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 fishing got tougher and tougher as the river flows dropped out, and despite slides upriver that kept the river colored, the fishing dropped off considerably over the weekend. But rain was falling on Sunday evening, expected to bring the river back up, and anglers should still find the occasional bright fish, and good numbers of downers, according to Any Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, who said that guide Mick Thomas put a client onto another 20-pound fish on Sunday, his second of the season.
EEL RIVER-Variable day-by-day, but there have been some outstanding days here with guide like Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing Adventures and Dave Jacobs of Professional Guide Service finding double-digit catch-and-release days on chromer steelies. Switching back and forth between roe and plugs has been the ticket to success. The South Fork was also fishing very well and it was “glowing green” over the weekend and producing multi-fish days.
MAD RIVER-The Mad River’s lower stretch was slow for steelies, but there were still some nice fish being caught up around the hatchery, according to guide Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing Adventures. There were more and more spawned out fish in the mix, however. Most were being caught drifting roe.
ROGUE RIVER, Grants Pass, Ore.–This is one of the few rivers that anglers are allowed to harvest a native steelhead, but it must measure 24 inches or greater. This river also has a fantastic hatchery run of winter steelhead. Fishing is still spotty from Grants Pass downstream to Graves Creek boat ramp at the top end of the wilderness section of the river, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. While some boats are catching 1 or 2 fish in a day of fishing, other boats have given me reports of having a difficult time finding a bite from even a trout, Palmer said. “I did a two-boat trip early this week and was fortunate to have caught 3 hatchery steelhead in one boat and while the second boat didn’t catch any fish, they did have a half dozen good strikes.
RUSSIAN RIVER-Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport and Tackle said the fishing was slowing down as not as many steelhead were coming in due to the low flow conditions. “I think it’s because the water is getting lower and fish aren’t moving, rather than a lack of fish,” he said. There have been a lot of fish rolling in the lower river, so they’re beginning to hold up. Flows are currently at 450 cfs and the water is clearing. The fish are spreading out, and downstreamers are showing up in bigger numbers. Anglers need to switch to clear water tactics, meaning smaller baits, lighter line and smaller lures. There were reports of a 16-pound steelhead caught at the Narrows below Monte Rio by a “local guy”, but no name was available.
SMITH RIVER-Low and clear conditions had all the steelies in the riffles and “one-shot slots” said guide Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service. Even so, guides were finding fair to good success. Guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing said the weekend rain should give it a good shot, and improve things. Expect more downrunners and fewer new fish, although this time of year some BIG steelies are available.
UMPQUA RIVER, Sutherlin, Ore.-The river has colored up since last week, but winter run steelhead are still being caught, according to guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. After talking to some of the guides in the area, I have come to the conclusion that the steelhead are not spread throughout the river system, but have grouped together in pockets recently. Anglers have been staying in the same hole for several hours while catching multiple fish. Rather than drifting the river in search of a steelhead here and there, when you find the fish, stick with them.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Glide, Ore.–With the constant showers of snow in the passes in the evenings and melting during the daylight hours, the river became murky by the end of the weekend. This has also caused the temperature of the water to become much colder over the week, but it hasn’t seemed to have effected the steelheads movements in the river. I am averaging a half dozen fish a trip, reported guide and WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service, and I have received reports of others doing better than that on some days. In a couple weeks this river will be in prime season and the number of boats catches can be in the high teens.
TRINITY RIVER, Lewiston-The upper portions of the Trinity above Junction City are low and clear, but there are still plenty of steelies around. The downrunner count has increased, however. There are more bright fish, and fewer downrunners below Douglas City. Use a stealthy approach.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek-The river was fishable down to the South Fork, but low and clear and fishing was slow. Below the South Fork, the river takes on a nice green color and fishing improves. Fish the tailouts with bait and spinners. Call ahead.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam-The Klamath was in good fishable shape down to Orleans with the best conditions and fishing upstream of Happy Camp. The water was still high and hard to fish below Weitchpec. There’s little fishing pressure above Happy Camp, and that long stretch holds a mix of adult steelhead to 6 pounds and native rainbows. Drift roe and nightcrawlers, and backtrolled crawdad plugs all work. Fly fishing is slow, however.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE-Anglers report catching bass on ripbaits, swimbaits, plastic worms, and live bait. Successful anglers reported catching fish mid lake, at the upper end, and in the Redbud arm. Bass were found from 4 feet to 28 feet, depending on how anglers were targeting them.
LAKE BERRYESSA-According to guide JD Richey, very few have been fishing except after the last rain when anglers hit the coves for catfish, a few trollers dragged shad patterned baits near the shoreline for trout and bass anglers jigged deep for bass.
LAKE MENDICINO-As expected, anglers hit the lake in droves, with most trolling by the dam for small planted trout. DFG will continue to plant here until it gets too warm in early summer, depending on the water level.
LAKE SONOMA-Steelies have moved up in the creek arms. Bass have been slow, try an A-Rig, shaking worms or Senkos in 15 to 25 feet of water.
UPPER BLUE LAKE-While the bite is still light, trollers have been working the west end of the lake, mostly around the springs and the cement wall by the highway using flasher and worms, deep water flies, Kastmasters and Needlefish from 20 feet to the surface for near limits. The action has also been decent at the Narrows Resort docks, where limits were near the norm on floating baits or nightcrawlers.
LAKE ALMANOR-Arctic Fox tube flies as well as pond smelt imitation soft plastics fished in the top 10 feet of water continue to produce fish. Working the shallows at various points around the lake has produced a 50/50 mix of browns and rainbows to 4 pounds.
BAUM LAKE-This is one of the most consistent fisheries in northern California and fishing continues to be good. Expect to fish nymphs and wet flies most of the day. Dry fly fishing is at its best mid day. BWO hatches are the dominant insect event next to PMDs.
PIT RIVER-According to The Fly shop in Redding, hatches of BWOs; early springtime caddis and skwalla stones are responsible for the spike in the quality of fishing. Nymphing under indicators or high-sticking will be the most productive fishing techniques.
SHASTA LAKE-Fishing was slow, or at least the reports were, as few anglers were out. A few bass anglers were out testing their new A-rigs, and the Pitt arm was a good place to using tubes, jigs and crawdad colored worms.
BENICIA-Improving tides brought improved sturgeon fishing from Benicia through western Grizzly Bay. Eel and grass shrimp combo proved to be the most effective bait for sturgeon to 59 inches.
BODEGA BAY-Very large surfperch to 3 pounds showed up along local beaches where anglers caught them with Carolina Rigs baited with Gulp! sandworms. Rocky areas from Jenner to Salt Point gave up rockfish, lingcod and cabezon, but only a few souls fished the area this week and brought back reports. Crabbing has slowed since early season but still ranks as good. Capt. Rick Powers at Bodega Bait & Tackle said his boat is running trips for limits of crabs and when weather allows, sanddabs.
CRESCENT CITY-Herring moved in along the shore and crowded the harbor where anglers fished bait gangions or tossed throw-nets to catch a bucket of herring. Most of these choice baitfish will be prepared and frozen for use as baits for halibut and lingcod once the local sportfishing season begins.
EUREKA-Many local anglers headed to area rivers or up to the Chetco River to get into good ongoing steelhead action. Closer to home, crabbing remained excellent and surfperch bit during the lower surf in the middle of the week. Kayakers worked Humboldt Bay for sharks and rays as well as crabs.
FORT BRAGG-Hook and line anglers managed decent catches of perch from sandy beaches, rockfish from rocky shorelines and easy pickings for crabs and dabs for boaters. The best action last week and weekend was enjoyed by spearfishers who scored lingcod, cabezon and rockfish.
HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA-Crab and ‘dab combo trips continue unabated out of Half Moon Bay Harbor with limits the rule. Shore fishers inside the harbor caught bat rays with whole squid and had limited success on rockfish along the breakwater. At Pacifica, pier fishers hauled up Dungeness and rock crab by casting baited snares.
MARTINEZ-Sturgeon fishing produced respectable results from near Benicia Bridge and the first row of ships. Eel was the hot bait and a strong outgoing tide proved the best time to hookup with keepers.
OYSTER POINT-Perch action was good for pier fishers using cuts of pile worm and ghost shrimp. Whole baits, cast out farther, tempted bites from leopard sharks and bat rays. Sturgeon fishing remains slow and locals feel that rain is needed to kick off the bite.
PETALUMA-Local river and creek mouths saw shore fishing success for both sturgeon and striped bass. Sonoma Creek and Napa River were best for sturgeon while Petaluma River mouth produced catches of striped bass.
SAN RAFAEL-Stripers continue to show up in bigger numbers as their annual migration gets underway. Sturgeon fishing is only fair as the wait continues for strong tides and good weather.
AMERICAN RIVER-There are lots of spawning steelhead on riffles above Sunrise Blvd. They should be left to spawn in peace. Below Sunrise, the river is full of small steelhead, from about 8 to 14 inches, plus the occasional larger fish to 22 inches. There is still a scattering of winter adults arriving, but not many. Most of the fish are being caught on nymphs like caddis, baettis and pmd’s dead-drifted under indicators. Spin and bait casting anglers are scoring are drifting nightcrawlers, single eggs and roe, swinging Little Cleos and Blue Foxes, and backtrolling Hot Shots and Brad’s Wigglers.
Flows are low, at around 1,500 cfs.
FEATHER RIVER-The striper bite was slow, and the river muddy below Jack’s Slough. The occasional steelhead was being caught in the Low Flow Section on nymphs under indicators, drifting nightcrawlers, and swinging spinners, but fishing was slow.
FOLSOM LAKE- It’s not fast fishing, but trout were being caught trolling near the surface on a variety of methods like Apexes, nightcrawlers behind flashers, and small Rapalas. King salmon were being caught at various depths deeper than 25 feet, mostly on hoochies. Bass are in transition, and fishing for them is still slow and fairly deep-about 20 feet off points leading to coves. Drag Carolina- rigged and dartheaded Robo-Worms and tubes over structure.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento-A few striped bass were taken last week off South River Road, and sturgeon fishing was pretty good from Sacramento up to Knight’s Landing. through Colusa. A good warm rain should help fishing a great deal. Ghostshrimp/pileworm combinations seem to be the best bait for sturgeon.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing-Sturgeon fishing was pretty good, especially at night all the way to Ward’s Landing. Horseshoe Bend, above Knight’s Landing was one of the better spots. Fish ghostshrimp/pileworm combos.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-Trout fishing continued to be good down to Anderson. The best fishing continued to be around Redding though. Drifted Glo-Bugs, Mayfly or caddis nymph imitations under indicators if you are fly fishing.
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 16-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that ice fishing was still safe at the dam though the upper end of the lake was open. Shore fishermen were having a much easier time with access due to the amount of open water from the inlet down. Power Bait and worms were picking up a few rainbows.
CAPLES LAKE-John Voss at the Caples Lake Resort reported that there were lots of ice fishermen at the spillway-the ice is two feet thick with 2-foot of snow on top. Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that the ice fishing wasn’t as good as expected-“it really hasn’t popped this year for some reason.” Bay shrimp, worms, Power Bait, and jigged Kastmaster spoons were all producing.
CARSON RIVER (East)-Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort said he talked to another fly fisherman at Hangman’s Bridge who found the fishing to be very slow-the water temp is 36-degrees, too cold for any kind of decent trout action.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 74-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported mixed action for shore fishermen at Mallard Point-limits one day, and two fish the next. There was still 6 to 8 inches of ice at the dam, but ice fish was slow this past week-the open water was moving closer to the dam.
DONNER LAKE-The whole lake was open water. A few rainbows and small macks were caught by shore anglers using inflated nightcrawlers according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-The lake is at 79-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported good action for shore anglers at Big Cove, Snallygaster, and Crystal Point on nightcrawlers. There was still safe ice, 8 to 10 inches thick, right at the dam were ice fishing was still productive. The roads around the lake had several inches of snow on them and 4-wheel drive was recommended. The road to the dam is regularly plowed.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 73-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported that the roads were too icy for safe passage and recommended staying away until warmer weather prevails.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort reported that the lake was open for shore fishing, and both roads were clear to the lake. There were some big fish planted by Alpine County earlier this winter, so there should be plenty of nice fish to be caught.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-The lake was planted by the DFG on Valentine’s Day and the best action has been in the cove adjacent to the boat ramp. Power Bait and worms were working well for limits of planters. Trollers were experiencing slow action on bigger macks and trout, according to Sly Park Resort.
LAKE TAHOE-Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported catching limits of macks at 185 to 210 feet deep trolling spoons, and minnow imitation stickbaits in the Crystal Bay Point area. The macks ran 2 to 8 pounds on his Sunday morning trip, and 3 to 8 1/2 pounds on his afternoon trip.
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 33-percent capacity. The ice fishing at the dam is good if you can make the trek to the ice.
PYRAMID LAKE-Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported catching 12 to 21 fish per trip trolling blood frog Flatfish at 17 to 30 feet deep at the Needles and North Nets. His fish were running 17 to 23 inches. The Crosby Lodge Derby was being led by a 10-pound, 14-ounce cutthroat caught by Jeremy Higley of Sparks while fly fishing at Warrior Point.
RED LAKE-Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters took a couple of clients here this past week and they caught limits of cutthroats and brookies on Power Bait, worms, and jigged Kastmaster spoons. Other anglers on the lake at the same time were all catching at least a couple fish each.
SILVER LAKE-With few current reports available, ice fishing should be good for anglers using bay shrimp, worms, and Power Bait along Hwy 88.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 88-percent capacity. The road to the lake and the boat ramp were icy this past week. Some daring boaters launched small craft, but 4-wheel and chains were mandatory to keep from sliding into the lake-too dangerous for mere mortals!! One small boater picked up a mix of rainbows and small macks trolling near the dam, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.
TOPAZ LAKE-Topaz Landing Marina reported limit action on 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-pound rainbows for trollers running perch and firetiger CD7 Rapalas 75 feet back on the SW side of the lake. Shore fishermen were catching a few fish-J. Briggs picked up a 9-pound, 6-ounce rainbow from the north shore on a nightcrawler and is leading the Topaz Lodge Derby.
TRUCKEE RIVER-Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported good action on the East Truckee through Reno and below for rainbows and browns for technical anglers using baetis patterns, especially on warmer, overcast days. Clients caught fish to 23 inches this past week and rumors of 26- to 28-inch fish were heard. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported pretty good action in the Glenshire area on golden stones and dark streamers along the seams in the long runs. Rainbows and browns from 18 to 26 inches were reported according to Tom Brochu.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 55-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported that the recent snows left the road to the lake in dangerous condition-snowy and icy-and recommended staying away until the weather improved.
AMERICAN RIVER-The River was running very low and clear with little fishing pressure.
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 67-percent capacity. Jason Kincanon of Woodland fished the lake this past week with a buddy and they worked the lake all day for two dinks-fishing is poor!!
CAMP FAR WEST-North Shore Resort reported good bass action for fish to 4 pounds. Dennis Feckner and Mike Wasenia both picked up 4 pounders, while Ron Franks of Rocklin caught 11 bass to 3 pounds on morning dawn worms in the Bear River and Rock Creek arms at 10 to 15 feet deep. North Shore Resort will host a team bass tournament on March 10. Entry fee is $40/team pre-sign, $50 day of event, and $10 for big fish. Call 530-633-0803 for info.
COLLINS LAKE-The DFG planted 800 pounds of catchable rainbows and the Resort stocked 3000 pounds of 4 to 11 pounders for the holiday weekend. Cody Johnson caught a 7 1/2-pound rainbow on a crankbait while fishing the east side. Shore anglers and trollers have been catching limits of mostly DFG planters. The beach and dam were best for the shore anglers, while trollers did well at the dam.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is at 92-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported that trollers were picking up limits of 10- to 12-inch DFG planters on flasher/worm combos in the marina in 2 hours of fishing.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 50-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the road to the lake was now 4-wheel drive at best and caution was recommended. The boat ramp could be icy, so extreme caution is mandatory!!
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is at 72-percent capacity. Oroville Outdoors reported that Alabama rigs first thing in the morning, and then tubes, jigs, and worms on the points at 20 to 40 feet deep were producing nice limits of bass. It took 35 pounds to win the AC Pro-Am this previous weekend, and the Alabama rig figured in heavily for the top finishers.
ROLLINS LAKE-Casey Reynolds at Long Ravine Resort reported that boaters were catching limits of rainbows drifting worms and Power Bait in deeper water from Orchards Springs to the inlet. Some fish were being caught by shore anglers, but no limits. The water was clearing, but still a little murky.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-Jim Caldwell at Scott’s Flat Lake Resort reported that fishing was slow, but trollers were picking up some rainbows on flasher/worm combos working the area from the marina toward the dam.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR-The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that there was some snow on the ground around the lake, but “not enough to stop someone from going fishing.”
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that trollers were still catching 3 to 4 holdover rainbows per person using flasher/worm combos.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-The lake is way down to 126.5-foot elevation-55-percent capacity. Fishing is slow with the cold water temp.