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2017 forecast for fishing

One Man's Passion


It appears that my retirement from writing was short lived. I have been asked to continue writing the fishing articles and I have accepted the request. Now that I no longer own Treasures eConsignment I have more time on my hands to pursue fishing and writing, the two things I have long enjoyed. While it’s good to be back to writing, the fishing is on hold for the time being. As we have all seen, the weather this winter has been much harsher than years past and the water and snow levels are up.

What does the increase of water levels mean for fishing in 2017? This is one of those “good news, bad news” situations. If you have been watching the news no doubt you have seen the raging rivers, streams over flowing and lakes topping out. This is good news for the future of all these systems, however, there will be challenges for rivers and streams going from 200- 400 CFS normal rate to 10,000 to 15,000 CFS as this changes many structures, bank configurations and river dynamics.

One positive aspect of our current weather is when we have these higher flows most trash, debris and sentiment is removed, cleaning the river and providing new habitat for fish to settle into over time. Other issues are that many fish cannot withstand these higher flows and are pushed out of their place in the system and moved further down stream or into the lake. Time will tell us how rivers like the Kern will fare with this extreme amount of water. If we have continued snow and rain through much of winter, we can expect a late start for rivers and streams until they begin to return to normal flow rates.

Lakes are not immune to these higher flows, as I mentioned above, all the debris and trash that washes down river ends up in the lakes. Floating debris can push into coves, launch ramps and cause the lake to have diminished visibility. Floating debris can stop launch ramps from being used due to clogging of an engines cooling system. The good news is that with most lakes being down the last few years much of the exposed lake has grown over with brush, which creates new habitat for newly hatched baby fish to hide until they grow large enough to survive predator fish. In addition, full lakes allow fish to move around and take up new territory for spawning.

We are in a wait-and-see period as we are most times in early winter to see how this all plays out. If we return to more normal winter patterns, we could see an early start to spring fishing. Snow packs are a large part of how this works. Large snow packs can cause high flows for rivers and streams for months, making fishing them a little challenging. The least impacted bodies of water are lakes that do not have much flow into them, such as higher elevation lakes or private lakes where stocking trout takes place in spring. This can bring some quick relief from winter doldrums and hope for the future!

One thing to keep in mind when fishing opportunities are few is to do winter maintenance on your gear. Cleaning rods, servicing reels, replacing hooks and restocking terminal tackle can help provide some sense of being involved without actually fishing. It is a great time to get prepared and make sure that gear is ready when the time comes to head out. The coast is another option if you can get there; surf fishing starts in February if conditions are good. Keep in mind, run off does end up in the ocean much of the time and can make it less than ideal for getting out there and slaying some perch. The best places are where there is little-to-no run off and beaches remain cleaner and more fishable. Like I said it is a good news/bad news deal but I am the eternal optimist in that somewhere fish are biting and we just have to go find them! Tight lines!

If you have any fishing questions, you can contact me at [email protected]


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