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.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach: The Rogue went from “slow” to “go” over the weekend, or will this coming week, as the low and clear conditions plaguing the river all week came to an end on Sunday when heavy rain began falling. The river should be prime this week. Flows are expected to jump to 6,000 cfs by Wednesday, according to WON guide and Staff Writer Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, and that will bring in a fresh run of springer salmon and make for better fishing conditions. According to WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets, “spring Chinook fishing was slow Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but the rains on Sunday had the river on the rise,” and he, also, expects excellent fishing around Tuesday.
ROGUE RIVER, Grants Pass, Ore.—The big news of the weekend was the catch of a couple of spring salmon, along with continued good catches of steelhead. On the salmon, one was 14 pounds caught on a Cleo, and the other fish taken near Touville Bridge was a 22 pounder. Hopefully there are more out there. Note: you can only keep hatchery salmon these days, wild ones must be released, noted guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. As for steelhead the fishing remains good with the low water level. Fishing has been best from Lathrop down to the Robinson Bridge, and improving in the Gold Hill area. Steelhead continue to being taken best on side-drifted roe or Puffballs dipped in Pautzke’s Nectar. Action is also picking up on the solid colored plugs, in blue, silver or pink. Fish the deep holes, behind rocks and below riffles.
RUSSIAN RIVER— Fishing continues to be excellent for mostly downrunners but also some new ones too, according to Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville. “Yesterday an 8-pound fresh hatchery fish was caught drifting a jig under a float. Jessie LaForce caught the nice 5-pound steelie using a center pin rod with a chartreuse bead under a float.” Bait season closed on April 1, but hardware is “producing just fine,” he said. River flows are currently at 380 cfs, but the forecast is calling for rain, which will bring up the flows and add some color to the water. Effective techniques have been running beads and jigs under floats, casting Little Cleos or spinners, and swinging mini-intruders, Comets, Bosses and crystal buggers, he said.
UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Ore.–Spring Chinook fishing is becoming better and better as the days go by. The deep channels carved in the heavy structure rock of the Umpqua River help keep the salmon closer to the baits. Spinner fishermen have been doing better this last week catching springers than the anglers using bait. There have been a few steelhead caught in the Umpqua River last week, but there aren’t very many of them still in the lower river.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Glide, Ore.–Steelhead fishing has finally been consistently very good all of last week. The crowds have disappeared and that has helped a bunch on giving anglers double digit days on the river. It has been a 50/50 mix of fresh bright steelhead and colorful downer’s returning back to the sea. A 12-pound summer steelhead was caught near Glide last week. I am sure we will see a few more of them in the next couple weeks.
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 1,630 cfs Sunday, about 300 cfs more than the week before.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp – With flows at 2,470 cfs on Sunday, conditions were good for late-season steelhead. A mix of halfpounders and adults are showing in the catch for anglers side-drifting or running plugs. Pressure has been light.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen – Flows on the lower Klamath were 10,500 cfs on Sunday. Fishing pressure has been light, but halfpounders and adult steelhead are present in the lower river. Springers will arrive in late May and early June.
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 sea-run brown trout. Steelhead smolt releases are making bait fishing tough. Flows from Lewiston Dam were 306 cfs on Sunday. Flows are Hoopa were 1,720 cfs.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE—Look for bedding bass or catching dozens of small 6- to 10-inch juvenile bass all over the lake. For the next few weeks here the best bet is going to be sight fishing for bedding bass. Fishing has been tough due to erratic weather changes. If the water is clear enough, sight fish for bedding bass. If it isn’t, then cover water.
LAKE BERRYESSA—A few small king salmon are starting to be caught shallow early in the morning, but most were still using downriggers. Fish the protected secondary points that have rock on them for bass. When the sun gets high you can put on your polarized sunglasses and see the beds.
LAKE SONOMA—Bass are in all stages of their spawn right now, so grab just about anything you want from your tackle box and catch fish right now by focusing on 5 to 15 feet of water. Trout trollers are also seeing action in the top 15 feet in the cleaner water up near the creek mouths.
LAKE ALMANOR—There are still some trout in the shallows but you’ll have to sort through all of the smallmouth bass to get them. Farther offshore, both rainbows and brown trout are on tap along with a few salmon.
BAUM LAKE—The action has been steady with the good weather for mostly rainbows but also a few brown trout. Now that it has cooled off, so have the hatches. As soon as it warms back up so will the hatches and bite.
BUCKS LAKE–The lake is full and the fishing and weather have been great. There was snow this past week though. Before that, they were catching German browns, mackinaw and rainbow trout.
MCCLOUD RESERVOIR—This reservoir sees very little pressure and with little to no pressure here, check out the waters near the northern portion of the lake for trout. Your best chance happens midday near where the upper McCloud comes into the lake.
PIT RIVER—The fishing and water conditions have been good, but a few days are needed for the waters to clean up again. A few March browns were showing up before the weather cooled down. Most of the fishing pressure has been at Pit no. 3 so also check out Pit no. 4 and 5.
TRINITY RESERVOIR—The trout fishing was slow with no fish marked in the usual trout holes.
SHASTA LAKE—The lake has been in transition and the trout bite backed off all around the lake. All that is needed, though, are a few days of consistent warm weather so the bait will show up and it will going again. In the main body near the Jones Valley ramp fish all of the points for bass in all stages of their spawn.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 34-percent capacity. The dam and the inlet were still the go-to spots here. Try for browns at the dam and rainbows at the inlet.
CAPLES LAKE—The lake is at 80.7-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Caples Lake Resort installed docks at the boat ramp and cabin 7 this past week for use by resort guests. They should open to the public by April 15. Shore anglers were picking up some nice browns by the spillway on nightcrawlers and Kastmaster spoons.
CARSON RIVER (East)—Alpine County will stock 1800 pounds of rainbows on April 13 and 1800 pounds on April 22 in the East and West Carson before the trout season opener—expect a fantastic opening weekend!! Flyfishermen were seen parked at Hangman’s Bridge every day this past week, but none were seen. The best fishing has been 2 or more miles below the Bridge.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 57-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported the dock was installed this past week at the Honker Cove boat ramp. At the current lake level and based on past history of water releases, the ramp should stay open until July. Dillard trolled a copper/red head Dick Nite and red dot frog Needlefish for 1/2-hour this past week on a shakedown cruise and caught one 16-inch rainbow. Visibility was 5 feet—less than normal for this time of year. Shore fishermen were picking up 2 or 3 rainbows on a good day, so it’s been slow. It was snowing at the lake when WON called on Sunday!!
DONNER LAKE—The lake is at 62-percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW this past week. Kokanee were hitting a toplined pink dodger and pink spinners or Koke-a-Nuts. The fish were fat 11 inchers. Look for big macks to move shallow to feed on the kokes.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON—The North Fork at Belden will be stocked this week by the DFW in advance of the April 25 stream season opener. Caribou Crossroads Resort will open on April 10.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 37-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported shore fishermen were doing well at the dam, Crystal Point, and Turkey Point for 16- to 18-inch rainbows using nightcrawlers and floating dough bait. Trollers were launching at the Frenchman ramp and picking up rainbows on flashers trailing Dick Nite spoons or nightcrawlers.
GOLD LAKES BASIN—Lower Sardine Lake, Upper Salmon Lake, Gold Lake, and Snag Lake were stocked by the DFW this past week.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 82-percent capacity and is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Trollers and shore anglers should do well near the boat ramp area after the plant. According to Dale Daneman at Dale’s Foothill Fishing Service, a friend saw lots of fish jumping on a calm flat day this past week, but only caught a 21-inch brown on a Sep’s brown grub behind a watermelon Strike Master Dodger trolled 20 feet deep.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Alpine County will stock this lake with 1800 pounds of rainbows within the next week.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR—The lake is full. By last report, the boat ramp was open and some big browns were hitting for trollers.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—The lake is at 80-plus percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW this past week. Carl Branco of Pollock Pines caught an 11-pound, 5-ounce Mackinaw casting a blue/silver Kastmaster from his kayak—he got a “Nantucket Sleigh Ride” while struggling to get the 29-inch fish in his small net. Stock small rainbows in the lake and the big macks move to the shallows to feed!! Shore anglers were catching limits of rainbows at the first and second dam, and near the boat ramp. Little Cassidy and Madison Wheeler both caught lots of rainbows from the shore on floating dough bait, according to Denise Cole at Sly Park Resort.
LAKE TAHOE—Fishing here was a tough proposition due to the windy weather during the later part of the week, but Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing went out and had a good day despite the cold, rough, windy conditions and scored limits of 4- to 8-pound macks for a group from Ukraine. He stayed at Dollar Point and trolled 180 to 220 feet deep for only 3 hours before heading in with 10 fish. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing reported tough fishing for browns and macks at South Shore. 2- to 5-pound browns were hitting Rapala Scatter Shad, F11, and CD9s in 50 to 70 feet of water and the macks were down at 180 to 220 feet deep. Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported good action early in the week for limits of macks to 10 pounds at South Shore mooching minnows on the bottom in 180 to 200 feet of water.
LOON LAKE—The lake is at 44-percent capacity. The USFS needs to open the gate here so fishermen can enjoy the lake while there’s still some water in it!! Trolling should be good for small boaters launching at the gravel ramp at the dam, but wouldn’t it be nice if big boats could launch at the paved ramp!!
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 18-percent capacity. With so little water in this lake, the dam is about the only place left to fish for a rainbow or two casting a spoon or small Rapala, or soaking an inflated nightcrawler. You might pick up a smallmouth, too.
PYRAMID LAKE—Valarie Taylor at Crosby’s Lodge reported a slow week with only 2 fish weighed in—a 13-pound 10.4-ounce and 13-pound 3.2-ounce, both caught from shore on flies and spoons. Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported good action trolling on 3 trips that produced 7, 26, and 12 fish. The largest fish was caught on Thursday and weighed 11 1/2 pounds (C&R). He was trolling firetiger Apex at 37 to 47 feet deep from Pelican to the old marina at Crosby’s Lodge. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters reported one good trip before the winds set in. On a 4-hour trip on Tuesday, his clients caught 36 fish from Spider Point to Pelican. He had non-stop action at Spider until the sun came up for 17- to 23-inch cutthroats running Apex lures.
RED LAKE—Victor Babbitt at Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters (TFFO) reported shore anglers were picking up plenty of cutthroats at the dam on floating dough bait.
SILVER LAKE—The lake is at 80-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Shore fishing should perk up with the plant around the boat ramp and the dam. Look for big macks to move shallow to feed on the rainbows.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 20-percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW this past week. Small boaters launching off the shore were doing well on 14- to 15-inch kokanee toplining pink dodgers with pink spinners and Koke-a-nuts. Launching is 4-wheel drive only!!
TOPAZ LAKE—Small boats were still able to launch at the County Park, but probably only until mid-May. Fishing was slow according to Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina.
TRUCKEE RIVER—Victor Babbitt at TFFO reported flyfishing was good in the Glenshire and Hirschdale areas using squalla stone and baetis patterns, both nymphs and dries from rainbows and browns running 14 to 20 inches.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 81-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. If the DFW is going to plant the lake, the USFS needs to open the Sunset gate to allow fishermen to get to the trout instead of driving to the dam over Pea Vine Ridge Road. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported hooking and losing 4 big fish on his last trip and finally landing a 6-pound mack. The fish were hitting a dodger/herring trolled close to the bottom on sandy ledges at 50 to 70 feet deep.
WEST WALKER RIVER—Sam Foster at the Toiyabe Motel reported Mono County would stock 400 pounds of 3- to 5-pound rainbows on April 22 for opening weekend. It was windy and cold when WON called on Sunday and more weather was in the forecast.
BERKELEY—The flats off of Berkeley saw plenty of boat traffic, thanks to good catches of halibut and striped bass. Happy Hooker ran trips Friday and Saturday and put the hammer down hard on halibut to 22 pounds and striped bass to 17 pounds. The Cal Dawn just moved back here as home port and on Sunday they caught 15 stripers and 4 halibut for 15 angler using live anchovies.
BODEGA BAY—Only a few boats made it out for the salmon opener and each boat scored a few salmon early, before the bite slowed. On Sunday, a private boat pulled 2 limits of salmon near Bird Rock. Surf perch and crabs made the fishing effort worthwhile for shore-based anglers who had to carefully choose their fishing opportunities due to wind and seas.
EMERYVILLE— Emeryville Sportfishing reported that they have live bait available, which raised the bar on fishing options. New Huck Finn fished Saturday with 13 anglers who caught 5 striped bass and 6 halibut.
EUREKA/SHELTER COVE—While waiting for their –as yet undetermined –salmon opener, Crescent City and Eureka anglers made the drive to Shelter Cove where salmon fishing proved better than anticipated with fish ranging from 20 inches to 20 pounds. South Jetty at Eureka gave up some nice lingcod as well as rockfish and greenling. Red tail perch bit very well at some of the typical hotspots. Red rock crabs were caught at local piers.
FORT BRAGG—Crabbing was highly successful for both boaters and jetty snare-casters. Telstar scored full limits of heavy, healthy crabs on every outing. Jetty anglers did exceptionally well on red tail perch and caught some rockfish, greenling and cabezon. Salmon fishing was tough for all boats and the only fish reported was a single caught aboard a party boat.
HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA—Salmon were caught by party boats and private boats alike, with trolling proving to be more productive than mooching. Big striped bass to 27 pounds were caught in the surf at Pacifica, but the biggest of the week, a 30 pounder, was taken in the surf near Half Moon Bay.
SAN FRANCISCO—Bass Tub fished Sunday for a half day and hung a nice 20-pound halibut plus 6 stripers to 20 pounds. Wacky Jacky stayed at the dock for Easter but plans on chasing salmon from now on. Live bait is available, which adds to the fishing options.
AMERICAN RIVER – Striper fishing is slow, in part due to low water. Some shad have been reported at the mouth of the American.
FEATHER RIVER – Striper fishing has slowed considerably with the low water on the Feather. Some fish are being caught at Boyds Pump and Beercan Beach, but fishing is slow.
FOLSOM LAKE – Fishing for spotted and smallmouth bass has been good near South Fork, while the largemouth bass are still in deeper water. Some landlocked kings and trout were taken near the dam last week. The lake level is steady, which has helped fuel the bite for spots and smallies.
RANCHO SECO LAKE – Warm water has slowed trout fishing, although some rainbows are still being caught. Bass fishing is improving. More than 900 people fished in last weekend’s derby, won by Gregory Sanders of Wilton. The folks at the lake had no idea how big the winning trout was.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir – Fly fishing for rainbows has improved. Flows were 500 cfs on Sunday. Some larger trout are beginning to appear. Fly anglers are using rubber legs and prince nymphs.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff – Fishing for native rainbows has been good, but low flows are making fishing from jet boats nearly impossible. Some drift boaters are running plugs, but most are fly fishing. The state is considering closing the stretch from Highway 44 to Kewswick Dam from late April through July to protect spawning winter-run kings.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa – Stripers are spread out, but fishing has been fair to good when anglers can locate schools of fish. Jumbo minnows and topwater lures are working well. Bank anglers are doing best in shallower water, where the bait is holding. Sturgeon fishing has been good at Knight’s Landing on combinations of pile worms and ghost shrimp. Crappie also have begun to bite, while the first shad of the season have been caught.
AMERICAN RIVER, Foothills—The river was running low and clear but rain was forecast for this week that could increase flows. Zero limit fishing with artificial barbless lures only will switch over to 5 fish limits with bait and lures on April 25. Be prepared to hike down to the deep holes on the North and Middle Forks for the best shot at some nice rainbows and browns.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 62-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported catching 10 fish on a trip this past week. Most of the spots were 1 pounders plus some 1 1/2-pound fish, but his client stuck a 9-pound, 11-ounce spot in the morning and a 4 1/2 pounder in the early afternoon. Worm-head Senkos in natural shad worked best on points from 20 to 30 feet deep.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake is nearly full. Bass fishing was good this past week for fish to 5 pounds according to North Shore Resort.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is 24 feet from full. The Resort released two pens of rainbows this past week and received a 1000-pound private plant of catchables and trophy fish this past week. The resort will also release at least two more pen of rainbows this week too. As one would expect, trout fishing was very good for both shore anglers and trollers. Top trout of the week was a 6 1/4 pounder caught trolling near the dam. The dam was the hot spot for shore anglers using worms and floating dough bait. The Nor Cal Trout Angler Challenge Derby is set for April 11 with a $20 pre-register or $25 day-of entry. Fishing should be spectacular with all the trout plants.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 92-percent capacity. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn said trollers were picking up some of the holdover pen-reared fish from Skippers Cove Marina to 6 pounds up near the No-Ski buoys. Lisa Rogers at Skippers Cove Marina reported seeing bass moving up into the shallows in the marina that look to be in the 10-pound range and nobody fishes for them.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is at 43-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. The lake was too low to allow launching of trailered boats—cartoppers, canoes, and kayaks only this season
FULLER LAKE—The lake was stocked by the DFW this past week. Fish near the day-use area and the dam.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 51-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported the bass fishing was “hotter than a pistol” with fish counts from 50 to 100/day. Bass were in all phases of the spawn—pre-spawn, spawning, and post-spawn. The pre- and post-spawn fish were on points and walls leading into coves and flats. The spawners were in the coves or on flat points. Tubes, drop-shot and dart-head worms, lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits were all working. The fish were all 1 1/2 to 2 pounders with few fish any bigger than 2 pounds. Sunny, southern exposure coves and flats were holding the most fish as were sunny walls. The water temp cooled this past week from 66 to 62 degrees and rain was in the forecast for this week. Jim Netzel at Tight Lines Guide Service was putting clients on non-stop king salmon action trolling dodgers and artificial minnows at the dam at 30 to 45 feet deep. The fish were running 13 to 24 inches.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is at 97-percent capacity. Bass fishing was good in the coves as the fish moved shallow to spawn. Drop-shot and darthead worms and tubes were working well for bedded fish. Trout action was hit-or-miss.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake is at 69-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at NID reported shore anglers were still catching limits of 8- to 11-inch rainbows in the marina and off the point adjacent to the marina on floating dough bait and Kastmaster spoons. Smallmouth bass to 3 pounds were still hitting plastic worms on the rocky shore at Cascade near the over flow. One angler said he caught a dozen bass on his last trip.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—Trout fishing should still be good after the DFW plant a couple weeks ago.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—Shore fishing was decent near the boat ramp after the DFW plant 3 weeks ago. Car top boaters were trolling with some success.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at 134.9-foot elevation at press time—88-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported the bass bite was “kickin’ butt” with fish hitting Senkos pitched on the outsides of the tule banks and crankbaits worked on the rip-rap banks and rocky points.