Fishing the Birds

October 31, 2021 – The forebay sure looked different to me than three weeks ago.  The pattern has definitely changed.  The weedlines are gone,  the first storms of the year have gone through making the water muddy.  the DWR is pumping water into the lake which has lowered the Forebay three feet since I last fished it.  The water temps are 8 degrees lower and there is already a chill in the air.    The evening bite has been pretty good this past week, but the weather pattern this weekend has been a bit fluky.  Yesterday was too windy to fish and the wind did not go down till 10:00 this morning and ramped up early in the evening blowing out the evening topwater bite.

I headed for the wall out of the launch but decided to peek at the middle for those big schools that were there three weeks ago.  There were fish in the middle but they wouldn’t hit any of the flies I threw at them .   I went small and big, suspending and weighted,  Craft Fur and Bucktail with only follows on the sonar.   I was denied.

I headed for the rock wall and ran into the Salinas Fly Fishing Club working the wall at Medeiros.  They picked up some fish in the morning in the flats that were about 4 feet deep today.   I went zero for two hours fishing the wall even though I marked lots of fish and bait.  It was pretty frustrating working fish I could see with a bite.   I went through all the sinking lines and even tried some jigs with no success.   I decided to try the deep water schools for some eating fish and ran  into Mark Won in his tube near the trench.   Mark mentioned that he had noticed birds working the middle of the forebay day before yesterday on friday.   He also mentioned that the fishing got great in the last hour of the day.   Brian and Bob mentioned that to me as well.

There was current at the powerhouse.  I fished the moving water and got nothing.   Drifting out to the deep water where the fish were last January, I spotted some groups of fish but none were eating. Trying to hang around till the afternoon solonar at three,  I started trolling a fly looking for an eating fish.  Around 4:00 I  spotted birds working bait  and ran the outboard to get to them quickly.   I put the sonar down as soon as I approached the birds and  fsh filled the screen.  As fast as I could get to the birds and land a fish,  the schools would go down or move.    I only managed to get no more than three  fish out of two mini blitzes.   My strategy was to motor the boat right into the middle of the birds, cut the outboard  and deploy the trolling motor.  Then put the panoptix in the water to see which direction they were moving.    After catching a couple fish,  I couldn’t seem to find and catch up with the moving school.   Out of two bird blitzes, I only managed 6 fish .  I caught less than ten fish all day but It was pretty exciting watching the birds work bait over feeding stripers.  I streamed the 49r Bears game while I fished the morning.   Seems I don’t catch fish when the 49rs win.

It might be time to hit the lake again and say goodbye.   Rumor has it that the lake will close for 7-10 years to fishing in order to raise the Dam 10 feet.   They are pumping water into the lake.  It has risen 15 feet since last week which explains why the forebay is so low.    The seismic retrofit project to raise the Dam is scheduled to  start in Feb 2022.  After fishing the Lake my entire life,  it’s sad to think I may never fish the lake again after February.


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