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.-Reports from guides Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing and Dave Jacobs of Professional Guide Service have the river coming into great shape and full of fish from the top to the bottom. Both guides have been working the top of the river, and finding great success on both hatchery and wild steelies. This week is expected to be excellent, entering the best of the year action.
COQUILLE RIVER, South Fork; Powers, Ore.–It was a good weekend to fish this river from the town of Powers down to the confluence of the middle fork. “I estimate four dozen driftboats were on the river Sunday and most of them had a couple steelhead on board,” according to WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “Some of the boats at he lead, downstream, had reported catching as many as 8 steelhead. I took a few moments to ask the bank angler’s how they were doing. Many of them had fish to show off and stories to share with us. The STEP Program on this river, puts out a full effort every year to get 150,000 fin-clipped trout released safely.
COQUILLE RIVER, East Fork; Myrtle Point, Ore.-“Access is terrible on this river, but that is what driftboats are for: to shove over a bank and to drag back up at the end of the day,” according to Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. Anglers who chose this river the last weekend of the month made an excellent decision. The river was colored perfectly, so that the steelhead would remain calm as boats floated over them in the shallow waters of this small river. Every group that I received a fishing update from said they had at least two hatchery steelhead in their fish boxes.
EEL RIVER-Still way blown out and at least a week away from any fishing here.
EEL RIVER, South Fork-According to Mark Nimitz of Pipe Creek Guide Service, the South Fork is fishable from the top all the way down to “at least Miranda” as of Monday, when he was fishing Silvendale area and said visibility was 3 to 3 1/2 feet with good flows, although still just a bit high. He said there’s quite a few steelies in the river, and caught 3 to 14 pounds on Sunday, all on roe. Anglers are averaging 2 or 3 per boat. It’s all catch-and-release here, for absolutely no reason at all, since the steelhead numbers are strong here. The river used to support a 1-steelhead possession limit with no problem.
GUALALA RIVER-The Gualala was opened up from low flow closures on Wednesday of last week and fished great Wednesday and Thursday, with one angler going 7 for 15 hookups! Unfortunately, the river dropped out big time on Friday and anglers “couldn’t scratch a fish.”
RUSSIAN RIVER-The river was still a little off color on Sunday at Guerneville, but “that’s a good thing, it’s helping the fishing, according to King’s Sport and Tackle. Scott Heemstra from the shop stopped at Steelhead Beach for 5 minutes and saw 2 boats get hooked up. “They’re slamming them at Dry Creek”, he said. The Narrows in Monte Rio is also good. The river is flowing about 1000 cfs, and plugs or bait are working best, still to murky for fly action, but changing daily.
SMITH RIVER-Guide Dave Jacobs of Professional Guide Service said the river saw significant rain early last week and the river had a “big rise” when plunking was good. He picked up 2 steelies on Wednesday plunking the lower river and side-drifting a small piece of roe and Quickie Puffball on Friday from the forks down to Jed Smith Park.
UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork; Canyonville, Ore.–This river just started to come into shape for fishing from boats the weekend of the 28th. The few people that did fish it, instead of running to the coast for a couple days, where able to catch a steelhead here and there. “I have been told that the greatest percentage of fish have been natives, which create more frowns then smiles on this river,” said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “Now the bank angler’s have been giving reports of days with larger catch totals, and this sounds correct with the high water conditions.”
TRINITY RIVER, Lewiston-The Trinity was fishable down to the North Fork, and producing lots of new steelhead resulting from the storms. It gets more off-color and higher the farther downstream one goes. Fishing pressure was quite heavy in the uppermost reaches, but pressure was lighter below Douglas City.
TRINITY RIVER, WILLOW Creek-The river was dropping, but still quite high and off-color below the North Fork.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam-The Klamath was in good, fishable condition down to Seiad Valley, but still quite high below there. Anglers continued to hook a nice mix of trout and adult steelhead to about 6 pounds, mostly on roe and nightcrawlers.
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 16-percent capacity. The road to the dam, and probably all the way to the campground at the inlet, is regularly plowed. Ice fishermen were doing best at the dam due to the low water level using bay shrimp, jigged Kastmasters, and nightcrawlers.
CAPLES LAKE-Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters has been taking trips here and clients were fishing through 12 inches of ice for 10- to 15-inch rainbows and browns. The fish were hitting jigged Kastmaster spoons, worms, bay shrimp, and Power Bait. The ice had 2 feet of snow on the surface, so be sure to bring a long enough auger to drill holes.
CARSON RIVER (East)-With warmer daytime temps, the ice had melted along the river and flows were perfect, according to Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort. Sodaro reported that there were fishermen at Hangman’s Bridge everyday this past week working the trophy trout section of the East Carson. The water temp must surely be rising and improving the fishing.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 74-percent capacity. The warm day-time temps melted the ice at the dam making it UNSTABLE and UNSAFE FOR ICE FISHING!!! According to Ed Dillard, local fireman and guide, one angler broke through the ice this past week along the edge of the lake-fortunately in shallow water. The whole upper end of the lake above Honker is ice-free and a cartopper boat or canoe/kayak could be launched at Mallard Point. Dillard said that ice fishing was slow. Shore anglers at Mallard Point were catching two or three 14- to 16-inch rainbows on Power Bait and Berkley Gulp! Eggs according to Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden. Call ahead for the latest ice conditions at J&J’s Grizzly Store at 530-832-0270.
DONNER LAKE-According to Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports, the lake was ice-free, but the fishing here had been slow.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-The lake is at 79-percent capacity. Most of the lake was ice-free according to Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden and fishermen were doing well at Lunker Point on Power Bait and Berkley Gulp! Eggs for 12- to 14-inch rainbows.
GOLD LAKES BASIN-According to Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden, the roads to the lakes were snowed in and lakes were frozen over. Access to the lakes was restricted to snowmobile only-just what all the resorts and businesses were waiting for!
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 71-percent capacity. The road was dangerously icy-one boater trying to get to the lake slid off the road and had to be rescued. Fishing was very slow by last report from Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill Fishing Service-the water was just too cold.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-According to Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort, both roads to the lake were open, but the lake was frozen over with ice too thin to allow ice fishing.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR-The lake was snowed in by the last storm.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-Sly Park Resort reported that trollers were catching 16- to 20-inch macks in the channel between the island and the second dam on flasher/worm combos and spoons. Shore fishing was slow this past week.
LAKE TAHOE-Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters reported slower than expected fishing this past week. His last trip only produced two macks and he saw fewer fish when metering around the Carnelian Bay area than usual. Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported good action on Sunday for limits of macks, 2 to 7 pounds, trolling spoons 180 to 235 feet deep. Every day is different!!
LOON LAKE-The lake is at 63-percent capacity. The gate to the launching facilities at the campground has been locked since last fall, but the gravel ramp at the dam just now closed due to the snow-wait until spring for this place!! This will be the last report until spring.
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 34-percent capacity. The ice fishing was best at the dam. The road is plowed to the end of the dam road and a short walk is required to reach the dam. Use bay shrimp, jigged Kastmaster spoons, RGT jigs and Power Bait.
PYRAMID LAKE-A 19 1/2 pounder was caught just south of the old marina by a shore fisherman casting a black jig-the fish was 34 3/4 inches long. George Molino at the Pyramid Lake Store reported that trolling was fair along the west side of the lake on Apex lures trolled 12 to 30 feet deep. Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported that trolling was more consistent along the east side at Anderson, Red Bay, Hell’s Kitchen, and at the “Wall” at 50 to 60 feet deep on FlatFish.
RED LAKE-Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that fishing was slow here and Caples Lake was a better choice.
SILVER LAKE-Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that ice fishing was good here. Fish along the Hwy 88 access with jigged Kastmaster spoons, worms, bay shrimp and Power Bait.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 88-percent capacity. The lake was still accessible by 4-wheel drive, but towing a boat in wasn’t recommended by Mountain Hardware and Sports. Shore fishermen still have a chance at a mack casting off the rocky shores at the dam or bait fishing for rainbows in the Sagehen arm.
TOPAZ LAKE-Linda Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported good action for trollers working the south end of the lake at either 5 to 7 feet deep or 15 to 20 feet deep. Rapalas in natural patterns-brown trout, rainbow trout, and perch-were working the best for rainbows running 14 to 16 inches. The trout were short and chunky with nice pink meat.
TRUCKEE RIVER-Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that the main river was flowing a bit high and off-color due to the recent rains so streamers were working the best. As the water clears with better weather, the nymph and baetis action will improve through Reno. The road to the Little Truckee had snow on it and access was difficult. The Little Truckee really needs a rest after the onslaught it received with the mild winter-give it a break!!
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 55-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported that friends had made it into the lake and caught a few 6- to 7-pound macks trolling AC Plugs and Rapalas over the 80- to 90-foot deep ledges down near the dam. The road to the lake off Pea Vine Ridge Road has some treacherous icy spots on it and 4-wheel drive was mandatory.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE- The rains over the weekend of January 22 brought muddy water to the northern portion of Clear Lake, but the midlake arms and the southern portion remained clear to five feet of visibility. Tom Jimenez of the Outdoor Pro Shop in Rohnert Park confirmed the good minnow bite in the deeper portions of the lake, as the fish holding on rockpiles or rock ledges, but he added, “4 to 6-inch paddletail swimbaits are also working, either individually or on the umbrella rigs.” The shallow flats and tules are void of bass at the present time. Top areas have included Shag Rock, Henderson Point, the Narrows, Frazier Point, Wheeler Point, Monitor, and Bass Alley, as the bass are schooled up in the rocks.
LAKE BERRYESSA-Don Paganelli of Paganelli’s Bass Experience reported fair bass action with the better cut of spotted bass found at depths from 30 to 50 feet with 1.25-ounce BladeRunner spoons in electric chicken or morning dawn. The key is to find the schools of bait, and the bass, trout, and king salmon are close behind. Drop-shotting with 4.5- to 6-inch Robo Worms in Aaron’s Magic or Hologram Shad has also been effective on a slow, methodical presentation. Trout fishing has slowed from its apex over one month ago, but live minnows are the top technique to locate the fish in the open waters of the lake.
LAKE SONOMA- The Alabama rig has taken northern California by storm, and Lake Sonoma is no exception to the powers of this tackle technique, as a whopping 29-plus-pound limit took a small 10-boat turkey shoot on Saturday, January 28. The best cut of bass came up the creek arms at depths from 10 to 25 feet, but shaking worms or Senkos in 15 to 25 feet brought in numbers. With the submerged timber in the lake and the unrelenting wire of the umbrella rigs, it is easy to lose them. Tom Jiminez of the Outdoor Pro Shop in Rohnert Park reported steelhead in the 4- to 5-pound range have been consistently taken by anglers slow-trolling a threaded nightcrawler on the surface in the creek arms
UPPER BLUE LAKE-A trout plant is scheduled for the week of January 29, and bank anglers should be scoring with Power Bait or nightcrawlers with trollers pulling blade/crawler combinations or small spoons for the catchables.
SACRAMENTO RIVER side- Striper fishing remains best in the deep water in the Pittsburg area with cut bullheads or mudsuckers. Otherwise the action is limited to a small window at the change of the tides. Sturgeon fishing is good in Honker Bay, Buoys 33 and 34, and the deep water near the PGE Plant with ghost shrimp, grass shrimp, or eel.
SAN JOAQUIN RIVER side-A few sturgeon have moved into the deep stretches of the San Joaquin near Mossdale with ghost shrimp, but striper fishing remains slow throughout the system. Crappie and the occasional striper are found in the holes in the weeds in Discovery Bay. The warmer water temperatures have spurred on the reaction bite for largemouths with Timber Tiger crankbaits or ½ oz. Persuader spinner baits.
LAKE ALMANOR- After 18 inches of snow arrived at Lake Almanor during the winter storms of January 22, sunshine returned to the area, and all of the area roads have been plowed and cleared. Anglers shouold troll the east side of the lake while running slower than normal at 2.0 miles per hour in the early morning before picking up slightly more speed between 2.2 and 2.5 mph when the sun is up and the fog burns off. Canyon Dam is the only public ramp available, and the U.S. Forest Service Ramp is open, but there is no courtesy dock available.
BAUM LAKE-Midges, blue-winged olives, red copper Johns, or callibaetis cripples are all producing rainbows or browns for fly anglers. Spincasters are scoring with Kastmasters with nightcrawlers effective for bait fishermen.
PIT RIVER-The slippery rocks make for dangerous conditions for anglers wading the river, and current reports have been difficult to obtain. The section of the river below the Lake Britton Dam is catch and release until the stream opener in April.
SHASTA LAKE-The Lake Shasta 3-day FLW Outdoors EverStart Series opener hosted 119 professional and 50 co-anglers starting January 26, and there were several large limits over 16 pounds taken in the clear water conditions. The reaction bite continues to be slow, and the most consistent action remains on the bottom with dartheading, drop-shotting or Senkos. Local fishermen K.C. Harris of Shasta City won the event with an overall weight of 42 pounds, 3 ounces with his best action on umbrella rigs loaded with a Top Shelf swimbait for the larger fish and Mother’s Finest worms or Senkos at depths from 5 to 30 feet to round out his limits. Trout to 18 inches are plentiful at depths from the surface to 25 feet in Harz Bay, Centimudi, Digger Bay, and the Big Back Bone with small Rapalas, heavy Needlefish, or Kastmasters. The lake rose two feet to 1012.27 feet in elevation and 68% of capacity.
AMERICAN RIVER-Nimbus Hatchery is loaded with steelhead, so there is no question that there are plenty of fish in the river. Even so, getting them to bite is never a sure thing and so it was last week. However, patient-and persistent anglers have been hooking a fish or two each outing, on a variety of offering from flies to side-drifted Corkies with a cocktail shrimp. Highest success rates are coming from the stretch between Sunrise Blvd. and Nimbus Dam (be mindful of the “no-fishing” zone around the Hatchery), but that’s where the highest pressure will be found along with a higher percentage of fish which are past their prime.
FEATHER RIVER-The river was still muddy Jack’s Slough, but a few steelhead were being caught around Gridley and in the Low Flow Section. Nymphs under indicators were working for fly fishers while drifting nightcrawlers and rod did the trick for spin fishermen.
FOLSOM LAKE- Some nice landlocked king salmon were being caught on orange and orange and orange grubs trolling 15 to 40 feet deep at 1.5 mph, and rainbows on watermelon Sidekicks trailed by nightcrawlers near the surface well behind the boat. Bass fishing continued to be slow, and the best way to get a few bites was to find the baitballs over deep structure, then slowly spoon, drop-shot and jig.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento-Sturgeon fishing improved greatly last week in the wake of the storms leaving behind the kind of water sturgeon love-high and muddy. The Fremont Weir and along South River Road were good, and so was around Verona.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing–Sturgeon fishing picked up big time around Knight’s Landing and Tisdale with some anglers getting multiple hookups in a night of fishing. A few schoolie stripers were being reported, as well.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-Most of the trout action continued to be around Redding with fly fishers drifting Glo-Bugs, Mayfly or caddis nymph imitations under indicators while spin fishermen drifted Glo-Bugs and nightcrawlers.
BERKELEY-Sturgeon fishing is great, with solid counts of keeper size fish as well as plenty of shakers and even a few oversized units. Most fish were caught in San Pablo Bay this week with a variety of baits working, including ghost shrimp/eel combo and herring.
BODEGA BAY-Shore-based crabbers worked the jetty late in the week, casting snares. Many had a fishing rod in the water at the same time for a pick at perch and an occasional rockfish. Surf fishers fared well at local beaches for barred and red tail perch.
EUREKA-Late-week weather improvements gave jetty anglers their shot at fresh fish dinners. The jetty gave up kelp greenling and the surf zone gave up perch. While surf perch fishing is best when swells run large, the seas were too dangerous to fish early in the week. Sea conditions turned perfect for the weekend and boaters went after crabs with decent success.
FORT BRAGG-savage sea conditions kept fishers ashore and away from coastal rocky areas early in the week. As the week progressed and seas calmed, anglers found the courage to fish the surf zones for perch and fish the jetty and nearby Mendocino Headlands for rockfish.
HALF MOON BAY-Crabbing was still easy and put dinners on tables when weather patterns allowed a relatively short run form harbor to 170-foot depths. Just a little farther offshore, beginning at 200 feet of water, sand dabs were hungry and easy for private and party boaters to find.
MARTINEZ-Most action is centered around sturgeon fishing in the upper San Pablo Bay and near the Mothball Fleet where good tides early in the week generated good catches. The bite kept going all week thanks to angler interest and decent conditions. Striped bass activity continues in a slump.
SAN RAFAEL-Fishing for sturgeon enjoyed a peak of activity early in the week thanks to minus tides. Those tides will be back next weekend. Sturgeon action was best off of the Pumphouse and along China Camp.
AMERICAN RIVER-The recent rains raised the flows in the river. Releases from some of the upstream dams can raise the river 2 feet during the day, so watch out for sudden high flows. Little fishing pressure was reported below the Hwy 49 confluence.
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 67-percent capacity. The lake came up with the recent rains and the bass were moving toward the shallows and incoming water. Check the main lake points and any incoming water with jigs and Senkos for fish to 5 pounds plus. Trout should be hitting trolled flasher/worm combos in the Willow Creek arm.
CAMP FAR WEST-According to North Shore Resort, the lake came up almost 5 feet after the heavy rains. Fishermen have been out but few have reported any success. The river and creek arms have some color and the fish should be moving shallower to take advantage of the newly flooded shoreline.
COLLINS LAKE-The lake is 20 feet from full-up 5 feet with the heavy rain. With the recent DFG trout plant, shore anglers and trollers were both catching limits or near limits of rainbows. Shore anglers did well using Power Bait at the dam and the beach. Trollers using flasher/worm combos, Needlefish, and Kastmaster spoons at 10 to 15 feet deep found good action at the dam.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. Shore anglers working the bank between the marina ramp and the Army Corps ramp were doing well on planter rainbows using Power Bait and worms.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The recent snows made access questionable-call the Foresthill Ranger Station for the latest road conditions at 530-367-2224.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR-The recent snows made access questionable-call the Georgetown Ranger Station for the latest road conditions at 530-333-4312.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is at 72-percent capacity-up 2.25-foot overnight with the rain this past week. WON Staffer Pat Young fished with guide Ron Gandolfi this past week and found fair action for spots running 1 1/4 to 2 1/4 pounds on Paradise Tackle Company jigs fished 10 to 20 feet deep on main points in the West Branch and North Fork. Coho salmon were stacked up in the creeks and pockets with incoming water. One angler came in with a pair of spawning coho running 18 to 20 inches caught on worms and tubes in the West Branch.
ROLLINS LAKE-Despite being planted two weeks ago, the fishing was slow for customers reporting in to Will Fish Tackle in Auburn. Trolling should be at least fair at the dam.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-The lake was planted this past Monday, but the fish quickly dispersed out into the lake according to Jim Caldwell at the Resort. Some rainbows were caught by trollers working the shoreline from Cascade Shores to the dam with flasher/worm combos.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR-Access should be okay, but call the Foresthill Ranger Station for the latest road and facility conditions at 530-367-2224. Shore fishermen were picking up a few rainbows on Power Bait near the boat ramp.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-According to the Georgetown Ranger Station, the road to the lake was still passable by 2-wheel drive vehicle. Trollers were catching a few holdover rainbows at the inlet on flasher/worm combos.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-The lake was at 133.9-foot elevation at press time. With the waterfowl season over, the access for fishermen should be much improved. Warmer weather should improve the bass fishing along the rocky shores that absorb heat from the sun and raise the water temp a degree or two.