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.— The Chetco River closed Sunday night. The river will re-open to trout fishing in May. Anglers will begin trolling for kings in September. This fall’s bubble season for trophy kings at the mouth of the Chetco is Oct. 1-13. It was still giving up a fish or two before the opener.
EEL RIVER—Closed above the junction with the South Fork. Prior to that, the mainstem was a little tougher fishing for WON Field Reporter and guide Tony Sepulveda of Green River Fishing Adventures than the South Fork, but action was steady.
EEL RIVER, South Fork—The South Fork Eel had some big piles of fish and it kicked out great action despite the fact it was getting on the low side, according to guide Tony Sepulveda. “We broke the double digit mark on several days last week.”
GARCIA, GUALALA rivers—Closed March 31.
MAD RIVER— The Mad kicked out some nice steelhead right up until the end on March 31, according to guide Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing Adventures.
MATTOLE RIVER—Closed March 31.
NAVARRO, NOYO rivers—Closed March 31.
REDWOOD CREEK—Closed March 31.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore.— Spring salmon fishing was slow on the Rogue River near Gold Beach last week, mainly because of low, clear water. Rain over the weekend combined with increased flows from Lost Creek Dam is expected to give fishing a boost this week. April and May are peak season for springers on the lower Rogue, according to WON Field Reporter Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. That was confirmed by WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets, who said “it is just the beginning of the season and much to soon too become concerned with how many fish haven’t been caught yet.”
RUSSIAN RIVER—Reports were sketchy from Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville, but one angler came in and said “there’s a bunch of steelhead coming up the river.” It was pouring rain on Sunday at 4 p.m.. No reports on flows or conditions.
SMITH RIVER— Action on the Smith was fair with up to 5 fish a boat being reported. There were still lots of fish parked in the Middle and South Forks that should start making their way down on the next rain. The Smith stays open below the confluence of the South and Middle Forks, according to Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing Adventures.
UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Ore.–The spring kings are just not here yet, or they are moving so quickly upriver that anglers aren’t able to get a bait in their path, according to Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service, because there haven’t been any springers caught over the last week. “I feel that the salmon are a little slow getting into the river, and with the lack of a snowpack, we can expect them to travel more to the center of the river instead of in that 5 – 7 feet of water and close to the banks of the river.”
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Glide, Ore.–The last week has been as inconsistent as the rest of this season. The steelhead fishing has been winding down quickly over the last week. There are still some super bright fish in the river, but the post-spawned hens are grabbing up every bait just as fast as they can grab it. This has made it very difficult for anglers to catch a fish that is in good enough shape to take a picture with, since this is primarily a catch and release season on this river. Spring Chinook’s should be wandering through the fish ladder in the next two weeks.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam—Flows were still up, and there was virtually no one fishing, but a few steelies to about 4 pounds were being caught on drifted roe and nightcrawlers. Flows were too high to fish by the time you get to mouth of the Shasta River.
KLAMATH RIVER, Johnson’s Riffle—Flows were too high to fish because of the recent storm.
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City—There were still lots of steelhead, but fishing was hampered by the hordes of hungry steelhead smolts released from the hatchery. There were quite a few brown trout available, though, if you have the patience to deal with the smolts. The browns ranged to around 18 inches, and were even taking dry flies at times. The big increase in spring release from Lewiston Dam will begin around April 14 per the Record of Decision. Flows will then become too high to fish for around two months.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek—Steelhead fishing was pretty good last week between Willow Creek and the South Fork, as well as in the South Fork. Backtrolling plugs seemed to be the most effective method on small, but feisty, mostly wild steelhead.
BERKELEY—Striped bass went on the chew with a vengeance for both shore and boat anglers. Pinole and Richmond were the hotspots. Halibut bit at a slow but enticing pace for trollers and drifters. Perch season in the Bay ended with a crescendo for anglers near Berkeley and Point Pinole. The Flying Fish ran a charter inside the Bay and scored a 12-pound halibut plus a legal striper.
BODEGA BAY—New Sea Angler returned to port this weekend from a new fishing area with limits of heavy Dungeness plus all the sand dabs the passengers wanted. The bonus was finding an area up the coast that looked highly promising for the salmon opener.
EUREKA—Razor Clam digging resulted in easy limits at Clam Beach. Red tail perch showed up on the outside of the jetties. Jetty fishers also concentrated on black rockfish and lingcod.
FORT BRAGG—Overall shore fishing is rated very good. Mendocino Headlands gave up good numbers of lingcod, cabezon and rockfish. Westport and Usal Beach hosted surf fishers who targeted red tail perch. Divers worked right out in front of Noyo harbor for rockfish and lingcod. Abalone season opened April 1and prospects are outstanding.
HALF MOON BAY—Most fishing activity has been along the jetty. Anglers posted scores of rockfish, cabezon and monkeyface prickleback eels. Crabbers cast baited snares and brought in enough for dinner.
MARTINEZ/BENICIA—Sturgeon fishing continued strong near Benicia Bridge, Buoy 9 and Mothball Fleet. Striped bass began moving around, though the bigger units were still being caught inland, especially near Pittsburg. Flounder action continued late into the season and the small flatfish showed a preference for grass shrimp. Anglers aboard the Flash, out of Martinez scored well on both sturgeon and stripers this week.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 49-percent capacity. The best fishing was still at the dam and inlet for anglers using Power Bait, worms, or casting spoons.
CAPLES LAKE—John Voss at the Caples Lake Resort reported that the ice at the spillway was still 2 feet thick, but there were spots of blue ice showing on the lake and open water was forming at the creek inlets. Voss predicts an early thaw this year—most likely by early May. Fishing was still decent at the spillway on a variety of baits and lures
CARSON RIVER (East)—Rains this past week doubled the flows in the river and turned the water a milky green. Some people were cited this past week for fishing in the river upstream of Hangman’s Bridge—the river is only open below the bridge and then only with barbless hooks on artificial lures.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 81-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported that shore fishing at Mallard Point was okay for anglers using Power Bait and nightcrawlers. Fly fishermen were doing well at Coot on nymphs under indicators. Boats can launch at Camp 5 and Mallard Point, but there are no courtesy docks at either location yet.
DONNER LAKE—Not much change here—still rainbows being taken on Power Bait and worms off the west end docks and macks were still hitting for trollers running big plugs and spoons in the top 20 feet.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 68-percent capacity. Shore anglers did well at Crystal Point for rainbows up to 3 pounds using Power Bait. The road around the lake is completely clear.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 73-percent capacity. Trollers were still picking up easy limits of 10- top 13-inch rainbows toplining dodger/worm, grub, or hoochie combos. The rains this past week should dump a lot of water into the lake, which could slow the bite until things stabilize.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort reported that the roads into the lake off Diamond Valley and Hwy 89 were clear. Some fly fishermen were doing pretty well from float tubes using nymphs under indicators. Shore fishermen should be picking up a few fish off the dam.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—Three trollers in one boat picked up 16-, 17-, 19-, and 21-inch macks, but wouldn’t reveal what lure they were using or where they were fishing, according to Sly Park Resort.
LAKE TAHOE—Heavy rains fell over the weekend, making for sloppy fishing conditions. Charter operators on both ends of the lake did well on macks despite the weather. Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters reported catching limits of macks to 8 pounds and releasing a few more smaller fish trolling 400 feet deep. Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported having a great afternoon trip for macks to 9 pounds. They kept 3 limits of 5 to 9 pounders and released 6 more fish between 3 and 5 pounds trolling spoons and small stickbaits from 200 to 250 feet deep. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners reported doing well on browns earlier in the week, catching 3 to 8 browns from 3 to 7 pounds on most trips. He reported a client lost a brown that weighed in the teens to a buoy chain. He was doing well on the macks both jigging and trolling. Jigging produced good numbers of 2 to 5 pounders while trolling Husky Jerk and Scatter Rap Rapalas produced fish up to 16 1/2 pounds, but mostly 4 to 8 pounders. Nielsen was doing well at South Shore, and in Meeks and Rubicon Bay.
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 32-percent capacity. Not much change here—try fishing at the dam with the lake at this level.
PYRAMID LAKE—Trollers were picking up 15 to 67 cutthroats per day in the 17- to 24-inch size range running bleeding frog FlatFish and Father Murphy Vibrator spoons at 25 feet deep from Warrior Point to Monument. Shore fishermen had the upper hand for size again this past week. Glenn Lemmon of Sparks weighed in a 33-inch, 19 1/4-pound cutthroat at Crosby’s Lodge that he caught at Popcorn on a beetle fly.
RED LAKE—Few reports were available for this lake—the ice was reported to still be safe, but be extremely cautious near the shore at the dam on sunny days.
SILVER LAKE—Few reports were available for this lake—look out for soft spots and blue ice. Use extra caution when getting on or off the ice at a rocky shore on a sunny day.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 73-percent capacity. Rick Kennedy at Tight Lines Guide Service reported picking up a nice rainbow trout, a couple 10-inch kokanee, and two nice macks—13 1/2 and 4 1/2 pounds this past week. The fishing was pretty slow but the quality was good. He said he was using a Pro Troll Sting Fish for the macks and Sep’s watermelon dodgers with Uncle Larry’s Bloody Tiger spinners tipped with pink Pautzke’s Fire Corn for the kokes.
TOPAZ LAKE—Not much change here—trollers were still doing much better than shore anglers running Rapalas and flasher/worm combos in the middle of the lake in the top 10 feet for limits of 13- to 14-inch rainbows.
TRUCKEE RIVER—The best fly fishing was still in the Reno-Sparks area during the big BWO hatches. Squala stones should be coming on soon.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 79-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported that the mack trolling had slowed down a bit, but his trips were still producing three or four 3- to 5-pound macks each. A client hooked and lost a big fish this past week, but no lunkers were landed. The influx of rain runoff into the lake slowed the bite and things will need to stabilize before the fishing improves.
AMERICAN RIVER—Flows continued to be low at about 1,250 cfs, but there are still some nice steelhead being caught. Most are half pounders to about 16 inches, and 12 to 15 inches, and spring run steelies up to about 5 pounds.
FOLSOM LAKE—Bass fishing was pretty good again last week as the lake continued to slowly rise and warm. Fish have been moving up in the water column, and are becoming more aggressive. Though drop-shotting Robo-Worms and jigging over rock piles continued to attract more fish, larger fish were being caught on weightless Senkos, swimbaits, crankbaits, and jerkbaits. Fishing for landlocked king salmon was up and down with anglers catching some nice fish to 3 pounds in front of the dam on Speedy Shiners and hoochies behind dodgers trolled from 40 to 50 feet deep. Holdover rainbows were taking nightcrawlers long-lined behind flashers fished near the surface.
FEATHER RIVER—Fishing for striped bass to about 8 pounds continued to slowly improve from Verona to Shanghai Bend. Steelhead fishing was surprisingly good from the Gridley on the High Flow Section up into the Low Flow Section. Fly fishing was particularly good on small Mayfly, and caddis nymphs fished dead-drifted under indicators.
RANCHO SECO LAKE—Trout fishing was very good last week, and a few very large bass were caught, as well. A trout derby being is being held this weekend, April 6 and 7. There will be a $100 first prize for adults, $50 for youth 11-16, and $35 for 10 and under. A $5 entry fee will be charged to enter the Derby (plus daily park entry fee). There will be some heavy plants just before the event. The bass were biting on Senkos, Robo-Worms, swimbaits and jigs.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento—Fishing for striped bass improved a couple of notches over the weekend, and quite a few limits were caught off South River Road, the Minnow Hole, Bryte’s Beach, Miller Park, Garcia Bend, and Discovery Park. Most anglers are now focusing on stripers, but those using pileworms for bait have also been catching the occasional sturgeon. Most of the fish are smaller males to about 8 pounds.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Colusa—Sturgeon fishing was still excellent, but striper fishing was finally improving, too. It wasn’t great, anglers drifting minnows were now catching a few small males to about 6 pounds up to Colusa. Sturgeon fishing was still good, too. The river was expected to rise and muddy up because of the weekend storm, but should also bring in lots more fish.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding—Trout fishing was excellent, once again, but, because of the storms, most of the action was concentrated in the Redding area above tributaries. Nightcrawlers, crickets, and Glo-Bugs produced the best action, but fly fishers also did well drift Mayfly and caddis nymph imitations under indicators.
YUBA RIVER—Trout fishing was very good, once again with trout taking nymphs under indicators, and there was even some dry fly action late in the day as the weather warmed.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE— The warmest waters are found in back water areas right now and that is where anglers should concentrate their searches, as a few bedding fish are beginning to be reported. Pitching jigs, Brush Hogs, plastic worms, ripbaits and swimbaits are all being used, but of course the live bait crowd stills rules. This month will be even busier as the tourney crowds hit the waters hard and the bulk of the bass will be on beds by the next full moon. The fishing here has been great!
LAKE BERRYESSA—You can catch all the rainbow action you want with a dodger/worm combo on the surface at the Narrows before the main lake, Skier’s Cove and up on the shallow flats above the Ranch House. Bass fishing was a little slow due to the weather but the Narrows did produce bass up to 2 1/2 pounds on soft plastics.
LAKE SONOMA—No change here, bass anglers are still chasing fish up in the coves and down in the Warm Spring arm as we move to pre-spawn fishing. LuckyCraft BDS3 in the shad patterns. Other good techniques included pitching Senkos, Brush Hogs or Robo worms into standing timber in 5 to 15 feet of water but the water is stained and cold still. The steelies should be back in the main body soon, as well.
LAKE ALMANOR—The bait bite at the usual spots such as Big Springs and the A-Frame are paying dividends, and the trolling bite has also spiked. Salmon are running in schools up and down the east shore, so fishing has been good for those running downriggers or fishing from shore. Hamilton Branch, Geritol Cove, Bailey Springs are all accessible now. Add to that the hatches starting up and the bass getting ready to spawn and you have some great options here.
BAUM LAKE—The Fly Shop in Redding reported great fishing and lots of trout to go around. Floating baits, lures and all kinds of flies are working on these hungry fish.
CASSEL FOREBAY–Repairs have been completed and they are working on making it fishable again.
PIT RIVER—Both fishing and water conditions have been good, but with the snow melt as the day warms up, the waters can get a little colder. The good news is anglers are starting to see some March browns and some caddis.
SHASTA LAKE—Bass fishing has been good on main lake points in 10 feet of water using 7-inch Ospreys in ghost rainbow. The kings are just getting started from 60 to 100 feet down on shad patterns. Rainbows are scattered everywhere in the top 30 feet, but this past week weren’t eager to bite. No Name Island or the McCloud in front of Shasta Cabins will be good target areas close to the shoreline. Try Capt. America Hum Dingers and a watermelon Apex or Wiggle Hoochies in blue or white.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 83-percent capacity. Severe rainstorms over the weekend slowed fishing. When the weather stabilizes, look for kokanee while trolling dodger/hoochies combos in the top 40 feet. Spotted bass should be moving up to spawn on flatter banks on the points and in the coves. Try Senkos, swimbaits, A-rigs, and darthead worms.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake is full. North Shore Resort reported that bass fishermen were catching 10 to 25 fish per day on jigs, lizards, worms, and Brush Hogs on the flatter points at 5 to 10 feet deep. Most the fish were running 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 pounds, though one angler said he picked up two 4 1/2 pounders.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is a foot from full. Collins Lake Resort released 3 pens of rainbows this past week—mostly 2 1/2 to 3 pounders. Trout fishing was good for most anglers with many picking up a big fish or two on their stringers. Shore anglers and trollers both scored rainbows from 4 1/4 to 6 1/2 pounds. The shore fishermen reported doing well at the beach, Open Area, and the campgrounds using Power Bait and worm/marshmallows. Trollers did best running Rapalas, and Kastmaster or Cleo spoons. The CIFFI Derby will be held on April 13—check out www.ciffi.org for info and registration forms.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 90-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina released all four pens of their trophy rainbows this past Wednesday. They weighed some fish in the 10- to 12-pound range as they came out of the pens and saw bigger ones swim away. Fish to 6 pounds had already been caught by the weekend. The fish were turned loose from just outside the marina to Long Cove.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR—It was rumored that the road to the lake had been plowed, but a call to the Georgetown Ranger Station revealed that one angler had to chain-up his 4×4 to reach the lake—wait until the weather warms back up before towing a big boat in here. Call the Georgetown Ranger Station for the latest road conditions at 530-333-4312.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 84-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that bass fishing was getting better and better as the bass moved into the spawning phase and started bedding. The males were all over the bank pretty much throughout the whole lake. The females were still spread out from 3 to 30 feet deep. Gandolfi did best with bottom bouncing baits—Senkos, darthead worms, tubes, and small jigs—but there was a good reaction bite going on ripbaits, cranks, spinnerbaits, and A-rigs on overcast or windy days. 30 fish days with spots averaging 2 pounds and the occasional 3 to 5 pounder are common. Coho salmon were hitting dodger/hoochie combos near the dam in the top 10 feet this past week. The lake was up 5 feet this past week and there was lots of debris floating, but DWR tugs were booming off large rafts of debris to make for safer boating.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is full. A.J. Harris at Long Ravine Resort reported that shore anglers were catching rainbows to 20 inches in Long Ravine on Power Bait, nightcrawlers, and Kastmaster spoons. Trollers were picking up 2 or 3 fish per person on Needlefish at the dam. Bass fishing was reported to be good off the points in the river arm.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The marina reported that trollers were still picking up rainbows near the dam on flasher/worm combos and Rapalas.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—Holdover rainbows were still available here for shore anglers and trollers until DFW plants resume later this spring. The lake facilities were all accessible with no snow at this elevation.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is full. The fishing was good for trollers according to the Georgetown Ranger Station. Limits of 10- to 14-inch rainbows were common for boaters running flasher/worm combos and Rapalas. Shore fishermen were catching 2 or 3 fish each from the dam on Power Bait and worms.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at 133.4-foot elevation—81-percent capacity. At this lake level, the bass will be able to get back up into the tules to spawn. Pitch jigs and Senkos into the tules for a chance at some big largemouths. Don’t give up on trying cranks or spinnerbaits on the rocky banks along the west side.