Steelhead Fishing is Fair

Thermalito Afterbay - Oroville, CA (Butte County)

by Craig Bentley

Pool elevation is 133.90 feet. The water temperature is 52 to 54 degrees back in the coves with cooler water at 50 coming from the Thermalito canal. There's about five feet of visibility. Steelhead fishing is fair for boaters with a few anglers catching fish while trolling. Wind and weather can slow the trolling bite on one day, with optimum conditions the next day.

Bank fishing has been slow with a fish caught once and a while at the Wilbur Road canal. Anglers use pink Gulp eggs, with a nightcrawler or scented marshmallow, using a three foot leader and a sliding sinker setup, while bank fishing for steelhead trout or coho salmon.
Pond smelt have been on the flats in the main body in both the north and south waters of the Afterbay with bass and trout following the bait. Boaters have been trolling with minnow type lures or a threaded nightcrawler behind a dodger ,or drifting a flylined nightcrawler from the surface down to ten feet deep, along the west wall of the Afterbay, on the flats, or on the edges of the channels in front of the outlets, north of the Highway 162 bridge and the mouth of the inlet canal.

Bass fishing is slowing at the Afterbay with the dropping water temperatures. Anglers are having to work harder to catch fish up to three and four pounds. Bass that have been holding on the edges of weed mattes in five to ten feet of water and along the rocks, are moving to deeper water as storms roll through.

Boating anglers have been casting wacky rigged Senko's or white spinner baits near grass mattes, or working gitzits in the rocks. Drop-shotting small plastic minnows or tubes, off the rock walls has also been working. Anglers were catching up to ten and twelve fish.

Productive techniques used here include casting crank baits, spinner baits, chatter baits and flipping Brush Hogs, Super Flukes, Sweet Beavers, Senko's or other creature baits to the edges of the weed mattes, or along the rocks. There are some fish that will go two to five pounds, a lot of three to four pounders with mostly smaller bass of about twelve inches, up to one or two pounds being caught.

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