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.- The Chetco fished well Wednesday and Thursday, but blew out again on Friday, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Flows were over 8,500 cfs on Sunday. The river could fish again this Wednesday and Thursday, which is the last day of the season-closed now. A mix of fresh steelhead and downrunners were reported last week.
COLUMBIA RIVER, Ore.-The springer salmon fishing is going on here, and getting better.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.-The spring salmon run has begun, and during a brief window of opportunity this past week a few boats in the right spots caught as many as 5 or 6 fish per boat, but most didn’t fare as well. The river was still flowing at 14,000 cfs, although it was steelhead green. Flows were on the rise again over the weekend, but conditions might be great this weekend. Steelhead are still entering the river, and there are some incidental catches by salmon fishermen.
ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass-There’s a mix of fresh and spawned out steelhead up here, and Renee Parara caught a 29-inch fish in Shady Cove on March 22.
RUSSIAN RIVER-According to Nick Wheeler at King’s Sport and Tackle in Guerneville, most of the coastal streams and rivers closed on April 1, although the Russian River stays open year round. The Russian was only a foot below flood stage on Friday, receding on Sunday, but there’s 8,000 cfs being released from the two upstream lakes, and it will take at least 10 days before the river will be low enough to fish. The hatchery is seeing about 40 fresh steelies a day, so there might be a chance at a downer in the future, but “we’re beginning to day-dream about shad in May,” he said.
UMPQUA RIVER: Elkton, Oregon-It’s spring kings on everyone’s mind here, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service, who said that most are launching at the Scott Creek boat ramp. Only 1 or 2 fish a day so far, but the fish are begin to show up and soon it will be a mad house as the springers move up in bigger numbers.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork: Glide, Oregon-Good numbers of winter steelhead here, but the bite varies day-to-day from big numbers like a dozen fish a day to only 4 or 5 (darn!). Palmer reported that the run has got about two weeks left of good fishing before all the fish are spawned out or on redds.
UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork: Canyonville, Oregon-All the steelhead action here is between Canyonville and Myrtle Creek due to high flows, according to Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. Stanton Park has been seeing some good action, although bankies aren’t doing as well as the boaters. Mornings have been best.
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.
BAY POINT-Jeff Renfandt at BS Bait said that on Sunday when the weather broke, the parking lot filled up. About 5 keeper sturgeon came through the landing, no details other than lengths on 3 fish, 52, 62 and 58 inches. Ghost shrimp was the hot bait, mostly due to the lack of grass shrimp in area shops.
BENICIA-Tony Lopez at Benicia Bait said the bite took off at the end of 9th Street, with that and the Ozol top spots for keeper sturgeon. The Benicia shoreline is offering good striped bass action now, with a couple shore anglers reporting hookups that they couldn’t hope to turn. “They said it was fun using 12-pound test, and I said, ‘wouldn’t it be more fun to actually land the fish?'” said Lopez. Pile worms, ghost shrimp and eel are top sturgeon baits, while pile worms and bullheads worked for the stripers.
BERKELEY-The Happy Hooker had a couple good sturgeon days fishing Saturday and Sunday in San Pablo Bay with 2 keeper sturgeon on Saturday, and 4 on Sunday, plus other shakers released, fish lost, bites missed, etc. A few stripers on the trip, one keeper on Sunday, the rest shakers. Ghost shrimp and pile worms worked for bait.
BODEGA BAY- The fleet is laying low until Saturday’s salmon opener. Abalone season opens April 1.
CROCKETT-Captain Gordon Hough on the Morning Star had to cancel most trips through the week, but they did get out on Saturday and Sunday for good action, keepers boated and keepers lost. “The weather was still pretty horrendous, but the fish were biting,” said Hough. He said that the last time this kind of runoff was coming down the pike was 2006, and it made for the best April sturgeon fishing in memory. “There’s so much fresh water that even during the incoming tide, there’s very little saltwater,” said Hough. They found their fish at the Pumphouse and Rat Rock.
EMERYVILLE-Craig Stone at Emeryville Sportfishing Center said they haven’t run any trips in months, and the weather didn’t help last week. “We’re all just waiting to see what happens on the April 2 salmon opener,” said Stone. “If we get salmon, great. If not, it’s going to be a slow April!”
EUREKA-Dean Thomas at the Pro Sport Center said the ocean scene has been slow, with only some bay crabbing and clamming possible. The wind has been thwarting Trinidad crabbers, and the big swell putting off the surfperch bite.
FORT BRAGG-Captain Randy Thornton of Telstar Charters said he didn’t get out crabbing, but will be kicking off salmon season on Saturday. “Bait conditions look good, and water temps are good,” said Thornton. Abalone opens April 1.
HALF MOON BAY-The fleet is anxious to try the salmon action on Saturday, and at times, this port can have some good early season action.
MARTINEZ-Jordana Santiago at Martinez Bait and Tackle said there were fish coming through the shop Sunday, most from around the Ozol. “We had a 50 incher brought into the shop, and a couple others reported on the radio that didn’t come in,” said Santiago. Ghost shrimp is the main bait, since grass shrimp is unavailable. Some small (but keeper sized) striped bass showing up.
OYSTER POINT-Captain Jack Chapman on the Lovely Linda II is starting halibut trips this week, with Thursday and Friday booked.
POINT SAN PABLO-Captain Frank Miller on the Fury only slipped out one day, Saturday, amid less than perfect weather. Still, the sturgeon were biting, and his anglers released one monster oversized 79 incher, and boated a 50-inch keeper. “We also got plenty of striped bass action,” he said. The water is so muddy from downstream flows that pile worms worked for 3 bass keepers, the only thing they could smell through the murky water. Sonoma Creek and Rat Rock were the hot spots.
SAUSALITO-The fleet is ready to open salmon season Saturday, but otherwise, things are slow here.
SHELTER COVE-Salmon opens April 2, Abalone opens April 1.
AMERICAN RIVER- Flows were too high for steelhead fishing (except by plunking: stillfishing roe). But, some striped bass that normally would be headed up the Sacramento River for the spring run were apparently making the turn into the American, and being hooked on cut bait, and even, occasionally, on soft plastic swimbaits and jerkbaits. Try Nimbus Basin for steelhead when the flows drop below 15,000 cfs. Any steelhead still in the river are likely to be bunched up there.
FEATHER RIVER, Yuba City-The total release from Oroville was 20,000 cfs, still quite high, but some nice stripers were being caught around the Bear River on sardines, anchovies and pileworms by the very few anglers trying for them.
FOLSOM LAKE-The lake dropped last week in order to increase flood space. That’s tough on bass and bass fishing which, normally this time of year would be working themselves into the shallows in preparation for spawning. Combine that with high winds and rain most of the week, you have a recipe for lousy fishing-which is what it was. The spell of nicer weather this week and stabilizing flows should put bass back into their pre-spawn mood and help the trout and salmon fishing, too, which was also lousy last week.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento-Just about the only sniff of fishing potential was sturgeon fishing at Lisbon Slough, and even there, anglers were having a tough time keeping baits on the bottom. Just about the only thing floating on the river was logs and other debris. Fishing from shore is going to be the only option available for the near future.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-With a release at Keswick of 40,000 cfs, and big flows still entering the river from tributaries, fishing is still out of the question.
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 67-percent capacity. 4 to 5 feet of snow fell in the last storm, but the road has been plowed to the dam. Anglers will have to snowshoe down to the dam to fish from shore with the lake pretty much open water at this time.
CAPLES LAKE-Hwy 88 was closed for avalanche control most of this past week and weekend. Call ahead to Caltrans for the latest road conditions. Sunny weather is forecast for all this week.
CARSON RIVER (East)-Lots of new snow fell this past week to hamper access. Sunny weather this week may trigger runoff and increase flows. Fishing has been slow.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 67-percent capacity. 5 to 6 feet of snow at the lake is making access virtually impossible due to the lack of parking. The lake is open above Honker Cove, but there is still a 1/4-mile of ice showing at the dam, but no one is fishing off the ice-it’s too dangerous!! The week of sunny weather forecast for this week may allow for the clearing of the road and some parking, but there will still be a snowshoe or cross-country ski trip needed to get to the open water for shore fishing. The boat ramp might be opened by May 1, weather permitting.
DONNER LAKE-4 feet of new snow over the weekend will have to be plowed to clear the road along the lake and then whatever parking there might have been available will be covered by drifts from the plows. If you can find a place to park, snowshoe to the water’s edge and soak an inflated nightcrawler for a cruising trout. Casting spoons or a CD Rapala might draw a strike from a Mackinaw.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-The lake is at 77-percent capacity. The road to the lake has been cleared to the dam, but parking is scarce. Anglers have to snowshoe down to the open water near the dam for a chance at 17-to 20-inch rainbows using nightcrawlers. Roads around the lake are snowmobile only at this time.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 43-percent capacity. Snowed in!!
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-The road from Hwy 89 is covered with snow-maybe the sunny weather in the forecast will help to clear the problem. Dave Kirby at Woodfords Station said that the County may grade the road into the lake off Diamond Valley Rd, and if so, that road may be clear by later in the week. Call ahead to Woodfords Station at 530-694-2930.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-The lake is scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. The road into the resort was closed due to downed trees over the weekend. Crews should have the roads cleared by the first part of the week. No one was fishing this past week due to the heavy snow and wind. Sunny weather is forecast for all of this week which should improve fishing success dramatically, especially after the DFG plant.
LAKE TAHOE-Snow and wind shut down fishing all this past week. Call ahead for info on current lake conditions this week to Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters, (530) 546-4444, Chuck Self at Chuck’s Fishing Charters, (530) 448-3084, or John Shearer at Tahoe Sportfishing, (530) 541-5448. Sunny weather forecast for all this week should greatly improve fishing success.
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 31-percent capacity. The area received over 4 feet of new snow late this past week and it will take some time to get the road cleared to the end of Prosser Dam Rd. After the road is open, anglers will be able to snow shoe to the dam and ice fish.
PYRAMID LAKE-Strong winds blew boaters off the lake all this past week. Fly casters and spoon/jig throwers were still doing well on lots of 17- to 24-inch cutthroats at the Nets, Sand Hole, Wino Beach, Pelican, and Warrior Point. Fly casters are doing best nymphing with copper Johns, leeches, and beadheads.
RED LAKE–Hwy 88 was closed for avalanche control for most of this past week, so no one has been fishing on Carson Pass. Call ahead to Dave Kirby at Woodfords Station for the latest conditions at (530) 694-2930.
SILVER LAKE-Hwy 88 was closed for avalanche control. Heavy snow and wind kept smart anglers out of the high country this past week. This week the forecast is for sunny weather, so ice fishing should be possible.
TOPAZ LAKE-Wind and snow blew most anglers off the lake this past week. Three guys headed out on Sunday in the wind and managed to catch a few fish, but it was rough!! The forecast for this week calls for sunny weather which should improve fishing considerably.
TRUCKEE RIVER-Warm weather in the forecast for this week will probably cause the river to be blown out by excessive run-off. Call ahead to Mountain Hardware and Sports at 530-587-4844 or Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters at 530-541-8208.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 60-percent capacity. Snowed in!!
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE- All of the country launch ramps were closed last Friday afternoon and not scheduled to reopen until the lake level lowers to 8 feet Rumsey, which could take two weeks. City ramps in Clearlake (Redbud Park) and Lakeport (Library Park) are still open but come prepared with rubber boots for launching. The launch at Konocti Vista Casino also remains open and is usable. Bass should begin to spawn soon but finding them and getting at them in high water will be hard. The easiest bite has been the catfish bite.
LAKE BERRYESSA-The water is high and cold but once it settles down, look for some kokes, kings and rainbow trout. 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. Bass will be making their way into the backs of the coves for spawning.
UPPER BLUE LAKE-The lake is flooded and currently all of the ramps are under water.
LAKE SONOMA-There was a bass tournament here this past weekend but no updates yet.
LAKE ALMANOR-No one fished this past week due to weather but the main roads and the dam ramp are open again. There should be a few fishable days this week, try the east shoreline. The lake is rising and the waters are very cold but there have been a few hatches.
BAUM LAKE-Check road conditions here before coming. Vaughn’s Sporting Goods reported good fishing for those that braved the wind and snow. Since the forecast shows some sunny days during the first part of the upcoming week though, the change will confuse the fish. Anglers did well using a variety of options including midges, woolly buggers, blue-wing olives, nightcrawlers, Rooste Ttails and Kastmasters.
IRON CANYON RESERVOIR-There have been no new reports yet due to road conditions and rainy weather, but you can expect it to be muddied up, especially near the inflow of water.
LEWISTON RESERVIOR-With all of the recent storms, it’s been a tough bite here since it has a lot of color right now.
PIT RIVER-The river continues to run high, very fast and muddy so there were no fishing reports.
LAKE SHASTA-The bass bite showed signs of improving since they are getting ready to spawn. While it’s still been a hit and miss deal, the swimbait bite has been very good. Bass have been suspended on points in the main body waiting for trout in 10 to 15 feet of water. No point in hitting the arms since the waters are colder and more stained.
AMERICAN RIVER-Another week of rain has the river roaring and unsafe. A week of sunny weather will only make things worse as the snow starts melting.
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 79-percent capacity. Heavy rains and power outages closed Emerald Cove Marina late this past week, but power was restored by Sunday. Spotted bass fishing should be improving as the fish begin their move toward shallower water to spawn.
CAMP FAR WEST-The lake is full, spilling, and muddy. North Shore Resort reported that there were a lot of big trees and big rafts of debris floating on the lake making boating hazardous. No one has been out fishing due to last week’s poor weather, but the sunny forecast this week should improve fishing conditions.
COLLINS LAKE-The lake is full and muddy. Shore anglers have been catching 1 to 3 rainbows on Power Bait from the campgrounds, Open Area, and the dam. The sunny weather in the forecast for this week should improve the bite.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is full and spilling. Not much happening here. The sunny weather in the forecast should make fishing more enjoyable and productive. There was some turkey hunting success reported on public land around the lake-check with the Army Corps office for a map of boat accessible sites.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is at 81-percent capacity but water releases dropped the lake 12 feet in the past week. Bass fishing is wide open with spotted bass either on the beds or staging to move up with better weather. Jigs, tubes, worms, and reaction baits are all working, according to Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company. The fish are scattered from 3 to 40 feet deep. Use baits in brown and green pumpkin in lightly stained water with a surfaced temp of 50 to 52 degrees for the best success. In clearer water, the fish are hitting ghost shad ripbaits and cranks. Lots of slot fish, but 15-inch spots are running a healthy 3 pounds. Coho salmon fishing is still good in the Forks, but heavy debris has been a big problem for trollers. Try above Berry Creek in the North Fork and below the “No-Ski” buoys in the Middle Fork to the Hwy 162 Bridge with a UV Sling Blade/pink hoochie combo if you can get away from the debris.
ROLLINS LAKE-The lake is full and muddy. Poor weather all this past week made for lousy fishing. A week of sunny weather in the forecast may not help if the runoff increases flows into the lake.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-The lake is full and spilling. Heavy winter weather all this past week made access impossible due to downed trees and power lines. The sunny weather in the forecast this week should improve the trout fishing at the marina for anglers using Power Bait, if the roads have been cleared-call ahead!! Scott’s Flat Lake Resort-(530) 265-5302.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR-Rain and snow this past week made for poor fishing conditions. Sunny weather this week may improve access and fishing success, but there has been little pressure here.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-1 to 2 feet of new snow on the road to the lake made access difficult to impossible. Heavy snow and power outages closed the Georgetown Ranger Station this past Friday. The lake is full, and the camp concessionaires are waiting anxiously to get into the campgrounds to prepare for the spring opener. Sunny weather forecast for all this week should improve access by week’s end.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-Cold and rainy all this past week, but sunny weather forecast for all this week should improve the jig and swimbait bite for bass running 4 to 10 pounds along the rocky shorelines.