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.–A few steelhead are being caught on the Chetco as fresh fish moved in after rains early last week and again over the weekend. Most of the fish have been downrunners, but some of the fish are bright. Side-drifting roe and pulling plugs has worked best. The river should be high enough for drift boats this coming weekend.
COQUILLE RIVER, South Fork, Powers, Ore.–Last week the river was low enough that a child could wade across it in many places. The storms during the end of the week brought the water level up and above the height of fishable. Super high winds would of made it very unpleasant for the rower of any driftboat. would travel.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.—The spring salmon season is off to a great start already, but rains this week are expected to bring the flows up from 2730 cfs on Sunday to 13,000 cfs on Wednesday, which will bring in many more fresh salmon to the mouth. Fishing should be great as the river drops out to 8,000 cfs or so, according to guide and WON Staff Writer Andy Martin.
Guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets said that fishing was limited last week at the start of the work week due to the extreme low water condition. Boats had to travel upriver to find deeper spots to put out their baits.. The end of the week the river rose quick and high from the huge downpoir that lasted a couple days. “I am expecting some fresh springer’s to be entering the mouth of the river the beginning of the week. Rumor’s are spreading that this is going to be the best spring Chinook season in a decade for the Rogue River.”
ROGUE RIVER, Grants Pass, Ore.—“We still have lots of winter steelhead around, with some downers but still some nice looking fish coming up,” said Troy Whitaker of U-Save Tackle in Grant’s Pass. “Most are being taken on plugs, but also on roe, yarn balls and nightcrawlers. Bobbers and jigs seem to be working best on the Applegate River, but action is also on nightcrawlers and pieces of shrimp. Fish up to 15 pounds have been caught this week. On the Illinois River, no bait is allowed, but steehead action is good on Cleos and spinners. April 1 is the end of the season on the Applegate.
RUSSIAN RIVER–Conditions remain excellent on the Russian. “Flows are hovering around 450 here in Guerneville with excellent clarity up to 5 feet,” said Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville. “There are lots of bright, feisty downrunners right now. People are bringing in fish they thought were fresh, but in fact are just bright spent fish.” He said the best action has been from Steelhead Beach down to Casini Campground, and some new fish are still being seen. Anglers are using smaller flies like comets and bosses, 1/3-ounce Cleos in gold, gold red, copper, copper red, and nickel blue, bait or jigs under floats, and just plunking bait. “The second round of juvenile steelhead releases from the hatcheries has been done, so there are lots of smolt around as well,” Heemstra said. “Be aware that the new low flow regulations are in place, so the coastal streams are no longer dictated by the Russian. The Russian low flow will be at 300 cfs. Call the low flow outline before you go at (707) 944-5533.
UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Ore.–Water was low and milky green at the start of last week. Many anglers had hopes of catching a spring Chinook, especially now that the river has become confined to much smaller channels, according to guide and WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “Many of the channel’s aren’t much wider than an average Jet Boat, which makes it much easier to place a bait or spinner in front of any fish trying to move through. This last Thursday a storm began pushing it’s way into the valley. With the barometer on the change, so were the steelhead and salmon. From producing good action in the morning’s and much slower afternoon’s to very little action at all over the course of the day. With more storms passing one after, another last weekend, the Umpqua River colored up and had little spikes in the rise of the water height which had fish moving and a few chrome springer’s being reported late Sunday evening to this Field Reporter.”
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Glide, Ore.–Last week was full of all kinds of changes here, and the week started off with some nice warm afternoon’s, but that also meant bright afternoons with sun on the water. According to guide and WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets, fishing in Roseburg near I-5 and Winchester Dam was very difficult because of low water. The 6-8 feet of clarity enhanced chances of catching a fish as well hindered a fisherman’s chances of success. Most of the week had fairly good fishing and morning’s were much better fishing. Afternoon’s were beautiful, but not many steelhead being caught. It rained Thursday night, but Friday it rained hard which freshened the river and kicked the bite into gear. Afternoons weren’t as good as morning. Only 4500 steelies have come over Winchester dam, about half as many as normal, so there’s more to come or it’s a season of low numbers. More storms are expected, along with the onset of spring salmon.
UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork, Canyonville, Ore.–There isn’t much to report about last week, because the river level has been very low, making it close to impossible to drift in a boat from one boat launch down to the next boat launch. I would believe that some anglers must be fishing from the banks of the river and catching a few steelhead, however I have not received any reports.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate – Halfpounders and adult steelhead are being caught from the hatchery to Interstate 5 on flies, divers and bait and plugs. Flows were 1,200 cfs Sunday.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp – With flows at 2,200 cfs on Sunday, conditions were good for steelhead. A mix of halfpounders and adults are showing in the catch for anglers side-drifting or running plugs.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen – Flows on the lower Klamath were holding steady at 10,000 cfs on Sunday. Fishing pressure has been light, but halfpounders and adult steelhead are present in the lower river.
TRINITY RIVER – Steelhead fishing continues to slow down, but a mix of fresh and spawned out fish are being caught by drift boaters and bank anglers in the Lewiston and Douglas City areas. Rapalas are working well for the steelhead, as well as searun brown trout. Mayfly hatches also are providing afternoon action for fly anglers. Fly fishing has been good. The river has been uncrowded.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE—The live bait bite has taken off, particularly on the upper portion of the lake. Fishing plastics, ripbaits, Senkos and rattlebaits have also been productive all around the upper end of the lake. With warming weather and tournaments on the weekends the lake has seen more pressure. Live bait trips produced 10 to 12 fish in the 3- to 4-pound range but up to 9 pounds. Most of the large fish reported came on LV500s, large swimbaits and live crawdads.
LAKE BERRYESSA—The smallmouth bass have moved to the banks on the upper end of the lake and spots and largemouth have also moved in around the lake. A variety of plastics worked, but the best were from 3 to 6 inches. A few small king salmon are starting to be caught early in the morning shallow, but most were still using downriggers.
LAKE MENDOCINO—The warmer water pushed good numbers of both smallmouth and largemouth bass into the flats and secondary points. The best bet has been covering water ripping a LuckyCraft Pointer 100 in American Shad and pausing 3 to 5 seconds between rips. Once you locate a few fish, you can go back over those same areas drop-shotting a 6-inch plastic worm to pick up a few more fish.
LAKE SONOMA—The back of the creeks are still stained, but with warmer water it’s a good time to target the shallows for bass. There are plenty of largemouth males in the 1- to 3-pound range taking plastics, Senkos and jigs for those who like to slow down and pick it apart. 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 have moved into the shallows around the lake. Target the top 6 to 20 feet on the east shoreline for browns, but you’ll have to move around. The fish have been hammering black and silver Rapalas and fire tigers.
BAUM LAKE—With nice sunny days, hatches of BWO’s and midges have been occurring daily. The action continues to be steady with the good weather for mostly rainbows but also a few brown trout.
MCCLOUD RESERVOIR—This impoundment sees very little pressure in the winter months so there aren’t a lot of reports. With little to no pressure here, check out the waters near the northern portion of the lake. Your best chances happen 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. A few March Browns are showing up. Most of the fishing pressure has been at Pit no. 3, so also check out Pit no. 4 and 5.
TRINITY RESERVOIR—The bass fishing has been very good here.
SHASTA LAKE—The bass are already up on the banks. Concentrate on the early and late shallow bites with reaction baits. Trout trollers are finding limits in the top 40 feet with Wiggle Hoochies or rolled anchovies. This past week mostly rainbow trout were found in Hertz Bay. The fish are still scattered.
WHISKEYTOWN RESERVOIR—Not quite ready yet. No boats have been seen on it and the one 4 1/2-hour trip reported produced not a single bite.
BERKELEY—The Berkeley Flats came alive with fish and boaters caught halibut and stripers in good numbers. Bass Tub got into them in a big way. Jilly Sea ran a successful exploratory trip for halibut. Happy Hooker busted back into the game with weekend scores like 27 stripers to 13 pounds plus 3 halibut to 22 pounds. Argo hammered the bass and got a few sturgeon.
BODEGA BAY/LAWSON’S LANDING—Leopard sharks fed and spawned throughout shallow areas of Tomales Bay, creating challenges for people to get to them in such shallow water. A couple of striped bass and an impressive variety of perches fed along the beaches near Lawson’s Landing and at Dillon, Doran and Portuguese.
EMERYVILLE—New Salmon Queen has been getting an early start on the season, with bass and halibut trips in the Bay. Over the weekend, 16 anglers caught 25 stripers to 14 pounds and 4 halibut to 8 pounds. The whole fleet will come on line with the April 4 opener of the salmon season and the April 15 opener of the rockfish season.
EUREKA—Local fishing experts have reason to hope for a great salmon season, thanks to lots of 3-year-old fish. Jetty fishing was rated excellent for kelp greenling and rockfish. Redtail perch bit like crazy along local sandy beaches. Clammers did well on very low tides.
FORT BRAGG—Crabs moved inshore, making the sweet zone from 50 to 60 feet. Telstar, Sea Hawk and Samurai all scored limits of crabs. Samurai added sanddabs to the sacks from off of Pudding Creek. Jetty fishers pulled on perch and enjoyed the weather. Shore fishers scored lingcod, cabezon, kelp greenling and rockfish at the Mill.
PACIFICA/HALF MOON BAY—Striped bass to 22 pounds were taken from the surf right in the town of Pacifica near the pier and also up the coast at Mussel Rock. Perch bit at Linda Mar and rockfish chewed baits at Morris Point. At Half Moon Bay, crabbing from the pier was much better than expected. Huge grass bass were caught at the beach near Mavericks. Huli Cat ran crab trips along with whale watch excursions.
SAN FRANCISCO—Bass Tub put halibut and striped bass aboard. The South Bay offered great fishing for halibut and striped bass. Boaters worked the long stretch from the San Mateo Bridge to Sierra Point. Shore fishers gathered between Oyster Point and Coyote Point. Experienced boaters fished the west side of the Bay on incoming tides and the east side of the Bay on outgoing tides.
AMERICAN RIVER—The Georgetown Ranger Station reported the river was running low and clear at the Hwy 49 confluence.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 62-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported the bass bite was still good using worm-head or wacky Senkos, tubes, and darthead worms on walls and points. A client caught a 6 1/2-pound spot. but most of the fish were skinny 12- to 13-inch males with a few 2 to 3 pounders. They lost 3 big fish that hit tubes and darthead worms.
CAMP FAR WEST—North Shore Resort reported the lake was nearly full. A local team tournament was won with 11 pounds of bass. One angler reported catching 35 fish to 3 pounds on submerged brush and deeper breaks.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is 25 feet from full and was stocked by the DFW this past week. Collins Lake Resort released the first load of tagged fish worth prizes from $100 cash to a free ice cream. Trout fishing was very good with lots of limits and good numbers of trophy fish to 10 1/2 pounds. Tom Ives of Browns Valley caught and released a potential world record spotted bass that weighed 11 pounds, 3 ounces on his personal scale—too bad he didn’t get it weighed on a certified scale!!
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 93-percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW this past week. Skippers Cove Marina reported trollers were still picking up rainbows out in front of the marina and around the corner toward Keystone Cove on flasher/worms.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is at 41.7-percent capacity. Shore fishermen were still picking up a few trout on nightcrawlers.
FULLER LAKE—The lake is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Fishing should be good near the ramp and day-use area, and off the dam.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is still at 50-percent capacity—up only 6 inches all this past week. Guide Ron Gandolfi fished 3 days this past week and was seeing 40 fish days with his clients. The bass were in full spawning mode with anglers seeing nests in shallow water. Drop-shot worms, Senkos, and tubes were working well on points, walls, and flats from 5 to 20 feet deep. The S-Waver glide bait was picking up some bigger fish in the evenings after they moved up into shallower water. The water temp was running 57 to 60 degrees.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is at 97-percent capacity. Caden Caldwell at NID reported bass fishing was good in the coves and up near the inlet
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake is at 70-percent capacity and is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Jim Caldwell at NID reported trollers were picking up a few rainbows at the inlet on flasher/worms. Smallmouth bass in the 2- to 2 1/2-pound class were hitting worms, on rocky shorelines
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—The lake is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Shore fishing should be good near the boat ramp.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake was stocked by the DFW this past week. The USFS is still clearing hazard trees from the campgrounds and may open them by June 1.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at 134.9-foot elevation at press time—88-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported bigger spawners were hitting Senkos pitched to the tule banks in the coves. Winds can be a problem here.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 35-percent capacity. The dam and inlet were still the best spots to find browns and rainbows. The inlet was seeing lots of pressure with rainbows staging for or returning from the spawn.
CAPLES LAKE—The lake is at 76.5-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort reported the whole lake thawed this past week and resort guests can launch a small aluminum boat or kayak at the ramp since the docks were installed. The EID ramp won’t open until around May 1.
CARSON RIVER (East)—Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported seeing a couple cars parked at Hangman’s Bridge every day, but after speaking to one pair of anglers, he said the flyfishing was very slow. The river flows were perfect but cold.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 58-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported the trout bite was hit-or-miss. A few 16- to 20-inch rainbows were hitting for shore anglers at Eagle Point, and off the points out from Honker Cove. Trollers were picking up 4 to 5 fish each running red-dot frog Needlefish and copper/red head Dick Nites at 6 to 10 feet deep in the channel between the small island and Coot Bay.
DONNER LAKE—The lake is at 57-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported trollers were doing well on 8- to 12-pound macks toplining firetiger Rapalas. The trout plant should really get the macks up and feeding in shallow water!
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 37-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported shore anglers were picking up 2 or 3 rainbows each in Big Cove on nightcrawlers. One angler said he caught some catfish at Turkey Point on worms.
GOLD LAKES BASIN—The roads to the lakes were opened this past week. Gold Lake, Salmon Lake, Sardine Lake, Snag Lake, and Packer Lake are now accessible.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 80.5-percent capacity. With easy paved access off Ice House Road, boaters should be able to catch plenty of planter rainbows on dodger/worms.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported strong winds kept anglers off the lake all this past week.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR—The lake is at 99-percent capacity. No official word on whether the roads into the lake were open, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—Denise Cole at Sly Park Resort reported trout fishermen were doing well at the first dam from shore using worms and floating dough bait, or trolling flashers and worms in the middle of the lake. The smallmouth bass bite was very good with the fish in full spawning mode. Cole recommended releasing the spawning females!
LAKE TAHOE—Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported an exceptional morning bite for macks trolling as shallow as 25 feet deep. Self said they were catching-and-releasing lots of 2 to 3 pounders and keeping limits of 4- to 9-pound macks. Rainbow trout trolling was slow, but he recommended shore fishing in the afternoons on sunny rocky shorelines with inflated nightcrawlers. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing reported doing well early this past week in overcast, breezy weather for twenty 2- to 5-pound brown trout. The bite slowed when calm, sunny conditions prevailed. Trolling for macks was good using a minnow tipped Laxee spoon at 150 to 220 feet deep. Zack Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing said the fleet was catching easy limits of 3- to 6-pound macks mooching live bait at Sugar Pine, Rubicon, and Meeker Bay in the mornings, and at Baldwin Beach and Camp Richardson in the afternoons.
LOON LAKE—The lake is at 46-percent capacity. Trollers should be catching plenty of holdover rainbows and few nice browns on dodger/worms. Small boats can launch at the dam on the gravel ramp. The USFS needs to open the gate to the main boat ramp since there’s no snow anywhere!!
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 20-percent capacity. With the lake so low, fishing was slow. A few smallmouth bass were being caught off the dam.
PYRAMID LAKE—Valarie Taylor at Crosby’s Lodge reported a 20 pounder caught by Kris Mickelson of Reno on a fly at the Nets topped the board this week. It was a tough week with only eight double digit fish caught, mostly by flyfishermen that were elbow-to-elbow all down the west side of the lake. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters said his last trip produced twenty 17- to 22-inch cutthroats for 4 clients. He was trolling Apex south of the Nets. Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters said fishing was good on the east side at Red Bay and Anderson trolling firetiger Apex at 35 to 40 feet deep. His biggest fish was an 8 pounder his clients kept with limits (2) of 19 1/2- to 19 3/4-inch trout.
RED LAKE—Caples Lake Resort reported that the lake had thawed and shore fishermen were doing well for cutthroats off the dam with worms and bay shrimp.
SILVER LAKE—The lake is at 74-percent capacity and completely thawed allowing for good shore fishing.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 22-percent capacity. With the lake so low, boat launching was small aluminums and cartoppers only. Shore fishing was the best bet at the inlet areas of the Little Truckee River and Sagehen Creek past any visible current to avoid stream fishing closures!!
TOPAZ LAKE—The lake was stocked by the DFW this past week.
TRUCKEE RIVER—Mountain Hardware and Sports reported the flyfishing was good throughout the river with BWO hatches especially big in the Glenshire area. There was still some skwalla stone activity and the March browns were beginning to show.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 78-percent capacity. Heavy inflows of cold water shut the mack bite down, according to Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service. The USFS needs to open the gate to the Sunset boat ramp since there’s no snow and they can isolate the campgrounds behind a locked gate!!
WEST WALKER RIVER—Sam Foster at the Toiyabe Motel reported there was little, if any, fishing pressure here. Mono County will stock 300 pounds of 3-pound average rainbows before the opener.
AMERICAN RIVER – Some stripers are showing up at the mouth of the American as the spawning run gets under way.
FEATHER RIVER – Boaters are fishing minnows near Boyds Pump and reporting good numbers of stripers while bank anglers are doing well at Beercan Beach. A mix of keeper-size and undersize fish are showing up in the catch. Bombers, Yo-Zuri plugs and bait such as pile worms, ghost shrimp, sardines and anchovies are taking fish.
FOLSOM LAKE – Fishing for landlocked kings is slow to fair near the dam. Some bass are being caught by boaters and shore anglers. Trout fishing overall is slow.
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 – Fly fishing for rainbows has improved. Flows were 517 cfs on Sunday. Some larger trout are being to appear. Fly anglers are using rubber legs and prince nymphs.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff – Fishing for native rainbows has been good. Plugs are catching trout between Redding and Anderson, where fly fishing also has been good. Daytime caddis hatches also have kept fly anglers busy.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa – Stripers are present in catchable numbers from the Delta to the mouth of the Feather River. Sturgeon fishing is good throughout the lower river, with keepers being caught each day. Knight’s Landing has been good for sturgeon for anglers using pile worms and eel. Stripers are biting a variety of plugs, as well as jumbo minnows. The run will continue well into May.