Plenty of landlocked salmon, too |

Plenty of landlocked salmon, too

My last few columns have been about salmon fishing for ocean run fish. But there is another salmon that is worth pursuing this time of year – the Kokanee.

These are landlocked sockeye salmon that are planted in some of the larger lakes in the north state. The mature fish will be changing color and developing the classic hook jaw of pre-spawning fish with in a few weeks. Now is the time to target these fish at the peak of their weight before they change color.

Stampede Reservoir, Bullard’s Bar, and Little Grass Valley would be my local top choices. Stampede has the largest fish up to 18″, Bullard’s has the most consistent catch rate with most of the fish around 12″ – 14″. But using the launch ramp at this low lake level can be a bit of a wait on weekends. Little Grass Valley is a good compromise among distance to drive, crowds, fish size and lake level. My sources say that lure colors featuring the red/pink color range are the top producers at many lakes in the past week or more..

The ocean run salmon are beginning to show up on some rivers in the north state. On the Trinity River there is a school of 500 to 700 fish moving up river. They are currently in the middle river about 10 miles below Weaverville. They should be in the upper river ( Lewiston to Douglas City) by the week end. These chinooks will spend the daylight hours in the bottom of deep holes and travel during the low light times. Trinity anglers should try lures ( flatfish or spinners) during the low light periods and switch to roe or tuna balls during the day.

At the mouth of the Klamath River there are steelhead and salmon. The numbers are not big yet but last week a friend had a good day on half pounder steelhead using flies. He fished from a jet boat and covered a lot of water. Water temps on the Klamath are a bit too high for good fishing yet.

The Rogue River in southern Oregon is having an excellent run of salmon and steelhead. The fish counts at the Gold Ray Dam between Medford and Grants Pass are 36,539 salmon and 4794 steelhead so far this summer. The Rogue is about a 6 to 7hour drive from Grass Valley and well worth the time for the quality of the fishing.

The Sacramento River has yet to turn on. During the last week there have been a dozen fish per day climbing the fish ladder at the Red Bluff Diversion Dam. When these numbers increase dramatically the fishing will turn on.

The Feather River has fish in the system. The lower you go below Oroville the warmer the water will be. The make or break water temp is 65 degrees. Below 65 salmon will bite and above they get very reluctant. Down by Gridley the temps are in the upper 60s by the end of the day. In the low flow section the water temps are in the high 50s to low 60s depending on the time of day. At the infamous Afterbay Hole there are some fish taken daily but generally there are multiple hook ups as a group of fish move through and then it is just casting practice.

The higher elevations of the North Yuba River continue to be the best bet for stream trout. The fish will hit dry flies throughout the day.


I will be conducting a steelhead fishing class through the Sierra College Community Education Classes, September 25 & 26 at Sierra College. Look for the “Kaleidoscope” class catalog to be in the mail soon. These catalogs are usually available at local post offices.


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.

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