FEATHER RIVER - The river continued to offer some of the best water conditions and chances for tangling with steelhead around Northern California. It's been providing good steelheading throughout the Low Flow Section and downstream of the Outlet to Gridley. The fish are a mix of halfpounders from 12 to 16 inches long, and adults of a couple of pounds to 6 pounds. Fly fishers are scoring on red copper Johns, San Juan worms, Prince nymphs, and egg patterns under indicators, while bait fishermen were drifting roe and nightcrawlers.
DELTA REGION: SACRAMENTO RIVER side - The waters are still running high, fast and full of debris. Sturgeon fishing was the way to go in areas such as Hood, Garcia and Merits Landing. Eel tipped with nightcrawlers and shrimp baits have been the best producers.
SAN JOAQUIN RIVER side - It was all about the sturgeon here as waters are muddied up. But the action has been hot for them everywhere on roe, eel and shrimp baits.
BERKELEY - Rockfish were rock solid performers all week for Berkeley boats fishing at Duxbury Reef, the Farallones or up the line along the Marin coast. On the way back in, boats typically exercised the option to haul their pots for easy limits of heavy Dungeness crabs.
AMADOR LAKE - Debbie Grayson at Lake Amador Store said "the trout have switched from something white to 'crawlers." The biggest fish caught this week was a 14.58-pound lunker caught by Matt Borges of Sacramento. They are planting 400 pounds of cuttbow a day at this time and the lake is 15 feet from spill. Trollers are using flashers/'crawler combo, firetiger Rapalas and fly fishermen are using black wollyburgers.
CAMANCHE LAKE - Mt. Lassen Trout delivered 600 pounds of trout to the South Shore Pond and 600 pounds of trout to the North Shore ramp. Now that the lake has turned over, fish should be found in the top 15 feet of water whether fishing from the bank or by boat. Power Baits in rainbow and chartreuse are most commonly used as well as crawlers, Excels or Needlefish in shad patterns. The fish are scattered throughout the lake, but most trollers are working between the Dam, Little Hat, and Big Hat Islands. Keith Darkter of Diamond Springs caught a 21-inch trout over by the Narrows using a darthead and a worm
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Ore. - Very good steelhead fishing this past week, as a lot of fish came in on the early storms. Already resembling "peak season" fishing, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. He went 4 for 7 Thursday, and on Friday his clients went 8 for 10. Bankies also found decent action at Social Security and at North Fork, and upper river gravel bars. About 70 percent wild and 30 percent hatchery fish.
COOS RIVER, South Fork, Coos Bay, Ore. - According to WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service, steelhead fishing is good and anglers have been getting 1 or 2 a day. It's still early here, so things are looking good for upcoming weeks.
COQUILLE RIVER, South Fork, Powers, Ore. - Steelhead are scattered, and that makes it tough to hook up more than a few a day. Guide and WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets fished it Friday with two experienced anglers and they only hooked 2 all day. They did lose one in the 18-pound range, however. "Another guide went 2 for 3 with his fish, both weighing about 12 pounds each," Palmer said. "With a maximum of 6 boats on the river the day I was there, the lead driftboat caught the most fish at 3 steelhead boated out of the 4 fish they hooked up." Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, angler's will be allowed to harvest 3 hatchery steelhead each a day.
EEL RIVER - The river dropped a lot since last week, but still way too much water to be able to fish it.
EEL RIVER, South Fork - Mark Nimitz of Pipe Creek Guide Service said that the South Fork came in and was fishable at least to Miranda last week and even up until Saturday, with some steelhead caught. It was still fishing as of Saturday, but it was raining steadily. There was snow up top, so if it stays cold the river may stay in shape.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore. - Plunkers were getting some steelhead down in the lower river before the most recent storm, and the river is high, and probably going higher with the ongoing rain and fronts.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove - We could only get abbreviated reports from The Fishin' Hole in Shady Cove on the upper river, since none of the guides were in the shop. They said the river was still high and "I don't think there was a lot of fishing going on for steelhead this past week." If there was, it was in the upper river. Call before you go.
RUSSIAN RIVER - Scott Heemstra of King's Sport and Tackle said the river cleared and they were getting fish plunking, but then releases from Lake Mendocino went from 250 cfs to 2000 cfs and it blew a bunch of mud into the river along with high flows. It will be a few days before it clears up, depending on the amount of rain that hits. Plug fishing below Monte Rio was okay before that.
SMITH RIVER - King salmon were a no-show this year. In fact, WON Field Reporter Phil Desautel of Phil's Smiling Salmon Guide Service said it was the worst return he's seen in 30 years. But steelheading was fair to good for this early in the year, and most guide are getting 1 to 2 fish a day. Call before heading up, as a series of storms were in the forecast. But as anglers know, the Smith is the quickest-clearing river in the area.
UMPQUA RIVER, Elkton, Ore. - "The river level was slightly above where I like to see it for fishing from a boat," said Palmer. "With the river height on a slow and steady drop, I am expecting the river to be at a perfect level for steelhead fishing before the weekend arrives. I have been told of only a couple fish a day being caught on this river lately, but as the water level drops we will see those number climb drastically."
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Roseburg, Ore. - Steelhead have been climbing the ladder making there way over the Winchester Dam for a couple weeks now, according to guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. With water temperatures cooling and fresh storms developing, the fishing was slow the last half of the week. Even though there have been a noticeable number of steelhead moving upriver, the steelhead have been scattered. "There is a lot of river, and we most likely won't see double digit days by anglers until the river becomes stuffed with steelhead."
KLAMATH RIVER, Seiad - The river has dropped and cleared down to around Happy Camp, and halfpounders and adult steelhead to about 5 pounds were being caught on Glo-Bugs and drifted roe and nightcrawlers.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate - The river was in good condition, but it was very cold last week. However, that did not seem to deter steelhead from biting, and Scott Caldwell of SC Guide Service said he was getting a half a dozen adult steelhead to 5 pounds, plus halfpounders on backtrolled crawdad plugs, and nightcrawlers, drifted and behind jet divers. Fishing pressure continued to be very light.
TRINITY RIVER, Lewiston - It was very cold last week and snow was on the ground making for pretty scenery, but for a somewhat lethargic steelhead bite. However, Steve Huber of Steve Huber's Guide Service said his clients were getting 2 to 5 steelhead an outing, a mix of wild and hatchery fish to about 8 pounds. Fishing pressure was much improved as anglers were able to spread out. Fly fishers were drifting copper Johns and golden stonefly nymphs under indicators while conventional fishermen backtrolled plugs, and drifted roe.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek - While the Trinity was still high and muddy over much of its length, the South Fork tributary was starting to come back into shape. It should provide some decent fishing for its big, wild steelhead.
BOCA LAKE - The lake is at 43-percent capacity. The paved road to the lake was clear, but 4-wheel drive was recommended for driving around the lake on the unpaved roads. Mountain Hardware and Sports said fishing was best at the dam and the inlet.
CAPLES LAKE - Caples Lake Resort reported that it was snowing on Sunday morning when WON called. The lake was completely frozen over, but the ice was only a couple of inches thick. There needs to be 6 to 8 inches of ice for safe ice fishing-the resort said that if the weather stayed as cold as was forecast that could happen by Christmas.
CARSON RIVER (East)- Cold and miserable conditions kept anglers at home this past weekend, according to Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort.
DAVIS LAKE - The lake is at 75-percent capacity. Ice was forming on the upper end of the lake at Fairview and Mosquito Slough. Shore fishermen were doing well at Mallard Point for rainbows running 16 to 18 inches using pink Power Bait. Ed Dillard at Dillard's Guided Fishing also reported ice forming at the dam. Call ahead to see if ice formation has blocked open water enough to prohibit shore fishing.
DONNER LAKE - The shore fishing was a bit slower on the west end and north side of the lake for macks and rainbows since the cold weather set in. Casting Krocodile spoons and CD Rapalas for 3- to 5-pound macks in the early morning or evening produced a few fish. Boaters jigging for macks in 60 to 80 feet of water had a better chance of catching bigger fish than those casting from shore. Using Power Bait and worms for rainbows was kicking out some fish for patient anglers.
FRENCHMAN LAKE - The lake is at 62-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported that the road to the lake was icy and 4-wheel drive was recommended--the county plows the road only to the dam. Driving around the lake could be difficult due to the snow and ice on the road. Shore fishing was best at the dam where access was the easiest. Ice was forming in the shallower coves and on the upper end of the lake.
GOLD LAKES BASIN - Mark Tieslau at Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that ice was forming on all the lakes in the basin but the roads were still clear. The ice is not safe enough for ice fishing!
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR - The lake is at 68-percent capacity. Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service reported the roads into the area were icy, plus ice could be forming along the shore of the lake making shore fishing impossible. No one was fishing here with the poor weather.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR - Alpine County planted 1800 pounds of 2- to 5-pound rainbows here this past week. If the road to the lake isn't too icy, fishing should be good.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) - A dusting of snow and heavy rain made conditions a little uncomfortable for fishing this past weekend and more poor weather was in the forecast.
LAKE TAHOE - Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters reported excellent trolling for Mackinaws this past week. Trolling 350 to 375 feet deep produced limits on his last trip, plus they tagged 6 and lost 4 or 5 more-that's 20 hookups in 4 hours! The macks weighed 3 to 9 pounds.
LOON LAKE - The lake is at 65-percent capacity. The road was too icy for safe passage and there should be a lot of snow at the elevation with the storms seen over the past weekend--this lake is done until spring.
PROSSER LAKE - The lake is at 32-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that the roads into the lake were icy with some snow and 4-wheel drive was recommended. Fishing was best at the dam and the inlet, but there was little pressure with the poor weather.
PYRAMID LAKE - Plenty of big cutthroats hit the scales at Crosby's Lodge this past week. A 15-pound, 15-ounce lunker was taken from the shore at Block House by Tim Fitzgerald on a red spoon. Ken Brown caught a 12 1/4 pounder on a black fly at Sand Hole. Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported that the Eagle Eye II fished Dago Bay and Howard Bay this past week and landed 21 fish including 10-pound 14- ounce, 9-, and 8-pound cutthroats. The fish hit pearl/red head
FlatFish in 17 to 25 feet of water.
RED LAKE - Lots of snow at this elevation and the lake froze over-just not thick enough for safe fishing. Wait until after Christmas for the ice to get 6 to 8 inches thick before attempting any fishing. Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters will begin exploratory trips soon.
SILVER LAKE - Several feet of snow fell over the weekend and the lake froze over. The ice is too thin for safe ice fishing-wait at least until Christmas for the ice to get to a safe 6 to 8 inches thick.
STAMPEDE RESERVOIR - The lake is at 77-percent capacity. Keith Zenker, trolling guru at Mountain Hardware and Sports, towed his small boat into the ramp with 4-wheel drive and did well trolling for both macks and rainbows. Trolling Lyman lures, Rapalas, or Predators 20 to 40 feet deep at the dam was producing some nice macks. A Wedding Ring or a Needlefish tipped with a piece of nightcrawler trolled at 10 to 20 feet deep was working for planter rainbows.
TRUCKEE RIVER - The river flows were down to 175 to 200 cfs through Truckee and 300 cfs below town and clear, but the water temp was 39 to 41 degrees--too cold for good fishing. The Little Truckee was producing for very experienced fly fishermen using small midge nymph patterns under an indicator.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR - The lake is at 62-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken's Custom Tackle reported that Pea Vine Ridge Road would be too icy to get to the lake--stay home, stay safe!
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE - Live bait continues to dominate the action and give anglers their best shot at a good fish. Anglers using artificials report catching fish on swimbaits such as the Huddleston, Osprey's top hook and Baitsmith fished very slowly on the bottom down to 25 feet.
LAKE BERRYESSA - The bite slowed, but a few rainbow trout were caught by Skiers Cove, along the Rockslide area and around Cappell cove and bay on Pautzke's Fire Cured Shad.
LAKE SONOMA - The waters are high and off-colored and the bass bite backed off, but try covering a ton of water in 3-10 feet with LuckyCraft BDS3s in the Table Rock Shad pattern, jigs, spinnerbaits, worms and spoons. The steelies are headed up the creeks now after all the rain.
UPPER BLUE LAKE - Easy limit trout fishing with either downriggers from 20 to 30 feet or toplining continue to be best bets here.
LAKE ALMANOR - Some big fish are still lurking around known spawn areas. Try suspended roe, salmon eggs or nightcrawlers fished close to the bottom. Expect the best/clearest water to be at Lake Cove, south to the dam and from Prattville to the USFS ramp. Darker waters call for attractors like flashers, or dodgers with nightcrawlers, smelt imitations or fast action lures.
BAUM LAKE - The Fly Shop in Redding said fishing has been great here. Anglers have been doing well on small flies like Mercer's Gidget, WD-40, zebra midges and red micro mayflies.
CASSEL FOREBAY - Closed until further notice for repairs. All water has been drained into the natural creek channel that flows into Baum Lake in order to work on structure repairs in the canal. The section above the canal near the post office is fishing well but does not accommodate a lot of fishermen. There's been no indication as to when repairs may be completed or when the forebay may reopen.
EAGLE LAKE - Rocky Point and Pikes Point were good bets for easy bobber fishing limits. Anglers jigging in the same areas using dark green and brown in approximately 3 to 4 feet of water had the same results. Eagle Lake closes to fishing on December 31.
PIT RIVER - Water conditions have improved, but according to The Fly Shop in Redding visibility is limited to a few feet. It's snowing and river access is going to be tough, even impossible in some areas.
SHASTA LAKE - Both bass and trout where in the top 20 feet where the bait is, but watch out for debris all over the lake from recent rains. Try the lower third of the arms from the Bridge Bay to the dam for fewer bass but better fish.
BODEGA BAY - Rockfish bit exceptionally well in various spots including Timber Cove, Fort Ross Buoy and off of the Russian River where the New Sea Angler got limits of rockfish and improved lingcod counts as high as a fish per rod. Shore-based fishers split their efforts between casting snares for crabs, surf fishing for perch at Dillon Beach and rockfish from the jetty.
EMERYVILLE - Steady fishing and crabbing proved easy on days when the weather cooperated. The Sea Wolf, New Huck Fin, New Salmon Queen and New Seeker all ran trips to the Farallon Islands and hauled crab pots on the way back in for easy limits.
EUREKA - The Reel Steel had to brave powerful seas but managed to fill a 50-crab limit trip with pulling just 3 pots. Shore fishers fared better than the week before, with surfperch biting at Moonstone Beach and Camel Rock. Rockfish, cabezon and greenling bit for people fishing the north and south jetties.
FORT BRAGG - Crabbing efforts resulted in steady limits of Dungeness crabs all week and over the weekend, with 4-hour trips the norm. Snare casters scored from the banks of local rivers. Beach fishers found hungry surf perch and jetty anglers caught rockfish, cabezon and greenling.
HALF MOON BAY - The Huli Cat, Queen of Hearts and Riptide all caught limits of hefty browns and reds from San Gregorio and Pescadero. Crabbers also had a relatively easy time of things from boats and shore and jetties. Zach Durham of Half Moon Bay Sportfishing and Tackle reported brisk sales of crabbing gear.
MARTINEZ - Sturgeon bit very well for boaters using grass shrimp and ghost shrimp/eel combo baits. While waiting for sturgeon, boaters earned a pick at striped bass. Pier and shore anglers scored decent counts of striped bass in what may be the best action of the year.
PORT SONOMA/SAN RAFAEL - Striped bass catches were reported from the Petaluma River. Sturgeon came up from the Napa River and Sonoma Creek as well as a special area knows as "sturgeon triangle".
DON PEDRO RESERVOIR - Monte Smith of Gold Country Sportfishing has been hammering the trout at Don Pedro Reservoir, with an amazing day of 52 trout and a bass fast trolling Chucker-T Lures on one outing. Good places to try are Rogers Creek arm, Blue Oaks, Waterford Hole and Big Creek area. The upper end of the lake, upriver past the rock castle and Woods Creek, are good areas for trout and salmon. Bass fishing is slow, so try a slow presentation with drop-shotting or dartheading shad pattern plastics
LAKE MCCLURE - Jason Mello of A-1 Bait Shop in Snelling said "with 3,000 pounds of trout planted at Barretts Cove, the good trout bite will continue there. One fisherman used gold Kastmaster to catch a quick limit of fish. One angler used a trout pattern Rapala in Cottonwood Creek area for a limit of trout after catching a limit of keeper bass on live minnows. Mello has been using a combination of live crawdads or 6-inch Robo Worms Purple Weenie on a Texas-rig to catch bass. Brown and purple jigs and drop-shotting shad pattern plastics from 10 to 30 feet deep has been producing bass all over the lake. Mello said the biggest bass he heard of this week was a 9 pounder caught on a Slammer.
LAKE MCSWAIN - Dustin Grisson at Lake McSwain Marina said "they are working on the dam and the water has dropped again." Fishermen fishing from the bank with nightcrawlers have been catching limits of trout. Trollers using flashers and 'crawlers are also having good luck. The DFG planted 750 pounds of catchable trout. "Trollers are taking limits of rainbows on 'crawlers behind a hammered nickel cowbell trolling upriver to the Chimney," said Jason Mello at A-1 Bait Shop.
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR - The lake level rose 3 feet this week, with water temperature from 56-59 degrees. Good news, the middle ramp on Glory Hole Point is open, which makes for an easy walk. Department of Fish and Game is now planting rainbow trout weekly. Trolling anglers caught a few limits this week. The fish are in shallow water near the shoreline. A great way to target these fish is toplining, or using a side-planner. Gold, silver, and blue seem to be the colors they are responding to best. Bank fishing was good this last week. There are a lot of bass being caught. Shad and crawdad patterned baits are the best colors to use. There is a fair catfish bite going on, but the crappie bite is very slow.
AMERICAN RIVER - Cold with rain and some snow. Little fishing pressure here--stay home by the wood stove and enjoy the holidays.
BULLARDS BAR - The lake is at 79-percent capacity. Cold, rainy weather kept anglers off the lake this past weekend and more storms are forecast for the next two weeks. Emerald Cove Marina reported that the water was still clear, but there was lots of debris floating on the lake that required boaters to use caution while running.
CAMP FAR WEST - The lake is spilling and muddy. The cold, rainy weather has shut down any fishing here.
COLLINS LAKE - The lake is 13 feet from full. The water color improved and so did the trout fishing. Trollers did well using near the dam with Rapalas and dodger/worm combos at 15 feet deep. Tom Ives caught a limit of rainbows up to 5 3/4 pounds. Sal Abramont also picked up a nice limit. Dan Angeley caught his fish drifting worms on the east side. Shore anglers did well at the Open Area using Power Bait for limits. Larry Hemphill caught spotted from 2 1/4 to 3 1/2 pounds on chatterbaits and drop-shot Roboworms at the dam and on west side points at 20 feet deep.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR - The lake is at 91-percent capacity. Lisa Rogers at Skippers Cove Marina reported that trollers were picking up some nice fish in the marina and across the lake at the day-use area. One angler reported catching a 30-inch fish, but Rogers couldn't verify what kind of fish the catch was. There was also a rumor flying around about someone catching a 37-pound catfish. Boaters heading to the upper end of the lake above the South Yuba River fork into the North Fork were doing well on beautiful rainbows using worms for bait--drifting or tying up to the shore, according to Dillon Davis at the marina.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR - Snow and ice! Call the Foresthill Ranger Station before heading into this area at 530-367-2224.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR - Snow and ice! Call the Georgetown Ranger Station before heading into this area at 530-333-4312.
LAKE OROVILLE - The lake is at 65-percent capacity. The water has cleared some and booms were installed to catch the debris in the river arms. There's still a lot of debris floating on the main body, so use caution while running. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that bass fishing was still very good. On a trip this past week, Larry Shelton of Paradise caught a 16-pound, 14-ounce limit that included a 5 1/4-pound largemouth and a 3 1/2-pound spot using 6-inch green pumpkin Senkos rigged on a 5/16-ounce Paradise Tackle Company worm head. Gandolfi said the fish were on rock and gravel banks in 5 to 30 feet of water on the north end of the lake. The rising water level and reduced clarity has moved the bigger fish into shallower water! Guide Larry Hemphill and Mike Sperbeck fished the main body and caught 30 fish to 2 1/4 pounds in 6 hours this past Friday throwing jigs, Brush Hogs, and Sweet Beavers on points in 5 to 20 feet of water.
ROLLINS LAKE - The lake is full and muddy. There was quite a bit of debris washed into the lake with the rains and boaters need to use caution while running. Fishing on the main lake was slow this past week, but some bass were hitting in the ponds near Long Ravine that are connected to the lake through a culvert under the road.
SCOTT'S FLAT LAKE - The lake was only 4 to 5 feet from full, but the water was clear with just a little bit of debris floating--boaters need to use caution while running! Jim Caldwell at the resort reported that trollers were picking up some nice browns and a few planter rainbows near the Cascade Shores area and at the dam near Gate 1. The browns were hitting threaded nightcrawlers in deep water on a downrigger, and the rainbows were hitting toplined Rapalas.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR - Cold and rainy with some snow in the forecast for the next week or two making it tough for anglers. Little happening here. If snow does accumulate, the county only plows the roads past the lake, not into the facilities.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR - The road was still open, but the forecast calls for more poor weather for the next several days. Call the Georgetown Ranger Station for the latest road conditions at 530-333-4312.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY - The lake was at 129.5-foot elevation--56-percent capacity. Shore anglers were lined up at the Wilbur Rd. access to fish for steelhead using a variety of baits and spoons. Oroville Outdoors recommended a slip bobber/nightcrawler. Casting a Little Cleo or Kastmaster spoon was also producing some nice fish to 4 pounds.
AMERICAN RIVER - The American River continued to be off-color with about one foot of visibility, and flows increased to 4,000 cfs on Sunday, not exactly optimum fishing conditions. However, there were enough steelhead coming up the American to keep things interesting for anglers using brighter and larger offerings than usual. Fly fishers were swinging big steelhead patterns on fast-sinking shooting heads and Spey lines, such as egg-sucking leeches and green-butted skunks. Spin and conventional anglers were drifting roe and nightcrawlers. Some of the best action for fish to 10 pounds, but also the biggest, and, unfortunately, unruly crowds were in Nimbus Basin.
FOLSOM LAKE - The lake was high and murky, and trout fishing poor for trollers, but a few planters were being caught from shore at Granite Bay on Power Bait in bright colors, inflated nightcrawlers, and small minnows. The 5 mph speed limit has been removed due to the higher lake level, but obey signs, as conditions are rapidly changing. A few bass were being caught, mostly in the backs of coves where the creeks coming into the lake were a bit warmer than in the forks and on the main body. Large plastic worms and jigs in darker colors and larger sizes fished slowly and deeply were attracting a few bites from mostly spotted and largemouth bass.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento - The river was high, and muddy throughout, so the great salmon season which closed on Sunday, ended with a whimper. Sturgeon fishing was fair, but steadily improving from Courtland to Knight's Landing, and fishing for striped bass to about 8 pounds was good in the Deep Water Channel from the Turning Basin to the Palm Tree. Bank fishermen soaked bloodworms, sardines, and mudsuckers, while boaters drifted jumbo minnows, jigged with Hopkins and Duh spoons, and trolled deep-diving plugs sometimes with a jig trailer.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding - The river was muddy and unfishable even at Redding, because muddy water had finally worked its way throughout Shasta Lake to Keswick Dam. It will take a week or more to clear barring more rain.
YUBA RIVER-Still blown out.
-Western Outdoor News