MyOutdoorBuddy.com, Fishing News

New Feature

Click on Columnists  to access travelogues, field reports, advice, humorous tales and answers to your Q’s! 





Products-Services


Website of the Week

 
































Follow pond smelt; find the fish

Article and photos by Denis Peirce
07/15/13 -- In the quest to catch fish, a good place to start is to identify the food source. From there you want to identify where it is located and how to imitate it.

myoutdoorbuddy.com, Denis Peirce, Follow pond smelt; find the fish, plankton, trollinglies, DFG,Minnows, Lake Shastina, Lake Almanor, Spaulding, Yuba, Kokanee, sportmen, migration, Oroville, Shad, Arctic Fox, Rollins, Scott's flat, Englebright, Coho, Margarita,
Japanese Pond smelt range in size from 1 to 4 inches.

The primary baitfish in our local lakes is the Japanese Pond Smelt. It was introduced into California in the late 1950s to provide a food source for rainbow trout in the reservoirs that were being built in that era.

The problem with reservoirs is the fluctuating water levels preclude the establishment of weed beds and the resulting food chain. Two of the most important food sources in our artificial lakes are the incoming streams and the sunlight driven plankton bloom. The streams are limited in their food production and trout don’t do well directly converting plankton to food. The solution was to introduce a bait fish that would convert the plankton into trout food.

myoutdoorbuddy.com, Denis Peirce, Follow pond smelt; find the fish, plankton, trollinglies, DFG,Minnows, Lake Shastina, Lake Almanor, Spaulding, Yuba, Kokanee, sportmen, migration, Oroville, Shad, Arctic Fox, Rollins, Scott's flat, Englebright, Coho, Margarita,
Smelt Minnow from trollingflies.com

The original plan was to introduce the native delta smelt into the impoundments. For some unknown reason this was not successful. The plan “B” was to introduce non-native species to fill the niche. The DF&G tried shad and the pond smelt. It was thought that the Japanese and the Californian smelt were the same species but this turned out not to be the case. This move did put the focus on lures designed to imitate this new bait fish, as shown here.

myoutdoorbuddy.com, Denis Peirce, Follow pond smelt; find the fish, plankton, trollinglies, DFG,Minnows, Lake Shastina, Lake Almanor, Spaulding, Yuba, Kokanee, sportmen, migration, Oroville, Shad, Arctic Fox, Rollins, Scott's flat, Englebright, Coho, Margarita,
Finnesse Minnows

After more than a decade in a few smaller California test lakes, a population of smelt was transplanted from Lake Shastina to Lake Almanor. Somewhere in this time frame, pond smelt were introduced to Lake Spaulding on the South Yuba River.

During the ensuing years of study, a number of attributes of the smelt were realized. Japanese pond smelt are wanderers, migrating downstream over time, and they out compete other species that rely on their same food source. It is now the policy of the DF&G not to plant kokanee into lakes with smelt populations. Spaulding is a prime example of this. When sportsmen’s groups requested that kokanee be planted in Spaulding, the DF&G determined this was not a viable project due to the established smelt population. Instead of kokanee (sockeye salmon), king salmon were placed in the lake to feed on the smelt.

The migrating instincts of the pond smelt were proven at Lake Oroville. Almanor is higher up the Feather River system and the smelt population started in the 1970s, blossomed, and migrated down the river. Oroville was a “shad lake” up through the early 1980s. Since then, the shad have disappeared and the smelt schools at times can be as large in volume as a garage.

myoutdoorbuddy.com, Denis Peirce, Follow pond smelt; find the fish, plankton, trollinglies, DFG,Minnows, Lake Shastina, Lake Almanor, Spaulding, Yuba, Kokanee, sportmen, migration, Oroville, Shad, Arctic Fox, Rollins, Scott's flat, Englebright, Coho, Margarita,
Arctic Fox Tube Fly, UV Pond Smelt

The same migration pattern developed below Spaulding. Both Scott’s Flat and Rollins Lakes now host substantial pond smelt populations. Water from Spaulding also finds its way to Folsom Lake. I have heard that Folsom, which used to be a shad lake, is now predominantly a pond smelt reservoir. Farther downstream, the Japanese pond smelt has become established in the delta as well.

myoutdoorbuddy.com, Denis Peirce, Follow pond smelt; find the fish, plankton, trollinglies, DFG,Minnows, Lake Shastina, Lake Almanor, Spaulding, Yuba, Kokanee, sportmen, migration, Oroville, Shad, Arctic Fox, Rollins, Scott's flat, Englebright, Coho, Margarita,
Two partially digested pond smelt from Scott's Flat Lake compared to an Arctic Fox Tube Fly UV Pond Smelt, Arctic Fox #2 Trolling Fly UV Pond Smelt, Smelt Minnow Fly.

The exception to this migration seems to be Englebright Lake. I have not heard any angler mention pond smelt at this lake which is below Spaulding on the South Yuba. If anyone has seen them here I would like to hear from you.

The point of this article is not whether non-native smelt are good or bad. Rather given the fact that they are here, how can this help us catch fish. The axiom “Find the food and you will find the fish” comes to mind.

myoutdoorbuddy.com, Denis Peirce, Follow pond smelt; find the fish, plankton, trollinglies, DFG,Minnows, Lake Shastina, Lake Almanor, Spaulding, Yuba, Kokanee, sportmen, migration, Oroville, Shad, Arctic Fox, Rollins, Scott's flat, Englebright, Coho, Margarita,
Dan Walters with a Orovile coho caught on Arctic Fox Tube Fly, UV Pond Smelt. Fly visible against wrist.

Smelt like cold water if it is available. You are most likely to find them suspended in deep water during the warm weather months. Their food source is plankton that is driven by sunlight, which is most prolific in the top 25 feet of the water column. It is my supposition that the smelt may come up at night in the summer to feed on plankton. During the cold weather months I have seen smelt individuals along the shoreline in Oroville. Smelt will spawn in the lake shallows when the temps break up through the 40 degree mark. At Lake Almanor (elevation 4000 feet), this occurs in March, and you will find many anglers trolling with pond smelt imitations, working the shallows. Guide Bryan Roccucci targets the ten foot depth contour where it is close to the shore and has rock on the bottom about the size of basketballs. He is pursuing brown trout that come in close to feed on the spawning smelt. It is not unknown for anglers to pick up rainbows, salmon, or smallmouth bass at the same time.

myoutdoorbuddy.com, Denis Peirce, Follow pond smelt; find the fish, plankton, trollinglies, DFG,Minnows, Lake Shastina, Lake Almanor, Spaulding, Yuba, Kokanee, sportmen, migration, Oroville, Shad, Arctic Fox, Rollins, Scott's flat, Englebright, Coho, Margarita,
Warmouth Minnow
The next question is how do you imitate a pond smelt? These fish are torpedo shaped and range in size from an inch up to 4 inches. The most notable feature is their coloration. They have a distinct ultra violet/blue hue to their shiny sides. If you can spot a school near the surface, and if they spook, you will notice this color flash as they turn to swim away. Among the popular lures are various spoons in chrome and blue. In soft plastic baits the Berkeley Power Minnow comes in iridescent blue which is a very realistic representation of the local smelt.myoutdoorbuddy.com, Denis Peirce, Follow pond smelt; find the fish, plankton, trollinglies, DFG,Minnows, Lake Shastina, Lake Almanor, Spaulding, Yuba, Kokanee, sportmen, migration, Oroville, Shad, Arctic Fox, Rollins, Scott's flat, Englebright, Coho, Margarita,
RoboWorm Margarita Mutilator

RoboWorm makes a “Margarita Mutilator” that features a blue stripe and is quite effective. Other worm colors including “Morning Dawn” and “Warmouth” do well in pond smelt waters.

myoutdoorbuddy.com, Denis Peirce, Follow pond smelt; find the fish, plankton, trollinglies, DFG,Minnows, Lake Shastina, Lake Almanor, Spaulding, Yuba, Kokanee, sportmen, migration, Oroville, Shad, Arctic Fox, Rollins, Scott's flat, Englebright, Coho, Margarita,
Lucky Craft Staysee Ghost Minnow

Lucky Craft lures makes a “Staysee Ghost Minnow” rip bait that I have done well with. For trollers, the Arctic Fox Trolling Flies in Pond Smelt are good producers.

Your choice of lure will depend on whether you are fishing from shore, casting from a boat, or trolling. Will a blue smelt imitation always produce in local lakes? No, nothing always works. But if I am fishing Scott’s Flat, Rollins, Oroville or Spaulding I will have these in my tackle packs.

Denis Peirce writes a weekly fishing column for The Union of Grass Valley and is host of “The KNCO Fishing & Outdoor Report,” which airs 6-7 p.m. Fridays and 5-6 a.m. Saturdays on 830-AM radio. Contact him via e-mail at denispeirceflies@gmail.com or visit trollingflies.com.


Fishing Reports

North Coast shakes off holiday hangover
By Frank Galusha
05/26/15 -- North Coast charter boat websites and fishing forums were quieter than usual over the Memorial Day holiday thanks to the distance to be traveled in a bumpy ocean with no where to go to find salmon or bottomfish...Full Story
Striper Time
Bill Adelman in boat on Sacramento River holding a keeper-size Sacramento River striped bass
Article by Bill Adelman
05/26/15 -- Why is it when the bite is on, I'm not? Earlier this spring when the striper bite was red hot on the Sacramento River near Rio Vista my available time was non existent. There’s a six pack skipper, a good friend, who’s been...Full Story
Fishing Cassel yesterday was great fun
Ryan Garcia, Jackie McDonnell, Cassel Forebay, trout fishing, Memorial Day
Article and photos by Mike Mogler
05/25/15 -- Yesterday, with all the hoopla that is part of the beginning of summer vacation, was just that -- tons of fun. Families were out enjoying the holiday weekend, which was one of the best in several years for Eastern Shasta...Full Story
Oregon: Ocean salmon still on the way
Alana Ordoyne from Tidewind Sportfishing in Brookings decided to take the day off one day and landed a monstrous 20-pound class ling that was hitchhiking on a rockfish.
On Oregon Waters by Larry Ellis
05/24/15 -- Salmon anglers fishing out of the Port of Brookings Harbor trolled anywhere and everywhere from the red can buoy out to 8 miles off of House Rock (also called the shrimp beds), but most fishermen came back with zero...Full Story
Burney area trout season off to good start
A river sits quietlly below the surrounding hills of trees and brush, Photo by Alex Colvin
Article and photo by Alex Colvin
5/23/15 -- Shawn Lewis at Burney Sporting Goods says trout fishing season in the Intermountain Area is off to a good start with fishermen reporting satisfying results. Here is a list of what Lewis says is going on along with... Full Story
Plenty of angling options for holiday
Arcata resident Jenna Kennedy landed a nice pair of kings on Sunday while fishing out of Eureka aboard the Shellback with Capt. Tony Sepulveda. The salmon bite is heating up and the ocean should be plenty fishable for the Memorial holiday weekend. Photo courtesy of Green Water Fishing Adventures
Fishing the North Coast by Kenny Priest
05/21/15 -- For anglers across the North Coast, Memorial Day weekend provides an excellent opportunity to get out of the house and do a little fishing. With a multitude of choices on the table, the biggest decision might not be... Full Story
Free Kids Fish Day in Oroville May 30 05/21/15 -- Kiwanis of Oroville will host a Free Kids Fishing Derby for ages 12 and under on May 30 starting at 7 a.m. to noon at the Bedrock Park pond in Oroville, which is filled with huge catfish and steelhead.... Full Story
PG&E projects levels for Plumas Co. lakes 05/21/15 -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced today that Lake Almanor and Bucks Lake water levels are projected to be below normal this summer due to continued drought conditions. However, Bucks Lake... Full Story
Eagle Lake: Trout ready but ramp is risky
Gallatin Launch Ramp at Eagle Lake photo by Val Aubrey
By Val Aubrey, EagleLakeFishing.net
05/21/15 -- Eagle Lake fishing season begins Saturday May 23! We received little water over winter and the lake is only up a few inches from last fall. Only the low water ramp at Gallatin is open for use and at your own risk... Full Story
Summer pattern emerging at Lake Oroville
Lake Orovlle Bass, Craig Bentley
On Oroville Waters By Craig Bentley
05/20/15 -- Lake Oroville is going into its summer pattern a month early and irrigation releases have been cutback from Oroville Dam to the Feather River as shad and salmon arrive in the Oroville Wildlife Area. The viewing window at...Full Story
ODFW: Make trout fishing part of weekend 05/19/15 -- Trout fishing enthusiasts can spend their Memorial Day weekend exploring dozens of the state’s rivers and streams that open to trout fishing on Saturday, May 23. While many lakes and some rivers and streams... Full Story
John Day River opens to Chinook fishing 05/18/15 -- The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today that the upper John Day River will open for salmon fishing from May 20 through June 7, 2015. The river will be open for the 26 miles from the Hwy 207 bridge...Full Story
It’s Kilarc Time Again
Most of the Feamster family enjoying the mass confusion of fishing together. The best part is no one stepped on the rod lying on the dirt.  Photo by John Higley
By John Higley
05/18/15 -- Last week a fellow diner at the Klassique Kafe in Redding overheard me talking to a friend about trout fishing. The diner, who is new to the area, asked point blank where he should go to catch a couple of trout... Full Story
ODFW trying to conserve redband trout 05/12/15 -- The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is soliciting public comment on a plan to protect and conserve two groups of redband trout in the remote areas of southeast Oregon.The redband trout of the Malheur Lakes and... Full Story
Salmon survival, but at what cost?
Juvenile salmon, photo courtesy of FISHBIO
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
05/12/15 -- Spring is a time for young salmon to migrate to the ocean – and an increasing number of them are making the trip by truck. Passage in the rivers can be full of hazards, from predators to poor water quality. To improve... Full Story
Let’s clarify our new river-fishing regs
Dave Jacobs and Randy Warner with a 38 pound Sacramento River Fall-Run king salmon
In River Fishing News by Dave Jacobs
05/06/15 -- There is inevitably going to be some confusion whenever you have some new closures or any regulation changes to our salmon fishing on the Sacramento River or anywhere in Northern California. That is just... Full Story
How to make Tuscan Tuna Salad with Fennel By Frank Galusha
05/04/15 -- OK, you went ocean fishing. If your fish is fresh or if you have processed, vacuum packed and frozen your catch properly, there are many ways to enhance your meals. Almost everything taken from the ocean is not... Full Story
Pacific halibut 2015 regulations in effect
Angler with Pacific halibut, photo courtesy of CDFW
05/01/15 -- The recreational Pacific halibut fishery will open May 1 for the 2015 season. This year the fishery will be held to a federally established quota of 25,220 pounds. The season dates will be May 1-15, June 1-15, July 1-15, Aug. 1-15... Full Story
F&GC adopts in-river sport fishing regs 04/23/15 -- The California Fish and Game Commission adopted changes to the Central Valley and Klamath River basin salmon sport fishing regulations for the 2015 season on Friday, April 17. The changes include fall-run...Full Story
Big Chico Creek - Summer Survey 2.0
divers in water and man sitting on bank taking notes for Survey of Big Chico Creek, photo courtesy of FISHBIO
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
04/22/15 -- At FISHBIO, we believe in giving back to the waterways in our backyard. That's why we conducted a fish population survey in Big Chico Creek this past July for the second year running. Our 2014 effort expanded the geographic... Full Story
Factory rods vs. custom rods
Man fishing from boat, with C4 Custom Rod, photo by Jeff Goodwin
By Jeff Goodwin
04/21/15 -- In preparation for my spring rainbow trout season this year, I decided to change out my older rods for some new ones. As I searched for a rod that would fit my needs, I learned there just wasn't anything out there...Full Story
F&GC closes Sac River in Redding
Winter Run Chinook, photo courtesy of CDFW
04/18/15 -- Recommendations by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to provide dual areas of protection to Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon were approved by the state Fish and Game Commission on April 17... Full Story
OR DFW seeks help with stocking program 04/16/15 -- This year the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to stock 11,000 rainbow trout (including 3,000 of trophy size) in popular Lake of the Woods, and the agency would like anglers help in figuring out what...Full Story
Perch Fishing with Grandpa
By Bill Adelman
By Bill Adelman
04/15/15 -- Way, way back in the day, while experiencing my first panfish outings with my grandfather, he taught us, my cousin and I, ages 9, a secret system. Remember the pre-tied 6 pack of Eagle Claw bait hooks? The leader portion was... Full Story
The Uncertain Future of the Delta Smelt
Shimmering silver of a smelt, photo by FISHBIO
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
04/13/15 -- The lowest ever recorded index of abundance for delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus) was reported earlier this year in the results from the 2014 California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Fall Midwater...Full Story
Black Cod commercial fishing... what?
Black Cod or Sablefish
By Mike Mogler
03/21/15 -- A fishing buddy of mine, John D,  and I had a conversation last week regarding the ‘old days’ we had fishing Albion and Ft. Bragg for salmon and rockfish. As you probably know both these ports are located in Mendocino County... Full Story
Please respect your catch and the law By Gary Heffley
03/17/15 -- The state has set aside many waters to be managed as catch and release “Wild Trout Waters.” For some there is not enough and for some too many. The state also manages many waters as “put and take,” where those...Full Story
New Regs: Lingcod up; black rockfish down
Black and yellow ground fish photo courtesy of CA DFW
03/12/15 -- Anglers will be able to take three instead of two lingcod but only five black rockfish instead of 10 per day off California’s coast this season. Yesterday, the California Fish and Game Commission adopted these and other...Full Story
Fishing the Klamath below JC Boyle Dam
 Brian Buckingham with one of the larger fish from this section. This trout, estimated at 2 lbs., was caught near the BLM campground on the west shore six miles down the JC Boyle Dam on the Klamath River in Southern Oregon. Photo by author
By Trouteagle
03/02/15 -- Year round trout action can be found on the Klamath River within the 20 or so miles of free flow within Oregon and California. While fishing below the flumes at the JC Boyle powerhouse, it can be difficult to know just when...Full Story
Mt. Shasta free kids fishing days set
2 men with thier daughters on Free Fishing Day at Mt. Shasta Fish Hatchery, photo by Gary Heffley
By, Gary Heffley
02/14/15 -- Three of my favorite days of the year are spent at the Mt. Shasta Fish Hatchery volunteering at the California Department of Wildlife’s Free Kids Fishing Days. Monty Currier of the CDFW has announced that the free...Full Story
The Mystery of the Middle Fork, Part IV
Jim Broshears, author badge, myoutdoorbuddy.com
By Jim Broshears
11/10/14 -- This trip was to be the final chapter in the saga that began three years ago but is actually over 20 years in the making. As Bruce, Tuck and I journeyed back to the Middle Fork of the Feather River we made...Full Story
Climbing Terms for the Fisherman
Trailhead Tales by Jim Broshears
10/14/14 -- For those of us who prefer to fish the rugged and remote streams and rivers for the elusive wild trout, rock climbing is a skill that is required to reach the special places where catching the big one is a “sure thing.” The skills...Full Story
German brown trout afternoon in Modoc
german brown trout in Modoc creek. MyOutdoorBuddy.com
By Lea Huetteman
09/04/14 -- Catching a German Brown Trout from the creeks in Modoc County is a fine way to spend an afternoon. There are many creeks in this part of California that drain the Warner Mountains. Stream trout fishing in this region opens...Full Story
Throw the kitchen sink at them
Indian Paintbrush is a favorite wildflower that carpets wilderness landscapes. Phil Flip Akers, myoutdoorbuddy.com
Article and photos by Phil Akers
08/20/14 -- Our wilderness areas are special, where Mother Nature is landlord and natural forces operate freely. Within the wilderness you will find no roads, shelters, picnic tables, toilets, or other conveniences. You enter at...Full Story
Humboldt Bay: Busy port, excellent fishery
Woodley Island Marina, Humboldt Bay, Eureka, California
03/06/04 -- Humboldt Bay, a busy commercial harbor and home port to many charter and private offshore fishing boats, is also popular with shore-based anglers and small boaters seeking bottomfish, sharks, crabs and clams...Full Story
Pulled into the pipes: Green Sturgeon
green sturgeon
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
03/04/14 -- [Posted with permission of FISHBIO] Living in the Sacramento River can be a risky business for juvenile green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). The young fish must swim through a gauntlet of water... Full Story
Not Just Any Fish
California Golden Trout, California Heritage Trout Challenge, Not Just Any Fish, Phil
By Phil "Flip" Akers
02/14/13 -- Trout have inhabited California waters from the Sierra Nevada and Warner Mountains to the Pacific Ocean since prehistoric times. However, most of the trout caught by anglers are either hatchery raised fish...Full Story
Fishing with Phideaux
By Phil “Flip” Akers
01/26/14 -- Meet Phideaux, a 110-pound neurotic chocolate Lab. His name is pronounced “Fido” but it is spelled “Phideaux” because he is a Cajun dog. Anyway, last summer Phideaux took his human (that’s me) on a trout hunt up into...Full Story
A primer on fishing Lake Shasta By Gary Heffley
01/01/12 -- Shasta Lake draws more visitors to Shasta County than any other single attraction. While it is often a challenge to fish, it is more likely to produce stringers of fat trout or spotted bass. Trout to four and five pounds are caught here routinely...Full Story
Lake Oroville; 'tis the season By Chuck Giles
01/11/12 – Lake Oroville is probably one of the best lakes for sheer numbers of Spotted Bass in Northern California. This is not just on a seasonal basis, but year round. To start, I have a list of baits that produce decent results... Full Story

 

Your outdoor adventures have only just begun
Northern California Fishing News, Northern California Hunting Reports

Fishing News

Northern California and Southern Oregon offer superb fresh and saltwater fishing. Before you make a trip, make sure you have
up-to-date news about where the fish are biting!

Hunting News

This region is also famous for its world-class hunting opportunities. Make sure you are armed with the absolute latest news by checking
the reports being filed daily at MyOutdoorBuddy.com.

Northern California Outdoor News, Northern California Outdoor Reports Outdoor News 

If you like to explore the great outdoors your choices are essentially infinite in Northern California and Southern Oregon. Use our news pages to plan your next outing!

Northern California Destination News, Northern California Destination Reports

Destinations

So many places to visit and so little time, but if you scan
these pages you'll know in advance what lies ahead and what
not to miss in the almost-mythical State of Jefferson.
Buddy Photos

You are there! Towering mountains, vast valleys, unique shorelines. Land, water and air bursting with life. Opportunity presents itself. Llghting is right. Click! An image is captured for the ages.

Photo Galleries, MyOutdoorBuddy.com

Photo Galleries

A preview of coming attractions...if you are planning a trip to this area be forewarned: What photographers have captured will whet your appetite for what will be an outdoor journey filled with wonders.  

Product & Services Directory

Don't let anything come between you and a wonderful weekend, vacation or or auto tour in this region. The fine product and services providers listed here will have what you need to enjoy your visit.  

Come back to MyOutdoorBuddy.com for more Northern California and Southern Oregon fishing, hunting and outdoor news, reports, information, opinions and photos.

Facebook

A friend to all who love the outdoors since 2006

Website Design Photo Credits: MyOutdoorBuddy.com thanks the following individuals for contributing photographs for use on our Home and Section pages: Anders Tomlinson of Tule-Lake.com, Amber Galusha, Casey Allen of Bayside, CA; Jason Haley of Medford, OR; Steve Breth of Burney, CA; Tracy McCormack of Eureka, CA; Grant Thompson of Grand Junction, CO; Richard Bott of Shingletown, CA; Ron Loftus of Yreka, CA; Scott Caldwell of Montague, CA; Lorissa Soriano of Alturas, CA and the late Dave Menke, formerly with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Website Design by Anders Tomlinson

©Copyright 2005-2015 by Frank Galusha, Editor and Publisher. Articles and photos are copyright protected and are published exclusively on the Internet by the publisher and may not be copied, displayed, reproduced or published in any other form without the express written permission of same who reserves all rights. Material supplied by others is the copyrighted property of the respective authors. Re-use of any MyOutdoorBuddy content, graphics and photos without written permission by the author(s) for any purpose is strictly prohibited.