OFF THE HOOK: Anglers battle rainbows at Collins
This fall and winter has produced some of the best-ever rainbow trout fishing at Collins Lake, nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills near Oregon House.
Kathy Hess of Colins Lake Resort said heavy trout plants over the past few months have boosted the fishing success rates. Most days feature great fishing from shore.
"Today I spoke with a man who left by 11 a.m.," Hess said. "He and his wife both limited out on trout while shore fishing in the Open Area close to the Water's Edge group camping area. They started out using red PowerBait then switched to rainbow PowerBait."
The water clarity is much better now that the lake is almost full.
"We only have 13 feet more to go before our lake spills," Hess said.
Trollers are using a single blade with a worm or Kastmasters, Needlefish or Rapalas. The deepest you would have to go is maybe 15 feet.
Jill Curtis of Grass Valley caught a 4-pound rainbow on rainbow PowerBait while Elaine Carter hooked a limit of rainbows to 2 pounds, 2 ounces off the beach on orange PowerBait.
Bobby Nolan of Marysville had a very memorable day of fishing with his dad, Steve, from shore by the dam, catching a huge stringer of trout. His dad caught his biggest trout ever, a 2-pound, 12-ounce rainbow, on PowerBait.
"This week was full of great catfish catches as well," emphasized Hess. "Dan Davis and his buddies from Oroville fished with anchovies by the bridge after the rainstorm and left with a 15-pound, 8-ounce, a 9-pound, 8-ounce, an 8-pound, 8-ounce and a 4-pound cat."
Darrin Nunes of Marysville and Marissa Quinn caught huge cats too. Their stringer included a 15-pound, 8-pound, 7-pound, 12-ounce and a 6-pounder.
• Sacramento River: High and muddy conditions prevented veteran salmon fishing enthusiasts like Rob Reimers of Rustic Rob's Guide Service from getting out for salmon in the final days of the season.
Salmon fishing closed on Dec. 16 in the Sacramento from 150 feet below the Lower Red Bluff (Sycamore) boat ramp to the Carquinez Bridge (includes Suisun Bay, Grizzly Bay and all tributary sloughs west of Highway 160).
Anglers have switched their focus to sturgeon, now that white sturgeon have begun to move into the area.
"Anglers reported catching and releasing a couple of oversized sturgeon in the river," said Reimers, who works at Johnson's Bait and Tackle. "However, few anglers have been out lately because of the high water and stormy weather."
While a recent trip by Reimers to Knights Landing didn't produce any sturgeon, he has high hopes for the coming year. "Everything looks good, now that we are seeing the high water that draws the sturgeon upriver to spawn," he advised.
Anglers fishing from shore and boats should use ghost shrimp, pileworms, bloodworms, lamprey eel and salmon roe to entice the prehistoric behemoths. n Feather and Yuba Rivers: Even with water visibility down to 1 foot or less, anglers fishing the low flow area of the Feather caught and released decent numbers of steelhead as 2012 neared its end.
"The fishing was good one day and just so-so the next," said Dave Barbieri of Off the Hook Fly Fishing. "We got 10 steelhead to the boat while drifting the low flow area on Saturday. The fish ranged from half pounders to 23 inches. We hooked the fish on San Juan Worms, PT nymphs and bright attractor patterns."
On a previous trip when the water was clearer, two anglers fishing with Barbieri hooked 27 fish, landing 14, he noted.
Trout fishing on the Yuba River from Highway 20 to Sycamore Grove has also been productive. "We're averaging about 10 fish per trip," said Barbieri. "The fish are wild rainbows in the 14 to 18 inch range, although we lost a big steelhead on a recent trip."
Barbieri is using the same fly patterns being employed on the Feather .
Releases from Oroville Dam to the Feather River were 2075 cfs at press time.
• Lake Oroville: The reservoir continues to rise with the flows from recent storms. The is now holding 2,361,667 acre feet of water, 67 percent of capacity and 107 percent of the 10 year average. The water level is currently 814.67 feet in elevation, 85.33 feet from full.
The rising water continues to spur a great bass bite. "Anglers are catching and releasing a lot of bass, up to 50 per day," revealed Fil Torres at Oroville Outdoors. "The fishing has been best in the South Fork over the past few days."
Boaters are drop shotting with plastic worms and tubes in up to 20 to 22 feet of water. The fish have moved into shallower water to feed as the lake rises.