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.-Blown out big time from all the rains, and the run is about over except for a few late spawners, and downrunners. Time to head for the Rogue and the springer action.
COQUILLE RIVER, North Fork, Coquille, Ore.- When the other forks of the Coquille River are running high and muddy an angler can usually find a steelhead wanting to play on the North Fork of the Coquille River. This is a typical coastal stream with trees and brush lining the sides of the river. Most anglers will fish Laverne Park, where this last Saturday the average catch was 2-3 steelhead apiece. “I haven’t seen a boat launch area on this river and with the size of this river being as small as it is, an oarsman would spend more time dragging his boat than rowing it downstream,” said WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service.
EEL RIVER-Beyond blown out, and for the foreseeable future.
EEL RIVER, South Fork-Blown out big time, and probably will be all week, as rains are expected off and on for the next 6 days.
ELK, SIXES RIVERS, Ore.- The Elk River north of Port Orford fished fair, said WON Field Reporter and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. It was high but fishable on Friday, and in better shape on Saturday. Anglers were getting two to three steelhead a day on the Elk. “The Sixes was still a little high on Saturday, but when it comes into shape this week it should be good,” Martin said.
GARCIA, GUALALA RIVERS-The rivers are blown out from the storm, but before WON Field Reporter Craig Bell was getting 1 to 3 fish, a mixture of fresh fish, bluebacks, and spent fish. The season is winding down and the numbers down this year. Small groups of fresh fish moved through, but that did not last for a number of good days in a row. Some bad poaching problems on the Garcia River including netting and sale of fish. The problem has been increasing the last three years.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.-High and muddy all week following the rains, and more rain expected, but when the flows finally drop out the spring salmon action should be taking off. There have already been some springers caught, and the current high waters should bring them in.
ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass-Steelhead still in the picture where the river conditions are good.
RUSSIAN RIVER-Way blown out and will be for at least a week or 10 days, probably longer if the forecast is correct, with flows to 16,000 cfs. A few thousand more steelies at the hatchery, though, and that’s good news. River closes to the use of bait on March 31, but artificials may still be used. Steelies still a possibility through the first few weeks of April.
SMITH RIVER-Blown out and may stay that way all week with forecast rains, but you never know with this quick-clearing river. “Two of my friends took a whitewater raft up to the Middle Fork and they caught over 20 steelies, but all downers,” said guide Mark Nimitz of Pipe Creek Outfitters on the Eel.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Roseburg, Ore.–Tuesday the 8th was the only day over the last week that the river wasn’t full of mud and at nearly zero visibility, according to WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “After a month of poor fishing reports from anglers and myself, when we could spend the day on the river, it all changed on Tuesday. There were fewer than 14 driftboats on the entire river and many of them caught fish in the double digit. One local guide put his clients on 10 steelhead by noon while fishing below the Winchester Dam.”
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City- The upper river, from Lewiston to Indian Creek was in great shape in spite of rain, and a very few anglers were catching a mix of bright, wild steelhead along with downrunners, mostly on roe. The fresh-run fish weighed up to 5 pounds, while some of the downrunners were up to 29 inches long. Fly fishermen were doing well on smaller fish and brown trout fishing the afternoon hatches.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek-The river was blown out below the North Fork.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam-Flows were high for the entire length of the Klamath, even below Iron Gate Dam.
AMERICAN RIVER-The spring run of steelhead has arrived, and, although flows have been high, bright steelies to around 4 pounds were being caught on small backtrolled plugs and side-drifted nightcrawlers. Fat yearling steelhead are frequently being hooked, too, but these should be released in order to let them grow to adults. In the high water, fish soft pockets close to shore. in late breaking news on deadline, the American River flows are being boosted to 15,000 cfs, effectively ending any potential steelhead fishing.
FEATHER RIVER, Oroville-Steelhead fishing perked up a bit in the Low Flow Section, triggered by the warm rains of last week. Steelhead to about 4 pounds were taking small nymphs fished under indicators as well as nightcrawlers with a bead.
FOLSOM LAKE-It’s not fast fishing, but some nice landlocked king salmon were being taken up the North Fork on Hoochies and Needlefish trolled on downriggers between 45 and 55 feet deep. Try adding a kernel of scent-treated shoepeg corn. Bass fishing remained a challenge even though the lake is coming up and fish should be starting to head for shallower water. However water temperatures remained very cold. Try drop-shotting and jigging dark plastics worked slowly in the backs of coves were creeks are entering the lake.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento-The river was predicted to come up again-as much as 16 feet– as of Sunday evening as another storm moved in. Until that time, sturgeon fishing had been quite good up and down the river from boats and from the bank. Bryte’s Beach, Miller Park, South River Road, and Tisdale were some of the better spots. Fish pileworms, bloodworms, eels, and ghost shrimp individually or in various combinations.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-The river stayed fishable through the Redding area even with the heavy rain, but blown out below town again. Trout 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.
BENICIA-Curtis Hayes at Benicia Bait said the biggest news is the halibut that have been coming in, caught by trollers working the main bay. Captain John Badger on Barbarian had 3 on a recent trip, and another boat had 5, 2 from Point Pinole, and 3 from Southampton Shoals. Sturgeon fishing was also pretty good for anglers soaking grass, eel and ghost shrimp baits up around the Mothball Fleet, the shallows of Grizzly Bay and off of Ozol Pier.
BERKELEY-Scott Sutherland at Berkeley Sportfishing said they might get a halibut trip together this weekend, if angler interest picks up. Otherwise, no trips recently.
BODEGA BAY- Still just a few private sport crabbers going out. Not much else to report. Beaches were closed due to the tsunami warning, but the water only rose gently in the harbor.
CROCKETT-Captain Gordon Hough on the Morning Star ran trips Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and no, he didn’t feel anything when the tsunami came through. Thursday and Friday offered good action but only keeper stripers, but one keeper sturgeon each was boated on Saturday and Sunday. The bites came from San Pablo Bay near the Sonoma Creek mouth on ghost/grass shrimp combo boats.
EMERYVILLE-The landing was quiet all week, Emeryville Sportfishing closed on Sunday and Monday.
EUREKA-Still just crabbing and surfperch for anglers, and during the minus tides, clamming on Clam Beach.
FORT BRAGG-Captain Randy Thornton on the Telstar said the tsunami damaged docks and there were near misses with a couple of the boats that remained in the harbor. He ran out to deep water to ride out the surge. He also ran two crabbing trips, finding limits of crabs, most from the deep string, but plenty on short soaks on the inside string.
HALF MOON BAY-So far, no reported problems from the tsunami on the sportfishing fleet. Captain Tom Mattusch pulled his Huli Cat out of the water for Coast Guard inspection preparation, so he didn’t have a worry. Still, with him out of action, there probably won’t be much fishing activity here until the April 2 salmon opener.
LOCH LOMOND-Captain Jim Cox of Jim Cox Sportfishing took a pleasure trip out on Tuesday with his wife Rebecca and good friend Mitch. Rebecca hooked a 55-inch sturgeon at the Pumphouse in San Pablo Bay. Otherwise, just small stripers on previous trips. He said the crab problem has really dropped off.
MARTINEZ-Jordana Santiago said the weekend action was much better than the mid-week stuff, with one 64-inch sturgeon weighed on Saturday, and five caught on Sunday, the top bite still at the east end of the Mothball Fleet for anglers soaking grass shrimp and eel. A few stripers and flounder showing up also.
AMERICAN RIVER-The water flow is up but fishable. Clarity is on the murky side. Plenty of people are spending a sunny afternoon at the confluence at Hwy 49. Some guys out fishing, but no reports were given.
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 76-percent capacity. Trout fishing was good this past week for trollers heading up in the North Fork. Bass action has been slow with the colder water temps though quite a few fishermen have been on the lake according to Emerald Cove Marina. A warmer series of storms is forecast for most of this week which might help the bite. Try Senkos and swimbaits on main lake points, 30 to 50 feet deep.
CAMP FAR WEST-The lake is full and spilling over the dam. The water is cold and muddy making for slow fishing. Reports coming into North Shore Resort indicated a slow bite-1 or 2 fish a day-for bass up to 3 pounds. Anglers are trying everything in the tackle box.
COLLINS LAKE-The lake is full. Fishing has improved as the planting program kicks into gear. Shore anglers and trollers are picking up some nice fish up to 5 1/2 pounds. Still no limits, only 2 or 3 fish per person, but the fish are good sized. Jimmy Hitt of Rocklin picked up the 5 1/2-pounder trolling a firetiger Rapala. Nathaniel Silva of Antelope landed a 3 1/4-pound rainbow on Power Bait from the shore in Elmer’s Cove.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is at 93-percent capacity. Some boaters were out trolling in the upper reaches of the lake, but no reports of success were given. Hunters have been scouting for turkeys before the opener on Mar. 26-the Army Corps has a map of areas on the lake that are open to the public for hunting.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is at 82-percent capacity. Lots of big trees floating on the lake are making for boating hazards-keep your eyes open while running!! Coho salmon fishing is very good in the top 10 feet up way up in the river arms. WON Staffer Pat Young fished with John Kline of Sacramento this past week and 4 limits were caught in 5 hours trolling Sling Blade or dodger/hoochie combos in the Middle Fork. Bass fishing is tough with spots still deep and lethargic-the surface temp was 49.5-degrees this past week and rainy weather is forecast for all this week. The lake should fill for the first time in 7 or 8 years.
ROLLINS LAKE-The lake is full and scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. Anglers heading out of Greenhorn Resort, where the last DFG trout plant was made, were doing well on flasher/worm combos.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-DFG planted this past week and anglers were catching limits of 10- to 16-inch rainbows from the shore and trolling. Trollers have been doing best 200 to 300 yards off the Day Use Area and at the dam using flasher or dodger/worm combos. Shore anglers were catching limits off the point across from the marina on Power Bait.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR-Cold rainy weather is in the forecast for all this week, and fishing has been tough.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The lake is full, but the road to the lake is only passable with 4-wheel drive due to snow and ice. Rain and/or snow are in the forecast for all this week. The
Georgetown Ranger Station has been recommending against heading up to the lake until the road is clear.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-Some bass action along the rocky shores on jigs fished down to 10 feet. The bites are few, but the quality has been good-3 to 4 pounds.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE-Minnows will be a favorite but artificials such as jigs with crawdad colored trailers, shaky head’s with worm trailers, jerkbaits in a variety of sizes, and swimbaits in all sizes are putting nice limits in the boats. The lake will see a lot of fishing pressure over the next several weeks due to tournaments. With the warming water, the bite should break open during this time as well.
LAKE BERRYESSA-Very little action here of late as the water is still cold and most fish are still deep. The bass have not started to head into the shallows for spawning yet. A few trout will continue to be on tap, though close to shore in the top 10 to 20 feet.
UPPER BLUE LAKE-The trout bite continues to be fair mid-lake for trollers and a few limits were taken. The lake was also planted recently. The bass action has been fair along the highway banks and will continue to improve as the water warms.
LAKE SONOMA-A few more bass and anglers are starting to show up. Back in the creek arms at the north end, white/chartreuse Redemption spinnerbaits worked in and around timber, and pitching jigs, or Brush Hogs in 5 to 15 feet of water produced bites. Smaller ones were found in the main body on jigs, Senkos and flipping baits in and around main body points with rocks and trees.
LAKE ALMANOR-The dam had rainbows and a few browns in the top 10 feet. One of the hot tickets here has been an Arctic Fox Pond Smelt Tube Fly off a planer board. Trolling further up the east shore produced some brown trout with Trophy Sticks in a tui chub pattern called Tasty Tui. Brown trout were anywhere from 2 to 3 1/2 pounds in this area.
BAUM LAKE-The lake’s been very popular on weekends, especially since some of the best reports of the year have been coming in from here recently. While mostly smaller brown trout have been netted, Vaughn’s Sporting Goods in Burney reported some in the 18- to 20-inch class were hooked almost daily. Fly fishermen were doing well using midges, woolly buggers and caddis pupa, while others chose nightcrawlers, RoosterTails and Kastmasters.
IRON CANYON RESERVOIR-There were no reports due road conditions but with the rainy weather, expect it to be muddied up some, especially near the inflow of water.
PIT RIVER- Residents and recreationists are advised, if entering the river, to please do so carefully due to increased water flows that started in March. PG&E began freshet flows on the Pit 4 and Pit 5 reaches on March 2 and the 21-day freshet flow releases will continue through March 23. Water flows reached their peak of 1,500 cfs this past weekend. The peak flow magnitude was scheduled to occur on weekends to facilitate whitewater boating opportunities.
LAKE SHASTA-Due to PG&E releases on the Pitt River, the Pitt arm should be a good bet for trout, try above Arbuckle Flats. Increased flows coming in from the river may help a lack-luster bass bite as well by mudding up the waters a bit.
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 56-percent capacity. The ice has pretty much broken up on this lake due to the wind. Shore anglers are working the dam for rainbows and browns casting spoons or Rapalas, and soaking nightcrawlers.
CAPLES LAKE-Snow over 7000 feet is forecast for all this week, so it would be a good idea to call ahead before making any fishing plans. Ice fishing was good this past week before the weather hit.
CARSON RIVER (East)-Not much snow on the ground, but it has been cold and the river is fishing poorly. Experienced anglers might pick up 1 or 2 fish a day.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 66-percent capacity. There were a few anglers still chancing the ice fishing at the dam, but even the local game warden didn’t want to go out and check them for licenses-the ice is getting too unstable!! The upper end of the lake is covered with thin ice. The storms forecast for the rest of this week are supposed to bring rain and wind which should break up the ice again. Ice fishing is done!! Wait until open water is available-be smart, not a statistic.
DONNER LAKE-Someone cleared off the boat ramp and trollers have been picking up a few Mackinaw to 8 pounds on Rapalas working on isolated groups of fish metered in 40 feet of water, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-The lake is at 49-percent capacity. The road has been cleared to the dam, but not over the dam. There is some thin skim ice at the dam, but the rest of the lake is open. Shore anglers can walk to open water above the dam and catch limits of nice rainbows, 14 to 15 inches, according to Wiggins Trading Post. Anglers are relying on nightcrawlers.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 44-percent capacity. The road is open to the lake, but the ramp is iced over so there is no boat launching. The lake is 3/4’s frozen over, but there is some open water for shore anglers. Lousy weather is in the forecast for all of this week, so it would be best to avoid the Crystal Basin altogether, according to Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-According to Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort, the road in from Hwy 89 is passable with a 4-wheel drive. There are a lot of big fish left from the two big Alpine County plants made this winter totaling 3800 pounds.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-The lake was planted this past week and shore anglers were doing well at the first dam and the boat launch using Power Bait. Trollers picked up a few 3- to 3 1/2-pound Mackinaws in the Narrows and by the second dam. Rain and wind is in the forecast for most of this week.
LAKE TAHOE-With the price of fuel cutting into anglers’ budgets, the charter fleet has been pretty quiet. Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters reported a good bite very early, 6 to 7 a.m. trolling 80 to 150 feet deep and then down to 300 to 350 feet. Wind and rain is in the forecast for most of this week, which will make trolling difficult, if not impossible.
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 32-percent capacity. With this lake located down in a hole, the wind has not been able to get strong enough to break up the ice yet, so ice fishing is still available at the dam. There is open water up at the inlet end of the lake for shore fishing. Rainbows are hitting nightcrawlers, Pautzke’s Fire Bait, and small shrimp.
PYRAMID LAKE-The wind played havoc with contestants in the Hook, Line, and Sinker Derby this past weekend. First place and a Kawasaki ATV went to Glenn Lemon of Sparks for a 13-pound, 3-ounce cutthroat caught trolling off the North Nets. Eagle Eye Charters caught 19 fish over the weekend up to 5 pounds trolling U-20 FlatFish in 17 to 25 feet of water. Fly casters did very well in the derby taking 14 out of the top 20 spots. Nymphs under indicators worked well.
RED LAKE-South Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters guide, Pete Santley, took two clients out this past week and they caught 7 cutthroat, 14 to 15 inches, while jigging Kastmaster spoons or using nightcrawlers and Power Bait. Santley said there were 10 other people ice fishing and never saw any of them pick up any fish-so fishing is fair at best!
SILVER LAKE-Pete Santley from South Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters said a game warden he talked to reported good trout action at Silver for ice fishermen jigging spoons and using bait. Poor weather is in the forecast for most of this week, with snow at the higher elevations, so call ahead.
TOPAZ LAKE-The lake is at 95-percent capacity-about 3 feet from full. Trollers have been catching limits of 1- to 1¼-pound rainbows either trolling Rapalas or stillfishing with nightcrawlers on the SE end of the lake. Shore anglers on the north shore have only been picking up a few fish on rainbow Power Bait.
TRUCKEE RIVER-Pete Santley at South Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters said that the Nevada side has been “blown out a little” with warm weather causing some snowmelt. Fish early in the morning before the sun gets the runoff going with mayfly nymphs, squala stones, baetis, and midges. The California side is best up at Boca on baetis, midges, and San Juan Worms.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 55-percent capacity. The back bays are still frozen over though there is some open water on the main body. The boat ramps are a mess and too icy for safe launching. More weather is in the forecast for most of this week. Use caution!