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.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.— Reports from both WON Field Reporters Andy Martin of Wild Rivers and Curtis Palmer of River Secrets confirmed that the springer run began in earnest this past week after rains brought flows up to 10,000 cfs, then dropped back to 7,000 over the weekend. Wednesday through Friday were great fishing days, but it slowed over the weekend between runs. The run is expected to go through at least May. Guide Bill Divens of Salmon King Lodge intercepted them in the permit-only area upriver.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove—According to Jack Germain of The Fishin’ Hole, increased flows in the river have brought more winter steelhead up and a few more spring salmon, although they usually don’t begin targeting them until after May 1. Right now guides are concentrating on winter steelies from 4 to 12 pounds with an incidental king.
RUSSIAN RIVER—Dave Delmue of King’s Sport and Tackle in Guerneville said that there’s now moss in the river and the steelhead run is over for the year. No more word on the few shad that were seen in recent weeks, but that’s what is coming up next!
UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Ore.—Anglers are finally beginning to score some spring kings here, according to WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “Wednesday was the first day that more than just a couple salmon had been caught among all the boats scattered over several miles of river for the last two weeks. The fishing got better through Friday from the information I recived. With a lot of life left in the season and many miles of opportunity, this years spring Chinook season may be one of the best we have had in the last decade with the low precipitation.
WILLAMETTE RIVER, Portland, Ore.—WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer thought this report from the Willamette was interesting enough to send along: Cooper Hedgecock caught 5 sturgeon Friday from the tug boat he is assigned to while it was docked waiting for a load near Swan Island. He had to release 4 fish, because they were an inch or two short of the minimum length required for retaining. Cooper was using a mesh bag stuffed with canned sardines to catch the diamondbacks.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam—Flows were fishable down to about the I-5 Bridge and it was possible to catch some small adult steelhead along with native rainbows to about 15 inches. There isn’t much fly fishing going on right now, but drifted roe and nightcrawlers, as well as backtrolled crawdad-patterned plugs were producing some bites for the very few anglers on the water.
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City—The release in flows from Lewiston Dam per the Record of Decision started last Sunday. Even though the Bureau of Reclamation has designated this year as a Dry Water Year, the release is expected to peak at 4,500 to 4,800 cfs, making the river very difficult to fish. There is the possibility of hooking a brown trout or two from the bank by dunking bait into eddies and slack water close to the bank.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek—The river was already high and is going even higher because of high ROD flows which started to ramp up on Sunday night.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE— Colder mornings and windy days took their toll on water temperatures, struggling to stay in the 60-degree range. Most mornings it was around 57-58 degrees. Water clarity was not great either, with most areas having only 2 to 4 feet. Bass are in all stages of spawning, it’s just a matter of warmer water so keep an eye on the weather.
LAKE BERRYESSA—The only reports from here this past week were of windy days blowing anglers off the water, but before the wind, guide Bill Dunn had found the kings and some big, big rainbows! The bass bite is on though; it’s just a matter of being able to get out. Once it lies down the bite should be good in all of your usual haunts for all of the species, and the super-hot king salmon and rainbow trout bite should be on!
LAKE SONOMA—The wind was an issue her, but in a good way. The water now has a nice color to it and bass fishing improved. Cover water in the creek arms and main body points with a topwater favorite and then switch to a plastic worm and drop-shot in the afternoon.
LAKE ALMANOR—This is Almanor at its finest, with trophy brown trout, rainbows, kings and even some bedding bass. Please remember to put the fat bellied, larger female bass back in so they can spawn.
BAUM LAKE—The Fly Shop in Redding reported good results early and late in the day. There has been some pressure pushing the trout down, but pull them out of the weeds and you will do well.
BUCKS LAKE–Bucks Lake Lodge reports all ramps open now as well as the roads. Only a few boats have been out but a few nice macks were accounted for as an early season begins.
CASSEL FOREBAY–Repairs have been completed and they are working on making it fishable again.
FALL RIVER—Opens next Saturday on April 27 with good water conditions.
HAT CREEK–Opens next Saturday on April 27 with good water conditions.
PIT RIVER—Both fishing and water conditions have been good, although you may not find them in all of your favorite holes. The good news is that the fish are biting and as the weather and water warms up it’ll only get better.
McCLOUD RIVER– Opens next Saturday on April 27 with good water conditions.
SHASTA LAKE—Slow but steady, the next few weeks will a major improvement here as the lake warms. There have already been more brown trout caught than usual for the past few years. In the Pitt Arm, work the top 10 for trout, but in most arms the plankton and fish will be in the top 20. This coming week go up the Sac arm around Gooses Neck where there have been a lot of fish or the McCloud in front of Shasta Cabins in the top 20 feet. Everything has been biting on blue Wiggle Hoochies.
TRINITY LAKE—Still cold and slow with lots of debris up by the dam.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 58-percent capacity. With the water rising, trout fishing was good at both ends of the lake—the dam and inlet. Bigger inflows also had fish moving up into the Little Truckee. Power Bait, worms, Kastmaster spoons, and Rapalas were all working, according to Tony Marotta at Mountain Hardware and Sports.
BUTT VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 90-percent capacity. At this level, launching is a breeze. No recent reports about the trout trolling, but it should be good.
CAPLES LAKE—WON Staffer Pat Young stopped by the lake this past week and saw open water at the dam and EID had posted the area as having unstable ice. The spillway area was still frozen and the ice covered with a thick layer of snow—use extreme caution if venturing onto the ice at the spillway—it could be unsafe!!
CARSON RIVER (East, West)—Both forks are scheduled for DFW trout plants this week in anticipation of the trout season opener on April 27. Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort said that runoff had bumped up the flows and dirtied the water.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 82-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing made an exploratory trip this past week and found fish at 15 to 18 feet deep. He and a friend caught several rainbows on red-dot frog and firetiger Needlefish. Shore fishermen at Mallard Cove did well on Power Bait and a float tube fly fisherman caught several fish on nymphs. Fly fishermen were still catching big numbers of rainbows moving up into the small creeks along the west side of the lake on bead head nymphs and Copper Johns—remember to stay out of the moving water that falls under stream regulations. A crew was working on the Honker Cove boat ramp upgrade, so progress was being made!
DONNER LAKE—Last week’s DFW trout plant had anglers doing well on the west end using Power Bait. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported there were lots of boats trolling for macks but there were few reports of success.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 70-percent capacity. Shore fishermen were doing well at Snallygaster, Turkey Point and the Frenchman ramp for near-limits to limits of rainbows 12 to 22 inches long on nightcrawlers and Power Bait. Fly fishermen reported catching good numbers of trout on woolly buggers from float tubes. The campgrounds were scheduled to open April 19.
GOLD LAKES BASIN—Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported that the road to Gold Lake was open to Rocky Point. The road to Sardine Lake was open, and the road to Packer Lake was pretty well clear. The road to Salmon Lake was clear of snow in sections and could be plowed by this week.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 76-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Trolling was slower this week due to cold water runoff.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—WON Staffer Pat Young stopped by the lake this past week and watched anglers landing rainbows from the shore along the east side of the lake near the north dam and off the dam itself. Most were using Power Bait. Ron Garside of Gardnerville landed a nice rainbow after only 5 minutes of fishing. Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that fly casters were doing well on blood midges and woolly buggers fished from the shore and float tubes all around the lake.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—Denise Cole at Sly Park Resort reported that fishing was good after the unannounced DFW plant they received a week ago, but fishing slowed down since—the macks ate a lot of the planters. Try Rapalas, spoons, and bait at the first dam for holdovers and leftover planters.
LAKE TAHOE—Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters continued to do well for macks trolling 350 to 375 feet deep with Sling Blade/Koke-a-nut or tube combos and Sting Kings. Early this past week his fish ran 7 1/2 to 8 pounds and dropped to 4 1/2 to 5 pounds by the weekend. Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported having to work hard for limits of macks running 2 to 9 pounds, but his clients weren’t keeping anything under 4 pounds so they were catching lots of fish. Self was trolling UV spoons and small stickbaits 120 to 350 feet deep searching for active schools of macks. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners reported he was still picking up 1 to 6 brown trout running 3 to 6 pounds and lost a huge fish that ripped off over a 100 feet of line in 5 seconds before coming unhooked. Trolling for browns was much slower this past week with a lot more time between strikes running Rapala Scatter Raps and Laxee spoons. Nielsen was doing well jigging for macks with Williamson Benthos jigs tipped with minnows on the west side of the lake at 160 to 220 feet deep.
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 33-percent capacity. The best fishing was still at the dam due to the low water level, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.
PYRAMID LAKE—Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported that trolling was pretty decent with a good day producing 12 to 15 fish in the 17- to 24-inch range. Mornings were good around the Nets near Sutcliffe and afternoons were better near Warrior Point. Mendes was using Father Murphy Vibrator spoons and bleeding Frog Flatfish trolled 25 to 35 feet deep. Ken Mathis of Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service was fishing Sunday when WON called and reported catching 6 to 12 fish per day running 14 to 24 inches trolling his Code Blue and Double Flutter spoons 30 to 47 feet deep from Pelican to Warrior Point.
RED LAKE—WON Staffer Pat Young stopped by the lake this past week and found open water along the shore on the west side of the lake and thin clear ice along rip rap on the dam—stay off the lake!!
SILVER LAKE—WON Staffer Pat Young stopped by the lake and found lots of open water at the dam—EID has posted the lake as having unstable ice—stay off the lake!!
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 73-percent capacity. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners reported that a friend, Erik St. Dennis, sent him pictures of a mack in the 17- to 20-pound range that he caught trolling large stickbaits 30 to 40 feet deep.
TOPAZ LAKE—No recent report was available, but trolling should be good for 13- to 14-inch rainbows using flasher/worm combos and Rapalas.
TRUCKEE RIVER—Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that increased flows had slowed the hatches and the bite on the main river through Reno-Sparks, though midges, BWO, squala stones, and streamers were all working at times. The CA section at Glenshire was okay using the same patterns. The Little Truckee was fishing well with midges and BWO.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 84-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle fished the lake late this past week in windy conditions and only picked up one mack, 2 rainbows and a kokanee on Wild Thing dodger/spinner combos tipped with either worms for the trout or corn for the kokes in the top 30 feet. A friend of Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle fished the lake this past week and caught four 3- to 4-pound macks on dodger/herring combos. Kalan Richards of Cameron Park tried everything on Sunday and didn’t do well at all—success always depends on the day and mood of the fish!!
AMERICAN RIVER—There wasn’t much change from a week ago, with a few stripers being caught in the lower end of the river, mostly on jumbo minnows and sardines. Flows have dropped again to 1,000 cfs. There are still some small steelhead present from Howe Avenue to the dam, but hardly anyone is fishing for them.
FOLSOM LAKE—Bass fishing continued to be great, and for anglers using live minnows over rock piles, 20-fish outings are possible. Drop-shotting Robo-Worms and jigging has also been effective, and some larger fish were being caught on weightless Senkos, swimbaits, crankbaits and jerkbaits. There’s even a bit of a topwater bite early and late. Fishing has slowed for landlocked king salmon and holdover trout, though. Troll Speedy Shiners and hoochies behind dodgers between 40 and 50 feet deep for the kings, and flatline nightcrawlers behind flashers.
FEATHER RIVER—Thousands of salmon smolts were dumped into the Feather triggering a striped bass feeding frenzy. Anglers, even fly fishermen, were hooking a dozen or more fish an outing. Though most were schoolies, a few large stripers weighing over 20 pounds were also being hooked. Flows are very low, so boating is very difficult. A few small steelhead continued to be caught.
RANCHO SECO LAKE—The trout derby was a great success, and there are still quite a few trout left over from the heavy plants prior to the derby, but fishing has slowed a bit since then. A few very large bass continued to bite, including a 13 pounder, on Senkos, Robo-Worms, swimbaits, and jigs.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento—The striped bass bite continued to be very strong, but, some larger female fish are now being seen among the smaller males. One weighing 41 pounds was caught on South River Road on a sardine. Fishing pressure, has also skyrocketed. The number of anglers trying for sturgeon has tapered off, but quite a few continue to be caught by anglers fishing for striped bass. Remember, barbless hooks only are allowed for sturgeon, and the angler must have a sturgeon tag.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Colusa—Striped bass fishing continued to improve, although fish still are not in big concentrations, so it’s necessary to move around quite a bit. Minnows are now becoming the most effective bait. Fishing pressure has increased dramatically.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding– Trout fishing was excellent again last week, and water conditions were just about perfect. Both spin fishing and fly fishing were scoring fat rainbows between 12 and 20 inches.
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.
BERKELEY—Howling winds forced cancellation of salmon trips. California Dawn and Bass Tub both made successful runs inside the Bay for sturgeon, striped bass and halibut. Happy Hooker begins running out of Berkeley this week.
BODEGA BAY—Jetty crabbers cast snares and managed to keep their dinner plate full of tasty Dungeness crabs. A few hardy souls braved the waves and local beached to haul in surf perch, but generally it was a slow week due to weather. Reel-lentless plans to be out as soon as the winds let up, as will the New Sea Angler. A couple of skiffs made it out. One caught 4 keeper salmon, the other caught 4 shakers.
DILLON’S BEACH—Boaters worked Tomales Bay for crabs and pier fishers managed some crabs as well. Clam diggers unearthed decent counts of horsenecks when minus tides allowed access to the best spots.
EMERYVILLE—Howling winds forced cancellations of salmon trips.
EUREKA/SHELTER COVE— Salmon anglers throughout the northwest California coast watched the weather at Shelter Cove where salmon season is on. Charter boat, Seahawk, made it out and found salmon, yet most waited for better weather. Crabbing inside Humboldt Bay remains very good near the Coast Guard station.
FORT BRAGG—High winds and seas prevented salmon fishing until Sunday when the Telstar made it out. Jetty fishing however promised good action on greenling and perch, plus the possibility of cabezon for those using the right bait.
HALF MOON BAY—The Coastside Fishing Club is holding and feeding 120,000 salmon smolts in their net pen, and then will release them when bigger and stronger. The Queen of Hearts fished salmon on Wednesday with some success. Striped bass invaded the beaches from below Half Moon Bay all the way up to Pacifica.
MARTINEZ—Sturgeon and striper fishing show no signs of letting up. Boaters are getting sturgeon on grass shrimp and stripers on pile worms. Shore anglers scored numerous 23 to 24 inch striped bass on pile worms.
PORT SONOMA—Private boaters found sturgeon fishing to be a bit slower in the rivers of upper San Pablo Bay. Very good striper fishing made up for any lack of action. Out on San Pablo Bay, salinity and water temps rose, creating ideal conditions for sharks and rays which are readily thieving baits and driving boaters nuts.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 86-percent capacity. The bass bite should be great with the warm weather and fish moving up to spawn. Kokanee salmon should still be hitting dodger/hoochie or spinner combos at Dark Day.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake is full. Bass fishing was good this past week. Monroe and Shirley Smith of West Sacramento caught limits of 1 1/2- to 2 1/2-pound bass. One angler got the surprise of his life when he landed a 30-pound catfish while trolling—they photographed the monster fish and released it.
COLLINS LAKE—Collins Lake Resort reported that the CIFFI Fishing Derby was a huge success with 170 anglers participating—it took almost 9 pounds to win. The lake received a private trophy trout plant that included tagged fish, plus two more pens were released for a total of almost 3000 pounds of new rainbows. Lots of pen-reared rainbows in the 2 1/2-pound range were caught this past week along with several 5 to 5 3/4 pounders. Larry and Sandra Wright of Marysville redeemed themselves after losing a stringer with a 7 pounder on it a couple of weeks ago by landing limits that included 5- and 5 3/4-pound rainbows. The biggest fish of the week was a 6 1/4-pound rainbow caught by Dana Sheldon of Antelope while using Power Bait at the dam. The bass fishing has really taken off with limits of spots to 3 pounds being caught by Dave Callison plus his grandson and great-grandson. One Sacramento group did very well on bass and redears using worms and minnows in Elmer’s Cove. They also landed a 6 3/4-pound catfish.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 95-percent capacity. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported that trollers were picking up rainbows at the dam on Rapalas, and running dodger/Needlefish combos for rainbows and browns up above the “No-Ski” buoys.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is at 50-percent capacity. The road was clear from Ralston Ridge Rd. to the south end of the dam.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 64-percent capacity. The road was plowed to the lake, but few reports were available about the fishing—mack trolling should be productive at the dam.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 87-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that the bass bite was ‘white hot’. Bass could be found in all stages of the spawn—pre-spawn, on the beds, and post-spawn. Worms, jigs, tubes, Senkos, and drop-shotting were working best, while the reaction bite was sporadic using topwater, cranks, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, and A-rigs. 50- to 100- fish days were the norm with lots of small males in the counts.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is 2-foot from full. Casey Reynolds of Auburn reported that shore fishermen were picking up 1 to 3 rainbow trout each at Long Ravine and Greenhorn using Power Bait and worms. Reynolds landed a 16-inch rainbow that weighed 1 3/4 pounds. Reynolds also said that one float tubers caught a limit of bass to 2 1/2 pounds on brown and green Git Zits at Long Ravine. A.J. Harris at Long Ravine Resort reported that trollers were picking up some nice rainbows at the dam earlier in the week before the strong winds kicked up by the weekend.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake is full and still producing rainbow trout for trollers working the dam and the area from the Cascade Shore boat ramp to Hensley. The smallmouth bass should be moving up into shallower water to spawn.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—Shore anglers were still picking up holdover rainbows near the boat ramp on Power Bait. The campgrounds were scheduled to open for the season on April 26—call now for reservations.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is full. The campgrounds are scheduled to open on April 19. Fishing was good trollers and fair for shore anglers catching holdover rainbows.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at 131-foot elevation at press time—65-percent capacity. The bass should be moving up to spawn. At this lake level, the bass may be on the outside edge of the tules since the lake dropped over 1-foot from the previous week. Try the rocky banks along the west side too.