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 salmon were caught in the estuary last week as the salmon begin to stage for their run upriver after the first fall rains. The ocean out of Brookings is now closed to salmon fishing until Oct. 1. The estuary run peaks in Ocober and the upriver fishery is best in late October and early November, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.
COOS RIVER, Coos Bay, Ore.—No results available from the derby over the weekend, but Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Company figured it was a fun weekend. “Lots of nice-sized Chinooks were caught over the weekend with an average size of 18 pounds and possibly 20-pound average. Solid chrome salmon and many being caught. Earlier in the week it was a struggle for many experienced anglers, as they were small salmon and not very many each day. I know of many boats just catching one or two small very small Chinooks. There are kings being caught up the forks of the Coos River as well. South Fork has salmon high in the system. Millacoma fork has salmon as high as the second boat ramp, Rook Higgins. Weather is changing and much needed. Expecting rain Tuesday and Wednesday on Oregon Coast. This should bring in fresh salmon and it will most likely entice the fish in all rivers to move up stream quite fast.”
COQUILLE RIVER, Bandon, Ore.—Definitely a mixed bag of situations here, according to Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Company. “Beginning of the week, anglers were catching 12-pound Chinooks. After two days of that disappointment for many, it was back to the big kings at an average of two salmon per boat weighing in at 25-30 pounds,” Palmer said. “Nice big fish. By Friday it was a good, but a short bite on the push of the tide near the 101 bridge. I saw doubles a couple times in that area. A nice school of coho had entered the river and on the 15th we can retain a native coho (but please look over the regulations ). Upriver at Rocky Point the fishing was slower than a short distance down river. As I traveled upriver to Bear Creek it became a spinner show instead of plug cut herring. As the tide changed and started moving back out the kings and coho started a good bite on spinners in the big flat at Bear Creek. I found a bunch of dead hours until evening tides came in at the mouth of the Coquille and then it was a fast-paced situation. Seals were stealing salmon from anglers lines, but some caught 4 salmon in hour and were heading for the cleaning station.”
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore.—Cooler water temperatures and increased flows moved the king that were in the Bay upriver and fishing was good for a one-shot try at the moving fish up to Agness and beyond, according to Guide Bill Divens of SalmonKingLodge.com. Dropping flows expected to kick in this week should warm the water and shut off the flow of salmon, holding them in the Bay again for trollers. Silver salmon entered the picture this past week.
ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass, Ore.– Salmon fishing continues to be fair to good with the river level stabilized a bit. Anglers are still scoring on Kwikfish wrapped with sardine fillets or back bounced roe. Spoons are also working well. Bank anglers are using Corkies with a short leader to catch a few. Steelhead fishing is pretty good on halfpounders and an occasional larger one, said Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. The bass fishing continues to be fair to good at Lake Selmac on topwater lures in the morning and evening. Mid-day action is best on plastic worms. Applegate Lake is picking up on trout following a DFG stocking with many fish over 12 inches in length, taken on trolled Wedding Rings.
RUSSIAN RIVER—Smallmouth bass fishing is still good on the river, but largemouth bass are also starting to show in the Monte Rio to Villa Grande section, according to Scott Heemstra of King’s Sport and Tackle. Flows are currently at a very slow 70 cfs, and the temperature is also at 70 degrees. The dams are coming out, and Vacation Beach came out on Sept. 17, and Johnson’s will be removed on the 25th.
UMPQUA RIVER, Reedsport, Ore.—“Salmon fishing was back to normal by this last weekend, I am told by regular anglers of the lower Umpqua River,” said Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Tackle Company. “It was very favorable, and an old friend told me it was the first time he has ever tagged out his wife and two daughter on the same trip. That was on Saturday,which seems to have been the best day of last week to fish the Windy Bend area. Earlier in the week anglers finally found multiple hookups. However, earlier in the week there had been long slow fishing stretches. Those who did put in the hours of trolling would of most likely managed to not get skunked. If stormy weather and rains are not too heavy early in this next week, we should see some very active salmon fishing.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate – Anglers have begun to fish for king salmon near Hornbrook, with slow success so far, expect catchable numbers of kings by next week. Flows out of Iron Gate Dam were 1,060 cfs on Sunday.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp – Wild steelhead are being caught near Orleans and Happy Camp. Anglers are beginning to focus on salmon. Flows at Seiad Valley were 1,090 cfs on Sunday.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen – Higher flows over the weekend led to slower salmon fishing, although anglers were still catching fish side-drifting roe. Fishing was considerably better on Sunday compared to Saturday. The spit closed to shore fishing Tuesday, Sept. 15.
TRINITY RIVER – Salmon and steelhead fishing came to a halt as flows hit 3,300 cfs at Lewiston last week before dropping back to 1,100 cfs. The spike in flows was aimed at reducing any fish kills in the Klamath River. Salmon and an increasing number of hatchery steelhead are spread throughout the Trinity, drawn in by the higher flows. Expect good fishing this week as the river is back in fishable shape.
North Coast Lakes
CLEAR LAKE–The outstanding summer bass bite anglers have been experiencing has gone away, in part due to crowds of tournament anglers. The reddish brown algae that had taken over the upper portion of the lake has finally spread down throughout the other two arms of the lake. Plan on junk fishing, which means be prepared to do everything you know.
LAKE BERRYESSA— The lake is still producing nice limits of bass from 1 to 3 pounds. Drop-shot rigs are working the best fishing on offshore structure. Bass have been pushing balls of shad around and gorging on them so use shad patterns. The koke bite is winding down. The kokanee season is starting to slow down. A lot of the bigger fish are far along, but you can catch as many of next year’s fish as you want. When the lake cools this fall, the Eagle Lake rainbows should be on a good bite.
LAKE SONOMA—With hot water, the catfish bite has been very good. Try fresh cut mackerel on a sliding sinker rig and target creek channels in 30 feet of water on a channel swing.
LAKE ALMANOR—With tons of bait in the East Basin, that is where the boats have been heading. The early bite starts at 10 feet and moves down to 30 as the sun climbs. Speedy Shiners are always worth a try here.
BAUM LAKE—Go early if you want to use dry flies, although some days have been more productive than others. The bite is best from the early morning until midday. This lake will fish well at least until October and is a great place, particularly if you have a float tube, pontoon boat, pram or even a driftboat. Check DFW’s website for trout plant dates by the boat ramp.
EAGLE LAKE—Once the weather levels out it should be good until the end of the season. But the bite has been hit or miss as the lake and fish transition. Some days it was all about the flies, others were better with bobbers or trolling. Anchor in 40 to 45 feet of water fishing from 5 to 15 feet with a threaded nightcrawler and some anise oil. The bobber bite is early, so once it stops, switch to trolling and top line Jay Fair flies in cinnamon leech, The All Around Best fly and The Hot One fly. The lake closes December 31.
FALL RIVER—Trout fishing has been good for some and not so good for others. Consider hiring a local guide as their knowledge will pay off. A popular technique here is using black or olive colored leeches on a sinking line and look for rising fish. Water conditions have been great.
UPPER HAT CREEK—Plenty of planters. Spinners are a good bet on this part of the creek. The flat waters below the Power House No. 2 riffle have been producing some fish, but overall the fishing has been fair to good. Fish early before the sun gets high in the sky as it has been hot up here and then right at sunset. The water conditions have been good here.
MANZANITA LAKE—You can fish from a float tube, pontoon boat or even a driftboat or raft but no motors. Check the regulations for where you can fish and what you can use on this catch-and-release only lake. The fishing here has been fair for some and good for others. Try some buggers or suspending small black zebra midges. The crowds and kayaks are thinning out so it’s a good time to consider this beautiful lake.
McCLOUD RIVER—The fishing here has been good for some and fair for others. There can be muddy conditions from the snow melt in some areas. But the crowds are light and the fish biting.
MCCLOUD RESERVOIR—The reservoir can be off-colored due to glacier melt some days, but there is no fishing pressure here. Trolling slowly is an effective method and often provides constant action all day for all three species of trout. The fishing has been very good here for some and not so good for others. The ramp is in good shape.
PIT RIVER—The rainbows here will eat all day in the fall while they are fattening up for the winter. They can be found holding in both fast and slow water so move around. They hold close to the bottom among the boulders and rocks, so fish the pockets and the runs.
SHASTA LAKE—Trout and bass are starting to head to the shallows. The trout bite was off this past week due to transitioning water conditions. But it should be fishing well in a few weeks when conditions settle down. Fish are from 80 feet up to the surface. Fish early and late for bass and avoid the heat of the day using reaction baits such as spinnerbaits and bladebaits and look for bait on the surface.
Sierra Lakes and Rivers
BOCA LAKE—The lake is down to 8.5-percent capacity. Flows were up in the Little Truckee, so hike down to the outlet and fish in the channel with worms and spoons.
CAPLES LAKE—The lake is at 69.2-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort guests in rental boats were picking up 5 or 6 rainbows to 2 1/2 pounds on flasher/worms.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)—Before the smoke from the Amador County fire overwhelmed the area, fishing in the East Carson was spectacular. Another Alpine County trout plant was scheduled for the last week of September or the first week of October.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 47-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard’s Guided Fishing reported larger boats could no longer launch at Honker Cove due to the low lake level—small 12-foot aluminum boats only now with less than 2 feet of water on the ramp. Small boaters were picking up one or two 16- to 18-inch rainbows trolling a Wee Dick Nite at 12 feet deep between Honker Cove and the island. Shore fishermen were catching 1 or 2 rainbows in 4 hours at Mallard Point on inflated nightcrawlers and floating dough bait. Flyfishing was even slower.
DONNER LAKE—The lake is at 61-percent capacity. Boaters were still picking up small macks and 10- to 12-inch kokanee over and around the humps between China Cove and the Loch Leven launch at 40 to 80 feet deep. Shore fishing for rainbows along the north side was a matter of being in the right place when a school of fish cruised by and hit your worms or floating dough bait.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON—Flows were higher than normal in the North Fork but fishing was slow. The Caribou Powerhouse was producing some 2 1/2- to 3-pound rainbows on worms or crappie jigs under a bobber in the generator wash—watch out for fish stealing otters!!
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 24-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported slow fishing for shore anglers at the dam where a rainbow or two were being caught on inflated nightcrawlers.
GOLD LAKES BASIN—Gold Lake was improving with colder water temps for trollers. Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden said he caught two 16- to 18-inch browns on U-20 FlatFish at 30 to 50 feet deep. Rainbows were hitting flasher/worms at 15 feet deep. Fishing was still good at Packer Lake, but slow at Salmon Lake and Sardine Lake.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 72-percent capacity. With the whole area under a heavy cloud of smoke from the Amador County fire, outdoor activities were on hiatus.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—With the fishing so good in the East Carson, no one was bothering to hit this lake, and now there was a heavy pall of smoke covering the area from the Butte Fire.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR—The lake is at 52.6-percent capacity. Guide Brett Brady at Bare Bones Guide Service reported great fishing for rainbows to 3 pounds. Trolling a Sep’s Side Kick Dodger with a threaded nightcrawler at 45 to 55 feet deep in the middle of the lake was good for 20 to 25 rainbows in 4 hours. Launching was still good at the Pass Creek ramp.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—The lake is at 70-percent capacity. Sly Park Resort reported fishing for trout and smallmouth bass was decent from the shore and boat at the Narrows, but the whole area was under a cloud of heavy smoke that was creating dangerous conditions for folks with respiratory problems.
LAKE TAHOE—Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported catching limits of 3- to 7-pound keepers and releasing plenty of 2 pounders trolling at 150 to 420 feet deep at Flick Point and the Tavern Hole. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing said the mack trolling was fantastic for fish to 8 pounds using Laxee spoons and ThunderStiks in gold and silver at 140 to 180 feet deep off South Shore. Nielsen was finishing up 5-fish limits with 12- to 13-inch kokanee caught jigging Bomber Slab spoons and Crippled Herring in the SW corner of the lake at Camp Richardson. Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing reported the fleet was picking up 30 to 40 kokes per boat and 1 to 5 macks between the Keys and Camp Rich at 100 to 160 feet deep. The top Mackinaw weighed 23 pounds!!
LOON LAKE—The lake is at 48-percent capacity. There was no pressure here this past week due to the heavy smoke from the Amador County Butte Fire.
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 25-percent capacity. The best bet here was trying for smallmouth bass at the dam and north shore near the dam using tubes, darthead worms and small jigs.
RED LAKE—No reports were available on the fishing, but there was a lot of heavy smoke from the Amador County Butte Fire clouding the area.
SILVER LAKE—The lake is at 65.8-percent capacity. There was little fishing pressure and lots of smoke here this past weekend.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 14-percent capacity. There was very little, if any, fishing pressure here with the lake almost stagnant due to the low water level and lack of significant inflows.
TOPAZ LAKE—The Douglas County Park reported only small boats were launching at the ramp while most large boats were putting in off the shore in the “primitive area”. Fishing was slow for most.
TRUCKEE RIVER—The main river was still very low and fishermen need to leave this resource alone until we get some significant rain to refresh the flows. The Little Truckee below Stampede was running at 100-plus cfs, so it was fishable, but these trout need a rest, too.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 58-percent capacity. Little to no fishing pressure here with the heavy smoke covering the area from the Amador County Butte Fire.
WEST WALKER RIVER—The Little Walker River and West Walker River at Pickel Meadows and the Canyon were scheduled for DFW trout plants this week. Sam Foster at the Toiyabe Motel reported there were no fishermen out this past week with the low river flows, though there was still some decent water to be found in the deeper channels and pools. The season lasted longer than expected due to the thunderstorms seen earlier this summer, so it’s no surprise the fishing pressure was so light.
AMERICAN RIVER – Steelhead are present throughout the American, and are biting worms, roe and Glo Bugs drifted through the riffles. Salmon fishing remains slow, but reports from the Delta indicate large numbers are salmon are about to head upriver.
FEATHER RIVER – Boaters are catching a few kings near Gridley, while the Outlet continues to be the best bet from shore. Overall salmon fishing is slow. Fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass has been good recently throughout the Feather.
FOLSOM LAKE – The Brown’s Ravine boat launch is now closed, leaving Granite Bay as the only option for launching boats. Panfish are biting well near the dam. Bass fishing has been good with drop-shot rigs.
RANCHO SECO LAKE – Bass and trout fishing is slow, but bluegill are still biting.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir – The city of Dunsmuir has stocked hundreds of 14- to 22-inch rainbows. Trout fishing is very good from Dunsmuir to Shasta Lake, where numerous hatches have sparked good nymph and dry fly action. Gear anglers also are catching fish.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff – The Barge Hole is fishing well early in the morning for anglers running plugs for kings. There is a mix of bright and dark fish. Trout fishing has been very good near Redding.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa – Salmon fishing improved last week as multiple big schools of fresh kings were reported. Anglers are running plugs at first light before switching to roe later in the day. Guides are now reporting one to two fish per rod.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa – Catfishing remains very good from bank and boat. Pile worms and nightcrawlers are working well. Boaters anchored near Knight’s Landing reported their best action so far this season last week. M2 FlatFish with sardine wraps are working best.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento – Stripers are being caught in the deepwater channel at the Port of Sacramento. Reports of big schools of salmon in the delta have anglers expecting fresh fish in the lower river this week.
AMERICAN RIVER, Hwy. 49—The North Fork flows were so low that a sand bar was only allowing a trickle to merge with the Middle Fork at the Hwy 49 confluence where there were still hoards of sunbathers, but no fishermen.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 44-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marinna reported things were pretty slow this past week with little recreational or fishing traffic.
CAMP FAR WEST—The lake is at 16-percent capacity. Kathy DeRossett at North Shore Resort reported the lake was very smoky with light fishing pressure. The bass bite was still good for anglers using crankbaits and plastic worms. Launching was okay for 2-wheel drive vehicles and boaters were warned to be on the lookout for unmarked shallow hazards while running on the lake.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is 55 feet from full. Launching was good on the concrete and steel pad ramp at the dam. Catfish were the name of the game here for fish to 7 1/4 pounds. The dam, Elmer’s Cove, and the east side of the lake were all producing whiskerfish on chicken livers, nightcrawlers, and anchovies. Trout plants should resume in mid-October if the water temps cool enough to allow stocking.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 94-percent capacity. Skippers Cove Marina reported a very slow week with no recreational boaters or fishermen. Skippers Cove Marina will get fish from PG&E this fall for their pen-rearing program with assistance for feed coming from CIFFI and the Lake Wildwood Hunting and Fishing Club.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is at 30.3-percent capacity. Fishing pressure was very light with the low lake level.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 29.4-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported there were no fishermen at the lake this past week. With the lake level so low, boating launching was very difficult. Shore fishing for rainbows at the powerhouse outlet could be productive.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 30-percent capacity—down 228 feet!! Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that bass fishing was still very good with daily fish numbers ranging from 25 to 50 spotted bass averaging 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds. The most consistent action was on drop-shot worms on extended rocky points, and tubes and darthead worms on steep walls. Wind-blown walls and mudlines were producing a good reaction bite on ripbaits and Persuader Image Blade spinnerbaits. Trollers were still searching for salmon between the dam and the bridge.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is up to 96.3-percent capacity. Clyde Crow at NID reported good bass fishing using flukes and ripbaits on rocky points for spots running from dinks to 4 pounders in the early morning. There were a lot of 3- to 12-inch bass being caught to find a keeper. One angler caught 6 rainbow trout deep jigging with crappie jigs.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake is at 41.4-percent capacity. There was a good early morning topwater bite on Spooks for bass to 4 pounds around the mooring floats in the marina, according to Clyde Crow at NID. One troller caught ten 10- to 12-inch kokanee at 50 to 70 feet deep over the main river channel using dodger/hoochies.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—The Foresthill Ranger Station reported the lake was very low and fishing was slow.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR—The lake is at 42-percent capacity. The Georgetown Ranger Station reported there was little or no camping or fishing traffic at the lake with the lake so low.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at 135.5-foot elevation at press time—94.3-percent capacity. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported that with the heavy releases of water from Lake Oroville into the Afterbay, the water temp had dropped and the cold water had shut off the bass bite. Steelhead were still hitting nightcrawlers drifted in the canal at Wilbur Rd.
BERKELEY—Happy Hooker and California Dawn hammered the lingcod and rockfish on the Marin Coast where the quality of fish has held steady. Salmon boats averaged a fish per rod through the week with bigger fish hitting the decks of Flying Fish, El Dorado and New El Dorado III.
BODEGA BAYLAWSON’S LANDING—Bodega Bay saw some of the best salmon fishing of the season, as the fish showed up and stayed while. New Sea Angler posted full limits for 3 consecutive days. They also bit well off of the mouth of Tomales Bay, where just inside of the salmon, halibut also put on a good show.
EMERYVILLE—Sundance had scores hovering around a salmon and a half per rod on both Saturday and Sunday. New Huck Finn boated 12 salmon on Saturday, then made a trip to the Farallones on Sunday to tackle limits of rockfish and 54 lings to 16 pounds. Sea Wolf kept after the coastal rockfish and lingcod.
EUREKA—With salmon season over on the north coast, it was back to groundfish for boaters. Scrimshaw enjoyed easy limits of lingcod (plus additional lings released) and rockfish. Jetty fishers found and hooked kelp greenlings, perch and rockfish. Ron Wallace of Sebastopol won Englund Marine’s annual big salmon contest with a gilled & gutted fish that still weighed 29 pounds.
FORT BRAGG—Telstar stuffed her customers’ sacks with rockfish and lingcod to 13 pounds, no matter whether the weather allowed a trip down the coast to Russian Gulch or up the coast near Cleone. Salmon gave Fort Bragg folks a quick fling and Sea Hawk put her people on them, giving everyone a chance to catch at least one salmon. Surf fishers worked Old Mill locally or made trips to Mendocino Headlands, MacKerricher or other rocky spots for cabbies, rockies and kelp greenling.
HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA—Runs up the coast put salmon in the box for party boats like Queen of Hearts and Que Sera Sera out of Half Moon Bay. Up a bit farther, boats fishing off of Lindamar also got into the shiny fish. Striped bass went ballistic over the weekend, after a few days of slower activity. They bit wildly from Ocean Beach to below Pacifica. Great lingcod and rockfish action was had aboard Huli Cat and New Capt. Pete.
SAN FRANCISCO—Flash I fished sharks in the South Bay, pulling 11 mature sharks in one half-day trip. Bass Tub worked on lingcod and rockfish with bonus drifts for halibut, then on Sunday went for salmon with a fish per rod aboard by day’s end. Wacky Jacky and Lovely Martha went after salmon with solid results.