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.-Up and down flows here all week, but the windows gave some opportunities for anglers who found that steelhead are filling up the river, and providing some good opportunities. Plunkers mainly are in the action in the lower river at Social Security Hole and the Gate Hole above Tide Rock. Driftboaters have only been able to ply the river a few times so far this month, but they found chromers.
COOS RIVER, Coos Bay, Ore.-Chrome hunters on the Coos River have been seeing some good action on East and West Fork of the Millacoma, and some places on the Coos River have been productive for steelhead, as well, according to WON Field Reporter Dave Pitts.
COQUILLE RIVER, South Fork; Powers, Oregon–Friday was a perfect day with the river in excellent condition for the lucky individuals who were able to go fishing. The reports I received said that there were mainly native steelhead being caught and released, guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service said. This is typical for this time of year and come the middle of January there will be plenty of hatchery fish for everyone. The large numbers of returning hatchery fish and easy water to row makes this river a popular stream for everyone, Palmer said. The high winds and downpours from the storm Friday night had the south fork rising about an inch every hour Saturday morning.
EEL RIVER-Completely blown out.
EEL RIVER, South Fork-The river was fishing earlier in the week, and guide Tony Sepulveda of Green River Guide Service floated a 12-mile stretch. He saw some dead salmon and a few spawners, but no sign of new salmon. He was fishing for steelies, and they only caught one, so it’s still early. As of Friday night the storm hit with wind, rain and hail and the river was totally blown out.
ELK RIVER, Ore.- The Elk should begin to see a tapering of hookups on kings as December ends, only to give way to steelhead. Remember both the Elk and Sixes might blow out faster than the others but they also come back into shape much quicker also. Anglers have been seeing great color and river heights regardless of the storm activity. Expect steelhead numbers to gradually pick up and success ratio’s to climb as January swings in, according to Dave Pitts, WON Field Reporter.
GARCIA, GUALALA rivers-We received one report of an angler who was at the mouth watching schools of big steelhead come into the river-the first time he had seen a big school come in. The river is blown out now, and usually sees the best fishing after the first of the year.
RUSSIAN RIVER-There was no fishing this week, although it did clear a little bit earlier in the week, but as of Sunday it “turned to mud,” and was expected to peak on the 23rd at 19 feet. “My guess is it might be fishable on New Years’s, but probably afterwards,” said Scott at Kings Sport and Tackle. Hopefully right around when the main push of steelhead hits the river.
SMITH RIVER-Steelhead returns to the river are way up from last year already, and returning salmon broke the record return in 2009-by a long ways! At this time last year there were 12 steelies caught in the fish trap, but this year there have been 98, two of them in the 20-pound range. There was one 20-pound class steelie caught by an angler fishing with Mike Coopman. Early season action is better than in years past, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Some salmon are still showing up.
UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork; Canyonville, Oregon–The weekend before Christmas had a few anglers that weren’t scared by the foul weather stuffing their fish boxes with large numbers of chrome steelhead, reported WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. Stanton Park and Lawson Bar are where most bank fisherman are catching these early winter steelhead on the south river, although the main Umpqua river still has the majority of the fish still traveling up its channels. Even though the waters were less than ideal on the south fork near the town of Roseburg, there were still a couple mid-teen-sized steelhead caught from jetboats in between the rainstorms.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork; Glide, Oregon–The river did fall into shape for fishing by the end of the week with a nice emerald green color to the water, according to Curtis Palmer. “I have not heard of any guides or locals fishing this river lately. It is still a little early to see much activity on this system, but before long it will become my favorite place to drift while fishing for winter run steelhead,” he said.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate-Most of the Klamath is still blown out except for the several miles just below Iron Gate Dam. There, the river continued to be fishable and steelheading good with anglers catching half-pounders and adults to 5 pounds on Back-trolled crawdad plugs and Hot Shots, nightcrawlers drifted and backtrolled behind a Hot Shot, and side-drifted roe.
TRINITY RIVER-The river was blown out again for much of its length, but the rains were not as heavy as had been expected, and steelheaders fishing from Lewiston to Douglas City found the river almost to themselves along with a good, new run of bright winter fish. Pulling plugs like Hot Shots and Wiggle Warts seemed to be the best bet, but even fly fishermen were able to entice a few strikes in the 1,000 cfs flows dead-drifting golden stones and egg patterns under an indicator.
BERKELEY-Pretty quiet, but crabbing trips are still possible when the weather cooperates. The California Dawn is still focusing on commercial crab, but Captain James Smith said he’ll probably get back on the sport side around Feb. 1, but he’ll be up at Martinez to target sturgeon. The Happy Hooker engine replacement is going well, the new motor already in. Captain Jim Smith said he’ll be seeking South Bay sturgeon once the boat is back in action.
BODEGA BAY- Captain Rick Powers on the New Sea Angler said weather has been a persistent block to getting out to try to find giant squid. “We should have something to report after Christmas,” he said.
EMERYVILLE-Only one trip out, the New Huck Finn finding limits of Dungeness crabs but no bass or halibut on their combo trip on Thursday with 10 anglers. Rumor has it that sturgeon trips will be offered around the first of the year.
EUREKA-Crabbing is an option, but the ocean wasn’t cooperating. Top bet when the ocean lays down is small boating out of Trinidad, or taking a more sturdy craft outside the Humboldt jaws.
FORT BRAGG-Captain Randy Thornton on the Telstar slipped a couple trips in, with the forecast falling short of the weather man’s expectations on Saturday. “We had some thunderstorms on the way out, but then the rain quit and the ocean was flat calm,” he said. Both trips produced limits of Dungeness crabs, 70 on one day, and 130 the next, which included customers and crew limits.
HALF MOON BAY-Captain Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat proved that those chilipeppers are a viable option, with a research trip (actually meant to get data on yellowtail rockfish) scoring some nice yellows and chilis. The bite came in 100 fathoms of water south of the Pioneer Canyon.
MARTINEZ-Slow tides and rainy weather made for a slow week for sturgeon anglers, but Captain Steve Talmadge did run a trip Saturday that found some action including a 60 incher caught by a 75-year-old from Pleasanton. The best bite was in shallow water near the Mothball Fleet. Tides improved over the weekend, and were prime through the week prior to Christmas, so Talmadge was optimistic about the better chances.
SAN PABLO BAY-The sturgeon action improved by strides here, likely helped by the heavy rain.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE- The minnow bite has been working once concentrations of bass were located. Covering a lot of water, you’ll pick up most of your fish in one or two spots. The bite remained very slow for artificials though ripbaits, jigs, swimbaits and lipless crankbaits fished yo-yo style on the retrieve produced a few fish.
LAKE BERRYESSA-Bass guide Don Paganelli said most of the bass are scattered from 14 feet down to 60 feet. but the bite has still been slow. Try a drop-shot rig with a shad patterned Robo Worm. Trout and salmon fishing has improved for anglers trolling their favorite lures in the top 10 to 15 feet.
UPPER BLUE LAKE-The dry spell is over for now as the lake was planted. Trolling the middle of the lake with flashers and worms or a Kastmaster in the top 12 to 20 feet produced a few trout, as the fishing was fair. Bass will also continue to be a fair bet along the highway.
AMERICAN RIVER-Steelheading rendered impossible last week as flows peaked at 30,000 cfs, flooding Nimbus Basin and making the river too high to fish downstream below the salmon closure zone. Even greater than the loss of fishing opportunities was the worry that salmon and steelhead spawning redds would be scoured and deposited eggs washed downstream without getting a chance to hatch.
FEATHER RIVER-Steelhead fishing was slow, but the Low Flow Section remained in good fishable shape at 600 cfs with about 5 feet of visibility. Fly fishers were dead-drifting San Juan Worms and caddis or Mayfly nymphs under indicators, while spin fishermen were drifting mini-crawlers behind a bead or Corkie. Eggs, Glo-Bugs, and small spinners or spoons were also attracting a few bites.
FOLSOM LAKE-“Forget about it.” That’s what almost all anglers did for Folsom last week, as very few anglers ventured forth in between storms in pursuit of trout, landlocked king salmon, and bass. It wasn’t just the mostly lousy weather, but rather the fact that fishing has been slow. High inflows to the lake are bringing in a lot of mud now, and that doesn’t help matters any.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento-Fishing for striped bass was very slow, even in the Deep Water Channel and Port of Sacramento, and the main river is likely to be too high and muddy for awhile after the rains stop. However, the Yolo Bypass is flooding, so fishing for sturgeon should take off any time. Fish Lisbon Slough off Enterprise in West Sacramento with ghost shrimp, pileworms, and eels, either individually or in combination.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing-High and blown out. The Tisdale ramp is closed.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-The release at Keswick was 13,000 cfs on Sunday so fishing right in Redding was possible, but the big river presented challenges to anglers, especially fly fishermen. Just a short ways downstream at Bend the river was double in size at 24,000 cfs.
LAKE ALMANOR-Check road conditions as a series of winter storms are due this week which will make fishing from shore the only option most days if not all. The Hamilton Branch where it empties into the lake is probably the best bet.
BAUM LAKE- There were lots of bugs on the water, with cripples, midges, bwo’s with the clouds, and nymphs taking fish. The few anglers out also caught fish on Power Baits, Power Eggs, and nightcrawlers. Kastmasters are also popular here. Fishing should remain good here throughout the winter.
EAGLE LAKE-Check roads conditions and the weather before making the trip up here. Ron Beck of Flying Eagle Guide Service keeps up on the ramp and lake conditions for the north end, call him at 530-825-3398. The south end is open and has a ramp open but it is for very small boats only. The season ends on December 31.
IRON CANYON RESERVOIR-Trout limits were being taken to the left of the boat ramp with nightcrawlers but check access due to winter storms.
PIT RIVER- With the current weather patterns, the river could be colored. The Pit 3 reach access is open during daytime hours, but there was no current update regarding the night time construction. Powerhouse problems have increased levels below the Pit 3 Powerhouse.
LAKE SHASTA-A few better bass were found by throwing Mother’s Finest in shad patterns. Trout were found to 15 1/2 inches by trolling in 15 to 20 feet of water or 3 to 4 colors out. The Pit arm and by the dam were good areas to target.
BOCA LAKE-A “Severe Winter Storm Warning” from the National Weather Service was in effect over the weekend and will continue this week with another severe storm forecast for later in the week. Fishermen need to wait until it is safe to get out, maybe by next week if the weather clears and roads are plowed
CAPLES LAKE-Heavy snow and strong winds at this elevation make this a dangerous place to come for at least the next week. Do yourself a favor and stay home!!
CARSON RIVER (East)-Wind and snow have created a traveler’s nightmare in this area. Wait until the weather clears-maybe by next week.
DAVIS LAKE-Sloppy, slushy snow mixed with rain and wind is making travel difficult at best in this area. If there is a freeze, the roads will be icy and dangerous. After the weather clears next week, the road to the lake will be plowed to the dam and up Grizzly Road to Mallard Point. Anglers will have to be prepared to walk to the lake. Ed Dillard said that one angler who had some roe caught 32 fish this past week at Mallard Point before the weather settled in.
DONNER LAKE-Severe weather with heavy winds and snow has shut down this area until at least next week.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-Heavy rain and wind here in the forecast for the rest of the week. Unless you’re a local, stay home!
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-Torrential rains and strong winds hit over the weekend and snow and/or rain is forecast for the rest of the week. Stay out of the mountains if you can help it.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-Terrible weather created a nightmare of problems for travelers trying to get through this area over the weekend with all the snow and wind. Stay away until the weather clears sometime next week.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-Very heavy rain and strong winds have made boating impossible. If the winds lay down, this could be a good time to try for a lunker Mackinaw trolling a
Rapala at 50 to 60 feet, according to Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service.
LAKE TAHOE-Sloppy, slushy snow made for very low visibility and difficult navigation for Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters on Friday when 8 clients landed 16 fish, mostly 5 to 6 pounders. Daniels trolled at 400 feet where he found the fish stacked up on the bottom. The charter lost 5 or 6 more fish and they tagged and released 6 of the 16 that were landed.
PROSSER LAKE-Heavy snow and wind is creating a travel nightmare throughout the whole area. Wait until the weather breaks next week. Poor weather is in the forecast the rest of this week.
PYRAMID LAKE-Despite snow, rain and wind, George Molino at the Pyramid Store said the fishing was fair earlier this past week. On December 13, Ted Brady of Reno landed an 18 1/4-pound cutthroat while trolling at Pelican Point. Heavy winds have made it difficult to get boats out every day, but some make it out for a short time when the winds are down. Some fly fishermen have been catching fish at the Block House, Wino Beach, and the Nets. Sheriff and Coast Guard boats have been searching for a drowning victim for a few days and have had no success due to windy conditions. Wind gusts up to 50 mph have been seen this past week and more poor weather is in the forecast.
RED LAKE-Very poor weather throughout this whole region has made travel difficult and fishing very ill advised. Snow and wind is forecast through all of this week.
SILVER LAKE-Very strong winter storms all this week are forecast to bring 8 to 15 feet of new snow to the Sierras-stay home!!
TRUCKEE RIVER-Heavy winds and snow are forecast throughout this whole region for the rest of this week. Play it safe and postpone any plans on fishing this river until better weather returns and the roads are cleared!
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-Very heavy wind, rain, and possibility of snow all this week makes this a good place to avoid until the weather clears and the roads are plowed.
AMERICAN RIVER-The river is much too high to be anywhere near it!! Stay away as long as there is rain in the forecast.
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 73-percent capacity and rising quickly from all the rain. Due to heavy rains and strong winds, very few anglers have been out so there were no fishing reports available. Before the storms settled in, Jason Kincannon of Yolo fished the lake and caught a 5-pound spotted bass on a swimbait at 73 feet and 1 shaking a Beaver at 50 feet!! He said the bite was uncharacteristically slow.
CAMP FAR WEST-The lake is full. Strong winds and heavy rain this past week and more forecast for all of this week should make fishermen think twice before venturing out.
COLLINS LAKE-The lake is only 16 feet from full. Trollers and shore anglers are still doing well on the fall plant rainbows. Anglers are catching 3 to 5 fish each. Trollers are using Rapalas, Rebels, Kastmasters, and flasher/worm combos; shore anglers rely on Power Bait or Pautzke’s Fire Bait at the dam and Open Area.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is full and spilling and the launch ramp courtesy docks are under water! With rain in the forecast for all this week, and rain this past week, there is a lot of debris on the surface that will be of concern to boaters. Fishing was good right up until the rain settled in.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is now at 52-percent capacity and rising fast-the lake came up over 4 feet on Saturday! The bigger fish are 30 to 50 feet deep on the main points. The smaller fish are shallower and some can be caught on ripbaits, but most are falling for drop-shot and dart-headed worms. Wind and rain forecast for the rest of the week will make fishing tough.
ROLLINS LAKE-The lake is full. Heavy rain and wind has kept anglers out of the area this past week and heavy rain is forecast for the rest of the week. Boaters need to be on the lookout for floating debris.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-Heavy winds and rain this past week chased off the only two boats that showed up at the lake with no fish. Heavy rain is forecast for the rest of this week! The lake is only 6 feet from spilling and rising fast!
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The road to the lake is passable with 4-wheel drive. Between storms one 4-wheeler hauled a canoe up to the lake and he and his buddy limited out on beautiful 2- to 3-pound rainbows trolling flasher/worm combos. Heavy rains and the possibility of snow are forecast for the rest of this week. Call ahead to the Georgetown Ranger Station for road and weather conditions-play it safe for the holidays!!
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-Heavy rains and strong winds to 40 mph kept sane fishermen at home!!