Last Weeks Atmospheric River did a real number on the Lake and Forebay as it did on every river and lake in Northern California. Fishing after the big rains has been challenging for me having done pretty poorly the last couple times out. But there are others that are doing pretty well on the lake. Both Tim and Brian have been getting them this last week. The Forebay and Lake are extremely turbid. Yesterday Don reported that the forebay was this side of mud with 4 inches of visibility. He also reported that the weather was fantastic despite not getting even a bite fishing the forebay in his tube. Brian and Tim had some success on the main lake this past week as they were able to find some schools in the muddiness. The lake is about 120 ft from the top which is amazing nearly doubling its capacity over the last month. Still there are no trees in the water except for the lumber which is floating all over the lake. I love it when the lake gets high enough to fish under trees. According to the kiosk ranger they wont fill the lake to the top for the next 7 years. They want to fix the Dam to hold more water, but they are going to waste what might be the wettest year in a decade to fix the dam for future droughts. Thats like leaving fish to find fish.
I fished all around the lake today and only hooked three fish. One fish I hooked around the Basalt Launch site fishing single and double fish with the Livescope while cruising the shoreline. The Second was between Guardrail and BOP- the third in Romero. I didn’t see any flyfishermen but there were half a dozen boats trolling the deep water. When I came in at 4:30, I talked to a couple locals who didn’t catch anything trolling all day. I think catching fish in the lake is a matter of getting right in front of them weather you luck out finding a small school or you are site fishing a pair of fish.
My second fish of the day was a bigger fish. I didn’t see in on the Livescope but when I got it close to the boat, I could see a big school of fish around it as it got close to the boat. I think they. were sitting on the bottom near the dam and came right off the bottom. I tried hard to relocate that school but never saw it again. The autopsy produced a 4 inch threadfin shad and a 3 inch bluegill from it’s stomach. I think this time of year, the fish are opportunistic. Big Flies work well in January. Ive caught fish on Crawdad flies, Bluegill Flies and large flashtail clousers in past Januarys.
When I get home late from fishing and need to make a fast meal with the fresh striper filets. I like cooking stripers in Rice Congee after marinating the cubed stripers in salt, white pepper, Oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine, powdered ginger and egg white. Cook the congee with green onions, cilantro and chopped ginger. Simmer the fish in the Congee for ten minutes and server. I call it Striper Gruel. Super simple recipe thats fast and tasty.
I sure had to work hard just to hook three fish today, plus there was tons of wood spread out all over the lake. Yesterday a friend lost a prop on some lumber. I put a life jacket on and used my cuttoff clip having visions of getting launched or sinking. Plus I kept the speed down and looked for debris crossing the lake. The shoreline is verdant after the rain and the clear blue sky frames the green hills in a spectacular way It was a good day for me because all I wanted out of it was the first striper of 2023 and I landed 2.
Ill probably fish the forebay next. The major advantage of the forebay is that its a smaller body of water and it is shallow compared to the lake. With these kind of cold water, low visibility conditions its easier to force feed stripers there. Finding them seems to be there real challenge this time of year.