Lower American River
Lower Mokelumne River
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lodging, up to the minute stream flows and map
Current River Conditions: 651 CFS.
Fishing Report-Good: Flows are a little challenging for waders though you would be surprised how many fish you can catch along the slower water along the edges.
If you happen to be visiting the Napa area and are getting tired of poking in and out of boutiques and wineries why not spend a day fishing at Putah which is close by. We have guides who are on the Putah every day no matter what the season. Give the shop a call (800)410-1222
or click here and we will set you up.
Recommended General All Around Patterns
Bead Head Pheasant Tail #18 & #20 San Juan Worm/passionate pink, Copper John/red or copper #16, #18 & #20, Bead Head Prince Nymph (various sizes), Wooly Bugger/rusty, black, Glow Bug/red. tungsten bead Zebra Midge/black, brown, olive , red #18-#20, WD 40 #18 & #20, Fox's Poopah #14 & #16. Scud/pink #14. Micro May Fly #18 black, olive. Vinci's "Depth Charge Bird's Nest/ natural or black #18.
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About Putah Creek
Putah Creek is one of the most accessible, winter fisheries in Northern California close to Sacramento and the East Bay. Thousands of bay area and Sacramento area fly fishermen caught their first fish on a fly here. Being that it is located within an hour from much of the Bay Area and slightly less than an hour from Sacramento it is, as can one can imagine, a very popular piece of water.
Putah Creek is a tailwater that flows out of the coast range of Northern California into the Sacramento Valley. One wouldn’t expect to be fishing for cold water fish like Rainbows in a low elevation foot hill environment surrounded by Oak Trees but being that it is a tail water, water temperatures stay cool during the Summer and rarely freeze in the winter. The consistent water temperature means an active year round bug population and active healthy fish who feed and grow while their mountain counterparts are half asleep.
Being that Putah is a tail water, its flows are determined by agricultural needs downstream so late Spring, Summer and early fall flows can be difficult for fly fishermen to fish. Come Autumn, the flows drop from over 500 cfs to as low as 50 to 70 cfs and this is when everyone heads to Putah. About this time the mountain fishing is winding down to so anyone in the North or East bay area or Sacramento who needs a small stream fish fix, can easily get to Putah and back home in time for dinner.
Access to the water is easy since Hwy 128 runs right along Putah between the towns of Winters and Napa California. As you leave the town of Winters and pass by Lake Solano you soon come upon the first of five county operated fishing accesses that have been strategically placed at each freestone section of the creek. This is one of the few trout creeks who’s facilities have been put in place to accommodate the fisherman’s needs.
Food is abundant in the creek and the fish benefit not only from bugs that live there but from food, among them lake dwelling midge larva that wash into the creek from the lake above. Midge and Baetis are the bugs that hatch on Putah during the Winter months but their larva are present year round. Caddis larva are always present too. Stoneflies are not a significant bug on Putah.
When the fish are spawning during the winter, a micro egg pattern Size #16 in orangish yellow can be deadly pattern if fished just downstream from where you spot hens and their suitors. It’s not a good idea to disturb fish on their redds. The basic two fly indicator rig works well and most successful fishermen use long 5X or 6X tippets depending on the water clarity. Generally a two fly rig with a Caddis larva pattern and a Baetis or Midge pattern tied on as a dropper works most of the time. The egg pattern can be substituted for the Caddis larva during spawning.