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, Ore.—Rough water outside the bar seems to have slowed the influx of fresh steelhead recently, although anglers are still finding one to three fish days here. Off and on rains have the river’s fishability switching on and off. Nick Wheeler of Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville fished it Friday and Saturday and landed plenty of bright steelies.
EEL RIVER, Main Stem—Out of commission due to high and muddy water.
EEL RIVER, South Fork—Fishable color up high around Leggett and may be fishable around Cook’s Valley in a day or two (from Sunday), but there’s lot of water, according to guide Mark Nimitz of Pipe Creek Outfitters. Fishing has been hit and miss due to ongoing rains. There’s been more fish lost than landed due to the pushy current, he said. “I would have to say that we haven’t gotten to fish the river enough to say how it is,” Nimitz said. “It needs a drop in flows to get good again.”
GARCIA, GUALALA rivers—There were good reports out of here on Monday. They both were fishing over the weekend, and on the Garcia, bankies were hooking fish but not landing many, although one angler hooked four from shore. Boaters were doing best on the Gualala, which was also fishing. They were still a little high on Friday, dropping on Saturday, and prime fishing on Sunday, according to Nick Wheeler of Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville.
OREGON RIVERS—According to WON Field Reporter Dave Pitts, the Sixes, Elk, Coquille and Umpqua rivers are seeing much better numbers of fresh fish than the Chetco, and those rivers can turn on with a day’s notice.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.—Pretty good fishing last week, and one boat on Friday, that was anchored, hooked 11 winter steelhead. Boats are doing pretty good running Hot Shots on anchor off the back of the boat, and plunkers are also picking up fish. A little rain was forecast, and that might keep the good color. River was up last week, but dropping and it was okay for fishing over the weekend. Average fish is 6 to 8 pounds, but Justin at the Rogue Outdoor Store has heard of 15 and 16 pounders.
RUSSIAN RIVER—Blown out big time—muddy and high. Lake Sonoma is full and was spilling 2000 cfs into Dry Creek, which flows into the Russian, but currently it’s at 800 cfs, spilling mostly clear water. So the flows at Garberville are around 4,000 cfs, with the upper at 2,000 cfs at Healdsburg. That area is usually fishable at 850 cfs, so it’s got a ways to go. Lake Mendocino is still at 68 percent, but when and if it spills, it’s the “kiss of death” for the Russian, according to Nick Wheeler at Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville. The river might be fishable later this week, but there’s more rain in the forecast.
SMITH RIVER—Slow to fair for most, with some anglers and guides finding better action from the covered bridge all the way down to Ruby. Guide Jimmy Dean fished Steve Jackson on the Smith and connected on a few nice fish while sidedrifting the Outhouse hole, according to WON Field Reporter Dave Pitts. Other reports on the Smith are that fish are scattered and the bite is spotty.
VANDUZEN RIVER—Pretty much out of commission for fishing, and ongoing rains will keep it muddy.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen—Nice big steelies at 8 to 9 pounds being caught upriver with water at 15 feet visibility above the Trinity. Plunking and drifting salmon roe are good techniques and No. 4 spinners and worms are also working well. Water is very cold, so back-trolling extra slow is the key to getting bit.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp—River in great condition and anglers are catching two to three steelies per rod in the 3- to 6-pound range with the occasional 10 pounder on drifted roe and back-trolled hot shots.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek—The lower river continues to be higher than the upper, and it’s pretty high for wading and driftboating, but steelhead are moving through, and mostly local anglers have been doing well from Big Bar to Big French Creek. The Hawkins Bar to South Fork stretch was good, as well, and the South Fork to Willow Creek section had more color because of inflow from the South Fork, but was fishable.
TRINITY RIVER, Junction City—Fishing good for steelies and water was clear from Junction City to North fork. Anglers were catching four to five fish a day up to eight pounds back-trolling Brad’s Wigglers and side-drifting roe. Fly fishers scored well with golden stonefly, beadhead birdsnest and poxy back hares ear. Majority of fish are native and a good week ahead is expected.
AMERICAN RIVER—Although slow, a few steelies are being caught here and there with one angler reporting a catch of 7 and 8 pounders by drifting salmon roe at the upper section of the river. Nightcrawlers with corkies was another successful tactic for some 6 pounders near Sunrise and Goethe Park. Fishing should be improving now.
FEATHER RIVER—Fishing continued to be slow in both the Low Flow Section and the river below the Outlet. A couple stripers in the 14-pound range were taken at Sleigh Bend on pencil poppers. Steelhead still not showing up.
FOLSOM LAKE—Limits are possible for trout and salmon and should continue to improve, with trollers catching planter and holdover trout toplining well behind the boat in front of the dam with small spoons like Apexes and Needlefish fished naked (without dodgers or flashers). Light-colored minnow patterns have been working best. Minnows fished under bobbers from shore near the boat ramp around Granite Bay have also been producing trout, mostly planters. For king salmon troll deeper with rigged shad or Power Minnows in the smelt pattern. Bass fishing slowed way down. Only the low water ramp at Granite Bay is now open.
RANCHO SECO LAKE—Water muddy from recent storms. Only a small number of small boats on the water this week. Anglers on shore still pulling in fish on worms, Power Bait and Power Eggs.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento—Sturgeon fishing is picking up in Lisbon Slough for anglers using ghost shrimp and power worms. John Moua of Sacramento caught a 49 pounder on ghost shrimp and Collin Brown, also from Sacramento, reeled in a 70-pound sturgeon on a ghost shrimp Power Worm combo. The area West of the airport is improving. Anglers continue to troll the Port of Sacramento for stripers without good results. River is high and muddy.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knights Landing—Water still high and muddy but anglers are beginning to catch a few sturgeon on pile worms and anchovies.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding—Flow out of Keswick Dam was up to 3800 CFS in the middle of the week. Water conditions are very clear and rainbows up to 20 inches are being caught. Fly fisherman are taking half a dozen fish within a couple of hours on small nymphs in Alevin and egg patterns. Fishing conditions below Redding are still muddy.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE— Until the water clears, stick with the deeper waters, which are producing better than the shallows. Look for the clearest water you can find and spend some time really picking it apart. Depths between 25 to 35 feet are where anglers with jigs and plastic worms have done well. Even the live bait anglers had a hard time this past week. Targeting catfish in the sloughs has improved, but crappie are still few and far in between.
LAKE BERRYESSA—The waters here have been very stained but are starting to clear, as is the debris, but be on the lookout for problems. Waters are holding around 50 degrees and shallower fish are starting to come in on rip baits and jigs. This lake’s usually one of the first for bass to move up in. The runoff is warmer, and creeks will have water coming into them, and the annual incoming waters will also be good, as well as the major coves. Markley Cove can even be good this time of year for bass. Catfish are not to be overlooked here either.
UPPER BLUE LAKE—The Arctic Fox trolling flies with the action disk, in black or brown are producing limits of trout, including the recently planted Eagle Lake strain. The trick is to not fish the surface, but from 20 to 40 feet down. Trout are holding in the west basin these days, and some nice fish are being caught.
LAKE SONOMA— Shad-patterned Apex lures, Needlefish, and nightcrawlers are attracting landlocked steelies throughout the system. Bass anglers are having a tougher time, but the creek arms are producing in the main lake at depths from 25 to 40 feet with shaky head plastics.
LAKE ALMANOR—Check for road conditions here first, but weather permitting, when you can get in at the ramp at the dam trolling has been good. Try flies (lake streamers) right there from the bank as well for an average 3-pound rainbow trout.
BAUM LAKE—Fishing has turned on and most anglers are doing fine, with some nice limits being taken. Midges, small nymphs, and woolly buggers are favorites among the fly-fishermen, while small nightcrawlers and Kastmasters are preferred by bait anglers and hardware anglers. Lots of fish continue to being caught here when weather permits.
PIT RIVER— With all of the PG&E road closures it’s hard to get here, few reports come in, and fishing slowed with colder temperatures and muddy waters in the canyon. Nymphing the deep pockets and pools during the middle of the day when the sun warms the water a bit, can produce some fish. This area is open to catch and release only, barbless hooks, and artificials only from Lake Britton dam downstream.
LAKE SHASTA—The water is rising, and with it changing conditions. For bass, start with reaction baits such as swim, rip and spinnerbaits. As the day progresses, go to the bottom in 25 to 45 feet with Senkos. Brass-n-Glass or something like it with added vibration also helps. For trout, stick to mid-lake and away from incoming waters. Trout are in the top 20 feet, so until the lake clears, use lures with some vibration but troll slowly. Gold/red Speedy Shiners or chartreuse, hot orange or hot red colors with gold are good choices for starters.
BENICIA—Pam Curtis at Benicia Bait reported good sturgeon action with some nice keepers weighed through the week. Ozol Pier has been the hot spot, with ghost shrimp working best.
BERKELEY—Boats were going to try to get out for the weekend to check the crab pots after a two week, weather related hiatus.
BODEGA BAY— After a two week hiatus, Captain Rick Powers was back out on the squid grounds Sunday to find the same wide open bite on tap for anglers on the New Sea Angler, with the squid quickly coming up to provide a fast bite and all you want action. The average was 30 to 35 pounds, with big squid going 63 pounds.
CROCKETT—Captain Gordon Hough on the Morning Star reported good action but few keepers hooked on four trips through the week, two in San Pablo Bay, two in Suisun Bay. There were plenty of shakers released, only one keeper boated and that one came from San Pablo Bay.
EMERYVILLE—The bay bite is picking up, at least for action, with the Captain Hook running Sunday, finding a big keeper weighing 80 pounds, two leopard sharks, and five bat rays. The anglers on board were kept busy with the bites at least, even if there was only one sturgeon keeper.
EUREKA—A big ocean finally started to subside over the weekend, but there still isn’t too much activity. Good bets are surfperch at Elk River Beach inside the bay, and if the ocean lays down enough, surfperch at Centerville Beach. Crabbing has been slow.
FORT BRAGG—Captain Randy Thornton has been running squid and crab trips, but no word if he got out on the Telstar last week.
HALF MOON BAY—Giant squid numbers remained strong for anglers on board the Huli Cat, with a trip early in the week that focused on chilipepper rockfish. “It took a couple spots, but when we found them, the chilis cooperated,” said Captain Tom Mattusch. The trip was a research one, and the scientists also collected some giant squid, and some other rockfish varieties as well. On Saturday, Captain Mike Velasquez ran the Huli Cat for all you wanted giant squid action plus 16 limits of Dungeness crabs.
PITTSBURG—Captain Kevin Yost on the Lucky Strike said the sturgeon are a little more scattered, but his anglers managed a nice 68 incher on Saturday, and a 48 incher on Tuesday. Debris makes watching rod tips a must, since the clutter is gathering on the gear.
POINT SAN PABLO—Captain Frank Miller on the Fury ran two trips this week, Wednesday’s effort near China Camp producing a 64-inch keeper for a San Jose angler. The fish hit a grass/ghost shrimp combo bait at the bottom of the outgoing. Saturday’s trip found lots of action near the mouth of Sonoma Creek, but no keepers.
SAN PABLO BAY—Water conditions are improving, although there is still not a lot of water moving down system; there is flood debris, so boaters must use caution. Sturgeon are the top bet now, with the western shoreline and the north end of the bay top spots for anglers fishing with shrimp baits.
BOCA LAKE—This is the easiest lake to get to in the area with the road plowed all the way to the dam. Anglers are still doing well on rainbows up to 18 inches and browns to 20 inches. Most of the rainbows are hitting nightcrawlers and Power Bait near the bottom, while the browns prefer minnow imitation just a few feet under the ice. Fishing is best from dawn to 9 a.m. Activity on the ice tends to slow the bite under the ice. After moving out to the ice, stay in one place and let the fish settle down to feeding again.
CAPLES LAKE—Caples Lake Resort reported that the fishing pressure has been low due to the weather. When the sun comes out a few anglers have been fishing at the dam or the spillway and catching limits of rainbows and browns after auguring through more than 24 inches of ice and snow. Most fish are being caught on worms or jigged Kastmaster spoons.
CARSON RIVER (East)—Bitter cold here with lots of crunchy ice along the river. Todd Sodaro talked to an experienced fly fisherman near Hangman’s Bridge who found the action to be VERY SLOW!
DAVIS LAKE—Fishing is the same as last week, but the county is trying to plow out some more parking at the south end of the dam to shorten the walk to the ice. Anglers are still concentrating their efforts at the dam or on the backside of the island with nightcrawlers for fish running 12 inches to 2 pounds.
DONNER LAKE—Lots of open water, but the boat ramp isn’t plowed, so no boats can get out and try for the big Mackinaw that are sure to be lurking around this time of year.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—1 1/2 feet of snow around the lake is keeping anglers at the dam where they are doing well with nightcrawlers or the Crystal Bullet minnow jig on rainbows up to 16 inches. The ice is about 12 inches thick, but use caution near the edges of rocky shores in case there are soft spots.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle said you should be able to get to the lake, since there was mostly rain at that elevation this past week. The trout should be in the top 15 feet hitting flasher or dodger/worm combos. Big browns might fall for a fast trolled and pumped Rapala or Trophy Stick along rocky points and banks before the sun hits the water, but be prepared for the cold.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—There were a dozen boats on the lake on Sunday but no one had reported any success. Sly Park Resort said that the Mack bite should be picking up soon as the fish move shallower to feed on planted rainbows.
LAKE TAHOE—Lots of Mackinaw around Crystal Point at 140 to 200 feet. Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported limits of 3 to 6 pounders in two hours on Sunday using Rapalas. The bite was better after 8 a.m.
PROSSER LAKE—Walk or snowmobile to the point between the two main arms of the lake, especially the side where Prosser Creek channel runs by and fish at 50 to 60 feet with nightcrawlers. Some 2- to 3-pound rainbows are showing up for patient anglers.
PYRAMID LAKE—The weather was nice on Sunday and the area had only received a little rain from the fronts that dumped on the west side of the Sierras. Trolling is still very consistent, but the fly fishermen are doing pretty well, too, as the fish move in and out of the shallows near the Nets and Wino Beach according to the Pyramid Lake Store.
RED LAKE—Ice fishing at the dam for brookies using worms remains the same as last week, but the weather put a damper on the number of anglers out this past week. Check the weather reports before venturing into the higher elevations over Carson Pass.
SILVER LAKE—Not much change here, fish at the dam with worms or jigged Kastmaster spoons for a mix of rainbows, browns and Macks.
TOPAZ LAKE—The sunny weather on Sunday brought out lots of boaters. Trollers were doing excellent on flasher/worm combos. Launching is fine now without the icy ramp conditions of last week. Shore fishing has been tough according to Topaz Marina Landing.
TRUCKEE RIVER—A Grass Valley angler picked up a 31-inch brown in the reach between Prosser and Boca on a lure cast into a deep hole. Fly fishermen can find good action on sunny days on midges and Baetis and BWO’s on cloudy days. The best action occurs between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Windy conditions are the deal breaker for the fly fishing crowd. Plenty of solitude for the river fishermen who are catching fish that average 16 inches. Parking in the Truckee area is hard to find, but not a problem in the Hirshdale or Floriston areas.
BULLARDS BAR—Recent rains increased the lake level to 60-percent capacity. The spotted bass fishing here is a diamond in the rough. As the word gets out, more anglers are finding out about the number of 3- to 5-pound fish that are getting even bigger on a steady diet of kokanee. Look for schools of kokanee off the main lake points and try a wacky Senko or swimbait.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake level is way up with all the rain. A few boaters were out on Sunday but no one had reported any success. The main launch ramp is in full operation.
COLLINS LAKE—All the rain brought the lake level up to 25 feet from full. The DFG planted 3000 pounds of trout this past week. There were lots of anglers out on Sunday when the sun came out. Catfish to 6 pounds and trout to 2 3/4 pounds were reported last week.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is murky in the lower section near the dam but clearer above the “No-Ski” buoys. Trollers venturing all the way up above Rice’s Crossing are limiting out on brown trout in clear water on flasher/worm combos.
LAKE OROVILLE—A week of big rains added 10 feet to the lake level and less than 10 more feet will put the Spillway ramp in operation. Bass and coho action is still very good. Feather River Outfitters reported that an angler was spooled by a big largemouth that took a hooked coho while it was being reeled in near the Spillway ramp. Some 8- to 10-pound salmon have been caught by bass anglers recently.
ROLLINS LAKE—With the short break in the weather on Sunday, Long Ravine Resort reported that anglers were coming out to take advantage of the recent DFG trout plant. The lake level is up with all the rain and the water is a milky green, no mud.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake level is up to about 20 feet from full and the water is still clear despite all the rain. An angler caught a 24-inch brown earlier this past week, but no specifics were available. More rain is forecast for this week.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The heavy rains of last week kept most anglers at home. The fishing has been slow here.