No other reservoir in Northern California produces such a high number of fly rod caught bass. Especially in the winter. This is a thriving fishery, and is turning into a trophy bass fishery more and more each year. The scenery and wildlife is world class. Truly a beautiful lake further from the launches. Weather you are a seasoned angler or a first timer, Lake Oroville is a great option. Topwater & streamer fishing can be phenomenal for more experienced anglers, while the float n fly will put fish in the boat for any skill level. 100+ fish days are not uncommon at all during the peak of the spring season.
The bass here are as clean as they come. And as chunky as they come! All happy, healthy, and hungry fish. Spotted bass dominate here averaging 1.25lbs - 2lbs. However spots in the 3-4lb range are common as well. The most prized bass out here however are the bigger largemouth which are more rare to come by. These bass will easily get into the 5-8lb plus range. Some conventional anglers will even get largemouth in the 10-13lb range each year out.
Fly anglers will run into very nice wild trout out here as well. Primarily in Feb-March
Lake Oroville is a year round fishery 100%. And it's always Nor Cal's last fishery to become un-fishable due to rain or heat/low water. So it is very reliable. However Ryan guide's here mostly in November-Early January. And March-May.
North Valley Fly Fishing is the most local guide service for steelhead on the Feather. Ryan knows this water like the back of his hand.
On the river since 2004. Ryan knows all the hot spots, flies, and techniques. He's got the river dialed like the back of his hand during the fall months.
October-November are the preferred months for Feather River. Ryan works here during these months on 90% of his trips. So he is still a legit steelhead guide for two months out of the year! Coincidentally these are the best two months on the river. Time it right and experience some of the best steelhead action the North Valley has to offer.
This is as close as we get to delta or clear lake fishing out here in the North Valley. The action can be so good, Ryan is now dedicating time here in the summer instead of Clear Lake. When it comes to fly fishing, this is possibly CA's most underutilized trophy bass fishery.
The Afterbay was created to divert water out and back into the Feather River in Oroville. So the water here is just as clear as in the feather. Very clean! Great for sight fishing. That being said, the gin clear water can make it a finicky fishery as well. These bass are big, smart, and spooky.
When anglers head to the Afterbay, they are doing so to go trophy hunting. It is not a great lake for numbers, however we can catch multiple largemouth in a day out here which we would find on Lake Oroville maybe once every few months. The fights are spectacular. These largemouth are extremely healthy and plump.
During the months of June-September, the Afterbay is a top choice for Ryan. Anglers here definitely need to realize the lake is a bit of a gamble. These bass are as finicky as they come, and the action changes day to day. However most days are good. More often than not, anglers will at least hook into a few VERY nice bass. The skunkings are rare, but they can happen, just like clear lake, or any public largemouth fishery for that matter.
At 400,000 + years old, Clear Lake is an ancient ecosystem. All fish here grow to Jurassic proportions, bass, crappie, carp, catfish, shad, and hitch alike. Fish numbers here in our local fishery are out of this world. However the bass do not give themselves up easily every day out here. It is a public fishery and is ranked with some of the best bass lakes in the nation. So the fish can get hit pretty hard. Furthermore it is a giant lake and wind/weather often changes the bite.
Clear Lake has quickly become known as a trophy crappie fishery for fly anglers. Ever since Ryan put the place on the map and began giving presentations on it, many fly clubs have regular outings here now. These fish can be very beginner friendly when they're found. However they are becoming harder to find in recent years. The 50-60 crappie days have dwindled down to 10-20 or less on most days. However while crappie fishing, it is EXTREMELY common to land some giant bass. This is ultimately the big draw to the crappie on Clear Lake. The bi-catch bass...
These are the only two months Ryan is dedicating to Clear Lake these days. The summer bite has become too unpredictable to guide with fly tactics. That being said, the bite during Spring has been getting better for bass over recent years. Crappie numbers have dwindled. However bass have not. Now that crappie aren't occupying so many spots, it has given the largemouth more holding water in fly rod depths, making them easier to come by.
We are blessed as anglers to have so many options in Northern California. And the striper fishing is definitely our icing on the cake. Ryan covers the striper water in his drift boat. Very stealthy way of fishing. And just a good ol' classic fly fishing out of a drift boat experience. Nice relaxing float with beautiful scenery and wildlife. And you will see zero other drift boats on these stretches of water.
Bass can be targeted on striper floats. And they will come as a bi catch with striper flies as well. Some days the bass bite can be out of this world good. The river has put Ryan's personal best largemouth for the year in the boat before. These bass are not ones to sleep on. There is a surprising amount of largemouth, then smallmouth of corse, and spotted bass as well.
Striper months are June-September. These are strictly warm weather floats. Days start early at sun up. And typically end before temperatures peak.
Nestled within the Solano and Yolo county border, Putah Creek is a tailwater fishery fed with icy cold water from the depths of Lake Berryessa. Putah is a designated wild trout stream and is catch and release, barbless fly only. It truly is a miracle of nature, and a testament to the strength and resiliency of rainbows, that such a great trout fishery can exist in 2023 so close to such a high population of people.
Unlike common rainbow trout that spawn in the Spring, Putah Creek rainbows have their own unique schedule. These fish spawn in the winter because of their steelhead genetics from a time before dams. The Lake Solano diversion dam had trapped steelhead upon being built, and the fish's descendants live on to this day. A Putah trout is truly a different animal. This is why these fish get so abnormally big. In fact some of the largest rainbows in the entire state reside here.
The winter spawn is the reason the creek is closed to fishing December-February. It is important to note however, one may encounter actively spawning fish in November and March. LEAVE THEM ALONE! Tread on rocks lightly this time of year, and avoid wading on the old spawn beds. This fishery is a delicate gem and needs to be handled with care.
If you live in the Bay Area, and want to get a bass fix in close to home, Lake Berryessa is your best option. The lake has not been traditionally known as a fly fishing destination, however that is rapidly changing. At this point North Valley guides have this fishery absolutely dialed. It's an easy one to overlook with fisheries such as Putah Creek and the Delta nearby. However those who choose to spend time out here do not regret it.
Local guide Johnny Feaster from Winters will be covering most Berryessa trips. Johnny spends more days chasing bass on the fly rod here than anyone. He has also coordinated allot through Off The Hook Fly Fishing in order to get this fishery so wired. Berryessa has been a team effort to figure out with the fly rod, and Ryan and Johnny have been at the forefront of it.
Berryessa boasts both numbers and size. Very legit bass are caught on the fly rod out here frequently. It is 100% a trophy bass fishery, however it also has the numbers of average 1lb-2lb fish to package it all up. 20-50 fish days are common out here during the peak bite.
One of the more cool aspects of Berryessa is the mixed bag of fish. All three species of bass can be caught in a single day, and legit sized ones at that. While some fisheries might produce only big spotted bass, or only ig largemouth. This is not the case on Berryessa, all 3 species get to trophy sizes here. Spots, Smallies, & Largemouth alike.
Then it's a real sleeper of a trout fishery as well. Trout do happen, along with carp, catfish, crappie, and bluegill. You never know what's going to be on the end of your line here.
Prime months out here occur during the Spring. However Johnny is getting it closer and closer to a year round fishery every year...
Northern California's best trout fishing. No other river in CA hosts this many trout over 20".
For North Valley guests who just want that classic trout experience, the lower sac is always the number 1 choice. It is no secret that the lower sac is the real deal...
Ryan began rowing and learning the "Lower Sac" in 2005. With around 18 years of experience here, Ryan knows the runs intimately. Although North Valley Fly Fishing promotes other waters heavily, Lower Sac trout have paid a major portion of the bills here over the years. Ryan is no longer out here too much, but when he goes he still always knows how to put people on some good fish! ESPECIALLY during the prime seasons.