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.—Low flows are still keeping the spring king run at a trickle, and the flows also make it very difficult to key in on the fish, and, there are only limited places where boats can anchor up to fish and still leave room other river traffic. There are still some springers being caught, but it has been slow for most the past few weeks. This may mean that the fall in-Bay fishery will be really good, though, as the fish move in and out to feed and begin to keg up, preparing for the migration upriver.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove, Ore.—Guides out of The Fishin’ Hole are concentrating on steelhead and the occasional spring king salmon that made its way up through the low flows down below.
RUSSIAN RIVER—The shad run has not kicked into gear yet, and fishing was even a little slower than last week. Evening anglers taking advantage of the quieter evenings after water-users have left the river are getting a shad now and then, but it’s not fast action. Most of the fish are still the smaller males, with an occasional female to 4 pounds showing up, according to Steve Jackson, owner of Kings Sports and Tackle in Guerneville. He said a couple anglers drifted the stretch from Guerneville to Monte Rio this week and caught 5 smallmouth bass to 2 pounds using Rooster Tails and cranks. This time last year there was a good push of schoolie stripers in the river, but nothing so far on the linesides.
UMPQUA RIVER, Sutherlin, Ore.—“Springer fishing in the Umpqua River is, in my opinion a waste of time now, because of all the moss, “ said WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “It is almost impossible to keep your gear clean for anything longer than two minutes. Between Umpqua Boat Ramp and the confluence of both forks of the river, a few salmon were caught this last week. They are holding in the deep dark pools, said the one angler at Cleveland Rapids. Shad fishing was good one day and terrible a couple days later, but it is just the beginning of the season and that will improve rather quickly. Gary Lewis of Gary’s Guide Service said he went out one day and his client’s caught approximately 14 shad each. He went out a couple days later with a single client and only had one bite from a shad in 3 hours. Smallmouth bass are getting aggressive with water temperatures well into the 60’s. This is the time of year that I look for them to be in the soft water of the edge of small currents and ledges.”
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Glide, Ore.—The river level is what you would usually find in August, and there isn’t anyone fishing from the bank, like you would usually see, according to Palmer. “It is kind of barren and unusual to see so many good areas to fish with no one there. People are catching springers every day now, with most of the salmon on the smaller size from what I am used to seeing on this wonderful river. The average salmon being caught on the North Umpqua this last week was close to 16 pounds.”
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam—No sign of the salmon fly hatch yet, but it is coming, and it might very well be early this year given the low water year and warm weather. Stay tuned…
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen—Fishing was still slow for spring run Chinook, and they’re still just “trickling” in. The water is much lower than usual for this time of year, and quite a bit clearer, so gold and copper are probably going to be the best spinner finishes.
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City—Flows from Lewiston Dam are on the decline, and will be down to 2,000 cfs by May 20, at which time, fishing for springers, while still difficult in the high flows, is not impossible. Fish the deep, slow water behind fast water. The Falls area above the North Fork is one of the areas that might produce fish for bankies. Use fresh-cured roe by itself or in combination with tuna. Wrap in small mesh netting.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE— Anglers are averaging 15 fish a day on an assortment of plastics including Senkos, drop-shot Roboworms and flick shake weightless worms. As more fish join the post spawn group the reaction baits come back into play. This upcoming week will find a lot of boat traffic with the annual Catfish Derby which draws over 600 entries each year, plus another big tournament will hit the lake this coming Saturday.
LAKE BERRYESSA— Fish the middle of the lake from the Ranch House to the Big Island for kokanee and rainbows starting to push into deeper water with the best catchable depth being 30 to 45 feet deep. RMT Bahama, Hyper Plaid dodgers teamed up with glow pink, UV purple squids and the mini plankton squids in pink and orange are good ones to try. Choice of scent has been herring soaked corn fished with sockeye slayer gel on the iron fished 1.3 to 1.6 mph.
LAKE ALMANOR— Both basins have good fishing reports coming in. From Almanor West to the east shore everyone seems to be catching fish as aquatic insect hatches continue to drive the bite. Smallmouth, salmon, rainbows and browns are all on tap.
BATTLECREEK RESERVOIR—There were fewer reports, but those who ventured out did fairly good. The north and west shores have been the most productive with Power Bait and sparkle salmon eggs. Topwater action has picked up for the fly fishermen with mosquito patterns and Rickard’s callibaetis were both taking fish.
BAUM LAKE—The Fly Shop in Redding reported good fishing with plenty of trout here, but the bite seems to die off after 2:00.
BUCKS LAKE–The macks have been moving around the lake feeding on everything from kokanee to midges that have been hatching in big numbers. Hitting a variety of plugs, spoons and even flies fished from the surface to 50 feet, they are what everyone is after.
CASSEL FOREBAY— Rim Rock Ranch reports fishing is still quite good with a lot of limits coming in. Worms and salmon eggs are the best producers well, but veggie burgers and streamers are also tempting a lot of fish to strike.
FALL RIVER—Mixed reports, as it is still a little early here, but a few nice rainbows can be caught. The better bite will start come June.
UPPER HAT CREEK– Rim Rock Ranch reports a lot of rainbows are in the mix, so eggs have been working well for most fishermen. Panther Martins have been the way to go for the larger brook trout coming in. Some good fish also being taken by fly fishermen on crystal buggers.
PIT RIVER—Once the spring runoff slows down, conditions will become more consistent. Try Pitt no. 3.
MANZANITA LAKE— Rim Rock Ranch reports fishing has been fair with water temperatures already starting to climb. The bigger fish have gone deeper, but the topwater action is starting early this year with lots of mosquito action and a few motorboat caddis. Black ants should be a good go-to fly in the near future. The weed growth is extensive for this time of year, so search out the edges for fish lying in ambush. Remember this is a catch and release lake with special restrictions so be sure to check the regulations.
McCLOUD RIVER—The fishing should be good as mayflies are coming off.
SHASTA LAKE— Kirk and Lisa Portocarrero of Outdoor Adventures Sport Fishing said trout and salmon fishing continue to be good around the dam and Bridge Bay areas. The trout are on the surface in the mornings and as it heats up, the salmon have been between 60 and 80 feet. Bass are holding from the shoreline out to 20 feet.
TRINITY LAKE—No change here yet. 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, but there has been no koke bite yet.
WHISKEYTOWN RESERVOIR—Kokes are 11 to 13 inches and fat and clean. Fish are still holding in 40 to 60 feet of water around the 299 Bridge and 60 to 80 feet by the Curtain.
BERKELEY—Berkeley boats fished the Bay for halibut and stripers, with some boats, including the California Dawn and Happy Hooker, turning in solid counts. Berkeley Pier anglers got into the act, fishing live shiners on 3-way swivel rigs. Berkeley charter boats got into the salmon between N Buoy and Point Reyes.
BODEGA BAY— Good solid action on New Sea Angler caused excitement. On Tuesday it was 6 salmon for 8 anglers, plus limits of crabs. Wednesday, 20 salmon to 18 pounds bit for 10 people plus half-limits of crabs. Friday, 7 anglers took 6 salmon to 20 pounds. More were hooked, but a pesky sea lion got some. The group also got full limits of crabs. Then on Sunday it was better than a fish per rod with 11 salmon to 26 pounds, plus plenty of crabs for 9 anglers.
EMERYVILLE—Solid counts of salmon kept Emeryville boats busily trolling inside of the Farallones where the fish are gorging on krill and putting up spirited fights. Live bait, potluck trips will begin this week. Over the weekend, 4 boats scored a cumulative 93 salmon to 23 pounds for 77 anglers.
EUREKA—Steady action with salmon to 30 pounds provided Eureka area anglers with a great week. Pacific halibut bit in deeper water, with a 50-pounder caught. Rockfish season opener is the 15th and many people were busy this week prepping their boats and gear.
FORT BRAGG—Bait got scarce and the water cleared up late in the week, which meant a temporary lull in salmon fishing. Seahawk made it out Saturday and Sunday and boated a few fish between 12 to 16 pounds. Most fish were in close to the beach. Local abalone gathering is going great guns with limits commonplace. Rockfish and lingcod season opener on the 15th put a lot of people to work getting boats and gear ready.
HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA—Deep Reef held the greatest promise locally for salmon and catch counts remained decent. Counts could be considerably higher, but the krill-fed fish are hot, resulting in numerous missed opportunities. Up near Pacifica, 11- to 12-pound striped bass were caught at Rockaway Beach and southern Shark Park Beach.
MARTINEZ—Good fishing for sturgeon coincided with periods of greatest tidal flow. Outgoing tide was most productive. Salmon roe and clams joined shrimp and eel as the favored baits.
PORT SONOMA—Striped bass and sturgeon were both available in Napa River and Petaluma River, for shore fishers and boaters alike. Out on San Pablo Bay it was mostly sharks and rays, although the Pumphouse area did generate some sturgeon catches on strong tides.
SHELTER COVE—Salmon action went from fast-paced early in the week to a slow pick over the weekend, The average size, however, increased impressively with a private boater reporting the first 30-plus-pound salmon. Surf fishers scored perch and rockfish.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 69-percent capacity and rising quickly with big releases from Stampede. The fishing was fair at best at the inlet, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports. An early morning trip to the dam could produce a big fish on spoons or a Rapala.
CAPLES LAKE—Caples Lake Resort announced that it opened for business this past week—lodging, marina store, boat rentals, and launch ramp.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)—According to Bob Fedak at the Carson River Resort, the East Carson was running high and muddy. The West Carson was high and clearer. Fishing was best in the quiet pocket water along the shore.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 82-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported that trolling was good between the little island and the big island and Camp 5 and the big island for rainbows either 12 to 13 inches or 15 to 18 inches. A copper/red head Wee Dick Nite run 4 to 12 feet deep worked best this past week. Shore fishing was good at Eagle Point for anglers using Power Bait. Fly fishing was slow. The Honker Cove boat ramp upgrade was still in progress and the ramp could open by mid-June. The Camp 5 boat ramp can handle single boat launching for larger boats. The Lightning Tree ramp can be used by smaller aluminum boats or shallow draft boats since there is only about 3 feet of water on the ramp, according to Dillard.
DONNER LAKE—Rainbow trout were still hitting for shore anglers at the west end on Power Bait and inflated nightcrawlers. Mack action was hit-or-miss this past week with lots of boaters trying to nail a 20 pounder, but no one reported any success.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON—Mike Hanson at Caribou Crossroads Resort reported that anglers were still picking up limits of planters to 14 inches and native rainbows to 20 inches on the North Fork from the dam above the resort to the bridge above the third campground on salmon eggs, worms, and crickets.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 70-percent capacity. Shore fishermen were picking up limits of rainbows, 13 to 15 inches on inflated nightcrawlers and Power Bait. The area at Spring Creek inlet was a reported hot spot.
GOLD LAKES BASIN—Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported that Gold Lake was producing mostly rainbow trout for trollers and shore anglers. Trollers were catching a few macks on large plugs.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 91-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service and Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill fishing Service reported that trollers were picking up limits of 10- to 14-inch rainbows on flasher or dodger/worm combos in the top 10 feet. The campgrounds should be open by this weekend.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—With muddy water in the East Carson River, the lake was receiving heavy pressure from shore anglers. Fishing was reported to be good at the dam using Power Bait and worms.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR—Since the lake opened, shore anglers have been catching lots of limits of 16- to 18-inch rainbows in the NE corner of the lake where Pass Creek runs in, on Power Bait and nightcrawlers. Trollers were doing well on Needlefish, Kastmasters and Thomas Buoyants.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—The lake is full. Sly Park Resort reported that bass were spawning and up on the beds. Worms, tubes, and jigs were working well for both largemouth and smallmouth bass—please practice catch-and-release!!
LAKE TAHOE—Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters reported good action in 300 to 400 feet of water for macks running 5 to 7 1/2 pounds. On one pass in deep water, all 7 rods out had a fish on, but only 5 were landed. The early morning bite was best. Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported he was doing best in the first hour of trolling, then he had to work hard for limits of macks running 2 to 8 pounds. Small spoons and plugs worked best after the sun hit the water. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners reported only picking up 1 to 4 browns on morning trolling trips into shallow water. He did best on Scatter Raps and Laxee spoons for fish running 3 to 3 1/2 pounds. After the sun hit the water it was deep trolling for rainbows and macks. Nielsen reported the best rainbow trout action in 10 years for fish in the 3- to 4-pound range. The rainbows were hitting at 30 to 40 feet deep. Macks were hitting ThunderSticks and Scatter Raps at 40 to 70 feet deep early and then down to 120 to 240 feet deep later in the day. Some macks were hitting the Williamson Benthos jig tipped with a minnow.
LOON LAKE—The lake is at 77-percent capacity. Still no word on when the campgrounds will open—apparently it’s up to the concessionaire and not the Forest Service!!
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 40-percent capacity. Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that trout were holding on the rocky banks in the Alder Creek and Prosser Creek arms, with the Prosser Creek being the better of the two. Hit the dam early in the morning for bigger trout. Try the shallow rocky flats for smallmouth bass.
PYRAMID LAKE—Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported doing well at Anderson and north of Pyramid on the east side of the lake for cutthroats running mostly 17 to 24 inches. His Sunday trip produced a 9 1/2 pounder for Brad Bronkowski of Carson City at Anderson on a chartreuse frog Flatfish along with 23 other beautiful trout. George Molino at cutthroat Charters picked up 15 fish to 26 inches on his last trip on watermelon Apex trolled 25 to 35 feet deep from Warrior Point to Spider Point. Shore fishermen were having a tough time as the water warmed and the fish moved out to deep water.
RED LAKE—Shore fishing should be good at the dam, but there were no current reports available.
SILVER LAKE—Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners reported that since ice-out, trollers were doing well on macks from 3 to 8 pounds with an occasional lunker approaching 20 pounds taken on Rapalas on 6 to 8 colors of leadcore line.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 70-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that kokanee trolling was good for smaller 10- to 14- inch fish, but mostly 10 to 11 inchers. Trollers were doing better on the larger kokes on dodger/pink or orange hoochies run 10 to 20 feet deep from the mouth of the Little Truckee arm into the Sagehen arm—the smaller fish were schooled up over deeper water. Mack trolling was good under the kokanee schools in deep water using a blue/silver or black/silver Rapala, Rebel, or Predator.
TOPAZ LAKE—Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported that trollers were still doing well for limits of 13- to 14-inch rainbows in the middle of the lake using flasher/worm combos and Rapalas. Bass anglers were beginning to pick up some nice smallmouth bass—one guy reported catching 12 fish from 1 1/2 to 3 pounds on worms and jigs. The bass were spawning in the shallows.
TRUCKEE RIVER—Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that bait anglers fishing from Alpine Meadows to Squaw were doing well, while fly fishermen were doing best below the Boca Outlet on March browns, green drakes, and some BWO.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 91-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle fished the lake 3 days this past week and only caught a few small rainbows. Another boater caught a few small kokanee, but they were scattered all over the lake. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported that mack trolling was slow at best.
WEST WALKER RIVER—George Anderson at the Toiyabe Motel reported that the river was still running very high but the clarity was improving. Experienced anglers were picking up a few fish using bait in the quieter pockets along the shore. Anderson expects the river to return to normal flow levels in a couple of weeks.
AMERICAN RIVER above Folsom Lake—The Silver Fork was planted by the DFW two weeks ago and provides the easiest access.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 85-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi of Paradise reported that a friend fished here this past week and caught a lot of smaller spots and a couple of bigger fish to 4 pounds on drop-shot worms and big Senkos in the coves and points. Emerald Cove Marina reported that a boater came in with several bass, the biggest a beautiful 6 pounder.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake level dropped dramatically this past week. The bass bite was still good up in the river and creek arms on worms and jigs.
COLLINS LAKE—The resort will plant another 1800 pounds of catchable and trophy rainbows this week. Shore anglers and trollers were both doing well for rainbows this past week. Trollers were using Needlefish and Rapalas from the dam to the bridge for trout to 7 1/4 pounds. Shore anglers did well at the dam, Elmer’s Cove and the bridge. Bass fishing improved with the warmer weather with limits coming in for anglers throwing worms, jigs, and live bait in shallow water. Redear sunfish were active for the kids.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 93-percent capacity. PG&E planted 2500 pounds of catchable rainbows this past week as a condition of their FERC permit to generate electricity through the dam. Trollers were doing well in the marina. Elijah Dean of Sutter caught a 2 1/4-pound rainbow trolling a flasher/worm just outside the marina buoys. Dillon Davis at Skippers Cove Marina reported that he and his party caught 40 rainbows, 9 to 12 inches, toplining dodger/worm combos from the marina to Dixon Hill. Davis stopped and talked to a houseboater at Boston Bar who caught two 5-pound rainbows and a 6-pound brown casting nightcrawlers off the back of the boat.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the campgrounds would open May 17. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported that trollers were catching a few small rainbows near the dam on dodger/hoochie combos.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR—The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the campgrounds would open on May 17. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported that one customer picked up a 12- to 14-pound mack trolling a bikini Needlefish behind a chrome dodger 60 feet deep at the dam.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 84-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that anglers were still picking up 40 to 60 fish per day on tubes, Paradise Tackle Company finesse jig/Roboworm combos, darthead worms, and flukes in 5 to 20 feet of water. The reaction bite was beginning to kick in using crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and topwater. The worm/jig bite has been soft, so experience paid big dividends in more hooked fish. Most bass have spawned, but there were still fish being caught spilling eggs. The spawners were up shallow while the pre- and post-spawn fish were down at 15 to 20 feet deep on outside coves, points and walls. Gandolfi saw a lot of coho trollers working from the dam to the Green Bridge running dodger/hoochie combos scented with Pro-cure’s bloody tuna gel.
ROLLINS LAKE—Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported that one customer picked up two 14- to 16-inch browns fast trolling a vampire F9 Rapala early in the morning in the Bear River inlet area, and two 12- to 13-inch rainbows running a dodger/hoochie 30 feet deep above the power lines in the Bear River arm in mid-morning. Bass fishing was very goods this past week with limits of largemouths and smallmouths to 3 1/2 pounds hitting worms and jigs.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—Jim Caldwell at the marina reported that bass fishing was much improved with the warmer water temps. Largemouths to 4 1/4 pounds and smallmouths to 2 1/2 pounds were caught in the coves on worms. Trollers were still picking up a few rainbows on flasher/worm combos at the dam and up toward the inlet.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—Shore anglers and trollers were picking up some limits of rainbows. The campgrounds are open.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—According to the Georgetown Ranger Station, the camp host reported that both shore anglers and trollers were still picking up a few 12- to 14-inch rainbows.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at 129.3-foot elevation at press time—53-percent capacity. At this water level, the bass move out of the coves to deeper water or onto the rocky banks along the west side. Few reports were available from here.
AMERICAN RIVER—A few steelhead were still being caught, and some striped bass were attacking swimbaits and Pencil Poppers, but the focus now is on shad, which are all the way up to Sailor Bar Park. Steelies still taking nymphs under indicators, and shad were grabbing champagne curly-tailed jigs and flies.
FOLSOM LAKE—Some trout were still being caught on the main body, but fish have gone deeper as the lake has continued to warm up. Bass are in post-spawn and while a few can be taken early in the morning on topwater and ripbaits, most of the action is occurring off points and over rock piles drop-shotting, jigging and dartheading. Anglers should be aware of the major Memorial Weekend event which includes unlimited hydroplane races, wakeboarding and other activities. It formally starts on Friday May 31, and lasts three days. The lake is likely to be completely taken over for the week before the actual event.
FEATHER RIVER—Fishing for shad was still good, and a few striped bass were still being caught, but, overall, fishing was only so-so. Fish downstream of Shanghai Bend for both shad and striped bass. Some steelhead in the 2- to 4-pound range were still being caught in the Low Flow Section.
RANCHO SECO LAKE—Trout fishing has all but ended for the season, but a few were still being caught by boaters working the deeper holes. The bass spawn has ended, and fish have gone back into deeper water. A few were being hooked very early and late by anglers tossing topwater lures and ripbaits. Redeared sunfish remain the surest bet on worms fished under bobbers.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento—Shad fishing has slowed around Sacramento, but it’s still the surest bet with anglers fishing Discovery Park and Verona able to get a dozen or so in an evening. There are still some stripers being caught, but fishing was only fair. The better spots were off South River Road and Old Sac.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Grimes—There actually was an uptick in striper fishing last week, and some anglers were managing to catch limits of bass, small ones mostly, that had not yet spawned. Ward’s Landing and Grimes were two of the better areas. Drifting minnows was the best bet by far.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding—Trout fishing was “fantastic” drifting between Redding and Anderson according to Dave Jacobs of Professional Guide Service. Spin fishermen were catching fat 12- to 20-inch trout on drifted roe, small Glo-Bugs, and back-trolled small Hot Shots. Fly fishers were dead-drifting prince nymphs, pheasant tails, and copper Johns under indicators.
UPPER SACRAMENTO/McCLOUD RIVERS—Trout fishing on the McCloud continued to be very good, especially around Ah-Di-Nah campground on nymphs dead-drifted under indicators and tan soft hackles swung on floating and sinktip lines. There has even been some dry fly action late in the evenings. The mid-section of the Upper Sac continued to be the best stretch for fly fishers, but flows are dropping, and the area around Dunsmuir, which has less restrictive regulations and trout plants was also providing good action.
YUBA RIVER—Dry fly fishing was good once again, and there are a surprising number of hoppers flying about, which fish are keying on. Use a big bushy dry like a stimulator or muddler as an indicator with a smaller dry or nymph as the trailer. Fish above or below the Highway 20 bridge. Shad fishing continued to be good, too, all the way up to Daguerre Dam