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.-Low and clear and fishing action is dead slow and close to reverse. According to WON Field Reporter Dave Pitts, the river is flowing at less than 1,200 cfs with a prediction of less than 1,000 cfs on its way, with a 20-plus foot visibility and virtually no flow. Only a few steelhead caught in the past week. Most guides and anglers have picked up and moved to other rivers due to river conditions and the lack of fish. Rivers including the Umpqua and other northern Oregon rivers are being targeted. Guide Gary and Val Early put clients into a few Chetco steelhead last week, but those were a couple of the few fish taken on the Chetco, Pitts said.
EEL RIVER, Main Stem-It’s “game on” here, and all guides have been doing well, with some excellent days of fishing on bright, healthy steelies mostly 6 to 12 pounds, but some bigger. Guide and WON contact Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service has moved here from the Smith, which is low and clear, and he said the river is 4 to 6 feet of visibility and green. Guides Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing and Mike Stratman of Redwood Coast Fishing have also been on the river all week, and confirmed the very good results. The main is expected to be low and tough fishing in about a week without more rain, but for now it’s all systems go.
EEL RIVER, South Fork- Mike Stratman of Redwood Coast Fishing said it’s been low and clear for the past week or two. The Main Stem has been getting all the attention, and kicking out the steelies.
RUSSIAN RIVER-The river is in great shape and has good color, but fishing was slow for steelhead most of the week. On Saturday the fishing picked up in the lower river from Forestville to Monte Rio, when the fly guys swinging Comets got into some nice fish, and one angler hooked 3 on roe. “Some boats are getting them on plugs, but roe and shrimp are good bets, and some on Cleos,” said Nick Wheeler of Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville. He said that as the river drops and clears the steelhead will begin staging and become particularly susceptible to fly anglers who can then target them. “Switch to smaller lures and roe baits as the water drops and clears,” he said.
SMITH RIVER- Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing said that on the Smith things have been tough. “The lack of rain has really taken its toll and while there are fish in the system, they haven’t been easy to catch,” he said. “It gets really snaggy when the flows fall out and going through 30 leaders in a day isn’t out of the question. If you’re lucky and good you might touch a fish or two.”
UMPQUA RIVER Main, Sutherlin, Ore.—WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer with River Secrets Guide Service reported:
“The river is at it’s prime with temperatures not to cool, visibility close to 8 feet and traveling conditions becoming easier with the river height dropping,” he said. “By the end of the week the average number of steelhead being caught by a boat went from 3 fish a day to 6 fish a day.” Note: We gave the wrong phone number for guide Curtis Palmer last week, his correct number is (541) 670-9451.
UMPQUA RIVER, North fork; Roseburg, Oregon–Fishing for steelhead has done a 180-degree change for the worse, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer. “By the weekend it was becoming very difficult for even the best fisherman to catch more than a couple of fish in a hard day of fishing. I fished the river on Saturday with a limited amount of luck. The river is extremely low and visibility is almost unlimited.”
Umpqua River, South Fork; Myrtle Creek, Oregon–Extremely low and in some areas there isn’t enough water for a boat to maneuver while fishing. “I suggest if anglers are wanting to fish this river that they should concentrate on the lower end of the river from Roseburg down to Forks River Park, which is west of town,” said Palmer.
VANDUZEN RIVER-Low water and tough fishing lately.
TRINITY RIVER, Junction City-No change-Fishing continued to be tough with boats scoring 0 to 3 fish per drift. The water is very clear and cold, so lighter gear and a stealthy approach is required. The farther downstream one travels, the better the odds of at least getting into some nice half-pounders. One bit of good news: fishing pressure is very light with virtually no one fishing mid-river sections. Fly fishers were dead-drifting egg patterns or drifting Copper Johns under an indicator. Spin fishers drifted roe, cast Little Cleos, and backtrolled Hot Shots or Brad’s Wigglers.
TRINITY RIVER, South Fork-The river had dropped and cleared to the point where driftboating was possible, and were catching was still high and off-color from inflows from the South Fork, but the river was fishable with bait.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam-No change. The river was at a good flow and clear down to Seiad Valley, but still somewhat high past that point. Anglers were catching a few adults to 5 pounds and a like number of halfpounders on back-trolled plugs and side-drifted nightcrawlers and roe. Fly fishing was slow in the cold water.
KLAMATH RIVER, Somes Bar-The Klamath was still somewhat high, but dropping and clearing. It’s still very cold, though.
AMERICAN RIVER-Not much change. It’s certainly worth going out on the river since what happens one day is no indication of what might happen the next, since steelhead are a migrating fish and the run lasts well into March. Some halfpounders are being caught as well as the occasional adult to 8 pounds. They’re taking backtrolled plugs, drifted nightcrawlers, roe, and spoons. The best fishing has been in the stretch between Lower Sunrise to Nimbus Hatchery.
FEATHER RIVER-There was a big spurt in striped bass fishing on the Feather River last week thanks to a plant of yearling steelhead from the Feather River Hatchery. After an initial flurry, the catch rate has settled down a bit between Shanghai Bend and the Bear River as word has gotten out and fishing pressure has increased. A striper weighing over 40 pounds was taken on a drifted minnow-but stories that it measured 58 inches long were greatly exaggerated. Still, it was a mammoth fish, and was released to fight again. This is a short-lived phenomenon and will end soon as the steelhead young work their way downstream. Steelheading in the Low Flow Section has slowed, as one run has passed through and spawned, while the next run has yet to appear in any great numbers.
FOLSOM LAKE- Trollers were doing pretty well on king salmon and trout up into the North Fork, on a number of different techniques including Golden Eye spoons, and Hoochies. Some of the fish weigh up to 3 pounds. Planter trout were being caught around the boat ramp at Granite Bay on Power Bait, nightcrawlers, and Kastmasters. Bass fishing was pretty good, too, drop-shotting and dragging Brush Hawgs. The key is to find concentrations of bait and fish slowly.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento- Lots of sturgeon, and bait is being sold by tackle shops up and down the river, but anglers are keeping their mouths shut on how successful they are. Still, shop employees suspect anglers must be catching something to be buying so much bait. South River Road, and from Elverta up toward Verona are a couple of places where sturgeon are being reported. Not many striped bass were reported, but an 18 pounder plus one of about 5 pounds were caught on bloodworms by an angler fishing from the bank at Freeport.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-The release at Keswick Dam is a very fishable 4,000 cfs and holding steady, resulting in an improvement in the trout fishing While most fish being caught are 12 to 16 inches long, some over 20 inches are being hooked on small mayfly nymphs, egg patterns, and stonefly nymphs
SACRAMENTO, Elk Grove Park-The last Fishing in the City trout fishing event of the season is scheduled for February 19 at Elk Grove Park. Sponsored by DFG and the Sac-Sierra Chapter of Trout Unlimited, 1200 pounds of trout will be planted, free how-to-fish clinics offered, and fishing rods, bait and tackle available for loan for up to 50 people. Call (916) 358-2872 for more information.
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 50-percent capacity. Ice fishermen have been picking up some browns and rainbows at the dam on nightcrawlers, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.
CAPLES LAKE-The lake is at 82-percent capacity. John Voss at Caples Lake Resort is holding a $100 big fish contest during February-e-mail a picture of your fish to firstname.lastname@example.org and look for the results and pictures on their blog. The ice is 2 feet thick, covered with 2 feet of snow and anglers are picking up a mix of rainbows, browns and macks off the spillway and the dam on nightcrawlers, Pautzke’s Fire Bait and jigged Kastmaster spoons.
CARSON RIVER (East)-South Tahoe Fly Fishing reported that the bite was very slow due to the cold, freestone conditions on the river. Experienced anglers might be able to pick up a fish or two in the late afternoon on a BWO or golden stone nymph.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 63-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing was on the lake Saturday and picked up four rainbows in 2 1/2 hours-a pretty slow bite! He was fishing at Mallard Point on the bottom in 40 feet of water using the size 16 treble hook on a dropper rig described frequently in the past few weeks. Remember to only cover two barbs with rainbow Power Bait leaving the third one exposed for easier hooking of the light biters. The rainbows are running 14 to 16 inches. The Grizzly Store reported that a 5 pounder was caught in Mallard Cove on Saturday.
DONNER LAKE-The lake is at 40-percent capacity. Rick Kennedy at Tight Lines Guide Service trolled the lake with a variety of rigs on Saturday for 5 hours and had one hookup, but lost it after a short fight. The lake is low and launching can be challenging-stay on the west side of the ramp and use caution!
FRENCHMAN LAKE-The lake is at 45-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported that the ice at the dam was 5 to 7 inches thick, but still use caution in case of soft spots. Anglers are catching limits of rainbows up to 18 inches on nightcrawlers.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 58-percent capacity. A friend of Kyle Neeser of Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service flew over the lake on Saturday and said that it was 3/4’s frozen over. It would be best to stay out of this area for awhile.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-The weather has been beautiful with sunny skies and light winds. Both roads into the lake are open, barring any new snow. A woman caught a beautiful 8-pound cuttbow this past week, according to Dave Kirby at Woodfords Station. Another big trout plant will be scheduled in the next week or so. Kirby announced that he will no longer be selling DFG licenses, and suggests that his many out-of-state visitors who relied on one-day licenses use the DFG website and purchase them on-line before coming into California.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-The lake is full. Some 2- to 3-pound Mackinaw are hitting Rapalas and Kastmaster spoons for trollers working the Narrows and the channel near the island at 20 to 40 feet deep. Shore anglers have been picking up planter rainbows at the first dam and boat ramp areas on Power Bait and worms.
LAKE TAHOE-Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters had a great time on his last trip, landing 11 Mackinaw that weighed 5 to 7 pounds for three anglers. The first fish hit at 6:45 at 80 feet and the rest were pulled out of 300 to 350 feet of water. Daniels said they also lost several fish in the deep water off Carnelian Bay. Daniels was trolling Sling Blade/Koke-a-nut combos and Sting King lures. Toplining in 40 to 50 feet of water while heading in only brought one strike from a rainbow or brown.
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 32-percent capacity. Ice fishermen have been picking up some 14- to 15-inch rainbows at the dam and in the creek channel at the inlet area on nightcrawlers.
PYRAMID LAKE-Fly fishing has busted wide-open with several big fish landed this past week-a 10-, an 11-, two 12-s, and a 13 1/2. Fly fishing has been good at Sand Hole, Popcorn, Pelican, and the North Nets. Trollers are picking up 20 to 40 fish per day working FlatFish and Apex right on the bottom in 17 to 25 feet of water at Warrior Point, Pelican Point and Spider, according to Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters. Crosby’s Lodge will be the headquarters for a number of derbies coming up in Feb, Mar, and Apr. Crosby’s President Day Derby will be held over two weekends- Feb 12-13 and Feb 19-20. The entry is $80 and the first prize is a 14-foot Lund/15 hp Yamaha.
RED LAKE-Dave Kirby at Woodfords Station reported that ice fishing has been productive for anglers using Power Bait and worms from various access points along Hwy 88.
SILVER LAKE-The lake is at 45-percent capacity. Good weather has made it enjoyable to spend the day ice fishing for a chance at some planter rainbows and browns using worms, Power Bait a and jigging spoons at access points along Hwy 88.
TOPAZ LAKE-The weather has been beautiful and boaters are doing best drifting worms and Power Bait off the bottom on the south end of the lake in 10 to 12 feet of water. The rainbows are running 14 to 16 inches and anglers can expect 3 or 4 fish per rod. Topaz Lodge’s big fish for week 5 of their derby was a 3-pound, 15-ounce fish caught by Leonard McDonald. 56 tagged fish have been weighed in so far-there are plenty of tagged fish left.
TRUCKEE RIVER-The bite around Hirshdale has been okay on baetis, midge, and stone nymphs. The Nevada side above Reno has been much better mid-days on BWO’s, according to South Tahoe Fly Fishing.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 66-percent capacity. The lake is accessible from Pea Vine Ridge Road and road conditions are better with the sunny weather. None of guides WON uses for sources had been up to the lake this past week, but small macks were hitting flasher/herring combos trolled near the bottom along the ledges in 80 feet of water.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE-For the second week in a row the bass bite continued to show signs of improving as the water temperatures continued its warming trend. Anglers using live bait are now consistently catching fish around the lake, with the lower ends of the lake producing better than the upper end for now. While it still isn’t wide open, anglers on the lake are whacking them on minnows but still struggling with artificials baits.?
LAKE BERRYESSA-The lake is still slowly rising but staying fairly clear. The bite is picking up for smallmouth and spotted bass with the weather stabilizing, and the water temperatures warming up a little. Start looking for some spawning smallies and early spots.
UPPER BLUE LAKE-The trout bite has improved with last month’s plant, and the lake is expecting another one as well. With a warming trend, they should also begin to move up in the water column. The bass action has also been fair along the highway banks for drop-shotters.
LAKE ALMANOR-Anglers trolling the east side found trout to 2 pounds since this is where the bait has been. White trolling flies and other smelt patterns has been doing the trick. Bank anglers have been taking advantage of the good weather and did well floating baits off the bottom, or injecting nightcrawlers with scents.
BAUM LAKE-Some big trout have been taken here lately, including at least one trophy-sized fish. Baum can be crowded at times especially with the recent nice weather, so moving down the lake will usually not produce as many fish, but they are usually a lot healthier. Vaughn’s Sporting Goods reported good action on nightcrawlers, while lure fishermen did well using a roostertail. Fly fishermen are doing best with midges, woolly buggers and caddis pupa.
IRON CANYON RESERVOIR- Vaughn’s Sporting Goods in Burney reported varied action and reports, with some anglers catching limits and some having trouble catching anything. Nightcrawlers were a favorite choice, although trolling was working for other anglers.
PIT RIVER- New minimum in-stream flow requirements for the Pit River have taken effect, meaning more water at certain times of year below the Pit 3, 4, and 5 dams. Be ready for tough wading conditions when fishing this river as flat ground does not exist here. A wading staff is highly recommended, almost mandatory. Move slowly, and keep solid footing while in the water. Currently it is still running very high, fast and cold.
LAKE SHASTA-The spotted bass went into lockjaw mode this past week but improving water conditions should help turn that around. Try throwing plastics off steep rock walls down to 50 feet. Once the lake has warmed up a little more, check in at the main lake points in 15 to 20 feet of water, to see if any of the bass have started to move in. If so, try shaking a M.F. worm on a darthead in blue ‘crawler. And in the meantime, join the trolling crowd by the dam for trout to 4 pounds using your favorite lures.
BAY POINT- The landing bustled with the Super Bowl Sturgeon Derby activity. Weighmaster Tony Lopez said that 42 sturgeon were brought in by anglers hoping to win by catching the one closest to the target measurement of 55 inches. There were a total of 1,241 anglers in the contest. Fish were caught in San Pablo Bay, Big Cut, Seal Island, Honker Bay, Middle Ground and Cache Slough.
BENICIA- Pam Hayes said an early striper run improved the action, but anglers are still spending more time soaking baits for sturgeon. Both the striped bass and flounders are taking the sturgeon baits. Grass shrimp and pile worms were the top bait, since that’s what the sturgeon chasers were using. There was a 74-inch oversized sturgeon released near the 9th Street launch. Not many shore anglers up until recently, but the nicer weather should bring them out.
EUREKA-Crabbing and, when the ocean permits, surfperch are the top bets for area anglers. The crab action was best for anglers fishing outside the Humboldt Bay bar, or for smaller trailer boats that can beach launch out of Trindad.
FORT BRAGG-Captain Randy Thornton on the Telstar ran on Saturday and proved the crabs are still thick out there. “We didn’t have any pots out, so dropped our gear in 50 feet of water, then went right back to check them,” said Thornton. “We finished with about 3 each, then went back to check them a second time. We ran a few more, and had 13 in the last one; we only needed 9!” The group of 11 anglers were back at the dock by 11 a.m.
HALF MOON BAY-Captain Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat said the crabbing remained good, and a recent sanddab combo added fish fillets to his anglers sacks. A NOAA research trip on Thursday sampled the deep water action, but the catch was solely for science.
LOCH LOMOND-Captain Jim Cox of Jim Cox Sportfishing reported a slow week. “We only got out once, and caught a couple striped bass,” he said. Better tides promise a better report next week.
MARTINEZ-Most anglers took their catch to Bay Point to weigh in for the Super Bowl derby, but there were several reports of good sturgeon action at Buoy 4 and the Ozol. Stripers also showed some interest in baits around the Ozol, most caught by sturgeon anglers soaking grass shrimp and pile worms.
POINT SAN PABLO-Captain Frank Miller on the Fury was out chasing big sevengill cow sharks on Saturday, finding good action with 5 caught, 3 released and 2 boxed. Big fish was estimated at 87 pounds, measuring 7 feet. The bites came in 150 feet of water off of Yellow Bluff. “We use squid, mostly,” said Miller.
SHELTER COVE-Captain Trent Slate of Shelter Cove Sportfishing said the new breakwater at the Cove will provide more opportunity for anglers, both by improving launching conditions and by offering a way for shore anglers to get out and fish for surfperch and greenling.
AMERICAN RIVER-The Georgetown Ranger Station reported “millions” of people spending the day frolicking along the river at the confluence at Hwy 49. The water is clear and flows are at June levels, so if someone was inclined to do some fishing it might be worth a try.
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 72-percent capacity. Colder mornings and windy, choppy lake conditions made for light fishing pressure this past week. Anglers have been pre-fishing for the Folsom Bass Team event on Feb 12 and have found consistent action on main body points at 30 to 50 feet using shad (kokanee) colored Roboworms, Senkos, and swimbaits.
CAMP FAR WEST-The lake is full. Dorothy Greenwood at North Shore Resort reported that bass anglers are experiencing a tough bite due to cold, off-color water. One angler said he caught 4 fish all day but they were good ones up to 4 pounds. Worms and jigs are working best.
COLLINS LAKE-The lake has dropped down to 2 feet from full, but the water is off-color and visibility is only fair. The lake received its first regular trout plant this past Saturday-1300 pounds of rainbows. One-half of the plant was 1 1/2 pounders and the rest were trophy fish, mostly 2 1/2- to 3 1/2-pounds, with some to 7-pounds. Trolling and shore fishing are both producing rainbows up to 3 1/2 pounds. Bass are starting to move up into 15 feet of water in Elmer’s Cove.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is at 90-percent capacity. With the beautiful weather, trollers have been doing very well toplining a blue/silver Rapala above the “No-Ski” buoys at 10 to 15 feet deep for holdover rainbows running 16 to 19 inches. According to Skippers Cove Marina, the lake has been removed from the dreaded DFG “No-Stocking” list and will start receiving plants of triploid trout toward the end of this coming summer.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is at 70-percent capacity. Tournaments every weekend have anglers tight-lipped about the bite. Oroville Outdoors has been selling lots of tubes and jigs in browns and greens. The best bite seems to be up in the river arms on sunny banks at 30 feet, where the spots are beginning to stage for the spawn.
ROLLINS LAKE-The lake is full. The lake was stocked this past week and anglers were picking up some rainbows. One boater picked up a 17-inch brown slow trolling a toplined dodger/worm combo in the Bear River arm.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-The lake is full. Anglers were catching some of the DFG planters dumped in the lake this past week from the shore on Pautzke’s Fire Bait and worms– 10 to 12 inchers. Some 1 1/2-pound smallmouth bass have been hitting worms fished off the day use area.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The lake is full. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that lots of people were heading up to the lake. The road is clear and the weather has been perfect. Though no reports have come into the Ranger Station, fishing for holdover rainbows has been good for trollers and shore anglers.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-According to local sources, the Afterbay is too cold and shallow for good winter time fishing. The better fishing occurs in the hotter spring and summer months when the bass are spawning on or prowling along the tule banks.