By Boots Johnson

Get ready, get set, and go. We are told to expect one of the largest salmon runs, both in the Sacramento and Feather Rivers, in the last several decades. This good news comes from Sacramento and from other sources who know what to expect. The heavy rain and snow has helped this but so has the efforts of the Department of Fish and Wildlife with their continued raising and planting salmon and steelhead. When the season opens this summer we expect to see a bumper year.

As of this writing the Sacramento River is still blown out with dirty water and high water lapping at the edges of the bottom of the levee system. The river is loaded with sturgeon but is tough to catch them. The Feather, on the other hand is in much better shape, but is running very cold. Anglers have been out for stripers on the Feather with poor results. As the water clears and warms up a bit expect outstanding striped bass fishing here.

Those anglers who have headed down to the Delta have been catching sturgeon. The waters have begun to clear which has turned on the bite with striped bass also cooperating. Hot spot of last week was San Pablo Bay. The water here is muddy and the high water has removed many of the trash fish which has resulted in no small bait stealers. The people who live down there and fish the delta have stated the sturgeon fishing should be good into this summer. Striped bass will also be around and hungry way into the summer months, so now is the time to go down to the Bay and enjoy the best fishing since the middle eighties.

The Sutter Bypass is flooded outside of its natural banks and with the muddy water the catfish are on the move and are being caught throughout the system. Expect fishing for the “cats” to stay good until the waters recede.

Closing thought: ” The University of Alaska spans four time zones.”




               By Boots Johnson

When the high water recedes in both the Sacramento and Feather River we should see a better than average striper run this year. Expect the Feather River to be fishable before the Sacramento due to runoff from Shasta. We anticipate good striper fishing in the Feather above Boyd’s Pump and in the Yuba City area. At this time we recommend staying off the Sacramento due to the high water, but some anglers are trying striper fishing on the Feather. The striper run usually gets underway well by mid-March.

The buzz we heard about the fishing licenses being on a calendar year basis is about to be voted on by the California Sportsfishing League. The proposal, if approved will make it the law that the fishing license will be good for a full year from the date of purchase. As we all know currently it does not matter when you purchase your license during the year because it is null and void on December 31st. It is hoped this new law will increase the purchase of fishing licensed in California, which have dropped considerably since 1980.

Many reservoirs in the northern state are full and some are spilling over.  Lake Berryessa is overflowing along with Collins Lake.  Shasta Dam is almost at capacity and we have word that Clear Lake in the flood stage.

Paradise Lake still remains closed to fishing. This closure has been in effect since the horrible fire which leveled the town of Paradise above Chico. Reports tell us the lake will remain closed for the time being and there is no word on when it will reopen.

Reports tell us that Lake Almanor, which is located near the town of Chester, has had record snow this winter with most of the lake frozen over except for the Hamilton Branch area and the Peninsula. We are told, with more storms predicted, to expect this body of water as unfishable at this time.

Closing thought: “Nine out of ten living things live in the oceans.”


               By Boots Johnson

Conditions have improved in local rivers for sturgeon. The big fish are being caught in the Feather and Sacramento Rivers. Hot spot in the Feather is at the Bear River, with good results coming in from Knights Landing on the Sacramento. The fish appear to be hungry, taking just about any offering which include sardines, shrimp, pile worms and night crawlers.

Reports tell us striped bass are in the Feather River at this time, brought up by the recent planting of steelhead at Boyd’s Pump below Yuba City. Dry conditions have cleared up the river which is still running low. The Bear River however is running high since Camp Far West Reservoir had water going over the spillway last week.

This is a new year and we advise to be sure your fishing license has been purchased prior to hitting the waters. As we all know from past experience the cost of the license goes up every year. This year it will set you back $49.94 unless you are out of state. Then the license will be $134.74. One day license will cost $16.20.

All the high water makes for good catfishing. Our weather source advises storms this week which will last four to six days. This will again bring in the catfish in flooded waters and muddy up the rivers.

We have a report from Collins Lake above Marysville that the reservoir is full and is spilling over. When this lake clears up a bit we can expect excellent fishing for planted trout. The plants will be made on a regular basis.

Lake Oroville is still murky and muddy and the reservoir continues to rise four or five feet a day. This just about makes fishing impossible or a waste of time. The new storm front coming in will certainly aggravate the situation here.

Our weather source advised a couple weeks ago that we would be seeing winter conditions like we have had in past years.  We are told the snow depth in the high country is the most people have seen in the last 40 or 50 years. Runoff from this deep snow should make for outstanding striper fishing on the Feather River this year.

Closing thought: “Do not hang back with the compliments…..they might just make some ones day.”


    By Boots Johnson


Recent Storms and more to come have muddied up local reservoirs and rivers in the Sacramento Valley and foothills. Waters are running high in streams, creeks and rivers with boat ramps closed on the Sacramento River. Fishing has also suffered with murky and dirty water along with cold water temperatures.

Sturgeon are all over the Sacramento River at this time but are not cooperating with anglers due to the cold water. We have reports of sturgeon being found in the Feather River at the mouth of the Bear River as well. Stripers are also in the system since the planting of steelhead smolts at Boyd’s Pump below Yuba City. The release of these small steelhead has always brought up the stripers from below to gorge on a good meal.

The kokanee salmon at Bullard’s Bar Reservoir have moved out of the main body and are now in the back arms of the lake. This is due to the warmer water in these areas. Both boat ramps are open but we advise caution due to the large amount of debris floating on the surface.

We checked with our weather person and he advised us to expect more rain with a drying out period this week. He also said the rains are not over and will return, but probably not as severe as the past weeks. Expect wind to be a part of upcoming storms.

As usual this time of year we recommend calling ahead if you plan on fishing reservoirs above 4000 feet. Many reservoirs and lakes are snowed in at this time with most roads closed or not plowed.

Collins Lake received a trout plant last week from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. (DFW).  This plant will be the kickoff for more plants in February and into spring and summer by the Lakes penned trout along with occasional plants by the DFW.

Closing thought: When we replace-“why this happening to me,”-with“ what is is this trying to teach me?” Everything shifts.


By Boots Johnson

The storm, which is underway at this writing, is expected to muddy up local rivers which will slow down the steelhead fishing and improve the sturgeon migration up stream. Anglers, who fish local reservoirs, will no doubt run into murky water as muddy streams, creeks, runoff and rivers enter these bodies of water.

Up in the high country at Lake Tahoe the Mackinaw lake trout are being taken on a regular basis. However, the weather up there is downright cold with snow on the ground which keeps many of us away from the action. Lake Davis, at this time is all ice. The reservoir froze over a while back. Stampede Reservoir is closed due to snow on the roads which has not been plowed. The access gate to Webber Lake has been closed and locked for the winter season.

Back in the valley Bullard’s Bar Reservoir is up around 15 feet and rising. Englebright Reservoir, also known to us old folks as The Narrows, received a plant of rainbow trout last week. Lake Oroville continues to rise and the water has been cold and dirty. Collins Lake is still slow fishing at this time.

We decided to contact our weather source. He advised to expect on and off rain in the valley and snow in the mountains for the next month. He says to expect colder weather to hang around a spell.

Closing thought: “Now is a good time to get the fishing gear checked out and replace what is necessary.”


By Boots Johnson

My son Ted and I ventured up to Hammon Grove and left the Pickup at the last parking area. We dropped down to the Yuba River, along a marked trail, to investigate the condition of the Yuba River in regards to steelhead fishing. The water was up bit and was running on the murky side. This area would be a good bet for trout or steelhead. Both swim in this river. The rainbow trout is considered to be a steelhead when it reached 16 inches. In addition, both wild and planted fish are here. The wild fish are protected and cannot be taken at any time, but must be released immediately. You can tell a wild fish from a hatchery fish by the small fin on the fishes back near the tail. If the small membrane is clipped and therefore does not exist it is a hatchery fish. By the same token fish with the fin intact are wild and must be released. At the end of the last parking lot are signs explaining the rules and regulations, including barbless hooks and no bait allowed along with sections of the Yuba River which have different regulations.

Driving into Hammond Grove past the neat barbeque area and seeing Dry Creek and what was left of the concrete swimming pool wall brought back many memories at the park long before Yuba County decided to clean it up and make it a day use park. I can recall the swimming parties, the picnics and the beer busts which took place back in the 40-s and 50s. It was not unusual to see large crowds of people, most of them party goers, but a few were fishing.

I have fished Dry Creek over the years past and have had success catching a variety of fish, including catfish, smallmouth bass, northern pike, and all varieties of pan fish such as crappie, bluegill, and sun perch and so on. In fact, back in the 40’s the stream had so many catfish which ran in schools you could see them in the clear water swimming in the current, traveling from one deep hole to another. It was a beautiful sight to see.

Upstream from Hammon Grove there were several pools which ran up to ten feet deep. This was always the place to go to catch catfish for supper. However, over the years, including the floods in 1950, 1955, 1986 and 2005 the deep pools in Dry Creek gradually filled in and changed the natural flow of the stream.

Closing thought: “Sometimes it is best to just be quiet and listen.”


By Boots Johnson

WE talked about sturgeon the last week or so and we have reports of sturgeon being taken in San Pablo bay. Best bets are the mouth of Petaluma River and Sonoma Creek. Those with success were baiting up their hooks with grass shrimp with keeper stripers hitting on mudsuckters. Some of the bass caught last week ranged from 20 to 26 inches. Crabbing at Bodega Bay has been picking up even with the storms and the choppy waters. When the beaches are empty due to high waves and lousy weather you can still score with crabs and perch by fishing at Doran Beach and inside the entrance to Tomales Bay. The best Idea is to fish between storms.

Up Lake Davis way there is four or five inches of ice at the dam. It will not be long before ice fishing takes off on this body of water. Just be careful out there.

Reports from Lake Tahoe tell us the best bet for Mackinaw Lake Trout is on the North Side. We suggest if you decide to go to take your chains and call ahead for a charter boat.

The weather this past week has made it a challenge to hit the water. Those who have been determined have found some success on local rivers, but the catch for sturgeon and stripers has been few and far between on the Sacramento and Feather Rivers.

Closing thought: “Animals are such agreeable friends. They ask no questions and they pass no judgements or criticisms.”


By Boots Johnson

We are told steelhead are in the system. These ocean going rainbow trout have been taken in the Feather and Yuba Rivers on various lures and bait. We advise checking with regulations for closures, bait restrictions and other info including catch and release and/or barbless hooks.

I have fished for steelhead both in the Yuba and Feather Rivers in the past and have accidentally caught them when salmon fishing or catfish fishing in the Feather River. Some favorites are spinners and lures along with night crawlers, salmon eggs. Roe is also a good choice when allowed.

The biggest mistake anglers make when steelhead fishing is to wait too long for water clarity after a storm. Water clarity is extremely important for success, but cloudy water is when you want to fish and continue as the water clears. Color is also a big item no matter what you are using at the end of your line. I have had success on natural colored salmon eggs when nothing else would work. Also sometimes changing lure color will get some action.

Steelhead always move close to shore when storms are around. They will also move in that direction when boats run the rivers. As the storms pass and the water clears you will find them more in the deeper water towards the middle of the rivers. Early morning seems to be the best time for these fish and this brings to mind another story. The biggest steelhead I have ever caught happened early in the morning. We were anchored up at the mouth of the Yuba, sitting in Feather River water. We were after salmon but I decided to toss out a large spinner. My boys both were fishing with a flatfish and sardine wrap. I had a pull down and watched that beautiful steelhead break water and dance on its tail as the early morning sunlight created brightness from the fish and the water spraying into the air each time he jumped.

I brought the fish to the boat and Ted netted him................a beautiful five pound steelhead. We caught salmon that morning but the conversation was about that fish dancing on top of the water so beautiful and colorful in the early morning sunlight.

Closing thought: “Get out the tackle boxes, check them out and clean up your gear. Good fishing will be here before you know it.”


By Boots Johnson

Welcome to a wet and cold New Year. We hope all had a good holiday. We certainly did and are looking forward to 2019. Currently the weather is wet and cold. Our weather source predicted this a month or so ago so we called him for an update. He advised, according to his records since the 40’s, to expect things to get back to normal this year with lots of rain, snow, wind and colder temperatures compared to what we have experienced for a long time.

The current weather system, which we are told will be around awhile, will muddy up the rivers and bring the sturgeon upstream. Many of you out there fish for the prehistoric monster and we know this rain will bring smiles to your faces. Also, the steelhead season is upon us and we expect to see good fishing in local rivers for the next month or so.

Currently, according to a report from that area, Lake Berryessa has gone hog wild last week as bass, perch, crappie and trout turn on in this reservoir. Expect the lake to turn murky with the rain we are experiencing. Those who were on the water before the current storm had a ball fishing.

Those folks who braved the cold last week caught some nice trout at Collins Lake above Browns Valley. Fish were brought in which weighed up to five pounds.

Several years ago we were invited up to Lake Almanor before the Holiday season in Mid-December. Back then we encountered snow on the highway and snow just about everywhere. At the lake it was a beautiful sight with the blue water and the white snow. We fished off the bank in several areas without much success, but we did have frozen fingers and cold noses before we returned to the cabin. It has been some time since we have had that kind of weather and it appears we will once again see the Sierra Nevada Mountains with deep snow all around.

Closing thought: “Bring out the long johns, the sweaters and that extra warm coat that have been sitting in the closet for years and enjoy a normal, regular winter season.”


By Boots Johnson

Well folks, Christmas is gone and we are looking forward to the New Year. Research has told us, which includes computers and other things, along with the old folks who have kept track of the seasons by hand, that two thousand nineteen will be quite a year for folks who fish. In fact if all the predictions come true we will see records broken, limits common and many surprises for just about most of those who enjoy the outdoors and make fishing a hobby. Wait a minute....hobby? This may be true for the majority of anglers, but there are some who take fishing one level above or even more to challenge the sport or become guides or experts. But for most of us all we want to do is catch a fish or two and teach our children the wonders of the fishing world. God bless you all and good luck!

By the time you are reading this column it will, more than likely, be the New Year and most will be thinking about spring and summer.....mostly about spring to catch those fish, regardless of what species, and enjoy the experience with family and friends. What a wonderful way to take in the New Year and enjoy the planning of each fishing adventure for 2019.

So, without further comment....................Happy New Year and good fishing!

Closing thought: “When you decide failure is not an option....everything changes....”


By Boots Johnson

Those of you out there who still want to wet a line can find some action on local rivers fishing for steelhead. There has also been a showing of sturgeon in the Sacramento River although reports tell us the fishing is slow with few fish being brought into tackle shops.

Conditions at Lake Almanor are definitely on the cold side with snow and more snow in the forecast, but the trout are cooperating here and those who whether the storm are catching some nice fish.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife planned to plant catchable trout last week in the following waters: Folsom Lake, Auburn Regional Park Pond was also on the list. This water is located in Placer County. Rancho Seco Lake in Sacramento County also was planted along with Collins Lake above Marysville.

We are told that those who have large boats should avoid Camp Far West Reservoir due the low conditions of the lake. Small, preferably aluminum boats can make it on the gravel bar to launch. It is also recommended if you have a small fiberglass boat to leave it home.

Englebright Reservoir is full as usual and we have a report of success in the upper end of the lake trolling. Fish caught there last week were in the 18 to 24 inch range.

If it is bass you are after we recommend Lake Oroville. Fishing in the main part of the lake is best due to all the arms being somewhat still muddied up from the last storms.

We wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas and a joyous New Year.

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


By Boots Johnson

We are told to expect more rain by the end of the week. Foul weather this time of year raises the rivers and brings the sturgeon upstream into the Sacramento Valley. Old timers will tell you when the rivers turn color and get muddy it is time to get the sturgeon gear ready.

The holidays are upon us and all of us should be thankful for what we have, including some of the best fishing anywhere else. Let us not forget the fisherman or the fishing lady in your family. Nothing makes the holiday more memorable than a fishing gift under the tree. I recall my surprise as a young man when I received a new fly rod from my Dad on Christmas morning. At the time I was 10 years old and I still have that rod and will cherish it for all time.

The weather has turned cold and the fish are cooperating is some areas. Many lakes and reservoirs, both at the foothill level and the high sierras, have turned over for the winter. One natural lake would be
Eagle Lake near Susanville. Serious anglers are still catching limits of trout there and more than likely will continue until it closes the end of this month. If you decide to take a break from the holidays and go fishing at Eagle Lake be sure to take your tire chains, warm clothes, hot coffee and whatever else you would need in the frigid weather up there.

Another thought, if you want to have trout for dinner, is to hit the local rivers for steelhead. These ocean going trout are currently in the rivers and are cooperating with anglers. Check with your favorite sporting goods store to find out what to offer and where the best areas are located.

Our weather source it the nail on the head for the storms last week. We asked him for a forecast and he advised to expect cold nights, cool days and rain by the end of the first week in November. In addition, he says we should be prepared for a cold winter, a very cold one and to expect freezing here and there in the coming weeks and into December.

Closing thought: “You were born to be a real person, not one to be perfect.”


By Boots Johnson

We hope all had a Happy Thanksgiving Day and all of you who fish and enjoy the outdoors have said a prayer for the people in Paradise, California. Keep in mind that this community is so close to the Yuba Sutter area as well as most of the area those who trout fish pass through on their way to the high country. I have driven through Paradise so many times I cannot count them and I am horrified for what has happened to the community up there. God bless each of you who lost everything and let those most unfortunate who perished rest in peace.

As a small boy I was introduced to the world of fishing. My Father, who was one of the most devoted people to fish for trout, taught me how to fly fish, to bait fish and to spin fish for the elusive trout. It did not matter if it was a rainbow, a brown, brook or one of that no one at the time could identify, we always had a wonderful time camping and enjoying the outdoors and the challenges and the streams we fished.

I was fortunate to have been able to fish for trout before it was invaded by many anglers. I was fortunate to have been able to fish for all varieties of trout in streams which were basically untouched by humans. I was also lucky to have been able to catch native trout all morning long, releasing most , but saving the injured ones for a great breakfast of freshly caught trout, bacon and eggs. We appreciated the magic of Mother Nature and always released most of what we caught. In some streams it was not uncommon to catch and release a hundred trout a day, always being careful to catch and release them unharmed.

I have returned to many of the rivers and streams I fished as a young lad with my Dad always nearby, keeping a keen eye on me so I would not stray and get lost or fall in the water and drown. He always was there and as I grew up it was me and my own sons who fished the streams and rivers of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It was me who looked out for them and who showed them the way to success in fishing.

In closing, except for the closing thought this week, I say a prayer to a friend who has departed and is now fishing in the Kingdom of Heaven. God bless you Buster Eugene Foster. You will always be “Buck” to me and to all our friends and associates. Rest in Peace, my lifelong friend.

Closing thought: “Be yourself, forgive all who trespass and always love your family.”


By Boots Johnson

Collins Lake, last week end, proved to also be smoky with wind Saturday night strong enough to shake the RV. We went prepared to fish, but with the smoke and the wind we never wetted a line. The reservoir was down over thirty feet. On Monday morning it was beautiful up there but we had to pack up and head home.

Several nice fish were caught by others, both rainbow trout and a very large nine pound three quarter ounce catfish which was caught by Dr. David Bradley in Elmer Cove fishing from the bank. The trout reportedly caught by others which were checked in at the store ranged in size from 4 ½ to 5 pounds.

The lake was almost empty of boats the entire three days with anglers fishing off and on from shore in the open areas and near the dam.

As usual this time of year there are lots of reservoirs which have dropped their water capacity considerably. We certainly hope the rains come and fill them back up this winter. Speaking of the weather, our weather source tells us to expect some rain on Thanksgiving Day and continuing into Friday and possibly the week end.

We are told that the salmon run is about over. We also have reports of striped bass showing in the Sacramento River down in the deep channel area.

Closing thought: “Exercise not only changes your body, it changes your mind, attitude and your mood.”


By Boots Johnson

This time of year always brings on the Fall bite for many species of fish. One area which has this happening is Clear Lake. Bass are being taken in the shallows during morning hours and in the deeper parts of the lake by afternoon. Most of the bass being caught are ranging from two to four pounds with three pounds being the biggest percentage of the catch. Another hot spot where the fish are running shallow and are being caught in numbers is Collins Lake above Dobbins.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife have planted catchable trout in Stumpy Meadows in El Dorado County and in Elk Grove Park Pond and Hagan Park Pond in Sacramento.

Salmon fishing is on the way down considerably at this time. The Feather River is so low what is left of the salmon run and the late Fall Run will have some difficulty making through some areas. At this time only jet boats are recommended unless you want an expensive bill for prop replacement.

The Mackinaw at Lake Tahoe are on the bite as well. Fish are being caught at South and North Shore. We have reports some anglers were having double hookups last week.

Closing thought: “So many folks spread gossip. You be the one to put a lid on it.”


By Boots Johnson

As reported previously the salmon run is slowing down but the late fall run of king salmon is underway at this time on the Sacramento River. Fish are being taken from Sacramento to Garcia Bend. The middle of the river by boat seems to be the best bet at this time. The chance for a huge salmon is coming up as the late season progresses.

If anyone has checked the weather report in the high country lately you will find warm conditions still in effect. This has slowed down the bite as well as some reservoirs being very low in water capacity while others, including stampede Reservoir, are almost full. Donner Lake is low at 30 percent capacity with difficulty launching a boat due to the low water being below the concrete boat ramp. The ramp also has hazards in regard to rocks and holes. Shore anglers are doing some good by fishing with bait. The Mackinaw bite should be just around the corner when the area gets its first cold weather.

Speaking of Mackinaw, the fish in Lake Tahoe have spawned but fish are still being caught both at the north and south side of the lake.

We have heard of reports of big brown trout being caught, both in rivers, streams, lakes and reservoirs. As you all know, this is the time of year to catch a trophy trout.

We have reports from Eagle Lake near Susanville. The bite is still in full swing and anglers are all smiles.

We contacted our weather source for his report on weather conditions this week. He advised not to expect any rain in the coming weeks, but to expect colder days and nights as we get into the month of November.

Closing thought: “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.”


By Boots Johnson

We returned from Lake Tahoe last week. The day we planned to fish was windy which made for ocean type water on the lake. I have been on Lake Tahoe in these kinds of conditions and it is common for someone on board to get sea sick. Anyway, we decided to take a rain check on fishing this last time. Speaking of fishing at Tahoe, we have reports the mackinaw lake trout have started their pre-winter binge with fish being caught at around 250 to 350 feet down. Most fish are in the three to five pound range with a few dropping the fish scale at around 14 pounds. Rainbow and brown trout are also available near shore and in the shallower waters.

We hear from up high at Gold Lake. The trout fishing here is outstanding and will continue to be good for the next couple of weeks. Now is the time to go because we are told you can limit out with no problem using just about any lure, spinner or bait.

Our weather source tells us to expect cloudy and cooler days for the next week or more. He also advises the night temperatures in the valley will remain about the same. As far as rain goes he says he is looking into the first part of November with no rain in sight.

Steelhead is showing in the Feather River. Salmon have really slowed down in the areas where the season is still open. Be aware of the low water levels in the river. We highly recommend leaving props home and go, if possible with a jet boat.

We talked about trout plants last week. The only area being planted this week is the Bay Area and vicinity.

We remind folks who fish of the “Save our Fisheries dinner” which will be held at the main hall of the Yuba Sutter Fairgrounds on Saturday, November 3, 2018 starting at 4:30 P.M. On line tickets are available at or call 530 923-9440 for tickets or more information.

The trout plant we talked about at Collins Lake happened last week with more plants being planned up until Thanksgiving Day. This program really turns on local anglers who have great fishing practically in their back yards. If you want a bunch of trout for dinner now is the time to head up to Collins Lake and dip a line.

Closing thought: “As we age we realize just how wonderful a good nights sleep is.............”


By Boots Johnson

We talked about Eagle Lake a couple of weeks ago, just prior to the opener of the late deer season which covers the X zones. We advised for those who fish and hunt to take a morning off of the deer hunting and fish Eagle Lake. This advice proved to be right on. Just about everyone who fished Eagle Lake these past weeks have limited out with trout ranging from 2 ½ to four pounds. The fish were also where we recommended..........almost on the surface and down to five or ten feet. Current weather conditions are excellent for trout fishing with nights in the 20’s and days in the 50’s up at 6000 feet so it is not to late to fish Eagle Lake for exceptional success.

The salmon are gearing down some and will continue to drop as October ends and November begins. The steelhead has shown in local rivers. Expect them to be around awhile.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife have slowed down their stream plants for the year but we are told they will be doing some plants here and there into the winter season.

Now is the time to head up to Davis Lake. The trout are going nuts with limits of fish almost guaranteed which are in the 16 to 22 inch size range. This feeding frenzy will not be around long so if you get a chance we recommend going before the forest service pulls the docks at the three boat ramps.

The access road to Hell Hole Reservoir has re-opened. The fishing here is on the slow side but some big browns have been caught, some up to 24 inches. French Meadows is also putting out some nice browns. If you go we recommend you troll with rapalas which imitate the smaller trout in the Reservoirs.

Collins Lake, above Oregon House, will be planting trout now. Some of the pen fed fish will be large ones. They always release some of the spawners which give anglers a chance for a thrill.

Closing thought: “Charge your cell phone in the “Airport mode”, which will get your phone charged faster.”


By Boots Johnson

We had an interesting response, in fact two of them, in regard to my comments about smelling fish. As I stated last week I would tell you about that experience.

Many, many years ago my Uncle Tom Hammons called me and asked if I would like to accompany him to fish for stripers. He told me the striped bass run was about at its peak. Of course I jumped at the chance. My Uncle’s boat was moored at Bob and Pat’s Marina on the Sacramento River where Lovies Landing now stands.

He headed downriver and with an inboard boat that was capable of 50 plus miles per hour it did not take long to pass under the Meridian Bridge and run about three more miles when he abruptly killed the engine, looked at me and said quietly, “I smell fish, do you?” His comment took me by surprise until I realized there was a fish smell in the air. He slowly drove the boat downstream until we could really smell the fish. He turned on his sounder (Back then sounders were used to locate fish) and moved back and forth across the river, stopped and dropped anchor.

The river was so full of fish that our bait almost never reached the bottom before a striper hit it. We lost a bunch of bait to the shakers (small stripers) but Uncle Tom told me we would not move. His reasoning was where there were small fish there were big fish or keepers. His philosophy was correct because we returned to the marina before lunch with two limits of fish ranging from 6 to 12 pounds and a great fishing experience which would last a lifetime.

I have run the river during striper season since and I have enjoyed the Sacramento River for a lot of reasons, but the experience described above has me alert and the old nose sniffing every time we hit the water for stripers. Perhaps the fish in the water will never be so huge that this will not be possible, but as Uncle Tom always said, “Find the fish, stay on the school and don’t move because the big one could be the next fish on your line.”

Uncle Tom passed away several years ago, but the memories of us fishing and hunting together will linger in my mind for as long as I live. RIP

Closing thought: “When someone does something wrong, don’t forget the things they did right.”


By Boots Johnson

Everyone is enjoying the cooler weather we have witnessed these past weeks and our weather source tells us to expect warmer days, but the daytime temperatures will probably be in the low eighties for a spell. He advises we will continue to have cooler nights which make it great for sleeping. Personally I cannot sleep well with the A/C running.

As far as the fish go...............they are also moving up from the cool depths of the reservoirs and lakes to shallower waters. Expect big fish to be caught this year in the coming month.

Keep in mind most streams close to fishing the end of this month. Check your regulations to determine what is open the rest of the year.

The long time people who fish local rivers for salmon, including myself, say at this time the salmon run is just about as good as it gets. This means the run has peaked and will slowly take a downward trend through the rest of October. So, if you have waited patiently and missed out on some outstanding fishing, now is the time to get out there and go after the salmon because it will not be long when the fish turn dark.

There is one important fact and that is you need to know where to fish for salmon in the Feather and Sacramento Rivers and what kind of lures to use, including roe. Best bet, if you do not know the river, is to contact someone who does or hire a guide. We suggest you check your local sporting goods store for info or guide service. Speaking of guides and the Sacramento River, remind me to tell you about my Uncle Tom Hammons. He was a guide for many years and I can attest to some of his knowledge, even the art of smelling for fish, especially for the Striped Bass.

We have a suggestion if you plan on fishing for trout in local reservoirs, or even up in the high country. The Department of Fish and Wildlife have been busy planting catchable trout and these fish are a prime menu for the bigger fish in the water so go after them with the larger trout lures which imitate a rainbow trout. You will not catch a bunch of fish but you just might catch the trout of a lifetime.

Closing thought: “A single day seems to linger on...........but the years just fly away.”