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 opened above river mile 2.2 on Oct. 3, a week earlier than expected, due to the big rainstorms and an expected over-sized run of king salmon, and it was fantastic! Many anglers who would have fished the Smith came here because of the 2-fish limit, and everyone filled their boxes! Chromers to 30 pounds and bigger were the rule. Expected to last until Thanksgiving.
EEL RIVER-That portion of the Eel from the ocean to the mouth of the South Fork Eel is open, but still muddy and unfishable.
EEL RIVER, South Fork-Open to fishing but nobody had been trying as of Sunday, although Darren Brown of Brown’s Sporting Goods was surprised to find that the river above Benbow was pushy but ready for fishing! He said it’s a perfect color, despite the fact that it was still “mucky and muddy” at his home downriver in Miranda. There were plenty of kings waiting to move up the river before the storm, so unless they all went up the Main Stem, there should be plenty in the South Fork waiting for anglers. The area received 10 inches of rain last week, according to guide Mark Nimitz of Pipe Creek Guide Service.
ELK, SIXES RIVERS, Ore.-Blown out and everybody is just getting started fishing, so no reports yet.
GARCIA, GUALALA rivers-Nothing expected here until January.
MAD RIVER-Open but no reports.
MATTOLE RIVER-Doesn’t open until January.
REDWOOD CREEK-Open but no reports yet.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.-Nothing going on here worth reporting about, since everything is overshadowed by the Chetco and Smith.
RUSSIAN RIVER-A second smaller storm hit the river after the big one, keeping the river just a “little too high” to fish all week long, but according to Nick Wheeler at King’s Sport and Tackle in Guerneville, the river should be in shape around Wednesday (by the time you receive this issue of WON). The regulations also now allow the use of bait with barbless hooks as of Nov. 1. Steelhead report card is required here, and the limit is two per day, hatchery fish only (adipose fin clipped). There are some salmon in the river, but they are not allowed to be retained.
SMITH RIVER-The river is open and it’s red hot salmon fishing, with the average king running about 30 pounds, but some to 40- and even a few in the 50-pound range. According to guides Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service, guide Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing Adventures and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, the river is in good shape, and expected to remain in good shape for a week or more, but call ahead.
UMPQUA RIVER, Ore.—Nobody fishing the rivers, and no reports.
VANDUZEN RIVER-Blown out, but open under low flow closures.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen-The lower end of the Klamath below the mouth of Trinity was still high and out of fishable shape but was dropping rapidly, and should be fishable again for bait fishers by the end of the week.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp-The river is fishable all the way down to Weitchpec again, with bait and spin fishermen doing best in the lower extremes, but almost any method, including fly fishing back in business above Horse Creek. Fishing has returned to the excellent levels as before the storms, with anglers caching lots of chunky half pounders 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-Flows have been coming down quickly, and should be fishable by the end of the week all the way to the mouth. However, the river had returned to good fishable shape above Del Loma, and in pretty good shape down to the North Fork. Most of the success was on backtrolled plugs and drifted roe.
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City-The river has returned to good fishable shape and steelheading has improved. Salmon now are all dark and not worth targeting. Fly fishing is also coming back into its own above Indian Creek and should be effective again down to Junction City this week. Backtrolled Brad’s Wigglers and side-drifted roe is still probably a surer bet for most anglers, though for a little while.
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 38-percent capacity. Only cartoppers can get on the lake with the water as low as it is. The river inlet is well defined by the channel coming into the lake now.
CAPLES LAKE-Caples Lake Resort and the EID Launching Facility closed this past weekend. The Resort will reopen after Christmas for cross-country skiing and ice fishing. Shore fishing should be good at the dam, spillway, and Wood’s Creek. There was a little bit of snow here over the weekend, but Caltrans is good about keeping the highway open.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)-The East and West Forks will be receiving a plant of 1800 pounds of trophy brown trout this week from Alpine County. The East Fork fishing is excellent according to Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort-one cabin guest caught 40 fish in a half-day of fishing, releasing 35 rainbows. The biggest trout this past week was a 5 1/2 pounder. Dave Kirby at Woodfords Station said that the West Fork is in beautiful shape-low, clear and full of fish. Stealth and light lines are required but the reward will be a fantastic day of fishing.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 58-percent capacity. Trollers, shore anglers and fly fishermen are all doing well. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Fishing Guide Service reported picking up 12 rainbows, 12 to 15 inches, on red Rainbow Runners, firetiger Sockeye Slammers, and copper/red Dick Nite spoons at 8 feet from the island to Lightning Tree. Shore anglers are doing well at Mallard and Fairview in shallow water with Power Bait and Gulp! Eggs. Fly casters are using an intermediate sinking line at 6 feet stripping black leeches, copper johns, and PT nymphs at Mosquito Slough and Cow Creek. One fly caster picked up a 7 pounder recently, but most fish are running 14 to 19 inches.
DONNER LAKE-Plenty of rainbow trout action for anglers fishing off the public piers with Power Bait and nightcrawlers. One father and son reported catching eight 14-inch rainbows in 45 minutes.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON-The North Fork is still fishing well above Caribou Crossroads Resort. One father and his two young daughters had no trouble picking up limits on salmon eggs and worms. Butt Valley Reservoir is full again and fishing is good for nice rainbows and a few big browns. Dick Mason at Dick’s Guide Service reported landing three of eight hookups this past week, with one 25-inch brown landed by Jana Conway of Oroville. The fish are over the deeper water in the middle of the lake at 20 feet deep and hitting threaded nightcrawlers and Excel spoons.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-The lake is at 40-percent capacity. Shore anglers are catching 2 to 3 fish each at Turkey Point and Lunker Point on nightcrawlers, according to Wiggins Trading Post. Trollers are doing about the same with flasher/worm combos near the boat ramp. Fly fishermen reported good action at Snallygaster on stripped nymphs.
GOLD LAKES BASIN-The water temps have dropped enough for the lakes to turn over. Gold Lake macks are shallow and hitting Rapalas and Flatfish. Salmon Lake continues to fish better than Sardine and Packer for rainbows and brookies. The rainbows have been hitting a Kastmaster spoon, while the brookies prefer a nightcrawler.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 74-percent capacity. Dale Daneman of Dale’s Foothill Fishing Guide Service described the fishing here as “being at the trout farm”. Daneman suggested using a brown or green Sep’s two-inch grub in the top 20 feet. On his last trip, his clients landed 23 fish in four hours, mostly 13-inch rainbows. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle reported the same kind of action with easy multiple limits of 8 to 13 inch rainbows on pretty much anything you want to troll.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-Still no Alpine County trout plant scheduled yet-it will be the last plant of the year.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR-Shore fishing by the dam using nightcrawlers has been good, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-The Mackinaws are getting active here with Bob Chapman of Placerville reporting in with 4 Macks, 2 to 3 pounds, taken in the channel between the second dam and the island on pearl/red Needlefish at 75 to 80 feet deep.
LAKE TAHOE-Strong winds over the past few days made trolling difficult for the guides and uncomfortable for the clients. Before the winds set in, Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters picked up 8 fish, 4 to 5 pounds, off Carnelian Bay at 250 to 350 feet. John Shearer at Tahoe Sportfishing reported less than limit action on his boats in the SE end of the lake off Ski Run on minnows at 120 to 150 feet deep. Their fish were running 2 to 4 pounds.
LOON LAKE-The lake is at 66-percent capacity. Fishing here is wide-open with rainbows hitting in the top 20 feet. Use a Sep’s brown grub alone on a topline and put a grub behind a dodger on a downrigger set at 15 to 20 feet for non-stop action. As soon as the snow makes access a problem, the Forest Service will be locking the gate, so head up now to experience this great fall feeding frenzy before it’s too late.
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 34-percent capacity. The dam and the Prosser Creek arm are the best bets here for shore anglers using Power Bait and nightcrawlers.
PYRAMID LAKE-Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported that the cutthroat bite was back on this past week. On Friday he had 32 cutts using a U-20 pearl/red head Flatfish trolled at 17 feet deep at the North Nets. The big fish, an 11 1/2 pounder, was caught by Larry Kitahara of Santa Rosa.
RED LAKE-Very few anglers here and Woodfords Station had no reports available.
SILVER LAKE-Trollers and shore anglers doing well. Getting cold up here, with snow above the lake at 8000 feet.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 59-percent capacity. Trollers are trying for big browns and Macks with J-9 and J-11 Rapalas. Shore anglers are casting Thomas Buoyant and Kastmaster spoons, and CD-3 and CD-5 Rapalas for rainbows.
TRUCKEE RIVER-All the rain muddied up the main Truckee, but the Little Truckee between Boca and Stampede is running clear and producing some big fish on the upper end on small nymphs and emergers. Small dries, BWO’s, are working on the overcast days. Use streamers and lures around big boulders in the upper reaches of the Truckee near town where the water is clearer for bigger trout
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 71-percent capacity. The Macks are hitting in the deep water near the dam. Planters are hitting in the top 20 feet on grubs and dodgers.
WEST WALKER RIVER-Still a lot of fish and few anglers. If you want to catch a bunch of fish with no one to bother you, this is the place!
BENICIA-Shoreline action continued for anglers seeking striped bass and flounders, with bullheads, pile worms and grass shrimp working for the stripers, and pile worms the top choice for flounders. The big news was improved sturgeon action, with one boat getting four keepers up around Chain Island mid-week, and a keeper and some good shaker action for another group fishing the Mothball Fleet. Eel, grass and ghost shrimp were top baits. .
BERKELEY-A mix of options, but most boats concentrated on bottomfishing since the season ended on Sunday. “We’re catching our final limits of rockfish,” said Scott Sutherland at Berkeley Sportfishing. “We only had a couple trips out this week.” Most of the fleet is getting ready for crab/shrimp/sanddab combos staring Saturday. On the California Dawn, Captain James Smith reported another couple tries for big cow sharks, both successful with 100-pound plus sevengills boated. .
BODEGA BAY- Solid action finished the bottomfishing season, with limits of rockfish from both Point Reyes and Fort Ross on the New Sea Angler. Captain Rick Powers said Sunday’s action to the south resulted in hefty sacks for his 24 anglers, with big vermilion, Bolinas, and copper rockfish and a kicker ling that went 20 pounds. In fact, all the trips showed some quality improvement in the lingcod caught.
EMERYVILLE-The final weekend of bottomfishing resulted in limits for the boats that fished the Farallon Islands, although lingcod counts were down some. The fleet will start with the crab combos Saturday. “We still have plenty of live bait, so the fishing part of the trip will be either striped bass and halibut in the bay, or sanddabs outside,” said Frank Salazar at the landing.
EUREKA-Shore fishing for rockfish is still open, and when the ocean cooperates, the jetties can offer some black rockfish. The beach bite for surfperch is another possibility, but the ocean has pretty much slammed any chance of surf success. No chance to tell if the big rains halted the California halibut action or not.
FORT BRAGG-Shore fishing for rockfish and abalone are still fair game when the weather permits. The party boats are pretty much shut down for the season, although giant squid trips offered some charter options last year.
HALF MOON BAY-A nice flurry of white seabass surprised anglers on the Queen Of Hearts, the fish hitting shrimp fly rigs the day before Halloween. “Ghosts appear for the first time onboard the Queen Of Hearts,” said Sherry Ingles of Half Moon Bay Sportfishing and Tackle. The Half Moon Bay fleet can still fish for rockfish south of Pigeon Point, but Sunday was the final day for the local water bottomfishing.
MARTINEZ-The Happy Hooker was on the striper action again, this time moving up in the system to find both bullhead and anchovy fish in Grizzly Bay. If you wanted high action, a three-way with an anchovy provided non-stop bites for shaker and small keepers, while those who stuck out the bullhead waits found fish to 15 pounds.
POINT SAN PABLO-Captain Frank Miller on the Fury said his two trips on Thursday and Friday scored striped bass and halibut, but no big numbers. The trips were combo trolling for stripers and live bait drifting for halibut. “We had some easterly wind on Thursday night, and that messed up the trolling action,” he said. “The water cleared on Friday, but the fish were scattered and the bite was off.”
SHELTER COVE-Crab season opens Nov. 6, otherwise boat fishing is pretty much done for the season. Shore anglers can still target rockfish, and abalone season is open until the end of November.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE-Jumbo minnows are now and will be best for bass for the next few months. the way to fish them is with a small splitshot and small circle hook or slip floats can also be effective to control depths. An assortment of swimbaits, ripbaits, crankbaits, chatterbaits, and plastics as well are also doing the trick but not as consistently. To target the good catfish bite try cut mackerel, shiners, or nightcrawlers.
LAKE BERRYESSA-Look for salmon 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 following 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. The fall reaction bite should get going but there are few fishing here to confirm.
UPPER BLUE LAKE-With a plant this past week, trollers are finding on flashers and worms, a woolly bugger in black with green thread with an action disc or a 1/8-ounce size Kastmaster in silver in the top 12 feet. A downrigger set at 25 feet produced larger trout or lead core 5 to 6 colors out was not as productive. Bass fishing has been hot on plastics out to 30 feet for tubers.
LAKE ALMANOR-The west shoreline was good for rainbow trout when the wind and grasses allowed. Surface trolling in the top 10 to 15 feet with white flies or Speedy Shiners found mostly rainbow trout spread throughout the system. With brown trout now on beds and nesting down by the Canyon Dam area, try to leave them to their efforts. They are creating our future fishery and aren’t good eating now anyway.
ANTELOPE LAKE-The lake is fishing smaller now, the colder and deeper water was best for trout 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 and the fishing’s been good. Cripples, nymphs, and dries were all taking fish. Power Baits, Power Eggs and nightcrawlers are always good choices here. Brown or olive woolly buggers also took a few fish. Lure fishermen are still sticking with Kastmasters.
BRITTON LAKE-Crappie fishing is slowing down and all but done. The bite is also slowing down for bass as these warmwater fish don’t care for the cooling waters either.
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- Early morning and late in the evening remained the best time to fish. Nightcrawlers, salmon eggs, and lures are all working well and the good news is there is much less fishing pressure now. Fly fishermen did well on callibaetis and caddis while pt’s were favorites for nymph fishermen.
EAGLE LAKE-Winds were strong enough early in the week to blow out the weeds in the channel at the north end. Best grub bait was orange because it is highly visible and has been the better choice in discolored conditions. Trolling at 2 to 5 feet in waters from 5 to 10 feet deep for trout averaging 2.5 pounds but they went as large as 3.3 pounds this past week.
UPPER HAT CREEK- Still fishing well as the fall is often overlooked here and there is very little fishing pressure. Lots of fish are being taken on flies, nightcrawlers, Power Baits and lures.
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-The Pit 3 road is again closed for work, estimated completion is the end of October. Test flows on Pit 4 and 5 have been completed, so fishing should get back to normal, which was quite good prior to the increased releases. Fish are ready for the October caddis to start, so don’t shy away from some orange stimulators or nymphs. ?
LAKE SHASTA-Look for the fall bass bite to start although it may be short lived. Reaction baits such as ripbaits, spinnerbaits and topwater should be working. Salmon are in the Dry Creek arm. 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 for either.
AMERICAN RIVER-As expected, fishing success for salmon on opening weekend wasn’t all that great considering the effort, but a few were caught and there are a fair number of salmon in the river. Most of the focus was on salmon fishing (as of November 1), but a few steelhead were caught, mostly in the area now closed to 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. A good approach has been to cover a lot of water moving quietly. Fish egg patterns, caddis and Mayfly nymphs on ultra-light line underneath an indicator Spin fishermen are scoring on roe, Glo-Bugs, small spinners and mini-crawlers fished on 4 to 6-pound line. Not many anglers are fishing for them, but nice striped bass were still being caught below the rapids at Shanghai Rapids and Star Bend.
FOLSOM LAKE-The reaction bite has perked up a bit, and bass are getting more active, but there still hasn’t been much of a pattern, and anglers need to keep all options open. Spooning and jigging from 15 to 30 feet deep continued to be the most consistent approach. Cooling water temperatures is perking up the trout bite, as well. Troll hoochies, small Rapalas, and Needlefish between 35 and 50 feet deep in front of the dam and near Brown’s Ravine. Taking a trip into up into the forks near the inlets are worth a try this time of year, too, especially after a storm.
MCCLOUD RIVER–Storms brought the river up, but it’s coming back into shape quickly. Good weather should bring the good fishing back. Later in the day is producing the best fishing this time of year. Caddis nymph imitations are producing the best results.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento-Fishing for striped bass was slow except for in Deep Water Channel for boaters drifting minnows and trolling deep diving plugs, and the Turning Basin for bankies fishing mudsuckers and bloodworms.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Tisdale-Salmon fishing was put on hold for a few days last week because of high water, but as flows receded a few more late fall run king salmon were appearing. Not many yet, but, if the weather holds, fishing for them should improve over the next weeks. Steelhead fishing around Butte City and Princeton slowed last week.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-Trout fishing was knocked out for a few days except in the highest reaches of the river, but has resumed to its good pre-storm state. Fish salmon eggs, nightcrawlers, egg patterns and Glo-Bugs.
UPPER SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir-Flows came up during the storm, but receded quickly, and the good fishing has returned. Caddis hatches have been good, so nymphing with imitation has been providing some of the best success. Try stonefly, and Mayfly imitations as well.
AMERICAN RIVER-The recent heavy rains have dirtied up the water a little but the flows are still fishable. The season will close on November 15.
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 64-percent capacity. There have been very few anglers on the lake according to Emerald Cove Marina, but the bass fishing should really be taking off with the lake level rising from the rains.
CAMP FAR WEST-Lake has come up almost 10 feet with all the heavy rain this past week. Bass are still hitting for crankbait anglers according to North Shore Resort. A few people have been doing well on catfish.
COLLINS LAKE-The big storm this past week brought the lake level up a couple of feet and the island is almost covered with water now. The lake finally received the first of five trout plants that will be made weekly through Thanksgiving. Some limits are being caught mostly from the shore on Power Bait. The biggest fish weighed in was a 6 1/2 pounder. The areas in front of the campgrounds, the marina, and the dam are all producing. A few catfish and redears are still hitting worms.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is at 91-percent capacity. Very few anglers were here with all the bad weather. Skippers Cover Marina is talking with the DFG and Project Kokanee about the possibility of planting kokanee at Englebright-they’re already there, why not put more in!
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR-Heavy storms in the mountains have kept everyone but the deer hunters out of the area. Season is winding down as the possibility of snow looms in the near future. The Foresthill Ranger Station is already on winter hours-Monday through Friday, 8-4:30.
FULLER LAKE-A week of bad weather has slashed the number of anglers out fishing in this area. Snow is certainly coming soon with the storm door now wide open.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR-No snow yet from the storms that hit the Sierras this past week, but it won’t be long before access is a problem. Georgetown Ranger Station reported that there were few, if any, fishermen here this past week. Deer hunters were finishing up the season this past weekend. The Georgetown Ranger Station will switch to winter hours on November 15-Monday through Friday, 8-4:30.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is at 48-percent capacity-the level came up two feet in the last week with all the rain. Bass fishing is “on-fire” according to Mike Hanson, owner of Caribou Crossroads Resort and Oroville resident. He fished a local TOC this past weekend with his wife and they landed 15 pounds for five fish dragging brown hula-grubs and tubes on island tops and humps in 30 to 40 feet of water. Hanson said they caught 40 to 50 fish-“all short, fat footballs”. The one longest fish event was won by Frank Zander of Oroville with a 17-inch spot. Hanson was third after losing a tie breaker with a 16 3/4-inch spot. No word on the coho fishing.
ROLLINS LAKE-Still some trout and bass being caught by shore anglers in Long Ravine Resort. Trollers are still picking up rainbows in the Bear River arm.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-The lake came up a little with all the rain, but anglers have been far and few between. Some nice smallmouth, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds are hitting for boaters working plastic worms and tubes on rocky banks between the marina and the dam.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR-Poor weather chased most anglers out of the area, and no trout plant since July did little to attract fishermen to this small lake. As the snows arrive, access will become a problem.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The campgrounds are closed, but now the boat launching and day use are FREE!! No one has reported any recent success here to the Georgetown Ranger Station.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-Heavy rains here made for miserable fishing conditions and no reports were available from any source this week. If the weather warms up, there should be some bass hitting jigs and Senkos along the tules. There should be some trout action at Wilbur Rd.