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 was running low and clear during much of the week, and while anglers were still scoring by fishing the deeper waters and riffles, bluebacks are beginning to show, usually meaning the approaching end of the run. Some big steelies were still being caught, however, and better guides are still landing 2 to 4 fish per outing. There’s still some good fishing to come, here.
COQUILLE RIVER, South Fork, Powers, Ore.–River is extremely shallow and clear. “I suggest changing tactics from the normal sidedrifting–anything that will not spook the Ssteelhead in these conditions,” said guide and WON Filed Reporter, Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “I received a phone call from one of my guide friends and he limited his clients out on January 29. I can not reveal the secret to his success, but I will say that the fish are still there, even when the water is low and clear.”
EEL RIVER Main, EEL South Fork-Retired river guide John Pizza fished the South Fork and Main Stem Eel a week ago with “Lucky Dan” Luckman, and the two went 8 for 8 on the South Fork with a 16 pounder biggest fish. At that time the South Fork was “thin”, but the main stem cam on big time. The rain should bring fish into the system again. Guide Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing Adventures reported on Jan. 30, saying they only had a shot of rain, and they had fished both the main and south fork, doing well all week, including “double digit days”. They caught fish to 36 inches and 18 pounds.
GARCIA RIVER-The river wasn’t fishing well before the rain for most anglers, but rain should freshen it up.
GUALALA RIVER-Fishing was doing good here two weeks ago, but the mouth closed up, so no fish could come in. This rain should have opened it back up and let fresh fish in.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.-The river is now in prime shape after the big rise two weeks ago. The Rogue Outdoor Store reported that anglers were hooking an average of 4 steelhead a day in the lower river, running plugs from a jet boat while anchored. Some of the steelhead have been running as big as 15 pounds. A mix of hatchery and wild steelhead are being caught. Bank anglers are doing best at Huntley Park and Lobster creek, plunking Spin-N-Glos. Drift fishing from shore also has been productive at Griffin Park near Grants Pass. Prior to Feb. 1, anglers could keep one wild steelhead a day downstream from Hog Creek. A single wild fish per day can now be kept river wide.
ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass– Side-drifters in the Grants Pass area were reporting a few fish a day last week, but dark water limited success. The river is now green and fishing well, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.
RUSSIAN RIVER-Nick Wheeler of Kings Sport and Tackle said the river was fishing very well before the rain, and “everybody” was getting them: fly guys, bait users and spin gear anglers. Boaters were averaging 2 fish a boat from Steelhead on down. Then the rain hit and a “wall of water” came down, but Wheeler said it was still fishable with bait on Sunday afternoon, flowing around 1200 cfs. He said by Wednesday it should be fishing, and by the weekend, in prime shape! The rain should also bring more fish into the system. Steelies were averaging 8 to 10 pounds with a few to 14.
SMITH RIVER-Nothing but sun and little rain a few days ago, but not enough to do anything to the river, so it was flowing low and clear over the weekend. “Some guys like it like that, and some don’t,” said “Patty” at the Ship Ashore. “Some are doing well and some are not, it depends on the guides. I talked to guides Alan Borges and Criag Sutton, and they are both doing well on the steelhead.”
UMPQUA RIVER, Sutherlin, Ore.—The river is still on the high side for what I like to fish it at, but others are catching some impressive steelhead, according to Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “By the first weekend of February it looks like the river will be in prime shape. That same weekend there is an enhancement derby going on in the area and our three rivers will probably be busy with boat traffic.”
UMPQUA, North Fork; Roseburg, Oregon–This river is mostly catch and release, but the beauty of the surroundings makes it worth releasing those steelhead in the mid-teens. Guide Curtis Palmer has been averaging a half dozen fish a day and some of these fish are close to 20 pounds. Most of the larger steelhead have been caught on Steelhead Stalkers UV Yarn Balls.
UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork; Myrtle Creek, Oregon–Fishing turned from good to even better this week. WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer has received some reports from local guides that are having 12 to 16 fish days. There are some hatchery steelhead being caught and it is a comfort to know that there is a barb on our hooks to help assure a catch.
TRINITY RIVER, Junction City–There weren’t a whole lot of fish in the stretch of river between Lewiston and Junction City last week and anglers working that part of the river struggled, but, a little farther downstream toward Del Loma, there seemed to be a decent number of newly-arrived steelhead weighing from 6 to 8 pounds which were willing to hit drifted nightcrawlers and lures like Little Cleos. Fishing pressure was light.
TRINITY RIVER, South Fork-The river was still high and off-color from inflows from the South Fork, but the river was fishable with bait.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam-The river was in good shape past Happy Camp, but fishing was only fair for a few adults to 5 pounds and a like number of half-pounders on back-trolled plugs and side-drifted nightcrawlers and roe.
KLAMATH RIVER, Somes Bar-The Klamath was still quite high, but dropping fast barring more storms.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE-For the first time in ages, the bass bite started to show signs of improving, as the area had a warming trend. The waters warmed up a bit, but fish were still found in the deeper ends of the lake on top-hooked swimbaits, ripbaits, crankbaits, and plastics. Concentrations of bass are being found and when they are found, good limits are being caught, even if not many fish are being caught in the process.
LAKE BERRYESSA-The bass bite was fair for those willing to put in the time and this has included some large bass as well. Drop-shot Robo Worms on points and creek channels, as well as jigs and spoons have been the best producers. Carolina rigged plastics like Brush Hogs and Robo Worms worked very slowly should also get them to bite. Most of the bass have been in the 1- to 2-pound range.
UPPER BLUE LAKE-There were a few trout caught trolling, but very few anglers were on the water to target the recently planted trout. Bass fishing has been fair for the drop-shot and jigging crowd as typical winter tactics are paying off for a few along the highway. If you’re bringing your boat here, don’t forget this year’s quagga mussel inspection and sticker, they are required on all Lake County waters.
LAKE ALMANOR-The east side by the dam is where anglers have been enjoying an ice free shoreline and both salmon and trout. Salmon are starting to hit anchovy tails suspended off the bottom while trout trollers are using white trolling flies and other smelt patterns there as this is where the bait has been. Bank anglers working around the ramp did well floating baits off the bottom, or injecting nightcrawlers with scents and rigging them 42 inches down under torpedo bobbers.
BAUM LAKE-The Fly Shop in Redding reported very good fishing here the last few weeks. Fish are eating pretty much anything right now. Fishing damsel nymphs with slow hand twist retrieves or small midges under indicators have been the most productive methods. Baum can be crowded at times, so moving down the lake will usually not produce as many fish, but they are usually a lot healthier.
IRON CANYON RESERVOIR-Vaughn’s Sporting Goods in Burney gave varied reports, with some anglers catching limits and some having trouble catching one. Nightcrawlers were a favorite choice, though trolled lures were working for some anglers also.
PIT RIVER-No current reports from anglers as the water is definitely high and colored. The road is open and the Lake Britton dam crossing is open. Also, a request for more time to complete the work by P.G.& E. has been approved and the Forest Service has requested that flows remain at around 300 csf throughout the summer. This means more water than previous years, and this could be a great year on the Pit, if releases are kept down.
LAKE SHASTA-Head to the arms of the lake where there has been a better chance of finding bait. For bass it’s been all about drop-shotting and dartheading Senkos or Mother’s Finest in blue craw or shad patterns out to 50 feet, although jigs are also working. Overall it’s been a tough bite for bass, as the water is still clear and cold. Hang by the dam and Dry Creek for trout and or salmon or head to the arms and try areas where water is coming in.
BAY POINT-Jeff Renfanvt at BS Bait said the Diamond Catch and Release Sturgeon derby increased angler efforts, and though most fish were released, a handful came through the shop from anglers who weren’t fishing the derby. Top spots locally for sturgeon were lower Ryer Island and in the back of Big Cut, where eel and grass shrimp baits worked best. Striper action was slow, but flounder are showing up on the flats and around the Firing Line, along with a few kingfish.
BENICIA-Tony Lopez said the sturgeon action out in San Pablo Bay was great with several keepers coming into the shop, including 3 caught on the Barbarian. Eel and grass shrimp were the top baits.
BERKELEY- “Everybody pulled their crab traps and the sturgeon haven’t shown up,” said Scott Sutherland at Berkeley Sportfishing. “Guess we will wait ’til March or April when the anchovies come back!”
CROCKETT-Captain Gordon Hough on the Morning Star had a pretty busy week, with the best day also the first day when Thursday’s group caught 4 keeper sturgeon and released one oversized fish, plus several shakers. “The weather was bad, but they were biting!” said Hough. On Friday, shakers were the only action, but Saturday and Sunday offered a keeper each day.
EUREKA-With the big ground swell, the surfperch fishing has been on the blink. When the ocean lays down enough for crabbers to get out, they are still getting limits of Dungeness.
FORT BRAGG-Captain Randy Thornton on the Telstar continued to tap the thick crab numbers running four trips that produced limits of Dungeness. On the weekend, the swell came up so he pulled his pots, but he’ll drop ’em again as the weather settles this week. The boat scored a total of 510 crabs for the week.
HALF MOON BAY-Captain Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat said the crabbing continued limit-style. “Crabbing may have dropped off slightly, but we’re still getting limits,” said Mattusch. “Saturday’s trip ended with 25 limits of Dungeness crabs.” A recent sanddab and crab combo produced up to 45 sanddabs per person. The action came about 11 miles west of the harbor in 240 feet of water, then the group took crab limits also.
MARTINEZ-The Diamond Classic brought 346 adult anglers and 56 kids to compete in the catch and release derby held out of this port. The incoming morning tide produced great action, with a total of 27 keeper sturgeon caught and released, along with one oversized fish that measured 72 inches. Eel and grass shrimp scored most of the bites. First place was $3,027.50, second place was $2,160.50. There was a nice sturgeon hooked by a pier angler, but the fish managed to escape in the pilings. Also some flounder and a green sturgeon caught from the pier, said Lisa Rezentes at Martinez Bait and Tackle.
POINT SAN PABLO-Captain Frank Miller on the Fury said that he spent his Saturday fishing the Diamond Classic sturgeon derby on Soleman’s boat, and they hooked 3 shaker sturgeon. Miller has a sevengill cow shark trip scheduled this week, so should have an update on that main bay action in the next issue of WON.
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 49-percent capacity. The successful anglers are using a cocktail shrimp on a 1/16- or 1/8-ounce crappie jig head fished just under the ice near the dam.
CAPLES LAKE-Area received another foot of powder snow over the weekend. Anglers are still fishing through 2 feet of ice and a couple of feet of snow for a mix of rainbows, browns, and macks on worms or Pautzke’s Fire Bait.
CARSON RIVER (East)-The area received 3 to 4 inches of wet slushy snow over the weekend and the daytime temp was 20-degrees on Sunday. It was too cold for fishing, but the river was in beautiful shape. Before the last storm, anglers were seen fishing below the Hangman’s Bridge.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 63-percent capacity. The ice is 6 to 8 inches thick at the dam where most of the fishermen are. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported picking up 8 fish in about 4 hours on Power Bait fished 13 feet under the ice. He ties up a “catfish rig”-bottom sinker with a dropper above using a size 16 trout treble hook. He only uses enough bait to cover two of the bends of the treble leaving one exposed for easier hooking. Some anglers have done well with small jigged tube baits. The rainbows have been running a healthy 15 to 17 inches.
DONNER LAKE-The surface temp is 39-degrees and the Mackinaw are bunched up in schools. Keith Zenker at Mountain Hardware and Sports suggested metering around until you find a school and then vertically jigging a Buzz Bomb or other spoon.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-The lake is at 45-percent capacity. Ed Dillard’s brother and a buddy fished here this past Friday and found good action at the dam through 6 to 8 inches of ice. They caught 8 rainbows, 16 to 18 inches, on Power Bait fished just off the bottom in 20 feet of water.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 58-percent capacity. Roads were snowed in over the weekend with the latest storm. Past reported indicated that there was ice floating on the lake hampering boats. Wait until things warm up before trying to get up here.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-Alpine County planted 2000 pounds of brook trout and rainbows here this past week. According to Dave Kirby at Woodfords Station the plant was made up of mostly brookies up to 3 pounds and rainbows running 2 1/2 to 4 pounds. The back road off Diamond Valley is the best way to get into the lake as the road past the airport is not plowed. The weather over the weekend was snowy and cold.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-The last two DFG trout plants amounted to 1750 pounds of 8- to 10-inch rainbows-just the perfect size to feed the ravenous Mackinaws in the lake. Sly Park Resort reported slow fishing despite the plants and said that the cove where the fish usually hold for a while until they disperse was empty. The Mackinaw might have chased the rainbows out into to open water for some good old gluttony.
LAKE TAHOE-Mickey Daniels reported good action before the snowstorm over the weekend. One trip produced a dozen fish up to 8 pounds, with most running 3 to 6 pounds. The fish were caught 300 to 350 feet deep on Sling Blade/Koke-a-nut combos and Sting Kings. Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported good action on 1 to 6 pounders on both his morning and afternoon trips trolling Tasmanian Devils and spoons tipped with a minnow at 180 to 220 feet deep. Find a school of fish and keep on them to get them to bite, if not hitting, move around and find a school that will.
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 32-percent capacity. The best action is at the dam where a small white crappie jig head tipped with a worm fished just under the ice will catch rainbows.
PYRAMID LAKE-Trollers have been doing very well according to Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters. His last two trips produced 27 and 44 cutthroats trolling in the Monument to Popcorn area at 17 to 25 feet when there is a breeze. On calm days you have to move out to 25 to 45 feet. Mendes did well on FlatFish and Apex in frog, bronze, pearl/red, and rainbow trout. The cutts are running 17 to 24 inches. Trollers caught two 15-pound, 9-ounce cutthroats this past week, both on FlatFish-one at Pelican Point, the other at Warrior Point.
RED LAKE-Few reports were available with fresh snow falling over the weekend triggering chain controls on Hwy 88.
SILVER LAKE-Foul weather over the weekend created some travel problems on Hwy 88 making a fishing trip ill advised. Clearing in the forecast should improve the fishing through the ice near the dam.
TOPAZ LAKE-Cold windy weather slowed the bite to a crawl this past week. Trollers and shore anglers only picked up a couple of fish, according to Linda Fields at Topaz Landing Marina.
TRUCKEE RIVER-Sub-surface baetis and midge patterns are working best on overcast afternoons when the water has had a chance to warm up a little. Also try egg patterns, San Juan Worms, and big woolly buggers in some of the slower runs.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 66-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service fished the lake twice this past week and picked up several 18-inch Mackinaws trolling 10 to 20 feet off the bottom in 80 feet of water along the ledges using his Double Flutter spoons and dodger/herring combos. He will begin regular guide trips here looking for some of the lunkers that inhabit this lake starting next week. The road in still requires 4-wheel drive!
AMERICAN RIVER-Flows are an almost perfect 2,500 cfs and the river is a nice tinge of green, but fishing for adult steelhead continued to be a challenge. Some anglers who happen to be at the right spot at the right time have hooked into a nice adult or two-mostly above Rossmoor Bar-but the bulk of the catches have been on wild fish with intact adipose fins indicating they were naturally spawned in the river–half-pounders on backtrolled plugs, drifted nightcrawlers, or roe, and on small spoons or spinners. A few were being hooked on flies.
FEATHER RIVER-Steelheading was fair last week, with most of the action in the Low Flow Section above the Highway 70 Bridge, where pressure was heaviest, and a few being caught downstream. Drifted nightcrawlers, Berkley Gulp worms in the Salmon Egg pattern, and drifted roe was scoring for spin fishermen, and fly fishers were hooking a few on pheasant tail and copper John nymphs in No. 12 and 14. A few large striped bass were being caught from Star Bend to Beer Can Beach on Pencil Poppers and shallow running Bombers.
FOLSOM LAKE-Bass fishing was pretty good last week and should get even better. Some nice smallmouth bass to 4 pounds, and spots to 4.5 pounds were being caught off rockpiles at 25 to 40 feet deep drop-shotting plastic worms in crawdad patterns. Some nice trout and king salmon were being caught by trollers fishing near the surface down to 15 feet with Speedy Shiners, and small Rapalas, or hoochies and Radical Glo Tubes behind dodgers down to 25 feet deep. Troll from the Granite Bay Boat Ramp, in front of the dam, toward Dyke 8. Some planter trout were being caught on bait at Granite Bay.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona-The river is stable, and some sturgeon were being caught at Verona up to Knight’s Landing. South River Road was producing some fish, too. A 45-pound striped bass was reported caught at Knight’s Landing on an eel, and some reports of stripers were coming from Verona. However, striper fishing remained slow in the Sacramento region.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-No change. Water conditions were good, and so was the fishing for trout to 3 pounds on nymphs fished under indicators and drifted Glo-Bugs.
YUBA RIVER-Still flowing too high-3,000 cfs.
AMERICAN RIVER-Plenty of hikers and sun worshippers getting out of the valley fog, but no fishermen below the Hwy 49 crossing have been reported.
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 73-percent capacity. Billy Graham at Emerald Cove Marina reported that the lake dropped 3 feet this past week and the water is gin clear. Coupled with the sunny weather, the clear water conditions have made for a tough bite-quality over quantity. The best action is coming on swimbaits fished on the south side of the main body points in 40 to 60 feet of water.
CAMP FAR WEST-North Shore Resort had no report available on the fishing-foggy, cold weather made for poor conditions.
COLLINS LAKE-The lake is full. Because of the last two weeks of beautiful weather, the resort has decided to start the regular planting program two weeks early during the first week of Feb. Plants will be made every two weeks until mid-March, then weekly after that. Fishing has been fair with anglers picking 1 or 2 fish each either trolling or shore fishing.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is at 90-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina said fishing pressure was very light this past week with no trollers reporting any success.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is up three more feet to 68-percent capacity. The Angler’s Choice Pro-Am event over the weekend fielded 105 boats and 94 of them weighed a limit on Saturday. Top weight was 13 pounds. Drop-shot and darthead worms accounted for most fish at 35 to 45 feet. The coho bite is still good in the coves up in the West Branch toward Lime Saddle.
ROLLINS LAKE-The lake is scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. Lots of boaters were on the lake with the beautiful weather this past week, but there were no reports of any success according to Long Ravine Resort. Some shore anglers did pick up some catfish to 2 3/4 pounds on hot dog chunks.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-The lake is scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR-The weather was nice this past week, but there has been little to report about the fishing.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The lake is full and spilling. The road, up until the storm that hit over the weekend, was open to all traffic. Boaters and shore anglers have been catching some nice holdover rainbows. The trollers are doing fine on flasher/worm combos and Rapalas.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-No reports were available about the fishing here. The cold, foggy conditions all week made for very poor visibility for boaters.