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.”


fishing talkpic for boots10 3 18By Boots Johnson

We reported last week about the Salmon fishing in the Feather River. Ted Johnson and Steve McClain, both Yuba City residents, along with Ken Malott, who resides in Grass Valley, dropped the red boat into the water at Boyd’s Pump Boat Ramp below Yuba City. They caught limits of salmon below Yuba City which weighed in at 16, 17 and 18 pounds. All three of the fish hit a flatfish lure wrapped with a sardine. Congratulations to all! (see picture on the right)

A dinner, raffle and live and silent auction will be a part of the Nor-Cal Guides and Sportsmen’s Association’s save our Fisheries Dinner to be held in Yuba City on November 3, 2918 starting at 4:30 P.M. at the Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds main hall located at 442 Franklin Avenue. Dinner will be available at 6:30 P.M. with fun and games through the evening until closure at 11 P.M.

This event will be huge with cocktails, table sponsored raffles, 150 raffle prizes and a special raffle ticket for a vinyl boat cover. In addition, the prizes are for ladies, children and anglers and over 100 firearms, 75 guided trips and five lifetime fishing licenses will be won in the raffle.

Tickets are available from James Stone @ (530) 923-9440, Bob Boucke @ (530) 870-2003, Ron Kelly @ (530) 870-1449 or Robert Weese @ (530)755-1796. Tickets are also available on line at

Fall in here and the bass bite at Lake Oroville has hit the high note early this year. While a couple weeks or so early the bass are on the move and are being caught on the surface near or close to the banks. The bass are very active and aggressive. Limits are the norm.

If you are after planted trout the Department of Fish and Wildlife have planted Butte Creek, Deer Creek and the North Fork of the Feather River near Lake Almanor and Belden.

Closing thought: “I cannot teach anything.......I can only make them think.” Socrates


By Boots Johnson

The name of the game is “SALMON” with fish swimming all over rivers at this time. Limits of salmon are common on the Feather River, with the Sacramento River right behind angler’s success. The size of the fish is running from 10 to 30 pounds and is hitting spinners and plugs. We are told, and we can vouch for same, that limits are being caught within an hour after dropping your spinner or flatfish in the water. Most of the salmon are in excellent shape.

Lakes in the high country are starting to put on nice trout at this time. The cooler weather has been given the credit along with the time of year. Fall is officially here as of last weekend and as you all know, October brings the big trout to shore searching for the food they will need for the upcoming winter.

The kokanee salmon bite is on the verge of ending and the fish are turning color for the annual spawn and will begin to travel up streams in October which enter the lakes and reservoirs. Valerie and I will be in Lake Tahoe the middle of October and will be going to Taylor Creek to see the migration of the kokanee as they spawn. Another treat for this stream is the mallard ducks that are there for their share of eggs. In addition, if you are there at the right time you will see a bear or two as they also come to the area to feast on the land locked salmon. If you want to go, Taylor Creek is located off State Route 89 about five miles from South Lake Tahoe. If you keep an eye out for signs you will not have any trouble seeing the entrance. Also, this is an area which has trails, observation areas, rest rooms and plenty of parking and there is no fee.

Those traveling to deer hunt in the X zones around or near Eagle Lake should plan on fishing there. Report tell us eagle lake trout are being taken in the 2 to 3 pound range trolling in 15 feet of water.

Fishing has picked up at Lake Almanor. Slow trolling with night crawlers at the east end of the lake is producing some nice fish, including a mix of salmon, browns and rainbow trout.

Closing thought: “Your body can stand almost anything. It’s your mind you need to convince.”



By Boots Johnson

This time of year always reminds me of days gone by while up in the high country enjoying the small signs of the beginning of Autumn, which include the beautiful golden colors of the quakers standing out from the deep green colors of the pines.

Steve, who worked in the same office as I did, and I decided to head up trout fishing in the Humbug Valley area. The weather was starting to turn cool in the valley and we heard reports of temperatures dropping down into the thirties at night. This was my first fishing trip with Steve. We talked fishing on break and even brought up the subject after work at the local pub.

We left work on a Friday afternoon and headed up to set up camp. In those days it was considered ideal to own a canvas umbrella tent, you know the one with a center pole and a floor. We had it set up and ready before dark, with just enough light left to wet a couple of lines in the Creek nearby. All the fish we caught that evening were on the small size and were returned to the water unharmed.

We were both tired from the trip and the setting up of camp so we retired early the first night shortly after dinner. That time of year is usually exceptionally quiet so we had no trouble sleeping, but when I awoke and opened the tent flap at first light I was greeted with snow on the ground, about four inches. This was a surprise because we had not heard of any snow from the weather reports.

I woke Steve up and told him to look out the flap as I pulled it open. He had a fit, jumped out of his sleeping bag and started mumbling about breaking camp and getting out of there. I advised I was going fishing and there was no need to panic.

I caught my limit of trout in less than an hour that morning. The forest was like a Christmas greeting card and the fish made for a great breakfast of trout, eggs and bacon with Steve complaining constantly that we must get out before we get snowed in. My attempt to reason with him only made the situation worse so we broke camp and headed down the mountain to the valley below.

That surprise snow storm disappeared as fast as it came and by the afternoon the sun was out and I suspect the snow probably melted by nightfall.

Needless to say, I never went fishing with Steve again and since have camped, hunted and fished in the company of snow, sometimes with drifts as deep as four or five feet. Yes, Mother Nature has dropped the white stuff many times up in the high country...... whenever she feels fit, in the middle of the night or during daylight hours and in any month she desires.

Closing thought: “The most magnificent sign of wisdom is a continual cheerfulness, always clear and calm.”


By Boots Johnson

We have lost another great outdoorsman. I fished and hunted with Dan Derks a lot of times, probably, now that he has passed, not enough. Danny was excellent at whatever he did, including his ability to just about make or create anything from steel or metal. His shop was always coming up with a great idea or he was putting together someone’s dream or creation. Danny Dirks, you would have been proud to see the gathering at your service last Friday. The church was full. So, my friend and buddy, along with memories of hunts and fishing trips in peace and God bless you.

If it is rainbow trout, the bigger variety you are after, now is the time to head up to Lake Tahoe and fish the shallow parts of the Lake. Big rainbows have been taken at South Lake Tahoe on the western shoreline. A good mix is the kokanee salmon, which are cooperating for anglers.

The restricted boating under the 5th Street Bridge at Yuba City and Marysville is finally over with the construction completed over the water for the new bridge.

We hear the eagle lake trout are on a frenzy bite at this time hitting trolled lures and flies. Best part of this report is we are told the bite is on all day long. Best bet is to troll down to 10 feet in waters at Eagle Lake in the areas which are 30 to 40 feet deep.

The hot spot this week for catfish is Collins Lake above Marysville. The cats are being caught up to 14 pounds at this time. Bass are on the bite also with fish being weighed in at over five pounds. All this action, according to our report, has the trout coming out of hiding and some are being caught.

A call to our weather source tells us the current weather will be with us into the middle of September. He also advises everything is in order for an early fall. Wouldn’t that be nice?

This is the time of year when the water in lakes and reservoirs begins to drop in temperature which usually brings back the trout bite. Expect water temperatures to continue to drop a bit as we head into September and then into October.

The kokanee bite at Stampede Reservoir has finally slowed down at this time. The fish are currently mixed as far as color goes with some bright and others turning dark due to the upcoming spawn in October.

Hat Creek, the portion near the Caves, off of State Highway 89 is a good bet for brook trout casting flies or fishing in the shadows or under the banks with red worms. We are told at this time to use a gob of worms compared to a single. Fish are ranging from 8 to 14 inches.

Closing thought: “Sometimes music is the only medicine that the heart and soul need.”


By Boots Johnson

The salmon bite has slowed down a bit on both the Sacramento and Feather rivers at this time. Some of the old timers blame the warmer water, while others say it is just a normal trend and the fish will return with a better bite later on in the week. Fish are being taken as this report is written but the salmon are not cooperating like they were yesterday and last week.

The excellent kokanee bite at Stampede Reservoir has really slowed down and if you go after these land locked salmon you might as well sleep in a bit, to say around 8 or 9 A.M. to hit the water. Snoring in the sleeping bag is an excellent idea at this time due to the fish being active after the sun hits the water.

Bill Malott Ted Johnson and Ken Malott hit the Feather River last Wednesday looking for salmon. They found a big hen above the rapids and she nailed a spinner with a terrific fight to follow. Ted, who was in charge of the red boat, set the hook on the fish and handed the pole to Bill who is recovering from triple bypass surgery, Needless to say the pole was handed to his son Ken, then back and fourth untail the big one was netted and place in the boat. Bragging rights were curtailed when the electronic fish scale proofed to have a dead battery and the weight was estimated at between 17 and 20 pounds. At any rate, during a Chinese fire drill, the credit goes to all three. Kudo’s guys!

The Department of Fish and Wildlife seen to plant the same areas over and over again. However, last week they managed to plant a pretty small lake off of highway 20 heading for the junction of Interstate 80. I am referring to Fuller Lake and it is a beauty. To go there turn off of State Highway 20, above Bear Valley, onto the road to Bowman Lake and you will find it several miles from the highway.

Closing thought: “If you wait until you are ready, you will wait for the rest of your life.”


By Boots Johnson

Everyone has been enjoying the cooler weather which includes the fish that swim in local low level reservoirs. Some bodies of water have the trout back on the bite which includes Collins Lake near Browns Valley.

In regards to the cooler weather.................we contacted our weather source and he advised to expect the cooling trend to stay with us until around Labor Day, and then expects warmer conditions. We could have temperatures close to three digits in September and into October.

We have reports of kokanee salmon being taken at Lake Tahoe with limits available. In addition, the fish are running larger than normal with one fish reported to be a 20 incher. This is huge compared to the usual size of land locked kokanee salmon which range from 12 to 14 inches.

We remind all who fish and those who do not about the free fishing day coming up on September 1st. The Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW)allow several days a year when you do not need a license to fish. So if you have a friend or relative who is curious about fishing but does not want the expense of a license, this would be the way to go.

The DFW planted trout last week in Butte Creek, Upper Susan River, Halsey Forebay, North Fork of the Feather River and Deer Creek. Halsey Forebay is located in Placer County. The Feather River was planted near Lake Almanor. The Susan River is located in Lassen County near the town of Susanville.

Salmon can be found all over up and down the Sacramento and Feather Rivers. As they move up river there will be hot spots. The fish will be in a certain area one day and gone the next as they head up to spawn. Salmon are different from Striped Bass. The stripers come up, spawn and then return to the ocean. Salmon come up to spawn and then they die so there is no returning fish to bend your pole. Both these fish can travel miles a day until they reach the area where they were born. Here they will spawn and stay around to protect the eggs, then as stated above will die.

This is the time of year when the Kokanee salmon start to change color as they prepare for the annual spawn. These land locked salmon will swim up a stream or river which flows into the lake or reservoir to lay their eggs. Both male and female fish leave the waters of the lakes and reservoirs; enter the streams, never to return to the deep water from which they came. As with their cousins the King Salmon, they also will die after the spawn.

Closing thought: “The greatest remedy for anger is delay.”


By Boots Johnson

The Woodson Bridge area, located on the Sacramento River, has been a good spot for salmon as well as at Verona. Fish have also been caught on the Feather River both above and below the rapids near Yuba City.

We have reports of striped bass being caught in the Delta, with most fish being on the small size. Large Mouth Black Bass are also being taken here with fish ranging up to 6 pounds.

The Mackinaw Lake Trout at Lake Tahoe are being taken with some up to 15 pounds. Kokanee are also cooperating with anglers with fish up to 3 pounds. However, smoke is a problem.

The trout at Collins Lake are once again off the bite. The warmer water has bass, crappie and catfish cooperating.

Trout fishing at Boca Reservoir has been good early in the morning and late in the evening. We were told fishing during the daytime is a waste of time.

Shore fishing at Donner Lake has improved for trout after the Department of Fish and Wildlife planted a bunch of catchable trout there.

We have a report of king salmon in Lake Oroville. Anglers have been coming in with limits of fish. Find what depth they are hanging out in and bingo.

All of you out there who fish for salmon are reminded of the one fish limit this year.

Reports tell us Folsom Lake is holding its water. Expect the reservoir to be about the same until after Labor Day which will bring shallower water as the reservoir drops.

Rainbow and brown trout are being caught at Lake Almanor at this time. Trolling is the best bet and fish finders are a necessity to locate the fish. Both these species get big in Almanor and it is not unusual to catch them in the 6 to 10 pound range at different times of the year.

Closing thought: “Yard by Yard, life’s awful hard, but inch by inch, it’s a cinch.”



By Boots Johnson

The word up north is about a huge plant of rainbow trout. The Department of Fish and Wildlife last week dumped 12,000 pounds of trout into Davis Lake. Now that is a bunch of fish and we wonder who knows who. At any rate the plant should be a winner for anglers in that area. Other areas which also received planted trout were Donner Lake, Grace Lake, Gold Lake and Deer Creek.

The trout are on the move at Collins Lake. These fish have been scarce for the last couple of months, but now are being caught in the deep portion of the reservoir with some big trout being reported. This more than likely means near the dam, which has the deepest water on the lake. We are told power bait and lures have been productive.

Stampede Reservoir is brim full of kokanee salmon. Anglers are having great success here and a bunch of people are boasting limits. Reports tell us a few cutthroat trout have also been taken. Best bet is to troll down to 75 or 80 feet.

The weather at Lake Almanor is hot, really hot. This has slowed down the bite in this reservoir located at Chester. However, current weather temperatures have dropped which should bring back the bite until another heat wave hits this popular lake due to show up next week.

Reports tell us the kokanee salmon are still hitting at Stampede Reservoir but have moved into deeper water down around 80 feet. This change will require trollers to switch to darker colors on their lures.

We are told, from a reliable source, that the kokanee salmon at Hell Hole Reservoir have finally grown up in size and anglers are catching fish up to 14 or 15 inches. The land locked salmon are down deep, at or near 90 feet. This means you will need to troll with darker lures here also.

The kokanee salmon are also cooperating at Bucks Lake up near Quincy. Anglers are having success pulling lures behind flashers down around 50 feet.

We are reminded of the advantage of a light wind when trolling. The light wind creates a ripple effect on the surface of the water, which in turn improves the bite.

Boots fishing tip of the week: “The salmon are here, both in the Feather and Sacramento Rivers. Time to go after them now.”


By Boots Johnson

We have reports of salmon being caught in the Feather River above Boyd’s Pump boat ramp after the release of water at Oroville raised the river around four feet. Fish being caught are clean and silver beautiful fish. Congratulations go out to Annika Johnson, who caught a beautiful 20 pound salmon while fishing on the Feather River. She was here visiting family with her husband TJ and son. They came all the way from Nashville Tennessee to fish for salmon and show off their new baby son Haagen, who by the way is my Great Grandson.

The small mouth black bass are reported to be on the bite at Lake Almanor. Fish are ranging up to 4 pounds. Finding the fish will result in limits.

The landlocked king salmon are still on the bite at Lake Oroville. The fish are holding at 60 feet and are hitting plugs, spoons and spinners.

Reports from Lake Tahoe tell us the kokanee are being taken all over the lake. Mackinaw lake trout are also being caught early in the morning at around 120 feet with the fish moving into deeper water as the sun hits the surface. By mid-morning the big fish are down to 300 feet.

Surface water temperatures have slowed down the trout bite on all reservoirs. Best bet, it you go fishing is to fish for catfish or bass using night crawlers for bait. Best time to fish is at night.

If you go to Folsom Lake be aware that the reservoir is dropping a half a foot each day with fishing being slow at this time.

Closing Thought: “Always be encouraging and supportive rather than condemning.”


By Boots Johnson

They just keep biting. The kokanee salmon that live in Bullard’s Bar Reservoir are still what you might call outstanding in regard to a huge bite still underway. Limits of salmon are a sure thing with fish up to 15 inches. Best bet to get the fishes attention, is to troll with flashers in front of a spoon or spinner tipped with corn. We are told to avoid the dam area and when small kokanee salmon are caught it is best to go find the bigger fish. It appears the smaller fish are schooled up together and the bigger salmon are schooled up also together.

Salmon fishing on the Feather River has been slow so far into the opening, but anglers are catching stripers on bait from Yuba City on up to Gridley. Those who have been successful with the salmon are scoring with plugs and spinners.

A check with the Department of Fish and Game’s planting program coordinator revealed that a bunch of rainbow and brook trout have been planted at various locations. See below for fish plants in the Northern part of the state. BUTTE COUNTY: Butte Creek; EL DORADO COUNTY: Cody Lake; LASSEN COUNTY: Upper Ash Creek; NEVADA COUNTY: Big Island Lake, Carr Lake, Faucherie Lake, Lake Sterling, Upper and Lower Lindsey Lake, Long Lake, Lower Lola Montez Lake, Milk Lake, rock Lake, Sawmill Lake, Tollhouse Lake, View Lake and Weaver Lake. PLACER COUNTY: Halsey For eBay. PLUMAS COUNTY: Feather River Middle Fork at Graeagle, Feather River North Fork at Almanor, North fork Feather River at Beldon, Smith Lake and Wades Lake. SIERRA COUNTY: Upper and Lower Salmon Lake, Upper Spencer Lake. TEHAMA COUNTY: South Fork of Battle Creek, Deer Creek and Gurnsey Creek.

We hear from Eagle Lake near Susanville. The Eagle Lake trout are cooperating and are being caught trolling and still fishing with night crawlers. Trollers are having success pulling needlefish or Thomas buoyant lures in red or gold.

Lake Berryessa fishing has been slow and the new fire in that area has not helped along with the hot weather and water surface temperatures in the 90’s. However, some fish are being caught at night.

Closing thought: “Life is too short to not have a cookie when you want one.”


By Boots Johnson

Salmon Season opened on local rivers on July 16th. The opening of a season does not necessarily mean we will find fish in the rivers. As of this date (July 22nd) reports tell us the fish have not arrived yet. There is a few being caught on the Feather River up near Oroville, but we expect action lower around the Yuba City and Marysville area to be arriving in a week or so.

Now is the time for a lake trout of a lifetime at Lake Tahoe. The big mackinaw trout are hitting at the South Shore area. A report tells us a 20 pounder was caught last week while trolling at around 200 feet down.

We hear from Lake Almanor at Chester. The fishing here is slow with a few fish being taken early before the sun hits the water. The reservoir is full at this time but is expected to drop considerably which will cause hazards due to low level obstructions for both fishing and other watercraft.

Jackson Meadows Reservoir has turned on for trout anglers fishing for planted fish. This is due to a minnow hatch which has the trout going nuts. Limits are common with the best depth to fish at 45 feet.

If you know where ash creek in Lassen County is it might be a good idea to head up that way for a limit of rainbow trout. The Department of Fish and Wildlife dumped a bunch into that stream last week.

Ted Johnson, who lives in Yuba City, while trolling at Little Grass Valley Reservoir with friend Ken Malott, caught a beautiful 17 ½ inch rainbow trout. Ted advised he was trolling with flashers and a night crawler when the rainbow grabbed his worm. Kudos, Ted!

We are told the catfish and bass are still hitting at Collins Lake near Dobbins. Hot spots are up near the inlet of Dry Creek and over by the dam.

Closing thought: “One of the happiest moments in life is when you have the courage to let go of what you cannot change.”


By Boots Johnson

The kokanee bite at Bullards Bar continues but the results of fish are larger than last week. The landlocked salmon being caught range from 14 to 15 inches. The spotted bass population, especially the larger fish, have gone deep. The boat and recreational traffic has been heavy creating a problem for fishing. Smaller bass are being caught up in the arms of the reservoir.

If you are in the mood for a good catfish feed we suggest fishing at Collins Lake. Most of the trout have gone down to deep water, but the catfish are still in shallow water and are cooperating with fish being caught in the three to seven pound range. Bass are still available as well as crappie with some crappie being caught up to three pounds.

A check with Englebright Reservoir up above Browns Valley tells us the fishing has picked up a bit but is nothing to brag about at this time.

The bass bite at Lake Oroville has been reported to still be on the good side but success is only had by fishing early and late in the day using top water lures.

Reports tell us fish are available at Lake Almanor by trolling slow and deep using lures and night crawlers. Some bass are being taken fishing deep with plastic lures. The river above the lake was planted last week with catchable trout.

After the big fire around Lake Berryessa all roads are now open and anglers are catching bass all over the lake. Boat ramps are open.

Closing thought: “You have three choices in life...........give in, give up or give it all you got.”


By Boots Johnson

The cool weather last week was discussed by many who were surprised this was happening in July. A change in the hot weather in July does happen occasionally. I have even seen it rain and snow in July. Of course the snow was up in the sierras and took place above 5000 feet in elevation in the middle of July in 1986.

I recall another time years ago which also took place in July during a cool spell. I had called my fishing buddy, Bill and asked him if he wanted to go after black bass. Back then it was largemouth black bass which was so popular. Now with the introduction of the spotted bass they seem to have taken over what the bass anglers go after.

Bill did not hesitate in saying he would go so I picked him up Saturday Morning at 4 A.M. and we headed out of Marysville on Highway 20 and arrived at the dredger ponds the other side of Hallwood. I had a key and permission to go into the ponds and Bill and I had fishing the area for years, catching lots of bass with an occasional catfish or perch.

We decided to fish the second pond that morning. This pond was a duck pond and had a duck blind on each side. The wooded structure was great for casting all over the pond due to most of the water edge being full of brush and lily pads which saturated the surface from the shoreline out several feet from the rocky edge. I stopped at the first blind and Bill went over to the other one.

It was a cool morning and the surface of the pond was still, without any ripples. In other words the surface of that pond was like glass. I carefully placed my small tackle box on the wood floor and stood there looking all over the area before me. Bill and I agreed not to throw a lure or plug, but to watch for movement on the surface of the water awhile. After about ten minutes I rigged my line with a hula popper with a frog pattern and made the cast across the pond right in front of a large bush which was hanging over the edge of the water. As the lure made its noise as it hit the water and the ripples slowly ran the distance of the pond I saw movement next to the brush. My popper sat there not moving as I watched the movement continue a couple feet towards the lure. I waited for another minute and suddenly flicked my rod tip and the lure gulped. After a couple of seconds I raised the rod and danced the lure across about four feet of the surface, stopping abruptly and then a wiggle of the lure. The bass hit the lure so hard he missed it and the popper was airborne before it hit the surface again. That is when the fish struck again, this time taking the lure far enough into its huge mouth that the treble hook on the bottom of the lure found flesh as well as the trailer single hook in its white skirt.

That largemouth bass put up a great fight and I thought I would lose him several times when I lost control of the situation and the fish made it into several brush piles. But luck was with me and as I laid that big boy up on the bank next to the duck blind I got goose bumps from what I saw. He was a beauty and ended up weighing five and a half pounds and was measured on my old de-liar scale at 23 inches.

Bill and I caught our limits of five each that morning and were home in time for lunch. All the fish were smaller than the big one. Most were in the two and a half to three pound range. This was not an unusual day for us due to our catching limits on a regular basis in the dredger ponds. The big bass however was a once in a lifetime beautiful fish and was caught at first light, on the surface of the water, in the month of July.

Closing thought: “If we would spread love as quickly as we spread hate what an amazing world we would live in.”


By Boots Johnson

As we start into the month of July just about all of the fish runs are over. We hear that the shad are still being taken in the American river but the striper fishing is over in local rivers. Catfish are being cooperative and some are being taken both in the Sacramento and Feather Rivers. Many anglers are anxiously awaiting the opening of salmon fishing, which will get underway on July 16th.

Kokanee salmon are the name of the game at this time in local reservoirs. These land locked salmon are being caught on a regular basis with limits common in some areas. Bullard’s Bar and Stampede Reservoirs are on a hot bite at this time.

The trout planting program is still in full swing with most of the fish going south this past week. Inyo County was the busiest for the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) with over fifty streams, rivers and reservoirs receiving catchable fish. Locally the DFW placed catchable trout in Butte Creek in Butte County; Plaskett Meadows Pond in Glenn County: Icehouse reservoir in El Dorado County; Clear Creek, Lower Goodrich Creek and the lower Susan river in Lassen County; Jackson Meadows reservoir in Nevada County; French Meadows Reservoir in Placer County; bucks Lake, Antelope Reservoir and the North fork of the feather river near Almanor; The south fork of Battle Creek and Deer Creek in Tehama county.

Closing thought: “What we fear the most is usually what we most need to do.”


By Boots Johnson

We heard the kokanee salmon are still hitting at Stampede Reservoir near Truckee. They are holding at around 50 feet down and are hitting all kinds of lures. Find a school and have a ball.

Salmon Season on local rivers begins on July 16th. Be sure to check regulations where you plan on fishing.

All the hot weather has forced the trout in reservoirs and lakes to go deep so keep this in mind when you are on the water from now to Fall. We have always had luck jigging on the bottom of reservoirs with artificial lures are the famous night crawler. Look for drop offs and lots of hiding places. This is where you will find the trout, both rainbow and browns.

The hatchery trucks are still running up and down highways and roads planting trout for the angler’s enjoyment. We do not have a current report on where the fish are being planted.

We hear that fishing is taking a beating in regard to a big drop in the sales of fishing licenses. This was only a matter of time since the cost of licenses has gone up so high. Purchasing one knocks the heck on of a fifty dollar bill.

Lake Oroville continues to drop and will soon be at 800 feet. All of the boat ramps are still underwater and the water drop has not, as of this writing, affected the fish bite. As usual top water fishing and in the evening hours has been effective. Most of the fish in this reservoir are holding at 30 and 40 feet.

Closing thought: “Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.”