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.-River level has constantly been changing on an almost daily basis. The clarity of the water has been changing just about as quickly as the water levels. Water temperature as been 54 degree’s and that is perfect for springer fishing. “Fishing has been better than what has been experienced in the Gold Beach area over the last 5 years,” said guide and WON field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. Spinning anchovies with a spinnerblade in front seems to be working very well.
RUSSIAN RIVER-Steelheading is over and it’s shad time. The river was still high on Sunday but dropping every day, and some shad anglers had come in and bought shad darts and flies and were out trying on Sunday, but no results as of press time. The water warmed to 65 on Saturday, and the shad are expected…if not in the river now.
UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Ore.–Fishing for spring Chinook’s was not good for most diehard anglers last week. Many boats stayed on the river 3 or 4 days in a row with only sad stories of baits becoming waterlogged. Some anglers did find a fish here and there, but not many. “There have been a couple salmon caught higher on the river near Roseburg, so I feel comfortable saying that there are spring king’s throughout the whole river,” said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secret’s Guide Service. Fishing should become more productive over the next week if river conditions drop and clarity becomes better.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam-Flows from Iron Gate Dam increased by over 1,000 cfs to 2,950 cfs, and river is now too high to fish. It is not known at this time when flows will be reduced. Hopefully in time for the famous salmon fly hatch in late May and early June.
TRINITY RIVER-The release to the river from Lewiston Dam is now increasing to a peak of 4,600 cfs which will be reached May 11. Flows will not be back down to a summer level of 450 cfs until July 26. The river is predicted to receive a larger than normal spring salmon run and should become fishable again when flows drop to about 2,000 cfs.
AMERICAN RIVER-As predicted last week, flows have gone up to 3,500 cfs in response to Folsom Lake approaching the “full” mark. There’s been a bit of striper action at the mouth up to about Howe Ave. on swimbaits and jumbo minnows, but stripers will be moving all the way upriver to the dam on the higher flows. And, soon, usually the beginning of May, shad will be entering the river. They’ll be concentrated at the mouth and in the lower river to about Howe for the first week or so, but should move all the way upriver by mid-May.
FEATHER RIVER-The river has been clearing, and the stripers biting on just about anything. They’ve mostly been in the lower river, though, from about the Bear River down to the mouth. Most are small, but some larger fish are starting to show. The release of salmon smolts from the hatchery will definitely perk up the minnow bite. Up in the Low Flow Section, anglers have been catching small steelhead/trout on nymphs and nightcrawlers.
FOLSOM LAKE- The lake is rapidly approaching the “full” mark, and bass fishing has been very good, especially for bass staging to spawn in flooded brush and off points. Fishing plastics very slowly either drop-shotted or dartheaded has continued to outdo reaction baits like crankbaits and swimbaits, although the latter two will likely produce bites from larger fish. Trout have been taking Speedy Shiners and nightcrawlers behind dodgers toplined near the dam. King salmon are deeper, and some of them are in the 20-inch class. Hoochies in various colors-pink has been good–fished between 30 and 60 feet deep by the dam or up the North Fork have been the most productive way to take them.
RANCHO SECO LAKE-Trout fishing was starting to slow as the water warms in the heat, but anglers fishing in rafts, kayaks, pontoon boats or canoes have been getting some trolling flies, nightcrawlers behind flashers, Kastmasters and Rapalas. Fishing for bass with crankbaits, swimbaits and Senkos has enticed strikes from some nice fish. Soaking worms under a bobber has been effective on redeared sunfish.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento-Striper fishing was very good last week as the river cleared some and the amount of debris diminished. Bryte’s Beach, Miller Park, Discovery Park, Verona, and South River Road were all producing stripers from 18 to 24 inches on sardines, anchovies, bloodworms and pileworms. The first reports of shad being caught were starting to come in from Freeport. Fishing for them should really take off as the river continues to clear.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Colusa-The river was clearing rapidly, stripers were biting-mostly schoolies, but a 44.5-pound monster was taken. And fishing pressure was “the worst I’ve ever seen” according to a lot of boaters.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-Trout fishing was very good, and, though nymphing was the most effective way to fish, there was some nice dry fly fishing to be had late in the afternoons. Olive micro Mayflies, bird’s nests, Foxes poopah, prince nymphs and rubberlegs were all good when dead-drifted under indicators. Spin fishermen drifted Glo-Bugs and nightcrawlers, and back-trolled Hot Shots.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE-The bass bite took off this past weekend as warming waters sent spawning bass into the tules, but water clarity was an issue in some areas. If you can, plan your trips here for mid-week, as there are a lot of tourneys going on now. Your best bet is to just get on a tule line in 3 to 5 feet of water and start fishing the edge. Fish will be sitting in the little pockets or just outside the front edge in anywhere from 3 to 7 feet of water.
LAKE BERRYESSA-Skiers Cove, the Big Island and the Ranch House were just a few of the areas anglers were trolling for kokes this past week. Limits were the norm. For bass, the Narrows had a good bite on mostly largemouth bass. Bedding fish weren’t interested in biting.
LAKE ALMANOR-The water’s warming up and the hatches have started. There has been some big trout caught here. One brown weighed in at 7 1/2 pounds! Also, smallmouth bass weighing 2 to 3 pounds as the spawn gets going. The bite will only get better as the season gets underway.
BATTLE CREEK RESERVOIR–No access to this area at this time due to snowdrifts.
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. Depends on who you talk to: the fishing is either great or borderline fair.
CASSEL FOREBAY–Closed until further notice for repairs. All water has been drained to work on structure repairs. Upstream from the Cassel Bridge should still be fishable.
FALL RIVER—According to The Fly Shop in Redding the river is “good to go” for the opener. Dry fly fishing here in May can be some of the most amazing dry fly fishing anywhere.
IRON CANYON RESERVOIR-No reports lately but if you go, watch out for muddy conditions, especially around the ramp.
MANZANITA LAKE–The lake is still frozen and unfishable but the ice can break anytime now. This lake has special restrictions so be sure and read the regulations. Lassen Park is still closed but will likely be open by Memorial Day if there are no major snowstorms between now and then.
MCCLOUD RIVER-Both the weather and water conditions are in great shape for the opener.
PIT RIVER-According to The Fly Shop, the fishing has been slow one day and then good the next. Covering water helps, but bring a wading staff and wear you PFD.
SHASTA LAKE-With the surface temperature at 58 degrees and warming up the bass will be moving closer to their spawn. Both big and small bass were caught off first and secondary points. Jones Valley produced trout and salmon up to 2 1/2 pounds on UV Cripplures, HumDingers and Wiggle Hoochies behind UV Sling Blades.
TRINITY LAKE-The bite was up and down but the dam was the best area to target salmon at 70 feet with an Apex.
UPPER HAT CREEK-DFG has planted some nice trout here for the opening weekend. Fish deep and slow with plenty of weight. Worms, salmon eggs, and spinners will all work well this time of year. Opening weekend will probably see lots of fishermen but pressure will be much lighter mid-week until Memorial Weekend. Fly fishing is tough this time of year but crystal buggers and weighted nymphs work well on the Upper Hat Creek all year long. Add weight and go deep to catch some nice trout.
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 32-percent capacity. Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that the fishing was very good at the inlet due to the increased flows in the Little Truckee. Everything was working-CD Rapalas, Kastmasters, Rooster Tails, Panther Martins, Krocodiles, Thomas Buoyants, inflated nightcrawlers, and Power Bait.
CAPLES LAKE-The warmer weather was softening the ice along the rocky shorelines, making it questionable for accessing the lake for ice fishing. If there’s open water showing along the rocks, try some shore fishing just to play it safe. Caples Lake Resort anticipates the lake thawing in mid-May if the weather stays warm, before Memorial Day if it cools off.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)-Heavy runoff could be a problem for opening weekend, especially on the East Fork. Alpine County is scheduled to make an 1800-pound plant of trophy trout in the West Carson, East Carson, Markleeville Creek, and Silver Creek before opening day. Cooler weather forecast for the end of the week may help reduce flows in the river. Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort said that bait and lure fishing will still be productive-just stay out of the heavy current and fish in the slower pocket water along the bank.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 80-percent capacity and is scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing made an exploratory trolling trip this past week and found 14- to 18-inch rainbows hitting Shasta Tackle Humdingers in nickel green glitter and red/gold sand from Camp 5 to the island and off Mallard Point at 4 feet deep. Shore fishing has been sporadic with rainbows spawning up the creeks-the fish can be seen cruising the shorelines. Inflated nightcrawlers and Power Bait at Mallard Point were working. Call Dillard for the latest conditions at 530-966-5500.
DONNER LAKE-Fishing here was the slowest of all the Truckee area lakes. Trout fishing was hit-or-miss, and little word had been heard about any mack action, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON-The North Fork is scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. Caribou Crossroads Resort will be sponsoring an opening weekend trout derby and barbecue. Prizes will be awarded for 1st and 2nd big fish for adults, and 1st place big fish and youngest angler for juniors under 12-years old. Call 530-283-1384 for info.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-Wiggins Trading Post reported that fishing was good for shore anglers and trollers. The campgrounds will all be open by this weekend for the trout opener. The roads around the lake were open and passable with 2-wheel drive.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The road to the lake was open but fishing pressure was light due to the cold water, according to Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort reported that both roads to the lake were clear. Bait fishermen were doing well for rainbows up to 4 pounds on Power Bait and nightcrawlers. Fly fishermen, either wading or in float tubes, were picking up some nice trout stripping woolly buggers and blood midges.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-Sly Park Resort reported little happening on the fishing scene this past week. With the warm, sunny weather this past weekend, the lake was loaded with hot boats making their first runs of spring.
LAKE TAHOE-The fishing picked up this past week for charter boat operators. When WON got a hold of Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing, he had just finished limiting out for 4 clients on macks to 7 pounds trolling spoons and stick baits at 180 to 200 feet deep off Crystal Bay and Dollar Point. Mickey Daniels caught fish to 9 1/2 pounds trolling 200 to 225 feet deep at Carnelian Bay with Sling Blade/Koke-a-nut or minnow combos
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 36-percent capacity. Heavy fishing pressure over the past couple of weeks was beginning to show, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports. Some smallmouth bass were hitting for anglers bouncing jigs off the bottom on the right side of the dam. The inlet and the left side of the dam were best for trout.
PYRAMID LAKE-The Second Annual spring Catch-and-Release Trout Derby fielded 56 contestants and was won by Glen Duffy of Sutcliffe, NV with a 7 3/4-pound cutthroat. Co-sponsor Joe Mendes of Eagle Eye Charters reported slow fishing from one end of the lake to the other due to winds the first weekend of the derby and unseasonably hot weather for the final weekend.
RED LAKE-The hot weather softened the ice enough to make ice fishing dangerous here-done for the season!! If open water is showing along the dam, shore fishing could be very productive.
SILVER LAKE-The hot weather over the weekend softened the ice to the point of ending ice fishing for the season-try any open water along the banks with bait and lures, or better yet head to a local stream for the opener.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 89-percent capacity. With the surface temp at 45 to 49 degrees, the kokanee trolling was hit-or-miss off the points for trollers toplining dodger/hoochie combos. The Little Truckee and Sagehen arms were producing well for rainbows on flasher/worm, Needlefish, or spinner combos. Some nice browns were hitting Rapalas fast trolled in the early morning off the points and the inlet in Davies Creek.
TOPAZ LAKE-Topaz Landing Marina reported good action for trollers running firetiger Rapalas and Needlefish at 20 feet deep in the middle of the lake for limits of 13- to 15- inch rainbows. One boater reported catching-and-releasing 16 trout in a morning of trolling.
TRUCKEE RIVER-Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that the hot weather had triggered heavy snowmelt and the river flows had increased and water clarity had decreased enough to blow out the fishing on the main Truckee through Reno and below the Boca outlet. Above the Boca outlet through Glenshire, the Truckee was fishing well with skwala stones and mayfly patterns on 5X and 6X tippets, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports. The Little Truckee was fishing well on size 20-22 midge and baetis patterns, and San Juan Worms. Lure anglers can expect good action for the opener on the main river on Rapalas, Rooster Tails, and Panther Martens.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 79-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported that the roads to the lake were clear, but with the cold water, fishing was slow and fishing pressure was low.
WEST WALKER RIVER-The river is scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. Sam Foster at the Toiyabe Motel reported that the warm weather had triggered heavy runoff and the river was blown out this past weekend. The forecast calls for cooler weather at the end of this week that could slow the flows to a fishable condition by Saturday. The Northern Mono County Chamber of Commerce was planning on planting 750 pounds of 3-pound average rainbows this week. For the latest info, call Foster at 530-495-2281.
BERKELEY-Salmon provided action at limit levels for party boats from Berkeley. Most fishing occurred off of Pigeon Point where salmon were clustered and quite hungry.
BODEGA BAY-Three boats are running nearly daily and scoring better than a 1.5 fish per rod average in an area of brown, 52- to 53-degree water. Fish are running an average of 8 to 10 pounds but Sherman Peters of Petaluma caught a 16 pounder. Harnessed anchovies on the troll is the go-to method. Along the beaches near harbor, limits of surf perch were caught by experienced surf casters.
BROOKINGS, Ore.–Spawning activity turned up the success rate for area perch fishers along beaches, jetties and rocky areas. Strong freshwater flows forced rockfish and lingcod fishers to travel distances to find a consistent bite, yet good counts resulted.
EMERYVILLE-The salmon bite turned on Saturday for boats fishing off of Pigeon Point. The Seagull II on Saturday had 27 fish to 17 pounds for 16 people and on Friday saw 6 fish to 10 pounds caught by 18 people. The New Seeker on Sunday got 23 fish to 20 pounds for 15 people and on Friday had 8 fish to 12 pounds for 9 anglers.
EUREKA-Crabbing continues to be productive and shore fishing is very good for perch. Rocky areas and jetties produced rockfish and kelp greenling. Anglers are beginning to gear up for the May 1 opener of the northern zone salmon season.
FORT BRAGG-Best salmon action is from the Whistle Buoy to Cleone, north of town. The Trek II, is now running salmon trips and also working at crabbing. Water is still too clear to make salmoneers happy, but that is expected to change soon and herald the beginning of a strong bite. Abalone hunters are finding easy pickings, though the size is not yet impressive. Speardivers are finding plenty of lingcod and shallow water rockfish at depths of less than 20 feet.
HALF MOON BAY-Jumbo salmon over 30 pounds showed up in the counts for boats fishing off of Pigeon Point where the action is easy limits for experienced anglers on either the troll or the mooch. The Huli Cat and the Queen of Hearts are both in the thick of the action.
MARTINEZ-The best sturgeon bite of the season made for a busy week on boats out of area harbors and docks. Seal Island, Benicia Bridge and the Mothball Fleet all hosted plenty of fishing action for stripers as well as sturgeon. The sturgeon chewed eel and shrimp, while stripers preferred bullhead baits.
OYSTER POINT-On Saturday, boaters came in to the launch ramp with 9 halibut to 28 pounds. Two halibut (4-pounds and 7-pounds) were caught from the pier. An abundance of jacksmelt is thought to be what is tempting the flatties. Stripers bit Hair Razers and Kastmasters with bucktails for shore casters near the Brisbane Tubes.
PORT SONOMA-River fishers scored very large sturgeon in the Napa, Petaluma and Sonoma where several oversize sturgeon were carefully released. Striped bass fishing continues at a pace that almost competes with sturgeon action. Water conditions were just right for both species.
SAN RAFAEL-Sturgeon took mud shrimp and ghost shrimp baits near the Pumphouse. Striped bass fed on shrimp and shiners at China Camp and the Pumphouse. Halibut counts did not increase last week and the action remained centered on Paradise.
AMERICAN RIVER-The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the river was in beautiful condition, but showing some color. Rumors were flying around the Ranger Station that some nice rainbows in the 16- to 18-inch class were being caught and released in the Cache Rock area.
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 89-percent capacity. Billy Graham at Emerald Cove Marina reported that bass action was improving as the fish moved up on the bank to spawn. 11- to 12-inch kokanee were hitting spoons in Willow Creek
CAMP FAR WEST-The lake is full. North Shore Resort reported good bass fishing. One angler said he caught-and-released 32 bass to 2 pounds one day this past week using green pumpkin Brush Hogs on the brushy points. Rumor has it that crappie are beginning to bite on the brushy banks.
COLLINS LAKE-The lake is full. This past week the lake received a double private trophy trout plant (3 to 7 pounders) and 2 pens were released. 3 more pens of 2- to 2 1/4-pound rainbows will be released this week. Shore fishing and trolling were both providing near-limit to limit action on rainbows to 3 1/2 pounds. Shore action continued to remain consistent at the beach and dam. Trollers worked the dam and the main body with Rapalas, flasher/worm combos, and spoons.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is at 94-percent capacity. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported that some of their customers had been catching 3- to 4-pound rainbows, part of the trophy fish released by Skippers Cove Marina. The dam and Keystone Cove were some of the sites reported by trollers who were using Rapalas and Speedy Shiners. One troller also picked up a 2-pound brown. Lisa Rogers at Skippers Cove Marina reported that Eric Foy of Smartville caught a 6-pound rainbow trolling a Kastmaster at Hogback across from the marina. Trollers were catching lots of limits made up of a couple of the bigger fish along with plenty of planters.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 66-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that if the weather stayed warm, the road to the lake could be passable. Call ahead for the latest road conditions at 530-333-4312.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is at 90-percent capacity. Rick Kennedy reported picking up two limits of 14- to 16 1/2-inch coho in less than an hour right out in front of the spillway launch ramp toplining Sling Blade/white hoochie combos in the top 10 feet. Drop-shot worms, Senkos, and shaky head worms were all working this past weekend. There were some groups of big spots cruising the banks and being in the right place at the right time could produce a lunker. Guide Ron Gandolfi said there was a big movement of fish to the bank with the warmer water temp, especially on brushy banks or those with submerged trees.
ROLLINS LAKE-The lake is full and muddy. Casey Reynolds at Long Ravine Resort reported that some 10- to 14-inch rainbow trout were being caught at the inlet of the Bear River. Boaters drifting bait at Freeloader or trolling in Long Ravine were also picking up some trout.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-The lake is full. Jim Caldwell at Scott’s Flat Lake Resort reported that the lake was planted by the DFG this past week-4000 rainbows. Trollers and shore anglers were doing well. Shore anglers used Power Bait and worms on the point to the left of the marina, and the trollers did best at the spillway. Smallmouth bass were hitting worms and jigs from Cascade Shores to the dam and up toward the inlet at Hensley’s.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR-The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the campgrounds would probably be open for the trout opener but there was a chance that the water system would not be operable-call ahead at 530-367-2224.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the road to the lake was clear of snow. The campground hosts were working on getting the facilities on line, but there was a chance that they would not be ready by the trout opener-call ahead at 530-333-4312. Trollers were still picking up 12- to 14-inch holdover rainbows.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-The lake was at 133-foot elevation at press time-the 81-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported that lots of bass boaters were on the lake this past week. Bass were hitting black/blue jigs on the rocky drop-offs and brown/green jigs in the tules. Spinnerbaits were working in front of the tule banks also.