NORTH COAST RIVERS
North Coast streams and rivers are regulated by low flow closures. Always call ahead to determine the condition of the river you want to fish. If not mentioned, the river is closed or no reports. The DFG’s Low Flow Closure Hotline for north coast rivers is 707) 822-3164. For the Russian River and counties of Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin, call (707) 944-5533. South Central Coast streams number is (831) 649-2886. Many streams closed, and others change to artificial/barbless only on March 31 and others on April 25.
CHETCO RIVER—The river was fishable, and king salmon were being caught from the river as of Monday morning. The kings are in the river from top to bottom now, and although it was well over fishable stage on Sunday due to melting snow, it was being fished on Monday morning, fishing was expected to be “prime” by Thanksgiving, according to WON Field Reporter and Chetco Outdoor Store manager, Dave Pitts. Anglers were just hammering the kings, and many of them over 30 pounds. Call ahead for river conditions. Some of the kings are already turning dark, but still plenty of bright ones.
EEL RIVER, Main Stem—Remains open to fishing and salmon were being caught and released down by the mouth of the VanDuzen prior to the most recent rains. Now blown out.
EEL RIVER, South Fork—Opened to fishing from the low flow closures, but murky from Miranda to Garberville, probably fishable upstream towards Judges Hole, but no reports available at press time.
ELK RIVER, Ore.—Still good fishing for kings, although some are getting dark. This small river can’t handle a lot of pressure.
REDWOOD CREEK—Open for fishing after lifting the low flow closures, but no reports available as of press time.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower—The lower river is pretty dead except for the occasional late salmon and a few steelies, but the middle river is still good for ongoing summer steelhead action.
RUSSIAN RIVER—Kings Sport & Tackle in Guerneville said the river came up with the rain, but not much, dropping out at 250 cfs as of Monday morning. The mouth closed right before the rain, but will be opened up. There was a push of salmon that came through, and a lot of halfpounders. Steelies are getting larger and a hatchery four pounder was caught the other day. Should see adult steelies coming in very soon, and maybe when the mouth opens up this week. Salmon cannot be targeted or kept, but accidental hookup should be released as quickly as possible. Don’t take it out of the water.
SMITH RIVER—Kings were being caught as of Monday morning. “The Smith continues to be among the entire coasts top producing rivers,” said WON’s Dave Pitts from the Chetco Outdoor Store, “and guide Jimmy Dean is putting some very big fish in his boat. One fish bent a split ring on a Kwikfish, and nearby boats said that fish–even for only a brief glimpse–was pushing the 50-pound mark. Dean pushed downriver, only to connect into another over the 40-pound mark. Ruby and Jed Smith are two good areas others are the Cable hole and Peacock.” Guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing confirmed the good reports: “Salmon fishing has been hot on the Smith River,” he said. “After this weekend’s expected heavy rain, the rivers should be in prime shape for Thanksgiving week.”
VANDUZEN RIVER—Open to fishing from low flows closures, but no reports available as of press time.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen—The river came up at the lower end of the Klamath after the storm last weekend, and more rain was coming, but some steelhead were still being reported from Blue Creek to Johnson’s Riffle. The best success has been with drifting roe and a Puffball.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam—Steelheading has continued to improve, and the ratio of adult steelhead to halfpounders has been on the upswing as well. Nightcrawlers behind Hot Shots or side-drifted, side-drifted roe, and Glo-Bugs, backtrolled Hot Shots and dead-drifted nymph/egg pattern combinations under indicators have all been working.
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City—Pressure has been extremely heavy, especially around Junction City, and fishing challenging for the most part. But, the storm that hit last Friday was just what the doctor ordered, bringing more fish upstream, and cutting visibility, and improving the bite. By the weekend it was back to working hard for one to three fish a day per boat, though. Still, the improved bite and stormy weather was encouraging Back-trolled small plugs like Brad’s Wigglers have been particularly effective. Fly fishers have been drifting egg patterns, copper Johns, and Prince nymphs, fished under indicators as well as swinging leeches and birdsnests.
TRINITY RIVER, Hoopa—The river was up a bit and visibility was down, and more steelhead were showing, improving fishing around Willow Creek. Pressure continued to be very light with most anglers elbow-to-elbow far upstream. Swinging spinners or flies at the mouths of tributaries provided the best results.
BENICIA—Tony Lopez at Benicia Bait and Tackle reported good action along the Benicia shoreline for small stripers, and for the boats fishing up in Big Cut and Ships Island near Spoonbill Slough, sturgeon. The Mothball Fleet has been the best spot for bigger bass.
BERKELEY—The boats are running sanddab and crab combos, but no details or scores from the week’s efforts.
BODEGA BAY— Another banner slam ‘em trip on the New Sea Angler for squid, with Captain Rick Powers finding a big school up in the water column on Sunday. The school was at 150 feet when they first dropped the jigs, then they moved up under the boat and the group on board caught them as long as they could stand it at 30 to 50 feet down. The 28 anglers on board ended up with 222 squid to 64 pounds, the hot spot 24 miles out on the west edge of the Cordell Banks. The sport crabbers have been getting limits, reported Powers, no trouble at all.
EMERYVILLE—Only one trip out, that one a crab combo effort by the New Seeker on Saturday. The 13 anglers on board pulled crab limits from the pots, then trolled up one 8-pound halibut in the bay. Frank Salazar at the landing said that they would continue to offer crab combos, seeking halibut, striped bass or sanddabs, whichever offers the best chance at action.
EUREKA—The ocean has been non-stop rough, keeping anglers off the beaches and jetties. Even the bay conditions have been ugly. Most anglers are looking to the rivers, hunting brant, or now that a couple inches of rain fell, are hunting the Humboldt Bay refuge for ducks.
FORT BRAGG—Captain Randy Thornton on the Telstar can’t seem to miss on the squid, trying yet another random spot that produced several hookups, 12 squid boated and several lost for nine anglers. They then pulled crab pots for limits of Dungeness. The crabs came from 60 feet of water off of 10 Mile Beach, the squid straight out from there in 700 feet of water.
HALF MOON BAY—Crabbing has been great when the boats can get out, with limits the rule. Also options here lately are giant squid and sanddabs.
MARTINEZ—Lisa Rezentes at Martinez Bait and Tackle reported plenty of nice bass weighed in, most caught on bullheads. There was even a nice 9-pound halibut caught from shore by a pair of local youngsters. Captain Jim Smith on the Happy Hooker reported an excellent week of striped bass fishing with limits on Tuesday’s trip, near limits on the weekend efforts. Tuesday’s trip also produced a 24-pound halibut from near Rodeo. Go figure.
SAN PABLO BAY—Need a lot more rain to run the bait stealers out of town; with halibut being caught up at Martinez and Rodeo, the best action is for leopard sharks and some striped bass.
SHELTER COVE—No reports on the crabbing, but if it’s as good as everywhere else, the sport boats are getting limits. Not much else open here, and abalone closes on Tuesday limiting the options even more.
SUISUN BAY—Striped bass took the headlines with several nice bass caught on bullheads up around the Mothball Fleet. There are many stripers in the system from Rodeo on up to Big Cut.
AMERICAN RIVER—It’s not fast fishing to be sure, but the reports of steelhead on the American were the best so far this fall. Most of the action has been on flies, but that might just be because that’s where most of the effort is taking place. Swinging leeches, burlaps, and brindle bugs has been effective for fish to around 5 pounds—although most have been smaller. Dead-drifting nymphs under indicators has been effective, too. Swing spinners and small spoons or drift nightcrawlers if you are not into fly fishing.
FEATHER RIVER—Nothing much exciting in the way of steelheading reports last week, but a few stripers to around 10 pounds were being caught at Shanghai Rapids on jigs.
FOLSOM LAKE—It’s still guesswork as to a bass bite pattern. They might be up in the shallows on the flats chasing bait one day (look for birds), or can be caught only spooning or dart-heading deep the next. Look for edges of channels going into coves. Salmon and trout fishing continued to be slow, but there have been reports of small landlocked king salmon caught. If true that would indicate some natural spawning occurring in the forks of the American entering Folsom, very interesting news indeed.
Mc CLOUD RIVER—The river closed to fishing on Nov. 15.
SACRAMENTO RIVER—The Port of Sacramento and Deep Water Channel continued to be just about the only places stripers were being reported caught. A bit of good news for anglers is the first reports of sturgeon being taken this far upstream this season. The news came from the Port and Clarksburg. Try ghost shrimp and pileworms.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knights Landing—Crowds were big as expected for the salmon opener, especially around Knights Landing and most of the boat ramps. Most anglers did pretty well the first few days of the season though. Toward the end of the week the “easy biters” had bit, and it was the “anglers in the know” who continued to catch fish while many others sat and waited—and waited for the strike that never came. But fish are still coming and will continue to come throughout the season. Patience and stealth are key to success.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding—Trout fishing continued to be fair, and most salmon spawning has ended. Small nymphs were getting more grabs than drifted egg patterns, but spin fishermen were also scoring some bites on backtrolled tiny Hot Shots. Afternoon to evening fishing has been better than early morning.
YUBA RIVER—Steelhead have started showing up in bigger numbers, mostly wild and mostly under 4 pounds. But, some of the reports have been for fish being caught on nightcrawlers, a big no-no. Only artificials and barbless hooks may be used.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE— The live bait bite is the best way to go and will remain that way throughout the winter. Anglers are catching from 10 to 20 bass per day per person with them. Anglers sticking with artificials are working rattlebaits with various retrieves, smaller swimbaits such as the 5-in. hollow-body paddle tails, and the 5-in. River2Sea bottom walkers. Ripbaits are also catching a few fish; stick with the smaller sizes like the Lucky Craft Pointer 78. Some jig fishermen are reporting good results and others are reporting very slow action. Indian Beach Resort continues to report good catfish action off their dock, but crappie are still a no-show.
LAKE BERRYESSA— JD Richey Sportfishing reported the shad balls were thick in most coves and the fishing for kings, bass, trout and catfish was solid on 1/2- to 1-ounce shad patterned spoons. Then, it rained Tuesday night and by Wednesday, the bait was scattered and the fishing became a lot more like work.
UPPER BLUE LAKE—The lake was planted this past week. From the docks try a slip bobber and Power Bait about 12 feet down. Trollers will need to try different depths like 12, 20, and 30 feet down depending on the time of day. Try a Ford Fender behind a Kastmaster or Needlefish with a chunk of worm.
AMERICAN RIVER—The American River, North Fork, Middle Fork, South Fork and their tributaries within the Sierra District (Placer, Eldorado, Amador, and Alpine counties) are open to catch-and release fishing with artificial lures with barbless hooks only. Below Hwy 49, the river is open all year without restrictions.
BULLARDS BAR—Recent rains shut down the bass bite, but it should improve with better weather forecast for this week. Trout action has improved around the marina for shore anglers using Power Bait and nightcrawlers for rainbows, 12 to 14 inches.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake level has risen significantly due to reduced releases and the recent rains. Fishing has been good for bass and crappie for anglers using jigs around the stumps along the shore.
COLLINS LAKE—Fishing reports were hard to come by here with no fish weighed in all week. Some trout were caught by shore anglers, but fishing pressure is very low.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The water level is down to 89-percent capacity. Colder weather has slowed the bite for trout anglers. Trolling in the marina has been the most reliable for small rainbows with flasher/worm combos.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—Two storms this past week dumped snow into the area and access may be difficult. Check on road conditions before making the trip. The Foresthill Ranger Station is now on winter hours and is only open Mon-Fri.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR—Same problem here as with French Meadows-snow starting to fly and access may get difficult. The Georgetown Ranger Station is now on winter hours and only open Mon-Fri.
LAKE OROVILLE—Bass action is still very good with fish being caught all over the lake on drop-shot or splitshot worms in dark colors and topwater very early. The newly planted cohos are hitting anything that gets put in front of them. Bass anglers report catching lots of cohos on their lures and are having trouble getting away from them. Some catfish are hitting worms and minnows in the South Fork.
ROLLINS LAKE—Lake level is high with reports of good bass action and some trout being caught. Still no word of any plants being made yet by the DFG.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—Lake employee hit the lake this past week toplining a Rapala and didn’t get a bite. Fishing pressure is very low. No DFG plants have been made yet.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—Looks like the DFG is going to hold off planting until after the first of the year, so nothing is happening here until then.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—Still some holdover trout hitting for shore anglers along with a few bass.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—Water level is down, so concentrate on the deeper water above the bridge or at the south end with worms and jigs for bass. A local caught a 5-pound steelhead trolling a flasher/nightcrawler combo near the bridge.
LAKE ALMANOR—Geritol Clove and the Rec. 2 area provided some browns and a few rainbows along with some newly planted smaller trout. A small piece of roe on a No. 12 hook, or smelt imitation either jigged horizontally or vertically will be worth a try.
BAUM LAKE— Fishing continues to be good once the correct fly has been determined. Best bets are small BWO’s in dry or emerger patterns, or small, green nymphs just below the surface. BWO’s are a good bet, as are sparse PMD’s, midges, and mahogany duns. Olive nymphs are a good bet for nymphs. Nightcrawlers and mealworms are always a good bait choice, while Kastmasters seem to be the lure of choice.
EAGLE LAKE—The lake is starting to freeze overnight, but melts by mid-morning. Work farther out in 20 feet with orange grubs.
KESWICK RESERVOIR– The boat ramp is closed until December 20, 2009.
LEWISTON RESERVOIR— Action has slowed, but a few trout are coming up with Power Baits, lures or worms worked slowly. Fly-fish nymphs with indicators and a split shot where there is current. In the flats try woolly buggers or streamers on a clear intermediate line.
MANZANITA LAKE– The roads into Lassen Park and Manzanita Lake are closed for the winter.
McCLOUD RESERVOIR— Troll slowly with a Sep’s kick dodger and a worm or watermelon grub for near limits.
MEDICINE LAKE—Trolling slowly should produce limits with a Sep’s kick dodger and a worm or watermelon grub.
PIT RIVER— Open to catch and release only, barbless hooks, and artificials only from Lake Britton dam downstream. As the weather and water temperatures get colder, fish here are also slowing down, but nymphing the slower, deeper moving pools and pockets will produce some trout for the hardy angler.
LAKE SHASTA— The trout bite slowed some as the bait balls scattered. There are still fish to be caught, but you’re just going to have to work a little harder. Try trolling Shad Raps, Kastmasters, or HumDingers in the top five feet of water. Bass are starting to move back onto the banks now and fishing has been heating up on finesse plastics.
LAKE SHASTINA–Lake is very low and probably unfishable.
LAKE SISKIYOU—Try a Sep’s kick dodger and a worm or watermelon grub trolled slowly here before the snow shuts it down.
BOCA LAKE—Browns are hitting down by the dam on minnow imitations. Try later in the day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for better action. There was some snow this past week but the road is plowed right up to the dam all winter.
BUTT VALLEY RESERVOIR—There was 8 inches of snow here this past week and the road is not plowed by the county because it’s a dirt road. Most anglers will now concentrate on the jigging bite at nearby Almanor. This will be the last report for this lake until spring.
CAPLES LAKE—Cold and windy here this past weekend. Ice is forming along the shore making it tough for shore anglers to get a line in the water.
CARSON RIVER (East)—Weather was beautiful here this past Sunday and anglers were seen fishing by Hangman’s Bridge. Sunny days during the winter will be best and later in the day will be better to give the water a chance to warm up. Not too many anglers here during the winter. Fly fishing, catch-and-release only.
DAVIS LAKE—Fishing has changed with the weather. For the last two weeks fishing was hot now it’s just good, depending on the day and the fisherman. Shore fishing at Mosquito Slough and Eagle Point has been very productive. The best bite has been from sun up to 11 a.m. on nightcrawlers and Power Bait for fish up to 23 inches. Experienced fly fishermen are still catching good numbers of fish at Mosquito Slough and Cow Creek. Cast and strip or indicator presentations have been effective. J. Fair wiggle tail nymphs, damsels, sheep creeks, birds nest, prince nymphs and wooly buggers are all good patterns. Trolling remains a questionmark as there have not been any reports. Earlier reports had the fish fairly shallow at 6 to 10 feet deep on dark colored woolly buggers and the copper/red Wee Dick Nite. The edges of the lake have been freezing at times and the dock at Honker will probably be removed soon.
DONNER LAKE—The mack bite has really slowed down here. Planter rainbows are still hitting at the public piers on Power Bait.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—Some snow here over the weekend. Fishing has been pretty good for shore anglers using inflated nightcrawlers and Power Bait for rainbows running 1 to 1 1/2 pounds.
GOLD LAKES BASIN—Four inches of snow here this past weekend. Fishing traffic is low and once the snow gets too heavy, the roads to the lakes will not be plowed. Instead they will be groomed for snowmobiles and cross country skiing. Snowmobilers will be able to access the lakes for ice fishing. Sardine Lake is close enough to the plowed main road for a nice cross country ski fishing trip.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The planter rainbow bite is still wide open for trollers toplining almost any lure but a threaded nightcrawler is working best near dam.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Getting pretty cold up here and some ice is forming along the shore at night. It was very windy this past week with the weather fronts coming through the area. Anglers getting out to the deeper water from the ramp to the dam are doing best. A fly fisherman in a float tube headed out this past week and caught some nice fish on black and cinnamon wooly buggers.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR—Very few anglers are going up here, according to Mountain Hardware in Truckee. Fishing should still be good down by the dam, but the brown bite is over.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—Mackinaw are moving up shallower, most likely to feed on the rainbows planted by the DFG two weeks ago. Some macks to 3 pounds are hitting trolled Rapalas near the island. Rainbows are hitting Power Bait near the first boat ramp.
LAKE TAHOE—Strong winds most of this past week made it hard for charter boats to get out. The private boaters are having a hard time finding a place to launch with most of the boat ramps closed due to low water levels. When boats can get out, the macks are hitting from 200 to 350 and running mostly three to six pounds, though a 13 pounder was caught by Bob Havener of Incline Village this past week on a Needlefish at Crystal Bay Point.
LOON LAKE—Topline bite for rainbows is wide open. A threaded nightcrawler will catch dozens of fish in a day’s trolling.
PROSSER LAKE—Most anglers are spending their time at the Prosser Creek arm inlet or at the boat ramp using Power Bait and nightcrawlers. Some snow there this past week but later this winter the county will plow the road to the dam.
PYRAMID LAKE—Weather has been on and off here. Breezy conditions require boaters to use caution before attempting a trip onto the lake. Guide Dick Nichols from Shaver Lake and three friends easily limited on cutts from 19 to 26 inches, the biggest going 7-pounds. They fished toward the South up to the Block House along all the points at about 17 to 30 feet deep using orange Torpedo spoons behind a Shaver Lake Dodger. They limited out in one hour the next day trolling about twp miles north of Pelican Bay at the same depth and on the same spoons. Fishing is excellent if you can get on the lake by avoiding the strong winds.
RED LAKE—Storms brought cold windy weather to the area. Ice is forming along the shore making it hard for shore anglers to get a line in the water.
SILVER LAKE—Storms brought cold windy weather to the area. Ice is forming along the shore making it difficult for shore anglers. It might be better to wait for a sunny day and get out in the late morning or afternoon to give the ice a chance to melt.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—Casting a Kastmaster or Rapala off the dam is producing some nice mackinaws. Most are 2 to 4 pounds but a local angler had one about 10 pounds break him off at the shore. Snows this winter will isolate this lake to all but the snowmobilers.
TRUCKEE RIVER—Open from Trout Creek to the Nevada State Line to artificial barbless lures and catch-and-release fishing only. With the cold water, the fish are very lethargic and you must use a dead drift and literally hit them on the head with the fly to get a strike. Lure tossers will only find the bite tougher as the water gets colder and the fish refuse to chase.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—Wide open for rainbows, 10 to 12 inches, on anything toplined by the boat ramp. A threaded nightcrawler is the gold standard for this type of trolling.