NORTH COAST RIVERS
North Coast streams and rivers are regulated by low flow closures. Always call ahead to determine the condition of the river you want to fish. If not mentioned, the river is closed or no reports. The DFG’s Low Flow Closure Hotline for north coast rivers is (707) 822-3164. For the Russian River and counties of Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin, call (707) 944-5533. South Central Coast streams number is (831) 649-2886. Many streams close, and others change to artificial/barbless only on, March 31 and others on April 25. Trouble identifying salmon or steelhead? Go to: http://www.swr.noaa.gov/fmd/identify.htm.
CHETCO RIVER, Ore.—The river has been low and tough fishing, but if the forecast is correct, that will all be different when you get this issue of WON. The Chetco could go to 2,000 cfs during the early week storm, according to WON Field Reporter Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, but might have dropped out and be great fishing by the weekend, so call ahead! This is when the big push of king salmon will come into the river if flows are sufficient.
ELK RIVER, Ore.—Low water as of press time has kept anglers away, but if the expected storm materializes, the river could be plugged with salmon in short order, according to guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. Same with the nearby Sixes River.
RUSSIAN RIVER—Keep a sharp eye on the flows here, if there’s enough rain to bring it up and blow it out, the salmon should make a good showing.
SMITH RIVER—Closed due to low flows as of Monday morning deadline, but an approaching storm is expected to bring flows up to as much as 5,000 cfs, which will flush it out and open it up, and bring in the kings waiting at the mouth. “The fish that are in the river are on the move,” said WON Field Reporter and guide Phil DeSautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen—Most anglers have switched to fishing for steelhead because of the low numbers of salmon. Steelheading was fair around Blue Creek and up to the mouth of the Trinity. Some were being caught around Somes Bar.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate—Steelhead fishing continued to be excellent, with anglers bringing around half a dozen small adults up to 5 pounds to the boat on backtrolled small plugs, drifted nightcrawlers and Glo-Bugs.
TRINITY RIVER—Steelhead fishing continued to be tough, with good anglers averaging about 3 fish to the boat daily. However, there was a concentration of fish around the mouth of the North Fork awaiting rains to raise the river and attract the fish upriver. However, that’s where most steelhead anglers were concentrated, too. It’s an early morning bite, with some action first thing in the morning, but with the bite dropping off when the sun hits the water. Back-troll plugs, drift roe, and dead-drift nymphs like red copper Johns under indicators.
AMERICAN RIVER—Salmon continued to crowd the fish ladder and fish holding pond at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery, and visitors sometimes had to wait for an open parking spot. Salmon and anglers were also jamming Nimbus Basin, and lots of dark salmon were being caught, mostly by “lining” or “flossing. Steelheading was fair to good along River Bend Park, Watt Ave, and Howe Ave. by drifting nightcrawlers, swinging spinners and small spoons, or dead drifting nymphs and egg patterns under indicators.
FEATHER RIVER—Steelhead fishing was outstanding once again, and some anglers have been landing up to 30 steelhead from 2 to 5 pounds an outing on some days. Drift Glo-Bugs and nightcrawlers, and swing spinners. The Sunset Pump area has been particularly good.
FOLSOM LAKE—Bass fishing was slow, once again, with some smaller fish being caught by drop-shotting RoboWorms over rock piles, dragging jigs, or spooning next to channels from 15 to 25 feet deep. Look for concentrations of bait using electronics. Very few anglers were fishing for trout and landlocked salmon. Troll Speedy Shiners and Rapalas 25 to 35 for trout, and 45 to 65 deep for kings.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento—There were bigger gaps between schools of salmon passing upstream through the Sacramento area, but some bright late fall king salmon were still being caught. Many anglers have been switching to striped bass, catching them in the Turning Basin, Prospect, Cache, and Miner’s Slough. There is more sturgeon activity occurring weekly, and a 68 pounder was caught at Discovery Park on a sardine.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff—Fishing was very good for late fall king salmon once again, but flows continued to drop and are going down to 3,300 cfs, making launching at Woodfords and Hamilton City a doubtful proposition.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding—Flows are very low, and trout fishing good, with steelhead fishing continuing to improve around Battle Creek. Some nice fresh late fall kings were continue to show up.
UPPER SACRAMENTO/McCLOUD RIVERS—The rivers are in their prime time fall season of fishing. The lower part of the Upper Sac below Sims is now attracting some larger fish coming up from the Sacramento River, and some big browns are starting to show at the lower end of the McCloud.
YUBA RIVER—The river is low, but fly fishers continued to do well. However, almost all the action is on nymphs under indicators, not dries. A few steelhead are starting to show, too.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE— Bass and catfish are being caught in the mid section of the lake and down through the Rattlesnake and Redbud arms on live bait. Anglers using artificials are slinging swimbaits, mid depth and deep diving crankbaits, jigs, and plastics. There are some anglers fishing the night bite and reporting the bite is better for them than during the day.
LAKE BERRYESSA— Trout to 3 pounds have been common in the catch for those that put in the time. Using shad imitation lures or rolling shad have been the best bets. Look for the birds, as they are tracking the bait. You can get them on the surface if you see them rising, but 20 feet on the downrigger was the best depth throughout the day. Don’t be afraid to go deeper for the kings, the action has been slow for most but rolling shad or hoochies tipped with anchovies fooled a few.
LAKE SONOMA— The Arctic Fox fly in white, blue/white and chartreuse have be doing well as were Dick Nite spoons and Uncle Larry’s spinners with nightcrawlers for landlocked steelhead. Work from the dam to the No Ski buoys covering lots of water as the fish are scattered from the surface to 40 feet.
LAKE ALMANOR—Spawning brown trout are in the underwater gravel beds near the springs and deeper holes near Prattville, along the west peninsula and shallow coves near Canyon Dam. You will also find some big rainbows there. Be gentle with the hens and release them back. The males make a nice photo opportunity. Suspended roe or salmon eggs along the bottom will get picked up by fish feeding on loose eggs.
BAUM LAKE—DFW continues to plant this lake and recently stocked it with some nice brown trout. Remember this lake is open all year and there is not much pressure here. Try the east side early in the day. With other trout waters closed this will be a good winter spot. December is known for great fishing on this lake, thanks to the midges.
CASSEL FOREBAY—Closed Nov. 15.
EAGLE LAKE—Fishing was very good with 3-inch orange grubs fished in the bay in front of Christy Campground. The low water ramp will stay in until Dec. 2.
FALL RIVER— Closed Nov. 15.
UPPER HAT CREEK— Closed Nov. 15.
PIT RIVER—From Nov. 16 through the Friday proceeding the last Saturday in April only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. Fishing has been good especially in the afternoon.
McCLOUD RIVER— Closed Nov. 15.
SHASTA LAKE—There are numbers of small bass in the bait balls providing good action all day with a 3/8- to 1/2-ounce spoons. Or dropshot out to 30 feet. Bait has been at 40 to 60 feet so the trout are deeper.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 23-percent capacity. The dam and inlet were still the best bets here for rainbows and the occasional brown. Shore anglers need to use caution when crossing the muddy banks at the inlet.
CAPLES LAKE—The resort and launch ramps were all closed, so few reports were available. Shore fishing should still be good at the dam and spillway.
CARSON RIVER (East)—The regular trout season ended on a high note for anglers using bait. The East Carson from Hangman’s Bridge to the NV border is open to fishing with artificial lures with barbless hooks and a zero limit.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 66-percent capacity. The Grizzly Store reported that trolling had slowed and boaters were anchoring off Mosquito Slough and Fairview and soaking Power Bait and worms for some nice rainbows. Shore fishing was good along the west side at Camp 5—especially at the handicap dock–and Eagle Point using Power Bait and nightcrawlers. Flyfishermen were doing well stripping nymphs at Mosquito Slough, Fairview, and from Jenkins to Cow Creek.
DONNER LAKE—The lake is at 35-percent capacity and was fishing very well this past week for rainbows and the occasional mack. Shore anglers using bait and small spinners or spoons scored on the rainbows, while larger Krocodiles and Kastmasters worked for the macks prowling the shallows for a wayward rainbow.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 49-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported that shore anglers were doing well on 1 1/2- to 2-pound rainbows at Lunker Point, Turkey Point, and the dam using nightcrawlers and Power Bait.
GOLD LAKES BASIN—Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported that fishing at all the lakes had slowed down due to the very cold water temp—44 degrees. Tieslau did catch a 16-inch mack at Gold Lake on a F18 Rapala trolled 5 feet deep.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 56-percent capacity. Trollers were still picking up easy limits of 12- to 13-inch rainbows on dodger/nightcrawler or grub combos in the top 15 feet. This bite should last until snow closes the road, according to Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Alpine County will stock 1800 pounds of 1 1/2- to 5-pound rainbows on Nov. 25.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR—The lake is at 47-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that few reports were available from this lake, though the roads were open. Try the inlet and in front of the dam with flasher/worm combos and Rapalas.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—Denise Cole at Sly Park Resort reported that shore anglers were still picking up planter rainbows at the first dam on marshmallow/worm combos. Bill Ellsworth of Pollock Pines caught a 5-pound rainbow.
LAKE TAHOE—Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported an awesome bite for 3- to 8-pound macks trolling 160 to 320 feet deep between Crystal Bay point and Tahoe City. On his last trip they landed 14 out of 20 hookups and limited out the boat by 8:00 a.m. and released 2 fish.
LOON LAKE—The lake is at 49-percent capacity. The gate to the boat ramp was closed during the government shutdown and never reopened. Small boats can launch at the gravel ramp at the dam.
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 22-percent capacity. At this low level, the fish were concentrated at the dam where shore anglers were catching rainbows on bait and lures.
PYRAMID LAKE—Guide Dick Nichols of Shaver Lake visited with 3 friends this past week and had one of the most productive trips in 32 years of fishing this lake. Keith Matsumura of Fresno landed a 14 pounder while they caught-and-released dozens of fish using bleeding frog FlatFish at 20 to 22 feet deep from Pelican Bay to Windlass Bay—Nichols said they caught a fish every 5 minutes!! Crosby’s Lodge reported that 25 big cutthroats were weighed in this past week including a fish pushing 21 pounds.
RED LAKE—Not much happening here—try worms at the dam for a few small cutthroats.
SILVER LAKE—Few reports were available from this lake. Try the dam with bait for planter rainbows.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 53-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that fishing for macks 75 to 100 feet out from the dam could produce a big fish this time of year, especially when the weather was dark and threatening. Casting large spoons or Rapalas off the dam or trolling close to the dam were the recommended approaches to catching a lunker Mackinaw.
TRUCKEE RIVER—The main Truckee River from Trout Creek in Truckee to Stateline is now open to fishing with artificial lures with barbless hooks and a zero limit. The Little Truckee between Stampede Reservoir and Boca Reservoir is open to fishing with artificial lures with barbless hooks and a zero limit. The remainders of both rivers are closed until April 2014.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 53-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported that few anglers were visiting this lake. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle warned that if rain hit this week as forecast icy road conditions could make getting to the lake difficult.
BERKELEY—Steady reports consisted of limits of crabs, limits of rockfish and sometimes limits of lingcod. Berkeley Charter Boats reported limits of crabs and rockfish on every trip this month. Happy Hooker saw an angler, Jimmy Carr of Pittsburg, attain legend status by hooking 13 lingcod in a day. California Dawn also reported daily limits of rockfish and crabs plus lingcod to 12 pounds.
BODEGA BAY—New Sea Angler hammered the lingcod, bringing up nearly 200 lingcod in just 3 trips to near Point Reyes. Crabs were thick and heavy, with an average of over 2 pounds. Private boaters and party boats alike found the crabbing easy.
EMERYVILLE—Fishing primarily along the Marin coast, Emeryville Sportfishing boats found rockfish and lingcod to be easy targets. Limits were consistent, making it attractive for someone to go fill a bag with great food for the family.
EUREKA—A jetty fisherman earned notoriety by catching a limit of black rockfish from the jetty in just an hour and a half of fishing. The mouth of Eel River gave up good catches of red tail perch. Crabbers had it relatively easy, with one boat pulling a 50-crab limit from only 3 pots.
FORT BRAGG—Sea Hawk and Telstar reported limits of crabs. Productivity was not spectacular, but consistent and the average size of the crabs was up close to 2.5 pounds. Jetty fishers cast snares for crabs and cast hook baits for rockfish and perch with reasonable catch rates.
HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA—Rockfish/crab combos were awesome as Huli Cat scored consistent limits. Other boats focused on rockfish and scored heavily. Skilled fishers using jigs were able to score high counts of lingcod. Shore fishing was heavily weighted, numerically, towards snare casters working for crabs.
MARTINEZ—Stripers and sturgeon were both caught by boaters, especially those fishing up near the Mothball Fleet. People fishing piers and shorelines caught good numbers of striped bass using bullheads for bait.
AMERICAN RIVER—The North Fork, Middle Fork, South Fork and their tributaries above Folsom Lake in Placer, Eldorado, Amador, and Alpine Counties are open to fishing from Nov. 16 to April with artificial lures with barbless hooks with a zero limit. The rivers were running low and clear. Anglers need to be up to the task of hiking down to the North Fork or Middle Fork to fish the deeper pools with barbless flies and lures.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 50-percent capacity. The lake was still plagued with small, non-keeper spotted bass hitting worms and jigs from 5 to 50 feet deep in rocky points and humps.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake is at 20-percent capacity. North Shore Resort reported that bass anglers were catching 30 to 75 small bass per day on worms and jigs on points up in Rock Creek, the Bear River, and on the main lake—pretty much all over with the fall feeding frenzy in full swing.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is 47-foot from full. The resort stocked 1800 pounds of rainbows including 3- to 5-pound trophy fish. Limits were much more common this past week. Randy Lemp and family caught 3 limits of trout at the dam on Power Bait. Ozzy Rodriguez of Willows landed a 5-pound rainbow caught trolling flasher/worms at the island. Mark Crowley caught limits including a 4 1/2-pound rainbow trolling Sling Blade/worm combos. Lynne Christiansen picked up a 6 1/4 pounder trolling a Kastmaster. Lots of fish were caught off the rental docks. The DFW should be planting 2000 pounds of rainbows soon.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 94-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported that one houseboater caught limits of rainbows on worms that included 18- and 22-inch fish. Some 5 to 6 pounders were seen around the trout pens in the marina feeding on food pellets making it through the rearing pens—you might try as close to the pens as you can get drifting worms for a chance at a lunker rainbow.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is at 36-percent capacity. The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the road to the lake was open, but the boat ramp was out of the water and launching trailered boats was not possible through the mud—only cartoppers that can be carried to the water were recommended. Shore fishing was producing a few rainbows and browns on bait and lures.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 42-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the roads to the lake were open, but with the boat ramp out of the water and the campgrounds closed, few if any, people were making the trip.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 41-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported excellent bass and coho salmon action. An average day for bass was 60 to 75 fish, a good day 80 to 100. The bass and salmon were hitting tubes, jig/worms, and dart-head worms from 5 to 30 feet deep. Gandolfi reported catching 3 limits of coho that weighed 55 pounds (3.66-pound average) on tubes and worms. The whole lake was producing fantastic action from the Middle Fork to the North Fork. The water temp was running 55 to 58 degrees—perfect for the fall bite!
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is at 80-percent capacity. Trout and catfish were hitting nightcrawlers in the deeper coves from Long Ravine to Freeloaders Cove.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake is at 67-percent capacity. Trollers were still picking up some limits of rainbows on flasher/worms at the dam and spillway.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the campgrounds were closed, but the boat ramp was open. With the colder nights, trout fishing should be improved for holdover rainbows for both shore anglers and trollers fishing near the dam.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the campgrounds were closed and the boat ramp was out of the water. Shore fishing was slow according to the last report.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at 134.5-foot elevation at press time—88-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that trollers working the current in the upper end of the canal at Wilbur Rd. were catching some nice steelhead. Bass were hitting swimbaits fished through the grass beds out in open water in the coves. With the bluebird weather, duck hunting was slow, so few hunters were out.