The rain and snows are finally here and we desperately needed it.
The rain and snow are finally here and the timing couldn’t be better. We have had rumblings of fish moving shallow in the afternoons look for some early spring time accommodations. Our last trip out we recorded main lake water temps in the mid 50s late in the afternoon and for bass that means one thing feed up for baby making. This week of cold rain will put a stop to that in a hurry, But what’s it going to do to the fish; when it’s been so good lately?
During the storms if you’re lucky enough to get a few hours between storms you will see windows of fish feeding but it’s not reliable and could end up with you to spending a whole day miserable in a storm. A few years back my dad and I were in the Delta fishing around Discovery Bay. It was cold and miserable it had rained all morning. I wanted to go home, but he knew the rain was going to stop in the afternoon and they could turn on. It did and they did. Twenty minutes after the rain stopped the striper and largemouth started feeding. We probably caught 25 fish that afternoon or stage divers and EWG minnows. Just because the sun came out the tide was right and the fish felt like it.
After all this blows over in the next week or so (hopefully a little longer) the bass are going to start to think about spring and the ladies. Then hopefully more hitting the buffet and jacking that protein level so he looks good for the ladies. That is when bass fishing gets fun. Streamers and jig flies around the outside of spawning areas as well as the float and fly on steeper sections leading into creeks and backwaters where bass spawn.
That’s me dreaming though, over the next few weeks the real bite is going to be the float and fly bite. This rain is going to wet all the dried up creeks and they are going to come to life. The moving water brings bugs, the bugs bring the shad and other small fish, that brings monsters. Running water or being adjacent to running water this time of year can be some of the best fishing. There is a reason you see so many fish pictures in front of that on waterfall at Lake Oroville (I call it Club Oroville) it holds fish, it’s not the only one or special in anyway it’s just a popular one with Instagram people.
Let’s take a minute to talk crappie. My winter time obsession. This rain is going to bring them up to a fly fishable depth. In the delta look in dead end slues as well as larger dug out marinas. In the lakes and reservoirs start to look around creek arms they will be feeding on the same bait the bass are. But typically we find them in the lager creek arms around hard structure such as trees or offshore rock piles. As for fly selection, it can vary depending on location but we love to stick with our bright colors. Crappie love a chartreuse and white sparkle bunny; and fished under an indicator it’s deadly. But the crappie will eat a lot of different flies patterns from balanced leaches to just good old fashioned wooly buggers. If you know you’re around fish and not getting bit or you’re missing fish; swap fly colors and size crappie can be very picky.
A quick word of caution. Storms this time of year can be very unpredictable. My dad always reminds me of the time he got caught on Lake Don Pedro on New Year’s Day. They got there in the morning it was beautiful by noon there were rollers higher than the boat and 40mph winds. Just idling across the lake back to the ramp ripped the trolling motor off the front of the boat and cracked two trolling motor mount bolts. So if you’re going to head out be safe and take caution and most of all have fun and go fish.