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.—Heavy rains brought the river up to 14,700 cfs on Sunday morning and still rising. The National Weather Service predicts a gradual decline in Chetco flows this week, which could make the river fishable by the upcoming weekend. The Chetco fishes best between 2,000 and 4,000 cfs. A few steelhead were caught by plunkers before the storm last week.
EEL RIVER—Blown out.
EEL RIVER, South Fork—Blown out.
GARCIA, GUALALA rivers—Blown out. Christmas is when these rivers usually fish the best for steelies, so might be right on schedule.
MAD RIVER—Blown out.
NAVARRO, NOYO rivers—Blown out.
REDWOOD CREEK—Blown out.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.— Some steelies caught between Gold Beach and Agness before the rains brought the river to near flood stage over the weekend. Flowing at 38,200 cfs Sunday morning and still rising. Predictions of 68,000 cfs! The high water will likely have the Rogue out of shape for a week, but when it recedes, steelhead season should be in full swing.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove—Still fishable, believe it or not, from the hatchery down to Casey Park, where it’s still flowing clear enough for some decent steelhead fishing, according to Dave Pritchess at The Fishin’ Hole in Shady Cove. He said the guides are running and re-running that stretch for some good action. “It’s been good fishing this year,” Pritchett said, “we’ve been getting bigger fish and bigger numbers of fish since the dams were taken out.” The river takes a few days to clear up after a deluge.
RUSSIAN RIVER—Blown out and running 30 feet high and 38,000 cfs, and filled with logs and debris. It will be at least a week and half before even thinking of fishing it.
SMITH RIVER— At 77,000 cfs and 25.7 feet at the Jed Smith gauge on Sunday morning, and 30 feet at the Dr. Fine Bridge/Hwy. 101 gauge. Another smaller storm expected Wednesday. The fast-clearing Smith might be fishable by Thursday or Friday for steelhead plunking, said guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. “Maybe it will drop enough to begin side-drifting from the Forks.”
Weather forecasters from the National Weather Service predicted the river to drop to 7,000 cfs by Friday, a more than 10-foot drop from early in the week.
VANDUZEN RIVER—Blown out.
KLAMATH RIVER, Seiad—The river was high and unfishable from the I-5 Bridge downstream to the mouth.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate—The river came up a bit, but stayed fishable and steelheading was good from Iron Gate Dam to the I-5 Bridge. Anglers were catching half dozen adults an outing from 2 to 5 pounds, plus a bunch of smaller fish. Drifted nightcrawlers were good, but backtrolled crawdad plugs were even better. Fishing pressure continued to be very light.
TRINITY RIVER, Lewiston—The upper river down to Weaver Creek around Douglas City became unfishable for only a few days, and good steelheading returned quickly as the river dropped. Flies, backtrolled plugs, and drifted roe were all producing fish with the most effective fly last week the blue copper John. The fish being caught have been larger on average this year than last.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek—The river was blown out from below Weaver Creek down to the mouth.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE—When the weather clears, fish the mid-lake and deeper south arms. Fishing will still be good in the clear water areas but exercise caution, there’s a lot of floating debris in the lake. Both bass and catfish are taking jumbo minnows and have been found spread out. Fishing deep at Shag Rock found catfish to 20 pounds.
LAKE BERRYESSA—The lake got hit hard by the storm and will be unfishable for a little while.
UPPER BLUE LAKE—Give the lake a few days to settle after the wind and rain, then head up for some easy limit trout fishing with either downriggers from 20 to 30 feet or toplining.
LAKE ALMANOR—With rain since last Tuesday and power outages, no one was out fishing.
BAUM LAKE—While the lake is in great shape, the wind made it impossible to fish.
CASSEL FOREBAY—Still 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 fore bay may reopen.
EAGLE LAKE—Wind made getting out on the lake hard but anglers did fish from the shore and jetties, finding limits whether jigging or using slip bobbers with minnows. Eagle Lake closes to fishing on December 31.
PIT RIVER—The Fly Shop in Redding warns anglers to be careful in areas where water is coming in, as there may be flooding, but Pit 3 should be okay.
SHASTA LAKE—A warm rain dumped lots of rain but the fishing should be very good, since the lake temp actually came up. Both bass and trout should be in the top 20 feet where the bait is.
BERKELEY— Trips early in the week out of Berkeley Marina Sportfishing produced limits of crab and rockcod. The El Dorado and the New El Dorado III fished Saturday and Sunday in the rain and came back in with limits of rockfish and crab again. Although it is wet out there, the winds have been light and fishing is gratifyingly productive.
BODEGA BAY—Sportboat New Sea Angler picked a weather window Saturday and took a group out to an area off of the Russian River where they scored full limits of both rockfish and crabs. Decent fishing was available early in the week from Carmet and most rocky areas to the north.
EMERYVILLE—Vessel New Huck Fin ran outside the Gate on Monday to score heavy hauls for the 22 passengers. Limit was the word on rockfish and on Dungeness crabs, plus 14 lingcod to 12 pounds.
EUREKA—Strong winds, steep wind waves and towering swells kept boaters ashore and kept surf fishers off the beach. Tackle shopping and maintenance were the main fishing efforts all week.
FORT BRAGG—Snare casters worked through plenty of shorts to put together limits of keeper crabs. Finding safe spots away from monster swells was the most challenging part of the fishing adventure. Before the swells, surf fishers did well on perch above Laguna Point and did well on rockfish, cabezon and greenling below Point Laguna.
HALF MOON BAY—Sportboat Huli Cat made it out for a successful rockfish/crab combo trip to the Tunitas area where they took near limits of rockfish and full limits of Dungeness Crabs. Pier crabbers cast snares for decent counts on the crabs.
MARTINEZ—Sturgeon bit best at the Benicia Bridge, Buoy 2 and Mothball Fleet as conditions ripen for the big old fish. Boaters on anchor are also nailing striped bass. Those trying for sturgeon used grass shrimp or shrimp/eel combos, while those hoping for striped bass baited up with bullheads.
OYSTER POINT—Sturgeon anglers fished with great anticipation, but little in the way of results other than leopard sharks and smoothhound sharks. Sturgeon are on the move and the bite is expected to pick up with stronger upcoming tides. Perch offered fair action in the murky rain runoff water.
PORT SONOMA—Sturgeon responded well to the rain and churned up water in the area river systems. The Napa River system edged out Petaluma River and Sonoma Creek for sturgeon production, however those rivers edged out the Napa when it came to striped bass. Sturgeon also bit well in the upper San Pablo Bay.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 33-percent capacity. Not much happening here with the poor weather this past week and weekend. The best bet after the weather settles will be fishing at the dam or at the inlet. There could be some big macks prowling the inlet in the early morning or late evening.
CAPLES LAKE—Heavy snow and winds at this elevation most of this past week and weekend. WON experienced bad phone connections to Caples Lake Resort. The resort will open for Christmas-New Year’s on December 20. There should be safe ice by then, but wait for the word from Caples Lake Resort before trying the ice.
CARSON RIVER (East)—Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort reported that the big rains pushed flows from 40 cfs to 4000 cfs by Sunday—the river was completely blown out and muddy.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 71-percent capacity, up 3 feet with the rain. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported that the rains had turned to snow on Sunday morning. Fly fishing was good before the storms at Fairview for shore casters using bead-head PT nymphs under an indicator on a floating line or stripped on a sinking tip. 12 to 25 fish catches were reported. The streams were flowing heavy into the lake, which could cause muddy conditions—wait for the weather to settle down.
DONNER LAKE—The storms only brought heavy rains at this elevation, so the lake is accessible. Fishing should be good at the west end for patient anglers using Power Bait and worms for rainbows or casting Krocodile spoons in the early morning or late evening for macks.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 59-percent capacity. Strong winds and heavy rain reduced fishing pressure to zero this past week. Before the storms, Wiggins Trading Post reported that shore fishing was good at Lunker Point, Turkey Point and the dam for anglers using Power Bait or a bobber/worm for limits of 12- to 18-inch rainbows. There was no snow from the last storms, but it would be wise to call ahead in case of downed trees and slides impacting access around the lake.
GOLD LAKES BASIN—Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported that the rainstorms were warm and had melted off any ice on the lakes that had formed earlier this past week. The roads were open to Salmon and Gold, but little fishing pressure was reported in light of the terrible weather.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 68-percent capacity. Very heavy rains and high winds plagued the whole region for most of this past week. Downed trees and rockslides were a definite possibility throughout the area.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort reported that fishing was shut down by the heavy rains and wind that pummeled the region this past week and weekend. Wait for the weather to settle down. Alpine County still plans on stocking 1800 pounds of trophy trout here soon.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR—Not much happening here with all the weather. There could be some snow at this elevation, though most of the area received rain below 6500-foot elevation.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—Not much fishing going on this past week and weekend with all the wind and rain. The roads around the lake were clear with no downed trees reported. Wait for the weather to settle down–trolling for rainbows was good in the Narrows before the storms arrived.
LAKE TAHOE—Heavy rains and gale force winds caused damaged to boats all over the lake, especially on the north end where a storm surge rammed into the marinas in Carnelian Bay. Before the storms, Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters and Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported excellent trolling for macks. On Daniels last trip, he tagged 9 fish, kept 8, and lost 4 or 5 more in 4 hours. Self reported catching macks as shallow as 20 feet deep in the early morning while they were up searching for rainbow trout. By Sunday morning, the rains had turned to snow at the lake—call ahead before heading up here.
LOON LAKE—The lake is at 61-percent capacity. There could be some snow at this elevation, but overall the storms this past week brought mostly rains to areas below 6500 feet. No one was fishing in the horrendous weather this past week. Check with the Pacific Ranger Station for the latest road conditions.
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 40-percent capacity, up 2 1/2 feet with the rain. There just was not much to report here with heavy rains this past week keeping anglers near the fireplace. Wait for the weather to settle down and then try the dam for rainbows with Power Bait or Kastmaster spoons.
PYRAMID LAKE—Heavy rains caused flooding and gale force winds did a lot of structural damage to homes in the area around the lake. Before the storms hit, shore fishing was very good and a number of big fish were weighed in from 10 to 20 pounds by fly fishermen. The Willows and the North and South Nets produced all the big fish for fly casters using black or olive woolly buggers. Dave Hamel caught a 34-inch, 20 pounder, David Millingar landed a 14 3/4- pound cutt’ at the South Nets, Corey Casci netted an 14 pounder at the Willows, and Matt Lyons picked up a 10 1/4-pound trout at the North Nets. Trollers wisely stayed off the lake during the dangerous storms that reeked havoc the area over the past week and weekend.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 75-percent capacity. The safest bet was shore fishing near the dam and boat ramp. The heavy rain surely muddied up the roads into the Sagehen arm, so use caution when getting off the improved roads. When the weather settles down, try trolling from the ramp to the dam for macks.
TRUCKEE RIVER—The heavy rains blew out the river—up from 400 cfs to 1800 cfs. Wait a while for it to settle down.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 53-percent capacity, up 5 1/2 feet with the rain this past weekend. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle reported that the road to the lake off Pea Vine Ridge Road was a difficult run with downed trees and rock slides, though the road is kept passable by SMUD to maintain access to their facilities at the dam. He said that fishing was slow now due to the fact that the macks were spawning—fishing would be better by late January and February.
AMERICAN RIVER—Fishing for steelhead continued to improve up until flows increased to 5,000 cfs and storm runoff muddied the river. Flows are dropping back to 2,000 cfs to remove the Nimbus Hatchery weir blocking the river early in the week, and fishing in Nimbus Basin should improve greatly as it transitioned from salmon to steelhead angling. Quite a few are being seen now in the hatchery. Fly fishers were using egg imitations, egg-sucking leeches, bright green caddis nymphs, and psycho nymphs. San Juan worms were scoring fish, too. Conventional fishermen were drifting roe and nightcrawlers, and backtrolling small Brad’s Wigglers.
FOLSOM LAKE— The lake came up 2 feet in just a few hours on Sunday as inflows muddied and increased to 40,000 cfs as the intense storms finally ended. Fishing all but shut down, but before the storms, a few king salmon and rainbows were being caught trolling. Bass fishing was slow, but a few were being caught off points on slowly worked plastics. There’s a 5 mph speed limit over the whole lake, and the Granite Bay Ramp was closed. The only open boat ramp was at Brown’s Ravine Marina.
FEATHER RIVER—Water conditions and steelheading continued to be pretty good in spite of the storms, as virtually all anglers stayed off the river. However, a few continued to fish both the Low Flow Section and below the Outlet and did well on nymphs and San Juan worms fished under indicators. Spin fishermen were drifting nightcrawler and swinging Little Cleos and Kastmasters.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento—The river was the highest and muddiest of the fall as a result of the intense storm, and the only available fishing was in the Deep Water Channel. The Courtland area was providing a few sturgeon, and the Turning Basin and off Marshall Road were providing some pretty good striper fishing for fish weighing from 3 to 5 pounds. Bankies were soaking bloodworms and mudsuckers while boaters were drifting jumbo minnows, jigging and trolling.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff—Water conditions from Balls Ferry to Red Bluff provided fishable conditions for a couple of days before the intense storms blew out the river the rest of the week. The river, at least the upper part, should come back shape barring more storms for at least a short while before it closes to salmon fishing December 16.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding—The river was chocolate as of Sunday, but should clear quickly, especially in the Redding area within a few days of the dry weather.
YUBA RIVER—Over the weekend, the Yuba was at 25,000 cfs and rising. It will take awhile to drop and clear enough to be fishable again.
AMERICAN RIVER—River flows were high and muddy with all the rain and runoff this past week, according to the Georgetown Ranger Station.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 65-percent capacity. The tremendous storms that hit the region shut down fishing this past week. Emerald Cove Marina had to disconnect the dock system from the shore to avoid damage due to the high winds. The lake was rising quickly and was muddy.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake was rising very fast from all the rain and was very muddy. Fishing was shut down due to the wind and rain. Wait for the weather to settle down and the water to clear.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is 21 feet from full and muddy. There’s still a lot of runoff coming into the lake that will keep the fishing unsettled until the weather stabilizes. The lake received a 2000-pound DFG trout plant this past week and is scheduled for another DFG plant this week. Before the big rain/wind storms, fishing was good for limits of rainbows, plus shore anglers and trollers were picking up some trophy fish from 3 1/2 to 9 pounds. Bass fishing was good for locals Dave Callison and Kevin Donovan—they caught limits on plastic worms.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 104-percent capacity and spilling, and the lake is scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week. With the wind and rain all this past week, fishing pressure was very low. The lake was muddy with lots of floating debris, according to Skippers Cove Marina.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that with snow levels over 6000 feet during the storms this past week, the roads to the lake were open, but no one was venturing out in the foul weather. Downed trees and rockslides could be a problem on the area roads.
FULLER LAKE—The lake is scheduled for a DFG trout plant this week.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR—The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the roads to the lake were open with snow levels over 6000 feet during the storms this past week, but people needed to be on the lookout for downed trees and rockslides.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 53-percent capacity—up 21 feet over the 4 days of rainstorms with lots of muddy water running in. Before the storms hit, guide Ron Gandolfi was doing very well—60 fish days—throwing Paradise Tackle Company finesse jigs from the shore down to 35 feet deep. Worm-head jig rigged 4- and 5-inch Senkos were also working very well. With all the runoff it would be a good idea to check the back of the pockets with water running in with a spinnerbait.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake was rising and muddy due to all the rain—no one was fishing. Wait for the weather to settle down and the water to clear up.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—Before the storms and just as the first wave of rain moved in, trollers did well from Cascade Shore toward the inlet and at the spillway end of the dam for limits of rainbows to 14 1/2 inches, plus one boat also caught a 2 1/2-pound brown—all on Rapalas. The lake was rising quickly with all the runoff from the torrential rains.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the roads to the lake were open with no snow at this elevation, but the rain and wind kept fishermen at bay.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the road to the lake was open with only rain falling during the storms. No one was fishing during the severe storms that rolled through the region this past week.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at 131.3-foot elevation at press time—66-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi recommended cranking the rock banks along the west and north side of the lake to avoid the duck hunters.