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.
ROGUE RIVER; Gold Beach, Ore.–The river was muddy and blown out of shape the first part of the week. The weekend was the first chance for springer fishing and not very many salmon were caught on Saturday. “I know of only 4 springer’s caught from Lobster Creek downstream to the flats below Elephant Rock,” according to WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secret’s Guide Service. Water temperature was 46 degree’s and as the river temps match the ocean temp the kings will be racing into the river. Guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing said that bankies did well on Sunday, although boats still had low scores, but that should change dramatically as the river drops and warms to ocean temps, which brings in the spring kings.
RUSSIAN RIVER-Still high and muddy and nobody fishing. Beginning to clear up towards Healdsburg. Some rain indicated for this week which may slow it up even more. Shad will probably be the next fishing target here.
UMPUQA RIVER; Elkton, Ore.– Saturday was a fair day back at fishing spring Chinook’s after a few nice days without all of that rain that has lingered in our state, reported guide and WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer. From what I could see, it looked as if most of the springer’s caught were weighing around the mid-teen’s. It won’t be long before the hog lines are formed and “fish on” is being screamed throughout the day as angler’s scramble to reel up lines and break away from the anchor to chase their highly-prized fish.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork; Glide, Ore,–River is still high, but the color is good. We are in the last week of steelhead fishing for most anglers. Reports are the same from all sources that most of the steelhead being caught are post-spawn. The extra high water conditions during the latter part of this fishing season is great news for anglers and fish both. The higher water will make the trip back to the ocean for these fish a lot easier, said guide Curtis Palmer.
TRINITY RIVER, Lewiston-The river above the North Fork dropped back into fishable shape, but almost all of the steelhead still hanging around were post-spawn downstreamers. However, there should be some decent fishing for searun brown trout on tap, and the special “fly fishing only” section of river above the Lewiston Bridge opens the last Saturday in April.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam-The first several miles of the Klamath were a bit high at 1,860 cfs release from Iron Gate Dam, but the river was fishable, and there were still some fresh steelhead arriving. Tributaries like Cottonwood Creek below Klamathon were still high and off-color over the weekend, so the rest of the river below there down to the mouth was still too high and off-color.
BERKELEY-Great salmon opener for boats out of Berkeley. The New Easy Rider and Flying fish caught limits for all passengers and the Happy Hooker tallied 12 fish to 15 pounds. Most fish weighed in between 8 and 15 pounds.
BODEGA BAY-Clear water hampered the opener and the fish were scattered, but persistence paid off for Capt. Rick Powers on the New Sea Angler as he boated 9 fish in the afternoon. With good weather here now, good green salmon water is expected to materialize this week.
EMERYVILLE-Four boats (Super Fish, Sundance, New Seeker, Tiger Fish) from Emmeryville Sportfishing Center fished the opener, scoring 42 salmon for 81 passengers. The morning was tough but they found the fish by afternoon and action this week is therefore expected to improve substantially.
EUREKA-Surf perch, abs and crabs is the short story around Eureka. Perch bit well for surf fishers when the weather cooperated with some up to 12 inches reported. Abalone hunters scored during extreme low tides, as did clammers who dug up good counts of razor clams at Clam Beach.
FORT BRAGG-It was a decent–but not great–salmon opener off of Fort Bragg. Plenty of fish were caught, but it was quite a run to find good green “salmon water”. Abalone proved abundant for area divers, thanks to good weather and favorable tides.
HALF MOON BAY-Plenty of salmon action was to be found without traveling far for Half Moon Bay charter, party and private boats. Angler experience proved to be the deciding factor between low and high fish counts per boat. Huli Cat anglers found a fish a rod on Saturday, but everybody on board got limits on Sunday.
LAWSON’S LANDING-Nearly a salmon per rod, was the synopsis of the salmon opener. Fishers worked a couple of pockets of krill, trolling deeper than 100 feet, for their fish. Leopard shark schooled up near Tom’s Point in Tomales Bay and local anglers released most of the leopards they hooked, out of respect for the spawning critters.
MARTINEZ- Fewer crabs, thanks to recent rains, made it possible to present baits to fish more effectively. Striped bass bit live bullheads all week, while sturgeon dined on eel and grass shrimp combo baits near the Benicia Bridge and mothball Fleet.
PACIFICA-Stripers to 20 pounds bit blood worms, pile worms, anchovies and Hair Raisers for surf and pier fishers who also scored decent counts of surf perch on most days. Crabbers cast snares from the pier and on sandy beaches, on days when weather and sea conditions allowed, resulting in good catches of Dungeness and various crabs.
SAN RAFAEL-Sturgeon fishing is still plenty good, especially with the recent rains chasing away the bait-stealing crabs. Striped bass action is good and improving. Halibut fishing is just getting underway for the season.
SHELTER COVE- Good salmon opener action kept private boaters busy at the fish cleaning station where sizes were compared up to the mid-20s. Overall action was roughly a fish per rod. Clamming was very productive for razor clams this week.
AMERICAN RIVER-There are still some steelhead smolts in the river, and a very few spring run steelhead being caught by the occasional angler. But, being on the river this time of year is more about experiencing the wonders of nature in springtime than catching fish. It’s especially gratifying to know that all this is going on while “civilization” is also bustling about its business within not much more than a stone’s throw from the river’s edge. And in less than a month, first shad will be showing up
FEATHER RIVER-The river has cleared and dropped, and anglers are experiencing a full on striped bass run. Fishing is best from the Bear River down to Beer Can Beach, and anglers are using just about any proven striper catching technique from plugs to drifting minnow to catch stripers from keeper-sized at 18 inches to about 8 pounds
FOLSOM LAKE- The lake is still rising and bass are getting into an aggressive pre-spawn mode moving from points into shallower water. Fishing plastics slowly is still catching fish, but, increasingly, They’re taking crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jerkbaits, swimbaits and Senkos fished weightless and wacky-style. Bait fishermen are soaking minnows and crawdads to deadly effect. Trout and landlocked king salmon were something of a challenge, but salmon were being taken, mostly on the main body, on Sep’s Sidekicks, trailed by white hoochies or Radical Glow Tubes at 40 feet, while rainbows were still hitting top-lined Speedy Shiners, Rapalas, and nightcrawlers behind flashers 150 to 200 feet behind the boat.
RANCHO SECO LAKE-There are still plenty of trout planted for the derby still available for anglers. Bankies are soaking Power Bait, Power Eggs and nightcrawlers at various places around the lake, while those who are able to get out on the water (remember no gasoline motors allowed) in a raft, kayak, pontoon boat or canoe, can troll flies, nightcrawlers behind flashers, Kastmasters and Rapalas. This is also a good time of year to fish for Rancho Seco’s bass and redeared sunfish.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento-The river came down and cleared rapidly (though it’s never really clear), and anglers are finding some great striper action at Miller Park, Bryte’s Beach, So. River Road, Verona, and Garcia Bend. Bloodworms have been the most productive bait, but sardines and anchovies have also been attracting lots of bites. Sturgeon fishing is good, too, around Verona, Lisbon Slough and Garcia Bend. Use pileworms, eels and ghost shrimp, fished by themselves or in combination.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Colusa-The river has cleared and dropped, and the striped bass run is on full bore from Knight’s Landing to Colusa. Fishing for sturgeon was the best of the year, too, on pileworms, eels and ghost shrimp, fished individually or in combination.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-Anglers continued to catch lots of trout in the section of river below Keswick through Redding city limits. Some are big fish, too, weighing up to 4 pounds. Heavy rains blew out much of the Sacramento River, but it remained fishable around Redding, above tributaries. Fly fishers are drifting olive micro Mayflies, bird’s nests, Foxes poopah, prince nymphs and rubberlegs. Spin fishermen have been drifting Glo-Bugs and nightcrawlers, and back-trolling Hot Shots.
AMERICAN RIVER-The flows were still up with the rain this past week and few, if any, anglers were out.
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 87-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina reported that the big spotted bass the lake was famous for were finally on the bite as the spawn got going with the warmer weather. A local tournament produced good numbers of 4 to 6 pounders taken on worms and Senkos near the houseboat cove 5 to 25 feet deep-the winning weight was 21.33 pounds!!
CAMP FAR WEST-The lake is full. The water is beginning to clear. North Shore Resort said that a lot of boats were out fishing with the beautiful weather over the weekend, but few anglers were reporting in. Bass should be moving toward the banks in pre-spawn and spawning mode.
COLLINS LAKE-The lake is full and spilling 4 inches over the dam. The water clarity was improving with 3-foot visibility. The resort released a pen of trout and received DFG and private plants this past week. This week the resort will release 4 more pens of trout. Shore anglers were experiencing “tremendous” action at the dam, the beach, and at the campgrounds. Trollers were doing well at the dam running Needlefish, Rapalas, and flasher/worm combos right on the surface. The biggest fish this past week were all 3 to 3 1/2 pounds and were caught by shore anglers and trollers.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is at 90-percent capacity. WON Staffer Pat Young caught two limits of planter rainbows in 1 1/4 hours trolling threaded nightcrawlers in the top 10 feet from the marina to Keystone Cove. Some trophy trout up to 5 pounds, released by Skippers Cove Marina, were caught just outside the marina and up at Keystone Cove and Long Cove on nightcrawlers, dodger/Wedding Ring combos, and Rapalas.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is at 86-percent capacity. According to Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company, the bass bite was good in the warmer water areas in the West Branch and South Fork. Worms and jigs fished on points near incoming water were working well. The bass were still down to 30 feet deep, though fish could be found shallow as the spawning activity increased with the full moon this past weekend. WON reader Andre Fontenot fished for coho salmon this past week and caught fish at the Green Bridge trolling white glow Apex and splatter pink/clear hoochies tipped with anchovy or scented with Pro-Cure anchovy oil or bloody tuna gel behind Sling Blades and RMT dodgers at 7 to 20 feet deep. The salmon have been a constant distraction to the bass anglers, also with fish to 17 inches reported.
ROLLINS LAKE-The lake is full, muddy, but starting to clear. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported that one boater caught brown trout to 16 inches fast trolling vampire F-7 and F-9 Rapalas in the Bear River arm early in the morning. Casey Reynolds at Long Ravine Resort reported that catfish to 6 pounds were hitting in the evening for shore anglers using chicken livers, sardines, and nightcrawlers.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-The lake is full. Jim Caldwell at Scott’s Flat Lake Resort reported that smallmouth bass to 4 pounds were hitting worms and jigs fished on the rocky shores near the boat ramp at Cascade Shores. Shore anglers were picking up some rainbows, 15 to 18 inches, between the marina and the dam on Power Bait.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR-The Foresthill Ranger Station reported little change here. The day-use facilities were all accessible, but few anglers were out and no one had reported any success to the Ranger Station.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The lake is full. According to the Georgetown Ranger Station, the road to the lake was open and trollers and shore anglers were catching holdover rainbows.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-The lake was at 133.5-foot elevation at press time-81-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported that bass fishing was “great” for anglers throwing jigs on the tule banks and rocky dropoffs. The male bass could be caught up shallow while they were looking for beds-the bigger females were seen cruising. The smaller fish run 1 1/2 to 4 pounds-the big females can weigh 5 to 10 pounds. Gibson suggested trying topwater early.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE-There are a few fish on beds, but most areas have water with too poor visibility to see much. Consider the lake in prespawn for the most part; meaning that most of the fish have not spawned yet, although shallow areas are starting to see the migration of males.
LAKE BERRYESSA-The kokes and salmon are on patrol and rolled shad, anchovies and hoochies had them on the bite in front of the Ranch House and Big Island. As the sun climbs higher in the sky and waters warming during the day, you’ll find bass moving into the shallows with tubes, Senkos or 5-inch hollow bellied swimbaits.
UPPER BLUE LAKE- 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. Go to the resort’s web site for more info and the entry form. It’s great fishing in between and anglers are catching limits, some very quickly. Two anglers caught and released 38 trout on a woolly buggers with the action disc. Some are planters but the average was 1 to 1 1/2 with a few 2 pounders. Hit the east basin either from the highway side, docks or trolling. A plant this past week helped and DFG may do another before the event.
LAKE ALMANOR-If surface temperatures hold at 43 degrees for a few more days, and it’s expected it will, smelt will be starting their spawning cycle. As smelt move closer to shore structure to spawn it will also draw the attention of bigger fish. Rainbow and brown trout as well as salmon are on tap.
BAUM LAKE-The pros at The Fly Shop in Redding said the fishing hasn’t been too good since PG&E is cleaning out a canal section above the lake, so no water is pushing through Baum Lake. We are still waiting for conditions to improve.
IRON CANYON RESERVOIR–Fishing has been fair, but road conditions getting into Iron Canyon have been rough thanks to the snow and rain. The roads are still a “no go” with both snow and rain in the area.
PIT RIVER-Tough conditions continue here due to the weather. According to The Fly Shop, your best bet will be along the Pit No. 3 as Pit No. 4. and Pit No. 5 still has high and off colored water.
SHASTA LAKE-Hit the main lake points for a few larger pre-spawning bass from 5 to 25 feet down throughout the day with A-rigs, Senkos, dart-headed worms and jigs. Or troll for limits of trout in into Hertz Bay or Green and Crul creeks above Holiday Harbor on the east for rainbows, with a few salmon and brown trout possibilities deeper. Blue was the “go to” color this past week.
WHISKEYTOWN RESERVOIR-The water is still cold here and very few fish have been marked or caught. The lake needs to warm up some still.
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 25-percent capacity. Not much change here-boaters were still launching off the east side shoreline and shore anglers were doing best at the inlet.
CAPLES LAKE-The lake is at 51-percent capacity. Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that after a stretch of warmer weather that the ice along the shore was getting soft-frigid nights could refreeze the ice making it safe for a few days until warmer temps prevailed. John Voss at Caples Lake Resort said the resort would be closing for spring maintenance until Memorial Day weekend or earlier if the lake thaws.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)-Both Forks are scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week in advance of the general trout season that opens on April 28.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 79-percent capacity. Ed Dillard said that the ramp at Lightning Tree was open and the dock was in place, but recommended that only smaller boats launch due to shallow water at the end of the dock. The ramp and dock at Honker Cove would be ready for use by this weekend or possibly sooner depending on the weather. Shore fishing was rated as excellent by Dillard. Mallard Cove was producing limits of 15- to 20-inch rainbow on Power Bait. Fly fishermen were doing well on 14- to 17-inch rainbows at Grasshopper stripping dark woolly buggers and nymphs. Trollers were on the lake this past week, but no reports had been heard yet.
DONNER LAKE-The lake is at 63-percent capacity. Not much change here-slow action for trout and macks. Inflated nightcrawlers and worm/marshmallow combos will get an occasional taker.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-The lake is at 83-percent capacity. Both ramps are now open with docks installed at Frenchman and Lunker. Shore anglers were catching lots of 12- to 16-inch rainbows on nightcrawlers and Power Bait. Trollers were just getting started since the ramps only opened recently so no reports from boaters yet.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 74-percent capacity and accessible, but no one has braved the cold to fish here with better action available at the lower elevation lakes, according to Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that a group of locals had been taking limits of big fish out of the lake on a daily basis fishing from shore with Power Bait and nightcrawlers. Fly fishermen were doing well from shore and float tubes stripping olive wooly buggers with blood midge droppers for fish mostly running 15 to 18 inches with some 3 to 5 pounders on occasion.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-The lake is at 88-percent capacity. Not much happening here, shore anglers were picking up a few planters at the first dam on Power Bait and worms.
LAKE TAHOE-The bite was slow over the weekend. Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters took two clients out and they only picked up 3 small fish, and lost 4 or 5 more. Daniels said he found schools of inactive macks at 180 to 220 feet deep, but found the biters at 400 feet deep. Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing said the weather was beautiful, but no one was fishing.
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 32-percent capacity. Not much change here-Prosser Creek and Alder Creek inlet areas were the best bet here with rainbows hitting spinners and Kastmaster spoons.
PYRAMID LAKE-Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported catching 18 fish on the east side of the lake in Anderson Bay at 30 to 35 feet deep on original frog and bleeding frog FlatFish. The cutts ran 17 to 26 inches. The Second Annual Spring Catch-and-Release Trout Derby will be held on April 14-15 and April 21-22-sponsored by Eagle Eye Charters, Crosby’s Lodge, and Sierra Sport and Marine in Sparks. The $80 entry qualifies anglers to fish both weekends with a tri-tip BBQ at Crosby’s on April 21. $20,000 in prizes-1st place is $3000 cash. Call Eagle Eye Charters at 775-574-0900, Crosby’s Lodge at 775-476-0400, or Sierra Sport and Marine at 775-358-5431 for info.
RED LAKE-Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that the ice along the shore was getting soft after longer periods of warmer weather and dangerous to cross-freezing nights could make the ice safe for a few days until warmer temps prevailed. But take care if you do!
SILVER LAKE-The lake is at 22-percent capacity. The ice can get too soft for fishing after a few days of warmer weather-cold nights could refreeze the ice enough to make it safe, but the end of ice fishing is in sight. Maybe now.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 89-percent capacity. The road was clear and boaters could find browns and macks near the dam. Some kokanee were reportedly hitting for trollers running dodger/hoochies combos near the surface on the points.
TOPAZ LAKE-Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported limits of 14-inch to 2 1/2-pound rainbows for trollers running Needlefish and Rapalas in the top 10 feet over the deeper water on the south end of the lake. Shore fishing has been very slow.
TRUCKEE RIVER-Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters (TFFO) reported that nymph and dry fly action was improving in the Glenshire area with the warmer days. Peter Santley at TFFO reported picking up 18- to 20-inch rainbows on March Brown and BWO patterns.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 73-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported that 4-wheel drives could make it to the lake, but no one was making the effort due to the good kokanee action at some of the lower elevation lakes.