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.-The river opens Nov. 6 regardless of flows, but there should be no problem fishing, or finding fish, as the river went from 300 cfs to almost 7,000 cfs over the weekend, and the kings were flooding into the river. Expect a lot of kings in the 20- to 30-pound range, and probably some tipping the scales to 40 pounds.
COQUILLE RIVER, Bandon, Ore.-“This has been the longest Fall Chinook season I can remember on the lower Coquille river,” said guide and WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. Along with producing one of the largest runs of king’s on this river in the last decade, the last week of fishing has been just as amazing as the rest of the season, he said. With far less fishing pressure in the Rocky Point and Bear Creek areas this time of year, it is still putting out large numbers of salmon on a daily basis for many of the boats.
COQUILLE RIVER, Coquille, Ore.-Guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service said he received a report from two anglers saying that during the middle of last week they had their best day ever fishing for Chinooks. They landed 16 king’s between the two of them in their driftboat. “They told me that they were about 1 1/2 miles above town and were fishing sand shrimp and salmon roe under a bobber. Almost all of the salmon in the upper end of the river are about ready to spawn and they are dark in color.
EEL RIVER, Main Stem-Low flow closures lifted and open to fishing up to the mouth of the South Fork Eel River after six inches of rain hit. The kings that have been holding in the lower river are now moving up, and fresh kings are coming in at the mouth. Catch-and-release only.
EEL RIVER, South Fork-Low flow closures lifted, and open to fishing after six inches of rain brought the river up big time. The ground soaked up a lot of water and the washes aren’t flowing heavily, so it should come into shape pretty quickly and be good for salmon fishing, catch-and-release only.
ELK RIVER, Port Orford, Ore.–The king salmon are starting to clear the beaches and make their way into this small and highy productive river, said WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer. The mouth of the Elk river is one of the best places to catch a Chinook salmon on a fly rod in the state of Oregon. It’s located just a few miles north of Port Orford on HWY 101. After crossing the river you, will find signs to Cape Arago State Park on the west side of the highway. Take the road to the beach in the state park to the parking area. 4X4’s are needed from there if a person plans on driving, but Palmer warns people to watch the tides. It is about a 1 mile walk on the beach south to were the river runs into the Pacific Ocean.
REDWOOD CREEK-Low flow closures have been lifted and fishing is allowed.
RUSSIAN RIVER-The area received 9 and 12 inches of rain over the weekend, and the river blown out and still going up on Monday, expected to get near 4,000. Nick Wheeler at Kings Sport & Tackle said it’s going to blow out all the garbage and off, and when things recede, the first of the steelhead should be seen.
SMITH RIVER-Open to fishing, and this is where to be, but keep an eye on the flows and the low flow closures, although those should not be forthcoming with the forecast for on and off rain all week. The river went up 8 feet over the weekend and was expected to open on Monday, and probably be fishable on Tuesday. Kings were seen blowing into the river as it came up, and there were already a lot of salmon in the Sand Hold. Expect some dark fish that have been in the river, followed by bright ocean chromers. The season is on!!!
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen-The storms likely have brought lots more fish into the Klamath, but there won’t be much access to them to about mid-river for a week, assuming the rains have let up. The river should be fishable upstream from Happy Camp by the time this issue of WON hits the newsstands.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate-The river just below the dam was relatively unaffected by the rains. Salmon fishing is about over, and the focus has switched to steelhead, with anglers catching a good mix of halfpounders plus a few adults to 5 pounds on side-drifted roe and nightcrawlers, plus flies, either swung, or dead-drifted under indicators.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek-Forget it for awhile. The river was blown out up to Douglas City through the weekend. It should gradually clear starting from higher in the river. Aside from attracting more salmon into the river, the rains should push the smolts which have been a nuisance out of the river.
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City-The river was blown out below Douglas City by the heavy rains, but upstream, a fair number of salmon-a mix of dark and bright–were being caught. Steelhead fishing continued to be slow, but a few more were caught last week on backtrolled Brad’s Wigglers and side-drifted roe. Salmon were being caught on back-trolled Kwikfish and roe.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE- Once the water clears up after the rain look for the lake to settle into a good fall bite with jumbo minnows. The best way to fish them is with a small splitshot and a small circle hook, although slip floats can also be effective for controlling depths. Some of the better artificial baits included rattle baits, medium-sized swimbaits, crankbaits, chatter baits, and spinnerbaits. To target the good catfish bite try cut mackerel, shiners, or nightcrawlers. The fish can be caught all over the lake although Horseshoe Bend and the deeper water around Anderson and Dollar islands have been consistently producing.
LAKE BERRYESSA- King salmon will be moving up and mixing with rainbow trout in the main body and feeding up for winter. Try a dodger and a scented nightcrawler with a 12-inch leader. Bass will be moving up and follow the bait schools into the creek arms. There may be a topwater bite or try a drop shot worm or jig fished around offshore rock piles in the main body
UPPER BLUE LAKE-Trollers are finding a few trout for a day’s effort for small fish on flashers and worms. Bass fishing has been hot on plastics out to 30 feet through the Narrows, and on the east side by the “red house” for bass from 3 to 6 pounds although 2 pounds has been the average.
LAKE ALMANOR-Surface trolling in the top 10 to 15 feet with white flies or Speedy Shiners found mostly rainbow trout on the west side of the lake although they are spread throughout the system. Smallmouth bass were taken on crickets by the dam, including one 4 pounder.
ANTELOPE LAKE-The lake is fishing, but with smaller trout now, with the best trout bite by the dam. The lake is full of them and recently received more. Trying trolling white flies.
BAUM LAKE-There have been lots of bugs on the water. Cripples, nymphs, and dries were all taking fish. Don’t be shy about using some larger flies, as fish are ready to “fill up” before winter sets in. Power Bait, Power Eggs and nightcrawlers are always good choices. Brown or olive woolly buggers took a few fish. Lure fishermen are sticking with Kastmasters.
BRITTON LAKE-Crappie fishing is slowing down but the bite is good for smallmouth bass with topwater tackle.
BURNEY CREEK-Caddis and callibaetis are favorites above the falls or attractor patterns. Below the falls a pheasant tail, copper john, bird’s nest or hares ear are working.
CASSEL FOREBAY-Nightcrawlers, salmon eggs, and lures are all working well and there is much less fishing pressure now. Fly fishermen did well on callibaetis and caddis while pt’s were favorites for nymph fishermen. Early morning and late in the evening remained the best time to fish.
EAGLE LAKE-Despite bad weather, Sep’s watermelon, orange or brown grubs produced limits for trollers. The best trolling areas were on the west side of the lake between Shrimp Island and Pelican Point. The fish moved but bobber fishermen also caught limits. With fish moving from point to point, find rocky structure in less than 10 feet, cast towards shore, and be there early with your worm because the bite shuts off abruptly.
UPPER HAT CREEK- Stillfishing well as the fall is often overlooked here and there is very little fishing pressure.
HAT CREEK (wild) -Nymph anglers continued to do best on hare’s ear, birds nest and pheasant tails. Callibaetis cripples also yielded some good results.
PIT RIVER-Not a great option right now due to inconsistent flows and the Pit 3 reach access is closed until the end of October.
LAKE SHASTA-For bass, the spoon bite is just starting, or go with the topwater stuff for a few larger fish, and plastics for numbers. Salmon are in the Dry Creek arm and more surface activity was seen. Look for them in the top 40 feet. Trout should be moving up and in the top 20 feet. Try a Sling Blade and white hoochie.
AMERICAN RIVER-The big storm that came through the area over the weekend dumped over three inches of rain and muddied up the water-the season is almost over and we need the rain. No one was out fishing in the terrible weather.
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 62-percent capacity. The spotted bass bite is good. One local angler, who rents a houseboat at Emerald Cove for the winter so he can concentrate on the bass fishing, has been doing well drop-shotting plastics at 35 to 50 feet on main body points. The weather over the weekend was wet and windy-most sane anglers stayed home and watched football.
CAMP FAR WEST-Bass bite was good before the weekend storm came in and blew everyone off the lake. With the cooling trend that this storm has created, the fishing on all fronts will just get better.
COLLINS LAKE-The lake is 28 feet from full-much higher than this time last year. Very few anglers at the lake this past week, and the big storm that came in over the weekend virtually shut down the resort with heavy wind and rain. A 6 1/2-pound rainbow was caught on Friday before the storm hit. The lake should be planted this week.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is at 90-percent capacity. Rainbows are still hitting for trollers using flasher/worm combos in the marina. The big storm brought heavy wind and rain in over the weekend and no one was fishing.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR-Bite was tough this past week with one group reporting that they were skunked during five hours of fishing. The big storm this past weekend made this a dangerous place to reach with the heavy winds and rain.
FULLER LAKE-Big storm over the weekend kept everyone at home. There are still plenty of fish here from the DFG plants and better weather should bring good action for shore anglers and trollers.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR-The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that one boat was out this past week and the anglers picked up 1 rainbow and 1 brown trout for a day of trolling near the inlet-slow. The big storm over the weekend made this area difficult to access with the heavy winds and torrential rain.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is at 48-percent capacity. The cooling trend of late has greatly improved the bass bite. Anglers pre-fishing for a local TOC have reported picking up some big fish-one guy had an 18-pound limit. Drop-shotting 6-inch worms at 40 to 45 feet has been producing wide open action on main lake points. The fish are stacked up and feeding heavily on pond smelt. The big storm over the weekend actually put some water in the lake. All the main ramps are still in operation at Bidwell, Lime Saddle, and the Spillway.
ROLLINS LAKE-The water level is rising and fishing is improving. One angler picking up a 2 1/2-pound bass at the Long Ravine Resort boat ramp and another landed a 4 3/4-pound catfish at the campgrounds on a hot dog chunk. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported that trollers have been picking up some planter rainbows in the Bear River arm on dodger/Kastmaster combos.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-The smallmouth bass bite has turned on. One boater picked a 5-pound smallie on a flasher/worm combo while trolling for trout. Other anglers targeting smallmouth with plastic worms have been picking up fish in the 3- to 4-pound class near the dam. Not much to report on trout action. Heavy weather over the weekend brought strong winds and lots of rain.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR-Heavy winds and rain here over the weekend pretty much shut down the whole area. Fishing should be improving here as the water cools off and the fish begin to feed heavily in preparation for winter. The DFG hasn’t planted here since July so don’t expect much.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The campgrounds are closed and no one has been checking in with the Georgetown Ranger Station with any fish stories. As the water cools, the bite should improve near the inlet. The big storm that came through the area over the weekend dumped over three inches of rain in 24 hours and had winds gusting over 30 mph.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-A blow out over the weekend with the big storm that brought heavy winds and rain to the valley.
BENICIA-“The stripers are running!” said Pam Curtis at Benicia Bait. “We’re getting reports of fish caught at all of our shoreline spots.” There was even a big sturgeon weighed at the shop, that fish hitting a pile worm/eel combo bait for some overnighter anglers fishing Big Cut. Flounders are also showing up, favoring pile worms at 12th and 14th streets, and under the Benicia Bridge.
BERKELEY-Captain James Smith on the California Dawn only had one trip, another shark adventure that produced limits of sevengills with big fish a 135 pounder. The rest of the fleet planned rockfish trips to the Farallon Islands, but the weekend weather cancelled any outside effort.
BODEGA BAY- The final weekend for rockfish and lingcod coming up, then Captain Rick Powers on the New Sea Angler will focus on giant squid. No reports of recent trips for bottomfish, and weather cancellations likely squelched any options for the weekend.
CROCKETT-The Morning Star passed Coast Guard inspections and is starting anchor trips targeting striped bass, leopard sharks and eventually sturgeon. Captain Gordon Hough said the focus will be San Pablo Bay, with some trips above the landing to Suisun Bay when the time is right.
EMERYVILLE-The boats are offering rockfish and lingcod trips to the Farallon Islands and halibut trips in the bay. On Saturday, only one boat ran, the New Huck Finn finding 15 striped bass and 3 halibut for 9 anglers. Bottomfishing trips will end on Sunday, Oct. 31, but the boats will be offering crab combos, the target fish to be determined, depending on the top bite.
EUREKA-The ocean was up with the big storm, but anglers can still fish the jetty, the beaches, and for California halibut in the bay. Most chose waterfowling as the storm hit, finding good shooting in the river delta. The rain should help boost the refuge action as well.
FORT BRAGG-The charter fleet is pretty much shut down, but there will be options in giant squid and Dungeness crabs. Shore fishing is also still fair game for rockfish and lingcod, but you can bet with the 25 footers rolling in over the weekend, no one was doing that.
HALF MOON BAY-The Queen Of Hearts reported a good week of fishing for rockfish, with some bonus lings and halibut. On Wednesday, a private eight man charter put rockfish limits and 2 cabezon in the boat. Thursday provided 30 anglers with rockfish limits plus 3 lings to 10 pounds, and on Friday, 10 anglers caught rockfish limits, 1 cabezon, 2 lings and an 11-pound halibut.
LOCH LOMOND-Captain Jim Cox of Jim Cox Sportfishing said a mix of striper trolling and shark fishing on the anchor has been his mainstay. “The weather seems to have slowed the striper bite,” he said. “We’re still getting a few.”
MARTINEZ-Captain Jim Smith on the Happy Hooker ran the first trips of the year from here, finding limits of striped bass and lots of shaker released. “We started off the rockwall at Vallejo drifting live anchovies, then moved up to fish the sandbar outside the Martinez harbor with bullheads,” said deck assistant Dave Marquardt. “We caught our biggest fish on bullheads, a couple in the 10- to 12-pound class.”
POINT SAN PABLO-Captain Frank Miller on the Fury reported another successful striper trolling trip, this one finding passenger and crew limits on Friday fishing San Pablo Bay’s flats. “We had four passengers,” said Miller, ending the day with 10 fish, all schoolie sized in the 6-pound class.
BLUE LAKES-It snowed at Upper Blue Lake and if this continues, the Alpine County Sheriff’s Department will lock the gates and close the road. The PG&E campgrounds are already closed.
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 37-percent capacity. Boaters can only launch cartoppers that can be carried to the water’s edge. Fishing is best here at the inlet of the Little Truckee River. Heavy rain and strong winds over the weekend kept everyone at home where it was dry and warm.
CAPLES LAKE-Very strong winds and a good possibility of snow this past weekend had communication lines out to this lake and WON was unable to contact the Resort. Caples Lake Resort will close the end of October and open in December for the ski season and for ice fishing. The EID launching facility is supposed to close the end of October also, so boaters will not be able to launch any trailered boats on the lake, only cartoppers.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)-The East Fork was fishing very well with some big fish to 8 1/2 pounds landed this past week. Alpine County planted 1800 pounds of trophy rainbows and browns in the East and West Forks this past Thursday. Another County plant will be made the first week of November. There are still a lot of DFG planters in the river. Everyone is catching fish in the East Fork. Wind and rain over the weekend muddied up both Forks, but clearing weather will help the bite this week. No one has been fishing the West Fork, but it’s loaded with fish after all the Alpine County and DFG plants.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 57-percent capacity. Strong winds and heavy rain kept boaters off the lake this past weekend. Shore anglers did well at Mallard Point with inflated nightcrawlers and Power Bait for 15-inch rainbows. When the weather clears, trollers should do well with copper/red and silver/red Dick Nite spoons fished near the island at 8 to 20 feet. The winds should help clear up the floating weed problem.
DONNER LAKE-Jim Rubin of Santa Cruz trolled the lake for rainbows and landed over 50 fish using flasher/worm combos. Using minnows trapped in the lake, which are the only legal baitfish that can be used, Rubin caught 50 to 60 mackinaws up to 10 pounds bouncing the minnows off the bottom. The public piers and the west end beach are still producing for shore anglers.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON-The North Fork is still fishing well for the nice-sized DFG planters that were put in two weeks ago. Mike Hanson at Caribou Crossroads Resort reported that the rainbows are running 12 to 18 inches and can be seen in any big pool.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-The lake is at 39-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. Bad weather over the weekend shut down the area with heavy rains and strong winds.
GOLD LAKES BASIN-Broken record-strong winds and heavy rains did little to help the bite here over the weekend. Before the weather set in Salmon Lake was fishing the best of the Basin lakes. Trollers and shore anglers were both doing well here.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 70-percent capacity. This is a great place to take a kid right now, according to Kyle Neeser of Crystal Basin Tackle. “Anything you want to throw in the water is just smackin’ fish,” said Neeser. The trout are DFG planters running 9 to 10 inches and hitting all over the lake from the top down to 20 feet deep.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-The big storm that rolled through the North State this past weekend should cool the water down enough to justify an Alpine County trout plant by mid-November. The campgrounds are closed, and few anglers have been fishing here-they’re hitting the hot action on the East Carson instead.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR-Fishing is good here for shore anglers and trollers. Shore action is best near the dam on inflated nightcrawlers and Power Bait. Trollers are picking up some nice rainbows and browns in the Yuba River arm on Rapalas and Yo-zuri Pin Minnows.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-Heavy rain and strong winds shut down the bite here this past weekend. Before the weather set in, rainbows were falling for Power Bait and worms at the ramp, second dam, and the Narrows.
LAKE TAHOE-Wind and rain shut down the fleet over the weekend. Before the weather arrived, guides at both ends of the lake were doing well for Macks running 3 to 8 pounds. John Shearer at Tahoe Sportfishing reported that his boats stayed at the south end at Rubicon and used live minnows for 3 to 4 pounders. Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters was trolling 250 to 300 feet deep with Sting Kings off King’s Beach and Carnelian Bay for Macks up to 8 pounds.
LOON LAKE-The lake is at 47-percent capacity. The strong winds and heavy rains that plagued the area over the weekend shut down the action here. Before the weather, the bite was wide-open on Sep’s brown grubs, with or without a Sep’s Side Kick dodger, from the surface down to 10 feet.
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 34-percent capacity. The dam and the inlet Prosser Creek are the most reliable areas to hit right now with the lake so low. Trollers should be doing well with flasher/worm combos and Rapalas. Cartopper boats only can get on the lake with the ramp out of water.
PYRAMID LAKE-Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported that the flush of weed growth in the lake is tampering trolling efforts due to all the fouled lines and tackle. Mendes’ trips have been producing 6 to 12 fish per trip-all running 17 to 21 inches. The strong winds that hit the area with the passing of the big cold front this past weekend should help the weed problem by pushing all the weeds to the east side of the lake.
RED LAKE-Very strong winds and rain in this area made this lake a poor choice for a visit this past weekend. Before the weather, trout were hitting worms from the bank.
SILVER LAKE-The heavy winds had communication lines shut down here as of Sunday and WON was unable to contact the resorts here. Woodfords Station suggested that there would be snow for sure by Sunday night as the temps dropped at this elevation, but that Hwy 88 would remain open.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 58-percent capacity. Not much happening here other than trolling for Macks at the dam from 15 to 45 feet deep with large Rapalas and Lyman plugs.
TRUCKEE RIVER-The heavy rains that hit the area over the weekend muddied up the river and it will take a few days of good weather to clear it back up. The BWO and baetis hatches have been good. Anglers fishing spinners have been picking up a few fish.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 67-percent capacity. Not much change here other than the strong winds and heavy rain that hit the area this past weekend. Before the weather, Macks to 21 pounds were hitting dodger/herring combos at 150 feet near the dam.
WEST WALKER RIVER-By Sunday, the rains had not reached this area and the river was still in good shape. There are a LOT of fish in the West Walker that need catching-head up and give it a go before the season ends in a couple of weeks. Bait, lures, and flies are all working.
AMERICAN RIVER-Don’t get too excited about it, but the American River will see its first open salmon season starting this weekend, Oct. 30 to Nov. 28 from the SMUD power line crossing the river at the lower end of Ancil Hoffman Park to the mouth. There aren’t all that many good salmon holding spots in the section that’s open, and many salmon are already upstream in the closed area getting ready to spawn. The best odds of catching a salmon will be working glow-in-the-dark jigs and Kwikfish in the lower end of the river. Meantime, steelheading slowed last week, but a few were still being caught. The river closes to all fishing between the Hazel Ave. Bridge and the power lines crossing the river at the Lower end of Ancil Hoffman Park.
FEATHER RIVER-Steelhead fishing just got better last week, and could get better still with the weekend storm. They are still keying on eggs being dropped by spawning salmon and are taking Glo-Bugs and egg patterns. The main stem of the Feather has been, good, too, down to Gridley. Some nice striped bass were being caught below the rapids at Shanghai Bend.
FOLSOM LAKE-Storms should perk up the bass bite and trigger a reaction bite, but fishing deep around the main body around structure and river and channels with spoons and jigs should still be the most productive method, albeit less fun. More and more trout and salmon are being caught trolling deep in front of the dam and near Brown’s Ravine.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento-Fishing for striped bass was pretty good with Discovery Park and the Port two of the better spots. Mudsuckers, bloodworms and minnows were doing the trick. There were also two reports at Broadway Bait Rod and Gun of sturgeon being caught at Rio Vista and Miller Park.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Tisdale-Salmon fishing was slow, and the river was expected to rise 8 feet. A very few were being caught from Knight’s Landing to Ord Bend, but fishing should improve when the river drops, and the first late fall run kings should start showing up. Some steelhead were caught around Butte City.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-Trout fishing was excellent with anglers able to catch dozens of trout to 3 pounds, and the occasional steelhead to 5 pounds from Redding to Anderson. Trout are keying on salmon eggs so fish egg patterns and Glo-Bugs.
UPPER SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir-Trout fishing was very good last week, but the heavy rain put a temporary halt to fishing. Fishing should pick up again with some dry, warmer weather. High stick or indicator fish pockets with Prince nymphs, rubberlegs, and Foxes’ Poopahs.
YUBA RIVER-Some nice steelhead and trout were being caught behind spawning salmon.. Fish egg patterns as well as caddis and Mayfly nymph imitations. The stretch from the Highway 20 Bridge to Sycamore. Ranch is the easiest to reach, but also the most crowded, especially if you can only walk the shoreline.