Denis Peirce: Fight the virus, go fishing |

Denis Peirce: Fight the virus, go fishing

Denis Peirce

In the past week there have been a number of lakes closed in response to the COVID-19 virus.

Currently Scotts Flat, Rollins and Collins Lakes are not available for access. I heard from guides that the Rio Vista launch ramp in the Delta is closed. Over in Nevada, Pyramid Lake has also been closed to fishing. As of today, the entire state of Washington has been closed to fishing and hunting.

I can agree that going fishing on a crowded party boat would not be a good idea. The primary goal seems to be “social distancing.” In an urban setting with few open spaces keeping people in their houses would be the best option. But that does not necessarily apply in rural areas, in my opinion.

I recently read an article about the “Spanish Flu” pandemic of 100 years ago. This was before the advent of antibiotics and many of the wonder drugs we have today. The worst places to be were crowded army barracks and poorly ventilated troop ships. There were more American army flu deaths than battle deaths in World War I.

Some of the more effective treatments of the day were sunshine therapy and fresh air. Sunshine is a natural disinfectant that creates vitamin D in the body. Fresh air is thought to have similar mitigating effects. In many cases patients were treated outdoors in good weather. No I am not a doctor and you should not read my column for medical advice. But I do have some common sense.

Last Sunday my son and I spent the day fishing on Lake Englebright. It was a beautiful day, with great social distancing and prodigious amounts of sunshine and fresh air. We are none the worse for our day on the water. Outdoor activities whether they are gardening, walking or just soaking up some sun should be encouraged.

Having gotten that out, no we did not catch any fish on Sunday. We had a few bass lightly take the tail on soft plastics with no fish landed. Water temps were between 54 and 57 depending where you were on the lake.

Tom Moreno has a pond on his property in Penn Valley, elevation 1,500 feet. He and his dog take a daily walk around his pond. One week ago was the first time he saw bass active in the shallows this year. It was primarily smaller male bass nosing around the spawning sites. The larger females will move up as the temperature warms. Last Friday the water was 54 degrees.

There is striper activity on the Sacramento River near Verona. The water is 57 degrees with the best action early and late in the day. The boat traffic will put the fish down and off the bite. During daylight hours minnows have been the best bet. The Feather River which joins the Sacramento at Verona has low water with sand bars preventing boat access. Justin Leonard (Out Cast Guide Service) has done some night fishing from shore on the Feather. He has been casting big lures and finding feeding fish up river from Verona. Last week there were salmon smolts released by the hatchery in the Yuba City area.

Justin also fished Bullard’s Bar this week. His was the only boat on the lake, good social distancing! The kokanee are 30 to 60 feet down with pink being the best lure color for him.

Tom Page has been continuing to fish the Lower Yuba River with good success. This has been a good year on this river. Lots of insects and feeding fish.

I will be continuing to get outside. I think the most dangerous part of a fishing trip is grabbing the handle of the gas pump to fuel your boat or truck. I hope to see you out there, from a distance of course.

Denis Peirce writes a fishing column for The Union’s Outdoors section 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 his website at

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