Fishing in Sierra County
Western Sierra County offers a variety of fishing experiences. With the abundance of lakes in the Lake Basin Recreation Area and the many streams and the North Fork of the Yuba River, anglers have many options.
In the Lakes Basin, spend a little time walking in to Saxsonia Lake for nice Rainbows and Brookies. A short one mile four wheel drive to upper Tamarack Lake can yield cagey brook trout if you are patient. You can get into Cut Throat trout after an intense hike off Hwy 49 up to Deadman Lake. And if you are really adventurous, there’s the descent to Young America Lake for Brook Trout and a chance at hold-over Golden trout from days of yore.
Just want to get right to fishing? Then head out to one of the many easy to reach lakes such as Packer, Sardine, Salmon and Gold that you can drive to, have boat ramps and are full of Rainbow and Brook Trout. Gold Lake will also give up trophy Lake Trout if you know how! Many of these lakes are stocked on a regular basis and yield good takes. Check the CA DFG website for planting schedules.
Bait and tackle can be found and at Sierra Hardware in Downieville, the Sierra Country Store in Sierra City, Bassets Station in Bassetts and at Sardine Lake Lodge. Sardine Lake Lodge also rents row boats with electric motors and trolling night crawlers behind flashers on Sardine Lake is very productive.
Fly fishing is effective on all the lakes from the bank or with float tubes, but the streams and river are the real treat. The North Yuba offers Rainbows, Brooks & Browns top to bottom and it is currently open all year. All the small tributaries including Salmon Creek, Packer Creek, Haskell Creek & Sardine Creek are challenging, full of Brooks, Rainbows and an occasional Brown. You can’t go wrong with a dry-dropper rig although indicator nymphing and streamers in the deeper pools and runs is more likely to get you into larger fish. These are typically 3 to 5 weight waters.
If you have a 4WD, a cruise down to Gold Valley to Pauley Creek makes for a great day trip and the Brook Trout are spunky. The North Yuba River below Downieville will give you some bruisers on occasion with lake run fish over 10 pounds caught in the recent past. The Downie River and Lavezolla Creek are excellent fisheries and produce great action. Basically, if you see the indication of a year round stream on your map it will have at least wild Brook Trout in all the shady holes.
Our hatches are of the typical Sierra variety: Blue Winged Olives, Pale Morning Duns, an occasional Green Drake, Little Yellow Sallies, Ants, Hoppers, Golden Stones and the usual mess of Caddis with an emphasis on October Caddis. There’s a fly box in Downieville at Sierra Hardware and in Bassets at Bassets Station. CA Licenses are available in Downieville at Sierra Hardware.
As always check the CA DFG regulations to ensure you are in compliance and then spend a few days trying out our fisheries. You won’t be disappointed.