CALIFORNIA: Good Numbers of Rainbows On the Late Morning Midge

February 1st, 2013

The ice age appears to have ended and we are finally seeing some moderate temperatures returning to the Sierra. Some additional snowfall is forecast to hit the upper elevations with the Owens Valley receiving some much needed rain.

The Upper Owens has been somewhat spotty for the large migratory rainbows that move out of Crowley during the winter months immediately after the severe cold. We are seeing good numbers of medium sized rainbows that are feeding aggressively on the late morning midge emergence. Have some #22 para-midges handy for this and look for soft water and foam filled eddies. The frigid air that plagued this area is gone and the fish are getting far more active. Access has improved; however I strongly suggest that you park along the sides of the main road and hike down to the river. There is substantial ice and snow on the feeder roads and I have watched time and time again vehicles getting stuck and blocking others who are already in. The ground is frozen in the mornings then thaws making the ruts a virtual tank trap. The road to the forest service gate at Hot Creek is fine, the gate remains closed to the parking areas in the public section. Overall conditions on the East Walker have also improved, and although there remains snow and ice along the banks the river has warmed up and fishing the deeper pools is really good on the warmer days. Look for a strong baetis hatch (blue winged olive mayflies) to begin in all the year around waters soon. The Lower Owens has already seen some huge hatches of these #14-16 winter time mayflies.

The most effective method for winter time fishing on the UO, Hot Creek, & East Walker River is without any doubt nymphing- with or without an indicator. Fish will not move far to take a fly when it is cold and there is little food around so redundant drifts near the bottom using larger, more visible patterns that can trigger a hit more from aggression than hunger. I like flashback bead heads, bird’s nest, SJ worms and egg imitations. Streamers are also a very good choice to provoke a hit. Stick to the deeper water along the cut banks allowing the fly to “hover” or pause momentarily in an area of your presentation where you may believe a fish to be holding.

The Lower Owens continues to be the best location for numbers, and you will find much better weather here due to lower elevation. Be prepared for low teens, even single digits at times-air temps come up above freezing most days. Flows are very low and have dipped below 100cfs at the PV dam. Nymphing and streamer fishing are the best methods currently. Midges and smaller mayfly patterns fished in tandem on the deeper runs and pools will get results. You will find warmer, and more consistent water temps the closer to the dam you fish. Pleasant Valley Reservoir has dropped some, but remains on the high side for accessing the transition area near the inlet. During the winter months the water will actually be warmer at the bottom of a lake as the depth provides insulation from the cold air. The opposite occurs in the summer making tail water fisheries ideal habitats for trout. “Freeze tubers” using full sinking type 5 lines will find fish at 20 feet near the launch ramp and dam area. There have been times when the flows will come up in the small river leading into the res proper, and ice will be present floating here due to the flushing of the inlet pipe at the power house.

Drifting has been slower overall due to the cold weather but still productive for rainbows in the 12-16 inch range. Streamers are best, the Agent Orange was the hot fly last week getting the sluggish rainbows to hit with repeated casts into the deeper pools, then allowing the fly to “hover” in front of their nose.

Capt. Tom Loe
Sierra Drifters Guide Service
p: 760-935-4250


AUSTRALIA: Wild Weather Keeps Coastal Anglers On Dry Ground

February 1st, 2013

Wild Weather Keeps Coastal Anglers On Dry Ground
Stormy weather with rain, high winds and big seas put paid to most offshore, rock and beach fishing and much of the estuary fishing at the coast this week, which was unfortunate given the good fishing in those areas immediately before the big blow.

Anglers had reported good catches of morwong, Snapper and sand and Tiger Flathead on bait and soft plastics and kingfish to 80cm on jigs and live bait before the bad weather arrived. Rocks and beaches had fished well for salmon, Tailor, bream and Luderick Flathead, bream, blackfish and large whiting similarly had been biting well in the estuaries. It is assumed this good fishing will return as soon as the rough weather abates.
Heat Then Floods

Inland trout anglers also had a tough time of it. Firstly the hot weather had pushed fish in the mountain lakes down to 10-13 metres and trollers could reach them only with a downrigger or lead core line. Bait fishers mostly could find fish only at night when the temperature dropped. Then came the flooding rain which helped bring the fish back to the surface layers but made road access to many good fishing spots difficult or impossible.

Lightning Risk
During the big storms which swept through the mountain areas fly anglers were quick to lower their fly rods — it is eminently dangerous to be the tallest thing in a bare landscape whilst holding a 3 metre electrically conductive carbon fibre rod. Other anglers with bait and spinning rods also should take note as they face a similar risk.
Rubbish Dangers
One of the most vexing and perplexing problems in fishing areas is the amount of junk that some visitors senselessly and carelessly leave behind when they go home. To illustrate just part of this problem local angler Jamey Bellicanta has sent me a photograph of a Rainbow Trout he caught at Lake Eucumbene. Amongst the stomach contents of the fish was a 3cm piece of sharp-edged broken glass, possibly from a broken beer bottle, that the trout presumably had eaten, mistakenly assuming it was some sort of coloured food. No doubt the person who smashed the glass item in the first place is blissfully unaware of the damage the shard of glass could have caused the trout as it passed through its intestine. To avoid this sort of thing happening the point of the story is simply don’t break bottles. As with the rest of the rubbish, you brought it, you take it home. Leave the trout to feast on natural goodies, not your senseless junk.

Fishing League Starts
Anglers are looking forward to the opening round of the Canberra Native Cup 2013 being held next Thursday 7 February at Lake Ginninderra. The event runs from 6-9p.m., is restricted to native fish and is catch and release only. Participants will be issued with a numbered brag mat on which captures can be photographed prior to release. Photographs can then be transmitted to the organiser who will award appropriate points. The event runs every Thursday night for eight weeks and already has attracted a lot of interest. For further details ring Adam Samios on 0422717077 or Email fishing@my2hooks.net.

Fish Kill At Reservoir
Anglers have reported a significant fish kill, with large numbers of carp, redfin and Golden Perch dead along the bank at Good Hope on the Murrumbidgee Arm of Burrinjuck Reservoir. No cause of death was immediately apparent and the matter has been passed to local NSW Fisheries inspector Tony Day for investigation.

Compleat Angler Canberra


CANADA: Lake Ontario, Upper & Lower Niagara River

February 1st, 2013

Lake Ontario and tributaries – From below zero temperatures to 60 degrees in the matter of a week. Throw in some extreme wind conditions and Mother Nature has kept anglers guessing as to how, when and where they can go fishing. The back bay in Wilson Harbor had some ice cover, but with the amount of rain we received and the warm temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday, hard water anglers will have to wait for the cold temperatures to set things back up again. One of the best open water spots will be 18 Mile Creek in the Town of Newfane. In 18 Mile Creek, steelhead and the occasional brown trout are both available for casters around Fisherman’s Park. Best bait has been a small jig fished under a float and tipped with a wax worm. That said, with all the rain that has been pouring down mid-week, look for all the streams to be high and muddy going into the weekend. That’s the bad news. The good news is that this will undoubtedly attract new fish into the systems so when things settle down and start to clear, go after them! Lake Ontario tributaries are eligible in the Niagara River Anglers steelhead contest on Feb. 16 so keep that in mind.

Lower Niagara River – In the lower river, shore fishermen and boat drifters can target trout from the gorge to Artpark. Boaters have the advantage because fish are spread out all the way to Lake Ontario. However, if the water turns dirty, which it was starting to change over on Wednesday, the shore fishermen have the advantage in that the clearer water is usually in tight to shore in the gorge area. If the winds cooperate, the Niagara Bar has been a good spot for lake trout and browns. Minnows or banana baits like Kwikfish or Mag Lips can catch fish all winter long using a three-way rig to get your baits to the bottom. Remember that the Niagara River Anglers Assn. is holding its annual Roger Tobey Memorial Steelhead contest on Feb. 16 and both shore and boat anglers are eligible to compete. Check out www.niagarariveranglers.com.

Upper Niagara River – With the water turning muddy on Wednesday and 50 mile per hour winds in the forecast for Thursday, you can pretty much rule out any fishing for a few days. If the waters do clear, you can try for trout at the head of the river or around the upper rapids areas.

Lake Ontario Outdoors


MARYLAND: Fish Came on Tip-ups and the Other Half Jigging

February 1st, 2013

This past Sunday a few friends joined me for the first trip onto the ice at Deep Creek Lake for the season. After the nice cold snap, ice conditions were finally good enough to safely fish, with thicknesses ranging from 4-7”.

The fishing was a little slow, but steady, putting around 15 perch on the ice over about 7 hours of fishing. We also picked up two young northern pike and two small walleyes. Roughly half of the fish came on tip-ups, and the other half jigging.

Overall, it was a great day with beautiful weather and everyone had a blast. Especially the young man in the pictures, as it was his first ice fishing trip! I understand that he is very excited for his next trip onto the ‘hardwater’! Regrettably, the warm weather and rain may put a halt on ice fishing – at least for the near future. Anglers should be very cautious and check conditions before heading onto the ice again!

Matt Sell
Fisheries Biologist


NEW YORK: Let’s Hope the Temperature Rollercoaster Settles Down

February 1st, 2013

The high today is supposed to be 63 degrees and the high tomorrow is supposed to be 30 degrees.

As you can imagine all of the tributaries within Orleans County are blown out and muddy.

Continued intermittent showers the rest of today will only contribute to the high water levels. Any ice that had been built up is either gone or is extremely unsafe.

Tomorrow is predicted to be cold and very windy with scattered snow. The forecast for the rest of the week and into the weekend calls for temperatures to remain below freezing so that should slow the runoff and possibly bring the tributaries back into fishable conditions by the weekend. The fast flowing waters should also bring in fresh fish that will be available towards the weekend with tributaries most likely at moderately high levels with stained water.

Let’s hope that the temperature rollercoaster that we are on settles down for the rest of the winter season so we can have a good fishery for the rest of the tributary season.

Let’s make everyday a great fishing day, right here in Orleans County.


OAKLAHOMA: Blue Catfish Good to Fair on Blood & Dough Baits

February 1st, 2013

Arcadia:

December 20. Elevation 11 ft. below normal. Blue catfish good to fair on blood and dough baits, at 9 ft. in morning around coves in central north shores. Crappie good to fair on jigs and minnows in the morning at the south docks at 5-7 ft. All other fishing fair. Report by Linnie Mason.

Draper:

September 30. Elevation below normal, water murky. Boating closed due to low water. Report submitted by Tony Woodruff, game warden stationed in Cleveland County.

Hefner:

January 22. Elevation below normal and dropping, water 44-48 and clear. Largemouth bass slow. Smallmouth bass slow. White bass fair on grubs at 18-25 ft. along the dam. Striped bass hybrids fair on jigs and grubs at 18-25 ft. along the dam. Channel and blue catfish good on cut bait at 30 ft. along the dam. Crappie good on minnows, jigs and grubs at 20 ft. along the dam. Walleye slow. Report submitted by Lucky Lure Tackle.

Overholser:

October 29. Elevation below normal. Crappie fair on jigs around floating dock. All other fishing slow. Report submitted by David Rempe, game warden stationed in Oklahoma County.

Thunderbird:

September 30. Elevation 5 ¾ ft below normal and murky. All fishing slow. Report by Tony Woodruff, game warden stationed in Cleveland County.

Wes Watkins:

August 27. Elevation 6 ft. below normal, water 93 and clear. White bass good surfacing in the mornings. Crappie fair on minnows and jigs around deep structure in late evenings. All other fishing slow. Report submitted by Mike France, game warden stationed in Pottawatomie County.


Oregon: Bonneville Pool Continues to Put Out Fair Sturgeon

February 1st, 2013

Precipitation and the rising freezing level has brought the valley rivers to just above prime. With this rise comes the hope of more fresh steelhead entering the system. The Willamette remains at a good fishable level and rumors of a couple of spring chinook have surfaced from Meldrum bar. More impressive is the confirmed wild spring chinook caught and released at Sellwood last week. Expect conditions to hold up through the week, barring any unforeseen rainstorms. Catch and release sturgeon fishing in the harbor remains good and should continue to hold up through April. A limited catch and keep fishery on the Willamette and lower Columbia is likely to be set at today’s compact meeting.

The Bonneville Pool continues to put out fair sturgeon fishing with a keeper for every 7 boat rods last week. Bank anglers continue to struggle however.

While levels continued to rise early this week, waters of the McKenzie will be dropping with dry weather but will still be high over the coming weekend. Winter trout fishing can be good when conditions are right.

The Santiams are high but will be dropping through the week. With fewer than 750 winter steelhead counted at Willamette Falls, the only catches reported recently were of spawned-out summers.

The Clackamas is running above optimum level, but anglers can find some fishable water in the four miles below Rivermill dam. Expect the river to slowly drop and get back to prime by the weekend, then steelhead fishing will resume. February, March and April are the top months for Clackamas winter steelhead.

Before the rise in water level, the Sandy River was giving up respectable numbers of fresh winter steelhead. Expect a quick rise and fall mid-week and fishing will be back on by Friday or Saturday. Fish have been spread throughout the system, but the stretch from Dodge Park to Dabney has been producing best.

 

The Guides Forecast


FLORIDA: Redfish Fishing is At Epic Proportions

February 1st, 2013

Well we are just one month into the new year of 2013. The world did not come to an end, the weather has been just outstanding and the fishing is at epic proportions. As December ended and January went by we have had some of the best days on the water that I can remember in a few years now. The best thing is however that I do believe it will only continue to get better as we get into the spring Florida weather patterns.

With the beautiful central Florida weather we have been having brings some very intense days on the Mosquito Lagoon and the north Indian River here. The entire area from the Titusville, Mims and Cocoa Beach areas up to and including the northern end in the New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater and Oak Hill areas have just been filled with nice pods of redfish, seatrout and black drum. Mixed in this time of year is an occasional catch of a flounder or two.

The redfish bite has been established to begin at first light and remains dominant throughout the entire day. As the sun begins its rise in the east start your search among the backcountry grass flats, western banks, for these will warm first. Look for, as always, signs of life. Birds feeding, bait fish, “nervous” water and over all activity that will point to signs of fish. Redfish have been feeding on a mixture of mullet and crabs along with some shrimp. With the mild winter we have had mullet are a very productive bait now.

Once you are on spots you want to sight fish, begin your approach with the sun behind you. Of course consider the winds but even pushing into the wind you will have better boat control instead of drifting with it at 20 mph. Taking your time to move into ample position. Think hunter because basically this is what you are doing except you are on the water and able to release your catch after words instead of killing it. Allowing this, your catch, to be sought after yet another day.

Once redfish have been spotted gather your thoughts and get a tactical game plan together in your mind. If throwing to feeding or tailing red drum I have been using either a DOA CAL with a weed less hook set up and a very small bullet weight on it. You can choose to throw a live shrimp or even a live mullet but if you can throw those you can throw an artificial lure. Again it always boils down to your accuracy of the casts and techniques applied. So live bait or artificial make no difference at all. The tail does not eat. Ten pound braid with about a 15 pound leader. Basically light tackle set up. Be sure your casts to these fish are precise and soft. Landing on them or even too close to them will scare them off. Again you scare one the others near will move too.

Those of you wanting to throw a top water use the DOA Shallow Running Baitbuster. If throwing to schools of fish that are on the move adjust your timing and your cast to land in front of them and past them. Bringing the lure across the lead fish. When fish are on a move like this it can be a challenge to get them to eat. So work on this a time goes by.

For the fly fisherman out here we have been using the basics for the Mosquito Lagoon. Crab patterns, shrimp patterns, worm patterns and of course I like a nice mullet pattern fly due to the mullet are a good food source out here. Adjust your back cast and strips as to the redfish will spook if they sense or feel the line being stripped by them or see it in the sun. Welcome to flats fishing 101!

Mixed in with the reds are a good amount of black drum. However they are being pursued and bombarded by every body. I tend to give them a few shots then move on. Use extreme caution or stealth when approaching them and try to use a very small, 2/0, or so circle hook with some dead peeled shrimp.The key is with these, and other fish, is to give anglers berth. It always seems like you will be on fish, worked very hard to get into position, got up before others and someone will show up late to the party and just decide to move into the area with you. Remember first come first serve. The flats only have so much area. If you get to a spot and see another boat or two there just move on, there is plenty of water out here to fish.

Giant seatrout are every where. This is such a great thing to see since the bad winter we had in 2010. A combination of great weather and anglers practicing catch and release has been a key to their survival. If you are in search of one of these gator’s try getting into extreme backcountry waters where no one else is around. Scan for pot holes or sand holes for shapes and shadows to move, chances are they are the trout. look for bait again. Just take your time with these bad boys of the water jungle. Use a small jig either weighted or not and just work on very precise casts with all of the elements in mind.

Please remember this time of year the water levels are extremely low. So use caution. Also please be sure to practice catch and release. This is the for sure way to ensure a future of fishery out here. Until then everyone have a great day!

Capt. Drew Cavanaugh
Florida Inshore Fishing Charters
p: 352-223-7897


FLORIDA: The redfish have been biting like crazy!

January 21st, 2013

We have had some cool mornings here in Tampa Bay, and it’s made the bite a bit slower, but it hasn’t turned the bite completely off. The bite has been pretty good for this time of year. Recently, we’ve caught some really nice redfish, but the trout and snook bite has been a little slow. If we could find some warmer water, I think that we could get a good trout and snook bite going.

We have really low tides this time of year that make for great winter fishing. Most all of the fish get pushed off the flats on lower water to white holes and to the edges of bars. Even if the mornings start off a little cooler, the water temperature will usually rise if it’s a sunny day. Fishing should remain the same over the next few weeks. Well, as long as we don’t get a really big cold front.

Capt. TJ Stewart
Castaway Charters, Inc.
P: 941-737-5985


GEORGIA: Planner Boards & Free-lines Mid Trout or Shad to Catch Big Boys

January 18th, 2013

Line-Sides – Fair – I have only spent two days on the water since my last report do to all the rain. The north end of the lake is going to be really trashed out in a couple of days do to all the rain we have had this week. I am hoping the mud-line don’t make it to mid lake by this week end. …If it does then work you way south until you find the mud line. Downing small trout, shiners or shad should work well fished 18-34 deep out of the river channel any where you find clear water should work well..The bigger fish ( Stripers ) are on the move and up shallow. Planner Boards and Free-lines Mid Trout or shad will give you a chance to catch one of the big boys. Stamp Creek to Iron Hill is where I would target big fish right now. The spoon bite is also starting to pick up, I am having my best success on a 1oz white Flex-it Spoon.

The top water bite is also picking up and has been best north of Kellogg’s. I hope the heavy rains we had earlier this week doesn’t push these fish down..

Capt. Robert Eidson
First Bite Guide Service
p: 770 827-6282