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.— Rains hitting the Chetco will bring flows up and bring steelhead in, although there are still plenty of fish in the system at press time, despite continued low and clear flows. They’re looking at a couple inches of rain that will bring more new fish in, and downrunners down the river, so call ahead.
EEL RIVER— Main Stem Eel was gin clear, and the South Fork even more so and low, but there were still plenty of fish in the holding holes and riffles, especially for those who have been following the fish and conditions. Rain predicted, so call ahead for conditions.
MAD RIVER— Low flows, but some color for part of the week, and a real mix of fish, including fresh and dark and bluebacks. Plugs and bait working. Stick to the well-defined holes, that’s where the fish are, but be sneaky. Rains predicted, so call ahead.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.—The expected rains may very well bring in the first of the “springer” salmon run to his river, which generally begins this time of year, and really gets going in April, continuing into June normally, depending on river temperatures.
RUSSIAN RIVER—There’s a “nice run of hatchery fish in right now,” said Steve Jackson, owner of King’s Sport and Tackle in Guerneville on Sunday. The fish are only 2 to 5 pounds, but there seems to be a lot of them, and they’re hitting about anything: roe, spnners and the boaters are using plugs. River flow is 500 cfs and holding there from upstream releases, but rain was in the forecast so call ahead.
SMITH RIVER— The Smith has been gin-clear and running low for weeks, and counts haven’t been high, but there are plenty of fish in the river and plenty more waiting to come in, and you’re chances of getting a real wall-hanger are better here than most anywhere else.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam—Warmer weather improved fishing for steelhead and trout last week, with anglers catching several small adults to about 4 pounds daily backtrolling plugs, drifting Glo-Bugs, roe and nightcrawlers.
KLAMATH RIVER, Johnson’s Riffle—From here to the mouth of the Trinity was where the best action was on the Klamath last week. Fresh steelhead were concentrated in this area up into the lower end of the Trinity, and were being hooked on roe and big Blue Fox spinners.
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City—Fishing was, in a word, tough with low, clear water providing extremely challenging conditions. It appeared that most fresh steelies were well downstream around Willow Creek waiting for rain to spur them into moving upriver.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek—Fishing was pretty good last week as fresh steelhead stuck around the area waiting for the river and creeks to rise. Salyer to Willow Creek produced some decent fishing for steelhead to about 8 pounds.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE— With many anglers already catching at least one 6 or 7 pounder this season already chances are this spring will be one to remember for a long time. Anglers used live minnows with the best success but the tourney guys used Alabama rigs, lipless crankbaits by LuckyCraft, a variety of swimbaits, the River 2 Sea S waver and jigs.
LAKE BERRYESSA—With 50-degree water temperatures now showing up in the shallows a variety of LuckyCraft ripbaits, LV500s, swimbaits, A-Rigs and a variety of jigs have all been producing nice fish. Spring is the time of year bass anglers all wait for as the fish become more active, feed up and prepare for their spawning efforts.
LAKE SONOMA—This may be the “go to” lake for a bit if you don’t like a crowd of tournament boats around you. Bass fishing has been good in the creek arms working LuckyCraft pointer 100s and jigs slowly.
LAKE ALMANOR—Fishing was good for king salmon and rainbow trout on the east shoreline by the dam and good for a few browns on the west side of the peninsula by Rec.2.
BAUM LAKE—The Fly Shop in Redding reported fair to good fishing depending on the day as PG&E was altering the flows.
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 fore bay may reopen.
PIT RIVER—Fishing has been good here for the past month thanks to some hatches going off.
SHASTA LAKE—Work the shallows in the upper arms for bass in the mornings out to 10 feet. You’ll find a few big ones but not much action by tossing big swimbaits. In the afternoons toss 6- and 7-inch trout patterned swimbaits for a few big bass but only one or two or but also try MF worms in shad hues for numbers of bass. Trout are still on top but not many have been trolling for them by the dam.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 37-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that the ice was beginning to break up and no longer safe for ice fishing. STAY SAFE, STAY OFF!!
CAPLES LAKE—The lake is at 67-percent capacity. John Voss at Caples Lake Resort reported there was 2 feet of snow over 2 feet of ice, and 1 to 2 more feet of snow was forecast for mid-week. Ice fishing was good for rainbows, browns and a few 3- to 4-pound macks along the south side of the lake near the spillway. Worms, bay shrimp, and Kastmaster spoons were all working in 5 to 10 feet of water.
CARSON RIVER (East)—Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort said the river was in beautiful condition but few anglers were out on the water.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 76-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported that ice fishing early this past week was good with anglers picking up 3 to 4 rainbows running 17 to 18 inches. By the end of the week, the bite had slowed to a 1 or 2 fish success rate. The SE side of the little island near Honker Cove and Catfish were the best spots. The bite is still very light and the fish have been finicky and hard to hook. Power Bait was working best on a size 16 treble hook.
DONNER LAKE—The lake is at 37-percent capacity. The mack bite was improving for shore casters and boaters, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports. Trollers picked up some fish in the 12- to 15-pound range running large plugs and spoons from the top down to 35 feet deep. Shore anglers were catching some 3 to 5 pounders on Rapalas and Krocodile spoons. Rainbows were hitting bait and small jigs.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 65-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported that ice fishing was still good at the dam for anglers using nightcrawlers. On warmer days, the ice was melting along the edges of the lake in some spots later in the day, so use caution when getting on and off the ice.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 64-percent capacity. Snow was falling on Sunday morning when WON called and more snow was forecast for mid-week. It would be wise to wait for the weather to clear.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—The road was pretty well open this past week, but snow was the forecast for mid-week. Call Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort for the latest road conditions at 530-694-2229.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—Sly Park Resort reported that trollers picked up a couple of 3- to 5-pound macks at the second dam on flasher/nightcrawler combos and Rapalas. Otherwise little was happening.
LAKE TAHOE—Guides on both ends of the lake were doing well for macks and some trout. Rick Kennedy at Tight Lines Guide Service fished this past Monday and caught limits of 3- to 6- pound macks trolling Rapalas and spoons 260 feet deep in Carnelian Bay west of Stateline Point. Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters reported picking up limits of macks to 8 1/2 pounds on dodger/tube and dodger/Koke-a-nut combos at 350 to 375 feet deep in the same area. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners fished South Shore for limits of 3- to 6-pound macks trolling 120 to 130 or 195 to 225 feet deep depending on the spot. Moving into 15 feet of water produced browns to 4 pounds on Rapalas.
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 29-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that the ice was still safe here and fishing was best at the dam using small jigs tipped with a small piece of worm or a bay shrimp, and jigged Kastmaster spoons.
PYRAMID LAKE—Crosby’s Lodge reported that shore fishing for lunker cutthroats was very slow this past week with only one big trout weighed in by Jeff Morris of Austin, NV—a 10-pound 2-ouncer caught on a black fly at the North Nets. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters reported that trolling was unexpectedly slow with trips only producing 3 to 4 fish for 5 to 8 hookups. Most of the fish were in the slot (20 to 24 inches), so keepers (17 to 20 inches) were hard to come by.
RED LAKE—Ice fishing at the dam was still producing cutthroats using red worms, meal worms, Power Bait, and Kastmaster spoons, according to Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters.
SILVER LAKE—The lake is at 27-percent capacity. Ice fishing at the dam with bay shrimp, worms, and Kastmaster spoons was still the best bet.
TOPAZ LAKE—Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported that trollers were still picking up limits of rainbows from 12 inches to 2 pounds on flasher/worm combos in the middle of the lake. Shore fishing was very slow.
TRUCKEE RIVER—Peter Santley at Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that fly action was decent from Glenshire to Floriston on small dark midges and BWO patterns, and squala stones were starting to appear. Mountain Hardware and Sports said that some bigger browns and rainbows were hitting spinners and Rapalas—remember to use barbless hooks!
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 71-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported that his trips were producing four to five 3- to 5-pound macks and at least on hookup on a trophy fish. This past week Ben Dixon of Cameron Park landed a 15 1/2-pound Mackinaw that hit a dodger/herring combo at 115 feet deep over a mid-lake hump. The next day Mathis and his son, Willie, caught 8 and 12 pounders. Most of the fish were found at 70 to 90 feet deep and hit dodger/herring or dodger/4-inch hoochies combos and Double Flutter spoons. Mathis said it was important to set the lures back 100 to 125 feet back from the downrigger ball and troll .9 to 1.2 mph.
BERKELEY—Perch fishing went off the hook this week for rubber lip, pogies and red tail. Flounder fishing picked up along the shoreline and numerous schoolie-size stripers were brought in as well. Halibut bites were on the rise, with reports from the South Bay holding the most promise. The Lovely Martha reported a 15 pound halibut.
BODEGA BAY—Fort Ross area proved the best bet for shoreline rockfish and cabezon. Bodega Bay anglers worked the jetty for crabs and smaller rockfish. Surf perch bit very well at Doran Beach and down the coast at Dillon Beach. New Sea Angler maintained great numbers of crabs and sand dabs.
DILLON BEACH—Large surf perch were reported here, along with good numbers of leopard sharks in the surf. Inside Tomales Bay, crabbers found Dungeness crabs in the channel off of Tom’s Point.
EUREKA—Rockfishing along local jetties rated fair to good, according to WON Field Reporter, Lonnie Dollarhide. It was mostly black rockfish caught on Gulp! baits and Big Hammer swimbaits. Ron Webb of Arcata reported catching a 12-inch “sea trout” (greenling) before heading home due to blown-out weather.
FORT BRAGG—Gnarly seas kept most folks off of the water and prevented safe and sane spearfishers from entering the water to target the area’s great lingcod and rockfish population. Surf perch fishing was the only fishing game in town and anglers had to be wary of dangerous surf conditions.
HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA—Arrival of live pile worms at Half Moon Bay Sportfishing and Tackle shop cranked up the success valve for rockfish along the jetty. Crabbers worked the jetty too, casting snares for Dungeness crabs. At Pacifica, surf fishers scored on perch and pier fishers were divided between perch fishing and crabbing.
MARTINEZ—Good counts of sturgeon over 50 pounds were weighed in this week at Martinez Marina Bait & Tackle. Other local action included stripers in the 18- to 24-inch range and plenty of platter-size flounder from shore, pier and boats. Charter vessel Happy Hooker posted a 60-pound sturgeon, with three 57-inch whopper list entries for the week.
OYSTER POINT—Trollers nailed halibut to the ol’ barn door. Fair and improving action was found near Oyster Point and also across the Bay off of Oakland Airport. Trolling with herring proved the most effective technique, though anchovies tempted strikes as well. Pier anglers enjoyed success on perch and jacksmelt, but suffered the loss of a couple of halibut that broke off while being hauled up to the pier.
PORT SONOMA—Sturgeon bit live baits in the Petaluma River, Sonoma Creek and out on San Pablo Bay. Striped bass were often the take-home meal when sturgeon came up either too short or too long. Sharks and Rays began showing in San Pablo Bay as salinity levels increase.
SAN RAFAEL—Striped bass bit exceptionally well for boaters sitting on anchor in the Pumphouse area. A few sturgeon were caught, with one 70 incher caught and released by Dean Toll of Marin County. Halibut activity is beginning to improve. Perch fishing was very good along local shorelines.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 80-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina reported that bass fishermen pre-fishing for a tournament reported catching only small spots. A marina employee said he was catching some nice 1-pound bluegill drifting worms 10 feet deep along the shore.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake is almost full and the water color is good. North Shore Resort reported that fishing was slow this past week even though the water temp was up into the low-50’s.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is 2-foot from full. Collins Lake Resort planted another 1800 pounds of rainbows this past week—1/2 catchables and 1/2 trophy fish. Despite the big plant, fishing was slow, but once the fish get acclimated to the lake, fishing should take off. The top 3 big fish of the week were all 6 pounders—two were caught at the dam on Power Bait and one was taken trolling a flasher/worm off the beach.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 93-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported that trollers and bait drifters were picking up limits of rainbows to 16 inches from the dam to Boston Bar. The DFW may have stocked the lake.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 81-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that bass fishing was very good with 20 to 30 fish days common. Tubes, Senkos, dart-head worms, and drop-shotting were all working on bass that were beginning to stage into spawning areas. The fish were moving from the walls to the points and then into the coves and holding from the bank on down to 35 feet deep. With the lake continuing to slowly rise, debris is still a big problem with major impact on the launch ramps. Use caution while running!!
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is at 94-percent capacity with clear water. Fishing was slow, but boaters were still heading up toward Greenhorn and the inlet.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake is at 99-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at the Scott’s Flat Marina reported that trollers were still catching some limits of planter rainbows using flasher/worm combos from the marina to the dam.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the fishing pressure was very light despite the roads and facilities being snow free.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—Kalan Richards of Eldorado Hills, after failing to make it to Hell Hole through heavy snow, trolled Rapalas and dodger/Kastmaster/worm combos here for 3 limits of rainbows to 16 inches on a late afternoon this past week. The road to the lake was icy/snowy and required 4-wheel drive to access the lake.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at 127-foot elevation at press time—41-percent capacity. One boater was doing well throwing spinnerbaits along the rocks along the west side of the lake south of the bridge for fish up to 6 pounds. The cold front forecast for this week could slow the bite.
AMERICAN RIVER—Steelhead fishing pressure has dropped off dramatically, but there are still fresh winter run steelhead coming up the river along with fat half-pounders to join the spawners and downrunners still present. Drifted roe and nightcrawlers were scoring most of the fish, but backtrolled plugs were working, too. Fly fishers were dead-drifting small egg patterns, golden stone nymphs, and prince nymphs under indicators.
FOLSOM LAKE—Fishing landlocked king salmon was very good, and some weighing up to 4 pounds were being caught on a variety of methods and depths—10 to 15 feet deep on Speedy Shiners, and 45 feet deep on Apexes, all fished behind dodgers on the main body. Some nice holdover rainbows to 17 inches were also being caught near the surface on nightcrawlers behind dodgers. Bass fishing continued to slowly improve, but the water is still cold and most of the bass being caught have been taken on plastic worked slowly off main points leading into coves. Fish the sunny areas where water temperatures are a little warmer.
FEATHER RIVER—Striped bass fishing slowed as they apparently followed the recently released baby steelhead as they worked their way downstream into the Sacramento River. Some steelhead were still being caught, but fishing slowed in the Low Flow Section as the pumping station came back online and the river’s flow was once again split with 600 cfs coming down the Low Flow Section.
RANCHO SECO LAKE—Fishing continued to be good for trout from 12 inches to 3 pounds with the best results coming from non-gasoline powered craft. Bass fishing continued to improve, too, as bass prepared to spawn. Work Senkos and jerkbaits in the shallows, and jigs, and Robo-Worms out deeper.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento—Striped bass fishing was slow last week around Sacramento, but pretty good farther downstream around Cache Slough, Courtland, and Rio Vista. Some sturgeon were being caught in those areas, as well. Bloodworms and pileworms worked best for stripers to 8 pounds.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Grimes—Sturgeon fishing really took off last week between Colusa and Tisdale with some nights producing multiple hookups. Most of the fish being caught, though, have been over-sized. Try ghost shrimp and pileworms in a combination cocktail.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding—The water below Keswick was still off-color, but anglers backtrolling small plugs and drifting nightcrawlers were doing well down to Anderson. Flows cleared gradually the farther downstream one went and fly fishing picked up. Dark flies such as rubberlegs were being dead-drifted with smaller Mayfly and caddis nymph imitations.
YUBA RIVER—Trout fishing was good with trout taking nymphs under indicators. Not much in the way of dry fly fishing though.