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, Ore.—Flows are at 2,390 cfs and the river is warming, but rains are forecast for the weekend and that’s just what’s needed to cool down the river, bring flows up and bring in more springer salmon. Dedicated anglers putting in their time have been getting one or two salmon a day this past week, in the Elephant Rock and Lobster Creek area. Guide Steve Huber, also caught a late hatchery adult steelhead, along with some springers, fishing the head of the bay on the outgoing tide. Guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets concurred, “Spring Chinook are coming in strong some days and spotty on others at the mouth of the Rogue River. The lower hog-lines at the top of the Rogue Bay just below the island are consistently doing the best. They get first crack at these salmon as they enter the river. Above Lobster Creek the springer fishing seems to be consistent for the few guides choosing to fish a little higher on the river and with a bit more privacy. They are catching a fish or two a day most days and I was told that a couple boats have been catching even more fish. The end of April has always been a good time to catch springer’s in Gold Beach, however, May has been a lot stronger month.”
ROGUE RIVER, Grants Pass, Ore.—“Anglers are still catching some downrunner steelhead, but that action is slowing down. Anglers are turning towards springers, as the salmon are slowly moving into local areas,” said guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. “But we need to have more water let out at Lost Creek Lake, as the river is warming and needs cooler water from the dam. Most anglers this week are gearing up for trout action on the local lakes, which will open next weekend. Best trout action will probably be on garlic flavored Power Bait or Pautzke’s.”
RUSSIAN RIVER—In a rare combination of events, anglers can now catch steelhead and shad at the same time here, as mostly downer steelhead are found below Steelhead Beach, and the first of the shad have been caught at Johnson’s Beach, according to Scott Heemstra of King’s Sport and Tacke in Guerneville. Smallmouth bass are also begin to show signs of activity with the warming waters. Flows are at 350 cfs.
UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Ore.–It has been slower fishing this week just below the town of Elkton for the spring Chinook salmon, said guide and WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. “This last week reports are telling me that they are catching a few ever day. The rods haven’t been as active this week as they had been in prior weeks. With the low river conditions, it has many angler’s staying at home this season. Farther upriver in Roseburg the salmon fishing is even a little slower this last week.”
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Glide, Ore.–The North Umpqua River has always been admired for the springer run of salmon and this year is no different, said guide Curtis Palmer. Anglers are landing some large fish from near the “deadline” where angling comes to a stop for a few hundred feet and then becomes fly fishing only water. “The salmon hold up in many of the deeper pools and chutes when they get this far into the river system,” he said. “It allows anglers to drift or float their gear past a bunch of fish many times during a morning outing. Seems like every morning there are a couple big kings being caught off a high cliff rock on many of the corners of the river above the town of Glide. The cold waters of the North Umpqua will help keep these salmon in very good shape for quite some time still.”
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate – Fishing pressure has been light, with many of the steelhead spawned and heading back to the ocean. Warm weather has improved dry fly action for steelhead. This year’s upper Klamath salmon limit will be two adults and one jack.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp – Conditions are good and anglers are catching a mix of spawned out adult steelhead and halfpounder steelhead.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen – Fishing is slow for spring salmon. This year’s fall salmon limit is two adults and one jack, the California Fish and Game Commission decided last week, and the area around Blue Creek will be closed to fishing, with the F & G Commission decision ignoring recommendations of DFW biologists.
TRINITY RIVER – Steelhead fishing continues to slow down, but a few fresh steelhead and more numerous spawned out fish are being caught by driftboaters and bank anglers in the Lewiston and Douglas City areas.
BERKELEY—Halibut and striped bass were both on tap. Happy Hooker got into the striped bass with high counts like 51 bass on Friday. Drifting live baits along the bottom or under bobbers was working for private boaters. A thick 22-pound halibut was caught aboard New El Dorado III on the Berkeley Flats.
BODEGA BAY/LAWSON’S LANDING—Rockfish were steady dates and lingcod showed up at the party. New Sea Angler fished Fort Ross to the north and Point Reyes to the south. On the southern trips, the crew pulled crab pots to add limits of Dungeness crabs to anglers’ already hefty sacks. Good counts of salmon were hooked off of Bodega Head and some of those were boated from an area where plenty of krill showed up.
EMERYVILLE—C Gull II worked the salmon on Sunday and boated 3 of the beauties. Sea Wolf, New Huck Finn and Tigerfish went after rockfish and posted gratifying results with lots of lingcod coming up with the rockfish. Tigerfish finished the day inside the Bay to add 3 striped bass.
FORT BRAGG—Some good-sized salmon were brought aboard Telstar, including a 17 pounder and an 18 pounder. The boat pulled limits of Dungeness crabs, which are proving to be plentiful and heavy here in the late season. A private boater also hauled in an 18 pounder. Red tail perch bit very well at the Noyo Harbor Jetty.
HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA— Fishin’ Fools club elder statesman, 96-year-old Archie Frick took the first salmon of the year among his buddies aboard Queen of Hearts. Huli Cat found ideal salmon waters with all the right signs of life and brought in some fish, first at the shipping lanes, then at Deep Reef. Four stripers to 21 pounds were caught by surf fishers using lures near Pacifica.
SAN FRANCISCO—Salmon fishing was tough, but Wacky Jacky caught some fish. One of those salmon had fresh marks on its side from a battle with (and escape from) a Humboldt squid. Bass Tub whacked the bass and caught some nice fish to 14 pounds fishing the Central Bay. Argo also fished bass on Berkeley Flats.
SHELTER COVE/EUREKA—Even with horrid weather, a few boats made it out of Shelter Cove and found fish. C’Mon nailed limits for her passengers. A kayaker caught a 15 pounder. At Eureka, jetty fishing was limited because people couldn’t safely fish out near the ends of the jetty, yet they did score perch, rockfish and kelp greenling.
VALLEJO—Striped bass bit wildly on the Napa side near Kennedy Park and also along the waterfront, where a few flounder were also caught. Pile worms and grass shrimp were the best baits. A 54-inch sturgeon was checked in at Norm’s Bait & Tackle during the week.
AMERICAN RIVER – With flows down to 500 cfs, fishing is slow.
FEATHER RIVER – Some stripers are being caught at Boyds Pump and Beercan Beach, with good fishing reports last week on artificials and minnows. Shad fishing also has improved at Shanghai Bend.
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. Trout are biting at daylight near the surface in the South Fork area. Kastmasters have been working. Trout fishing was better last week than it has been for several weeks.
RANCHO SECO LAKE – Warm water has slowed trout fishing, although some rainbows are still being caught. Bass fishing is improving.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir – Anglers are starting to report good fishing for rainbows on a variety of nymphs. Warm weather over the weekend sparked several hatches.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff – Fly fishing continues to be good for native rainbows. The river will close to all fishing between Keswick Dam and the Highway 44 bridge from April 27 to July 31.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa – Striper fishing is good near Rio Vista and even better near Colusa. Jumbo minnows are out-producing other baits and lures. Shad are entering the river in greater numbers now. Sturgeon fishing remain fair to good at Knight’s Landing.
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 19-percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW this past week. Fishing was best at the dam and the inlet using floating dough bait or worms. Try casting a Kastmaster spoon, too.
CAPLES LAKE—The lake is at 82-percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW this past week. Caples Lake Resort opened its ramp to the public this past weekend. The EID ramp will open May 1. Fishing was good with big macks up shallow prowling around for the new DFW planters
CARSON RIVER (East, West)—Both rivers were stocked by the DFW and Alpine County this past week for the opener on Saturday. Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported the East Carson received 1350 pounds of trophy trout, the West Carson 1350 pounds, Markleeville Creek 450 pounds, and Silver Creek 450 pounds. The DFW stocked 800 pounds each in both rivers. The opener should be EXCELLENT!!!
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 57-percent capacity and is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported shore fishing and flyfishing slowed to a crawl as the spawning activity diminished and the trout moved out to deeper water. Trollers were picking up to 4 to 10 fish on red-dot frog Needlefish run 12 feet deep north of the island.
DONNER LAKE—The lake is at 62-percent capacity. Trolling for 11-inch kokanee was good for experienced boaters toplining pink dodger/spinner or bug combos at China Cove. Launching is still available here.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON—The North Fork above Caribou Crossroads Resort was flowing well, but anglers were still being seen poaching before the season—DFW wardens where are you?? Caribou Crossroads Resort will hold an opening day fishing derby on April 25 with a $5 entry (100% payback). A pancake breakfast will start the day and entries must be paid by 7 a.m. with the last weigh-in at 5 p.m. Prizes will be given for top adult and junior entries. All kids who enter will get a prize.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 36-percent capacity. Shore fishing was still best at Turkey Point. Jacob Dermott and a friend caught six 18-inch rainbows on nightcrawlers. Another shore angler picked up 6 catfish at the Frenchman ramp on worms. The campgrounds were open and the courtesy dock was installed at the Frenchman ramp.
GOLD LAKES BASIN—Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden reported fishing was good at Sardine Lake near the boat ramp. Fishing at Gold Lake was good by the outflow where one troller found some big macks feeding on a school of DFW planters and scored a 10 to 12 pounder on F-11 blue/silver Rapala. Look for big browns and macks feeding near the surface on minnows and small trout in the early morning or late afternoon.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 81-percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW trout plant this past week. Fishing should be good from shore near the boat ramp or trolling using a dodger/grub or nightcrawler in the top 10 feet.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Shore fishing at the dam and the campgrounds was producing some nice holdover rainbows on floating dough bait and nightcrawlers.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR—The lake is full, according to NID. Trolling should be good for holdover rainbows and some nice browns.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—Shore fishing was good for rainbows at the first dam using worms and floating dough bait.
LAKE TAHOE—Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing reported a tough bite for brown trout, but he still put clients on one to five trout to 7 pounds using Shadow Raps in silver/black and gold/black in shallow water from South Shore to Meeks Bay. Nielsen was also picking up six or seven 5- to 7-pound macks trolling ThunderStiks, Shadow Raps, and Scatter Raps at 60 to 150 feet deep off the Tahoe Keys. Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported a good week mooching live bait on the bottom at Sugar Pine at 90 to 120 feet deep for mostly 2- to 5-pound macks with the occasional fish to 8 pounds, a brown or two to 5 pounds, and the occasional rainbow to 3 pounds.
LOON LAKE—The lake is at 40-percent capacity. The USFS needs to open the gate to the main boat ramp while there’s still water so fishermen can enjoy what will surely be a short season with no appreciable runoff to look forward to.
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 19-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week and was stocked this past week too. Mountain Hardware and Sports suggested fishing near the old boat ramp at Hobart Mills Rd or at the dam.
PYRAMID LAKE—Valarie Taylor at Crosby’s Lodge reported another slow week with only two fish weighed in all this past week. Peter Thompson of Sparks caught a 15-pound cutthroat at the Nets on a black fly. A 13 pounder was caught off the shore near the marina. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service fished for a week with 6 to 8 other boats and scored lots of 17- to 20-inch cutthroat but only one quality fish—a 9.7-pound trout landed by Sam Sanmartano of Reno. They had the best success dragging the downrigger ball on the bottom in 20 to 50 feet of water with a Double Flutter spoon rigged close to the ball. Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported doing well on his Sunday trip landing 17 cutthroats from 18 to 22 inches from Red Bay to Hell’s Kitchen on bleeding frog FlatFish trolled 20 feet deep on the downriggers, and 100 to 135 feet back on the toplines using 1- and 1 1/2-ounce banana weights.
RED LAKE—Victor Babbitt at TFFO reported fishing for cutthroats was still good at the dam using floating dough bait and worms.
SILVER LAKE—The lake is at 83-percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW this past week. Trolling and shore fishing should be good—look for big macks prowling the shallows to feed on the planters. Cast or troll a big Rapala for a chance at a large Mackinaw.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake has dropped to 19-percent capacity! For small cartop boaters, trolling for 15- to 16-inch kokanee was very good at the mouths of the Little Truckee and Sagehen arms or near the island toplining a pink or green dodger with the same color spinners or Koke-a-nuts tipped with Pautzke’s Fire Corn. Launching a boat off a trailer was very difficult if not impossible due to muddy conditions with the lake so low!!
TOPAZ LAKE—12- to 15-foot aluminum fishing boats on single-axle trailers can launch at Topaz Landing Marina. The County Park was launching larger boats on tandem-axle trailers. An Auburn fishing group with 48 members fished Topaz Landing Marina this past week and they only caught 60 fish in 3 days—slow!! The top 4 fish weighed 3 1/4 to 3 3/4 pounds and were caught trolling Rapalas at 20 feet deep.
TRUCKEE RIVER—The flows in the river below the Boca Outlet were down to 200 cfs with only 100 cfs coming out of Boca. The river through town was only running at 45 cfs—a trickle!! Mountain Hardware and Sports reported fish were isolated in deeper water and hitting March Brown, BWO, skwalla, midges, and San Juan worms.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 84-percent capacity and was stocked by the DFW this past week. If the USFS would open the gate at Sunset, folks could get to the newly-planted trout–call the Pacific Ranger Station to ask when the gate will be opened at 530-644-2349.
WEST WALKER RIVER—The West Walker and Little Walker are scheduled for DFW trout plants this week in advance of the April 25 opener. Sam Foster reported there were lots of flyfishermen getting tuned up for the opener catching-and-releasing plenty of rainbows.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE—If you can find clean water, light pressure and bedding fish you’ll be in luck. The Redbud arm just bloomed out this week from Anderson Island down to the launch area of Thompson Harbor. The clearest area of the lake is the Rattlesnake arm overall and parts of the upper end are okay on a day-by-day basis. There are lots of little fish, so it’s a good time to bring the kids.
LAKE BERRYESSA—The smallies and largemouth bass are feeding up after the spawn and have been smashing LuckyCraft Gunfish and poppers in ghost minnow colors. Early and late there has been a topwater bite on the main body.
LAKE SONOMA—Trollers are seeing some trout action in the top 15 feet in the cleaner water near the creek mouths. Bass are in all stages of their spawn, so focus on 5 to 15 feet of water. There are also more post spawners so pull out the topwater tackle for early and late in the day.
LAKE ALMANOR—The offshore waters are holding the start-up hatches. The west shore has been holding the larger concentrations of rainbows, browns and a few salmon. If the wind picks up, fish the more protected east side.
BAUM LAKE—With mostly stable weather fishing has been good for mostly rainbows but also a few brown trout. It is warming back up and so are the BWO and midge hatches and bite.
BUCKS LAKE–The lake is full and the fishing has been good. They have been catching German brown, mackinaw and rainbow trout in the middle of the lake.
FALL RIVER— Opens April 25.
UPPER HAT CREEK—Opens April 25.
McCLOUD RIVER—Opens April 25.
MCCLOUD RESERVOIR—The reservoir sees very little pressure here and the fishing is fine. Check out the waters near the northern portion of the lake for trout. Your best chance happens midday where the upper McCloud comes into the lake.
PIT RIVER—The fishing and water conditions have been very good. A few March browns have been showing up again. Most of the fishing pressure has been at Pit no. 3 but also check out Pit no. 4 and 5. The fishing should be good here for the next few months.
TRINITY RESERVOIR—The bass fishing continues to be great.
SHASTA LAKE—The lake is still 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 then the trout will get going again. For big bass, try topwater early and late and then toss worms and Senkos, ripbaits and spinnerbaits. The fish are smaller, but you can catch a ton of them during the day.
AMERICAN RIVER—The South Fork at Coloma is scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Starting April 25, anglers can use barbed hooks and bait and keep 5 fish per day on the North Fork, Middle Fork, and South Fork above Folsom Lake.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 62-percent capacity. The bass bite was still hit-or-miss for big spots. Most anglers were catching big numbers of 1- to 1 1/2-pound bass and hoping for a 5 to 9 pounder. Senkos on a Paradise Tackle Company worm-head fished on flatter points and coves at 10 to 25 feet deep were working well.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake is still full. North Shore Resort reported bass fishing was good for anglers throwing worms, Senkos, and crankbaits. Ron Franks of Folsom landed 21 bass in the Bear River arm using purple Senkos and worms. Jake Cavasos of Sheridan stuck 29 fish using topwater in the early morning, and crankbaits and dart-head worms after the sun hit the water. The water temp was 58 to 62 degrees.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is 24 feet from full and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Collins Lake Resort received a trophy plant on April 15 and released two pens of rainbows this past week, and will stock another 1000 pounds of trophy fish and release another two pens this week. Trout fishing was very good with lots of rainbows in the 5- to 6 3/4-pound class weighed in by trollers and shore anglers. Sal Cagliano of Dobbins caught the biggest trout of the week, a 6 3/4-pound rainbow. Robert Murray was fishing for trout at the dam when he hooked a 9-pound catfish. Bass action was good with locals Dave Callison and Kevin Donovan catching limits on plastic worms. Jim Fiorentini of West Sac caught a 1 1/4-pound redear sunfish on worms near the island. Everything is biting!!
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 93-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Lisa Rogers at Skippers Cove Marina reported a boater scored 5 kokanee trolling in the middle section of the lake. These fish most likely washed down from Bullards Bar. Another boat with 3 anglers caught six rainbows averaging 2 1/2 pounds each topline trolling a threaded nightcrawler with no dodger or flasher. Trolling should be good in the marina after the DFW plant.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is at 43-percent capacity and was planted by the DFW this past week. The Foresthill Ranger Station reported the French Meadow boat ramp was usable for launching small aluminum boats. The McGuire ramp was closed. Fishing should be good since the recent DFW plant.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is still at 51-percent capacity—only up 9 inches all this past week. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported bass fishing was very good for 50 to 60 fish per day during very windy conditions this past week—calmer weather would have made the numbers much higher. Many bass have already spawned, but most were still moving up into shallow water. A tournament this past weekend was won with a 15-pound limit that included three 4 pounders caught on A-rigs on a steep wall outside a spawning cove. Tubes, drop-shot worms, grubs, spider jigs, Senkos, and Persuader Image Blade spinnerbaits were all working this past week; it was just a matter of getting the bait in front of the fish and working it slow! There was some topwater action in the early morning, but the bite was sporadic. The king salmon bite slowed down, according to Jim Netzel at Tight Lines Guide Service. Limits to near limits of 17- to 22-inch kings were still hitting the 8-inch Pro Trol Pro Chip dodger rigged ahead of a Gulp! Minnow at the dam and the Green Bridge 20 to 45 feet deep.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is at 96.7-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake is at 67-percent capacity and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Smallmouth bass fishing was good on the rocky banks between the marina and the dam and from Cascade Shore to the dam using green and brown plastic worms. Trout fishing was good for shore anglers and trollers between the marina and the dam.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—The lake is full and scheduled for a DFW trout plant this week. Trollers should do well using a flasher/worm. Shore anglers on the trail between the boat ramp and the dam should do well with nightcrawlers and floating dough bait.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The Georgetown Ranger Station reported some cartop boaters were launching below the ramp. Fishing was slow.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at 134.5-foot elevation at press time—85-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported catching 14 bass to 1 3/4 pounds flippin’ tubes on the tule banks on a very windy day while most of the lake was being used for boat and helicopter training by the Butte County Sheriff’s Dept. On a calmer day with no areas off limits, look for a good bite on the tules with tubes and Senkos, and on the rip-rap with black/blue jigs.