This last week has progressively revealed a slow down on the Sacramento River steelhead fishing for me, but we are still catching some very good fish. Fishing hard all day has paid off by days end and we are coming in with 10-15 Steelhead hooked. These steelhead, mostly wild, are absolute rockets when hooked on plugs and are not easy to get to the net. We are still landing more than half of the fish we hook on most days and my clients are having a blast fighting them.
I am still having the best bite on back trolled plugs, but you can still entice a few fish with egg presentations and Dick Nite spoons. Solid and metallic gold 3.0 Mag Lip plugs have continued to produce the most bites for me still. Keeping the plugs free from floating grass continues to be a challenge. I've been pulling out my plugs when I approach some of the known steelhead haunts and make sure they are clean and freshly scented before dropping them back into holding water. You have to make every opportunity count this time of year so a proper presentation is key.
I'm still plugging a lot of shallow water and am finding the most steelhead to be laying in 3-4' of water. I'm still running my plugs out 70' behind the boat and concentrating my efforts on shallow slots, tail outs and current seams. I'm not finding steelhead in the deeper drop offs I'm used to fishing in the spring and summer. Water temps are sitting at 52 deg's and flows from Keswick are sitting at around 4950 cfs.
On a side note, I fished below Roosters yesterday and found water temps of 48 deg's making for a tough bite. Fishing is very slow in the Barge Hole area for salmon, but there are a few rolling at the mouth of Battle Creek and in the Barge Hole. We have more rain in the forecast and flows are supposed to be on the rise, possibly reaching 10,000 cfs above Bend Bridge. The 2016 Sacramento River salmon season ends on the 17th so Friday the 16th is the last day to fish. If the river drops into a fishable condition again before the 17th then it may likely be worth one last trip to the Barge Hole!