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.—Way blown out late in the week and still running mud over the weekend. Pretty much over for the season with almost all downrunners, and some spawning still going on. Let the spent fish go, and don’t target the spawners. Should be fishable again by mid-week, barring any rains, for those last late fish.
COLUMBIA RIVER, Ore.—Spring kings are being caught here now, mostly on herring, plug cut and threaded. Some anglers are using plugs below the I-5 freeway, Most are 12 to 17 pounds. Reports are for a return of nearly half a million kings, but many reserve judgment on that. Buoy 10 area is closed March 9, 16, 23 and 30 for commercial fishing. Daily bag is two hatchery kings, adult salmon or steelhead combination, but can keep five hatchery jacks per day.
COQUILLE RIVER, Ore.—Majority of the steelhead are now spawned out and heading back downriver. Release any spent fish you catch here. The river is fishing now for the fish that remain.
EEL RIVER, Main—it was fishable at the Forks before the rain, but it’s way blown out now. There was quite a bit of water even before the rain.
EEL RIVER, South Fork—Before the rains it was getting low and clear in the upper end, but still crowded and also still fishing okay, but blew out big time in the middle of the week and was still running mud at Garberville over the weekend. Another storm coming Tuesday, and that will keep it out if it rains too much.
ELK, SIXES RIVERS—Both were primo fishing and conditions, but both got absolutely hammered by the rains and are out big time. They are small rivers and do clear quickly, but watch the forecast. Should be fishable by Tuesday barring any heavy rains.
GARCIA, GUALALA rivers—Four inches of rain in three days has these rivers out. Might be back midweek, but watch the rains.
MAD RIVER—Blown out by all the rains.
MATTOLE RIVER—Way blown out, might be back by midweek, but check forecast.
NAVARRO, NOYO rivers—These guys got hit by torrents and are way, way out. Possibly back in midweek, but rain is forecast for Tuesday, and if it’s light, they may still come into shape.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.—Scattered results on steelhead moving through the lower section, but slower than last week. Most action has been on plugs along the willow lines by boats anchored up in the runways. Rough water at the mouth is keeping fish from entering the system.
ROGUE RIVER, Middle—Fresh fish are making their way up here after the last storm, and plug-pullers should be scoring by the weekend.
ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass—Action up here on steelhead tends to peak in March, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing in Brookings. Most of the action here is from Grant’s Pass to Hog Creek for steelhead bound for Cole River hatchery and the Applegate River. Side-drifting or dragging roe and Puff balls or yarn balls is productive.
RUSSIAN RIVER—River went high on Wednesday, but on the drop over the weekend and anglers were trying. Check the forecast, since rains were expected on Tuesday
SMITH RIVER—Way blown out over the weekend, but barring any more rains it could be fishable early to midweek, but rains are in the forecast. The Chopper Derby was blown out on the Chetco on Friday and a “Plunkers only” day on Saturday on the Smith. The winning team was guides Kim Hagen and Albert Kutzkey Team members were Bill Gereahty, Jim Dione, Jon Jaqua and Stan Potter with 4 fish all caught by Bill Gereahty. Kevin Lee caught the big fish of the Derby was caught by Kevin Lee a 31 1/2 incher. There are still spaces for the Oakland Raider Derby coming up March 11,12 and 13 You can contact Val Early at earlyfishing.com for information.
New regulation changes for the Smith River as of March 1 are: Barbless hooks will be required in all reaches of the Smith River, the Klamath-Trinity Salmon Report Card was renamed the North Coast Salmon Report Card and will be required on the Smith River also, and the annual bag limit for wild trout or steelhead was reduced to zero and no more than 5 wild Chinook may be kept per year.
UMPQUA RIVER, Ore.—The river is fishable now, and the stretch downstream from the forks of the north and south forks on down the main river have been good all season, and continue to be good for steelheaders. Guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service has been seeing multiple fish days. Look for spring kings soon.
VANDUZEN RIVER—Way blown out and unfishable.
WILLAMETTE RIVER, Ore.– Anglers who want a shot at Chinook, steelhead and/or sturgeon should concentrate efforts in the lower section of the river.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp—The river remained fishable, and steelhead fishing continued to be good as the heavy rains that blew out the Trinity largely bypassed the Klamath below Iron Gate Dam. Lots of halfpounders, and adults weighing up to 8 pounds were being caught mostly on drifted and boondoggled roe. Nymphs under indicators, drifted ‘crawlers, and backtrolled Hot Shots and crawdad crankbaits accounted for lesser numbers.
KLAMATH RIVER, Weitchpec—The river was blown out from above Orleans to the mouth.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek—The river was high and muddy throughout and rose 8 feet at Willow Creek. It will be awhile before it is fishable again.
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City—Barring more rain (another storm was due mid-week), the river above the North Fork might become fishable again by the weekend. Drifted roe will probably be the first offering with which anglers might have a chance at success.
BOCA LAKE—Not much change here. Anglers are doing best at the dam with nightcrawlers, Power Bait and jigged spoons or minnow jigs.
CAPLES LAKE—The storm this past week dumped a couple more feet of snow here. Ice fishermen need to be prepared to auger through 3 to 5 feet of snow on top of 18 to 24 inches of ice—bring your auger extensions! Action at the dam and spillway has been good for limits of pansized trout on worms, Power Bait, and jigged Kastmaster spoons.
CARSON RIVER (East)—Only a few anglers have been seen parked at Hangman’s Bridge. Todd Sodaro at Carson River Resort reported that fishing overall is slow.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 51-percent capacity. The storm over this past week dumped a little bit of sloppy, wet snow that had already melted off by Sunday. Fishing at the lake is still good at the dam and the back side of the island. The warmer weather has thinned the ice down to 10 to 14 inches and visitors need to be careful around the edges of the lake especially near rock banks. Worms and Power Bait fished up off the bottom is still the best bet for rainbows running 12 to 16 inches.
DONNER LAKE—Shore anglers are limiting out on rainbows and catching a few 2- to 3-pound Macks. The rainbows are hitting nightcrawlers and Power Bait, while the Mackinaws will eat minnows trapped out of the lake or Kastmaster and Krocodile spoons cast early in the morning.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 38-percent capacity. 4-wheel drive is recommended past the Chilcoot Campground to get to the dam. Anglers are still catching rainbows, 16 to 20 inches, on threaded nightcrawlers.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Alpine County planted 1850 pounds of catchable rainbows and 6- to 8-pound trophy rainbows and browns here this past week. It’s still a little difficult getting into the lake on the back road, but 4-wheelers who stay on the road should have no problem. Not many people getting up here recently, but the few who were there when the fish were planted caught trout up to 6 pounds.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—The lake is scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. Mackinaw fishing has been good. Jim Painter of Pollock Pines was out with his father-in-law this past week and they picked up three fish from 5 to 6 1/2 pounds on Rapalas and Trophy Sticks. Some Macks were caught off the shore by the island. Expect red-hot Mack action right after the DFG plant as the bigger fish move into the shallows near the marina to feed on the rainbows. A rainbow trout swimbait trolled at 10 feet out in front of the boat launch just might get you a nice fish.
LAKE TAHOE—Fishing was much slower this week than last. Chuck Self reported that he only had three fish to 3 1/2 pounds on Sunday morning when WON called. The fish are stacked up at 160 to 250 feet and must be provoked into striking. Very early in the morning and later in the afternoon seems to produce a better bite.
PROSSER LAKE—Still best out in front of the old boat ramp at Hobart Mills. Fish out near the Prosser Creek channel for rainbows running 14 to 16 inches on nightcrawlers and Power Bait.
PYRAMID LAKE—Shore fishing has improved for fly casters using a black wooly bugger, leech or matuka in the Nets area, which closes on March 15. Trollers have dropped down to 60 to 80 feet with FlatFish and Apex lures. The 6th Annual Ken Hembree Hook, Line and Sinker Classic Trout Derby will be held on March 13-14 at Crosby’s Lodge. This event is sponsored by KKOH Radio. First prize is a 14-foot Crestliner/15 hp Honda valued at $7500. There will be an additional $10,000 in cash and merchandise given away at this derby.
RED LAKE—Lots of new snow here over the weekend. Roads were clear on Sunday and anglers were out. Lots of snow on top of the ice, so be prepared to auger several feet to the water or use an old hole; just have long enough equipment to reach the water. The dam area is still good for brookies on worms.
TOPAZ LAKE—Fishing success was down due to the shortage of anglers willing to come out in the lousy weather seen this past week. The weather cleared up by Sunday and the fishermen had returned but there were no reports available at press time.
TRUCKEE RIVER—Not much change here. Anglers are doing best in slower runs with plenty of sun exposure where the water will warm up in the afternoon. Use midges, BWO and small black stones for rainbows averaging 14 to 16 inches with a few going 18 to 20 inches.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake level was reported to be high enough to allow boat launching near the dam off Peavine Ridge Road according to Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service. He had a friend out fishing for Mackinaws here this past week, though no big fish were caught.
BENICIA—Curtis Hayes reported good sturgeon action, mostly up around the Mothball Fleet to Big Cut, and down the system and around the corner in the Napa River. Grass and eel have been the top combo bait, but ghost shrimp have accounted for a few fish. Striper fishing is picking up with some fish in the 12- to 20-pound class showing for anglers using live bait.
BERKELEY—Scott Sutherland said the boats have been occasionally running for crabs, getting limits, but otherwise the angler traffic at the landing has been light.
BODEGA BAY— Captain Rick Powers on the New Sea Angler made two attempts for Humboldt squid, but both times, windy conditions forced an early call of the day. The next trips are scheduled for Friday and Sunday.
CROCKETT—Captain Gordon Hough reported on three trips for the Morning Star, all targeting San Pablo Bay waters for sturgeon. Plenty of action, although only one keeper sturgeon hit the deck, that one a 54 incher. Occupying the anglers time were flounder, stripers and shaker sturgeon as well.
EMERYVILLE—Frank Salazar at Emeryville Sportfishing Center said the Captain Hook ran for sturgeon on Sunday, mixing up the action from South Bay and Paradise Cay. No report on success on Sunday’s trip by deadline, however.
EUREKA—A new wave of storms not only roughed up the ocean, but wiped out the rivers, so the guys who aren’t chasing Aleutian geese in the special late season depredation hunt are getting ready for turkey season. When the ocean settles, redtails surfperch and night surfsmelt are top bets on the beaches.
FORT BRAGG—Captain Randy Thornton on the Telstar reported on one trip to the squid grounds with 22 humboldts decked. Then the anglers on board tapped the crab pots for five each, a total of 30 dungeness for the six anglers on board.
MARTINEZ—Captain Jim Smith on the Happy Hooker had a great day with nine anglers who caught two keeper sturgeon on Saturday. A regular hooked the jackpot fish, but the captain caught a nice keeper too. The fish ate straight eel off of Benicia.
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO BAY—Halibut and striped bass are showing up along the shoreline between Brisbane and Candlestick Park. There have been commercial halibut trollers working the area for two weeks. One 27 incher was brought to Oyster Point, and the story of a 29 incher lost at boatside also came back. The halibut are hitting trolled anchovies. Striped bass are hitting live shiner perch or anchovies in the same area.
AMERICAN RIVER— J.D. Richey of J.D. Richey Sportfishing reported continuing success on bright steelhead, albeit mostly small ones, in outings last week. Drifted ‘crawlers seemed to produce best. Nimbus Basin and downstream of Nimbus Hatchery also continued to produce, but the proportion of dark fish and downrunners was higher. Flows have decreased to 1,300 cfs.
FEATHER RIVER, Low Flow Section—River visibility was reduced after the rain to just a couple of feet, so, what had been a pretty decent fly fishing bite turned to drifted ‘crawlers, crawdad tails, and shrimp. There were still some bright fish moving upstream, although most were on the small side. Fishing pressure was very light.
FEATHER RIVER, Shanghai Bend—Striped bass to 23 pounds were being caught, some on flies, between Nicholas Bridge and Shanghai Bend before the rain, but that all changed when mud started pouring in. Bombers, Pencil Poppers and minnows were also scoring nice stripers. It’s going to take awhile for the muddy water to clear, just how long depends on the weather. But, those stripers will hopefully still be around when the river comes back into shape.
FOLSOM LAKE—A morning mid-week fishing trip with Jerry Lampkin of TNG Motorsports Guide Service verified the good trout and king salmon fishing at Folsom Lake. Trolling small Rapalas and Speedy Shiners from just a few feet under the surface to 30 feet deep on downriggers produced a mix of trout and king salmon to 16 inches. Lampkin reported catching even larger fish later in the week. Bass fishing was good, too, at least for some anglers that caught on to the fact that bass are moving shallower—some to less than 10 feet deep as the lake rises. Still, they are responding best to slowly worked soft plastics rather than reaction baits. Fishing pressure has increased dramatically, so get out during weekdays if possible.
RANCHO SECO LAKE—There’s not much change. Rancho Seco is one of the better places to fish for trout around Sacramento. Soak Power Bait, Power Eggs, and Power Worms from shore, and slowly drag woolly buggers, Power Worms, Kastmasters, Apexes, and grubs from pontoon boats, kayaks, float tubes, and canoes.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento—The river blew out again, but before it did, there were early signs of the beginning of the spring striped bass run. An 18 pounder was caught at Bryte’s Beach plus some smaller fish. However, high, muddy water, plus more rain predicted will likely put a hold on returning to fishing for awhile. Lots more sturgeon and bass should be available to anglers when water conditions improve again, however.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knights Landing—The river blew out, but before it did, sturgeon fishing continued to be excellent. It should be as good, or even better when the river drops and clears. Some striped bass might be making a showing as well. When that occurs is anybody’s guess as more rain is predicted.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE— The daily bag limit for panfish has been reduced to 25 fish and incorporated into a combined total bag limit of 25 bluegill and crappie of all species. Not a problem this year as the fishing for them has been slow at best, but good to know. Bass fishing has been up and down, but the bite should get going with warming waters. When it warms, look for more and better fish to head into the tule beds. Once there, plastics like drop-shot worms, light c-rigged Creature Baits, and Senkos will be productive.
LAKE BERRYESSA—There was some good action in the Narrows for spotted bass using Robo worms on a 1/4-ounce darthead in the Aarons Magic color worked very slow down to 30 feet. Most of them weighed about 2 pounds. The water at the north end of the lake was about three degrees warmer, at 54 degrees but fewer fish were found there. Another two weeks and this place should be really good, as the bass seem to be in a prespawn transition.
LAKE SONOMA—The lake is back to full pool and the bass bite is picking up. Soaking jigs, rippin’, crankbaits, and Senkos were all working. Start from the banks and work your way out.
UPPER BLUE LAKE—The middle of the lake will be a good place to troll for trout. There’s plenty of trout here too, with more on the way but few anglers. The bass bite has also been good, but again, few anglers to appreciate them.
LAKE ALMANOR—Fishing pressure is mounting on the weekends as news of the good trout bite continues. Trout are still close to the surface and feeding on the abundant supply of bait. Whether trolling or just staying put by the dam, anglers report fish to over four pounds.
BAUM LAKE—Anglers have been doing fairly well, with fly fishermen catching the lions share. Bait fishing has also picked up, but the best bet has been with flies. BWO’s when cloudy, Griffith’s gnats, callibaetis, zebra midges, woolly buggers, copper John’s in red and pheasant tails are all doing well. Small nightcrawlers fished in the current are doing well for bait anglers, as are Kastmasters and Panther Martins.
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 have come in, but with such light pressure, imagine what the fishing must be like.
LAKE SHASTA—The main lake is fishing well for trout and salmon with both a silver/blue Apex and UV silver HumDinger finding fish from 10 to 25 feet down and 150 to 200 feet behind the boat. Spotted bass fishing was good off main points from the bank out to 40 feet. As the waters rise and the willows come into the lake, look for fish to move in. That’s when the ripbait and spinnerbait bite will kick in.
LAKE SISKIYOU–The hotspot for trout was in front of the boat ramp in 20 to 45 feet of water. Trolling Sep’s dodgers with either a small piece of nightcrawler, or a Sep’s trolling fly olive green worked well when trolling the area in an “S” pattern.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 63-percent capacity. There were lots of boaters out on Sunday after the rains stopped, but there were very few people out during the week. Bass are still biting, but there was no specific information available from Emerald Cove Marina.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake is up with all the rain and business was good at North Shore Resort on Sunday after the storm. The bass are starting to bite.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is up to 63-percent capacity and water clarity is good. The lake received another plant of trophy-sized trout this past week, fish running two to five pounds. Shore anglers and trollers are doing well on trout running two to three pounds with the big fish of the week weighing in at five pounds. Trollers reported success on Rapalas, Cripplures, and flasher/worm combos. Shore anglers are doing best at the dam with Power Bait and Power Eggs. Elmer’s Cove is kicking out limits of bass on crawdads.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 94-percent capacity. Trollers are still catching limits of 9- to 10-inch rainbows and browns from Buck’s Beach to the inlets on a flasher or dodger and worms.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 38-percent capacity. The lake came up again with all the rain and now all three ramps are in operation—Bidwell, Lime Saddle and the Spillway. There was an Angler’s Choice Pro-Am held this past weekend. 14.75 pounds and a 5.78 pounder were leading the event after Saturday. Spots are still hitting all over the lake at 25 to 35 feet on worms, tubes and jigs in browns and greens.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is up and beautiful. There have been two DFG plants so far this year. Boaters are on the lake but few report their success or failure.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake received 1900 pounds of 1/2- to 1 1/2-pound rainbows from the DFG this past Wednesday. One angler reported catching a limit of smallmouth bass to three pounds and breaking off a big largemouth on pumpkin/chartreuse tail worms. Lots of people were out on Sunday with the break in the weather.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—There was no snow here with the last storm and the rain probably helped clear some of the old snow off the road to the lake. Locals have been catching a few holdover rainbows, but most are waiting for the DFG to resume trout plants.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The latest reports from Feather River Outfitters indicated that there was nothing happening here at all.