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.-Just as the river was dropping and clearing, another storm hit and it was up to almost 5,000 cfs at press time with the bulk of the king salmon run expected in the river. The upcoming few weeks should be outstanding and best of the season for bright kings running 30, 40 and even 50 pounds. Pulling plugs is expected to be the bet at first, according to WON Field Reporters Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing and Dave Pitts of the Chetco Outdoor Store. Guides Joe Whaley, Rich Mossholder and Mark Wakeman found great action after the first rain, pulling limits of kings for clients while pulling plugs and back bouncing roe. Guide Andy Martin also put Roland Robertson and George Morrison, both of Brookings, into kings up to the upper 30-pound mark while back bouncing the dropping out river.
EEL RIVER-Totally blown out, and no reports of fishing from the bottom to the mouth of the South Fork Eel, where fishing is allowed.
EEL RIVER, South Fork-The river was clear down to 400 cfs after the first big storm that brought in the king salmon, but it’s blown out again now, with a mix of dark and bright kings, and a few first-run steelhead, but not enough to target. According to guide Mark Nimitz of Pipe Creek Guide Service, Thanksgiving is generally the peak of the salmon run, and catch-and-release fishing for them is based on river conditions. Zero limit on kings and steelhead here, but not for any sane reason, since there’s a huge run of kings and steelhead in the river most every year-more than when retention was allowed.
ELK, SIXES RIVERS, Ore.-Rains brought them up and the kings poured in. These are relatively short-lived rivers, and small, so crowds can be a problem, and you need to be there at the right time.
RUSSIAN RIVER-A 17-pound steelie topped the list of fish caught before the last storm, although most were 8 to 10 pounds with lots of smaller halfpounders to 3 pounds mixed in. The storm brought it up to 1500 cfs, so it will be blown until late week, but this weekend should be great fishing. Steelies are all the way up to Healdsburg already-uncommon. Throw Little Cleos or use shrimp or roe.
SMITH RIVER-This river, along with the Chetco, are prime for salmon right now. The Smith was kicking out plenty of big kings to even 50 pounds after the first storm, but was dropping out and clearing last week when the most recent storm hit. The bulk of the kings were expected to enter the river, and guide Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service was planning on fishing the river on Monday. Action should be red hot as long as conditions stay good. Call ahead!
UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Ore.–Even though there have been small numbers of fresh Coho showing themselves in some of the holes on this section of this long river, guide and WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service has had very little luck in getting them interested in any offerings. There have been a few reports of steelhead being caught over the last week. Anglers can expect the river to start fill with winter steelhead around the first of December.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Glide, Ore.–The steelhead fishing is slow. With persistence, anglers are catching a nice steelhead or two in a days time. Larry Mercer of River Wolf Boats has been doing better than most anglers lately, according to Palmer. Using his flat bottom sled boat has allowed him to travel over the shallow waters and cover a lot of miles in a short amount of time. A favorite for most anglers is from the Colliding Rivers boat ramp down stream to the Gravel Bin take out. This piece of water show the various types of water that the river has to offer.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen-The lower end of the Klamath below the mouth of Trinity continued to run too high to be able to fish effectively.
KLAMATH RIVER, IRON GATE-Fishing was very good, and the river was in good fishing condition down to Happy Camp, but high downstream of there. Steelheading was excellent with anglers catching dozens of half pounder steelhead and small adults to 4 pounds on nightcrawlers behind Hot Shots, drifted roe, and flies drifted under indicators or on the swing.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek-The river was fishable down through Willow Creek, but fishing for steelhead was slow. A few steelhead were being hooked mostly at the mouths of tributaries.
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City-Some steelhead were being caught, but fishing pressure was heavy, and the success rate was low. Better fishermen were hooking a couple of steelhead an outing on flies either on the dead drift under indicators, or on the swing. Backtrolled Brad’s Wigglers and side-drifted roe were better bets.
BLUE LAKES-Last Sunday’s snow will most likely cause the gate to be locked by the county, as they have no budget to pay for snow plowing here.
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 37-percent capacity. Bite has been consistent off the dam for nice rainbows and browns up feeding on minnows-use a lure with white to imitate baitfish.
CAPLES LAKE-The lake is at 85-percent capacity. Cartop boat trollers have been doing well on flasher/worm combos. Remember Caples Lake Resort and the EID Boat Launching Facility are both closed, so you either carry your boat to the bank or shore fish. Snow on Sunday caused a lot of problems for travelers here.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)-Alpine County made the last stream plant this past week-25 big rainbows and the rest all brown trout-into the East and West Carson. Fishing has been good for the few anglers in the area. Dave Kirby at Woodfords Station walked the West Fork near Shingle Mills Bridge and saw lots of fish, but a stealthy approach is still necessary because of the low, clear water conditions.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 58-percent capacity. Trollers are still doing well working the middle of the lake from Jenkins to the island to Mallard Point. Dick Nite, Needlefish, Sockeye Slammer and Rainbow Runner spoons are all working at 8 to 10 feet for limits of 12 to 15 inch rainbows. The shore fishing is still good at Mallard and Fairview and fly fishermen have been doing well at Mosquito Slough on rust woolly buggers.
DONNER LAKE-The trolling bite is wide open for 12- to 14-inch rainbows on flasher or dodger/Apex, nightcrawler, Needlefish combos. Multiple limits are common. Keith Zenker at Mountain Hardware and Sports picked up 6 Mackinaws up to 24 inches trolling RBT jointed Kwikfish and Lyman lures just off the bottom in 55 to 75 feet of water.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON-Caribou Crossroads Resort guests have been catching easy limits of nice rainbows in the deeper holes above the Resort on worms and salmon eggs. The river closes November 15. The water level dropped at Butt Valley Reservoir and floating weeds have become a problem for trollers. Dick Mason at Dick’s Guide Service hit the lake this past Thursday and landed two of six hookups-2 1/2- and 3-pound rainbows.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-The lake is at 39-percent capacity. Cold weather has pushed the fish into deeper water according to Wiggins Trading Post, but shore anglers and trollers are picking up plenty of nice rainbows off the Frenchman’s boat ramp, Lunker Point, and Turkey Point.
GOLD LAKES BASIN-The storm over this past weekend dropped 10 to 12 inches of snow here and pretty much shut down the fishing access.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 74-percent capacity. Trolling is still “like shooting fish in a barrel”. Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill Guide Service hit the lake this past week and reported that J-5 and J-7 Rapalas worked well for the first 1 1/2 hours of the morning then he switched over to Sep’s grubs in brown or green in the top 15 feet. Daneman landed 39 fish in 6 hours-mostly 10 to 12 1/2 inches. The dock at the boat ramp has been pulled out of the water.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-The aerator was shut off and now an algae bloom has impacted the lake. A freeze should take care of the algae and prepare the lake for the last Alpine County trout plant, which will be made by the end of November.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR-Trollers are doing very well on rainbows with flasher or dodger/Needlefish, Apex, or nightcrawler combos. Shore anglers casting minnow imitations off the dam are picking up their share of fish as they feed heavily to prepare for winter.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-The lake is at 78-percent capacity. Lots of trollers out on Saturday before the storm moved in but no one reported any success to Sly Park Resort. The resort reported selling lots of nightcrawlers to shore anglers working the first dam.
LAKE TAHOE-At North Shore, both Mickey’s Big Mack Charters and Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported good early morning bites for Macks running 3 to 9 pounds. The fish were coming at 240 feet for Mickey Daniels and 145 to 165 feet deep for Chuck Self. John Shearer at Tahoe Sportfishing reported a better afternoon bite on live minnows at South Shore at the Tahoe Keys and Rubicon at 160 to 200 feet deep for Macks running 2 to 4 pounds.
LOON LAKE-The lake is at 66-percent capacity. Wide open bite for trollers on Sep’s grubs and small Rapalas for 12- to 13-inch rainbows. Snow might become a problem here soon. The Forest Service will close the gate to the lake if snow makes Ice House Road or Wentworth Springs Road access questionable.
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 32-percent capacity. Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports hit the lake this past week and did very well casting a RBT Kastmaster from the dam for 14- to 16-inch rainbows. Trollers were doing well using flasher/worm combos in front of the dam.
PYRAMID LAKE-Joe Mendes of Eagle Eye Charters reported picking up 20 to 32 cutthroats on his trips this past week trolling a pearl/red FlatFish from Indian Head Point to Pelican Point at 17 to 25 feet deep. Fly fishermen are doing well at Rawhide, Wino Beach, Indian Head Point, and the North Nets on woolly buggers for 8 to 12 fish per man. All the cutts are running 19 to 23 inches.
RED LAKE-Check the weather forecast and cast off the dam for brookies, cutts, and rainbows.
SILVER LAKE-The lake is at 43-percent capacity. One troller reported catching 81 rainbows in a full day of fishing using small Rapalas in the morning then switching to Sep’s grubs in the top 20 feet.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 59-percent capacity. Trout and macks are feeding heavily in preparation for winter. Anything that looks like a minnow will work on these fish as they load up on food. Some of the macks have spawned and are feeding more aggressively near the dam.
TRUCKEE RIVER-BWO’s in various stages are working best–just check to see what the fish are feeding on and match it-nymphs, emergers, or adults.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 72-percent capacity. Most boaters dislike using the back road (Pea Vine Ridge Rd) to the dam to launch so pressure has been light here. Macks should be hitting as they recuperate from spawning and load up on food in preparation for winter.
WEST WALKER RIVER-Two guests at the West Walker Motel reported catching fish up to 2 1/2 pounds in the canyon section of the river. The trout season closes here on November 15.
BENICIA-Boaters scored some quality striped bass and sturgeon, and shore anglers are getting in on the striper action as well. One group of anglers caught 9 keeper bass, one angler taking a pair of 20 pounders for a limit. Bullheads were the bait to beat. Sturgeon hit for anglers soaking ghost, grass, pile and eel, with the Mothball Fleet top spot for keepers. Anglers reported up to 9 shakers while waiting for their keeper.
BERKELEY-Crabbing was good, and there was a big bonus for one angler who hooked a 24-pound halibut on the California Dawn. Crabbing was best on Saturday with limits for 38 on the Cal Dawn, plus 8 halibut and 4 stripers. The fish came from San Pablo Bay. On Sunday, weather was an issue, but the Cal Dawn did score 28 limits of Dungeness, plus one halibut and 7 stripers.
BODEGA BAY- Captain Rick Powers on the New Sea Angler said he didn’t get a chance to look for giant squid, but he did get out on a private boat on the weekend to get limits of crabs. “I’ll bet there were between 250 and 300 boats out for the crab opener, and every person out there got crab limits!” said Powers. He’ll start the giant squid trips in another week or so.
CROCKETT-Captain Gordon Hough on the Morning Star reported some encouraging action from San Pablo Bay, the striped bass a top bet for anglers fishing on the anchor. While his last two trips targeted leopard sharks, the stripers were biting almost better. On one trip, his customers hooked 9 both on the anchor and trolling. Sunday’s trip was plagued by rain and wind, but the effort did produce 4 leopard sharks and 2 bass, big fish a 56-inch leopard hooked by a Sacramento boy. Midshipmen worked best.
EMERYVILLE-Frank Salazar at Emeryville Sportfishing Center reported limits of crabs for the combo trips, the New Huck Finn and the New Seeker both running Saturday and Sunday. They are also adding some halibut and striped bass on the combo trips, with stripers the bigger number on most trips, but some nice flatties showing up.
EUREKA-Sport crabbing opened with good numbers of keeper Dungeness on tap, but the weather became an issue on Sunday. The jetties are still fair game for rockfish, but the weather has been an off and on problem. No recent surfperch reports.
FORT BRAGG-The crab opener offered “the best crabbing I’ve ever seen,” reported Captain Randy Thornton on the Telstar. He ran Saturday with 17 anglers, getting full limits (10 per from this port) of Dungeness. The first indication of the number of crabs around came early, when the crew pulled a pot that was too close to another to re-set it, and after a five minute soak, there were already 4 keepers. On Sunday, it took just 17 pots to pull 150 keepers. “We’re running for crabs on Tuesday, then we’re going to fish on Thursday targeting squid, and maybe some tuna if the water looks right,” said Thornton.
HALF MOON BAY-Captain Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat said crab season looks promising, with his opening weekend trips scoring crab limits even though Sunday was a bit challenging weather wise. Saturday’s group also got to try for rockfish and lingcod south of Pigeon Point, scoring half limits of rockfish and one 18-lb. lingcod. Sunday’s group opted to forego the ride to the fishing grounds due to windy conditions and a building swell, but they did get their 17 limits of Dungeness crabs.
MARTINEZ-The Happy Hooker had some more great striped bass trips up in Suisun Bay, finding some quality linesides, and near limits. On Wednesday, 16 anglers caught 30 striped bass to 12 pounds above the Martinez Bridge on the sand bars. Saturday’s group of 15 caught 26 stripers to 14 pounds, and on Sunday, 15 anglers had 18 bass to 15 pounds, plus a 47-inch sturgeon that ate a bullhead.
POINT SAN PABLO-The Fury only had one shark trip, the big ones scarce, but 3 sevengills to 50 pounds caught on Tuesday at Yellow Bluff. He’ll continue to offer shark and striped bass trips, angler interest and weather allowing.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE- It’s winter fishing here now and that means jumbo minnows will be best for bass for the next few months. An assortment of swimbaits, ripbaits and crankbaits were tossed successfully by artificial lovers. To target the good catfish bite try cut mackerel, minnows or nightcrawlers. They have been weighing up to 20 pounds.
LAKE BERRYESSA-Spoons and drop-shot rigs along with jigs are what works best here this time of year for bass. Concentrate on fish holding on offshore structure in the main body and look for fish working bait balls in some of the deeper creek channels in coves off the Narrows and Pope and Putah creeks. You’ll find a variety of fish working the bait balls as they begin to feed up for the winter.
UPPER BLUE LAKE-Trollers are finding trout on flashers and worms, or a 1/8-ounce Kastmaster in silver in the top 12 to 20 feet. A downrigger set at 25 feet produced larger trout averaging 2 1/2 pounds. These were all the Eagle Lake trout strain and scattered all over the lake. Water temperatures are the same all over so they are following the food.
LAKE ALMANOR-When the winds and weather allowed the bite was good for rainbow trout. Surface trolling leadcore line three colors out with a Speedy Shiner produced trout to 3 1/2 pounds. 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 colder and deeper water was best for trout by the dam. The lake is full of them and recently received more plus there is very little fishing pressure here now. Trying trolling white flies.
BAUM LAKE-The fishing has been picking up with cooler weather. November through February are prime months here and this is a great place to take beginner fly fisherman. Any method can be effective, but the most consistent seems to be fishing intermediate lines and damsels nymphs in the slower water or nymphing with indicators in the faster inflows from Crystal Lake. Browns and rainbows are usually stocked heavily in the winter months providing a great opportunity to catch some really nice fish.?
BRITTON LAKE-Crappie fishing is slowing down and all but done. The bite has also slowing down for bass as these warmwater fish don’t care for the cooling waters either.
BURNEY CREEK-BOW’s 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, bwo’s and midges, while pt’s were favorites for nymph fishermen. ?
EAGLE LAKE-A warming trend slowed fishing the later portion of the week but things should settle down pretty fast once cooler weather returns. Best grubs were Sep’s orange or watermelon although pumpkin seed grubs also accounted for fish. The best trolling areas were at the north end of the lake, between Bucks Point and Little Truxel Point, all the way up to Big Truxel Point. Many anglers are also fishing the area between the Youth Camp and Pelican Point and northwest towards Rocky Point.
UPPER HAT CREEK- Fish are being taken on flies, nightcrawlers, Power Baits and lures.
HAT CREEK (wild) – Nymphing is the best, but callibaetis cripples can yield some good results. Nymph fishermen did best on pheasant tails, copper Johns.
PIT RIVER-The Pit 3 road is currently open during the day, however construction work is ongoing during the night time hours, and once the crews start, the road is closed. Be sure to be out well before dark if you decide to fish the Pit 3 reach. ?
LAKE SHASTA-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 although the lake has still not turned with another warm spell. Try a Sling Blade and white hoochie for either trout or salmon.
AMERICAN RIVER-Salmon success was spotty, but a fair number of kings were ascending the river, some in very nice shape, some darker, and taking an occasional bite at backtrolled Kwikfish and drifted roe. Some of the “right” places were along River Bend Park, above and below the bike bridge at River Bend Park, above Watt Ave, at night on glow-in-the-dark Kwikfish and Gitzits in the Dredger Holes, and just above the mouth of the American River.
FEATHER RIVER-Steelhead fishing continued to be good. They are still biting egg imitations, but also 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. While most of the pressure and fishing success in on the Low Flow Section, the main river below the Outlet is still producing fish.
FOLSOM LAKE-The bass reaction bite has picked up and fish have moved up in the water column as the lake continues to cool and levels stabilize and even rise a bit as inflows increase. Throw crankbaits, spoon, and jig. Fish might be at 10 feet, or as deep at 30 feet deep. The king salmon and trout bite is also improving. Troll nightcrawlers behind blades, small Rapalas, and Needlefish between 35 and 50 feet deep in front of the dam and near Brown’s Ravine.
MCCLOUD RIVER-Fishing was very good last week during the warm weather, but the storm over the weekend slowed the bite considerably. It should pick up again as weather clears and warms up again. Fish mid-day with caddis nymph imitations.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento-Fishing for striped bass was slow except for the Turning Basin for boaters drifting minnows or spooning. Some sturgeon were being reported from Courtland, and Hood-Franklin.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Los Molinos-Salmon fishing wasn’t all that consistent, but a few anglers did very well on some very large fish to over 40 pounds. The trick was to move around to find fishable water-and fish. Sardine-wrapped Kwikfish and Blue Fox spinners were doing the trick. Hamilton City, Red Bluff, and Chico were some of the better areas. Some salmon were being caught around Tisdale, but not many, and flows in the area have been high and muddy many of the days over the past week.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-Trout fishing was good for a few days when the weather warmed back up, but slowed again over the weekend with the return of rain and colder weather.
AMERICAN RIVER-Not much interest here with cold, wet weather hitting the area lately. The season will close above the Hwy 49 crossing on November 15. The River from Hwy 49 to Folsom Lake is open all year.
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 64-percent capacity. One angler reported in with a nice limit of rainbows that were caught trolling at 20 feet, according to Emerald Cove Marina. Spotted bass action must be good due to the number of bass boats on the lake, but most guys want to keep this bite to themselves. Last fall/winter, spotted bass were hitting shad Senkos in 40 to 50 feet of water on the main body points-lots of 3 to 5 pounders were caught.
CAMP FAR WEST-The lake is at 30-percent capacity, up 5-percent since the rains started. Bass and catfish action has been good. The bass are in the midst of their fall feeding frenzy and should stay on a strong bite until the water temp drops into the mid to high 40’s. Try to find some water running into the lake to improve your chances of picking up some nice cats on chicken livers and sardines.
COLLINS LAKE-The lake received the second fall trout plant this past Thursday. Trout are being caught in limit numbers trolling flasher/worm combos in the top 15 feet. Bass limits are coming from near the bridge on crawdads. One shore angler picked up a limit casting spoons near the boat ramp the day of the plant-they were all 2 to 3 pounders.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is at 91-percent capacity. Trout action is still excellent in the marina and good from the no-ski buoy line down to the dam for trollers. A houseboater caught two 2 1/2- to 3-pound browns off his boat berthed in the marina on worms. Trollers are culling through 9- to 10-inch rainbows for nice limits of 12 to 14 inchers using flasher/worm combos in the lanes between the houseboats at 10 feet.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The lake is at 57-percent capacity. John Wadden at Will Fish Tackle in Auburn said that one troller reported good action on rainbows, 12 to 16 inches, using a dodger/ nightcrawler or a pink hoochie combo at the dam and out in front of the launch ramp.
FULLER LAKE-No one has reported any success here to the local shops, but action should still be good for shore anglers and trollers until snow limits access.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 78-percent capacity. Georgetown Ranger Station staff had not heard any reports from here recently, but trollers should be catching a mix of trout and Mackinaws. Try for trout up at the inlet as browns stage at the mouth of the Rubicon for the spawn. Macks should be bunched up in the deep water near the dam and hitting jigged Crippled Herring or Gibbs Minnows-meter for schools and drop down to them.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is at 48-percent capacity. A team tournament was won this past weekend with 10.66 pounds-way below expectations. There was a short topwater bite in the morning if there was a breeze. The bite was strong for small bass but quality fish were hard to come by on worms, jigs, and tubes fished from 20 to 60 feet deep. The big fish was a 4.94-pound largemouth taken on a topwater lure.
ROLLINS LAKE-Dee Wolffe at Long Ravine Campgrounds reported that bass up to 2 1/2 pounds were hitting live bait and plastics on the rocky shores near the dam. Trollers were out trying for trout, but no one had reported any success.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-Very slow this past week with only a few little smallmouth bass caught on plastics. One boat trolled for trout with no success, according to Jim Caldwell at the Resort.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR-Not much to report here. Probably a few holdover trout available, but the lake hasn’t received a DFG plant since the July 4 weekend.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The lake is at 83-percent capacity. The lake hasn’t been planted for some time, so only holdover fish are available. The launching is free now that there is no “camp host” on site. Check out the inlet of Pilot Creek with flasher/worm combos or small Rapalas. The Georgetown Ranger Station is now on winter hours-Monday through Friday, 8-4:30.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-Not much to report here with more interest in the steelhead run in the Feather River below the Afterbay.