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.—Closed to fishing.
COLUMBIA RIVER, Ore.—More and more springers are entering the system, but they’re only beginning to reach the Gorge upriver. Anglers working the lower Columbia river are running about 50-percent on catching fish right now. Outgoing tides are about the best. Portland area anglers got into some good salmon using herring rather than anchovy’s, according to WON Field Reporter Dave Pitts, who said they fish the Columbia the same as the Rogue: anchor up in a potential pathway and wait for them to come by and hit.
EEL RIVER—Closed on the 31st.
EEL RIVER, South Fork—Closed on the 31st.
GARCIA, GUALALA rivers—Closed to fishing.
NAVARRO, NOYO rivers—Closed to fishing.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.—Hammered by storm after storm, spring salmon fishing plummeted, as much a part of having a hard time keeping a boat in one spot as the high water. High seas at the entrance also kept the springers from coming into the system, according to WON Field Reporter and Chetco Outdoor Store manager, Dave Pitts. When things calm back down the action should start right back up again.
ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass—Guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service had a great day here on the 27th when they caught their 3-apiece limits of fresh hatchery steelies 6 to 8 pounds on one drift. They put in at the Ferry Road ramp and took out at Hog Creek. They used small roeballs sidedrifting.
RUSSIAN RIVER—The river got 1 1/2 inches of rain and it was still raining on Monday morning. Might start clearing the 15th or so and might still be a few downers and bluebacks, but it’s pretty much over for the year, or definitely slowing down, according to Nick Wheeler of Kings Sport and Tackle. Look for shad to begin in May.
SMITH RIVER—Very few anglers around here and the top of the season is over for big steelies, there are still some downers available and the spring run of bluebacks should really come in now, with the recent rain, according to Dave Castellanos of Cast Guide Service in Smith River. The season remains open here through the end of April, and there’s still some good fishing to be had, he said. The river was high, but still fishable on Monday morning, he said. Castellanos has a Coast Guard License and is planning on running ocean fishing trips for salmon and other species within two months, based out of Brookings, Oregon.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Ore.–High and muddy for the last week, according to guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. There are a few spring Chinook showing in the Winchester area of the river. If the river levels drop early this week like they are projecting, the fishing will pick up for last minute winter steelhead and spring Chinook, he said.
UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork, Ore.—The South Fork was fishing great for fresh steelies on April 1 and 2, as the higher level pushed all the spawned out fish out, and brought in a new batch of fresh fish. Best area was Stanton Park near Canyonville, and yarn balls were the chosen bait for bankies and driftboaters.
WILLAMETTE RIVER, Ore.– Weather and a rising river made it tough for springer fishing. Dave Pitts said that anglers upriver are seeing fair fishing just below Portland. Anglers fishing on anchor should target pinch areas and deeper slots where fish are traveling. Three methods are working here: spinners, threaded herring both red and green label and wrapped plugs, and remember, the higher the flow the tighter to the bank you need to be.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp—Water conditions turned south with snow and rain, but fishable conditions returned quickly after breaks in the weather and anglers were catching some adults weight 4 or 5 pounds, along with a like number of halfpounders. Roe and a Fish Pill out-produced other baits. Virtually no one was on the river fishing. A wooden bridge below Klamathon collapsed so that section of river was closed to boating.
KLAMATH RIVER, Orleans—Storms blew out the river below Happy Camp.
TRINITY RIVER, Del Loma—Stormy weather brought up the river and dirtied it up, but there were still a few halfpounders and adults, mostly down-runners around, but hardly anyone to fish for them.
TRINITY RIVER, Lewiston— Fishing on the newly opened Fly Fishing Only Section was very good for 12- to 14-inch trout, plus the occasional larger halfpound steelhead and rare adult. Most of the action has been on nymphs such as San Juan worms, prince nymphs, red copper Johns, fished under indicators, but dry flies like yellow humpies have been effective on warm sunny days.
BERKELEY—Scott Sutherland reported rather tough fishing conditions for the fleet on opening weekend of salmon season, and while the counts weren’t high, there were some kings caught on Saturday. Captain Jim Smith on the Happy Hooker fished halibut with shiners on Friday, then switched up for salmon on Saturday. The halibut effort found three flatties and more fish lost, and one striper lost at the side of the boat. The boat scored two kings on Saturday, one weighing 14 pounds. Captain James Smith on the California Dawn ran his first halibut trip, a trolling trip, for one bass and one halibut. “Conditions weren’t the best,” he said.
BODEGA BAY— Captain Rick Powers on the New Sea Angler reported good action on the opener targeting kings on krill. Out of 20 to 25 hookups, his anglers boated 10 keepers to 17 pounds. The action came from 12 miles out at the 63 fathom line. If not for the rough seas Friday and marginal conditions, he said they would have done much better.
EMERYVILLE—The fleet ran out to try the waters south of the Farallones for salmon, and while the bite wasn’t hot, the boats found some action with the New Huck Finn highliner with seven kings for 24 anglers. The C Gull II had three and the New Seeker two. Biggest fish was around 14 pounds. Sunday’s ocean conditions were unfishable, so the fleet stayed in.
EUREKA—The ocean has been rough all week, and looks like it will remain bad, so not much to do on the ocean side.
FORT BRAGG—With 20 footers rolling across the bar, no one got to fish the salmon season opener. The ocean wasn’t too bad outside, but there’s no getting out of the harbor when the big ones are breaking.
HALF MOON BAY—After consulting the Terrafin SST and Chlorophyll reports, Captain Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat headed for some good looking water south of the Farallones, found some murre birds and bait, and hooked up a king right away, but that one got away. They headed north towards the islands and found good water, but only some more near misses on kings. “It will take a few days looking to find the motherlode of salmon, but when we do, anglers are in for some good fishing,” said Mattusch.
MARTINEZ—Water temperatures fell a degree, and the bite also fell reported Captain Steve Talmadge on Flash Fishing. “We had some small stripers, shaker sturgeon and one keeper sturgeon on our trips on Thursday and Friday,” he said. Still plenty of fish visible on the sonar, with concentrations at the Benicia Bridge, Buoy 2 and the Glomar buoys.
SAUSALITO—None of the Sausalito based party boats ran for the salmon opener.
SHELTER COVE—The salmon opener was unfishable for anglers here, who must beach launch their boats.
BOCA LAKE—Poor weather off-and-on all week, with heavy snows, kept anglers off the water. Give the snowplows a chance to clear the roads after the big storms that came through Sunday and Monday of this week.
CAPLES LAKE—Weather has been BAD! 3 feet of snow last week and more coming in over the weekend made for tough travel and fishing conditions. Some diehard lodge guests did get out and fish at the dam and behind the lodge and caught over 40 fish. Trevor Bach of Sonoma and his friends used worms and Power Bait beads to catch rainbows, browns and brookies. The ice is still two to three feet thick with one to three feet of snow on top.
CARSON RIVER (East)—Cold and windy with storms blasting this area all this past week and forecast into this week.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 55-percent capacity. The cold weather this past week froze over most of the open water. The weather kept everyone off the lake this past week. Ed Dillard reported that the ice is getting thin around the edges of the lake and that in the afternoons it can be dangerous to get on or off the ice. The ice is getting soft under the hard surface layer that refreezes each night. If the weather clears up and it gets warmer, the ice fishing crowd needs to use extra caution due to the unstable nature of the ice. Better yet, call it a winter and wait for the ice to melt so you get your boat out and start trolling next month.
DONNER LAKE—Severe winter storm warnings were up for this area for most of last week and into the first part of this week. Wait for the roads to be cleared after the storms break mid-week. Anglers had been doing well at the west end beach and the boat ramp on Power Bait, salmon eggs and worms. Some big Macks prowling the lake shallows for shore casters throwing big Krocodile or Kastmaster spoons.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 42-percent capacity. There is open water all around the lake with some patches of ice still floating around. The fishing is best on sunny days for rainbows and browns for shore anglers using nightcrawlers, Power Bait and salmon eggs. Travel around the lake is still difficult so use caution.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—Snowed in this past week with more weather coming in early this week. It might take crews until late in the week to get the roads cleared. Call ahead.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Both roads into the lake are open and some nice fish have been caught. A local Native American angler picked up a 6-pound rainbow while casting a Thomas Buoyant from the shore this past week.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—The lake is scheduled for another DFG trout plant this week. The lake is at 92-percent capacity. The rainbow planter bite is still very good up in the Narrows by the second boat ramp for anglers using nightcrawlers, Power Bait and casting spinners. One 5-pound Mack was checked in by an angler who was trolling a Rapala in the Narrows.
LAKE TAHOE—Snow and wind made it very difficult to get out. Mickey Daniels got out for a short time before the wind picked up on Sunday and caught 3 fish in 15 minutes at 150 feet on J-Plugs and Sling Blade/Koke-a-nut combos. More weather was forecast for the early part of this week.
PROSSER LAKE—Heavy snows this past week and into the first part of this week have shut down the whole area. Wait until the storms break mid-week and the roads get plowed. Fishing was best at the dam and the Prosser Creek inlet.
PYRAMID LAKE—Poor weather, including heavy winds, have kept most boats off the water. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters took out two clients and landed 6 to 10 fish up to 22 inches trolling Apex lures at 15 to 20 feet. Fly casters are doing well in the area south of the South Nets for some big fish up to 11-pounds, 6-ounces.
RED LAKE—The ice is getting thin and ice fishing is NOT recommended by Dave Kirby at Woodfords Station. Better to be safe than sorry, especially with lots of snow on top of the ice hiding hazardous spots.
SILVER LAKE—Weather was brutal all this past week and more weather is coming in on Sunday and Monday. Storm is forecast to break mid-week and then it might be safe to give the lake a try. Should be 2 to 3 feet of ice plus a big layer of snow to get through to the water so you can fish.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—Snowed in by a week of lousy weather.
TOPAZ LAKE—Heavy winds have the lake sounding like a day at the coast with big waves crashing on the shore. No boaters have been out and shore anglers don’t last long enough to catch more than a fish or two. Weather is forecast to break by mid-week.
TRUCKEE RIVER—Severe winter weather throughout this area for the past week has kept anglers at home. After the storm breaks mid-week, try the seams of the current with a BWO, small black stone or a midge.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—Snowed in and more snow is coming. It will take a while to get the roads cleared, so call ahead first to see if the road is open.
AMERICAN RIVER— Fishing pressure is still virtually non-existent, but there are still some nice steelies being caught by the very few anglers on the water. While most fish are halfpounders and small spring adults to about 4 pounds, there are still some larger winter fish to 8 pounds to provide extra excitement. Drift nightcrawlers and backtroll plugs. Fly fishers can score in the 1,100 cfs flows on dead-drifted nymphs under indicators and by swinging steelhead streamers such as that old standby, the Boss.
FEATHER RIVER—Some big striped bass were reported last week, including a 40 pounder taken at Shanghai Bend on a shallow running Bomber. The numbers aren’t big, but the size can be. Most of the larger fish are being caught on artificial, even flies. Reports of nice fish being caught were coming all the way down to the mouth. Steelheading is about over on the Low Flow Section.
FOLSOM LAKE—Inconsistent weather meant inconsistent fishing, especially for bass. Trout and king salmon fishing continued to perk along with anglers who put in their hours scoring limits and near limits of king salmon and trout. Small Rapalas and Speedy Shiners trolled at fairly fast speeds continued to score, but so did slower trolled nightcrawlers and shad worked behind dodgers. Bass fishing continued to be on again, off again with the up and down weather. Bass really want to go into spawning mode but are being thrown off balance by the flaky weather. Some days, slowly worked plastics have been the way to go, others, especially warm, sunny days, bass are more active and have been attacking crankbaits.
RANCHO SECO LAKE—Trout fishing continued to be pretty good, especially for anglers in floating devices. Slowly drag woolly buggers, Power Worms, Kastmasters, Apexes, and grubs.
Nice bass are still on beds in the shallows, but nasty days turn off the bite. Fish weightless Senkos and Robo-Worms, and release unharmed, please.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento—The word is out and all the popular spots like Bryte Beach are crowded. But, lots of those anglers are catching fish on bloodworms, sardines and anchovies. Most of the fish being caught are schoolies to about 8 pounds. Miller Park, I-Street Bridge, Verona, the Virgin Sturgeon and Garcia Bend are some of the other good spots.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knights Landing—Striped bass fishing wasn’t red hot, but folks putting in their time have been catching their limits, mostly on minnows. Fish to about 8 pounds were being caught all the way to Colusa. A few sturgeon were still being caught, but not many anglers were trying for them.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding—Trout fishing was excellent once again, and conditions were perfect for fly fishing. They were taking dries on warm, sunny days, and fishing was even good on stormy days so long as the wind doesn’t come up too strongly. Most success is still coming on caddis and PMD imitations dead drifted under indicators. Spin fishermen continued to score drifting nightcrawlers and Glo-Bugs.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 72-percent capacity. The big news here is that some kokanee were caught by a local troller. The local reported catching 4 kokes in the 12-inch range and metered more schools of fish up in the river arm. The spotted bass continues unabated and fish are still running 3 to 5 pounds. Weather has been a problem most of the week with strong winds and rain.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake is at about 85-percent capacity. Bass fishing is good with anglers reportedly catching fish from 3 to 5 pounds. Wind and weather has put a damper on the number of anglers hitting the lake.
COLLINS LAKE—A triple trophy trout plant for the Easter weekend has kicked the bite into high gear. Everyone is catching fish, both trollers and shore anglers. The smaller fish are 2 to 2 1/2 pounds while the bigger fish are running 4 to 11 1/2 pounds. Trollers are using Rapalas, Kastmasters, and flasher/worm combos. Shore anglers are doing very well with Power Bait, worms and casting spoons, such as a Kastmaster. Some bass are hitting for the trout anglers, too.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is back up to 93-percent capacity. One houseboater caught a 14-inch rainbow in the marina on worms. Weather has been a problem all week and another storm is forecast for early this week.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 47-percent capacity and the rain isn’t through yet! Fishing has been tough with all the bad weather. The bass and coho are still hitting but wind and rain has made boating uncomfortable to say the least.
ROLLINS LAKE—Poor weather has put a damper on the number of anglers visiting the lake. With the high water level, Long Ravine should be able to move their dock system back into the shore and get the marina operational before too long. Anglers who get out are picking up some planter rainbows off the points on Power Bait.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—Very poor weather has made fishing difficult. Snow is forecast for early this week and that’s on top of the poor weather of last week. The lake has been planted by the DFG so action should improve with some nice weather.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—This lake is scheduled for its second DFG trout plant this week. Weather this past week has been brutal and more snows are forecast all the way down to 2000 feet.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The DFG called the Georgetown Ranger Station to confirm that the lake had been planted. The weather has been too poor to allow very many anglers up to the lake and another storm is forecast for early this week most likely bringing snow.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—Poor weather most of this past week and more coming this week has slowed the bass fishing here. The bass were moving up into the tules where some 2 to 3 pounders were being caught on Senkos sand minnows. Wait for the weather to improve.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE—It was a week of waiting out the weather as bass anglers searching to their “personal best” waited for the females to go on beds but cold weather brought water temperatures back down. Later this week, if the skies dry up the hunt will resume. Minnows still produced the numbers, and a few larger fish, but there were mixed results on artificials. Swimbait productivity changed daily.
LAKE BERRYESSA—A strong yet inconsistent trout, koke, salmon and bass bite settled in with the weather front. Drop-shotting shad-colored worms can be a good place to start while we wait for the waters to settle and warm back up for the spawn. Try the Narrows or up by Putah Creek. Skiers Cove, the Ranch House, and the Big Island good areas to focus your trolling efforts for trout and salmon. The salmon will be deeper.
UPPER BLUE LAKE—Gearing up for a trout tournament on the 25th and 26th at the Narrows Resort, look for the pressure to build as the storms pass. Trolling mid-lake at 40 feet with an Arctic Fox with the action disc, in brown or black has been doing very well.
LAKE PILLSBURY—Normally planted this time of year; it will be delayed because of the lawsuit filed against the DFG by an environmental group. Lake Pillsbury is just one of many lakes throughout the state that now has to be reviewed, again.
LAKE ALMANOR—Trout are scattered, although there are some still at the dam, most are off forging for pond smelt while they wait for the hatches to begin. For now hang by the shoreline. The public ramp on the west side is now accessible, making this side easier to access.
BAUM LAKE—Reports from Baum Lake have varied but indicated that the fishing there is good to great when overcast conditions prevail, and tough when the weather’s nice and skies are blue. On overcast days there are some BWO’s and lots of midges hatching, while sunny days show PMD’s as the primary bug activity. Brown trout from 8-12 inches, as well as some larger rainbows were reported. Concentrate around the boat launch area and inflow from Crystal Lake.
BRITTON LAKE—Watch for crappie bite to start with warmer weather. Most current reports from locals suggest that the crappie are still not showing.
BURNEY CREEK—Opens to fishing on Saturday, April 24.
FALL RIVER—Opens to fishing on Saturday, April 24. Last year’s season opener was great, with epic hatches of PMDs that normal don’t get started until mid-May.
HAT CREEK—Always a good bet, for a fun challenge, try catching trout here on as many tactics as you can: small indicators with nymphs, swinging wet flies and/or streamers, and, of course, with a well-presented dry fly. The Powerhouse 2 Riffle is one of the best spots on the creek, but also one of the most popular. Anglers seeking a real challenge should sight-cast to trout in the fabled “Carbon Flats” section, and those looking for solace can hike into the freestone section just above Lake Britton.
IRON CANYON—Often the best fishing of the year on Iron Canyon comes in the spring when the lake is low, as it is right now. The road in is likely snowed in today from recent storms, but should clear by mid to late week.
KESWICK RESERVIOR—The boat ramp at Keswick is closed again for dredging efforts, scheduled to re-open this summer.
LEWISTON LAKE—Some days it fishes great for big rainbows, other days the fish are hard to find. The best success has come drifting small midge patterns under indicators, but some anglers are also doing well slow-stripping leeches with intermediate lines in the slower moving stretches. A nightcrawler and Power Bait can also be deadly here.
MCCLOUD RIVER–Opens to fishing on Saturday, April 24. The heavy snowpack in the Mt. Shasta area may create some heavy runoff from Hawkins Creek down for the season opener, so the best bet will likely be the higher stretches near Ash Camp and just below McCloud Dam, or the Upper McCloud near Fowler’s Camp.
PIT RIVER—Access to the Pit may not be until later this week but once the snow melts the Pit should be fishing great again. Try a combination of nymphing the pocket waters for some dry fly action midday on warm days caddis, March browns, or some PMD’s. Open to catch and release only, barbless hooks, artificials only from Lake Britton dam downstream. Good reports from the few fishermen there recently suggest size 16 dark lords a favorite.
LAKE SHASTA—Try Senkos, worms, and spinner baits for the bass off first and secondary points. Numbers are being taken including a few larger fish. Trout are by the dam and Dry Creek arm, as are salmon. Head to the Pitt arm for trout feeding on the early plankton bloom and limit being taken.