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.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.-The best of the spring salmon run on the Rogue River is just now hitting the river, and while there are still slower days, over the weekend the run really picked up in momentum, and all WON contacts reported very good angling. Being in the “slot” is paramount: if you’re there you’ll catch them, one boat length away and you won’t. River conditions are great and water temperature reached 50 degrees by Friday afternoon, perfect temperature. WON Field Reporters Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service and Andy Martin of River Secrets Guide Service are now on the river full time and putting their clients on big, bright springers.
RUSSIAN RIVER-River conditions are perfect for fishing right now and shad are in the river. Pretty much over for downrunner steelhead and bluebacks, but there’s still a few around. Watch for the shad bite to go hot as the weather warms.
UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Ore.–The river has been putting out some exciting days of fishing for spring Chinook over the last week. “From locals to guides, the reports of multiple salmon being caught is what my sources are saying,” said WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “It seems every boat ramp from the Scotts Creek ramp up river to the Umpqua ramp there are stories being told of good fighting fish on every corner. Rains on Friday did raise the river and slow the fishing for most on Saturday, but even then I received pictures of one or two springers still being caught. It is starting to look as if it could be a banner season on the Umpqua.”
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City- The release to the Trinity from Lewiston Dam was 5,400 cfs on Sunday and heading to 11,000 cfs reaching 10,000 cfs on May 3. Fishing opportunities are nil. Be extremely caution when close to the river. If you fall in, there is little opportunity to get back out.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam-The release from Iron Gate Dam increased to 4,360 cfs, clearly far too high to fish. No telling when flows will subside to fishable levels.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE-May 13-15 is the annual Clearlake Oaks Catfish Derby. Find info at http://clearlakeoaks.org/. Last year 633 anglers participated in this popular event. According to Scott Green, Lucky Craft pro staffer, bass are swarming to the banks, which is actually not great for fishing unless you’re bed fishing, so it’s tough right now. Your best bet is to find some stained water in the sloughs and flip jigs, Senkos and flip baits to heavy cover for bass from 3-7 lbs. The topwater bite should pick up from here on out with frogs, Sammy’ 128’s and wakebaits as the bass move into a post spawn pattern.
LAKE BERRYESSA-Warming waters will to help drive kokes deeper and start to get some fish to bunch up, look for the action to heat up. Bass are in all stages of the spawn now. Most techniques such as dartheaded worms, spinnerbaits, topwater, and ripbaits will catch fish.
LAKE SONOMA- According to Scott Green, Lucky Craft pro staffer, clear water is the biggest problem. Most bass are being caught by sight fisherman on beds and there’s an early morning topwater bite on Sammy 128s ghost minnow around points and standing timber. Night fishing is going to be a better bet soon with the personal watercraft taking over soon with higher temperatures. Catfishing remains good for cats to 15 pounds but they have been caught in the creek channels in 20 to 30 feet of water on mackerel.
LAKE ALMANOR-The east shore continued to provide the better action as trout and salmon began to gorge on new hatches of bugs. Threaded nightcrawlers, red and gold Speedy Shiners, pearl Needlefish and the Tanzanite Hoochies behind UV Sling Blades all produced nice fish.
BATTLE CREEK RESERVOIR-There is no access to this area at this time due to very deep snowdrifts. Don’t expect access here until Memorial Day or later unless the road is plowed by P.G.E. The lake is likely still frozen in any case.
BAUM LAKE-The lake was planted but anglers found mixed results. Kastmasters, olive woolly buggers and nightcrawlers are good options here. As fish begin to adjust to the sunny skies the catching should pick back up.
BRITTON LAKE-The water is still stained and cold. A few bass were caught but few crappie.
CASSEL FOREBAY–With so many people on the water for opening day it was a bit tough, but pressure should ease from now until Memorial Weekend. Power Bait, worms and lures worked and fishing was very good in general.
FALL RIVER-No reports yet from the opening weekend.
IRON CANYON RESERVOIR- Water conditions are better and fishing has been fair to good.
UPPER HAT CREEK-Crowds and cold mornings for the opener here but plenty of nice fish were caught. Worms, Panther Martins and salmon eggs are popular here.
HAT CREEK (wild trout section)–Nymphing was best following the very cool night and early morning temperatures.
MANZANITA LAKE–The lake is still frozen and unfishable at this time. Best estimate until it thaws is three weeks plus.
PIT RIVER-No current reports from anglers as the water is definitely high and colored. Water is up to stairs at the dam access, water is dumping over the 3 bladders on the Pit 3 dam at Lake Britton.
McCLOUD RIVER-The river is still high.
LAKE SHASTA-Big browns were plentiful in the McCloud arm using rolled shad and big presentations such as Rapalas and big Apexs. Salmon ranged from 3 to 3 1/2 pounds in the Dry Creek area and in front of the dam. A lot of rainbows in the 1 1/2 to 2-pound class where found everywhere, using Wiggle Hoochies.
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 87-percent capacity. Fishing was slow this past week due to colder than expected weather. Tony Marotta at Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that one friend fished the Little Truckee inlet and picked up 3 rainbows over 20 inches on hare’s ear and PT nymphs. The fish were heading back into the lake after spawning in the river. Trolling has been hit-or-miss for the macks that are on the bottom in 60 to 80 feet of water.
CAPLES LAKE-Still frozen over with lots of snow still on the ground around the lake. Caples Lake Resort estimates it will be July before the lake thaws.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)-The DFG made 1000-pound trout plants into the East Fork and West Fork this past week before the opener. Alpine County planted 2800 pounds of 2- to 4-pound rainbows in Markleeville Creek, the East Carson, and the West Carson before the opener. Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort reported good action for the opener. A 7-pound rainbow was caught by Nicholas Mitchell of Citrus Heights in the West Fork near Woodfords. Mitchell and his dad landed two limits of trout that averaged 3 pounds on orange Power Bait. Woodfords Station reported light crowds and fair fishing with most anglers only catching 1 or 2 fish each on the West Fork.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 86-percent capacity. The new Honker boat dock cable was installed this past Friday and the dock was put in the water. The logs and equipment blocking the parking lot were removed and the parking problem has been resolved. Ed Dillard was going to begin exploratory trips on Sunday and start booking trips depending on his findings. One boater he spoke to had picked up a couple 14-inch fish on Dick Nites and Rainbow Runners. The water was 46-degrees and off-color which is contributing to the slow bite. Warmer weather forecast for this week should improve the bite unless big run-off makes the water muddy.
DONNER LAKE-The double DFG trout plant made this past week boosted the fishing success for shore anglers. The rainbows began dispersing according to Mountain Hardware and Sports and were being caught by shore anglers and trollers. Shore action was still best from the public docks on the west end of the lake.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON-The DFG is scheduled to plant the Middle Fork this week-they planted the North Fork the week before the opener. 50 anglers signed up for the opening day derby at Caribou Crossroads Resort-a 19 3/4-inch rainbow was leading the pack. The North Fork Feather was running very high-up into the trees along the shore. The Middle Fork was running muddy and high along Hwy 70. Most of the derby fish were caught at PG&E’s Caribou Powerhouse.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-The lake is at 84-percent capacity. Warm weather melted lots of snow and opened up the roads around the lake. Wiggins Trading Post reported that the boat ramps at both Frenchman and Lunker Point were now open. The Frenchman and Chilcoot campgrounds are open. Shore anglers were doing well on rainbows on nightcrawlers and marshmallows. Fly fishermen were scoring on Dark Lord or PT nymphs, and woolly buggers. Stream fishing was reported to be good in Gallepi Creek on the east side of the lake.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 40-percent capacity. According to Kyle Neeser of Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service, boaters can access the lake, but there is still some ice at the inlet end of the lake. Cold water means slow fishing.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-Fly fishermen, lure casters and bait anglers are all catching fish. Some trout are running 5 to 6 pounds. Fly fishermen are doing well on woolly buggers according to Pete Santley at Tahoe Fly fishing Outfitters. Lure casters are picking up good fish on Kastmaster spoons and Rooster Tails. Nightcrawlers are popular with bait fishermen.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-Sly Park Resort reported an increase in brown trout caught this past week. Beau Armstrong of Pollock Pines picked up a 21-inch, 3 pounder on a Kastmaster thrown from the shore at the first dam. Bob Farley of Sacramento caught a 20-inch, 2 1/2-pound brown on a nightcrawler fished from the shore at the second dam. Windy conditions this past week kept most trollers off the lake.
LAKE TAHOE– Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Top Liners guided Marvin Childs of Granite Bay to the new lake record brown trout-a 15-pound, 15-ounce, 36-inch lunker. They were toplining an F-11 black/silver Rapala in Rubicon Bay in 35 feet of water. Nielsen’s clients landed almost 30 more browns on trips this past Thursday and Friday, but they were only 1 to 3 pounders. Windy conditions this past weekend made trolling tough for most charter operators. Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters reporting fighting 25 mph winds to find fish at 250 to 300 feet. He picked up macks from 3 1/2 to 7 pounds in the late mornings and afternoons after the winds died down. Better weather is in the forecast for this week.
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 41-percent capacity. There’s open water at the dam where anglers have been picking up some nice rainbows to 18 inches on yellow/brown/gold blade Rooster Tails. One angler reported catching two limits of rainbows on spinners.
PYRAMID LAKE-George Molino at the Pyramid Lake Store reported hit-or-miss action while trolling for cutthroats. His last trip scored 8 fish for 15 strikes on watermelon Apex lures trolled 25 feet deep in 30 to 40 feet of water. The fish ran 16 to 21 inches. Shore anglers have reported catching-and-releasing fish from 10 to 17 pounds using black or olive beetles and woolly buggers and black, purple, or olive marabou jigs. With the water temp as cool as it is, the shore bite should last into late May.
RED LAKE-Though the ice is still thick enough for ice fishing, there have been very few anglers here. Now that the stream season is open, most anglers will opt for open water fishing.
SILVER LAKE-Not much happening here with the stream season open now. The lake probably won’t thaw until late June.
TOPAZ LAKE-Trollers did well this past week using flasher/worm combos on the south end of the lake. Rainbows averaged 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds with some fish to 3 pounds checked in at the Topaz Landing Marina.
TRUCKEE RIVER-The river this past week was running high but clear. Warm weather this week will most likely blow out the fishing as flows increase and clarity decreases.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 67-percent capacity. The road into the lake is open off Pea Vine Ridge Road. Kyle Neeser of Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported that there was some action for trollers on trout and kokanee this past week. One boater reported picking up a couple small rainbows toplining a dodger/worm. Another troller reported catching some smallmouth bass and a 15-inch kokanee. The surface temp is barely into the 40’s and should be 50 to 51 degrees by now, so everything is going to be a few weeks behind schedule with the unusual winter.
WEST WALKER RIVER-The North Mono Chamber of Commerce planted 200 pounds of 2- to 3-pound Alpers trout just before the opener to supplement the big DFG plant that was made. Early morning fishing was slow due to air temps as low as 16-degrees. As the day warmed up, so did the fishing. By late afternoon on opening day, everyone was catching fish on salmon eggs and spinners. Most trout averaged 1 to 1 1/2 pounds. One angler reported catching-and-releasing a couple of 2 pounders in the 4 Trees area, 4 miles south of Walker, while another reported fighting a 5 to 6 pounder before 30 minutes on light line before losing it in the rocks near the Walker Bridge. The river was flowing at 495 cfs this past weekend, but warm weather in the forecast will most likely have the river blown out by this weekend, if not before. Call the Toiyabe Motel for current conditions at 530-495-2281.
AMERICAN RIVER-According to the Georgetown Ranger Station, the river is running high and muddy. It might be a while before flows subside to a fishable level with a record snow melt just starting in the Sierras.
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 91-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina reported that cooler temperatures brought on by blustery winds and unsettled weather continued to bother anglers this past week. The spotted bass bite improved considerably with fish ready to spawn in 20 to 30 feet of water. Senkos and swimbaits produced 20-pound limits with 5 to 6 pounders included. Trout and kokanee trolling has been picking up for boaters working the North Fork arm of the lake.
CAMP FAR WEST-The lake is full and clearing. Bass fishing was good this past week before windy conditions slowed the action. Before the winds settled in, Greg Sanosk caught a bunch of bass, keeping two 16 inchers and two 18 inchers, while fishing brass and glass rigged nightcrawlers. Crappie are still on a tear in the flooded brush around the lake. Slabs up to 2 pounds are hitting worms, jigs, and minnows.
COLLINS LAKE-The lake is full and clear and received another private trout plant this past week and the last two pens of fish reared over the winter were released. With the clearer water and warmer temps, limits of trout were more common for both shore anglers and trollers. The biggest trout of the week, a 9 1/4 pounder, was caught from the shore at the Open Area by Jenna Whight of Linden. Trollers were doing well with a simple silver/blue 1/4-ounce Kastmaster. Warmer water temps also have the bass and catfish on the prowl. Jim Moorehead caught a 7 1/4-pound catfish on a garlic worm from the shore at the campgrounds. Limits of bass fell for crawdads and plastic worms.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is at 100-percent capacity. Most boaters are still running up to Boston Bar, Black’s Ravine, and Buck’s Beach and fishing off the shore with nightcrawlers for rainbows averaging 16 inches. Some browns are also showing on stringers.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is at 93-percent capacity. Use extreme caution when running due to big logs, trees, and debris floating on, or worse, just under the surface. Some marker buoys are also just under the surface creating navigation hazards!! Water clarity is excellent with 15 to 20 foot visibility. Bass are on are on a strong jig bite, brown/green pumpkin, in Potter’s Ravine, West Branch, South Fork, and the Dark Canyon area. Water temps vary from 49- to 56-degrees. Wacky-rigged Senkos, Flukes, and deep cranks (DD 22) have also been working for some anglers. On the Senko bite, just watch for line movement. Largemouth bass were active in the West Branch for Bruce Gibson of the Paradise Tackle Company who picked up 6 fish on jigs.
ROLLINS LAKE-According to Lance Englestad at Long Ravine Resort, the lake is full, spilling, and clearing. The DFG trout plants are providing good action at the main dam and the wing dam by the Bear River inlet for trollers. The Long Ravine Marina and Outrigger Grill are open. A Mother’s Day Brunch will be served at the Outrigger Grill. Live music will be provided.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-The lake is full and spilling. The DFG made a trout plant this past week. Trollers are doing well down near the dam with flasher/worm combos and Kastmaster spoons. The smallmouth bass bite is improving as the water warms. Check the backs of the coves with worms and jigs in crawdad browns and greens for smallies up to 2 1/2 pounds.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR-The lake area is mostly snow free except for some remnants in the shady spots. The boat launch is open, but the campgrounds are still closed according to the Foresthill Ranger Station.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The lake is full and spilling. The area around the lake is snow free, but the campgrounds are still not open. The road still has some snow on it and is passable with a 2-wheel drive truck-not recommended for cars due to reduced clearance. The camp concessionaires began working on getting the campgrounds late this past week. The Georgetown Ranger Station will be open on weekends starting on May 7.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-The lake is at 81-percent capacity. A lot of cold water was released into the Afterbay in anticipation of rice flooding this past week slowing the bass bite. If the weather stays warm, the bite should pick back up according to Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company. Jigs pitched into the tule patches or on rocky banks produced mostly 2 to 4 pounders with some fish up to 6 pounds for Gibson recently–use brown/green pumpkin in the tules and black/blue on the rocks. Swimbaits were also working on the outside edge of the tules.
AMERICAN RIVER- Flows dropped back to 8,000 cfs, and the river is becoming fishable again albeit still a bit high. While there have been some reports of striped bass caught in the lower end of the river and a few steelhead farther upstream, most anglers are now eagerly anticipating the start of the shad run. Some are now being caught at the mouth of the river at Discovery Park on mini-jigs, and the fishing should only get better in the weeks to come.
FEATHER RIVER, Yuba City-Striped bass fishing continued to be outstanding last week with easy limits coming from Star Bend to Boyd’s Landing, mostly on lures: trolled plugs with a plastic worm trailer, soft plastics thrown toward shore, and even flies.
FEATHER RIVER, Oroville-Some small steelhead continued to be caught, mostly by fly fishers, in the Low Flow Section. Use light leaders and light action rods.
FOLSOM LAKE-Bass fishing continued to be outstanding. While throwing reaction baits around flooded brush and over flats produced their share of fish, the biggest counts and biggest fish were coming off rock piles on drop-shotted plastics.
RANCHO SECO LAKE, MATHER LAKE-This is the best time of year to be fishing area ponds and small lakes. Weeds are still not too much of a problem, and bass are in, or moving into the shallows to spawn, and are in a feisty mood. Fish wacky-rigged Senkos, crankbaits, swimbaits and ripbaits.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento-Striped bass fishing was excellent from Freeport to Verona, but so was sturgeon fishing around Verona, AND shad were starting to be caught around the mouth of the American River and at Miller Park on mini-jigs. It’s a great time of year for fishing the Sacramento River.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Colusa-Fishing for striped bass was outstanding between Colusa and Meridian, and minnow fishing has become more productive as the water has cleared. Lure fishing has picked up, as well. The quality of the fish has been increasing, too, and one weighing 48 pounds was caught- and released.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-Trout fishing around Redding continued to be excellent, and anglers could easily catch a couple of dozen fat trout to 2.5 pounds every outing. Dead drift a combination of egg pattern and small nymph under an indicator for the most consistent results. It’s warm enough for dry fly action, but dealing with the wind with the long rod has been a challenge.
BERKELEY-Halibut fishing showed real promise with a group of anglers on the California Dawn hooking 7 halibut and 16 striped bass on Sunday, most caught while drifting live shiner perch. On the New Easy Rider, there was a 25-pound halibut caught way down south near the Dumbarton on a live shiner. The same area produced a 16-pound striper on the New El Dorado III. The Happy Hooker stuck with the sturgeon, but also managed a keeper halibut, when they took a side trip and drifted a live shiner perch near the barges.
BODEGA BAY- After a week of wind, the fleet got out on Sunday and found some promising salmon action off of Bird Rock. Captain Rick Powers said his boat, the New Sea Angler, is still a week out from fishing with a recent re-power, the six-pack boat he booked for Sunday scored 7 limits of salmon to 16 pounds. The action came alive for the fleet at the 200-foot contour west southwest of Bird Rock, the fish holding in the upper water column.
EMERYVILLE-While salmon action remained a distant dream, the boats did tap into the bay action, finding good striped bass action and a handful of halibut. Saturday’s trip on the New Huck Finn netted 18 bass to 7 pounds and a 20-pound halibut for 29 anglers, the Superfish found 2 halibut to 14 pounds, and 9 stripers to 17 pounds for 17 anglers, and the 13 anglers on the Tigerfish scored 5 halibut to 20 pounds and 5 bass to 10 pounds.
EUREKA-The local waters finally opened for some serious saltwater action, with the May 1 Pacific halibut opener. While not wide open, there were some nice flatties boated including fish from 25 to 40 pounds for 10 boats trying, reported WON subscriber Lonnie Dollarhide. Travis Adams at the Pro Sport Center said razor clamming has been the hot choice for the shore bound, with even minimal afternoon minus tides producing limits for diggers on Clam Beach. Surfperch is another good bet when the ocean conditions cooperate, top spots at Centerville, Mad River, Redwood Creek and Gold Bluffs Beach. The first good night fish run showed at Freshwater Lagoon Beach.
FORT BRAGG-Captain Randy Thornton on the Telstar had a tough week salmon fishing, but managed to get some crabs on most of the days they didn’t find kings. The top day was on Thursday, when the fish started biting late, his anglers releasing some small fish and keeping some 8- to 10-pound class kings.
HALF MOON BAY-While angler counts were low, the fish per rod averages were looking good with near limits for four anglers on the Huli Cat on Sunday’s trip, those anglers also scoring 16 Dungeness crabs. The Queen Of Hearts fished the bottomfishing opener south of Pigeon Point, and despite cold water temperatures and a green color due to a week of wind, the anglers on board scored better than half limits with a good mix of reds and browns, plus 3 lingcod and one cabezon.
LOCH LOMOND-Captain Jim Cox of Jim Cox Sportfishing took some out-of-staters on their first sturgeon try, and the Minnesota trio did great, hooking some shaker stripers, a keeper bass, shaker sturgeon, and two keepers, one measuring 50 inches, the other 60 inches that they released. The fish came from San Pablo Bay.
POINT SAN PABLO-Captain Frank Miller on the Fury worked on sturgeon and sevengill sharks, but both trips were rather dismal. “We had one big shark hooked that would have made our day, but it got off,” said Miller.
OYSTER POINT-Captain Jack Chapman on the Lovely Linda Too fished the Coastside Halibut Derby, finding a pair of flatties for his anglers. His action came at Southampton Shoals, and then down at the Brisbane Tubes, a 7 pounder and a 9 pounder, before time for weigh in.