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Northern California Fly Fishing Report

Northern California Fly Fishing Report

Best Bets: American - Striper, Lower Sac - trout,

                   Delta - Smallmouth or Oroville Smallmouth/Largemouth                                   

American River Striper– Good. Shad – Fair Steelhead – Poor. Flows – 3,500 CFS at Fair Oaks. Temp.  – high 50's to low 60. Water clarity – Good

The American continues to fish quite well for Striper. The shad are dwindling so striper are spreading out. Water is clear right now and this is making for some exciting fishing. Seeing a nice fish stock your fly before attacking it in a mad rush is awesome. This last week we had some real hogs follow 4 to 6 lb fish to the boat. Talk about getting your heart rate going!

Best flies continue to be Byng’s Bait fish in white/chartreuse, Toby’s American River Rainbow Clouser,  Angels Smolt, Angels Chartreuse and White on sinking lines.
In addition to striper there are some half pounders in the system and we have had a few adult steelhead sightings.

Call the shop at (916)722-1055 or Off the Hook fly fishing directly at (707)287-2939 to set up a striper or shad trip on the American.

Delta Stiper- Poor Water Temp 60. Water Clarity – Good to great. 

North Delta Smallmouth Good Water Clarity – Good to cloudy depending on time of day. Temps 74 deg.

Fishing is slow for on the Delta for striper however largemouth and smallmouth have been pretty decent. Larger striper are not in the Delta in good numbers right now but will be arriving in the Fall. Some diehards are getting some fish but mostly shakers. For now the best fishing on the Delta has been for largemouth and smallmouth bass. SMB have been pretty responsive on various sz 6 poppers in light & dark colors depending on the day.  Some days it’s on fire some days it has merely been good. Regardless it is so much fun using 4-5wt rods & seeing fish after fish come up to attack poppers on the surface! Also, to get bigger fish don't be afraid to use small clousers or Crawdad patterns such as "Papi Chulos" on sinking tip or full sinking lines!  When topwater slows mid-day for largemouth we have been going subsurface with Clousers & Crawdad patterns to beat the heat. 

For largemouth try topwater first thing and then again in  the evening. Focus on areas where Tules end and there are some weeds and you will probably find largemouth. Switch to a sink tip along the edges of these areas during the heat of the day.                                          

Guide Tip: Captain Bryce says ” Putting a dropper off the popper has been key keeping fish biting when they refuse topwater offerings.”

We will be fishing smallmouth all summer. This is ideal for introducing young anglers to fly fishing and those wanting some great fishing. Give us a call at the shop at (916)722-1055 or (707)287-2939 to get out with Maury, Bryce , Toby, Chuck and Bill for some memorable Summer SMB action. Book now or miss out!

Fall River – Good. Flows – slightly above average. Flows - high. Water temps – high 50’s. Visibility - Clear

The Fall River is fishing pretty well again this week. Water is still a bit high but it is producing some handsome fish. The yearly hex hatch is all done however there are other hatches coming off though a bit sporadic. PMD’s and Calibaetis are the most consistent. Anglers are starting the day nymphing but when adults begin to emerge we have been switching to dries.

Call us direct at (707)287-2939 or at the shop at (916)722-1055 to get tie in to some beautiful wild Ca rainbows.

Good flies nymphs include the Anatomay, Poxy back PMD, Mercer’s Swing Nymph. Good dries include any Calibaetis dries as well as Lawsons Thorax PMD.

Feather River –  Fair  Flows – 1,500 through low flow. Water temps - low 60’s. Water clarity – clear

The Feather is fishing fair. We have been finding mostly half pounders (most have been in the 12" range) to some larger adult steelhead. The salmon just started to show in the low flow section which should pick things up. Stay tuned.

Best flies continue to be big Prince Nymphs, Fox Poopahs, Micro Mays, Copper Johns, Red Headed Step Childs, and Tungsten Salvations, but eggs should start to work once the Salmon start laying eggs.

Give us a call at the (707)287-2939 or at the shop to reserve what should be a great Summer steelhead action on the Feather.

Hat Creek  – Great.  Flows – above average, Water clarity – Clear

Hat Creek continues to fish so so. Hat 2 powerhouse continues to be busy but once you get away from that you can still find some solitude. Anglers have been seeing some bug activity during the day including, PMD’s, a few caddis and tricos, but evening in the Carbon Flat area has been best. The river is looking great with all the water this year. So nice for a change.

Best flies include; Stones, Sin Citys, Micro Mays, Flatulators, Squirmy Wormies and Streamers. Also for dries try Stimulators and Adams or Parachute PMD’s, Comparadun PMD, Para Extended Body PMD and trico duns and spinners.

McCloud River – Good.  Flows – 240 CFS at Ah-Di-Na , 270 cfs from McCloud Reservoir, Water temps -  High 50’s’s. Water clarity – 2+ feet

The McCloud has been fishing well this week. Water clarity has been a little off but Arron Grabiel says that dry dropper with a stimi or other large attractor and smaller nymph behind has produces best in pocket water and riffles through mid day. Deeper pools have some nice fish but it is usually the first angler through that get them Temps are warming. Focusing early and late will be most productive going forward but there have been some hatches going on mid day. The Yellow Stonefly hatch has come to the end but you may still want to use one at least as your dry in your dry dropper setup.

Good flies include Birds Nests, Anatomays, Micro Mays, Red Copper Johns, Rubberlegs, and Stimulators. Caddis flies in the evening.

Napa River – Good.  Flows – average, Water temps -  60’s. Water clarity – Clear to Poor as you head down river

Fishing continues to be good recently in the Napa Valley. The upper river in town has fished well for good numbers of schoolies. Most fish are in the 12 to 16 inch range with is common for this time of year but some nice fish in the 5 to 7 lb range landed down lower again this week. Still, a shaker striper on a 6 wt will put up a really good fight. The lower river has been dirty but some larger fish have been caught down there. Clouser style flies with some dark contrasted with white/olive, gray/white etc. in size 1/0 or 2/0 will work well. Fishing the sloughs looking for cleaner water can help. If the water is dark go darker with your flies. 

Call Off the Hook Fly Fishing at (707)287-2939 or at the Shop at (916)722-1055 for current reports and conditions.

Putah Creek – Good Flows - 485 CFS. Temps - high 50’s. Water clarity – clear

Flows on Putah Creek have dropped from 575 cfs back on August 2nd down to 485 cfs yesterday. This is low for this time of year. Summer flows are generally higher and flows have correlated with improved fishing this year over last at this time.  Focus on the slower edges instead of right out in the middle of the current. Also remember to use plenty of split shot or you will just fish over their heads and not hook much.  has been having some good days on this challenging yet rewarding fishery.

For patterns use small midges and baetis patterns including Tungsten Zebra Midge(black), Mighty Mite Beatis, Hogan’s S & M Nymph (olive), Craves Juju Baetis and Mercer’s Micro May. With higher flows you can get away with slightly larger flies.  Hiring a guide on Putah is more important than many of our other waters as they will be indispensable in helping to break the code and catch fish during the summer season.

Call Off the Hook at (707)287-2939 or at the shop at (916)722-1055 for current conditions or to reserve a guided day.

Guide tip: “make sure you have enough weight on this time of year to get to the bottom. If you’re not hanging up occasionally you’re not going to be catching fish.”

Russian River - Fair Flows - 140 CFS at Healdsburg. Temps - high 60’s. Water clarity – 5 to 6 feet.

Fishing continues to be decent on the Russian for smallies although water level recently dropped to 140 cfs. Clousers and crayfish patters are producing best although top water continues to elicit some strikes fish first thing in the morning or late in the evening soon. This Russian tends to be less of a numbers fishey but more about quality fish and proximity to wine country for those wanting to stay close to home. Being on the water early continues to be important (especially weekends) not to beat the fishermen as there aren’t really any. It is more about beating the “splash and giggle crowd” of rafters and swimmers. This is not as much a topwater fishery like the Delta, however if you are in the Santa Rosa or San Francisco area it is a good close option. Give us a call at (916)722-1055 or at (707)287-2939 for more info or to book a trip.

Lower Sacramento Trout – Good, Striper - Good Flows – 10,000+ CFS at Keswick. Temps - low 50’s. Water clarity – clear (4 ft visibility)

Things were surprisingly slow for the opener on the area above highway 299 bridge on August 1st. The best fishing was actually below the bridge in the portion that has been open all year the last few days since it the opener. Some caddis coming off and fishing the fast oxygenated water produced best. First thing in the morning we are finding fish on all the drop offs. Water is high, cold and fishing has been great from 299 bridge all the way to Jelly’s Ferry despite triple digit air temps. 

The PMD hatch is pretty much over however Hydropsyche caddis are going strong. Having PMD nymphs in your set up is still a good idea. Shane Kohlbeck form the Fly Shop says ”fishing has been consistent all day long with a little bit of dry fly activity the last 30 minutes of daylight. If you spot rises throw on a caddis. Some days the hatch will start sooner, some days it is the last half an hour of daylight. Aaaron Grabiel says fish a PMD emerger behind a larger caddis late in the day for some dry fly grabs. We still have open dates the weekend of the opener at the beginning of August with Peter Santley. Fishing that weekend can be silly good.

Guide tip: “Wear lots of sun block and long sleeve breathable clothing. Also bring a bandanna and dip it in the ice water in the cooler. Then wrap it around your neck and go hook another football!

The Sacramento has been fishing fairly well for striper as well. "It has fished fair to great depending on ones casting ability and persistence" says Chuck Ragan. We have had good numbers of schoolies with opportunities for some larger fish as well. Come prepared to lift and shoot a 20 to 30' head. Plan on making lots of casts using the ole' double haul and guests should be able to shoot 40 to 70 feet to increase chances of success. "Keep casting, keep focused and you will be rewarded.

Guide Tip: Utilize quick and long sharp strips mixed with long slow ones with pauses will increase your chances.

Upper Sacramento – Good .  Flows – low (450 – cfs at Delta)  Temps - low 50’s. Water clarity – clear

Fishing on the Upper Sac continues to be good despite warm temps. Water is high so best fishing has been above Delta near Dunsmuir. Things will get even better once the snow run off stops.  Try fishing a Chubby Chernobyl dry with a small stone beneath it.  As temps go up during the day consider heading up river to fish Dunsmuir to Cantara Loop. There has been reports of some decent dry fly action in the evening so that may be worth sticking around for.

Good flies include Chubby Chernobyl, Mercers Poxyback Stone, Solitude Stone, Amber Prince, CDC Prince, Hotwire Prince or Birds Nest.

Guide Tip: “A jig prince is a good fly right now. It has a tungsted head to get down in the riffles and rides point up so it doesn’t hang us as much as some bugs.”

Yosemite Area  Fair

The fire is contained but still smokey please watch out for emergency equipment. Though in the scheme of things this is just a fishing report, the opportunity to share with you the need is here. These small communities in the foothills used to be proud to provide lumber and resources that built this state. As economies have shifted these communities have had to adapt and have taken quite a hit financially. Now more than ever these towns need tourism revenue to rebound. Thoughts and prayers appreciated as we are caring for our loved ones and our neighbors.

Mokelumne-  Snags are taken care of and drifting is good things are hot so hydrate. Upper Moke on Hwy 4 is also fishing well.
Stanislaus - Lot's of Smoke - Hell's Kitchen, Herring Creek and small streams are your best bet. The main forks are good- Streamers and nymphs are best dries in the afternoon.

Tuolumne - In the Meadow, the hydrologic plane is still high meaning there is a lot of water and mini streams all over so fish are spread out. The marshy nature of the meadow is also at a very sensitive state and easily damaged with trampling- we are staying out of the meadow.  Below the dam repairs to cherry lake and rafting releases are making the river ridiculously high to fish. The North, Middle, forks are fishing well.

Merced - Fishing well along the edges - stay out of the gorge.

Yuba River Trout – Fair, Shad - poor, Striper - Fair to Good. Flows – 3,800 at Highway 20 bridge, 650 CFS at Marysville. Water Temps - 60’s. Clarity – Clear

The Yuba is fishing ok for those with a boat. Wading is still dangerous and so wade with care. Those really in the know could catch half a dozen fish if they know what they are doing but a good drift boat is the preferred method. Some PMD’s and Caddis in the evening. Try nymphing if no hatches are visible. We have had anglers on the Yuba recently on guided trips. It isn't red hot but we are getting some fish. Most are in the 12 to 14" range says Brian Clemens. It may take a season or more for the Yuba to come back to where we would like to see it. fingers crossed but in the mean time it is not a bad place to spend the day especially if you live or will be in Sacramento are this Summer and Fall.

We're still having some good days below the diversion dam for Shad and Striper. Not the 100+ fish days we were having a three weeks ago but still very good. There is limited access to this part of the river but we have the key so to speak. Give us a ring at (707)287-2939 before they're gone!

Lake Oroville - Great Surface temps 80 deg. Clarity - 4+ ft.

Fishing on Oroville continues to be really good for topwater. Lots of blow ups and takes have been ferocious and fish are pulling hard. Chuck Ragan and Ryan Williams fish are having 20 to 50 fish days right now. Most of our fish are smallmouth however largemouth, and spotted bass are also in the mix. Topwater tends to be early and late, however it can be really fun to fish streamers in the hotter part of the day and leads to more non stop action than just fishing poppers. In addition by catches included resident and planted rainbows and even a briefly vicious Sacramento Pike Minnow or two.

"First light to 10 a.m. can produce the best opportunities. Cast into every hole or pocket you see against rocks and points, keeping casts long and well ahead of the boat and you'll produce more fish. If you have a strong follow or chaser behind a hooked fish, mark that location and return to fish to that specific fish. Pultz Poppers, deer hair frogs, mice patterns and sliders have produced well. Fish first light and then every shadow up top until they're gone and then go down. Craw patterns like Papi Chulos, wakasagi, bluegill, baby SPM, etc. either stripped or suspended will find numbers. Tuck casts against steep structure or submerged trees. Chuck says "You gotta risk it to get the biscuit."

Clear Lake- Great. Water temp.- 79 deg. Water clarity - stained 2-4 ft visability.

Fishing has been so so in the morning but improving recently after noon. We have been focusing around the docks. Top water isn't really an option for targeting these laid up fish. It is mostly a streamer game. Hitting the shade and then stripping away. If you are a serious bass addict then you need to come give Clear Lake a go.

Call (707)287-2939 or (916)722-1055 for more info or to schedule a trip.

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