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.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.—Spring salmon are back on track after the recent storms, although wind is making it tough some days to keep “in line” on the river. The run is still building, and the average is about a fish a boat, according to Cast Guide Service, who said they hooked three one day, landed two but could only keep one that was hatchery since wild fish need to be released. Guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service said the fish hit Elephant Rock aright about high tide each day, and that Lobster Creek is good the first three hours of daylight. WON’s Field Reporter David Pittts said many boaters continue to target the Willow Line, Clay Banks, the Birthday Hole and the Point, he said. Pitts brought his wife, Carolyn along and they teamed up with Rick Torres and his wife, Suzy. Out of 34 boats, they hooked up three times by using water depth, line of travel, scent and blade selection.
RUSSIAN RIVER—Still high and blown out and hasn’t been fishable in weeks. Currently running 4,290 cfs on Sunday at the Hacienda Bridge. Another storm coming in this week, so at least another week or two before it will be fishable, and steelheading will pretty much be over by then. Wait for the shad run in May
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Ore.—The section of river around Glide has lots of bank access from the Narrows to Deadline Falls on both sides of the river for spring salmon anglers, according to guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. There are a noticeable amount of fish being caught and it should get a lot better any day now. Anglers can expect this river to be one of the jewels this season. These early springers seem to be attracted to good roe fished under a bobber with sand shrimp or prawn.
UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork, Ore.- Fishing has still been good for bright winter run steelhead around the Stanton Park area near the town of Canyonville, according to River Secrets Guide Service. Reports are showing that ODFW has removed there 100 pair of hatchery broodstock from Canyon Creek. There are rumors that a 22-pound hatchery steelhead was collected in the batch of fish. This river closes at the end of the month.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp—Hardly anyone is fishing, but a few steelhead were still present. The water is still cold, but insect hatches will soon be increasing perking up the trout bite. The next big news will be the beginning of the salmonfly hatch which will bring on a trout feeding frenzy.
KLAMATH RIVER, Orleans—A few halfpounder steelhead were still being caught on egg patterns, copper Johns and prince nymphs under indicators.
TRINITY RIVER, Lewiston—Trout fishing was very good again in the Fly Fishing Only Section of the river. They were taking San Juan worms, prince nymphs, red copper Johns, and prince nymphs fished under indicators. Releases from Lewiston Dam will increase beginning this weekend, peaking to 6,000 cfs by early May, and remain too high to fish until mid-July.
AMERICAN RIVER—Steelheading is over, but a few striped bass were being caught at the lower end of the river, down around the Highway 80 Bridge on sardines and jumbo minnows. The water was clearer than on the Sacramento River, too, and working the mudline at the mouth was producing a few schoolie stripers, as well.
FEATHER RIVER—Big striped bass continued to be caught between Boyd’s Pump and Star Bend on Pencil Poppers, shallow-running Bombers, Yo-Zuris, minnows and swimbaits. Fly fishermen throwing big streamers were getting hits, too. Trout fishing was good for fly fishermen on the Low Flow Section near the hatchery on small nymphs fished under indicators.
FOLSOM LAKE—Bass fishing was pretty good, although pressure has been heavy, especially on weekends. Fish fairly shallow, and concentrate on using soft plastics fished slowly as they have been far more successful than reaction baits. Weightless, wacky-style Senkos, drop-shotting, and dartheading in patterns like Prism Shad and morning dawn have been effective. Fishing for king salmon has slowed, but trollers fishing hoochies, Rapalas, Needlefish, small Rapalas, and nightcrawlers behind dodgers were getting some trout early in the morning 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—Fishing really slowed for many anglers as the river turned high and muddy. But anglers fishing in close and behind wing dams continued to catch stripers even in the nasty water, mostly on bait—minnows weren’t as productive as in clear water. South River Road, Miller Park, Sandy Beach, Bryte’s Beach and Verona continued to be productive for shore anglers. Sturgeon were still being caught at Verona, too.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Colusa—Striped bass fishing really took a dive when the river got high and muddy early in the week. But, by Saturday, there were glimmers of hope as diehard anglers began to have some success again, mostly on cut baits, both on sturgeon and striped bass. Sunday was even better. However, the river is due to come up again big time by mid-week, so keep track of conditions before heading out.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding—Trout fishing was good, but only in the highest parts of the Sac below Keswick, above feeder streams.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 76-percent capacity. Bass action is still very good. 9-year old Nick Ainger of Colusa caught his biggest fish ever, a 5-pound spot, off the docks at Emerald Cove Marina on a nightcrawler. Trout action is starting to pick up in the North Fork Arm as well as some action on a few kokanee.
CAMP FAR WEST—Bass anglers are doing well on Brush Hogs for largemouths to 4 pounds in the Bear River arm.
COLLINS LAKE—Fishing is wide open. Shore anglers are doing as well as the trollers. The CIFFI Trout Derby was won by a shore angler, Mark Ryan of Grass Valley, with an 8 1/2-pound rainbow. The biggest fish of the week was a 10 1/2 pounder caught by Ernie Borello of Hollister while trolling a Needlefish near the dam. Lots of 2 to 3 pounders are being caught along with lunkers running 5 to 10 pounds. The spotted bass population is coming to life as the spawning season gets underway and limits of bass are coming in for anglers using live bait and plastic worms.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 95-percent capacity. Trollers are out and picking up a few trout. Unfortunately, it looks like this lake will remain on the “No Stocking” list until the DFG can get the new evaluation protocols figured out.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—Will Fish Tackle reported that a few daring anglers made it into this lake in 4-wheel drive trucks. Weather is forecast for mid-week so call the Foresthill Ranger Station before venturing up into this area.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR—Some 4-wheelers made into this lake from the Foresthill side. The weather forecast for mid-week should make access difficult. Call the Georgetown Ranger Station before heading up here to be sure the road is open.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 52-percent capacity, 131 feet from full. Bass and coho action is still wide open. The bass are spawning and should be released. Brown plastics and live minnows are working very well on the spots up to 4 pounds at 10 to 20 feet deep all over the lake. The coho are hitting live minnows and Sling Blade/Koke-a-nut combos on the main body near the Green Bridge. The silvers are running 13 to 15 inches.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake has been planted a couple of times this year so far, but none of the resorts are fully staffed until mid-May, making regular fishing reports hard to come by. Anglers are on the lake and planted rainbows should be hitting as well as the bass.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake was planted this past Monday, but few anglers are reporting any success. The resort is not fully staffed yet and won’t open for the season until mid-May. Smallmouth bass action should be good.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—This lake is scheduled for another DFG trout plant this week. Weather is forecast for the mountains by mid-week, so call ahead to the Foresthill Ranger Station.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake was planted three weeks ago but little word has come into the Georgetown Ranger Station regarding angler success. Trollers and shore anglers have been able to get to the lake, but weather is forecast for the area by mid-week, so call ahead. Remember that the day-use fee is now $7, so bring lots of money!!
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The locals are keeping a tight lip about the fishing here, but the bass action is heating up on the tule banks in the backs of the coves. Jigs and Senkos are a good start.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE—Bass are headed to the shallows in an effort to spawn now that water temperatures have climbed to 60 degrees and if it can hold them that is where you will find them. As the water is higher than usual though, they won’t be as easy to get to back in behind the tules. Try a 5-inch Senkos worked around them on the north end. Basic colors like watermelon and green pumpkin, as well as the cinnamon versions; fished either weedless or wacky-style have been working there. There has also been a rip bait bite early and late in the day. The best bet for trying swim baits have been early and late as well.
LAKE BERRYESSA—Key to finding bass this past week was finding clear water and in many areas of the lake it was green. When anglers did, red Robo Worms or green pumpkin Brush Hogs produced both largemouth and smallies on the west side and in the Narrows. Also in the Narrows and stretching to the mouth of main lake, and from the mouth to the west bank, were kokes up to 16.5 inches. Early limits were taken on RMT (Rocky Mountain Tackle) hyper plaid dodgers and pink Bahama dodgers teamed up with cotton candy RMT’s hoochie and Uncle Larry’s red tiger in the top 15 feet.
UPPER BLUE LAKE—This weekend is the annual charity trout tournament at the Narrows Resort, and anglers are hoping for a promised DFG plant. The better successes came from trolling 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. Heavier set-ups than normally used here will be needed for the holdover larger trout. Trolling here is done slowly, at 1 1/2 miles. For better success add an action disc to your fly. For more information on this family event to support local school programs call the Narrows Resort at 707-275-2718. Boats must be clean and dry, and have the now monthly Quagga Mussel sticker on them, which you can get at the Narrows Resort as well.
INDIAN VALLEY RESERVIOR—The roads are still in fair-to-good condition and the bass are biting, as well as a few trout. Spinnerbaits, jigs, and a variety of other presentations worked for bass on this lake which see very little pressure. This lake is currently on the “no plant” list.
LAKE PILLSBURY—Lake Pillsbury one of many lakes throughout the state that now has to be reviewed before DFG trout plants can resume.
LAKE SONOMA—As water temperatures held in the low to mid-50s, but was on the rise, reaction baits seemed to be the best bet, but with a few days of warming weather watch for the bite and spawn to bust open.
LAKE ALMANOR— Browns and rainbows are scattering and leaving the shorelines looking for bugs and hatches. There were some good reports from Big Springs, the dam and jetties. The blood midge hatch has just starting and fish will start prowling around as they look for them.
BAUM LAKE— Wooly buggers, scuds, micro mayflies, copper johns, and pheasant tails were doing best for fly fishermen. Bait fishermen did well on nightcrawlers. Lure fishermen did better with Trout Magnets, Panther Martins and Kastmasters.
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 this Saturday, April 24.
FALL RIVER—Opens to fishing this Saturday, April 24. Last year’s season opener was great, with greater hatches of PMDs that normal, which normally don’t get started until mid-May.
HAT CREEK—Opening this April 24, this area will be a favorite. 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— Check for snow before attempting, although the road to Pit 5 should remain open.
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 as well.
MCCLOUD RIVER–Opens to fishing this 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 the McCloud Dam, or the Upper McCloud near Fowler’s Camp.
PIT RIVER—There have been a few good reports from the few fishermen on the Pit using size 16 dark lords, and there’s been a few March browns. Fish are taking stimulators, though no reports of salmon flies yet.
LAKE SHASTA—Head to Dry Creek for salmon in the top 40 feet trolling shad and anchovies 8 feet behind a Shasta Tackle Sling Blade. Digger Bay was good for top-lining with two lines 5 feet down and two lines 20 feet down with Hum Dingers, Cripplures or Apexs. Try Osprey and Huddleston swim baits fished as many main and secondary points as you can should produce bass just waiting for warming conditions for spawning.
WHISKEYTOWN RESERVOIR—It may still be area but a few kokes to 15 1/2 inches have been by the coldwater curtain and hitting 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.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is clear and the roads and boat ramp are open. Boats have been launching, but the winds have made trolling uncomfortable. Shore anglers are doing pretty well on rainbows and browns, 14 to 20 inches, on nightcrawlers and salmon eggs. The ground around the lake is still too soft to be driving to the lake’s edge. Park on the pavement and walk, save yourself from a big tow bill!!
CAPLES LAKE—Still 2 to 3 feet of ice and a foot of snow on the lake, but with spring most ice fishermen have switched over to other pursuits. Not many anglers have been coming up lately.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)—Both Forks were planted this past Saturday for the opener. Alpine County dumped 2800 pounds of trout up to 8 pounds in the West Fork, East Fork, Markleeville Creek, Hot Springs Creek, and Silver Creek. Water levels are beautiful!!
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 57-percent capacity. There’s open water at Coot and Mallard, but the lake is still covered with a thin layer of ice that turns to slush in the afternoons. There’s still 3 to 4 feet of snow on the boat ramp at Honker. Fishing has been sporadic—good one day and poor the next—for anglers fishing the open water with Power Bait and worms. Fly casters are using a bead head PT in the open water also. A storm is forecast for mid-week and if there is some heavy wind associated with this storm, the ice should break up and clearing should follow quickly.
DONNER LAKE—The lake is clear and boats can get on the lake, but beware of launching large boats at the current water level. The concrete ramp is too short at this level and big trailers can back off the end of the concrete and get STUCK!! Shore anglers have been doing pretty well on rainbows using Power Bait.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON—Caribou Crossroads Resort will have a “Big Fish Derby” on April 24. Contestants need to register no later than 7 a.m. and weigh-in is at noon. The winning fish will be determined by overall length. There is a $5 entry with a 100-percent payback. Prizes go to the longest fish, youngest angler, and biggest fish for under 12-year old anglers. The river has not been planted and with the new protocol in force, the DFG is having a hard time getting waters cleared for planting. If the river requires sterile trout, the DFG doesn’t have enough of them to go around.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 45-percent capacity. The fishing has been great at the dam, Frenchman’s boat ramp, and Lunker’s on Power Bait, nightcrawlers, and salmon eggs. Rainbows have been running 12 to 20 inches. The roads were fairly clear this past week, but weather is forecast for this week.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—Roads are clear all the way to the lake, ramp is open, and there’s no ice on the lake at all. There’s EXCELLENT fishing for big rainbows. Shore anglers are catching trout off the shoreline at the boat ramp, and everyone trolling the lake was catching fish. Trollers are toplining watermelon grubs or a threaded nightcrawler very shallow before the sun hits the water, then it’s a quick adjustment on the downriggers to 7 and 11 feet with a green Sep’s Pro Secret, or Sep’s watermelon grub or half a ‘crawler. WON Editor Bill Karr and Dale Daneman found non-stop action, and had 17 hookups, landed 15 fish and kept 10 by 10 a.m. on Sunday. The fish are better quality then have been seen here for a long, long time and most were 12 to 15 1/2 inchers. Some of the fish were holdovers, but many of the bigger fish are fresh planters, so the DFG has obviously been dumping some bigger fish in the lake. This lake is an excellent fishery right now.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Very strong winds here have made fishing difficult. One angler went out in a float tube for 2 hours and caught 4 rainbows to 3 pounds.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR—They’re still snowmobiling here so forget fishing this lake for a long while.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—Fishing has been pretty good for rainbow planters at the inlet near the old boat ramp in the Narrows. Some Macks are hitting for trollers working Rapalas in the Narrows.
LAKE TAHOE—Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters did very well with two clients from Fresno on Sunday and caught 12 fish to 6 ½ pounds on Sling Blade/Koke-a-nut combos at 350 to 450 feet. They kept four 5 to 6 ½ pounders and tagged the rest. Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing scratched out limits on his last two-trip days this past week fishing 120 to 370 feet deep. Self was using spoons tipped with worms or minnows trolled slow.
MARTIS LAKE—The lake opens on April 24 and fishing should be very good for fly casters throwing wooly buggers or indicator nymphs.
PROSSER LAKE—Lake is clear. Some fly fishermen did very well at the Prosser Creek inlet on woolly buggers catching 20 fish, 14 to 16 inches from float tubes. Boats can launch with no problem.
PYRAMID LAKE— Dick Nichols of Shaver Lake and three friends fished the lake this past week and did very well catching lots of cutt’s to 22 inches on frog Flatfish fished 17 to 25 feet deep at Indian Head Rock. The next day in windy weather they landed a 10 pounder at Pelican Beach. Fly casters were elbow-to-elbow at Pelican Beach, the Nets, and Indian head Rock and doing well at Pelican Beach on white/chartreuse beetles. Ken Mathis of Ken’s Custom Tackle fished the lake for 4 days and caught from 9 to 30 fish a day depending on the wind. They did best at 22 feet over 200 feet of water with his Double Flutter Spoons. Most of the fish averaged 19 to 20 inches. Mathis’ friend’s son was casting a Code Blue spoon from the bank and landed a 12 pounder.
RED LAKE—Just a little too ‘iffy’ for ice fishing, wait until the ice breaks and the lake clears. Better safe than sorry!!
SILVER LAKE—Still 2 to 3 feet of ice, but very few anglers are coming up with spring breaking out everywhere else.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—Rick Kennedy of Tight Lines Guide Service has been up fishing for the Macks. On Saturday, his client landed an 8 pounder on a Sting Fish at 33 feet by the island. A friend landed a 15 pounder on a Flatfish near the dam. They caught one 3-pound rainbow on a Rapala. The roads and boat ramp were all clear. Weather is forecast for the area by mid-week, so call ahead for road conditions.
TOPAZ LAKE—A big private casino derby had over 100 people fishing the lake over the weekend and lots of fish were being caught on “everything”. Trollers were doing the best for fish averaging 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds.
TRUCKEE RIVER—Tom Brochu at Mountain Hardware and Sports had a good day this past week catching browns to 22 inches and rainbows from 18 to 20 inches. The rainbows were on the faster water seams and the browns were on the slower water seams hitting stone nymphs.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The roads are all clear. There is a good topline bite for planter rainbows going on very similar to Ice House.
WEST WALKER RIVER—The river is scheduled for trout plants by the DFG and North Mono Chamber of Commerce this week in preparation for the opener on Saturday. Sam Foster at the Toiyabe Motel reported that the water levels will be good for a week or two longer until the run-off blows out the river.
BENICIA—Tony Lopez at Benicia Bait reported the best improved as the shoreline striper action. While the bass are small, the action has picked up particularly for the anglers fishing 9th Street. The top sturgeon action came from the Mothball Fleet.
BERKELEY—Striped bass improved the scores of anglers trolling and drifting live bait for halibut, with the California Dawn reporting the first day of bass limits of the season on Friday’s trip when 13 anglers caught limits of schoolies while trolling bait, Rat-L-Traps and swimbaits. Halibut counts were fair, with the Happy Hooker finding five buts to 18 pounds on Saturday’s trip, along with 13 bass for 18 anglers. They caught theirs with live shiner perch.
BODEGA BAY— Captain Rick Powers on the New Sea Angler said that the kings are out there, and anglers who make an effort are getting some action. “It’s not red hot, but we’re getting good action,” he said. His best day was early in he week when he fished a spot south of the harbor for 20 kings but over 30 hookups. On the weekend, his Saturday group caught 10 kings out of 30 hookups.
CROCKETT—Captain Gordon Hough on the Morning Star reported a half dozen sturgeon shakers and one keeper on a trip up to Suisun Bay to fish near Seal Island. He said he’ll move the boat to Loch Lomond to start live bait trips on May 1.
EMERYVILLE—Frank Salazar at Emeryville Sportfishing reported slow salmon action with only oneboat out on Friday, the New Salmon Queen, reporting one king weighing 8 pounds. Halibut trips did better with three boats running on Saturday with about a half a fish around along with a few striped bass.
EUREKA—Night smelt started running on Centerville Beach and a couple sport netters scored some. Surf perch action was fair in the bay, although the redtails were small. Anglers here are waiting for the May 15 rockfish opener. Salmon season will open May 29.
FORT BRAGG—While salmon numbers are down, anglers are adding Dungeness crabs and abalone to their efforts. On the Telstar, a dive group on Saturday scored abalone to 9.4 inches, and about four crabs per person. Private boaters with downriggers have reported some decent king action, but the fish are down below the 200-foot depth mark.
HALF MOON BAY—Word has it that the Queen Of Hearts put this port on the salmon map with the first king caught over the weekend. They have been searching for kings as far south as Davenport, where conditions were excellent but no salmon were caught. Most are hoping that the Monterey Bay fish will start moving up the line to boost the action.
MARTINEZ—Captain Steve Talmadge on Flash Fishing reported a keeper sturgeon for each of his two trips. WON staffer Bill Karr is a sturgeon virgin no more after he boated his 48 incher on Saturday’s trip.
SAN FRANCISCO—The fleet is searching for salmon, or targeting the halibut in the bay. The Captain Joey did score a 14-pound king out near N Buoy. Flash Fishing will be moving back here on May 1.
SAUSALITO—Captain Jim Robertson on the Outer Limits reported scratchy salmon fishing for the fleet, but a few kings are coming in. He said the ocean looks great, but there just aren’t a lot of salmon in it, at least in the waters traditionally fished early in the season. His anglers did boat eight on Wednesday, one on Friday and five on Saturday. The best action has come from up even with Point Reyes at the 50 fathom line.
SHELTER COVE—This landing went on the salmon board with some 12 boats returning to the beach with 25 salmon, and the best thing, the fish were caught right out at the Whistle Bouy. Captain Trent Slate of Shelter Cove Sportfishing announced his opening day as May 15, coinciding with the first day of rockfish season.