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 almost dead early last week, but a bath of fresh fish and a lot of downrunners went on the bite following heavy rain, hail and snow Wednesday, Feb. 29, that brought flows to 1800 cfs. It was “perfect conditions”, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Guide Dave Castellanos also found good action on all his fishing days. Guides were catching as many as a dozen fish a day some days after the rain. “Steelheading is not over here, yet,” said Martin.
COQUILLE River, South Fork; Powers, Ore. -Bank fishermen are doing quite well above Haze Ranch for steelhead. Driftboat anglers are only catching a fish here and there compared to a few weeks ago, when it seemed as if every boat had multiple fish harvested. “I am still expecting a last push of fresh fish into this river in the next week or two,” said Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “Besides for the last run of fish, this river is winding down on it’s steelhead season.”
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.- Rain on Wednesday night on the lower Rogue brought in a good number of fresh steelhead and more spring salmon in an early start to their season here. Jim Carey of the Rogue Outdoor Store said jetboaters and plunkers caught steelies from Agness all the way down to the mouth, and more spring kings were also caught, for about a half dozen fresh ocean-run springers. A good run of springers is expected this year.
RUSSIAN RIVER-The river received some rain, but not enough to bring it up much, although it was getting higher and a bit muddy. Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville expected it to be clear by the weekend. The mouth has been opening and closing, and steelhead are “still coming in”, they said on Sunday.
SMITH RIVER- The weather was great on the Smith River this past week and a lack of fishing pressure made the experience a fun one, according to guide Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service. The river was dropping and starting to clear over the weekend. His clients went 2 for 4, 1 for 3 and 1 for 4 late last week, on fish to 12 pounds. Another derby is coming up this weekend.
UMPQUA River, North Fork; Glide, Ore. -River has been fluctuating with the low level snow flurry’s, followed by warm days. This has been making it difficult to know what the next day will bring for fishing conditions, said WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secret’s Guide Service. “Even on the tough days of fishing I am catching a few quality steelhead,” he said. “Over the last week I know of 16 hatchery steelhead being caught. They are reared on the North river, but are supposed to return to the South Fork. The year before last we saw a huge percentage of our hatchery steelhead return to the North Fork, and I have a feeling that we might have that same thing happening this year again. Any day we will start to see hundreds of new fish entering the river,”
UMPQUA River, South Fork; Canyonville, Ore. – Fishing has been slow over the last week. Reports of up to two dozen boats at Stanton Park with only 3 steelhead being caught one morning. Other reports of anglers barely scratching up one fish for a day of pounding the water. Extreme temperature changes to the water could be having an adverse affect on the steelhead’s feeding and movements in the river, making it more difficult to catch them, according to guide Curtis Palmer.
TRINITY RIVER, Lewiston-Fishing remained very good, but most of the new fish entering the upper end of the river are now wild and the hatchery count has greatly declined. Last week’s storms didn’t have much effect on water conditions except below the South Fork. Smolts have been released to the river from the hatchery and are becoming a great nuisance. 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. It’s best to wrap the roe in netting.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam-The Upper end of the Klamath was still producing nice steelhead down to Orleans, but the best fishing continued to be in the first few miles below Iron Gate Dam. Fishing pressure was almost nil, but the anglers working the water were catching around half a dozen adult steelhead to about 6 pounds and a like number of native rainbows on Drift roe and nightcrawlers, and backtrolled plugs with and without a threaded nightcrawlers. . Fly fishing has been slow in the cold water, however.
BENICIA-Excellent sturgeon fishing aboard the Reelentless in Suisan Bay on eel combo baits late in the week and into the weekend. Keeping baits away from crabs was tricky, but stronger tides and tough baits such as eel combos helped.
BODEGA BAY-The New Sea Angler made it back out to deeper water where it was “sand dab city” along with full limits of Dungeness crabs. Rocky areas north of Bodega Bay produced decent catches of black rockfish, kelp greenling and cabezon.
DILLON BEACH-Dungeness crabs are inside Tomales Bay and showing up in traps and hoops as well as on snare rigs. The effort is about half and half… snares and traps or hoops. Surf perch action slowed due to inclement weather and people are just now getting back outdoors over the beautiful weekend.
EUREKA-Inclement weather did not stop everyone. A few hardy souls fished the jetties and piers for perch and rockfish, while a couple of kayakers worked the depressions in Humboldt Bay forl, sevengill and rays.
FORT BRAGG-Spearfishers were active before and after the big weather, enjoying good success on large lingcod. Ian Butler at Subsurface Progression Dive Shop in Fort Bragg described a local group dive trip during which 3 divers took limits of lingcod to 30 pounds. Surf fishers had only a couple of days this week when conditions allowed safe and comfortable fishing, yet they found the surf perch willing biters.
HALF MOON BAY-Rough weather most of the week kept boats in the harbor, though good weather and calming seas over the coming week is expected to tempt anglers out for crabbing and dabbing. Along the shore and area piers, crabs and perch were the main targets of anglers pinning blood worms or pile worms on their hooks. Rocky areas, including Rockway and Lindemar, are just beginning to see shore fishing action for rockfish, greenling and cabezon after the dangerous surf period during the week.
MARTINEZ-Options abound for Martinez area anglers. Sturgeon bit for passengers aboard Flash Fishing, while private boaters scored sturgeon, stripers and flounders. Pier fishers got into the act over the weekend with all the same options that boaters enjoyed.
OYSTER POINT-a 53-inch sturgeon was caught from the Oyster Point pier this weekend, topping the area action. Shore/pier anglers targeted leopard shark, rays and perch. A surprising bite of large barred surfperch developed late last week and continued through the weekend. Boat-based anglers found the beginnings of seasonal success bounce-balling for halibut off of the airport.
PORT SONOMA-Sturgeon found what baits the crabs didn’t consume immediately and fishing was best near the mouth of the Petaluma River on shrimp & eel combo baits. The same general area began producing better catches of striped bass to 23 inches as the linesides begin migrating through the bay and tributaries.
SAN RAFAEL-Halibut moved in to share the feeding grounds with sturgeon and striped bass, allowing lucky anglers a shot at three great fish. Sturgeon bit mud shrimp and eel (crabs find it difficult to take eel baits off hooks), while stripers and halibut tasted live shiners and frozen herring.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE-A variety of baits are working if anglers are willing to stick with them. Swimbaits with the Little Creeper Trash fish being one of the more popular swimbaits, the S Waver by River2Sea is another good bait and of course using a variety of plastic swim type trailers on the Alabama Rigs. Jumbo minnows are also a good bet as the bass begin their move into the shallows.
LAKE BERRYESSA-Trollers are reporting great success on king salmon by the dam and the mouth of Markley Cove, fish to 6 pounds have been taken. Meanwhile, the bass bite took a hit from the previous week; smallies that were on beds disappeared and only few largemouth bass were biting green pumpkin tubes with red flake.
LAKE MENDICINO-Pressure has backed off as the trout bite slowed, another plant will take place later this month.
UPPER BLUE LAKE-Weather has warmed up, the sun’s out and anglers were everywhere. Dock anglers are getting 3 to 4 fish to 18 inches as hold-over’s are still available, the rest were 15- to 16-inch fish taken on floating baits and nightcrawlers. Trollers are also using nightcrawlers, or Needlefish with a piece of nightcrawlers. It was not hard to find 17- or 18-inch fish but a lot were lost at the boat as they have been very active and good fighters.
AMERICAN RIVER-There are still some bright steelhead coming upriver. They’re taking dead-drifted small nymphs by fly fishers and nightcrawlers, single eggs and roe, and small spinners and spoons by spin fishermen. Unfortunately, there are also quite a few steelies still spawning on shallow riffles. They and their incubating eggs are being put into great jeopardy by the drop in flows to 800 cfs this week, half of recent levels which were already low.
FEATHER RIVER-The striper bite continued to be slow even though the river has cleared up. A very few steelhead were being caught in the Low Flow Section and around Gridley on nymphs under indicators, drifting nightcrawlers, and swinging spinners.
FOLSOM LAKE-The lake is at it minimum level for this year, and will soon be rising since outflows to the American River are lower than inflows. That should trigger bass to start moving toward shallow water and greatly improve bass fishing which should start taking reaction baits as well as slowly worked plastics. Trollers are working hard for trout and king salmon but some of the salmon are exceeding 4 pounds. Troll near the surface with nightcrawlers behind flashers, and small Rapalas for trout. King salmon are being caught at various depths deeper than 25 feet to 50 feet mostly on Hoochies and Radical Glow Tubes.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento-A few more striped bass reports are trickling in from various spots up and down the river, but fishing is still slow. South River Road, Brytes Beach, Miller and Discovery parks are some of the few. Some sturgeon-not many are being caught from Garcia Bend to Colusa, mostly on pileworm/ghost shrimp combos. Rain is still badly needed.
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. Spin fishermen are drifting Glo-Bugs and nightcrawlers.
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 17-percent capacity. Not much change here-still unsafe for ice fishing despite a couple feet of new snow. Shore fishing possible on upper end of lake where lots of open water was showing.
CAPLES LAKE-The lake is at 49-percent capacity. The ice was still 1 1/2 to 2 feet thick with a dusting of new snow on top. Fishermen were doing best at the spillway on catchable rainbows and a few macks, 16 to 22 inches, on Power Bait, worms, bay shrimp, and jigged Kastmaster spoons, according to Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters.
CARSON RIVER (East)-According to Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort, the river was in beautiful condition, but the water temp was too low for decent action in the restricted section below Hangman’s Bridge.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 74-percent capacity. A foot of new snow fell this past week prolonging the ice fishing season. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported good action for ice fishermen at the dam through 6 inches of ice. Power Bait, worms, and small jigs were all producing rainbows averaging 15 inches. Shore fishing success at Mallard Point was fair due in part to the light bite. Hold your rod so you can set the hook quickly, you only get one chance! Use a light 2 1/2 to 3 foot leader and cast out as far as you can for the best results. Caltrans may plow the parking lot and ramp at Honker Cove late this week-the ramp dock could be in a few days later.
DONNER LAKE-The lake is at 37-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported slow fishing from shore. The west end beach was the best place to try this past week for an occasional rainbow or small mack on inflated nightcrawlers.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-The lake is at 80-percent capacity. 1 1/2 feet of new snow fell on the area this past week making access around the lake difficult without 4-wheel drive-icy in the morning and muddy in the afternoon. Ice fishing was good at the dam where there was still safe ice. Lots of open water on the upper end of the lake at Turkey Point, Nightcrawler Bay, Crystal Point, Big Cove, and west of the dam for shore fishing. Power Bait and worms were working for 12- to 14-inch rainbows, with a few to 18 inches according to Wiggins Trading Post.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 73-percent capacity. Snowed in.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort reported that the roads to the lake were clear. Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters at South Lake Tahoe reported that fly fishermen were doing well from the shore and float tubes stripping black or white wooly buggers, and blood midges for rainbows averaging 12- to 14 inches, but some lunker fish, 3 to 8 pounds, were being caught. Shore anglers using Power Bait, worms, and Kastmaster spoons were doing well too.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-Sly Park Resort reported some action for 18- to 20-inch macks trolling Rapalas in the Narrows. Shore anglers were catching some planter rainbows at the first dam on Power Bait and worms.
LAKE TAHOE-Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported limit action for macks to 10 pounds trolling spoons 235 feet deep off Dollar Point. The morning bite was better than the afternoon bite, but the afternoon fish were bigger on the average.
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 33-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports still recommended staying off the ice-TOO UNSTABLE FOR ICE FISHING!! The lake was still frozen over, so there was no opportunity for shore fishing.
PYRAMID LAKE-Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported good action for cutthroats on the north end of the lake in Fox Bay. Four clients landed 28 fish this past Friday, and two anglers fought 34 fish to the boat on Saturday. The cutts all ran 17 to 24 inches and were caught trolling 17 to 21 feet deep over 25 to 35 feet of water on frog and purple/chartreuse Flatfish.
RED LAKE-Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported good action on brookies and cutthroats averaging 10 to 12 inches with a few good fish, 16 to 17 inches, on Power Bait, small chunks of worm, and jigged 1/4-ounce Kastmaster spoons. There were a couple feet of new snow on the ice.
SILVER LAKE-The lake is at 8-percent capacity. Ice fishing only fair with a few rainbows, and the occasional mack taken.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR-The lake is holding at 88-percent capacity. With a couple of feet of new snow this past week, the lake was 4-wheel drive accessible only and not safe for boat launching. Shore fishing at the dam and in the Sagehen arm could produce some rainbows or a small mack for lure casters and bait fishermen.
TOPAZ LAKE-Linda Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported good action for trollers running black/gold, perch, and rainbow trout CD Rapalas 20 feet deep on the SW side of the lake. The rainbows were averaging 13 to 15 inches.
TRUCKEE RIVER-Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported slower action on the river through Reno and below due to heavier flows caused by the melting of snow from the storm this past week. Baetis, BWO, golden stone, and skwala patterns were still working for fish up to 22 inches. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported slower action this past week due to melting snow in the Glenshire and Hirshdale areas on skwala stones and blood midges.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 56-percent capacity. Snowed in.
LAKE ALMANOR-Rainbow trout are on the bite and sizes are running from 16-inch planters up to 3 pounds. Try trolling a Pin Minnow, Rapala, Speedy Shiner or a Needlefish along the Peninsula from Rec. 2 to Bunell Point.
BAUM LAKE-Fishing continues to be consistently good here. The Fly Shop said this past week and angler stripped leeches in the deeper water north of the access and caught a 20-inch brown trout. Cloudy days can produce great dry fly fishing, so watch the weather.
PIT RIVER-According to The Fly Shop in Redding, fishing on the Pit has been great! Pro guide Kris Kennedy and brother Greg shared a very good report, saying the best bite happens when fishing wet flies, nymphs under heavy split shot.
LAKE SISKIYOU-According to SC Guide Service, the lake is fishing very well, with plenty of trout being caught been trolling Rapalas at the west end of the lake to 2 pounds.
SHASTA LAKE-Targeting the browns at the north end of the McCloud where trout up to 6 pounds are being caught in the top 25 feet using Rapalas and Apexs.
AMERICAN RIVER-Flows were up with the recent storm. Warmer weather will melt some of the new snow and keep the water temp low. Fishing reports were hard to find.
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 67-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina reported that trollers were picking up limits of 10-inch kokanee in the Garden Point/Moran Cove area on dodger/hoochies combos. Bass fishermen were out in good numbers but few reports were coming in-it’s either real good, or real bad-no one’s talking.
CAMP FAR WEST-North Shore Resort reported that the bass bite slowed down this week. Lots of boats were out on Saturday, but most complained about the poor bite. North Shore Resort will hold a team bass tournament on March 10–$40 pre-sign, $50 at event, $10 big fish-call 530-633-0803 for info.
COLLINS LAKE-An 1800-pound private plant was made early this past week-half 3 to 7 pounders and the rest 11- to 13-inch catchables. Shore action was good at the beach and dam with lots of limits coming in using Power Bait and worms. Trollers were doing well along the east side and at the dam running Rapalas and flasher or dodger/worm combos.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is at 90-percent capacity. Heavy fishing pressure-40 to 50 boats per day– slowed the bite. Smaller fish were coming out of the marina, but bait drifters and trollers caught consistently larger trout to 2 1/2 pounds up lake from Keystone Cove to Buck’s Beach, according to Dillon Davis at Skippers Cove Marina.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR-Last week’s snow storm closed the road to the lake. Last report until the road is passable.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is at 71-percent capacity. Bass fishing was hit-or-miss at the Anglers Choice Pro-Team this past weekend. According to guide Ron Gandolfi, there were two windows of opportunity for catching fish-one very early for 1 to 2 hours followed by a fast drop off in the bite, then a short active period late in the afternoon. Anglers who hit the right spot in the morning with an Alabama rig did well. Two 7-pound largemouths were weighed in along with a number of 4 pounders. The afternoon bite was on a mix of reaction baits and tubes, jigs, and worms. Main points, shallow coves and secondary points produced the best action. Coho salmon were still hitting in good numbers in the upper Middle Fork on Sling Blade/hoochie or spinner combos.
ROLLINS LAKE-The lake is at 95-percent capacity. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported that trollers were catching browns to 18 inches and rainbows, 12 to 14 inches. The browns were hitting a fast trolled F-9 Rapala in the early morning in the Bear River arm. The rainbows were caught trolling a Sling Blade/Needlefish combo run slowly in the bay below the Bear River inlet.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-The lake is at 88-percent capacity. The latest report available said that trollers were doing best for rainbows while running flasher/worm combos from the Cascade Shores area down to the dam. A few fish were coming in for shore anglers working the point out from the marina with Power Bait.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR-The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that there were 4 to 5 inches of snow at the lake. The road to the lake is plowed by the county road department, but the road into the day-use facilities is not-4-wheel drive is recommended.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The Georgetown Ranger Station reported 8 to 10 inches of snow in the area, but the road should be passable with 4-wheel drive. Call 530-333-4312 for the latest road conditions. Trollers were doing well before the storm-Kalan Richards of El Dorado Hills picked up 14 rainbows to 16 inches trolling F-9 Rapalas and Sling Blade/Wedding Ring combos.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-The lake was at 130.2-foot elevation at press time-60-percent capacity. Water level was back up into the tules, but the water temp was still low. Warmer weather should improve the fishing.