Dry spell should help anglers

By: J.D. Richey Journal Outdoors Columnist
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Well, the rains have finally subsided and it looks like we’re going to be dry for a decent little stretch here. While the lakes and rivers in the area are still settling down after the early season deluges, there are a few places you can get out and wet a line this weekend. Here’s a quick look at what’s going on… AMERICAN RIVER: The lower American, from just below Nimbus Fish Hatchery, down to the Ancil Hoffman Park power lines, re-opened to steelhead fishing on Jan. 1, but there hasn’t been a whole heck of a lot going on just yet. The river really fishes best at flows of 2,000 cfs and under but the releases have been as high as 32,000 cfs over the past few weeks. Since the major rain stopped, the water managers have slowly been reducing what’s coming out of Folsom and Nimbus dams and it’s just now coming into what I’d call “high, but fishable” condition. The water clarity has improved and, judging by all the big steelies in the hatchery ponds, there are some fish to be had here. Try drifting roe up in the Nimbus Basin or near the hatchery. FEATHER RIVER: The upper stretch of the Feather’s Low Flow section, from the Highway 70 bridge up to the Table Mountain bicycle bridge, also opened to steelie fishing on New Year’s Day. While flows were good, the action was pretty rough. Since then, however, things have perked up somewhat and anglers drifting nightcrawlers, eggs and Berkley GULP worms in the riffles have been seeing some steelhead from 17 inches to 6 pounds. DELTA: With all the muddy rivers flowing into the Delta, striped bass action came to a grinding halt a few weeks back. Then, when it finally stopped raining, the bitter cold hit and water temps plummeted. So, things are still pretty slow down here. There had been some sporadic sturgeon activity at Pittsburg but now it’s mostly up in Cache Slough, where the fish are holding in 30-50 feet of water in the channel. Also, try soaking shrimp or eel up in Lisbon Slough. CAMANCHE LAKE: Winter trout fishing is in full swing here and trollers and bankies alike are taking some nice fish to 10 pounds. You can drag Speedy Shiners or Kastmasters right up on the surface near Little and Big Hat islands, or dunk Power Bait near the South Launch area or in the South Shore Trout Pond. Regular plants are keeping the action going and, when it’s all said and done this winter, over 90,000 pounds of sterile, triploid trout will have been stocked here. LAKE OROVILLE: Bass fishing is a deepwater affair, with drop-shot and finesse baits the way to go now. There are plenty of 12-inch coho around in the top 30 feet of water between the Bidwell Bar bridge and the dam. Dodgers and hootchies are the ticket there. RUSSIAN RIVER: Anglers have been eagerly anticipating the day that the Russian River would finally drop into shape. Well, that happened this week, but the steelheading has been slow. There have been a few fish caught daily by the bankies at Dry Creek on roe and Spin-n-Glo’s and the boaters have been picking off a few as well while drifting from Memorial to Steelhead Beach with plugs and roe. J.D. Richey is a 1986 Placer High graduate whose outdoors pieces have been published nationally. Find him online at