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 close, and others change to artificial/barbless only, on March 31 and others on April 25.
CHETCO RIVER, Ore.-Unfishable for weeks now, and closing March 31 to fishing, but there may be one last window of opportunity during the final week of the season. The high flows have enabled all the fresh steelies to get to their spawning sites, and also allowed the spent fish an easy trip back downriver to the ocean.
EEL RIVER-Flows over 80,000 cfs at one point this past week, and not likely it will be in any fishable shape by the March 31 closure.
EEL RIVER, South Fork-Totally blown and unfishable, and might not be there by the time the river closes on March 31, but possible way up top.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.-A muddy torrent most of the past two weeks, but when it comes back into shape there are hundreds of guides and anglers waiting to anchor up for the first expected big run of the spring kings. All this water has offered them an easy path into the river mouth.
RUSSIAN RIVER-“The Russian River is 15 feet high and rising,” said Scott Heemstra of King’s Sport & Tackle, “and the river is mud, with trees coming down the river.” The reservoirs upstream are full, and considering the forecast for more rain off and on all week, by the time the Russian drops and clears it’s likely steelhead fishing will be over for the year.
SMITH RIVER-It was 15 feet up on Sunday, but guide Jimmy Dean was out there fishing off Ruby, anyway, and he said it looked like there might be some spring king salmon moving into the river. He had one hooked up, and figured it was a king, but never saw it. The fish counter said he was seeing pods of fresh fish coming into the river right after the Tsunami.
UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork; Canyonville, Ore.–With the major rains disappearing and the snow level dropping, we may have a good week of steelhead fishing coming up as Southern Oregon Rivers clear, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “Saturday morning’s catch at Stanton Park is the only fish I know of for the week, and as I prepared my gear for the next week of work, there were a couple reports of steelhead being kept just above the park on the corner.”
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork: Roseburg, Ore.–This river has been high and full of mud like the other rivers in the area, but it will fish on the first day of the week and continue to fish all of next week if the weather forecasts are even halfway correct. “A walk down to the viewing windows at Winchester Dam showed only a single steelhead at a time moving through the ladder to get upriver,” said Palmer. “The steelhead count is currently up to 3,007 fish, and that is only 280 steelhead in the last 20 days to go through the counting station. Last year’s total number of steelhead was 10,608 for the winter run, close to the river’s average. It shows us that there are most likely going to be thousands of steelhead fighting to get up the river to spawn any day now.”
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City- Even the upper Trinity was blown out, but should come back into fishable shape within days of the rains stopping. The caveat is that releases from Lewiston have to continue at 310 cfs. Call ahead. The balance of the Trinity is blown out and will remain so for a week or more after the storms pass.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam-The whole length of the Klamath is high and muddy-even right below Iron Gate Dam.
AMERICAN RIVER- Blown out with flows at 25,000 cfs. A new run of small adults had entered the river before flows increased. Try Nimbus Basin just below the dam when the river drops by half.
FEATHER RIVER, Oroville-The river is near flood stage bank-to-bank. However, there was a report of striped bass being caught on jerkbaits at Boyd’s Pump even in the high water.
FOLSOM LAKE-Inflows have increased dramatically, but so have outflows to the American River. It’s been a cold storm, so the lake has not mudded up too badly. For bass, fish the backs of coves with inflows from creeks filled with tasty tidbits. Bass are starting to prepare for spawning, as well. Fish slowly with plastics. Landlocked king salmon were being caught in the North Fork on Hoochies and Needlefish trolled on downriggers between 45 and 55 feet deep before the storms.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento-Forget thoughts of fishing the main river until it drops and stabilizes. Boat ramps are underwater, and boating would be highly hazardous under current conditions anyway. Lisbon Slough was producing sturgeon, however, on ghost shrimp.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-Blown out.
AMERICAN RIVER-Heavy rains this past week and more forecast for all this week have the river blown out and dangerous. Stay away until the flows are down. The recreation area near the confluence off Foresthill Rd was closed this past weekend, and will most likely stay closed this week.
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 81-percent capacity. One boat hit the lake this past week and picked up 7 fish-the biggest 5.85 pounds and the rest 3 to 4 pounders. They were all caught on swimbaits in the Dark Day area.
CAMP FAR WEST-The lake is spilling and muddy. The weather this week is forecast to remain rainy and fishing is sure to be slow.
COLLINS LAKE-The lake is full. The fourth regular plant was made this past Wednesday, but fishing was only fair due to poor weather. Trollers and shore anglers were catching 1 or 2 fish per person. The bigger fish are running 4 to 4 1/2 pounds. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported that one customer picked up two fish, 2 and 2 1/2 pounds, trolling a dodger/worm combo at 30 feet deep. Shore anglers have been fishing at the bridge, campgrounds, Open Area, and the dam.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is full and spilling. One shore fisherman has been doing well at the launch ramp picking up rainbows, 14 to 18 inches, on Power Bait/worm combos. Wind and rain has kept boats off the water.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is at 85-percent capacity and the DWR is dumping 29000 cfs to make room for future run-off. The bass bite is still tough. Dragging jigs seems to be the best bet right now. Coho salmon have moved down toward the Hwy 162 Bridge and lower end of the Middle Fork following the pond smelt. Trolling should be good if the weather cooperates.
ROLLINS LAKE-The lake is full. Poor weather this past week made for slow fishing, and this week will be no different.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-The lake is full and spilling. There was 6 inches of snow on Sunday, but the roads to the boat launch and marina had been plowed. More poor weather is in the forecast for most of this week. Shore anglers have been picking 3 or 4 fish on Power Bait at the marina. Trolling is slower on flasher/worm combos. Check the weather and road conditions first.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR-More snow this week makes access unlikely since the county does not plow the road into the lake facilities.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-1 1/2 to 2 feet of snow on the road to the lake has made access unlikely for a while. More weather is in the forecast for most of this week and the county is not plowing the road past Quintet.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-One boat picked up 3 bass in the 5- to 6-pound class this past week on swimbaits. They also got broke off at the boat on a short strike by a fish estimated at over 10 pounds. Bites are few, but the quality is good!
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 63-percent capacity. A mix of ice and snow at the dam is 12 inches thick allowing for ice fishing. Access will depend on whether the road to the dam gets plowed this week as more snow is in the forecast-8 feet by week’s end.
CAPLES LAKE-Hwy 88 was closed from both ends for avalanche control making access impossible over this past weekend. More snow is in the forecast for this week, so check with Caltrans for road conditions.
CARSON RIVER (East)-1 1/2 feet of new snow on Sunday and more is coming. Access to the river will be very difficult and with the bitter cold, the bite is non-existent.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 69-percent capacity. The ice at the dam is UNSAFE!! There is open water showing up above Honker Cove, but the road is covered with 2 feet of new snow and more is coming. If the road gets cleared, check out the shore fishing along the open water on the upper end of the lake
DONNER LAKE-Heavy snow drifted along the road around the lake. Anglers can walk to the water for shore fishing– one angler picked up a 4- to 5-pound brown on an inflated nightcrawler after a cold lengthy soak. The boat ramp is buried.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-The lake is at 53-percent capacity. Ice is breaking up and open water is reachable from the dam for shore fishing. Stay off what ice is left.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 44-percent capacity. A few feet of new snow over this past weekend and more to come will shut the Crystal Basin down for a while until there’s been at least a week of good weather.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-A couple of feet of new snow over this past weekend and more in the forecast for most of this week shut down access to this lake.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-Snow over the past weekend shut down boating and shore anglers had to walk in from the gatehouse to get to the water. More snow is in the forecast for this week.
LAKE TAHOE-Poor weather, heavy snow and wind, shut down the charter fleet this past week. The forecast for this week isn’t any better, so fishing conditions will be poor at best. I-80 was closed in both directions on Sunday.
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 33-percent capacity. 8 feet of new snow expected by the end of this week will make access a problem. Only one lane of Hwy 89 was cleared by Sunday from the storm this past weekend. Ice is still fishable at the dam, but getting there will be tough.
PYRAMID LAKE-Heavy winds and rain shut down the lake and fishermen have opted to stay home. Eagle Eye charters had to cancel all trips scheduled this past week and it looks like the same for this week.
RED LAKE-Hwy 88 was closed at both ends for avalanche control making access impossible and more snow is in the forecast for most of this week.
SILVER LAKE-Hwy 88 was closed for avalanche control as of Sunday. More snow is in the forecast for this week. Check Caltrans for road conditions, or better yet-stay home!!
TOPAZ LAKE-Wind, snow, and then rain had the area pretty soggy on Sunday with more weather due this week. Three boats of hardy souls went out this past week and caught some nice stringers of 1 to 1 1/4-pound rainbows trolling flasher/worm combos and Rapalas.
TRUCKEE RIVER-River was running 1000 cfs early last week, then slowed to 750 cfs as it got colder when the snow started. River needs to get down to 500 cfs to be fishable, so nothing happening here.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 60-percent capacity. Several feet of new snow fell this past weekend and more snow is in the forecast for this week. Access will be impossible until the roads can be cleared, but good weather is needed to accomplish that task.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE-Some nice fish were found before the storms. Once things settle back down, look for the Keys to continue to produce over the next month or so, as this area will have some of the warmest water early in the season. Boaters, as always, are asked to keep their boat speed down to a wakeless idle.
LAKE BERRYESSA-Once it settles down here, look for some kokes, kings and rainbow trout in the main lake and in the Narrows. Fish will be at all depths. The bass bite has been good to very good depending on the weather. Try spinnerbaits, ripbaits and crankbaits but keep it slow, the water’s very cold.
UPPER BLUE LAKE-Except for a very few locals, no one has been fishing here. This week weather conditions will continue to keep anglers off the water and banks.
LAKE SONOMA-A few more bass and anglers are starting to show up as a few tournaments have been scheduled. No word on how they did yet, there is another one this coming weekend as well. They will probably head back in the northern creek arms. Once fishable, look for landlocked steelhead up there as well where water is coming into the lake.
LAKE ALMANOR-All bets will probably be off on access to the lake this week. Call ahead. The only access has been with snowshoes in the deep snow. Once the ramps are open again, the dam area and east side will be good areas to target trout.
BAUM LAKE-Check road conditions here before coming. Lately most of the fish have been smaller brown trout, but some in the 18- to 20-inch class were also taken. With all of the wet weather, the pressure has lightened up. Fly fishermen were doing well using midges, woolly buggers and caddis pupa, while others chose nightcrawlers, Rooster Tails and Kastmasters.
IRON CANYON RESERVOIR-There were no new reports due to road conditions and rainy weather, but you can expect it to be muddied up, especially near the inflow of water.
PIT RIVER-PG&E continues to release freshet flows on the Pit 4 and Pit 5 through March 23. Water flows have reached their peak of 1,500 cfs so expect it to be high and colored. The peak flow magnitude was scheduled to occur on weekends to facilitate whitewater boating opportunities.
LAKE SHASTA-Everyone was off the water due to a wet system passing by that included 40 mph winds. Look for more of the same this coming week. Once the weather and water settles down and warms back up, the trout and bass bite will bounce back.
BAY POINT-Jeff Renfandt at BS Bait said the conditions were great for sturgeon fishing, all except the wind, which kept anglers off the water much of the week. “Not many went out, but I saw 4 nice fish brought in, 3 sturgeon and a bass,” he said. Two were from shore anglers. Sherman Island has been the hot spot, grass shrimp the best bait.
BERKELEY-The weather squelched any interest in trying to fish for the fleet, but everyone is excited about starting salmon season on April 2. Live bait is a possibility for the second week of April, but the bait boats will only set nets if they see bait on sonar. They’ll keep looking weekly until they find something to wrap.
CROCKETT- Too bad the weather bumped trips on the Morning Star, because Saturday’s trip found the sturgeon on a suicide bite, despite windy conditions.
EMERYVILLE-The landing is pretty much hunkered down waiting for salmon season to open. All indications are for April 2. The Emeryville Sportfishing Center “hotline” is still the same message for March 12, no trips out!
EUREKA-Since the tsunami (no damage here), the weather has made for tough ocean fishing, but one angler did fish a 3-hour window for surfperch and did well, said Dean Thomas at the Pro Sport Center. “The only other thing we have going is everyone getting ready for abalone on April 1,” said Thomas.
FORT BRAGG-Rough seas cancelled any chance to get out. Shore rockfishing, surfperch and spear fishing is open. Abalone season opens April 1, and salmon opens April 2.
HALF MOON BAY-Captain Tom Mattusch on the Huli Cat said the weather has been slowing down his maintenance in the boat yard, but he’s still confident the boat will be ready for the April 2 salmon opener. Everyone else is hunkered down waiting for a chance to make some money after the opener.
LOCH LOMOND-Captain Jim Cox said that bad weather and poor conditions have caused trip cancellations, but he’ll be running salmon trips from here starting April 2.
MARTINEZ-Captain James Smith on the California Dawn had some great keeper sturgeon action through the week, with fish to 65 inches boated. “We’ve had some fish brought in,” added Jordana Santiago at Martinez Bait and Tackle. ”
POINT SAN PABLO-Captain Frank Miller on the Fury said he’s got some shark trips and sturgeon trips scheduled, but last week had no takers on the customer side.