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.—Done for the season and even the local guides have moved on.
COLUMBIA RIVER, Portland, Ore.—Guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing spent two days fishing the river and a derby, and they hooked three springers on Friday, two hatchery and one wild. They hooked two on Saturday while trolling plug-cut herring between the I-5 and I-205 bridges near the Portland airport. Fishing was “fair”, he said.
EEL RIVER, Main Stem—Still too high to fish, although there would be good numbers of steelhead in here coming back down—and some going up—from all the feeder streams and rivers.
EEL RIVER, South Fork—Perfect green color and “beautiful,” shape, although a little pushy still downriver. Very few anglers are out, despite the fact there are still fish in the river and it’s been decent fishing. One bait drifter caught three on Saturday using roe. It’s been in shape since Friday, but whether it remains that way or not will depend on the amount of rain that hits this week.
GARCIA, GUALALA rivers—All the smaller coastal streams closed the 31st, although the Russian remains open. The Gualala was actually fishing pretty good earlier in the week, but it was low and clear over the weekend, and even a good fly fishermen who fishes it a lot got skunked on Sunday.
NAVARRO, NOYO rivers—Low and clear, closed March 31.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.—Spring salmon fishing is on a high note, with steady action coming for boats anchored up in runs using baits and spinnerbaits. WON Field Reporter Dave Pitts said it’s weeks ahead of schedule, but nobody is complaining, as they throw chromer kings in the box.
RUSSIAN RIVER—The only game in town as the smaller streams all closed on the 31st. New regulations in effect now, though, and no bait may be used. Still all barbless, all catch-and-release. Excellent color and shape on Sunday, and might be fishable this week, depending on where the rains hit. Flowing 1200 cfs on Sunday, and there were five steelies caught at Johnson’s on Sunday alone, and every guide boat caught fish. About 60 percent downers, 40 percent fresh fish, and some in the teens!
UMPQUA RIVER, Ore.—Guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service continues to get nice steelhead for his clients on the North and South forks of the Umpqua, and some days it’s big fish while other days it’s smaller fish. Lots of downrunners, and some nice-sized trout being caught, too, according to Dave Pitts. Some spring king salmon action, mostly down by the mouth. Smallmouth bass fishery around Elkton should take off as the water warms a bit.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp—Water conditions were great, but virtually no one was on the river even though some half-pounders and small adults were still hanging around.
KLAMATH RIVER, Orleans—Bright steelhead were still arriving, but virtually no one was fishing. A bright 10.5 pounder was caught on a Glo-Bug/shrimp combination.
TRINITY RIVER, Del Loma—There was some pretty good fishing for half-pounders and the occasional adult on spinners at Big Squeeze downstream of Del Loma.
TRINITY RIVER, Lewiston—Most of the steelhead still in the upper river are downrunners and should be left undisturbed. However, the Fly Fishing Only Section opened on April 1. While no fish can be kept, fly fishers can have lots of fun fishing for young steelhead, plus the occasional large sea run brown trout.
AMERICAN RIVER— J.D. Richey of J.D. Richey Sportfishing reported steelheading was good, with his clients catching one to three adults to 8 pounds a day plus a handful of halfpounders and lots of 10- to 12-inch smolts. He’s been fishing between Sailor Park and Rossmoor and scoring on nightcrawlers and plugs. He’s only seen one boat and no bank fishermen in several outings.
FEATHER RIVER, Low Flow Section—River conditions are good, but very few steelhead were being caught. Whether it was due to a lack of fish or a lack of fishermen was unclear.
FEATHER RIVER, Shanghai Bend—Striped bass were being caught below Shanghai Bend all the way to the mouth of the Feather on jerkbaits, swimbaits, sardines, and minnows. Most were small, under 8 pounds, but the occasional fish weighing over 15 pounds was being hooked, as well.
FOLSOM LAKE—Trout and king salmon fishing continued to be very good, and larger fish are becoming more prevalent. Jerry Lampkin of TNG Motorsports Guide Service continued to score limits on small Rapalas and Speedy Shiners trolled at 3 mph, but has also been taking some fish on nightcrawlers behind Sling Blades. A friend caught a 5-pound king on a tube with an anchovy. Bass fishing has been up and down as the lake goes up. Bass were starting to work spawning beds when the lake started rising rapidly. Cranks might work one day, plastics the next. Don’t be locked into one pattern.
RANCHO SECO LAKE—Trout left over from the derbies continued to be caught on Power Bait, Power Eggs, and Power Worms from shore. Woolly buggers, Power Worms, Kastmasters, Apexes, and grubs are scoring for anglers fishing from pontoon boats, kayaks, float tubes, and canoes. Some large bass are on beds in the shallows. These should be released if hooked because they produce the fish of the future. Try weightless Senkos and Robo-Worms. Best yet—just look and admire.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento—The spring striped bass run is well underway with good numbers of bass being caught at various spots such as South River Road, Bryte’s Beach, Miller Park, I-Street Bridge and Garcia Bend. Try bloodworms, pileworms, and sardines. Some sturgeon were being reported from Verona as well.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knights Landing—Striped bass fishing is also good above Sacramento. Knight’s Landing, Tisdale, above and below, and all the way up to Colusa have been producing schoolie stripers to 10 pounds on sardines and minnows. Some sturgeon were still being caught, too.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding—Fishing has been very good, and the river is in beautiful shape. Fly fishing using caddis and Mayfly imitations has been very good. Dead drifting nymphs has been best, but there has even been some good dry fly fishing at times. Spin fishermen are drifting nightcrawlers and Glo-Bugs.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE—Still waiting for the spawn, bass angler should look for three or four days of consistent warming weather. Meanwhile, the live bait bite is still consistent with most anglers reporting 15 to 20 fish a day, and up to a high of 40 fish. Most of these fish are coming from the long runs of tule between the state park and Lakeport. Or head to the tule on the north end of the lake and fish a plastic worm in shallow. Roboworm’s red crawler, MMIII and Maverick’s June’s Choice and Ross’s Recipe will do the trick either drop-shot or fished Texas style.
LAKE BERRYESSA—Double and even triple koke hook ups were again seen here as a good year for them is developing, although fish may scatter after the rains. All of the fish came from the upper water column in 8 to 17 feet deep between Skier’s Cove, the ranch and the Big Island. Bass were found on the northwest side below Pope Creek, to the east side, and by the Narrows. A Carolina rigged Roboworm or a grub produced both smallies and largemouth bass as they prepare to spawn. Grubs also produced some nice crappie.
INDIAN VALLEY RESERVOIR—A few anglers have been enjoying excellent bass fishing with several topping 4 pounds. Catfish action also has been good.
UPPER BLUE LAKE—Although the lake has not been planted lately there are still plenty of trout here. Trollers did better than those from the shoreline or docks. The bass bite was also rated as fair. This lake sees little fishing pressure and is a great place to take the family.
LAKE ALMANOR—Brown trout from 3 to 6 pounds have been the focus of many anglers here as they roamed the shorelines looking for pond smelt. Imitations of these, as well as Speedy Shiners in red/gold, Rapalas in black/silver, everyone has their favorites. Trout have scattered from the dam and both the east as well as the west shore has found action.
BAUM LAKE—Baum Lake has been good to great lately, with the best fishing coming on overcast days. On bright sunny days, try a dry fly to rising trout, which are more finicky and tougher to catch on overcast days. There are lots of 8- to 12-inch browns, as well as some larger rainbows. Fishing has been productive all day, with most people concentrating around the boat launch area and the inflow from Crystal Lake.
IRON CANYON RESERVOIR—Latest report showed access to the boat ramp, with water level rising. Often the best fishing of the year on Iron Canyon comes in the spring when the lake is low, as it is right now. We haven’t had any reports yet, but conditions are ideal and fishing should be superb.
KESWICK RESERVOIR–Keswick is fishing good to great right now. The reservoir is muddy in the lower half from recent storms, but the upper sections are clear and fishing well with streamers and nymphs right now. This is proving to be a great springtime option, especially when the Sac is blown out.
LAKE BRITTON—Word from the locals is that the crappie have still not shown up yet.
PIT RIVER—Springtime fishing on the Pit River is on! Recent reports have been good to great, especially in Pit 3 and 5. Combinations of nymphing the pocket waters and some dry fly action midday on warm days (caddis and March Browns). The Pit is not as impacted by runoff as other regional streams.
SHASTA LAKE—The brown trout and bass were the focus here this past week as both have been on the hunt for food. The McCloud and Squaw Creek arms, as well as the Arbuckle Flats area are places to start your troll for trout in the top 10 to 20 feet. Speedy Shiners, Sling Blades, HumDinger’s, Cripplures and Apex’s, were all working. For bass try moving to first and secondary points and back in the coves with swim baits, Mother’s Finest, and Senkos in blue ‘crawler.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is ice-free and the roads are clear, but a cold storm is forecast for most of this week, so all that could change. Call ahead before making the trip. Fishing has been good at the dam using nightcrawlers and salmon eggs for brown trout. The rainbows are spawning now and they should be released, especially the bigger females that might be spilling eggs.
CAPLES LAKE—According to John Voss, not too many people have been fishing this past week. There’s still almost three feet of ice and a couple of feet of snow to auger through. Storms are forecast for the Sierras this week. Call ahead.
CARSON RIVER (East)—Cold weather slowed the snowmelt and water levels are perfect. A local guide fished the river this past week and caught three fish to three pounds on San Juan Worms.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is up to 53-percent capacity. The edge of the ice has melted all around the lake and most people are avoiding the dam due to the deeper water. Most people are heading to Honker, Coot and Mallard where they have to wade through some water to get to the ice, which is still 14 to 15 inches thick away from the shore. A couple of Ed Dillard’s buddies when out on Saturday and caught five fish to 13 inches on Power Bait. In the areas of the lake where the ice has melted 6 to 10 feet away from the shore, try throwing your bait up on the ice and dragging it into the water. Trout are gathering on the edge of the open water looking for an easy meal. Ice in the middle of the lake is getting questionable by local standards and the ice fishing may be over soon.
DONNER LAKE—Local guide, Keith Kerrigan of Sierra Anglers Guide Service, went out this past week and caught 12- and 14-pound Mackinaws while toplining AC Plugs. Rainbows, 12 to 15 inches, are hitting for shore anglers at the west end beach and the boat ramp on nightcrawlers and Power Bait.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is up to 41-percent capacity. The ice has melted 3 to 4 feet away from the shore all around the lake making it too dangerous to get on the ice. The only open water big enough to cast into from the shore is in Frenchman’s Cove to the left of the dam. The boat ramp is still iced in. It’s transition time, but a cold storm is forecast for this week. Call ahead for conditions.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 58-percent capacity. Two buddies of Kyle Neeser, from Crystal Basin Tackle, were toplining a small two blade flasher set trailing a threaded nightcrawler and caught easy limits of rainbows. The fish are right on the surface so use light lures that won’t get too deep. The rainbows are only running 9 to 13 inches; no holdovers or browns.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—At press time, all the roads were open and the lake was ice-free. A cold storm is forecast for the area this week, so call ahead. A county Fish and Game Committee member visited the lake this past week and found 44 anglers fishing the lake from shore. They were using nightcrawlers and Power Bait and had fish up to 6 1/2 pounds. One canoeist was casting a small gold Kastmaster and caught fish up to 2 1/2 pounds.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—Pretty slow here this past week. A 7 1/2-pound Mackinaw was caught by Jim Heinz of Sacramento while trolling at the mouth of the Narrows with a Rapala. The inlet area is producing the most action for planter rainbows on nightcrawlers and Power Bait.
LAKE TAHOE—Mickey Daniels’ boat is back on the water after a lengthy repair and fishing was fair on Sunday. The wind came up and made boat control tough, but his 4 clients still managed to land 9 fish to 5 pounds. The best bite was from 7:30 to 9:00 at 350 to 400 feet on Sling Blade/Koke-a-nut combos and Sting Fish. Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing had two trips on Saturday. The morning trip was slow due to the full moon. The afternoon trip was very good with a strong bite from 2:30 on until they finished up limits of 5 to 7 pounders. Self said they did best at 230 to 260 feet.
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 33-percent capacity. The lake is ice-free and the roads are open. A cold storm is forecast for this week that may dump two feet of snow on the Truckee area, so call ahead. The fishing has been best at the Prosser Creek inlet using nightcrawlers and salmon eggs. Be sure to stay 200 feet from the inlet to avoid getting into the creek closure area.
PYRAMID LAKE—It was windy on Sunday and boaters were having a difficult and sometimes dangerous time. Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters caught six fish to 6 1/2 pounds on frog and pearl FlatFish. Fly fishing has been very good, with the wind allowing the fish to move into the shallows. Crosby’s Lodge reported that Travis Lee picked up a 14 1/2 pounder and Ken Brown landed an 11 3/4-pound cutt’ on black wooly worms in the area south of the South Nets. The Nets area closed March 15. Glen Murphy used a white Flatfish to pick-up a 9 1/2 pounder while trolling.
RED LAKE—Two anglers checked into Woodfords Station and reported catching two rainbows on worms through thinner ice than they would have preferred. Use extreme caution on this lake! There is a cold storm forecast this week that may create travel problems, so call ahead.
SILVER LAKE—No word on any success at this lake was forthcoming from either Caples Lake Resort or Woodfords Station. Weather coming this week is supposed to be windy and COLD. Call ahead before venturing up Hwy 88.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—One daring boater made it to the launch ramp and fished the lake this past week, but didn’t report any results. He said he had to drive through some patches of snow. Others have caught some rainbows off the dam. The storm this week is forecast to be cold and windy so call ahead for road conditions.
TOPAZ LAKE—Fishing has been good for shore anglers and trollers. One boat checked in with two limits of 1 1/2-pound rainbows taken in six hours using flasher/worm combos and black/gold CD Rapalas in size 5 or size 7. Shore anglers have been doing better in the afternoon using nightcrawlers and chartreuse Power Bait. Trollers have been doing best in the SW area while the shore anglers are having the best success on the North end.
TRUCKEE RIVER—As the water warms up, the fish have been moving back out near the current. Try the seams with a black stone, March Brown or a BWO. The storm forecast for this area will most likely change all this with two feet of snow possible.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle is still doing well on 3- to 5-pound Mackinaws trolling over the sandy ledges all around the lake at a depth of 80 to 85 feet with his Double Flutter Spoon.
BENICIA—Tony Lopez at Benicia Bait reported lots of good action on sturgeon and some big striped bass, the stripers from Middle Grounds and the sturgeon from Ozol and the Mothball Fleet, and farther up around Big Cut.
BERKELEY—While the main fleet didn’t make any trips, the fleet is booked for salmon season over the coming weekend. “I’ll give you the good news after that,” said Scott Sutherland rather optimistically. Other boats are focusing on halibut. Captain James Smith on the California Dawn will start trolling on Saturday, and expects live bait sometime after April 15. Captain Jim Smith on the Happy Hooker still had openings for salmon on the weekend, so anyone looking for a last minute ride can call (510) 773-4156.
BODEGA BAY— Anglers here are anxious for salmon season, weather permitting. Not much activity on the water to determine if the prospects look good. Cloverdale based private boater Jim DeMartini on Coyote reported good crabbing with seven pots producing 20 jumbos in the outer bay after a five night soak.
CROCKETT— Captain Gordon Hough on the Morning Star reported good action on the two trips targeting sturgeon in San Pablo Bay. On Tuesday, five anglers scored several shakers and one keeper. Then on Saturday, the stripers moved in and nine anglers caught some sturgeon shakers and 12 striped bass, mostly schoolie sized. Grass and ghost shrimp worked.
EMERYVILLE—The Tigerfish ran a halibut trolling trip, and despite the poor conditions due to big tides, still managed to find a keeper halibut for the nine anglers on board. “They also had some hit and runs that didn’t stick,” said Craig Stone at Emeryville Sportfishing. “They fished main bay and south bay.”
EUREKA—The ocean was right back up after a break early in the week. That break allowed some fishing action, with a good report from a trio of anglers who fished from a boat in Humboldt Bay near an island for limits of redtail surfperch. Raw shrimp worked. Night smelt has been slow due to the big seas. Crabbing, when the sport fleet can run, has been good. Commercial crabbers are still getting up to 1,000 pounds per trip, so the numbers are holding up.
FORT BRAGG—The locals are hoping for a good salmon opener, but this landing is not typically an early season salmon hot prospect. That said, Captain Randy Thornton is offering abalone, crab and salmon combos on the Telstar. That covers what he can do until Pacific halibut opens in May, and rockfish in June.
HALF MOON BAY—Captain Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat ran a couple crab trips scoring limits. On Saturday, he had seven anglers and limits of quality Dungeness crabs. While out checking the pots, he found a real turnaround in water conditions; where a couple weeks back the water was clear and un-salmon like now there is a good plankton bloom and brown water with good bird life. He’s hoping for the best at spots like the Deep Reef and the Gulf of the Farallones.
MARTINEZ—Just about the time the sturgeon action kicks in everyone starts to head down system for halibut. Captain Steve Talmadge on Flash Fishing is one exception, and his week long run of trips found excellent sturgeon action as well as some good striped bass. The boat scored seven keepers, shakers released and missed pumps. Top action came from around the sandbar; he said the sturgeon they caught were loading up on clams.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 69-percent capacity. Shari Jerkins at Emerald Cove Marina reported that one angler caught and released 15 bass from 3 to 5 pounds, and was “very excited” about his good luck. The bass were caught on brown plastics.
CAMP FAR WEST—North Shore Resort reports that the lake is almost full. The bass action has been good for anglers hitting the flooded brush in the coves with spinnerbaits and Senkos.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is 12 feet from full. Trout action has exploded as more fish are being planted weekly. This past week, a 1000-pound load of fish up to 10 pounds was planted by truck, and a pen of 3 to 5 pounders was released at the marina. Shore anglers are really doing well. Several fish in the 8- to 10-pound class were landed by “bankies”. Josh Knieriem of Granite Bay was casting a gold Kastmaster from the beach the day of the plant and landed an 8 pounder and a 10 pounder on 4-pound test line.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—Dillon Davis at Skippers’ Cove Marina reported that bass action is very good for anglers casting swim baits and jerk baits around the docks or over the flooded grassy banks in the back of Keystone Cove. One angler caught and released 15 bass, 2 to 3 pounds, casting a small rainbow swim bait from the docks in the marina. The bass are preparing to spawn, so practice catch-and-release to protect the resource.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 45-percent capacity. As the water temps warm, the bass action just gets better and better. Look for the spotted bass to be up on the bank in 20 feet of water preparing to spawn, though some fish may already be on the beds. Jerk baits, Senkos, tubes, and worms will all work on the bass. The coho action still remains good. Trollers using Sling Blade/minnow or worm combos are catching easy limits of 13- to 15-inch silvers.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is almost full and the water is clearing up. The DFG has made at least two trout plants and fish are being caught. There a lots of campers and fishermen visiting the lake according to Joan Carty at Long Ravine Campgrounds.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—According to Dean Draper at Scott’s Flat Lake Resort, the lake is full. The DFG trout plants have kicked the fishing into high gear and anglers are picking up rainbows running 16 to 24 inches. Shore anglers are using Power Bait or casting lures like the Kastmaster. Trollers do well with a Rapala.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—This lake finally received a DFG trout plant this past week, so things are looking up here. With the warm weather of this past week, there shouldn’t be any snow left at this elevation and roads are clear. It’s finally time to plan a day trip to this beautiful spot.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—This lake is FINALLY scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—Bass action is really picking up as the water warms and the fish move into the shallows. Work the tule banks in the backs of the coves with Senkos, jigs, and worms.