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.—Rated only “fair” for the year with a lower return of steelhead than normal, according to WON Field Reporter Dave Pitts, but still kicking out steeelhead some days, and more downrunners than fresh fish now. Bankies need to keep moving to find success. River has been dropping since the last storm over a week ago.
EEL RIVER, Main Stem—It’s hardly been fishable at all this year, but is now probably fishable at Alder Point, and possibly to the forks, but with lots of water pushing through. Any rain at all and it will be right back out again
EEL RIVER, South Fork—Excellent fishing last week with most boats averaging 3 to 5 fish a boat until Friday when the crowds hit, and then the boats still did well, as did bankies. Most of the steelies average 8 or 9 pounds, but guide Mark Nimitz of Pipe Creek Outfitters put a client on a 17 pounder. All on roe, sidedrifting, according to guide Dave Jacobs of Professional Guide Service, who has been fishing from Garberville to the Forks and catching lots of fish. Watch for that storm coming on Tuesday…check conditions first.
ELK, SIXES rivers, Ore.—Both rivers are seeing an increase in the number of hatchery fish this year, and both are now spotty due to lower water flows, but that changes with the rain, and both are driftable. Might be great fishing one day, then slow the next.
According to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, “The Elk was good early in the week, but is now low and clear. The Sixes should be good for the weekend. We’ve been getting one to three fish a day, mostly chromers, on pink Puffballs and roe cured in Pautke’s BorxOFire and size 2 Eagle Claw hooks.”
GARCIA, GUALALA rivers—Low and clear as of Sunday, and both mouths were closed. They both need two inches of rain to open them up put them back in shape, according to WON Field Reporter Craig Bell. Even so, he was heading to the Gualala to try some “stealth fishing from the bank.” There are fish in the rivers, of course, it’s just not optimum fishing conditions.
ROGUE RIVER—The winter steelhead are here, and they’re in the system all the way from top to bottom, with fresher fish in the center and lower end. Anglers are doing well on fish averaging 7 to 10 pounds from shore and boat using bait or any steelhead lure.
RUSSIAN RIVER—The river greened up sooner than anticipated but still moving a lot of water, and anglers were fishing over the weekend, finding some action. Not red hot, according to Nick Wheeler at Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville, but most were getting a fish or two, one got three. Bankies did pretty well in the lower river, but it’s “hard to chase the fish in the big water.” Anglers were throwing big spinners and spoons in the high water, and big gobs of bait. A mix of downers and fresh fish. The Tuesday rain may or may not bow it out again.
SILETZ, SIUSLAW rivers, Ore.—Anglers are finding success here on steelhead, and some are switching over from side drifting to hanging the bait under a float. Jigs in pink and white or black and purple are also working.
SMITH RIVER—Fishing on the Smith has been fair to good, according to Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service. The crowds have diminished with boats gone and fishing every river in the North Coast. The Smith has been seeing 10 to 14 boats a day, which has made the fishing a little easier. There seems to be fish from the Forks put in all the way down to Ruby Park. The water is low and clear and the fish are hiding in the fast riffled water. Catches this week included Joe Dolcini of Placerville with an 11-pound hen, Tom Lones of Sacramento with a 12-pound hen and a 9-pound buck. Friends of North Coast Fish Derby this weekend coming up.
UMPQUA RIVER, Ore.—Steelheading has been good here from three miles above Elkton on downriver. WON Field Reporter Dave Pitts said that anglers fishing yarn balls and the combination of eggs and Puffballs saw repeated success. “That perfect greenish off-color water spells fish,” Pitts said, “and the main has been a pretty productive river over the past four weeks.”
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp—The river’s steelhead woke up in response to consistently warmer weather. Fish to 5 pounds were being caught on a variety of methods: nymphs under indicators, drifted roe, and backtrolled Hot Shots and crawdad crankbaits.
KLAMATH RIVER, Weitchpec—The river above the mouth of the Trinity has dropped into good shape and steelies were being caught on spinners and nightcrawlers. The few anglers on the water have the river virtually to themselves.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek—The river has continued to drop, and anglers were catching a mix of downrunners and fresh steelhead turning into tributaries. Fish the downstream sides of the mouths of tributaries with roe, spinners, and nightcrawlers.
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City–Steelheading was either good or challenging depending on who you talked to. The river was in good fishable condition, and fishing pressure was relatively light. Fish are a mix of downstreamers and freshly-arrived steelies. Backtrolled Brad’s Wigglers and Hot Shots were working for driftboaters and drifted roe for bankies. Fly fishers were catching a few on golden stones, copper Johns, psycho prince nymphs, and egg flies.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is still slowly rising and bass action is still good. Emerald Cove Marina has been seeing 10 bass boats each day on the lake and anglers are reporting that spots up to 3 to 5 pound are hitting crawdad pattern worms. There are some reports of some rainbows being caught by trollers up in the North Fork arm of the lake.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake is still coming up from all the rain and the edges of the water are muddy though the center of the lake is clearing according to the store at the North Shore Resort. Fishing has been slow and few anglers have been visiting the lake. More rain is coming this week.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is now 22 1/2 feet from full. Last week’s trophy trout planting triggered some good action with the improved weather. Trout and bass are hitting in the top 10 feet. Trout action is good for both trollers and shore anglers with rainbows running 2 to 3 pounds. Trout plants will be on a regular schedule until summer with private plants occurring weekly starting next week. March will see two to three plants each week between private and DFG stockings. Bass up to 5 pounds are moving into the shallows as the water warms. Crawdads are working well along with swimbaits and spinnerbaits.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake has dropped to 89-percent capacity. The lower end of the lake is starting to clear and some trollers are working the area near the dam. Most anglers are still doing best up where the river arms come into the lake. The water at the inlets is clear and trollers using flashers or dodgers with worms are catching rainbows and browns, 9 to 11 inches.
LAKE OROVILLE—The Spillway ramp is now open, in addition to the ramp at Bidwell, giving boaters more launching choices. Bass and coho action is still wide open according to all sources. Lots of boats are on the lake pre-fishing for a big pro-am tournament this coming weekend. Bass have been hitting drop-shot and split-shot worms and tubes in 20 to 30 feet of water all over the lake. The better spots are running 3 to 4 pounds. Coho, 12 to 14 inches, are hitting anything put in front of them, with bass anglers catching plenty while they’re fishing.
ROLLINS LAKE—This lake was planted this past week by the DFG. The lake is reported to still be a little off-color from all the rain.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—Finally scheduled to receive a DFG trout plant this week.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—High clearance vehicles are required to get to the lake due to the snow buildup in the center of the road. Some anglers have been coming up with the good weather this past week and catching a few holdover trout.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—Steelhead activity is picking up at Wilbur Rd. and the Highway 162 Bridge for anglers soaking nightcrawlers and Power Bait. One angler picked up a 5 pounder at Wilbur Rd. and another reported catching two 3 to 3 1/2 pounders at the bridge and missed several more.
AMERICAN RIVER— Fresh steelhead continued to be caught last week, a mix of adults and halfpounders. They’re spread up and down the river, with most of the brighter fish being caught below Sunrise Ave. Backtroll Wee Warts and Hot Shots, and drift nightcrawlers and roe. Nimbus Basin also continued to be productive. Flows have decreased to 1,300 cfs.
FEATHER RIVER, Low Flow Section—Fishing pressure was almost nil in the Low Flow Section, but Craig Bentley of Huntington Sports had a good day on the river hooking several steelies to 2.5 pounds on various Berkley Gulp worms and eggs.
FEATHER RIVER, Shanghai Bend—Some nice striped bass were caught last week between Shanghai Bend and Star Bend last week, including a 34 pounder which was released, on minnow, swimbaits and shallow running Bombers.
FOLSOM LAKE–Jerry Lampkin of TNG Motorsports Guide Service reported that fishing for trout and king salmon continued to be pretty good, with the bite primarily by longlining in the top 20 feet. Speedy Shiners in rainbow were still producing down around 20 feet, but F7 and F9 Rapalas in Hot Steel were the hot ticket. Most of the fish being caught in the 12- to 16-inch range, but some kings to over 20 inches were being caught. Trolling speeds have been fairly fast at 3-plus mph, and the South Fork was particularly productive. Bass fishing was good for some, not so good for others. Dartheading, drop-shotting, tossing swimbaits and crankbaits all produced at times at various places. Fish were tending to move up at the lake continues to rise.
RANCHO SECO LAKE—Trout fishing continued to be good with trout between 12 and 18 inches being caught in good numbers on Power Bait, Power Eggs, and Power Worms from shore and woolly buggers, Power Worms, Kastmasters, Apexes, and grubs from pontoon boats, kayaks, float tubes, and canoes.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento—The river continued to drop and clear improving fishing conditions and anglers scored lots of sturgeon, plus even a few stripers. Lisbon Slough continued to be a sturgeon hotspot, but Elverta and Bryte’s Beach produced some nice fish, as well. Some striped bass were also being caught at Bryte’s Beach and in the Port of Sacramento. Troll, drift minnows or throw swimbaits from the palm trees to the yellow house below the Turning Basin in the Deep Water Channel.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knights Landing—Meridian, Ward’s Landing, Tisdale, and Grimes were produced lots of sturgeon last week, the best results of the year, so far. Both bankies and boaters scored on everything from eels, to ghost shrimp/pileworm combinations. The Knight’s Landing and Tisdale ramps were still closed.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE—The bass bite shows signs of improving this past week, with rising waters and temperatures. Not only did the numbers improve, but so did their sizes, with more 5 pounders in the mix. Plastic worms were the ticket, netting fish to 7 pounds. Whether drop-shotting, shaken on shaky heads, or using Brass-n-Glass in the shallows of 3 to 7 feet of water, fish moved in along the vast tule lines and into some of the warmer areas of the dock strewn shorelines.
LAKE BERRYESSA—The Narrows was still a good option for bass, starting to move up on rip baits, Brass-n-Glass with a small lizard in green pumpkin and jigs. The smallmouth are starting to stage, and the largemouth are holding in the weed lines. The runoff is warmer by the creeks and another good area to target both bass and catfish. Both salmon and trout came to the nets for a few lucky trollers working the top 30 feet.
UPPER BLUE LAKE—There’s plenty of trout here with another plant arriving this week and few anglers, which should make for good results. A few bass anglers are also finding success by drop-shotting for bass along the Highway 20 shoreline.
INDIAN VALLEY RESERVIOR—Bass fishing as well as catfishing should be excellent here with all the recently added rainfall waters have risen quite a bit, and at least one launched car-top confirms that. Might give this place a try before it gets too hot here.
BOCA LAKE—Good access to the dam, but watch out for the softer snow in the afternoon–the more ground clearance on your vehicle the better. Rainbows, 14 to 16 inches, are hitting nightcrawlers and Power Bait. A 22-inch brown was landed this past week by an angler jigging a white Mini-Gitzit. Some 12-inch kokanee are hitting jigged spoons.
CAPLES LAKE—Good weather this past week brought out lots of anglers with most catching limits at the dam and spillway on worms, Power Bait and jigged spoons. Fishermen are digging through 5 to 6 feet of snow and ice to get to the water though there are plenty of old holes to use once they’re cleaned out. Bad weather is forecast for most of this week, so access may be questionable until after the snow is cleared. The lake was snowed in as of Sunday morning.
CARSON RIVER (East)—Carson River Resort reports that there a half-dozen cars at Hangman’s Bridge most days with anglers trying for the trout in the artificial lures only, catch-and-release section. The only angler reporting to the resort said the action was slow. There is only a little snow around the shore and no ice with the water at “mid to late-June” levels. Water temp was 42-degrees.
DAVIS LAKE—Area got another foot of snow over the weekend and more is in the forecast. Earlier last week, Ed Dillard and friends hit the lake at the dam and the island and caught limits on Power Bait through 12 to 15 inches of ice. The warm weather this past week softened the ice some but with the cold weather in the forecast it should firm up again. The fish at the dam are running 12 to 14 inches while the island fish were 14 to 15 inchers. Use a dropper rig with a No. 16 treble hook with small ball of Power Bait, leaving a bend exposed.
DONNER LAKE—Shore anglers were doing well on 14- to 16-inch rainbows throwing everything—nightcrawlers, Power Bait, Panther Martins, Kastmasters, and black wooly buggers (fly casting). Some big Mackinaws have been seen cruising along the shallows, but they haven’t been taking any of the lures thrown at them.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—Area received two feet snow on Sunday an fishing access got bogged down. Earlier in the week the fishing was good at the dam on threaded nightcrawlers for 16- to 20-inch rainbows. More weather coming in this week. Call ahead for road conditions.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Well equipped, experienced 4-wheelers can make it into the lake from Hwy 89. One angler reported catching a couple of nice fish on nightcrawlers in open water. There were schools of fish seen cruising the shore.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—Snowing on Sunday. Earlier this past week the Mackinaw action was good for one to three pounders in the Narrows for trollers. On Saturday a 3-pound brown was caught trolling a Trophy Stick at the island. Poor weather forecast for the rest of this week should put a damper on the fishing.
LAKE TAHOE—The bite was very good before the weather came in over the weekend. Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported great action at 140 to 250 feet in the afternoons. The Mackinaws are feeding on shrimp and need to be provoked into hitting a lure, so repeated passes through the fish are required to get a hookup. The lakers are running one to eight pounds.
PROSSER LAKE—Good action at the Hobart Mills boat ramp area using Power Bait through 14 to 16 inches of ice. Stay in the creek channel for the best luck. The dam is also producing on nightcrawlers at the left corner near the deepest water.
PYRAMID LAKE—Snowing on Sunday. Earlier this past week when the weather was nice, trollers were catching 25 to 30 fish a day running 12 to 24 inches trolling Flatfish and Apex lures. Shore anglers do well if the fish move into shallow water. One fly caster landed a 9 1/4 pounder at the Nets and a troller picked a 9-pound, 6-ounce cutthroat on a Flatfish.
RED LAKE—Snowed in as of Sunday with more weather coming this week. Call ahead to Woodfords Station.
SILVER LAKE—Snowed in as of Sunday with more weather forecast for the rest of the week.
TOPAZ LAKE—Cold and windy on Sunday when WON called. Fishing has been fair at best with no limits. Three Smith Valley anglers checked in on Sunday with five 12- to 14-inch rainbows trolling flasher/worm combos.
TRUCKEE RIVER—Fly fishing was pretty good this past week, but poor weather forecast for the rest of this week will shut down the action. Look for big, slow pools with plenty of sun exposure that will warm up in the afternoon. Try small black winter stones in No. 14 to 18, BWO’s in No. 16 and 18, baetis in No. 18 and 20, and San Juan Worms. The better fish are running 14 to 16 inches. Wait for the weather to clear after this week!
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—Snowed in this week and with the ramps out of the water, only car toppers need try to head in for a day of trolling for Macks when the weather clears next week.
BENICIA—Tony Lopez said that the sturgeon action picked up generally throughout the Suisun system with “one, two, three fish caught” at all the top spots. Favored now are the Middle Grounds, Port Chicago, Seal Island and Big Cut. There were some striped bass showing, including a 12 pounder that hit an anchovy for a 5-year-old boy who got some help from dad in landing the fish at the 1st Street Pier.
BODEGA BAY— Captain Rick Powers on the New Sea Angler reported slower action on the squid, but only because the devil fish didn’t want to come up and attack the boat like they have been. The 26 anglers on board on Sunday caught around a hundred squid. .
CROCKETT—The Morning Star was weathered out on Saturday with 14 anglers, targeting the waters way back in the north end of San Pablo Bay near the mouth of Sonoma Creek. The action was pretty good, with three shaker sturgeon to 43 inches released, one keeper measuring 54 inches boated, along with two keeper bass and a half dozen flounder. Some shaker bass were released as well.
EMERYVILLE—No trips out since Feb. 20 when a 50-inch sturgeon was boated on the Captain Hook. Frank Salazar at the landing said they are prepared to run trips, but not many anglers have been signing up for the sturgeon trips.
EUREKA—The ocean finally calmed down enough to allow some surf fishing, the biggest news being the first commercial landings of night surfsmelt from Gold Bluffs Beach. For recreational fishermen, surfperch are good bets at Gold Bluffs, Mad River and best of all, Centerville Beach.
HALF MOON BAY—Captain Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat reported continued good crabbing and squid fishing, with the most recent trips finding limits of Dungeness on the weekend.
MARTINEZ—Lisa Resentez reported some big catches including a 42-pound striped bass that hit a bullhead for an anglers fishing at the Glomar. There were also several nice sturgeon weighed and reported, including a 72-inch oversized, a 62 pounder from the Mothball Fleet, and a 51 incher from Ryer Island. Captain Jim Smith put one customer on a giant oversized sturgeon on Saturday, the fish weighing an estimated 150 pounds, and measuring 83 inches.
SAN PABLO BAY—The top spots seem to be up at the northern end of the bay for sturgeon, stripers and some flounder. Grass and ghost shrimp are the favored baits. There were good reports from the mouth of Sonoma Creek and the Napa River also.
LAKE ALMANOR— Baits such as roe or a small piece of a nightcrawler, jigging, and trolling with streamer flies were all producing trout to 3 pounds. The Canyon Dam was the more populated area, but then it’s the easiest to access. Rec. 2 and the Powerhouse were also good areas for targeting trout. Pond smelt is what they have been feeding on, and the bite has been from the surface down to 10 feet.
BAUM LAKE—There have been reports of lots of 8- to 12-inch brown trout, as well as larger rainbow here, as the bite has been fair to good regardless of the weather. Look for where water is coming in or there is structure. Your best luck with flies will be BWO’s, Griffith’s gnats, zebra midges, woolly buggers, copper john’s in red and pheasant tails. Small nightcrawlers fished in the current are doing well. Lure fishermen are still using Kastmasters and Panther Martins for their fish.
IRON CANYON—The last report showed access was limited here to the dam via the Pit 5 Road but there were no fishing reports as this is a hard area to get to.
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 ever come in.
LAKE SHASTA—Trout fishing is picking up, as is salmon fishing. A silver/blue Cripplure and a Sling Blade took salmon at 120 feet down. Top-lining a U.V. silver Cripplure 250 feet behind the boat took trout to 17 inches in the top 10 to 15 feet. Bass will be holding throughout the water column from the shallows out to 40 feet. Senkos in colors like baby bass and green pumpkin as well as some swimbaits will be worth a try.