arctic Fox flies but had no action within the first hour.

Young boys like action, riding in the boat waiting for the rod to bend can only last so long.

We then switched to my “ace in the hole” technique, the fly & bubble. Insects are the main diet for trout in small Sierra lakes. Flies are the logical choice to target hold-over fish, feeding on the local food chain. Casting a fly rod is beyond my son Colin’s current fishing skill level, but cranking in a casting bubble and a wet fly is right up his alley.

We ended our trolling near the dam at the upwind end of the lake. I killed the outboard and let the wind drift us down the west shore.

Our fishing works best if I do the casting and Colin does the reeling, fewer tangles this way. We use two rods, so that when he gets his rig reeled in, I have cast out the other and he is ready to continue uninterrupted fishing.

I had expected warmer water and more surface feeding activity by the trout. There was a good “midge hatch” but I noticed only a couple dozen rises in an hour of drift fishing. I like to stay out from shore and cast into the shallows. If the boat is stationary, you retrieve straight back. But if the boat is drifting, your fly comes back in an arc.

The casting bubble is an effective method of presenting a fly without the splash of a fly line. It is especially convenient fishing from shore where the trees come down to the water’s edge leaving no room for back casts. You can vary your retrieve speed: you can heave it and leave it, or you can stop and go. You also do not lose expensive lures hung up on the bottom. As the water warms from the low 50s through the high 60s, the lake insects are very active and the trout readily feed on them.

Colin had a number of hits and did manage to land one brown of 12 inches. We took it home. He was quite proud of himself when he showed it to his mom. I did a stomach contents exam. This brown had been dining on water boatmen and quite a few nymphs I could not identify. As a general statement, his diet was dark-colored nymphs about size 14 or 16. His fatal mistake was a “Soft Hackle Prince Nymph” No. 14.

We met Jennifer Gordon and her dad, Bill, at the boat ramp on the way out. Jennifer caught four browns on flashers and night crawlers trolled behind their boat. Her largest looked close to 14 inches.

This past week I have continued to get decent shad reports from the Verona area and upstream between Colusa and Princeton. I heard of some shad below Shanghai Bend rapids.

A report from Upper Scott’s Flat puts the water temp in the low 60s from the surface down to 25 feet. Fishing Monday morning was slow, for either bass or trout.. Stampede continues to fish well for those wanting to drive over the summit.

The best river trout fishing reports have come from the lower Yuba. There have been some good hatches late afternoon and evening. Little yellow stones, PMD’s and caddis have all been coming off. On better days, there have been good numbers of trout rising to these hatches. The North Yuba is still a little high for fly fishing, but it appears that the peak of the snow melt has passed and it won’t be long.

Tonight, the Gold Country Fly Fishing Club will hold its monthly meeting at the Helling Library off Hwy 49. The guest speaker will be Joanne Hilde from the “Friends of Deer Creek.” She will be discussing the insect life and other aspects of Deer Creek. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.

Anyone interested in the sport is invited to attend.

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Fish plants

The Department of Fish & Game announces the following waters are scheduled for plants of catchable trout during the week of May 17:

ALPINE COUNTY

Caples Lake; Kinney Reservoir

AMADOR COUNTY

Silver Lake

NEVADA COUNTY

Boca Reservoir; Prosser Reservoir; Rollins Reservoir

PLACER COUNTY

French Meadows Reservoir; Sugar Pine Reservoir

PLUMAS COUNTY

Feather River -North Fork (Belden); Graeagle Pond; Little Grass Valley Reservoir; Spanish Creek

SACRAMENTO COUNTY

Folsom Lake; Rancho Seco Lake

SIERRA COUNTY

Gold Lake

YUBA COUNTY

Collins Lake

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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 denisp@theunion.com.


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