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 snowed clear down to sea level during the storm, but that kept runoff to a minimum, but brought water temperatures way down, so the bite slowed. Good anglers still caught 1 to 3 fish per boat back-bouncing roe and pulling plugs. More storms coming this week, so anglers should call ahead. It all depends on whether it rains or snows if the river will be fishable.
EEL RIVER, Main stem-Guide Mark Nimitz of Pipe Creek Outfitters says to “forget it,” the river is way blown out.
EEL RIVER, South Fork-Fishable, but barely, and nobody is trying it. ” I saw one boat going through town,” said Nimitz, and it may not have been fishing the South Fork. “It’s high and a little pushy, but you can fish it from Leggett all the way to Miranda,” he said. Bait’s the key this time of year. Stay in the fish travel lanes, even if it’s the middle of the river, he suggested. Snow is on the ground and it’s “not melting” he said on Sunday. Watch for the incoming storm, and call ahead.
ELK, SIXES RIVERS, Ore.-There’s still some steelhead to come into these little rivers, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. If it rains instead of snows, there will be a good push of water that will bring in more steelies and bring downrunners downstream. The Elk was fishing well earlier in the week, but dropped below 3.5 feet, and fishing is best whe it’s at 4 feet or above.
GUALALA RIVER-The Gualala was slow for flies last week, “but some bait guys were getting them from shore below the North Fork,” said Scott from Kings Bait and Tackle in Guerneville. The river was in prime shape, and if it rains this week, as forecast, it should come back 3 days after the rain stops. Not as many fish as he expected, though.
MAD RIVER-Still some life in it, but it certainly has not been stellar. A deteriorating fishery since they cut back on the number of hatchery fish they produce.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.-The first Rogue River springer king salmon was caught this past week by Jim Mauie, but not down below. It was caught on Feb. 25 near Raiie Falls, upriver. The fish was 32 inches long and weighed about 18 pounds, according to WON Field Reporter and Chetco Outdoor Store manager Dave Pitts.
Fisherman Ron Buntrock said he fished from Agness down to Lobster Creek and steelhead on the move, river conditions good, but the water cold. He said he and a buddy released a few, lost a few and kept 3 “real nice Rogue River winter steelhead, all mint bright”. He said there were good numbers of hatchery fish showing up as well as good numbers of native steelhead, and they only saw 4 boats all day.
ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass- While steelhead fishing has been good on the lower Rogue River, anglers in the middle section of the river near Grants Pass are still waiting for the bulk of this year’s run to arrive.The cold water stalled out the steelhead movement up the Rogue Canyon, but Paul LeFebvre of the Rogue Outdoor Store anchored close to shore and ran plugs for multiple fish just upstream from Gold Beach, by anchoring close to shore and running plugs in cop car. Greg Glossop of Grants Pass said fishing in the middle Rogue was slow. Guides there speculated large numbers of fish will surge into the middle Rogue when the river warms a few degrees.
RUSSIAN RIVER-Scott from Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville said the river blew out a week ago, started to come in, and blew out again after the rain on Thursday. The river is chocolate, even though there’s no major releases from Lake Mendocino. “The forecast says more rain is coming, and that it might go up to 9000 cfs, and it’s now at 4,000 cfs and looks like chocolate milk,” he said.
SMITH RIVER-Decent fishing after the pressure from the Rowdy Creek Derby, according to guide Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing Adventures. They found fishing better in the afternoon after the water warmed a little, and were surprised to find fresh fish still in the system. They caught a lot of 2-year-olds from 3 to 5 pounds, and adults up to 15 pounds.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork; Roseburg, Ore.–The water temperature has dropped to a cool 42 degrees and I am expecting it to drop another 2 and possibly 3 degrees before next weekend, said WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “The river levels are very low, but due to continuous snow flurries the water has remained colored. Even though the water has been cold, the steelhead have been putting up some strong battles. Anglers are catching 3 fish to a boat on an average day.
UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork; Canyonville, Ore.-River levels have been low in the Stanton Park area of the river most of the week. “River levels below the confluence of Cow Creek were a little on the high side of where I prefer to fish, in a perfect world,” said Palmer. “Above Stanton Park, anglers have been having some luck when it comes to catching a hatchery steelhead. The low water has been bunching the fish together on the many small flats from Stanton Park to Lawson Bar. Overall, the fishing has been slow this year,” Palmer said.
UMPQUA RIVER, Sutherlin, Ore.–The river has been high and unfishable from a driftboat all week. There is a small window of opportunity the first part of next week. “Bank anglers have been quiet, so I can only think that there haven’t been many steelhead caught by them over the last seven days,” said Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service, and WON Field Reporter.
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City-The steelie fishing remains tough, with the best sticks hooking maybe 3 fish in an outing on eggs, plugs and nymphs under indicators. The water is low and clear. Cold, too, so it is a good idea to start fishing later in the day. The hatchery has received fewer than 2,000 steelhead this year–well below normal.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek-Big, off-colored water down here and not much happening.
KLAMATH RIVER-The best bet has been up in the Irongate to Highway 5 stretch, where the water’s up, but there are some nice resident rainbows to be had, along with the occasional small adult steelhead. Backtrolling plugs or drifting eggs or ‘crawlers is the ticket.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE-With the water level reaching “full,” the bass will begin to stage in the tule areas, and the water should be high enough to ensure a good spawn this year. Once the water warms up again, the hitch will move into the creeks at the upper end and the bass will follow. Successful anglers used a variety of swimbaits, ripbaits, crankbaits, and chatterbaits but of course, the better bite came on minnows.
LAKE BERRYESSA-A few trout are being found close to shore in the top 10 to 20 feet, but very few anglers have been here. Same with the bass fishing, there were no reports, but prior to the cold storms a few fish were being caught on reaction baits, but most came on jigs and worms.
UPPER BLUE LAKE-Due for a plant this week, that should help the bite for the very few anglers here. The bite has been fair mid-lake for trollers and a few limits were taken. The bass action has been fair along the highway banks and should pick up as the water warms.
LAKE SONOMA-A variety of bass methods to try up in the creek arms include jigs, Carolina rigs, ripbaits, swimbaits and plastics. In the meantime, the catfish bite should be good, especially where there is fresh run-off coming in. The landlocked steelhead have also started making their way to the creeks, especially since the rain.
LAKE ALMANOR-Check road and ramp conditions before heading up, as they had more snow. Look for the trout bite to resume once there is a weather window. Once the sun is higher in the sky, both you and the fish will be a little warmer.
BAUM LAKE-With snow on the ground, fish when it is warmer, like 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. 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 best using a Rooster Tail.
IRON CANYON RESERVOIR-There were no reports due to snow, and prior to the storm, reports varied. Some anglers were catching limits, while others seemed to have trouble catching even one. Nightcrawlers were a favorite choice, although trolling was also working for some.
PIT RIVER-There have still been no reports, but then it is still running very high, fast and cold. Flows have been marginally fishable, and way off-color, making this not a good recommendation at this time.
LAKE SHASTA-Even though most of the tributaries that feed the lake are currently closed, the trout will be concentrated near those inlets. A boat is a good idea to cover the most water. Bring a selection of lines from a floating line to fish nymphs under an indicator, or sinking lines to fish streamers and leeches. Pulling silver/red headed pearl bikini, and brass No. 2 Needlefish, and using lead core line with 30-foot leaders at four colors down, running 18 to 20 feet deep also produced limits. The bass bite slowed with the cold snap.
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 53-percent capacity. Several feet of new snow fell during the storm this past week and the road has been cleared to the dam. Anglers can walk down to the ice at the dam and the best success is coming on small white jig heads tipped with a small bay shrimp.
CAPLES LAKE-With the heavy snow this past week anglers could not get on the lake due to the lack of parking at the dam and spillway-Caltrans was too busy clearing Hwy 88. More snow is in the forecast for later this week.
CARSON RIVER (East)-Snowed in and the river will be hard to access for a while. There was still 2 1/2 feet of snow at the Carson River Resort on Sunday. If you can make it to the river, South Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters recommends baetis and midge patterns.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 65-percent capacity. 70 people showed up for the ice fishing derby on Feb 26, despite the heavy snow on Friday. Fishing was fair with the winning fish only a 2 pounder. Cory Sheppard took first place and won $200 and a trophy. Second place of $100 and a trophy went to Brent Kreigh, and third went to Norma Apolinari. The best action was close to the dam.
DONNER LAKE-Access to the lake is heavily restricted due to the shortage of parking caused by the sno drifts along the road from plowing. According to Mountain Hardware and Sports, there is a thin layer of ice on the lake preventing any fishing. It has been bitter cold and more weather is forecast over the next two weeks.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-The lake is at 47-percent capacity. Four feet of snow fell during the storm this past week and the road had not been plowed by Sunday. Access was pretty much “snowmobile only” according to Wiggins Trading Post, so call ahead for current road conditions at 530-993-4683. Fishing was pretty good at the dam before the storm.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 51-percent capacity. The storm this past week dumped 5 to 7 feet of snow in the area and more is in the forecast for this week, so forget the Crystal Basin for a couple of weeks
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-At least two feet of snow on the road going to the lake from Hwy 89, so access is closed except for those with snowmobiles. Four feet of snow at the lake and the surface has frozen over preventing shore fishing-the ice is too thin for ice fishing!!
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-The lake is full. Two feet of fresh snow fell on top of two feet from the week before, so there’s four feet of snow to get through to fish from the shore. Anglers have been catching a few 12-inch rainbow and brown trout from the boat dock on Power Bait and worms. Jim Emerson of Pollack Pines picked up two 18- to 19-inch trout-one Mackinaw and one brown-trolling a Rapala from the island to the second dam on Sunday. More weather is forecast for later this week.
LAKE TAHOE-The storm this past week dumped 5 to 6 feet of fresh snow at lake level, but the roads are clear. The morning temps have been at or below 0-degrees and the fishing is slow. Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters said that fish are stacked up on the bottom at 125 to 200 feet and at 300 to 350 feet, but not much interested in feeding. His Sunday trip produced three fish from 3 to 4 1/2 pounds and the bite was very light-more just clamping down on the lure rather than hitting it. More weather is forecast for later this week, so call ahead.
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 32-percent capacity. The area picked up several feet of new snow during the storm this past week. Anglers can reach the dam with cross-country skis or snowshoes to fish through the ice with bay shrimp for bait.
PYRAMID LAKE-Before the weather settled in this past week, Eagle Eye Charters had a 37 fish day trolling frog and pearl/red head FlatFish in 17 to 25 feet of water. It was important to keep the lures close to the bottom. The cutthroats all ran 17 to 25 inches. Fly fishermen have picked up a few good fish, but the bite has been hit-or-miss. More weather is forecast for this week-call ahead, Eagle Eye Charters-(775) 574-0900 or Crosby’s Lodge-(775) 476-0400.
RED LAKE-South Tahoe Fly fishing Outfitters took clients here this past week and did well fishing 20 to 30 feet off the dam for brookies and cutthroats jigging with 3/8-ounce rainbow trout Kastmaster spoons. Ice fishermen must drill through 40 to 42 inches of frozen snow and ice to reach the water after digging 3 to 4 feet of fresh snow out of the way-bring a LONG auger! Anglers caught 15 fish from 7 to 18 inches long, keeping 8 nice trout. Access was difficult due to lack of parking because Caltrans had not had a chance to plow the turnouts, and more weather is in the forecast for this week.
SILVER LAKE-The storm this past week dumped several feet of new snow and Caltrans was busy playing catch-up clearing the roads let alone the parking areas. More snow is in the forecast for this week. It would be best to stay away unless the weather breaks long enough for the roads and parking to be plowed.
TOPAZ LAKE-The lake is at 75-percent capacity. The storm dumped a foot of snow at the lake, but the roads were clear. The launch ramps were still closed due to snow and ice as of Sunday. Few anglers were out because of the bitter cold. More weather is in the forecast for mid-week.
TRUCKEE RIVER-The Nevada side is good through and below Reno. A trip by South Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters produced a 5-fish limit for a client that included a 26-inch rainbow taken on a mayfly pattern. Access along the California sections was limited due to the shortage of parking because of the drifts formed by the snowplows that have been working overtime. It also has been very cold-lows below zero and highs in the 20’s-a little tough for fly fishing!
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 59-percent capacity. The storm this past week dumped 5 to 6 feet of snow in the area and more snow is forecast for this week, so stay out of the Crystal Basin for a while.
BENICIA-Tony Lopez at Benicia Bait said the sturgeon action was a little off until Sunday except for his one pal who doesn’t quit, fishing Honker Bay in any kind of weather. “He’s slamming ’em,” said Lopez. An easier option for the shorebound is targeting flounder along the Benicia shoreline. “We had a kid catch one that was 12 inches long on anchovies,” said Lopez. “You can do a lot better if you use pile worms.”
BERKELEY-Scott Sutherland said the boats have been idle, but they are planning to start trolling for halibut on March 19.
BODEGA BAY- The entire fleet is out of the water getting ready for salmon season. “We’ve got the New Sea Angler in dry dock re-powering,” said Captain Rick Powers. “All the six pack boats are out as well.”
BROOKINGS, Ore.-“Every day ocean conditions allow anglers to hit the water produces limits for most,” said WON field reporter and Chetco Outdoor Store manager Dave Pitts. “As March rolls into view, so do the lingcod!” Top bets recently have been fishing north out of Brookings Harbor at Bird Rock or on the south side at Akins or Camel points. Another option is targeting California halibut in front of the Best Western, most anglers bouncing anchovies on the bottom in 18 to 38 feet of water.
CROCKETT-Captain Gordon Hough on the Morning Star said he ran two trips, and two trips were cancelled due to weather (well, one due to weather, the other due to the weather forecast). The best action was on Thursday when , and while Sunday’s tides and weather were very good, only shaker sturgeon were released. The action came about a mile and a half north of the Pumphouse.
EMERYVILLE-Still no trips out due to a combination of weather and lack of angler interest. The landing is booking sturgeon trips on the Captain Hook, but every time a trip is scheduled, the weather crosses it out.
EUREKA-Ben Hart at the Pro Sport Center said clamming and crabbing were best. While the best minus tides aren’t until April and May, there have been good clam reports from bay clammers and from razor clammers digging the “good” or north side of Strawberry Creek at Clam Beach.
FORT BRAGG-Crab numbers were great on the Telstar, even on Saturday when the swell was up. Captain Randy Thornton summarized: “We had a total of 420 crabs for 42 anglers for the week.” Tuesday produced 7 limits, Thursday 15, Saturday, 10, and Sunday, 10. On Saturday, the group was back in Noyo Harbor by 9:45. “On Sunday, our biggest pot had 17 keepers, and we had a couple that pulled 12 keepers,” said Thornton.
HALF MOON BAY-Captain Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat said crabbing is still going strong along with sanddab fishing. The weather was the major factor again, but crab limits are the norm when the boat runs. When sanddabbing, up to 45 mini-flatties per angler is possible.
LOCH LOMOND-Captain Jim Cox of Jim Cox Sportfishing didn’t run any trips, but has some booked this week and expects good action with the prime tides. He’ll be targeting San Pablo Bay waters for sturgeon and striped bass.
MARTINEZ-Captain Steven Talmadge on Flash Fishing had a good week of sturgeon action that dropped off a little on the weekend. Earlier in the week, his anglers hooked up 3 oversized fish, releasing 2 at the side of the boat, with one longline release. His anglers accounted for 2 keepers also. The action came from Seal Island and the Mothball Fleet on eel/grass shrimp combos or grass shrimp.
POINT SAN PABLO-Captain Frank Miller on the Fury scored some sturgeon action for clients, finding an oversized fish (released) and a keeper from the shallows in San Pablo Bay up near Sonoma Creek. “You had to stay shallow or the crabs would clean you out!” said Miller.
AMERICAN RIVER-Snow last week and more rain and/or snow this week will make this a poor choice until maybe the weekend.
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 71-percent capacity. There were 16 inches of snow at Emerald Cove Marina and widespread power outages in the area, which kept anglers off the lake this past week. More weather is in the forecast for this week, so call ahead for road and launching conditions. Emerald Cove Marina-(530) 692-3201.
CAMP FAR WEST-The lake is spilling over the dam–the water is cold and muddy. Fishing is slow and more rain is in the forecast for this week. A hard freeze warning has kept temps low and uncomfortable.
COLLINS LAKE-The lake is full and the water is off-color. Trout anglers have been far and few between with the poor weather, but the people coming out are catching 1 or 2 nice trout on Power Bait. The big fish of the week was a 4 1/2 pounder caught by Ay Vue of Marysville on white Power Bait at the Open Area.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is at 97-percent capacity. Cold and rainy weather this past week kept most boaters off the lake, and more rain is in the forecast for this week. Trout were being caught toplining Rapalas from Boston Bar to Buck’s Beach, according to Dillon Davis at Skippers Cove Marina.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is at 75-percent capacity. Frigid weather and lots of cold runoff has made the bass bite very tough. Spots are still 40 to 50 feet deep and hitting tubes and jigs fished very slowly on long flat points. Cohos are hitting for trollers at the Green Bridge, Dark Canyon, and Berry Creek at 40 to 50 feet, according to Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company.
ROLLINS LAKE-The storm last week brought 4 to 5 inches of snow. The area had been without electricity since Friday of this past week and PG&E was working to restore power. Some anglers did well trolling dodger/Needlefish combos near Greenhorn where the last trout plant was made before the storm moved in. More weather is in the forecast for this week.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-The storm this past week dumped 2 feet of snow at the lake and the power was out, but the roads into the resort were plowed by Sunday. Boaters were still unable to use the ramp due to ice. Shore anglers were picking up a few planter rainbows on Pautzke’s Fire Bait and worms at the marina.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR-Snowed in this past week. The roads to the lake will get plowed by the county, but access into the lake will not. More weather is forecast for this week.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The road was snowed in this past week and will take a while to open since the county is not plowing the road. More snow is forecast for this week. Call ahead to the Georgetown Ranger Station, assuming there are no power outages, at 530-333-4312.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-Cold weather has made fishing tough. There is a chance of picking up a steelhead in the channel above Wilbur Rd. Bass fishing is a one or two bite deal, but the fish are over 4 pounds and hitting jigs at 8 to 10 feet deep along the rip rap banks, according to Oroville Outdoors.
AMERICAN RIVER-Decent steelie fishing for adults and halfpounders from Rossmoor Bar on up to the Basin. Drifting nightcrawlers is probably the best bet. The river has been running at 2,600 cfs steady though storm drain runoff muddied it up on Friday. The river was, however, back to fishable again over the weekend.
FEATHER RIVER-There apparently are some stripers moving into the upper river, chasing steelhead smolts as anglers have been experiencing some big break-offs in recent outings. There are some old, dark fall steelies around too, but that’s about it.
FOLSOM LAKE-With the super rainy conditions and then cold over the weekend, Folsom’s fisheries have been in a state of flux lately and need things to settle down again before anything really exciting starts happening. There are a few rainbows to be had – and even fewer kings (wait until late March) and the bass are chilly and lethargic.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento-Not a whole heck of a lot happening here. There are some sturgeon showing upriver, between Knights Landing and Tisdale for patient anglers soaking roe, eel and ghost shrimp. In the Port, there are some stripers around but the bad days outnumber the good ones 3 to 1…at least.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-The water came up after that big storm and got murky but was on the drop again Sunday and should be fishable in town early in the week.
YUBA RIVER-Deer Creek sent a pretty good wall of dark water into the Lower Yuba over the weekend and while flows were dropping Sunday evening, it was still too high and off-color for fishing.