By Boots Johnson


Fishing in the Yuba Sutter area has slowed down. The Feather River has dropped down a bit and other waters have begun getting into the winter mode. I can recall many Octobers when the weather was actually on the hot side. This is not true so far this month. Our weather source tells us he expects the last part of October to be a bit warmer, but not anything in the 90’s.


Lake Berryessa is still in the news, but some anglers are shaking their heads in disgust while others are jumping up and down with a big smile on their faces. We always called this kind of fishing and a hit and miss situation.


The fishing at Collins Lake for trout has been slow but this is about to change. The Lake received its first fall trout plant a week ago last Saturday. A thousand pounds of rainbows were dropped in the lake which should boost up the catch as soon as the fish adjust to the change. The catfish bite is still on and some nice fish have been caught.


Eagle Lake has turned over so the trout are near the surface at this time. Best bet is to forget about deep water and go after the trout with surface lures or flies. Stay in the shallow areas of the lake in 10 to 12 feet of water.


We hear from Lake Almanor. Conditions here are about the same with few boats on the water. The water temperature continues to drop and the fish here are not cooperating with just about any type of bait fishing or trolling.


The brown and rainbow trout in Lake Tahoe are feeding in the shallows at this time. Best bet here is to troll with flashers and worms or minnows.


There is definitely a chill in the air early in the morning and the leaves are beginning to turn color and fall to the ground. I love this time of year as Mother Nature signals the end of another summer and the beginning of winter. Of course, there is also a ton of work to be done in regard cleanup and of course getting the boat and tackle ready for a siesta until spring.


Closing thought: “The secret to a long life is to eat half, walk double, laugh triple and love without measure.”




By Boots Johnson


Reports keep coming in about the salmon run getting better. We hear the catch is better above Gridley and some anglers are having luck in the Sacramento River, but we have not heard of any outstanding success at this time.


Lake Tahoe is still on the mackinaw bite with lots of action from the South Shore of the lake. Fishing is also good to fair on the North Shore. The kokanee have entered Taylor Creek to spawn. This creek has access, trails and information available and if you go you can stand right next to the stream to see the fish. There will also be several mallard ducks to entertain you as they dive for the roe and once in a while a bear will appear out of the forest and brush areas. This would be a wonderful experience for the kids whether they fish or not. Best time to go is now and into October. The entrance to the area is located off of State Route 89 several miles from South Lake Tahoe. Watch for the signs on the right side of the highway.


The forest service is starting to close campgrounds in the high country and it is getting very cold up that way. If you decide to give it one more shot we suggest warm clothes and prepare for a possible storm.

Lake Berryessa is putting smiles on anglers with success on bass very good at this time. The fish are good size with some in the three pound range.


We have another report of a big catfish caught, but this time it is not at Collins Lake. We are told the catfish was over ten pounds and was caught in the Sutter Bypass. The bait used is unknown, but the lucky angler did say it was stink bait of a private recipe.


Closing thought: “Don’t look back……you are not going that way. Instead make today ridiculously wonderful.”

By Boots Johnson


The salmon run is finally here with success on both the Sacramento and Feather Rivers. The experts tell us the run should be good to excellent for the rest of October. Reports tell us the Feather River is the best bet at this time with fish being caught from 7 to 25 pounds with a couple exceeding 30 pounds. Jacks are in the system along with the kings. The fish are both fresh and on the dark side. We figure the bite is better on the Feather River due to the water being a degree or more cooler which means the salmon coming up the Sacramento River will make a right turn at Verona  into the Feather. The usual lures and bait are the ticket with spinners also a good bet.


The Rio Vista Bass Derby and Festival is scheduled for October 10th to the 13th. This event is the oldest bass derby in California and all are invited. This includes the kids. They are having some fantastic awards with big dollars up for grabs with the winner of the derby will take home $3000.00. For more information go to their website at


The Department of Fish and Wildlife planted French Meadows last week with a bunch of planters. The also dropped by and released a ton of fish in to Lake Berryessa.


We again hear from Collins Lake above Browns Valley.  This is about the third time this had been reported. It appears another record has hit the skids due to the fish not being weighed on officially. The monster catfish was said to weigh 27 pounds. The fish, which fell for anchovies, was caught by Chuck Clemensen who resides at Oregon House. The location in the reservoir was not disclosed. Kudos, Chuck!


Most of those who fish the reservoirs in Northern California are waiting for the changes in Autumn. The change is about to be complete which will bring better fishing for all.

Closing thought:  “When things change inside you, things change around you.”

By Boots Johnson


Reports tell us the salmon run has slowed again and is expected to pick up soon. Both the Sacramento and Feather Rivers have been slow going with the salmon bite. Some fish are being caught, but we are told it is a hit and miss situation at this time. Guides and the rest of us are waiting for October and better fishing. However, the fish that are being caught are beautiful fish, bright and silver with big boys in the mix.


We checked with our weather source and he advises the current cool weather pattern is expected to be with us for another week or so and then the warmer days will be back. He also predicted an early fall this year with showers and snow coming our way on the valley floor and up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.


The Department of Fish and Wildlife planted Lake Davis last week with rainbow trout which included some bigger fish in the mix. The Walker fire is now almost contained and while the fire did not impact the reservoir it still caused some air traffic in the region.


The hot spot for Mackinaw Lake trout at Lake Tahoe is its south shore at this time.  The north shore has picked up some with good to fair results. Rainbow trout are reported to be holding at around 100 feet down with some swimming in the shallower water.


Donner Lake is also putting out mackinaw lake trout for shore anglers but the fish are small.


Foul weather and high winds have really slowed down the fishing at Lake Almanor. Reports tell us only the diehards who go out in the lake are scoring some action but basically it is slow here.


Kokanee Salmon are still biting at Bullard’s Bar Reservoir but are not the best bet at this time due to the changes caused by their entering spawning stage. The fish have turned dark.


Folsom Lake is producing nice bass, but the trout fishing has slowed considerably. The reservoir is still almost full and has begun to drop a bit. Water temperature is around 73 to 75 degrees. Most boat ramps are open.


Closing thought for this week: “The risk you are afraid to take could be the one that changes your life.”



By Boots Johnson


My heartfelt thanks to those readers who contacted me in regard to my son Kevin’s passing and a special note to Kathy for her kind words.


The campgrounds up Hat Creek way are almost empty and will close on October 15th for the year. Fishing is still good in this stream with a chance for both rainbow and brook trout.


Salmon fishing on the Sacramento and Feather River has improved and will continue to get better with the days and weeks to come with fish coming throughout the system. Reports tell us many of the kings are holding about three or four feet off the bottom while others are just quickly moving through. We have learned from past experience that you need to be there when the salmon move through. We have spent hours on both rivers with no results when the run slows or stops. Another thing to remember is they will stop in deep holes to rest and even stick their noses into the sand against an underwater bank and hold their position using very little effort in the current, and then continue on their journey to spawn.


The cool weather recently has picked up the bite in many areas especially in streams and rivers in the high country.


The catfish bite is still on at Collins Lake near Dobbins. The beach areas are good and also anyone who goes to fish should try Elmer’s Cove.


We have reports of a large school of kokanee moving up river at Bullard’s bar Reservoir. It appears they are headed for the inlet area of the river as they prepare to spawn. The fish are starting to turn color at this time.


The bass bite at Lake Oroville is showing an increase in the bite with Fall approaching. Best bet it to fish with top water lures in the early morning and also keep to the shaded areas during the daylight hours.


The Department of Fish and Wildlife have planted Deer Creek. It might be a good idea at this time to run up and spend the night at the Potato Patch campground and enjoy a dinner or breakfast of rainbow trout, bacon and eggs. Yum!


Closing thought: “Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.”




By Boots Johnson


Catchable trout were planted last week in the following waters: DeSabla Reservoir in Butte Creek; Plaskett Pond in Glenn County; Lower Susan River in Lassen County; Fuller Lake in Nevada County; North Fork of the Feather River in Plumas County; Nora Lake in Shasta County and Deer Creek in Tehama County.


The great kokanee bite at Bullard’s Bar Reservoir appears to be finally slowing down and should stay that way as we go into September. At Collins Lake above Marysville the fishing has been good for trout, bass and catfish. Most of the fish are being caught in deeper water. The Dam area, as usual, is a good bet.


Englebright Reservoir, also known as The Narrows, is currently in the good day, bad day phase of summer. By that I mean one day the fish are on the bite and the next day is a wash. Best bet is to fish this reservoir during the week early in the morning due to boat traffic and recreational use.


Hell Hole Reservoir has been dropping but is still available by boat from ramps. Word is still the same in regard to work on the Dam. It has not shown any action at this time.


Jigs are the answer at Lake Oroville for bass. The fish are holding deep at around forty feet. The salmon bite has slowed but fish are still available if you know where to fish and have the patience.


The Sacramento River is producing some salmon action. On the Feather River the action is slow and most anglers are on the Sacramento River. Expect things to pick up soon on both rivers.


If you go up to Lake Almanor we advise to fish deep and troll real slow. The trout fishing here is slow and not very productive.


A report from Hat Creek tells us the trout fishing has been outstanding. Anglers are reporting a mixed bag of rainbow and brook trout.


The kokanee salmon at Whiskeytown Reservoir are in the prespawn mode at this time and fishing is slow for the kokanee as well as bass. The fish are deep due to the hot weather.


The trout are cooperating at Jackson Meadows Reservoir. The fish are reported to be holding around 40 feet down. Word is the deeper you find the fish the bigger the size.


We have reports of the same problem at Lake Davis near Portola. The trout are deep due to the hot weather and are not cooperating at this time.


Closing thought: “A small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”

By Boots Johnson


The buzz around town is just about the same everywhere you run into an angler. “Where are the salmon?” Well folks, the salmon are here, yes they are in the Sacramento and Feather Rivers at this time. While there might not be a big run there is a run and the fish are coming through moving fast, hardly resting, on their way to cooler water. That water can be found above Corning and Red Bluff. Down here in the valley the rivers are not only low but warm and I mean real warm. Salmon do not like warm water and will avoid it whenever possible and they are doing just that by moving swiftly through the valley until they find what they are looking for. It is there where you will catch a fish and it is there where you will find most of the fishing guides. So in a nutshell……………..don’t expect lots of action here until the water cools.

We hear from Lake Almanor at Chester. The fish in this reservoir are not cooperating with anglers at this time due to the hot weather and the full moon. The full moon does not seem to be improving the bite. Reports tell us the fish are scattered all over the lake with the only action worth mentioning is at the Hamilton Branch area where the water is flowing into the lake.

Congratulations go out to Charlie who lives in Oregon House. He caught two catfish at Collins Lake. The biggest fish weighed in at 24 pounds with the second fish at 21 pounds. Not only did Charlie disclose his name but he did not offer any information on bait or location of the catch. That is O.K. Charlie because if I caught catfish of that size I probably would not tell either.

It is that time of year and the kokanee salmon are getting ready to spawn and have started to change color. Where ever they live in lakes or reservoirs the fish will be running up a stream soon to spawn. These landlocked salmon spawn the same as their bigger cousins which die afterwards.

Closing thought: “Be as concerned for others as you are for yourself.”


By Boots Johnson


Success results from the opener of the Upper Sacramento River at the Barge Hole were less than hoped for. Salmon were a hit and miss situation there as well as both the Feather and Sacramento Rivers downstream to Sacramento. Expect to see the action pickup as the fish move from the ocean up the Sacramento and then into the Feather. A key to this is the weather.

A report from Lake Tahoe tells us the Mackinaw lake trout fishing has slowed and the kokanee salmon bite is a best bet at this time.

Boca Reservoir and Donner Lake both received trout plants last week along with the weekly drop at Deer Creek in Tehama County.

Back to the kokanee salmon………….Lake Berryessa is putting out limits with no end on the bite in sight. The fish are running from 17 to 20 inches and can be found down at 50 feet in the morning and about a hundred feet later in the day.

We are told the trout are back on the bite at Collins Lake with some large trout up to six or seven pounds. The catfish are also cooperating in the reservoir located above Marysville near Browns Valley.

We advise anglers who fish from a boat to be legal at this time. When the upcoming salmon run hits the Sacramento Valley Rivers and all the boat traffic gets heavy expect officials to start checking boats which will includes fishing licenses.

The bass bite at Lake Oroville has slowed down to a crawl at this time. We are told all arms of the huge reservoir are not producing much action.


Closing thought:  “the body achieves what the mind believes.”


By Boots Johnson


Reports tell us salmon are being taken in the Sacramento area to the south and the Red Bluff area to the North. Local fishing in both the Sacramento and Feather Rivers has been somewhat productive but is extremely slow at this time. Local resident Ted Johnson fished the Feather River last week and managed to land one eleven pound buck salmon. He caught the fish above Boyd’s Pump boat ramp. Boats have been  seen on the waters but are few and far between.

Most trout in reservoirs and lakes in the valley and above have gone into summer mode which means they have gone deep to find cooler water. Downriggers will be necessary from now until Fall but those without them and who have a boat can also score with jigs and bottom fishing with bait and a sliding sinker.

Mono and Inyo Counties received most of the trout plant last week with fish also planted in Lassen, El Dorado, Shasta and Tehama counties in the usual streams and reservoirs.

We hear from Lake Davis near Portola. The trout here are cooperating and anglers using lures or trolling with night crawlers are scoring big at this time. Fish are running from 18 to 22 inches.

We recommend not fishing in the Thermolito after bay at this time, but to concentrate on Lake Oroville for bass.  Kings are also being taken for those who fish for them. The bass population can be found in waters between 40 and 60 feet at this time. Find a school and have a ball.

The catfish bite is still in full swing at Collins Lake above Marysville.  We hear of a catfish which was huge and was said to be over three feet long. What did it weigh? Well, the darn fish was not weighed or accurately measured so we have several different weights from folks at the scene. Some say over 20 pounds while others say maybe 15 pounds or so. Either way it was a”BIG ONE”.

Closing thought: “The opening of the school year is just around the corner so look out for the kids.”


By Boots Johnson


The opening of salmon season on local rivers proved to not be as good as expected. Apparently the warm water conditions on the Sacramento had a lot to do with the bite. When the second season opens on August 1st some say it will be more productive. It is a known fact that more salmon will be moving up rivers as the run continues.

Catfish are the way to go at Collins Lake at this time. The stinker the bait the better chance to hook into a big catfish. If you use power bait the fish will also be available, but smaller. Live Oak angler Jerry Freeman caught a nice six pound cat recently at the bridge using beef brains and chicken liver. Kudos Jerry!!

Folks are limiting out on nice sized Kokanee Salmon at Stampede Reservoir. Some spinners and other small lures have been productive. Flashers seem to attract these land locked fish and the best bet is to find the schools in deep water. Angler Dave Quinn,  address unknown at this time, went after mackinaw lake trout using a jig while fishing off the dam and landed a dandy 17 pounder. Congrats Dave!!

Englebright Reservoir, above Browns Valley, is having a run on rainbow trout. The fish are holding in 30 to 40 feet of water. Reports tell us drifting night crawlers is working best.

Loon Lake, which is located in El Dorado County, was planted with catchable trout last week and the North Fork of the Feather River near Lake Almanor also received a bunch of trout.

Black Butte Reservoir which is located near Orland is going crazy with the bass bite at this time even though all conditions show poor fishing. The early morning and late evening hours are the best time with a reminder that if you wish to catch bass start before first light because as soon as the sun hits the water the surface fishing is over until evening. The lake is dropping so much it has exposed the hyacinth plants, which attract the fish.

Closing thought: “We might look good on the outside, but are we really as good on the inside.”



  By Boots Johnson


Reports indicate salmon fishing in local rivers will be better than average this year when the season opens on July 16th.

The holidays of summer usually slow down the bite in local reservoirs. This year is no different as reports tell us the slowdown of active fish is taking place all over the Sacramento Valley and foothills with some exceptions. Clear Lake is still going full speed ahead on the catch and landlocked kokanee salmon are filling stringers at Stampede Reservoir, Lake Berryessa, Whiskeytown Reservoir and Bullard’s Bar Reservoir.

We have word that the landlocked king salmon in Lake Oroville have started schooling and are moving out of the arms of the reservoir and close to or into the main body of water. Once the boat traffic slows down the kings should be producing some excitement for those who fish for them.

Up Eagle Lake way the fish are on a heavy feeding cycle due to the hatching of the caddisflies. Fly fishermen are catching limits at this time.

Lake Almanor is the place to go if you fly fish. Bug hatches have the bass and trout feeding and are available to those who use the fly rod. Bait fishing and trolling is not doing well at this time.

Even though Little Grass Valley Reservoir received a trout plant last week the action here is slow. Some anglers are only interested in the big brown trout this reservoir is famous for.

Closing thought: “Make sure you have a life jacket in the boat for every passenger.”


By Boots Johnson


We remind those who salmon fish of the upcoming opening on July 16th. The limit is back to two salmon due to the run this year being better than last year.  During the early part of the season we like to try spinners, spoons and plugs.

We have reports that the kokanee salmon bite is outstanding at this time at Bullard’s Bar Reservoir with limits common.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife planted catchable trout last week in Philbrook Reservoir and Sly Creek Reservoir in Butte County. Stumpy Meadows Reservoir in El Dorado County. In Nevada and Placer Counties: Boca Reservoir, Donner Lake, French Meadows Reservoir and Sugar Pine Reservoir. In Plumas County trout were placed in Antelope Reservoir, Bucks Lake, Little Grass Valley Reservoir and Sly Creek Reservoir. Boca Reservoir, Gold Lake and Upper Salmon Lake received fish in Sierra County. Deer Creek and the South Fork of Battle Creek, located in Tehama County also received plants.

As expected, Whiskeytown Reservoir is putting out some nice sized Kokanee Salmon. Some of the fish are 18 inches or larger and are being caught at around 25 feet on down.

July 6th, which also is my birthday, is the first of two FREE FISHING DAYS in California. Anyone can fish for any fish in the state on this date.

The Feather River is finally starting to drop which means the striper fishing will more than likely slow down and most of the fish will head down river and back to the Delta.

Summer has arrived in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and most lakes, reservoirs, streams and rivers will be or already are accessible for fishing and hiking. Expect to still find snow above 7000 feet.

Closing thought: “Life Does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.”




Our annual trip to Lake Tahoe proved to be both outstanding and excellent fishing. We boarded the Hopper 4, a 28 foot fishing boat out of the marina at South Shore just prior to 6 A.M. The Captain advised his first mate that we would get underway at 6 A.M. and we did just that, heading out into beautiful Lake Tahoe. As the boat broke the perfect mirror surface of the lake we all enjoyed coffee and breakfast rolls while enjoying the magnificent scenery. We were headed for the Northwest side of the lake and arrived there after a 40 minute ride.

Accompanying us this time was Val’s daughter Laura who resides in Texas and Val’s son Mathew who came all the way from Holland. About half way to the fishing area we enjoyed music from the cabin of the boat. Also along for the ride was a fellow from Sacramento.

The first spot we fished proved to be slow so the Captain had us reel in our lines to go to another spot. About 15 minutes later we were instructed to drop our lines to the bottom of the lake and jig with live minnows. As soon as the weight hit the bottom of the lake we had fish on. Valerie caught the first fish with me not far behind. At 10:15 A.M. we had our limits of two fish each. About an hour prior to that the captain advised it would be a rough ride back to the marina and he hit the fact right on the head because we returned with high winds and choppy waters with whitecaps. As the boat moved through the rolling waves of the water the only place dry was in the cabin due to the boat plowing through the rough seas making the water flow over the cabin and into the back of the boat.

While underway to the Marina our first mate cleaned the fish and packaged them in plastic bags. Due to the wind and weather conditions it took over an hour to make it back to the marina. As rough as it was on the lake that day no one got sick and we all held on so as to not be tossed around.

Ten fish were caught with the largest fish weighing six pounds. My request to release the smaller fish fell on deaf ears which I feel was not the Captain and first mates decision, but that of the person who caught the fish.

We spent time on the white sandy beach, went of hikes, paddled in Valerie’s two kayaks around the area and enjoyed a Mackinaw Lake Trout barbeque the same evening we caught the fish consisting of a tossed green salad, the fish, garlic bread and chilled white wine.

Closing thought:  “Love is when another person’s happiness is more important than your own.”



               By Boots Johnson

If you are looking for some fun try the striped bass fishing in the Feather River. Cut bait is the name of the game and you can catch fish under 18 inches all day long with a keeper or two. Be gentle when you remove the hook so as to not injure the small stripers. These hard fighting fish are the ones we will enjoy next year.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife hit Nevada County last week. Catchable trout were planted in both Fuller Lake and Scotts Flat Reservoir. Fuller is one of my favorite places to fly fish. This small lake, which is located off of State Route 20 on the road to Bowman Reservoir. The lake is accessible by small boat, a float tube or kayak.

We will be at Lake Tahoe next week and will be fishing for Mackinaw Lake trout. These fish run large in Lake Tahoe but the average fish caught is in the 3 to 6 pound range and can be found down to over three hundred feet deep.

We have reports of shad swimming in just about all rivers in the Sacramento Valley. These cousins of the tarpon are cooperation, as usual, with anglers anxious to try their luck at catching these fish who put up one heck of a fight for their size.

Kokanee Salmon, which are found in many reservoirs throughout the state,  are on the bite with Stampede Reservoir and Bullard’s Bar Reservoir producing fish on a regular basis.

We are told the Thermal to After bay at Oroville recreational area is not producing any fish due to the cold water being pumped from the bottom of Oroville Reservoir on its way down the Feather River.

Access to Gold Lake and the region around it should be open by the time the Dispatch hits the streets. Gold Lake is still almost covered with snow. This is a real surprise to many since it is mid-June.

Access roads to Jackson Meadows Lake above Truckee is still closed at this time and there is an abundance of snow here which means it is not known when the lake will be accessible.

Many anglers who went to Hat Creek recently have been disappointed at the size of the trout they are catching. Bait fishermen are not doing much as far as size of fish goes with most pan size, but the fly anglers are scoring with bigger fish at this time.

Here it is the middle of June and the It is amazing what a wet year can do for fishing. Who knows……we just might see an early salmon run.

Closing thought:  “There are friends in life and there are friends for life…….”


            By Boots Johnson

A short ride in the red boat last Tuesday on the Feather River produced four nice stripers along with about 20 or so shakers which were released to grow for next year. We hit upon a school and quietly dropped anchor and within fifteen minutes I had two fish on. The fish were so hungry they were hitting the bait as we bumped it downstream.

We will be in Tahoe in June for the annual mackinaw fishing trip out of South Shore and will be taking along Val’s daughter Laura from Texas and her son Mathew who will be here from Holland. Looking forward to an exciting day as usual.

Shad are still in the system and area being caught all over the local rivers.  These fish are real fighters for their size and are a thrill to catch and release.

Expect the cooler weather last week and into the weekend to turn again hot and will more than likely stay that way for a while.

Roads in the high country are finally opening up and some of the high lakes and reservoirs are now clear of ice. Look to this year as a bumper crop of successful fishing and a great year for water conservation. We are looking forward to great times for all who fish in the valley, foothills and the high Sierra Nevada Mountains.

To T.J. and Annika we say congratulations on a baby girl to become a part of the Johnson and Petersen families in the near future. God bless.

We are looking forward to the coming fishing season in the high country. It will be wonderful  to wet a line and share in the outdoors and especially for those who chase after the elusive trout, the wary bass and the other fish who swim in the waters of this great state of California.

Closing thought: “Never forget the miracles of Mother Nature……………help to preserve all of the wildlife for our future generations.”



               BY Boots Johnson

Longtime friends Ted Johnson, who resides in Yuba City and Ken Malott, who lives in Grass Valley decided to fish the opening weekend at Eagle Lake. In fact, they decided to stay at the lake five days. To their surprise the opener was not crowded as expected. The famous eagle lake trout was caught and on some days limits were taken. The fish averaged a couple pounds with two caught Memorial Day which ran close to three  pounds. Trolling did the trick, according to Ted, with fish being taken in shallow water. Ken’s Uncle Carl Malotte joined them on Sunday. The trip was completed with a wonderful meal of trout tacos and all the trimmings.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the following waters were planted with catchable trout: EL DORADO COUNTY: Silver fork of the American River, Ice House Reservoir, Sawmill Pond, Stumpy Meadows Reservoir and Walton Pond. LAKE COUNTY: Pillsbury Reservoir. SHASTA COUNTY: Kilarc Reservoir. SIERRA COUNTY: Lower Sardine Lake. TEHAMA COUNTY: South Fork of Battle Creek, Deer Creek and Gurnsey Creek.

The kokanee salmon are being caught at Bullard’s Bar Reservoir on a regular basis at this time with limits common. Over at Collins Lake above Browns Valley the trout were big last week and most of the large rainbows were caught by boaters.  We are told the trout are moving deep and can be found in the deepest part of the reservoir. The bass population at Lake Oroville is still on a huge bite with the fish being found at around 6 to 20 feet. On the other hand the landlocked salmon are also available in this lake. Lake Davis is fully accessible by boat at this time. The trout population is cooperating with anglers with hot spots being at Mallard and Eagle Point. Trolling is producing some fish in excess of 20 inches. The gates at Jackson Meadows Lake should be open by the time this paper is published. We suggest calling in advance to be sure about road conditions there.

Closing thought: “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors and you will find yourself a better person.”



               By Boots Johnson

This is the time of year that all people who fish love. We, who spend many hours with a fishing pole in hand, enjoy not only the outdoors but to be able to catch breakfast, lunch or dinner fresh from many different kinds of water is a wonderful experience for young and old alike. For those who do not eat fish and who enjoy catching them there is always catch and release. This is one thing hunting cannot provide because once you pull the trigger it is the end. No so with fishing because you have a choice, a choice to keep or release.

My passion has always been trout fishing. Fly fishing, thanks to my Dad, is instilled in me to the point that when traveling along a stream in the high country at no matter what speed the vehicle is going I always look for different parts of the water and always seem to know what the best spots will hold the most fish, or for that matter maybe the biggest ever.

I have never gone fishing to catch the biggest fish, but always to catch whatever is available. But I must admit the thought of the “Big One” is always on my mind and more than likely on yours as well.

I was seven years old when I caught my first rainbow trout. My Dad had purchased the fishing gear and I was so excited the night before we left for the high country I did not sleep a wink. A couple hours later we arrived at the stream. Dad was very patient showing me how to tie this and that and all the rest of the things necessary to cast the first line. It was very difficult for a seven year old boy to manage an eight foot fly rod let alone following his lead. I will never forget that trout even though it was only seven inches long.

I have suggested many times over the years for those with children to take them along, show them how to fish and teach them the rules of the outdoors. After my boys were grown I took my grandsons fishing and have taken many youngsters unrelated to me. This is all about the future of fishing. We need to show the younger generation and hope they will also get the bug for fishing.

Closing thought: “You get out of life what you put into it.”



               By Boots Johnson

Lake Oroville is now at capacity and the fishing could not be better. Rains these past days have raised rivers, streams and reservoirs. All the rain has also either muddied up the water or has made it murky.

The opening of Eagle Lake is just around the corner and we expect a large turnout as usual. Make sure you bring warm clothes for this one as usual, but more so this year. We are told the fish will be cooperating and should be in the two to four pound range. These feisty trout, a strain all their own, are a kick to catch and are wonderful eating.

Conditions in the high country tell us different tactics may be needed for success on the trout stream. Close the fly box or wallet and fish with live bait. The famous earthworm is always a good choice. Look in the water for other insects, including hellgrammites, which are killers on any stream. Grubs may be found if you use a screen to catch the insects. Sometimes size is important as well as color. I always used a gob of trout worms when the water was not clear. Remember, when fishing with bait it must be on the bottom. Using a small weight, even a couple of split shot will do the trick. I have even caught trout on the skeleton of may flies which can be found on the side of exposed rocks and boulders when nothing else will produce. We also must not forget the hardware, such as spoons, spinners, jugs and plugs. In addition, salmon eggs are popular, although I prefer other baits as a first choice.

I don’t know how many of you out there rely on the phases of the moon but this is a proven way to score with any type of fishing. According to charts the best day to fish in May is the 31st between 10 A.M. and 12 Noon. Into June the best days are the first to the 6th with early afternoon fishing is best from the 4th to the 6th.

We talked to our weather source. He advised the month of May has always been wet on occasion in past years. He also recalls snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in almost all months of the year during past spring and summers. He also told me to expect a warm summer this year but it will be shorter than past years bringing wet weather to the valley floor and the mountains as early as September.

For those who fish the lakes and reservoirs we suggest, on windy days, to drift with the wind while trolling. Turn off the motor and just drift with the wind. You might be surprised what you catch and also the enjoyment and relaxation this type of fishing provides.

Closing thought: “Fishing is a great sport, but remember to crimp the barbs on the hook when you catch and release.”



               By Boots Johnson

Well folks, if you wish to play bumper boats hit the Feather River for the Striped Bass Run. As you all know, who are in on the striper run, the Sacramento River is still running on the high side. So… all depends on what you want to do…………….fight the boats and parking……………or just relax on the Sacramento River with a minimum of boat traffic and fishing up north above Colusa for the best bite.

On the other side of the coin……………        Lakes and reservoirs are busting wide open with hungry fish. The hot spot last week was Collins Lake above Marysville. Just about every species of fish in this popular reservoir were being caught, including planted rainbow trout.  Fish are holding in 20 feet of water. Clear Lake is putting out some nice bass along with other species. Lake Oroville has busted wide open with bass on the move and hungry. This is the best time of the year for Oroville. The lake last week was at 91 per cent capacity. Limits of mackinaw lake trout are common at this time at Lake Tahoe. Both the North and the South shores are putting out limits. Fish are averaging four to six pounds.  Lake Almanor at Chester is enjoying great weather and most of the snow has melted. Trolling has been producing the most action. Hat Creek is now open and has been crowded with anglers. The stream is in great condition. Englebright reservoir has reported excellent trout fishing at this time.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife have planted the following waters in the North State: BUTTE COUNTY: Paradise Lake; SHASTA COUNTY: Upper, Middle and Lower Burney Creek, Lower Clark Creek, Upper Hat Creek, Hatchet Creek, Montgomery Creek and rock Creek below Britton. YUBA COUNTY; Collins Lake.

Catfish are on the move in all waters at this time. The Sacramento River has been putting out channel cats as well as striped bass. Some people prefer catfish for dinner over other fishes found in our local waters. A great way to fry them is mayonnaise and cracker crumbs. Just dredge the fillets in the mayo and roll in the cracker crumbs, gently   pressing the crumbs into the flesh. Of course, sliced lemon is a must!

Closing thought: “Grow through what you go through.”



               By Boots Johnson

Limits of Striped bass are being caught within an hour anywhere on the Feather River. The river is full of stripers and boats. The fish are averaging two to three pounds with larger fish and shakers in the mix. Keep in mind these fish run in schools so if you get no action in one spot move to another. Find the schools and hold onto your fishing pole. We suggest sticking close to shore.

Paradise Lake, which was closed after the fire, is now open. Hours are 5 A.M. to sunset Friday through Monday. As in the past no gasoline powered boats are allowed.

We hear from Lake Berryessa. Bass are on the move here to their spawning grounds. Fish are being taken near the banks and on the surface. The bass are fat and sassy and are a kick to catch. Patience is a virtue here.

A report from Lake Davis tells us the lake is still full of broken up ice and slush. Expect this body of water to bust wide open when the ice thaws.

Englebright Reservoir has been a good choice since the recent trout plant. Keep in mind there are other fish in this reservoir including some nice sized crappie and bass.

With water temperatures around 64 degrees the bass at Lake Oroville are on the move, hungry and will soon go into spawning mode. Keep this reservoir on your must do list.

The Sacramento River is still running high which has put a damper on the striped bass run. Sturgeon are also reported to be in the system.

As April comes to an end many anglers think about shad. It appears this year the shad will be mixed in with the striped bass run. Expect the shad to be in local rivers soon.

We certainly hope all of those trout anglers who fished streams and river for the opening weekend had success and perhaps a fish story or two to tell.

Closing thought: “People whose first instinct is to smile when you make contact with them are some of earth’s greatest treasures.”