View Full Version : Night Stream Fishing Techniques ?

10-05-2007, 04:06 PM
Being that itís not legal in California or most other states with the exception of Montana night stream fishing for Trout isnít something most of us on the west coast have had an opportunity to try. My partner and I tried it for the first time this June on the Beaver head and it turned out to be quit the revelation. Iíll definitely be doing more of it on future trips. The first thing we found is that the fish seem to run way bigger on the average then the fish we were catching during the day.
We found a couple techniques that worked well. One was a Deer Hair Mouse popped on the surface and the other was a Count Down Rapala twitched along the bottom of the larger pools and in both cases the lures died black with a felt marker. Brighter colors didnít seem to work. Didnít have any glow in the dark stuff to try but plan to try some on the next trip. One thing I found interesting is that bait didnít seem to work at all at night, which leads me to believe that scent isnít nearly as important in a stream as I always thought.
If anyone would like to share any experiences or techniques for night stream fishing it would be greatly appreciated. Starting to put together an arsenal for next time. Still in R&D mode and may be for a while when it comes to night fishing.

10-05-2007, 04:28 PM
Being that itís not legal in California

That's not true. *It is illegal to fish at night on certain bodies of water, but it's perfectly legal unless otherwise stated in District or Special regulations.

I believe it's illegal in Inyo and Mono counties, as well as certain bodies of water in the Sierra District, but otherwise legal. *There is a whole specialized guide package that features fishing the American at night for salmon using glow in the dark plugs...

If you think otherwise, please provide cite from the regs.

It is illegal in any number of other states.

I do not generally fish streams at night because I'm afraid I'll break my ankles, or slip and drown- not because it's illegal.

10-05-2007, 04:33 PM
I was under the impression that night fishing for trout was illegal EVERYWHERE but with exception to the few places that it was specifically listed as NOT illegal. :-/

10-05-2007, 07:14 PM
I realize you can fish at night in many of the lower elevation rivers for Salmon, Iíve done it many times, but what mountain Trout streams are open to night fishing? Guess I should have been more specific.

10-05-2007, 07:16 PM
What part of the pools did you find to be most productive.

10-05-2007, 07:16 PM
The night fishing for Browns is just getting good in Idaho. All streams, rivers, and lakes open all night! ;)

MM 8-) 8-) 8-)

10-05-2007, 07:42 PM
3.00. Fishing Hours.
(a) Day Defined: One hour before sunrise to
one hour after sunset. Remaining hours are
(b) All fish may be taken day or night, except
as follows:
(A) American River between Business 80
and Nimbus Dam (Sacramento Co.): Night
fishing prohibited.
(B) Heenan Lake, (Alpine Co.): See Section
(C) Mono County: Night fishing is prohibited
in all Mono County waters except Topaz
Lake, where fishing is prohibited from
two hours after sunset to one hour before
(D) Tahoe Lake (Placer and El Dorado
Cos.): Fishing is prohibited from two hours
after sunset to one hour before sunrise.
(A) North Coast District.
(B) North Central District, except Berryessa
Lake (Napa Co.) and Mendocino Lake
(Mendocino Co.).
(C) South Central District, except Coyote
Lake (Santa Clara Co.).
(D) Valley District, north of Interstate 80,
except Camp Far West Lake (Nevada,
Placer, and Yuba counties), Collins Lake
(Yuba Co. ), Oroville Lake (Butte Co.), and
Wildwood Lake (Nevada Co.).
(E) Shasta, Siskiyou, Lassen and Tehama

10-05-2007, 08:14 PM
Night Fishing- Truckee River... Legal! East Carson River- Legal! East Walker River- NOT LEGAL! Let alone the fact that it's tough and dangerous to fish rivers at night, the rules are nearly as tricky to step around.

Check counties (Mono versus Alpine or Sierra) and DFG 'districts' (Sierra versus Central Valley or Coastal or whatever the heck they call the ones I never fish). The info is all there, tough for the layman to interpret, and there is some night-fishing for trout on high-sierra rivers permitted!

10-05-2007, 09:32 PM
Night Fishing- Truckee River... Legal! East Carson River- Legal!

Weez, I get to return a favor. You know those runs where you'll see 15-20 big whitefish stacked up? Try them sometime at night. Oh yeah.

10-05-2007, 11:09 PM
Thanks for the info guys I wasnít aware those waters were open to night fishing. I was always under the same impression as Dave. I stand corrected.

Thanks Don,
I looked for that reg in the Idaho regulations and couldnít find it to save my life so I assumed you couldnít. Cool more places to try.
Looks like Iíll be going the last two weeks in June again. Hopefully we can wet a line together.

When we were twitching plugs the deepest parts of the big pools right on the bottom seemed to be the ticket. We found a couple places where you could cast down stream and the current would hold the plug in place while you twitched it. In places where you had to retrieve line in order to keep the slack out, most of the time you would just dig into the weeds or rocks. Had to keep the plug pretty stationary to keep from getting hung.
With the Mice I was just using a spinning rod and stripping line in the current down along the bank and popping it back, rather then trying to cast a fly rod in the dark. I may also try a rubber Mouse like for Bass next time so you can cast it.

The way we were fishing safety really wasnít an issue. We werenít traveling along the stream as one would in the daytime and werenít wading. Once we found a couple spots most of the time we would just drive up, walk a short distance, set up a lawn chair and fish the same spot all night, although I did almost fall out of my chair at one point from nearly falling asleep. Once we discovered night fishing along with the day fishing sleep deprivation was the biggest danger.


10-06-2007, 05:47 AM

I was headed out at 4 am this morning. The bite really comes on the last couple hours of O'Dark Thirty. It's snowing so hard here you can't see your hand in front of your face. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow.


10-06-2007, 08:24 AM

I was headed out at 4 am this morning. The bite really comes on the last couple hours of O'Dark Thirty. It's snowing so hard here you can't see your hand in front of your face. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow.

Thanks for the early AM tip. Last time I never made past about 3:30.
A whiteout in the dark would be a little too much. Must be awesome in a full moon with a slight dusting of snow though.
Got any favorite nighttime weapons you wouldnít mind sharing?

10-06-2007, 04:17 PM

Sure. . .

Pearl/White glow Power Bait tubes work great . . .

3/16's to 1/4 Jig head . . .

A drifted night crawler that's been inflated, add 2 pieces of corn before threading on the crawler with a worm threader . . .

Any kind of roe . . .

Always carry a minnow net (trap) . . .

The trick with minnows is how you hook them . . .

Think salt water. Do you want the minnow to appear to swim away, up, or down . . .

In big current such as below a dam, you tie your leader and notch a wire so you can thread though the anal port and out the mouth and then attach to the main line with a very small swivel where your leadered weight is attached as well . . .

Biggest secret. . .

Never set your rod down. . .

Get a hat light that will show the rod tip in the dark and fog. . .

Attach a flashlight onto a piece of rebar that you can pound into the ground and point towards your rod tip . . .

Some bites are so light you can't feel them with a Loomis rod but you will see them on the tip . . .

20 years and I'm just learning . . .

8-) ;D 8-)

But if I was just beginning I'd start with the list above . . .

I'll try not to miss your trip this year. . .


10-06-2007, 10:21 PM
Good stuff Don.
I was thinking about the glow in the dark tubes and maybe some swim bait.
I have some needles for threading the minnows, I rig Anchovies the same way for Salmon mooching and Halibut sometimes in fact I was also thinking of bringing some chovies.
We did use headlamps and they work out very well.
I know what you mean about the light bites and it seemed like the bigger the fish the lighter they were. Reminded me of how the Sturgeon bite down here, almost undetectable sometimes. Always kept the rod in my hand.
Thanks Don that gives me some food for thought.