Northern CA Freshwater

Oroville: Follow the bait to find the landlocked kings

BY PAUL LEBOWITZ/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jul 11, 2019

OROVILLE — The landlocked king salmon bite at Lake Oroville picked up this week for anglers who fished early enough to avoid the bulk of the recreational traffic, and the easiest way to locate these desirable fish was to find the bait: Schools of pond smelt.

OROVILLE HOLDOVER — Linda Downs of Sutter shows off the chucky 22-inch holdover king she caught while fishing with guide Rustic Rob Reimers. He said he and his clients have been getting at least one big one among smaller ones every recent trip.

“Oroville opened up for the kings,” Craig Newton of Will Fish Tackle said. “I think they are schooled up and actively feeding on pond smelt. If you can find the bait you can readily find the fish,” Newton said the bulk of these fish appear to be moving out of the arms and into the main body. “The batch of fish in Lime Saddle moved below the bridge. At Canyon Creek, they’re sliding down into the main lake a little more.” He said anything pearl with a little bit of green was a hot producer. “Christine and the rotten banana Brad’s Kokanee Cut Plug were doing very well,” he said.

Guide Rustic Rob Reimers was also at Oroville fishing for kings this week, and he said the fish are nice-sized, 15 to 20 inches. “We were getting them at 40 to 50 feet as opposed to earlier when they were at 35-40 feet,” he said.

Bass fishing has been a game for the diehards only, and only by going early, Jamey Sorensen of North Valley Tackle in Oroville said. Intense recreational holiday traffic is the culprit.

“It’s insane, the whole upper parking lot at Bidwell has been full,” he said. “If you know how to fish you can go up there and catch some fish, but I don’t know anyone who went out this weekend,” Sorensen said.

Last week the bulk of the bass were holding at 20 to 40 feet, and there was an early and late topwater bite, so that’s where mid-week anglers fishing the calm after the crowds should start to look.

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