Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Oct. 17, 2016.
DELTA REGION: Sacramento River
The high winds and constant rain over the weekend kept most fishermen off of the Sacramento-Delta, but salmon continue to roll through the system. The largest concentration of fish appears to be from north of the Rio Vista Bridge to the mouth of the Old Sacramento area, but the Benicia shoreline, Walnut Grove, and Freeport areas continue to produce a mixed-grade of salmon. Striped bass trolling has slowed, but the inflow of fresh water should bring through more linesides. Sturgeon action has improved considerably in the section of the river from Sherman Island to Rio Vista.
DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River
Striped bass continue to dominate action in the San Joaquin-Delta, but salmon are showing up off of the Antioch shoreline. Flying C, Uncle Mike’s Custom spinners or Captain Stan’s casting spinners are working off of Humphrey’s Pier or the Big Break shoreline. P-Line Laser Minnow spoons, the Optimum Bubba shad swimbaits, or the Little Stick on topwater lures are all working for stripers along with fresh or frozen threadfin shad, live bluegill or grass shrimp. The largemouth bass action has slowed, but the reaction bite will improve as water temperatures drop with the coming month.
The Outlet Hole closed for the season on Saturday. Salmon fishing has been good near both the 10th Street and Fifth Street bridges. Jet boaters are running FlatFish with sardine wraps. Jigs are working well below the Fifth Street bridge. Striper fishing has been slow.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Kings are still being caught near Miller Park, Freeport and Garcia Bend on jigs as well as M2 FlatFish or K14 Kwikfish with sardine wraps. Flying C spinners and Silvertron spinners also are tricking some salmon. Some guides are trolling Pro Troll flashers with Brad’s plug cut baits with good success. Rain over the weekend added a little color to the water, which may pull in more kings from the ocean.
“We have water and the Smith River is open for fishing,” reported WON Field Reporter and guide Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service. “We got almost 6 inches of rain on Thursday and the river came up over 10 feet. It was very fishable in color the next day, but dirty with a lot of leaves and debris. There were very few people fishing, I saw a total of 6 boats, but the reports were slow due to all the junk in the water. Fishing should be very good next week.” Guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing said, “The low flow closures were lifted and the river opened to fishing on Friday after the river rose on Thursday, and went to 28,000 cfs on Saturday night, and anglers in the lower river were getting into bright ocean kings. The river should be great shape for plugs or drifting roe by the weekend.”
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon
The river was almost up to 20,000 cfs on Sunday, but it should be fishable for fresh king salmon by Thursday or Friday, and definitely by the weekend, and probably for weeks to come, according to guide and WON Field Reporter Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. The river blew out last Thursday and salmon immediately ran into the river. Fish were already being caught at Tide Rock and Social Security before the rain.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove to Grants Pass
Fishing is just about nil on the river right now, as recent storms have the river high and muddy, said guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass. He doesn’t think the river will fishable until next weekend.
Surprisingly, not enough rainfall here as of Sunday evening to open the river, since it only came up to 280 cfs, and needs to have consistent flows of over 300 cfs.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
The 189-fish quota for adult kings between Iron Gate Dam and the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec has been met. Salmon fishing has been slow, and all adults must be released. Trout and summer steelhead fishing has been very good between Iron Gate and Interstate 5, with worms or roe fished below divers working best. Flows Sunday at Iron Gate were 972 cfs. The river below I-5 had blown out.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
The adult king salmon quota has been reached above the Highway 96 bridge. High water is expected to limit steelhead fishing for the next week. Flows reached 2,190 cfs at Seiad Valley and 9,460 cfs at Orleans on Sunday and was still rising.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
The 555-fish adult king salmon quota has been filled for the lower Klamath below Highway 96. Salmon fishing has been poor. The river blew out over the weekend, with flows at Terwer approaching 20,000 cfs Sunday evening.
Rain blew out the lower Trinity, but created good conditions in the Lewiston, Junction City and Douglas City areas over the weekend. Flows at Lewiston were 447 cfs, and flows at Junction City were 641 cfs on Sunday. The adult salmon quota for the Trinity has been met, effective Friday. Spoons and roe fished below bobbers are working best for steelhead bank anglers, while drift boaters are using 3.0 MagLip plugs, or drifting egg patterns with fly rods.
NORTH COAST LAKES
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Bass fishing was fair this week on plastic worms and crankbaits, with a few fish to 4 pounds taken. Crappie fishing remains fair on small jigs, and a few catfish are being caught on cut mackerel.
Wind and rain hampered anglers over the weekend, but some good catches were still being made. There is a drop-shot bite on smallmouth bass with most fish being 20 to 40 feet deep. The bait is down deep, too, and spoons are also working.
Trout fishing remains slow, but Art Cerini at The Narrows Resort said the DFG is scheduled to make a plant soon, but did not make a slated plant on Oct. 15.
Plenty of big fish were brought to the scales and a variety of patterns were being used during a tournament last week. Most anglers were cranking shad imitations, yo-yoing LV500's, jigs and Senkos for their fish. Catching 50 fish a day is common and anglers can plan on going through a lot of 1 to 2 pounders while upgrading to bigger fish.
Fishing remains slow with few anglers on the water.
Bass fishing is pretty good in the creek arms (Cherry & Yorty Creek arms) in the top 10 feet of water, cranking an LV500 in pearl threadfin shad color. The trout are scattered in the 20 to 35 feet of water range and averaging about 2 to 4 hookups a day. The best area to troll has been the main body in front of the dam and up to past Sheriff’s Cove, with the best baits being shad flies, grubs, Needlefish and nightcrawlers behind a small dodger. These landlocked steelhead are averaging 16 to 20 inches.
FAR NORTH LAKE AND RIVERS
Trollers are doing well on trout with red/gold, white, gold and red dot speedy shiners. Rapala's also produced good results. The majority of fish were caught off downriggers 10 feet off the bottom in 30 to 40 feet of water. Four to 5 colors of lead core also caught fish. Fishing has slow for smallmouth bass.
Fishing remains slow here and weekend’s bad weather kept most anglers off the lake.
Lots of rain, but more importantly, high winds sustained 20 to 30 mph with gusts 40 to 50 mph, so fishing was slow here all week, said guide Bryan Roccucci at Big Daddy’s Guide Service.
The fishing has improved a lot, though the weather was tough many days. With the cold weather, anglers have been fishing on the west side of the lake from Shrimp Island to the Broccoli Tree area, as well as the Youth Camp---anywhere in the shallows. Guides have been using the Jay Fair setups with a "Fiery Rust" fly, which puts the fly down about 3 feet, trolling in approximately 4 to 10 feet of water.
Trout fishing was good in the Spring Creek area down by the weir, with most flies working well.
Trout fishing remains slow with not much current running through the lake from dam to dam.
Pretty much blown out by the storm, but before the storm trout fishing was pretty good for fly anglers in the Pit No. 3 area.
Bass fishing is generally good in most areas of the lake, with best action reported in the Sacramento and McCloud Arms. The fish are still chasing shad on the surface but can be caught deep also, around 40 feet deep on Hopkins spoons. Trout anglers are getting action on trolled spoons down to 60 and 70 feet deep in the main body, Dry Creek and Digger Bay areas.
Smallmouth bass fishing has been good. Fish up to 6 pounds were caught this week. Anglers using crankbaits have been producing the most fish, said Kirk Portocarrera at SacRiver Guide Service.
Storms pounded the area for most of the week and Dann Mann at Oak Bottom Marina said few anglers were even out in the past week. Before the storms, fishing was fair for kokanee salmon with anglers trolling lures near the 299 bridge.
The Tackle Box Café will reopen this coming weekend on October 21, and trout plants from the Mt. Lassen Hatchery may be released as early as October 24. The lake was 23 feet from spilling prior to the recent rainstorm, and the water level should both rise and cool within the week. The lake’s concessionaires have arranged for another year of trout plants from the Mt. Lassen Hatchery, but the local hatchery may reopen in the future, but on a smaller scale than in the past. The Lake Amador Resort Hatchery raises the Donaldson trout – a combination of cutthroat and rainbow trout.
The Informative Fisherman IF’MAS celebration is coming early this year to Lake Camanche South Shore on Saturday, Nov. 5, and this event is loaded with prizes and different types of contests. Nick Smith of the Informative Fisherman said, “The fishing derby is free with winners in each category of rainbow trout, panfish, and bass. The derby check-in starts at 7:00 a.m., and the derbies will run from 7:30 a.m. to the weigh-in at 2:30 p.m. with prize packs in each category. The best of five of the species must be kept alive for the weigh-in, and we will be filming the event for the Informative Fisherman and Lucky Tackle Box.” A taco dinner will be offered for $10.00 along with a casting contest, seminars, fishing trivia contest, and DJ beginning at 4:00 p.m. in the South Shore Hall. Lake Camanche is offering two nights for the price of one and a day use discount for all participants of IF’MAS. The lake dropped slightly to 68% of capacity.
Bass fishing has been best with plastics on the drop-shot or jigs as the topwater bite has been slow despite the 67-degree surface temperature. The Berserk Junior Special jig or the Pro Worm 124p on the drop-shot are good options at depths from 25 to 40 feet, and there are loads of small bass in the lake. Trolling for trout remains slow, but the action should improve within the month as the lake prepares to turn over by the end of November. The lake dropped slightly to 64% of capacity.
The launch ramp conditions at Barrett Cove South have limited the number of fishermen heading to the lake, but spotted bass to 4 pounds have been taken on either topwater lures in the early mornings or evenings or with jigs on the bottom. The Berserk Purple Hornet or Junior Special are good options at depths to 40 feet. Catfish are still an option with frozen shad, sardines, or anchovies from the shorelines with muddy, sloping banks. The lake has dropped to 36% of capacity with water releases lowering the lake 3 feet to 735.15 feet in elevation.
The lake closes for the season on November 6 before reopening in February 2017. The lake rose to 92% of capacity. Catfish remain the top species at the lake with a variety of cut baits, chicken livers, or nightcrawlers. Largemouth and smallmouth can be taken on plastics on the drop-shot or spinnerbaits in the shallows.
The launch ramp conditions have limited the number of boats on the lake, but quality holdover rainbows are taken on a regular basis by trollers pulling heavy shad-patterned spoons at depths from 80 to 90 feet in the main river channel near the dam. Glory Hole Sporting Goods in Angels Camp will be holding a Catfish Contest starting Nov. 1 through Nov. 30 with a 100% payback for the top three places, and catfish remain the consistent species live minnows, frozen shad, anchovies, mackerel, or sardines. The bass bite remains slow, but there are plenty of healthy 2-pound spotted bass in the lake. The bass are oriented to the schools of shad, which will continue to ball up as the water cools. The crappie bite has slowed. The Glory Hole launch ramp is on the dirt with the lake at 22% of capacity, but the courtesy dock will remain in the water.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Caples Lake Marina is closed and rental boats are pulled out. Wind has kept anglers off the water.
East Fork was planted last week with 1,800 pounds. Storm dirtied the water and spread the fish.
Avoid the floating weed beds and the trout bite is good.
Guide Marc Cristophel said kokanee fishing remains good and fish are in good eating shape. Small macks are willing biters for those trolling the south end of the lake or casting from the shore on the north side of the lake.
FEATHER RIVER CANYON
Big trout are hitting and anglers are in pursuit despite the bad weather. The river is clear below the Caribou Power House and trout are chase floating nightcrawlers, white crappie jigs or small white Gitzits, said Mike Hanson from the Caribou Crossroads Resort.
Power Bait or nightcrawlers get trout for shoreline anglers. Turkey Point has been a hot spot. Lots of rainbows in the 15- to 20-inch class.
GOLD LAKES BASIN
Snow fell Sunday on the Gold Lake Pass but was expected to melt quickly. The colder weather will only help the trout fishing in Gold Lake. None of the basin lakes get cloudy from runoff, nor do they measurably fluctuate. This is worth a look.
ICE HOUSE RESERVOIR
Trout fishing is good for DFW planters in the 8- to 10-inch class. Anglers can catch up to 20 fish, but don’t expect size. Browns show up on occasion, but since those are the broodstock for the lake, it’s best to release the browns.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
Slow action this week, said Jay Ward from the Sly Park Resort. “But the lake looks good. It hasn’t turned yet and the trout fishing is just alright.” Ward said the best bass fishing is at the back of the lake.
Five-foot waves Friday and Saturday and steady downpour Sunday kept anglers off the water. Early in the week 21- and 18-pound cutthroat were caught. One by trolling the other jigging.
Gale force winds kept boats off the water. Jeff Hanlon of South Lake Tahoe got out Tuesday and Wednesday and caught three macks larger than 10 pounds trolling through kokanee schools near Taylor Creek.
Lake closed to fishing Oct. 1. Season opens Jan. 1.
River is muddy and will be unfishable for at least two days after the rain stops. This weekend should be a great bet. The added water should draw trout upstream and closer to Truckee.
WEST WALKER RIVER
The storm didn’t adversely impact the West Walker. Jenna Casanova at the Walker General Store said the river is still low and clear, running at 36cfs. The few anglers fishing are doing “okay”. The trout being caught are pan-sized and worms are the best bait.
Flows held steady last week at 1,010 cfs, despite rain over the weekend. Steelhead have shown up, as a couple of fish were reported last week by salmon anglers drifting beads. Fishing for salmon has slowed, although anglers are catching a mix of bright and darker fish.
Lake levels remained steady at 386 feet over the weekend as outflows from Folsom Dam were cut after big rains over the weekend. The Hobie Cove ramp at Brown’s Ravine and Granite Bay’s low water ramp are open. The Folsom Point, Rattlesnake and Peninsula ramps are closed. The lake now has a 5 mph speed limit. Trout and landlocked salmon fishing has slowed, mainly because of the drop in effort. Bass fishing has slowed, in part because of the speed limit and lower lake levels.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows jumped from 200 cfs to 2,000 cfs over the weekend, but were down to 500 cfs late Sunday. The rapid changes in flows, combined with heavy rain, is expected to slow fishing.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
Salmon fishing has slowed below Red Bluff. Anglers are drifting roe and also back-trolling T55 FlatFish with sardine wraps with some success.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Flows at Keswick Dam held steady at 7,060 cfs last week. Although salmon fishing has slowed at the Barge Hole, fishing for wild rainbows has been wide open from the Posse Grounds to Anderson. Trout are feasting on eggs from spawning salmon, and aggressively grabbing any egg imitations.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
A few stripers and catfish are being caught at Knight’s Landing on pile worms. Salmon fishing has slowed near Verona, with only a few fish reported last week.
BULLARDS BAR RESERVOIR
Guide Larry Hemphill fished here before the storm and gave a report: “I had a trip to Bullards Bar with a father/son team from Colorado. The spotted bass were running slightly larger than during the summer. Dad caught the biggest spot at 2 1/4 pounds and another near 2 pounds. There were lots of bass caught in the 12- to 14-inch range, along with the typical dinks. We caught a little over 50 bass and the weather was great. With the clear water, we tried to fish the shadows that are more common now since the sun is lower on the horizon. Most bass were caught on Robo worms, anywhere from 10 to 40 feet, on points and various walls with small rock.”
CAMP FAR WEST
Very light angling pressure here, but Ron Frank of Folsom, a regular at the lake, cashed in big. Frank caught-and-released 36 bass on Tuesday and 44 on Wednesday. Biggest was two pounds and but seven were spots. Watermelon brush hogs hauled in bass in 8 to 10 feet of water on the main lake and Bear River arm. Water temperature is 69 to 71 degrees and lake is 15% of capacity, said Kathy DeRossett from the North Shore Resort.
Still slow, but trout plants begin next week.
Lake is 93% of capacity and is clear with no mudlines after the storm, said Lisa Rogers from Skippers Cove. A few anglers caught just a few trout with nightcrawlers, but few boats were on the water prior to the storm.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
There are a lot of downed trees on the road to Hell Hole but the road is checked and cleared daily, according to Pete Robinson at the Georgetown Ranger Station. Fishing has been slow for some time now.
Last weekend’s storm may have delivered enough water to ignite the fall bass bite. Look for moving water entering the lake. Plenty of 2-pound bass are attacking tubes and drop-shots but fresh, moving water may bring the larger bass up looking for food.
Trollers and bank fishermen are getting trout. Some browns to 16 inches are caught early, but disappear when the sun hits the water. Rainbows provide decent action through the day.
SCOTTS FLAT LAKE
Lake level rose two feet with the weekend storm, but few have been out since Friday. A few planted trout were caught earlier in the week, but no boats have been out since Thursday, said Jim Caldwell of the Nevada Irrigation District. Water is cloudy along the shore but clear in the middle.
STUMPY MEADOWS RESERVOIR
Anglers have to get down 35 to 40 feet to get the trout planted last week, said Pete Robinson of the Georgetown Ranger Station. Lake is clear, although it may be a bit cloudy in the inlets. The warm storm will do little to bring the trout closer to the surface. Overnight lows have been in the 50s. Boat ramp is usable. Campground is closed.
There’s an early morning jig bite and an afternoon frog bite, said Bruce Gibson of Paradise Tackle Company. Brown and purple jigs tossed near the tules are a good tactic. The strong winds over the weekend will dirty the water, but conditions should be good enough to go out by middle of the week.
The Farallones were a popular destination early in the week when the weather was pleasant. California Dawn had a big 80-lingcod day with fish to 28 pounds. Berkeley Flats held halibut for private boaters and kayakers. Striped bass were popular targets along numerous Bay area shorelines.
Groundfish action was good in general and off the charts at little-fished destinations. Halibut slowed to a halt in Tomales Bay and salmon were very rare, so groundfish were the remaining feasible target for boaters. Shore fishers had barred surf perch and red tail perch to keep busy with.
Tough week of weather but the bottom fishing was great. Sea Wolf made a run and her 13 passengers went away with limits of both rockfish and lingcod.
Boaters fared well at Cape Mendocino where the lings and larger black rockfish were biting like hungry dogs. A very large vermillion, weighing over 12 pounds was caught aboard Reel Steel. California halibut bit anchovies inside Humboldt Bay and jetty anglers did quite well on kelp greenlings, cabezon, rockfish and lingcod until the storm hit on Thursday.
Fishing was shut down through the weekend by fierce weather, but before that the rockfish and lingcod counts were up for boaters including Telstar and Sea Hawk. Shore fishers had to retreat from the weather late in the week and over the weekend, but early in the week, shore fishing was exceptionally good at Dynamite Shack, Glass Beach and Mendocino Headlands.
HALF MOON BAY
Home-bound salmon kept people busy near the entrance to the harbor and even inside the harbor. Shore fishing for perch during the day and striped bass at night was pretty darned good from Half Moon Bay northward to San Francisco. Boats like Queen of Hearts and Huli Cat worked on rockfish, lingcod and cabezon off of Pillar Point or down the coast at spots like Ritz Carleton and Pescadero.
Wacky Jacky made it out Wednesday before the storms and whacked a few salmon. South Bay shark fishing was good for charter boat passengers including Flash II and Nautilus who took leopards to 40 inches. Shore fishers caught striped bass from the beaches all the way to Oyster Point.
- Western Outdoor News