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. Trouble identifying salmon or steelhead? Go to: http://www.swr.noaa.gov/fmd/identify.htm.
CHETCO RIVER, Ore. — Big, big crowds of guides here from Oregon and California, but the steelheading has remained good, despite diminishing flows. The river will continue to drop until more rains hit, and when that occurs, another good shot of steelhead should come in, although they were entering on the high tides all week long. Approaching peak of the season, according to guide and WON contact Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.
COQUILLE RIVER, South Fork: Powers, Ore. — River is low and clear. Needs rain before it can be fished comfortably from a boat. Earlier in the week anglers were bragging proudly about their great trips down this river, according to guide and WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service, and most fisherman had stories of large native steelhead being released and nicer stories of the hatchery fish they got to keep.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore. — Steelhead fishing was good on the lower Rogue River the first couple days of the new year, but then slowed as low river levels kept most of the fish from moving upriver.
Plunkers and jet boaters running plugs did well early last week, but then reported slow fishing by the weekend, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. The Rogue was flowing at 2,200 cfs at the Agness gauge Saturday evening, nearly summertime flows.
Guides said they expect a big push of steelhead to enter the lower river after the next rain.
RUSSIAN RIVER — Steve Jackson of Kings Sport & Tackle said there are already big numbers of steelhead in the river, in all the holes, but the flows are way down and it’s clear. Only fishing option is early, using bobbers and jig or bait, or flies. The mouth was backed up 12 miles, though, and it was expected to be re-opened manually on Monday or Tuesday, and if so, a big surge of steelies should be coming in right now. There’s a few steelies all the way up to Ukiah already.
SMITH RIVER — Only 6 to 10 boats working the river, with most anglers on the Chetco, but that’s just fine with guide Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service, who said the river has been slowly dropping all week but is great fishing, and “every boat” is getting steelhead, including some to 17 pounds or so, after two 20 pounders were brought in right after the first rain. The next rain will bring in another good batch of fish.
UMPQUA RIVER, Sutherlin, Ore. — Winter steelhead fishing is in full swing with most boats catching multiple fish in a days time on the water, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. Water color is a milky green with a few feet of visibility. The fish are a little sluggish on initial hookup, do to the slightly cold water temperature. With no heavy rainstorms in the near future, Palmer feels the catching end of this sport is going to become better every day.
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City — Fishing was “consistent” upstream of Junction City, with anglers catching 3 to 6 steelhead an outing, mostly on drifted roe. Pressure was low and fish bright, but small, up to 5 pounds. Fly fishers scored on dead drifted small nymphs like copper Johns and golden stones under indicators.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek — The water was clear but fishing slow down to the South Fork. Below there, the water was still murky and fishing generally slow. Tom Wilson of Spey Gee Guide Service said a few adult steelhead were being caught on bait near the mouth of the Trinity.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam — Air and water temperatures continued to be very cold, putting a damper on fly fishing, but the river is clear, and fishing pressure has been very light. Fishing continued to be good with light pressure. Anglers continued to catch a dozen or so halfpounders and trout plus several adults to about 6 pounds on drifted roe, nightcrawlers, and backtrolled plugs have been the baits and lures of choice.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen — The river below the mouth of the Trinity continued to be murky and fishing slow.
AMERICAN RIVER — Steelhead fishing dropped off after the opening flurry action, but was still pretty good by steelheading standards. Pressure continued to be heavy on riffles upstream of Sunrise Blvd, but lower the farther downstream you go. Some of the fish in upper areas are getting dark, however, and should be left to spawn in peace. Farther downstream, the catch rate might be lower, but fishing pressure is much lower and fish brighter. As usual, the best fishing was in Nimbus Basin above Hazel Ave. Bridge, but fishing pressure highest.
FEATHER RIVER — Steelhead fishing was fair around Gridley as flows dropped to 2,500 cfs and riffles became wadeable again. Egg patterns have become less effective as salmon spawning tapers down, but indicator fishing with small nymphs have been scoring some bites both on the main stem of the Feather and the Low Flow Section. Fishing in the newly opened stretch on the Low Flow Section was fair to good, but slower than the opener on January 1.
FOLSOM LAKE — It’s the same old story. Bass fishing continued to be slow except for the experts who found the baitballs, then found the fish. Fishing slow and deep over structure has still been the best bet. Spooning, drop-shotting, jigging continued to be the best methods. Trollers were getting a few king salmon and trout on Hoochies, Speedy Shiners, and small Rapalas fished between 45 and 55 feet deep on the main body, but the score is likely to be just a couple to half a dozen on a long day.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento — Fishing continued to be slow on the Sac, but schoolie-sized striped bass were being caught in the Deep Water Channel from the Turning Basin to the palm tree with boaters scoring by drifting minnows and jigging with Duh Spoons and Hopkins Spoons in chartreuse. Bankies fished off Marshall with bloodworms, mudsuckers, and sardines. Sturgeon fishing was picking up a bit around the Fremont Weir and below Clarksburg. Rain is badly needed.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding — Trout fishing continued to be very good on drifted Glo-Bugs behind spawning salmon. Small Mayfly or caddis nymph imitations under indicators, were working for fly fishers. Spin fishermen drifted Glo-Bugs and nightcrawlers. Redding to Anderson provided less action than downstream, but bigger fish.
YUBA RIVER — Steelhead fishing on the Yuba River below Daguerre Dam was fair. Fly fishers were scoring on nymphs under indictors while spin fishermen swung spinners. A few anglers were able to access the river from small jetboats, while bankies walked in at Walnut Ave.
BOCA LAKE — The lake is at 16-percent capacity. According to Mountain Hardware and Sports, the open water at the inlet was producing for fly fishermen on BWO, and midge patterns, while bait fishermen were picking up trout on worms and Kastmaster spoons. The dam area was frozen and ice fishing was good using Radical Glow Tubes, marabou jigs, spoons, and nightcrawlers.
CAPLES LAKE — The lake is at 56-percent capacity. Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters announced that they had suspended ice fishing trips here due to the possibility of unsafe ice caused by slippery conditions with no snow on the surface. Caples Lake Resort reported that the ice was still 8 inches thick.
CARSON RIVER (East) — According to Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort, the warmer weather has melted a lot of the ice along the banks of the river and more anglers were showing up to fish the regulated section below Hangman’s Bridge. Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters recommended baetis and midge patterns to fool a few fish.
DAVIS LAKE — The lake is at 74-percent capacity. The warm weather has melted the ice on the lake north of the island and now there is open water at Mallard Point for shore fishermen. The ice at the dam has thinned to 3 to 4 inches and anglers need to use caution when getting on the ice — call ahead to the Grizzly Store at 530-832-0270 or Ed Dillard at 530-966-5500 for the latest ice conditions. Fishing has been fantastic for both ice fishermen and shore anglers.
DONNER LAKE — The lake is at 34-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported very little success here on rainbows or macks — lots of fishing, but little catching!
FRENCHMAN LAKE — The lake is at 78-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported there were 5 to 7 inches of ice at the dam where fishermen were doing well on nightcrawlers and marshmallows. There was open water out past the ice at the dam and there could be some thinning of the ice with the continued warmer weather. Fishing was also good at the Frenchman’s boat ramp. The roads around the lake were clear but there was some ice on the road to the dam and in some of the shady spots especially in the early morning. For the latest ice conditions, call Wiggins Trading Post at 530-933-4683.
GOLD LAKES BASIN — The roads were all open according to Mountain Hardware and Sports, but some resorts were closed due to the lake of snow. According to the last report, ice fish was good on the west end by the lodge at Gold Lake.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR — The lake is at 68-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported continued excellent trolling for rainbows while toplining a dodger trailing worms, spinners, spoons, or grubs.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR — Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that the ice had melted and there was plenty of open water for shore fishing. Most anglers were doing well with bait and fly casters were stripping woolly buggers for mostly planters and a few 18 to 20 inchers. Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort said that an Alpine County trout plant would be scheduled soon — 1800 pounds of trophy rainbow. For more info, call the resort at 530-694-2229.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR — The lake is at 54-percent capacity. With the mild winter, the roads are open to the lake — unusual for this time of the year. Fishing should be good but no current reports had come into Mountain Hardware and Sports.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) — The lake is at 76-percent capacity. Sly Park Resort reported that shore anglers did better than the trollers this past week. Louis Diaz of Sac caught two 2 1/2-pound macks from the shore near the boat dock on Power Bait. Holdover rainbows were hitting at the first and second dam for shore anglers using Power Bait and worms.
LAKE TAHOE — Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters reported good Mackinaw trolling when the winds were down. This past Friday, 4 anglers kept 8 macks from 6 to 9 pounds, tagged 6 or 7 fish, and lost 6 or 7 more — a great day on a beautiful lake with fantastic sunny weather. On Saturday, the winds kicked up to 30 mph and fishing slowed, but 5 people still kept six 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 pounders, tagged two more fish, and lost 6 others. All the macks were close to the bottom in 300 to 400 feet of water and hit Sling Blade/Koke-a-nut combos.
LOON LAKE — The lake is at 57-percent capacity. The roads were open according to the Georgetown Ranger Station and Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle said he had received reports of trollers fishing the lake with fair success.
PROSSER LAKE — The lake is at 33-percent capacity. The ice had been thinning this past week, but with single digit lows in the forecast it may stabilize the situation. Ice fishing was good at the dam, but there was some cracking in the ice seen this past week — if you aren’t sure about the ice, DON’T GO!!
PYRAMID LAKE — Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported very slow action for both trollers and shore anglers — possibly due to the full moon and a local earthquake?
RED LAKE — Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters announced that they had stopped booking trips here due to the possibility of unsafe ice — the sunny weather has started thinning the ice and with no snow the surface was very slippery. USE EXTREME CAUTION or better yet wait until a snow storm hits.
SILVER LAKE — The lake is at 9-percent capacity. With the lake this low, the fish should be very concentrated in the remaining water. Ice fishing should be good, but USE EXTREME CAUTION due to the possibility of unsafe conditions with a slippery surface with no snow and thinning ice caused by the sunny weather.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR — The lake is at 87-percent capacity. Rick Kennedy at Tight Lines Guide Service made another trip here this past week and his clients landed two more big Mackinaws — 13 and 14 pounds. Kennedy was trolling with Pro-Troll Sting Fish at 15 to 25 feet deep. The bite was best in the morning until the winds kicked up at 11:00 a.m. According to Mountain Hardware and Sports, the Sagehen Creek arm was producing 14- to 16-inch rainbows on Power Bait and nightcrawlers.
TOPAZ LAKE — Linda Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported that both trollers and shore anglers were having no problems catching limits of nice rainbows to 2 pounds. Most anglers were practicing catch-and-release trying to land some of the tagged fish put into the lake by the Topaz Lodge which has a derby running until April 15 — tagged fish are worth $100 cash, plus drawing tickets and free slot play!!
TRUCKEE RIVER — With the clear weather, the Little Truckee is getting heavy fishing pressure and the fish are very educated — bring your technical A-game to succeed. The best action on the main Truckee was in Nevada through and below Reno on midge patterns according to Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters. Mountain Hardware and Sports said there were good flows through the Glenshire area. Sculpin streamers and dark brown rubber legged stones fished in the deeper pools with a sinking tip could produce a 20-inch fish.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR — The lake is at 53-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle reported that some trollers had been on the lake but found the action on the macks very slow. The road to the lake from Pea Vine Ridge Road was open due to the good weather.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE — Find rock structure and bait and you should do well using plastic worms, ripbaits, rattlebaits, and various sizes of swimbaits. Although not very many anglers are using them right now, the Osprey top hook talon in 5- and 6-inch versions remains a good choice for winter fishing here. Anglers using the Cali-rig are using Basstrix, Keitech, and swimming flukes as baits.
LAKE BERRYESSA — Bass fishing has been “fair” although most fish are deep at 30 to 50 feet. Creek channels should be your focus, with spoons, drop-shot rigs and jigs worked in the same areas along with offshore rock piles and edges. Trout trolling continues to be good for anglers using lures or minnows.
LAKE SONOMA — Try trolling flies, Needlefish, Apex and other shad imitations for a 2-fish landlocked steelie limit. For the tough bass bite, try shaking 6-inch Robo worms in natural colors around submerged structure up in the warmer creek arms.
UPPER BLUE LAKE — The fishing has been fair, especially since DFG planted last week, but anglers are hooking about 10 and catching maybe three as they are hitting light and anglers don’t seem to be rigged up for that. Try small (3-inch) silver lures.
LAKE ALMANOR — Suspend nightcrawlers 3 to 5 feet off the bottom with a garlic scent in areas such as the Prattville Towers, Hamilton Branch, the A-Frame, and Big Springs has been producing some big fish using baits close the bottom. Trolling the East shore or fishing from the banks on that side has also been good. The Rec. 2 area and log booms are iced over, though.
BAUM LAKE — Vaughn’s Sporting Goods in Burney reports the lake continues to produce lots of fish, perhaps because of the recent planting of mainly browns, but also some rainbows. Vaughn said Kenny Klein of Cassel weighed in a 23-inch, 4.1-pound brown trout caught on an olive woolly bugger. Fly fishermen are having some great days on midges; try BWO’s, copper Johns in red, callibaetis cripples or pt’s. Nightcrawlers are also doing well, as are Kastmasters.
PIT RIVER — According to The Fly shop in Redding, river conditions are perfect, thanks to the lack of rain. It’s rare to have this river completely open and accessible in January. Expect to find good fishing in all the reaches from Pit 3 all the way down river to Pit 5.
SHASTA LAKE — The bass are holding deeper now and the bite tough, but as the day warms up, work the banks and shade pockets with worms or jigs. It’s been a hit or miss proposition with lots of small fish, but a great way to enjoy the day. Trout fishing continues to be good. From the banks try a worm and a bobber. Trolling continues to produce limits by covering water.
BERKELEY — Crab trips turned out to be productive, however, more pots than usual need to be pulled due to suspected theft of crabs and bait. The Happy Hooker plans to run sturgeon trips beginning next weekend.
BODEGA BAY — Goat Rock and other areas north of Jenner produced mixed catches of groundfish for surf and rock fishers before the seas turned wild late in the week. With calming conditions over the weekend, fishing continued with catches of rockfish, cabezon and even a couple of lingcod reported from shore.
EMERYVILLE — Very quiet week for fishing near Emeryville, with few people making winter excursions, even from shore. Frank Salazar of Emeryville Sportfishing Center reported rumors of a sturgeon bite in the south Bay, so the Center is planning an exploratory trip this week.
EUREKA — Crabbing waits for better seas, while jetty anglers scored dinner. Ron Webb of Arcata managed a few keeper kelp greenling using shrimp for bait and keep a sharp weather eye on the big swells pounding the outer jetty.
FORT BRAGG — Jetty fishing produced sizable results in both cabezon and greenling (sea trout). Those same two species were targeted by surf fishers near rocky areas while folks fishing open beach areas reeled in perch from the breaking surf zone. Most anglers fished with squid strips, however a few still had abalone trimmings left over from last season, according to John Gebers at Noyo Fishing Center.
HALF MOON BAY — Easy limits of crabs in 160 feet of water just a few miles from Pillar Point Harbor were reported by Capt. Tom Mattusch aboard the Huli Cat. Shoreside, jetty fishers caught brown rockfish, cabezon and perch while surf fishers hooked good numbers of surf perch right where bigger waves dug holes in the sand. Up the coast at Pacifica, Mark Glisson of New Coastside Bait & Tackle reported striped bass in the surf.
OYSTER POINT — Capt. Tony Anastole of charter boat Kansas City reported great shark fishing in the bay this past week. On one trip his boat scored 7 leopard shark and 5 sevengill shark. Most were catch & release but a few of the leopards were kept for dinner.
MARTINEZ — Sturgeon to 50 inches made it worth watching for calm weather and strong tides. Striped bass were plentiful this week, however onlh a small percentage were keepers. Sturgeon ate eel and grass shrimp baits on an outgoing tide, while the bass preferred ghost shrimp.
SHELTER COVE — Crabbing is wildly good for boaters. Capt. Trent Slate on the Bite Me last weekend reported 100 crabs in 10 traps. At the breakwater jetty, Mr. and Mrs. Steven Fox showed three keeper cabezon caught on squid. They were planning a fine family meal.
AMERICAN RIVER — Low and clear with little fishing pressure below Hwy 49 where it’s open.
BULLARDS BAR — The lake is at 66-percent capacity. Jason Kincanon of Woodland fished the lake this past week with three other boats and found the fishing to be tough. One boat had one good fish — a 5 pounder — but the rest of the limit was made up of 12 to 13 inchers. The rest of the boats only had small fish. Lots of little bass can be found up in the Yuba River arm where a 3 pounder would be a lunker. Worms and jigs were doing the trick.
CAMP FAR WEST — The lake is at 62-percent capacity. North Shore Resort reported that boaters were catching small bass on the main body points on worms and jigs.
COLLINS LAKE — Collins Lake Resort reported that both shore anglers and trollers were catching limits of 10- to 12-inch DFG planters. The shore anglers did best at the dam and the beach on Power Bait and worms. Trollers were picking up rainbows at the dam on Needlefish. The biggest fish of the past week was taken by a young girl, Lux Peterson — a 5 3/4 pounder caught at the beach on Power Bait.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR — The lake is at 89-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported that trollers were still catching plenty of DFG rainbows working flasher/worm combos in the marina between the houseboats. Some bigger fish were still being caught up lake above Keystone Cove by trollers and bait drifters.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR — The lake is at 41-percent capacity. The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the road to the lake and the boat ramp had some icy spots especially early in the morning. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported that two customers fished the lake with mixed results — one guy caught 3 planter rainbows and the other angler got skunked.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR — The lake is at 55-percent capacity. According to Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service, trollers have been picking up some “quality browns and macks”. The Georgetown Ranger Station confirmed that the roads were open to the lake but warned of the possibility of icy spots in the early morning.
LAKE OROVILLE — The lake is at 72-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi fished the AC Pro-Team this past weekend and reported a good morning bite. 38 of 42 teams weighed in limits, all caught on a combination of ripbaits, tubes, worms, and jigs. The winning weight of 14.29 pounds included the big fish — a 4.39 pounder. Gandolfi said if you hit the right spot on the main body, rip fish were up shallow otherwise the bulk of the fish came deep — 20 to 60 feet deep due to very clear water conditions. Coho salmon were everywhere. Gandolfi’s partner caught a 4 1/2-pound silver on a drop-shot worm on a point — the fish was full of eggs. Little salmon were a constant distraction to bass fishermen during the tournament.
ROLLINS LAKE — The lake is at 76-percent capacity — at 2150-foot elevation all the launch ramps on the lake should be in the water and functional now. Trout were being caught by trollers working the dam with flasher/worm combos according to the last available report.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE — The lake is at 78-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at Scott’s Flat Resort reported some rainbow trout and smallmouth action this past week. Trout were being caught by trollers working the Cascade Shores side of the lake from the boat ramp down to the dam. The smallmouth bass came out of the day-use area up toward the inlet on worms and jigs in brown and green pumpkin.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR — The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the day-use facilities are all open and accessible due to no snow. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported that one angler picked up some planter rainbows at the boat ramp on Power Bait.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR — The lake is at 89-percent capacity. Trollers were still picking up holdover rainbows on flasher/worm combos, according to the Georgetown Ranger Station. The roads remain clear with the unseasonably good weather.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY — The lake is at 83-percent capacity — 133.7-foot elevation at press time. Some nice bass were still being caught on ripbaits along the rocky banks in light of the warmer weather.
Read the fishing report each week at fishing.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.
Fishing Report for Week of Jan. 9
NORTH COAST RIVERS