NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Ore.—The river has been up and down in elevation and flows, and while there are some tough times with a lot of boat traffic and rough seas at the mouth, making it tough for fresh steelhead to get into the river, the fishing has been good for many, and some big steelies have been caught. Now is prime time for good numbers and big fish, so watch the river for prime conditions.
COQUILLE RIVER, Ore.–Silver seekers are seeing some pretty darn good numbers while side-drifting. This river is one of only a few that has been a consistent producer of steelhead this season. Two top methods of take are drifted eggs and hot shot plugs.
EEL RIVER, Main stem—Way blown out and unfishable.
EEL RIVER, South Fork—It was almost ready to fish this past week when more rains pushed it over the top again. Ongoing rains expected to keep in unfishable.
ELK, SIXES rivers, Ore.—For their size, these two rivers hold some good numbers of chromer steelhead, and the main downside is that they are both small rivers, with limited driftboat and shore fishing opportunities. This past week they were on lthe drop and fished very well. Brookings angler David Lunsford saw seven hook ups while targeting a short drift others duplicated these numbers throughout the river system, according to WON Field Reporter Dave Pitts.
GARCIA, GUALALA rivers– The local rivers blew out on Thursday, according to WON Field Reporter Craig Bell of Greenwater Guide Service in Gualala. Before that, anglers were landing one to four fish a day—and some big fish this year. Anglers have landed three over 15 and lost some others in that class. Seems to be an average year numbers wise, with the big fish a bonus. The rivers may come in by the weekend if the forecasted rains hold off. Dan Luckman landed and released a 14 pounder with Bell this past week.
MAD RIVER–Ben Williams at the Pro Sport Center in Eureka said there are some people “lining” steelhead in the Mad, which is high and colored.
ROGUE RIVER—The river is a bit on the high side, but anglers working the edges of the river—the “travel lanes” of steelhead, have been having some good success, as have the bankies. The river is holding good numbers of winter steelhead now, and fishing has improved dramatically.
RUSSIAN RIVER—Nick Wheeler of Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville said the river was high and muddy on Sunday, and that it had almost gotten fishable when the last rain hit and blew it out again. Without any more rain, it would be fishable in a week.There were a couple of nice steelhead caught by plunkers fishiing near Dry Creek at Cloverdale.
SMITH RIVER—Great fishing action, and “everybody is catching fish” except those destined by bad luck, according to Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp—The river is in excellent shape, but cold water and changeable conditions slowed fishing success. The best success seemed to come from fishing later in the day, and backtrolling crawdad crankbaits.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen—The river is in fishable shape all the way to the mouth. Some big adults are being hooked in the stretch between Blue Creek and Weitchpec, mostly on spinners and drifted roe and Fish Pill.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek—The Trinity has been dropping rapidly, fresh adult steelhead have moved upstream after the recent. Swing spinners and drift roe and nightcrawlers below the mouths of tributaries.
TRINITY RIVER, Junction City—Steelhead fishing continued to be very good with fresh fish arriving every day. A few downstreamers are starting to show, but there are still plenty of bright new arrivals appearing. Backtroll Brad’s Wigglers and Hot Shots and drift roe. Fly fishers were also doing fine on golden stones, micro mayflies, psycho princes, and copper Johns.
BOCA LAKE—Still the best ice fishing in the area with the easiest access due the road being plowed to the dam. Fish off the face of the dam early in the morning before there is too much activity on the ice, which seems to slow the action. Power Bait and nightcrawlers are catching 12- to 18-inch rainbows. Jig under the ice for browns with a minnow imitation.
CAPLES LAKE—Kelly Keith at Caples Lake Resort reported that very little was happening here due to the poor weather—too much snow!! A couple of lodge guests fished out behind the resort early in the week and caught two fish. SLOW!! The lake is at 65-percent capacity.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is holding at 50-percent capacity. Mostly rain in the area with the recent storms so the snow melted off some and the parking area at the dam was cleared off by the county road crews. Successful anglers at the dam are lowering a nightcrawler tipped with a salmon egg down 20 feet over 70 feet of water for mostly 12- to 14-inch rainbows. Some 16 to 20 inchers show up on the ice at the dam, too. Snowmobilers are running back to Fairview and catching bigger fish, 18 to 20 inches. Those willing to make the hike out to the back side of the island are rewarded with bigger fish; snowmobilers make short work of the trip.
DONNER LAKE—The lake is at 37-percent capacity. Still a lot of open water on the lake with no way to get to it unless the boat ramps are cleared.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is holding at 37-percent capacity. Fresh snow fell on Saturday but access is still good to the dam where most anglers are fishing. Getting past the dam requires 4-wheel drive. Anglers are picking up rainbows 13 to 17 inches long on worms at the dam through 12 to 16 inches of ice. The roads up to the lake can be icy so use caution while driving.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—Snowed in. Forget this lake for awhile.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—The lake is at 71-percent capacity. A couple of big macks were weighed in on Saturday this past weekend by trollers working the area just before the Narrows and at the second dam. The 9-pound, 11-ounce and 8-pound, 7-ounce Macks hit Rapalas.
LAKE TAHOE–The lake got three inches of snow on Saturday night. Fishing has been a little slower with the dark moon according to Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing. The fish should be moving toward Tahoe City and schooling up from 140 to 300 feet deep.
PROSSER LAKE—New snow over the past week, but snowmobilers and snowshoe hikers making it out to the point between the main arms of the lake are doing okay. The Prosser Creek side is best with nightcrawlers suspended 15 to 20 feet off the bottom for two to three pounders.
PYRAMID LAKE—Fishing was slow toward the weekend but better earlier in the week. Crosby’s Lodge is holding their annual derby. Big fish as of Sunday was a 12 pounder, followed by two 11 pounders. Trollers using Apex and FlatFish are seeing the most action on the south end of the lake from 20 to 40 feet deep.
RED LAKE—Very little pressure with all the weather this past week. When it clears, fish by the dam with nightcrawlers for brookies up to two pounds.
SILVER LAKE—The lake has dropped to 19-percent capacity. There could be a big gap between the ice and the water making conditions dangerous for fishermen. Go to Caples Lake instead.
TOPAZ LAKE—Lake area got eight to 10 inches of new snow this past week and the power was out in Gardnerville. This all combined to keep most anglers off the water. Only a few brave souls were seen out fishing. The lake is at about 50-percent capacity and launching is good.
TRUCKEE RIVER—Weather made it tough for most of this past week. When it clears, experienced fly fishermen can do well on fish to 16 inches on midges, baetis and BWO’s in the slower sections. Remember, barbless artificial lures and catch-and-release only.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—A Pollock Pines angler reportedly caught a 35-inch, 12-pound Mackinaw here this past Saturday while trolling and lost another big fish. He was able to get to the lake on Pea Vine Ridge Rd. which is plowed by SMUD to keep the road clear to the powerhouse.
BENICIA—Pam Hayes at Benicia Bait said they had a busy weekend with the Super Bowl Sturgeon Derby. Leading up to the derby, sturgeon fishing was good with Ozol producing several nice keepers including a 65 incher. Shoreline action has been quiet.
CROCKETT—Captain Gordon Hough reported one trip on the Morning Star, but good news with two keepers boated on Saturday despite tough weather conditions. “The crabs have vacated most of the places we fish, which is probably why we got a couple keepers,” said Hough. The fish came from San Pablo Bay west of the Pumphouse, and the anglers on board added a few flounders and released a few shaker sturgeon also.
EMERYVILLE—The Captain Hook ran a trip on Friday scoring one keeper sturgeon, reported Frank Salazar at Emeryville Sportfishing Center. Also-rans were leopard sharks and bat rays for the 11 anglers who fished South San Francisco Bay.
EUREKA—Not one fishable day all week on the beaches or ocean, and the bay fishing has been slow for rays and sharks due to all the fresh water runoff.
FORT BRAGG—Captain Randy Thornton on the Telstar didn’t get out this past week, but he did get a chance to get caught up on reports from the prior week when he ran two trips for around 30 squid each day from 8 miles WNW of the harbor. The count doesn’t dictate the action, because the anglers fished until they caught all they wanted; they could have gone on!
HALF MOON BAY—Captain Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat has been running combo trips featuring Humboldt squid, sanddabs, and Dungeness crabs, but could be the ocean was too rough to do anything this week because he didn’t report any trips.
MARTINEZ—A big week on sturgeon, with good tides, lots of freshwater runoff and the Super Bowl Sturgeon Derby drawing out the anglers. Earlier in the week, Captain Steve Talmadge reported great action with sturgeon every trip, and keepers on every trip except one. A Martinez “crew” trip produced two keepers and two oversized fish released for the tackle shop folks.
SAN PABLO BAY—All the rain is finally pushing out the bait stealers and perking up the sturgeon action. Top areas to fish have been around the Pumphouse, China Camp, and Rat Rock, the mouth of the Napa River and near Sonoma Creek. Grass and ghost shrimp combo baits have worked best.
AMADOR LAKE—Rainy weather kept angler numbers down, but a few were out trying, reported Debbie Grayson at the Lake Amador Store. One trio on a boat caught seven fish. The lake is 27 feet from full pool, about 20 feet higher than it was last year at this time. The store will start taking campground reservations this week, an important date for campers who want to insure their favorite spots on the busier days.
CAMANCHE LAKE—Bass fishing showed improvement with a nine-boat club event producing limits for all and a top weight of 14 pounds. Brown and purple jigs fished in 10 to 50-plus feet of water worked best, but small worms also scored some fish. Trout success stories continued despite the rainy weather, with several limits reported for anglers trolling Rapalas and orange Sep’s Grubs. The South Shore Trout Pond kicked out more fish, including a 7.75 pounder that hit a Rapala.
DON PEDRO RESERVOIR—Trout fishing was slower for trollers, the drop in action blamed on the full moon, flat calm lake surface. Top bet is fishing Ex-Cel, Vance’s Slim Fins, and HumDingers lubricated with Pautzke’s Krill Gel in the top 17 feet of water. Bass fishing remained tough, with the best pattern small worms fished slow in the main lake on points.
LAKE McCLURE—Bass fishing is improving for anglers fishing small worms in the 15- to 30-foot zone around steep banks and rocks. Mostly small spots on tap now, but a few bigger spots are possible. Trout fishing is best for trollers fishing the top 25 feet with flasher/’crawler combos.
LAKE McSWAIN—Marilyn Kern at the McSwain Marina reported light angler traffic, but those who stuck out Saturday’s rainy weather found success. One group of anglers used their camper shell on the back of their truck for shelter, and caught limits with fish to 19 inches.
LAKE PARDEE—Jay Pilkington at the Lake Pardee Marina reported great fishing Friday and Sunday and a little slower bite for trout on Saturday. Biggest fish weighed at the marina was a 4-pound rainbow. Shore fishing in the Rec Area was best for anglers using mini-jigs (the tackle shop sold out on Friday), orange or yellow Power Worms, white Power Eggs and chartreuse Power Bait. Some shorecasters fishing near the dam also scored on Kastmasters (gold and silver), which also worked for boaters.
NEW HOGAN RESERVOIR—The good news, the lake rose 16 feet in the past 30 days. Launching is much improved, but there is a lot of debris on the water surface. Fishing pressure remained light, with only a few bass anglers trying, and few reports. Best best is to fish jigs on rocky points and steep banks, although the flooding flats should start drawing in some fish.
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR—Some nice bass were reported, including several big spotted bass in the 6-pound class, and a 13-pound largemouth. Swimbaits are likely the key bait, although anglers were keeping the secret. Good for smaller fish but greater numbers is a small plastic worm in shad colors. Trout fishing remained good with good numbers and size coming for shore anglers fishing Power Eggs, Power Bait, Kastmasters, and Rapalas. Trollers got their share,
TULLOCH RESERVOIR—Trout fishing rated fair to good for trollers who are using Ex-Cel and Needlefish spoons in the top 20 feet of water to score a mix of holdovers and planters. No bass reports.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE—The combination of cold and stained water would suggest anglers look for areas of the lake that offer clearer water and deeper fish, say from 20 to 40 feet. Plastic worms, grubs, and jigs have been reported as more consistent baits, although you might do well with a rip bait, but that bite seems really up and down. Live bait is catching fish but the bite has slowed for them as well. Catfishing has been very good with the rising lake level. Anglers are catching from three to 10 catfish a day in the Horseshoe Bend area and in Cache Creek on mackerel and nightcrawlers.
LAKE BERRYESSA—A few bass are starting to come in on rip baits and jigs. The runoff is warmer in the creeks and they enter the lake. This will be a good place to target bass and catfish. A few diehards continue to toss Rapalas to the trout from the shoreline as well.
UPPER BLUE LAKE—The lake had another plant this past week and trout should be well dispersed and ready to bite by the weekend when the waters will be clearer. Lots of fish here and few anglers should make for fair to good results. Drop-shotting for bass along the Highway 20 shoreline has also been productive.
INDIAN VALLEY RESERVIOR—Although there have not been any reports from here in a long time, rising water levels have come up more than 40 feet, the ramps should now be usable and the bass fishing should be excellent as well as the catfishing.
LAKE ALMANOR—Trout fishing continues to be very good for streamer flies at the dam,
but check road conditions here first. When you can get in at the ramp at the dam trolling has been good as has the bank 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.
IRON CANYON—The latest report shows access is limited here to the dam via the Pit 5 road. 1
PIT RIVER—This area is open to catch and release only, barbless hooks, and artificials only from Lake Britton dam downstream. With all of the PG&E road closures though, it’s hard to get here and few reports come in.
LAKE SHASTA—Start with reaction baits such as swimbaits, ripbaits and spinnerbaits for bass. As the day progresses, go to the bottom in 25 to 45 feet with Senkos. Bass are moving up into creeks and arms for bugs and other goodies that wash down into the system. But the colder overnight temperatures push them back out, so they are moving in and out. For trout try the McCloud and Squaw creek arms. Look for fish on the shallow points or from the surface to 40 feet for migrating fish. For trout get your lines back behind the boat a good 150 to 200 feet for best results. Trout are averaging 16 inches with a few hitting the 3-pound range.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 61-percent capacity. A bunch of bass boats showed up on Saturday for a friendly little tournament but no results were available from Emerald Cove Marina. The spot bite has been very good over the past few weeks and there is no reason to believe that will slow down. The bigger fish are running three to five pounds and are eating kokanee. Meter around off the main body points on the lower end of the lake and throw a wacky-rigged Senko to bait schools.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake is at 58-percent capacity, up from 24-percent a month ago. The lake is muddy from all the runoff, which raised the water level rather quickly over the past two weeks. Only a few anglers have been out and most have reported poor action.
COLLINS LAKE—Lake level is 25 feet from full. The lake is muddy and fishing pressure has been very light. Only one fish was weighed in this past week, a two pounder caught by Robert Stone of Yuba City.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 91-percent capacity. Quite a few boaters have been coming up to the lake and all of them are heading up to the river inlet. Reports are coming into Skippers Cove Marina from the same people who keep coming back to fish, so they must be doing pretty well on the browns and rainbows that are hitting flasher/worms combos.
LAKE OROVILLE—Lake is up to 35-percent capacity, only four more feet until the Spillway ramp will become operational. Bass action is still good with a tournament over the weekend recording some good weights. First place went to Glen Lockhart and Joe Hinkle with 12.83 pounds. Their big fish weighed 2.99 pounds. Tubes, hula grubs and worms are working on the points. Try a spinnerbait or ripbait in the coves. Coho are still hitting nightcrawlers and minnows all over the lake near running water.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is at 81-percent capacity. Very few reports of any angler success have come in due to all the rain over the past week. Long Ravine Resort said that people are starting to make a lot of reservations for campsites for later this spring but things are slow right now.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake is at 79-percent capacity. Water is clear and beautiful but fishing pressure and success is very low. A local kayaker trolled around this past week and never got a hit. The DFG needs to start planting fish here now that the lake has been moved off the “No Stocking” list.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—Poor weather has made access 4-wheel drive recommended. Still no word on DFG plants but snow will keep the stocking trucks out of the area.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—Snow over the past week has made it 4-wheel drive only for access. Still no DFDG plants until later this spring when access is guaranteed.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—Dan Anderson of Oroville picked up a 4 1/2-pound steelhead out of 15 to 20 feet of water off Wilbur Road on Power Bait this past week, otherwise SLOW!!
AMERICAN RIVER— American River steelheading was pretty good with drifted nightcrawlers producing best after the recent storms. Fish were spread all the way down to Grist Mill, but Nimbus Basin to the Sunrise area was producing best—albeit probably because that’s where fishing pressure was the heaviest.
FEATHER RIVER—Rains have put some color into the river, and that seems to have brought a good influx of fresh fish into the Low Flow Section. Given the murky water, drifted nightcrawlers provided the most action last week. Farther downstream, the planting of juvenile steelhead turned on the striped bass bite at Shanghai Bend and Boyd’s Pump, at least until muddy water turned it off again. Some of the bass being caught on soft plastic swimbaits, jerkbaits and jigs weigh 20 pounds and more.
FOLSOM LAKE—Bass fishing has been steadily improving—on drifted minnows, drop-shotting, and on crankbaits. The key to success has been to fish mid-day on nice sunny days, because the water is very cold and fish are lethargic. Toplining Needlefish, Kastmasters, and Rapalas between the dam and Dike 8 has been producing decent numbers of trout, both planters and holdovers. Again, fish nice days and don’t worry about getting on the water too early.
RANCHO SECO LAKE—Anglers have been continuing to do well on planters and holdover trout from the bank on Power Bait, Power Eggs, and Power Worms from shore. Boaters in pontoon boats, kayaks, float tubes, and canoes did well on woolly buggers and Power Worms, Kastmasters, Apexes, and grubs.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento—The Sac was high and full of debris, but quite a few sturgeon were being caught from the bank at Garcia Bend. Even anglers fishing for splittail with redworms were being surprised by hungry sturgeon. Given they typically were only using 6-pound test line, few of those fish were being landed. Cache Slough and Yolo Bypass were also producing sturgeon.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knights Landing—Weirs were overflowing and the river was at 61 feet at the Colusa Bridge over the weekend, but the water level to drop to 51 feet by mid-week, and a “gradual drop from there.” There were still lots of trees floating downstream making boating hazardous, but boating should be possible by mid-week. Even with the high water, though, sturgeon fishing was very good, with bank fishermen hooking fish from Knight’s Landing to Colusa. The old Tisdale boat ramp was one of the better spots.
YUBA RIVER—Forget it for awhile. Too muddy.