Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Feb. 20, 2017.
Lake is 79 percent of capacity and is very murky. It’s hit or miss, although a world record spotted bass was achieved Feb. 12 when San Jose Resident Nick Dulleck landed an 11-pound, 4-ounce spot.
Never miss a local story.
DELTA REGION: Sacramento River
The main Sacramento River-Delta remains blown out from heavy inflow, and the river has the possibility of rising even higher with the upstream reservoirs dumping water as fast as possible. The high water has closed most of the north Delta launch ramps, and the river will need to drop before launch ramps are reopened. Boating in the north Delta is dangerous due to floating and submerged debris and high flows. The best locations for action and safe boating remain in the sloughs and main bays in the lower Delta, but debris and logs are still the story in Suisun Bay. The best sturgeon action has been near the Benicia/Martinez Bridge in deep water with lamprey eel, salmon roe, and ghost shrimp.
A whopping 12,400 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows were released into the lake prior to the February 17 opener, and the heavy plants contributed to a majority of bank fishermen finding limits with scented trout dough bait or small Power Worms in red or pink around the marina. The main lake is loaded with debris from the failure of the log boom upriver during an early storm, but the boom has been reinstalled. A 5 mph limit is set for the main lake due to debris. A 9.10-pound largemouth bass was taken on a jig in the south part of the lake. Trout plants will continue on a weekly basis through late May or June.
Plan on big crowds this coming weekend if you’re planning on fishing here, as the Rowdy Creek Derby is going on, and there will be nearly 50 guides and boats on the Smith and the Chetco. Plunkers did great last week and over the weekend, with high water, and there were a lot of big steelhead caught, including the 28.5 pounder caught by a client of guide Mike Coopman. The fish would have been a state record, except it was a wild fish and had to be released.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon
Fishable 3 out of past 7 days, and steelhead action was good when conditions were favorable, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. The river was 6,000 on Sunday and rising, but might be fishable towards the end of the week.
ELKS RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
The Elk was low and clear at the beginning of the week, before blowing out Thursday and Friday. It was fishable again Saturday at 5.2 feet, but overall action was only fair, with a steelhead per boat. Expect good conditions the middle of this week.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
Heavy rain last week had the Rogue River blown out through the weekend. Flows hit 70,000 cfs at the Agness gauge on Friday, and were down to 28,700 cfs on Sunday, still way too high for even plunking. The river is muddy.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove to Grants Pass, Oregon
Guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass said fishing remains poor throughout the river from Lost Creek Lake dam and downriver through Grants Pass due to and muddy water.
Still looking at a high muddy river, said Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport & Tackle in Guerneville. Current flows are at 19,000 cfs or 20 feet with hydrograph predictions going to flood stage by Tuesday. “It has been a very wet winter, but the silver lining is a recharge to the system that has been so desperately needed,” he said. “All the spawning streams should hold water well into the summer and hopefully some scouring has occurred to deepen the stream beds and make for better rearing habitat.”
SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
The Sixes was fishable last Tuesday and Wednesday, and again on Sunday. Fishing was slow, but some steelhead were caught between Edson Creek and the Grange. Expect good conditions again this weekend.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
The river has been blown out for the past two weeks, hitting 7,000 cfs last week before dropping to 3,240 cfs over the weekend.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Flows at Seiad Valley hit 21,000 cfs last week, and dropped to 15,000 cfs on Sunday, still way too high for steelhead fishing.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
High all year, the river crested at 140,000 cfs last week before dropping to 90,000 cfs on Sunday.
Most of the Trinity was blown out, but the far upper section remained fishable above Rush Creek. With all the other rivers blown out, the upper section was crowded and fished slow to fair for most boats. More rain over the weekend kept the river high and unfishable from Douglas City down.
NORTH COAST LAKES
A few bass catches are being made on A-rigs and crankbaits, but the lake is high and muddy with few anglers going out.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
There were a few anglers out over the weekend, but they were not catching much. Lake is about half full now with muddy water and lots of floating debris.
Still no action here with muddy waters and at flood stage, and no fishermen out, reported Art Cerini at The Narrows Resort.
The lake has completely been shut down to boating activity due to the very high water level to keep homes and shoreline from more devastation. As of press time all launch ramps were flooded, there was lots of debris in the lake and lots of damaged and flooded homes and structures around the lake, so even without the lake closure, reasonable boaters wouldn't go out on the lake.
High and muddy with few anglers out.
No fishing action was reported with high and muddy water conditions.
Few anglers out here with the lake high and muddy.
FAR NORTH LAKE AND RIVERS
High and muddy conditions, with considerable damage done to the AFA fish pens. Only a few fishermen out, with an occasional trout caught on trolled lures.
This remains about the best fishable water due to storms pounding the area. Some 12- to 14-inch trout catches are being posted by fly anglers on Zebra midges and woolly buggers, but there is not much action for lure and bait anglers.
Trout action was fairly good on Kastmasters and Cripplures at the north end of the lake. Pine Cove Marina will close this week and not re-open until April.
No report available due to weather conditions.
High water level continues to halt fishing here.
The bass fishing slowed a little this week due to up and down muddy water levels. Most bass catches are being made in creek run-off areas on Senkos and jigs. Not much action reported for trout anglers.
Snow and icy roads limit access to the lake.
Lake is now about 3/4 full and rising slowly. Not many anglers out, though.
A few bass catches were reported for shore anglers tossing leadhead jigs, but not much other action seen.
The lake is full, and it is expected to spill over once again this week, leaving the entrance road flooded for the second time this year. If the road floods, access to the lake will be limited until the water recedes. The water is chocolate-brown, and the dam area is loaded with floating and submerged debris. The concessionaires are holding off on trout plants until the lake settles due to the fish going over the spillway into Jackson Creek. Trout to 5.84 pounds have been caught this week, and the best baits are white Power Eggs or garlic trout dough bait. A few bass are taken on plastics in the clearer coves. The concessionaires have dropped the fishing fee from $9 to $7. The annual Tagged Trout Derby continues until March 19, 2017.
The lake continues to receive heavy inflow from upstream Lake Pardee, and there is the possibility that the reservoir will spill over this week for the first time in over 20 years. The water is clearest near the dam and Little Hat Island, and trout trolling is best for experienced fishermen pulling bright patterned spoons near the surface on a fast-troll. Crappie can be taken on grubs, but the bite has slowed. There is floating debris throughout the lake, and the river arm is very dirty. Bass fishing has slowed with the muddy conditions. 3000 pounds Lassen Hatchery rainbows were split between the South Shore launch ramp the South Shore Fishing Pond, and the North Shore launch this week. Currently, gasoline is not available at the North Shore docks due to high water.
The lake has held at 90 percent within the week despite water releases into the Merced River up to 5000 cfs. The bass bite is still good with Berserk jigs in brown/purple or Purple Hornet along with 5- to 6-inch Pro Worms in patterns 124p or 300 at depths from 25 to 50 feet. Boaters are advised to use caution due to floating and submerged logs and debris on the lake. The launch ramps at Barretts Cove South and McClure Point are open.
The lake has risen to 58 percent of capacity, and it is one of the state’s only lakes with room for more water. The bass bite is excellent with River2Sea SWavers in Yellow Trout or plastics on the drop-shot in various colors including Pro Worms 124 p or the FattieWorm Copy Cat. The bass are becoming active in the 54-degree water. A 20-pound limit took this past weekend’s Future Pro Tour event with 86 boats. Trout fishing remains good for trollers working the surface with brightly patterned spoons or plugs for planted rainbows. The main lake is clearer than the inlets. Scent and vibration are essential for trolling success. Crappie fishing has improved, and Glory Hole will have live minnows within the next week.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Unsafe for ice fishing.
People are ice fishing here but another 2 to 5 feet of snow was supposed to fall by Tuesday.
You need a long ladder to reach the ice. No one is saying this is safe.
Lake is ice free, but launch ramp is not plowed.
The rain has melted the ice around the edges and the ice itself is getting slushy, said Vicky Anderson from Wiggin’s Trading Post. The lake is 75 percent of capacity.
GOLD LAKE BASIN
Road is closed. See you in spring.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
A few juvenile Macks were caught by shore anglers using nightcrawlers, but pressure has been light. Lake is very murky.
Afternoon winds have been beating up charter boat passengers but the Mackinaw bite continues to be very good for 3 to 5 pounders.
A portion of the lake along the west shore was opened to fishing last Saturday. Anglers are allowed access from the North Nets to Shot Dog on the west side of the lake. Bite is very good and a 20 pounder was caught Saturday to christen the opening.
Ice is thick and safe.
Deep snow has closed access.
Trout bite remains quite good. When the weather breaks and anglers come out, the bite is steady. A 4.5 pounder was the big fish of the week.
Heavy rain will keep this unfishable until this weekend, at the earliest.
WEST WALKER RIVER
The river was fishable over the weekend. Clarity was passable last weekend prior to the Monday storm system.
SAN JOAQUIN RIVER
The flows on the San Joaquin River are expected to rise with releases out of Lake Don Pedro and reservoirs south on the watershed. Flood danger is predicted for Vernalis and parts of Manteca and Lathrop. The main river is muddy, but sloughs in an east/west orientation off of the main channel are clearer and warmer. Largemouth bass action is heating up with black/blue Senkos, jigs, or creature baits along with bright spinnerbaits or chatterbaits. The water temperature has risen to 60 degrees in some locations, and the bite is predicted to explode with a week of clear weather. Sturgeon fishing is best in the shallows in New York or Broad Sloughs.
The American River reached its highest levels since 1997 last week when flows hit 83,000 cfs. The river was down to 30,000 cfs over the weekend. Discovery Park could remain closed until late spring, officials said. High flows have plagued steelhead fishing since the Jan. 1 opener between Hazel Avenue and Nimbus Fish Hatchery.
The Feather is a muddy, tree-filled mess, running levy to levy after emergency releases from Oroville Dam. Fishing conditions are extremely poor.
Water released peaked at 83,000 cfs last week, dropping the lake level from 450 feet a week ago to 409 feet on Sunday. Driftwood covers the lake surface, making boating difficult and hazardous. Brown’s Ravine is the only usable ramp. Bass and trout fishing is slow because of the constant lake level changes and muddy inflows. The water temperature is 51 degrees.
RANCHO SECO LAKE
The lake is full. Trout fishing has been fair from the dock, dam and north shore. Power Bait is working well. The annual trout derby is set for April 1 and 2.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows at the Delta gauge ranged from 8,000 cfs to 6,000 cfs last week. Trout fishing has been poor.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
The river is high and muddy. Fishing is poor.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
High outflows from Shasta Dam continues to halt trout fishing near Redding. Flows have been as high was 80,000 cfs from Shasta and Keswick dams, but were down to 45,000 cfs on Sunday. The river won’t begin to fish until flows at Keswick drop below 10,000 cfs.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
Fishing has been poor in the deepwater channel and Port of Sacramento. Discovery Park is closed.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
Flood conditions continue to halt fishing for sturgeon and stripers. The river is expected to be blown out for several more weeks, as the water is up to the top of some levies.
CAMP FAR WEST
Lake is muddy, moving and full of debris. Fishing remains poor.
The lake received its first plant of 2017 and despite muddy conditions, a 7-pound plus rainbow was caught with a nightcrawler. Weekly plants begin in March.
Lake is closed until Army Corps of Engineers deems conditions are safe.
FRENCH MEADOWS RESERVOIR
Snowed in. That’s it until spring.
HELL HOLE RESERVOIR
Snowed in with no access.
The Oroville Recreation Area is closed to all activity until further notice.
This is still very muddy. Better conditions are at nearby Scott’s Flat.
SCOTT’S FLAT LAKE
A 10-pound plus brown was caught-and-released on Friday by an angler trolling a Rapala in 22 to 25 feet of water. Nevada Irrigation District Supervisor Jim Caldwell also reports very good smallmouth fishing with smallies to 4 pounds being caught. Lake is on the murky side and that was before Monday’s predicted heavy rain.
Happy Hooker made a run to San Pablo Bay with Capt. Jim Smith at the helm. They managed a 48-inch keeper sturgeon, a few shakers and some striped bass to 21 inches. Berkeley shoreline was good for perch and on days with nice weather there were lots of people out catching rubberlip, pogeys and even some barred surf perch. Berkeley Charter Boats is getting several boats rigged and ready for March and April when halibut, salmon and rockfish seasons begin.
Dungeness crabs were still in good shape and early in the week some boats made it out to come back in with hefty loads. Late in the week the weather deteriorated and fishing transitioned to shore-based effort. The jetty at the Harbor entrance was good for crabs and also good for cabezon, rockfish and kelp greenling. Doran Beach had some perchers catch limits and then dig up limits of clams. Tomales Bay still had some crabs and the shoreline near Lawson’s Landing had red tail and barred surf perch.
The Emeryville fleet was tied to the dock for the week but the level of preparatory activity was impressive. The fleet is preparing for the salmon opener and then the rockfish opener. Early reservations are wise.
The ocean was rough and unfriendly, which kept crabbers in the harbor, however both the North and South jetties were fishable and productive. People caught kelp greenling and rockfish plus two reports of lingcod and a couple of cabezon and some perch. Rock crabs were taken inside the Bay from piers and docks. At Crescent City, the much-anticipated herring spawn erupted and brought people out by the droves to catch bait for upcoming seasons.
Limits of crabs have been the rule aboard Telstar and happily they are full and healthy. Productive depths have been 45 feet and 90 to 100 feet. Shore fishers worked some of the real hotspots early in the week, such as Glass Beach, MacKerricher and Mendocino Headlands, but as the weather worsened late in the week, Noyo Jetty and Dog Park were the remaining safe spots.
HALF MOON BAY
It was a very quiet week for boaters, due to heavy seas that kept getting worse as the week wore on. Boats like Huli Cat and Queen of Hearts were tied to the dock waiting for better conditions and more passengers. Jetty fishers managed some fish dinners… crabs, perch, cabezon and rockfish. Shore fishing was limited to early in the week and surf perch were the primary targets, though some folks cast for striped bass with only a few bass caught.
Herring spawns throughout Central and South Bay kept San Francisco Bay boats out chasing sturgeon and there were reported catches off of Sausalito, at Oyster Point, Coyote Point, San Bruno and the Bird Cage. Perch fishing was also quite good at times inside the Bay and saw more than the usual activity because the beaches were a mess outside. Fort Baker Pier area along the rock wall was one of the best hotspots for the week.
- Western Outdoor News