Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Feb. 6, 2017.
The water is starting to clear, and shore fishermen are finding the best action within the top 5 feet of the surface along the shorelines. Trout dough bait with garlic, Power Eggs, or nightcrawlers are working best. The dam and spillway areas are the top locations along the edge of the debris line. Boaters are working the back of the lake by still fishing in the cove. Trolling remains slow. The concessionaires have dropped the fishing fee from $9 to $7. Camping reservations start this Friday at 8:00 a.m. The annual Tagged Trout Derby continues until March 19, 2017.
Bass fishing remains outstanding with both species of largemouth and spotted bass found on jigs or Alabama-rigs in dark colors in the stained water. There continue to be largemouth bass pushing 10 pounds caught and released. About 60 bass boats on the lake on weekends. 1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows were split between the North Shore launch ramp and the South Shore Fishing Pond this week. Trout trollers work from the North Shore Marina to the dam, and crappie are still found at depths to 30 feet with grubs in pearl or firetiger. The lake has dropped to 61 percent.
DELTA REGION: Sacramento River
The main Sacramento River is high and muddy, and striped bass have been notoriously absent for the past several weeks. The stripers will be arriving, but expect at least a month later for their arrival than in past years. The best fishing is for sturgeon remains in the sloughs of Montezuma, Suisun, and the Big and Little Cuts. 851 participants entered the past weekend’s Original Sturgeon Derby, and most experienced a tough bite due to inclement weather, cold water, and debris on the surface. The sturgeon bite should last well through the next few months as the river settles down and temperatures increase.
DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River
The south Delta is starting to clear out, and the clearest water is found in the back sloughs at the edges of the Delta. South-facing banks in the shallows are producing best as the water is warming up consistently in the afternoons. A slow presentation is necessary, and spinnerbaits, jigs, or plastics are the top producers. A few school-sized striped bass are taken on sardine fillets or live mudsuckers, but the bulk of the striped bass action is yet to com. Bluegill and crappie remain slow with the stained water.
The lake is reopening on February 16, 2017 for camping and February 17, 2017 for fishing with a total plant of 6000 pounds of rainbows up to 1.5 pounds released on the opening days. Trout plants of 3000 pounds per week are anticipated for the first 7 weeks of the season with additional fish from other sources possible. The Nor Cal Trout Anglers Challenge will take place on February 19.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon
Another big storm blew out the river again last week, and with the upcoming storm it will be at least a week before it comes down enough even for plunkers, said guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers fishing. It was flowing at 1400 cfs on Thursday and there were quite a few steelhead still in the river and fishing was good before heavy rain hit Thursday night. It went to 17,000 cfs on Saturday. Martin put clients on 4 or 5 fish a day. One 17 pounder was also landed. Guide Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service put two clients on limits the day before the storm.
ELKS RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
The Elk shot up to 6.8 feet on Saturday and then 7.2 feet on Sunday, well above fishable levels. The Elk begins fishing at 5 feet and is best around 4 feet. The river had been low and clear last week, before heavy rain began Thursday night. It will be the first river to come back into shape once the rain stops.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
Heavy rain swelled the lower Rogue to 19,200 cfs Sunday at the Agness gauge, up from 8,000 cfs the middle of last week. Steelhead fishing had been good for both jet boats and plunkers fishing Spin-N-Glos from the bank before the latest storms. Hatchery fish were making a strong showing. The river is now expected to be high and muddy all week.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove to Grants Pass, Oregon
Fishing started to pick up, then more rains created more high water and slowed the steelhead fishing. It’s difficult to use a driftboat in these conditions. It might take another week for fishing to improve, said guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass.
SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
The river fished well for steelhead early last week, then it blew out on Thursday night and is now likely to be too high and colored to fish all week.
“We are back living in the rain,” said WON Field Reporter and guide Phil Desautel of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service. “We needed it, as were fishing low and clear conditions. The fishing on the Smith was tough before the rain with zero to 3 fish per boat. It was a nice grade of fish that were caught, a few over 15 pounds. Tom and Eric Watson of Modesto went 3 for 3 before the big storm hit, all caught on FishPills and Yarn. WON Field Reporter and guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing said the river was down to 25,300 cfs on Sunday and is expected to bounce back and forth from 11,000 cfs to 20,000 cfs all week. The crest at 18 feet on Saturday was 10 feet high than flows earlier in the week.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
The upper Klamath has been fishable for steelhead, but cold water has limited success. Slowly working small plugs with scent has worked best. Flows at Iron Gate Dam have ranged from 1,000 cfs to 1,700 cfs.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Flows at Seiad Valley jumped from 4,000 cfs to 8,100 cfs. It is expected to be high and muddy most of the week.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
The river remains blown out, with flows of 71,000 cfs at Terwer on Sunday.
The river has been fishable from Lewiston to Indian Creek. The lower river has been blown out. Flows at Lewiston were just under 300 cfs, while levels at Douglas City jumped from 700 cfs most of last week to 1,600 cfs on Saturday. They were down to 1,340 cfs on Sunday afternoon. Flows at Junction City jumped from 1,000 cfs to 2,800 cfs. They were down to 2,290 cfs late Sunday. Steelhead have been biting small plugs as well as roe.
NORTH COAST LAKES
Bass fishing is up and down with best action on swimbaits and A-Rigs. No trout action reported.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Park rangers report few anglers out, with the lake still muddy.
No anglers have been out due to very muddy waters, said Art Cerini at The Narrows Resort.
It was another tough week for bass anglers, but one positive note is that the crappie bite is on fire in several locations around the lake. For those bass fishermen who have been able to get out, A-Rigs and jerk baits seem to be the best bets for putting some fish in the boat. Action is best from the narrows to the south end. A few catfish and bass are being caught on worms at the north end.
No reports available.
High and muddy water keeping action slow.
Christina Diaz at the resort said no action has been reported with few anglers out. The lake remains high and muddy.
More muddy water is making fishing conditions tough with only a few anglers catching bass. The lake is currently at 115% capacity and boaters need to be aware of floating debris everywhere.
FAR NORTH LAKE AND RIVERS
There is still lots of snow on the ground and shore access is limited. John Crotty of Quail Lodge fished the East Shore with no success, then went to Hamilton Branch only to find limited visibility, checked out Big Springs and finally picked up a nice little brown trout just past Rec 2. Shore fishing is the best bet with Power Baits or nightcrawlers.
Trout fishing remains slow to fair with fly fishermen getting 12-13 inch rainbows on woolly buggers and midges.
Marina is closed for the season.
Season closed until spring trout opener.
FALL RIVER, HAT CREEK
Season is closed until spring.
A few trout have been caught, but few anglers are out. Anglers are slow trolling in the mid-lake area with nightcrawlers. The lake is still a little muddy.
No reports available.
Not much action here with very high water rushing down.
Bass fishing remains very good for spotted bass on plastics and swimbaits. Fish in the coves 20 to 50 feet deep. The Sacramento Arm has been the best area of the lake, but anglers are also working the Squaw and McCloud Arms with Senkos, tubes, hula grubs on drop-shot rigs, and using a bobber with a feather jig floating below and drifting the rig in the coves.
No reports due to snow and ice.
Few anglers here with road access very limited due to road conditions. Much of Hwy. 299 is closed and too dangerous for driving.
Bass fishing has been slow with few anglers showing up because of road closures.
The lake is dropping water, and Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing said, “The trout bite generally slows down a bit when the lake recedes.” He is ready to begin trolling for rainbow trout near the surface as the water continues to clear. Bass fishing has slowed with the stained water, but anglers can expect between 10 and 12 bass per trip working the bottom with plastics or jigs. The reaction bite is non-existent. The extra water this winter should make for a great spring bite. The lake has receded to 87 percent.
The lake held at 73 percent, but the cumulative effect of continuous storms has stained the lake’s water. Bass fishing has slowed, and the best action remains on the bottom with jigs or plastics on the drop-shot at depths from 25 to 45 feet.
The lake continues to rise to unheard of levels, and bass fishing is unpredictable with the rising water. Best with jigs or plastics on a slow presentation at depths from 25 to 55 feet. Anglers will need to figure out the pattern which changes daily. Trout fishing good from the banks at Glory Hole Point or along the Highway 49 Bridge with trout dough bait coated with scent or nightcrawler/marshmallow combinations. Trollers are scoring with bright color patterns of plugs or spoons near the surface on a long set back. Crappie are showing signs of life near structure with mini-jigs. The lake has risen to 44 percent.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Ice is not safe. There is slush around the edges and recent rain has destabilized the ice further out.
Ice fishing was productive during last week’s derby. Top spots were Catfish Cove and Lightning Tree. Snowmobile is required to get to Lightning Tree and Mallards.
Lake is frozen but not thick enough for access.
Ice fishing is in full swing. Road to the dam is open but be careful because it is narrow (sometimes one lane). Fishing has been good near the dam. One husband and wife duo last week caught eight rainbows between 14 and 18 inches.
GOLD LAKE BASIN
Road is closed. See you in spring.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
Lake is at capacity but has cleared enough for fishing. Last week only “little guys” were caught for trout, said Karen Ward from Sly Park Resort. Most anglers are fishing from shore and most of the snow has melted. Power Bait and nightcrawlers can get action from pansized rainbows and juvenile mackinaw.
Mackinaw bite has been very good since clear, calm weather has allowed charter boats back on the water. Most are 3 to 6 pounds, but there have been a handful of larger Macks landed.
Ice is not safe for fishing.
Lake is closed to all recreational activity until early April due to road damage.
Deep snow has closed access.
Ice gripped the lake for much of the week, but fishing was possible by last Friday and bite was good for shoreline anglers. Power Bait is the most productive option and the bite is rated as good.
Flows are around 500 cfs and fine for fishing. There is access at Hirschdale, Floriston and Farad. Most use nymphs. Streamers can work if you hit the trout on the nose.
WEST WALKER RIVER
River has dropped into fishable shape and water is clear. There are access points but there are also precarious spots with ice and snow. Use caution.
High flows have plagued steelhead fishing since the Jan. 1 opener between Hazel Avenue and Nimbus Fish Hatchery. Flows were down to 8,000 cfs the middle of last week, but jumped back to 15,000 cfs over the weekend. A few small steelhead were caught from shore last week as the river dropped. Drifting roe, yarn and Corkies has been most productive. Overall success has been poor.
High, muddy water has made striper fishing slow, even though hatchery steelhead smolts were released at the end of January at Live Oak. Large swimbaits and glide baits are the best bet in the high water. Some sturgeon have been reported at the mouth of the Bear River. Eel, pile worms and ghost shrimp are working best, especially when tipped with nightcrawlers. Big releases from Lake Oroville are contributing to the high water.
The lake was up to 408 feet on Sunday, another 4 feet higher than a week ago. The 5 mph speed limit is lifted as long as the lake is above 400 feet. Currently the Granite Bay and Brown’s Ravine’s Hobie Cove ramps are open. The water temperature was 49 degrees on Sunday. Bass, trout and salmon fishing has been slow because of the muddy water. Effort has been light.
RANCHO SECO LAKE
The lake was stocked twice in January. Trout fishing is fair, with Power Bait working best. The annual trout derby is set for April 1 and 2.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows at the gauge jumped from 1,400 cfs to 8,000 cfs over the weekend as more rain fell in Siskiyou County. Flows were down to 6,400 cfs on Sunday, still way to high for winter trout fishing.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
High water has made striper and sturgeon fishing tough for the past several weeks. Poor conditions continued over the weekend.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Flows from Keswick Dam held steady at 26,300 cfs last week and through the weekend. Trout fishing has been poor. Expect anglers to be back on the water once flows get back to 10,000 cfs.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Anglers have been fishing for stripers in the Port of Sacramento and the deepwater channel, but success has been poor. A few sturgeon have been caught in the deepwater channel on eel, pile worms and ghost shrimp.
Water is murky. Fishing has been difficult and bass have been small.
CAMP FAR WEST
Angling pressure is increasing but success is difficult to attain. “Lake is still muddy. It’s still full of debris and it’s still going over the top. Fishing is bad,” said Kathy DeRossett from the North Shore Resort.
Lake showing no signs of clearing and more rain is on the way. Best report came from a pair of anglers in a boat who were pulling spinners. They reported 7 trout on their outing, one of the better reports in weeks.
Lake is green and spilling over the top. Very little pressure, said Lisa Rogers at Skipper’s Cove Marina. “There isn’t any debris in the water. So that’s a good thing,” she said.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
Snowed in. That’s it until spring.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
Snowed in with no access.
Water level dropped 10 feet last week and bass bite dropped off. More storms this week may stabilize conditions. Bass appear ready to spawn.
No report available.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE
No report available.
Trout bite is very good. Use small flashers with a nightcrawler trailing 18 inches beneath and drift with the current. Shore anglers use Power Bait/marshmallows. Bass bite is slow, but action can be had running large jigs (black/red or black/blue) across or into rocks. Use a lot of scent. Smaller bass are caught with Senkos (pumpkin/red) in the tules.
Dwindling boat action kept catch counts low, with the exception of boats heading up to fish the tributaries for the Super Bowl Derby. Along local shorelines, perch were popular targets for folks with a little time to cast baits. The possibility of a striped bass kept focused casters working swimbaits, Hair Raisers and bucktails.
Boats like New Sea Angler stayed at the dock, waiting out big winter swells. Jetty fishers had a good time casting snares for Dungeness, soaking baits for cabezon and rockfish or poke-poling for eels. Crabbing was decent down in Tomales Bay either from boats or from the pier. Surfperch bit best at low tides near Lawson’s Landing.
The fabled Emeryville party boat fleet stayed at the dock doing annual maintenance work. Shore fishers had a pretty good week of fishing for perch and stripers from local spots on down to Alameda Rock Wall. No big fish were reported but folks caught enough small-to-medium size fish for dinner.
Lingcod were taken from both the North and South jetties, along with cabezon, kelp greenling and rockfish. Red tail surf perch bit along the beach below Table Rock. Herring showed inside Humboldt Bay and they were pretty good size. Sport crabbers did well and even scored some limits after overnight soaks.
Crabbing was good aboard Telstar which worked in the “red zone” right outside the breakers in roughly 30 to 70 feet of water. Short soaks with squid for hanging bait produced best. Noyo Jetty and local shore spots hosted anglers who got lingcod, kelp greenling and rockfish from rocky spots and perch from soft-bottom spots like Dog Beach.
HALF MOON BAY
There was little boat activity other than commercial crabbers, due to continued big swells, however Huli Cat got out for a successful crab & ‘dab combo trip over the weekend. Folks working the inshore safe portions of the jetty managed perch and small rockfish and snare casters had a pick at the crabs both along the jetty and from the public pier. At Pacifica, the pier was open much of the week for crabbers. A kayaker got a 31-pound striped bass.
Argo fished San Pablo Bay for sturgeon and stripers. Herring spawns off of South San Francisco and near Sausalito brought out people who threw nets and put herring away for salmon season. There were some sturgeon and stripers caught in the vicinity of the herring spawns. Shoreline fishers caught striped bass and perch. Pier fishers got leopard sharks and rays.
- Western Outdoor News