Lake Oroville has always had a reputation as a quality bass fishery and right now it’s on fire. After a slow start to the season this year, the lake is now kicking out the big numbers it is known for.
In the early morning Friday, my buddy Green Crestliner and I launched at Bidwell Marina and headed up the middle fork of the Feather River. The area close to the dam is still off limits, as is the old launch ramp.
The lake had dropped maybe 10 feet since the water release last week and clarity was pretty good. I’d heard a lot of complaints about floating debris, but since the water level had dropped most of it was back up on the shoreline.
We went under the green bridge and stopped at one of the extended points on the south side. Right away, he started hooking fish on a small Keitech swim-bait. I was getting nothing on my senko. As soon as I switched over to the Keitech, I joined the party.
We boated about 15 fish in that spot before we moved across the lake.
We entered a small cove that still had some water running into it and, again, we
started hooking fish right away. Once we hit No. 20, GC broke out his clicker and we started keeping count.
As the morning went by, we started trying different colors and techniques and almost everything worked; dropshotting, spider jigs, slow-moving swim-baits on a dart-head jig and robo worms. Senkos were not working; I think we only got one fish.
Senkos are a favorite around flooded trees and right now with the lowered levels all the trees are back out of the water again.
As the sun got higher, the best action was on anything white. The counter hit 40 and kept going. In each cove we would get maybe five to seven fish and then move to the next one. Brighter colors were definitely working better than darker ones.
A lot of the bass were pretty small, in the 12-inch range, but we mixed in a few that went 15-17 inches.
In one cove, I stuck a very nice large-mouth, one of the best fish of the day. He was a real beauty and after a few pictures he went backing into the water.
GC hooked one smallmouth, the rest were the ubiquitous spots. At the end of the day, the counter read 68 and he was sure we had missed counting a few, so we figured it was safe to say we landed 70 fish.
Get out there while the bite is hot!