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, Gold Beach, Ore.-The springer run is now at it’s peak, but it’s slowed down from the wild times of two weeks ago. It may be that the high water brought in the bigger numbers sooner than normal, but it’s still the middle of the season. WON Staffer Bill Karr fished it with John Myrick on May 4 and 5, and they caught a 46-pound wild king, and a number of others, with action every day. Now, it takes patience and lots of time on the water until a school hits, said WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer, but that can change hourly or daily. Guide Bill Divens of Salmon King Lodge put his deckhand, Stacey McGarity on a beauty Friday, photo next week, along with the full On-the-Spot with Palmer.
RUSSIAN RIVER-The shad run is in full swing, although fish are just reaching Memorial Beach. When you hit the schools right you can get 20 or 30 a day, but you need to stay on top of them as they scoot up the river in the good flows. Others only get 2 or 3, or none if you don’t find them, according to Nick Wheeler of King’s Sport and Tackle in Guerneville. According to Scott Green, Lucky Craft Pro Staffer, the smallmouth bass bite is just beginning to kick in with the warmer weather.
UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Oregon–This is probably the best season in the last half dozen years, said guide and WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service, “I have received mostly reports of spring Chinooks in the teen sizes over the last week in the lower section of the Umpqua river and that tells me that the Sutherlin and Roseburg area of the river will have salmon for a long time, still running through the sections of river.”
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City- The release to the Trinity from Lewiston Dam was 9,500cfs over the weekend, the flow at Douglas City, 9,980cfs,Cedar Flat 12,500 cfs, and at mouth, 5,400 cfs. Clearly, fishing is still out of the question. Be extremely caution when close to the river. If you fall in, there is little opportunity to get back out. WON Staffer Bill Karr drove through the Hwy. 299 canyon late last week and said “the river is chocolate and bank-to-bank, up in the trees.”
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam-The release from Iron Gate Dam was back down to around 3,500 cfs, still far too high to fish.
AMERICAN RIVER-The river is flowing high, but clear. Lots of people were seen at the confluence on Hwy 49 by staff from the Georgetown Ranger Station. Georgetown anglers planned to make a trip down to the Middle Fork, so expectations were high enough to warrant the hike in.
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 93-percent capacity. Spotted bass action should be good with the water temp up and fish spawning. Kokanee and trout are still hitting for trollers in the North Fork.
CAMP FAR WEST-The lake is still full and spilling. Largemouth bass and crappie action was still very good for anglers concentrating on the flooded brush all around the lake. North Shore Resort reported one angler who came in with a 4-pound bass and a crappie pushing 3 pounds. Worms (plastic and live), jigs, spinnerbaits and swimbaits are working for the bass. Crappie are falling for worms and mini-jigs.
COLLINS LAKE-The lake is full. A private plant was made this past week and another is scheduled for this week. Trout action has been good with most anglers catching 2 or 3 fish. The biggest trout of the week was a 12-pounder caught by Rick and Dick Hicks trolling in Elmer’s Cove with a flasher/worm combo. Catfish have been active for bait fishermen with 10-, 9-, and 7 1/4-pound whiskerfish weighed in this past week. Bass anglers have been catching limits on crawdads in 18 feet of water.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is at 102-percent capacity-full and spilling. Lots of boaters out trolling and drifting bait for trout running 8 to 23 inches. Trollers are running flasher/worm combos and Rapalas 15 to 20 deep all over the lake. Bass are cruising the banks from Keystone Cove to the marina. Skippers Cove Marina reported one customer landing a 5-pound bass off the docks on a crawdad.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is at 94-percent capacity, only 14 feet from full and dangerously full of big trees, so boaters need to use extreme caution when running. The bass bite was wide-open this past week. It took 22 3/4 pounds to win the Anglers Choice team event this past weekend, which included a 7 3/4 pounder. Big Fish was a 10 1/4-pound largemouth caught by Cody Myer of Grass Valley. The bass are on the bank down to 14 feet according to Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company. Wacky or worm-head Senkos were working well. Try spinnerbaits in the mud lines. Water temps range from 62- to 69-degrees. The flats in the West Branch are holding largemouth bass, plus 5- to 8-pound spots were seen cruising in this arm of the lake, too. The upper Middle Fork above the buoy line was producing some nice smallies on jigs and worms. Coho salmon should be on the bite for trollers, but debris is making for tough fishing conditions due to line, downrigger, and lure fouling-check by the dam to see if there’s less debris.
ROLLINS LAKE-The lake is full. Apparently the announcement that Long Ravine Resort was fully open was a little premature-should open by May 14, but for sure by Memorial Day. Boaters who rent slips at the marina can bring their boats up now-rental boats were being moved into place when WON called this past weekend.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-The lake is full. Trout action was good for shore anglers using Power Bait near the marina according to the Scott’s Flat Resort. Smallmouth bass action continues to improve as the water warms. Smallies to 2 1/2 pounds were taken out of the coves between the marina and the dam.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR-The boat ramp and parking lot are open, but the campgrounds are still closed according to the Foresthill Ranger Station. The warm weather should have all facilities available for the Memorial Day weekend.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The lake is full. Boaters have been picking up some nice holdover trout on flasher/worm combos and Rapalas. The campgrounds are still not open-no functional water system yet.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-The lake is at 83-percent capacity. According to Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company, the bass bite was excellent until water releases from Lake Oroville ramped up for the rice flooding season in the Sac Valley. The heavy influx of cold water has slowed the bite except in the scattered pockets where the temp is still in the mid-60’s. Swimbaits and jigs worked along the tules or rocky shores have been the most productive. Wait a few days for the water to warm back up.
BERKELEY-The Smith boys are leading the way with potluck trips, using what bait is available (live shiner perch) and scoring some impressive catches, both in numbers and size. A mix of halibut and stripers filled the boxes of the California Dawn and Happy Hooker, the big trophies a 27-pound striper and a 30-pound white seabass on the Happy Hooker. The action came from the Alameda Rockwall area in South San Francisco Bay.
BODEGA BAY- Salmon fishing has been hit and miss, but mostly consistent with boats returning with salmon every fishable day. One pair of private boating anglers had limits on Sunday despite rather windy conditions. Captain Bob Monckton on Reel-lentless fished salmon on Thursday, finding 6 hookups but only 2 keepers in the box, both about 15 pounds.
EMERYVILLE-Two boats ran for potluck halibut and striped bass on Saturday, finding 7 halibut and 2 striped bass for a combined 28 anglers on the New Huck Finn and Captain Hook.
EUREKA-Pacific halibut are the main target until May 15 when area anglers will be able to start fishing for bottomfish and salmon. The Pacific halibut bite has been pretty good when the weather cooperates, with Captain Tim Klassen on Reel Steel scoring boat limits on the second day of the season topped by a 63.5 pounder, then again on Saturday, big fish a 60 pounder caught by WON reader Lonnie Dollarhide of Eureka.
FORT BRAGG-The first trip producing boat limits of king salmon so far this year came on Wednesday on the Telstar, Captain Randy Thornton finding the kings up off of Cleone Reef about 5 miles north of Noyo Harbor. His six anglers caught their fish, big one going 24 pounds, and even the crew caught limits for a total of 16 kings. That trip was a crab combo that also produced 67 dungeness. On Thursday, the wind kicked up but 11 anglers caught 11 kings, then on the weekend, the action didn’t start until late in the day, but the anglers on board still managed 8 kings in a couple hours of fishing (plus near limits of Dungeness).
HALF MOON BAY-Bottomfishing has been the main draw on the Queen Of Hearts, and while the weather has been a bit restrictive of the runs down to Pigeon Point, the rockfish counts have been decent, from 6 to 8 around, plus some lings and cabezon. The salmon efforts have produced about one around, with big fish at 16 pounds.
LOCH LOMOND-Captain Jim Cox of Jim Cox Sportfishing had a great sturgeon day Saturday when a group of anglers from San Quentin scored three keeper sturgeon, one released, and a keeper bass before the wind came up at 2 p.m. and ended the trip early. Ghost and mud shrimp from Loch Lomond Live Bait tempted the diamondbacks in San Pablo Bay.
SHELTER COVE-The weather was a major issue much of the week, but the salmon bite continued in hit and miss format. Expect reports to steady out once the bottomfishing season opens up north of the 40’10 line.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE- Warming waters, clearing visibility, and the spawn is on all around Clear Lake, with the upper, more shallow end going off first. The southern ends, especially the Redbud arm is ready to start producing but still a little on the slow side. A variety of swimbaits, crankbaits, topwaters, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, Senkos, drop-shots and frogs are being used since the artificials are more effective once the water begins holding in the 60- to 65-degree range.
LAKE BERRYESSA- Expect to find bass biting in the shallows as they begin their final staging and spawning efforts. Topwater, jerk baits, tubes and 4-inch worms should get you fish from 1 1/2 to 3 pounds. The kokes are from the mid lake area to the Big Island in 100-plus feet water from 12 to 22 feet deep.
LAKE SONOMA- With high daytime temperatures and clear water, the bass bite toughened up unless you were night fishing. Fishing between 9 and midnight produced bass to 8 pounds on jigs, Brush Hogs, Senkos and spinnerbaits worked shallow in 5 to 10 feet of water. Steelhead continue to show up in 35 to 50 feet of water, target them with downriggers and shad imitations.
LAKE ALMANOR-The east shore continued to provide good action as trout and salmon gorge on new hatches of bugs, especially from Lake Cove to the Dorado Inn area. Needlefish, Speedy Shiners, Pro Secrets and Rainbow Runners as well as trolling dodgers and Sling Blade nightcrawler combos caught fish. A reminder, the tributaries are closed until May 28 to protect the spawning rainbow trout. The bass are also spawning or about too in the shallows, please release them with care.
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-A nice 4-lb. 1-oz. rainbow trout was caught on a crystal bugger but reports varied. Kastmasters, olive woolly buggers and nightcrawlers are popular here. PG&E flushed out the canal in the Cassel area to clear out silt and grass. This ‘flush out’ would also have impacted parts of Baum Lake.
BRITTON LAKE-The water is still stained and cold. A few bass were caught and even less crappie but a warming trend later this week should help.
BURNEY CREEK–Lower Burney Creek in the state park should be good, but otherwise, water is muddy above the falls and this includes up to upper Burney Creek.
CASSEL FOREBAY-The fishing was a bit slow. One of the issues is that it appears that PG&E flushed out the canal to clear out silt and grass. This would have temporarily disrupted normal feeding activity but should have minor impact in the long run. Pressure is much lighter at this time and fishing will only improve.
FALL RIVER-The Fly Shop guide Chris Parsons reported excellent early PMD hatches already beginning on the upper Fall, with rainbow trout of all shapes and sizes rising greedily to the emerging insects from 11:00 a.m. until about 4:00 p.m. To find out more about fishing the Fall River with The Fly Shop, contact Michael Caranci, Director of Outfitters, at 800-669-3474 or by email at email@example.com.
IRON CANYON RESERVOIR- The Fly Shop in Redding reported water conditions are fair and fishing has been good. The lake is very low, making launching and retrieving a boat a muddy mucked up process that can lead to a legendary story in and of itself. Look for rising rainbows and brown trout just outside of the boat ramp, if you can get a motorized boat into the reservoir. Indicators, nymphs or sinking lines and streamers work well here, try the big swirl on the north end.
UPPER HAT CREEK- Fishing pressure was reduced significantly and remains good with some great brook trout and rainbows being caught. It appears that DFG will only plant once a week until the week before Memorial Day but with low pressure the fishing should remain good. Lures like Z-Rays, Kastmasters, Rapalas, and spoons were working well in all areas of the creek. Worms, crickets and eggs also caught a lot of fish. There are still a lot of trophy fish in the Upper Hat Creek and though the water is running high, catching a 4- to 6-pound rainbow or brookie is a reality for many.
HAT CREEK (wild trout section)–Nymphing was best in the early mornings. Anglers have been doing okay on the stretch just below the powerhouse and finding good results with pt’s and copper johns. No hatches as yet to speak of.
KESWICK RESERVOIR– Conditions are good and stable. You will need a motorized boat and a jetboat is best. Greg Dean guides here and finds rainbows between 16 and 22 inches. The fish hold in the swirly waters near Shasta Dam. To find out more about fishing here with The Fly Shop, contact Michael Caranci, Director of Outfitters, at 800-669-3474 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MANZANITA LAKE- The lake broke open last Thursday but still had a lot of floating ice. With warmer weather in the forecast this lake should be fishable in the coming week. As the water warms the fishing should pick up correspondingly. Fish the warming edges with streamer and leech patterns as fish will be looking for major protein after a long winter. This is a catch and release lake with special restrictions so be sure and check the regulations.
LEWISTON RESERVIOR-You’ll find good water conditions and fishing good to great. Suspending tiny midges, stripping woolly buggers and retrieving leeches has produced some really nice rainbows in recent days and weeks.
PIT RIVER-No current reports from anglers as the water is definitely still too 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. We’re at least a few weeks out here.
McCLOUD RIVER-Turbulent, high, fast water conditions from snow melt and excess water spilling out of the reservoir. Still, the water remains clear and fishable. Access is extremely limited due to the high flows, but if you can find a slower pocket to make a cast into or deeper pools, the fish are there and hungry. According to The Fly Shop, heavy stonefly nymphs and rubber legs fished deep have been the most productive flies, but some fish are also taking Prince nymphs, bird’s nests, and caddis pupae.
LAKE SHASTA- Hit the Sac and the McCloud arms for rainbow options and the main body out in front of Digger Bay for salmon. The bass should start to spawn this coming week as we approach the next full moon. Early and later in the day go for the reaction and a little topwater bite. Middle day back off and throw MF worms in 10 to 15 feet.
WHISKEYTOWN RESERVOIR- Working the channel along the east shoreline towards the curtain for kokes averaging 15 inches. Bass will be on humps and points now in their pre spawn mode, try light colored tubes.
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 88-percent capacity. Boats are still launching off the shore along the east side of the lake. Trollers are picking up some nice holdover browns and rainbows. One boater did well on an orange Dick Nite behind flashers and on a flasher/worm combo.
CAPLES LAKE-The lake is at 58-percent capacity. There are still 2 to 3 feet of ice and 6 to 8 feet of snow on the lake according to Caples Lake Resort. No fishermen lately.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)-Early this past week, fishing was pretty good with a 6-pound, 7-ounce rainbow caught at the campgrounds at the Carson River Resort. As the weather warmed up, flows increased significantly and river was running high and muddy by the weekend. Carson River Resort figured this high water could last into June-call ahead.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 88-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing made a couple of exploratory trips this past week and found pretty good action trolling north of the island at 6 to 15 feet deep. Dick Nites, Needlefish, and Rainbow Runners were all working. Shore action has been slow along with fly fishing. Grizzly Road is open all the way to Fairview and Mosquito Slough.
DONNER LAKE-The lake is at 51-percent capacity. Successful mack fishermen are bouncing the bottom with trolled lures or jigs. Trout provide steady action at the west end docks, piers, and the ramp.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON-The river is blown out-extremely high flows in the North Fork and main river along Hwy 70. Caribou Powerhouse is producing some big rainbows.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-The lake is at 89-percent capacity. The lake fishing has been slow and steady according to Wiggins Trading Post. The boat ramps are open and trollers have unlimited access to the lake. Galeppi and Lost Creeks are both fishing well for those who prefer stream fishing.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 44-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. The lake level is too low for launching anything but small aluminum boats-then it’s through the mud with 4-wheel drive off the end of the concrete ramp.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-Windy weather made fishing tough here this past week. Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported a few 2 to 4 pounders along with a couple 5 to 6 pounders coming in for fly fishermen using streamers, and lure casters chunking a Kastmaster.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-The lake is full and scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. Bass are becoming more active. Eric Young picked up a 3-pound, 2-ounce largemouth while throwing a plastic worm up in the Narrows. Trout action is improving. Dave Farley landed a 5-pound brown on Power Bait fished off the first dam. Rainbows are still coming in off the first dam and ramp area on Power Bait and worms for shore anglers.
LAKE TAHOE-Big Mack Charters and Chuck’s Charter Fishing both reported good action on limits of Mackinaws from 60 to 225 feet deep. Fish are running 3 to 8 pounds and hitting Sling Blade/Koke-a-nut combos, spoons, and plugs.
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 44-percent capacity. Shore anglers are doing well at the inlet and the dam for rainbows running 16 to 18 inches, according to Tony Marotta at Mountain Hardware and Sports.
PYRAMID LAKE-Good action for both trollers and fly fishermen. Joe Mendes of Eagle Eye Charters picked up 23 fish this past Friday trolling a frog Apex and frog U-20 FlatFish in 17 to 25 feet of water in the Warrior Point area. Mendes said his fish ran from 17 to 25 1/2 inches-the big fish weighed 5 1/4 pounds. Fly fishermen are doing very well in the rocky areas south of Warrior and the marina. A white beetle on an indicator has been working best-keep the lure off the bottom because the algae is growing too high and can foul the flies.
RED LAKE-Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported seeing some ice fishermen on the lake this past week.
SILVER LAKE-The lake is at 48-percent capacity. Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported seeing some ice fishermen on the lake this past week.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 88-percent capacity and the boat ramp opened late this past week. Rick Kennedy at Tight Lines Guide Service fished the lake this past Friday and caught a 15-inch kokanee and lost a couple of big trout. John Wadden of Will Fish Tackle reported that a client launched a small boat this past week and picked up a 10-pound brown and a couple of 2 1/2-pound rainbows using Rapalas. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that 3 boats from Reno limited out on kokanee.
TOPAZ LAKE-Windy, cold weather by the weekend slowed what had been a good trout bite earlier in the week. Trollers and bait drifters were working the west end of the lake away from the inlet where high, muddy flows laden with debris were rushing into the lake. One angler reported a 4-pound rainbow; another caught a 6-pound bass.
TRUCKEE RIVER-The Little Truckee River from Stampede to Boca is blown out with high flows. Flows from Glenshire to Truckee were still low enough to fish though the flows were heavy, below that the river was blown out. The river along Hwy 89 was producing some post-spawn rainbows. Yellow stone, squala stone, baetis, PT, and hare’s ear nymphs were all producing according to Tony Marotta at Mountain Hardware and Sports.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 70-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. The Sunset boat ramp should open soon, according to Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service.
WEST WALKER RIVER-The river is scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week, but according to Sam Foster at the Toiyabe Motel the river is running at 1400 cfs and fishing is good at 500 cfs. Foster predicted that the flows will stay high and unfishable for the next six weeks. Call ahead, 530-495-2281.
AMERICAN RIVER- Although still high, the river’s fishability continued to improve with flows now down to 7,000 cfs. A few striped bass were being taken, including a 40 pounder caught on a black plastic worm, and some small steelhead were drifted nightcrawlers, but the focus is rapidly turning to shad. They are now present up to Riverbend Park, and should be all the way up to Sailor Bar in a week. Fishing should only get better in the weeks to come as the water warms and flows continue to drop.
FEATHER RIVER, Yuba City-Striped bass fishing continued to be outstanding last week with a new influx of fish with easy limits coming from Shanghai Bend to the Bear River. Fishing pressure, which had dropped dramatically was on the rise again. A variety of methods were working: Yo-Zuri’s with a plastic worm trailer, soft plastics thrown toward shore, soaked bait, spoons, and big streamer flies. Some steelhead were being caught, as well.
FEATHER RIVER, Oroville-A few small steelhead were being caught in the Low Flow Section, mostly on small flies, but steelheading was slow, and most appear to have spawned and are making their return to the ocean.
FOLSOM LAKE-Bass fishing continued to be very good with a variety of methods attracting bites. Throwing rip baits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and swimbaits flooded brush and over flats, but don’t forget to slowly work wacky-rigged Senkos in the shallows, as well as work drop-shotted Robo-Worms slowly over rock piles and on flats at the edge of drop-offs.
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 continued to be very good from Rio Vista to Verona, but lots of shad have moved in, as well. Shad fishing was excellent at Miller and Discovery parks, but pressure has been heavy early in the morning.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Tisdale-The water has been warming up, and turned on the spawn, so fishing can be really good one day, slow the next. However, some anglers have learned to be flexible switching from minnows one day to trolling plugs the next, thereby catching stripers consistently.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-Trout fishing around Redding was very good once again last week, with some big hatches coming off the water producing some nice dry fly fishing at times. The trout are numerous, and sometimes weigh up to 3 pounds. The bigger fish are being caught in the higher reaches around Redding. Spin fishermen are drifting small Glo-Bugs.