2012-01-03 "Feather River open to steelhead trout fishing"
OROVILLE — For some, a day off in the new year means rest or recuperation. For others, you gather your gal, your pug and a pole and head for the river.
Jan. 1 marked the opening of steelhead fishing along some stretches of the Feather River.
Other dates and locations for fishing steelhead are listed at www.dfg.ca.gov, then searching for "steelhead."
Mark Prentice, of Chico, has been hooking steelhead for 30 years, unless the water has been too high, but the numbers of the fish has been down in recent years. Anglers must use barbless hooks, but Prentice likes to catch and release.
Steelhead are rainbow trout which have spent time in the ocean, he explained. They're "firmer and feistier."
On Monday he said about 25 people had hooks in the water along the area where he and his girlfriend Debbie Wright took their pug dog Hayley.
There were even more people the day before, he said.
Early in the season is the best bet, and Prentice and Wright talked with people from Lake County, Marysville and Red Bluff.
Fil Torres manages Oroville Outdoors, which caters to fishermen. He'd been working and didn't have actual experience on the river to report.
There are a lot of rules for steelhead, Torres said, and the best bet is to check the regulations before putting in a line.
On this stretch, only hatchery fish are allowed to be taken, and can be identified because their andipose (top/middle) fin has been removed.
Near his shop it's allowed to fish from the Table Mountain bicycle bridge to the Highway 70 bridge until July 15, he said after consulting his guidebook.
Steelhead are present in the river all year, he said, but the closures allow the fish to be protected during other times.
Fishing in warmer months means the fish have been "molested for five to six months," Torres said.