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Nor Cal Fly Guides January 2018 Fishing Report

Brian Clemens
Owner/Guide
Happy New Years Everyone,
 
What a crazy end of 2017 with the driest December on record and then to start the 2018 season out with a bang on the American, Yuba, Feather and Trinity Rivers. With spats of rain here and there things are slowly getting better, and with more rain in the near future fishing will only get better. Personally Im really looking forward to late winter early spring.
 
Trinity
Fishing: Winter steelhead fishing
Clarity: clear
 - Flows: Lewiston 300, DC 400, JC 530, Del Loma 930 flows on the drop
Despite the lack of rain there is still some fishing be had. The fall fish are still swimming around, and are taking a bit longer than normal to make their way to the hatchery, while this is going on, the winter fish are slowly trickling in as well. We are seeing a few more wild winter fish over the last week, which is a site for sore eyes and with more rain over the next few weeks, they will continue to be in. The fishing is tough, hooking 2-5 fish a day, but this is your typical winter steelhead fishing conditions, but if you willing to work hard you will be rewarded with a few very nice wild winter fish. I still have a few date remaining in Jan and Feb if you are looking to get out and chase these beautiful winter fish. We are even getting those feisty half pounders and a few bigger fish on dries, what a way to go.
Nymphs: Dark and Golden stones, hares ears, pts, psycho princes, copper johns
Swinging: hobo speys, pimps, rocks, bread crumbs, your go to winter swing flies
Dries: BWOs, March Browns
 
I am already booking fall trips, and lodging is filling up fast, so if you are looking to book a fall steelhead trip on the Trinity, now is the time to book.
 
Feather
Fishing: fair to good
 - Clarity: 3ft off color
Flows: Low 1000, High 1800
The upper stretch is finally open and is fishing very well but has been extremely crowded, below that has been very quiet with crowds and enough fish to get you steelhead fix. I do have a few tricks up my sleeve this time of year and it has been paying off for those willing to hang with me and not be in the crowds. We are hooking 6-10 fish daily and seeing the typical feather river steelhead 18-22" with some nice winter fish in the mix, with almost no fishing pressure from bankies or boats. Cant beat that. Nymphing has been working very well, but swinging has been producing too. Look for this place to light up any day now, and if you like to swing hold on the alevin bite is just around the corner.
Nymphs: princes, bwos, copper johns, alevins, worms
Swinging: alevins, hobo speys, olive streamers
 
American
Fishing: Fair
Clarity: 6ft slight color
Flows: 3000
 -
The opener was phenomenal, I didnt take my boat out, to much of a hassle so just decided to wade fish, I fished 1 spot for a few hours and stuck 10 fish landing 5 of them. Mostly the smaller Coleman strain fish ranging from 20-22" and a mix of hatchery and wild fish. I did manage to hook 1 big winter fish, 8-10lbs, but broke it off due to another boat, long story. The fishing has slowed down since the opener, nymphing is the man producer, did have a 6 angler swing session out there last week, and only hooked 1 fish, which was a salmon, no steelhead to hand. We are seeing 5-10 fish when nymphing and there are some hot fish in the system so be ready. Rain will only help, and at some point those winter fish will be here. The AR should only continue to get better as more winter fish show and those bad as bluebacks come in early spring, really looking forward to that. Dont forget about the alevin bite, thats about 2 months out. 
Nymphs: eggs, caddis, copper johns, mays, princes, 
Swinging: just get out there and try something
 
Yuba
Fishing: Good
Clarity: Slightly off color, great
Flows: 10000
The Yuba has been fishing very well, with plenty of top water action to go around with the skwalas coming out. Didnt think it was going to happen with last years scour fest, but the Yuba always pulls through and in surprising fashion. The fish are not very big, but those Yuba trout pull hard no matter their size, but hey your throwing dries so who cares. We do see an occasional fish over 16, but most are 8-14". The only issue we are having right now is with boat floats, we can not take out at Sycamore as they are doing some repairs, so its walk and wade trips right now, but I think thats great, changes things up a little bit, and honestly most of us dont have boats, so you get to learn where and how to fish it on foot. The Yuba will continue to fish good for the next few months, and if dry fly fishing is your thing, its happening right now.
Nymphs: Stones, mays, worms, eggs
Dries: Skwalas, pmds, baetis
Swinging: soft hackles, olive streamers, alevins
 
Lower Sac
Fishing: Fair to good depending on the day
Clarity: Clear
Flows: 3500
The fishing on the Lower Sac has been hit or miss, some days are super good, other days struggle to get a few fish to hand. The lack of salmon definitely did a number on the river and how it fished this fall. There are still fishing to be had, and the best fishing on the Lower Sac is just around the corner. If you looking to fish the Lower Sac Feb March April May is some of the hottest fishing of the season. 
Nymphs: rubberlegs, worms, mays, redheaded step childs
 
There you have it folks, the first report of the season with many more to come. Fishing is slowly picking up, and spring is just around the corner. Whether you are looking to get out in the next week or so, or next few months, there are and will be plenty of options, however dates may not be. March April May is the busiest time of the year for me, so book ahead while dates remain.
 
My Local Availability
Jan 23rd
Feb 1,2,4, 11,12,13,16-28
March/April mostly open
 
My Trinity Availability
Jan 29,30
Feb 5,8,9,10
March 3,4,5,9,10,11
 
As always I hope you enjoyed the fishing report, there are some fish to be had right now, and as I always say "Be the report, don't believe the report".
 
Lastly, Id like to thank you all for making the 2017 season a successful one. Despite the large amount of water flows down our rivers well into summer, the fishing was pretty darn good and we had some fun times. 
Heres to a great 2018 season and many bent rods.
Look forward to seeing you on the water
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