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Fly Fishing Specialties Northern California Fly Fishing Report

Fly Fishing Specialties

6360 Tupelo Drive
Citrus Heights, CA 95621
Phone:  (916) 722-1055
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Northern California Fly Fishing Report April 27, 2018

Ok, so Spring has officially sprung (for real this time) and there is quite a bit of fishing to be had. Here is the skinny on whats going on here in Northern California.

Best Bets: Lower Sacramento, McCloud River,  Putah Creek - Trout, Feather River - Steelhead, Sierra foothill Lakes - Bass, Lake Almanor - Trout and Bass, Pyramid Lake - Giant Cutthroat

American River Steelhead - Fair. Flows - 2,500 cfs at Natomas. Water Temps - Mid 50's Clarity - 2 ft. visibility.
Flows are back down to manageable levels and fishing is decent right now. Spring run fish are being taken on the swing as well as nymphing and there are some chances to swing up a smaller striper or two as well. Don't expect huge numbers but some quality fish being caught. The up side is it is close to home for many Sacramento area anglers. 
Nymphs: Birds Nests 10 -14, Copper Johns, Black or Olive Poopahs and Princes 14 -16. Micro Mays 14 to 18, Brown or Black Rubber Legs 6 - 10 and eggs ( Peachy King, Roe and Tangerine)
Swinging: Silver Hiltons, Anderson's Classic, Fly Fishing Specialties Alevin, Anderson Euphoria, Heisenberg, Green Butt Skunk, Falken's Tiny Dancer, Hartwick's Purple Hilton, Hobo Spey, Intruders, Perpetrators, Beach Bums, and Blood Sucking Leaches. 
Give us a ring at (707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055 to give the American a whirl.
Delta Striper - Fair to Good. Water temp 60 degrees. Clarity - Poor
Spring spawn is just around the corner. Time to line up a trip!
Delta striper fishing has been more of a challenge than not the last few weeks with wind, rain, and dirty water throughout the Delta. The challenge had been to find fish in varying conditions that change day to day along with the locations of the fish themselves. With diligent guests and a lot of work we have been averaging 10 to 15 fish to 5 lbs with an occasional 7 or 8 lb'er for the lucky (and skilled) ones. The trick has been to find reasonably clean water that is holding feeding fish. That said with this current stable weather and the projected forecast the bite should improve. Water temp is currently 60 and with the warmer weather this will continue to warm the Delta. 
We are approaching the Spring spawn, likely on the full moon at the end of the month should bring in the larger females which is a fun thing to experience.

 Along with striper fishing there has been good action for largemouth which has help to keep things interesting when the striper fishing has slowed. We have had some nice bucket mouths on the boats recently so definitely keep them in mind. 
Streamers:  Byng's Baitfish, Angel's Chartreuse and White, Angels Delta Danger and Angel's Smolt.

Guide Tip: "In dirty water we have been using 3 - 5" 1-3/0 Rattle Clousers in various colors such as chartreuse over white or Black/Purple over Chartreuse.

Feather River - Good to Great!  Flows -  1,000 cfs through low flow, 2,300 though High Flow. Temperature - Mid  50's. Clarity - Clear.

Fishing on the Feather had been on fire recently for both nymphing and swinging. Conditions are ideal right now with flows and clarity but most importantly good numbers of fish in the system. They are a mix of wild and hatchery spring fish and more than happy to test angler resolve and knot strength. We had some solid anglers with two handed rods this week go 5 for 7 on the swing which is pretty good if you ask us. Now is the time to go. Caddis, Princes, Sucker Spawns and standard Mayflies have worked well this week as well as flies on the swinging list below. 

Don't miss out. We still have some dates available in the next couple weeks. It's Feather go time!

Nymphs: San Juan Worms, Prince Nymphs 8 to 10, Birds Nests and Copper Johns 10 -14. Black, Green, and Tan B.H. Caddis Poopahs 14-16, Red Headed Step Child, Tungsten Salvation 14-16 and Micro Mays 14-16, Brown or Black Rubber Legs 6-10, Cheese Micro Spawn and Sucker Spawn and eggs ( Peachy King, Roe and Tangerine )
Swinging Flies: Silver Hiltons, Anderson's Classic, Fly Fishing Specialties Alevin, Anderson Euphoria, Heisenberg, Green Butt Skunk, Falken's Tiny Dancer, Hartwick's Purple Hilton, Hobo Spey in black/blue and Black/Chart, Intruders, Perpetrators, Beach Bums, Olive Sculpins, Cream Soft Hackles and Blood Sucking Leaches.
Napa River - Fair. Water Temps - 55 degrees. Water Clarity - stained.
Fishing has begun to pick up a bit in conjunction with warmer weather. Most fish have been fairly small recently but adult fish will begin to spawn in the upper river shortly bring up the average size significantly. April and May are great months on the Napa and the rest of the San Francisco Bay Delta. Best bets will be heavy sinking lines (T - 11 to T - 14) with 1 to 2/0 dark patterns with rattles. 
Streamers: Black/gray/white Flash Tail Whistler - 1/0 to 2/0, Chart/white and gray/white Stay Hungry Streamers - 1/0, Angel's Sexy Shad and  Angel's chart/white - 1/0, Gray/white Flash Tail Whistler - 1/0.
Putah Creek - Good. Flows - 140 cfs. Clarity - Decent. Water temps - 50's

Putah Creek is a real gem and there is success to be had for those in the know.
Putah continues to fish well again this week. Flows have climbed ever so slightly this week and our guides and guests continue to find some really handsome fish on this local treasure. Fishing the small stuff continues to pay off. BWO's and midges are the go to's, but some solid fish have been after caddis recently as well. Tight line or indicator nymphing are the two main ways to fish here. Takes can be very subtle and if you aren't hanging up occasionally then you aren't fishing deep enough. 

If you live in San Francisco, the Bay Area or Sacramento and if you like catching big wild fish then this is one you need to learn. Fishing is prime and will continue to fish well prior to the big Summer flow hike sometime in May when flows will be over 800 cfs. Its time to go now.

Redding Area trout - Fair (Upper Sac, McCloud, Pit, Hat Creek, Fall River) Water - high

The Redding area boasts some of the oldest and best catch an release rivers in the United states. Many of which are set open this weekend (April 28). Flows are still a bit high on many of them however given the rain we have received recently we are looking forward to a great season. The McCloud is probably the best bet as it is least affected by runoff. If you have specific interest in one or more of these rivers give us a ring for current conditions. 

Russian River Steelhead - Poor smallmouth - Soon. Flows - 700 cfs at Guernville. Temps - 60's. Water clarity - Fair.

The Russian River Winter Steelhead run is in the books. It was nice to get out a bit on this storied water and hook some fish and even see our guests have success. We will be looking forward to next year. For now on the Russian it is time to turn your attention to smallmouth bass. 

We target them on a variety of lines using streamers and occasionally there can be some topwater action first thing in the morning as well. It is important to keep an eye on water temps as smalleys like 70 degree water. Once water temps approach their preferred level begin hunting for them along rocky ledges, or pools. Fish clousers and craw dad patterns on the bottom. Do this and wade and approach "fishy water" cautiously and you will likely be rewarded.

Give us a ring to target Spring smalleys or get on the call list for steelhead for next year. (707)287-2939.

San Francisco Bay Striper - Good Water temps high 55 deg's

Tanner T. with one of his first ever line- siders ever.
We have been finding decent numbers of fish in the San Francisco Bay recently. Striper and halibut are showing up right now. Water flows and healthy bait population are providing a fantastic environment throughout this fishery. Fly fishing here is a great option for guests in the city. No need to rent a car or drive far to experience good fishing. Fishing the Bay and near shore on a fly rod can be challenging due to tide and wind conditions and uber migratory species like striper. Anglers with a modicum of casting ability tend to do best however our guides are good at setting up even first time striper anglers for success. Besides there is something inherently cool about fly fishing within sight of the Golden Gate Bridge!

We will say that having a competent captain is even more imperative here than some of the other fisheries in California. We happen to know one or two!

If you will be in San Francisco Bay Area or live close and want to get out and give this a try give us a jungle at (530)242-4122(O) (707)287-2939 (C)

For more on fly fishing the San Francisco Bay click here...

Lower Sacramento Trout - Good to Great. Flows 6,500 cfs out of Keswick. Water Temps - Lower 50's. Clarity - Clear (7 to 8 feet visibility)

Things are still good again this week on the Sac although the wadeable conditions are gone. Water is up to 6,500 as of this morning. Regardless of that fishing has been good one day and great the next. As many of you know, weather dictates hatches and hatches dictate fish behavior. Caddis and PMD's and even some BWOs continue to hatch sporadically one day vs. the next. Some days hatching in great numbers some days a little more sparingly. Regardless this is a great time to be on the river. Best action has been from noon to 3 p.m. and there are still dry fly opportunities with PMD's and Caddis in the afternoon so watch for that.

Nymphs: Best flies have been Birds Nests (beaded and non) 14-16. Peaches and Cream 14-16, X Mays, Hogans S&M and Mercers Micro May in 16 to 18 (black and olive producing best). Copper Johns 16-18 Black and Brown Rubber legs 6-10, Amber Wing Prince - 16, 
Dries: Light Cahill 14 - 16, Parachute Light Cahill 14 to 16, Elk Hair Caddis, 14 to 16, Hackle Stacker PMD 14 - 16, Lawson's PMD 14 to 16
Guide tip: Lower Sac fish are notorious for the lightest of takes. Fish will mouth small flies and spit them out without any visible hints transferred up the line to the indicator. Often guests will turn and look at the guide and ask "was that a fish?" after a slight pause or just the lightest of "tick" visible on the indicator. Set on everything! We recommend you set first ask questions later.
Give us a ring to get out for a memorable trip by calling (707)287-2939 or emailing us at
Trinity River Steelhead - Poor. Flows - 1,000 cfs out of Lewiston, Clarity - clear to cloudy
Steelhead fishing on the Trinity is all done for the season. It has been a decent year all things considered. We had to work a bit for our fish this year at times, but some quality angling was had and some good memories were tucked away in our minds. A big thank you to those who fished with us this season up here this year. Looking forward to next year already.

We book up a year in advance for prime dates on the Trinity and hotel accommodations also book up quickly. Give us a call to reserve your 2018/2019 dates today. 
Truckee River - Fair to Good. Flows 2,000+ cfs in Town and rising,  Water Temps - Mid 40's. Water Clarity - Clear

Truckee is fishing great right now despite high water. Flows being what they are on the banks. Some donkeys being hooked right now but success on the larger fish has been limited to competent anglers. Water is cold and has a nice steelhead green color. Typical high water patterns are working, stones, San Juans, eggs and there has been a killer baetis hatch to go with a few Skwalas. 

Nymphs: Specific patterns include Golden Stones 10 to 14, San Juan worms, 16 or 18 Ju Ju Baetis, Hogan's Military May and S&M in 16 to 18 and size 10 Rubber Legs, Skwala Stone - 16, Speroni's Skwala - 16

Dries: Bullet Head Skwala, 8 -10 Foam Dead Stone, Speronis Skwala Dry, and Skwala Stone Seducer - 8-10. Extended body BWO 18-22, Adam's Parachute 16 to 20, Christian's GT Adult 18-20, Missing Link 14 - 18, Quiggly's Hackle Stacker 14 - 16, CDC Thorax 14 - 18,BWO Parachutes -18, PMD Hackle Stacker -16, March Brown Sparkle Dun -14, Double Dutch Bug and the Unit Skwala -10.
Give us a ring at (707)287-2939 or at the shop (916)722-1055 to get out and make it happen. 
Yuba River Trout - Fair. Flows 2,300 cfs . Water Temps - Mid 50's. Water Clarity - clearing.

The Yuba is finally dropped back into shape. We haven't had anyone on it yet due to good fishing elsewhere(Feather, Putah Truckee etc.)but will do so shortly. Expect larger dark attractor patterns to work best right away and fish to begin looking to dries shortly as well. The Yuba can be challenging at times however we love that it is home to fish that like eating dries. In fact at times can be as productive with dries as nymphs which is a rarity. 

Nymphs: Rubber Legs in brown and yellow, Skwala Stone, Speroni's Skwala nymphs, 8 - 10 , Black and Brown 8 - 14, Brown, Speroni's Baetis 16 - 20, Hogan's S&M and Micro May Olive, Brown, Black 16 - 20, Squirmy Worms in red and natural -12, Hogan’s S&M nymph (olive, brown) -18, and Copper Johns (red, olive, copper) 14-18.  

Dries: Light Cahill 14 - 16, Parachute Light Cahill 14 to 16, Elk Hair Caddis, 14 to 16, Hackle Stacker PMD 14 - 16, Lawson's PMD 14 to 16

For more on the Yuba click here...

Yosemite Trout - Poor. Flows - Too high. Water Clarity - Not good

Flows are still very high on all the Yosemite waters. With the good precip' that we received in the last two months however we are confident that it will be a good season in our favorite local National Park. Expect fishing to commence in June and continue well into the Fall.

Stay tuned for more intel soon!

Almanor Trout - Fair to Great! Surface temps. 47- 54 deg's. Water clarity - clear (10 - 12 ft visibility)

Lake Almanor slab.
Fishing has been good to great on Almanor recently. Browns and rainbows are scattered across the lake eating Smelt and midges throughout. There are midges everywhere but the bows are not 100% committed to eating them yet. This will likely change any day.

Bass are looking for reds in the shallows and the smaller fish are there already. A couple of nice fish already found the net this week on the fly. Spring/Summer bass on Almanor is something to experience. 
Almanor is known for big rainbows and browns but bronze beauties like this are also part of the game plan.

Guide Tip : Fish Slow and try Balanced fly patterns.  Smelt are moving into the edges and fish have responded. Both bass and browns are targeting them and crawdads along rock edges and drop offs. Rainbows are also eating smelt and midges in shallows amid stumps. 
Nymphs : Zebra Midges, Yakee Buzzer and Olive Buzzer - 16

Streamers : Clousers, shiner patterns, balance minnows and crawdad patterns are the best #6 to 14.
If you would like to get out and give Almanor this a try call (530)242-4122 or (916)722-1055. 

Sierra Foothill Bass (Oroville, Englebright etc.) - Fair to Great!  Water Temps - 62 - 70 degrees. Water clarity- Clear to slight color

The float and fly fishing continues to produce incredibly well on Sierra foothill lakes but recently top water has started to go off too. Warm weather has arrived and bass are on the prowl for food and mates. Good fishing will continue from now on all the way to Fall.

Yesterday on one of our many options we encountered some of the best fishing you could imagine. Bass had herded shad into the shallows and were busting them up on points and along the shore. Action was intense with fish on every cast for quite a while. 

Guide Tip: Small balanced pond smelt patterns or craws fished 4 to 8 ft deep under a post indicator. Work 30-70 degree slopes walls until you find Fish. Keep an eye out for fish busting too. If you see it, put a clouser on and hang on!

Streamers: Float and Fly shad patterns 
Pyramid Lake NV* Cutthroat - Good to Great. Surface Temps - perfect in the shallows and drop offs.

Spring run off is positively affecting the fishing at Pyramid. The influx of cold water has fish up in the shallows seeking food and warmer water. Cruisers are becoming a frequent afternoon occurrence. Many of the fish we are catching are just out of sight yet still in the shallows and there are both feeding fish and "zombie cruisers" that don't seem to care about anything unfortunately including eating.
The good news is we are still finding the best number of the year right now. What's more it is looking like the season will be prolonged again this year as we still have water 6 to 8 degrees cooler than normal for the end of April. One interesting phenomenon is that we are seeing pods of pale males while the females tend to be chrome bright. This indicates that fish have spend a lot of time in the sun in the shallows. This warming in the shallows is probably why the fishing was tough earlier when even the shallows weren't warm.
For this time of year and new high water levels be adaptable to new conditions such as algae growth, new ledges, muddy water etc. This is a very productive time of year for shore antlers and the flies you need are as follows. 

For floating lines and indicators, midges and nymphs are hard to beat. The size can vary dramatically but body colors include red, black, wine and brown. Experiment with different sizes to find out what they prefer on any given day. Balanced leeches have started to really pull numbers in as well and great colors for these are olive, black, white and brown. Stripping is a great way to get into some fish especially in lower light situations. Contrasting colors on a two fly setup is a great way to start. Stripping patterns include popcorn beetles and boobies paired with a wooly bugger or clouser or other streamer. Follow these suggestions and keep at it and you will be rewarded!

* Yes were aware that Pyramid Lake is in Nevada not California, but it is close and such a great fishery that we included it in our report for your benefit.

If you enjoyed this report please like and share it. If you have comments or to share your own personal fishing report email me at (707)287-2939 C (530)242-4122 O. 
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