Reel Deal: When sun shines, surfperch come out

Adam Spencer, The Triplicate

The clouds are predicted to part this weekend, drawing more hungry surfperch to Del Norte shores. Go catch some!

Or soak in the sun in a Siskiyou Mountain lake and catch some recently stocked rainbow trout.

Dry Lake trout

Dry Lake near Big Flat was stocked with rainbow trout March 25 and

April 8 with another planting planned for Sunday by the California

Department of Fish and Game.

The small, 3.25-acre lake is known to get fished out soon after being stocked - the early angler gets the fishy.

Some guides say fishing the little lake after stocking is like

shooting fish in a barrel, but near the headwaters of Hurdygurdy Creek

at 1,330 feet elevation, it makes for pretty shooting.

To get to Dry Lake, drive up South Fork Road toward Big Flat. Take a

left at the sign for Big Flat Campground on County Route 405/ French

Hill Road.

Take a right at the fork just past the campground to stay on the same

road. Drive 2.6 miles and take another right at the T in the road.

After driving another 2.4 miles, Dry Lake will be on your left side.

Fishing guide David Castellanos recommended throwing small Kastmasters, Rooster Tails or flasher/worm combos.

Sunshine and surfperch

The sunny, warm weather in the forecast should kick up the barometric

pressure, bringing lots of surfperch to local beaches, according to

local fishing expert, Captain Wes Wesson.

"Everybody's going to just nail 'em," he said.

Remember not to cast too far, Wesson said, because as strange is it

sounds, these fish are only about a foot deep in the water. That's why

they're called surfperch.

"They live right under the bubbles," he said. "It's like they got little mailboxes right there in the bubbles."

People frequently use too large and heavy of gear for surfperch, he

said. Remember to use 10-pound test monofilament line, a No. 6-size hook

and one ounce of weight or even less if the surf is calm. For bait, use

uncooked, unpeeled shrimp.

Fishing guide Castellanos said he goes after perch near river mouths

that dump into the ocean, since the spawning perch like freshwater.

Still steelies out there

After two busy days catching fish on the Smith River last week,

fishing guide Mike Coopman predicted there's still a big batch of

post-spawned steelhead to be caught.

These post-spawned fish are swimming as fast as they can back to the ocean.

Anglers can capitalize on the steelies' saltwater craving by putting salt on roe used for bait.

"Down-runner steelhead crave that salt," Castellanos said, adding

that you have to use non-iodized salt. Fish don't like iodized salt, he


The river forecast looks perfect for drift boating, with the Smith

dropping from about 11 feet today to around 9 feet by Sunday on the Jed

Smith river gauge in Hiouchi.

Reach Adam Spencer at .

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