This is the last fishing report written for the Oroville Chamber by Craig Bentley. We are currently seeking a new writer to produce the weekly fishing report. Please contact us at 530-538-2542 for more information.
By Craig Bentley ©2017
Lake Oroville is now 47 feet from full pool elevation at 853 feet, as winter runoff continues, releases to the Feather River have been increased and are now 7000 cfs through Oroville with 8000 cfs from the Afterbay Outlet for a total 15,000 cfs flowing down river below Thermalito.
The Lake elevation is now at 853 feet. The lake is rising about 9 inches a day. The surface temperature is now 47°. The water in the main body is stained with about two to three feet of visibility. Mudlines form off of main body points when there is significant wind. The water in the river fork arms is murky. There is significantly more woody debris, stumps and logs showing on the lake now so boaters should use caution while running.
All Launch ramps are now open; Bidwell Canyon, Enterprise, Lime Saddle Marina, Loafer Creek and the Spillway. The Car-top boat access points are all open to launching, with the exception of Dark Canyon. Boaters may call the lake’s Visitor Center at (530) 538-2219, to check the daily status of launch ramps that are open prior to making a trip up to the lake.
Weather; Rain will return again this week, with a chance of showers Thursday morning, then continuing with rain or showers through the weekend. Daytime high temperatures will be from 55° to 60° and overnight lows will be from 49° to 52°. Winds will be east 3 to 5 mph with gusts to 15mph from the southeast possible with showers.
Bass fishing continues wintertime mode on Lake Oroville. The bite has been slow with the runoff coming into the lake, cooling down water temperatures and making fishing tough. Bass are being caught off of main body points, secondary drop-offs, steep walls and in the backs of some coves. Two anglers are catching 10 to 15 bass each, in a four to six-hour session. Anglers are catching bass up to 13-inches long, with most fish going 12 to 13-inches long. Boating bass anglers are also working suspended fish with small swimbaits, jigs or tubes are finding fish between 20 & 40 feet deep. Skirted jigs on ballheads, Kastmaster and Hopkins Spoons are getting a few bass from the deeper water down to 5O feet deep. Look for bass wherever warmer water is coming into the lake in the backs of coves where the surrounding water is over 50°. The bass are also moving up with the lake’s surface elevation as it rises.
With the stained water the reaction bite has started. Rip baits, A rigs, chatter baits, and spinner baits are working for a reaction strike. Drop-shoting small tubes or Keitech minnows, or fishing 5″ Senkos, or Roboworms will catch bass. Lipless crankbaits like the Rattletrap are getting bit, both on the retrieve and the troll. Natural bait fish colors such as Baby bass, Shad and Bluegill catch bass. Earth tones, like watermelon, pumpkin, oxblood or brown are also good colors for your plastic baits. Be sure and use a s-l-o-w retrieve.
King salmon fishing can been good for any boaters that try trolling, however very few boats have been out in the inclement weather. Boaters mooching anchovies have been taking some nice kings going 16-1/2″ to 18-1/2″, fishing near the dam in 75 feet of water. The salmon are eating baits at 40 to 75 feet deep for those anglers mooching.
Bank anglers are catching kings from the shoreline using cut anchovies under a slip bobber near the racks and either corner of the dam.
The main body of the lake has been uncrowded most days. The Dam, Spillway, Green Bridge, Bidwell Point, Potters Point and the “Slot” are all good areas to troll, although fish may be caught everywhere.
Boaters are trolling lures down from 55 feet to the 75-foot mark to catch salmon. Watch for birds on bait and troll around until you find a good bait ball, then work the water around it. Blue, green or pearl UV, mini Hoochies tipped with small anchovy chunks are getting bit.
Salmon may usually be caught while trolling over submerged islands or structure, along steep walls or along the face of the dam. The best tactic has been to find bait schools and troll your gear just under the bait. Berkley Power minnows, Apex lures or Hoochies-tipped with a piece of anchovy, rigged behind a medium sized dodger, may be trolled between 25 to 75 feet, at 1.9 to 2.2 mph. Smaller baits are working now with the pond smelt on the lake about 1-1/2 inches long.
Releases from Oroville Dam to the pool have been fluctuating as high as 15,000 cfs, down to around 12,000 cfs. The water is coming from the spillway, the tunnels at Hyatt Powerhouse and the Kelly Ridge powerhouse. The water is stained, but clearing with about two to three foot of visibility. A few trout and salmon may be active during the day with releases of water from the lake and some nice fish may be caught. Few if any anglers have been out here lately, so no recent reports have been available. Anglers cast and retrieving minnow imitations: soft plastics, stick baits, or spoons, or fish bait for the trout or salmon.
Please note that DWR advises that flows can increase without notice and flows are subject to change throughout the day. No wading, swimming or floatation devices are allowed on this water above the buoy line that normally spans the pool, 100 yards below the spillway.
No recent reports. Trout, salmon, bass, catfish and other species of rough-fish are present in the Forebay. Some transient trout and salmon that have moved down from the diversion pool to the South Forebay are occasionally caught on bait by patient anglers enjoying the solitude of this little used facility off of Grand Avenue.
Pool elevation is above 133 feet. The water coming in at Wilbur Road Bridge is 46°. The water is stained murky green with about two feet of visibility near Wilbur Road and at the 162 bridge and below.
Bass fishing has been slow at the Afterbay with the continued cool water. The winter weather has kept most anglers off the water. The water level is up to edges of the brush and tules. Largemouth were showing best along the western rock wall, near tules in deeper water with ledges and structure.
Steelhead fishing has been dead slow for boaters with few trying. Bank fishing has been slow, however, there have been a few anglers fishing at the Wilbur Road canal. The report was that no fish are being caught among those anglers last week.
Anglers fishing for steelhead should try pink or chartreuse Gulp eggs, or Powerbait eggs with a nightcrawler or scented marshmallow, use a three to five-foot long leader and a sliding sinker setup, or cast soft baits or lures while bank fishing at the Afterbay.
Boaters usually troll with minnow type lures or a threaded nightcrawler behind a dodger, or drift a flylined nightcrawler from the surface down to fifteen feet deep, along the west wall of the Afterbay, on the flats, or on the edges of the channels in front of the outlets, north of the Highway 162 bridge and the mouth of the inlet canal.
Water releases to the river are now 7,000 cfs in the “Low flow” at Oroville, with 8,000 cfs being released
from the Thermalito Afterbay Outlet, for a total of 15,000 cfs below the Outlet. The Gridley gauge data showed 16,250 cfs at the time of this writing, okay for safe powerboat operation for boats over sixteen feet in length and pushy for drift boats on the river below the Thermalito Afterbay Outlet. There may be some debris in the water.
The water temperature is now 47° at station FRA in the Low Flow. Below the Thermalito Afterbay Outlet at station FOW, the water temperature is 46°. The water is murky green in the “Low Flow” and below the Thermalito Afterbay Outlet, with about two to three feet of visibility.
Fishing for trout and steelhead in the upper “Low Flow”, above Highway 70 opened Sunday, January first. Fishing had been reported to be fair to good since opening day, with a few large steelhead up to eight pounds caught. The high flows have made wading dangerous in the narrow river channel that is popular with anglers near the Hatchery. A few anglers in jet power boats have been catching some nice trout and a few dark or spawner steelhead in the river above Hwy. 70, drifting bait.
CHECK WITH WILDLIFE AREA OFFICES FOR AREA CLOSURES DUE TO FLOODING.
Hunting: ALL HUNTING SEASONS CLOSE ON JAN. 31
* Balance of State Waterfowl season closed Jan 29th.
*Spring Turkey is the next and only hunting season coming up, which will open in April.
* Shotgun or Bow only, non-lead only slugs/projectiles for shotguns
in the Oroville Wildlife Area
* Steel shot only in State Wildlife Areas or Ecological Reserves.
* No Pistols or Rifles are allowed on the Oroville Wildlife Area.
* See regulations regarding Hunting and area use at Ca. Dept. Fish and Wildlife,
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