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.—Rains were forecast for Tuesday through Thursday, and if that occurs the thousands of steelhead holding in deeper holes and riffles—and still in the ocean—will all make a move at once and fishing will be phenomenal, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Call ahead, and if there was enough rain to bring the river up, don’t miss the opportunity for wide-open steelheading.
COOS RIVER, Ore.—Too low to drift. Fishing depends on whether enough rain falls to bring the river up.
COQUILLE RIVER, Ore.—Too low to drift and no reports. If it rains enough, there will be good fishing.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.—Rains are forecast for the river, and if they are enough to bring the river up, it will move more winter steelhead into and up the river, along with the later summer and fall fish still holding. Plunking will be the ticket for shore anglers, and boaters will be anchored up with baits and lures in the travel lanes, much as with spring salmon fishing, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers.
RUSSIAN RIVER—The mouth of the river was bulldozed on Thursday and on Friday steelhead were pouring into the lower river, holding between Guerneville and Duncan Mills, according to Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville. Low flows of only 140 cfs will keep the fish in the lower river in deeper holes and under willows where they seek cover. Use bobber and jig or bobber with roe, spinners or spoons, or flies like Boss, comet, leeches or flame.
SMITH RIVER—Low, low water conditions and still tough to impossible fishing. Under low flow restrictions.
UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Ore.–The river is starting to fill up with winter steelhead and as each week passes, we can see the progress in their return upriver, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. With the river still at summer heights and visibility very good, the fish are a little skittish and not traveling as far during a days time. Sawyer Rapids, Slide Hole & Sheep Shed have all been good drifts to make this last week in the Elkton area of the Umpqua River. Farther upriver and closer to Sutherlin, some people have done well fishing the drift called 9 Mile, which starts just below Yellow Creek boat ramp on down to Kellogg Bridge. Other drifts between Umpqua boat ramp and Yellow Creek boat ramp have been producing steelhead. However the lower drifts on the river seem to be still producing a lot more steelhead than the drifts above Tyee.
UMPQUA RIVER, North and South forks: The North and South forks of the Umpqua River are very low with rocks showing well above the surface, and these rocks are quite capable of tearing a hole in a boat. I have not received any reports from these two rivers this week, said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate—Adult steelhead to about 5 pounds plus trout and halfpounders were being caught down to Happy Camp on drifted Glo-Bugs, and back-trolled crawdad plugs and small Hot Shots. This stretch of river probably offers the best opportunities for more than one or two grabs an outing in the whole Klamath-Trinity Basin.
TRINITY RIVER—Temperatures—both water and air, inched up a bit last week, and fishing perked up with steelhead more willing to bite, and a few more bright winter adults arriving above Junction City. The best fishing has been later in the morning into early afternoon.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE— Catfish to 18 pounds have been caught on spoons while bass fishing. With the warm afternoons the lake has been seeing, and the lack of any significant weather in the near future, look for the bite to start to pick up over the majority of the lake in the coming weeks as we move towards the end of January. Head to the Rattlesnake Arm with a combination of swimbaits, crankbaits, A-rigs and jigs for bass and catfish.
LAKE BERRYESSA—Focus on primary and secondary points with steeper edges in 20 to 40 feet of water for bass hitting spoons, drop-shots and wacky weighted Senkos. Trout are still near the surface for trollers toplining.
LAKE SONOMA— With colder water and more lethargic fish, you’ll need to slow it down and be patient with the bass. Drop-shot vertically over timber in 25 to 50 feet of water for a few bass, as the bite is still tough.
LAKE ALMANOR—Currently the Canyon Dam public ramp and Rec. I are the only ramps open. The east side is the only area with open water. The west side has a thin blanket of ice. Anglers have been catching a mixed bag of brown and rainbow trout.
BAUM LAKE—Time to pull out the chains just in case. Hatches are the key ingredient here and make this a popular place to flyfish, so bring your midges and pontoon boat. The best BWO hatches have been on overcast days.
EAGLE LAKE—Now closed as of Dec. 31, it reopens Memorial Day Weekend.
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 once the sun warms the water and fish from mid morning until the afternoon. Access will be a challenge in some areas due to icy road conditions but you will probably have the place to yourself once you get down to the water.
SHASTA LAKE—Bass in the 1- to 2-pound range have been caught from the surface down to 50 feet. Drop-shotting an MGMs 3.5-inch Ghost Rainbow swimbait or split tail fluke, as well as crawdad colored baits produced bites. Salmon will be worth a try using wrapped anchovies at 80 feet. Trout will be from the surface down to 20 feet using Wiggle Hoochies in blue/white and purple/white combinations or Cripplures and shad colored lures.
BENICIA—Flounder action increased substantially, with dinner-plate size specimens readily biting pile worms fished in slack-water shallows along the Benicia shore. Sturgeon and striped bass bit well near the Benicia Bridge and also up near the Mothball Fleet.
BERKELEY—Berkeley Charter Boats will be running crab, sanddab and prawn combo trips beginning the January 18.
BODEGA BAY—New Sea Angler found plentiful sanddabs in surprisingly shallow water… 120 feet. Passengers also went home with limits of Dungeness crabs. Rockfish season ended with over 60 lingcod on two trips.
CROCKETT—Striped bass fishing was rated very good off of Crocket. Good baits were bullheads, mudsuckers and pile worms.
EMERYVILLE—Emeryville Sportfishing is planning to run some sturgeon trips later in January.
EUREKA—Poke-pollers outperformed most anglers along the coast. The trick was to gather mussels, lace them to the hooks at the end of the poke-poll and then shove it down into the deep pockets between the rocks. Shore crabbers at the mouth of the Eel River came away with near limits of mixed crabs.
FORT BRAGG—John Gebers at Noyo Fishinng Center reported good perch fishing north of town at Cleone Beach. Best baits were grass shrimp or Gulp! grubs. People casting snares from the jetty did fairly well on crabs. Casting baits on surf leaders resulted in a few catches of rockfish. Boat crabbers found it necessary to soak pots overnight for 2 to 3 crabs per pot.
HALF MOON BAY—After ending the rockfish season with some very impressive catches, Half Moon Bay boats turned their attention to sanddab and crab combos. Shore fishers kept right on catching rockfish and perch from jetties and beaches. Snare casters tangled with enough crabs for dinner.
MARTINEZ—Flash turned in good counts of sturgeon. Some were shakers and some were keepers. A number of striped bass came to the boat while waiting for sturgeon. Private boaters concentrated on Suisun Bay for both sturgeon and bass.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 18-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that the best bet was fishing at the dam in the early morning before there was too much traffic and noise on the lake to spook the fish.
CAPLES LAKE—The lake is at 59-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort reported that the ice was 10 to 15 inches thick at the dam and the spillway—the main access points for icefishermen. Anglers were catching mostly planter rainbows with the occasional bigger brown trout or Mackinaw using Power Bait, nightcrawlers, bay shrimp, and Kastmaster spoons.
CARSON RIVER (East)—Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported that the river was still mostly frozen over and difficult to fish. Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters recommended waiting until March before investing much time here on the portion open year-round for catch-and-release.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 64-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported that fishing was slow with most anglers getting skunked while the lucky ones landed a fish or two. Dillard fished at Mallard this past week and caught two 18-inch rainbows using Power Bait and a small jighead tipped with a Berkley Gulp! Fish Fry. The ice was 5 to 6 inches thick. Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported that the roads all around the lake were open. He was catching fish at Fairview Point and Catfish Cove to 20 inches. Both sources recommended fishing 5 feet off the bottom in 15 to 20 feet of water found 50 to 60 yards off the shore.
DONNER LAKE—The west end of the lake near the boat launch was fishing well for planter rainbows using Power Bait and worms. Try casting a Krocodile spoon for a mack prowling the shallows along the north side of the lake for a trout.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 49-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported that icefishing was good at the dam and Lunker Point through 6 to 10 inches of ice. Nightcrawlers were the most popular bait for rainbows running 14 to 18 inches. The roads all around the lake were open and did not require 4-wheel drive with the warm weather.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 55-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported that the road to the lake was clear and the ramp was good for launching. Neeser didn’t know of any recent boat traffic to base a fishing report on, but the rainbows should be biting with the spring-like weather.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—The road off Diamond Valley Road should be clear. Icefishing by the dam using Power Bait was producing a few nice rainbows.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—Sly Park Resort reported that macks to 24 inches were hitting marshmallow/nightcrawler combos at the second dam. Boat launching was good here.
LAKE TAHOE—Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported excellent trolling for macks on both morning and afternoon trips along the North Shore from Dollar Point to Crystal Bay Point using spoons and small stickbaits at 160 to 265 feet deep. The fish were running 1 to 8 pounds. Mike Nielsen put a client on a 16-pound mack on New Year’s Eve morning trolling a Rapala Scatter Rap in 15 feet of water. On an afternoon trip his customers landed 21 macks and lost 10 in 2 hours jigging Williamson Benthos jigs at Dollar Point in 190 to 240 feet of water. Fishing was good this past week and will just get better as the moon phase darkens.
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 22-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports suggested fishing the middle of the lake near the boat launch on the point between the creek arms to get away from the traffic near the dam.
PYRAMID LAKE—Crosby’s Lodge reported 13 fish over 10 pounds weighed in this past week topped by an 18-pound, 10-ounce lunker caught by Don Caldwell of Reno while trolling a spoon at Spider Point. Only 5 of the big fish were caught from shore this past week, so the trollers were doing better than in previous weeks. John Opio of Sparks on Eagle Eye 2 landed a 13 pounder trolling a FlatFish at Popcorn, but Steve Cubbler of Roseville topped the boater board with a 17-pound, 13-ounce cutthroat caught at the Tamaracks on a pink Lyman. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters said he was landing 2 to 8 fish per day trolling Apex 30 to 40 feet deep over 40 to 50 feet of water.
RED LAKE—Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters recommended icefishing near the dam with a piece of worm, salmon eggs, Power Bait or a Kastmaster spoon.
SILVER LAKE—The lake is at 17-percent capacity. Ice was 10 to 12 inches thick at the dam and fishermen were catching rainbows on Power Bait, worms, bay shrimp, and jigging with small Kastmaster spoons.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—With the warm weather, the road was open to the lake and some people were launching boats off the ramp. With the lake level so low, use extreme caution if trying to launch to avoid dropping your trailer or truck off the concrete at the end of the ramp—a major kind of stuck!! The safer bet was casting spoons or stickbaits off the dam for prowling macks and browns.
TOPAZ LAKE—A few private boats launched through the mud with a tractor and a few cartoppers made it on the lake for the opener—it was slow with no limits reported, according to Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina. Shore fishing was tough due to the flat slope of the bank—too shallow unless you could find access to deeper water. The County Park had no launching and forecast it could be March before there was enough water to allow boats to use the ramp!!!
TRUCKEE RIVER—The river was running low and cold on the CA side—the best fishing was toward Mustang east of Reno where the water was slower and warmer using BWO dries in the afternoons according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 47-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported that the road to the lake off Pea Vine Ridge Road was open and did not require 4-wheel drive. The launch ramp was almost out of the water and could close any time soon. A friend of Mathis’ visited the lake recently and found decent action for macks to 24 inches trolling a dodger/herring on the sandy ledges at 60 feet deep.
AMERICAN RIVER—With no rain, the river was running very low and clear. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that few, if any, people were out fishing below the Hwy. 49 bridge where the river is open.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 44-percent capacity. There’s still no boat launching here!!
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake level was stable and there was still launching on one lane at the ramp at North Shore Resort. Ron Franks of Folsom fished this past week and only caught 6 bass to 1 1/2 pounds—pretty slow!
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is 47 feet from full. The resort reported there were lots of folks out trout and bass fishing. Shore anglers were doing well on the trout at the dam using Power Bait and worms. One boater caught 10 rainbows drifting bait at the power lines. A number of bass boaters were out, but few were talking about any successes or failures.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 93-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported that rainbows were hitting worms and Power Bait in the marina and near the boat ramp. Houseboaters do well off the backs of their boats parked at the docks and moored out in the cove.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is at 31-percent capacity. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported that with the warm weather, the road was open to the dam and shore fishermen were picking up some planter rainbows at the inlet near the dam using Power Bait and Power Eggs.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 36-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that bass fishing was still great for fish to 2 pounds with the occasional 3 to 4 pounder making it to the net. 13 pounds was leading the Nor Cal 90 Pro-Am and the big fish the first day weighed 4.17 pounds. A-rigs, spinnerbaits, a float-n-fly, and swimbaits were working on the suspended fish, while the most consistent bite came on finesse jigs, drop-shot and darthead worms, Senkos, and tubes fished on the bottom on steep points and walls from 5 to 25 feet deep. Coho salmon were still hitting worms and tubes in the coves in the West Branch and North Fork.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is at 80-percent capacity. There was boat launching at Long Ravine and Orchard Springs.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake is at 64-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at the marina reported good trout fishing for trollers and bait drifters who were catching limits of 12- to 18-inch rainbows. The best action was at the inlet, followed by the dam area.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—The roads were open, but fishing pressure was light.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the road to the lake was now open, but the ramp area was too muddy for boat launching—a cartopper would be the safest, surest way get a boat on the lake.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at 134.5-foot elevation at press time—88-percent capacity. Not much happening here if the shortage of reports was any indication. Try for steelhead in the canal at Wilbur Rd. On a warm afternoon, give the rip rap rock banks a try with a spinnerbait, swimbait or crankbait for bass.
AMERICAN RIVER—The river opened on New Year’s Day, and steelhead fishing was slow overall with heavy crowds. Another drop in flows is expected—from 1,100 cfs to 800 cfs, and flows may go even lower unless some heavy storms are forthcoming. Unfortunately, unethical anglers are snagging steelhead off shallow riffles where salmon are spawning. The typical catch has been one steelhead for every four or five anglers, and that is likely to be a halfpounder. The best odds of hooking an adult steelhead continues to be in Nimbus Basin as one of the mob.
FEATHER RIVER—Steelheading was slow in very low flows, but a few steelhead were being caught, mostly in the Low Flow Section at the upper end of the legal-to-fish stretch below the Hatchery.
FOLSOM LAKE—Trout fishing has greatly improved—for bait fishermen drifting minnows over rock piles, and trollers flatlining nightcrawlers behind dodgers and Hoochies well behind the boat. A few bass were being caught over rock piles on minnows as well as deep-diving crankbaits, and drop-shotted Robo-Worms. Planter trout were being caught by the Granite Bay Boat ramp, which is very difficult to get into and out of.
RANCHO SECO LAKE– Fishing for trout from shore as well as small non-gas-powered boats has been good, aided by plants and cooler water.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento—Fishing picked up a bit for striped bass in the Deep Water Channel for schoolie-sized stripers. It’s mostly a bait affair. Sturgeon were being caught off the Hog Farm, Hood, Verona, Tisdale and Colusa.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding–Trout fishing was good once again in the very low 4,400 cfs flows at Bend. Most of the trout were being caught from Redding to Anderson, while a few steelhead were starting to show up around Red Bluff. Unfortunately, the low flows mean that many redds have been dewatered, resulting in the deaths of maturing salmon eggs.
UPPER SACRAMENTO/McCLOUD RIVERS—Trout fishing was slow and fishing pressure almost non-existent on the Upper Sacramento River, Drifting small nymphs under indicators. However, the usual fall upstream migration of larger fish from the lake has been small, likely because Shasta is very low. Fishing on the McCloud is closed for the season.
YUBA RIVER—Fishing continued to be slow in the low flows, with a few trout and steelhead being caught by fly fishers.