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Feather fish didn’t get memo

I had great expectations for the weather front that came through last weekend. I have had some memorable fishing trips that coincided with arriving low-pressure systems. But the weekend fishing did not live up to my fantasy.

Last week all of the signs on the Feather River seemed to forecast a perfect weekend of steelhead fishing. During the week there was a daily caddis hatch that had the trout/steelhead on the bite. Craig Bentley from Huntington’s Sportsman’s had done well on Thursday fishing various caddis patterns.  He also spotted the first two salmon redds above a riffle in the low flow section. The combination of trout/steelhead in good numbers, consistent feeding activity, salmon starting to dig and an approaching rainstorm seemed to be the ideal combination.

Instead of a banner day the river fishing was a bust. With 20/20 hindsight I can conjure up some excuses, but the fact of the matter is that the fish did not get the memo about how they were supposed to be on the bite.



My most recent reports from the Lower Yuba have the fishing rated as fair. There has been a caddis hatch and some anglers have had limited success “swinging soft hackle” flies during the hatch. There are few salmon in evidence in the river below the Highway 20 Bridge. We need salmon digging redds for the egg bite to come on. The river above the bridge is closed to all fishing for the salmon spawning season. One bit of conjecture I heard is that the high flows on the Feather may have attracted the resident trout/steelhead to that area.

The rainstorm dropped more precipitation the farther north and west you looked. The north coast had rain from mid-morning on Friday until Sunday.  There was a good bite near the mouth on Saturday as the river was rising, then the fish took off and moved upstream.




Some of the better prospects for angling are in the high country. Most of the more popular north state lakes are at 60 degrees or slightly above. Keith Kerrigan fished Donner Lake Friday with the surface temps at 61. He started out targeting the seasonal concentration of pre-spawn mackinaw off China Cove. He spent part of his day jigging over these fish without success. Then he turned to top line trolling along the south shore for rainbows. He had noticed some surface activity while jigging which prompted the change in tactics. Keith said that the hold over rainbows from this season’s trout plants, were feeding at the top of the water column throughout the lake. He was able to catch and release 12-inch rainbows on a variety of trolled lures.

This past week Stampede Reservoir (60 degrees), Jackson Meadows, Gold Lake and Fuller were planted by the DF&G. I expect that all of these waters have similar temps and look for trout near the surface.

Tom from the Almanor Fly Co. in Chester relayed a report from a customer that he saw the first October caddis on the Feather River along Hwy 70 in the canyon. It might be a bit early, but it is an encouraging report. Lake Almanor has been fishing well the past week.

 The pond smelt are moving into shallow water and the trout are following them. Tom reports good fishing. He has been taking his boat upwind of water fowl diving on bait fish. He then drifts toward the activity casting pond smelt imitations. He has landed fish over 20 inches daily. Another report from a troller fishing the east shore between the Hamilton Branch and the dam mentions good numbers of smaller fish. Almanor has begun its fall fishing pattern. It will fish well until November.

This Saturday is the clean up the river day on the Lower Yuba River. Frank Rinella from the Gold Country Fly Fishers is facilitating this aspect of the SYRCL campaign to clean up our local water ways.  Anyone who would like to help on the Lower Yuba can show up under the south west end of the bridge at 8:45 Saturday morning. Gloves and appropriate footware are recommended.


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