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.-Rains and upstream releases cooled the flows and slowed the king salmon bite for springers. It was good to very good fishing early in the week, but success dropped off noticeably later in the week, although flows were dropping over the weekend, and the action should pick back up later this week as the temps get into the 50s. Reports from guide Bill Divens of Salmon King Lodge, Curtis Palmer of River Secrets, and Andy Martin of Wild Rivers all confirmed the slowdown, but also that there is a lot more fishing to come.
RUSSIAN RIVER-It’s time for shad fishing! The shad are in, conditions are good and getting better, and anglers are already catching fish. According to Steve Jackson at King’s Sport & Tackle in Guerneville, the river flows are 850 cfs and dropping out, and the first shad were caught on Saturday, when one angler caught 7 of them at Johnson’s Beach.
UMPQUA RIVER; Elton, Ore.–Fishing for spring Chinook’s has been on the slow side for most anglers. There have been a few boats that are doing better than most of the other’s. Water conditions seem to be ideal for springer fishing, with a dark green color, 51-degree temperature and a water level that should have the salmon moving from the banks to the main channel for traveling, according to WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service.
UMPQUA RIVER:, North Fork; Roseburg, Ore.–The river has had a fairly light amount of fishing traffic compared to the last 10 years, according to guide and WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer. “I have noticed that farther upriver, above the town of Glide, fisherman are also scarce. There have been a couple sparse reports of a springer caught here or one there, but nothing to what I am used to seeing this time of year. I stopped by the viewing area at the Winchester Dam and saw a half dozen summer steelhead making there way upriver. I was disappointed to only see 3 salmon in the windows while watching for over 30 minutes. I am sure before long the windows will be full of bright springer’s racing upriver to the deep salmon holes.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam-Flows from Iron Gate Dam were up to 3,900 cfs, blowing out the entire river. But fishing should be dynamite for the famous salmon fly hatch in late May and early June if flows decrease in time.
TRINITY RIVER-The river is too high to fish, but salmon fishing should be outstanding when flows drop back into fishable condition. The upper part of the river should be fishable sometime around the middle to late June and the lower part of the river to be fishable sometime around July 4.
BERKELEY-Emerging halibut and striped bass activity kept boats, including the Happy Hooker, busy inside the Bay, though Capt. Jim Smith intends to add rockfish to the options, outside the Bay, when groundfish season opens on May 1. Halibut and stripers showed a preference for live baits. Party boats from Berkeley Sportfishing found quick, easy limits of salmon near Deep Reef, averaging 10 pounds but ranging up to over 20 pounds, before late week winds hampered fishing. Capt. Jack Chapman on the Lovely Linda found good fishing for leopard shark and sevengill shark in the south Bay.
BODEGA BAY-Salmon fishing was good, with some limits. The best part is that the average size of the salmon is increasing, with many reaching 17 to 18 pounds. Another bit of great news is that many of the fish caught were within a quick, easy run from Harbor.
EMERYVILLE-Halibut, striped bass and sharks inside the Bay kept the New Huck Finn and the C-Gull II busy this weekend. On Saturday, the C-Gull II saw 25 anglers catch 4 halibut to 14 pounds, 4 stripers to 6 pounds, 1 44-pound soupfin shark and 1 21-pound leopard shark. The New Huck Finn had 22 people boat 2 halibut to 14 pounds and 8 striped bass to 7 pounds. All action was slow-trolling anchovies.
EUREKA-Shore fishing continued to prove excellent for perch, rockfish and even an occasional lingcod. Crabbing was still a strong option with good results. Area boats are preparing for their salmon season opener, May 1.
FORT BRAGG-Salmon action was close by, with 1 fish per rod averages coming from between the Whistle Buoy and Laguna Point. Fish ran 10 to 14 pounds and with lots of shakers to keep anglers busy. Hoochies and anchovies on the troll are most effective. Net-casters worked area beaches at high tide to easily fill a bucket with smelt. Noyo Harbor jetty anglers caught cabezon, greenling, rockfish and rainbow perch. Blake Tallman of Subsurface Progression dive shop scored a big 10 5/8-inch abalone at low tide.
HALF MOON BAY-Limits of salmon -most running 10 to 15 pounds -by late morning were the norm, with easy runs of a dozen miles, as reported by Huli Cat skipper, Capt. Tom Mattusch and Sherry Ingles of Half Moon Bay Sportfishing and Tackle. Rockfish season begins below Pigeon Point on May 1 and boats not busy fishing salmon are preparing for bottom fishing.
LAWSON’S LANDING-A good strong bite of smallish salmon, mostly shorts, but with keepers mixed in, kept everyone interested. Most of these fish were out in 160 to 200 feet of water from the surface down to 100 feet. Crabbing was better than decent in Tomales Bay. The red tide didn’t hurt the abalone here too bad and divers reported seeing quite a few. Some of the lowest tides of the year are from the 5th to the 10th this month so clammers and abalone pickers are preparing.
MARTINEZ-Private boat sturgeon fishing was as good as it gets for boaters out of Martinez Marina, with grass shrimp as the preferred bait. Last weekend pier anglers got into the act with two keepers. Most stripers caught were on the smallish side with a few bigger ones mixed in.
OYSTER POINT-Halibut anglers spread out over a wider area to find their quarry, which ranged from the Bird Cage to Hunter’s Point. The average flatty went 10 to 12 pounds and most were caught by slow-trolling anchovies or herring. The exceptions to the rule were two halibut caught by pier fishers who also this week scored a decent count on leopard sharks and plenty of smelt.
PORT SONOMA-Upper San Pablo Bay kicked out striped bass, sturgeon and halibut. Up tributary rivers and streams, sturgeon action remained very strong and striped bass added variety. Shrimp were the best baits in the rivers and streams, while live baits worked best out on the Bay.
SHELTER COVE-Crabbing for Dungeness proved to still be going strong for the Bite Me, which also posted limits of salmon. Salmon action bounces between shakers and then surprise hits by fish to 18 pounds.
AMERICAN RIVER-Flows continued to climb, to 7,000 cfs last week, as Folsom approached the full mark, and inflows exceeded 10,000 cfs as snowmelt peaked in the warm weather.
Fishing in the high flows has been a challenge, but when flows decline back to 3,500 cfs or so-soon hopefully-fishing for striped bass and shad should be very good. Shad will be concentrated at the mouth and in the lower river to about Howe, initially, but should be all the way to Hazel Ave. by mid-May.
FEATHER RIVER-The river has been yo-yoing, so it’s been a challenge to keep up with the movement of the fish in response to flow fluctuations. Early in the week stripers were all the way up to Shanghai Bend, but when flows dropped toward the end of the week, they moved all the way down to Nicolaus Bridge. Minnows and trolling Yo-Zuris have been the bait and lure of choice. The Low Flow Section continued to produce some small steelhead and trout on nymphs and nightcrawlers.
FOLSOM LAKE- The lake is full, and bass fishing was the best of the year. Bass are moving into the shallows to spawn. Work flooded brush and off points from just off shore to about 15 feet. Working plastics slowly, drop-shotted or dartheaded, still brings the most bites, but swimbaits and weightless Senkos have been effective for some larger bass. Trout and landlocked king salmon fishing might be good one day, slower the next, so you have to put in your time. But, nice examples of each were still being caught last week, on Speedy Shiners and nightcrawlers behind dodgers toplined near the dam. King salmon were taking Hoochies in various color between 30 and 60 feet deep by the dam or up the North Fork.
RANCHO SECO LAKE-Trout fishing was very good again last week, and boaters in rafts, kayaks, pontoon boats or canoes were getting some nice holdovers from recent plants on flies, nightcrawlers behind flashers, Kastmasters and Rapalas. Bankies were soaking nightcrawlers and Power Bait. Some nice bass were being caught crankbaits, swimbaits and Senkos. Redeared sunfish were biting worms under bobbers.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento-Striper fishing was good last week, but shad stole the thunder as they arrived in big numbers, taking jigs from Freeport to Verona. Bryte’s Beach, Miller Park, Discovery Park, Verona, and South River Road continued to produce stripers from 18 to 24 inches on sardines, anchovies, bloodworms and pileworms. However, a 33 pounder was taken at Merrit’s to win the striper derby.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Colusa-Stripers were moving up and down the river as flows fluctuated-upriver toward Colusa as the flows increased, downriver toward Knight’s Landing as the river dropped. Drifting and backbouncing minnows were attracting lots of bites, but so was throwing plastic worms and soaking sardines.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding-Trout fishing continued to be 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-With bass on beds, a good choice right now is to have a drop-shot in the water at all times. RoboWorm staples such as the MMIII, oxblood, and the Folkestad Special are the basics most of the year here and especially right now.
LAKE BERRYESSA-Bass fishing has been good to great all over the lake, with fish on beds and aggressive. For some already nice-sized kokes, switch to smaller lures and go a little deeper, try 23 to 34 feet deep as the waters are warming up.
LAKE ALMANOR-The spring bite is in full swing and nice trout, mainly rainbows were found in all of the popular spots such as from Rec. 1 to the A-frame, Rec. 1 to Bunell Point and the Lake Cove area. Try Needlefish of Speedy Shiners.
BATTLE CREEK RESERVOIR–No access to this area at this time due to snowdrifts.
BAUM LAKE-Steve Vaughn, in Burney stepped out of retirement to correct my last report. The water flow from the Castle Pond downstream to upper side of powerhouse is now coming down the creek bed and not through the pipe. Baum Lake is still getting its same flows. Vaughn said the lake is fishing fairly well, especially since it was stocked.
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. Castle Pond was also stocked and upstream from the Cassel Bridge should still be fishable.
FALL RIVER—No reports from the opener have come in yet.
MANZANITA LAKE–The lake is now open and fishable, but will probably need a week of nice weather to get the fish active s there are no reports as of yet. This lake has special restrictions so be sure and read the regulations. Lassen Park is only open 10 miles into the Devastation Wilderness Area but will likely be open by or before Memorial Day.
MCCLOUD RIVER-Both the weather and water conditions were in great shape for the opener but no reports yet.
PIT RIVER-Steve Vaughn, in Burney is stepped out of retirement to cover the Pitt, but had no reports after just one day of fishing.
SHASTA LAKE-The trout and king salmon bite was up and down due to weather but should be back on track by the weekend. Try trolling Cripplures and HumDingers in red and orange patterns. The bass also started biting again by the weekend once things settled back down. Try a single tail brown and green grubs on a 1/4-ounce jig head.
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 HATCREEK-The opening day was good and very busy. Salmon eggs and worms did well and there were some nice fish also caught on Panther Martins in gold and black.
BOCA LAKE-The lake is at 39-percent capacity. According to Mountain Hardware and Sports, the lake was filling fast and the heavier flows attracted a lot of trout and macks to the inlet. Dave Lacounte, a guide for Truckee Outfitters, caught a 10- to 12-pound mack on a fly rod casting at the inlet. Rainbows were hitting bait, spinners, and spoons.
CAPLES LAKE-Caples Lake Resort reported that the ice was soft all around the edges of the lake and ice fishing was no longer possible. The resort predicted that the lake would thaw by mid-May.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)-Both forks are scheduled for DFG trout plants again this week with 1400 pounds of cutthroats. Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort reported that the opener started out slow due to cold water. After 9 a.m. the water warmed and anglers began catching limits of DFG cutthroats and a few of the big Alpine County trophy fish. Lauren Nezes of San Jose caught a 17-inch cutthroat and a 20-inch rainbow in his limit. Nezes used salmon eggs dipped into the slower pockets on a fly rod-flows were too high to fish in the heavy current. Alpine County will make another 1800-pound trophy trout plant this next week.
DAVIS LAKE-The lake is at 82-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported that trolling was fair-11 fish in 3 1/2 hours. Red dot frog Needlefish and firetiger Sockeye Slammers were producing 15- to 16 1/2-inch rainbows. Shore fishing was slow due to the fact that the rainbows were spawning up the local creeks. The only trout hitting for the shore anglers were the recent DFG planters that were moving around in groups-find a group, catch a fish.
DONNER LAKE-The lake is scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. According to Mountain Hardware and Sports, fishing was slow. The plant will attract some big macks into the shallows to feed on the DFG rainbows-cast spoons and Rapalas. Trout fishing will be good around the boat ramp for a few days after the plant until the fish disperse.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON-The North Fork was planted by the DFG this past week. Mike Hanson at the Caribou Crossroads Resort reported that PG&E bumped up the flows in the North Fork this last Friday but everyone who came to the trout derby caught fish. The derby winner was Bob Neuby with a 19 1/4-inch rainbow taken out of Caribou Powerhouse on worms. The junior winner was 9-year old Cheyenne Karkoski with a 16 1/4-inch rainbow. The youngest kid to catch a fish was 3-year old Amiya Rash who landed a 13 1/4-inch rainbow. The DFG planters were 12 to 16 inchers, and there were a number of native fish in the 18-inch class taken by some of the 67 derby contestants.
FRENCHMAN LAKE-The lake is at 84-percent capacity. Trout fishing was slower than expected with only a few limits coming in according to Wiggins Trading Post. The shore fishing near the dam and in Big Cove was the best bet this past weekend for anglers using Power Bait and worms. The roads around the lake were in great shape and the campgrounds and boat ramps were all open.
GOLD LAKES BASIN-Bassetts Station reported that Sardine Lake was still the only lake accessible by car. The county may plow the roads into Salmon Lake and Packer Lake next-call Bassetts Station for the latest road conditions at 530-862-1297. The North Fork of the Yuba will be planted by the DFG this week.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 83-percent capacity. The cold weather and rain this past week slowed the bite. According to Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service, one troller he knew hit the lake and scratched out a limit of 10- to 12-inch rainbows on Wild Thing dodger/worm combos.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR-Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort reported that trollers were picking up a few nice rainbows to 4½ pounds.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)-The lake was planted by the DFG this past week and rainbow trout action was good near the boat ramp and at the first dam for shore anglers using Power Bait and worms. Some smallmouth activity was seen in the Narrows for anglers using worms and tubes on the rocky banks and walls, according to Sly Park Resort.
LAKE TAHOE-Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters and Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing on the north end of the lake reported good mack trolling for fish running 3 to 9 pounds. The bulk of the action was taking place at 200 to 235 feet deep from Crystal Bay Point to Dollar Point on Sling Blade/Koke-a-nut combos, Sting Fish, and glow Coyote spoons. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Top Liners reported good action for browns to 11 1/2 pounds and macks to 6 pounds trolling and jigging in Meeks Bay, Emerald Cove, and Kings Beach. The browns were hitting CD-11 and F-18 Rapalas in gold/black, silver/black, and orange/gold 10 to 15 feet deep over 25 to 30 feet of water. Some macks and rainbows were also caught in the shallows. Nielsen also jigged for macks in deeper water with Buzz Bombs.
PROSSER LAKE-The lake is at 52-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports said the lake was filing quickly and trout fishing was good in the Alder Creek and Prosser Creek arms. Some nice smallmouth bass to 4 pounds were being caught at the dam on green pumpkin tubes.
PYRAMID LAKE-George Molino at the Pyramid Lake Store/Cutthroat Charters reported catching 36 fish, 17 to 21 inches, on his last trip this past week. Molino was trolling bleeding frog Flatfish 20 feet deep over 30 feet of water in the Warrior Point area. Shore fishing was hit-or-miss. Fly fishermen were seeing groups of 20 to 30 cutthroat swimming through the shallows and maybe catching 1 or 2 fish. The fish were very shallow and most anglers were casting from the shore instead of off their ladders. Smaller beetle and Copper John patterns were working best.
RED LAKE-No more ice fishing-wait for the lake to thaw to begin shore fishing.
SILVER LAKE-No more ice fishing-wait for the lake to thaw to begin ice fishing.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR-The lake is at 91-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that kokanee and macks were hitting for trollers. The 10- to 12-inch kokanee were hitting dodger/hoochie combos in the top 20 feet from the island up into the Little Truckee arm. Some macks, 5 to 6 pounders, were hitting silver/black Rapalas near the dam at 30 feet deep.
TOPAZ LAKE-A large group of anglers from Carson City fished this past week and caught smallmouth bass to 3 1/4 pounds, brown trout to 3 3/4 pounds, and lots of limits of rainbows to 2 1/2 pounds. Ted Doyal of Markleeville landed 4 bass-three over 3 pounds and another over 2 pounds-while fishing the north end of the lake. Butch Rachoff of Carson City landed the brown trout trolling a RBT Rapala on the SW side of the lake. Even the shore anglers were catching limits this past week.
TRUCKEE RIVER-Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that the run-off had the river high and muddy, but flows were slowing and the river could be back in shape by the end of the week-call ahead to check on the latest conditions at 530-587-4844.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR-The lake is at 86-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported that the cold weather and rain had delayed any major reason for visiting this lake. He said it needed 2 to 3 weeks of warmer weather to get the bite going for trout, macks, and kokanee.
WEST WALKER RIVER-The river flows dropped as predicted into the 400- to 500-cfs range over the opener which made for great bait and lure fishing. The Northern Mono County Chamber of Commerce planted 280 trophy rainbows running 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pounds in the river between the Walker Bridge and Eastside Lane-a 10.4-mile stretch of river. Tom Whitten checked in with a limit of 2 1/2 pounders taken on bait. Another angler was seen catching-and-releasing 13 big trout out of one pool in less than 15 minutes. Most anglers caught easy limits and many just caught-and-released fish all day for the fun of it!! The DFG, Mono County, and Northern Mono County Chamber will be planting the West Walker all season, so there will be no shortage of fish.
AMERICAN RIVER-The Middle Fork at Cache Rock was rumored to be kicking out some nice rainbows in the 16- to 20-inch class-be prepared for a tough walk!!
BULLARDS BAR-The lake is at 94-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina said that local bass tournaments were bringing in some nice spots in the 4- to 6-pound range. Senkos were mentioned as the hot bait by one angler. The spawn should be in full swing with bass in all the coves from 5 to 25 feet deep.
CAMP FAR WEST-The lake is full. North Shore Resort reported good catches of crappie and bass. Crappie to 2 pounds and bass to 4 pounds were seen this past week. The crappie and bass were stacked up around the brush and trees submerged along the shoreline-the lake has been full and spilling for weeks. Mini-jigs and minnows were working well on the crappie. Dart-head worms accounted for good catches of largemouth and smallmouth bass by Steve Dale of Roseville.
COLLINS LAKE-The lake is full and scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week, plus the resort will be releasing the last 2 net pens and sponsoring another double trophy trout plant-31,200 pounds planted so far this year, that’s a lot of fish! Shore fishing has been fantastic for anglers using Power Bait and worms at the dam, beach, and campgrounds. Trollers were running Rapalas, flasher or dodger/worm combos 10 to 20 feet deep off the dam and beach for rainbows up to 3 pounds. There will be a benefit derby on May 12 for the Encinal School in Live Oak to help pay for kids’ activities. $30 entry for adults, $15 for kids 6 to 15 years old. Call Jeramy Chapdelaine for info at 530-403-9761.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR-The lake is full. Skippers Cove Marina reported good action on the trophy trout they released at the end of March. Trollers and bait anglers were doing well all over the lake for mix of planters and 3 to 6 pounders.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that that Ralston Road was clear only to the dam, but the campgrounds and boat launch were still inaccessible. Mosquito Ridge Road was still snowed in.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR-The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the lake was accessible by 2-wheel drive truck, though there were no campgrounds open yet.
LAKE OROVILLE-The lake is at 94-percent capacity. Bass fishing was wide-open with the spawn in full swing-the banks are covered with fish from the shore down to 20 feet deep. Senkos, dart-head worms, shaky-head worms, and swimbaits were all working for guide Ron Gandolfi when WON called this past weekend. The fish were really stacked up around the flooded brush and trees. Coho salmon were still easy to catch for trollers running Sling Blade/hoochies combos in the top 20 feet at the dam and the Green Bridge.
ROLLINS LAKE-The lake is full and scheduled for a DFG trout plant. The water clarity was much improved this past week and this will help the trout fishing. Bass fishing was good according to Casey Reynolds at Long Ravine Resort. Largemouth bass in the 1 1/2- to 3-pound range and smallmouth bass to 4 1/2 pounds were hitting crawdad imitations and Panther Martin Holographic Minnows in rainbow trout at Long Ravine and in the ponds that extend from the lake under Rollins Lake Road near Long Ravine.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE-The lake is full. Jim Caldwell at Scott’s Flat Lake Resort reported that trout fishing was good for mostly 11- to 13-inch planters and a few holdover rainbows to 15 inches for trollers working the dam and off the handicap pier with flasher/worm combos and Rapalas. Caldwell said there were few reports of any smallmouth bass action but with the water temp at 51 degrees, the spawners would be moving up onto rocky flats soon.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR-The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the day-use facilities were open, but the campgrounds were still closed. Call ahead for the latest campground opening info at 530-367-2224.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR-The lake is full and the campgrounds could be open for the trout opener-call the Georgetown Ranger Station for the latest info on the campgrounds at 530-333-4312. Trollers were catching some holdover rainbows on flasher/worm combos and Rapalas.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY-The lake was at 133.5-foot elevation at press time-81-percent capacity. With the warmer weather, the bass should be moving to the tule banks and rocky flats to spawn. The locals would prefer that no one know that there are lots of 4 to 6 pounders prowling this impoundment and that 10 pounders are definitely not out of the question.