December 26, 2022. An atmospheric river is about to hit California tomorrow and run through the end of the year dumping much needed water on Northern California. I was planning on taking Mark and Gina out for dinner in Walnut Creek so if I was going to fish, it would have to be an early day no matter how good or bad the fishing was.
I got on the lake at sunrise and fished till 1:30 and only landed two fish and in unusual circumstances. The Fog was low all day and the weather was cooler than normal. Water temps were in the high 40s and the water visibly was better than last week. I went out to check 12 looking for current and their wasn’t any. When there isn’t any current, it seems like the fish just spread out and seek structures in the channels I spotted lots of fish on the Panoptix but put all my flies over and under them with no interest at all. I actually caught a nice fish early in the morning on the first cast. After two hours of not even a bite casting over lots of fish, I decided to try to recover a lost fly rod that had been pulled off my boat weeks ago. I have a rig set up to dredge for gear with that consists of a couple 6/0 treble hooks under a 1 oz egg sinker. I started slow trolling and casting the rig hoping to snag the line and backing that was probably out laying on the bottom. On my third cast to about 8 feet of water, I felt the rig stop and instinctually pulled up on it to hopefully hook a line but as I raised the rod, it started to move. I thought I snagged a carp and reeled the fish to the boat and too my surprise I had hooked a 23 inch striper in the mouth with that egg sinker and hooks after throwing about a dozen fly patterns all morning with not a touch. Maybe the trick to tight lipped winter stripers is to drag a heavy jig across the mud.
The fog never burned off but occasionally I would see a seagull pick a baitfish of the surface. Right before I left, I saw a American Bald Eagle working some bait . It was a sign to leave . The day wasn’t much for catching fish but between the freak fish on an eggs sinker and the visit from a bald eagle. I was thinking even a bad day of fishing is way better than no fishing at all.
On my way out, I bought another annual poppy pass and boat launch pass. Typically the kiosk at the forebay is out of these passes or launch passes in December but you can always order them online if they are out.