AMERICAN RIVER - Steelheading was pretty good last week, not so much in numbers, except for halfpounders, but in size with some fish weighing over 10 pounds. They are being caught on flies, both swung and nymphs dead-drifted under indicators, back-trolled Hot Shots and Brad's Wigglers, drifted nightcrawlers and roe, and small jigs under floats. Fishing has been best from Sailor Bar to Sunrise, but fishing pressure can be heavy.
FOLSOM LAKE - Trout fishing was very good again last week for both trollers and bank fishermen. A few landlocked king salmon were being caught, too. Most trout were 12 to 16 inches long, while the kings ranged to 2 pounds. Along the shoreline at Granite Bay was the most productive spot for bankies, while trolling the main body was best for boaters. Troll Speedy Shiners, small Rapalas, Wedding Rings in front of nightcrawlers and hoochies from near the surface down to 20 fee. Bass fishing was slow once again, with fish hunkered down in the cold water. Fish plastics very slow 15 to 20 feet deep on flats near drop-offs.
RANCHO SECO LAKE - It's being planted with trout regularly, and fishing continued to be good from the bank on Power Bait, inflated nightcrawlers and spoons and spinners. Boaters in kayaks, float tubes, and canoes were trolling leeches, wooly buggers, Needlefish, and nightcrawlers behind dodgers for fish mostly around 12 inches and up to 3 pounds.
SACRAMENTO RIVER - The river was producing a few sturgeon, mostly from the bank at Colusa, Merritt's Landing and Fremont Weir. Use 10 to 16 ounces of weight. Regulations have become more restrictive for sturgeon with the slot limit now between 40 inches and 60 inches as measured from the tip of the nose to the fork in the tail. Only single, barbless hooks may be used, and snares are no longer allowed. Fishing for striped bass was slow.
BODEGA BAY - Rocky sections of the coast gave up rockfish, cabezon and even a couple of lingcod for shore fishers using squid. Surf perch swarmed sandy stretches of beaches with notable catches at Estero Americana and Salmon Creek Beach. Crabbers fared well and the average size was satisfactory. New Sea Angler ran crab and dab combos and found, "the best sanddab bite in years". New Sea Angler will be running Humboldt squid trips in the weeks ahead.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Ore. - Low and clear fishing conditions with flows running at 1800 cfs on Sunday and expected to remain there all week with melting snow in the mountains. Lots of steelhead in the river now, but look for them higher up and in the riffles and deeper, shaded holes. Guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing reported an 18 and a few 15 pounders last week.
COOS RIVER, South Fork; Coos Bay, Ore. - This river has been the most successful on the Southern Oregon Coast for catching steelhead this season, according to Palmer. "With the river rising extremely fast last Monday it was nearly impossible for anyone to catch a fish. With the river starting to fall the next day and visibility growing by the hour made it easier for the fishermen to begin catching fish again. There are very few angler's during the week days compared to the weekends.. It is much easier for a fisherman to catch his 3 fish daily limit Monday- Friday and some angler's are doing that on a regular basis. This could very likely be the best run of steelhead to return too this river over the history of recording keeping. It is nearly impossible to count the number of fish that are being caught during a weekend with the amount of native and hatchery raised steelhead combined."
EEL RIVER - The mainstem should be fishable by the time you read this, and it should be loaded with steelhead, according to guide Mark Nimitz of Pipe Creek Guide Service. There's still another two months of good steelheading coming up. Flows were still and it was muddied up below the confluence from a slide up the South Fork, but it should be in shape by now.
EEL RIVER, South Fork - Low and clear up top after a big push of steelhead were in the river in the Garberville area. Now the fish have moved higher up and into the tribs and the river is dropping out, and anglers are following the higher water downriver where the conditions were better, but a slide above Benbow had the river running muddy over the weekend, all the way to the confluence with the Main, but that wasn't expected to last too long, according to guide Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing Adventures. Expect plenty of more steelhead over the next two months as rains bring the river up.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Ore. - "I haven't heard much about how the steelhead fishing was over the last week," said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets, "but I did receive a phone call from a friend on Saturday afternoon. He was driving up the north side and saw the color was good in clarity and willow bushes were finding their way farther out of the water. I was told he was watching a guide boat fight a fish in the Kimball Creek area." Bankies weren't having any success. Fishing below Lobster Creek should become better over the next week from power boats as the river drops.
RUSSIAN RIVER - Kings Sport & Tackle in Guerneville reported the river has finally turned green, although flow is at 1700 cfs at Hacienda. Flows have been dropped out of the lakes upriver. Healdsberg run on Sat. caught fish, about 3 steelies a boat. Steelhead Beach, Johnson's and at the Narrows at Monte Rio, and the Alexcander Valley is full of fish. The hatchery is getting good numbers of fish, and some in the big teens were holding at the mouth waiting to run in. Plugging and baitfishing right now, flyfishing sho9uld be good by mid-week. And no rain coming for next week, so in really good shape, Scott Heemstra.
SMITH RIVER - Fishing has been "pretty good" according to guide Phil Desautel of Phil's Smiling Salmon Guide Service, and that usually translates into "very good." He said fish are spread throughout the system, with some spots holding more fish than others. Two of his clients went 2 for 4 one day, and Gavin Tester of Paradise caught a 13-pound native hen. Lack of rain means this river will be dropping out and fishing will get tougher.
UMPQUA RIVER, Roseburg, Ore. - "The storms that got held up on the coast finally hit us around the beginning of last week," reported Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. "The river jumped up to height's and color's that have been unfishable until Sunday. There were a dozen small chrome steelhead caught in the couple short hours I was on the river fishing." He said that as the river is dropping quickly, fresh fish are moving upriver to the confluences of it's forks at the same speed. He said the fish are biting softer in the cold water, and he expects visibility and color to improve on a daily basis. Due to the number of hatchery steelies already caught this early, he has high hopes for a good return of fin-clipped steelies.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork; Glide, Ore. - WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer said there's a lot of water in the river, and it's in great shape for steelhead to travel. "Fishing pressure has been minimal lately and that is mostly due to the larne number of fish in the Main Umpqua. Fish are entering this river and can be seen at the viewing area in the Winchester Dam just north of Roseburg.
UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork; Canyonville, Ore. - The river did get a little out of shape with the storm last week, but was back to it's fish-catching size in just under 2 days. "I haven't heard much about how many fish are being caught over the latter part of the week," said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. "Much of this is due to the Sacramento ISE Show and fishing guides from this area having booth's at the show. During the first couple days of the work week, there was word of fish being caught at some of the better steelhead waters."
KLAMATH RIVER - The Klamath was cold and clear through most of its length last week. Fishing for halfpounders and adult steelies to about 5 pounds was only fair in the cold conditions. Fly fishing was slow, but anglers were catching a few steelies on drifted Glo-Bugs, roe and nightcrawlers as well as backtrolled crawdad plugs.
TRINITY RIVER - The river is clear and very cold, and steelhead were very lethargic. Even good anglers were struggling to hook one or two steelhead. Warm rains are definitely needed. Some downrunners are being seen in the upper end of the river, while brighter fish are still present farther down around Willow Creek.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE - Fish the mid section and Rattlesnake arm where there is better visibility. Big baits will produce larger bass but not very many. Minnows will provide more strikes. This past week produced a few 5-plus pounders in the warm afternoon sun.
LAKE BERRYESSA - According to bass fishing guide Don Paganelli, fishing has been very good for the last two weeks. Work dropshot rigs and Carolina rigs on outside points in 17-25 feet with shad colored worms. Smallmouth up to 4 pounds, spotted bass and some largemouth have all responded.
LAKE SONOMA - P-Line Pro Scott Green says bass from 2-4 pounds are biting jigs, Brush Hogs and other plastics in and around standing timber and brush piles. The trick is to fish tight to cover and slow down. The water color is stained and perfect for bass with a few fish still shallow and eating Gann spinnerbaits, Lucky Craft BDS3s or chatterbaits.
SACRAMENTO RIVER side - According to guide JD Richey, the fishing here is mainly for sturgeon with the best action coming from the PG&E Plant as well as the upper reaches of Cache Slough on the north Delta. Cold, dirty water has made striper fishing a tougher bet lately.
SAN JOAQUIN RIVER side - Very few reports of anglers going out due to fog and cold weather. Gotcha Bait & Tackle reports stripers near Honker Bay and just inside Broad Slough.
LAKE ALMANOR - No reports this past week as there was still no place to launch. Everything was either unplowed, iced over or had pulled ramps and docks.
BAUM LAKE - One of the better winter bets. The Fly Shop in Redding reported anglers are finding rainbows in good numbers. Nice sunny, dry weather will keep producing good fishing.
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 fore bay may reopen.
EAGLE LAKE - Closed on December 31.
PIT RIVER - The waters are getting better here now, with Pitt no. 3 providing the best action, Pitt no. 4 will still be high and muddy.
SHASTA LAKE - The mid section on the main lake has been the clearest. In the mornings when it's cold try Senkos and 5- to 6-inch tubes for a bunch of smaller fish. Once the afternoon has warmed things up the larger fish will be up, so toss bigger stuff like swimbaits and A-rigs. The bass are eating crawdads.
FEATHER RIVER - The Low Flow Section was clearing, and producing steelhead from 16 inches to 5 pounds on drifted nightcrawlers for non-fly fishermen, and on egg patterns, San Juan Worms, red Copper Johns, and psycho prince nymphs under indicators. Fishing was best in the newly-opened section above the Highway 70 Bridge to the green bridge below the hatchery.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding - Trout fishing was pretty good, even though the water was still somewhat murky between Redding and Anderson, according to Al Brown of Al Brown's Guide Service. He's been doing well drifting Glo-Bugs on trout in the 1-to 2-pound range plus a few in the 3-pound class.
YUBA RIVER - The river was still high, at 2,000 cfs, but fishable, and fishing was good between the Highway 120 Bridge and Sky Ranch. PMD's and POD's under indicators were scoring nice native trout to 16 inches. No dry fly fishing yet, though.
BERKELEY - Local perch fishing was viable all week, with pile worms the best bet for bait. Boaters ran towards the Oakland Airport to get in on the sturgeon bite, which was driven by a major herring spawn at Mariposa.
CROCKETT - Morning Star fished both Suisun Bay and San Pablo Bay this week. Sturgeon and stripers were the inevitable result. Most fish were shakers, but some good ones came in, especially near tide changes.
EMERYVILLE - A lone crab and 'dab combo trip was the only fishing excursion from Emeryville Sportfishing. The trip was reported to be highly successful and the landing stands ready to satisfy demand by running more trips.
EUREKA - Sport crabbing season continued strong with limits common. Commercial crab season opened Sunday, which is expected to put 25,000 crab pots in the water, according to WON Field Reporter Lonnie Dollarhide.
FORT BRAGG - Crabbing was productive all week, however Sunday was a very busy day because commercial crab season opened and boat were out in force. Surf perch bit well at MacKerricher State Park. Jetty fishers enjoyed the weekend because the swells were down, allowing them to catch rockfish, cabezon and greenling.
HALF MOON BAY/PACIFICA - Exceptionally large barred surf perch to 18 inches bit for shoreline casters near Half Moon Bay and Pacifica. Crabbers proved the value of baited snares along the beaches, piers and jetties. The Huli Cat got into great sanddab fishing.
MARTINEZ/BENICIA - Solid action was found on sturgeon and decent action on striped bass aboard the Flash and other area boats. Strong outgoing tides were the best times and the Mothball Fleet proved to be the best location.
OYSTER POINT/OAKLAND - A major herring spawn drew sturgeon from all over the Bay to Mariposa, near the Oakland Airport, where fish up to 60 inches were caught this week. Herring was the best bait, however ghost shrimp and ghost/herring combo baits also produced bites.
PORT SONOMA/SAN RAFAEL - The Pumphouse area kicked out decent counts of keeper stripers and a few sturgeon. The tributary rivers of the upper San Pablo Bay did just the opposite... decent counts of keeper sturgeon but low counts of keeper bass. A 100-pound sturgeon was caught and released in the Napa River.
BOCA LAKE - The lake is at 41-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported little change here due to the extreme cold--the road was clear to the dam and ice fishermen were seeing some success in shallower water near the dam using worms, Power Bait, small tube jigs, and Kastmaster spoons.
CAPLES LAKE - John Voss at Caples Lake Resort reported that there were 12 inches of ice and 2 to 3 feet of snow on the lake. Most of the ice fishermen were congregated at the spillway end of the lake. Ice fishermen were using worms, Power Bait, bay shrimp, and Kastmaster spoons for a mix of rainbows, browns, and an occasional mack.
CARSON RIVER (East) - With bitter cold weather and snow still on the ground, the river was 75-percent frozen over and fishing was impossible for mere mortals.
DAVIS LAKE - The lake is at 77-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard's Guided Fishing reported that ice fishermen equipped with a fish/depth finder were doing very well using jigs and spoons at the dam. With the meter, they could adjust their fishing depth to intercept fish moving through and make a successful presentation of the lure. Bait fishing was much slower with anglers only catching 1 or 2 fish. Anglers walking into Mallard Point found slow fishing there too. Dress warm - it got down to minus 18 degrees and only warmed up to 8 degrees one day this past week. John Pato's Annual Davis Lake Ice Fishing Tournament benefitting the American Cancer Society will be held Feb. 2. The entry fee is $20 - contact J&J's Grizzly Store at (530) 832-0270 for info and entry forms.
DONNER LAKE - Mountain Hardware and Sports reported little change here. With temps down into single digits, fishing pressure was light and those braving the snow and ice were finding a few rainbows hitting on the west end of the lake on worms, salmon eggs and Power Bait.
FRENCHMAN LAKE - The lake is at 63-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported ice fishing was okay through 6 to 8 inches of ice at the dam. Try worms, Power Bait, jigs, and Kastmaster spoons. As at Davis Lake, a portable fish/depth finder greatly increases the odds of success.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR - The lake is at 59-percent capacity. Snow and ice on the road to the lake make 4-wheel drive mandatory. It would be better to wait until warmer weather prevails
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR - Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort reported that the lake was still snowed in.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) - Sly Park Resort reported that the roads around the lake were icy and most people were avoiding the possibility of a wreck. It's just been too cold to go fishing with lows in the single digits and highs in the teens and 20's.
LAKE TAHOE - Chuck Self at Chuck's Charter Fishing reported that trolling for macks was "awesome." 3- to 6-pound mackinaws were hitting a mix of spoons and small plugs from 160 to 340 feet deep in the morning and from 180 to 220 feet deep in the afternoon. The fish are feeding on anything they can find. Call ahead before heading up due to ice in most of the North Shore marinas.
PROSSER LAKE - The lake is at 32-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported little change here due to the extreme cold with lows into the single digits. The road is plowed to the end of the road to the dam then it's a walk to the fishing. Try worms, small tube jigs, Kastmaster spoons, and bay shrimp for rainbows.
PYRAMID LAKE - Crosby's Lodge reported that trolling was slower due to windy weather. The few shore fishermen showing up saw some success with 13 and 18 pounders landed this past week by fly fishermen. Daniel Walton caught an 18 3/4-pound cutthroat at Wino Beach on a yellow fly and Steven Joseph landed a 13 1/2 pounder at the South Nets. When WON called Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters on Sunday, he had 10 fish to 9 1/2 pounds taken on bleeding frog FlatFish at the North and South Nets at 17 to 21 feet deep over 30 to 35 feet of water. 3- to 4-foot waves and temps in the 20's made fishing uncomfortable, but bearable with the quality of the fish.
RED LAKE - Victor Babbitt at Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that cutthroat trout fishing was good at the dam through 2 feet of ice and hardpacked snow. Worms, Power Bait, and Kastmaster spoons were catching plenty of 6- to 12-inch trout. The road to the dam was open from Highway 88.
SILVER LAKE - Ice fishing should be good near the dam where there is ready access from Highway 88. Try bay shrimp, worms, Power Bait, and Kastmaster spoons.
TOPAZ LAKE - Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported that fishing was difficult due to snow and ice along the shore and on the launch ramps, and skim ice floating on the lake - lows have been down to 4 degrees with highs in the 20's--COLD! Shore fishermen might pick up a fish or two, but boaters had a hard time getting on the lake. There were still only a couple of feet of water on the ramp at the marina so only small boats could launch.
TRUCKEE RIVER - Fishing access on the CA side was difficult due to snow. Action through Reno-Sparks was better using midge nymphs under indicators according to Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR - The lake is at 66-percent capacity. Ken Mathis of Ken's Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported that macks ranging from 3 to 19 pounds were caught this past week by trollers running stickbaits and Ken's Double Flutter spoons 60 to 80 feet deep where sandy bottoms meet rocky ledges. Double Flutters accounted for a number of 3 to 4 pounders and one 11-pound fish. Stickbaits caught 17- and 19-pound macks. The fishing should improve over the next 6 weeks. Mathis said the road was passable with 4-wheel drive but boaters needed to be cautious of ice on the boat ramp.
AMADOR LAKE - Debbie Grayson at Lake Amador Store said "the trout bite has been slow with the cold weather the last few days." Fishermen are catching a couple fish a day from 3 to 6 pounds on Kastmasters, Power Bait and 'crawlers.
CAMANCHE LAKE - Mt. Lassen Trout delivered 600 pounds of trout to the South Shore Pond and 600 pounds of trout to the south shore ramp. The north shore ramp was not included in this delivery. Toplining is working, as the, fish are 10 to 15 feet deep. Bank fishermen are using rainbow Power Bait with garlic scent, white glitter marshmallows, 'crawlers and Kastmaster lures. The lake level is rising steadily due to the winter rains and snow in the Sierra.
DON PEDRO RESERVOIR - Bass bite is tough. Drop-shotting crawdad or shad pattern style worms are working. There is a good bite in the lake for trout 5 to 15 feet deep. The trout are hitting Speedy Shiners, Excels and Needlefish trolling 2 to 3 miles an hour off Jenkins Hill, in Rogers Creek Arm and up into middle bay. Some anglers up at Moccasin Creek area trolling the river channel are catching a few fish.
LAKE MCCLURE - "There is a good trout bite going on at Lake McClure" said Jason Mello at A-1 Bait in Snelling. Anglers are trolling from Temperance area to the dam using Needlefish and red Wedding Rings with 'crawlers. There is also a good bass bite by drop-shotting shad or crawdad pattern plastics and using green pumpkin jigs.
LAKE MCSWAIN - Victoria Sturtevant at Lake McSwain Marina said "the DFW just planted 1,000 pounds of trout." Fishermen are trolling spoons and Wedding/Ring 'crawler combo to catch fish. Bank fishermen are using white garlic Power Eggs and garlic Power Bait to catch fish of the Handicap Dock, Brush Pile and across the dam.
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR - For bass, Melanie Lewis at Glory Hole Point said "concentrate on primary and secondary points leading to and from the back of the major creek arms." Try using baits that cover water and resemble shad. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and lip-less crankbaits should do the trick. There is also a good drop-shot bite on Roboworm Alive Shad, Gulp! Minnows, and Zoom Tiny Flukes. Live crawdads or jigs are a more consistent and predictable food source. Try using a heavy 1/2-oz. or 3/4-oz. football head jig with a trailer. The trout are schooled up in hunting "wolf-packs," chasing shad right up into the shallows, so that is where the action is. Trolling anglers should head upriver, or into the mouths of major coves and creek arms. Try fishing near the surface with Rapalas, Speed Traps, and Rat-L-Traps, or spoons such as Needlefish Excels, Kastmasters, and Speedy Shiners.
MODESTO RESERVOIR - The bass bite is tough, a fish a day, while the trout bite has been picking up. Best area to fish has been the inlet where anglers can catch a couple fish a rod on 'crawlers and Power Bait.
BULLARDS BAR--The lake is at 96-percent capacity. One angler reported catching spots ranging from 5 1/2 to 8 1/2 pounds on swimbaits and worm-head rigged Senkos, plus lots of 12- to 14-inch fish.
CAMP FAR WEST - The lake is full. North Shore Resort reported that fishing was very slow in the cold muddy water - one angler said he caught a few small bass on Brush Hogs in 15 to 20 feet of water on the sunny shorelines. It has been cold, so dress in layers.
COLLINS LAKE - The lake is full and spilling. The water color was improving, but still murky. With the bitter cold weather, fishing pressure was down, but those braving the elements were picking up some rainbows from planter-size to lunkers. Erick Liske fished from shore in Elmer's Cove with Power Bait and landed an 11 3/4-pound rainbow. Tom Ives of Browns Valley caught a 5 1/2-pound rainbow trolling a Rapala at the bridge.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR - The lake is at 91-percent capacity. Dillon Davis at Skippers Cove Marina reported that boaters were still catching lots of 9- to 10-inch rainbows and a few bigger fish to 20 inches drifting bait from above the no-wake buoys to up past the inlets of the Yuba River forks.
LAKE OROVILLE - The lake is at 73-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that anglers could still catch 20 to 30 fish a day, but lure presentation had to be SLOW! Worm-head Senkos, drop-shot Roboworms, and Paradise Tackle Company finesse jigs with a Roboworm trailer were all working from the bank down to 40 feet deep. Concentrating on the shallower sunny banks that had a chance to warm up helped your odds of getting into fish--mostly 1 3/4- to 3 1/4-pound spots. Gandolfi said he had caught fish all over the lake from the North Fork down to the Middle Fork. For success, think sunny banks and a SLOW, almost dead stick retrieve with a whole lot of shakin' going on!
ROLLINS LAKE - The lake is full and muddy. A.J. Harris at Long Ravine reported that only one boat was on the lake all week - a kayaker - and he didn't fish. With the cold, sub-freezing weather, few fishermen have been willing to brave the elements.
SCOTT'S FLAT LAKE - Jim Caldwell at the marina reported that trollers were catching limits of rainbows and an occasional brown trout. One angler used a dodger/spoon at the dam for four 10- to 12-inch rainbows and a 2-pound brown, while another trolled the area from the marina toward the inlet for 5 rainbows at 15 to 20 feet deep using flasher/worm combos.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR - Very cold weather with little happening here.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR - The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the road to the lake was unplowed and had 6 to 12 inches of snow and ice on it that made 4-wheel drive a necessity. If you can get to the lake, fishing should be pretty good.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY - The lake was at 132.4-foot elevation - 74-percent capacity. Very cold weather most mornings lately. Try for steelhead near the Wilbur Road access.