DELTA REGION: SACRAMENTO RIVER side - Sturgeon fishing was the top priority and Cache Slough was the most crowded, but best producer, although the Old Sacramento River was also popular. Anglers were soaking grass and ghost shrimp as well as eel. Trolling for stripers improved slightly as the waters are warming up. Look for improved action on them this coming week with a warming trend on the way.
SAN JOAQUIN RIVER side - There was still a lot of pressure on sturgeon in the lower system, but most were shakers as the mature ones made their way up the system. Stripers were a better bet. Anglers targeted stripers in 20 feet or less using pile worms, sardines or anchovies in areas such as Broad Slough or Sherman Lake. They were also catching flounder on pile worms or grass shrimp on the Antioch Pier and from Pittsburg out into the bay.
FOLSOM LAKE - Fishing for trout, king salmon, and bass has entered prime time with nice catches of trout and salmon being made in front of the dam trolling nightcrawlers behind dodgers near the surface, and Apexes and hoochies behind dodgers from 25 to 45 feet deep for the salmon. Smallmouth and spotted bass were more active last week as water temperatures warm and they were taking Robo-Worms, Brush Hogs, and Senkos, as well as minnows and nightcrawlers around Brown's Ravine, and Dyke 8, and Beals Point jigging, and drifting live minnows from 15 to 20 feet deep.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento - The first good signs of the spring striped bass run appeared last week, as some anglers made limit catches of schoolie-sized striped bass from shore at places like So. River Road, Miller Park and Bryte's Beach. It's mostly a bait affair with bloodworms the top bait followed by sardines. Sturgeon fishing improved, too. Striper fishing in the Deepwater Channel was also pretty good, but boaters were outdoing bankies by a bunch.
COLLINS LAKE - The lake is scheduled for another private plant up to 1800 pounds this week-half 1- to 1 1/2-pound catchables and half 3- to 10-pound trophy fish. Trollers did very well this past week on trophy fish running 4 1/4 to 6 1/4 pounds on Needlefish and Kastmaster spoons and Rapalas. Shore anglers scored some limits, but most anglers caught 2 or 3 rainbows from 1-pound catchables up to trophy fish weighing 7 pounds. The Beach and campgrounds produced a lot of fish on Power Bait. An occasional bass and catfish was caught by shore anglers, including a 5 1/2-pound cat taken by Reid Gephardt of Incline Village. The sunny weather has the bass moving up into shallower water and hitting morning dawn Roboworms.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Ore. - Flows are still low, but there are still lots of steelhead in the system, especially in the lower river where they're waiting for rain to move upstream, and high in the system where they're in the process of spawning, according to WON Field Reporter Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Rain is in the forecast but not in any great amount.
COOS RIVER, South Fork - Low water flows have impacted the fishing detrimentally, and there's very little action A storm would definitely bring in fish waiting downstream.
COQUILLE RIVER, South Fork - Low water and not much fishing action, but a storm would change that.
EEL RIVER - A little rain fell but it had no impact on the South Fork or mainstem. There are still fish here, but they're "where you find them," according to guide and WON Field Reporter Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing Adventures, and if you find one, there are probably more in the area. "It's a tough go coming in blind" to fish the river, he said.
MAD RIVER - The river picked up a little color from a half inch of rain, but flows only bumped up a couple hundred cfs, according to WON Field Reporter Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing Adventures. New steelhead are moving into the river, along with bluebacks, and fishing pressure is way down.
ROGUE RIVER, Lower, Ore. - Low water flows are still having a major impact on the steelhead fishing here, and rain is needed badly.
RUSSIAN RIVER - According to Kings Sport and Tackle in Guerneville, the mouth closed up because of big surf. Enough water was going down that it filled up and they dredged it. "The river went from a stagnant river to 'Fish ON' when it opened up Thursday night and Friday. Scott Heemstra fished it with fly gear Friday evening and saw pods moving through below Guerneville, and caught one himself. The river is only at 550 cfs, and he expects fish to start holding in riffles and deeper runs as it drops out more.
SMITH RIVER - The minimum flow trigger on the Smith River for low flows has been increased from 400 cubic feet per second to 600 cubic feet per second. The Smith produced more fish than the Chetco during the "Chopper Derby" over the weekend, where 11 team of 4 anglers all caught steelhead. It was won by Troy Travis, Tyler Travis, Kurt Miller and Jaytuk Steinruck with 13 fish that totaled 352 inches, the largest taping out at 17 pounds, and guided by WON Field Reporter Phil Desautels and Jim Bansemer. River is still low, but rain is in the forecast.
UMPQUA RIVER, Sutherlin, Ore. - Fishing took a drastic down drop here this past week, according to WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. He said the water warmed, then dropped a couple of degrees, but that didn't help. Anglers are averaging only a couple fish a day drifting the river, and it appears as if they just aren't in the area at all.
UMPQUA RIVER, North Fork, Glide, Ore. - The river dropped in level low enough to make drifting from one area to another very difficult over the last week. There weren't many other boats seen on the river. The temperature bounced around 40 degrees, which is much warmer that the 35 degrees it was no more than a week earlier, according to guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets. Fishing was slow and the few that fished on this fork of the river worked hard for a half dozen steelhead a day and many only found a couple fish a day. Downrunners are starting back down. Look for a major upturn as soon as the barometer levels out.
UMPQUA RIVER, South Fork, Canyonville, Ore. - There's always a fish or two being caught somewhere between Canyonville and Myrtle Creek. The bank anglers had more success over the last week than the sidedrifters did. The bank guys have a couple of the better holes for low water on this river and it was nice to get reports from them on morning bites and how you could set a watch to when it would start and end. "I was told that about 1 1/2 hours is all the bite lasted at the bridge on the north side of Myrtle Creek," said guide and WON Field Reporter Curtis Palmer. He doesn't expect much improvement for the upcoming week.
KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate Dam - It was still cold and fish a little lethargic, but anglers backtrolling plugs, drifting Glo-Bugs, roe, and nightcrawlers were catching a few steelies to about 5 pounds and several more trout and halfpounders an outing. The river was fishable throughout its length.
KLAMATH RIVER, Blue Creek - Some big, bright steelhead were still being hooked on roe and hardware, including a report of a 14 pounder, a monster for the Klamath-Trinity drainage. The best fishing was from Blue Creek to Johnson's Riffle.
TRINITY RIVER, Douglas City - A surprising number of bright steelhead continued to arrive last week, and fishing was quite good for this late in the season. In fact, knowledgeable anglers are convinced fishing should hold up through the end of March. Backtrolled plugs and drifted roe were working for non-fly fishers while. Fly fishers were getting strikes on dead-drifted golden stone flies and red copper Johns. The water is very low, clear, and very cold. Rain is badly needed.
TRINITY RIVER, Willow Creek - Fresh steelhead are spread throughout the system, and fishing conditions are good. Anglers were catching fish holding below the mouths of creeks waiting for rain to allow them to go upstream.
BERKELEY - Boats headed up towards Martinez where the California Dawn, Happy Hooker, Flash and Jilly Sea all scored exceptionally well on sturgeon with bonus bass. Shore fishers enjoyed an improving striper bite at Point Pinole.
BODEGA BAY - Tom Jiminez of the Outdoor Pro Shop in Bodega Bay reported good surf perch fishing locally, with most anglers using pile worms for Gulp! grubs and sandworms. The Fort Ross area produced rockfish and crabs for shore anglers fishing rocky areas. The New Sea Angler scored limits of Dungeness plus large sand dabs for her 10 passengers Sunday.
EUREKA - A week-long herring run busted wide open. Area anglers converged on the harbor at Crescent City to load up on herring to be used for bait throughout the upcoming saltwater fishing season. In Eureka, the north jetty produced numerous large black rockfish. Fishing vessel Shellback is changing hands from Capt. Phil Glenn to Capt. Tony Sepulveda.
FORT BRAGG - Foul weather prevented much saltwater action, keeping people off the beaches and out of the water. The exception was a Saturday trip by the Telstar to post a good haul of Dungeness crabs.
HALF MOON BAY - Rockfish from the jetty at Half Moon bay turned out to be the most productive option, with blues, blacks and browns biting readily. Crabbers from shore cast snares and managed enough for dinner in the windy conditions, which kept most boats in the harbor.
MARTINEZ/BENICIA - Sturgeon went nuts with fish to 250 pounds stress-testing tackle. Grass and eel combo baits proved best, with the productive area ranging from Martinez to above the Mothball Fleet. Striper action ranked as decent, with one lucky angler bringing in three from shore.
OYSTER POINT - Private boaters used frozen herring to draw strikes from halibut near Brisbane. Oyster Point Pier anglers enjoyed a hot bite on jacksmelt. At the end of the pier, people caught leopard sharks and rays.
PORT SONOMA/SAN RAFAEL - Sturgeon action ranked as good and striper action rated fair. Late week winds forced most fishing activity into the river systems of the upper San Pablo Bay, which was fine because boaters and shore anglers alike found exciting action on both species.
NORTH COAST LAKES
CLEAR LAKE - The water hit the 50-degree mark and the bite busted open. This is the time of year when using live bait can create some impressive days on the water. The higher water level this year should open up more water for anglers fishing minnows under slip floats. All of the big artificials are also producing. Don't forget your new quagga muscle stickers.
LAKE BERRYESSA - Heavy tournament traffic this past weekend produced several nice catches of all three bass species. With 50-degree water temperatures LuckyCraft ripbaits, LV500s, swimbaits, A-Rigs and a variety of jigs all produced nice fish in Putah and Pope creeks as well as Wragg Canyon.
LAKE SONOMA - This may be the "go to" lake for a bit if you don't like a crowd of tournament boats around you. Bass fishing has been good in the creek arms working LuckyCraft pointer 100s and jigs slowly.
LAKE ALMANOR - It was all about the wind this past week, but once things settle down you can bet the good action for king salmon and brown trout will return. Imitating the natural baitfish including minnow patterned spoons and Arctic Fox tube flies trolled on the east shoreline will be a good bet.
BAUM LAKE - According to The Fly Shop the bite backed down some this past week for no apparent reason. It only takes a day or two for things to turn around though and get back on track.
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.
PIT RIVER - Water conditions have been fair to good and the crowd very light. All good reasons to check the river out.
SHASTA LAKE - Work the shallows in the upper arms for bass in the mornings. You'll find a few big ones but not much action. Now is the time to start tossing those big swimbaits. When the action shuts down switch to spinnerbaits. Then move to the main lake points in the afternoons and toss 6- and 7-inch trout patterned swimbaits for a few big bass but only one or two. For numbers, move out to 40 feet and use Senkos or tubes. Trout are on top but many have been trolling for them.
AMERICAN RIVER - The numbers of fresh winter run steelhead coming upstream is tapering off, and are being replaced by the smaller spring run fish, but not nearly as many and skunks are becoming more common. Quite a few steelhead are still spawning or getting ready to spawn. They are in the shallows, well past their prime as food and sport, and should be left alone. Flys were catching a few steelies dead-drifting small egg patterns under indicators. Non-fly guys and gals back-trolled plugs and side-drifted roe and nightcrawlers.
FEATHER RIVER - The striped bass bite continued to slow as the baby steelhead worked their way out of the Feather. However, there were reports of a very few very large stripers being caught, including a 53 pounder around Star Bend. Steelhead continued to be caught in the Low Flow Section. Dead-drift prince nymphs, green and brown mayflies, and red copper Johns under indicators.
RANCHO SECO LAKE - Fishing continued to be good for trout from 12 inches to 3 pounds with the best results coming from non-gasoline powered craft. Bass fishing continued to improve, too, as bass prepared to spawn. Work Senkos and jerkbaits in the shallows and jigs, and Robo-Worms out deeper.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Grimes - Sturgeon fishing continued to improve from Grimes to Tisdale, but there were no signs of striped bass yet. The water needs to warm a bit more. They'll be making a showing soon.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding - The water below Keswick was still off-color, but anglers backtrolling small plugs and drifting nightcrawlers were doing well down to Anderson. Flows cleared gradually the farther downstream one went and fly fishing picked up. Dark flies such as rubberlegs were being dead-drifted with smaller Mayfly and caddis nymph imitations.
YUBA RIVER - Nymphing was the way to go for the most part last week, but some caddis and Mayflies were coming off the water in the afternoons of warm days for a bit of dry fly action. The Skwalas are mostly gone now, though.
BULLARDS BAR - The lake is at 81-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi fished the lake this past week and his clients only caught a dozen 1-pound spots, 15 to 30 feet deep on main body points. The lake was covered with boats on Presidents Day, so fishing pressure was heavy. Gandolfi heard that some anglers using live minnows and crawdads picked up a few of the bigger fish the lake is known for.
CAMP FAR WEST - The North Shore Resort team tournament held this past weekend was won by Mike Ryland of Citrus Heights and J. R. Bennett of Lincoln with a 12.93-pound limit that included the tournament big fish - a 4.58 pounder. The team caught their fish on "everything they had" in a cove where the Bear River ran into the lake and took home $910. Second place went to Craig Moss and Sean Scherer with 9.98 pounds that included a 4.51-pound big fish.
ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR - The lake is at 89-percent capacity. Will Fish Tackle reported that trollers were catching limits of small rainbows at the dam and above the "No-Ski" buoys on flasher/wiggle hoochie combos. Lisa Rogers reported that the DFW will be making the first plant of the year this week. The DFW has allotted 8000 pounds of triploid rainbows for 2013, so this plant could amount to 2000 pounds.
LAKE OROVILLE - The lake is at 80-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that the cold front that hit the lake with snow this past week slowed the bass bite. Successful anglers were using weighted Senkos, jigs, swimbaits, and Paradise Tackle Company finesse jigs from 5 to 20 feet deep in the coves and 30 to 40 feet deep on the points. The AC Rookie event was won by Ryan Friend's brother on the float n' fly rig. With the warmer stable weather in the forecast and a full moon, some fish may move up to spawn. The fish were hitting very lightly all this past week, so keep a close watch on your line and fish SLOW for the best success. Shasta Tackle pro-staffer John Kline reported that trollers were catching plenty of small coho salmon, 10 to 11 inches, up in the river arms on white hoochies/Sling Blade combos.
ROLLINS LAKE - The lake is full and clear. Trollers were catching a few 12-inch rainbows at the dam on flasher/worm combos. One bass boater caught a couple 3- to 4-pound smallmouth bass on jigs in the Greenhorn area.
SCOTT'S FLAT LAKE - Will Fish Tackle reported that Mark Rodriguez of Auburn caught an 8-pound brown fast trolling a F-13 Rapala up at Deer Creek on a stormy day this past week. Trollers were still picking up a few 12- to 14-inch rainbows between the marina and the dam.
SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR - Some snow fell here early this past week. Still icy conditions on the boat ramp and few anglers, according to the Foresthill Ranger Station.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR - The lake is full. Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the road to the lake was still too icy and snow covered for decent access.
THERMOLITO AFTERBAY - The lake was at 127.8-foot elevation at press time - 46-percent capacity. The Department of Water Resources released 10,000 steelhead two weeks ago - 6 to 10 inches long with the majority running 7 to 8 inches. Julie Brown at DWR said the fish would weigh 2 to 5 pounds by next year. The 5,000 steelhead released this past year account for the fish being caught at Wilbur Rd. now with some fish weighing up to 4 or 5 pounds. At this water level, most of the tule banks are too shallow to fish, so active bass will be on the rocky banks trying to find some warmer water in the late afternoons.
BOCA LAKE - The lake is at 38-percent capacity. The cold front that dumped snow in the Sierra dropped the temps low enough to refreeze the lake and eliminate the concerns about open water along the shores. Ice fishing was still good at the dam on jigs tipped with a small piece of worm or a bay shrimp.
CAPLES LAKE - Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that ice fishing was good at the dam and spillway using small pieces of red worm, salmon eggs, meal worms, Power Bait, and jigged Kastmaster spoons tipped with worms for rainbows and browns running 10 to 15 inches. John Voss at Caples Lake Resort reported that a few 5- to 6-pound macks and a 3-pound brown were caught recently. The south end of the lake in 6 to 8 feet of water was best.
CARSON RIVER (East) - Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort reported that the river was in perfect condition with only a few patches of snow along the banks. A couple of fly fishermen were parked at Hangman's Bridge every day, but Sodaro had not seen anyone to talk to. On the sunnier warm days, there should be some fish activity on midge, baetis, and stonefly patterns.
DAVIS LAKE - The lake is at 76-percent capacity. Ed Dillard at Dillard's Guided Fishing reported that ice fish was better this past week. Anglers walking from the dam toward Catfish did well fishing 20 to 50 yards off the shore with Power Bait and jigs tipped with a Gulp! Waxee. Some limits of 17- to 18-inch rainbows were seen.
DONNER LAKE - Not much change here - still a few rainbows being caught at the west end and on the north side public piers with inflated nightcrawlers and Power Bait by patient anglers.
FRENCHMAN LAKE - The lake is at 65-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported that anglers were doing well on 14- to 18-inch rainbows using nightcrawlers and Power Bait through 16 inches of ice at the dam. The fish were biting very light, so it was a good idea to hold on to the rod to detect the strike and set quickly.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR - The lake is at 63-percent capacity. The storm this past week dumped over a foot of snow in the Crystal Basin. With the warm weather in this week's forecast, the roads could be open by the end of the week - but it's still going to be cold!
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR - Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort reported that half of the road was clear and looked like it could be accessed with 4-wheel drive. Few, if any, anglers have made it in and no reports were available.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) - Fishing was slow this past week with the foul weather, but Josh Orman caught a 5-pound brown trout while casting a Kastmaster spoon from shore, according to Sly Park Resort.
LAKE TAHOE - Mickey Daniels at Big Mack Charters fished one day this past week in the wind and 4 clients landed 7 macks from 4 1/2 to 6 1/2 pounds. The bulk of the fish were right on the bottom in 350 to 375 feet of water, though one was caught toplining in shallow water. Chuck Self at Chuck's Charter Fishing said the bite was slower in the morning than the afternoon due to the full moon. Trolling in the morning required 5 hours of effort to catch limits of 2 to 4 pounders. Afternoon trips produced limits of 4 to 6 pounders and an occasional mack running 7 to 8 pounds. Stickbaits worked best in the early morning, but once the sun hit the water the bite was best on small spoons at 185 to 250 feet deep.
PROSSER LAKE - The lake is at 30-percent capacity. Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that ice fishing at the dam and to the right side of the boat ramp was still the best bet. A white crappie jig tipped with a small piece of worm, Berkley Gulp! Waxee, or bay shrimp was working for rainbows.
PYRAMID LAKE - Windy weather made trolling a real chore this past week. Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported it took 1 1/2 to 2 hours just to run to the east side of the lake to find a spot to fish more comfortably. Fish numbers were good though, once trolling started. Trips were producing from 12 to 47 cutthroats. Limits of 17- to 20-inch keepers were hard to get due to the fact that most of the fish fell into the 20- to 24-inch slot. Trolling a bleeding frog FlatFish accounted for most of the cutthroats. Shore fishermen had a slow week, according to Valarie Taylor at Crosby's Lodge. Joe Clark of Sparks caught a 12 1/4-pound cutthroat on an elk hair caddis. Shawn Horton of Reno landed an 11 pounder at Block House on a black/red spoon. Sean Bottomly picked up a 10pounder on a jig at the South Nets.
RED LAKE - Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that ice fishing was good for cutthroats running 7 to 14 inches at the dam using small pieces of worm and jigged Kastmaster spoons.
SILVER LAKE - The dam is still the best spot for ice fishing. Try bay shrimp, worms, Power Bait, and jigged Kastmaster spoons.
TOPAZ LAKE - Chuck Fields at Topaz Landing Marina reported that trollers were doing very well for limits of 13-inch rainbows. Boat limits in half a day were common for those running Rapalas and flasher/worm combos in the top 10 feet. Shore fishing was slower with anglers picking 3 or 4 fish for a whole day of fishing using Power Bait and worms.
TRUCKEE RIVER - Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters reported that the fly fishing was "pretty good" from Glenshire to Floriston on stonefly, baetis, midge, and San Juan Worm patterns. Access was still difficult in the canyon toward Floriston requiring a snowy walk from Hwy 80 to the river. BWO patterns were working in the Reno-Sparks area. Fish were running 8 to 22 inches with reports of some fish over 24 inches - rainbows and browns.
UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR - The lake is at 71-percent capacity. With the storm dumping over a foot of snow this past week, access was questionable. Ken Mathis at Ken's Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported that a friend had made into the lake over the weekend, but 4-wheel drive was necessary to get over the black ice. The warmer weather in the forecast for this week should open the road. Call Mathis for the latest road conditions at (530) 391-8008.
AMADOR LAKE - Debbie Grayson at Lake Amador Store said they planted 3700 pounds of trout last week with 3 of the fish weighing 20 pounds. The weather slowed the bite down a little, but Jack Hale trolled up a 13 pounder. Larry Hemphill caught 4 bass with the biggest at 6 1/2-pounds on NET plastic baits.
CAMANCHE LAKE - Bass fishermen are catching fish with some big ones in the mix. George Yonekura of San Jose used an Alabama rig upriver to catch and release a 13.66-pound bass. Look for the bite to turn on with the warmer weather. Trout fishermen are having their best success at the trout pond with lures and Power Bait.
DON PEDRO RESERVOIR - This time of year one of the better places to fish for salmon and trout is up around the Moccasin area of Don Pedro reservoir. Start at the no ski buoy line and head up past the Rough and Ready island area slow rolling shad or flashers and 'crawlers from the surface to close to the bottom. Trout will be high in the water column and the salmon usually hugging the bottom. The bass are hitting jigs, gitzits, drop-shot and darthead baits in 15 to 25 feet.
LAKE MCCLURE - "There is a good bass bite on crawdads," said Jason Mello at A-1 Bait in Snelling. Mello had a big fish chase his swimbait but would not take it. Drop-shotting and dartheading plastics in 15 to 25 feet are catching fish. Limits of trout were caught on gold Kastmasters in the Horseshoe Bend area.
LAKE MCSWAIN -Victoria Sturtevant at Lake McSwain Marina said "Calaveras Trout Farm just planted another load of fish." Fishermen are catching trout at the Handicap Dock on green Power Bait Trout Dip and lemon lime Power Balls. Trollers are using flashers and 'crawlers and different lures to catch limits. Jason Mello at A-1 Bait in Snelling said "anglers are trolling with cowbells and 'crawlers for limits up around the Chimney area.
NEW MELONES RESERVOIR - The trout are still scatter throughout the lake from the top to 30 feet. The fish are hard to find. A crawler trolled behind a flasher our sling blade continues to be the most productive setup. Bank fishing was slow with only a few fish being caught per angler. The standard bait rig with a long leader seems to be your best bet. Use a sliding sinker with a 3-4' leader and a light wire hook. A crawler/mallow combo is a proven fish catcher. Bass fishing is tough and anglers should try using small hand poured worms in natural shad and crawfish hues.
LAKE PARDEE - Bank fishing has been good near the Jackson Creek Spillway on the bank opposite the EBMUD boathouse, Rainbow Point and the Woodpile. Most anglers are using white, rainbow and garlic Power Bait most with glitter. Trollers are having to work a bit harder and are concentrating near the face of the Dam around the Rock Wall and in upriver locations near Columbia Gulch. The fish are very shallow, usually in the first 20 feet. 'Crawlers or beaded spinners behind flashers or medium dodgers are the most commonly used set-ups. Bass fishing was on the slow side for the opener but a few nice smallies were caught on 'crawlers.
- Western Outdoor News