Cold temps shouldn’t cool off local bite |

Cold temps shouldn’t cool off local bite

Saturday is the opening of the general stream trout season in the Sierra.Weather forecasters are calling for a a nice weekend after a cold, damp midweek.In most years, the opener features cold water with moderate flows followed by warming weather the following weekend. The first weekend of May brings the melting snowpack and high river flows.The best early-season fishing in the state is the Pit River/Fall River drainage northeast of Redding. Locally, the low elevation foothill streams are in good condition. The cool weather will hopefully keep water temps from rising too much in our local lakes, many of which are currently fishing well. Last Wednesday, clients of Keith Kerrigan of the Sierra Guide Service took a 14.5-pound mackinaw at Donner Lake. They were fishing for kokanee with a spinner, close to the bottom in 90 feet of water. The kokanee were at the 80-foot depth and the mac was just below the kokanee school.Also last week, the launch ramp at Stampede Reservoir was plowed. The ramp and parking lot are clear dry. The best bite was for mackinaw with the largest going to 5 pounds. There were a few kokanee taken between the ramp and the island at depths of 15 to 25 feet.Mike Pumphery recently fished Rollins Lake, finding water temps from 57 to 59 degrees at the surface. The lake was approximately 10 feet down from full pool. During the course of the evening he caught smallmouth bass to 16 inches, crappie and rainbow trout.The most productive locations for all the species of fish featured brush and tree structure in or just above the water level on a steeply sloping bank. The adjacent deep water was the key factor. Mike fished many spots that had structure that would be flooded at full pool but the structure was above the current water line. Below these were the spots that produced the most fish for him.It was his best evening so far this year on Rollins. The bass responded to Power Worms, Beetle Spins, and crank baits. The crappie hit best on Power Minnows on a slow fall. Mike met another group fishing who took a 3.75 pound brown up the river arm on a Rooster Tail.The Gold Country Bass Masters held their club tournament Saturday at Scotts Flat. The event was won by Gary Musick with a five-fish limit of smallmouth bass weighing 9.5 pounds. The fish were all taken from the bank down to 15 feet. The shallow fish fell primarily to spinner baits and the deeper fish were taken on Senkos. The water temps were 52 to 55 degrees on a cool, breezy day.Gary Gordon fished Bullards Bar last week when the surface temps were hitting the 57-degree mark. Gary noted that the kokanee were still down in the 60- to 100-foot depths in cold water. The surface is warm enough now to start to produce plankton, the preferred food for kokanee. Gary expects it will take three weeks for the fish to come up and be feeding in earnest. Davis Lake near Portola recently iced out with warm days and a bit of wind. The boat launch ramp at Mallard Cove is open, but the dock is not yet in the water. There is still snow on the ground at lake level and road access to the west side is always questionable this time of the year. Jerry Dollard of Portola fished Friday and did well using two nymphs hung below an indicator, fly fishing from the bank, near Mallard Cove. A Copper John and a Flash Back Pheasant Tail were the best two flies for him. Jerry noted that fishing is usually tough for the first few weeks of the season until the water warms up into the upper 40s.Denis Peirce writes a weekly fishing column for The Union, the Suns sister paper in Grass Valley. He may be reached at

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