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Northern California Fly Fishing Report – July 27, 2017

Courtesy of Fly Fishing Specialties

Fly Fishing Specialties Sacramento, CA


Best Bets: American - Striper, Lower Sac - trout, Feather - Steelhead, Delta - Smallmouth


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



The American has fished quite well the last couple weeks for Striper and Shad. Things are changing right now though. First lets look at the shad fishing. Fish are thinning out a bit and the best fishing has been in the evening. Best fly has been Bloody Maria. Things are definitely on the decline and shad will begin heading back to the ocean soon. Now is the time to get out and hit them before they're gone. 

We continue to have good striper numbers here on the river. Every year we see an interesting phenomenon. The large fish have been feasting on the shad for weeks. We have seen some real pigs cruising around and swiping at smaller striper and shad that are hooked up. Once the shad leave, striper tend to spread out and go on a about a two week terror hitting flies with heightened. After the two weeks or so is over they go back to normal but can still be caught just not quite as easily. The  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. Now is the time to go.


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 and shad there are some half pounders in the system and we have had a few adult steelhead sightings. We’re hoping for more intel soon.


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 56-60 degrees. Water Clarity – Good to great.  North Delta smallmouth Good Water Clarity – Good to cloudy depending on time of day. Temps 74 deg.


Fishing has been pretty good with plenty of fish coming to topwater offerings for bass. Large striper are not in the Delta in good numbers right now but will be coming ariving int he Fall. For now the best fishing has been largemouth and smallmouth. SMB have been pretty responisve 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. Water temps – high 50’s. Visibility - Clear




The Fall River continues to fish well again this week. The hex hatch is going and PMD’s and Calibaetis are coming off as well. Anglers are starting the day nymphing until adults start to emerge and then have been switching to dries. Mid day and before the hex hatch dredging the deep holes with streamers has worked well. Try throwing Hale Bopp or other leaches  in olive or black or gray/ yellow to mimic the emerging hex nymphs.  If you haven’t ever tried this, come fish for giant trout crushing these giant mayflies at sunset! It’s a blast! Call us direct at (707)287-2939 or at the shop at (916)722-1055 to get in on this evening magic.


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. For fishing the Hex hatch the pattern isn’t as important as finding one that will float well in the surface film and that produces a silhouette that both anglers and fish can see in the fading light. We have even had success swinging a gray Hale Bopp Leach in the afternoon in the lower river before the hex hatch.


Feather River –  Fair to good  Flows – 1,000 through low flow. Water temps - low 60’s. Water clarity – clear



The Feather had fished really decent recently for those willing to put in the work to get on the water.  Boat access is a little limited for the Low Flow due to Riverbend park being closed due to damage by high water. We have been finding everything from half pounders (most have been in the 12" range) to some larger adult steelhead. Now is not a bad time to give the Feather a go.


Best flies continue to be big Prince Nymphs, Fox Poopahs, Micro Mays, Copper Johns, Red Headed Step Childs, and Tungsten Salvations.


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  – Fair.  Flows – above average, Water clarity – Clear


Hat Creek continues to fish so so. Hat 2 powerhouse has been busy but once you get away from that you can have the river more to yourself. 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.


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



McCloud River – Good.  Flows – 235 CFS at Ah-Di-Na , 245 cfs from McCloud Resevoir, Water temps -  High 50’s’s. Water clarity – Good



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, Red Copper Johns, Rubberlegs, Poxyback PMD’s, Poxyback Baetis and Stimulators or 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 has been 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 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 - 525 CFS. Temps - high 50’s. Water clarity – Slightly off color


Flows on Putah Creek have dropped from 600+ cfs down 535 cfs which 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. 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 indispensible 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 - 300 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 spiked form 200 to 300 cfs. Clousers and crayfish patters are producing best although top water continues to produce some fish first thing in the morning or late in the evening soon. The Russian continues to produce some nice fish this last week. Being on the water early is important 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 (4ft visibility)



Our guides and guests continue to have great fishing on this fantastic tailwater despite really hot weather. 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. Lots of fish are in the area above 299 bridge although fishing is closed so we’re looking forward to the opener. 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 (525 – cfs at Delta)  Temps - low 50’s. Water clarity – clear


Fishing on the Upper Sac continues to be good despite warm temps. Pools have fished better than riffles for us recently. 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.”


Truckee River – Fair  Flows – 150 at Truckee, 445 cfs to 475 throught out the day at Boca. Water Temps. – low 60’s. Clarity – a little color. 



The Truckee has been fishing decent despite high flows. Down low the river has a bit of color. Up in Truckee and down to the top of the canyon it continues to fish well. Fish are spread out but some nice fish continue to be caught by persistent souls. Hatches are mostly Caddis. Our guides and guests continue to land a few really handsome fish. It is great to see so many good fish being caught after the drought of two year ago. The river has been busy with lots of people in town. 


Best flies include stone like Mercers poxyback Stone, Solitude Stone, larger dark mayfly nymphs and Caddis patterns.



Little Truckee River  Fair to Good  Flows –150 CFS Water temp. high 50’s Clarity – good


The Little Truckee has been fishing pretty well too although it is cold and clear. The only thing keeping it from fishing great is the wild fluctuation of water releases. Focus on fishing after at least a day of constant flows. As far as insects it has been mostly PMD’s, Midges, A few Drakes and some Caddis in the evenings.


For flies try Poxyback PMD’s under a Adams parachute, Stimulator or Drake. Also try Midges or caddis pupae or Drake emerger under a dry.


Give us a call to escape the Sacramento heat and catch some nice wild fish! (707)287-2939


Yosemite Area  Fair



Currently the Detwiler Fire is at an estimated 80,000 acres and is around 65 percent contained near Merced and Mariposa. Fishing the area requires vigilance and a good escape route should the fire turn. A big thank you to fire crews in the area fighting for our guide's homes and and possibly even lives. Keep them in your prayers as well as those who have lost everything.


Mokelumne -  Snags are taken care of and drifting and fishing is good.

Stanislaus- Hell's Kitchen - lots of smoke (oh the irony), but small streams are your best bet.


Below Goodwin Dam - 1,200 CFS - Too high to float and fish yet. 


Tuolumne -  Very smoky.6,500 cfs at Merals Pool. Some small tribs are fish-able. South Fork is coming into shape.


Lower T below La Grange 5,500 CFS currently.
Merced- Merced were fishing well, but the fire danger is too great. Steer clear.

Below Crocker Huffman things are still too high to drift.


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 should be getting out on the Yuba more in the next few weeks so will have an updated report that will be more favorable. 


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!


Sierra Foothill lakes - Great



There are several Sierra foothill lakes that guides Chuck Ragan and Ryan Williams fish that are fishing really well. 20 to 50 fish days are possible right now. We have had some great topwater and streamer fishing for smallmouth, largemouth and spots. 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, 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."


Guide Tip: Dawn patrol can be key in summer months when jet skis and boat traffic is heavy. Call (707)287-2939 for more info or to schedule a trip.

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