16 February 3 , 2023 VOL . 42 • ISS . 2
FRESHWATER REPORTS :
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of available boat ramps ,” said Justin Leonard of Out Cast Guide Service . “ I started this sturgeon season off with a nice oversized sturgeon measuring 66 inches and safely released . I hooked the fish while using lamprey eel for bait . However , I only saw a couple of fish there and didn ’ t go back again .” He said boats can be launched on the Sacramento River at Colusa State Park and Steelhead Lodge , while the Tisdale , Knights Landing and Verona ramps remain closed .
- Dan Bacher
The Fish Are On The Move Looking For Clean Water
SHASTA LAKE – Shasta lake got a nice boost of water with the recent storms and now the lake level is sitting at 80 ’ to crest . Almost all the marinas are going back to there original homes but we still have a way to go as this last part is the hardest to fill . Unfortunately , Shasta Lake is going to need more rain to get us there . Many think the snowpack will do this but Shasta lake fills up about 90 % by rain fall and only 10 % from snowpack . Lake temperature is anywhere from 49 ° to 43 ° depending on your location from main body to up the arms . With the all the burn scars we ’ re getting lots of debris on the lake . With rising water we normally encounter this along with stained
and even muddy water . I went out with Capt . Jeff Goodwin of Goodwin Guide Service to prospect for fish . After lots of traveling and a lot of rafts of debris and huge logs we did locate bait and some isolated schools of trout in the top 30 ’. The fish are definitely on the move looking for clean water and are not going to be in any one place . We picked up fish on small spoons and stick baits . This will change from day to day and by the hour . We are probably still going to have some small bite windows . We have had lots of really windy weather here , which besides the debris and heavily stained water has kept us off . Weather conditions had warmed up but are changing again to much colder .
- Rob Hower , Avid Angler
GONE FISHING continued from page 2
trolling for kokanee right outside of Emerald Cove Marina . Although we were marking a few schools , the action was slow . We had picked up a few small kokanee and lost one when my top line rod went off . “ This must be a trout ”, I relayed to Jim as he grabbed the net . Sure enough , after a few quick runs , Jim scooped the quality rainbow trout into the net . The action died , and we pulled lines and made a quick run to the center of the reservoir . The rising waters had floated some nice-sized trees as well as your typical driftwood chunks onto the lake ’ s surface . We pulled into a clearing and started to deploy the rods when a phone tip from a friend suggested we head east . Ten minutes later , we had our rods set in our new spot . I started marking fish immediately and landed two average kokanee in the ten to eleven-inch range . Jim suddenly jumped up and reeled down on a bite . “ This feels like a better fish here ”, he said , so I pulled out the net . Silver flashes appeared through the milky waters ; at first it looked like another typical kokanee . As the fish got closer , we could see it was bigger than the others . I netted it and asked Jim to measure it . “ Fourteen inches !” he remarked . I quickly took several photos for proof . Bullards Bar is planted with kokanee as a “ numbers ” lake . By mid-summer , the fish are plentiful , but seldomly exceed thirteen inches in length . Because of the abundant numbers of kokanee at Bullards Bar , there is a special ten-kokanee limit . Instead of grouping up at similar depths like kokanee usually do , the Bullards Bar kokanee were randomly spread throughout the water column . I caught a kokanee right on the surface , then minutes later I caught one at 71 feet deep on my downrigger rod ! The scattered nature of the kokanee led to some frustrating periods of markchasing with no results . In spite of sonar marks at sporadic depths , we were able to home in on a few hotspots throughout the morning . By noon , we almost had our limits and continued to work a few areas that were producing strikes . Spinners tipped with white shoe peg corn behind small dodgers was the hot ticket for the day . As early afternoon cast its breeze across the surface of the lake , the fish shut off for over an hour , leaving us one fish
The author shows off a quality rainbow trout in front of Bullards Bar ’ s towering dam structure . While the main focus of cold-water anglers at Bullards Bar is kokanee , occasional trout like this can spice up your day .
Photo Courtesy of Jack Naves
short of our limits . With nineteen tasty kokanee and one much larger trout in the cooler , we considered ourselves lucky to have taken part in such a sunny winter ’ s afternoon . We pulled lines and zipped back past the floating trees and cascading waterfall that had greeted us in much chillier conditions . As I hiked up to the truck in the parking lot above , a startled covey of quail shot out of some dense manzanita bushes . It was Bullards Bar ’ s farewell gift , as our fishing day was drawing to a close . As we descended west out of the mountains , the hazy afternoon light cast a yellow glare off the road that pierced even the highest quality of sunglasses . Off in the haze , only the peaks of the Sutter Buttes were visible on the horizon . Ducks and geese frolicked in the rice fields to the north as we continued on our route home . If you are in a trolling mood and don ’ t want to wait any longer for muddy lakes to clear , look up Bullards Bar . You just might be able to land enough of its tasty salmon for a fresh fish dinner .
Show me the tape ! This rare fourteen-inch January kokanee demonstrates that putting in time on the water can reward you with larger-than-usual fish like this . While early-season kokanee at Bullards Bar are averaging ten to eleven inches , larger fish are lurking out there , waiting for your spinner to come whizzing by !
Photo Courtesy of Jack Naves
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