Jan152018

By Boots Johnson

We have several reports this week, most of which come from the delta and ocean waters. There has been a mix of both warm and cold waters in the Northern part of California which, according to where you are located, either puts the fish on the bite or turns them off.

The bass bite at Lake Berryessa last week was best in the afternoon rather than mornings due to the cold weather. If you find the fish they will cooperate with jigs.

Rain is predicted this week, probably on Wednesday or Thursday. This should improve the sturgeon fishing on the Sacramento River. However, some fish are still being caught at Verona. We are told a combination of baits such as eel and roe or cut bait and shrimp work best.

As stated above at the beginning of this week’s column fishing in the ocean or the Delta is the best bet at this time. In the Sacramento Delta the action is slow due to cold water whereas lots of halibut are being taken in the Santa Cruz areas. Party boats are closing down for the winter and will start service again in March. Perch are plentiful fishing from shore up a ways from Fort Bragg.

Congratulations go out the Chico angler Scott Hood who was fishing on January 2nd on a charter boat when he caught a huge rockfish near Twin Rocks. These brown rockfish are rare off the southern Oregon coast. The fish was identified as a brown rockfish and could be big enough to break the world record but was cleaned and cut up before anyone realized it was a possible trophy fish.

The Feather River is still running very low at this time. We advise caution if you decide to launch a boat in this water. Keep in mind, if you have a prop, that they are expensive to repair and more costly to replace.

Closing thought: “kindness does not cost anything.”

Jan82018

By Boots Johnson

We hear about the Feather River conditions after the broken spillway at the dam. According to people on the know the high water and sediment from the entire damaged spillway has created problems with navigating the river by boat due to the sandbars and shallow areas. It has also been said all the changes and the filling in with sand has messed up the fishing and all the water creatures that live there. Unless something is done to correct the issue it will only become worse. Our advice to those who fish by boat, whether you have a jet or prop for power, is to be extremely careful now and in the months to come.

The high elevation reservoirs are beginning to freeze over but those who live up there advise to wait awhile before attempting to fish through the ice. Right now the conditions have been described as very dangerous.

The mackinaw lake trout living in Lake Tahoe have begun their winter bite. We recommend going out on a charter boat and dressing warm because it is turning cold up there. Reports tell us the biggest challenge is finding the fish. After they are located and the boat stays on their movement it is common to put limits in the boat with some up to six pounds.

We are now officially into the winter months and the sturgeon on the Sacramento River have been few and far between. If you decide to give it a try and come off empty handed we suggest you try the creeks and sloughs which empty into the river. Catfish, bass and crappie have been biting.

Anglers are still coming from near and far to Bullard’s Bar Reservoir in an attempt to catch a record spotted bass. Anglers have been catching bass, but most are in the three to seven pound range. Winter fishing in this reservoir has always been a hit and miss situation with some days great and others a complete wash.

The trout bite at Collins Lake has slowed considerably and will more than likely stay slow for a while.

Closing thought: “Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long you will miss them.”

Jan22018

By Boots Johnson

The New Year is upon us and it brings back a few memories pertaining to fishing from 2017. The damaged spillway at Oroville Dam had the Department of Fish and Wildlife busy trying to save the salmon at the hatchery and holding ponds from washing away. In addition, the decision to truck the small salmon from Oroville to the bay area during the drought has caused a major problem, which had caused some concern by state officials at the time. The salmon returning to the Feather River as adults are confused and are not making it to the facility in Oroville. The confusion, according to state records, is due to the fish not swimming as normal from drop off points, such as Yuba City, to the Delta. In other words, the salmon do not know where to go or how to get there. This explains the concern of the fish count at Oroville several months ago. The bottom line is do not expect a good salmon run for 2018. In fact, according to reports we got from the hatchery the salmon count for next year will more than likely be one half or less in regard to returning fish.

The buzz around town is “no rain in sight”. We need the rain to accommodate a good year for fishing as well as agriculture needs and water supplies for us city folks. We certainly hope to see the usual precipitation in the coming months of January, February and into March.

Happy new year to all who enjoy this column. We wish you a great year for enjoying the great outdoors along with a bumper year for catching the big one......oh yes, and please be careful out there.

Closing thought: “The only problem with getting old is remembering how good you got things done when you were young.”

Dec262017

By Boots Johnson

We had frost on the pumpkin this morning for the coldest morning yet this year. This is the beginning of winter so expect more of the same from now until spring 2018.

The recent snow in the high country was an exciting event for skiers, but also a good thing for next year’s runoff, which always improves the fishing in the foothills and the Sacramento Valley.

Steelhead are still active in the system which includes all local rivers. Best bet at this time is the Feather and American Rivers. Glo bugs and roe seem to be the best offering at this time.

The catfish bite has slowed a bit probably due to the colder weather we have been experiencing. The weather lately will improve the trout bite in local low elevation reservoirs, including Collins and Englebright, which both received plants of trout throughout the year.

We are reminded once again of the closure of Eagle Lake on December 31th. The natural lake will reopen next year in May.

I overheard a fish story the other day about a duck hunter who was hunting in a rice field next to a drainage ditch. The ducks and geese were not cooperating and on his way out of the field he noticed movement in the water in the canal. He returned from his pickup truck with an old spinning outfit he always carried with him. Darned if he didn’t pull a nice three pound black bass out of the ditch on the first cast. We could not get the unlucky duck hunter/lucky angler’s name, but congratulations anyway!

This is the time of year to rejoice, be happy and share the times with friends and loved ones. But for some it is a very sad time. Those who have lost a loved one are grieving this holiday season. Our hearts and condolences go out to all who have lost a family member or close friend.

Closing thought: “God bless America.”

Dec182017

By Boots Johnson

It was around this time of year back in 1992 that my Uncle Tom called and advised the sturgeon were on the bite at the mothball fleet. He only had to ask once and I was going to accompany him and his fishing buddy Verl the next morning.

We pulled out of Yuba City way before first light in my Uncles pickup which was towing his 21 foot fishing boat. The boat was an inboard V8 and was well equipped for all types of fishing, including a small stove and coffee pot. We arrived at the boat ramp and got into the water rather fast, considering there were boats preparing to launch ahead of us.

Uncle Tom had a favorite spot near the mothball fleet next to a smaller navy vessel. He did not have a fish finder, but a sound device that he used all the time in locating the bottom, the condition of the bottom such as sand, soft or hard and depth. He located the spot and we began fishing in 32 feet of water using sturgeon gear and ghost shrimp. He had just got the coffee on when I got a pull down. Verl stood by as I fought the fish. Suddenly the fish came out of the water right next to the back of the boat. It was so close Verl got splashed with water as the fish landed sideways on the surface of the water. It was a kick to see a sturgeon that close to the boat and I immediately had the hair on the back of my neck standing straight out. The sturgeon went straight to the bottom and all the action stopped.

Verl was an experienced sturgeon fisherman and he told me to keep a tight line, hold fast for a minute and then he grabbed the line with his thumb and index finger and told me to get ready. As he “twanged” the line and the vibration reached the fish lying on the bottom the sturgeon took off as the reel screamed as the line followed the fish. The sturgeon cleared water about thirty yards on the starboard side of the boat before he began to tire out. Uncle Tom netted the fish and measured it which proved to be too small to keep.

I was the only person on board that day who caught fish. I caught another sturgeon an hour after the first fish was released. That fish was a little larger than the first, but still not legal to keep.

When we returned to the marina we were greeted by two coast guard officials who were inspecting all boats which were returning. Uncle Tom was always making sure his boat was legal and he passed with flying colors.

The boat behind us did not do as well. In fact, the boat, trailer and pickup were confiscated on the spot by the Coast Guard. The hold of that boat had several undersized sturgeons hidden under life jackets and other gear.

Closing thought: Be careful out there and have a safe, Merry Christmas and a prosperous Happy New Year.

Dec112017

By Boots Johnson

Christmas it just around the corner and will be here before you know it. Now is the time to give serious thought to those who fish in your family or close friends. Just about anyone who enjoys the sport of fishing would appreciate a gift for their favorite sport. If you want to do this and do not know what to give try a gift certificate or card from a store that specializes in fishing equipment.

As we reported last week the sturgeon fishing on the Delta is out of sight with fish of all sizes being taken on the Sacramento Delta and at Suisun Bay. Striped bass are also on the bite and can be found at both ends of the Delta. If the Delta is too far for you to travel we recommend the Sacramento River for sturgeon. Hot spots are still in the vicinity of Knights Landing and Verona. Successful anglers are using a combination of bait on their hooks including night crawlers, eel and other baits along with roe.

The cold weather at Lake Tahoe has reduced the number of boats on the lake. This light pressure has increased the bite for brown and rainbow trout as well as mackinaw lake trout. These fish are being caught in shallow water with the trolling speed reduced due to the cold water.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife dumped a bunch of trout into Folsom Lake last week as well as Fuller Lake and Englebright Reservoir. We received reports of some of the trout in the plants being in the 12 to 14 inch range.

Resident Striped Bass are once again being taken on the Feather River along with some fresh stripers showing. Some anglers are hooking up with fish at Mosquito Beach just south of the Fifth Street Bridge at Yuba City. The fish are hitting on cut bait and plugs.

Closing Thought: “After over 70 years I decided to ask Santa Claus for a gift this year. I asked him for a new birthday suit because this one is old, torn and worn out.”

Dec52017

By Boots Johnson

The name of the game this week, as well as last week, is the Delta. Stripers and sturgeon are on the move and are being caught just about all over the area between Rio Vista and Martinez. In fact, according to a phone call, sturgeon fishing is so good that some legal fish have been released. Suisun Bay has been keeping the party boats busy with Pittsburg being just one of the hot spots. We are told salmon roe is the best bet just about all around the areas. Most boats were limiting out with striped bass. Striped bass are also cooperating at Montezuma Slough and the Mothball Fleet. A favorite bait is live bullhead and we have been told the sporting goods shops and marinas are running out of this popular bait. Some nice legal sturgeon have been taken along with lots of stripers, most being in the six or seven pound range, with some in excess of ten plus pounds.

We hear from Bullard’s Bar Reservoir. The spotted bass are beginning to go on the bite and there is an excellent chance to nail a bass over ten pounds this month and into January. Bullard’s now sits at 72 percent capacity.

Just about all the fish in Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake are cooperating with both anglers and party boats. Rainbow and Brown trout are on the bite as well as the Mackinaw Lake Trout. Mackinaw has been caught at Donner from six to 15 pounds with Lake Tahoe anglers coming home with fish up to 12 pounds. This should continue if the weather holds.

We have a report from Lake Berryessa that the fishing is so hot all one needs to do is wet a line to catch a variety of fish anytime during the day.

Closing thought: “Sometimes we just need a hug..........no words..........no advice, just a hug to make us feel better.”

Nov272017

By Boots Johnson

As I sit in my office writing this week’s report the rain is falling steadily and I can see the pools begin to form around the spa in the courtyard. This storm is quite a difference from the warm weather we have been experiencing lately. Expect this one to finally turn local rivers on the brown side and bring up the sturgeon.

The planted rainbow trout continue to grow in size. It has been common to catch four and five pound rainbows, with an occasional fish in the six to eight pound range. Now a rainbow trout was caught near Angels Camp, California which was over nine pounds. The big fish was caught trolling around 35 feet down at New Melones Reservoir.

While things have slowed here in the Sacramento Valley the stripers were in full bite mode in San Pablo Bay last week with limits for just about anyone with a line in the water.

We hear from Knights Landing. The catfish are on the bite in that area. We have also have reports of nice catfish being taken in the 18 pound range above Verona on the Feather River. Expect this bite to slow down with cooler weather on the way.

Trout fishing at Collins Lake above Marysville has picked up considerably but the buzz there is the big catfish caught last week. The fish weighed in at 18 ¾ pounds. The big cat was caught fishing from shore near the beach. It is unknown what was used for bait.

Anglers trolling flies up at Eagle Lake are having success in shallow water down to around six feet. Anglers are reminded that while the lake is still open for fishing the marina has closed down for the winter and will reopen next April.

Folsom Lake received a rainbow trout plant last week. The only other lake we are aware of in the North part of the state which received a planting is Jenkinson Lake with the rest of the planting taking place further south.

Closing thought: “We all have a fresh beginning every twenty four hours.”

Nov202017

By Boots Johnson

This is the time of year to expect the sturgeon to show in local rivers when the rains come and the water rises and turns the familiar brown color. The sturgeon are currently being caught in the north delta area along with striped bass.

The water level of the Feather River has kept many anglers off, but the steelhead fishing should be picking up at this time. The Yuba City boat Ramp is currently closed due to the low water conditions. Best bet is to fish above the Outlet. Bait and lure preferences are Glo Bugs, night crawlers and roe.

The trout bite has improved at Collins Lake. Expect some big rainbows to be caught in the coming months in this reservoir.

The warm weather up at Lake Almanor has really slowed down the trout bite. Expect conditions to improve when the weather turns colder and the mirror like surface of the reservoir gets more ripples and slight movement.

Those anglers who carry a side arm while in the woods fishing are advised that the Sutter County Sheriff’s office has announced changes in concealed weapons permits. The department now allows more than three weapons on the permit. However we recommend checking with them to make sure you qualify for any other firearms as we understand there are some restrictions in regard to caliber.

Up Camp Far West Reservoir way the lake has filled considerably which has slowed the bass bite. The docks will be left in this body of water for the rest of the year.

Englebright Reservoir has been relatively quiet with a few bass being caught. As usual night crawlers work best in this lake.

If you plan on going to Scotts Flat Reservoir we recommend fishing either along the Cascade shore or near the inlet for bass. Smallmouth bass are hitting inflated night crawlers. The fish range up to two pounds.

Boots fishing tip of the week: “Don’t forget to winterize your boat this year............and add some stabilizer to the fuel.”

Nov132017

By Boots Johnson

We were in the high desert the middle of October looking for the elusive mule deer. We had been drawn for the X Zone for the first time in nine years. While searching for deer we found several small reservoirs, streams and lakes which were full or running strong. To our surprise Horse lake, which has been dry for years, was full of water. Some of the streams up high in the canyons were flowing full. A couple of the lakes were also full with water running out of them. We found water holes which had dried up long ago and now were half full of water. Now this was the middle of October so with that much water up high one begins to wonder about runoff and high water in the foothills and valley this winter. We shall see what 2018 will bring for fishing.

The fishing at Lake Almanor has improved but you must work to get results. We are told the water this year is warmer. However we have not verified this at this time.

Tahoe is full and the water was on the rough side last week. The amazing thing about this lake is that it never freezes over. In fact, there is no ice along the shore. We are told this is due to the temperature of the water never reaching freezing stage.

Anglers are reminded of the closure of Eagle Lake on December 31st. Reports tell us the fishing is not all that great at this time, but those who are successful are catching some nice Eagle Lake Trout.

We are told the steelhead fishing on the American River has improved with the colder weather. We have a report of a nice steelhead being taken in the Feather River just below the Yuba River. This brings back one year when my sons and I were salmon fishing just below the Yuba. They both had flatfish with a sardine wrap for salmon and I got the idea to lay out a spinner. I was rewarded with a beautiful five pound steelhead that broke water three times and made a strong run before he was netted.

Closing thought: “Don’t let the past control you......learn from your mistakes and move on.”

Nov62017

By Boots Johnson

We are on the way up to Lake Tahoe. If weather permits we will be fishing in the vicinity of the South Shore, probably chartering a boat from one of the marinas. It will take a mighty big mackinaw lake trout to top the big black drum I caught the first of October out of the Gulf of Mexico off the Galveston coast. He was oversized according to the laws and was released. To tell you the truth, after a picture, I would probably let him go anyway.

The Department of Fish and Game are scaling down their trout plants, but the Northern part of the state received trout last week in Collins Lake, Fuller Lake, Icehouse Reservoir and Union Valley Reservoir.

Our weather source tells us to expect light showers followed by a week of dry weather. He also advises the high elevation storm which was talked about on the news media will not come until mid-November.

We have reports of some large striped bass being taken all over the state with some fish in excess of 20 pounds. Planting those small rainbow trout never fails to bring on the big stripers. As far as that goes they also love to feast on the small salmon which are planted in the Feather River every year.

We hear from Clear Lake that the bass are finally starting to get active. The bite has improved so much that local guides are putting lots of fish onto client’s rods, but the fish tend to be on the small size. Hopefully the big boys will also start cooperating.

The bass bite at Lake Oroville is still producing fish as the water level continues to drop. The bass are active at this time feeding on small minnows and other water creatures.

Bucks Lake, above Oroville, has closed the marina for the year. We hear boats are few and far between on this reservoir.

Closing thought: “Wet dogs are never welcome.”

Oct302017

By Boots Johnson

I received a request for my crackers and mayonnaise fish recipe a couple of days ago. This recipe is a great way to fry just about any fish, but was first discovered and used in the preparation of fresh trout caught high in the sierras many years ago.

It was discovered, after trout were brought back to camp the first morning, we had forgotten the flour. We always had flour in camp for various reasons such as gravy as well as trout dipped in egg and rolled in flour before placing in the skillet or griddle for a hearty breakfast with fried potatoes, bacon and brimming hot coffee.

It was a tradition to always have a trout breakfast the first morning of every trip and we were scratching our heads trying to figure out how to cook the fish when it was suggested to use mayonnaise and cracker crumbs. Well folks, this idea turned out to be an outstanding way to cook fish. In fact my family and I have cooked all kinds of fish this way, both fresh water fish as well as ocean catches.

So, once again here is the recipe (which was printed in this paper years ago):

Ingredients needed: Mayonnaise, crackers (eventually we discovered Ritz crackers were best), olive oil or cooking oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, fresh lemon and dried parsley.

Method of preparation: Place a piece of wax paper on the table or counter. First place the mayonnaise on the left and then the crackers on the right and roll them until they are fine crumbs. Spread out the crumbs and sprinkle the salt, pepper, garlic powder and parsley over the top of the cracker crumbs. Roll the fish in the mayonnaise, then in the cracker crumbs slightly kneading the ingredients into the flesh of the fish. Heat a skillet to about 350 degrees; place the oil in the skillet and the breaded fish. Make sure the oil is hot before putting the fish in the pan. Cook about two minutes on each side for thin fish and longer for other heavier fillets. Squeeze lemon juice over the fish, remove from pan and serve with more lemon. Do not overcook!

Closing thought: “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket.”

Oct232017

By Boots Johnson

We hear from our weather source who has predicted an early winter this year with more warm days to come before the leaves fall and we wake up with frost on the pumpkin. He advises to expect much cooler weather this winter and not as much participation as we experienced in the Sacramento Valley and foothills last year, with heavy snow in the sierras.

The waters of local reservoirs, along with the higher elevation lakes have dropped in temperature. This annual fall event will bring the trout up from the cooler depths into the shallower areas. As stated in the past, look for some lunkers caught as the fish gorge themselves in preparation for the upcoming winter months. If you go, we suggest fishing close to the banks where the most food lives, such as crawdads, minnows and water insects.

I recall a great fishing experience this time of year several years ago while fishing Lake Oroville. The big brown trout were cruising in shallow water looking for their morning meal and it was not necessary to use lead line or downriggers, but just to troll below the surface close to shore. Two nice browns were on the stringer long before the sun hit the water.

While we are talking about the chance for big fish this time of year we must mention the big mackinaw lake trout being taken at this time at South Lake Tahoe. The usual size is from three to seven pounds, but when the big boys start to get active it is not uncommon to nail one between 10 and 15 pounds.

Collins Lake has re-opened since their evacuation from the fires in that area. The resort is back in full swing and is looking for a good fall trout bite with their scheduled plant of 1800 to 2000 trout which were planted last week. Weekly trout plants are planned throughout the winter months ahead.

Closing thought: “It doesn’t take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep.”

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.”