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.-It went from low and clear to 13,000 cfs during the past storm, and with a foot of snow in the hills, it will stay in shape for at least a week. A big batch of new fish came in, and when mixed with downrunners, the river was the best fishing on the North Coast, with some boats scoring 9 to 12 fish, most catch-and-release during the Rowdy Creek Derby. Every boat in the derby caught fish at the Chetco.
EEL RIVER Main Stem-The river got rain and a foot of snow, and went way, way high. It’s expected to remain that way for a long time due to runoff and snowmelt, and it may be done for the season. It was fishing all the way to Fortuna before it went low and clear, though, and it was fantastic fishing for big, bright, steelhead, with no downrunners, so there might be some good fishing to come if it drops quick enough.
EEL RIVER, South Fork-Running at 4200 cfs at Miranda, 11 feet high and way out of shape. Usually fishes at 2,000 cfs down here. Runoff and snowmelt will keep it high and discolored for at least a week or 10 days, but more rain is expected, according to guide Mark Nimitz of Pipe Creek Guide Service.
GARCIA, GUALALA rivers-All the Mendocino coast rivers got plenty of rain, and all of them should be fishable by middle of the week. The Gualala has been doing “really well” so far this season, although it was low and clear prior to the rain. This should scoot the “stuck” fish upriver and bring in news ones, and there might be some downrunners. About the same for the Garcia-reports are scarce.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.-Rain here brought the river up and flows were about 7200 cfs at Agness, and about 12,000 at the “Willows” about 3 miles upriver from Gold Beach. That lowered the visibility at the lower end to about 1 1/2 feet, but it also brought in a bunch of steelhead, and the 10 to 12 plunkers at the Willows had about a 50-percent catch-rate, according to WON Field Reporter Andy Martin who got the report from the Rogue Outdoor Store. He said two jetboats at the willows also caught fish. Plunkers were using Spin-n-Glos in No. 4 and 6, and anchored jetboaters were using anchovies and plugs, 3 to 4 feet off shore on the softer edge.
ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass-There was plenty of rain and snow up here, and the river was blown out, but should be fishing well by the weekend. Expect prime time for the river up here for steelhead right now, as this is when the fishing really takes off.
RUSSIAN RIVER-The Russian River went from fishable to a flow of 20,000 cfs just from the feeder streams alone-with no water coming out of Lake Mendocino-and that’s still to come this week. Lake Mendocino went from 60,000 acre feet to 73,000 acre feet during the storm, and the BLM will probably be releasing water come Tuesday, according to Nick Wheeler of Kings Sport & Tackle in Guerneville. Even without the releases it would be at least 10 days before the river is fishable again. They’re expecting the normal “big push” of fish in March.
SMITH RIVER-Guide Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Guides reported in: “I’ve been back up on the Smith River, as for now it’s the only game in town. While fishing hasn’t been red hot, it has been solid, and yesterday I didn’t hear how other boats fared, but we hooked 4 in two passes from the forks to the Hiouchi bridge, landing all of them. The river was in perfect shape at just over 10 feet on the upper gauge. There was a derby going on (Rowdy Creek Derby), so the pressure was particularly heavy, but I think as the number of boats thin out, scores will climb. I’ll be back up the Smith for the next couple days but I’ll most likely be back down to one of our southern rivers by Tuesday. WON Field Reporter and guide Andy Martin of River Secrets said the Smith fished “okay” but the Chetco was really good for the 11 teams. Guide Jimmy Dean caught a fish that taped out at 21 pounds.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Roseburg, Ore.–The unusual snowstorms put the fishing for steelhead on stop during the first part of the week with the fast-rising river and dark color, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. By the weekend the water levels were good for drifting. While the coloration was an olive green with a milkish tint that comes from snowmelt, that only gave anglers a 24- to 30-inch visibility. The few sports fans that did go fishing over the weekend instead of visiting the Sportsman Show said the fishing was difficult. One or two steelhead came out to play with most boats, leaving Palmer and most other fisherman feeling that there weren’t a lot of fish in the river.
UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork, Canyonville, Ore.–The water has been discolored with snowmelt, leaving the water muddy. “I suggest looking close at water levels before drifting the river in the Canyonville area,” WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer said. “The river height is considerably lower than it usually is at these colors. Bank anglers have been sending in reports of some bright steelhead being caught at Lawson Bar and behind the casino.”
UMPQUA RIVER, Sutherlin, Ore.–The river is blown out and showing signs of snow coming and going. It will be close to a couple weeks before this river is going to be in shape for fishing from the driftboats. Fisherman can find good bank fishing from Tyee down stream to Elkton until the water levels drop.
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City-The upper river blew out for a few days but by the weekend was only a bit higher than before the storms, at least down to Douglas City. It was still high, but continuing to drop below there down to Junction City, but likely still too high below the North Fork. But, it was dropping fast. The hope is that steelhead that had been hanging down around Hoopa and Willow Creek have made their move upstream spurred on by the rain. Backtrollng Shots or Brad’s Wigglers and side-drifting roe and nightcrawlers are likely to be the best bets until the river drops a bit more.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek-The river was dropping and clearing, but still high. Hawkins Bar might be a good place to fish from shore with bait. However, many of the steelhead that have been hanging out in this section of river might have boogied upstream and fishing might be a challenge. The river is still high below the South Fork.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam-The several miles below Iron Gate Dam down to I-5 provide the best odds for fishable water and a chance at some half-pounders plus adults to around 5 pounds. Downstream of there, the river is high because of runoff from tributaries. Back-troll plugs and side-drift nightcrawlers and roe or let them swing behind a Hot Shot.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE-The bad news was it was very cold here, in fact it snowed. The good news was that it didn’t affect the bite. The average fish anglers caught was close to 4 pounds, there just weren’t many of them. On the upper end of the lake some hitch moved into Rodman and once waters clear the bite picked up. On the lower ends of the lake, Bass Alley also produced action with crankbaits, swimbaits, and ripbaits. Look for this bite to continue to improve as well. Catfishing should continue to improve with the muddy water.
LAKE BERRYESSA-A few trout are being found close to shore in the top 10 feet. Some 3- to 4-pound largemouth were being caught as well as a few nice smallies and spots before last week’s rain. Bass were just starting to move up prior to the rain as well. A few fish were being caught on reaction baits but most fish came on jigs and worms, with the points in the main body being the most productive from 2 to 40 feet.
UPPER BLUE LAKE-The lake won’t be planted until the first week in March, but will also get a second plant later in the month. In the meantime, the bite has been fair mid-lake, and there has been very little fishing pressure. The bass action has been fair along the highway banks but should start to pick up after the muddy waters settle.
LAKE SONOMA-After the lake settles and the muddy waters begin to clear there should be a good pre-spawn bite, especially up in the creek arms. A variety of methods including jigs, Carolina rigs, ripbaits, swimbaits and other plastics should do the trick. In the meantime, the catfish bite should be good, especially where there is fresh run-off coming in.
LAKE ALMANOR- Fishing was a “no go,” literally, due to the heavy snow the area received there was no lake access. If the ramps don’t freeze this coming week, and the weather holds, look for good brown and rainbow trout action to resume. Check roads conditions before heading up.
BAUM LAKE-There was snow on the ground, however, fishing has been good, especially for fly fishermen, who did best with midges, woolly buggers and caddis pupa. There was also good action on nightcrawlers, while lure fishermen did well using a Rooster Tail.
IRON CANYON RESERVOIR-Reports varied here, some fishermen were catching limits, while others seemed to have trouble catching one. Nightcrawlers were a favorite choice, although trolling was also working for some fishermen also.
PIT RIVER-Still running very high, fast and cold. Flows are marginally fishable, but way off-color, making this not a good recommendation at this time.
LAKE SHASTA-With all of the weather here, there was no one fishing to verify “what and where” this past week. Prior to the storm trolling by the dam and other hot spots was producing trout in the top 10 feet. Throwing plastics off steep rock walls down to 50 feet worked for the bass. The bite was just starting to pick up with the warming waters. Once the lake starts warming up again, check the main lake points in 15 to 20 feet of water to see if the bass have started to move in again.
AMERICAN RIVER-The improved steelhead fishing reported last week was apparently a tease, since success rates dropped off again last week. The half-pounders that were providing some action have mostly disappeared, and the fresh adults that were being occasionally hooked have become scarce once again. Fishing continued to have been best in the upper river from Lower Sunrise to Nimbus Dam.
FEATHER RIVER, Yuba City-The storm knocked the striper fishing out for a few days, but there were some being caught before the river came up and muddied. There’s a good possibility that fishing could become good again when the river settles down a bit.
FEATHER RIVER, Oroville-The Low Flow temperature dropped into the 40’s and the late run still had not made a showing, so anglers were scratching for a few dark downrunners. The odds of hooking something were best on drifted nightcrawlers and roe.
FOLSOM LAKE-Fishing for bass and trout was a challenge last week, and the storm didn’t help any. Some trout were taken between Dyke 8 and Brown’s Ravine toplining small Rapalas in hot steel and rainbow trout, as well as Speedy Shiners. The main body was a good color of green, but a lot of debris was massed up in the North Fork. The bass bite was back scratching out a few by slowly dragging and drop-shotting plastics over ledges and rock piles as the colder water put bass back in a “hunker down” mood.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento-The river came up roughly 16 feet, blowing out any chance at fishing for awhile. But, it crested Saturday and was coming down fast on Sunday, so sturgeon fishermen should be back in business soon. A 65.5 incher was caught at Verona just before the river blew out, an encouraging sign. Striper fishing is likely to take longer to provide much in the way of success. But, the spring run should be getting underway soon.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-The river stayed fishable through the Redding area even with the heavy rain, although it was blown out below town, and trout fishing actually improved. Trout seemed to like the change. Fishing was good on caddis and Mayfly nymph imitations dead-drifted under indicators. They were also being taken on egg patterns, alevins, and stonefly nymphs. Spin fishermen are drifting egg flies, nightcrawlers, and crickets, as well as backtrolling small Hot Shots.
BAY POINT-Jeff Renfanvt at BS Bait said the sturgeon fishing picked up for anglers fishing Honker Bay. He released another keeper on Saturday night, and a shaker as well, and caught a flounder “the size of a dinner plate.” Despite the weather, a couple nice keepers came into the shop, one a 65 incher. Stripers were possible at the Firing Line but the only bait available is shrimp for sturgeon, so that’s what they ate.
BENICIA-Tony Lopez at Benicia Bait said there were many anglers trying on Sunday, and lots of action reported, particularly up in Honker Bay for anglers fishing at night. There was a 54 incher brought in to the shop, that angler hooking up while fishing Garnet Point with a grass/ghost shrimp combo. Shore anglers in the Benicia area are catching plenty of flounder while soaking pile worms.
BERKELEY-Captain Jim Smith has finally finished re-powering the Happy Hooker and will be starting live bait-that’s right-live bait trips this weekend targeting striped bass and halibut. He found some live anchovies left over from last year. Sturgeon trips are also on the menu.
CROCKETT-Captain Gordon Hough on the Morning Star said Saturday’s trip was cursed with miserable weather, but the anglers on board did manage 7 shakers, with one keeper jumping and breaking off. “The only time it wasn’t raining, it was hailing,” said Hough. Sunday was much better, and the group on board took advantage hooking 9 shakers and one 64-inch keeper (caught by a 10-year-old girl). The top spots were behind the Mare Island Rockwall and up at the very north end of San Pablo Bay.
EMERYVILLE-Craig Stone at Emeryville Sportfishing Center said they haven’t sent a boat out since December. They are offering sturgeon trips, but either the angler interest is too light, or the weather comes up and squelches any booked trips. Stone said the rumor is that the Department of Fish and Game is working to open state ocean waters to salmon fishing on April 2 in view of the good returns of adult and jack salmon in the Sacramento and Klamath rivers in 2010.
EUREKA-Still good crabbing when the ocean allows, and surfperch are a solid bet when the surf drops off, which didn’t happen this week.
FORT BRAGG-Captain Randy Thornton on the Telstar ran only one trip on Sunday due to weather, but still managed to score 14 limits of crabs on a short soak during a big groundswell. “We found a lot of big keepers out in the 100-foot zone,” said Thornton. He said he’s going to start bringing out crab snares (you use with fishing rods) so his anglers can fish for crabs while waiting for the pots to fill up.
HALF MOON BAY-Captain Tom Mattusch said that despite the stormy week, there was a weather window that allowed the Huli Cat to get out for a sanddab and crab combo. The 11 anglers on board caught up to 45 sanddabs each, and scored limits of crabs. “Half Moon Bay is fortunate to have good crabbing very close to the harbor,” said Mattusch. “The sanddabs are close as well.”
MARTINEZ-After a tough weather week, anglers showed renewed interest on Sunday, finding some stripers off the pier, and a few sturgeon out at the east side of the Mothball Fleet.
AMERICAN RIVER-A group of Georgetown locals hiked down into the Middle Fork and caught-and-released a 26-inch brown and four 18-inch rainbows from deep pools where these big fish spend their lives. The river above Folsom Lake is open to artificial, barbless hook lures only-all catch-and-release!!
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 71-percent capacity. Heavy rain, wind, hail, and a dusting of snow made for very light fishing pressure according to Billy Graham at Emerald Cove Marina. More weather is due by the end of this week.
CAMP FAR WEST-The lake is spilling over the dam. North Shore Resort reported that the lake was cold and muddy– with all the poor weather this past week, very few anglers were out fishing. More weather is forecast for late this week.
COLLINS LAKE-The lake is full with 2-foot visibility. Trout action is picking up with the resumption of regular trout plants. A 1300-pound plant was made this past week. Bass were getting more active, but cold weather over the weekend slowed the bite. Trollers and shore anglers were picking up trout to 3 1/2 pounds. Trollers are using dodger/worms, a Cripplure, and Rapalas-shore anglers rely on Power Bait and worms. Bass are hitting dart-headed worms and jigs in 10 to 15 feet of water on both sides of the lake. A few catfish have been weighed in, too.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is at 95-percent capacity. The poor weather that hit the lake all this past week put a damper on angling pressure. More weather is in the forecast for late this week. Call ahead to Skippers Cove Marina.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is at 73-percent capacity. According to Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company, the bite is very tough. Guide Ron Gandolfi hit the lake on Friday this past week and only picked up one fish all day and that came on an 8-inch green pumpkin worm fished at 60 feet. Gibson recommended a 3/4- or 1-ounce football jig with a hula grub skirt on main body points. There is more weather in the forecast for later this week.
ROLLINS LAKE-The lake is full and scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week-weather permitting!! The lake received a foot of snow this past week, but by Sunday it was melting and the roads into Long Ravine Resort were clear according to Dee Wolffe. No one was out during the storm, but a couple of boat made it out on Sunday, though no reports were available at press time.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-The lake is full and the area received 14 to 17 inches of snow this past week. The roads into Scott’s Flat Lake Resort were plowed but access to the boat launch was still a tough proposition. Shore anglers were picking up a few 12- to 13-inch planter rainbows on Power Bait at the marina on the long dock or the point near the dock.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR-Snow this past week made for tough access. The road to the lake is plowed, but not the roads into the parking lot and boat ramp.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-1 1/2 to 2 feet of new snow this past week pretty much closed the road to the lake and more weather is in the forecast for late this week. The storm closed the Georgetown Ranger Station late this past week due to a power outage.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-Bass action is non-existent but some shore anglers are drifting a bobber/worm down the channel above the Wilbur Rd bridge for steelhead.
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 53-percent capacity. 6 to 7 feet of snow this past week made access difficult at best. Ice fishing was good at the dam before the storm, but wind broke up the ice on the upper end of the lake. More weather is due later this week.
CAPLES LAKE-Hwy 88 was closed from the west due to 12 feet of snow that fell this past week. Caltrans has a lot of plowing to do just to open up the road, let alone try to plow the turnouts so fishermen can access the dam and spillway. More weather is forecast for later this week, so it might be a good idea to call ahead to Caples Lake Resort. Anglers have to auger through 8 feet of snow and 2 feet of ice-bay shrimp are working best for bait. John Voss at Caples Lake Resort reported a 12-pound mack was caught this past week before the storm.
CARSON RIVER (East)-Four feet of snow in this area did nothing to improve the fishing, which was already painfully slow according to South Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 64-percent capacity. Four feet of snow fell here this past week, but the bitter cold has maintained the ice at the dam to a thickness of 9 inches. There is an ice fishing derby scheduled for Feb 26 and $20 signups will be taken at the Grizzly Store until 7 a.m. on Saturday. The weigh-in will be at the Grizzly Store at 3:30 p.m. with a $200 first prize-proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society. More weather is forecast for Thurs/Fri so check road conditions before making the trip.
DONNER LAKE-A total of 6 to 7 feet of snow closed the boat ramp and made parking very scarce. More weather is due the end of this week, so fishing will be tough until the roads are clear.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-The lake is at 46-percent capacity. Last week’s storm broke the ice here and there is NO safe ice to fish. Anglers are fishing off the shore at the dam and catching 16- to 18-inch rainbows on worms, but deep snow around the lake is making access and parking difficult. Be prepared for the walk down to the water’s edge.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 53-percent capacity. Several feet of snow fell this past week closing up this region for the foreseeable future.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-Heavy snow here will keep anglers out for a couple of weeks. It has been bitter cold at night and in the 30’s for highs so the snow isn’t going to melt soon. Plenty of fish in the lake if you have a snowmobile-3800 pounds of trophy plants were made this past month.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-The gate into Sly Park Resort was closed from this past Thursday until Sunday due to snow and ice. More weather is in the forecast for the end of this week and the gate may be closed again. Power outages in the area have kept people at home. Trolling was fair for small Mackinaws before the storm and fishing will kick back in as the weather improves maybe by next week.
LAKE TAHOE-4 to 6 feet of snow around the lake and ice in the marinas has shut down fishing here. Call ahead!!
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 32-percent capacity. 6 to 7 feet of snow has made access difficult if not impossible until the weather warms up a little, but another storm is forecast for Thursday and/or Friday. It will probably be a week or two before access is good. Ice fishermen were doing well at the dam using bay shrimp on a small jig head.
PYRAMID LAKE-295 contestants fished in the Crosby’s Lodge Derby which was won by Ryan Bailey with a 15 1/4 pounder-first prize, a 14-foot Lund, trailer, and 15-hp Yamaha. Trollers did best along the west side of the lake. More weather is forecast for late this week.
RED LAKE-Buried under several feet of snow during last week’s storm.
SILVER LAKE-Ten feet of snow fell over Carson Pass this past week closing Hwy 88 from the west. Check with Caltrans for road conditions but don’t expect to see parking at the lake plowed until the roads are all cleared first.
TOPAZ LAKE-18-inches of snow fell at the lake during last week’s storm. Most of the roads were clear by Sunday, but launch ramps were still a little icy. Warmer weather for the first part of this week should improve the situation but more cold weather is in the forecast for Thursday and Friday. Very few anglers were out this past weekend.
TRUCKEE RIVER-Fly fishing in and below Reno has been good on baetis and midge patterns. On 45- to 50-degree days, expect good baetis hatches in sizes 16 and 18 to be coming off the water, according to South Tahoe Fly fishing Outfitters. Early this week might be good, but more cold weather is forecast for Thursday and Friday.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 60-percent capacity. Several feet of snow fell in the region this past week which made access a big problem. More weather is in the forecast for later this week and fishing may be impossible for another week or more.