Top Picks• AMERICAN RIVER – The “Greatest show in Sacramento” is at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery these days with hundreds of salmon at a time crowding the base of the fish screen, climbing the ladder and filling the holding pond. The parking lot is as crowded as the fish ladder, and parking spots have been hard to find, especially on weekends. Guards are now on duty at night to curtail the vandalism of the fish screens, which have been tampered with to allow salmon to get upstream into Nimbus Basin. The Basin has been crowded as a result, and lots of dark salmon were being caught, mostly by “lining” or “flossing.” Steelheading was pretty good again around River Bend Park, Watt Avenue, and Howe Avenue on a mix of halfpounders and the occasional adult. Drift nightcrawlers, swing spinners and small spoons, or dead drift nymphs and egg patterns under indicators. Some salmon were still being caught in the Dredger holes at night.
• DELTA REGION: SACRAMENTO RIVER side –
The upper deep water areas are still producing salmon and stripers, but with little fishing pressure, there are fewer reports or counts. A 57-pound striper was caught and kept by an out-of-state angler near the Rio Vista Bridge. Please help spread the word about releasing these big ones that provide our next generation of fish. The sturgeon are moving into the sloughs, and can also be found at the Power Lines and from the banks at Sherman Island.• SAN JOAQUIN RIVER side –
This coming week should be a good one for stripers with some good minus tides pushing them into the shallows to feed. The Antioch Pier and others in the area have been popular for both stripers and sturgeon.• HALF MOON BAY – Early season Dungeness crab results were stunning, with limits common after short soaks and limited numbers of pots. Lingcod counts were decent and black rockfish counts went through the roof. Huli Cat ran highly successful combo trips for rockfish and crabs. Queen of Hearts focused on consistent limits of rockfish and good quality lingcod.
• MARTINEZ – A few sturgeon and a whole lot of striped bass was the summary of action for boaters and shore-fishers from Martinez. The best bass fishing was in Carquinez Straits and the best sturgeon fishing was in Suisun Bay and surrounding waters.
NORTH COAST RIVERS• CHETCO RIVER, Ore. – Low and clear water persists, but the time has come and salmon are crowding into every possible hole in the lower river. Anglers are using bobbers and roe or other baits and catching good numbers of fish, sometimes double digit numbers. WON Field Reporter and guide Andy Martin put his clients onto multiple fish, including a 50-plus pounder that measured 47 1/2 inches. The fish are a mix of bright and dark, and the river will be plugged all the way upstream after the first good rain.
• ELK RIVER, Port Orford, Ore. –
In close proximity to the little Sixes River, this one is currently too low to fish with a driftboat. It’s clear and at summer level, and the kings can’t even access the estuary, according to guide Curtis Manning of River Secrets. “There has been a salmon or two caught pretty much every day,” Palmer said, “However, it appears that fish are stacking up outside, awaiting fresh rains to raise the river level.”
• ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove, Ore. – The Upper Rogue continues to produce good numbers of summer steelhead. As of Nov. 9, fish counts are 2,403 summer steelhead, 218 silver salmon, 188 fall king salmon. Due to cold water, anglers are having their best bet catching summer steelhead on plugs like the Yakima MagLip-3.5. Guide Randy Wells of Oregon Fishing Adventure has been putting his clients on fish from Shady Cove to TouVelle. Anglers can fish bait from Cole Rivers Hatchery to Shady Cove; from Shady Cove to Fishers Ferry you can fish plugs and yarn balls, but no bait. The Middle Rogue is also producing good numbers of summer steelhead.
• RUSSIAN RIVER – The first good rain will bring in the salmon and a few steelies, although the steelhead run here usually doesn’t get going until January. All of that is rain dependent.
• SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Ore. – The beginning of the week had some outstanding days of fishing for Chinook salmon fresh out of the saltwater. Most of the fish being caught were low on the river due to water flows dropping. “Thursday was my first trip down this fun coastal river for the season,” said WON Field Reporter and guide Curtis Palmer of River Secrets Guide Service. “Although it rained, it wasn’t enough to change the low water condition. Most of the salmon are in deep pools and some of these are very large for such a narrow river. The last two miles of this river are all tidal fluctuated and we found plenty of chrome salmon in this section of river. The river will be in prime condition from top to bottom after the next good rain.”
• SMITH RIVER – Both WON Field Reporters and guides Phil DeSautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service and Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing said the same thing: flows on the Smith River have remained near 400 cfs, below the 600 cfs needed to allow an opener above Rowdy Creek. Salmon fishing has been slow on the section that is open. Anglers have reported a few fish at the Piling Hole and Sand Hole, but success has been poor. For updated flow information, call the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Low Flow Hotline at (707) 822-3164.
TRINITY/KLAMATH RIVERS• KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen – Salmon fishing continued to be slow, and most anglers have switched to steelhead. The water is cooling, and some steelhead were being caught, mostly around Weitchpec and Somes Bar.
• KLAMATH RIVER, Iron Gate – Steelhead fishing was very good, with anglers backtrolling small plugs and drifting nightcrawlers getting around half a dozen steelies to about 6 pounds, plus a like number of smaller steelhead an outing.
• TRINITY RIVER – Steelhead fishing was tough once again in the very low, clear water. Anglers had to use light gear and take a very stealthy approach to get a few bites on small back-trolled plugs, drifted roe, and nymphs under indicators. A few steelies were being hooked at the mouths of tributaries at the lower end of the river around the South Fork.
NORTH COAST LAKES• CLEAR LAKE – The upper end of the lake is a really tough deal right now, just because so many of the dock and tule areas have a foot of water or less. The better choice has been from the mid-lake area down to both of the deeper arms of the lake.
• LAKE BERRYESSA – The best bet has been from just off the Big Island to the Ranch House and down by Skiers Cove for trout. Trout trollers should be toplining or targeting the top 15 feet with a variety of hardware. For bass, the best technique has been shad patterned 1-ounce spoons fished horizontally in the Narrows.
• LAKE SONOMA – A good rain is needed to stir things up for bass. Toplining a No. 2 Cop Car Needlefish or white trolling flies have been catching landlocked steelhead to 22 inches in the top 15 feet of water. Please consider releasing them, as they will never be planted here again.
NORTHEASTERN AREA• LAKE ALMANOR – Trout are feeding on 3-inch shad, so choose your lures accordingly. Some of the best hookups came from the east shore from Canyon Dam to Dorado, close to the shoreline. Ripping small Rapalas off leadcore rigs have popped a few browns over 8 pounds.Another hot spot for trolling has been Rocky Point to the Fox Farm and back.
• BAUM LAKE – DFW continues to plant this lake and recently stocked it with some nice brown trout. Remember this lake is open all year and there is not much pressure here. Try the east side early in the day. With other trout waters closing, this will be a good winter spot.
• CASSEL FOREBAY – Closes Nov. 15.
• EAGLE LAKE – Sep’s 2-inch orange or watermelon colored grubs and Red Dog lure by Sure Catch with the gold back have all been favorites. The Youth Camp and the Eagle’s Nest were popular sites, but the shoreline fishing was slow. Until it closes at the end of the year this will be a good winter time bet.
• FALL RIVER – Closes Nov. 15.
• UPPER HAT CREEK – Closes Nov. 15.
• PIT RIVER – From Nov. 16 through the Friday preceding the last Saturday in April, only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used.
• McCLOUD RIVER – Closes Nov. 15.
• SHASTA LAKE – A little rain will help the fishing. There are numbers of small bass in the bait balls providing good action all day with a 3/8- to 1/2-ounce spoons. Bait has been at 40 to 60 feet so the trout are deeper.
SIERRA LAKES/RIVERS• BOCA LAKE – The lake is at 26-percent capacity. The inlet and dam were producing rainbows for spoon casters and bait soakers.
• CAPLES LAKE – Caples Lake Resort and the EID boat ramp are both closed, so no boat launching. Shore fishing should still be good at the dam and spillway.
• CARSON RIVER (East, West) – Todd Sodaro at Todd’s Bait and Tackle at the Creekside Lodge reported that with the cold nights, fishing wasn’t good until late morning after the water had warmed up. Anglers fishing after 11 a.m. were picking up limits of 13- to 17-inch rainbows on worms and salmon eggs in the East Carson. The season will close on Nov. 15 on the West Carson and on the East Carson above Hangman’s Bridge (first bridge south of Markleeville). A special restricted season will be open on the East Carson from Hangman’s Bridge to the Nevada border - zero limit, artificial barbless lures only.
• DAVIS LAKE – The lake is at 66-percent capacity. Not much word on any trolling this week - the only functional ramp was at Camp 5. Shore fishermen were doing well at Fairview, Camp 5, Mallard, and Eagle Point with limits coming in an hour on Power Bait. Flyfishermen were hooking double-digit numbers of nice rainbows to 5 pounds stripping nymphs and leeches on an intermediate sinker at Mosquito Slough.
• DONNER LAKE – With the lake at the current low level, shore anglers can walk out to the water’s edge and get a lot closer to the dropoff to deep water. Cast a big Krocodile spoon for macks on overcast days or in the evening. If you can trap live minnows out of the lake, the macks love them! Rainbow trout should be hitting bait near the boat ramp.
• FEATHER RIVER CANYON – Fishing was good at the Caribou Powerhouse this past week according to Mike Hanson at the Caribou Crossroads Resort. He and a friend caught rainbows running 2 1/2 to 3 pounds on bobber/crappie jigs. The season on the Feather River and Powerhouse will close on Nov. 15.
• FRENCHMAN LAKE – The lake is at 50-percent capacity. Wiggins Trading Post reported that fishing was still good, though fishing pressure was getting lighter with the cold weather. John Kennedy of Truckee caught a 6 1/2-pound rainbow at Lunker Point on Power Bait. The local streams close on Nov. 15.
• GOLD LAKES BASIN – Mountain Hardware and Sports reported that Gold Lake was producing rainbows and browns to 24 inches on Kastmaster spoons fished from the shore near the boat ramp. Salmon Lake and Sardine Lake were still producing small planter rainbows on bait.
• ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 56-percent capacity. Dale Daneman at Dale's Foothill Fishing Service reported that trollers were catching 5 fish per hour on Sep’s brown grubs from the top to 20 feet deep. The rainbows were running 11 to 13 inches.
• INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR – Alpine County will stock the lake during Thanksgiving week with 1,800 pounds of 1 1/2- to 5-pound rainbows.
• JACKSON MEADOW RESERVOIR – The lake is at 48-percent capacity. The browns should be done spawning and returning to the lake where they’re looking for a big meal. Troll a Rapala from the inlet toward the dam. For rainbows, troll a flasher/worm combo at the dam.
• JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park) – The lake is at 72-percent capacity. Sly Park Resort reported that shore anglers were picking up some limits of 8- to 14-inch rainbows at the first dam on worm/marshmallows. One shore angler caught a 20-inch plus mack on a nightcrawler. Sly Park Resort said the back ramp was better for launching bigger boats due to the steeper angle of the ramp. Of the two front ramps by the marina, the right ramp is all concrete, but had shallow water on it making, it a good choice for launching smaller boats.
• LAKE TAHOE – Chuck self at Chuck’s Charter Fishing reported that mack trolling was “off the charts” with limits of 6 to 8 1/2 pounders by 7 a.m. on his last trip. Self was trolling spoons and small stick baits at 160 to 200 feet deep at Crystal Bay Point. Mike Nielsen at Tahoe Topliners Sportfishing reported doing well jigging for 3- to 8 1/2-pound macks at 180 to 220 feet deep at South Shore and picking up some nice rainbows and browns to 4 pounds trolling ThunderStiks and Scatter Raps 20 feet deep over 35 to 40 feet of water from Rubicon to Meeks Bay. John Shearer at Tahoe Sportfishing said his boats were picking up lots of 2- to 7-pound macks off Ski Run and Edgewood trolling dodger/minnows at 150 to 220 feet deep. The macks have pretty much finished spawning and were beginning to feed all over the lake.
• LOON LAKE – The lake is at 49-percent capacity. The gate to the ramp was closed. Small boaters can still launch at the primitive ramp near the dam.
• PROSSER LAKE – The lake is at 22-percent capacity. With the lake at this level, the best bet was the more oxygen-rich water at the inlet of Prosser Creek for rainbows.
• PYRAMID LAKE – Joe Mendes at Eagle Eye Charters reported that trolling was good along the west side of the lake at Warriors Point for cutthroats to 12 1/2 pounds. His trips were producing up to 24 fish trolling bleeding frog FlatFish at 25 to 60 feet deep. Valarie Taylor at Crosby’s Lodge said the fishing was “amazing” with trout to 19 1/2 pounds weighed in this past week. By Sunday when WON called, she had weighed in the 19 1/2, two 18 pounders, a 16 pounder, and several fish in the 11- to 12-pound class - mostly caught by shore anglers.
• RED LAKE – No reports available, but try the dam with worms for a few cutthroats.
• SILVER LAKE – No reports were available, but shore anglers should still be able to catch a few rainbows off the dam.
• STAMPEDE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 53-percent capacity. The dam was good for rainbows and a few macks. The rainbows were hitting blood midges for flycasters, and the macks liked white spoons and spinners, according to Mountain Hardware and Sports.
• TRUCKEE RIVER – Mountain Hardware and Sports recommended fishing on the NV side for browns and rainbows with better flows across the border. The flows above the Boca Outlet were really low, and below the outlet somewhat better, but still low. Dark stones and streamers were working for the browns coming off the spawn and ready to eat.
• UNION VALLEY RESERVOIR – The lake is at 54-percent capacity. Ken Mathis at Ken’s Custom Tackle and Guide Service reported that fishing was slow and few anglers were making the trip to the lake over Pea Vine Ridge Road.
• WEST WALKER RIVER – With very low flows, few anglers fished here this past week. The general stream trout season closes on Nov. 15. This will be the last report until the 2014 opener in late April.
• FOLSOM LAKE – The lake continues to drop, and bass were being taken by drop-shotting Robo-Worms over rock piles, dragging jigs, or spooning next to channels from 15 to 25 feet deep. Look for concentrations of bait using electronics. Hardly anyone is fishing for trout and steelhead, but it should be pretty good with the cooler water. Try in front of the dam on Speedy Shiners and Rapalas trolled fast down at 25 to 35 feet for trout, and kings at 45 to 65 deep.
• SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento – Bright late fall king salmon were coming upstream, and they are aggressive hard-fighting fish, but it’s an up-and-down affair. Either a school is moving through or it’s not. Clarksburg had been one of the better spots, but anglers have been getting fish around Sacramento, too. Fishing for striped bass was good in the Deep Water Channel, and a few sturgeon were being caught, too.
• SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff – Fishing was very good for late fall king salmon last week but slowed a little when flows dropped to 4,250 cfs late in the week. The fishing for late fall kings should continue to be good until the River closes Dec. 16.
• SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding – Salmon spawning has tapered off, and trout fishing slowed a little but still was good down to Battle Creek. Some steelhead were starting to show at the lower end.
• UPPER SACRAMENTO/McCLOUD RIVERS – The rivers are in their prime time fall season of fishing. The lower part of the Upper Sac below Sims is now attracting some larger fish coming up from the Sacramento River, and some big browns are starting to show at the lower end of the McCloud.
• YUBA RIVER – The river is low, but fly fishers continued to do well. However, almost all the action is on nymphs under indicators, not dries. A few steelhead are starting to show, too.
NORCAL SALTWATER• BERKELEY – Salmon season wound down with one last salmon trip on New El Dorado III which boated 5 salmon to 25 pounds for 15 people. Other fishing action focused on the plentiful rockfish, lingcod and crab along the Marin coast.
• BODEGA BAY – Big lingcod showed in increasing numbers, approaching a ling per rod, and in shallow water where the big females are beginning to move in. Jig and teaser rigs worked best. Rockfish limits came quick and easy. Jumbo crabs were plentiful and the majority of crabs pulled were over 7 inches in size.
• CROCKETT – Shore fishers scored good numbers of striped bass. Bullheads were the bait of choice. Boaters making the run to Suisun Bay got into sturgeon on shrimp baits.
• EMERYVILLE – Boats out of Emeryville fished the Farallon Islands for most of the week, making just a couple of runs up along the Marin coast. Fish and crabs were plentiful no matter where the boats went. Some very large lingcod came up, such as a 27 pounder aboard the New Huck Fin and a 23 pounder on the New Seeker.
• EUREKA – Crab limits were easy, once the main concentrations were found and explored. Shore-based folks either cast snares for Dungeness or pulled rockfish, greenling and cabezon out of the rocks.
• FORT BRAGG – Seahawk and Telstar loaded up on rockfish and hauled up plenty of jumbo crabs, which became more plentiful as the week wore on and boaters found where the higher concentrations were holding. Shore fishers snared crabs and cast baits for perch, rockfish, greenling and cabezon.
• SAN FRANCISCO (FISHERMAN’S WHARF) – Wacky Jacky and Lovely Martha ended the salmon season putting passengers on fish to 31 pounds at the Middle Grounds and Gull Rock. Bass Tub fished the Marin coast for a mixed bag of rockfish and plenty of Dungeness crabs.
NORTHERN FOOTHILLS• AMERICAN RIVER – The river was running low and clear with no fishing pressure, according to the Georgetown Ranger Station.
• BULLARDS BAR – The lake is at 51-percent capacity. Lots of small spotted bass were hitting worms, jigs and Senkos all over the lake.
• CAMP FAR WEST – North Shore Resort reported that bass fishing was still good throwing a variety of plastic worms and lizards in the Rock Creek arm.
• COLLINS LAKE – The lake is 45 feet from full. Collins Lake Resort received 3,800 rainbow trout for their pen-rearing program on Nov. 7 from the DFW. Trout were hitting for trollers and shore anglers. Shore fishing was best at the boat launch and the dam for rainbows to 4 1/4 pounds. Trollers were working the channel along the west side of the lake with flasher/worm combos and spoons for fish to 3 pounds.
• ENGLEBRIGHT RESERVOIR – The lake is at 94-percent capacity. Mike Torres at Skippers Cove Marina reported that trollers were catching a few rainbows, no limits, on flasher/worms and Rapalas all over the lake from the dam to the upper end.
• FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR – The lake is at 35-percent capacity. The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the boat ramp was inaccessible, but shore fishermen were picking up a mix of rainbows and browns on Power Bait and worms. The campgrounds are closed.
• HELL HOLE RESERVOIR – The lake is at 43-percent capacity. Not much traffic here, according to the Georgetown Ranger Station. The campgrounds were closed and the launch ramp was out of the water.
• LAKE OROVILLE – The lake is at 42-percent capacity. Guide Ron Gandolfi reported that bass fishing was excellent with half-day trips producing 50 to 70 fish on tubes, jigs, and darthead worms in the West Branch, North Fork, and the Slot from 0 to 30 feet deep on steep rocky banks. Gandolfi’s son and wife also caught four nice coho salmon on tubes while fishing for bass in the West Branch and North Fork ranging from 2 1/2 to 4 pounds.
• ROLLINS LAKE – The lake is at 76-percent capacity. Casey Reynolds of Auburn reported that trout fishing was slow, but catfishing should be good in the deeper coves using chicken livers and sardines.
• SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE – The lake is at 67-percent capacity. Jim Caldwell at the marina reported that trollers were catching limits of 12- to 14-inch rainbows on flasher/worm combos at the inlet.
• SUGAR PINE RESERVOIR – The Foresthill Ranger Station reported that the boat ramp was still usable. Fishing was described as “decent.”
• STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR – The Georgetown Ranger Station reported that the campgrounds were closed and the boat ramp was out of the water. Not much fishing pressure here, but shore anglers should be able to catch a few holdover rainbows.
• THERMOLITO AFTERBAY – The lake was at 134.2-foot elevation at press time - 86-percent capacity. Not much to report with duck season going. On clear, blue bird days when the duck hunting will be very slow, try the rock banks along the west side and up above the bridge with crankbaits for fish warming up on the rocks in the afternoon.
MOTHERLODE• AMADOR LAKE – “The trout bite is good with fish up to 15 pounds being caught,” said Debbie Grayson at Lake Amador Store. There were 300 pounds of cut-bows released each day last week with 112 fish that weighed 1,750 pounds released on Friday. There were two fish that weighed from 15 to 20 pounds in the group. The fish are put into the lake through 10-inch pipes from the spillway. The lake is over 50 feet down.
• CAMANCHE LAKE – Trout fishing is good. Trout are currently hanging out at about 30 feet in the main lake. At the pond, crappie jigs and Panther Martin spinners were working for trout to 6 pounds. Fishermen who were fishing from the middle of the trout pond in waders, boats or float tubes were having much better luck than the anglers who were trying to catch fish from shore. Bass fishing is slow. No catfish reports.
• DON PEDRO RESERVOIR – Trout fishing is good one day and slows the next. Trollers are having trouble finding them, as the fish are constantly on the move chasing shad. Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing has been having good and bad success, one week great action the next slow. He has been pulling heavy spoons on leadcore line at 15 feet and on the downriggers at 35 feet. Bass fishing has got even tougher. Best method is still drop-shotting shad pattern plastics.
• LAKE MCCLURE – Bass fishing is good for those in the know, but trout fishing has slowed. Jason Mello of A-1 Bait Shop in Snelling has seen guys with limits of bass while he was out checking the lake for bass information and trying for a bass or two of his own. One angler used a green pumpkin with black and green flake Senko to bag a couple 3-pound bass off the bank. The trout seem to have disappeared, he said.
• LAKE MCSWAIN – Trout fishing is good, as fish are consistently still being planted regularly. Denise Warwick at Lake McSwain Marina said, “Fishermen at the Brush Pile have been doing better than those fishing the Handicap Dock.” Calaveras Trout Farm recently planted 1000 pounds of trout. Some anglers are also tossing rainbow trout patterned Pot O'Gold spoons. Jason Mello at A-1 Bait Shop in Snelling “The bite is off and on, one day they slam them and the next they just catch a few fish.” Mello said Wedding Rings and 'crawler combinations are still producing for trout trollers.
• LAKE PARDEE – Pardee Lake Recreation Area is closed. The Park will reopen for the 2014 season Thursday February 13th for camping and the 14th for fishing.
• NEW MELONES RESERVOIR – Fishing is good for trout. There are more fish showing up near the surface, making them easier to catch for both trolling anglers and bank anglers. The trout will push the bait from deep to shallow water. Try finding shallow water areas with deep water access. Trolling anglers should try toplining small plug-style baits. Rapalas, Speed Traps, and Lucky Craft baits are working. Try shad patterned colors on clear days and firetiger or rainbow trout colors on cloudy days. Bank anglers are catching them on Kastmasters or ’mallow/’crawler combo or a Power Egg/’crawler combo. Bass fishing is slow.
• MODESTO RESERVOIR – Fishing is slow and the water level is slowly dropping.
- Western Outdoor News