Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The March Miracle may be coming!!!

It looks like the March Miracle is on its way!!! Right now the river is at 40 feet at the Colusa bridge and for any of you that have gone thru a striper season with water that low know it will be slim pickings unless we get a big rise in the water levels! As of a few days ago there were tons of fish stacking up around Freeport and Clarksburg as the water temperature is in the 60's and they are thinking about spawning. Once the water temperature hits a certain level the fish will stop no matter where they are at and spawn, which will result in very few fish making there way up here. What was shaping up to be a very dismal striper season, may have new life with the projected weather forecast!! It looks like we will be receiving 1-2 inches of rain in the valley over the next few days and hopefully a lot more than that up North where it actually matters. The rain in the valley is always welcomed but we need the big amounts of rain up North in the hills, so that the bulk of the runoff water can be directed into Shasta  and Oroville lakes for storage. With the water levels in the reservoirs at their current lows the outflow will not be increased as they will be trying to store as much water as possible. However, our big break will come from the tributary streams that are not dammed up and flow straight into the Sacramento and Feather Rivers. If the storm pans out like it is looking we should see a big rise in the Sacramento and Feather rivers by early next week!! The increased flows will spur those fish that are held up down South and should have them moving full speed ahead into the Colusa Area!!! This will likely be a short lived rise but it should be enough to get us good fishing through April and with any luck maybe we will get a few more storm systems to keep the water up and the fish coming through the month of May. My fingers are crossed and I am patiently waiting as it's almost go time!! 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Equipment For Sale!!

I have finally decided to take the hit and am going to sell both of my Argo's and buy one new one! I currently have 3 Polaris Rangers that are fitted with tracks and am going to reduce the fleet and just have one Argo as it seems to be the best in the wetland. With that being said if you are interested in either of the Argo's let me know.

The Camo Argo is a 2005,  8X8 Avenger. It has 500+/- hours on it and I can get the exact hors off of the gauge if needed. It has a 25 HP Kohler engine that runs like a top. It has been gone thru front to back and all bearings, belts, and chains are tight and ready for duck season. It is sitting on a 5.5' x 10' trailer and will be sold as a package. I am asking  $6,500 for the Argo and trailer.

The Green Argo is a 1999, 8X8 Conquest. It has 250+/- hours on it and I can get exact hours off of the gauge if needed. It has a 20 HP Kawasaki engine that runs like a top. It has been gone thru as well and is ready for action! It is sitting on a 5.5' x 10' trailer and will be sold as a package. I am asking $6,500 for the Argo and trailer.

If you have any questions or would like to take a look at either of them let me know. Thanks, Casey

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fishing is getting better!

I headed out of Teesdale this morning in search of some stripers and sturgeon. I started at daylight just below the ramp and wormed my way down to the warehouses, without a single bite! By the time I got to the warehouses my arm was sore and it was time to switch over to bait and see what that would bring. At the first couple stops we had some good striper bites that we missed and then caught a few shakers before moving on. I kept working my way down stream hitting all of the good spots but there wasn't a lot of action. At my last stop I anchored up on a break line and threw out a sturgeon rod with eel on it and a striper rod with sardine. Within a half hour of sitting there I saw 4 sturgeon roll and had high hopes that one would grad the bait! Eventually I looked over and the sturgeon rod buried down and started to pull drag, fish on!! I grabbed the rod and fought the fish towards the boat while he jumped and rolled doing everything he could do to shake the hook, but today we won!! I got him next to the boat and he slipped right into the net! As soon a he hit the floor of the boat I had my doubts that he was a keeper but a quick check with the tape put him at 40.5 inches making him legal! Not the biggest in the river but will certainly be a good eater!! After catching the sturgeon we fished a couple more hours without any more luck and decided to call it a day. The river is super low right now so I think I will stick with sturgeon fishing for another week or so and hope that the rain they are calling for next week will be enough to make the river rise! If we don't get a rise in the water soon all of the striper fishing will be down south this year and will likely be a short season as the water is already 60+ degrees!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Almost time to get back on the water!!

I have been getting a lot of calls recently regarding sturgeon fishing, so I thought I would give you my theories on it.

I have had several guys ask when the optimum time and place to target them is, but there are a lot of factors that contribute to the fishing conditions being optimal. In my opinion the fishing is always best during a slight rise in the water, closely followed by a stable river. When the water is dropping I just don't fish! I used to pay no attention to what the river was doing and just went fishing but over the years I am not sure that I have ever caught one when the river was dropping, maybe a couple inch drop but anything much more than that I try and stay away from. I know if your not fishing you have no chance of catching one but the amount of time and money that is invested into each sturgeon trip leaves me wanting to tip the odds in my favor to the best of my ability!

The sturgeon is a weird fish and unlike striper or salmon you just never know when they will feed or what they will feed on! It has been said that sturgeon primarily will feed at night and I agree with that so the bulk of my fishing is done at night unless the water is muddy. They seem to be more actively feeding during the day when the water has risen and become muddy. I attribute this to the amount of new feed in the river as earth worms, crawdads, and clams get washed down the river presenting a sturgeon smorgas board! The rise in the water also triggers the fish to move upstream as they make their way towards their spawning grounds North of Colusa!

When fishing the river I let the current flows and conditions predict where I will fish.
On a low water year such as this when the water is around 40' at the Colusa bridge I will typically try to find a slot between two holes and that is where I will set up for the night. If I you find a couple deep holes between 20'-40' deep that is typically where the sturgeon will hang out and rest. As they go on the feed they will move into the flats either below or above the hole in search of a meal. If you graph the area with your sonar you can usually find a slot that is a few feet deeper than the rest of the river and usually a couple boat widths wide. This is the path I assume the fish will use on their way between holes. I like to look for a good flat, hard  bottom roughly 10'-12' deep and set up above that so my bait is sitting accordingly. I have had a lot of success fishing slots and this is my go to if the water is low. When the flows are high, 50+ feet at the Colusa bridge I tend to fish inside corners with sand or gravel bottoms as I like to find the 10'-12' water for my bait to sit in, and being on an inside corner will help to keep you out of the trash that is coming down the river with the increased flows. It has always been my assumption that the moving fish will take the path of least resistance when actively feeding and moving during high flows and this approach should put your bait right in their way! During the high water I will fish gravel if I can as your weight and bait are less likely to get sanded in like they will when fishing a sand bar.

As far as bait goes, you can get fancy or just go with a plain old sardine! My personal favorites, and go to baits, have always been a sardine, pile worms and eel. Early in the season before the water warms up the trash fish are not too active so you can get away with sardines and pile worms. As the water starts to warm the trash fish will start feeding and you will get sick and tired of changing bait as the trash fish peck at it as fast as you can put it in the water. When this happens I will switch to using ghost shrimp as they seem to not bite it as much or I will use eel. Eel is the toughest bait on the planet and no matter how much the trash fish chew at it they won't get it off the hook. I always run at least one rod with eel and will switch all of the rods to eel when I get tired of rebating with the other baits. I have also used night crawlers and crawdads in the past with success. Remember they are bottom feeders so if they swim by it and are hungry they are likely to eat it, some baits just seem to do better attracting them!!

I will start fishing again this weekend or the first part of next week as the river should stabilize and be done with the yo-yo effect that it has had for the last couple weeks due to the tributary water inflow.
There should be a ton of new fish in the area that have made their way up river in the last couple weeks of high water and they should be hungry!!!