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.–The last week has been “good old Springer fishing conditions that most of us are used to,” according to WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “At least that is the way I have read the reports I received from anglers who have been fishing the river for decades. The new channel on the north side of the island is the hot slot that has been producing fish almost every day. Other salmon are coming from the north side of Elephant Rock. Much farther upriver, on the forest service section, has had a little more success with the catches. Some big salmon in the 30-pound range were being boasted about, and a 30-pound springer is well worth boasting to me.”
ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass, Ore.—“Salmon fishing remains scattered in the Grants Pass area, with a few fish taken on green lip-silver body Kwikfish with a sardine wrapper, or a Worden’s 5.0 plug,” reported guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. “The best catches are still being made from Shady Cove to the dam on Kwikfish with a sardine wrapper. Sand shrimp or roe have produced some fish, also. There are lots of anglers here, both in boats and from shore.”
RUSSIAN RIVER—Flows have dropped below 200 cfs and water temps are hovering in the mid 60’s. Shad fishing has been hit and miss with a few being picked up every morning and evening at Johnson’s Beach, according to Scott Heemstra of King’s Sport and Tackle in Guerneville. “You can also try Monte Rio beach, Memorial Beach in Healdsburg or any deep pool below or above shallow riffles.” Flashy shad flies or chartreuse grub tails with a red jig head have been the most productive. The smallmouth bass action is also picking up with the warmer water. Small spinners and diving crankbaits are working well. Watch for baitfish busting on the surface in the evenings, for there might be a stray striper or two around! Remember the Russian River is an Artificial Barbless fishery from April 1 until October 31, Heemstra warned.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Glide, Ore.–The river was in prime shape this last week for fishing for spring Chinook salmon, according to WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. Lots of bright salmon were being caught the days after good rains. Windy Rock has been producing some of the most action with its deep pools between two fast water chutes. Large bobber’s are used here with roe to catch fish in this spot, Palmer said. The fish viewing windows at Winchester Dam have been full of salmon lately. Just downriver from the dam, early morning fishing has been paying off for some. Back bouncing roe is the most effective choice.
UMPQUA RIVER, Sutherlin, Ore.–Spring Chinook and summer steelhead are both racing up the river heading for the farther reaches of the river’s forks. Boat traffic has been slow on most of the river, perfect for those who enjoy the solitude while waiting for a passing springer. “I have only heard of a couple salmon being caught last week,” said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “However there are plenty of fish and river levels are good and visibility is several feet in the emerald green water. Summer steelhead are jumping and making themselves noticeable as they travel upriver. I have been finding the steelhead have been running a little closer to the bank than the spring kings.
KLAMATH RIVER—The stretch from Weitchpec to Happy Camp and Seiad Valley is on the low side, according to Ed Duggan, of “D” Fishing Guide Service. No springer salmon reported yet, but they are expected to be on the way. The river “looks good” he said. Trout fishing at the top, above I-5, is picking up and some of the fly fishers are starting to have some very productive days.
TRINITY RIVER—The Trinity basin received 1.7 inches of rain, but that’s not a lot to help the river flows in the long run. Still not much from the spring salmon, which are probably held up downriver by the low flows, according to Ed Duggan, “D” Fishing Guide. Currently, releases from the upper lakes are 3,250 cfs, but only 1,510 is going down the Trinity—the rest is going to the Sac. Valley.
AMERICAN RIVER—Shad are the top draw here, but there have been a lot of nice halfpounder steelhead also on the bite, and some guides are getting big numbers of them on flies. Flows dropped early in the week, making them even more vulnerable. Stripers still plying the lower river.
FEATHER RIVER—Stripers are still providing some action here, but shad are a much better bet, especially around Shanghai Bend and Body’s Pump. But water levels are very flow and boating is dangerous for those not well-acquainted with the river. Even jetboats are having some problems.
FOLSOM LAKE—Nice rainbows available and some nicer king salmon at 30 to 35 feet in the North Fork on Speedy Shiners at 3.0 mph. Both Big John Enos and Jerry Lampkin confirmed the good fishing up top in the North Fork.
SACRAMENTO RIVER—The stripers are all spawned out, but there’s still action to be found here on some pretty decent fish, but mostly upriver, as the Sacramento area was rated as “slow” for stripers but good for shad. Chris Spade of Johnson’s Bait and Tackle fished below Tisdale last week using swimbaits and jumbo minnows and hooked 6 with 4 landed, including a 14 pounder, releasing everything over 10 pounds. Rustic Rob’s Guide Service also found limits for his clients while trolling minnows below Tisdale. Shad fishing is good at Verona, and all the way up to Colusa. Also in some areas around Sacramento.
YUBA RIVER—Shad fishing is good here, with plenty of fish from Hallwood on upriver, according to Chris Spade of Johnson’s Bait and Tackle.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE—This year’s Catfish Derby starts noon Friday May 16 and ends at noon Sunday May 18th. Since hundreds are expected to fish this popular tourney it is recommended to sign up early online. For more information, people can call 1-888-CLDERBY or visit the website at WWW.clearlakeoaks.org. This past week the winds kept anglers off the water, but this coming week conditions should be better. The upcoming full moon and warming weather should send the bass back into the shallows.
LAKE BERRYESSA—Rough, windy conditions made trolling for kokes tough. There is still a great grade of fish from the Ranch House and Big Island area from 38 to 52 feet deep. The best bet would be RMT hyper plaid, Bahama mama Dodgers with Uncle Larry’s spinners in copper pop, orange copper back and RMT orange plankton squids. The best corn again was pink or red Pautzke Fire Corn straight out of the bottle.
LAKE SONOMA—Big winds here this past week. Target transitions off spawning flats with Senkos for post spawn fish which will be a little tricky to catch suspended in the standing timber or guarding fry.
LAKE ALMANOR—According to Dick Mason of Dick’s Guide Service the west shore trolling was not fast but had quality browns. Try between the Forrest Service ramp and private west shore ramp 20 feet down in 30 feet of water with 4-5 colors of leadcore out with either Ex-Cel or Speedy Shiners in redhead with a brass body.
BAUM LAKE—The Fly Shop in Redding reported this lake is a go-to spot on wet or cloudy days as it helps the hatches. There has been some pretty good dry fly fishing going on.
BUCKS LAKE— Right now they are catching a mix of rainbows, a few trophy brown trout and even a few brookies in the top 10 feet. For the chance at some big macks, try pulling plugs and targeting fish focusing on little kokes.
CASSEL FOREBAY—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. Get out early.
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. The Power House No. 2 riffle has been giving up fish. Water conditions have been great.
MANZANITA LAKE— The fish are starting to warm and get hungry. Remember this is a catch and release, single hook, artificial lure only lake and check Lassen Park’s special regulations here.
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 to late evening.
SHASTA LAKE—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. With the wind, few were out trolling, but some hide back up in Dry Creek and found a few salmon at 80 feet.
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. You won’t get many bites here, but a few nice trout were caught by the dam.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 39-percent capacity. Shore anglers were still catching rainbows at the dam and the campgrounds near the inlet.
CAPLES LAKE—The lake is at 78-percent capacity. The lake has thawed and the Caples Lake Resort opened the marina and boat rentals on May 10. Fishing should be good for big macks.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)—Silver Creek was stocked by the DFW this past week with 400 pounds of rainbows. Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported that fishing was good on bait, spinners, and flies on the East Carson, West Carson, and Markleeville Creek. Cooler weather this past week slowed the runoff and flows were clear. Warmer weather this week could trigger more runoff and murky water conditions.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 67-percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW this past week. Guide Ed Dillard reported that trolling was good for 18- to 21-inch rainbows using a copper/redhead Wee Dick Nite 6 to 8 feet deep between Honker and Coot. Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden scored on the same lure trolling 9 feet deep north of the island. Windy weather slowed the shore fishing. Flyfishing was improving on the west side on hare’s ears fished under an indicator.
DONNER LAKE—The lake is at 97-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Rainbow trout fishing will be good on the west end piers, boat ramp dock, and off the beach. Macks should move up into the shallows to prey on the new planters. Troll with a rainbow trout pattern Rapala, Predator, Lyman, J-Plug, or other large lure for a chance a big Mackinaw. No word on any kokanee yet.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON—The North Fork Feather at Belden was scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 50-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported that fishing was improving slowly as the rainbow trout spawn cycled down. With no water in the creeks that normally flow into the lake, the trout had nowhere to go. All the campgrounds but Cottonwood were open. The Frenchman boat ramp was open with a dock in place, and the Lunker Point ramp was closed for the year.
GOLD LAKES BASIN—Upper Salmon Lake and Snag Lake were stocked by the DFW this past week and Lower Sardine Lake was scheduled for a plant this week. Fishing was excellent at Salmon, Sardine and Packer with all the DFW plants. Gold Lake ramp was open, but the dock wasn’t in yet. There will be a free kids’ fishing derby at Graeagle Mill Pond on May 17 from 7:30 to noon sponsored by Mountain Hardware, Trout Unlimited, Graeagle Land and Water, the Graeagle Store and Graeagle Outpost. Lots of rods and reels will be given away. Contact Mountain Hardware for info at 530-836-2589.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is full and was stocked by the DFW this past week. The flying ant hatch has slowed the bite, but limits of rainbows can still be caught trolling dodger/worms or grubs in the top 10 feet. The Upper and Lower Ice House campgrounds are open.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Strong winds kept anglers off the lake this past week. Calmer, warmer weather this week should improve the fishing.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR—The lake is at 96-percent capacity. The roads were open to the lake and trollers were doing well on 3- to 5-pound rainbows at the Yuba River inlet, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports in Truckee.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—Sly Park Resort reported that shore anglers were still picking up a few rainbows at the first dam on Power Bait and worms. Smallmouth bass fishing should be good on the east end of the lake up into the Narrows.
LAKE TAHOE—Wind, rain and some snow made for a tough fishing this past week, but Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing and Capt. Zack at Tahoe Sportfishing reported decent action on 3- to 6-pound macks from 50 to 220 feet deep. Nielsen also scored a few 2-pound browns and rainbows in the shallows on Rapalas. Capt. Zack said they were bouncing live bait at South Shore and the west side at Sugar Pine for their fish.
LOON LAKE—The lake is at 82-percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW this past week. Still no open gate—call the Pacific Ranger Station to find out why the gate wasn’t opened weeks ago since there was no snow!!
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 35-percent capacity. A few smallmouth bass were caught this past week—this bite will improve as it gets warmer. Rainbows were hitting at the Prosser Creek inlet off Hobart Mills Road.
PYRAMID LAKE—Crosby’s Lodge reported that fishing was slow for big fish—no one weighed anything all this past week. Trollers were picking up 15- to 24-inch cutthroats on Apex between Pelican and Warrior, and at Anderson Bay to Hell’s Kitchen when the winds allowed, and winds blew as hard as 70 mph this past week!! Calmer weather will improve the bite.
RED LAKE—Shore fishing from the dam should produce a few cutthroats on worms.
SILVER LAKE—The lake is at 98-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Trollers should be doing well on a mix of rainbows, browns, and macks. Shore fishing near the boat ramp will be good after the DFW plant.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 37-percent capacity. Kokanee trolling was excellent when the wind allowed. Limits of fat 12-inch kokes were hitting watermelon dodgers and pink hoochies or spinners in the Little Truckee arm and at the island from the top to 45 feet deep. Warmer weather this week should make for perfect fishing conditions.
TOPAZ LAKE—Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported that the lake had dropped a foot and boat launching was in jeopardy. If the lake drops another foot, and it surely will, fishing boats will mostly likely not be able to get on the lake unless they’re cartoppers and can be launched off the shore. Trollers getting on the lake this past week were catching easy limits of 12- to 14-inch rainbows on flasher/worms and Rapalas.
TRUCKEE RIVER—Snow this past weekend slowed the flyfishing due to the colder conditions. As the water warms back up, expect to see caddis, yellow sally, and PMD activity increase from Glenshire to Reno. The fish still prefer nymphs.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 89-percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW this past week. The Camino Cove and West Point campgrounds were open, but still no access to the Sunset boat ramp.
WEST WALKER RIVER—The Little Walker and West Walker were stocked by the DFW this past week. The Toiyabe Motel reported that fishing was good for rainbow to 5 pounds. Bryon Russi of Sacramento and a friend caught-and-released 40 fish to 5 pounds fishing the deeper holes in the canyon section of the West Walker.
BERKELEY—Bay fishing doesn’t get much better than this. Happy Hooker totally stacked her deck with halibut and bass. Bass Tub and California Dawn did similarly, with Central Bay spots providing the hardy action. Berkeley Flats was one of the best spots. Berkeley pier anglers got into the halibut, too.
BODEGA BAY—New Sea Angler hammered the salmon throughout the week. Limit-style fishing was the norm. At one point, the boat had 12 fish hung and boated 9 of them. At rocky spots north of town, shore casters caught cabezon and lingcod as well as plentiful rockfish.
CRESCENT CITY— Charterboat C’Mon nailed limits of salmon on the opener. There have been some good days of weather in this far northern area and with plenty of natural feed in the water to satisfy the salmon, fishing was very good.
EMERYVILLE—C-Gull II ran out the Golden Gate to chase salmon and got 19 to 22 pounds for 14 people. Other boats from the Landing –including New Huck Fin, New Seeker, Tiger Fish and Super Fish –fished Central Bay and loaded up with solid counts of both halibut and striped bass.
EUREKA—Early season action was off to a fabulous start. Charter boats Shellback, Sea Weasel II and Reel Steel went out on Friday to pull limits of Pacific halibut and then went out on the salmon opener and pulled limits of salmon. When the groundfish season opens, this is going to be “fish central”, with the full gamut of possibilities.
FORT BRAGG—Salmon fishing spiked at a fish per rod, however the weather prevented any sustained good luck. Coming good weather should allow salmon anglers to find their quarry and also help boaters enjoy the rockfish opener. Rockfish and cabezon were the primary catches for jetty anglers using squid and shrimp baits.
HALF MOON BAY—Salmon action fluctuated from limits to well under a fish per rod. New Capt. Pete managed limits one day. Rockfish and lingcod put on a decent bite, but not limit-style. A change in weather will bring back the bottom fish bite. Striped bass showed inside the harbor, following large schools of jacksmelt.
AMERICAN RIVER—The Silver Fork was scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. The USFS opened the campgrounds at Silver Fork, China Flat, and Sand Flat.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 69-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported bass fishing was still good. On a trip this past week he caught 30 smaller fish to 2 pounds, one 3 pounder, and a 7 pounder using darthead Senkos on points and steep walls at 5 to 15 feet deep. Windy points also produced.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake is at 88-percent capacity. Ron Franks of Folsom caught 29 bass on green pumpkin Brush Hogs on points in Rock Creek and in the main body at 8 to 10 feet deep in 66- to 69-degree water.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is at 15 feet from full and scheduled for a double private plant this week. Three huge fish were checked in this past week—a 20 1/4- pound catfish, and 9 1/2- and 7 3/4-pound rainbows. Trollers and shore anglers continued to do well on a mix of trout, bass, bluegill, and catfish. The trout were hitting trolled nightcrawlers and flies and Power Bait or worms from the shore. The catfish preferred anchovies. The bass liked plastic worms, crawdads and nightcrawlers.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 92-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina said the fishing was slow this past week due to strong winds and some rain. Warmer weather this week should improve the trout bite.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is at 56-percent capacity. The Foresthill Ranger Station said the campgrounds should be open by May 16. Boat launching was available at both ramps.
FULLER LAKE—The lake is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 70-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the campgrounds were scheduled to open by May 15. Boat launching was good.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 52-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that most of the bass had already spawned and we stacked up on the steep walls adjacent to coves. 60- to 80-fish days were common using spinnerbaits, deep cranks, Senkos, drop-shot and dart-head worms, tubes, and Paradise Tackle Company finesse jigs. Ripbaits were beginning to work. The fish were very aggressive this past week.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is at 98-percent capacity. Look for trout at Freeloaders Cove and up at the inlet. Bass fishing should be good in the coves and on the points leading into the coves in jigs, tubes and Senkos.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake is at 84-percent capacity. Smallmouth bass action was good up near the Hensley House using darthead worms, tubes and finesse jigs. Look for trout on the point near the marina from shore and between Cascade Shore and the dam for trollers.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—The lake is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. The campgrounds and day-use facilities were open. It should be a good week to visit this lake.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that fishing was slow this past week, so the DFW plant should perk up the bite.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at 133.7-foot elevation at press time—79-percent capacity. The wind was very strong here all this past week, making it virtually impossible to fish. The weather this week should be more stable and the bass fishing should be good in the coves near the tule banks using jigs, Senkos, spinnerbaits and buzzbaits.