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, Brookings, Ore.—Flows were down to 450 cfs over the weekend, spelling the end of the steelhead season for all intents and purposes. There could still be a few final adult fish, and smaller bluebacks coming into the river if there’s more rain, which is in the forecast for later in the week, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. There will also be downer steelhead in the mix until the closure on March 31.
COQUILLE RIVER, South Fork, Powers, Ore.- -South Fork Coquille is very, very low. A couple of locals have been fishing above the town of Powers this last week. “Most of the steelhead caught this last week were reported to be spawners and not in very good condition,” guide Curtis Palmer said. “This river is in need of some serious rainstorms to bring the river up and to bring in some fresh fish from the ocean. The end of the week shows chances of a storm front with any luck at all.”
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.—The first spring king salmon was caught near the mouth at Gold Beach, kicking off the run for the next few months. Peak season is April and May, according to WON Staff Writer and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Only hatchery fish may be kept. WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer said that winter steelhead fishing is slow, but there are still fish being caught on a consistent basis. The season is not over yet. “With spring Chinook being caught in March, this may turn out to be a fabulous season,” he said.
ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass, Ore.–Fishing is definitely picking up in the Middle Rogue with lots of fresh steelhead moving up. There’s some low and clear water and fish are being found in the deeper holes. Some fish up to 10 pounds are being taken. Top baits include small pieces of roe with Puffballs and dime-sized roe. Plugs are also working, back trolled with best colors being blue and silver, pink and silver, or green colored. Bobbers and jigs are also working, said Troy Whitaker, guide at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass.
RUSSIAN RIVER–Fishing continues to be great in the Guerneville area on the Russian River, according to Scott Heemstra at Kings Sport and Tackle. The flow is at 625 cfs with 4 feet of visibility. “The downstream migration of hatchery smolt continues, which provides excellent action for novices and kids,” Heemstra said. “Ocean fresh fish are still pushing in with a fair amount of aggressive spent fish as well. Lots of healthy downstreamers that aren’t real dark and beat up. Fly fishing has also improved with the lower flows and clarity. Top producing techniques are bait or jigs under floats, casting Little Cleos or spinners and smaller intruder flies or traditionals like the Boss, Comet and crystal buggers.”
UMPQUA RIVER, Roseburg, Ore.– Winter steelhead fishing has been fair on the Umpqua River this last week. Not very many hatchery fish were caught this last weekend by anglers and that has been the loudest complaint heard this season, according to guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “Nobody has said anything about catching a spring Chinook yet on the lower Umpqua River,” he said. “With the high tides this last weekend and good weather, I am certain that several Chinooks entered the river and within days we will start hearing of them being caught in the Scottsburg area. There has been a regulation change this year on the Umpqua River. We are only allowed to keep 5 native springers this year, while in prior years there was no restriction.”
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Glide, Ore.– Winter steelhead fishing has been slow on the North Umpqua. Some post-spawn summer steelhead are being picked up on their journey back down the river by anglers looking to catch nice chrome winter steelhead,” said WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “Very few reports of any winter steelhead being caught this last week, as the north Umpqua River is very low. It seems to be affecting how fast the steelhead are moving upriver.”
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate – Pressure has been light and steelhead fishing has been good from the hatchery down to Horse Creek. Flows at Iron Gate were 996 cfs on Sunday. Divers and nightcrawlers have worked best for steelhead between 2 and 7 pounds.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp – Steelhead fishing has been good near Seiad Valley and Happy Camp, with anglers averaging half a dozen small adults and up to a dozen half pounders a day. Side-drifting and pulling plugs both are producing fish. Flows at Seiad Valley were 2,170 on Sunday.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen – A few jet boaters have been finding a mix of adult steelhead and halfpounders. Flows at Terwer were 10,800 cfs on Sunday.
TRINITY RIVER – Steelhead fishing is tapering off, but anglers are finding a mix of fresh adults and downrunners, as well as halfpounders. More brown trout are showing up near Douglas City and Lewiston, where pressure has been light. Swinging Rapalas has worked well for the browns and steelhead. Mid-day mayfly hatches are providing action for fly anglers.
AMERICAN RIVER – Steelhead fishing remains slow, although there were a few reports of fish being caught last week.
FEATHER RIVER – Striper fishing has slowed down, but fish are still being caught. With last week’s full moon, fishing was best in the afternoon and evenings. Jumbo minnows and anchovies have worked best. Fishing has been best at Boyds Pump and Beercan Beach. The stripers that have been caught have been feeder fish. Not many spawning fish have shown up yet.
FOLSOM LAKE – A few kings were caught trolling near the dam last week, but overall trout and salmon fishing is slow. There also have been some bass caught by boaters and bank anglers, with fishing rated as fair.
RANCHO SECO LAKE – Trout fishing is good. Power Bait has worked best, along with nightcrawlers. The lake will be heavily stocked ahead of the March 28-29 trout fishing derby.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir – Flows are down to 55 cfs at Dunsmuir and trout fishing is fair. Fly anglers are using rubber legs and prince nymnphs.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff – Visibility has increased to 4 feet and fly fishing is good for rainbows from 12 to 22 inches. Anglers are reporting double-digit days. There has been a good dry fly bite during the mid-day caddis hatch.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa – Striper fishing remains slow as the main spawning run is yet to arrive. Sturgeon fishing also has slowed at Knight’s Landing. Anglers are expecting shad to show up before the end of the month. Along with spawning stripers, bass also will follow the shad to feed on them.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Port of Sacramento – The striper bite at the Port of Sacramento has slowed, although some fish are still present in the deepwater channel.
AMERICAN RIVER—Still running cold and clear with normal flows, according to the Georgetown Ranger Station. Few, if any, anglers were venturing down to the North Fork or Middle Fork just to release all the fish they might catch on barbless artificial lures.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 62-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina reported bass boat traffic was heavy on the lake since the pending world record spot was caught. Hit the points and walls leading into the coves with Senkos, worms, swimbaits and jigs.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake level is only 2 feet from going over the spillway. North Shore Resort reported bass fishing had slowed with most boaters complaining about the “tough” bite. The water was clearing nicely and there was little debris creating a navigation hazard.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is 25 feet from full. The Resort released one pen consisting of 1000 pounds of 2 1/2-pound average rainbows on Friday this past week and will stock 1800 pounds of catchable/trophy trout this week. Trout fishing overall this past week was slow with most anglers only catching 1 to 3 fish. There were a few limits including one caught by Ivy Green of Forbestown that included a 6 1/2 pounder taken while trolling a Kastmaster. Canon Moore landed a 5 1/2-pound rainbow from the shore at the dam using floating dough bait. 2800 pounds of trout plants should make a big difference in the fishing this week!
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 93-percent capacity. Lisa Rogers at Skippers Cove Marina reported trollers were catching limits of beautiful rainbows to 17 inches in the marina and just outside the buoy line toward the dam on flasher/worms.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is at 41-percent capacity. The road was open to the lake and shore anglers were picking up a few rainbows on nightcrawlers.
FULLER LAKE—The lake was planted by the DFW this past week.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 50-percent capacity—up just under 2 feet this past week. Bass fishing was very good with 35 to 40 fish days common using worms, jigs, tubes, and small swimbaits from the shore to 30 feet deep. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported darker colors were working better this past week for mostly 1- to 1 1/2-pound spots. The smaller males were up in shallow water while the larger females were still holding in deeper water at 20 to 30 feet. The bite in the North Fork and West Branch was good and fair in the Slot. Guide Larry Hemphill reported the bite in the Middle Fork was good using 6-inch Roboworms in the small cuts between big boulders. The fish were mostly 1 1/4- to 1 3/4-pound male spots up working nests in 5 to 10 feet of water.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is at 96-percent capacity. With the lake so full, bass should be moving up onto recently flooded flats to begin spawning activity. Check out the points outside the coves for pre-spawn fish preparing to move in using tubes, darthead worms and Senkos. The lake was stocked by the DFW two weeks ago, so there should be some decent trolling action for rainbows.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake is at 68-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at NID reported smallmouth bass fishing was good for limits of fish to 4 pounds on the rocky banks at Cascade and near the spillway using worms, jigs and tubes. Since the DFW plant, shore anglers were picking up planters in the marina on worms and floating dough bait.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—Fishing should be much improved since the DFW plant 2 weeks ago. Try the shore fishing near the boat ramp using worms or floating dough bait.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is at 60-percent capacity. There was little fishing pressure here, according to the Georgetown Ranger Station, but Ponderosa Cove and the boat ramp area were open to the public for shore fishing. The bite has been slow with no trout plant since last summer.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at 133.5-foot elevation at press time—78.5-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported bass fishing was improving as the water temp increased. Anglers reported picking up a few fish on spinnerbaits and buzzbaits fished around the weed beds, tule banks, and any submerged trees.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 31-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported the water was off-color and fishing was sporadic at the inlet for rainbows and the dam for browns.
CAPLES LAKE—The lake is at 73-percent capacity. John Voss at Caples Lake Resort reported there was open water in front of the resort where shore fishermen were picking up a few fish. There was still ice at the spillway and a few anglers were seen out on the ice, but it was getting more and more dangerous to venture out with all the warm weather.
CARSON RIVER (East)—Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported two pairs of anglers fished the river for two miles below Hangman’s Bridge and they never got a strike—it’s still too cold!
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 58-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported shore action was slow at Mallard Point using bait. Shore fishermen and flyfishermen working the points out from Honker Cove, Coot Bay, and Catfish were doing pretty well. The flyfishermen were doing better than the bait fishermen using bead-head PT nymphs, damsel nymphs, and Sheep Creek nymphs under an indicator. The cove at Honker is closed to fishing until the stream trout season open in April, so stay out and avoid a citation!! Dillard reported the Honker Cove ramp had 6 inches of snow and ice on it this past weekend, so call ahead before hauling a boat up here. The Camp 5 ramp was accessible by 4-wheel drive and small aluminum boats could launch here.
DONNER LAKE—The lake is at 52-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported trollers were doing well for macks at 100 to 130 feet deep in front of the launch ramp and in China Cove. Shore fishermen were picking up a few rainbows on bait and Kastmasters.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 36-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported shore fishing was still best at the dam using nightcrawlers–one angler caught 2 rainbows, 2 catfish, and a big crawdad this past week. Boaters can launch at the Frenchman ramp, but there is no courtesy dock yet.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 79-percent capacity. Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill Fishing Service reported rainbow trout trolling should be excellent with the high water level, warm weather, and excellent accessibility. Now is the time to fish the foothill lakes before the drought forces these lakes to be drawn down by water demands this summer.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported Jeremy Rickerman fished near the campground and caught two 2-pound rainbows, a 3-pound rainbow, and lost two more 2 to 3 pounders on marshmallow/salmon egg combos. Rickerman observed a flyfisherman on a float tube fighting a big fish. The road was clear with all the snow from last week melting off due to the warm weather.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR—The lake is at 96-percent capacity. The roads to the lake were still closed due to snow and ice this past week.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—The lake is at 74.5-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Sly Park Resort reported John Carlotta weighed in a 3-pound, 9-ounce mack he caught from shore near the docks on a Kastmaster. The last DFW trout plant brought a lot of big macks up into the shallows to feed on the small rainbows. Bass to 7 pounds were hitting in the shallows as they move up out of deep water to spawn.
LAKE TAHOE—Zack Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported a strong bite for 4 1/2- to 6-pound macks at Camp Richardson mooching live bait at 180 to 220 feet deep.
LOON LAKE—The lake is at 51-percent capacity. Small boats launching at the gravel ramp at the dam were scoring some nice catches of holdover rainbows and browns to 18 inches on dodger/worms. The USFS needs to open the gate to the main boat ramp since there’s no snow blocking access.
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 27.5-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported things were slow here for trout but the smallmouth bass were getting active as the water temps warmed. Hit the dam and the nearby rocky points and flats with a tube jig or darthead worm after the water warms up a bit on sunny days.
PYRAMID LAKE—Valarie Taylor at Crosby’s Lodge reported the fishing early this past week was good with a bit of weather, but as the weather warmed up the bite slowed. Jeff Morris, a local guru, had a great week scoring 19 1/4 and 17 1/4 pounders—the big fish from shore at the North Nets on a ghost midge and the smaller fish trolling a frog FlatFish in the same area. Crosby’s Lodge weighed 14 double-digit fish this past week with 9 caught from shore and mostly at the Nets. Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported catching 22 and 26 fish on his last two trips trolling bleeding frog FlatFish from Monument to Pelican at 20 to 30 feet deep. All the fish measured 17 to 25 inches topped by a 7 pounder.
RED LAKE—Ice fishing was excellent here for limits of cutthroats using bay shrimp. Josh Otto of Kirkwood picked up a quick limit of cutts’ in 3 to 4 feet of water near the dam through safe ice using a small Kastmaster tipped with bay shrimp.
SILVER LAKE—The lake is at 68.7-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort staff reported the lake was thawed and shore fishermen were seen from the highway on the east end of the lake near the dam.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 23-percent capacity. Shore fishing for rainbows and browns was good using worms and Kastmaster spoons according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.
TOPAZ LAKE—Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported the lake rose 2 feet with the snow and rain that hit the previous weekend, but he still needed another foot of water to allow boat launching at his ramp. Shore fishing was slow and only one or 2 cartoppers were seen on the lake this past week.
TRUCKEE RIVER—The main river was fishing well as the water warms later in the day. Skwalla stones and BWO hatches were making for decent dry action otherwise stick with nymphs.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 74-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported fishing two days this past week. On the first day his client caught a 20-pound mack on a herring/dodger combo while it was being let down on the downrigger. The second day they scored four fish from 3 to 8 pounds using perch Double Flutter spoons and the herring/dodger combo at 50 feet deep. The bite is only good in the early morning. The road to the ramp at the dam off Pea Vine Ridge Road was rough and icy in spots. Launching was good at the ramp, but the lake was loaded with heavy debris. The USFS needs to open the gate at Sunset, since there’s no snow blocking the access on the paved roads off Ice House Road—with a gate blocking access to the campgrounds, there’s no reason not to open the gate to the boat ramp!
WEST WALKER RIVER—Sam Foster at the Toiyabe Motel reported the river flows were perfect, but no one was fishing. Mono County will stock 400 pounds of 3-pound average rainbows on April 22 for the April 25 opener. The Northern Mono County Chamber will sponsor the “Size Doesn’t Matter” Fishing Derby over the Memorial Day weekend–Friday morning through noon Monday. The annual “How Big is Big” Fishing Derby will run during its usual month of July time slot.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE—Bass are moving onto the banks and spawning areas in the upper end of the lake and in the Clearlake Oaks Keys. Anglers specifically targeting bigger fish are struggling with consistency, but when it works some big fish and heavy limits are being caught. Various crankbaits, ripbaits and A-rigs are the better choices for anglers not interested so much in numbers and looking for a big one.
LAKE BERRYESSA— The east side flats and north end have been great, with fish up to 10 pounds, but most are in the 2- to 4-pound range taken using swimbaits, crankbaits, plastics or LuckyCraft Pointer 100DD in trout patterns. The bass are in their springtime/pre-spawn mode. A few small king salmon are starting to be caught early in the morning shallow but most are using downriggers.
LAKE MENDOCINO—The warmer water temperatures have pushed a good numbers of both smallmouth and largemouth bass to the flats and secondary points. The water is clearing up daily and the best bet is to cover water throwing a LuckyCraft 100 in American Shad with good pauses in between rips.
LAKE SONOMA—With the water warming up look for a steady bass bite close in off the banks. 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. The east shoreline is holding baitfish and browns. The fish have been 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 begun. Hatches of BWO’s and midges have been occurring daily. Fishing has been steady for mostly rainbows but also a few brown trout.
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 mid day 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. A few March Browns are showing up.
SHASTA LAKE—The bass are already up on the banks. 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. It’ll be harder to catch the big fish for the next few weeks while they are spawning. But the good news is that the topwater bite will be here a month earlier than it normally is.
BROOKINGS, OREGON—Dry weather has created perfect conditions for winter-time lingcod fishing out of the Port of Brookings, where action was reported as wide open. “We’ve been fishing the ocean the past several days and the lingcod bite has been phenomenal,” said Capt. Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. “There have been days when we’ve released two or three lings for every one we keep.”
BERKELEY—The Happy Hooker is out for repairs and because of low tides it looks like it will be back in the water around March 21. Pier fishing continued to be very good for barred perch. Pile worms, pieces of shrimp have been doing the trick. The Berkeley Flats have been good for halibut, and private boats ran for sturgeon and stripers in San Pablo Bay, Alameda Rock Wall and the Carquinez Straits.
BODEGA BAY/LAWSON’S LANDING— Fishing at Lawson’s Landing has been between seasons. But fishing for perch in Bodega Bay has been quite good. Try Doran Beach and around the marinas. Fish with pile worms, small crabs, ghost shrimp and grass shrimp. Crab fishing has been okay, but not great lately. Fishing Tomales Bay and in the ocean have been producing a few. Crabbing from shore, pier or boat was termed as steady but not great. However, fishing above Jenner was generally excellent.
EUREKA—Fishing from the north and south jetties has been good for rockfish, kelp greenlings and striped perch. Clamming has been good on the mudflats. Trout fishing has been good in Freshwater Lagoon.
FORT BRAGG—Crabbing was excellent once again aboard Telstar. Limits continued to be taken on every trip—up to 120 Dungeness crab for 12 anglers. Shore fishers on the jetty hauled in kelp greenling, perch, rockfish and crabs.
PACIFICA/HALF MOON BAY—Crabbers did quite well on Pacifica Pier and also on the pier, docks and jetties of Half Moon Bay. Anglers reeled up a variety of perches, kingfish and jacksmelt. Poke-Polers at Half Moon jetty managed to snag rockfish and cabezon.
SAN FRANCISCO—The opening of salmon season has not been formally announced (it looks to be April 4) but Jacky Douglas of the Wacky Jacky is raring to go. Adult salmon are expected to be even more numerous than that of last year’s great run. Halibut anglers have been working South Bay, and experiencing some excellent fishing.