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.- The Chetco was low and clear earlier in the week and crowded, but it finally began to get some rain this past week, and it was expected to receive as much as 2 1/2 inches over the weekend and blow out mid-week, but guide and WON Field Reporter Andy Martin expected it to be fishable by the weekend, depending on how much rain falls. It’s been the best year in a long time despite lack of rain, he said.
COQUILLE RIVER, South Fork, Powers, Ore.– Extremely low last week and no reports from last week. “With the low snow levels coming in on Saturday night, I am anticipating this river to rise by the middle of the week,” said guide and WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer. “This river was completely packed full of steelhead almost two weeks ago, due in part to the STEP program releasing 150,000 fin-clipped trout each year. I and many other guides feel that this small coastal river has the best chance for anglers to limit out on hatchery steelhead in Southern Oregon.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.- Steelheading on the Rogue River has been dead due to lack of rain and low flows thus far this year, but heavy rain is expected to change all of that, and flows were expected to double to about 6,000 cfs by Wednesday, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. When the Rogue comes into shape, possibly by the weekend, guides will be anchoring in their jet boats, running plugs in the softer water close to shore.
RUSSIAN RIVER- The mouth of the Russian was breached this past week and steelhead poured into the lower river, and were still moving up days later, according to Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport and Tackle, but the fish were holding up in deeper pools as they got farther upstream in the low, clear flows. Rain will spread the steelies out, but if the river gets too much rain, the fish will get way upriver and into the hatcheries and tributaries and out of reach.
SMITH RIVER- The Smith was running low and clear before the rains, but fishing was still good for the very few guides on the river, and everyone was getting fish. The DFG biologist was counting 200-300 steelhead heading upriver a day. The rain will bring in the bulk of the steelhead run, and when the river is fishable, it should be best of the year.
UMPQUA RIVER, Sutherlin, Ore.–Everybody was catching Steelhead on this river last week, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “Water is colder than I want it to be, but the color and height is perfect for fishing. There are fish from Elkton upstream to Roseburg. There doesn’t seem to be any drift on the river that is better than another. There are a few hatchery steelhead being caught this last week and I am hoping that there will be several more hatchery fish caught over the next couple weeks.
UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork, Myrtle Creek, Ore.–Water levels were very low and it is making it close to impossible to float, but there was snow in the forecast, which will bring it up some. “The river does have a lot of steelhead moving threw the river system,” said guide and WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer. “There haven’t been many angler’s fishing this river, but the guys I have talked with are catching fish. Drifting roe seems to be best, when I ask what they are using.”
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Roseburg, Ore.–This is where the trophy size Ssteelhead are caught in southern Oregon, and this river is already starting to fill with these fish, according to guide Curtis Palmer. “Not very many anglers are fishing this river yet. I went to the viewing station 4 days in the last two weeks and the afternoons have shown steelhead moving in the windows and empty of fish in the early parts of the day. One friend told me that he fished from the Winchester Dam to Hesness boat ramp last weekend and on that trip his boat caught 17 steelhead. I am predicting this steelhead season is going to be one of the best we have seen in 8 years.”
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City-Water conditions continued to very low and clear, but there was a push of steelhead into the hatchery at Lewiston as a result of the storm that opened the mouth of the Klamath a couple of weeks ago. Good anglers drifting the upper river were hooking 3 or more steelhead a day, weighing up to 5 pounds. Drifted roe and small nymphs drifted under indicators were getting most of the action. It’s been very cold, so dress warmly.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek-Fishing was challenging for most of the lower river, but some halfpouders were being taken below Hawkins Bar and near the mouth. Downsize your leaders, lures and baits.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam-It’s been very cold, and water very clear, but fishing continued to be good and almost no pressure. Anglers were hooking around a dozen halfpounders and trout plus a few adults to about 6 pounds on drifted roe, nightcrawlers, and backtrolled plugs have been the baits and lures of choice. Fly fishing was slow.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen-The river below the mouth of the Trinity dropped and cleared, but fishing was slow.
BERKELEY-Lack of rain is making for high salinity levels and plenty of bait-steeling crabs in San Pablo Bay, yet sturgeon action is decent and striper action has flurries of good activity. Fishing the strongest tides was the key to getting in on the available action.
BODEGA BAY-Crabbing was easy for private boaters working calm water and for the Reel Steel fishing out its crabbing season. A research trip targeting yellowtail rockfish provided a welcome opportunity to pick up a rod and reel again.
EUREKA-Weather and crabbing were both good for much of last week and boaters. Both private boaters and party boats were on the water hauling full pots. Shore fishers found an improving bite on red tail perch on the ocean side of South Jetty.
FORT BRAGG-The Mendocino Headlands area, where anglers with good gear can cast to deeper water with plenty of rocky structure, produced enviable catches of lingcod and greenling. A weather front moving in is expected to produce sufficient rain to allow steelhead to move into the Noyo River and other area waterways.
HALF MOON BAY-Combo trips kept winter anglers busy catching sanddabs an easy 8 miles from harbor, followed by limits of Dungeness crabs closer in. Sanddab anglers used Sabiki rigs tipped with squid strips or multi-hook dropper loop rigs baited with squid. A wind event disturbed the generally calm sea state during the week, but calmed sufficiently to allow for good fishing.
MARTINEZ-Sturgeon and stripers bit eel and grass shrimp baits on outgoing tides near the Benicia Bridge where Capt. Steve Talmadge on the Flash ran multiple successful trips this week.
PACIFICA-Surf and pier anglers had a banner week of fishing for perch with bait rigs, for crabs with snares and several striped bass – unusual for January here -surprised anglers. The weather was consistently good and anglers took the advantage.
SAN RAFAEL-Striper fishing slowed dramatically this past week, however, sturgeon fishing held up fairly well during weak tides thanks to local herring spawns which attract the big fish.
AMERICAN RIVER–Steelhead fishing was tough last week, but fishing pressure decreased some. Fishing upstream of the Sunrise Blvd. produced the best results, but most anglers were going home skunked. The best success came from guides like Jerry Lampkin of TNG Motor Sports Guide Service who reported landing a 26-inch, 5-pound hatchery hen and losing a larger chrome bright fish just before the net. Both fish hit drifted peach corkie/cocktail shrimp combo on a drift from Sailor bar to Sunrise. Flows were reduced again-down to 1,700 cfs. Good for wading, but the water is also very clear, giving unethical anglers easy access to spawning fish with techniques like “flossing” in which the fish do not actually actively take the fly but are hooked from outside the mouth as a long leader slides though the mouth and the fish is hooked from outside the mouth.
FEATHER RIVER-Striper fishing picked up a bit from around Shanghai Rapids to Star Bend in anticipation of the steelhead plant that occurs around this time of year. Flows were down to 1,800 cfs, and steelheading was fair around Gridley because of the great wading conditions, although reports of success were sketchy. Indicator fishing with small nymphs and drifting with nightcrawlers was also fair in 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 challenging. Use electronics to find the baitballs over deep structure, then spooning, drop-shot and jig. A few trout and salmon were being caught long lining with small Rapalas fished near the surface on the main body.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento-Sturgeon fishing picked up from around the Fremont Weir to above Tisdale. South River Road, and around Tisdale were two of the better spots. Sturgeon fishing should improve greatly with the rain that’s coming-finally!
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-Trout fishing continued to be very good on drifted Glo-Bugs. 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-Trout fishing is starting to pick up from the Daguerre Dam to the Parks Bar Bridge. Dries are even starting to catch a few and the hatches will increase so long as flows and warm weather holds-which have already ended with the current front.
AMERICAN RIVER-Low and clear with few fishermen reported by the Georgetown Ranger Station. The Ranger Station reported lots of rafting activity on the South Fork, probably over with the drop in temperatures.
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 65-percent capacity. Lots of boats were out but few were reporting anything in to Emerald Cove Marina. The last fishing report indicated a tough bite for mostly smaller fish.
CAMP FAR WEST-A Yuba City bass club fished here this past weekend and reported only a few small bass caught on the main body points on worms and jigs.
COLLINS LAKE-The lake is scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. Trophy trout plants will resume the first week of February. Shore anglers were catching limits of planters on Power Bait and worms at the dam and beach. Trollers were picking up limits running flasher/worm combos at the dam at 15 feet deep. One boat trolled an Alabama Rig and picked up 4 bass that totaled 10 pounds, and 3 trout.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is at 92-percent capacity. Most of the trout have moved out of the marina into the main lake. Dillon Davis at Skippers Cove Marina reported that trollers were picking up some nice browns to 3 pounds from Boston Bar up to the fork of the Yuba on Rapalas worked 10 feet deep. Trollers on the lower end of the lake were picking up some 12- to 13-inch rainbows on flasher/worm combos. Shore anglers were doing well from Skippers Cove to the Army Corps ramp.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The lake is at 40-percent capacity. Snow in the forecast for this week may hamper access. Roads were clear this past week, but few anglers were going up to the lake according to the Foresthill Ranger Station.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 54-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the roads to the lake were clear and dry, but there is snow in the forecast for this week. Trolling for browns and macks was productive for some, but call ahead this week for a road condition report at (530) 333-4312.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is at 71-percent capacity. Another tournament this past weekend was won with 14 pounds and a 4-pound big fish. Ripbaits and jigs accounted for most of the better fish, according to Oroville Outdoors. Mike Hanson at Caribou Crossroads reported catching his fish shallow, 5 to 20 feet deep, on brown craw hula grubs. Green pumpkin tubes and Aaron’s Magic Roboworms worked well also. The main body, North Fork, and the West Branch saw the bulk of the action this past weekend. Coho trollers were doing well at the dam.
ROLLINS LAKE-Casey Reynolds at Long Ravine Resort reported little fishing success on the lake. Boat launching has been a problem due to the low lake level.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-Jim Caldwell at Scott’s Flat Resort reported some trout trolling success from the Cascade Shores ramp to the dam on flasher/worm combos. Some smallmouth bass were hitting jigs and worms on the points going toward the inlet.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR-The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the facilities were all open and some anglers were catching a few trout from the shore near the ramp on Power Bait.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that trollers were still picking up some holdover rainbows on flasher/worm combos.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-The lake was at 132.4-foot elevation at press time. Oroville Outdoors reported that one angler cranked a lipless vibrating bait all day and caught one 3 pounder-in a word, SLOW!
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 15-percent capacity. The ice here was unstable and only experienced ice fishermen were recommended here, according to Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports. A storm is in the forecast for this week, and this could improve the ice conditions.
CAPLES LAKE-The ice is still 8 inches thick and safe, but the surface of the ice is very slippery with no snow cover. Use studded boots to avoid taking a fall while enjoying the ice fishing at the dam and spillway. There was some open water showing along the rocky banks where the rocks were absorbing the heat of the sunlight and melting the ice, according to Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters.
CARSON RIVER (East)-According to Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort, the river was 75-percent ice free and a few anglers were showing up at the Hangman’s Bridge everyday for some fly fishing in the trophy section. With the cold nights, mid-day angling would be best with baetis and midge patterns according to Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 73-percent capacity. The upper end of the lake was still open this past week, but the ice at the dam was a safer 4 inches thick due to cold nights. Ed Dillard of Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported excellent ice fishing at the dam for anglers using Power Bait, J. Fair Wiggletail flies below a splitshot, and chartreuse jigs for rainbows running 16 to 18 inches. Shore fishing was still available at Mallard Point, but the bite had slowed.
DONNER LAKE-According to Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports, some small macks were hitting Power Bait and cast spoons and Rapalas on the west end of the lake. On the shallower east end of the lake, rainbows were cruising the shore and could be caught on bait.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-The lake is at 78-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported that the upper end of the lake was open with shore fishing best at Big Cove. Ice fishing at the dam was productive for anglers using nightcrawlers and marshmallows. The east side of the lake was the most productive at mid-day when it was warmer. The roads were open but still had some icy spots in the shade.
GOLD LAKES BASIN-All the lakes were frozen over, but some of the resorts were closed due to the lack of snow for snowmobilers and cross country skiers. On last report, ice fishing was good at Gold Lake near the resort-not much change here!
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 68-percent capacity. The lake was still producing excellent trolling action for rainbows according to Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service. The storm forecast for this week could provide a window of opportunity for a big rainbow or brown during the darker weather.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-Alpine County planted 2000 pounds of trophy rainbows this past week. The stocking truck had to break the ice to get the fish in the water. The ice is too thin for ice fishing.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR-No reports were available at Mountain Hardware and Sports for this lake, though if it is not frozen, shore fishing should be good. If it has safe ice, the dam area should be producing good action on bait and spoons.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-The weather forecast for this week should spur the bite, according to Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service. Sly Park Resort reported good fishing for trout and bass. A 5-pound brown was taken trolling in the Narrows and a 3-pound smallie hit for a shore angler.
LAKE TAHOE-Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters reported good Mackinaw trolling off Carnelian Bay at 350 feet deep. Three clients picked up 7 fish to 5 1/2 pounds, tagged 2 small fish, and lost 4 more. A 9-man trip scored 12 keepers, and lost 5 or 6 more. Sling Blade/Koke-a-nut combos accounted for quadruple hook up on that last trip.
LOON LAKE-The lake is at 57-percent capacity. According to the Georgetown Ranger Station, the road is open and the gate is open. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle Basin Tackle and Guide Service said that most trollers were heading to Ice House instead of towing all the way up to Loon.
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 32-percent capacity. The lake was frozen to 8 to 10 inches thick at the dam. For ice fishing, get out early before the ice skaters get out and make too much noise. Power Bait, worms, salmon eggs, and Radical Glow Tubes were all working well for nice rainbows.
PYRAMID LAKE-Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported good trolling for cutthroats on the south and northeast parts of the lake. Dago Bay in the south was good, as well as Hell’s Kitchen in the northeast. The last three trips produced 22, 15, and 14 cutts from 19 to 23 1/2 inches on blood frog and original frog Flatfish trolled 15 to 60 feet deep. Shore fishing for lure casters and fly fishermen was slow-a storm forecast for this week could change the shore fishing for the better.
RED LAKE-Ice fishing was reported from the Hwy 88 side of the lake for anglers using Power Bait, worms, and jigged Kastmaster spoons. With no snow, the surface of the ice was slippery and studded boots were recommended.
SILVER LAKE-With the lake under 10-percent capacity, the fish are concentrated in the remaining water and easy to catch for ice fishermen dropping a crappie jig tipped with a cocktail shrimp into this big aquarium. With no snow on the ice, the surface was slippery and anglers need to use caution and studded boots or snow shoes.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 87-percent capacity. According to Mountain Hardware and Sports, the increased fishing pressure had slowed the Mackinaw bite for trollers working the island and dam areas. Rainbow trout could still be found in the Sagehen arm in shallower water in the late morning-afternoon after the water warmed up a little for shore anglers using Power Bait, worms, and salmon eggs.
TOPAZ LAKE-Topaz Landing Marina reported fair fishing for both shore anglers and trollers. Shore anglers could plan on picking up 2 or 3 rainbows a day using Power Bait or worms. One troller reported catching 5 fish for two anglers running black/gold and firetiger Rapalas on the south end of the lake. The rainbows were running 14 to 15 inches, but limits were rare.
TRUCKEE RIVER-Fly fishing in the main river still producing from Glenshire on down and through and below Reno on midges, BWO, and stones. Streamers slowly stripped through the larger pools can produce a big fish. The Little Truckee was still seeing a lot of pressure and the fish were spooky and required a stealthy approach and presentation.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 52-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported that the mack trolling was just getting started. On three trips this past week, Mathis caught a 13 pounder, a 12 pounder, a 6 pounder, and several smaller fish trolling big stick baits, Double Flutter Spoons, and dodger/herring combos from 25 to 80 feet deep. The road off Pea Vine Ridge Road was open but had a few icy spots-a storm is in the forecast for this week. Call Mathis at 530-647-2306 for more info.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE-The active fish are in groups on spots, rocks, or small areas don’t spend a bunch of time on a spot if you aren’t getting bites, move until you find a batch of active fish and stay with them. Presentations include jerk baits, rattlebaits, swimbaits, plastic worms, and live bait. Most anglers are concentrating on the lower ends of the lake in the deeper water.
LAKE BERRYESSA-Bass guide Don Paganelli reported bass are still a little slow. but with some work you can find fish eager to bite. The water temperatures are still low despite the nice weather. The better fish are still holding in deeper water on rock piles, creek channels and points. Spoons, drop-shot rigs and jigs are the best tools to use along with your favorite scents like crawdad or shad. Work these areas thoroughly and if you see fish but cannot get them to bite now come back to them later and try again.
LAKE SONOMA-For the tough bass bite, try shaking 6-inch Robo worms in natural colors around submerged structure up in the warmer creek arms. Try white trolling flies, Needlefish, an Apex and other shad imitations for a 2-fish landlocked steelie limit; rain should really help the bite here.
UPPER BLUE LAKE-Fishing has been fair, especially since DFG is back on their monthly plants here. But try small 3-inch silver lures here since the bite is light.
LAKE ALMANOR-All of the trout have been coming in the top 15 feet of water from Canyon Dam to the Snag. Lake Cove on the east shore has also been pretty good in the late morning and into the afternoon.
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. 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 but all of that is about to change. The few coming here found good fishing in all the reaches from Pit 3 all the way down river to Pit 5 but don’t forget your wading staff.
SHASTA LAKE-Trolling continues to produce limits by covering water. Try Captain America or orange/gold Humdingers topped with garlic. Another setup was an orange Cripplure, which brought in a few nice rainbows all coming from 10 to 25 feet down. Bass fishing should start to pick up following some weather. Look for fish to start moving closer in and sort through the smaller fish as they are schooling by size. The Pitt arm has been the hot spot using tubes, jigs and crawdad colored worms.