El Nino could translate into ‘wet weather ahead’ | SierraSun.com
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El Nino could translate into ‘wet weather ahead’

Bruce Ajari

It is beginning to cool off in the evenings – that usually means that fall is on the way. The Aspens in my backyard are beginning to change color and the fish are beginning to get active.

The fall fishing season is perhaps the most consistent time of the year for most anglers. Both the quantity and quality of fish caught during this season are exceptional.

With the projection of a very strong El Nino event, our early-week rainfall may be a direct result of this weather pattern or it may be purely coincidental. With water temperatures off the coast of San Francisco ranging from 8-12 degrees warmer than average, it’s apparent that El Nino is here.

Another indicator of El Nino is that Albacore are being caught 30 miles off the coast and rockfish are being taken at twice the depth they are normally caught at by commercial fishermen. Even Marlin and other fish associated with more tropical waters have also been reported.

An El Nino event does not guarantee a wet winter – even a drought is possible – but all indications would lead one to believe that it will be wet this upcoming year.

The last El Nino event of note was in 1982-83 and no flooding occurred. Before that year, however, we had experienced a drought which left all lake levels, including that of Lake Tahoe, very low.

With most lakes at a respectable level this fall, the potential for flooding certainly exists. There are always many variables when one tries to project potential flooding. With adequate levels in area lakes and flows in the streams, the potential for fall spawning fish looks very good. The annual migration of Kokanee salmon and brown trout will begin up the streams in upcoming months. Brook trout also spawn in the fall.

If the current weather is any indicator, the spawning could occur early this year, as early fall weather corresponds with early spawning.

Fish don’t just spawn during fall – they also feed heavily during this time of the year in anticipation of the upcoming winter months. This feeding is nature’s way of allowing fish to store up a reserve so they can survive the cold months ahead.

This is precisely why anglers find fall fishing so productive. Most fish lose their normal wariness and become a bit easier to catch this time of year.

Hungry fish are easier to catch! What else could an angler want? Perhaps some time off to enjoy some of this great fall fishing.

So, get ready for a great fall season of fishing and a potentially wet and wild winter. A fourth straight wet winter would certainly be good for the fishery – barring any catastrophic flooding.

Sierra Fishing Report

Boca Reservoir – Boca is at 34,492 acre feet. Shore fishermen are doing fair in deeper water. Some nice trout are still being taken on inflated nightcrawlers. Rainbows are taking power bait and salmon eggs. Trollers are still catching some Kokanee using flasher and Kokanee Bug combinations.

Others are using minnow-type lures or a flasher/worm combination for fair fishing for rainbow and brown trout. Fly fishermen are doing fair to good using woolly buggers, nymphs or midges near the inlet.

Donner Lake – Shore fishermen are taking planted rainbows and a few nice brown trout. Most are dunking nightcrawlers, power bait or salmon eggs near the boat ramp or West End Beach. Trollers are taking some nice Mackinaw. Jigging for mackinaw has also produced a few as well. Topliners should try the shallower water with flasher/worm combinations or minnow-imitating lures.

Lake Tahoe – (6,228.18 lake elevation). Mackinaw fishing is fair. The majority of fish are still being taken in water over 200-feet deep. Most fish are in the three- to five-pound range. Rainbow fishing is improving, particularly on the east side of the lake. Topliners are beginning to take a few more fish, but overall is only fair. Most use inflated nightcrawlers from shore or troll minnow-imitating lures such as a Rapala. Tributaries are open through September 30.

Martis Creek Reservoir – Martis is a zero kill lake – catch-and-release fishing only with artificial lures with barbless hooks. No bait is allowed. Fishing has been improving with the cooler nights. A variety of nymphs, midges and streamers have been successful. Seasoned anglers have found steady action. Try woolly buggers, bead head nymphs, midges and emerger patterns.

Blood midges and small midges have been good early and late. Callibaetis have been effective about mid-morning. Damselfly imitations are effective as well.

Prosser Creek Reservoir – Prosser is at 21,505 acre feet. Fishing has been fair for shore fishermen. Most are using power bait, nightcrawlers and salmon eggs. Trollers are having fair success. Most are trolling flasher/worm combinations or minnow-imitating lures. Flyfishermen are having success with olive or black woolly buggers, nymphs and midges.

Stampede Reservoir – Stampede’s lake level is 183,381 acre feet. Shore fishermen have been taking some nice rainbows and browns early and late in the day. Most are using nightcrawlers, power bait or salmon eggs. Some nice fish are still being caught near the dam. Kokanee fishing still remains the main draw this time of year for trollers. The traditional flasher/wedding ring and white corn combination has been a good producer recently, as have Ted’s Bugs and Kokanee Bugs.

Look for fish deeper after early the early morning bite with the warmer weather. Flyfishermen have been taking a few fish on woolly buggers, nymphs and midges near the inlet streams.

Truckee River – The Truckee River is in great shape and fishing has been good. The section between Truckee and River Ranch is rated fair. Bait and lures have accounted for most of the fish. Good numbers of small fish have been reported.

Fishing from Tahoe City to Truckee has been fishing fair. The Wild Trout Section below Truckee has been fishing fair. Try standard nymphs such as the Pheasant Tail, Hares Ear, Prince, Birds Nest and Zug Bugs.

For dries and emergers try an Adams, Elk Hair Caddis, Humpy or Quigley Cripple. Soft hackles and streamers can also be very effective on the Truckee.

Other Waters – The Little Truckee River has still been fair to good. Most success has been by the fly fishermen working nymphs, streamers, and some fairly good dry-fly action. The road to Jackson Meadows has been open and the lake has been fishing fair. Frenchmans Reservoir and Davis Lake are fair. Damsel imitations are still working, but the bite is early and late.


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