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.—Excellent steelheading during the beginning of the rains, but the river blew out over the weekend, setting the stage for even better steelheading this coming week. This is what everyone has been waiting for! Double digit numbers of fish were caught before the river crested, and it’s expected to get better, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers.
COQUILLE RIV, Myrtle Point, Ore.—“The Coquille River had been offering up some nice winter steelhead to fishermen you can see from Hwy. 42 in the town of Coquille. With the recent rains hitting hard, it brought the water height up enough to row a driftboat down this small river. The gauge in Powers had it at 2.8 feet and slowly dropping. I am expecting the river to have some amazing fish caught this season, said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service.
RUSSIAN RIVER—Steelheading continues unabated, especially in the lower river where the fish that came in on the released flood from bulldozing the mouth open, are holding. Work the deeper holes, riffles and under the willows where they find protection. Roe under a bobber is a good bet, or cast lures if you’re not fly-casting roe simulators.
SMITH RIVER—Finally, what everyone was waiting for: enough rain to bring the river up and move the steelhead up into the river proper as the low flow closure was lifted. The river went from 500 cfs to 3150 cfs over the weekend, and steelheading went wild, according to WON Field Reporters Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service and Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.
UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Ore.–Winter steelhead were still being caught during most of this last week on what I like to call the Lower Umpqua, and I use the Kellogg Bridge as my boundary, said WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “Anything downriver of said bridge is Lower Umpqua River for me. The steelhead just have not been moving very fast the last couple weeks, holding up in the same areas week after week. He said anglers have been using local knowledge to make the most out of each day on the water. Sawyer Rapids drift down to Scott’s Creek Boat Ramp was still a favorite for many anglers during the first half of last week. Reports from a couple guides said the fishing had slowed down just a touch. Thursday evening produced a storm with high winds and enough rain that The Umpqua River jumped in height from 3.7 ft. to just over 5 ft. Friday afternoon. Saturday, the river rose about a foot in height. Sunday the Umpqua kept on rising and peaked on Monday at 8.39 ft. by the Elkton gauge. With the river dropping fast, it is only going to take 3-4 days for the river to be fishable again. This should be the beginning, he said.
UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork; Canyonville, Ore.—“With the winter steelhead congested in the Lower Umpqua River, there hasn’t been anyone that I know of fishing the South Umpqua,” according to guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “It had been at summer levels until this last weekend of storms that changed all of that. I wouldn’t be surprised if over the next week we don’t start seeing a couple fish being caught in the area of river from Stanton Park down to the Rail Road trestle in Myrtle Creek.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork: Glide, Ore.–With the low water conditions during the first part of last week, and then the fast rise of the North Umpqua River starting on Friday, I am sure that was all it took to get those late summer-run steelhead up and moving around instead of sulking behind a rock, said WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate—Fishing for steelhead to about 5 pounds plus trout and halfpounders was still very good down to Happy Camp on drifted Glo-Bugs, and back-trolled crawdad plugs and small Hot Shots.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen—The mouth of the Klamath River opened up, and some fresh winter run steelhead were being caught up to the mouth of the Trinity, mostly on roe and spinners.
TRINITY RIVER—Fishing improved in the warmer temperatures, but most fish had been in the river awhile. However, with more fresh fish expected from the Klamath, fishing for some bright new steelhead should be good into February.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE—Anglers have been landing between 1 and 4 bass per day in the 4- to 6-pound class, but not a lot of them. They have been coming from two distinct depth ranges of 3 to 6 feet and 15 to 25 feet. Any angler still looking for one good bite should be fishing a big swimbait such as a Huddleston Deluxe or some of the newer glide baits and work hard. If you get a bite it will be a big one, but then again, you might not get that one bite.
LAKE BERRYESSA—Bass guide Donald Paganelli said fishing remained steady using drop-shot rigs and tubes. Outside points and steep banks have been holding most of the fish and Robo Worms in shad patterns and green pumpkin tubes have been the best colors.
LAKE SONOMA—On overcast days there has been good action throwing A-rigs, Pointer 128s and LV500s for bass from Yorty Creek up to Dry Creek. Trolling in the top 15 feet of water with various shad patterned offerings produced landlocked steelhead from 16 to 20 inches.
LAKE ALMANOR—Anglers have been catching a mixed bag of brown and rainbow trout on the east side. This has been the only area with open water still.
BAUM LAKE—According to The Fly Shop in Redding, overcast days produce the best hatches of BWOs. Fishing has been fair to good using No. 18 to 20 midges and No. 18 copper Johns in red under small indicators.
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 great with the warmer-than-usual weather, which has helped to keep the hatches going.
SHASTA LAKE—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. As the bass bite toughens, fish on hard structure as they are foraging for crawdads. Use jigs and tubes in browns and greens. Fish are 15 to 30 feet down.
BERKELEY—Happy Hooker was skippered by a third generation Captain Smith, when Jonathen Smith ran the boat Sunday and scored two fine sturgeon. Shore fishers and private boaters however, got in their licks by catching perch from shore, sturgeon and striped bass from boats.
BODEGA BAY—Steelhead entered Russian River, thanks to repeated bulldozing of the sand bar. Surf fishing at School House Beach was good for perch, kelp greenling and rockfish. New Sea Angler scored limits of crabs and plenty of sanddabs. The crew plans exploratory trips for giant squid.
CROCKETT—Flounder were available for shoreline anglers using pile worms. Boaters got into sturgeon and striped bass throughout Carquinez Straits and up near the Mothball Fleet.
EMERYVILLE—Emeryville Landing boats did not run any trips this week. Plans are underway for sturgeon trips beginning in late January or early February.
EUREKA— Humboldt Bay crabbing slowed down due to dwindling angler interest, part of which can be attributed to tall seas. A recent snare-casting hotspot, the Eel River mouth at Crab Park also slowed down, with few keepers reported. Jetty fishing was not a wise proposition, with 20- to 24-foot breakers hitting the beach.
FORT BRAGG—Rough water kept divers out of the water and kept most boats at bay. Crabbers tried setting gear from the Green Can out to 160 feet, but results were minimal. Jetty fishers were able to fish only the protected parts of the jetty, but still managed some perch and rockfish.
HALF MOON BAY—Crabbing commanded the most attention, with boaters using pots and shore-based people casting snares from piers and jetties. Jetty fishers baited perch and rockfish with squid and shrimp baits.
MARTINEZ—The Diamond Classic Derby, an annual catch & release sturgeon derby, is coming up on January 25th, with a pre-derby seminar at the Martinez Event Center on Main street, at 7:00p.m. on the 24th.
PACIFICA—Local anglers at Mussel Rock near Pacifica scored very large barred surf perch… two 18 inchers and a 21 incher. Pier fishers pulled an increasing number of Dungeness crabs along with stone crabs and red crabs.
SAN RAFAEL—Good tides drove a resurgence in sturgeon fishing, despite a lack of rain. In the aftermath of a herring spawn in the vicinity of San Rafael, sturgeon developed a ravenous appetite for herring. Striped bass did the same, based upon the number of stripers caught while waiting for sturgeon to bite.
TRINIDAD— Trinidad crabbing is still going strong for sports folks. Some were setting gear up near the mouth of the Mad River in 30 feet or less when weather allows. On an overnight soak resulted in an average of 6 to 10 crabs per pot.
VALLEJO—Napa and Petaluma rivers produced sturgeon to 60 pounds and stripers to 7 pounds on mudsuckers. Shallow calm water spots along the Vallejo shoreline filled with hungry starry flounders. In deeper water, leopard sharks and rays bit.
AMERICAN RIVER—Flows have been cut in half down to 500 cfs, and steelheading was very slow—even in Nimbus Basin. Not many steelhead are coming into the hatchery either, and the number so far is well behind last year. There is a concerted effort by anglers for the Fish and Game Commission to issue an emergency action to shut down fishing because of the low flows. DFW is expected to issue a recommendation at any time. Until that happens, if you plan to go fishing, please stay clear of areas where salmon have been spawning (and some still are).
FEATHER RIVER—Steelheading continued to be only so-so in the 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—The lake is at a record low, and only one boat ramp is available. It’s the one known as the 5-percent ramp, but a 4-wheel drive off road vehicle is required to get a boat in or out of the water. Some small trout were being caught from shore at Granite Bay, and anglers were catching both bass and trout drifting minnows over rock piles. Trollers were flatlining nightcrawlers behind dodgers and Hoochies well behind the boat up the North Fork. Deep-diving crankbaits and drop-shotted Robo-Worms were also catching a few bass.
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 was generally slow, but some sturgeon were being caught from South River Road and Merritt’s Landing on ghost shrimp, pile worms, eels and even salmon roe. Some striped bass—small and not many–were being caught in the Deep Water Channel. Jumbo minnows, bloodworms and sardines were producing best.
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 some 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.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 14-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that the best ice fishing was at the dam in the early morning before there was too much activity on the ice that spooked the fish. Rainbows were hitting Power Bait, salmon eggs, worms and small jigged Kastmaster spoons.
CAPLES LAKE—The lake is at 58-percent capacity. John Voss at Caples Lake Resort reported that the ice was 12 to 18 inches thick and a few rainbows to 3 pounds were coming in for anglers fishing at the dam and spillway.
CARSON RIVER (East)—Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported that the river was still mostly iced over and unfishable.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 64-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported that the ice was still 5 to 6 inches thick and fishing was VERY SLOW!!! Dillard fished almost 5 hours at Mallard Point without a single bite.
DONNER LAKE—The lake is at 34-percent capacity. The lake was still open with shore anglers catching rainbows on Power Bait and worms at the boat ramp on the west end.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 49-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported that the roads to and around the lake were open and clear. Ice fishing was best at the dam through 8 to 10 inches of ice using nightcrawlers. Anglers were hooking lots of fish, but having a hard time getting them up through the hole—limits would be much more common if the fish made it on top of the ice!!
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 55-percent capacity. The road was open to the lake, but not many anglers were out to provide a good report.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Todd Sodaro reported that ice fishing was decent off the dam using Power Bait and nightcrawlers. The best access was from Diamond Valley Rd.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—The lake is at 65-percent capacity. The second dam was still producing some nice macks on marshmallows and nightcrawlers, along with the usual planter rainbows.
LAKE TAHOE—Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported that limits of 2- to 8-pound macks were hitting spoons and stickbaits trolled 160 to 250 feet deep from Dollar Point to Crystal Bay Point on both morning and afternoon trips. Public launching was limited to the ramps at Lake Forest and Cave Rock with the low lake level.
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 22-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that ice fishing was picking up at the dam, and off the point between the creek arms.
PYRAMID LAKE—It was another amazing week of big fish here topped by a 23-pound, 11-ounce monster cutthroat caught by Quinten Quiggle of Sparks who fished from a float tube at Monument. Fourteen more double-digit fish between 19 1/2 and 10 pounds were also weighed in at Crosby’s Lodge this past week, with only two coming from boaters. Flies, jigs, and spoons were the lures of choice for the shore anglers, while FlatFish and Apex worked for the trollers.
RED LAKE—Victor Babbitt at Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters (TFFO) reported his guides were scoring on a mix of cutthroats and brookies at the dam using worms, salmon eggs, and Kastmaster spoons. The bite was better in the afternoon.
SILVER LAKE—The lake is at 16-percent capacity. Not many reports available from here.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 50-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that the upper reaches of the lake were freezing and boating was not advised. Shore anglers could still cast from the dam for trout and macks using Krocodile spoons and Rapalas.
TOPAZ LAKE—No launching here at the County Park or Topaz Landing Marina with the low water level, so not much happening.
TRUCKEE RIVER—TFFO reported a few well educated fish were being caught on the Little Truckee on midge and baetis nymphs and the occasional BWO dry. The Glenshire area and east of Reno were producing a few fish in the afternoon when the water had a chance to warm up. Midge and baetis nymphs and BWO were working for most casters, but the fishing was slow.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 46-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported that the road to the lake was open, but with the lake dropping, launching could be a problem. There was only 10 feet of ramp elevation left before it would close. If you can see the end of the concrete, don’t try to launch because the concrete drops off at the end and trailers would definitely get STUCK!!! Otherwise, the mack fishing was pretty good for fish to 5 pounds using dodger/herring combos on the sandy topped ledges at 60 feet deep.
AMERICAN RIVER—The river was running very low and clear with very little, if any, fishing pressure below the Hwy. 49 bridge in the open section.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 44-percent capacity. There was still no launching at this lake due to the low water level.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake is at 22-percent capacity. Boaters were still launching on one lane at the North Shore Resort ramp. Fishing was slow this past week.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is 47 feet from full and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Boaters were still launching on the concrete ramp at the resort—there’s still 20 feet of ramp in the water. Trout fishing was very good with lots of limits coming in for shore anglers at the dam and beach; the few boaters out were trolling the channel from the dam to the island.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 94-percent capacity. Skippers Cove marina reported that anglers drifting bait in the marina were catching a few big fish to 8 3/4 pounds using Power Bait and nightcrawlers.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is at 31-percent capacity. No boat launching with the road only clear to the dam. Shore anglers were picking up a few trout at the inlet near the north end of the dam using Power Bait and worms.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 36-percent capacity—up 1-foot this past week!! Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that fishing was still very good for bass spread out from 5 to 60 feet deep. A-rigs and deep diving crankbaits were working up to 20 feet deep while the most consistent bite was still on tubes, darthead worms or Senkos, and wacky Senkos at 20 to 30 feet deep. There were some better quality fish hitting drop-shot worms, Paradise Tackle Company finesse jigs, and spoons at 40 to 60 feet deep. With the unseasonably warm weather, fish in pre-spawn mode were beginning to move into the coves. Steep points, walls, and their adjacent coves were holding fish.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is at 80-percent capacity. Boats were still launching at Orchard Springs and Long Ravine. Not many fishermen out this past week.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake is at 65-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at the marina reported that trollers were catching limits of 12- to 16-inch rainbows at the inlet using flasher/worm combos. Boat launching was good at both Cascade Shores and the marina ramps.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—Not much happening here. Call the Foresthill Ranger Station for boat ramp conditions at 530-367-2224 Mon- Fri 8-4:30.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is at 60-percent capacity. No launching here for trailered boats—cartoppers were okay. No one was fishing here this past week, according to the Georgetown Ranger Station.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at the 128.7-foot elevation at press time—50-percent capacity. Steelhead fishing was very good in the canal at Wilbur Road for fish to 7 1/2 pounds drifting nightcrawlers along the rock banks. Bass were hitting black/red or black/blue jigs under the Hwy 162 Bridge and on the north side flats. Boats had no problem launching at Wilbur Road, but watch out for the big rocks at the end of the ramp. The Monument ramp is very flat and at the current water level you need waders to get the boat off the trailer because the truck is in the water.
— Western Outdoor News