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.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.—It was tough fishing for spring salmon here last week with low, clear water and clear, sunny skies. “We reverted back to our fall fishing techniques up in the Wild & Scenic area of the Rogue,” said guide Bill Divens of Salmon King Lodge. Howard and Rhonda Gubetta of weed fished with him and caught 2 hatchery springers on April 27 for their anniversary. And 80-year-old Don Schwartz of Saratoga caught a 31-pound springer on the 25th. It’s not expected to change until it rains again or there are some major tides.
ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass, Ore.–In the Grants Pass area, it is still slow for salmon anglers, said guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. The best bet is to take a short run to your favorite run and anchor up. The water is cooling with the change of weather this week. Try back drifting Kwikfish with a sardine wrapper, or drift sand shrimp or anchovies behind spinners. Better fishing is still being found in the Shady Cove area, as the water is cooler up in this area from Shady Cove to the dam. There, again, use Kwikfish with sardines or back bounce sand shrimp. Call U-Save Tackle at (541) 476-9871 in Grants Pass for an update.
UMPQUA RIVER, Scottsburg, Ore.–Spring run of the Chinook salmon are still arriving in great numbers on the Umpqua River. WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide service said the big return of kings this year was unexpected but more than welcome. “Scottsburg Bridge is pretty much the top of the tide water and is approximately 25 miles upriver from the mouth at Winchester Bay, and it’s always been a very good place to fish, but not this season. The salmon are there almost every day, but they just swim past bait and spinners. Farther upriver a few miles, near the Scott’s Creek area, it was good fishing, however, and a few boats had limits of salmon, but the average was one a day. There were a lot of salmon caught last week as high up the river as Sawyer Rapids. Above the rapids it was a completely different game. The springers became difficult to catch on some days.” Palmer fished in a “great spot” all morning, but not a single fish was caught by 14 boats. He moved farther upriver and they caught a pair of steelies, but nothing on the kings. “Remember, this is spring Chinook fishing—either good or bad.”
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Glide, Ore.–The spring kings are gathering up in the big open pools after a long return trip back to the river. Bank fishing this last weekend was fabulous for the few anglers who decided to get out and go fishing. “My brother and nephew told me that the Rock Creek pool was full of lively salmon,” said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “My brother said he was happily surprised to see that almost every Chinook was a very bright fish. Corkies with yarn and scent was enough to get a salmon or two interested in biting. There are several other good spots to fish from Deadline Falls down to the Narrows, and most of them are starting to produce some biters. With the rains coming again this week, I am expecting many of the springers in the Rock Creek Pool to race up the creek for spawning grounds and other salmon to come from downstream to replace them.
KLAMATH RIVER, Weithpec–Flows are already so low that gravel bars are showing up where there shouldn’t be any, and that’s going to make it tough on the spring salmon when—and if—they finally get up here, according to Ed Dugan of “D” Fishing Guide Service.
TRINITY RIVER, Gray’s Falls—The spring run kings have not yet made it up here, although a few early fish have shown up here and there. It might be warm water, or it might be low flows, but they’re not moving up the river like they should as of yet, according to Ed Dugan of “D” Fishing Guide Service.
BERKELEY—California Dawn, El Dorado and New Wave all had phenomenal days of fishing halibut and striped bass at Angel Island, Alcatraz, Raccoon Strait and a few other spots. New Easy Rider, El Dorado and Flying Fish ran for salmon and tallied 42 salmon to 23 pounds for 31 anglers, fishing below the Farallones.
BODEGA BAY—Salmon fishing busted loose big-time. New Sea Angler over the weekend was done by 12:30 with full limits of salmon for all passengers. It wasn’t limit-style fishing every day all week long, but it improved as the week progressed. Schoolhouse Beach hosted a strong red tail perch bite.
EMERYVILLE—The fleet split up, with some boats heading into the Central Bay for bass and halibut and other boats heading to below the Farallones for salmon. New Huck Fin boated limits of bass multiple times. Tiger Fish also boated limits of bass. New Seeker and C-Gull II went after salmon and the counts were good, between 1 and 1.5 fish per rod.
EUREKA—Pacific halibut season got underway in grand style, with fish ranging from 15 pounds up to two twin 50 pounders. One of those big brutes was caught by WON Field Reporter Lonnie Dollarhide. Crabbing seemed easy in shallow water right off of the jetty. Greenlings bit willingly for jetty fishers.
FORT BRAGG—Salmon were present, but the counts were not yet high. Sea Hawk of out Fort Bragg hooked a few salmon on Saturday and rounded the day out nicely with 160 Dungeness crabs.
HALF MOON BAY—Rockfish and lingcod bit like gangbusters below Pigeon Point. Salmon action ranged from a half fish per rod up to full limits for Huli Cat, Queen of Hearts and Que Sera Sera. Striped bass bit along the surf from Mussell Rock to Linda Mar Beach. Pacifica Pier crabbers managed to take home some good dinners.
SAN FRANCISCO—Boats veered into the Central Bay for striped bass around Alcatraz, Angel Island and Raccoon Strait, or they ran out the Gate and caught good numbers of salmon (limits in some cases) below the Farallones. New boat, Flash II got into the bass in a big way.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE—Winds late in the week continued to make entire areas of the lake unfishable. Sight fishing for bedding bass continued to be the predominant method used and will continue to be through the coming weeks. Plastics like 6-inch worms, baby Brush Hogs, and 5-inch Senkos have been the baits of choice for most anglers, although a few anglers did fairly well with jigs over steep rocky areas. The minnow bite was up and down but still overall effective under a slip float arrangement.
LAKE BERRYESSA—Use a LuckyCraft Sammy 125 in ghost water and plan on covering some water for bass. Bass are in all stages of spawning. The koke bite has been wide open. The Most productive setups have been RMT’s hyper plaid, Bahama mama, watermelon dodgers with Uncle Larry’s spinners in copper pop, orange copper back, hot belly tiger and RMT pink plankton with Pautzke Red Fire Corn.
LAKE SONOMA— Anglers tossing their favorite small swimbaits, jigs, BDS3 or plastic worms have scored, even though water temperatures dropped with all the wind. For sheer numbers, grab a green pumpkin 5-inch Senko and pitch it to standing timber or brush piles in 5 to 15 feet of water.
LAKE ALMANOR— Fish are still feeding on smelt early in the morning, so try pond smelt imitating soft plastics. Early and later in the morning, troll for fish feeding on bugs with spoons and ramp up the speed to trigger strikes from the dam to Hamilton branch on the east shore. All trolling lanes are producing.
BATTLECREEK RESERVOIR–Jim Cimaglia from Rim Rock Resort said there were no reports as of yet, but with the most recent snow, access could still be delayed.
BAUM LAKE—The Fly Shop in Redding reports this lake is a go-to spot on wet weather days and they had more good conditions this past week. There was some pretty good dry fly fishing going on.
BUCKS LAKE—For some nice brown and rainbow trout, head to Mill and Bucks creeks and find trout on Rapalas and small spoons such as Needlefish in copper/red or frog patterns. Some big mackinaw continue to be taken on the troll 30 to 55 feet down.
CASSEL FOREBAY—Some huge brook trout continue to be taken in the upper canal area. Worms and Panther Martins worked well to entice hits from big trout.
FALL RIVER—The Fly Shop in Redding reported fair to good fishing here, but few hatches yet.
UPPER HAT CREEK— There have been a few mayfly hatches and hatches of baetis late in the morning. As the weather warms up there should be lots of good hatches going off. In the meantime try worms and Power Bait.
MANZANITA LAKE— It’s still a little early to fish here. Remember this is a catch and release, single hook, artificial lure only lake and check Lassen Park’s special regulations.
McCLOUD RIVER—River conditions are good and the dry fly action has been good early and late. Nymphs are always an option here.
PIT RIVER—The best river conditions are going to be found below Lake Britton Dam at Pit No. 3 and it has been fishing well. Hatches have been going off midday.
SHASTA LAKE—Lots of big fish came to the scales, including a brown just under 8 pounds. The Pitt was good for rainbows, Dry Creek for kings and the I-5 Bridge and Toupee Island for browns with a chrome Apex. Most bass are small males, but you can use anything you want and catch a ton of fish. For the little guys, throw Senkos and that big one still might bite. For a few larger ones try the early topwater bite with swimbaits.
TRINITY LAKE—With an abundance of bait in the system, it’s tough to get bit. Some nice salmon have been caught by the Buckeye Inlet on a 3-inch watermelon colored Apex or by the dam.
WHISKEYTOWN RESERVOIR—The koke bite continues to be good on either side of the Hwy 299 Bridge in 30 to 60 feet. Apexes in pink or watermelon and Uncle Larry’s Bugs in green have been getting bit. Bass anglers have been targeting bedding bass along the shorelines.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 38-percent capacity. With the lake rising, check out the inlet for rainbows returning back into the lake after spawning in the Little Truckee. Try the dam in the early morning for the occasional brown, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.
CAPLES LAKE—The lake is at 73-percent capacity. When WON Staffer Pat Young checked out this lake this past week, the main body was still covered with snow, but open water or thin ice was showing all along the shores. You could probably catch a fish at any big open water spot you can get to. Caples Lake Resort figured the lake should thaw coompletely by mid-May.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)—Silver Creek is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. WON Staffer Pat Young fished the area this past week and caught rainbows to 3-plus pounds on the East Carson and Markleeville Creek, and saw some big rainbows caught on the West Carson. More warm weather this past weekend increased the flows and turbidity in the East Carson and Silver Creek, slowing the bite. The West Carson and Markleeville Creek were still running clear.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 67-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported a good trolling bite for rainbows running 16 to 21 inches on Needlefish and Wee Dick Nites in the top 15 feet between Camp 5 and the island. The Camp 5 ramp is still the only launch site available. Shore fishing was fair at Mallard Point using Power Bait.
DONNER LAKE—The lake is at 92-percent capacity. Mandatory boat inspections for invasive species (quagga mussels and aquatic weeds) begin May 10. The rainbow trout fishing was steady at the west end piers, boat ramp dock, and beach. No kokanee yet.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON—Butt Valley Lake is at 91-percent capacity. Fishing here should be good for quality rainbows and the occasional big brown. This lake also holds a great population of big smallmouth bass that should be up nesting now—sight fishing should be good for fish to 5 pounds. Mike Hanson at Caribou Crossroads Resort reported that fishermen were catching 2 or 3 fish each, including some big native rainbows to 20 inches in the North Fork Feather River near the campgrounds and on the East Branch near Belden.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 50-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported that fishing was decent for rainbows at the dam and Lunker Point. The Chilcoot, Frenchman, Spring Creek, and Big Cove campgrounds were open as of May 1. The Cottonwood campground will open May 22. The local streams were producing rainbows to 16 inches.
GOLD LAKES BASIN—Upper Salmon Lake and Snag Lake are scheduled for DFW trout plants this week. Packer Lake, Upper Salmon Lake, and Lower Sardine Lake were stocked by the DFW this past week.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is full and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported that the flying ant hatch was early this year and this usually shuts down the fishing here for 2 to 3 weeks due to the abundance of feed. Try a dodger/worm or grub in the top 12 feet if you decide to come up.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Anglers were picking up rainbows from the shore on both ends of the lake. Flyfishermen in float tubes were picking up a few fish stripping woolly buggers.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR—The lake is at 93-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that the one lane of the road was open to the boat ramp. Trollers were launching and doing well at the inlet on big rainbows returning to the lake after the spawn.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—The lake is at 85-percent capacity. Sly Park Resort reported shore anglers were doing well on planter rainbows at the first dam and up in the Narrows. A nice brown trout was caught off the shore at the second dam. Smallmouth bass were hitting worms and jigs along the east side and up in the Narrows.
LAKE TAHOE—Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing continued to score on browns in the early morning in the shallows from Baldwin Beach to Emerald Bay on Rapalas. Nielsen was then dropping into 220 feet of water off South Shore to pick up limits of macks on Storm ThunderStiks and Jensen spoons. A Thursday trip with WON Staffer Pat Young, his wife, and two clients netted limits of nice macks to 7 pounds and a couple missed brown trout strikes by 11 a.m. on a calm day. On windier days, the browns were hitting better. Rick Kennedy of Tight Lines Guide Service and two clients trolled for macks at Cave Rock and caught limits of 3- to 5-pound fish using glow spoons 190 to 220 feet deep.
LOON LAKE—The lake is at 77-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. The lake is being stocked, but the gate to the ramp is still closed. Call the Pacific Ranger Station and ask them to open the gate so you can launch a boat to fish at 530-644-2344. The flying ant hatch will hit here later this month due to the higher elevation above Ice House and Union Valley where the hatch is already in progress.
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 36-percent capacity. After being stocked a couple weeks back, the fishing remained decent at the Prosser Creek inlet and near the dam, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.
PYRAMID LAKE—WON Staffer Pat Young fished with Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters this past Friday and scored 13 cutthroats from 15 to 22 inches on blue/chartreuse Apex at Anderson Bay, Hell’s Kitchen, the Needles, and Spider Point at 40 to 100 feet deep. On April 28, William Bell caught a 21-pound, 6-ounce lunker trolling a white Lyman at Pelican Point. On May 1, Harold Allred landed a 10-pound, 2-ounce cutthroat trolling a bleeding frog Flatfish at the Needles. Strong winds slowed the fishing over the weekend.
RED LAKE—The lake was low and ice-free, though there was still some snow around the lake this past week. Shore anglers were fishing for cutthroats at the dam with worms this past week when WON Staffer Pat Young stopped by for a look at the lake. The bite was slow.
SILVER LAKE—The lake is at 93-percent capacity. Some Caltrans roadwork was making access out of the boat ramp area a problem due to a lane closure. The lake was ice-free and beautiful when WON Staffer Pat Young stopped by this past week. Trolling should be good.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 39-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported the kokanee bite was improving for 9- to 12-inch fish using dodger/hoochies from 25 to 50 feet deep near the island and the dam. Rick Kennedy at Tight Lines Guide Service fished here Friday and scored limits of 12-inch kokanee from the top to 45 feet deep over 60 feet of water in front of the island on Sep’s dodgers and Uncle Larry’s spinners tipped with corn cured in Pautzke’s Fire Cure
TOPAZ LAKE—The lake was low, but launching was still possible at Topaz Landing Marina when WON Staffer Pat Young stopped by this past week. Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing said trollers were still doing well using flasher/worms and Rapalas.
TRUCKEE RIVER—The Little Truckee along Hwy 89 was stocked by the DFW this past week. Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported flyfishing was “decent” from Glenshire to Reno using March Brown and BWO patterns—mostly nymphs, but keep an eye open for sporadic hatches and be ready to switch over to dries.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 87-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. The flying ant hatch was already in progress and this usually shuts down the bite for 2 to 3 weeks. The road to the dam was open but still in very poor shape and the USFS still hasn’t seen fit to open the gate to the Sunset ramp despite there being no snow for months!!
WEST WALKER RIVER—The Little Walker and the West Walker in the canyon and Pickle Meadows were both scheduled for DFW trout plants this week. WON Staffer Pat Young reported the flows in the West Walker through the canyon were high due to the runoff from the late snows that fell opening weekend. Fish were holding in the deep pools located along Hwy 395 through the canyon, mostly at the campgrounds and flats, and were hitting woolly buggers, worms and salmon eggs. Opening weekend fishing pressure was lower than expected due to the late snows that closed the passes, so there were still plenty of fish to be caught.
AMERICAN RIVER—The North Fork, Middle Fork, and South Fork above Folsom Lake are now open to fishing with barbed hooks and bait with a 5-fish limit. The best fishing on the North Fork and Middle Fork is reached by hiking down into the deeper pools. The North Fork is best accessed off Foresthill Road. The South Fork runs along Hwy 50 and along Silver Fork Road at Kyburz. In the past, the Silver Fork has been stocked by the DFW near the campground.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 69-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina reported that kokanee were hitting for trollers—unfortunately no other information was available other than a father and his two sons scored 14 nice kokes. In the past, kokanee trollers have done well in the Garden Point area up in the Yuba River arm using dodgers with hoochies or spinners tipped with corn. Meter for fish activity and drop down to them with downriggers or leadcore line.
CAMP FAR WEST—Bass fishing was still good this past week. Ron Franks of Folsom caught 26 bass in 7 to 10 feet of water in the Rock Creek arm using green pumpkin Brush Hogs and lizards. The water temp ranged from 64 to 68 degrees. Scott Allen caught 6 bass on broken-back crankbaits in 12 feet of water.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is still 15 feet from full and received an 1800-pound private plant of rainbows, including trophy fish to 5 pounds this past week. Both trollers and shore anglers did well on rainbows this past week. There were numerous trout caught in the 2- to 4 1/4-pound range. Trollers did best using flasher/worms, Rapalas, and Needlefish from the power lines to the dam. The shore anglers always do well with Power Bait and worms at the dam, beach, and marina. Bass action was good and big redear sunfish were beginning to show up on stringers.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 95-percent capacity. Boaters running up lake to Sunnyside and Buck’s Beach were catching 16- to 22-inch rainbows drifting Power Eggs and nightcrawlers. Trina Gelbuda of Smartsville caught a 5-pound spotted bass in the marina on a nightcrawler.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is at 54-percent capacity. The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the road to the lake was open, both boat ramps were open, and campgrounds were scheduled to open on May 16.
FULLER LAKE—The lake was stocked by the DFW this past week. Shore fishing and trolling should be good near the boat ramp.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 66-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the road to the lake was open; trollers said the fish were deep; and the campgrounds were scheduled to open May 16.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 53-percent capacity. Bass fishing was still very good, with anglers catching 50 to 80 fish per day. Tubes, Paradise Tackle Company finesse jigs, and Senkos were all working well from the bank to 30 feet deep. The spawn was 80-percent over and most of the fish being caught were post-spawners. Concentrate on the points on the outsides of the coves and the walls adjacent to the coves. In the mornings, fish small rock, but by mid-morning switch to red mud banks where the fish were feeding heavily on crawdads.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is at 97-percent capacity. Ryan Drake at NID reported that rainbow trout action was steady for trollers up in the Bear River inlet area and in front of Freeloaders Cove. The coves were kicking out good numbers of crappie and bass around submerged structure.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake is at 84-percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW this past week. The best rainbow trout action was on the point next to the marina and between the dam and Cascade Shore. Smallmouth bass were hitting worms and jigs near the Hensley House.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the lake was full and the campgrounds were open.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is at 81-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the campgrounds and boat ramp were open. The camp host said shore anglers and trollers were still picking up a few rainbows.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at 133.8-foot elevation at press time—80-percent capacity. With the water warming, the bass were in the tules spawning. Pitch jigs and Senkos in the pockets or run a buzzbait, spinnerbait, or chatterbait between the tule clumps or tight in front of the tule banks for fish to 4 pounds.
AMERICAN RIVER—Shad are in the river and provide some action on shad darts and jigs in pink, or chartreuse head with pink body and a few splitshot. A few stripers are always holding in the lower river and an occasional monster can be caught on big plugs.
FEATHER RIVER – The river continued to be very low with nearly every drop of water held behind Oroville Dam, but the male shad continued to run up the river, over and around Shanghai Falls. Shad darts with a light weight are working, and the female shad should be on their way. A few striped bass are taken in the lower section of the river, but access is limited to either wading or a small boat such as a kayak.
FOLSOM LAKE – The bass bite is “on fire” with all three species moving up into the shallows in order to spawn. Drop-shotting with Robo Worm’s Aaron’s Magic, flipping a 3.5-inch Bass Pro Tube in green pumpkin/red flake on a 1/2-ounce head, or working 4-inch Senkos are all productive techniques, particularly above submerged vegetation in the backs of coves. King salmon fishing has also improved with rolling shad, Needlefish, Apex lures, or hoochies in orange or white at depths from 55 to 75 fee from the Buoy Line at the dam to Brown’s Ravine. A few salmon have also been taken on the North Fork.
SACRAMENTO RIVER , Metro.—Shad have arrived in bigger numbers on both the Sacramento and American Rivers, and the initial run is composed of the smaller males with the larger females on their way. Shad darts in champagne/pink or chartreuse/red head or grubs in green head/chartreuse sparkle or pink head/chartreuse sparkle on a 1/32 pea head with only one or two size 7 splitshot have been the most productive offerings in the low water. Striper fishing continued to be fair at best with fresh or frozen sardine fillets or pile worms. Sturgeon fishing has lost its momentum with few anglers targeting the diamondbacks.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Tisdale to Colusa—A massive school of striped bass arrived in response to the heavy rainstorm at the end of April, and the Sacramento River rose and cooled, luring up the linesides. Plastic rubber worms coated with Pro Cure Leech Oil, jumbo minnows, swimbaits, topwater lures, and various plugs are all working. The angler pressure has diminished with the action lasting well over a month, and fishermen that are able to keep track of the location of the schools are scoring limits on a daily basis. Shad fishing has improved up to Colusa with 1/16 shad darts in red/chartreuse.
— Fishing Report by Western Outdoor News