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.—Season is winding down, but guides are still getting 3 to 5 nice fish a day, mostly downrunners, and the river is staying in good shape, down to under 2,000 cfs on the weekend, but rain is expected this week and should bring it back up. Guides Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing and Harvey Young of Fishawk River Company are still in the action, and confirmed it was the best season in years.
GUALALA, GARCIA RIVERS—The Gualala and Garcia are both low and clear, but still open over the weekend. Could change depending on how much rain hits area this week, according to Steve Jackson at King’s Sport and Tackle in Guerneville.
ROGUE RIVER, CENTRAL, Ore.—Steelhead fishing picked up this week and river flows are dropping. Not much more rain expected this week. Most anglers are side-drifting with pieces of roe, or yarn balls with Pautzke’s nectar. Some action is being seen in shallow water areas on bobbers and jigs. Plug fishermen are using Brad’s Wee Wigglers in black-and-pink or K-9 plugs in gold or pink-and-silver. The water flow is below 4,000 cfs. We are in the middle of the steelie run, and we should also start seeing a couple of downers being caught, accoding to Guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass.
RUSSIAN RIVER—Not much going on here, the Russian is still closed until May 1st. That could change depending on how much rain we get this week. Call central coast low flow report @ 707-944-5533 or King’s 707-869-2156 for updated information.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Roseburg, Ore.–The North Umpqua River has been constantly changing all week, with no two days being completely alike, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. At the beginning of the week, water levels were a tad bit high. With the river dropping in volume of flow on a daily basis, along with air temperatures becoming cooler, it was easy to notice that the winter steelhead had become more aggressive and most drift boat anglers were consistently finding active fish by the weekend. “I think that there is going to be another 21/2 weeks of good fishing for these exciting fish,” Palmer said.
UMPQUA RIVER, Sutherlin, Ore.–The Main Umpqua River had a little too much water during the beginning of the week for much of the river to be fished. By the weekend, the river had dropped just enough to confine the steelhead in the slots and channels, making it much easier to place baits in front of a steelhead. “We found a nice mix of some healthy post-spawn steelhead and mint bright steelhead,” said Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. Rains are supposed to start on Tuesday, and this should drive the steelhead towards their spawning grounds if they aren’t there already. Many anglers are hoping to find some more spring Chinook entering the river with these next rains.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate— The river below Iron Gate Dam still has a few late steelhead arrivals, but the season is winding down here, as it is throughout the Klamath and Trinity rivers, even though the river has cleared throughout most of its length.
TRINITY RIVER—A lack of fresh steelhead in any great numbers, along with the release of hundreds of thousands salmon smolts from the hatchery below Lewiston, has all but ended the steelhead season on the Trinity River. Some very good fishing for brown trout will be available soon as the smolts disperse and work their way downstream. Streamers swung on a fly rod will catch some fish, but an even better bet is to cast small Rapalas.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE—Both the north and south ends of the lake are producing and with the tournaments scheduled on the north end, the hot spots are very crowded. Try to fish during the week if you can. The lake is holding up to its reputation of one of the best bass fishing lakes in the US and with low water is getting crowded fast. A huge winning weight of 90.34 pounds for 15 bass was weighed in for a tournament!
LAKE BERRYESSA— With cooler nights, the bass moved off the banks, but lots of bass were stacked up on offshore island tops.
LAKE SONOMA— Males in the 1- to 2-pound range are crashing the bank and the bigger girls are staging in the transition area off the spawning flats ready to move up. Senkos, jigs, Pointer 128s and swimbaits will be your best bet in Cherry, Yorty and Dry creeks.
LAKE ALMANOR—This is the place to be for trophy brown trout right now. Black/white Rapalas are producing excellent trout. Salmon have been hitting fast action lures like 1/6-ounce Speedy Shiners with a nickel hammer finish or Fire Tiger. Fish are scattered but find the bait and you’ll find the fish.
BAUM LAKE—No changes here this past week, as a good trout bite continues for those that can get on the water and reach them. This lake holds many rainbows that eat buggers, No. 20 midges, No. 18 PT nymphs and BWO dries.
PIT RIVER—Watch out for increased flows below Lake Britton from March 16 to May 9 when PG&E increases the flow on the Pit 3 Reach of the river for maintenance at the powerhouse electric switchyard. From Pit 3 down through Pit 5 expect to find good fishing and not much pressure.
SHASTA LAKE—Trout trollers are returning for some surface action in the top 20 feet. They have been hitting a watermelon Apex by itself and blue Wiggle Hoochies behind a Sling Blade and the Apex by itself. Bass fishing is still at its finest. For larger bass target main lake points with 6- to 7-inch swimbaits in a ghost rainbow pattern. Or just fish your strength and concentrate on water 15 feet or less.
WHISKEYTOWN RESERVOIR—It’s still early, but a kokanee bug in a watermelon pattern behind a Sling Blade has been producing some nice, fat, clean kokes north and south of the bridge.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 24-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Mountain Hardware and Sports said the best fishing would be near the boat ramp after the plant until the fish had a chance to disperse out into the lake.
CAPLES LAKE—The lake is at 59-percent capacity and was not stocked by the DFW this past week as scheduled because it’s still frozen!! Caples Lake Resort reported there was still 2 feet of ice and snow on the lake and icefishing was still good at the dam and spillway. John Voss at the Resort said the lake should thaw by May 1 and figured there were just a couple weeks of safe icefishing left in the season.
CARSON RIVER (East)—Victor Babbitt at Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters (TFFO) reported that experienced anglers were catching 6 to 8 trout on nymphs and San Juan Worms fishing below the confluence with Markleeville Creek.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 67-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported that fishing had slowed for both shore anglers and trollers as the trout concentrated on spawning in the shallows of the lake at the creek inlets, even though there was little, if any, water flowing into the lake. A good day for a couple of anglers was 4 fish, but they’re all 18 to 21 inchers. Flyfishermen were only catching 4 or 5 fish, down from the 30 to 50 fish of previous weeks.
DONNER LAKE—The lake is at 62-percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW this past week. The best action was at the boat ramp docks and off the west end beach for rainbows using Power Bait, worms and salmon eggs. Look for macks prowling the shallows looking for a planter in the early morning/evening.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 50-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported that fishing was good for limits of 14- to 20-inch rainbows at Lunker Point, Turkey Point, and the dam using Power Bait and nightcrawlers. The Frenchman ramp is still the only open boat launch.
GOLD LAKES BASIN—The road to Gold Lake is passable with 4-wheel but not recommended because the road has not been officially opened. Salmon Lake and Sardine Lake were accessible from Hwy. 49.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 85-percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW this past week. The road was open to the lake and fishing should be good toplining with dodger/worms.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported that one flyfishermen caught two 15-inch rainbows near the dam stripping olive woolly buggers. Victor Babbitt at TFFO reported that flyfishermen casting from shore or float tubes using blood midges and woolly buggers were catching a few fish at the shallow end of the lake near the campgrounds.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR—The lake is at 56-percent capacity. Access into the lake was restricted to 4-wheel drive only due to snowdrifts on the road, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports—drivers beware! Fishing was reportedly good for those who made it to the water’s edge.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—There were still planter rainbows and a few macks hitting marshmallow/worms at the first dam. Smallmouth bass fishing was improving with the warmer water temps.
LAKE TAHOE—Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported fantastic trolling for macks with boat limits coming in on early morning trips in 3 hours. The fish on his Sunday trip weighed 6 to 13 1/2 pounds and were caught on spoons off Dollar Point at 180 to 390 feet deep. Rick Kennedy at Tight Lines Guide Service fished this past Friday and caught limits of macks trolling No. 3 Needlefish at 120 to 170 feet deep off Lake Forest. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing said trolling for browns in shallow water with Arashi Shad and Scatter Raps was producing a few 2- to 4-pound fish. Jigging with Williamson Gomami jigs and trolling Laxee spoons and Storm ThunderStiks off South Shore produced quick limits of 2- to 6-pound macks at 100 to 200 feet deep.
LOON LAKE—The lake is at 58-percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW this past week. At this time, the only launching was at the gravel ramp at the dam. There was a small chance that the USFS may open the gate to the boat ramp in early April.
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 32-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that fishing was best at the dam and near the old boat ramp off Hobart Mills Road by the Prosser Creek inlet.
PYRAMID LAKE—Crosby’s Lodge reported they weighed 7 cutthroat trout from 11 to 17 pounds this past week—all caught by shore anglers using flies and jigs. Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters took out 2 trips this past week scoring 8 fish on the first to 9 pounds and 14 fish to 14 1/2 pounds on the second. Mendes trolled bleeding frog FlatFish at Warrior Point, Pelican, Tamarisk, and Indian Head 45 to 50 feet deep over 80 feet of water.
RED LAKE—The lake was stocked by the DFW this past week. TFFO said the icefishing was over for the season unless there was another storm cold enough to refreeze the ice—not likely at this point.
SILVER LAKE—The lake is at 30-percent capacity. John Voss at Caples Lake Resort reported there was a big section of open water showing on the lake.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 47-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Rick Kennedy at Tight Lines Guide Service hit the lake late this past week and scored limits of 10- to 12-inch kokanee trolling a dodger and pink spinner on top, at 25 feet, and at 50 feet deep depending on the school near the island and the point near the dam.
TOPAZ LAKE—Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported the lake level was stable. Small boats could still launch at his facility and trollers were catching easy limits of 1 1/2- to 2-pound rainbows on Rapalas and flasher/worm combos.
TRUCKEE RIVER—Mountain Hardware and Sports and TFFO reported pretty good action on skwala stones, March browns, BWO, and baetis nymphs from Glenshire to Sparks. Watch out for sporadic hatches for a little dry fly action on the small stones and BWO.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 71-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the road to the dam off Pea Vine Ridge Road was in very poor shape which made towing a boat to the lake difficult and likely to cause some damage—tow into this ramp at your own risk!!
WEST WALKER RIVER—Flyfishing was still excellent with anglers catching-and-releasing 30-plus rainbows in the 2- to 4-pound class on nymphs and woolly buggers on a good day. The Toiyabe Motel and West Walker Motel reported that flows were excellent in the river this past week.
AMERICAN RIVER—A few late steelhead were being caught below the fishing closure, but the action was slow. Watt Ave. and River Bend Park have the right kinds of riffles to hold steelies, should they be present. Use light gear and take a stealthy approach.
FEATHER RIVER—There is virtually no place on the river where it’s safe to use a boat, so, almost all fishing lately has been from shore. A few big striped bass were being caught in the lower end of the Feather below Shanghai Bend, Star Bend, Verona, and Beer Can Beach on swimbaits, jigs and jerkbaits.
FOLSOM LAKE—Trout fishing was good again last week. A few king salmon were being caught, but most of the action has been on trout. Trollers were toplining Rapalas, Speedy Shiners, and Needlefish well behind the boat over the channel on the main body and up the North Fork. Bass are making a serious move to shallow water to spawn. They are taking reaction baits like crankbaits, spinnerbaits, minnows, and Senkos, but drop-shotting and jigging over rock piles has also been effective.
RANCHO SECO LAKE—It’s slow fishing, but there are some giant bass lurking in the shallows, some weighing over 12 pounds. Try working weightless Senkos. Release any big bass you catch. Trout fishing is more of a sure thing, both from the bank and from boats (no gas engines allowed). There’s a trout derby coming up on March 28 and 29. Call the lake 209-748-2318 for more information.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento—The water has cleared considerably, and striped bass fishing can be good. However, it’s still an up-and-down affair, and success depends on being in the right place at the right time and intercepting pods of fish—fish willing to bite. Trolling with deep-diving plugs is attracting bites, but so are minnows, and soaking bloodworms, sardines and anchovies. Some sturgeon were being caught, too. Miller Park, Verona, Bryte’s Beach, and South River Road were some of the better spots.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Tisdale—Sturgeon fishing continued to be good, but the season’s first big influx of stripers is what has anglers excited. Fishing was good last Thursday and Friday, but tapered off on Saturday when the area the area was inundated by boats.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding—Flows are back down, the water has cleared and fishing was very good for waders and boaters. However, fishing pressure was heavy. Bigger trout were being caught around Redding, but less pressure, albeit smaller fish, were being caught downstream of Anderson.
YUBA RIVER— Fishing slowed last week, and, and the Skwala hatch is about over. It’s mostly dead-drifting nymphs now, and rubberlegs and pmd’s are two of the better ones.
AMERICAN RIVER—The river was still running low and slow. With no snow anywhere, anglers might want to take a hike down to some of the deeper holes for a try at some nice rainbows and browns.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 59-percent capacity. Bass fishing continued to produce a mix of spots from 1 to 7 plus pounds on darthead worms and Senkos fished on flatter points and coves from 5 to 30 feet deep.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake is full. North Shore Resort reported that bass fishermen were picking up 20-plus fish per day on worms and jigs in the Rock Creek and Bear River arms at 5 to 15 feet deep.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is 21 feet from full. An 1800-pound private trout plant was made this past Thursday and fishing was excellent with many limits of rainbows caught by both shore anglers and trollers. The Resort will release 4 pens of trout this week. Trollers were doing well at the power lines and in front of the marina using Rapalas and flasher/worms. The shore anglers, as usual, scored on trout to 5 pounds at the dam, Beach, and marina on Power Bait and worms. A few bass, redear sunfish, and catfish were caught incidental to the trout fishing—mostly on worms.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 92-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported that trollers were still picking up rainbows in the marina using flasher/worm combos. One boater reported catching a “nice brown trout” drifting nightcrawlers on the upper end of the lake. Guide Rick Kennedy visited the lake on Sunday and caught limits of planter rainbows trolling a Sep’s water melon Side Kick dodger with half a threaded nightcrawler at 8 to 10 feet deep in the marina and off the point to the east toward Keystone Cove.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is at 47-percent capacity. The Foresthill Ranger Station reported the road to the lake was clear, but launching was still a problem.
FULLER LAKE—The lake was stocked with rainbow trout by the DFW this past week. Shore fishing should be good near the boat ramp.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 58-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the road to the lake was clear and small boats could launch. Fishing was slow by most reports, though some macks should be prowling around the dam looking for small kokanee.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 46-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that bass fishing was “hotter than a pistol”. His clients were catching 65 to 85 spotted bass per day mostly on tubes fished on flatter points and coves and the walls leading to them in the upper Slot, North Fork and West Branch. The Middle Fork and South Fork were also producing, according to reports that Gandolfi had received. Darthead worms and Senkos, small swimbaits, and drop-shot worms were all working right on the bottom as the fish were spawning and protecting the nests. Some bass have already spawned, so fish can be found moving in and out of bedding areas.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is at 97-percent capacity. Ryan Drake at Orchard Springs reported that 12- to 16-inch trout were hitting for shore angers using Power Bait and worms. Spotted bass were active from the bank to 20 feet deep with the water temp at 56 degrees triggering the spawn. Drake warned boaters that there was still some large debris floating on the lake that could be hazardous!
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake is at 81-percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW this past week. Shore anglers should be doing well near the marina using Power Bait and worms.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the lake facilities were open and fishing was slow.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake was stocked by the DFW this past week. Trollers in small aluminum boats were picking up a few fish on flasher/worm combos. Shore fishing should be good near the boat ramp.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at 134.5 feet elevation at press time—91-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company hit the lake this past week and tried different patterns and lures and only caught fish on jigs—he rated the action as slow. Steelhead were hitting nightcrawler/bobber combos in the channel at Wilbur Road.
BERKELEY—Happy Hooker scored multiple limits of striped bass late in the week and over the weekend. Individual fish ranged from schoolie size on up to 14 pounds.
BODEGA BAY/LAWSON’S LANDING—Salmon Creek and Doran Beach were the surf perch hotspots. Rocky areas up the coast produced rockfish, greenling and cabezon. At Lawson’s Landing, ospreys flying by with big perch in their talons led the way to a solid perch bite.
EMERYVILLE—The first trip of the year aboard Tiger Fish was a halibut run in the Bay. The results were 2 halibut to 6 pounds, both caught within the Bay.
EUREKA—Huge swells (up to 18 feet with a 10-decond interval) kept people off of the jetty for part of the week, however when it was safe, rockfish and perch became the common targets. Lonnie Dollarhide caught a 2-pound black rockfish.
FORT BRAGG—Crabs and rockfish were the primary targets of jetty fishers who watched for lulls in the generally large swells. Casting snares from the jetty proved to be more successful than people expected and many delicious crab meals were enjoyed.
HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA—Jetty fishers at Half Moon Bay used 3-inch swimbaits to target black, blue and olive rockfish. Others used surf leaders for perch. At Pacifica, a few striped bass showed along the beaches, hitting hardbait lures.
POINT ARENA—Red tail perch bit very well at Point Arena Pier, according to Nate Boucher at Cove Café and Tackle/bait shop. Surf leaders baited with squid or shrimp were effective.
VALLEJO—Napa River system, especially near Kennedy Park served as the local hotspot for both sturgeon and striped bass. Boaters running for San Pablo Bay found much the same level of action, especially near the Pumphouse and off of China Camp.