Putah Creek

For current info on this or any Nor Cal fishery go to our FORUM

Stream Information

Upper Putah Creek by Middletown flows east into the upper end of Lake Berryessa. It has Smallmouth Bass up that way and then near the lake there can be trout at times.

It then flows east out of Lake Berryessa and heads down towards Lake Solano.This 4 mile stretch between Lake Berryessa and Lake Solano is the most popular area for trout fishing.

Actually Lake Berryessa above and Lake Solano below are very good stillwater fisheries for bass and trout.

At Lake Solano Dam a large percentage of the water flows into an agricultural canal running to the south under Hwy 80 out into the farm land all summer. The old original creek bed is still there heading east out of Lake Solano passing to the south of the small town of Winters and then finally all the way to UC Davis where it then flows south under Hwy 80 and east again into the Toe Drain along side of the Yolo Bypass. This lower stretch has a small minimum flow now and is a very good warm water fishery.

Putah Creek is located between the Bay Area and Sacramento making it a popular place to fish especially in the winter when most other stream trout fisheries are closed.

All winter it flows fairly low because there is no agricultural need then. The exception would be if we had a very large rainfall one winter and filled up Lake Berryessa then it would go over the spillway (glory hole). It is very popular all winter with spawning runs of wild Rainbow trout running up to and over 5 pounds. Fish 15 to 20 inches are a common event for those who frequent the ‘Creek’.

In the summer the flows are high but if you know where to carefully edge wade you can still catch some nice fish. The river has fairly large rock in it that is slippery plus the water is not very clear making wading a little difficult. It is also very brushy right up to the waters edge adding to the challenge.


  • All Year:  Artificial lures with barbless hooks only.  Bag Limit: Zero 

Hatch Chart for Putah Creek

Midges: All Year

Blue-winged Olives: October through December and March through April

Caddis:  May through September

Terrestrials: June through September

More Information

There is a brand new publication written by Greg Vinci – Flyfisher’s Guide to California See page 90 for Putah Creek. It has maps, regs, flies, seasons, etc.


We recommend a 9′ #3 to 5 weight rod with a soft action for fishing the light tippet and small flies required to be successful here. Mostly you will only need a good floating fly line. For fishing small adult mayfly imitations and small midges on top you can use a 9′ (or longer on open flats) 6x leader. For nymphing most use a 7.5′  5x leader with 5x to 6x tippet – Fluorocarbon helps a bunch. Most use delicate small yarn indicator and very small split shot.


In the low flows of winter many use size #16 to 20 bead head nymphs that are tied very ‘skinny’ on the hook. Small may fly nymphs, small caddis larva, small midge larva and even small glo bugs are popular. The San Juan Worm and scuds work too. A little flash on the back of your nymphs can trigger a take from these finicky trout in cold water. Darker nymphs seem to be the most popular. There are some small ~#18 BWO mayflies that hatch in the Fall and Winter. There are lots of small ~#20 midges hatching too.

Putah Creek Map

Lower American River Flow

Putah Creek Water Flows


Guides and On-Stream Instruction

We have one of the best on-stream programs for instruction in our area. Our on-site guides have many years of experience on Putah Creek. In fact, they have 10 years guiding on this river. Check them out - Fish Habit Outfitters – 800-410-1222

30 Day Money Back Guarantee