Putah Creek 5/28


Well-Known Member
I've been fishing the creek fairly regularly, but it's been slow so there wasn't much to write about. (Also I am lazy)

I really didn't want to deal with the Memorial Day crowds, so I fished the day before. I got to the creek at 6 am and started off fishing some riffles and pools in an upstream part of the creek with more water flow. The water was unusually turbid for this time of year, and there was this slimy hair algae everywhere. I fished redworms under a slip float, and over nearly 5 hours of fishing only managed two tiny smallmouth and three small pikeminnow. I could see some sediment plumes that marked where suckers were feeding, but could not present a bait properly in the turbid water.

The "biggest" of the three pikeminnow, by no means a big one for the creek.

At 11, I moved back downstream to look for some of the large carp that frequented the creek. I hit up a few spots using sweet corn on a hair rig where I had seen them when the water was clearer, but for no luck. At 2, I decided to settle down at one spot and hoped they would come through. Over the next couple hours, I saw some sediment plumes and tailing fish far out in the creek. To kill time, I pitched a weedless rigged senko into some gaps in the vegetation, and pulled out four 16"-17" largemouth in the span of two hours.

First fish, it's not evident here, but this fish was very thin, especially from top view.

Second fish, this one was much thicker than the first fish, and despite being about the same length, was (approximately) 1 1/2 the weight of first one.

Third fish. I hope you're not getting sick of bass pictures because there's one more. This fish had an abraded premaxilla and reddened lips and palatine/vomerine tooth patches.

The last fish, somewhat intermediate between the first and second in terms of weight.

There was a fifth bass deep in a tangle of tree branches close to where I was standing, but it would not leave its shelter for anything. I never did end up catching my carp, and left at 4:30 pm when I ran out of water.

- I have been fishing Putah regularly (every weekend) since the quarter started. The creek steadily cleared throughout April, reaching peak visibility of 4-5 feet, then dropped slightly with the freak rainstorms in early May. It has gotten increasingly turbid since, with maybe a maximum of 2-3 feet of vis on Sunday. According to a friend, upper Putah upstream of the diversion dam has also gotten unusually turbid, with copious amounts of hair algae choking some of the slower pools. Not sure exactly what is going on, given that in prior years, the creek generally gets steadily clearer the closer it gets to summer.
- The insane weather whiplash has probably messed up the bass spawn timing, in mid-April I saw fish sitting on beds, but then with this sudden freak storm, the fish have pretty much scattered, and are only now starting to show up again in shallow water. Additionally, during a more intensive sampling effort for a class, all the larger bass we caught looked to be prespawn, both in location and size (big females full of eggs).
- The storms have significantly altered both the bottom structure and fish assemblage. Areas that were previously choked with vegetation and silt have been scoured clean, while other areas have become shallower from the flows dumping sediment and gravel in them. Additionally, during the sampling, bass were less abundant in past years, and sunfishes even more so, when in the past they would be dominant, especially in the lower parts of the creek. As for native fishes, we caught fewer smaller suckers and pikeminnow, but the ones we did catch were all very large, while we also netted a ton of sucker fry.