Early winter, maybe, but fishing result are great now

By: George deVilbiss
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Some weather prognosticators are saying it’s going to be a dry winter for Northern California. If the last couple of storms are any indication of the future, that might not be true. While the last storm was more of a tropical nature, bringing much needed moisture to the north state, any snows were at the much higher elevations. For some fishing, these storms are just what’s needed to bring fishing successes to a higher level. The great thing about California is that there is anything from just decent to downright great fishing throughout the whole 12-month period of a year. It's one reason many of us have what seems more gear than we’ll ever need. Some of it is only used at specific times of year and for specific species. Many fair-weather anglers will store their fishing gear away until the weather again turns fair and warm. Others, like me, will simply switch gear to target other species. When the winter storms really come in and snows blanket the high country, high country angling will decrease significantly but fishing in the foothill lakes and reservoirs, throughout the valley rivers and delta, to the bays will increase appreciably. All with good success. So, what can you expect in rod-bending activity now and in the coming months? Stripers, sturgeon and trout are all on tap. All you have to do is to not only have the gear to target specific species, but also bundle up and prepare for whatever Mother Nature has in store. As an example, one of the best trout fishing days I ever had at Folsom Lake was when the rain came down in pouring sheets and the wind howled at 30-plus miles an hour. Fishing from the boat ramp at Granite Bay, my fishing partner and I limited on trout in less than an hour. Others there, although few in numbers, all experienced that degree of success. So, don’t think the fishing season is over. For some, it’s just starting. CURRENT FISHING Knight’s Landing: There’s a ton of stripers in the region. Most are small but there is the occasional 15-pounder and better found. This far up the Sacramento River, tides don’t really have an effect, so any time can be great. Either drift or anchor and suspend a big minnow. You will get bit. Port of Sacramento: Stripers are moving in here, too. Problem is the area is pretty restricted to getting a boat into the water unless you belong to the boat club on the north side of the port. Otherwise, you’ll have to launch closer to Rio Vista and make the long run up the Deep Water Channel. If you have a small aluminum boat, you can launch directly off the mud banks along the south side of the port-channel. Trolling is successful with a number of minnow-type lures – Rebel, Rapala, Yo-Zuri – or by suspending a big minnow under a bobber. Jenkinson Lake: It will be a while before the rainbow bite really takes off. In the meantime, lake trout – or mackinaw – are biting. Troll some big spoons down to 25 feet and you can pick up these trout up to nearly 9 pounds. Ice House: Snows haven’t come to the area yet and the rod-bending action is downright great for both shore anglers and trollers. Shore anglers are finding a good bite soaking Power Bait and eggs while the trollers are hauling a crawler behind blades. Eagle Lake: Temperatures have definitely dropped but this is the time of year for some of the best fishing. The lake level is the greatest concern, however. It was discovered that a large pipe at Miners Cove flows 24-7, draining water from the lake to nowhere. Hearings are apparently scheduled in an attempt to stop the water flow. Dredging near the first boat ramp at Spaulding is also on tap but hasn’t yet happened. But, if you can get on the water, you can expect a great bite. Trollers are getting bit. Those anchoring and hanging a threaded night crawler down 10 feet are getting bit. Or, make like a bass angler and flip an unweighted crawler in and around the tulles, let it sink and slowly work it back and you’ll get bit. Lake Amador: With rains and dropping temperatures, the long awaited trout planting program should begin this week. You don’t need a boat to get into this action. Check in at the store and then simply head to the rocky areas of the dam to the spillway for some of the best action. With a two-rod stamp, soak Power Bait or eggs suspended under a bobber, and cast-retrieve a lure with the other. They raise their own brand of trout, a cutthroat-rainbow hybrid and some definitely fall into the lunker, bragging size. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, contact George directly at