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.
COLUMBIA RIVER, Ore.—Best salmon action is taking place at two places: one between Davis and Frenchmen’s Bars, the other from the I-5 Bridge to the Railroad crossing, according to WON Field Reporter Dave Pitts. Boaters fishing on the anchor saw fair success while trollers fared better. Pro Cured baits here worked well in the chartreuses color. “A good number of fish came approximately two to three feet off of the bottom, while others were fishing just below the midway point in some 25 feet of water,” Pitts said. Fishing the Astoria area was way different, and anchored anglers faired well on fresh kings with herring and sardine wrapped K-15’s and 16’s. Chinook quota data indicates 9,640 kings were caught, and 6,950 of those are going against the 17,200 which is roughly 41% this seasons quota filled.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.—The spring salmon bite turned on again in a big way after a brief hiatus during the storm, and anglers have been finding bright chrome springers in the lower end in very good numbers, especially for this time of year. The best of the run is still to come!
ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass, Ore.—More steelhead have crossed Gold Rey dam than anytime in the past six years, and you can see the fish, but cold water has “catching” difficult, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Anglers are still getting a few fish a day, but the bite will really turn on when the weather—and water—warms a few degrees.
RUSSIAN RIVER—According to Nick Wheeler at Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville, the river was just two days away from being fishable when it got hit with a one-two punch: the recent rains, and they opened the flood gates on Lake Sonoma, blowing the river out again and along with it, any chance of steelhead fishing the rest of the season. The high flows are good for the steelies, though, ensuring easy passage up for the last of the run and down for the spawned-out fish. The river is expected to come up 17 to 20 feet. Get ready for shad season in May.
SMITH RIVER—Season closes end of the month, but it’s pretty much already done with if you go by the lack of anglers and lack of fishing reports.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Ore.—Amazingly, the winter run of steelhead was strong last week. From Lone Rock Slide ramp in Glide downstream to the confluence of the North fork and South Fork of the Umpqua river, there have been large numbers of fresh steelhead being caught. “On Sunday, April 11, I saw a dozen steelhead and two spring Chinook get caught between Amacher boat ramp and Hesness boat ramp in a short couple hours,” said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service.
UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork, Ore.– Successful fishing for steelhead is becoming spotty. There are still some fresh fish being caught this last week, according to guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service, although there are more reports of spawned out fish being caught as they are struggling to make there way back to the open waters of the ocean.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp—Water conditions improved within a few days after the last storms and fishing picked right back up. The best action for a mix of halfpounders and a few adults to about 4 pounds was coming on roe and a Fish Pill.
KLAMATH RIVER, Orleans—The river cleared all the way to Weitchpec, and anglers around Ti Bar were doing particularly well catching mostly halfpounders on nymphs and egg patterns under indicators.
TRINITY RIVER, Del Loma—The river was clearing and dropping but virtually no one was fishing all the way from Douglas City to the mouth at Weitchpec.
TRINITY RIVER, Lewiston—Trout fishing continued to be good for mostly small trout on the Fly Fishing Only Section. San Juan worms, prince nymphs, red copper Johns, and prince nymphs fished under indicators have been working best, but when the sun comes out and the weather warms, dry flies are producing trout, as well.
BOCA LAKE—The lake level has doubled to 31-percent capacity. The lake is ice-free and access is good. The best fishing is at the dam for browns and rainbows. Rainbows are in spawning mode and should all be released to allow them to reproduce up the streams.
CAPLES LAKE—The lake is at 52-percent capacity. There’s too much snow and bad weather for ice fishing. Lake got three feet of snow this past week and a stormy week is forecast to drop a few more feet this week.
CARSON RIVER (East)—Derek Rust at Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that rainbows, 14 to 16 inches, are hitting BWO’s on warmer days. The weather forecast for this week calls for strong winds and snow that should put a damper on the fishing. Alpine County will begin planting the West and East Forks in preparation for the General Trout opener on April 24 later this week.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 56-percent capacity. Poor weather is forecast for the area this week which will put a damper on fishing until the storms clear.
DONNER LAKE—The lake is at 43-percent capacity. The lake is ice-free and fishing is sporadic at best. Some anglers are catching limits of rainbows on Power Bait, worms and salmon eggs on the west end of the lake. Some Mackinaws are hitting for trollers who can get a boat launched. The low water level leaves the ramp so shallow that a boat trailer can drop off the end of the concrete ramp and get stuck. Use caution if bringing a boat, unless it’s a car topper.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 43-percent capacity. The lake is ice-free and fishing was excellent before the weather moved in. Anglers have been limiting out on salmon eggs and Power Bait at the Frenchman’s boat ramp and the dam. Poor weather is forecast through most of this week. Call ahead before heading up here!!
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 59-percent capacity and scheduled for another DFG trout plant this week. Wind and snow this week will make for difficult access for anglers. Hopefully the DGFG can get in and make the plant. Local fishing club members hit the lake this past week before the weather and caught rainbows up to 18 inches toplining grubs and threaded nightcrawlers. Fish SHALLOW without blades!!
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Strong winds have blown most anglers off the lake for days. Snow is in the forecast for this week, so wait for the weather to clear.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—The lake level is over 88-percent capacity. The lake received their DFG plant this past Friday. Fishing for planters has been good at the inlet and at the first and second dams. Some Mackinaws to 3 pounds have been checked in by trollers working the Narrows with Rapalas.
LAKE TAHOE—The weather has made it tough on fishermen this past week and a storm hitting the area this week won’t help the fishing any. Both Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters and Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing were doing well before the winds kicked up. Daniels was doing well in the early morning for 3 to 5 pounders at 260 to 350 feet. Self has been doing better in the afternoons, but limiting out on both his morning and afternoon charters on fish running 2 to 7 pounds. Self has been getting most of his fish at 140 to 250 feet deep with spoons and plugs. Shore anglers using inflated nightcrawlers are picking up some nice rainbows. Release the bigger spawners that may be spilling eggs or milt.
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 34-percent capacity. This lake is still pretty much frozen over with the only open water located at the inlets of the creeks. Fishing at the Prosser Creek inlet is the best. The ice is TOO THIN for ice fishing, so stay off!!
PYRAMID LAKE—Windy weather is still playing havoc with the trollers. On the days that boats can get out, the fishing has been fair. Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported that it took all day covering half the lake to catch a dozen fish. His biggest fish on two trips were a 23 incher and a 26 incher. Frog Flatfish are working in the 17- to 30- foot range. Fly casters are still doing well on the south end of the lake. It seems that when the weather is at its worst, the fly fishing is at its best. An 11-pound, 5-ounce cutt’ was weighed in by a fly caster this past week at the Pyramid Store.
RED LAKE—TOO THIN for ice fishing anymore. Wait until the ice clears!!
SILVER LAKE—The lake is at 16-percent capacity. The ice here is still three feet thick, but the weather has been miserable and more snow and wind is forecast through most of this week.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 42-percent capacity. The lake is ice-free and some boaters have made it in, but the ramp is very muddy. One boater couldn’t get his boat out this past week and had to bring another rig in the next day to retrieve it. Fishing is pretty good for rainbows, but keep in mind that the bigger fish are preparing to spawn and need to be released so they can reproduce; some big females will already be spilling eggs. Reports of some nice browns and Mackinaw in the double digits, too.
TOPAZ LAKE—Trollers were doing pretty well this past week before the weather moved in. Two boats with three anglers caught 9 nice rainbows. Don Richter of Claremont picked up a 3 3/4 pounder while trolling a firetiger CD Rapala on the east side of the lake at 12 feet. A 4 pounder was taken by a local angler at “the Rock”.
TRUCKEE RIVER—Fishing on the warmer days has been good. Remember to make sure that you are using barbless hooks because the game warden is relentless in his enforcement of this regulation. The river is still under catch-and-release restrictions until the General Trout Season opener on April 24.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 66-percent capacity and scheduled for another DFG trout plant this week. Snow is forecast for this area through most of this week, so hopefully the DFG will be able to make the plant. Fishermen haven’t been coming up here due to the poor weather and no current reports were available.
AMERICAN RIVER—Steelheading is winding down, but the first reports were coming in on striped bass being caught at the lower end of the river, down around the Highway 80 Bridge. Try sardines and jumbo minnows.
FEATHER RIVER—Some big striped bass continued to be caught around Boyd’s Pump and Shanghai Bend on Pencil Poppers, minnows and swimbaits. Nice trout are being caught by fly fishermen on the Low Flow Section near the hatchery on small nymphs fished under indicators.
FOLSOM LAKE—Bass have been moving up into shallower water less than 10 feet deep. Fishing with plastics has been far more consistent than with reaction baits. Weightless, wacky-style Senkos, dart-heading Inconsistent weather meant inconsistent fishing, especially for bass. Trout and king salmon fishing slowed but trollers fishing hoochies, and slow rolled shad down to around 35 feet were scoring some kings, while small Rapalas, Needlefish and nightcrawlers behind dodgers were scoring trout between Granite Bay and Dike 8.
RANCHO SECO LAKE—Trout fishing slowed down as heavy pressure has taken its toll on the trout left over from the derbies. A few bass were still being caught on weightless Senkos and Robo-Worms, and release unharmed, please.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento—In a word—great! That’s striper fishing at various places along the river. South River Road, Miller Park, Sandy Beach, Bryte’s Beach and Verona are some of the better spots for fishing bloodworms, sardines and minnows. Between Clarksburg and Courtland has been good for trollers working Bombers and P-line Predators between 10 and 15 feet deep. Some sturgeon were being caught at Verona, too.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knights Landing—Striped bass fishing really took off last week, and many anglers were catching limits, mostly on minnows. Most fish were schoolies to 10 pounds, but an increasing number of fish weighing from 15 to 30 pounds were making a showing.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding—Trout fishing continued to be very good, with fish to 3 pounds being caught mostly on caddis and PMD imitations dead drifted under indicators. Spin fishermen continued to score drifting nightcrawlers and Glo-Bugs.
BERKELEY—Halibut fishing showed some big improvement, with up to two fish per rod reported for trollers and double digit counts for the boats that had live shiner perch for bait. Captain James Smith on the California Dawn said their first trip in good conditions was Friday, and his 12 anglers caught nine halibut and five striped bass. The fish were coming from all over, including San Bruno Shoals, Alameda, and Paradise. Scott Sutherland reported good salmon action on the Flying Fish after that boat ran up above Point Reyes, with lots of action and scratched bait and six kings boxed before the bite shut off. The boats that stayed in the bay reported four to six salmon each.
BODEGA BAY— Outstanding king salmon action with good action earlier in the week on salmon, with 22 limits reported on the New Sea Angler. The bite tapered off later as the weather came up and made hooking and landing fish difficult, but the few boats willing to ride the waves caught fish every trip out. The action has been moving around, with the top bite a little northwest of Bodega Head, then a little farther south later. A healthy mixed grade of fish topped by 14 to 16 pounders most days.
CROCKETT—Captain Gordon Hough reported for Captain Mike Shimel on the Morning Star on three trips. While Tuesday’s trip scored striper keepers, there were no sturgeon keepers boated. Wednesday’s group scored two keeper sturgeon and Saturday’s trips scored three legal sturgeon. The top bait was a toss up between ghost and grass shrimp.
EUREKA—No let up on the weather. Even the in-bay perch spots were unfishable due to the westerly swell that was pounding Elk River Beach. The night smelt are around, but they won’t run in the rough stuff either.
FORT BRAGG—Anglers out of this port got on the salmon board with from less than one around to near limits of kings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, despite rugged ocean conditions that made boating the fish difficult. Fish to 25 pounds were caught, but not all were big, just a good range of 8 to 12 pounders mostly.
GOLDEN GATE—The salmon fleet spent some time looking for kings, and there are some fish out there, they just aren’t thick. Most days, the boats were lucky to report a fish or two. Action came from up at Point Reyes, and at the Weather Buoy. There are big numbers south of Pigeon Point and north of Point Reyes, so just a matter of time for the fleet to get into some kings.
HALF MOON BAY—Captain Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat said the fleet was ready to give it another try on the weekend, but most boats turned around after meeting the big seas building outside the harbor. Most anglers are adopting a wait and see attitude, hoping for the fish down around Monterey Bay start moving up the line.
LOCH LOMOND—Captain Jim Cox of Jim Cox Sportfishing reported good action on a sturgeon/striper trip to San Pablo Bay with one keeper sturgeon, one shaker sturgeon, four keeper stripers and two shaker bass. The bass weighed up to 12 pounds, the sturgeon measured 55 inches. He said the crabs are thick, and you have to bring extra bait.
SAN PABLO BAY—Some good sturgeon action popping, with keepers reported on the sportfishing boats targeting striped bass and sturgeon. There are lots of crabs around, so anglers should be prepared by bringing lots of bait.
SAUSALITO—The salmon boats got out earlier in the week and found spotty salmon action. Seems like there’s not a lot of fish above Pigeon Point, but that didn’t stop an angler on the Outer Limits from catching his limit of kings, one weighing 20 pounds.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 74-percent capacity. Spotted bass action is good, but fish are getting ready to spawn and anglers should practice catch-and-release!! Spots are still running 3 to 5 pounds and are hitting drop-shot worms, tubes, and Senkos.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake is at 89-percent capacity. Colder weather this past week slowed the action. One angler fished the backs of the coves this past week and only caught six small fish.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is 7 feet from full. Two pens of raised fish and a trophy plant were released this past week. Fishing is fantastic with lots of big rainbows being caught by trollers and bait anglers. An 8 pounder, two 9’s, and an 11 1/2 pounder were weighed in this past week. Several trout bearing $100 tags were caught by lucky fishermen. Many limits of 2 to 3 pounders are coming in. Some bass are being caught incidental to the many trout, though anglers targeting bass should be doing well on the spots right now.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 98-percent capacity. There hasn’t been much fishing pressure here lately. No DFG plants have been made since before last year and many of the other lakes in the area are seeing regular plants. There are turkeys around for boat hunters accessing the public lands around the lake.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 50-percent capacity. Bass and coho action is still in high gear. Spotted bass are moving up into pre-spawn mode. Bass, up to 4 pounds, are being caught all around the lake at 20 to 25 feet on worms, tubes, crankbaits, and live bait. Coho are hitting minnows and nightcrawlers at the Green Bridge and Foreman Creek according to recent reports, but are still hitting all over the lake. The silvers are running 13 to 15 inches and cruising at a depth of 10 to 30 feet.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is at 93-percent capacity. The lake hasn’t been planted for a month. Some planters are still being caught, but fishing pressure has been low according to Long Ravine Resort. Their docks and boat slips may be put back in place later this week, but weather could change that, so call ahead.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake is at 99-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. Not much action here recently with the unstable weather and there is a possibility of snow this week. Some planters have being caught by trollers.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—The lake was planted this past week, but the weather has been unstable reducing the fishing pressure on the lake. As soon as spring finally arrives, action should pick up here.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is full! Some anglers have been coming up to take advantage of the recent plant, but no one has reported any success to the Georgetown Ranger Station. The day-use fee that was instituted last year will be going up to $7, so be prepared to pay!!
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The bass action is dependent on the water levels. When the water is up in the tules, so are the fish. Senkos and jigs have been picking up a few fish. Most of the locals are tight-lipped about the fishing here, so reliable reports have been hard to come by lately.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE—Still waiting for waters to warm up for the bass spawn, and better weather for fishing, anglers are arriving only to find clear waters making for a tough shallow water and swimbait bite. Lakeport, parts of Nice, and the tules between Lakeport and the state park have been the more productive waters. Reports indicate that the bite is slow and baits need to be slowly moved. You can try pitching plastic baits and jigs into the flooded tules, or drop-shot’s and shaky head worms for the better results, or minnows.
LAKE BERRYESSA— Smoke colored grubs on 1/9-ounce darthead jig or a Carolina-rigged Robo Worm in Aarons Magic color fished from 5 to 10 feet of water found bass in the Narrows and the main body. Bass were moving in and pairing up when the water was warms up. Early in the morning, start in the top 10-15 feet and then drop down 30-45 later in the day for kokes and trout. Skiers Cove and the Big Island continue to be the hot spots.
UPPER BLUE LAKE—Gearing up for the annual charity trout tournament on the 24th and 25th at the Narrows Resort. Anglers are hoping for a promised DFG plant. Currently under stormy conditions, anglers are finding better success in the Narrows and east basin at 35 to 40 feet with larger fish at 40 feet. A few regulars are finding limits, but most have been getting 3 or 4 fish from 16 to 18 inches. A 29-inch fish was rumored to be caught off the highway as well as a 6 and 7 pounder from old plants, but they require heavier set-ups than normally used here and most of these fish are lost. Trolling here is done slowly, at 1 1/2 miles. For better success add an action disk to your flies.
INDIAN VALLEY RESERVIOR—A few curious anglers are finding the roads in fair-to-good condition and the bass biting, as well as a few trout. Spinnerbaits, jigs, and a variety of presentations worked for bass on this lake, which sees very little pressure. One 3-pound trout was even taken on a drop-shot. Fish shallow here. This lake is currently on the “no plant” list.
LAKE PILLSBURY—Lake Pillsbury is one of many lakes throughout the state that now has to be reviewed before DFG trout plants can resume.
LAKE SONOMA—Even in the rain, bass fishing was good as water temperatures held in the low to mid-50s. Reaction baits seemed to be the best bet but with a few days of warming weather watch for the bite to bust open.
LAKE ALMANOR—Although there are still some trout at the dam, there is no big concentrations of bait there and fish are on the move. For now, hang by the shoreline on the east side as the public ramp on the west side is probably not accessible with snow returning to the area.
BAUM LAKE—Fishing has been good to great under overcast conditions but tough when the weather’s been nice and skies are blue. On overcast days try BWO’s as lots of midges are hatching. Sunny days show PMD’s as the primary bug activity. Brown trout from 8-12 inches, as well as some larger rainbows were still being 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 normally don’t get started until mid-May.
HAT CREEK—Opening on April 24 as well, this area is always a good bet. For a fun challenge try catching trout here with as many presentations as you can. Small indicators with nymphs, swinging wet flies and or streamers, and of course a well-presented dry fly might all be fun here. 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 Carbon Flats section, and those looking for solace can hike into the freestone section just above Lake Britton.
IRON CANYON—In the springtime when the lake is low, as it is right now, is a good time to hit this lake. The road is likely cleared from recent storms, but no reports to confirm.
KESWICK RESERVIOR—The boat ramp at Keswick is closed again for dredging efforts, scheduled to re-open this summer.
LEWISTON LAKE—Still up and down, it’s great for big rainbows some days and then others the fish have been hard to find. Drifting small midge patterns under indicators or slow-stripping leeches with intermediate lines in the slower moving stretches are worth a try. 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—Should be fishing well. Try a combination of nymphing the pocket waters for some dry fly action. Midday when it’s warm try caddis, March browns, or some PMD’s. Open to only to catch and release, barbless hooks, and artificials only from Lake Britton dam downstream. There have been good reports from the few fishermen there recently suggesting size 16 dark lords are a favorite.
LAKE SHASTA— Osprey and Huddleston swimbaits are good for bass, and hitting main and secondary points should produce bass just waiting for warming conditions for spawning. Head to the Pitt arm for trout feeding on the early plankton bloom and where limit being taken close to the surface.
WHISKEYTOWN RESERVOIR—It may still be early, but a few kokes to 15 1/2 inches have been by the coldwater curtain, caught on Shasta Tackle’s Wiggle Hoochies in orange and red, or UV Apex’s trolled behind Shasta Tackle’s UV Sling Blades in the top 40 feet.