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. South Central Coast streams number is (831) 649-2886.New low flow closures for Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin counties, Oct. 1-April 30, call (707) 822-3164 for Mendocino, (707) 944-5533 for Sonoma, Marin and Napa.
CHETCO RIVER—Steelhead season is about over for the year, and low, clear water has stalled any movement of steelies into the river for the last few weeks. Flows were just 700 cfs on Sunday. There might still be a final group of fish moving into the river with an upcoming forecast of rain, but it’s about over.
COQUILLE RIVER, South Fork, Powers, Ore.– With virtually zero rain last week, the Coquille River has become very, very low and crystal clear, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “There are very few people fishing this river. It would take a major storm lasting a couple days before this river is ready for fishing again,” he said.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.— Fishing for steelhead near the mouth of the Rogue River is very slow, and most anglers are gearing up for the spring king salmon season, expected to begin this month (March) and continue through April and early May. “Until we see enough rain to make a change in the river height we most likely won’t see any fresh fish being caught in the Gold Beach area,” said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “The Rogue River near Grants Pass, has consistently been providing 3 to 4 fish per driftboat again this last week.”
ROGUE RIVER, GRANT’S PASS–Steelhead fishing remains fair for some anglers, good for others. Fish can be found from below Grants Pass up through the Gold Hill area. Catches are being made on back-trolled plugs, pink rubber worms, small pieces of roe and yarn balls soaked in Pautzke’s Nectar. “Weather and fishing conditions are pretty good in all areas,” said Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. “Most lures are working on the Applegate and Illinois rivers, but remember that no bait is allowed for use on the Illinois.”
RUSSIAN RIVER—The report was “excellent fishing” on Saturday from Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport and Tackle, who said the river is in prime shape and anglers are catching steelies throughout the entire system. It’s a mix of fresh and spawned-out fish. Flows are under 900 cfs with clarity of 3 to 4 feet. Lots of smolts in the river, so keep your offerings bigger.
SMITH RIVER— Fishing on the Smith River has been tough this week, according to guide Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service. “The river is low and gin clear and we are in desperate need of rain. It has been zero to 2 fish per boat. Most all the fish have been caught side drifting bait or yarn. I hope for some more rain.”
UMPQUA RIVER, North fork, Glide, Ore.—“Due to the low numbers of steelhead moving into the North Umpqua River, I haven’t seen very many driftboats on the water over the last week,” said guide Curtis Palmer. “Guides have said that they have had as many as 4 nice steelhead caught a day on the river. The fish counts at the Winchester Dam have not been updated since October of last year, making it difficult to tell how many fish are moving through the river system. Mid-March is usually the peak of the steelhead season in the Glide/ Roseburg area.”
UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork, Canyonville, Ore.– The South Umpqua River in Canyonville is very low, making it difficult for driftboat anglers to make it from one boat ramp to the next. “I haven’t heard of any anglers or guides drifting this last week,” said guide Curtis Palmer. “Station Park in Canyonville is the only spot that consistently has bank anglers. Anglers at this location are using bobbers and jigs.”
UMPQUA RIVER, Roseburg, Ore.-- With the river levels in the Umpqua Valley being near summer heights, the steelhead have not been moving upstream at a very fast rate, said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “For the bankies or driftboat anglers who know where the steelhead hold in low, clear water, this has been good news,” he said. “The attitude in the Roseburg area in sporting departments has been very good, and there are fresh stories of chrome steelhead being caught every day. I see fishing getting even better over the next month before the steelhead season ends.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam – Flows coming out of Iron Gate Dam were holding at 948 cfs on Sunday. Steelhead fishing is fair between the dam and I-5. Below I-5, conditions have improved as the Shasta and Scott rivers clear.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp – The river dropped to 3,620 cfs at the Orleans gauge on Sunday. With good conditions, fishing for steelhead is fair.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen – The river is down to 13,300 cfs at Klamath. Fishery managers are working on this year’s fall salmon quota, and with a high ocean abundance of 425,000 kings, a longer season than last year is expected. More than 100,000 kings spawned last fall.
TRINITY RIVER – Halfpounders and a few adult steelhead are showing up in the catch. Boat pressure has been high, but catches have been fair to good. Some early browns have already been caught.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE—A 2-day tourney with 111 boats was won with 65.96 pounds for 10 fish, and overall 3 bass were over 10 pounds, and 29 weighed more than 8. Even so, some boats didn’t weigh in limits, as the bite backed off some with a cooling trend in the weather that also cooled the water some. Look for things to pick back up as bass move back in. Although the lake will be more crowded now with tourney season here this is the best time of year for whoppers. As the calendar moves into spring look for the live minnow bite to take off. Boaters are advised to keep their eyes open when running the lake, as there are more floating or just barely visible floating trees, limbs, and logs still drifting around the upper end of the lake.
LAKE BERRYESSA— The east side flats and north end have been great, with bass up to 7 pounds caught on swimbaits, spinnerbaits and plastics. The bass are in their springtime/pre-spawn mode. A few small king salmon are starting to be caught on the troll.
LAKE MENDOCINO—Bass fishing has been very good from the shallows out to 30 feet. Try a LuckyCraft Pointer 100DD ripbait after the crankbait bite slows down.
LAKE SONOMA—With the water warming up look for a steady bass bite. Trout trollers are also seeing a little action in the top 15 feet in the cleaner water up near the creek mouths.
LAKE ALMANOR—The brown trout are moving into the shallows. Work various areas along the east shore holding baitfish and browns. The fish have been responding by hammering black and silver Rapalas. This is some of the most exciting action of the year and it is just getting started.
BAUM LAKE—With nice, sunny days the hatches have already begun. Insect hatches occur daily with BWO’s and midges. Fishing has been variable with the weather: warm and nice, good fishing, cold and overcase, slower.
MCCLOUD RESERVOIR—This impoundment sees very little pressure in the winter months and it’s been a mild winter so go and enjoy it. Check out the waters near the northern part of the lake. Your best chances occur midday up near where the upper McCloud comes into the lake.
PIT RIVER—Both the fishing and water conditions have been rated from good to great by the Fly Shop in Redding.
SHASTA LAKE—The bass are already up on the banks looking to spawn. Concentrate on the early and late shallow bites with reaction baits. During the day throw light jigs, drop-shot tubes or anything else you want to get your baits down in the top 20 feet.
BERKELEY—Berkeley Flats became productive. Bass Tub and private boaters scored nice numbers of striped bass, up to a fish per rod. A few halibut were taken on the Berkeley Flats, suggesting that an early halibut season is beginning throughout the Bay. Pier anglers hooked perch.
BODEGA BAY—It was limit-style action aboard New Sea Angler on crabs and white croaker, plus about 20 sanddabs per person. Jetty fishers found crabs, rockfish and cabezon. Local beaches including Doran and down at Lawson’s Landing saw catches of both barred surf perch and red tail perch.
EMERYVILLE—Shoreline fishing was pretty good for striped bass on either baits or shiny lures. Perch bit well enough to keep bait-soakers entertained. Party boats stayed tied to the dock, awaiting the upcoming salmon season.
EUREKA—Jetties gave up a variety of fish including kelp greenling, black rockfish, lingcod and cabezon. Crabbers went to work, too, catching a few Dungeness and red rock crabs. Inside the Bay, snare casters at Englund Marine and Del Norte piers caught exclusively red rock crab.
FORT BRAGG—Limits of crabs were brought aboard Sea Hawk. Telstar neared the mark and explored different productive depths which should produce well in the coming days. Shore fishers worked local beaches for perch or made runs for rockfish, lingcod and cabezon to MacKerricher State Park or near Mendocino Headlands.
HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA—Huli Cat ran a sanddab/crab combo Sunday, bringing in as many of each as the passengers wanted to take home. Surf fishing for barred surf perch was excellent as is often the case during mid-to-late winter. Perch fishing was periodically interrupted by much feistier striped bass including one that went 30 inches. Crabbing was decent from the piers and jetty, but the quality of the crabs seemed to be diminishing. Jetty fishers did fine on rockfish and cabezon.
SAN FRANCISCO—A jacksmelt spawn in South Bay near Coyote Point got the sturgeon to biting like crazy. A father/son team in a private boat caught 20 sturgeon in one day, topped by a massive 220 pounder (estimated). Halibut were caught by trollers and drifters, primarily along the eastern shore of the South Bay. Argo picked up her first halibut of the season. Bass Tub scored a bass per rod, with plenty of missed opportunities which would have raised the score.
AMERICAN RIVER – Steelhead fishing remains slow.
FEATHER RIVER – Striper fishing has been fair to good, with fish being caught at Shanghai Bend, Boyds Pump and Beercan Beach. Several fish in the 24- to 26-inch range were reported last week, along with a 41-pounder caught on Saturday at Shanghai Bend. Swimbaits, jumbo minnows and cut bait have been working. The fish have been feasting on recently released steelhead smiths.
FOLSOM LAKE – Bass fishing has been fair to good from shore, with a 5-pound largemouth reported last week. Anglers are fishing minnows and nightcrawlers below bobbers. Some trout are being caught on hoochies trolled near the dam.
RANCHO SECO LAKE – Trout fishing is good. Power Bait has worked best, along with nightcrawlers. The lake was stocked last week with another released planned for Monday.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir – Trout fishing is slow, although conditions are improving.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff – The river has cleared up and fishing for wild rainbows has been good. With low flows, fly fishing has been the best bet. Trout are biting beads fished below indicators, but recent warm weather has sparked a good caddis hatch. The dry fly action has been the best of the year, and emerger nynphs also are working well. Trout to 20 inches have been caught.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa – Striper fishing is slow, although some small schools of spawning fish have moved through. Sturgeon fishing is fair, and catfish are being taken by anglers using bait to target stripers and sturgeon.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Port of Sacramento – A lot of the larger stripers have left the Port of Sacramento, but fishing for smaller male stripers is still good, with lots of fish in the 18- to 19-inch range.
AMERICAN RIVER—The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the river flows were normal and clear with little or no fishing pressure that could be observed from any roads.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 61-percent capacity. With the new pending world record spotted bass, a 10.95 pounder, caught here this past weekend, Emerald Cove Marina reported a marked increase in bass boat traffic. Bass were moving toward spawning flats and coves and hitting shakey-head worms and worm-head Senkos to 30 feet deep.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake is full. The North Shore Resort Team tournament fielded 50 boats this past weekend and was won by Jack Gilbert of Wheatland and John Ricker with 11.7 pounds that included the tournament big fish, a 3 1/2 pounder. The pair picked up a cool $1460 for the win. Worms and jigs did best in the top 15 feet on the points and in the coves
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is 25 feet from full. Collins Lake Resort stocked 1800 pounds of rainbows this past Thursday—half 1- to 1 1/2-pound catchables and half 3 to 8 pounders—and will be stocking weekly through the spring. Shore anglers and boaters weighed in lots of limits that included plenty of big fish in the 5- to 7 1/4-pound range. The dam, Beach, and Open Area were good spots for shore anglers using worms, scented artificial eggs, and floating dough bait. Trollers did well along the east side and near the dam using Rapalas and dodger/worms.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 93-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported trollers were catching limits of DFW planters and pen-reared rainbows. Two kayakers trolled in close to the docked houseboats using dodger/worms while most boaters were out in the mooring area. The pen-reared rainbows released by Skippers Cove Marina were 16 to 19 inch “footballs”.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is at 43-percent capacity. Shore fishermen were picking up a few rainbows before the storm hit this past weekend. Call ahead to the Foresthill Ranger Station to check on the latest road conditions at 530-367-2224, M-F.
FULLER LAKE—The lake is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 49-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported the bass fishing was still good with 20 to 30 fish days common using tubes, darthead, shakey-head, and drop-shot worms from the bank to 30 feet deep. With the cooler weather this past week, fishing was better in the afternoon after the water had a chance to warm up on the points, steep walls, and flats. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported doing well for bass to 4 pounds on shakey-heads cast to wood structure. The water temp ran 52 to 55 degrees and the lake still had lots of big debris floating that demanded extreme caution while running—SLOW DOWN!!
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is at 95-percent capacity. The lake was stocked by the DFW this past week. Caden Caldwell at NID reported bass fishing was still better than the trout action, but that should change with the recent plant. One boat reported catching 30 bass to 4 1/2 pounds on worms.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake is at 67-percent capacity. The lake was stocked by the DFW this past week. Trollers were picking up rainbows near the dam on flasher/worms
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—The lake was stocked by the DFW this past week, so the bite should be good near the boat ramp.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The Georgetown Ranger Station reported fishing from shore was slow and the lake was very low. With the water level 50 feet below the boat ramp, only a cartopper or kayak could be launched.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at 133.7-foot elevation at press time—80-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported bass were hitting spinnerbaits and buzzbaits near the weedbeds and tule banks in the coves.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 29-percent capacity. With 8- to 10-inches of snow this past weekend, the road along the south side of the lake should only be driven by truck, not a car to avoid getting stuck or high-centered. Some trout were being caught off the dam using Rapalas, spoons, and spinners.
CAPLES LAKE—The lake is at 73-percent capacity. The lake received 8 to 12 inches of snow over the weekend and fishing was slow and cold.
CARSON RIVER (East)—The weekend storm dumped 8 inches of snow in Markleeville and fishing pressure was zilch!
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 58-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported shore fishing was slow with most anglers only catching one or two 16- to 21-inch rainbows on scented artificial eggs and floating dough bait at Mallard Point. Honker Cove was full of pre-spawn rainbows, but it is off-limits to fishing!!
DONNER LAKE—The lake is at 49-percent capacity. Shore fishing was slow and boaters were only catching a few macks jigging or trolling at 90 to 130 feet deep.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 36-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported the best fishing was still at the dam using nightcrawlers. Watch out for icy road conditions—use 4-wheel drive!
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 78.5-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported the Crystal Basin received 4 to 6 inches of snow this past weekend and road conditions would be icy. Wait until the area thaws before heading here.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported the weekend storm dumped several inches of snow on the road to the lake and recommended only driving a 4-wheel drive with chains to avoid getting stuck, or just wait until the road clears!!
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR—The snow this past weekend closed the roads for even longer.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—The lake was filling rapidly since EID finished repairing a large pipeline that feeds the lake. Fishing was slow with the rainy weekend weather.
LAKE TAHOE— Wind and snow shut down the fishing for charter operators. Earlier in the week, Tahoe Sportfishing reported picking up limits of 3- to 6-pound macks with a few fish to 10 pounds thrown in for good measure mooching live bait at 160 to 200 feet deep off Rubicon.
LOON LAKE—The lake is at 54-percent capacity. 8 to 12 inches of snow at this elevation this past weekend, but earlier in the week trollers were picking up some 18- to 20-inch browns according to the Georgetown Ranger Station.
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 32-percent capacity. Shore anglers were picking up some smallmouth bass to 2 pounds at the dam and along the shallows on the eastern shore on jigs, worms, and spinners.
PYRAMID LAKE—Crosby’s Lodge weighed in 15 cutthroats over 10 pounds this past week topped by a huge 23 1/4 pounder caught by Sean Bottomley of Nevada City at Sand Hole on a jig cast from shore. The Annual Ken Hembree Hook, Line, and Sinker Fishing Derby sponsored by Sierra RV and Crosby’s Lodge will be held March 14-15 with an entry of $65. The grand prize is a Polaris Sportsman ATV worth $9500.
RED LAKE—This area received over 8 inches of snow this past weekend, so access could be a problem until Caltrans clears the road to the dam.
SILVER LAKE—The lake is at 69-percent capacity. The Carson Pass area received over 8 inches of snow this past weekend, but Caltrans should have the road cleared to allow access to the dam by mid-week.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 23-percent capacity. The snow from the storm this past weekend made access a big problem. Call Mountain Hardware and Sports for the latest road conditions at 530-587-4844.
TOPAZ LAKE—The lake level was still too low for boat launching. Shore fishing was sporadic.
TRUCKEE RIVER—Fishing streamers below the Boca Outlet was producing a few nice fish. Midge nymphs in the morning and baetis or BWO patterns in the afternoon were working in the Glenshire area. Also try a size 10 skwalla nymph trailing a smaller midge or baetis, according to Brian Nylund at Mountain Hardware and Sports.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 72-percent capacity. Snow and icy roads conditions brought on by last weekend’s storm should reduce access for a while to the boat ramp at the dam off Pea Vine Ridge Road.
WEST WALKER RIVER—Sam Foster at the Toiyabe Motel reported it was snowing on the valley floor when WON called Sunday morning and the upper passes were still getting dumped on. This snow storm gave hope to local businesses that the water may last a bit longer this trout season.