AMERICAN RIVER - Steelheading was good last week, with brighter fish and lower fishing pressure being hooked farther downstream and more numerous, but somewhat darker fish and more pressure found from Sunrise Blvd. up into Nimbus Basin. Fly fishers are hooking steelies on alevin imitations, Glo-Bugs imitating steelhead eggs, psycho prince nymphs, and San Juan all doing well. Non-fly fishers were scoring on drifted roe and nightcrawlers, and backtrolled plugs. Flows were a very fishable 2,300 cfs.
FOLSOM LAKE - Some nice king salmon were caught last week, along with planter-sized trout. But, the big news was the fact that bass fishing improved as the weather and water warmed a bit. The key to success was fishing very slowly, and drop-shotted Robo-Worms was one of the better methods. Fish the Peninsula and rocky points. The coves haven't been producing much as yet. Hoochies behind dodgers fished from 50 to 60 feet deep was the approach attracting the most king salmon bites. Topline Speedy Shiners and J-7 Rapalas for planter trout. Or fish from shore at Granite Bay with worms and Power Bait.
PYRAMID LAKE - According to Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters, shore fishermen were outfishing the trollers 10-to-1. Mendes landed 18 cutthroats earlier in the week, but numbers dropped to 8 fish by the end of the week trolling on the south end of the lake. George Molino at Cutthroat Charters landed 9 cutthroats for 4 clients covering the water from 9-Mile to Windlass. They had 5 shorts, three 17 to 20 inchers, and one over 24 inches, all taken on Apex and FlatFish trolled 10 to 35 feet deep. Fly fishermen again this past week chalked up some impressive catches. Jeff Morris landed a 14 1/4 pounder. Joe Clark caught a 12 1/4-pound fish casting a black jig off the jetty at the Old Marina near Crosby's Lodge. On Saturday, guys from Sierra Sport and Marine in Sparks caught-and-released 10 and 12 pounders. Remember the Crosby's 26th annual President's Day Fishing Derby will be held the weekends of Feb. 9-10 and 16-17. The $80 entry must be paid before noon on Feb. 9 or Feb. 16, but is good for both weekends. First prize is a boat, motor, and trailer or $3,000 cash. Call Crosby's Lodge at (775) 476-0400 for info and entries.
LAKE OROVILLE - The lake is at 76-percent capacity. Gary Dobyns of Yuba City ran off with the WON BASS Pro-Am by a margin of almost 5 1/2 pounds with 29.05 pounds. His first day weight of 15.9 pounds led the field of 46 boats by 2 pounds. The fish were spread out from 5 to 60 feet deep and the key to getting bit was fishing slow. Jigs, plastic worms, and reaction baits all worked. Guide Ron Gandolfi fished with 2 very inexperienced Dutch international bankers on Friday and they still managed to land 10 fish to 2 1/4 pounds using drop-shot worms and worm-head Senkos from 5 to 30 feet deep in the West Branch, North Fork and the Slot.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Ore. - Steelhead fishing here slowed some during the week, according to WON Field Reporter and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, who said "there was a lot of pressure on the lower river, and not a lot of new fish coming in. Steelhead are still being caught from Social Security Bar all the way to the South Fork. "We got two to three steelhead a day on the Chetco last week, but it was tough fishing," said guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Flows on the Chetco were down to 1,600 cfs Sunday morning. Rain Tuesday through Thursday is expected to give flows a boost, and hopefully bring in more fish.
COQUILLE RIVER, South Fork; Powers, Ore. - It was one of those "should have been there" day's last Wednesday. Boat after boat went through the holes and it was as if the fish would never stop biting, and many boats caught their limit of 3 hatchery steelhead per angler a day. That must be an enormous amount of returning fish. "I got phones calls for two days asking if I was there Wednesday and other callers told me that they caught between 7 and 12 steelhead," said WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. "Friday was quite a bit slower by reports I received. The best number of fish caught was 6 on Friday. With the weather becoming colder, it might slow down just a little. I would still expect fishing to be fair most of next week."
EEL RIVER - The Eel continues to be the big story with more huge scores. The South Fork never came up much from last weeks rain, but it did pick up some color, which made the fish approachable in the low water. Drifting bait and plugging both racked up some big numbers. The volume of fish pouring through the system this year is staggering and we can expect it to be a great bet all the way through March.
EEL/SIXES rivers, Ore. - To escape some of the crowding over the weekend, guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing headed north to fish the Elk and Sixes rivers, and reported good success. "We caught and released several steelhead, and didn't see many other boats," Martin said.
GARCIA, GUALALA rivers - All the smaller coastal rivers are low and clear from lack of rain. Check for low flow closures.
MAD RIVER - The Mad was bait fishable by Thursday with a foot and a half of visibility and a greenish brown color, according to guide Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing Adventurs. There were lots of fish above the hatchery with rollers all over the first big flat, but the majority were on the dark side. Bellow the Blue Lake bridge, there were scattered pods of chromers, with wild fish making up the majority of the catch. In the dingy water, a Spin-n-Glo tipped with a piece of roe drifted on a short leader is the ticket.
RUSSIAN RIVER - Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville reported that there are still lots of steelhead in the river, the entire length, but it's been tougher fishing in the lower section because the fish are in "move mode" and shooting straight through, according to owner Steve Jackson. Warm Springs Hatchery has received 1,800 steelies, and Ukiah had about 900 as of the weekend, a normal return. The fish are mostly 4 to 6 pounds, with one 14 1/2 pounder caught by Ernie Saxe last week. Flows are still about 700 cfs with good green color around Guerneville, and as flows drop out the steelies will begin to slow and pod up in the pools and riffles.
SIXES RIVER; Port Orford, Ore. - Not very many people fishing for steelhead on this river, according to guide Curtis Palmer. "Nathan Duey's guide service isn't complaining with the catches that he is getting with the light pressure from anglers," Palmer said. "The guy fishing with him landed 6 nice steelhead on Saturday on yarn balls. Last weekend they caught about the same number of fish while swinging flies on the Sixes River."
SMITH RIVER - The Smith gave up some decent scores with up to 6 fish a boat landed for those that were in the right place at the right time. There were also some really big ones in the mix with fish over 20 pounds landed, according to Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing Adventures. WON Field Reporter Phil Desautel of Phil's Smiling Salmon Guide Service reported it as "fair to good. We've been catching a fish or two every day, but you have to work for them. The number of hatchery fish is low, but that may change any day. Glen Hango of Alder Point went 2 for 4 releasing 2 nice native hens of 8 and 11 pounds. Pant and Dorothy Cunningham from Kenai, Alaska, were 2 for 5, releasing a nice 14-pound buck and a 7-pound hen. The river is low and clear. We are forecast for a day of rain after that, but who knows?"
UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork; Canyonville, Ore. - This river was busy Friday and Saturday from the Umpqua Steelhead Derby. The river was considerably warmer this last weekend compared to the month of January. It was difficult at times to find a fish that was interested in any of the many different baits that were on an almost continual drift downstream. Even with tough periods of fishing, there were a lot of steelhead caught. Results of the catches show that 40% of the fish caught were hatchery steelhead. I am excited about the rest of the season, knowing that there are close to an equal number of hatchery to native return. We should see an increase in quality of fishing over next few weeks, said guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork; Glide, Ore. - With temperature of the water warming well above freezing and color a milkish green, all we need for fantastic fishing is a drop in river height, said WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. The best bite period last week was in the afternoon for me, and it was the same for most of the reports I received. This is primarily a native run of steelhead in the winter month, but I got reports of 5 hatchery fish being caught and one attached a picture that clearly showed a well known spot on the river. I fished the North Fork on Friday and drifting a pink worm was the hot ticket for us and at least one other boat. They are a good thing to keep with you for those days when nothing seems to work. This is one of those steelhead rivers where catching over a dozen fish in a single day is a common occurrence.
KLAMATH RIVER - The Klamath River warmed a bit last week, and is now fishable throughout its length. However, fly fishing was still not producing many bites, and most of the action has been on side-drifted nightcrawlers and roe, spinners and Kastmasters and on the swing and backtrolled plugs.
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City - Steelhead fishing was very good last week, with water warming a bit and perking up the bite, plus the arrival of a batch of bright winter fish. Fishing was best upstream and downstream of the stretch between Douglas City and Junction City in the canyon, where the sun doesn't shine on the water for a very long period of time and the fish are more lethargic. The river is quite clear now, all the way down to the South Fork, though most of the action - and fishing pressure - is above Pigeon Point. Fly fishers were doing well on dead-drifted golden stonefly nymphs under indicators, while non-fly fishers side-drifted roe and backtrolled plugs.
BOCA LAKE - The lake is at 41-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that ice fishing was good at the dam for anglers using bay shrimp.
CAPLES LAKE - The lake is at 69-percent capacity. Ice fishing was good at the dam and spillway through 12-plus inches of ice on bay shrimp, Power Bait, worms, and salmon eggs.
CARSON RIVER (East) - The warmer weather melted the ice off the river but the water was still too cold for any decent fishing, according to Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort.
DAVIS LAKE - The lake is at 77-percent capacity. John Pato's American Cancer Society benefit ice fishing derby was won by Paul Salas of Reno with a 3.04-pound rainbow. 169 anglers only weighed in 106 fish, but generated $4,000 for cancer research. Ed Dillard reported that fishermen were scattered all over the lake from the dam to Fairview. Action was better off Coot and Fairview than at the dam.
DONNER LAKE - The lake is at 38-percent capacity. The lake was still partially frozen with open water at the boat launch for shore fishing - but it's slow.
FRENCHMAN LAKE--The lake is at 64-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported good ice fishing at the dam for 14- to 16-inch rainbows through 12 to 14 inches of ice. The roads around the lake were still closed.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR - The lake is at 61-percent capacity. With the warmer weather, the road to the lake was passable. The water was still too cold for decent fishing, according to Kyle Neeser at Crystal Basin Tackle and Guide Service.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR - Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort reported that the snow on Airport Road had melted enough for passage by 4-wheel drive truck. No word about the fishing, though.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) - Anglers were doing better with the beautiful warm weather. Trout were hitting Power Bait at the first dam.
LAKE TAHOE - Rick Kennedy at Tight Lines Guide Service fished the lake 4 days this past week. Earlier in the week, the winds were very strong and fishing was tough. Later in the week, trolling off Cave Rock produced 2- to 5-pound macks on spoons and F 16 Rapalas run 20 feet deep over 30 feet of water. On Saturday, Kennedy trolled for trout off Dollar Point and landed several 1 to 2 pounders on orange/gold Rapalas and Uncle Larry's spinners tipped with 2-inch brown grubs. Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters reported that trolling 350 to 375 feet deep later in the week was good for his 3 clients who landed 7 or 8 fish and tagged and released 3 more. Chuck Self at Chuck's Charter Fishing reported doing well in the afternoons for limits of 2 to 7 pounders trolling smaller spoons and plugs from 165 to 225 feet deep.
PROSSER LAKE - The lake is at 31-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that ice fishing at the dam was best in the early morning before the ice skaters, hockey players, ATV's, and snowmobiles got on the lake and scared off the fish.
RED LAKE - Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that ice fishing at the dam was still good for small cutthroats using worms, Power Bait, and small Kastmaster spoons.
SILVER LAKE - The lake is at 32-percent capacity. Ice fishing at the dam was productive for anglers using bay shrimp.
TOPAZ LAKE - Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported that the lake was still pretty much frozen over, but there was now 25 to 30 feet of open water along the shore allowing shore fishing though there were few takers.
TRUCKEE RIVER - The warmer weather had improved access on the California side, especially from Hirshdale to Stateline. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that fly fishing was getting better for anglers casting BWO and midge patterns to feeding fish. The Reno-Sparks area was fishing better than the Cal. section with some dry fly action occurring sporadically during the day.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR - The lake is at 69-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken's Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported the road to the lake off Pea Vine Ridge Road was open with a few spots of black ice. He trolled his Double-Flutter spoons and herring/dodger combos for 2 to 4 macks per day at 50 to 70 feet deep on sandy bottoms. His biggest Mackinaw this past week measured 31 inches and was estimated at 12 to 13 pounds - he released it.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE - Bass are in great shape and running 4 to 5 pounds but hardly anyone has figured out a way to get enough bites to put a limit together. For the diehards who want to try anyway, the area around Rattlesnake Island, the mid-section of the lake and the mid-section of the Redbud arm all have better water color and have been producing at least some bites. These fish are on the bottom and very lethargic, so presentations need to match their moods. Live bait anglers are using both slip float rigs and drop-shot rigs to fish their favorite winter docks and rock piles.
LAKE BERRYESSA - Good electronics are a plus for locating baitballs, but once you do, expect steady action on both smallmouth and largemouth. Jigging spoons have been the most consistent method with some anglers drop-shotting their fish in 25 to 40 feet. An 8 pounder came on a swimbait in 20 to 25 feet. Topline for trout to 20 inches.
LAKE SONOMA - Bass fishing has been fair with jigs, Senkos and Brush Hawgs fished slowly on the ledges in 25 to 30 feet of water. Landlocked steelhead fishing has been steady for trollers fishing the top 10 feet of water. Please release these little beauties.
SACRAMENTO RIVER side - Sturgeon are starting to pack it up and head into the upper sloughs for spawning. Hungry, they'll eat anything in the system, but it is still early in the season for them. Fish are scattered throughout the system with shakers, takers and some over-sized as well. Not much striper action yet.
SAN JOAQUIN RIVER side - Anglers are just returning as the weather and waters begin to warm. The pressure has been high for sturgeon with two recent tourneys. Grass and ghost shrimp have worked well for fish that are scattered throughout the system. A few small stripers were also in the mix. The black bass are also getting going off in weed beds in 7 or 8 feet in Franks Tract off the shelf and Discovery Bay. As water warm up, you'll catch fish anywhere off the main flow. There are also still some crappie in Discovery Bay.
LAKE ALMANOR - The lake still switches from frozen to open water, but floating ice chunks make fishing impossible. A good trout bite will develop as soon as the lake warms up a little.
BAUM LAKE - According to The Fly Shop, fly fishing has been great using small midge patterns and dry flies depending on the weather.
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.
PIT RIVER - Don't let the stained up, snow runoff scare you away. Fish the warm, sunny spots midday. According to the Fly Shop, the fish are hungry.
SHASTA LAKE - Fish the warmer water in the afternoons as some big bass are coming up to warm up. Tourney action implies there are a bunch of big fish, but only a few are being caught by a few "in the know" who are tossing swimbaits, but a bunch of 2 1/2 pounders are also biting. Bass are spread into all arms now. The bait is still at 40 feet, but trout are from the surface and found down to 25 feet. Try shad imitations.
BERKELEY/OAKLAND - Sturgeon chased herring spawns and put on a decent bite early in the incoming tide and early in the outgoing tide periods. Perch spawns gave anglers good catches at Richmond, Berkeley and Alameda. The local flounder bite flourished for shore anglers using pile worms.
BODEGA BAY - The New Sea Angler ran a crab and 'dab combo trip Saturday. Those 11 anglers got limits of high-grade Dungeness crabs plus 220 sanddabs (as many as people wanted). The trips had surprises... two salmon, a 12 pounder and a 14 pounder, were caught on strips of squid on sanddab gangion rigs. Both fish were released immediately.
EMERYVILLE--New Salmon Queen ran a crab and sad dab combo trip outside the Gate. The results were plentiful for both tasty critters.
EUREKA - Kayakers pulled limits of crabs off of Prisoners Rock at Trinidad. Boaters scored limits and shore anglers casting snares got plenty for dinner. Shoreline hook and line anglers nailed cabezon and perch.
FORT BRAGG - Spear divers posted impressive scores of lingcod ranging from 15 to 20 pounds at rocky areas near Fort Bragg. The Telstar found limits of crabs in just 80 feet of water off of Ten Mile Beach, though numbers dropped just below limits during a period with long-interval powerful swells, which was over by the weekend.
HALF MOON BAY - Huli Cat ran successful crab and 'dab combo trips, enjoying fair weather and robust results. Two salmon were caught incidentally and quickly released unharmed. Private boaters and shore anglers scored good numbers of crabs. Surf perch bit well at Mussel Rock near Pacifica and also near San Gregorio.
MARTINEZ - Thanks to the "Super Bowl Weekend Derby" run out of McAvoy Harbor, more than a thousand people fished the area over the weekend and scored decently on sturgeon and striped bass. Shore fisher working shallow coves caught good numbers of dinner-plate sized flounders.
PORT SAN PABLO - Sportboat Fury ran multiple trips this week. One was a sturgeon trip during which young Isaiah Perez hauled in the only keeper sturgeon of the day. On Tuesday the boat went after sharks and Modibo Kambon of Oakland battled a 100-pound 7-gill shark.
BULLARDS BAR - The lake is at 81-percent capacity. Emerald Cove Marina report there was only one boat on the lake on Sunday, though bass fishing should be on the upswing with the warmer weather.
CAMP FAR WEST - The lake is full and still muddy. "Ron" of Folsom reported that fishing was slow - he only caught 4 small bass on his last trip using green pumpkin Brush Hawgs.
COLLINS LAKE - The lake is full. Trout fishing has been fair with anglers catching 2 to 4 fish each on Power Bait from the dam, beach, and Open Area. Boaters have been picking up some fish on Rapalas, but most were drifting bait on the east side. Several rainbows in the 5-to 7-pound class were weighed. The spring planting program will start the week before the Presidents Day weekend - probably by Valentine's Day.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR--The lake is at 92-percent capacity. Trollers were still catching limits of smaller planters from Long Cove down to the dam and marina on flasher/worm combos. Boaters anchoring just past Dixon Hill above the "No Wake" buoys were picking up a few bigger fish using Gulp floating bait and a worm on the bottom.
ROLLINS LAKE--The lake is full. Trolling should be improving for rainbows at the dam.
SCOTT'S FLAT LAKE - The lake is at 98-percent capacity. Will Fish Tackle in Auburn reported that a customer said some big browns, 10 to 13 pounds, had been caught fast trolling F7 Rapalas on leadcore at 20 to 25 feet deep, and toplining flasher/Rapala combos near the dam. Jim Caldwell at the marina reported that trollers were still picking up limits of 10-to 12-inch rainbows at the dam, Cascade Shore and the inlet on flasher/worm combos. An 8-pound brown hit a Rapala off Cascade Shore.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR - The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that little was happening here despite the warmer weather and good access.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR - Four-wheel drive access to the lake had improved with the warmer weather, but check with the Georgetown Ranger Station for the latest road conditions at (530) 333-4312.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY - The lake was at 131.4-foot elevation-67-percent capacity. The steelhead fishing at the Wilbur Rd. access was still the best bet for anglers.
FEATHER RIVER - Steelheading continued to be excellent throughout the Low Flow Section last week, and the total flow of the Feather will continue to go down the Low Flow Section for the foreseeable future. Bright steelhead to 22 inches plus the occasional fish to 28 inches being caught on dead-drifted copper Johns, Prince nymphs, and San Juan worms.
RANCHO SECO LAKE - Fishing for trout from 12 inches to 3 pounds continued to be very good both from shore, as well as float tubes. Bankies used Power Bait, inflated nightcrawlers, spoons and spinners, while boaters in kayaks, float tubes and canoes trolled wooly buggers, Needlefish, and nightcrawlers behind dodgers.
SACRAMENTO RIVER - Flows dropped and stabilized, as well as cleared somewhat and the sturgeon bite was the best of the season from below Sacramento up to Tisdale and Grimes. Ghost shrimp, eels, and pileworms all were attracting bites. Verona, Hood-Franklin, South River Road and Fremont Weir were some of the better spots. Striped bass fishing was slow, overall, except for the Deepwater Channel. Another 40 pounder was caught, this time on a mudsucker. Jigs, deep-diving plugs and live jumbo minnows were also taking fish.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding - Trout fishing continued to be very good, with fly fishers doing well on dead-drifted egg patterns, alevin imitations, prince nymphs and copper Johns, and non-fly fishers scoring on Glo-Bugs and small Hot Shots.
YUBA RIVER - Anglers were still catching fat native trout on Skwala stone fly imitations, but nymph fishing with yellow stone fly nymphs under indicators was quite good, too.
AMADOR LAKE - Debbie Grayson at Lake Amador Store said "the trout bite has been great with lots of big fish coming in to be weighed. The fish are being caught on trout colored spoons, garlic Power Bait, garlic Power Eggs and white grubs.
CAMANCHE LAKE -Sudden changes in weather seem to have the trout confused and less active then what would be expected this time of the year. Anglers are still catching trout but tend to catch that single large fish rather than catching limits. Baits of choice are still rainbow and chartreuse Power Baits with or without glitter and/or garlic as well as 'crawlers and Power Eggs. Kenneth F. of Fiddlettown caught a 6.92-pound trout off the North Shore Day Use Point on Jan. 27th while bank fishing with Power Eggs.
DON PEDRO RESERVOIR - Trout trollers are going from Jenkins Hill to Ramos Creek and back using an assortment of styles And lure to catch trout. Saw a 4 pounder under the Blue Oaks dock. Bass are hitting plastics in 20-to 40-feet deep off main lake points.
LAKE MCCLURE - Jason Mello at A-1 Bait in Snelling said "some bass anglers are doing well while others are struggling." Trout trollers are doing well with orange Assassins and orange Wedding Rings with 'crawlers. Trout are from the top down to 30 feet deep. One boat used Shad Rap Rapalas in shad and trout patterns to catch several rainbow trout and a couple kokanee up to 17 inches. Salmon are starting to show up.
LAKE MCSWAIN - Bubblegum Power Eggs and chartreuse and rainbow dough balls are working great off the bank upriver. Jason Mello of A-1 Bait in Snelling said "it seems to depend on the anglers themselves, some of them do great trolling and bank fishing and some don't do that good."
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR -Trout fishing is fair with weekly plants by DFW. Trout are scatter throughout the lake from 0-to 30-feet deep. Trolling anglers should target major coves and creek arms, with baits trolled near the surface. Bank fishing and still-fishing from a boat has produced the most fish. For bait fishing, try using garlic scented Power Bait (rainbow or chartreuse), or put on a Gulp! Egg or a marshmallow/'crawler. Bass fishing is tough and the fish are hard to find. Catfish and crappie fishing is slow.
MODESTO RESERVOIR - The reservoir water level is low and dangerous. The trout and bass fishing is still tough.
LAKE PARDEE - The Park will reopen for the 2013 season Thursday, February 14th for campers and the 15th for fishing. For more information call (209) 772-1472.
- Western Outdoor News