Here are the best places to fish in the Sacramento region, Northern California and beyond for the week of Feb. 27, 2017.
DELTA REGION: Sacramento River
The main Sacramento River-Delta is starting to clear and drop slightly, but water releases from Oroville and upstream reservoirs will keep the river above normal for some time. Striped bass are starting to show in the Sacramento Deep Water Channel with swimbaits or jumbo minnows but finding a launch ramp is a challenge. Sturgeon fishing remains best in Suisun Bay, but the bite slowed down over the past weekend, perhaps due to the recent cold spell. The sturgeon are stacked up, and it is a matter of time before the action break out. Boating in the north Delta is dangerous due to floating and submerged debris and high flows. There are still grass, tules, and wood floating down the river.
DELTA REGION: San Joaquin River
The flows on the San Joaquin River rose to danger stage with releases out of Lake Don Pedro and reservoirs south on the watershed, and the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services closed the San Joaquin River and surrounding sloughs north to Bacon Island to recreational boating. Information on the closures can be located at https://www.sjgov.org/oes/. Many launch ramps are still out of service due to high water, and boaters need to contact the launch operators prior to hooking up their boats. Bass fishing is starting to heat up with jigs, plastics, and creature baits in the off-color water, and the action will only improve as the water clears. Experienced guides are expecting a tremendous spring for both largemouth and striped bass.
The second weekend brought out more anglers than on the opening weekend, and the addition of 3000 pounds of trout augmented the 12,400 pounds released into the lake prior to the February 17 opener. Great action from the bank areas with scented trout dough bait, nightcrawlers, or blue/silver Kastmasters. Bass fishing is fair, but largemouth and smallmouth possible on the south end with jigs with a Havoc trailer. The main lake has some debris, but the river arm is loaded with wood and debris. Trout plants will continue on a weekly basis through late May or June.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Sacramento
The port of Sacramento is the best bet for striper fishing near Sacramento. Trolling Bombers or Rebel plugs is the best bet, along with jigging spoons near shad boils. Discovery Park remains under water.
NORTH COAST RIVERS
CHETCO RIVER, Brookings, Oregon
A driftboat hit rocks on the upper Chetco River and broke up on Saturday, with the two anglers escaping after being rescued by another driftboater. Steelhead fishing was great over the weekend for late steelhead after it dropped down on Sunday, and it fished well for the first day of the Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery Derby, according to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. More than 60 steelhead were caught by 18 boats on Friday.
ELKS RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
The Elk has been in good shape since last Friday. It was down to 4 feet on Sunday. Steelhead fishing has been best near the hatchery, as well as just above the RV park.
ROGUE RIVER, Gold Beach, Oregon
Flows at the Agness gauge hit 50,000 cfs last week, and were down to 18,100 cfs on Sunday, still too high for fishing. Conditions are expected to be good this week. Expect some late steelhead. The first spring king salmon is usually caught in early March by someone fishing for steelhead.
ROGUE RIVER, Shady Cove to Grants Pass, Oregon
Weather continues to make fishing tough with high water in most places. Anglers might pick up an occasional fish in the Valley or the Rogue and downriver. Try using darker colored yarn balls, roe or back trolling plugs. It's best to be using the darker colors of black, blue and red, said guide Troy Whitaker at U-Save Tackle in Grants Pass.
As of Sunday, the Russian was still high and muddy with flows at 10,000 cfs or 15 feet, according to Scott Heemstra of Kings Sport & Tackle in Guerneville, who said, “Both reservoirs are into their flood pools, so 1000 cfs is coming out of Coyote and 3000 cfs from Warm Springs. Long term forecasts are calling for dry weather the next couple of weeks with only a slight chance for showers. If the reservoirs drop below flood pool and the weather holds, we should be in good shape for at least some late season fishing. The Warm Springs Hatchery has around 2000 steelhead at this point and 500 at Coyote. So the fish are heading upriver. If anybody wants to get out, try plunking cured roe and a Spin-n-Glo on the inside bends 20 to 30 feet off shore.”
SIXES RIVER, Port Orford, Oregon
The Sixes became fishable over the weekend after being blown out for nearly a week. Fish are spread throughout the river, with most anglers fishing between Edson Creek and the Grange. Conditions appear to be good this week.
Bill Woltz of Napa caught a 37-inch steelhead here while fishing with guide and WON Staff Writer Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing on Saturday. WON Field Reporter Lonnie Dollarhide fished the river on Sunday and said it was a tough bite. “It rained all night Saturday and Sunday,” he said. “The river was on the rise and starting to get some dirty color to it. I did manage to catch our only steelie for our efforts. Guide Phil Desautel found good success for his clients while plunking and side drifting. Conditions look good on the river for this week.
KLAMATH RIVER, Hornbrook
The river has been blown out for a month now, hitting 6,000 cfs at Iron Gate Dam on Sunday.
KLAMATH RIVER, Happy Camp
Flows at Seiad Valley hit 16,000 cfs last week, and were down to 12,000 cfs on Sunday, still too high for steelhead fishing.
KLAMATH RIVER, Klamath Glen
The lower Klamath is high and muddy, with flows near 60,000 cfs over the weekend.
The river was falling into shape over the weekend, and is expected to fish near Douglas City and Junction City early this week. It was high much of last week. Flows at Lewiston have remained under 300 cfs, but at Douglas City they peaked at 3,100 cfs last week. By Sunday they were down to 1,130 cfs. Flows at Junction City crested at 5,000 cfs, and were down to 1,920 cfs on Sunday.
NORTH COAST LAKES
Lake is now more than 3 feet over the Glory Hole, but there was quite a bit of bass action there with two tournaments staged and a few good bass catches were made on spinnerbaits and chatterbaits. No trout action was reported.
BLACK BUTTE LAKE
Only a few anglers were out and they had no success except for a couple of small bass. The lake level remains about 1/2 full.
It was rain and freezing weather over the weekend with no fishing action reported all week. Lake remains muddy.
Virtually no action is reported on Clear Lake, which remains closed to all boating activity. A few catfish being caught by shore anglers.
Lake is high and muddy with little fishing reported.
No catches reported here, with few anglers out on the water. There is a lot of debris floating on the lake. Lake is now about 1/2 full.
Lake is at 124% capacity with high, muddy water with zero visibility. No reports of any trout or bass fishing. Need a couple of weeks here with no rain.
FAR NORTH LAKE AND RIVERS
In between storms anglers have been catching a few rainbows and browns from 3 to 6 pounds on trolled lures. Lake is at full level but a little murky water.
Producing some fair to good trout action for fly anglers on midges, leeches and woolly buggers, but not many bait anglers there.
Marina now closed until April.
No reports available.
Water remains high and unfishable.
Lake is down about 18 feet now. Fishing is fair for bass in coves on Senkos, hula grubs and Hitech lures, in dark colors. Lots of debris in the water makes it tough for trout trollers. A few crappie are being caught in brushy areas.
Snow and icy roads still limit access to the lake.
A few anglers have been out, but fishing was poor. The launch ramps are now open and the level is rising slowly, but the lake is now down about 35 feet.
A few anglers have been picking up a few spotted bass in hump areas on jigs and plastic worms.
The lake is at capacity, and it is still running over the spillway. Trout plants have been on hold since February 10, but they will resume this week as the lake stabilizes. Bank action has been solid with green Power Eggs or garlic green trout bait combined with a white Power Egg from the spillway, dam, and boat launch. The water is still heavily stained from the inflow, and trolling remains slow as a result. The rainbows are close to the shoreline and near the surface. The Nor Cal Trout Anglers Challenge is coming to the lake on March 19, just after the ending of the season-long Lake Amador Trout Derby.
The lake is near capacity at 97 percent, but it did not spill over as anticipated earlier in the week. The water is clearest around the dam, but visibility is improving near the North Shore Marina around Houseboat Cove. Trolling is the best option for trout, and orange/white grubs or Speedy Shiners are working close to the surface. 1200 pounds of Mt. Lassen Hatchery rainbows were split between the South Shore launch ramp and the North Shore launch this week. Bass and crappie remain possible and action will only improve. Currently, gasoline is not available at the North Shore docks due to high water.
The lake rose to 92 percent despite water releases into the Merced River. There is record snowmelt in the Merced River watershed, and water releases will continue to accommodate the coming snowmelt. The water is stained along the shorelines, but bass fishing is decent 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 rose 25 feet this week to 64 percent, and the water is stained, which has created challenges, and trout fishing is best with Vance’s Little Slim Willies tipped with a threaded nightcrawler coated with Pro Cure Carp Spit at a depth to 8 feet at a trolling speed of 1.5 mph. Scent and vibration are essential for trolling success. Sediment and increased sunlight has warmed the water in the south-facing banks, and the bass are moving towards the shorelines. Crappie fishing has improved near submerged timber, and catfish are also starting to get active in the inlets.
SIERRA LAKES AND RIVERS
Edges are slushy. Unsafe to access.
Ice is safe, but be prepared to move a lot of snow to get access.
Lake is 96 percent of full. Some are ice fishing but the edges are slushy. Jeanne Graham and J&J Grizzly Store said there is three inches of ice in some places and five inches in others, “Once you get past the slushy stuff.” Warming trend during the week may make ice fishing problematic.
Lake has a thin layer of ice. No access here because of thick snow on the shore.
Lake came up 6 percent last week and is at 81 percent of capacity. Ice is not stable for fishing.
GOLD LAKE BASIN
Road is closed. See you in spring.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR
Frozen. Waiting for spring thaw.
JENKINSON LAKE (Sly Park)
Lake is clearing and it remains full and spilling. Fishing has been so-so. Mackinaw in the 2- to 3-pound range take nightcrawlers or trolled Kastmasters. Few rainbows are being caught.
Mackinaw bite is best on the west side near Rubicon and Sugar Pine Point. Fish averaging 3 to 6 pounds are being taken from depths of 200 to 250 feet with live bait.
The open section from the North Nets to Shot Dog on the west side of the lake has been providing enough action that there is no reason to complain about what can’t be accessed. Pyramid Fly Company reported 30 cutthroat weighing more than 10 pounds caught and released last week. Good action on smaller fish, too. Use caution when driving or walking. Flooding made drastic changes to the beaches.
Another couple of feet of snow fell on the ice here.
Deep snow has closed access.
Trout bite remains very good. Anglers use Power Bait or nightcrawlers and most of the fish are being caught from shore.
Lakes overflows/releases are putting close to 2,000 cfs of water into the river. It’s running high and fast.
WEST WALKER RIVER
River is on the high side but not unfishable, but no reports of anyone trying in weeks.
High, muddy water continued to halt steelhead fishing last week on the American. Flows dropped from 80,000 cfs to just under 30,000 cfs, but remain too high for fishing. Flows are expected to remain high well into March. Fishing has been poor since the Jan. 1 opener between Hazel Avenue and Nimbus Fish Hatchery.
The Yuba City Boat Launch was cleared of mud and debris last Friday, allowing anglers their first access to the river since the Oroville Dam spillway collapse. The river remains high and muddy, with slow fishing. The Boyd’s Pump launch may open this week. Boyd’s Pump also is the best shore access for striper fishing right now. Star Bend and Shanghai Bend are way too high to fish.
Brown’s Ravine is the only usable ramp. Fishing has been poor because of rapid lake elevation changes, and muddy, debris-filled water. The lake level increased from 409 feet last week to 414 feet on Sunday.
RANCHO SECO LAKE
The lake is full. Trout fishing has been slow to fair from the dock, dam and north shore.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Dunsmuir
Flows at the Delta gauge ranged from 12,000 cfs to 3,000 cfs last week. Trout fishing remains poor.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Red Bluff to Colusa
High, muddy water has made fishing slow since January. Guides say they expect good striper fishing near Colusa as soon as the river falls into shape.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Redding to Red Bluff
Keswick Dam flows remained around 70,000 cfs last week, way too high for safe boating or fishing. The river won’t begin to fish until flows at Keswick drop below 10,000 cfs.
SACRAMENTO RIVER, Verona to Colusa
The boat ramps remain flooded, preventing access for striper or sturgeon fishing. Flows are high and muddy. Striper fishing could pick up by late March.
Lake is 79 percent of capacity and is very murky. It’s hit or miss, although a world record was achieved Feb. 12 when San Jose Resident Nick Dulleck landed an 11-pound, 4-ounce spot.
CAMP FAR WEST
Lake is muddy 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
Smallmouth bite has been decent on the Scotts Flat side amongst the willows. Best stretch is from the Ditch Digger’s House to Site 226. Bass are in deeper water. No reports of trout being caught. Lake has a green color. Debris is scattered and working its way to the overflow.
Happy Hooker worked San Pablo Bay for stripers and sturgeon, enjoying the continued good bite and improving weather. Berkeley Charter Boats vessels remained at dock, preparing for the upcoming rockfish and salmon openers just weeks away. Shoreline fishing was decent for perch and it’s not uncommon to hook a schoolie-size striped bass.
Rough water kept party boats off the high seas, leaving crabbers bobbing about hauling, rebaiting and dropping their gear. Surf fishing was quite good though, with rocky spots giving up rockfish, kelp greenling and cabezon. Sandy spots turned on with good surf perch fishing, thanks to clearing water conditions.
The mighty fleet of Emeryville boats readied for the season and reservations are a good idea. Skiff fishers found striped bass willing and shore anglers got into perch pretty well and just an occasional striped bass.
Sanddab fishing has been good in 180 to 200 feet of water and good weather ahead is expected to allow people to work the 250- to 300-foot depth range to target petrale sole. Jetty fishers did well on both the North and South jetties. Rainbow perch moved inside Humboldt Bay and angler are having a blast with them.
When you got lemons make lemonade and when you’ve got whales, run whale watch trips… which is exactly what the party boat fleet including Telstar did all week. Sea Hawk made one crab trip and did well. Comfortable weather and sea state gave shore anglers what they were waiting for and there were considerable catches of kelp greenling, rockfish, cabezon and even lingcod from Old Mill, Mendocino Headlands and MacKerricher.
HALF MOON BAY
The party boat and charter boat fleet remained in harbor, leaving commercial and recreational crabbers to go out and pull pots. Longer soaks in deeper water produced sufficient crabs. Shore fishing was good for perch but generally slow for striped bass. Pacifica Pier was open for the week and the crabbing was good for the most part.
San Francisco boats like Argo made runs up to San Pablo Bay or fished Central Bay (as Lovely Martha did) to take part in the good sturgeon bite. Some boaters, such as Lovely Martha, however took advantage of the sturgeon working herring spawns in Central Bay and South Bay to fish more locally from AT&T Park on down the shoreline. Perch were caught from shore right in town.
- Western Outdoor News