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, Brookings, Ore.-–The first Chinooks made the leap from the salt water of the estuary upriver to fresh water Friday evening. This all happened just as the ocean closed last weekend, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. He said anglers have been trolling from the jetties to the 101 Bridge for the big kings this river is known for producing. Only the bottom 2.5 miles of the river is open for fishing until Nov. 1.
COQUILLE RIVER, Bandon, Ore.–“This is my favorite river to fish for Chinook salmon,” said WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer, “but it isn’t living up to recent expectations. With fishing for king salmon slow, and not many fish showing on the electronics, asked other boats about their success. Saturday, a good friend for many years caught 4 of the 5 Chinooks they hooked up that day and said they were lucky. They only saw two other salmon get caught, and 2 nice salmon caught near the mouth of the river, and one small Chinook caught at the bridge on the south bank. My best day earlier in the week were 3 Chinooks and lost one. It seems that 2-3 salmon a day were some of the better days, but many had none or 1.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.–Salmon keep trickling into the river on a daily basis, but they are not slowing down and are moving straight upriver, according to guide Curtis Palmer. That made it difficult for all the entries in the C.A.F. Rogue River Salmon Derby this last week. Very few fish were caught in the Rogue Bay over the last seven days and the boat numbers have dropped down to a dozen or less at times. Bank fisherman have been catching a few salmon on most days at the Power Line Hole upriver from the Old Mill Site. Indian Creek king salmon should be returning any day now. These hatchery salmon are caught mostly in the upper bay, on the flats near the south bank across from Lex’s Landing and upstream to Indian Creek. There is also bank access to this area from Jerry’s Flat Road.
RUSSIAN RIVER—Smallmouth bass fishing continued to improve as the river cools a bit and water-use pressure lessens on the river.
UMPQUA RIVER, Reedsport, Ore.-–Salmon fishing for king salmon was slower this last week. “I was told that this last week of trolling on the lower Umpqua River for salmon was more of a game of luck than knowledge and skill,” said Palmer. “If you were in the right spot, at the right time, you might have gotten lucky enough to catch a fish or two. Yet, there were days when very knowledgeable anglers couldn’t find a fish that would bite. While Coho salmon are showing up in the sport boats more often this past week, but it hasn’t turned red hot fishing like it can be when these aggressive salmon enter the estuary. We are allowed to retain native Coho in the lower part of the Umpqua River due to their numbers being healthy, check regulations for deadlines and dates.The Umpqua River does have a small number of hatchery Coho salmon returning every year as part of a plan to maintain their presence in the South Umpqua River. Their estimated numbers to return at the foot of the Galesville Dam is 3,500 salmon.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen—Salmon and steelhead are pouring into the estuary, and anglers fishing the spit are catching limits of big salmon. However, there still has not been a big movement of fish upriver because of sea lions, heavy netting, and warm water that has the effect of impeding salmon upriver movement. Still, upstream, to Blue Creek, anglers were catching a few beautiful adult salmon plus jacks, as well as good numbers of wild steelhead, some weighing as much as 12 pounds.
TRINITY RIVER—Salmon and steelhead fishing continued to be good at the mouth of the Trinity River, but salmon are holding up in deep pools in the Hoopa Gorge because of warm water. There are some fresh fall salmon arriving above Del Loma, but most are leftovers from the spring Chinook run. A few steelhead are showing up, too, but not many.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE—Surface lures such as buzzbaits, Lunker Punkers, super spooks and whopper poppers are being used to tempt bigger fish in the 4- to 6-pound range. Look for small bass chasing minnows to the surface in the lower end of the lake, and the larger bass will be lurking about.
LAKE BERRYESSA—Kokes are pretty much done for the season. Try the dam for big hooked-jawed males and some nice-sized females. The fish are holding 80 to 120 feet deep. Smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass are feeding up on schools of shad and you can catch them on crankbaits, topwater, spoons, plastics etc.
LAKE SONOMA—Topwater fishing for large and smallmouth bass has been early and late. Cover main body points from the dam up to Dry Creek.
LAKE ALMANOR—The trolling lanes moved to Lake Haven Resort to Big Springs. Another trolling area that has been steady has been Rec. 1 to Big Cove. Slow trolling a dodger/nightcrawler combo, or plain nightcrawlers is best. Also use fast action lures like no. 2 Needlefish and 1/6-ounce Speedy Shiners. Bait fishing has been hot/cold.
BAUM LAKE—No changes here yet. The Fly Shop in Redding reported okay fishing for the float tube crowd. Look for the bite to pick back up as soon as the weather cools.
CASSEL FOREBAY—Rim Rock Ranch reported the pressure at the forebay has decreased after the Labor Day Weekend and the catching has been good to excellent for bait anglers. Power Bait, salmon eggs and worms were all catching fish. Some bigger fish in the 3-pound range have been hitting, but the majority of the fish were in the 10- to 12-inch range. Fishing here should continue to be good with fewer people fishing this stretch as the month wears on.
EAGLE LAKE—Shrimp Island was a good spot for daily limits using a threaded nightcrawler down 6 to 8 feet under slip bobber setups and the boat anchored in 12 to 14 feet of water.
FALL RIVER—Look for even flowing water between weed beds and smooth gradual transitions from shallow to deeper water. The Fly Shop in Redding reported fishing has been good here.
UPPER HAT CREEK– Rim Rock Ranch reported fishing has been consistently good the past several weeks and with the fishing pressure decreasing, it should remain very good for the rest of the month. Fish and Wildlife continues to plant twice a week, so there are lots of fish out there. The water level is low, so presentation and stealth are critical to catch more fish. Worms were the most popular bait but Panther Martens in gold and red were also good. Big brooders were still hitting, but not for everyone. The weather has been nice during the day, but dress for colder mornings as the temperatures have been in the low 30s at night.
PIT RIVER—The isonychia become active about this time of year and the trout key in on them through early September, so fishing has been good. Check for PG&E releases and bring a wading staff.
MANZANITA LAKE–Rim Rock Ranch reported only a few anglers this past week, but some topwater action is still happening in the early evenings. Pmd’s and midge patterns worked the best. Motorboat caddis were still affective at sunset, especially on some of the bigger fish. Remember, this lake has special restrictions so be sure to read the regulations governing this body of water.
McCLOUD RIVER—Expect fishing to start looking up again as water conditions and clarity improves. Fishing was best for anglers throwing nymphs under indicators or running them using high stick and short line techniques.
SHASTA LAKE—Trout and salmon were caught trolling between 60 and 110 feet using rolled shad and anchovies, white Wiggle Hoochie and a chrome Apex behind Sling Blades. You’ll have to sort through a ton of small fish to get the better bass. Find the bait and you can use whatever you like.
BERKELEY—Glassy water made rockfish limits a snap and lingcod came along willingly from along the Marin coast. Salmon boats got between 5 and 15 salmon all week long. Combo trips got limits of rockfish, decent counts of lingcod plus a few salmon on a typical trip.
BODEGA BAY/TOMALES BAY—Striped bass and surf perch bit like crazy due to a widespread crab molt event. A few halibut were picked up both inside the Bay and along Dillon Beach. Salmon action dropped off.
EMERYVILLE—Sundance ran for albacore on Wednesday and posted 8 tuna to 30 pounds for 3 people. Salmon boats caught fish with ratios from under a fish per rod to 1.5 fish per rod. Rockfish trips resulted in easy limits and lots of lingcod.
EUREKA—Salmon season ended successfully with limits or near-limits possible right up through the final bell. Albacore went wild offshore and gave anglers plenty to celebrate, though the runs were long… 43 to 50 miles offshore.
FORT BRAGG—Rockfish season ended productively with a huge 11-pound cabezon caught aboard Telstar, not reported previously. This past week albacore were caught 30 to 45 miles out near Viscano Knoll. Party boat, Sea Hawk continued to catch salmon. The boat took out 11 people and caught 18 salmon ranging in size from just over 20 inches all the way up to 22 pounds.
HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA—Albacore bit 24 to 34 miles from Half Moon Bay. A few halibut were caught in shallow waters nearshore while fishing for rockfish which proved quite plentiful. Striper catches caused some excitement in Pacifica.
MARTINEZ—Sturgeon to 68 pounds were caught near the Mothball Fleet and striped bass were caught in good numbers near Benicia. According to Amy Tompkins at Benicia Bait and Tackle, sturgeon bit upriver and striped bass bit downriver.
SAN FRANCISCO—Fisherman’s Landing boats spread out and found variety. Bass Tub ran long and successfully for tuna. Wacky Jacky and Lovely Martha found salmon. Flash caught rockfish and lingcod aplenty along the Marin coast. Argo got a 25-pound salmon in the Bay off of California City.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 74-percent capacity. With little recreational boat traffic now, fishermen were doing much better this week in the morning and evening at the drop-off outside the inlet for nice rainbows.
CAPLES LAKE—The lake is at 72-percent capacity. The EID host reported that fishing was very good with lots of limits and good numbers of the trophy fish stocked in August being caught from shore at the dam and Wood’s Creek and by trollers working outside the same areas.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)—The East Carson and West Carson are both scheduled for DFW trout plants this week. Alpine County will stock 1800 pounds of 1 1/5- to 5-pound rainbows on Sept. 14 in the East and West Carson. Fishing was excellent this past week and the smoke was clearing, according to Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge. Worms, salmon eggs, and spinners were all working in the deeper pools.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 71-percent capacity. The trolling, shore fishing, and flyfishing were slow. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported that trollers could expect 5 to 10 fish for a full day of trolling spoons at 20 feet deep near the island. Shore anglers were picking up 2 or 3 fish at best for an all-day sit and flyfishermen were netting 2 or 3 fish while casting from float tubes along the west side of the lake outside the weed beds in 3 hours.
DONNER LAKE—The lake is at 83-percent capacity. Fishing was very consistent for rainbows at the west end docks. Kokanee fishing was much improved with lots of bright 13- to 15-inch salmon hitting dodger/spinner/hoochie combos or Buzz Bombs at 40 to 80 feet deep.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON—Mike Hanson at Caribou Crossroads Resort reported that fishing was slow despite the fact that the resort store sold out of worms. The Middle Fork was fishing very well through Graeagle after a recent DFW plant.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 52-percent capacity. The smoky conditions were improving. Shore fishermen were still picking up some nice rainbows at the dam and Turkey Point. Bullhead catfish were also hitting in good numbers on nightcrawlers. The Chilcoot and Cottonwood campgrounds were closed. Spring Creek, Frenchman, and Big Cove campgrounds were still open. The Frenchman ramp should be open.
GOLD LAKES BASIN—Fishing at Salmon Lake was the best bet in the basin, according to Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden. Fishing was slow at Gold Lake and Packer Lake.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 61-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. With all the smoke from the Rim Fire in the area, few anglers were out fishing. If the smoky conditions improve, anglers hitting the lake after the DFW plant should do well near the boat ramp.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—The heavy smoke from the Rim Fire reduced fishing pressure in the whole area by 75-percent over the past couple of weeks. On top of that, fishing has been excellent in the Carson River.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR—The lake is at 63-percent capacity. Boaters fishing from shallow to deep down by the riprap at the dam were picking up some quality brookies, browns, and rainbows on suspending or sinking Rapalas, jigs, and flies on sinking lines.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—The lake is at 82-percent capacity. Shore action was good at the first and second dam. Trolling should be improving as the water cools and the recreational boat traffic subsides.
LAKE TAHOE—Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing was doing well jigging for macks and kokanee this past week. The kokanee were all turning with lots of red and greens showing in the pictures being taken of the big stringers. Nielsen put Tony Ortega of Oakland on a 4-pound, 7-ounce male kokanee that hit a Williamson Gamakou jig in 100 feet of water off Camp Richardson. Limits of macks and kokes were being caught in just a couple of hours. Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported catching limits of chunky macks on his trips trolling spoons and plugs from 130 to 400 feet deep from Tahoe City to Crystal Bay Point.
LOON LAKE—The lake is at 57-percent capacity. Trolling should be good here with cooler water temps, but the smoke from the Rim Fire stopped a lot of folks from getting out of the house. Try dodger/threaded nightcrawlers in the top 15 to 20 feet for planter rainbows.
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 30-percent capacity. The fishing was very slow here according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.
RED LAKE—Little to report from this lake—try the inlet for brookies and cutthroats with worms
SILVER LAKE—The lake is at 63-percent capacity. The EID host reported that trolling was good where the water enters the lake and over the deepest water in the lake. Shore anglers were doing well at the dam.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 55-percent capacity. Kokanee fishing was good at the dam and at the deeper spots around the island at 50 to 75 feet using dodger/spinner or hoochies. Jigging works as the fish school up in deeper water, too. Trout trolling was productive along the shorelines near the boat ramp into the Sagehen arm. Smallmouth bass fishing was good in the Davies Creek arm.
TOPAZ LAKE—The trout season officially closes on Sept. 30, but it’s really pretty much over now, with no boat launching and poor shore fishing.
TRUCKEE RIVER—With cooler water temps and increased flows, the fly fishing was good from the Prosser outflow to Floriston on nymphs, crayfish, PMD, PED, October caddis, and streamer patterns. The action was best early and late.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 63-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported that one boater caught 4 kokanee at 80 feet deep after a full day of trolling dodger/spinner or hoochie combos.
WEST WALKER RIVER—The Toiyabe Motel reported that very smoky conditions had cut way down on fishing pressure. Those anglers braving the smoke were catching lots of rainbows to 2 pounds in the deeper pools where most of the fish were concentrated with the lower flow rates. Worms, salmon eggs, spinners and flies were all working well.
AMERICAN RIVER —Flows are dropping to 1,900 cfs, and there are still not very many salmon in the river yet, but more were staging at the mouth and being seen upriver. Steelhead fishing for halfpounders and a few adults was pretty good early in the morning. Dead-drift nymphs under indicators and swing birds nest flies on floating lines and long leaders. Spin fishermen were getting some hits by drifting nightcrawlers and swinging Little Cleos and Blue Fox spinners.
FEATHER RIVER—Salmon are loading up the river and fishing was very good during the week from Shanghai Bend all the way to the Outlet. However, fishing pressure from both boats and bankies over the weekend made for a very unpleasant fishing experience as well as, produced poor results. Halfpounder steelhead plus a few adults were being caught around Gridley on flies, spinners, and nightcrawlers. Flows are being reduced to 4,500 cfs.
FOLSOM LAKE—The lake continued to drop at about half a foot a day, and will likely reach the 400-foot elevation in two or three weeks, at which time the 5 mph limit will go into effect. Speedy Shiners trolled around 60 feet deep on the main body were accounting for a few landlocked king salmon on the main body. Bass fishing continued to be slow, as they have moved to deeper water, and only occasionally are taking slowly worked plastics.
RANCHO SECO LAKE—A few bass were still being caught, mostly very early and late, but most of the fishing action now is on panfish, especially redeared sunfish, which are found mostly deep, towards the bottom.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento—Salmon fishing picked up last week, and continued to improve toward the end of the week. Elkhorn, Pioneer Bridge, Freeport and Discovery Park saw more success on plugs and spinners as more and more fish move through the area.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Chico—Fishing on the mid- and upper sections of river between Tisdale and Red Bluff was good during the week, but really took off toward the weekend. Limits were common, mostly on backtrolled plugs. The river is low, at 7,500 cfs, so boating requires extra care and vigilance.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding—Salmon fishing was outstanding from the Barge Hole down into the Canyon, and trout fishing farther upstream was very good, too, especially for fly fishermen who found great conditions in the low flows. Spin fishermen were drifting nightcrawlers, Glo-Bugs, and crickets, while fly fishers dead-drifted nymphs under indicators.
UPPER SACRAMENTO/McCLOUD RIVERS—Fishing continued to be in the summer doldrums, with the McCloud a more enjoyable experience than the Upper Sac, if only because of the more comfortable chance to fish in the shade under vegetation. Planted trout in the Dunsmuir offered better opportunities to feel a tug on the line, than downstream because of plants. On the McCloud, try around Ah-Di-Na and Ash Camp.
YUBA RIVER—Fly fishers continued to score on hoppers last week, but a more consistent bet was smaller dries like pmd’s, and dead-drifted nymphs like rubberlegs, and micro-Mayflies. Use a big dry like a stimulator as the indicator.
AMERICAN RIVER—The river was running low and clear with most fishermen absent this past due to the smoke from the Rim Fire. The Georgetown Ranger Station said the smoke conditions were improving. Hike down to the deeper pools on the North Fork ore Middle Fork for plenty of rainbows.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 59-percent capacity. The fishing was improving daily with cooler water temps and a reduction in the recreational boat traffic. Levon Matthiesson at Emerald Cove Marina reported that boaters drifting nightcrawlers near the dam were catching a mix of trout, bass, and kokanee salmon. The trout were planters, the bass ran up to 2 to 3 pounds, and one kokanee measured 16 inches. Trollers working the upper North Fork were picking up smaller kokanee. Bass up to 5 pounds were hitting nightcrawlers fished 50 feet deep on rocky points.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake is at 26-percent capacity. The fishing was fair this past week for bass and good for catfish. Ron Franks of Folsom reported picking up 16 spotted bass on swimbaits near the dam and up in Rock Creek. A couple anglers fished at night and landed several 4- to 5-pound cats and lost a BIG fish that broke the line after a long fight. They were fishing off the point near the boat ramp using mackerel and anchovies. The boat launch ramp is still down to one lane and getting more questionable every day as the water level drops.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is 30 feet from full. Bass and catfish action was good while trout fishing was just fair at best. Dave Callison and Kevin Donovan of Yuba City landed a nice bunch of catfish on crawdads and then limited out on bass using purple plastic worms. Mark Johnson of Concord caught a 13-pound catfish fishing at night off the rental docks using anchovies. The biggest trout of the week was a 5 1/4-pound rainbow taken at the dam on Power Bait. Most trout anglers were only catching 1 or 2 fish from shore. One troller caught 3 trout at 40 feet deep.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 96-percent capacity. Houseboaters tied up at Hogback Ravine, Keystone Cove and right in the marina were all catching rainbows on Power Bait and worms. Mike Torres at Skippers Cove Marina reported he caught a 4-pound rainbow in Keystone Cove on an inflated nightcrawler. Shore anglers were catching limits of 12- to 14-inch rainbows near the marina launch ramp on Power Bait. Houseboaters moored in the marina were picking up limits of trout at night on worms at 10 to 20 feet deep. Bass and lots of big bluegill and sunfish were hitting also.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is at 47-percent capacity. Slow fishing. Rim Fire smoke was still a problem in the mornings depending on the winds. Afternoon breezes usually cleared out the smoke later in the day.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 49-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the concrete boat ramp was well out of the water and only small boats should attempt to launch from the gravel/mud shore below the ramp. With the lake so low, there is a beach near the ramp for shore anglers to use and fishing should be good here after the DFW plant. There can be heavy smoke from the Yosemite fire in the morning—the afternoon winds generally clear the area.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 49-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that bass fishing was still good with 30 fish days common. Fishing during the week was better with no recreational boat activity. Bass up shallow working schools of bait were hitting Pop-R’s, Spooks, flukes, Keitech 3.8 swimbaits, and spinnerbaits with a Keitech trailer. On steeper rocky points, walls and short coves, the best action came on shaky-head Roboworms and Senkos. There was a good reaction bite on spinnerbaits and lipless cranks, too. Gandolfi was fishing in the North Fork, West Branch, and the upper Slot.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is at 91-percent capacity. Catfish were hitting at night for shore angers using chicken livers and anchovies.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake is at 74-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at the marina reported an angler came into the store to weigh a 10-pound bass. Once the fish was weighed and photographed, the angler released it back at the Cascade Shore area where it was caught. Trollers were picking up 2 or 3 rainbows at the Cascade end of the dam at 30 to 40 feet deep.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—Rim Fire smoke has kept most people out of the area for some time. The smoky conditions were improving, but could still be bad in the mornings. Not much word available on the fishing.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is at 71-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station said the lake was dropping 4 inches per day and fishing was slow.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at 134.8 feet elevation at press time—90-percent capacity. At this high water level, the bass were up in the tules and hitting spinnerbaits, Senkos, and frogs.