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Goin’ with the flow

The California Department of Water Resources has been doing maintenance this past week at the Feather River outlet of the State Water Project’s Oroville-Thermalito Complex and has reduced releases from the Afterbay to the river.

Starting Tuesday, Jan. 27, all flow was diverted to the main (low-flow) channel of the Feather River, while divers inspected equipment at the river outlet. As a result, starting last Tuesday, the 27th at 6 a.m., flows in the main channel of the river, normally 600 cubic feet per second, were stepped up in 200 cfs increments every four hours to a total of 2,400 cfs.

During the same time period, the flows through the river outlet were decreased to zero. After completion of work on Jan. 29, flows in the main channel have been decreased 50 cfs every six hours heading back to 600 cfs. Flows at the river outlet will be increased at the same rate.



As of Tuesday Feb. 3 the low flow was at 800 cfs and the Afterbay was releasing 1,000 cfs.

Beyond the curiosity value of this information from a press release, what does this mean to anglers?




Upstream from the hatchery in Oroville, to the base of Oroville Dam, there is a stretch of river channel with very good populations of rainbow trout. At flows of 600 cfs these fish are confined by the fish barrier dam immediately above the hatchery. A similar “flooding” event happened a number of years ago. This resulted in many of these fish being swept down river.

For many weeks afterward fishermen reported unusual catches of rainbows in the Feather River. There is no guarantee, but river trout anglers might give the Feather another look.

I have received good reports of trout fishing in many foothill lakes. The best reports have come from Folsom, Camanche and Amador. The trout are up near the surface taking long line presentations. My sources have reported good results trolling with flies or grubs.

If catch and release is your choice, the rainbows are generally hooked in the jaw with flies. The grubs have a more natural texture, as well as a scent, and the fish tend to swallow them more deeply. Color preference changes from day to day. Fire Tiger, yellow, chartreuse, white and cinnamon have all been successful in the past week.

Trout fishing is OK at Collins Lake for hold-over fish. The DF&G has planted twice, but the trophy trout planting has yet to begin. Staff at the lake report shore anglers doing better than the boaters for trout.

The Gold Country Bassmasters next meeting will be 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12. The program will feature “RJ” Reynolds speaking about bass fishing at Lake Oroville. The location will be Mi Comida Restaurant on Freeman Lane.

There is no charge to attend and all interested anglers are welcome. For more info call Ed Everhart at 477-6492.

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 email at denisp@theunion.com.


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