Oct162017

big black drum  10 16 17Big Black DrumBy Boots Johnsongroup picture  10 16 17Group Picture

We returned from a trip to Galveston, Texas last week after attending my Grandson’s wedding. The bachelor party was held on the Gulf of Mexico. We had three fishing boats with four persons per boat. It was a wonderful day of heckling, fishing and comparing fish results as the day progressed. In addition, the fish were cooperating and the boat I was on returned with hundred pounds of fish. I caught sea trout, black drums, red drums and others plus a beautiful blue colored eel which shined in the sunlight and had teeth that looked like Piranha’s. My biggest fish of the day was a huge black drum which I caught on spinning tackle. The fish was just under three and a half feet long and would have tipped the scale close to 32 pounds. The fish, which charged the boat several times and made numerous runs, tired this old man out by the time he was netted. The big boy was measured and released. Also on board the boat was my son Ted Johnson also from Yuba City, My Grandson TJ Johnson, the groom, who resides in Nashville Tennessee and Dr. Peitersen, the father of the bride who resides in Dallas, Texas.

All the boats scored big with ours catching the most fish. Other fish boated were catfish, stingrays, reds and hammerhead sharks. Many of the fish caught from all boats were released.

My Grandson, TJ, caught the biggest drum which measured 42 inches.

The bachelor party on the Gulf of Mexico was so great and the wedding on Sunday evening, two days after our fishing trip was like a picture in a book, including their leaving later in the night in a white carriage drawn by a beautiful white horse. As they pulled away they were showered with rose pedals. I was both proud and humbled to have the honor of presiding at the wedding with special words and prayers.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife finally did a number for Northern California. They planted fish heavily in Plumas County before the wildfires, which included the following areas: Middle Fork of the Feather River at Graeagle, Middle Fork of the Feather River at Portola, North Fork of the Feather River at Almanor, North Fork of the Feather River at Beldon, East Branch of the Feather River, Jamison Creek and Little Grass Valley Reservoir above LaPorte.family picture  10 16 17Family Picture

Anglers are reminded of the closure of the Outlet Hole on the Feather River on October 15th.

Closing thought: “Take the risk or lose the chance.”

Oct22017

By Boots Johnson

Many of us who fish or have a boat to enjoy have heard of a new law which goes into service on January 1, 2018. So the following information was obtained. The new law pertains to anyone driving a boat must enroll in an approved boating safety course. This can be done online, in a classroom or through home study. More information is available at www.California BoatersCard.com. By showing proof you have passed the test a lifetime card can be obtained for $10.00.

See the schedule below for age groups and dates it will be required:

January 1, 2018......Persons 20 years or younger

January 1, 2019......Persons 25 years or younger

January 1, 2020......Persons 35 years or younger

January 1, 2021......Persons 40 years or younger

January 1, 2022......Persons 45 years or younger

January 1, 2023......Persons 50 years or younger

January 1, 2024......Persons 60 years or younger

January 1, 2024......All persons regardless of age

We hear from the Fish Hatchery at Oroville. The salmon count is way down this year with just a third of the fish showing up at the hatchery. The fall run of Chinook salmon will be over the middle of October so there is still time to process eggs.

Officials at the hatchery do not know what has caused the reduction in fish returning to the hatchery, but some feel it is an ocean problem while some say it could be other factors.

One thing is for sure. If the fish do not show up there will be less fish returning after being planted into the Feather River, live in the Ocean and eventually return to Oroville. Hopefully the fish will be late this year and show up this month.

Closing thought: “Friendship consists in forgetting what one gives and remembering what one has received.”

Sep252017

By Boots Johnson

We have reports of the water temperature down to the mid-seventies at Collins Lake above Marysville. This has improved the trout bite a bite but will need to drop another ten degrees or so before they start the fall trout planting. Best bet at this time is to go deep out in the middle of the lake or by the dam. Catfish are on the bite and some nice fish have been reported caught from five to eight pounds.

Anglers who are putting up with lots of bank anglers and boats at the outlet on the Feather River are scoring big on salmon. We have been told the fish are bright and clean. Salmon are also being taken downstream all the way to Verona. Patience is the name of the game and those who sit tight and wait are doing so with some success.

We have reports from the barge hole on the Sacramento River. It appears the crowds are not there at this time. Apparently most guides and anglers are concentration on the Feather River. We have been told limits of salmon in the eight to twelve pound range are common.

Some anglers who are not fishing Englebright Reservoir above Marysville might just be missing a good show of trout on their stringer. Reports tell us the lake is quiet with hardly any boats on the water. If we were not heading to Texas to my Grandson’s Wedding we would more than likely take a break from the rivers and hit this reservoir.

Closing thought: “Never ask a barber if he thinks you need a haircut.”

Sep182017

By Boots Johnson

The cold water being released from the Oroville Dam is attracting bunches of salmon as they journey up the Sacramento, hit the cold water from the Feather River and make a right turn. Fish are being reports being caught from Verona all the way to the Outlet, with the best fishing being at the end of their journey. Salmon are fresh, full of energy and are bright in color. There is no need to travel down to the ocean, but just catch your salmon here. Roe is doing an excellent job at this time with flatfish with a wrap coming in second. If you fish the Sacramento River we suggest you do it below Verona and good luck.

Has your favorite stream, lake or reservoir had a plant of trout from the Department of Fish and Wildlife lately? Well folks, there are many bodies of water which have not been touched with catchable trout for years. If you follow the schedule of the destinations of DFW trucks you will find they usually end up in the same waters dumping trout. Why is this? Good question, but facts are facts and we are trying to find out why there are so many areas which are not planted. One thing we have discovered is the number of planted trout had diminished considerably over the past five or six years. This is on record as showing the number of fish in 2012 at almost 12 million, has continued down and in 2106 to just over 7 million. What does this mean for the number of planted trout in 2017? Stay tuned and we will let you know.

More reports of Catfish caught. Congratulations goes out to Yuba City angler Charlie Moore On his five and a half pound catfish caught recently at Collins Lake above Marysville. The cat hit a night crawler out in the middle of the reservoir.

Closing thought for the week: “If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.”

Sep112017

By Boots Johnson

Another big catfish has been caught. This time the fish was huge and we will call it the “Big One”. We don’t have much detail, but the big cat was caught at Rollins Lake, was caught at night and weighed in at 27 pounds according to the Long Ravine Marina. The lucky angler is unknown at this time.

Salmon are being caught at the Barge Hole on the Sacramento River, but most of the fish are Jacks and the ratio per boat is less than one per angler, while action on the Feather is strong at the Outlet Hole if you want to put up with crowds of shore anglers and tons of boats. Salmon have been taken downstream, but the Outlet Hole is the hot spot this week.

Kokanee Salmon are on a biting frenzy just about in all reservoirs in the Northern Part of the state. Reports tell us Whiskeytown Reservoir and Stampede Reservoir is producing easy limits at this time.

It’s official. The big spotted bass, which was weighed in at eleven pounds four ounces and was caught last February by angler Nick Dulleck at Bullard’s Bar Reservoir was recognized as the all-tackle world record-holder by the International Game Fish Association. The bass, in addition to weighing over eleven pounds measured 24 ½ inches long and had a girth of 20 ¾ inches. Now this is definitely the “Big One”. Congratulations to Nick!

Autumn is close by and we think about all the high elevation trout streams which are running low, are crystal clear and have some of the best trout fishing of the year. To be successful one must be extremely quiet and if you wade we highly recommend doing so upstream. I love to fly fish and this time of year is a good time to go this way. It is not as important what fly is used, but mainly the presentation. By this I mean gently so as not to make a big splash. In addition, red worms fished on the bottom of the stream and drifting downstream is a good idea for spin anglers. The secret to fall trout fishing in the high country is to be aware of the quiet clear water and avoid any chance of spooking the fish.

Closing thought: Our hearts go out to the folks in Houston and now in Florida. God Bless.

Sep42017

By Boots Johnson

Our weather source, who has been predicting the weather for the past 70 years, tells us this heat wave has happened before. He recalls extremely hot weather back in the 40’s, the 70’s and so on. He advises to hang in there and watch for an early fall as it approaches. Furthermore, he tells us to expect much cooler weather into September. We shall see and are looking forward to fall and better fishing.

The run of salmon in happening and we have reports of some being caught on the Feather River at this time. Several phone calls and a couple emails tell us not to expect fishing on the Sacramento to be all that great. My son Ted took the red boat out, dropped into the Feather River at the Yuba City Boat Ramp and got skunked, but did see a nice 19 pound salmon taken by another boat near him and his buddies.

As far as trout go the fish are hanging out in the deepest part of lakes and Reservoirs due to the three did get weather. As things cool off we can expect the fish to come up from the depths a bit. Reports tell us trout fishing is slow at this time unless you fish at first light or close to dusk.

Keep in mind of the extremely hot weather we are sharing at this time and stay out of the heat from 1100 A.M. until 600 P.M. and don’t forget the hat and the sun screen. Be sure to drink lots of water and avoid the beer and alcohol.

We advise to be extra cautious on the Feather River. Sandbars and shallow areas are all over the place and some are only under the water in a foot or so. If you decide to go after salmon with a prop just be aware of the danger out there and the changes in the river.

The kokanee have finally gotten active at Lake Tahoe. They are being caught both at the North Shore and South Shore of the lake.

Closing thought: “Good friends are like stars........you do not always see them.........but they are always there.”

Aug282017

By Boots Johnson

We have had several comments of last week’s column in regard to Bill Malott’s big catfish, which brings to mind several facts and stories. One of the inquiries had to do with the elevation of Scotts Flat Reservoir being over5000 feet in the mountains. The person I talked to did not believe whisker fish lived in that cold of water.

I personally have caught many catfish in high elevation lakes and reservoirs. One which comes to mind is Little Grass Valley Reservoir above LA Porte, Calif. This lake sits a little higher than Scott’s Flat and has lots of catfish available if you know where to find them. In fact, some are caught like the one Bill hooked, by fishing for trout, with trout bait (power bait) on the bottom of the lake.

Catfish also live in local rivers, streams, ponds, canals and drainage ditches throughout the Sacramento Valley. These feisty fish are excellent food fare and can also be purchased at your local super market meat shop.

Catfish are basically bottom feeders and scavengers. However, I have caught them on a lure while fishing for black bass in the dredger ponds near Hallwood and with live minnows below a bobber. Also, we sometimes, when fishing for striped bass in the Sacramento or Feather Rivers, run up creeks and canals which empty into the rivers. All one needs to do is to quietly run your boat up stream to quiet water, carefully and without noise, drop the anchor and fish. Most of the time we come back with a nice stringer of catfish for dinner.

Catfish also run in schools, which means if you get a bite or catch one there will be more around the area. Once a catfish finds food it will sound off with a kind of gurgle noise which alerts its friends to join him or her for dinner.

Dry Creek above Hammon Grove off of Highway 20 used to have lots of catfish. I recall, back in the 40’s, while sitting on a large rock tempting bluegill to hit my worm, seeing a dead bird on the bottom of the creek just before it entered a large pool. My eye caught movement upstream and sure enough here came a catfish. It spotted the dead bird and immediately attacked the carcass. Within minutes a school of cats came rushing down the creek and got their share of food. My family spent a lot of Sunday afternoons swimming in that pool and catching catfish up to 16 or 17 inches.

One thing to remember.....catfish have spines on their top fin and on each side of the fin by the gills. They are sharp, hurt like heck and burn for some time, and so avoid those areas when taking the critter off the hook and during the skinning process.

Boot’s fishing tip for the week: “When fishing for sturgeon try the balancing board or pole in your boat. You can detect a slight bite this way and when the tip of the pole drops set the hook.”

Aug212017

By Boots Johnsonfishing talk  8 23 17

Salmon season has lots of folks talking about fish in local rivers. Our last check showed us there are a few fish in the rivers, but the major run is yet to happen. With the end of August approaching the fishing could improve dramatically. We suggest if you do decide to give it a try on the Feather River to fish at first light.

I received a couple calls this past week about how to back troll for salmon. After talking to the second person I decided it might be a good idea to repeat my words in print in this column. Back trolling is best done with the boat positioned upriver above a known hole. The engine, an electric trolling motor or kicker, should be running. The motor is given just enough power so the boat remains almost motionless in the water, then by easing up on the power just a bit which will allow the boat to slowly drift downriver a foot or so at a time. This is why it is called back trolling.

The above procedure can be done with bait, a sardine wrapped flatfish or with roe which is fished off the bottom around 50 feet or so behind the boat. With roe your best bet is to keep the sinker on the bottom while you bounce it along the bottom into the holes. Anglers can also fish with other baits and lures in the same fashion.

Congratulations goes out to Grass Valley Angler Bill Malott on his big catch of a 12 pound catfish while fishing at Scott’s Flat last Wednesday. He was fishing with orange power bait when the big cat hit. Thanks to two ladies...Tara and Lennie for assisting in bringing in the monster. The “Big One” was caught at 10:20 A.M. and was a thrill to all on the scene. See the picture in this issue.

Scott’s Flat Reservoir is located above Nevada City off of State Route 20. To reach the lake turn right at the Five Mile House and follow the road to the campground.

There are still resident striped bass in local rivers. A favorite spot for these fish is below the rapids on the Feather River. Some whoppers have been taken in this area of the river in recent years. Of course, we still have catfishing angler’s hook into a striped bass on occasion throughout the rivers of the valley.

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The fish and wildlife tanker trucks loaded with rainbow trout are back in the northern part of the state with the following waters planted: EL DORADO COUNTY: Fallen Leaf Lake; MODOC COUNTY: Lily Lake and Cave Lake; SHASTA COUNTY: Whiskey town Reservoir, Upper Bailey Creek, Upper, Middle and Lower Burney Creeks; Upper and Middle of Hat Creek; Baum Lake; North Battle Creek Reservoir and the Sacramento River. Medicine Lake in SISKIYOU COUNTY received a plant along with Kangaroo Lake, McCloud River-Fowlers-Lower Falls and the Sacramento River.

The bite is finally on at Lake Almanor. Up until recently anglers were having some success fishing the underwater springs. Now with the cool nights they have had up there lately the trout bite should improve all over the lake. We are told slowly trolling night crawlers is the best bet in waters down to 50 plus feet.

Closing thought: “The distance between dreams and reality is action.”

Aug142017

By Boots Johnson

Our latest report on salmon in local rivers shows that the run has not gotten here yet. Granted, there are a few fish in the rivers, but the main run is yet to be seen. Old Timers, who have chased after the salmon over the years, tell us to expect a bumper year in all rivers which will start the last part of August and continue through September and probably into part of October.

Our weather source advises there will be a cooling off period for the Sacramento Valley on August 14th or 15th but do not expect it to be around very long. He advised this is not the end of the heat, but a break in the action and to expect the hot weather to return as we continue into August and into September.

Apparently most of the planted trout ended up in lakes, streams, rivers and reservoirs in Inyo County last week with around 50 plants throughout the county. Northern California received some fish, but it was just a drop in the bucket compared to what took place further south.

Reports from Stampede Reservoir advised anglers are catching lots of kokanee salmon. Bullard’s Bar Reservoir has also had good results with these landlocked salmon.

Collins Lake has been good for pan fish and catfish with trout being taken down deep. When the action (boats, wave runner, skiers and etc.) hit the water anglers might as well leave fishing alone until the early morning hours.

Local anglers Kyle Caldwell and Ted Johnson, along with several friends headed down to Bodega Bay last week. They caught halibut and sharks. In fact apparently they got into a school of sharks and could not hold on to some of them.Ted said it was a different fishing trip but they had a ball. Lots of fish were caught with fish in the fridge and freezer at home.

Little Grass Valley Reservoir, located above La Porte, finally got a good sized trout plant. The fish were the usual size, between 10 and 12 inches and were reported to be all rainbow trout. We imagine anyone camping there who fish hit the water pretty hard when the planter trucks dumped their loads at several boat ramps on the lake and left the scene.

Boots fishing tip for the week: “When fishing reservoirs drop down deep this time of year and also fish the shoreline with top line lures before or at first light.”

Aug72017

By Boots Johnson

A check with all the activity down in the bay area, specifically around the Golden Gate, in regards to salmon fishing is true. Our source advised it appeared like every boat and angler from the western United States had appeared for the outstanding salmon bite. He further stated the wait time to launch his boat was over two hours and taking it out was not much faster.

Meanwhile, outside the Golden Gate still has salmon everywhere with all anglers putting fish in their boats. Limits of fish were the ticket last week from San Francisco, Sausalito, Berkeley and Emeryville. In fact, as our report stated, boats were limiting out and returning early. Average size was 12 to 25 pounds.

We hear from Lake Tahoe. The big Mackinaw lake trout are being caught at this time. Reports tell us some of the fish caught are in the 15 to 18 pound range. Now that is a huge trout by anyone’s standards!

The Auburn Rooster Tail Fishing Club is holding their Table Top Swap Meet Fishing Gear Sale at the Auburn Elks Lodge from 6:30 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. during their breakfast Business Meeting on August 18th. The optional buffet breakfast is $13.00. This is an opportunity to bring your unwanted fishing equipment, rent a table and keep the sale of any of your fishing items. Table cost is $25.00 per table and can be shared with others to cut down the cost. More info can be had by e-mail (Jim) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We are told some of the holdover catfish, released for the last kid’s derby, are still being caught at Ellis Lake in Marysville. It appears the cats are on the bite anytime of the day or night with some in the two to three pound range. Largemouth black bass are also available. We have been advised not to eat any fish which is caught in Ellis Lake. Best bet is catch and release.

Closing thought: “To be old and wise you must first be young and stupid.”

Jul312017

By Boots Johnson

The eagle lake trout are a strain all their own and have thrived in the alkaline water of Eagle Lake for years. This body of water is a natural lake and has a hatchery included. Over the years eagle lake trout were placed in other lakes and reservoirs throughout the west.

One reservoir that now has these feisty fighters is located in the foothills of the Coast Range. I am referring to Lake Berryessa, which is located near Winters. At this writing these rainbows are exciting lots of anglers with limits of fish running up to three pounds. Apparently the trout are holding down to 35 or 40 feet. The fish have been hitting on spoons and lures. There is a problem for anglers on this lake which is lots of boat and wave runner traffic.

The salmon fishing has been slow on both the Feather and Sacramento Rivers. Things should pick up into August and September.

Congratulations go out to Craig Smith on his big catch at Collins Lake. Craig was trolling near the dam dragging a spinner when a nice seven and a half pound trout grabbed the spinner. Craig lives in Olivehurst. Also a big kudos to Kevin Muff, who lives in Chico, on his nice eight pound ten ounce trout caught while fishing at Bridgeport Reservoir.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife have been busy this past week planting trout all over the golden state. Those counties and water in the Northern area are as follows: BUTTE CREEK: DeSabla Reservoir and Big Butte Creek; LASSEN COUNTY: Lower Goodrich Creek and Clear Creek; PLUMAS COUNTY: North Fork of the Feather River at Beldon and at Lake Almanor; SHASTA COUNTY: Sacramento River, Grace Lake and Keswich Canal; SIERRA COUNTY: North Fork of the Yuba River; SISKIYOU COUNTY: McCloud River and the Sacramento River; TEHEMA COUNTY: Gurnsey Creek, South Fork of Battle Creek and Deer Creek.

Closing Thought: “Some of the best times fishing is sitting around the campfire exchanging fish stories and adventures in the outdoors.”

Jul242017

By Boots Johnson

The hot weather has driven the trout population down deep in most reservoirs and lakes. Trolling for them in the summer months usually means downriggers or lead line. The downrigger will place your offering exactly where you spot fish on your finder, while the lead line has colors for each number of feet.

Many anglers fish water that does not hold fish and they also depend on that blip which shows them a fish. There are certain areas of reservoirs which hold fish and other areas which are bare. That expensive fish finder will tell you where the most likely spots hold fish which is usually where there is drop offs, underwater canyons and an uneven bottom. Trout and bass will go deep this time of year but will also cruise the shallows at night for food. If you hit the water before first light we suggest two lines in the water, one down deep and the other near the surface.

I have had fishing friends, who spend a bunch of time on the water, who put their boat on the trailer as soon as the sun hits the water. They consider trolling during the morning hours when the lake or reservoir has the sun on its surface to be a waste of time.

If you plan on fishing the bottom of a lake or reservoir we recommend using power bait or an inflated night crawler along with whatever else you have on your hook. Both the power bait and the inflated worm will keep your baits off the bottom which will have your offering floating above the grasses which grow in just about all lakes and reservoirs.

Trolling with flashers and a night crawler cannot be beat for fishing in lakes and reservoirs, but one must not forget lures and spoons or try removing the flashers or ford fenders for a different drag and presentation. If trolling in a straight line does not produce any strikes we recommend zig zagging or trolling in a figure eight pattern. Also a sudden stop of your boat and then to continue may produce a strike due to the flashers falling which will attract a fishes attention.

Another way to catch lake trout this time of year is to jig with jigs or a night crawler. This is done on the bottom of the reservoir and is especially productive for brown trout.

Closing thought: “Do what is right, not what is easy.”

Jul172017

By Boots Johnson

Our trip several weeks ago over to Bodega Bay and a stroll down the beach reminded me of an experience many years ago. On the way to the state park we drove by Petaluma and I was reminded of another trip to Dillon Beach. That particular weekend was back in the summer of 1973. I received a call from my friend John who told me him and his wife Barbara were going over to the cabin for the weekend and asked me if I would like to join them. Needless to say they picked me up at 6 P.M. that Friday evening.

Their cabin was really a small house with all the rooms one usually has for comfort and so on.
Barbara asked me if I would like to go with her fishing. Of course I agreed and she go out the old ladder in the storage shed out back and once in the garage and as I steadied the ladder she climbed up and brought down a cane pole about ten feel in length. It looked just like my frog gigging pole in the rafters of my garage except she showed me the end which had about six inches of heavy line and a large hook.

That morning I was introduced to a different kind of fishing. She called it “Poke Pole Fishing” and we only go out when the tide is out. She advised when the time is right the fish are still there, but are forced into crevasses and holes in the rocks which are accessible by the poke pole.

Barbara secured a piece of squid on the hook and she began jumping from rock to rock which included wading a bit. After poking for about ten minutes she hollered and came up with a ling cod about six or seven pounds. I was amazed as she brought the fish to shore.

She told me this is the only way to catch fish in the rocks without donating half of your tackle box to constant snags.

Salmon are being caught in the Feather and Sacramento Rivers. The opening was last Saturday which had a bunch of eager anglers on the water even with the low water conditions of the Feather River. With reports from the bay area this year’s salmon fishing will only get better as the season progresses.

We have been told trout were planted recently in the Gold Lake Basin in Sierra County.

Closing Thought: “What if we recharged ourselves as often as we do our cellphones.”

Jul102017

By Boots Johnson

We had several inquiries the past couple of weeks about fishing in the local rivers. One question, asked by two new neighbors to our areas pertained to what is available to fish for when the runs, such as striper, shad and the upcoming opening of salmon season on July 16th end.

The first phone call last week was about the end of the striper run. I advised there were what we call resident striped bass in the Feather River year round. All an angler needs to do is find where they hang out. We also talked about small mouth bass and advised these fish can be found in parts of the river which give them cover and security. You will find them in deep holes, in debris along the banks, such as fallen trees and old tree stumps under the water and in quiet areas under cut banks where the current slows down or where then can swim from cover and grab food as it passes by.

The second message came into my email basket and was asking about catfish. I advised that catfish make their homes in all the local rivers. The channel cat is the most abundant but there are other species as well, such as the bullhead and so on. Feeder streams or ditches usually will hold catfish as well as the feisty crappie. These fish, along with the bass will find food and still water in any water which flows into any river.

Another local fish which stays in the river system year round is the Sacramento Pike or also known as a Squawfish. These fish are scavengers and feed off the bottom of the rivers. They also feed on fish eggs, also called roe and according to studies by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife they eat a tremendous amount of striped bass and salmon eggs which includes sturgeon roe. The Department says we should kill those we catch. The only problem with this rule is striped bass, catfish and other species also feed on fish eggs. In fact, we have been catching trout in streams on salmon eggs and steelhead on roe (which is another species of the trout family which move into river each year) for as long as I can remember.

The Shad run also brings in these ocean fish and usually happens around the last of April or into May. I was taught that when the cottonwood puffs fall from the trees and can be seen floating on the surface of the water this means the shad are here or about to come on strong.

It is important to advise new people in the Yuba Sutter area who fish just how lucky we are to have so many rivers, streams, lakes and reservoirs available for catching fish and to tell them where to go, what kind of bait to use and what species of fish are in the water. After all,

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strength comes in numbers. We need all the support we can get when it comes to new fishing regulations we do not agree with or consider ridiculous.

Closing thought: “If you know you can do better................then do better.”

Jul32017

By Boots Johnson

I talked about old fishing lures last week so have decided to add a few more to the list. Fred Arbogast invented more lures, two of which were also my favorites and continually caught black bass. The Hawaiian Wiggler no. 2 was one of my favorites in the green/red color. This lure was a medium running lure consisting of a lead head, a spinner with weed less ability and the famous hula skirt. Another lure which continually caught a stringer of bass was the Sputterflux. This lure cast like a bullet due to its weight and was a surface lure which, like its name, made a heck of a lot of noise as it was retrieved. This lure, as stated above was heavy and as soon as it hit the water the pole was held as high as possible and reeling as fast as one was able to get the lure on the surface. My favorite color on this one was frog, which was painted so the frog was seen from under the water. Attached to the lure was a white skirt. Like the hula popper, the sputterflux was a kick to fish with due to the ripples one could see as the bass came from all over the pond to check out what was on the surface causing a disturbance. The lures came with an extra hook for attaching to catch short striking fish. I never used one due to the bass always devouring the lures. Besides the trailing hook always got hung up in the weeds or lily pads.

There was one thing about the rubber hula skirts. In hot weather the skirt would sort of soften up and then if it got hot enough they would semi-melt which made a mess of whatever they were in or next to.

We have good news for those who fish for trout in local rivers, streams and lakes in the North State. The Department of Fish and Wildlife has its trout planting program in full swing. The bad news is most of the fish are being released in the Southern part of the state. Plants were placed in the following Northern California waters last week: BUTTE COUNTY: Big Butte Creek; EL DORADO COUNTY: Upper Echo Lake, Icehouse Reservoir, Loon Lake and Sawmill Pond; GLENN COUNTY: Plaskett Meadows Pond; LASSEN COUNTY: Clear Creek, Goodrich Creek and the lower Susan River; NAPA COUNTY: Lake Berryessa; NEVADA COUNTY: Donner Lake; PLUMAS COUNTY: North Fork of the Feather River near Lake Almanor; TEHAMA COUNTY: South Fork of Battle Creek, Deer Creek and Gurnsey Creek.

Boots fishing tip for the week: ” Keep your shadow off the water when fishing for trout in streams.”

Jun262017

By Boots Johnson

The business of fishing has gone out of sight. We have lures that talk, swim and shudder when a real fish approaches. We have baits that smell any odor you wish to extend to the end of your line. In fact, the next generation of lures....or should I call them “something to catch a fish on”...will probably be a way to entice the fish population we have, as of this time, because some have never been seen in the water.

Now, let us go back a ways...................way back to the good old days..........when lures were first invented. Take the hula popper (which by the way was a killer for small and large mouth bass). Then let us discuss the famous jitterbug. Wow, what a lure. It was invented by a guy who made his name famous. Of course that was Fred Arbogast. His prototype was placed on the market in the 1930’s. This lure was deadly late in the evening and after dark. In fact the inventor of this lure suggested an angler use it after night fall. With the right retrieve and the right jerk it was deadly and of course it made its own noise and gurgle as it was pulled through the water. The jitterbug was a surface lure just like the hula popper. Then we have the lure which changed the way we fish and made us realize the value of sound in the water. I am referring to the famous Rat-L-Trap introduced by Bill Lewis back in the 1960’s. This lure was a huge success and is still available today. Try one and see what you will put in your live well or on your stringer.

I could go on and on about some of the famous lures, some of which have disappeared and those which are still available. Keep in mind however that same lure today will be different, not only in what it is made of, but also what it will cost. One more thing to discuss before we go to the next subject. I am referring to the Mirror-Lure which was a fantastic lure in its own right. This lure, when used the way the manufacturer suggested, was so great at enticing fish to strike, that some higher-ups in the world of fishing almost decided to outlaw the lure.

This is old news for some folks, but we decided to report on the release of almost a half million small steelhead into the American River. The little guys came from the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Nimbus fish hatchery which survived the drought and the high water problem the past two years.

Closing Thought: “Life is short so live it to its fullest”

Jun202017

By Boots Johnson

We decided to head up to Little Grass Valley above La Porte for some camping, fishing and riding of the quads. We learned about the new management, or should I say the management which took over the old ways, and discovered the rules. For one, you cannot ride your motorcycle or quad, in other words anything that is a motorized vehicle and not registered for highway use anywhere in the camping areas. All camping areas are designated as “restricted areas” and this covers just about everything except camping. No firearms area allowed which includes non-firing weapons such as bows and arrows. If you want to ride your off road vehicles they insist you load them up and go outside the camping areas. But wait a minute......you still cannot ride them on any paved road or other dirt or gravel roads unless they are designated as such on an official forest service map. Good luck.

The fishing on the lake at Little Grass Valley was a waste of time. We trolled for four hours last Tuesday morning with all kinds of lures, spinners, spoons and even broken back rapalas. We had four poles out, two on down riggers and two with lead line. We tried depth levels of 15 feet down to 50 feet and never got a strike. A run of the lakes boundaries failed to produce any excitement on the graph. The new state of the arts electronics just recently installed in the red boat failed to produce any fish, except for an occasional single show on the screen.

I stopped at the store in La Porte to make a purchase on my way down to the valley and was told the lake has been very slow, but there have been some fish caught in the river, both above and below the reservoir.

Our report on Fuller Lake last week once again prove to be wrong. Apparently the Department of Fish and Wildlife decided to plant the small lake last week. We assume they wanted to drop fish in the lake after the roads were repaired.

We are headed up to Lake Tahoe tomorrow (Monday) and will make a decision whether to charter a boat and fish Tahoe or drop down a bit to hit Donner Lake for the elusive Mackinaw Lake Trout. If we decide to hit either lake we will report our findings next week.

Boots fishing tip for the week: “Troll at different speeds to find out what the fish will strike on.”

Jun122017

By Boots Johnson

All the places we checked into this week had reports of good to great fishing. For instance, the stripers are still active in the Sacramento River as well as in the Feather. Shad are still in all rivers with the best bet being the American River. The spotted bass bite is still outstanding at Lake Oroville as well as Clear Lake, Shasta Lake (Shasta Dam) and other bodies of water.

If you decide to get out of the valley to avoid the upcoming heat wave we recommend Lake Almanor. Slow trolling here will get you fish for dinner. Also, it you go just about anywhere in Northern California in the foothills or high mountains you can expect creeks, streams and rivers running a bit high. Personally I am looking forward to some trout stream fishing around the end of June and after the big Fourth of July Holiday. Streams by then should be ideal.

The Squawfish Derby, which will be held this Saturday (June 17th), will offer lots of prizes amounting to $2500.00 worth to be exact. The cost per entry is $40.00 which will include a barbeque lunch and membership in the Guides and Sportsman’s Association. The derby will cover the Sacramento River from the Shasta Dam to Verona and on the Feather River from Verona to the Oroville Dam.

The object of this derby is to reduce the number of squawfish population due to their feeding on baby salmon and steelhead.

More can be obtained by calling Guide James Stone at (530) 923-9440. Other Guides in the Sacramento area are also available for information as well as Johnson’ Bait and Tackle in Yuba City.

Closing thought: “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow......it only saps today of its joy.”

Jun52017

By Boots Johnson

We have reports from the after bay at Oroville. Water levels continue to go up and down a couple of feet on a regular basis which continually changes the water temperature which fluxuates 10 degrees at a time. This really messes up the bite and there is no indication, with the ongoing work at the spillway, when fishing will get any better. On the other hand the bass bite in the reservoir itself has been out of this world. Anglers are catching easy limits and some days are catching and releasing hundreds of bass.

The striped bass run is still among us even though many have spawned and are returning to ocean waters via the Delta. Water being released from the Oroville Dam, which is coming out of the bottom of the structure, is cold and will slow down the remaining spawn for late arrivals in the Feather River.

We hear from the Verona Area. This is where the Feather River joins the Sacramento River and is known as the mud line to many anglers. Striped bass were in this area last week and it appeared the best part of the Sacramento River to catch stripers.

Shad are in all local rivers at this time, but the hot spots seem to be along the American River in the Sacramento area. These feisty cousins of the tarpon have been taken on jigs, darts, spinners and spoons.

The road to Bowman Lake is now open and we have access to Fuller Lake on the way. However, our information a couple weeks ago was not true in regard to Fuller being planted with trout. This will not be done, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, until mid-July.

Now that we have the Memorial Weekend behind us the waters of lakes and reservoirs will once again be fishable. All the boat and recreational vessels last week really put the stop on fishing.

Donner Lake is outdoing Tahoe at this time. Mackinaw lake trout are being taken consistently up to six pounds in depths between 80 and 140 feet. In addition, the kokanee are also on the bite, but most fish are small, around 11 to 12 inches.

We hear from Folsom Lake. The reservoir is almost full at this time. Fishing has been slow. Expect better fishing from now into the summer months.

Boots fishing tip of the week: “reading the surface of the water is a good way to understand what lies beneath.”

May302017

By Boots Johnson

Reports tell us the striped bass fishing is still in full swing on the Feather and Sacramento Rivers. The best bet at this time is above Colusa on the Sacramento River and above the Yuba River on the Feather. Minnows are the name of the game and this also includes the dyed ones. Apparently there are products available which dye the live minnows which enable the striped bass to see them more quickly that the standard natural color. What next?

Many trout streams and rivers are coming into shape and will continue to get better for fishing as May leaves and the month of June is upon us. Catchable fish have been planted by the Department of Fish and Wildlife in the following areas: BUTTE CREEK: Sly Creek Reservoir and Desabla Reservoir; EL DORADO COUNTY: Stumpy Meadows Reservoir, Silver Fork of the American River, Icehouse Reservoir and Union Valley Reservoir; NEVADA COUNTY: Fuller Lake, Donner Lake and Prosser Reservoir; PLUMAS COUNTY: Sly Creek Reservoir; SIERRA COUNTY: Lower Sardine Lake; SISKIYOU COUNTY: Lake Shasta and Kangaroo Lake; YUBA COUNTY: Sly Creek Reservoir.

We recommend, for those who head for the lakes, reservoirs and streams of Northern California to be extra cautious in regard to water conditions, snakes and wild animals. The past wet winter has changed some of the usual areas we intend to visit this time of year. Expect creek channels to be somewhat different in certain areas and other locations to be deeper than previous years. If you catch a hold over trout from last year the fish might be injured, missing a fin or have wounds. In regard to animals and reptiles, their world was turned upside down this past winter and do not be surprised to find them in areas which they are not usually found.

Closing thought: “Strength doesn’t come from what you can do....it comes from overcoming the things you once thought you could not do.”