NORTH COAST RIVERS
North Coast streams and rivers are regulated by low flow closures. Always call ahead to determine the condition of the river you want to fish. If not mentioned, the river is closed or no reports. The DFG’s Low Flow Closure Hotline for north coast rivers is (707) 822-3164. For the Russian River and counties of Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin, call (707) 944-5533. South Central Coast streams number is (831) 649-2886. Many streams close, and others change to artificial/barbless only on, March 31 and others on April 25. Trouble identifying salmon or steelhead? Go to: http://www.swr.noaa.gov/fmd/identify.htm.
CHETCO RIVER, Ore.—Following huge increases in flows that flooded out homes and an RV park alongside the river last week, the river was still too high to fish over the weekend. According to WON Field Reporter Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, the river hit 60,000 cfs on Tuesday and was down to 5,200 over the weekend, but still too colored to fish. He said it was clear above the South Fork, but the South Fork itself was pumping mud.
EEL RIVER, Main Stem/South Fork—Mark Nimitz of Pipe Creek Guide Service said that flows dropped out a lot but both the Main Stem and South Fork were still off-colored. Despite lower flows, the Main Stem above Alder Point was still off-colored, but there were “tons of fish” in the system, mostly king salmon that had shot up the tributaries to spawn during the high water. Nimitz talked to someone who saw over 50 salmon up one of the smaller tributaries. He said there were probably more salmon coming in, and steelhead to follow. It’s all catch-and-release fishing here.
ELK RIVER, Port Orford, Ore.–Thanksgiving weekend was good to the many angler’s who battled the elements here, and with high water conditions dropping again, it brought more Chinook’s up the river, according to WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secret’s Guide Service. Thanksgiving Day was quiet on the river with a couple lonely boats finding an average of a half dozen fish per boat. Most of the fish were slightly darkening on Thursday and Friday. Saturday reports of chrome salmon below Iron Head were being passed from angler to angler. “Sunday afternoon proved to be worth staying the extra day at the coast,” said Larry Averts of Larry’s Guide Service, “The fish moved upriver late Saturday and on Sunday chrome Chinook’s were being caught by many of the boats drifting the river.”
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.–Winter steelhead are being caught on the lower Rogue by bank angler’s. Not only are they catching some nice steelhead, but they are able to harvest them, because they are catching lots of hatchery fish. This might be a very good year for steelhead fishing since this is considered a little early to be catching so many of these fish. When the river drops in a few days there will most likely be even more steelhead caught. We will have to just wait and see how the next couple weeks play out before I start making assumptions on how good this season’s steelheading will be, said WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secret’s Guide Service.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove, Ore.—No detailed reports because all the guides from The Fishing Hole in Shady Cove were out on guide trips, but an employee said that steelhead fishing “has been really good this past week, and the guides are loading their clients up on fish.”
RUSSIAN RIVER—The flows were 500 cfs on Sunday and “clearish,” according to Kings Bait and Tackle in Guerneville. It turned around real fast after last week’s rain, and the salmon that were in the stream have now moved up and are spawning, but more adult steelhead have shown up in the river. Guides are getting fish, halfpounders and up, but it’s not red hot yet. The best areas are upstream of Guerneville, but the big rain that was forecast for late this past week should bring more fish in. “It’s looking good for early season,” was the report from Kings. There was 6000 cfs going out last week, so the mouth is still open, and big swings in the tides are coming up, which will help bring the fish in.
SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Ore.–Sixes River was still blown out and unfishable as of the Sunday after Thanksgiving, according to Palmer. It was expected to fish on Saturday, but evening rains blew the river back out of shape.
SMITH RIVER—Fresh runs of salmon that were expected after the river hit 50,000 cfs last Tuesday, and rising to 21 feet on the Jed Smith gauge, didn’t bring in a lot of new salmon as expected, or they just shot upriver, because only a handful of kings were caught by jetboaters in the lower river on Thanksgiving. Driftboaters hit the river on Friday and a few kings were caught between the Forks and the Outfitters, but by Saturday even that had slowed. Steelhead, however, showed up in decent numbers, and Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing boated 4 steelies and 1 king on Saturday. The river had cleared by Sunday and it was tough fishing, and many guides are already switching over to steelhead.
KLAMATH RIVER, Blue Creek—The river was high and unfishable, and more rain is on tap this week.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate—The river was totally unaffected by the rains, and good numbers of smallish steelhead to about 4 pounds were being caught on flies, plugs, roe and nightcrawlers drifted and behind jet divers. Fishing pressure continued to be very light.
TRINITY RIVER, Junction City—The upper river went up about a foot, but the tributaries and river quickly dropped, and the river went right back to providing some great fishing as soon as it did. Most anglers were catching limits of steelhead on everything from flies to plugs and roe. However, another storm is coming in, so it’s hard to tell what the effect on the river will be. Call ahead before making the trip.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek—The river was blown out until the weekend, but it was coming back into shape, and more steelhead should have be on their way upstream. However, another storm is on its way and anglers should call ahead before making the trip.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE—Both bass and catfish are taking jumbo minnows and have been found spread out. The bass take a little longer to respond in the cooler waters, but patience produced bass on deeper rock areas in 20 to 25 feet of water in areas such as the deeper parts of the lake such as the Redbud and Rattlesnake arms. Fishing deep at Shag Rock found catfish to 20 pounds.
LAKE BERRYESSA—Now that the lake has turned, the bass, trout and others are pushing bait closer to the surface and a variety of species are being taken. The trout and salmon are hungry as well as the bass.
LAKE ALMANOR—Fishing is picking up and now includes brown and rainbow trout as well as salmon. Fish are scattered, so anglers will need to put in a little more trolling time to keep up with the baitfish. The east basin has been fishing well.
BAUM LAKE—This is a great winter lake and thanks to the weather, it is just coming into its prime. Anglers should find some good dry fly action thanks to hatches of baetis and BWOs.
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. There’s been no indication as to when repairs may be completed or when the forebay may reopen.
EAGLE LAKE—The lake is shaping up as the cold winter nights have brought the water temperatures down. Both jigging and trolling flies produced fish averaging 2 1/2 pounds, with some 3 and even 4 pounders mixed in. Eagle Lake closes to fishing on Dec. 31.
PIT RIVER—The Fly Shop reported improved fishing conditions using flies such as red copper Johns in numbers 14-16 and Pat’s Rubber Legs.
SHASTA LAKE—Now that the lake has turned the bass fishing has been good for numbers, starting with topwater and spinners and the going deeper. Trout are also shallower and headed to the food supplies offered by the increased flows in the creeks and streams.
AMERICAN RIVER—Adult winter steelhead numbers continued to climb, albeit slowly. A good steelheader might hook a fish weighing over 5 pounds and perhaps up to 12 pounds once very couple of outings as opposed to previous weeks when one hit per several outings might be more typical. Most are being caught on nymphs under indicators, but a few are hitting steelhead streamers like green butted skunks and egg-sucking leeches. Spin fishermen were hooking a few drifting nightcrawlers and roe, and swinging Kastmasters and No. 3 Blue Fox spinners. Fishing might be good on riffles just below the closure at Riverbend, or down around Campus Commons. Or, any riffle in-between.
FOLSOM LAKE— Trout and landlocked king salmon fishing picked up a bit last week. Fishing continued to be slow with a few landlocked king salmon and small trout being caught by trollers. Try a white hoochie behind a dodger for the salmon and toplined nightcrawler behind a Gold Star dodger 200 feet behind the boat. Bass fishing was slow, but a few spotted bass to a couple of pounds were being taken by mostly slowly working jigs and drop-shotted Robo-Worms over submerged rockpiles and off points from 15 to 25 feet deep.
FEATHER RIVER—Steelheading continued to be pretty good but slowed a bit. Salmon spawning has declined greatly, so are not such a nuisance in the Low Flow Section. But, pressure is heavy. Fly fishers were drifting Red copper Johns and prince nymphs, and San Juan worms. Spin fishermen were drifting nightcrawler and swinging Little Cleos and Kastmasters.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento—The river was muddy all week and filled with debris, and salmon fishing was all but out of the question. However, sturgeon and striper fishing saw improvement. Sturgeon fishing was picking up, too, especially on Cache Slough. Merritts landing, South River Road, and the Fremont Weir were all starting to produce sturgeon. For example, Leland Swonger weighed in a 61-inch, 55- pound sturgeon that he caught at Merritts Landing. Stripers were being caught, too, mostly in the Deep Water Channel, on bloodworms, sardines jumbo minnows.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff—Late fall king salmon fishing was blown out for most of the week, but cleared up enough to fish on Sunday and produced some nice kings. Unfortunately, a major storm is moving in and could blow out the river for the rest of the season (ends Dec. 16).
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding—Al Brown of Al Brown’s Guide Service said that fishing for rainbow trout and steelhead continued to be good, and steelhead numbers have been increasing. Drifting Glo-Bugs , small nymphs, backtrolling small Hot Shots have all been effective.
YUBA RIVER—Fishing for trout was good once again, and anglers walking in and working downstream from the Highway 20 Bridge or accessing the river from downstream via Hallwood and Hammond-Smartsville Road were catching nice trout mostly dead-drifting nymphs under indicators.
BERKELEY—Duxbury, Farallon Islands and the Marin Coast all provided limits of crabs and rockfish plus lingcod for Berkeley boats including the California Dawn, Happy Hooker, El Dorado and New El Dorado III. Striped bass bit inside the Bay near Point Pinole.
BODEGA BAY—It was limits of fish and crabs all week aboard the New Sea Angler out of Bodega Bay, fishing the Point Reyes area for much of the week, but moving north to off the Russian River Saturday and Sunday. The New Sea Angler will fish for Humboldt squid this winter. Capt. Jack Chapman on the Lovely Linda reported crab/shrimp/cod combo trips out of Bodega Bay early this week. Everyone got limits of large crab, 2-3 pounds of shrimp and lots of cod.
EMERYVILLE—Vessels Sea Wolf, New Huck Fin, New Salmon Queen and New Seeker all ran trips this week, mostly to the Farallones but sometimes along the Marin coast. Results were consistent… limits of crabs and rockfish plus some nice lingcod, which showed an affinity for hitchhiking on rockfish.
EUREKA—Crab are king right now in Eureka, as crabbers did well. Late in the week when conditions settled down, outside Humboldt Bay as well as inside, limits required a bit more effort but were still consistent. Jetty fishers took home some fresh rockfish dinners.
FORT BRAGG—Crabbing and abalone gathering produced appreciable results, especially later in the week and over the weekend when the swells laid down and the ocean was pleasant. Shore fishers caught perch, rockfish and cabezon.
HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA—Crabbers took over Half Moon Bay and Pacifica, thanks to easy-to-come-by limits of Dungeness crabs. The Huli Cat ran crab trips and crab/rockfish trips. Jetty fishers worked for crabs and also for shallow water rockfish. Pacifica area anglers cast snares for crabs and caught perch in the surf.
MARTINEZ—Striped bass and sturgeon increased their appetites and bit readily for both pier and boat fishers, taking grass shrimp hungrily. Boaters worked the Benicia Bridge, Mothball Fleet and Ozul.
OYSTER POINT—Pier anglers and boat anglers alike soaked baits for an occasional sturgeon strike. Sturgeon action is expected to pick up in the area thanks to rains. The common baits were herring and ghost shrimp on the pier and mud, ghost and grass shrimp on the boats. Leopard shark action slowed.
SAN RAFAEL/PORT SONOMA—Strong sturgeon action headlined the upper San Pablo Bay and tributaries. Striped bass action remained steady. Sharks and rays seem to have departed thanks to rain runoff. Halibut may be the sleeper opportunity this week.
AMERICAN RIVER—The river was running clear and cold with little fishing pressure according to the Georgetown Ranger Station.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 61-percent capacity—up 4 feet this past week with all the rain. Emerald Cove Marina reported that the bigger spotted bass in the lake were getting more active and feeding. One angler reported doing well on 2- to 3-pound bass drop-shotting worms near the marina. A marina employee was catching 3 pounders cranking around the docks.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake came up 10 feet this past week with all the rain. North Shore Resort said that there were very few anglers out this past week, so fishing reports were hard to come by.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is 37 feet from full. The last fall trout plant was made this past week before the holiday—1000 pounds of catchable and trophy rainbows. The resort reported that limits of trout were common for both shore anglers and boaters which included several 5- to 9 1/2-pound trophy fish. Shore anglers did best at the dam, the beach, the Open Area and the campgrounds. Trollers did well at the dam and near the island toplining Rapalas.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 93-percent capacity. Lisa Rogers at Skippers Cove Marina reported that houseboaters were limiting out on rainbows to 18 inches using worms off the backs of their boats moored in the marina. Trollers should do very well running flasher/worm combos in the lanes between the houseboats in the marina cove.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The road to the lake was clear after the warm storm this past week, but there was little or no fishing pressure. Storms forecast for later this week into next week could dump enough snow to close the road for the winter. Call the Foresthill Ranger Station for the latest road conditions at 530-367-2224.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR—The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the road repairs were done and the road was open to the lake. Storms forecast for later this week and into next week could close the road for the winter. Call the Ranger Station for the latest road conditions at 530-333-4312.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 51-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that bass fishing was “phenomenal” with his last trip producing 65 fish in 4 hours. The jig, Senko, drop-shot bite was excellent from the shore down to 30 feet deep in the West Branch and North Fork for spots mostly in the 14- to 15-inch range. Bigger fish were consistently holding in deeper water—30 to 60 feet deep—and hitting drop-shot worms and spoons. The reaction bite was slow. In the river arms, get down below the temperature break to find active fish.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake level rose enough with the rain this past week to reopen the ramps at Orchard Springs and Long Ravine, according to Will Fish Tackle in Auburn.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—There were still some rainbows being taken by trollers working from Cascade Shore to the dam with flasher/worm combos.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—Very little fishing pressure here according to the Foresthill Ranger Station, but there should be plenty of holdover rainbows for shore anglers and trollers.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the road to the lake was clear with no snow on the ground around the lake. Trollers and shore anglers were at the lake over the past weekend picking up some of the holdover trout left over from the summer DFG plants.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at 126.5-foot elevation at press time—39-percent capacity. With the lake at this level, boaters need to use caution launching—watch out for boulders at the Wilbur Rd. ramp, and dropping off the concrete at Larkin Rd. Most fishermen avoid the lake during the duck hunting season according to local sources.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 32-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that fishing was best at the dam and inlet using bait and lures. Some fly fishermen were also seen working the inlet.
CAPLES LAKE—Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort said Kirkwood got 3 to 4 feet of snow this past week so the lake should only be accessible at the dam and the spillway. Shore fishing only with no launching sites. No ice fishing yet.
CARSON RIVER (East)—Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort reported that Christine Dallas of Carson City fished the restricted section below Hangman’s Bridge and caught two 2- to 3-pound rainbows on San Juan Worms, but overall fishing was fair at best.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 67-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported that shore fishing was good at the dam. Fly fishing was good at Mosquito Slough and Freeman Creek, but there was some skim ice forming in the early morning. Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported that he was still catching limits of 16- to 18-inch rainbows at Fairview on Gulp! Eggs. Trollers were far and few between this past week with only the Campo 5 ramp open and no dock.
DONNER LAKE—Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that rainbows and macks were hitting on the west end of the lake. Rainbows were hitting Power Bait and worms. Anglers casting spoons and big Rapalas in the early morning or evening had the best chance at the macks while they were up in the shallows looking for prey.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 58-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported that shore fishing was good at Crystal Point, Turkey Point, Lunker Point, and at the dam. Trollers could still launch at Frenchman and Lunker Point and were doing well running flasher/worm combos at Turkey Point and in the Narrows. There was no snow and roads were clear. With more rain/snow in the forecast for later this week, call Wiggins for the latest roads conditions at 530-993-4683.
GOLD LAKES BASIN—Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that there was little snow in the basin and roads to Gold, Sardine, Salmon and Packer were open. Gold Lake was producing a few rainbows near the boat ramp. Some big macks were seen chasing bait near the spillway in the shallows. Try casting a Kastmaster or Krocodile spoon or a big Rapala at the big macks when their up in the shallows and in the mood to feed. Some ice was forming on Salmon Lake but there was plenty of open water for fishing.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 68-percent capacity. Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill Fishing Service reported that shore anglers were picking up easy limits at the boat ramp and beach at the east end of the lake where Silver Creek flows into the lake. Trollers should be doing well, but few were coming up to the lake.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort reported that 20 to 30 people were shore fishing here this past Friday and many had limits of rainbows—mostly 8 to 14 inchers with some to 2 1/2 pounds. Inflated nightcrawlers were doing the trick!!
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR—The road to the lake was passable by 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive truck—not enough clearance with a car. Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports drove up to the lake this past week and saw a few boats and shore fishermen there, but only a few fish were caught.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill Fishing Service reported that trollers were picking up limits of planter rainbows toplining a Sep’s Strike Master dodger trailing a threaded nightcrawler in the Narrows.
LAKE TAHOE—Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters reported good action for macks trolling near the bottom in 350 to 400 feet of water. On Sunday, his clients kept 8 fish for limits, tagged 4 or 5 more, and lost 4 or 5. One angler had already kept a limit and then caught a 9 pounder which was promptly tagged and released. Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported that fishing was good on both his morning and afternoon trips with limits of 3 to 9 pounders coming on spoons and plugs at 140 to 340 feet deep. Trolling for rainbows in the shallows was slow due to the fact that the macks were done spawning and hitting the shallows in search of food which kept the rainbows in hiding.
LOON LAKE—The lake is at 55-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station said the road was open, but weather forecast for this week could change all that.
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 33-percent capacity. Fishing at the dam was still the best bet according to Mountain Hardware and Sports. Rainbows were hitting Power Bait, worms and Kastmaster spoons.
PYRAMID LAKE—Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters said that trollers were doing well on the south end of the lake running Flatfish 30 feet deep right on the bottom in Dago Bay. His Eagle Eye II boat landed 23 cutthroats to 25 inches on the last trip. A 24-pound cutthroat was caught, weighed, photographed, and released at the North Nets this past week. Ed Smith of Reno caught the 36-inch long fish on a black fly from shore.
RED LAKE—Little pressure here with the snow.
SILVER LAKE—Snow and a low lake level had fishing pressure at a minimum here this past week and more weather is in the forecast for late this week.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 74-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that the road to the lake was clear and several boats were on the lake this past week trolling near the dam, mostly likely for macks. Trolling can be good on overcast days with no wind!! Trout fishing in the Sagehen arm was still good but further wet weather would make the roads too muddy for access.
TRUCKEE RIVER—Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that fishing in the main river and Little Truckee was “great”. Brian Nylund recommended just watching the river until trout began rising on BWO and baetis dries and then targeting individual fish. Nymphing with big stones was working as was stripping streamers around likely ambush sites like big boulders. The Little Truckee was fishing well with size 18 -26 BWO and baetis—look for risers. A stimi with a bead-head nymph was good for searching inactive stretches of river. The Little Truckee is only open between Stampede Reservoir and Boca Reservoir—barbless artificials only and a zero limit.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 49-percent capacity. Getting to the lake from Pea Vine Ridge Road requires 4-wheel drive and steel nerves.