Denis Peirce: Memorial weekend fishing |

Denis Peirce: Memorial weekend fishing

Denis Peirce

There are a lot of lakes reopening across the state, both from a regulatory perspective as well as the snow melting. This weekend there will be quite a few choices for anglers to pick from.

The most noteworthy is Jackson Meadows Reservoir. Two weeks ago some locals from the Sierra Valley used jeeps to go over snow-packed roads with car top boats. This is what it takes for the last of the snow drifts to get broken up on the pavement. Access now is 2 wheel drive on pavement.

They fished two days. The first day the catching was excellent. The second day was the onset of the carpenter ant hatch and the trout’s attention was focused on these bugs to the exclusion of anything else that was thrown at them. When these flying ants get blown onto the surface of a lake the trout come to the surface and feed ravenously. My unnamed source watched them coming out from a downed log and it looked like the log was alive with winged ants emerging then taking flight.

The fishing result on day one was good with a number of rainbows in the 20 inch range and a cutthroat that weighed in at four pounds. A lot of the good angling was centered on incoming water. The lake level is high with the lower slab at the launch ramp under water. Parking is limited. The camp grounds are not yet open. Best guess on camping is a couple of weeks out.

In the area, Milton Lake below Jackson Meadows is accessible. At Webber Lake the snow is gone but the gate was closed as of this writing. The signs list Independence Lake as closed. The road to Lake of the Woods is questionable but you could hike in.

In recent years the Department of Fish and Wildlife have been planting a lot of cutthroat trout throughout this area. Many of these fish come from the brood stock at Heenan Lake south of Marleeville. Rumor has it that when the largest of these fish are beyond breeding age they are planted in the Sierra with some huge ones ending up in the Henness Pass area.

The North Yuba River is beginning to come alive. There was a huge spike in water flows up to 3000 cfs with this week’s rains. Prior to the high water there were fish rising to the surface in the slower water below Goodyear’s Creek. The river above this creek is closed until June 1. Jim Johnston of Sierra Streamside Cabins saw his first Yellow Sally and Golden Stone flies this past week on the river at the 4,000 foot elevation.

The road from Bassett’s Station to Graeagle is open as are Sardine, Salmon and Gold Lakes. The big launch ramp at Gold opened this past week.

The Middle Fork of the Feather in the Graeagle area has been fishing well. Insects are hatching and the fish are feeding. The river is a good early season fishery in the Sierra Valley where the river is open to sun warming it and it is not fed by high snow packs. It gets too warm in the hot weather months. Downstream of Graeagle it gets cooler as it cuts through much higher terrain.

Davis Lake has been fishing well. I have seen some online photos of good catches. It is a bit of a drive for a day trip but the fishing has been good.

The road to Bowman Lake is passable. As always it is a rough road in places. Last week a source saw four small aluminum boats on the lake trolling. Three were working the sides and one was out over deep water. As of a week ago the road to Carr and Feeley was blocked by snow. Fuller has anglers on it but no report on fishing success.

Scotts Flat and Rollins remain closed to vehicle access. On condition of anonymity a source said they are working on getting the launch ramps opened first, then other facilities later. The hang up is having bathrooms available. It is a work in progress.

Around the valley, Oroville, Collins, Berryessa and Folsom have reopened in the last ten days.

Tom Page has been fishing shad on the Lower Yuba River below Daguerre Dam. As of last week the big schools of fish were down nearer to Marysville than the dam. I am assuming they have continued to move up river. Access is tough. If you go to Hallwood be sure to park off the pavement to avoid ticketing. You may have to walk a bit. If you have a boat, launching at Boyd’s Pump and going to the base of Shanghai Rapids is a good bet. Accessing the Yuba coming up from the Feather is very hazardous with obstacles in the river that can rip aluminum hulls. Discretion is advised.

Now that there are many more options available the angling pressure will be spread out. Now is the time to catch the late spring angling. I hope to see you out there.

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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