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.
COOS RIVER, Coos Bay, Ore.–This river has been super good fishing over the last three weeks. “An overall look at this last week of fishing for Chinook’s has me determining that the salmon fishing was still very good, even though there was a couple days that it was difficult for most angler’s to get a bite,” said WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secret’s Guide Service. The average size of the salmon being caught is closer to16 pounds this year, instead of the normal average weight of 18 pounds that this river is known for having. Many anglers try to match their bait size with the size of the bait fish that the salmon have been feeding on. “I like the theory behind this practice, but on this river I prefer to match the bait size to the size of the salmon that are primarily being caught,” he said. “Where most angler’s are plug cutting Blue Label Herring for trolling. I like to use the smaller size of the Green Label Herring to plug Cut for trolling salmon on this drainage.”
COQUILLE RIVER, Bandon, Ore.–The fishing this last week was tough for most of the boats, but there were those exceptions—anglers who always have a fish hooked up, according to guide Curtis Palmer. On the worst day of fishing yet this season a local boat caught 5 nice fish and a pair of them were on back-to-back passes in the Cannery Hole. This river is known for handing out limits of healthy-sized Chinook’s on a regular basis, but that isn’t happening yet this season. The salmon are not behaving in the same way as they have over the last few decades and several of the regular fishermen have mentioned this in passing. Native coho season opened on September 15 wit a limit of 1 fish a day and up to 5 for the year.
ROGUE RIVER Estuary, Gold Beach, Ore.—”The fishing has been poor this last week in my opinion,” said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. On a day or two there have been what some would call a good bite, with approximately 30 salmon caught in a 2-hour time period. Unfortunately, on most days this week there haven’t been very many fish caught. This season has been a letdown for many of the angler’s who have been coming here year-after-year for the Bay fishing and cooler weather that the coast offers during the summer. There is still one last hope for the estuary to produce that great fishing this season–when the hatchery salmon return to Indian Creek. These Chinook’s will spend much of their time on the shallow flats on the south side of the river above the Patterson Bridge. While trolling in the estuary has been slow, upriver boats are intercepting the fast-moving kings as they move straight through the river.
UMPQUA RIVER, Tyee, Ore.–This years run of Chinook salmon was not only very good at the coast, but it has continued to the middle section of this river. The effects of slightly cooler water temperatures this summer are showing in the fish. Not only are this years fall Chinooks making good time upriver, but a lot of them are still bright. I have received many pictures and report’s saying that limits and near limits are being reached by early afternoon, according to guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. Two of the more popular runs for driftboaters are from Cleveland Rapid’s to the Umpqua Boat Ramp and from the Umpqua Boat Ramp to the Osprey Boat Ramp.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen—Fishing hit a hole last week as small tide swings closed off the mouth. By the weekend, though, fishing improved, but anglers were working hard to fill limits with a mix of jacks and adults. Higher tides were coming this week and fishing should continue to improve. Steelheading has been improving, at least for the smaller halfpounders plus the occasional nice adult.
TRINITY RIVER, Junction City—More and more bright fall Chinook are working their way upriver, and fishing was excellent for bankies and boaters. But there are quite a few older dark springers still around, mixed in the with the fresher fall fish. The best all around location last week was in the Del Loma/Big Bar/Big Flat stretch of river. More and more steelies are showing too. Flows are dropping back to 450 cfs this week.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek—Anglers are either fishing nearer the mouth at Weitchpec or farther upstream, according to Ed Duggan.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE—Cooler nights are getting the bass going. They are starting to school up and can be found by the bait. All you have to do is find the bait, so move around. The entire lake is fishable.
LAKE BERRYESSA—A lot of the kokes are in spawning mode now, so expect to find more dark fish and more of next year’s batch of trout and salmon. There were still a few pockets of fish found at the dam, in the Narrows and in front of Skiers Cove. Expect to see more bass reports starting to show up than kokes and trout as the season winds down.
LAKE SONOMA—For bass, run as many points as you can before the sun comes up for the topwater bite. After that, grab your drop-shots, jigs and Senkos and head for the 15- to 30-foot ledges, points or island humps. For landlocked steelies, troll the main body in the 35- to 50-foot range with hardware and nightcrawlers.
LAKE ALMANOR—The Hamilton Branch and Big Springs areas have been producing fish, also the east side of the peninsula from Rec. 1 to Big Cove. Try a naked nightcrawler from 6:20 at first light to 10:30 a.m. The afternoon bite resumes around 3:00 p.m. and there has been a steady bite during these hours.
BATTLE CREEK RESERVOIR—Rim Rock Ranch reports no anglers at this time.
BAUM LAKE—With the night time temperatures dropping, the morning bite has picked up.
CASSEL FOREBAY–Closed until further notice for repairs. All water has been drained into the natural creek channel that flows into Baum Lake in order to work on structure repairs in the canal. The section above the canal near the post office is fishing well, but does not accommodate a lot of fishermen.
FALL RIVER–The Fly Shop reported that the entire 9 miles above the confluence has been fishing well. Anglers are finding a small dry fly window in the early morning and then nymphing on the swing or under indicators will get the rainbows attention the rest of the day.
HAT CREEK, UPPER–Rim Rock Ranch reports fishing remains excellent, as fish plants continue and fishing pressure remains relatively light. Some large rainbow trout and brookies are still coming in and limits of pansized fish or larger are common. The weather is warm, in the mid 80s, with lows in the mid 30s to low 40s. Worms were the top bait and seemed to be working much better than other baits. Fishing will probably be very good for the rest of the month, with healthy plants each week.
MANZANITA LAKE–Rim Rock Ranch had no fishing reports as there have been no anglers here.
MCCLOUD LAKE—Scott Caldwell of SC Guide Service has been finding stellar trout days here, with a staggering number of fish being released each trip.
MCCLOUD RIVER—Closed due to the Bagley Fire for at least a few more weeks.
PIT RIVER—There haven’t been many reports from here lately. The Bagley Fire has different roads closed from day to day. Check conditions before going for closures.
SHASTA LAKE—The lake is still smoky but the bite has been good for kings holding between 120 and 150 while the trout have been at 60 to 70 feet. You’ll also find the bass under bait balls as they move up to feast. But a good topwater bite is also developing early and late in the day.
TRINITY LAKE—Mike’s Fishing Guide Service reported all small kokes in front of the dam and up in Papoose arm from 60 and 100 feet mixed in with the salmon. The lake is almost 40 feet down now. Last Saturday at about 8:30 he picked up a 6-pound, 9-ounce king at 90 feet. She was just getting ready to start her spawning process. They also had one 16-inch native, clean rainbow trout. Apex and Wiggle Hoochies worked hard and patiently did the job.
BERKELEY—Halibut were caught at the south bar outside the Gate. Sharks were plentiful and ran very large inside the Bay. Rockfish provided limit-style action with good counts of lingcod mixed in. Runs of up to 2 hours put boaters on productive albacore grounds where decent counts were achieved.
BODEGA BAY—Tuna tamers worked near the Cordell Banks about 40 miles from Bodega Head to score heavily on the longfins. Rockfish and lingcod provided limit-style action inshore and boaters found salmon between Bird Rock and Elephant Rock. White seabass worked squid spawns along the coast and private boaters got into the action.
EMERYVILLE—Ocean salmon fishing slowed to at best a fish per rod on Thursday, then slowed further to scratching for individual fish. The feeling is that this is a lull between bodies of fish which move through on their way into the rivers. Rockfish and lingcod fishing was great, both along the Marin coast and at the Farallon Islands where the counts of lingcod spiked to full limits.
EUREKA—Large Pacific halibut to 82 pounds dominated the big-fish action. Tuna fishers scored 28 miles southwest of Eureka with good counts of longfin to 30 pounds.
FORT BRAGG—Subsurface Progression Dive Shop reported great visibility and calm seas. Divers worked hard and came up with big lingcod including a 38 pounder and a 30-pound unit. Numerous limits of abs were reported throughout the week.
HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA—Rockfish and lingcod fishing consumed the lion’s share of fishing time and the results were gratifying. Private boaters found white seabass biting among a squid spawn. Tuna were caught about 40 miles out near the Gumdrop.
DILLON BEACH/LAWSON’S LANDING— Salmon were still biting near Bird Rock and Elephant Rock in 40 to 70 feet of water. Albacore finally got close enough for locals with boats to make the 42 nm run and land up to 35 quality fish. Rockfishing is scratchy and halibut pulled a no-show.
MARTINEZ—Striper action continued at a solid pace for pier fishers. Boaters did well on striped bass fishing near the Mothball Fleet and the Benicia Bridge. Bullheads, available at Martinez Marina Bait and Tackle, proved the most productive offering.
OAKLAND—Bullheads and bloodworms proved the baits of choice for striper fishers and halibuteers. Stripers bit near Point Pinot and halibut were caught on the Berkeley Flats. Perch bit along the Alameda Rock Wall.
PORT SONOMA—Petaluma River striped bass action continues to sizzle and makes fishing seem easy. Sturgeon action picked up in the Napa River and some were seen jumping and rolling in the upper San Pablo Bay.
SAN FRANCISCO—Halibut fishing improved, both in terms of numbers and size for anglers aboard the Flash and other boats, with limits taken occasionally. Salmon action ran in spurts and rockfish were steady dates.
SAN RAFAEL—Salmon bit off of California City and are expected to bite even better this week with stronger tides. The halibut bite was at least decent at Angel Island, Red Rock and elsewhere. Stripers went on the chew at The Brothers and Whaling Station.
AMERICAN RIVER—Flows dropped again—to 1,800 cfs, a very good flow for waders. But, it’s still easy to get into trouble at the relatively low flow. The most consistent fishing action last week was for halfpounder steelhead from Sailor Bar to Watt Ave., but that means that a fairly competent angler could manage a couple of strikes an outing dead-drifted nymphs, swinging soft hackle wet flies or drifting nightcrawlers. A few more salmon were being seen, but not necessarily caught. Salmon fishing should improve day by day, though.
FOLSOM LAKE—Trout and salmon were still being caught in decent numbers trolling Speedy Shiners between 60 and 65 feet deep in front of the dam over the river channel, and where the new outlet construction is occurring. Bass fishing continued to be slow overall, but a few anglers were scoring nice bass and catfish on jumbo minnows.
FEATHER RIVER—There are still lots of salmon coming up the Feather, but fish seem to be moving through the Shanghai Bend Area instead of holding. More fish are getting darker, as well, and lots of anglers have headed over to the Sacramento River. Still, trollers and jiggers were catching some fish above and below the rapids. Fish were still being caught below the Outlet, but a higher percentage are dark. Some steelhead were being caught in the Low Flow Section on dead-drifted nymphs under indicators, drifted nightcrawlers and Glo-Bugs.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento—Salmon fishing was good from Garcia Bend to Verona, but anglers hooking salmon at the mouth of the American River were having trouble getting fish to the net because of marauding sea lions.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff—Salmon numbers continued to increase as older fish were being joined by more and more freshly-arrived kings. Hamilton City, Ord Bend, Jelly’s Ferry and Woodson Bridge are just some of the spots producing limits of kings—including a monster 50 pounder—by knowledgeable anglers. Some anglers are doing nothing but backtrolling plugs. Others are limiting on roe, boondogged or back-bounced.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding—Flows dropped to 8,000 cfs, but except for a short slowdown, trout fishing remained excellent, especially between Redding and Anderson. Drifting crickets, Glo-Bugs and small lures all were producing fish ranging from 12 inches to 4 pounds.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir—Trout fishing has been picking up. It’s still hot during the day, but the water is cooling a bit because of cooler night time temperatures, and fish are getting more active. Fishing is still best higher up on the river, but some larger fish are starting to move up from the lake.
YUBA RIVER— Fishing slowed last week, but persistent anglers were still catching a few nice trout below the Highway 20 Bridge on nymphs and small lures.
AMERICAN RIVER—The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that a couple of locals hiked down to the Cache Rock area in the Middle Fork and landed some nice rainbows to 18 inches and broke one off over 20 inches using spinners in the deeper pools.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 68-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that the bass action was poor for bigger fish. Points and walls only produced 12-inch average spots with a few to 1 1/2 pounds. Apparently former Bassmaster Classic winner Skeet Reese fished the lake recently and didn’t fare much better—no big spots.
CAMP FAR WEST—The Rock Creek arm was still producing bass and catfish on plastic worms and nightcrawlers, according to Dorothy Greenwood at North Shore Resort. The lake was loaded with hot boats over the weekend which made fishing uncomfortable—head out during the week.
COLLINS LAKE—Lincoln Young at Collins Lake Resort reported that fishing was pretty good for warmwater species—catfish, crappie, and bass. Due to the high water temp, trout fishing was very slow. Catfish running 4 to 11 pounds fell for a variety of baits fished along the east side, the dam and in Elmer’s Cove. The island in the middle of the lake was beginning to show with the lake down about 30 feet from full and was popular with bass fishermen using plastic worms, jigs, and live crawdads. Crappie were hitting worms at the dam and the bridge. Trout plants will resume at the end of October and continue weekly until Thanksgiving.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 94-percent capacity. Dillon Davis at Skippers Cove Marina reported that the recreational boat traffic was subsiding and anglers using a bobber/worm above Boston Bar were picking up plenty of small rainbows.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is at 63-percent capacity. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported that one customer fished the lake this past week and only caught one rainbow while trolling—pretty slow despite being planted by the DFG 3 weeks ago. The campgrounds closed here this past weekend, according to the Foresthill Ranger Station.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 56-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that fishing was pretty slow for trollers with only a few trout being seen at 50 to 60 feet deep.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 59-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that bass fishing was “outstanding” in the North Fork, West Branch, and in the slot on jigs, swimbaits, lipless cranks, and drop-shot worms. Bass were located from the top to 30 feet deep on points and walls and anglers could expect to catch 40 to 50 fish from 1 to 2 1/2 pounds in a half day with an occasional 3 pounder. The bass were gorging on pond smelt and crawdads.
ROLLINS LAKE—Casey Reynolds of Auburn reported that bass fishing was good for spots running 2 to 3 pounds. The fish were hitting crankbaits and drop-shot worms in the deeper coves from 5 to 10 feet deep. No trout fishing success reported this past week.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The DFG made an unannounced trout plant this past Tuesday of 4500 catchable rainbows, so fishing was good on the point outside the marina toward the day-use area, according to Jim Caldwell at the resort. Largemouth and smallmouth bass were hitting plastic worms and nightcrawlers from the day-use area to Hensley.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that little was happening here. The group campgrounds closed here this past weekend.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that fishing was slow here due to the warm water temp.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at 135.3-foot elevation at press time—93-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi said that the lake was really full at this level and the frog bite would be the best bet in the backs of the coves with tule banks on hot afternoons.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 67-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. According to Mountain Hardware and Sports, rainbows were still biting up near the inlet and in the west side coves. With the Little Truckee down to 40 cfs, lots of bigger fish moved out of the river into the lake. Look for good action after the plant near the boat ramp.
CAPLES LAKE—Caples Lake Resort reported that anglers were catching a few rainbows and macks, no limits though. Mike Harris and son Jeff of Roseville trolled flasher/worm combos at the spillway at 15 feet deep and picked up a 3 1/2-pound Mackinaw. The next day, Mike Harris trolled in the middle of the lake and landed a 2 1/2-pound rainbow on blue/silver Rapala. Pansized rainbows were caught in the same area drifting worms and Power Bait.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)—Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort reported that fishing was excellent—anglers were catching “all the fish they wanted on anything they wanted to throw.” Joe Valentine of Minden, Nev., fly fished near the bridge 5 miles south of the resort and landed six rainbows over 4 pounds along with 50 smaller fish.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 70-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported that trolling was good around the island using copper/redhead Wee Dick Nite and firetiger Needlefish spoons. Dillard suggested trolling 12 to 15 feet deep in the early morning and 22 to 25 feet deep later in the day—you must adjust the depth according to the weed growth in the particular area you’re in. The rainbows were running 15 to 17 inches. Shore fishermen were only catching catfish this past week. Fly fishermen were keeping quiet, but Dillard said there was a good blood midge hatch going this past week.
DONNER LAKE—The lake is scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. Kokanee trolling was still good from China Cove toward the east end of the lake at 60 feet deep on pink or orange hoochies and bugs, or red Wedding Rings behind silver or copper dodgers. Shore fishermen were picking up 2 or 3 trout from the center of the lake toward the west end on Power Bait and worms. Keith Zenger of Mountain Hardware caught an 18-pound mack this past week trolling for kokanee—that must have been a real fight!!
FEATHER RIVER CANYON—Caribou Crossroads Resort reported that Caribou Road was now open all the way to the Caribou Powerhouse, and the two undamaged campgrounds along the North Fork were open to the public, too. Fishing was good on worms and crickets for holdover planters and native rainbows.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 61-percent capacity. Shore fishing was pretty good at the dam and near Big Cove for anglers using Power Bait and worms. Trollers working the mid-lake area off the Frenchman ramp were picking up some nice rainbows on spoons fished 15 to 25 feet deep.
GOLD LAKES BASIN—Packer Lake and Lower Sardine Lake are both scheduled for DFG trout plants this week. Bassett’s Station said that they hadn’t heard much about the fishing at the basin lakes since the summer crowds had thinned out.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 71-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. Trollers were catching limits of rainbows on Sep’s grubs and threaded nightcrawlers at 20 to 25 feet deep. The plant will improve the bite, especially as the water temp drops with colder nights.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort reported that the lake was low, warm and weedy. Anglers were fishing the river, since the bite was so good.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR—An occasional rainbow to 3 pounds fell for trollers this past week, but otherwise things were pretty quiet here.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—Sly Park Resort reported that smallmouth bass fishing was good in the Narrows at the “chimneys”. Bluegill were hitting pretty much all around the lake on worms.
LAKE TAHOE—Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters and Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing both reported good action for macks at North Shore. Daniels picked up macks to 9 pounds this past week trolling from 80 feet deep in the dark of the early morning to 400 feet deep after the sun hit the water. Self’s clients caught macks to 7 1/2 pounds trolling spoons 140 to 180 feet deep in the early morning, dropping down to 330 feet deep later in the day. Both charter operators fished from Crystal Bay to Dollar Point. At South Shore, Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners was doing well jigging for both kokanee and macks. Clients caught lots of 1- to 5-pound macks jigging, while trolling produced 11 and 12 pounders this past week. Kokanee were hitting 1-ounce Crippled Herring, Bomber Slab Spoons, and Buzz Bombs and were congregating in huge schools off Camp Richardson at 90 to 100 feet deep with the macks just below the kokes. The big macks hit F18 Rapalas.
LOON LAKE—The lake is at 58-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. As the water temp cools, the bite should be heating up. The plant will help, too.
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 48-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. The bite has been slow for trout and bass. The best bet was hitting the callibaetis hatch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the inlets of Alder Creek and Prosser Creek.
RED LAKE—EID host Ron Peterson at Caples Lake reported that the colder nights had reduced the algae bloom some, but the lake was still pea soup green. Fishing was hit-or-miss at best.
SILVER LAKE—EID host Ron Peterson reported that trout fishing was pretty good, with some fish in the 2- to 3-pound class showing for trollers working the mid-lake channel.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 77-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that the kokanee were turning but still hitting green or pink/white hoochies at 40 to 45 feet deep at the island. Trout fishing was good from shore at the dam on Power Bait and worms.
TOPAZ LAKE—Chuck Fields at the Topaz Landing Marina reported that the lake was at 20-percent capacity—below the concrete launch ramps at the marina and the county park. The trout season ends on September 30 and won’t reopen until January 1. It’s just as well the season is almost over—pray for rain and snow this winter!!
TRUCKEE RIVER—With the colder nights ushering the fall season, the October caddis bite was coming on strong, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports. The brown trout were also getting active and feeding more aggressively as the fall spawning season approaches. For the browns, use crawfish, sculpin, and small rainbow trout patterns. Look for BWO and baetis patterns to replace the PMDs for the rainbows.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 65-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. A few kokanee were still hitting in deep water at the dam, though they were definitely turning as the spawn approached. Some small macks were hitting kokanee gear or larger plugs fished near the koke schools.
WEST WALKER RIVER—The river flows dropped to 20 cfs this past week, but the deep pools and channels found in the canyon south of Walker were still loaded with trout. The fishing was amazing for the few who were visiting. Fly fishermen were having 40-plus days of catch-and-release action.