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 flows are fluctuating with the occasional rains, but that’s not impacting the river color due to some slides, and the steelies just keep on coming. Pressure on the lower river makes the upper section better early, then guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing works the lower in the afternoon for better action. Guide Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing Adventures said the scores were running up as high as 6 per boat. Most of this success has been for guided fisherman on the lower river, but the bankies are getting in on the action fishing up above the forks.
COQUILLE RIVER, South Fork: Powers, Ore.- According to guide and WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer, the river has slowed down drastically over the last week. With all the success stories from the last couple weeks, angler’s are hoping that the storms next week will bring the same results again. With the low water a select few angler’s have changed strategies from drifting to anchoring out of the channel or parking the drift boat on the bank and float fishing the pools or casting them to the narrow channels and letting the floats drift downstream. Some fly fisherman on Saturday took advantage of the low conditions to wade the shallows and cast to the steelhead holding in the slightly deeper areas of the river. With the extreme changing conditions, versatility is an almost must.
EEL RIVER-Guide Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing Adventures said he saw great numbers for the early part of the week with scores running up into the double digits on the best days. The Main Stem was fishable it’s entire length and the South Fork was holding just enough color to keep the fish from getting wary. A half-inch of rain Tuesday night put the river on a slow rise but by Thursday it had settled back in and was fishing great. Friday, every boat on the river hooked into good numbers of chrome bright steelhead fishing under a steady drizzle and by Saturday she was again on the rise and a little dingy. Guide Mike Stratman of Redwood Coast Fishing said that expected rain will be followed by good conditions for the rivers from Tuesday on.
MAD RIVER- The Mad River has been putting up some great numbers for guys drifting roe and a Fish Pill around the hatchery and down towards the Blue Lake bridge, according to guide Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing Adventures. “Like the Eel, this river has been bouncing up and down a little but the moisture has been so minimal the color has been coming back within a few hours of the flows cresting,” he said.
NAVARRO RIVER-South of Fort Bragg, anglers were playing catch-and-release on up to 6 fish a day from the bank, and the were 7 to 9 pounds.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.-According to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, steelhead fishing on the lower Rogue River was disappointing last week, with slow fishing except for a few flurries of action for guides in the Agness area. Low, clearing water has made plunking tough at Huntley Bar and Lobster Creek. Rain this week could add some color to the river and increase flows, giving the Rogue a late season boost in steelhead fishing. The best bet has been around Agness.
RUSSIAN RIVER-Fishing has been steady, and on Friday guide Chris Aff, working out of Kings Sport and Tackle, went 3 for 4 on steelies. The day before they hooked 4 while fishing the Forestville to Guerneville run. He heard it’s also been good from Healdsberg to Forestville, and that a couple of 15-pound fish were caught on Friday, although the average is around 8 pounds. It’s about 50/50 hatchery to wild fish. Some fly fishermen did okay at Johnson’s on Saturday. The river is flowing at 500 cfs and has about 3 feet of visibility.
SMITH RIVER-Guide Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service has been fishing the river despite a broken ankle, and said fishing has been “fair to pretty good”. Very few anglers here right now, and he said he’s been fishing around the same 4 to 6 guides every day. The water was getting low and gin clear before this weekend’s rain, and the fish were in the fast, shallow water. Even so, boats are getting 2 to 5 fish a day, a mixed bag of wild and hatchery fish. A few downrunners behinning to show up.
TEN MILE RIVER-This small river north of Fort Bragg was kicking out some nice steelhead for catch-and-release anglers using corkies and Spin-N-Glos with barbless hooks.
UMPQUA RIVER, Sutherlin, Ore.–The river is a deep green color with about 4 feet of visibility. Fishing has been average for this river, with catches for a full day of fishing being 6 or so steelhead boated, according to WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secret’s Guide Service. Finally, there have been some hatchery fish being caught over the last week. This river has steelhead scattered from Elkton to Roseburg and any of the many drifts should produce a lot of fish over the next month.
UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork; Myrtle Creek, Ore.–On Friday and Saturday there were a bunch more steelhead being caught than last weekend, according to guide Curtis Palmer. One boat reported catching 11 fish and losing another 3. These numbers are not uncommon on any of the three Umpqua Rivers, but there haven’t been many reports of days like this after the river flooded out a few weeks ago. With rain in the forecast next week, it should keep the fish moving up out of the main river and up into the South Fork.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork; Roseburg, Ore.–The viewing station at Winchester Dam has had steelhead moving through in the afternoon in considerable numbers. “I am surprised at the number of steelhead that are already in this river,” said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “We don’t usually see this until the end of February.” The short drift from Amacher Park to Hesness Park has been producing lots of action, and farther upriver, anglers are catching some nice chrome fish on their way to the spawning grounds. They are also catching more summer steelhead that have spawned recently. “I am hoping to post a couple pictures of steelhead over 20 pounds from this river over the next six weeks, so watch for those in upcoming issues,” said Palmer.
TRINITY RIVER, Lewiston-The upper portions of the Trinity above Junction City dropped and cleared and there are lots of fish still coming upriver. In fact, the steelhead count at the hatchery is double that of last year, over 4,000. Anglers were catching a mix of wild, hatchery and downrunner steelhead on a variety of methods. Fly fishers were using golden stones, No. 12 and 14, poxy back beadhead pheasant tails, and red copper Johns under indicators while spin and conventional fishermen were backtrolling plugs and sidedrifting roe. Call ahead for river conditions before making the trip.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek-The river was fishable down to Cedar Flat below the North Fork, and some bright steelhead were passing through. However, it was raining as of Sunday night, so conditions were likely to change. Call ahead.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam-The Klamath was dropping and in fishable condition down to Happy Camp, but it was raining Sunday night, so it’s important to call ahead for conditions. However, river conditions will remain in good shape below Iron Gate Dam with little fishing pressure and a nice mix of adult steelhead to 6 pounds and native rainbows. Drifted roe and nightcrawlers, and backtrolled crawdad plugs were all working well. Fly fishing was slow.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE-Rocky areas still remain the most productive, which is typical this time of year. Most of the points in the Redbud arm have catchable fish as well as the mid lake area, and similar spots in the Oakes arm. Horseshoe Bend is getting a lot of boating activity, as at least one local guide is fishing live bait successfully there.
LAKE BERRYESSA-Rick Kennedy at Tight Lines Guide Service reportED good action on kings if you know where to find them. In this case, it was near the dam using Shasta Tackle Sling Blades and Pee Wee Hoochies. The fish weighed in the 2-pound class.
LAKE MENDICINO-DFG planted here this past week, so you can bet anglers were out in droves, but no reports have come in yet.
LAKE SONOMA-Steelies have been in the top 20 feet in the main body, and up in the creek arms. For bass try a Rago or Picasso A-Rig, shaking worms or Senkos in 15 to 25 feet of water.
UPPER BLUE LAKE-Fishing continues to be good, with limits or close to it as the lake received a plant. The bite is good, but it continues to be a light bite, stay alert! There have been a lot more bites than catches. From the surface down, anglers found planters as well as last year’s crop to 19 inches on flashers and nightcrawlers, deepwater flies, and the usual assortment of tackle.
LAKE ALMANOR-Arctic Fox flies in orange, white, and brown have all been fish catchers as well as black and silver soft plastics loaded with gel. There have been a ton of rainbow trout caught, as well as some brown trout. This winter has been one of the best in years. The open water on the east side has been kicking out nice numbers and good sizes.
BAUM LAKE-The Fly Shop in Redding reports good fishing and good hatches of BWOs. Smaller no. 18 baetis have been keeping the rainbow and brown trout biting. Look for rising fish throughout the day.
PIT RIVER-According to The Fly shop in Redding, river flows have been stable. All stretches of the Pit offer fishable water right now and the fishing has been fair to good.
SHASTA LAKE-Trolling continues to produce some nice trout by covering water. Try a Captain America or an orange/gold Humdinger topped with garlic. Another good setup was an orange Cripplure, which brought in a few nice rainbows; all coming from 10 to 25 feet down. Bass anglers have been going crazy with the new A-rigs, and the Pitt arm has been the hot spot using tubes, jigs and crawdad colored worms.
TRINITY LAKE–Rick Kennedy of Tight Lines Guide Service netted 5 salmon up to 4 pounds, with another 6 lost at the boat. Most of the fish hit between 60 and 75 feet of water and seemed to be scattered throughout at different depths in the Papoose arm where he was fishing.
BENECIA-Slow sturgeon action during the week gave way to better action over the weekend for boaters working eel baits near the Mothball Fleet where Capt. Bob Monckton on the Reel-lentless helped his passengers catch numerous smaller units before pulling on much larger fish which made the Whoppers List.
BODEGA BAY-Crabbing was the most productive activity for boaters because sanddab fishing was difficult due to rapid drifts making it difficult to present baits to the ‘dabs. Shoreside anglers had to fish from high ground due to big swells, yet they managed good catches of cabezon, greenling and rockfish north of Bodega Bay.
CROCKETT- The Morning Star, with Capt. Gordon Hough found good action Saturday on grass shrimp near the last two rows of ships in Suisan Bay. Good tides should improve the overall bite as this week progresses.
EUREKA-Jetty fishing was good for red tail perch in areas well away from dangerously large and powerful swells capable of sweeping over rocks. Those same big swells kept most boats off the water, though earlier in the week crabbing efforts were successful.
FORT BRAGG-Steelhead bit very well for anglers fishing local river mouths from the banks. Surf ran so high all week that surf perch fishers stayed away. One wild exception was night fishers throwing nets into the surf for smelt.
HALF MOON BAY-Sea conditions kept most fishers off the salt, however crabbing action is still available on the Half Moon Bay charter fleet. One bright spot in shore angling this week has been the quantity and quality of crabs caught by casting snares loaded with squid or chicken leftovers. Anglers spent the week casting snares off the jetties, docks and the public pier in Half Moon Bay and up the coast at Pacifica where surf perch and a couple of striped bass were caught.
MARTINEZ-Sturgeon slowed their feeding activity after the extreme pressure from the Super Bowl Derby, however very sizable sturgeon were caught, especially in Suisan Bay near the Mothball Fleet. Strong tides, forecast for late this week is expected to shift the sturgeon bite into high gear.
SAN RAFAEL-Overall fishing has been just fair, but a bonanza of mud shrimp near the Pumphouse drew some feeding sturgeon into the area. The best was a 70-incher caught by Andy Frierson. Great tides by next weekend will bump up the action. Early arrivals from the upcoming run of striped bass began showing in the San Pablo Bay. Stripers should become more numerous over the coming weeks.
AMERICAN RIVER-Flows have decreased to 1,450 cfs, and a new batch of bright steelhead-albeit mostly small fish–have entered the upper reaches of the river to join darker fish spawning or near spawning in the shallows. Those later fish are quite vulnerable, and should left to spawn in peace. A higher percentage of the bright fish are wild (intact adipose fins) and must be released. Fish have been taking a variety of bait and lures from flies fished on the swing or dead-drifted under indicators, drifted roe and nightcrawlers, and backtrolled Hot Shots.
FEATHER RIVER-The usual late winter striper bite resulting from the release of baby steelhead to the river hasn’t happened yet. A few were being caught from Shanghai Rapids and Star Bend on jigs and minnows. A very few steelhead were being caught around Gridley and in the Low Flow Section on nymphs under indicators, drifting nightcrawlers, and swinging spinners.
FOLSOM LAKE- Fishing for trout and landlocked king salmon was pretty good again last week. Nightcrawlers fished behind dodgers near the surface were working for trout, and white and pink Radical Glow Hoochies and GVF Pina Colada Spinners set between 30 and 50 feet were working for the kings. Fish the main body and up the North Fork. Bass fishing continued to be slow. Spoon, drop-shot, and jig outside points, and over concentrations of bait.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento-Sturgeon fishing was only fair from Hood to Verona. A few were hooked around the Fremont Weir, South River Road, Jefferson Blvd. and Verona. Fish combo baits-e.g. ghostshrimp/pileworms. Striper fishing continued to be slow.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing-Sturgeon have moved upstream, and fishing was good last week from Tisdale to Ward’s Landing. Combination baits like ghostshrimp/pileworms worked better than individual baits fished alone.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-Trout fishing was good once again and the trout action was particularly good around Redding. Fly fishers drifted Glo-Bugs, Mayfly or caddis nymph imitations under indicators while spin fishermen drifted Glo-Bugs and nightcrawlers.
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 16-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that ice fishing was safest at the dam. Two anglers caught 3 rainbows, 12 to 16 inches, on worms. Ice away from the dam could be UNSTABLE and ice fishing was NOT RECOMMENDED!!
CAPLES LAKE-John Voss at Caples Lake Resort reported that the ice was 1 1/2 to 2 feet thick and ice fishermen were doing best at the spillway on bay shrimp, worms, and Power Bait. Voss said that trout limits were hard to come by.
CARSON RIVER (East)-Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort reported that he spoke at length to a fly fisherman who was on the Restricted Section below Hangman’s Bridge. The angler said he fished for 6 hours without a strike, and attributed the poor fishing to the cold water. Sodaro said there was 4 to 6 inches of ice showing along the shore in most places.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 74-percent capacity. The ice at the dam thickened back up to a safe 8 inches with the cold nights and fishing was good according to Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing. Shore anglers were also doing well at Mallard Point on Power Bait. All the trout seem to be cut out of the same mold-15 to 16 inchers weighing 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds. Rick Kennedy of Tight Lines Guide Service managed to launch at Mallard Point this past weekend and caught 15 nice rainbows trolling 30 feet deep with Humdingers, Needlefish, and Dick Nite spoons.
DONNER LAKE-Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that shore fishing for rainbows and macks was best mid-lake near the public fishing dock using nightcrawlers, though only few fish were being caught.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-The lake is at 79-percent capacity. The ice was still safe at the dam and anglers were picking up some nice rainbows on Power Bait and nightcrawlers. One group of shore anglers fished the open water at Big Cove and caught 14 rainbows from 1 to 2 pounds on Power Bait and worms.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 72-percent capacity. The road was still too icy for safe access, according to Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill Fishing Service based on reports he received from fishing club members who tried unsuccessfully to reach the lake.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-According to Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort, the roads to the lake were clear and open. Cold nights had skim ice on the lake in the morning, but on warm afternoons after the ice melted, shore anglers could pick up some nice rainbows on bait.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-The lake is scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. Sly Park Resort reported that shore anglers were catching a few planters at the second boat ramp in the Narrows on Power Bait and worms. Trolling has been slow.
LAKE TAHOE-Both Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters and Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported very good mack trolling from 185 to 300 feet deep. Daniels reported keeping four 6 to 7 pounders, tagging 5 fish, and losing 5 fish on this last trip which only lasted 3 hours for three anglers. Earlier in the week with a charter of nurses from Texas, Daniels landed fish to 10 pounds. The bulk of Daniels fish came from 250 to 300 feet of water. Chuck Self fished shallower, 185 to 250 and found good action in the early morning and late afternoon with a slow down during mid-day. Self was catching 2 to 5 pounders in the a.m. and 4 to 7 pounders in the p.m. running Coyote spoons, and CD 5 and CD 7 Rapalas on ridges, points, and grass fields. The fish were all feeding primarily on shrimp.
LOON LAKE-The lake is at 64-percent capacity. Snowed in. Last report until spring.
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 33-percent capacity. According to Mountain Hardware and Sports, the ice fishing was best at the boat ramps and the inlet. The walk to the ice down the dam face was too steep and treacherous for most anglers.
PYRAMID LAKE-Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported only fair fishing – 9, 10 and 7 cutthroats on his last three charters. The cutts have been running 17 to 23 inches and hitting original and blood frog FlatFish at 17 to 25 feet deep. Crosby’s Lodge finished the first weekend of their derby on Sunday. Holding first place was George Harrison Jr. with a 7-pound 15-ounce fish. Second and third were taken by Tom Cruz with 6 3/4- and 6-pound, 7-ounce cutts.
RED LAKE-There were people fishing here according to Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters, but the fishing has been slow by comparison to last year.
SILVER LAKE-According to John Voss at Caples lake Resort, the ice here was 1 to 2 feet thick. He said he heard that someone had caught a big Mackinaw here, but he hadn’t seen a picture yet. Bay shrimp, worms, and Power Bait should be working on rainbows and browns.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 88-percent capacity. Though there was some snow on the ramp, but guides were able to shovel off enough to launch boats and troll for macks near the dam and island. Shore anglers were still picking up some rainbows at the boat ramp, dam, and Davies Creek arm-the most easily accessed spots on the lake at this time. More weather is due this week.
TOPAZ LAKE-Topaz Landing Marina reported good action for trollers working the middle of the lake with CD 7 Rapalas. Vic Nagy of Woodfords landed a 5 1/2-pound rainbow while toplining a firetiger Rapala. Shore anglers were doing well on the NW and SW sides of the lake using nightcrawlers.
TRUCKEE RIVER-Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that the warmer weather was triggering baetis hatches and fishing was improving in the Reno area. The Little Truckee was accessible to the Bat Cave, but anglers were walking further upstream to access the upper sections-driving further was unwise, if not unsafe. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that flyfishing in the Glenshire and Hirshdale sections of the main river was good for casters using midge, BWO, and sculpin patterns at the heads and tails of bigger pools.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 55-percent capacity. Though the roads were open this past week, the bite was very slow, according to Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle. A storm is forecast for the region this week, so call the Pacific Ranger Station to check on road conditions at 530-647-5400.
AMERICAN RIVER-The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the river at the confluence at Hwy 49 was still very low and clear.
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 67-percent capacity. According to Emerald Cove Marina, lots of boaters have been out, but the fishing has been slow. A recent shocking/netting program done by the DFG to document a FERC permit renewal for the dam showed that there were several spotted bass over 6 pounds collected, so the big fish are still there.
CAMP FAR WEST-North Shore Resort reported that anglers were catching lots of 12- to 13-inch bass on morning dawn and green pumpkin worms and Senkos at 10 to 15 feet deep in the creek arms.
COLLINS LAKE-The lake is 19 feet from full and scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. The resort will be making a trophy trout plant this week to prepare for the long Presidents’ Day weekend. Anglers have been picking up limits of DFG planter for the most part, though Jim Livengood of Lincoln landed a 3 1/2-pound rainbow while trolling a Rapala at the dam. Local Dave Callison caught limits of bass to 3 3/4 pounds on live crawdads, so the warmer than usual weather has the bass getting active.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is at 92-percent capacity. Lisa Rogers at Skippers Cove Marina reported that shore anglers and trollers were still picking up planter rainbows. The shore between the two ramps has been the best bet for bankies. Trolling in the marina was consistent on flasher/worm combos.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR-According to the Foresthill Ranger Station, Mosquito Ridge Road was snowed in and the lake was inaccessible.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR-Kalan Richards of El Dorado Hills reported the road to the lake was clear and passable with 2-wheel drive (before the weekend storm). He trolled K-15 Kwikfish 70 feet deep over 100 feet of water and caught 4 macks up to 6 pounds. A storm in the forecast for early this week could make access a problem. Call the Georgetown Ranger Station for the latest road conditions at 530-333-4312.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is at 72-percent capacity. An Angler’s Choice Pro-Am was being led by Ryan Friend with 20.57 pounds, anchored by a 7.21-pound spot. Gary Dobyns was in second at 17.63 pounds with a 5.34-pound big fish. The 17 pounds in third included a 6.90-pound spot, so as usual big fish on spotted bass lakes make all the difference. The Alabama rig was reported to be the hot setup for the leaders. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company pre-fished with one contestant and reported a good bite on tubes and Beavers in the backs of the coves in the West Branch at 40 feet deep. Coho trolling was still good up in the river arms on Sling Blade/Wiggle Hoochie combos at 10 to 40 feet deep-just meter the bait first.
ROLLINS LAKE-Casey Reynolds at Long Ravine Resort reported that fishing was very slow for trollers who were working the coves towards the inlet. The water was murky and cold which could account for the poor bite.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-Jim Caldwell at Scott’s Flat Lake Resort reported that a few 12- to 13-inch rainbows were taken by trollers working the area from the marina to the dam. Boats were reporting in with 2 to 5 fish for two anglers.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR-The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the day-use facilities were all accessible, but there were few visitors seen this past week. There should be some holdover rainbows for shore anglers using Power Bait near the ramp.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The Georgetown Ranger Station reported there were 4 or 5 boats on the lake every day this past week catching holdover rainbows trolling flasher/worm combos and small Rapalas. The lake came up 3 feet over the past couple of weeks and more rain is in the forecast.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-The lake dropped to 129.8-foot-lower than seen in some time, according to Oroville Outdoors. The bass will be in the channels on the rock structure.