An old fashioned fishing report for the holiday season

By: J.D. Richey Journal Outdoors Columnist
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First off, here’s wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas! Hope you all have a great holiday with family and friends. I am hoping Santa brings us some rain! Well, anyway, since many folks have some time off between Christmas and New Year’s, how about a good old fashioned fishing report this time around? Amador Cuttbows The trout fishing at Amador has been seriously good lately thanks to heavy plants of the lake’s famed Cuttbows. An average of 4,000 pounds per week are getting released and lately they have been planting daily. Banks working the docks, dam and spillway areas with night crawlers and eggs under bobbers have been doing well. Troopers have been finding fish on Woolly Buggers and small spoons. The fish are averaging 2 pounds with several close to 8 pounds showing this week. American River Steelhead The upper section of the river opens on Jan. 1 and by the looks of the hatchery ponds up at Nimbus, theare some nice fish to be caught this season! Opening day is typically a zoo, but it can be worth it — especially near the hatchery, Sailor Bar and Upper Sunrise. Try drifting roe and crawlers off the bank and either side drift roe or pull No. 40 Hot Shots from a drifter. Berryessa Mixed Bag I know it sounds kinda funny but the more I fish Berryessa, the more I realize what a world class fishery it is. The summer kokanee fishery is well documented but the winter is even more exciting to my way of thinking. I have been over there frequently and have been catching between 30 and 50 fish a trip... a mixture of king salmon to 20 inches, rainbow trout to 3 1/2 pounds, all three varieties of bass (spots, largemouth and smallies) and some nice catfish that have been averaging 10 pounds. And what’s really cool is we are catching everything on the same lures... small shad shaped spoons. They key is to locate schools of shad and then the predators will be close behind. Try Skiers Cove, Markley Cove and near Putah Creek. If you’d like to go guided, call me at (916) 388-1956 or check out our recent catches at Delta Stripers There are definitely stripers to be caught in the Delta at the moment though things aren’t as hot as they could be due to the cold water temps. With the water now dipping into the high 40’s, the fish are less active and that means you’re going to have to work a little harder to find ‘em. I generally like to spoon with 1/2- to 1-ounce white or silver jigs from 14 to 45 feet down in these conditions. You can also head down to the Collinsville area and dunk bait like cut shad for good numbers of smaller fish. Salmon River salmon season in the Valley is officially over now but the epic season that was 2011 ended on a high note as anglers found some chrome dandies between Knights Landing and Colusa right up to the closure. Man, what a heck of a season going all the way back to August when the Hamilton City area turned on. Things then were excellent over on the Klamath and Trinity rivers and on the American and Feather as well. It was the best salmon fishing we have seen in 10 years and, if the amazing number of jacks we saw this year is any indication, the fall of 2012 could be one for the record books! Stampede Macks Some very impressive macks have been coming from Stampede lately and there should be some nice fish to be caught until we finally get a winter storm. Try trolling minnow baits like Yo-Zuris, Rapalas and Rebels from the surface down to 20 feet. With water temps so cold, there is no need to get out early... instead wait for the sun to warm the water a bit. Also, be very careful launching... 4x4s with chains are the way to go.