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—It’s been tough fishing on the lower Chetco due to low, clear water, but there are loads of fish already awaiting the rains, and plenty more fish to come. There is some fishing by trolling below the Hwy. 101 bridge, and some in tidewater by bobber fishing. When the rains hit, the river should be full of bright kings, according to Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Or.—Catching salmon here isn’t hard, but wading through all the wild fish for a hatchery fish you can keep has been hard. “There are lots of wild silvers in Rogue Bay, but very few hatchery silvers or kings,” said guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. “There’s lot of action catching and releasing silvers near Indian Creek.”
ROGUE RIVER, Grant’s Pass—Steelhead fishing is picking up with good catches being made on imitation eggs, pieces of roe, Glo-Bugs dipped in Pautzke’s Nectar or back trolling small plugs. The best action seems to be in the mornings, said guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle. The salmon are moving to the spawning beds and a few cohos might be caught, too.
RUSSIAN RIVER—Closed to all fishing due to low flow closure.
SMITH RIVER—Salmon are stacking up in big numbers off the mouth of the Smith River, and in the few tidewater holes and the estuary, waiting for rains to head upriver. Currently the river is open to fishing below the mouth of Rowdy Creek, but there are also plenty of fish above there already, where they are off limits until low flow closures are lifted. Guide and WON Staff Writer Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing has been finding some nice fish trolling.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate – Salmon fishing was more consistent last week, with drift boaters hooking between five and 10 kings a day. Some salmon have already started to spawn, while a group of fresh fish moved into the Hornbrook area over the weekend. Flows on Sunday at Iron Gate were 990 cfs.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp – Steelhead fishing has picked up, while salmon fishing is fair near Happy Camp and Orleans. Flows at Seiad Valley were 1,190 cfs on Sunday.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen – Salmon season is winding down on the lower Klamath, with most of the guides leaving to other rivers. Steelhead fishing has been fair. Flows at Terwer were 2,200 cfs on Sunday.
TRINITY RIVER – Steelhead fishing is good behind spawning salmon, with beads and Glo-Bugs both tricking fish. Some kings are still being caught on MagLip plugs. Flows from Trinity Lake were reduced last week. Flows at Lewiston were 403 cfs on Sunday.
North Coast Lakes
CLEAR LAKE—Don’t expect to have the lake to yourself any time soon, as tourney season has started. For a few big bass it is hard to beat a plastic worm in the mid lake area. Fishing a depth range of 10 to 18 feet will provide consistent action and at least some keeper fish in the 2-pound up to 5-pound range. For numbers try some minnows. Catfish and crappie are still only being caught as incidental catch. Although it is still under investigation, a carp die-off recently was presumed to be related to a carp virus. Lake County officials recommend that dead carp be buried above the high water mark or placed in a plastic bag in the trash can.
LAKE BERRYESSA—With both bass and trout targeting the shad, pulling out your shad patterns makes good sense. Target shallow water (5 to 10 feet) with shallow cranks and LV500s in shad patterns along the east shore’s grass lines. There were no giant fish, but plenty of action with mostly largemouth bass in the 2- to 3-pound range and a few smallmouth mixed in to 2 pounds. This is a good time for trout trollers to start toplining their favorite shad imitations in the top 10 feet of water the first thing in the morning. Keep a 1-ounce shad patterned spoon handy and cast it into the trout boils.
LAKE SONOMA—Cooler nights and dropping water temperatures means the fall bite has started. Although the lake hasn’t quite turned yet, the largemouth bass are strapping on their feed bags for the upcoming winter months and chasing shad throughout the lake. Trout trollers are working the east shoreline from the dam up to the no ski buoys in 20 to 40 feet of water for landlocked steelhead. Early morning topwater bites are few and far in between but the ones that bite are better quality bass. The few anglers targeting channel catfish have had the best success with cut mackerel fished in the creek channels in 20 to 30 feet of water.
LAKE ALMANOR—Head to the east basin from Canyon Dam along the east shore up to the Hamilton Branch and into Big Springs where there are lots of bait fish. Brown trout will be spawning soon, so please release them. They don’t taste good during their spawn anyway. Areas that have springs nearby will have fish moving in and out for spawning.
BAUM LAKE—Despite the low water scenario the fishing continues to be good here although very few are fishing it. There should be plenty of fish here since DFW plants trout here regularly. Expect the fishing to improve even more as the weather cools off and days get shorter.
EAGLE LAKE—The lake is low so trim your motor when heading out. The bite is very good and everyone is catching trout. Most are going to the Youth Camp and trolling since the fish are moving around. They are chasing bait (minnows) which are very abundant. Two-inch orange grubs behind a Wiggle Finn did best one day although the “All Around Best” orange J-Fairs did better other days. Just switch up your colors.
FALL RIVER—The river is cold and clear and in good shape. Larger fish continue to move up and finding trout to 17 and 18 inches now with a few larger ones is possible. Rising fish are taking cripple mayfly patterns and callibaetis.
UPPER HAT CREEK—It’s been a little tougher in the creek as the water is a little low. A few more weeks and it’ll get better as the weather cools a bit more and hopefully the area gets some more rain. In the meantime look for trout holding in deeper pockets with shade.
MANZANITA LAKE—You can fish from a float tube, pontoon boat or even a driftboat but no motors. Check the regulations for where you can fish and what you can use on this catch and release only lake. Fish here and you’ll have the lake to yourself. The beautiful fall colors here are a plus.
McCLOUD RIVER—Fishing has been good here but you’ll have to move around. There are not many folks fishing here so you’ll have the great fall colors and fishing to yourself now and a river that’s in good shape make this a good bet.
MCCLOUD RESERVOIR—This is another body of water where you’ll have it all to yourself. The best fishing is going to happen near the inflow of the upper McCloud.
PIT RIVER—Catch trout in the 16- to 18-inch range with cinnamon poopas, birds’ nests and small pheasant tails. It’s also time for the October caddis. Look for fish close to the bottom among the rocks rising to these hatches.
SHASTA LAKE—With both trout and bass balling up bait in the shallows the shoreline has seen a lot of pressure. The bass haven’t been very big, but there have been a ton of them. Using darter heads in 15 to 20 feet with spinnerbaits, Senkos, wacky head and crankbaits has been productive. For trout troll in the top 25 feet over bait balls as they are feeding up for the winter and will hit just about anything right now.
Sierra Lakes and Rivers
BOCA LAKE—The lake is at 13-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported anglers were catching the occasional rainbow, brown or mack. The bigger browns were moving up the Little Truckee River to spawn, while the younger fish preferred the area around the dam. Rainbows and macks were congregating at the inlet. Be prepared for a short hike to the water’s edge
CAPLES LAKE—The lake is at 63.5-percent capacity. Caples Lake Resort closed for the season on October 19. Fishing was good for a father/son from Santa Cruz who caught a nice stringer of 2- to 3-pound rainbows. The fishing was improving as the water temp dropped to 56 degrees.
CARSON RIVER (East, West)—Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported some anglers were still picking up limits of 9- to 12-inch rainbows on salmon eggs in the East Carson where rains helped maintain the flows. Heenan Lake fishing slowed dramatically due to the thunderstorm activity with strong winds and rain—it closes for the season on Oct. 25.
DAVIS LAKE—The lake is at 45-percent capacity. The cold front with heavy thunderstorm activity slowed the fishing for shore anglers. Small boaters who made it past the sand bar at the Honker Cove ramp were picking up 3 or 4 rainbows on Wee Dick Nites and red-dot frog or yellow watermelon Needlefish.
DONNER LAKE—The lake is at 37-percent capacity. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported a troller caught rainbows, browns, macks and kokanee—a lake grand slam—on a dodger trailing a orange/white hoochie worked along the north shore at 45 feet deep. Boat launching was very difficult with 12-foot aluminums having to be lifted off the trailers to get them in the water.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON—Mike Hanson at Caribou Crossroads Resort reported Caribou Powerhouse was still producing 2- to 2 1/2-pound rainbows on worms and jigs under a bobber in the generator wash. Butt Valley Lake was kicking out some nice trout for shore anglers on the point near the dam.
FRENCHMAN LAKE—The lake is at 22-percent capacity. Some nice rainbows were still coming in for shore anglers soaking nightcrawlers at the dam.
GOLD LAKES BASIN—The thunderstorm activity late this past week shot down the bite at Gold Lake, according to Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports in Blairsden. Salmon, Sardine, and Packer were all very slow to dead.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 70-percent capacity. Try a Sep’s watermelon Strike Master Dodger with a Sep’s brown grub or a threaded nightcrawler for a mix of 8- to 11-inch DFW planters and 15-inch SMUD stockers from the top to 30 feet deep. The concrete ramp was good for launching.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR—Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle reported a float tuber caught-and-released 15 rainbows and cutthroats while casting a 1/4-ounce silver Kastmaster in the middle of the lake near the dam.
JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR—The lake is at 47.8-percent capacity. Trollers should still be able to pick up limits of rainbows trolling a dodger/threaded nightcrawler in the middle of the lake at 20 to 30 feet deep–the fish are moving shallower as the water cools.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)—The lake is at 66-percent capacity. Denise Cole at Sly Park Resort reported a local jigged up 7 bass and rainbows from the deeper holes near the Narrows and between the islands.
LAKE TAHOE—Chuck Self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported he was “slaying” 3- to 10-pound macks trolling 140 to 350 feet deep. The fish were feeding on shrimp and following the forage, so start out shallow in the early morning and work deeper as the sun rises. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing reported having to work for six to eight 3- to 5-pound macks per trip trolling 160 to 170 feet deep off South Shore. Zach Gordon at Tahoe Sportfishing said the mack bite was tougher with fish stacked 100 feet thick off the bottom but not hitting. The fleet was scratching out limits of 2 to 4 pounders in 180 to 200 feet of water at Homewood. The kokanee were still pouring into Taylor Creek for the spawn—a nice day trip to view one of the marvels of nature.
LOON LAKE—The lake is at 47-percent capacity. Boating was tough here due to the numerous shallow hazards. Shore fishing was improving by the last report.
PROSSER LAKE—The lake is at 25-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported anglers were catching the occasional brown and smallmouth at the dam. A few rainbows were coming out of the Prosser Creek inlet area
PYRAMID LAKE—Crosby’s Lodge reported another amazing week of fishing with a 19 3/4-pound cutthroat topping the board this past week—they weighed in 17 fish over 10 pounds. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters reported his trips were producing 12 to 25 fish to 11 pounds trolling Apex from Warrior Point to spider Point at 60 to 80 feet deep. Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported his trips have yielded 535 cutthroats so far this season (Oct 1-Oct 17). Mendes has been jigging P-Line Laser Minnows at Anderson Bay, North of Pyramid Rock and Hell’s Kitchen at 35 to 80 feet deep and picking up 40 to 60 fish per trip with the top 3 on the last charter running 15, 12 1/2, and 11 pounds—all in just 4 to 5 hours.
RED LAKE— Try the dam for the occasional cutthroat and rainbow using worms and floating dough bait.
SILVER LAKE—The lake is at 41.6-percent capacity. Colder nights and cooler water temps should be improving the trout action for shore anglers and trollers.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR—The lake is at 13-percent capacity. Few, if any, anglers were here due to the low lake level according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.
TRUCKEE RIVER— With the browns spawning now, special consideration must be taken to avoid catching these big fish off the redds. Mountain Hardware and Sports still recommended leaving this struggling resource alone until normal flows return. Rains this past week did little to increase flows.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR—The lake is at 54-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service recommended trying a dodger/nightcrawler on top for the holdover and SMUD planter rainbows.
WEST WALKER RIVER—The area received rain this past week and some snow at the higher elevations, according to Pam Hamic at the West Walker Motel. The flows were up in the river, but fishing pressure was very low to the point where fishing reports were getting hard to come by.
AMERICAN RIVER – Salmon fishing continues to be slow in the American, with very little effort.
FEATHER RIVER – Anglers are catching salmon on jigs at Star Bend and under the Fifth Street Bridge. Striper fishing is slow.
FOLSOM LAKE – All boat launches are now closed because of low water. Bank fishing for bass is fair.
RANCHO SECO LAKE – Bass and trout fishing is slow.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir – Anglers using small nymphs are catching rainbows throughout the day.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff – Fishing for wild rainbows is very good between Redding and Anderson as salmon begin to spawn. Salmon fishing is good at the Barge Hole, although the number of dark fish is increasing. New groups of salmon have moved above Red Bluff.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa – Boondogging remains good for kings, although fishing has slowed below Red Bluff compared to the section above Red Bluff. Steelhead are showing in greater numbers.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Knight’s Landing to Colusa – Trolling FlatFish and Kwikfish has been fair near Verona. Sturgeon fishing is slow.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento A 30-pound striper was caught last week at the Port of Sacramento on a trolled minnow lure. Salmon fishing is best near Freeport. Catfish are biting well in the deepwater channel.
AMERICAN RIVER—Still no change here–The river flows were very low in the North Fork. The Middle Fork flows were better due to releases from French Meadows and Oxbow Lake. Fishermen hiking down to the North Fork at Italian Bar should find plenty of rainbows in the deeper pools. The area saw 2 to 2 1/2 inches of rain but the dry ground soaked it all in—we need a lot more to get the flows up.
BULLARDS BAR—The lake is at 39-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina had to move the docks out toward the dam and some berth renters have been pulling their boats out of the slips due to the low lake level. Boats can still launch at Dark Day. Bass fishing has been slow with mostly small spots being caught on drop-shot worms.
CAMP FAR WEST—North Shore Resort reported Ron Franks of Folsom fished this past week and caught 47 bass to 2 1/2 pounds using oxblood worms and green pumpkin lizards in the Bear River arm at 5 to 15 feet deep. More than half of Franks’ fish were keepers. Boaters can still launch off the shore near the ramp, but 4-wheel drive is recommended.
COLLINS LAKE—The lake is at 66 feet from full. The lake will receive the first fall trout plant late this week—about 2000 pounds of trophy and catchable rainbows. Fishing was slow this past week with only the occasional bass or catfish landed.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR—The lake is at 96-percent capacity. The Lake Wildwood Fishing Club hit the lake this past week, but only caught a few rainbows while trolling.
LAKE OROVILLE—The lake is at 29-percent capacity—down 230 feet!! Guide Ron Gandolfi reported the bass bite was hot with fish counts running up to 100 per day. Drop-shot and darthead worms and tubes were the most consistent producers on points and steep rocky walls at 5 to 30 feet deep on the main body and in the North Fork and Middle Fork. Most bass were 1 1/2 pounders. Lots of 2 pounders were showing along with one 3 to 4 pounder each day. Boaters were still launching with 4-wheel drive only at the Spillway and Bidwell Marina.
ROLLINS LAKE—The lake is at 69.7-percent capacity. Clyde Crow at NID reported boaters could still launch at Long Ravine with no problems. Sand on the ramp was a problem at Orchard Springs, while the Peninsula Resort ramp was closed. Crow said bass fishing was good on the points at 15 to 20 feet deep using drop-shot worms. Dink bass were hitting poppers early and late in the day.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE—The lake is at 36.7-percent capacity. Boat launching was very difficult here due to the shallow water on the ramp, and the maze of cables on the docks and moorings. Shore fishing was the safest bet with some bass hitting crankbaits early and late in the day.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR—The campgrounds were closed and fishing was very slow.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY—The lake was at 134.3-foot elevation at press time—84-percent capacity. The cold front this past week moved the bass offshore into deeper water at 8 to 10 feet deep. Bruce Gibson at the Paradise Tackle Company reported a good bite using swimbaits and Senkos around thicker grass beds for 2- to 4-pound largemouths. Late in the afternoon on hot days, frogs were good for bass to 5 1/2 pounds on the grass beds.
BERKELEY—Salmon fishing still remained viable and at times it was a fish or better per rod, with El Dorado and New El Dorado III trying for them. For the most part, signs of the season winding down were apparent. It was easy pickings for boats working the Marin Coast for rockfish and lingcod. Boats working the Central Bay found good halibut counts at Alcatraz and Raccoon Straits.
BODEGA BAY/LAWSON’S LANDING—A 95-pound bluefin tuna was taken at the Cordell Banks by Nick Bauer and Willy Vogler, two more bluefins in the forties were checked in from other boats. White Seabass to 58 pounds and halibut to 24 pounds were taken near Elephant Rock.
EMERYVILLE—It is not too late yet for salmon and Sundance proved that point by catching limits on Sunday. Tiger Fish, New Huck Finn and other boats worked the Marin Coast and piled on rockfish and lingcod.
EUREKA—Jetty fishing for rockfish, greenling and cabezon was okay, but limited by large breakers which kept folks from going out to the most productive areas on the jetties. A 3-day weather window gave folks opportunities to run down to Cape Mendocino for wide open lingcod and rockfish.
FORT BRAGG—Heavy sacks including loads of lingcod came off party boats like Telstar, charter boats and private boats. The Gebers from Noyo Fishing Center limited out at Casper’s Bay. Shore fishing was excellent at The Old Mill.
HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA—Salmon inside of Pillar Point Harbor caused great excitement and lots of shore fishing. Rockfish and lingcod bit well enough for limits down the coast at Ritz Carleton and Martins Beach. The striped bass bite along area beaches looks to have slowed. Pacific Pier fishers caught perch, kingfish and jacksmelt for the most part.
SAN FRANCISCO—Flash pulled up limits of rockfish and hefty lingcod to 18 pounds, scoring 10 lings on a half-day trip. On another trip, the destination was South Bay where plenty of leopard sharks were biting aggressively off of AT&T Park. Charterboat Fish-n-Game went after salmon and scored limits. Capt. Frank Rescino caught a 28-pound salmon aboard his family’s boat Lovely Martha. Capt. Jacky Douglas saw a 25 pounder come aboard her Wacky Jacky.