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.
UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Ore.–Salmon fishing for spring Chinooks was good through Tuesday of this past week, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secret’s Guide Service. Fishing during the beginning of the week was good, but Wednesday fishing became dead. Boat traffic is mild with only a few boats per boat ramp. Scott’s Creek boat ramp is an exception. Moss is starting to float downriver, fouling lines. “Besides baitfish, I have found the Mag Lip 3.5 works well for the springer’s on the Umpqua River,” Palmer said. “By replacing the rear hook with a slightly larger one, it becomes a slight bit flatter running and the size is consistent with average baitfish used by anglers in the lower river.”
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Roseburg, Ore.—Not off the charts from Winchester Dam down to the confluence of the south and north forks yet this season, but I expect we will see some very good mornings over the next week, said WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer. He said most of the kings were small springers, and he expects them to begin stacking up the middle of next week. Anglers can catch fish all day, but the early morning is best. There is a NO FISHING DEADLINE from the Hwy. 99 Bridge (closest bridge to dam ) up to the Winchester Dam. The Winchester Dam has an excellent viewing area with three large windows to watch fish as they climb the ladder.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.—Very slow fishing, most likely due to minus tides where the fish can’t get into the Rogue Bay or into the system. It seems the river has warmed to approximately 58 degrees and that will slow the springer’s down on their race upriver, said Curtis Palmer. In the past, salmon run up to the flats below Elephant Rock on incoming tide and back down when the tide flows out. The boats anchored in one of the lowest hoglines will tend to be the most fortunate during these times when very few salmon are being caught. “May is my favorite month for fishing spring Chinook due to the nice weather and I’ve caught more springers than any other time,” Palmer said.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove–Shady Cove has had spring fever for a couple weeks now, and they have been catching spring salmon at the fish hatchery already. “While talking with an angler about the fishing he was quick to point out that a small king he had caught had a hole punched in the side of the gill plate about the size of a paper punch,” said WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “This is usually known as the mark to show that a fish has been trucked back downstream a short distance and released to let anglers have another chance at catching and harvesting the fish. The upper-most section of the river has many good bank access spot’s.”
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam—There were still a few small steelhead and trout being caught below Iron Gate, mostly drifting nightcrawlers and roe. Not much going on, though. The salmon fly hatch should cause some fishing excitement when they should show up in late May and early June.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen—It’s not started to any extent yet, but a few spring run king salmon have started to enter the Klamath. Fishing for them has not really taken off yet, but should start in a week or two. It’s likely to be a short, early run since it’s a low water year.
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City—The release in flows from Lewiston Dam per the Record of Decision peak this week at 4,500 cfs and then slowly decline starting May 4 and be back down to 450 cfs around June 13. Needless to say, fishing is about out of the question right now.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek—There were a few reports of spring run kings being caught in the Falls area before flows increased but none since.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE— It’s all about bedding fish now, find good clarity and you’ll find fish on artificials. For anglers who don’t want bedding bass, the bite can be a little tough. There are enough bass that have already spawned that going down the bank pitching weightless Senkos, Flick Shake worms and other plastics will produce bites. Live bait action is still good but won’t last much longer as the waters warm up.
LAKE BERRYESSA—While the kings, kokes and trout slowed some, the bass bite took off. Don Paganelli said you can find some very nice largemouth on the main body when the wind is not blowing, or you can stay in the Narrows and catch smallmouth and spotted bass. Largemouth are in the narrows and hiding in the backs of coves. Plastics are still the best but ripbait and spinnerbait bites were fair.
LAKE SONOMA—For post spawned bass, cover water with reaction baits like the LuckyCraft Sammy 128, Osprey swimbaits or Rio Rico poppers and hit main body points until the sun comes up. Once the sun reaches over the mountains, grab your dropshot with a 6-in. Robo worm in Margarita Mutilator or Aaron’s Magic and fish staging areas adjacent to spawning areas in the 10-15 feet.
LAKE ALMANOR—The east shore near Lake Cove and the Dorado Inn have been good trolling lanes for a mix of browns and trout, but the majority have been kings. Look for this stellar action to continue as the hatches continue.
BATTLE CREEK RESERVOIR—You can get in now, but there are a few trouble spots along the way. Fishing was very good with both topwater action and a good bait bite. Worms and spinners caught a lot of fish, as did mosquito imitations. This lake should be a consistent producer this year and a great destination for family outings.
BAUM LAKE—Reports were mostly good for rainbows, but a few did not have such good reports.
BUCKS LAKE–All ramps are open now as well as the roads.
CASSEL FOREBAY— The fishing pressure and good fishing has already started. Fly fishermen also did well on buggers and callibaetis nymphs. Look for the fishing here to improve as the natural vegetation reestablishes itself in this section of Hat Creek.
FALL RIVER—Opened Saturday April 27 with good water conditions but no reports yet.
UPPER HAT CREEK–Worms and gold speck salmon eggs were the most productive, with Panther Martins a close third. The fish plant schedule appears to be once a week until Memorial Weekend and then twice a week for the rest of the summer. Reports will only get better as the planted fish begin to spread within the system.
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 there’s a good trout bite and great spring weather.
MANZANITA LAKE–No reports on fishing yet, but the weather has warmed to the point where the fishing should be turning on. Fish the deeper pockets of water near the shoreline to catch fish staging to feed. Streamers and bead headed nymphs should work well. The big browns will be hitting anytime now. Rim Rock Ranch reminds anglers this is a catch and release lake with special restrictions so be sure to check the regulations.
McCLOUD RIVER– Opened Saturday April 27 with good water conditions, but no reports yet.
SHASTA LAKE—The bass bite has been off the hook for dinks as the larger fish are deeper spawning. The Pitt was the best bet for trout and even a few browns.
TRINITY LAKE—The rainbow bite has been good on Sep’s sidekick with a threaded nightcrawler on the surface or a blue Wiggle Hoochie. With warming days the water is starting to warm up as well, but there has been no koke bite yet.
WHISKEYTOWN RESERVOIR—The kokes are still small but very healthy and fat. The fish were holding in 40 to 60 feet of water around the 299 Bridge, and 60 to 80 feet deep by the Curtain. These kokes will be up to 14 and 16 inches or larger by July and August.
AMERICAN RIVER, above Folsom Lake—The Silver Fork is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 87-percent capacity. The big spots were hitting this past week. Mike Smullins of Folsom landed an 8.6-pound spotted bass near the Dark Day ramp on a shakey head worm fished 20 feet deep.
CAMP FAR WEST—Kathy DeRossett at North Shore Resort reported that bass fishing was excellent. Anglers reported catching 32 to 96 fish per day throwing green pumpkin Brush Hogs in the coves from 5 to 10 feet deep.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is a foot from full. Collins Lake Resort will make a 1000-pound private plant and release the last two pens of rainbows this week. Trout fishing has been very good with lots of limits coming in for shore anglers and boaters. The fishing derby this past weekend was won with a trout over 8 pounds. A 6 1/2-pound rainbow was caught by a troller using a Rapala and Jim Catalano landed a 5 3/4 pounder at the beach on Power Bait. With the water temp in the 60’s, bass, bluegill, and redear sunfish were hitting in greater numbers. A 5 1/4-pound catfish was taken by Eric Hansard on anchovies fished in the trees on the east side.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 90-percent capacity. Trout fishing was “outstanding” this past week, according to Lisa Rogers at Skippers Cove Marina. Boaters heading up to Boston Bar and either tying up to the shore or drifting were doing best on nightcrawlers.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the roads were open all around the lake—both north and south sides, to the boat ramps and campgrounds. The campgrounds will open on May 16.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR—The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that several trollers were seen on the lake this past week, but no reports were available. Trout and Mackinaw action should be good, and kokanee action should start soon.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 87-percent capacity. The bass fishing was still excellent all over the lake with fish in all phases of the spawn. Guide Ron Gandolfi was doing best with dart-head worms and Senkos, though the reaction bite was picking up as the water warmed. Coho salmon were hitting for trollers at the dam, Green Bridge, and the upper Middle Fork.
ROLLINS LAKE—Casey Reynolds of Auburn reported that shore anglers were picking up some limits of 15- to 18-inch rainbows on inflated nightcrawlers and Power Bait in the coves from Long Ravine to Freeloaders Cove fishing early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Bass were hitting too, Tyler Resetar picked a couple of 2 pounders on Power Bait while fishing for trout in Long Ravine. Boaters were picking up some brown trout in the river inlet area on Rapalas.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—Jim Caldwell at the marina reported that trout fishing was still good after the 4000-pound NID trout plant two weeks ago. Shore anglers and trollers were catching limits of 12- to 15-inch rainbows all over the lake. One troller picked up two 3-pound smallmouth bass on worms.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—The lake is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. The campgrounds opened this past weekend. Call the Foresthill Ranger Station for info at 530-367-2224.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is full. The campgrounds are now open. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that shore anglers and trollers were picking up some rainbows.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at the 130.6-foot elevation at press time—62-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company suggested that anglers give the frog bite a try in the late afternoons with the hot weather in the forecast.
AMERICAN RIVER—Late season steelheading slowed last week. Some were still being caught, but not in the numbers or size of recently. However, a few striped bass are now being spotted upriver, and there have been reports of shad starting to show in the lower end of the river. Flows are down again, now to a skimpy 1,000 cfs.
FOLSOM LAKE— Bass are still being caught, with some of the best action in fairly shallow water and anglers working weightless Senkos over rock piles. The lake is still rising but is still low, and there is little in the way of submerged trees or brush. Trout fishing was pretty good for anglers drifting minnows under bobbers, but trollers were finding middling action, with most of it in front of the dam, deep, and far up the forks where the water is cooler.
FEATHER RIVER—Fishing was so-so most of the week with very low flows, but they jumped to 5,200 cfs over the weekend, and a few anglers found some pretty good angling between the mouth and Shanghai Bend. However, most fishermen did not do very well. Fishing will hopefully improve as flows stabilized, but the water is warming and stripers will be spawning soon and moving out.
RANCHO SECO LAKE—A very few trout were still being caught, but success has dropped way off. Bass fishing has slowed, too. Most of the of the bites now are coming from redeared sunfish, which are fat and feisty, and will eagerly take a wiggly worm under a bobber.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento–Striped bass fishing was pretty good again last week up to Verona and down to around Courtland. However, shad are now making their presence known, and many anglers are now focusing on them, because it’s been easy to catch 15 to 20 on mini-jigs in a couple of hours. Try Miller Park, Discovery Park and Verona.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Colusa—A big increase in flows from Keswick to 11,000 cfs and warming water temperatures turned off the striper bite toward the end of the week. Guides are hoping that the higher flows will attract new schools of stripers which have yet to spawn and the bite will return as flows stabilize.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding—The release from Keswick increased to 11,000 cfs, and that should make an already good trout bite even better. Spin fishermen were scoring on drifted roe and back-trolled small plugs while fly fishers were getting rainbows between 12 and 20 inches on prince nymphs, pheasant tails, and copper Johns dead-drifted under indicators.
UPPER SACRAMENTO/McCLOUD RIVERS—Trout fishing on the McCloud opened to good water conditions and decent fishing last weekend especially around Ah-Di-Nah campground. Most of the action was on nymphs dead-drifted under indicators. Flows are higher on the Upper Sac, but trout fishing has been pretty good with the best action on the river’s mid-section. No dry fly fishing, however.
YUBA RIVER—Trout fishing continued to be very good, and as air temperatures continue to warm, dry fly action has continued to improve with nice trout taking blue wing olives, pale morning duns—even beetles. Dead-drifted nymphs under indicators are getting their share of interest, too.
BERKELEY—Berkeley boats enjoyed one of the best salmon fishing weeks in memory with limits on nearly every trip. On the Berkeley Flats, halibut bit well for boaters drifting or trolling shiners. Happy Hooker and California Dawn both posted score of halibut as high as a fish per rod. Berkeley Pier anglers hooked halibut, too. Happy Hooker limited on salmon on Sunday.
DILLON BEACH—Salmon action was sporadic and some boats did very well with fish ranging up to 19 pounds. Crabbers kept busy in Tomales Bay hauling up Dungeness. Surf fishers along Dillon Beach enjoyed an improving surf perch bite.
EMERYVILLE—All boats out of Emeryville Sportfishing ran salmon trips this week and found consistent limits of fish. The average size of salmon was 8 to 10 pounds and the typical jackpot fish ran 18 to 20 pounds. The best area was between the Farallon Islands and Deep Reef and most were caught trolling with anchovies on crowbars.
EUREKA—Good surf fishing for red tail perch was reported most of the week. Clammers gathered at extreme low tides to reach the most productive spots for razor clams.
FORT BRAGG— Abalone gathering has been good, with a 10.5-inch abalone reported. Spearfishers reported a 12.5-cabezon and a large lingcod taken in a shallow rocky area near town.
HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA—Limits of salmon were commonplace aboard boats out of Half Moon Bay and most action was from 15 to 20 miles west of Pillar Point Harbor. Up near Pacifica, jumbo stripers bit for surf fishers.
MARTINEZ—Sturgeon and striped bass both bit for boaters fishing near Buoy 4 and also near Benicia Bridge. Flash finished her sturgeon season and is moving to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco for the summer season.
OAKLAND—Boats out of here found fish in every direction. Doolittle Bridge was the striper hotspot with one monster 40-pounder reported by Mike Huynh of Mike’s Bait in Oakland. Boaters slow-trolled shiners for halibut from San Bruno to Red Rock. One lucky angler got 2 halibut near the Bird Cage.
PORT SONOMA—Sonoma Creek and Napa River produced good striper fishing. Petaluma gave up some sturgeon. San Pablo Bay seemed to fill up with sharks and rays but still gave up good numbers of sturgeon, especially in the Pumphouse area, thanks to major tides.
SHELTER COVE—Salmon fishing was a hit or miss proposition due to crystal clear water and low water temps. Some fish were caught, though, and the water is expected to improve.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 62-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that little had changed here. Fishing was best at the dam and the inlet. The inlet was attracting a lot of trout due to the increased flows into the Little Truckee from Stampede Reservoir.
CAPLES LAKE—The lake is at 81-percent capacity. The lake is still mostly covered with ice and Dave Foley at Caples Lake Resort estimated a mid-May thaw. There’s open water along most shores, so stay away from the ice.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)—Markleeville Creek and Silver Creek are both scheduled for DFW cutthroat trout plants this week. Alpine County split an 1800-pound plant of 3-pound rainbows between the East and West Carson Rivers this past Thursday. Warm weather increased the runoff and bumped up the flows for the opener. The East Carson got muddy and fishing was slow. The West Carson was clearer and fishing was much better. Salmon eggs worked best. With only a 42-percent snowpack, the river should be back in fishable condition in a couple of weeks.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 82-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported that trolling was pretty good for 15- to 18-inch rainbows using firetiger Needlefish, red-dot frog Needlefish, and Wee Dick Nite spoons at 8 to 12 feet deep from Honker Cove to the island. Shore fishing and fly fishing was slower with lots of rainbows still moving into the creeks to spawn.
DONNER LAKE—The lake was fishing very well for rainbows, browns, and macks according to Mountain Hardware and Sports. Shore fishing for 12- to 14-inch rainbows was good at the west end using Power Bait and inflated nightcrawlers. 24-inch macks were hitting inflated nightcrawlers and a weighted floating Rapala from shore and trolled Rapalas in trout or kokanee patterns over deeper water. Browns were hitting the weighted floating Rapala. A weighted floating Rapala you say—what is that?? Slip an egg sinker on your main line and attach a barrel swivel. Add a 2-foot leader and tie on an F5 to F11 floating Rapala and work it along the bottom.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON—Mike Hanson at Caribou Crossroads Resort reported good fishing on the North Fork. Anthony Solansky took first place in the opening day derby with a 23 1/2 –inch rainbow. Bob Newby caught a 22 incher that was good for second place. The kids’ derby was won by 4-year-old Jaden Selix with a 14 1/2-inch rainbow. The river was in great shape and there was plenty of action for fishermen after the DFW plant made prior to opening day.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 70-percent capacity. Shore fishermen were catching nice stringers of rainbows from 18 to 25 inches on inflated nightcrawlers and Power Bait at Turkey Point, Nightcrawler Bay, Lunker Point, and the dam. Chilcoot, Frenchman, and Spring Creek campgrounds are all open, according to Wiggins Trading Post.
GOLD LAKES BASIN—The roads were open to Gold Lake, Salmon Lake, Sardine Lake and Packer Lake.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 84-percent capacity. Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill Fishing Service reported that the trout bite was slowing due to the flying ant hatch. He was catching a limit every hour early this past week, and by the end of week was down to 10 fish per day. Toplining a dodger/worm or grub was working. The ant hatch will last a couple of weeks.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort reported that shore anglers were doing well at the dam using 1/4-ounce gold Kastmaster spoons or Power Bait.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR—Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that you might be able to get to the lake, but the gates were still closed at last report.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported that trout trolling was excellent with limits of 9- to 14-inch rainbows coming quickly on Wild Thing dodgers trailing a spinner tipped with a piece of nightcrawler. Macks were stacked up on ledges at 40 to 60 feet deep and hitting 1-to 2-ounce spoons.
LAKE TAHOE—Every guide WON called reported catching limits of macks either trolling or jigging in deep water. Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters was doing well running Sling Blade/Koke-a-nut combos at 350 to 375 feet deep at Carnelian bay. Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing called early to report a beautiful young lady from Oakland landing a 19-pound mack on light gear from 220 feet deep. She and her two girlfriends caught limits in two hours. Mike Nielsen reported that winds early this past week shut down the fishing, but by Thursday, he was doing well trolling in shallow water for browns running 5 to 6 pounds with Scatter Raps and ThunderSticks. Jigging for macks in 220 to 250 feet of water at Tahoe City produced 18 fish in 45 minutes—that’s gettin’ ‘em!!
LOON LAKE—The lake is at 63-percent capacity. The lake is accessible from Wentworth Springs Road.
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 35-percent capacity. Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports walked the lake from the dam to the Prosser Creek arm and caught a lot of rainbows casting a watermelon or firetiger Kastmaster. The Alder Creek arm was too shallow and fishing was poor here. The best action was at the dam and in Prosser Creek.
PYRAMID LAKE—Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye charters reported that good numbers of better quality cutthroats, 20 to 25 inches, were located along the east shore at Hell’s Kitchen, above Pyramid, and Anderson. Smaller fish were more prevalent on the west side at Warrior. Mendes was doing well trolling a copper Father Murphy Vibrator and a chartreuse frog Flatfish. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters fished the west side for 12- to 22-inch trout using Apex and Flatfish from Warrior to Spider Point. A shore fisherman caught a 14-pound 6-ounce fish on a Kastmaster at Block House on the south end of the lake.
RED LAKE—The lake is ice-free and shore fishing should be good.
SILVER LAKE—The lake is at 69-percent capacity and ice-free. Boaters should be able to find a good mack cruising looking for an easy trout meal, but no current reports were available.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 72-percent capacity. Macks, rainbows, and kokanee were all hitting this past week on all the usual gear. Troll for macks at the island and the dam with Kwikfish at 40 to 60 feet deep. The kokanee were hitting on top early in the morning and dropping to 20 to 30 feet as the sun gets higher in the sky.
TOPAZ LAKE—Not much change here. Trollers were still doing the best in the middle of the lake for 13- to 14-inch rainbows using flasher/worm combos and Rapalas. Shore fishing has improved a little, but the lake level needs to come up to make a real difference.
TRUCKEE RIVER—Fishing was good in the general section over opening weekend for anglers using a variety of baits and lures. The Little Truckee River fished well also, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 88-percent capacity. The huge influx of cold water has slowed the bite.
WEST WALKER RIVER—George Anderson at the Toiyabe Motel reported that the opener was slow due to heavy runoff muddying up the river. Fishing the upper end of the Little Walker River was good due to much clearer water conditions. Concentrate your efforts on slower moving pocket water along the banks when flows are up—avoid the strong current in the center of the channel.