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.-Closed on March 30, and high water flows kept action to a minimum for the last week of steelhead fishing.
EEL RIVER-Closed on March 30 with very high water flows.
GARCIA, GUALALA rivers-Closed on March 30.
MAD RIVER-Closed on March 30.
NAVARRO, NOYO rivers-Closed on March 30.
OREGON RIVERS-All were blown out over the weekend except for a small portion of the upper Rogue River, where winter steelhead were still available. Spring salmon fishing and late winter steelheading is expected to resume as flows drop out.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.-Flows dropped from flood stage to 16,000 cfs on Saturday, and anglers may have had a window this past week to anchor up near shore for a try at the increasing spring salmon run, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. The springer run is expected to grow and remain good through April.
RUSSIAN RIVER-Still fishable over the weekend, but conditions were unknown due to expected rains this week. Downstreamer steelhead will still be in the river through mid-April and available, depending on river conditions. Returns to the hatcheries were about half of normal as of March 19, but increasing daily.
SMITH RIVER-This river remains open to fishing with specific regulation changes. No reports were available as of press time on Monday.
TRINITY RIVER, Lewiston-The river was in decent shape down to Douglas City, but flows were higher and the water somewhat off-color and flowing high, but fishable down to the North Fork. The river was blown out below that point. A very few fresh steelhead were still moving into the upper part of the river, but most fish were spawners and post-spawners. Fly fishers were using golden stones, copper Johns and big brown rubberlegs under indicators. Conventional fishermen were backtrolling plugs and sidedrifting roe. It’s best to wrap the roe in netting to mitigate against the hordes of bait-stealing smolts being released from the hatchery.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam-The river continued to be in clear, fishable condition for the first several miles below Iron Gate dam, and a small number of fresh steelhead continued to enter the upper reaches to join the native rainbows. There were very few anglers out on the water, but they were finding some success for adult steelhead to about 5 pounds on drifted roe and nightcrawlers, as well as backtrolled plugs.
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 21-percent capacity and pretty much all open water except for some residual ice at the dam. Fishing was best at the inlet for anglers casting spoons or using Power Bait and worms for rainbows running 14 to 16 inches, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports. The best action was in the early afternoon.
CAPLES LAKE-6 feet of new snow this past week with more in the forecast-might be a good week to stay home by the wood stove and read a book, or just go skiing at Kirkwood instead.
CARSON RIVER (East)-Off-and-on snow fell, but there was little accumulation according to Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort. The flows were up a little from the melting snow and the water temp was still too cold for any kind of fishing success, according to the anglers that Sodaro talked to on the restricted section of the river below Hangman’s Bridge.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 77-percent capacity. Most of the snow melted around the lake this past week, but there was still snow and ice on the shady parking lot at Honker Cove that was delaying the opening of the ramp. Ed Dillard of Dillard’s Guided Fishing fished Mallard Point this past week and caught some 15- to 17-inch rainbows on Power Bait on a 2- or 4-pound, 18-inch leader rigged with a size 16 treble hook. The bites were still light and holding the rod greatly improved success. The ice fishing is definitely over for the season-“It would be like walking on a Slurpee.”
DONNER LAKE-Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that fishing here was slow. There were some boaters out jigging for macks on the bottom in deeper water, but there were no reports of any exceptional fish being caught.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-The lake is at 81-percent capacity. Little snow or rain this past week, so shore fishing was good for anglers using Power Bait and worms. The road to the lake is plowed to the dam, though 4-wheel drive is still recommended to get on the roads around the lake.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 74-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported that snow and ice on the roads made it difficult or impossible to reach the lake, and more weather was in the forecast for all this week.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-The roads to the lake were clear, but the poor weather kept most anglers away and near the wood stove this past week, according to Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-The lake received 2 feet of snow this past week and there were still accumulations at lake level that made shore fishing less than inviting, according to Sly Park Resort. Little happening here this past week and more weather is forecast for this week.
LAKE TAHOE-High winds kept boats off the lake all this past week and poor weather was in the forecast for all of this week, too. Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters had to cancel all his trips due to the weather. The fish are there, you just can’t safely get to them in 20- to 30- mph winds!!
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 35-percent capacity. Most of the lake was showing open water except for a big patch of ice at the inlet end from the old boat ramp to Hobart Mills out 150 yards from the shore. Brian Nylund from Mountain Hardware and Sports and a friend were casting Kastmaster spoons in firetiger and watermelon patterns at Hobart Mills and caught several 14- to 16-inch rainbows. Nearby anglers using Power Bait and worms were also catching fish. Nylund said that fishing at the dam was very productive. The best fishing was in the early afternoon.
PYRAMID LAKE-Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported that strong winds kept most boaters off the lake this past week. Carla Molino at the Pyramid Lake Store reported that some locals got out on the lake during short windows of opportunity and picked up a few fish trolling. Shore anglers were finding improving action at the North and South Nets on flies and jigs.
RED LAKE-Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that ice fishing was productive for mostly cutthroats and few brookies at the dam on worms and jigged Kastmaster spoons. Call 530-541-8208 for the latest ice/snow conditions on the lake.
SILVER LAKE-The lake is low. The ice should be safe for fishing but few reports have been available.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 88-percent capacity. The road was open to the lake, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports. Snow around the lake made hiking to open water in the creek arms difficult. The best spots to try were at the boat ramp, dam, and the coves leading into the Davies Creek arm using Kastmaster spoons, Power Bait and worms.
TOPAZ LAKE-Strong winds kept most boaters off the lake according to Linda Fields at the Topaz Landing Marina. The few anglers with bigger boats that could brave the weather were still catching some nice rainbows running Rapalas. At its worst, the lake was showing 4-foot waves breaking on the shore-too rough for safe fishing!!
TRUCKEE RIVER-Mountain Hardware and Sports reported some action for fly fishermen in the Glenshire area on baetis, BWO, stones with a red Copper John dropper, San Juan Worms, and blood midges. The Reno area saw better dry fly action on BWO’s on overcast days or golden stones on the sunny days in deeper runs.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 65-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported that snow and ice on the road to the lake would make access impossible, or at least very difficult, for most anglers. A lifted 4×4 with chains all around might get in, but WHY??
BENICIA-While not many fish have graced the store scale, Curtis Hayes at Benicia Bait said there is a good sturgeon bite across the bay at the Ozol, and some big stripers are showing at the Middle Grounds. “The sturgeon bite slowed a little at the Mothball Fleet,” said Hayes. “Brett Anglin, Brad Anglin and Buck Johanek brought in a 51 incher.” They fished near Buoy 4 with eel and grass shrimp. Halibut are showing up down the system, with Pinole Shoals thick with flatties, some up to 20 pounds. Anglers should try a trolling trip there or down to Paradise with bright colored halibut trolling rigs.
BERKELEY-The Happy Hooker ran a fun trip that offered some great action on surfperch and crabs. Deck assistant Dave Marquardt said 11 friends and family boarded the boat and they fished from Fort Point to Bakers Beach, then around Angel Island for a bunch of 1- to 2-pound surfperch, mostly pogies (shiner perch) and rainbows. They used pile worms on the rocky spots for the top results. The crab effort produced limits of jumbo Dungeness.
BODEGA BAY- Captain Bob Monckton on the Reel-lentless has been fishing Suisun Bay for sturgeon and stripers, but after next week, he’ll be planning for the April 7 salmon opener out of this port. Not much going on here, but some crabbing and sanddab fishing.
EMERYVILLE-No trips planned except maybe a halibut trolling trip until the April 7 salmon opener.
EUREKA-Ben Williams of Pacific Outfitters (retired) said the weather has been a major factor lately, but when they can, crabbers are getting plenty of Dungeness. When the ocean laid down, surfperch fishing was a top bet, and commercial surf smelt netters are already loading up on both night and day fish. The first razor clams of the year have been found, with the south side of Clam Beach open this year (that’s the tougher side to find clam beds on).
FORT BRAGG-Captain Randy Thornton expects to get the Telstar back on the water this week after an engine upgrade and boat overhaul. He said none of the other boats have been running fishing trips, but the whale watching trade is robust. Even the commercial crabbers are staying in. “All the more for me when I get back out!” said Thornton. Locally, rockfish and lingcod are legal game for shore fishermen. Abalone season opens on April 1.
HALF MOON BAY-While crabbing is still fair game, and the local beaches are a good bet for surf perch and the occasional striped bass, everyone’s eye is on the salmon “ball,” game starting on April 7.
MARTINEZ-Lisa Resentez at Martinez Bait and Tackle said a couple nice sturgeon were weighed in by a Concord family, and an oversized diamondback was released by a pier fisherman. Ghost and grass shrimp are the top bait, and buoy 2 was the hot spot. A few striped bass keepers are showing up, but mostly anglers reported large numbers of shaker stripers. The rains seem to be helping out the crab problem, and should only continue to push the bait stealers downstream.
POINT SAN PABLO-Captain Frank Miller on the Fury fished Saturday, and despite the rainy conditions, the wind was light and fishing was good. His group fished north San Pablo Bay, hooking two keepers, a 46.5 incher and a 56 incher. The rain still hasn’t put a dent in the crabs here, but constant attendance to the baits produced the fish near Buoy 11 in 6 feet of water.
AMERICAN RIVER-This is kind of an in-between time on the American River with steelhead fishing slowing down and the shad run not net starting. However, this is also the time of year that persistent anglers who don’t mind prospecting for the small native steelhead of the American River, occasionally be rewarded with one or two of these football-shaped 3 to 5 pounders, a remnant of the run that used to come upstream before the dams were built.
Drift small bits of roe, swing Blue Fox spinners or Little Cleos, or dead-drift nymphs and swing steelhead streamers.
FEATHER RIVER-The river was high and muddy below the Yuba and Bear rivers. It’s still low and reasonably clear farther upstream, but fishing continued to be slow. There are a few small steelhead still present in the Low Flow Section.
FOLSOM LAKE-This is THE time to fish Folsom, and fishing will continue to be very good into May. Trollers are catching trout near the surface on nightcrawlers behind flashers, and king salmon on Hoochies and Radical Glo Tubes behind Sep’s Sidekicks fished down around 40 feet. The lake has come up 30 feet in two weeks and is full of debris, so anglers need to use extra caution. Bass fishing has been improving and they are staging off points going into coves prior to making their move to shallower water to spawn. The water is still very cold, so there is virtually no reaction bite. Drop-shot and drag Carolina-rigged Robo-Worms.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento-The river went up over 10 feet and has come back down but it still cold and muddy, so striper fishing is poor. However, sturgeon fishing was very good last week, up to Colusa. Lisbon Slough is producing both sturgeon and catfish.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-The heavy rains blew out much of the Sacramento River, but it remained fishable around Redding, above tributaries. Fishing for native trout continued to be good, but it’s going to be a nymphing affair for awhile. Spin fishermen were drifting Glo-Bugs and nightcrawlers.
AMERICAN RIVER-Flows were still up with all the rain. Rain is in the forecast for all this week, so fishing pressure will be low at best.
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 82-percent capacity. Rainy weather most of this past week and in the forecast for all this week was keeping fishing pressure low according to Emerald Cove Marina.
CAMP FAR WEST-North Shore Resort reported little fishing pressure with all the rain this past week and more rain is in forecast for this week. With a little clear weather, bass will be moving into the shallows.
COLLINS LAKE-The lake is spilling 4 inches over the dam. The lake received a private trout plant this past week-900 pounds of 4- to 11-pound trophy fish and 900 pounds of catchable rainbows. Shore anglers at the dam, beach, and Open Area were catching mostly limits of rainbows on Power Bait and worms. The biggest fish reported this past week was a 4 1/2-pound rainbow caught at the dam on worms by Aubrey Lolmaugh of Yuba City.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is at 89-percent capacity. Rainy weather this past week kept angling pressure to a minimum, according to Skippers Cove Marina. Trollers willing to brave the weather caught a few rainbows in the marina area. The pen-reared trout at the marina will start being released the first two weeks of April.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is at 81-percent capacity-up almost 30 feet just this past week with all the rain. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that the bass were moving into the coves and hitting worms, Senkos, and Paradise Tackle Company finesse jigs in brown, green, and smoke 5 to 20 feet deep. On trips this past week, Gandolfi was picking up 2- to 3-pound spots on walls and secondary points leading into the coves, especially those with incoming water. The reaction bite was slow-lots of bumps, but few fish committing to the ripbaits, spinnerbaits, and A-rigs.
ROLLINS LAKE-The lake is scheduled for another DFG trout plant this week. According to Casey Reynolds at Long Ravine Resort the lake received a DFG trout plant this past week, but the lake was muddy and fishing was slow.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-The lake is spilling. Jim Caldwell at Scott’s Flat Lake Resort reported that one boat, while trolling at the dam, landed two 2 1/2- to 3-pound smallmouth bass and three 3-pound rainbows. Other trollers were picking up 12- to 14-inch rainbows on flasher/worm combos at the dam.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR-Some snow fell this past week, but the day-use facilities were open according to the Foresthill Ranger Station. There is still a very big tree floating near the boat ramp. Fishing pressure was low to non-existent due to the weather.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-According to the Georgetown Ranger Station, the road was open but few anglers were at the lake due to the poor weather, and more bad weather is in the forecast for this week.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-The elevation was 132.5-foot at press time-75-percent capacity. With rain this past week and more rain this week, fishing will be slow. As soon as the weather breaks and the water warms up, the bass should start moving to the bank for pre-spawn activity.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE-The month of April is a great month of fishing for the anglers who choose to use live bait. Whether fished under a slip float or fly-lined with a tiny splitshot, the average boat with two anglers will go through 6 to 7 dozen minnows a day. Each end of the lake with launching facilities has a bait shop or tackle shop nearby to supply anglers. April is also the month for swimbaits, as more and more bigger fish move up to the spawning areas.
LAKE BERRYESSA-Few reports from here but the ones that came in suggest an improving bass bite as they start to move up. The rain did entice the trout and kokes to bite in front of the Big Island.
LAKE MENDICINO-Once the weather settles back down the pressure will be back up by the south ramp where DFG planted their fish.
LAKE SONOMA-Bass are in the top 10 feet, with rising, muddy waters, action in the main body was found with worms, jigs and Lucky Craft ripbaits. Up in the creek arms; try spinnerbaits, jigs and swimbaits fished around standing timber.
UPPER BLUE LAKE-Even with the cold and storms, anglers were still catching 3 or 4 trout in 10 to 20 feet. A woolly bugger with black and gold/green thread in it got top billing. Water temperatures are 50 degrees from top to bottom. The trout have been at the west and east end where there is running water coming in, as well as along Highway 20 down towards the east down to The Lodge at Blue Lake. No bass action once the water got cold again. Don’t forget April 27 and 28 are the dates to be up here for the annual Blue Lake Trout Derby held at the Narrows Resort.
LAKE ALMANOR-Prior to the storms, anglers were trolling with Arctic Fox Trolling Flies in orange or pearl bikini Needlefish for both rainbow and brown trout from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pounds and the occasional kicker on the west side as the east side has muddied up.
BAUM LAKE-The pros at The Fly Shop in Redding said the fishing has been great for anglers fishing nymphs under indicators. Anglers have been finding good and consistent action all day.
PIT RIVER-Tough conditions here due to the weather. According to The Fly Shop, your best chances will be along the Pit no. 3 and Pit no. 4. Pit no. 5 will be too high and off colored.
SHASTA LAKE-Bass were the better species to target in murky waters; although you could try for bass or trout where there was inflow. Spotted bass to 5 pounds were taken on a variety of tackle, including the A-rig and spinnerbaits.